A.L.s., from Paris

Scope and Content

Gives a description of Paris which he believes to be extremely overrated as a city, believing that its government has done everything for it, whilst its people have done nothing; 'its Institutions remind me of a pearl necklace and diamond earrings on low dirty drab' he states. Unfavourably compares many of the sights of Paris with those of London, and believes that Napoleon has just covered them with a veneer of gilt to try to put his mark on the city. Describes the French Chamber of Deputies, again in an unfavourable manner, and notes the balance of power between Napoleon and the Deputies. Notes that he 'had no conception of the villainy of Bonaparte till [he] came here' and comments on the truth about the 'massacre at Jaffa'. Also describes the arrest and jailing of numerous Parisians and Napoleon's penchant for women, 'opera women he used to put naked in all postures and often sent them away without paying them.' Is also derogatory about French women. Comments on the ruthless behaviour of the police, but notes that it has relaxed somewhat recently, though also points out that they are 'infinitely inferior' to the London force. Notes that few murders, robberies and other crimes are ever reported and suicide is rife, but all of this is unsurprising as 'human life is not precious here as in England.' People are constantly run over due to the poor state of the roads and there is 'not one single benevolent institution supported by private charity' as 'the French have no heart.' They swindle English people constantly and everything must be bargained for whilst they are 'a damned dirty people'. The only thing that is cheaper than in England are service charges. 'All public sights are seen for nothing' but this has the effect of 'a total dissolution of habits among the lower orders.' Notes the poverty of the French countryside and believes it due to the fact that all the wealth of the country is now in Paris. Belittles Notre Dame Cathedral, though does accept that it has 'the real crown of thorns' and notes that 'deists are quite angry with Bonaparte for not bringing in the protestant religion, not because they suppose it to have more Christianity, but because they suppose it to have less [vide Burke].' Regards the French military as 'a very dangerous body' due to its egalitarian nature. Is complementary about the statuary he has seen, describing the 'Apollo Belvidere' in glowing terms, though has not been impressed with the paintings. Describes the 'Garden of Plants', and also notes several 'bad caricatures (sic) of the English', one based on gluttony. Finally describes the French as 'dreadful gourmands so as to turn an Englishman's stomach' and ends with 'I have only begun and I am tired'

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