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over twice the space. The island is still the most interesting portion, whether from its antiquated appearance, or its eventful associations. It is here that the working classes, or as they are better known, the radicals, chiefly reside; and bitter are the feuds between them and the aristocrats of the new town. Being a republic, they are .entitled to equal votes and places in the senate. It is there that the animosity of both parties appear. The avowed leader of the former is young James Fazy, the editor of a newspaper, and a rising man in Switzerland, whose abilities would gain him respect anywhere, were he not the fiercest of demagogues. His forte lies in writing political satires, and haranguing mobs at, the cafés.* Between the aristocrats and democrats there is a class,—and by far the largest—that prefers the "juste milieu ;” these are the merchants and shopkeepers, who are very capricious in their votes, being this year for the Haute Ville, next year for St. Gervais; as the districts of the contending parties are respectively denominated.
They are, in fact, the best citizens, and by avoiding extremes, they prove themselves the greatest benefactors to their little republic, which is mainly indebted to their diligent habits for its present prosperity.
At the part which Geneva has played in the destinies of nations, it will be sufficient in a work of this nature merely to glance; to give details, would occupy space to the exclusion of other matter, more peculiarly the province of gossiping travellers like ourselves, besides the delay it might occasion in our tour. To chronicle events is the task of the historian; to illustrate them, by comparison with the manners of the country through which he passes, is that of the traveller.
There can be no question as to the antiquity of Geneva. Cæsar, in his Commentaries, makes frequent mention of it; once in particular, when he describes its position as near the confluence of the Rhone and Arve, should be sufficient to dispel all doubts on the subject. But a certain worthy citizen, in his patriotic pride, and filled with rancour against a Savoyard, who, in a publication, had questioned the right of Geneva to be styled free, traces its existence so far back as the Egyptian era; and then goes on to show that the present Genoa, in North Italy, was a colony from Geneva; hence the similarity of names, the Sardinians to this day styling their city Genova (superba ?). As it is full two centuries since this industrious citizen flourished, but little credence can be attached to his first assertion, which he bases upon no authority; but the latter is more worthy of
• M. Fazy was elected deputy of Geneva to the federal diet at the close
of last year.
attention, inasmuch as he quotes the circumstance from a Latin author. His book,* a curiosity of its kind, shows great research, a vigorous style, and contains much information relative to the early history of Geneva, though not unfrequently, as in the above instance, it is tinged with high colouring when the merits and importance of his native city are touched upon: po great fault, and one in which the historians of that age are by no means singular, for those of the present day seem often to forget the words of Ovid, that,
“Quæ non facimus ipsi, Vix ea nostra voco."
The “ Citadin de Genève” was much criticised at the time of its appearance, and from its being a “response,” called forth in its turn several others. Long has the jealousy between Savoy and Geneva existed !
During the reign of Aurelian, the Roman emperor, Geneva was considered a place of great importance, and formed an exception to the levelling rule, which styled all equally barbarians who were not fortunate enough to have been born in the imperial city. At that time, also, its name was changed to
Aureliana,” but this piece of vanity was dropped at the death of its author, when Geneva resumed its ancient title. Until the Reformation, we find the history of Geneva much chequered; at one time forming the possession of the Lurgundian dukes, at another, of the house of Savoy; then a part of France; and lastly an independent state, allied by mutual interests to the Swiss Confederacy, but not yet incorporated as one of that body. The time of the Reformation, however, was the climax of its fame; neither before nor since has it ever attained an equal importance or regard in the eyes of Europe. The mighty intellects, the new ideas, the burning zeal of the first reformers, burst forth together as a shell from within this little city, the flames of which lighted up the whole of Christendom, spread terror in some countries, joy in others, and shook the Vatican in its foundations. Cauvin, or as he is better known, Calvin, Farel, Bonnivard, were the principal lights. The former, with his German contemporary, Luther, are usually looked upon as the champions of this eventful epoch; but their fellow-labourers are well worthy of a record, whose lives, in many points, show more attraction, and whose characters, more amiableness. With a certain class it has ever been the fashion, in the lives of great
* “Le Citadin de Genève, ou Response au Cavalier de Savoye." 8vo. Paris, 1606. The library of Geneva contains two copies of the work.
men, to fix upon their failings rather than their virtues, and to transmit to posterity how “this man sinned,” forgetting that,
“Errare est humanum,"
an adage which they, of all others, should be constant to remember. This has been especially the case with Calvin's biographers, who, while they touch briefly upon his deeds—immortal, nevertheless-devote whole pages to the relation of a faux pas, which they assert he committed in the case of Servetus the Socinian. Should they happen to be right in laying the odium of this treachery at Calvin's door—and that they are wholly justified in so doing, I very much doubt, *_after all, they show themselves to be but sorry fellows, and useless in their generation; and would figure better as chroniclers of the Vehmegericht, or The Reign of Terror, when they could fatten upon dark and crying deeds, than as historians of that glorious period, the Reformation, the blessings of which are too much for their vitiated tastes to discern.
