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THE IMPERIAL MAGAZINE.
TOPOGRAPHICAL NOTICE OF ABBEVILLE, IN FRANCE.
(With an Engraving.) The two French provinces of Normandy and Brittany, but more especially Normandy, have long received every kind of illustration from the learning and industry of the antiquary, aided by the skill of the engraver. Almost every village and hamlet has been visited in turn by the Cotmans, Turners, and Dibdins, who have made the English reader acquainted with almost every remaining relic of the olden time. It is matter of regret that little in this way has yet been done for the ancient province of Picardy. Yet to Englishmen it possesses much interest : there is scarcely a town, or spot of ground, which has not been the scene of some interesting historical event. Yet, notwithstanding the number of our travellers who daily pass through the province, on their route from Calais to Paris, few are found willing to loiter even for the shortest period on the road. It is true, that Picardy possesses but few such splendid ecclesiastical edifices as are to be found in Normandy; and would probably require even more than the bibliographical sagacity of a Dr. Dibdin, to discover, amongst the best of its libraries, any thing in the shape of an editio princeps; and from the general want of bold landscape, there is not much to attract the picturesque traveller : but surely, with something akin to the feelings with which most of our continental tourists visit the plains of Waterloo, they might turn aside to view the village of Crecy, celebrated for the victory of Edward III. and his renowned son the Black Prince, in 1346 ; or, to the small town of Ardres, where the meeting between Henry VIII. and Francis I. took place, and, from the magnificence there displayed, derived its name of the Champ du Drap d'Or; or the little town of St. Valery, situated at the mouth of the Somme, from whence William of Normandy sailed to the conquest of England. Agincourt is also but a short distance out of the province.
Various Roman antiquities have at different times been discovered here--there are also circles, and other monuments of the kind which we call Druidical.
In the modern division of France into departments, Picardy forms part of the two departments of the Pas de Calais, and the Somme. It is a most fruitful province, producing corn and hemp, with much pasturage, but totally destitute of the vine, and with but little woodland." Its chief city is Amiens, an episcopal see, whose cathedral is a fine specimen of Gothic architecture ; and the other principal towns are Abbeville,-Boulogne - Calais, — Ham (in whose castle are immured the ministers of Charles X.) Montreuil-Peronne-Montdidier, &c. 2D. SERIES, NO, 40.-Vol. iv.
The general aspect of the country, from Calais to Paris, is its openness, and the scarcity of towns, villages, and inhabitants : single cottages are rarely seen.
Abbeville is situated on the river Somme, which divides itself here, at about four leagues from its mouth, into various branches, passing through and around the town. It derives its name from · Abbavilla, or Abbatisvilla, being the country residence of the Abbots of Centula, or St. Riquier, at about two leagues distance; a castle was afterwards built
the site, and a priory dependent on the abbey; but Hugues Capet being desirous of fortifying it, took it from the community of St. Riquier, of whom he had been the secular abbot, and gave it to his son-in-law, Hugues; whose son, Enguerrand, after killing in battle the Count of Boulogne, married his widow, and assumed the title of Count of Ponthieu, which remained to his descendants. From this period the town continued to increase in importance. Its principal churches are St. Wulfran, St. George, and St. Paul, only two of which were spared by the frenzy of the revolution.
In 1205, the relics of St. Wulfran, Bishop of Sens, were removed hither, the abbey of St. Vandrille in Normandy.
Abbeville is in the diocese of Amiens. Its houses are generally built of brick, many of them of wood; but there are several fine old buildings, especially the fine gothic church of St. Wulfran, its western front is decorated with colossal statues, and its gothic towers are striking features in any view of the city.
The tide rises here six feet: vessels at 150 tons burden can reach the town; from which commercial advantage, it derives much of its importance. Its population, according to Sanson, amounted, in 1636, to as many as from 35 to 40,000 inhabitants : it now, however, contains not more than 20,000.
But a few years before the bursting forth of the revolution, this city was the scene of one of those deeds of bigotry and fanaticism, which were so fearfully visited upon the clergy in after years, and which brought down the odium of the French nation on the whole body of the priesthood.
