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MUSEUM OF FRENCH MONUMENTS. ^23
to visit a very curious and interesting exhibition, the Museum Chap.
of French Monuments; for the reception of which, the an-'
cient convent of the monks of the Order of les Petits Augustines, is appropriated. This national institution is intended to exhibit the progress of monumental taste, in France, for several centuries past,, the specimens of which have chiefly been collected from St. Denis, which formerly was the burial place of the monarchs of France, and from other churches.
It will be remembered by the reader, that in the year 1793, Menriot, a vulgar and furious republican. proposed setting off for the former church, at the head of the sans culottes, to destroy all these curious and valuable relics, "to. strike," as he *aid, " the tyrants in their tombs,," but was prevented by some other republicans of influence, who had not parted with their veneration for works of taste, from this impious and impotent outrage.
In the first hall, which is very large, and impresses a similar awe to that which is- generally felt upon entering a cathedral, are the tombs of the twelfth century. Amongst them I chiefly distinguished that of Henry II, upon which are three beautiful mourning figures, supporting a cup, containing his heart.
In the second hall, are the monuments of the thirteenth century,, most of them are very fine; that of Lew is the Xllth and his queen, is well worthy of notice. I did not find much to gratify me in the hall of the fourteenth century. In that of the fifteenth century are several noble tombs, and beautiful windows of stained glass. In the hall of the sixteenth century is a fine statue of Henry the IVth, by Franchville, which is
MUSEUM OF FRENCH MONUMENTS.
considered to be an admirable likeness of that wonderful man. In the hall of the seventeenth century, is a noble figure, representing religion, by Girardon.
In the cloisters are several curious statues, stained glass windows, and tesselated pavement. There is here also a good bust of Alexis Peron, with this singular epitaph,
Ci git qui ne fut rien,
In the square garden within the cloisters, are several ancient urns, and tombs. Amongst them is the vase which contains the ashes, if any remain, of Abelard and Heloise, which haj been removed from the Paraclete to the Museum. It is covered with the graceful shade of an Acacia tree, which seems to wave proudly over its celebrated deposit. Upon approaching this treasurable antique, all those feelings rushed in upon me, which the beautiful, and affecting narrative of those disastrous lovers, by Pope, has often excited in me. The melancholy Heloise seemed to breathe from her tomb here,
"If ever chance two wandering lovers brings,
National guards are stationed in every apartment of the Museum, and present rather an unaccording appearance, amidst
the MUSEUM OF FRENCH MONUMENTS.
the peaceful solemnity of the surrounding objects. This exhibition is not yet completed, but, in its present condition, is very interesting. Some hints, not altogether useless, may be collected from it. In England, our churches are charnel houses. The pews of the congregation are raised upon foundations of putrefaction. For six days and nights the temple of devotion is filled with the pestilent vapours of the dead, and on the seventh they are absorbed by the living. Surely it is high time to subdue prejudices, which endanger health without promoting piety. The scotch never bury in their churches, and their burial places are upon the confines of their towns. The eye of adoration is filled with a pensive pleasure, in observing itself surrounded with the endeavours of taste and ingenuity, to lift the remembrance of the great and good beyond the grave, in that very spot where the frailty of our nature is so often inculcated.
Such a display, in such a f)lace, is rational, suitable, and admonitory. The silent tomb becomes auxiliary to the eloquence of the pulpit. But the custom which converts the place of worship into a catacomb, can afford but a mistaken consolation to posthumous pride, and must, in some degree, contaminate the atmosphere which is contained within its walls. One evening as I was passing through the Boulevard Italien, in company with a gentleman from Toulon, we met a tall, dark, hollow eyed, ferocious looking man, of whom he related the following story. , 's.
Immediately after the evacuation of Toulon by the english, all the principal toulonese citizens were ordered to repair to •
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226 REVOLUTIONARY AGENTS.
Chap. the market place; where they were surrounded by a great milixx' tary foEce^
This man who, for his offences,- had been committed toprison, was liberated by the french agents, in consequence of his undertaking to select those of the inhabitants who had in any manner favoured the capitulation of the town, or who hack shown any hospitality to the english, whilst they were in possession of it. The miscreant passed before the citizens, who. were drawn out in lines, amounting to near three thousand. Amongst whom he pointed out about one thousand four hundred persons to the fury of the government; without any otherevidence,. or further examination, they were all immediately adjudged to be shot. For this purpose a suitable number of soldiers were drawn out. The unhappy victims were marched up to their destruction, upon the quay, in sets of three hundred, and butchered
The carnage was dreadful. In the last of these unfortunate groups,. were two gentlemen of great respectability, who received no wound from the fire, but, to preserve themselves, dropped with the rest,. and. exhibited all the appearances of having. participated in the general late.. # . This execution took. place in the evening: immediately after its close, the soldiers, fatigued, and sick with cold-blooded slaughter, marched back- to their quarters,- without examiningwhether every person upon whom they had fired,. had fallen a victim to, the murderous bullet* Soon after the soldiers had retired, the women of Toulon, allured by plunder, proceeded u> the fatal spot. Mounted uponi the bodies of the