Account of a Tour in Normandy, Volume 1 eBook

Dawson Turner
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 192 pages of information about Account of a Tour in Normandy, Volume 1.

[35] I do not know if it be wholly destroyed; for the author of the Description of Upper Normandy and Goube both speak of the existence of a square tower within the precincts of the abbey, part of the old palace, and known by the name of the Tower of Babel.

[36] Noel, Essais sur la Seine Inferieure, II. p. 11.

[37] Vol.  I. p. 389.

[38] This name, in Latin, is Monasterium Villare; in old French records it is called Monstier Vieil.

[39] Origines de Caen, 2nd edit. p. 300.

[40] Vol.  II. p. 78.

LETTER VI.

HAVRE—­TRADE AND HISTORY OF THE TOWN—­EMINENT MEN—­BOLBEC—­YVETOT—­RIDE TO ROUEN—­FRENCH BEGGARS.

(Rouen, June, 1818.)

To Fecamp and the other places noticed in my last letter, a more striking contrast could not easily be found than Havre.  It equally wants the interest derived from ancient history, and the appearance of misery inseparable from present decay.  And yet even Havre is now suffering and depressed.  A town which depends altogether upon foreign commerce, could not fail to feel the effects of a long maritime war; and we accordingly find the number of its inhabitants, which twenty years ago was estimated at twenty-five thousand, now reduced to little more than sixteen thousand.

The blow, which Havre will with most difficulty recover is the loss of St. Domingo; for, before the revolution, it almost enjoyed a monopoly of the trade of this important colony, in which upwards of eighty ships, each of above three hundred tons burthen, were constantly employed.  With Martinique and Guadaloupe it had a similar, though less extensive, intercourse.  As the natural outlet for the manufactures of Rouen and Paris, it supplied the French islands in the West Indies with the principal part of their plantation stores; and the situation of the port was equally advantageous for the importation of their produce.  Guinea and the coast of Africa afforded a second and important branch of commerce; and this also is little likely entirely to recover.  We may add that, happily it is not so; for it depended principally upon the slave-trade, the profits of which were such, that it was calculated a vessel might clear upon an average nearly eight thousand pounds by each voyage[41].  Its whale-fishery has, for more than a century, ceased to exist.  This pursuit began with spirit and at as early a period as the year 1632, when the merchants of this port, in conjunction with those of Biscay, fitted out the expedition commanded by Vrolicq, seized upon a station near Spitzbergen, where they would have obtained a permanent establishment, had they not been violently expelled by the Danes and Dutch.  But the coasting-trade with the various ports of France, and the communication with the other countries of Europe, is now again in full vigor; and it is to these sources that Havre is chiefly indebted for the life and spirit visible in its quays and public places.

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