The influx of strangers to Geneva in those days was immense. From all quarters of the globe they came, either attracted by the learning and eloquence of the reformers, or driven to seek at its hospitable hearths that peace which their own did not afford. Few visited it as we do now. Those were not the days, when, lolling at ease in a handsome calash, and accompanied by the fair sex, one might dispatch a courier on before, to engage the best rooms of the best hotel,—"facing the lake, mind that, Giacomo !”—but the days when each one, when he did travel, and that was rarely, went escorted, or joined himself to some caravan, consisting of others like himself, banded together for mutual protection against the numerous robbers and free companies which then infested the highways of Europe. Nor did the beauties of scenery tempt men to leave thei homes. The towering mountain, the precipitous crag, the glacier of eternal ice, the foaming cascade, struck awe into men's minds as they do now, but not admiration; they were too much of a nature with the perils men had daily to encounter, to do so. The number of our countrymen driven by persecution from their own shores, and forced to seek an asylum in Geneva from her searching rod, was very great. They comprise, among those of many noble families, the names of Cnoxus (Knox), Williams, Christopher, Goodman, John Bacon, and John Bodleigh. Thus
. See, on this point, a defence of Calvin's conduct, by Jean Senebier, in his Literary History of Geneva, a work which reflects as much credit upon the author, as lustre around the intellects of his native city.
visited by the illustrious of all nations, it would appear strange if Geneva had not made rapid progress in the sciences, and stood in the front rank among cities. Her first step was to throw off the yoke of the counts of Geneva, which she effected at the expense of one of her dearest citizens, Bonnivard; who, being waylaid in the Jura, was delivered over to the duke of Savoy, and imprisoned for many years in the fortress of Chillon, an occurrence which Byron had not in view when he composed his poem. On his release, Bonnivard founded a public library in his native city, besides a college, both of which are famous at the present day. This excellent man was born in 1496, completed his studies at Turin, and in 1510, his uncle handed him over, with permission of the pope, the priory of Saint Victor, a snug birth, but one which his conscientious scruples would not allow him long possession of; for he was among the first to secede from Rome, and embrace the new faith. After this he suffered imprisonment for two years at Grolée, by order of his enemy, the duke of Savoy. This was prior to the one at Chillon, where he remained six years without being questioned. To quote the words of a fellow-citizen, “Francois de Bonnivard was always among the staunchest supporters of the Genevese republic; he served it with the intrepidity of a hero, and he wrote its history with the candour of a philosopher, and the warmth of a patriot.”
While engaged with dinner, I heard that there was to be a concert on the “ Isle de Jean Jacques” in the evening, with some good boat-racing; so I laid myself out for both treats, accordingly. This island is artificial. It forms a midway rest for a handsome bridge over the Rhone, which connects the Quai des Bergues and the old town, and forms a delightful promenade, with elegance and utility. It is open to the public, but on concert days-once a week in summer only-non-admission is enforced, unless accompanied with half a franc for the benefit of the musicians. A gay scene presented itself on and around this little island, as if all Geneva had taken holiday, and were assembled with their wives and families to enjoy the delicious evening, and the strains of melody, which harmonized so well with the placid beauty of their own sweet lake. The band occupied the centre, beside a classical statue of Rousseau by Pradier, and immediately around it were arranged benches for the accommodation of the ladies. The remainder of the island formed an agreeable promenade for the loungers, and a resort for the most charming tête-à-têtes. Elegant gigs, down to the most unwieldy, flat-bottomed punts, occupied that portion of the lake where the powerful current of the Rhone begins to show itself, and it was amusing to see sometimes a mal adroit
oarsman swept off by the stream, with difficulty recover himself from a dash against the bridge, or a plunge of two or three feet down to the Bains du Rhone. Flags of several nations were discernible, fluttering at the stern, or in the case of gigs, at the bow of these numerous little vessels, among which I, not without an emotion of pride, «espied our own Union Jack, as well as the Russian and the Tricolor. The assemblage of the fair sex was, as may be supposed, numerous. Here, a party might be seen waving to another on the water, or their friends might be near enough to exchange verbal salutations. There, under the shade of a tree, near the less frequented spot which faces the river, a youthful pair might be exchanging warmer sentiments, and mutually outpouring the secrets of their hearts, probably realizing in their conversation the truthful language of the immortal bard—at least, the verses occurred to my memory at the time:
“How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank !
Ah! there was many a Jessica and Lorenzo present on this lovely isle. Here, again, a poet, breathing inspiration from the enrapturing scene, doubly heightened by the strains of music gently floating o'er his ear,
“ Like the sweet south, That breathes upon a bank of violets, Stealing and giving odours !”
And there, the writer himself, regarding with intense delight the scene around him, and which he in vain endeavours now to depict.
The clock of “St. Pierre" tolled out seven, the Genevese pulled out their watches, the conductor waved his báton, and the overture to "William Tell” began. The hum of voices was silent, the promenaders gathered nearer, the nautici rested upon their oars, and the violincello spoke out the ripieno passages with human voice. The introduction tells of Switzerland ; tells of its snowclad mountains, its rushing torrents, its simple peasantry, their patriarchal manners; how it is a land of freedom, where liberty is stamped upon its
soil. The invader comes. He tears the sucking infant from its mother, renders desolate the shepherd's hut, and bears him away to hard imprisonment. A storm arises-the violins grow excited—the winds howlthe chromatic passages are rendered with faultless precision