The Chevalier La Barre, whose age was under twenty, in company with other young men, as imprudent as himself, returning to their homes late at night, offered some indignity to an old wooden image of the Virgin, which stood on the bridge. He was said to have wounded it on the shoulder, when in a state of intoxication. Although the wound in the image was slight, the Virgin was supposed to be mortally offended; many prayers and processions were made to expiate the offence, but nothing, it was supposed, could avert the vengeance of Heaven, but the death of the Chevalier La Barre. A criminal process was carried on, and a sentence obtained against him. He was condemned to have his right hand amputated, his tongue torn from its roots, and then to be beheaded : the more barbarous parts of his sentence were remitted, in consideration of his family; but the remaining part, to the eternal disgrace of those professing the christian religion, was enforced, and the unhappy youth was beheaded. Another of the delinquents, who was of noble family, was so fortunate as to escape, and join the army of Frederic of Prussia. He was, however, outlawed, and his estates confiscated. This young man happened to be interested in the friendship of Voltaire, who had considerable influence with Frederic: and his case formed the subject of many of those entertaining letters which passed between the soldier and the philosopher. The result of the interference of the latter was the pardon, and subsequent restoration and promotion, of the delinquent.
South Carolina for example,) education is
prohibited by law, and a free person of It is certainly not a little to the credit of colour cannot enter the territory. Slavethis country, that all those great measures, evidence is wholly inadmissible, except which have already been adopted for the against each other. Trial by jury, even in extinction of the Slave-trade,' for the ame- capital cases, is denied : and, as the neceslioration of the condition of slaves, and sary consequence of such a system, the fiually for their emancipation, have ema- most barbarous usage is the rule, and kindnated from British justice and humanity. ness the rare exception. Cruelty, starvaThis is the more satisfactory when we con- tion, separation of families, and all the sider that the maintenance of slavery, enor- crimes in that black catalogue of oppresmous as is the guilt which it involves, does sion, with which we are at length familiar, not shew So monstrous an instance of prevail, with this peculiar and monstrous inconsistency and insensibility in us as in aggravation, that the slave cannot be made the Americans. Slavery exists at a distance free ! Such is the well - founded jealousy from the observation of the English go- entertained of the very first step towards vernment. Its atrocities do not strike our emancipation, that even the reluctant and notice, or offend our sensibilities, and conscientious slave-possessor, is restrained even the recital of them does not affect us by law from divesting himself of his ini. so powerfully as it might, because we feel quitous property. it necessary, in some instance, to allow for The condition of the free people of coexaggeration, owing to excited feeling and lour in America, whose number exceeds party spirit. The antiquity of the system, 300,000, is only in a slight degree adand its having long received the sanction of vanced. Their acquired privileges are but our legislature, naturally occasions some scanty and unsubstantial ; their degradation degree of tardiness in bringing it to the test is intolerable ; their gradual banishment of a strict and impartial examination, from the States is generally considered a None of these mitigating circumstances can maxim of national policy. It is scarcely be pleaded, to palliate the guilt and incon- necessary to add, that the internal slavesistency of American slavery. Its horrors trade is carried on with all its most disare exhibited within their borders, and gusting and loathsome incidents—husbands before their eyes. Their legislature cannot and wives, mothers and children, are pubsurely plead partial information or conflict- licly exposed to auction, and handled and ing evidence. Their institutions have been examined like cattle, and then separated formed by and for themselves, and none of for ever with as little compunction as sheep them have been imposed by the 'wisdom of or oxen in our markets. their ancestors,' or received in a consolidated Charleston, says Mr. Stuart, has long and inseparable mass of mingled good and been celebrated for the severity of its laws evil. Above all, their enthusiasm for political against the blacks, and the mildness of its and civil liberty; and their loud professions punishments towards the whites for malupon this point, have arrested the notice, treating them. Until lately, there were and raised the expectations, of all other about seventy-one crimes for which slaves states. The first and great article of their were capitally punished, and for which the constitution affirms, in the most compre- highest punishment for whites was imprihensive terms, the doctrine of universal sonment in the penitentiary. equality. And yet, in the face of all this, The publication of these facts has at slavery obtains in America, not only to a length excited the attention of some portion greater extent, but also in a more revolting of the Christian public in this country. form, than even in our own colonies. They are resting from their protracted
It is but recently that the British public labours for the extirpation of slavery in have been brought acquainted with the true our own colonies. They have achieved a character of American slavery. In some triumph, in many respects most satisfactory recent publications, however, the horrible and glorious. And now they are giving a details of the system have been made still further proof of the genuineness of their known, and more particularly in Stuart's benevolence, by extending it to the miseries * Three Years in North America,' a work of other nations. A Society is now about of acknowledged accuracy and high respect. to commence its operations, which contemability. It appears that slavery in the plates no less glorious an object than uniUnited States is confined to the districts
It is exceedbelow thirty-six degrees of north latitude; ingly desirable that the public should be but the number of slaves below this limit, aware of the nature and extent of that evil exceeds two millions. In some places, (as against which this Society proposes to