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-Order of the table d'hote-Water bibbing-Political smoking--The
vinces-Capital of Alsatia-Mountains and rivers-Basel-
house-Description of Strasburg-Strasburg Cathedral—Feats of folly-
Historical scenes on the Genfer See-Literary asylum-Refugee
Reformers-Canton of Vaud--Evangelization at Lyons- Asso-
Bishop Vinet and voluntaryism— The Scotch traveller--The Law of
Ambassadors and espionage-Jews at Frankfort- The Biblical ambassador
– The bones of St. Bonniface-Luther's boyhood—A poor scholar's grati-
Elder cities of Flanders - Modern Capital of Belgium-Political
and moral aspect of the people.
Belgium, the first of continental countries through which I passed in my recent tour, and which imparted to my mind its primitive impressions of European nations, and will probably continue to retain the first place in my associations and reminiscences of travelling incident, will be, for to-night, the land of our adoption. The country contiguous to, or connected with Brussels, will primarily claim our notice ; and as our route will be more directly among the towns which are situated between the sea-coast and port of Ostend and this Gallican capital of the Netherlands, we shall limit our survey to only the elder cities of the provinces of Flanders. I need not enter into minute details descriptive of the journey from Manchester, by way of London, through Kent, to the English coast ; though along such a line it would not be difficult to find objects of attraction, scenes of loveliness and grandeur, and associations of greatness and enterprise unsurpassed by any romance of foreign adventure. The passage from Dovor to Ostend may be accomplished in eight hours by a steam vessel ; and between some other of the contiguous ports in a fourth part of the time. The sea within the straits of Dovor, from port to port, is not often stormy; yet frequently it heaves up an odious swell, which causes no
pleasant sensations in the stomach ; as troublesome as the agitated surf or brisk gale ; so as fairly to test the equanimity and fortitude of the passenger, even should the vessel be of the best description. Certain squeamish qualms, if not of conscience, still quite as heartfelt in their influences, will visit the traveller, especially if he have never been before at sea. The shortness of the voyage, however, soon brings to a termination the inconvenience; and when the vessel approaches the opposite coast, the influence of the swell is less felt, and the unpleasantness abates. The inexperienced and sickened traveller is brought into better humour with surrounding objects, and begins almost to relish his voyage by the time he has reached the coast of Belgium.
The first town on the continent which attracted my notice, and at the same time recalled many historical associations, was Dunkirk. Its proximity to the mouth of the Thames secured to it in the records of English power early and prolonged distinction. When subject to the dominion of Spain, whose waning maritime power watched with vexing and restrictive jealousy the growing commerce of England, it was regarded by our merchants as the resort of, and a harbour for pirates, and was therefore marked out by Oliver Cromwell for chastisement, and doomed to conquest and subjugation under British rule. By his direction, the ambassador Lockhart, and MajorGeneral Morgan, had combined in hostile confederacy with Marshal Turenne; and, after discomfiting in battle a Spanish army of 30,000 soldiers, commanded by the Prince of Conde, the Duke of York, &c., 6,000 Englishmen stormed and captured the fortress and garrison of Dunkirk. Cromwell required, and the French king, counselled by Cardinal Mazarine, agreed, that an English force should occupy the fort, and an English commander should govern the city. Lockhart himself, in the Protector's name, was invested with the government of the
citadel, which he held till the Restoration. The place afterwards acquired celebrity as a memorial of royal baseness, when Charles the Second, in a mercenary spirit, followed the counsels of his Lord Chancellor (Hyde), and sold the fortress to the French for 5,000,000 of livres, or £500,000. Clarendon's superb mansion, subsequently known as Dunkirk House, served to perpetuate his infamy. Lockhart's pride, as an Englishman, was wounded by the profligate policy of the monarch, that he would not in person fulfil the terms of surrender, but transferred obedience to the royal mandate to his deputy, John Prentice. This functionary was among the last of British subjects who submitted to the monarch of the Restoration ; and his son, Archibald Prentice, is numbered among the first who, as a Scottish covenanter, resisted his authority in Britain.
The city of Dunkirk again excited national concern, and was the subject of royal treaties, in the reign of George the Third. Its contiguity to the coast of England induced some who, from attachment to the Stuart dynasty, or other political causes, were driven forth as exiles, to make it their rendezvous and refuge ; where, as residents, they could correspond with their friends, and receive supplies. The British ministry in 1763 required that its Cunette should be destroyed, as well as the forts and batteries which defended its entrance from the sea.
In compliance with this demand, Louis the Fifteenth, King of France, employed 300 men as sappers and miners for the work of demolition. Again, in 1793, the events and disasters of war gave Dunkirk renewed notoriety and importance in the history and achievements of English royalty. To repress the French Revolution, and support the Bourbon dynasty, a British army was marched into this country and repulsed before Dunkirk, while the Duke of York was placed in a most perilous position, and his troops threatened with destruction. This event was recalled to