If you do not use Herreis’ bills, I recommend to you at Paris, a French, rather than an English banker; I have found the former more profitable, and most convenient. I had, ten years since, a letter of credit on Sir John Lambert, for L300, from Mess. Hoares. The Knight thought proper, however, to refuse the payment of a twenty pound draft I gave upon him; though I had not drawn more than half my credit out of his hands. Mons. Mary, on whom I had a draft from the same respectable house, this year will not do such things; but on the contrary, be ready to serve and oblige strangers to the utmost of his power: he speaks and writes English very well, and will prove an agreeable and useful acquaintance to a stranger in Paris. His sister too, who lives with him, will be no less so to the female part of your family. His house is in Rue Saint Sauveur.
The English bankers pay in silver, and it is necessary to take a wheel-barrow with you to bring it away; a small bag will do at the French bankers’.
There is as much difference between the bankers of London and bankers in Paris, as between a rotten apple and a sound one. You can hardly get a word from a London banker, but you are sure of getting your money; in Paris, you will get words enough, and civil ones too. Remember, however, I am speaking only of the treatment I have experienced. There may be, and are, no doubt, English bankers at Paris of great worth, and respectable characters.
It is not reckoned very decent to frequent coffee-houses at Paris; but the politeness of Monsieur and Madame Felix, au caffe de Conti, opposite the Pont neuf, and the English news-papers, render their house a pleasant circumstance to me; and it is by much the best, and best situated, of any in Paris, au vois le monde.
I am astonished, that where such an infinite number of people live in so small a compass, (for Paris is by no means so large as London) that they should suffer the dead to be buried in the manner they do, or within the city. There are several burial pits in Paris, of a prodigious size and depth, in which the dead bodies are laid, side by side, without any earth being put over them till the ground tier is full; then, and not till then, a small layer of earth covers them, and another layer of dead comes on, till by layer upon layer, and dead upon dead, the hole is filled with a mass of human corruption, enough to breed a plague; these places are enclosed, it is true, within high walls; but nevertheless, the air cannot be improved by it; and the idea of such an assemblage of putrifying bodies, in one grave, so thinly covered, is very disagreeable. The burials in churches too, often prove fatal to the priests and people who attend; but every body, and every thing in Paris, is so much alive, that not a soul thinks about the dead.