Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

and Russian armies; scarcely a tree seems to have escaped the shots of the troops. Their wounds have been carefully cleaned, and covered over witla pitch and bandages of coarse linen.

The first object which arrests the stranger's attention, on entering the town, is the prodigious thickness and height of the ramparts. The situation of the town is flat, and, from the height of the ramparts, only the numerous spires of the churches can be seen. The streets, though badly paved, are regular; and cross each other at right angles. Many of them are agreeably shaded by rows of trees. The houses are large, and built with the gable ends towards the street; before the doors a clumsy kind of railing is contrived, to keep off carriages, representing huge monsters, such as crocodiles, serpents, etc. supported on globes of stone. The cathedral is a building of great size, but heavy and irregularly constructed. It is built in the form of the cross, and has not less than fourteen roofs and nine lofty spires. In the church are several good paintings, though it is said the French carried off the most valuable.

Séveral bomb-shells fell on the cathedral during the siege, but regularly passed through the roof and sunk in the floor, without further injury. The church has suffered many instances of a similar kind

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

of violence. Every spot, where shots have passed through the roof, is carefully painted, and the date marked over it.

The exchange stands in the centre of the town. In it is seen an excellent statue erected to the memory of Augustus III. of Poland. Around the walls are several hunting paintings; and, to give effect to the game, huge antlers are stuck on the head of each representative! Formerly there was an university in this city, but which is now gone to decay. The sciences are certainly not encouraged here. There are only two small bookseller's shops, containing a paltry collection of pamphlets, and not a map of the country. The public amusements are, a German theatre, assembly rooms, and public gardens. The environs and walks around the city are extremely pleasing On the west, the ground rises to a gentle ridge, covered with trees and skirted with neat villas.

The east is bounded by the two branches of the Vistula. This space is extremely flat, and about twelve miles

To

prevent the advance of the Russian army, during the late siege, the French opened the eastern embankments of the river, and inundated the whole of it. From the spire of the cathedral we could easily discern the vast extent of this lake. The water had somewhat subsided, and we could discover the steeples of churches, chimnies of houses, and tops of trees, , peeping above its surface. It is said the French opened the sluices, without apprizing the inhabitants of their intention, who would have been swept away, had not part of the Russian army saved them by boats.

square.

The history of Dantzick has been long memorable as a commercial and fortified city. It originally belonged to Poland; but in the subsequent division of that unfortunate kingdom, it was annexed to Prussia, and forms a town in West Prussia. At the formation of the Hanseatic league, it was the first in riches, commerce, and strength. In 1793, when the last division of Poland was planned and executed by Catherine, the king of Prussia obtained this city and Thorn. It has since remained to that power, as the great depot of naval, military, and commercial stores.

At one time the population of Dantzick, with its Hanseatic territory, amounted to upwards of an hundred thousand

persons.

At present it scarcely contains half that number. The French kept possession of the town during five years.

The history of the last years of the situation of Dantzick, will be long remembered in the annals of its sufferings. From the memorable discomfiture of Napoleon in Russia, Dantzick was declared in a state of defence ; and general Rapp, at the head of thirty thousand French soldiers, shut himself within the walls.

The town was surrounded by a division of the Russian army, who closely invested the fortifications, and prevented all egress.

In consequence

of this hardship the inhabitants suffered every privation. The cruelties of the French, within the walls, and the destructive necessity of the Russians in the suburbs without, completed the scene of wretchedness and horror. Provisions became so scarce, that horses, dogs, and cats were the only subsistence of the common people. It was the object of the French to diminish the population as much as possible; and, though the

poor and helpless part of the inhabitants were not turned out, as at Hamburg, yet if sickness attacked them, assistance was refused, and death relieved the miserable object from its sufferings.

The inhabitants were taxed most oppressively. Those who were not base enough to sell the honour of their families, were most oppressed. Can any action express

the infamy of French principles more than this? The account of their vices here is shocking. While it stamps a disgrace on their moral character, it plainly appears to have left a strong insection on that of the people.

[ocr errors]
« НазадПродовжити »