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Zurich, who are proverbially handsome. This letter, written in language that would have honoured the classic age of Augustus, addressed to the son of the Duke of Mantua, was printed by the Elzevirs in 1627, and excited much attention in Europe by the extraordinary beauty of its style, and information respecting a country then but little known. The sumptuary laws subsequently enacted must have produced a great and sombre change in the appearance of this fair population. On Sunday all but the nobility were required to dress in black; the authority of the official censors over all that related to the cut, quantity, or quality of clothes, was supreme; golden ornaments, diamonds, and precious stones were banished in toto, and desperate war long waged against slashed sleeves and embroidered shoes.*

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* From the still stricter metropolitan and most aristocratical cities of Bern, Geneva, and Zurich, issued mandate upon mandate not only against the weaker sex, but their co-partners in frivolity or expenditure belonging to the other against breeches (delicate reader, start not!), pantaloons were then unknown against breeches too wide or too narrow, against doublets ornamented with ribbons,―against the gay furred mantles in which they draped their persons in the temple (so churches were then called); "attirant les régards des personnes du sexe," attracting the attention of women, against shoes ornamented with gold heels, and points, and chains of gold and silver, against silken garments of any kind, except at weddings, and their natural appendage, christenings, — against cloth of gold and rich brocades, — against the fine linen of Holland and the point lace of Flanders against gold and

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Amongst many highly curious particulars as to the mode of life, dress, manners, and morals of the inhabitants at that period by Æneas Sylvius, is one relative to the punishments inflicted on persons either guilty or suspected of crime; and whilst he praises the general uprightness of the motives and conduct

silver galoons and false hair, and the "accursed weed" from Virginia, anathematized by our own royal James,

The sons of the warlike republics were enjoined not to neglect to gird on the sword when they went to church, nor to effeminate themselves by the luxurious use of tea and coffee. At Bern, such was the awful power of the unpopular executioners of the law on these offences, that ladies passing in the streets might be hauled to the Hotel-de-ville, the obnoxious trains of illegal gowns forthwith eut off, and there left for the benefit of the poor. It appears, too, since nothing is new under the sun, that the excessive fulness of petticoats was as fashionable in the middle of the sixteenth century as in the middle of the nineteenth; for an old writer concludes a very long and bitter tirade against such atrocities with this frightful wish, “ Would to Heaven the women had as many wrinkles in their faces as they have plaits in their gowns!" that the sober youth might thus be preserved from the corruptions induced by these wanton vanities.

The luxury of female dress and gallantry of a bridegroom may be imagined from the inventory of the parure of a noble Vaudoise lady given by Tillier. Gold bracelets; a pearl chain necklace, composed of 880 large pearls; a diamond collar; another collar, having little filagree vases, full of musk; a rose of diamonds, probably a brooch; another of rubies; an emerald and a sapphire set in gold rings, received from the magnificent lord of Graffenried. Item, a medal of rubies, &c. &c.

Testament of the noble Lady Margaret de Graffenried, née Blonay, made at Lausanne the 17th of October, 1643.

of the magistrates, " frequenters of the church every day, and great venerators of images and saints," their zeal for religion, and peaceable habits as citizens, he cannot refrain from being astounded, if not shocked, at their judicial severity as rulers: breaking on the wheel-burning alive — imprisonment in dark dungeons, on a scanty allowance of black bread and muddy water, till death necessarily ensued -drowning in the Rhine-mutilation and other tortures, were the usual modes adopted to obtain confession of guilt, or punish its commission.

It is delightful, as a proof of the gradual improvement of successive ages, to be able to place, in contrast to this dark hideous portrait of a by-gone period, the bright modern pendant belonging to our own times. The Hôtel Dieu, recently constructed, is on a scale so splendid, that it seems rather a palace than a hospital: and when in 1789 nearly 1000 Jews, suddenly and cruelly driven from Alsace, sought a refuge in Bâsle, every house, which would formerly have closed its doors with insult, hatred, and superstitious fear at their approach, was spontaneously opened to them. Private individuals, as well as the government, anticipated their wants; food, money, clothes, apartments, all were freely offered; and so truly Samaritan had been the conduct of every class, that on their return to their devastated homes, a learned rabbin of Alsace com

CATHEDRAL OF BÂSLE.

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posed in Hebrew a thanksgiving to the God of Israel for the mercies received at Bâsle, with a prayer for their Christian benefactors. At a later period, many hundreds of not less miserable Poles had their wounds also dressed by the humanised posterity of the stern lawgivers of the 15th century, whilst the general legislation of the country is eminently equitable and mild.*

The Münster, or Cathedral, on the high bank of the Rhine, just where it becomes navigable above the ancient bridge which leads to Little-Bâsle, a most picturesque edifice, with richly sculptured spires and portals, commenced in 1010, belongs to that singular style of architecture termed Byzantine, rather than

* Eccelin da Romano, usually called the "Tyrant of Italy," was not, however, alone distinguished for the atrocious cruelty of mutilation in the middle ages. Boniface lord of Canossa, better known by the title of Marquis of Tuscany, whose splendid patrimony was bequeathed by his daughter, the famous Countess Matilda, to increase the papal revenues, commanded that the ears and noses of his unhappy prisoners, on some occasions, should be cut of. A Benedictine monk, named Doniza, chaplain to the countess, in a poem dedicated to her, relating this event, exultingly says, "And three bouclers were filled with them." The refusal of the marquis to spare a widow's only son, who on her knees had offered, as an equivalent, his weight in silver, is lauded by the same author, as a proof of the marquis's invariable justice and adherence to his word. These facts, so naïvely recorded the oubliettes, which existed in almost all feudal castles, and the authorised use of torture everywhere, will induce the traveller and historian to applaud, with the philosophic Gibbon, "the merit and happiness of his own time."

Gothic, and forms a noble and sacred shelter for the vast assemblage of mural monuments and magnificent tombs which rise, in solemn beauty, within its spacious aisles and cloisters. A staircase, leading out of the choir, conducts to the chapter house (Conciliums Saal), in which the meetings of the Council of Bâsle were held, when not so numerous as to be obliged to adjourn to the choir itself; and it is additionally interesting from being quite unaltered since that period. The very cushions, on which so many legates, archbishops, bishops, abbots, priors, monks, doctors, ambassadors, and learned lawyers sat, during the often stormy discussions which marked its sittings, still remain. A bust of Erasmus in lonely dignity, and a series of figures formed of a peculiar composition, representing the celebrated "Dance of Death," with two very antique pieces of carved furniture brought from a suppressed monastery, are the sole additions to this most curious old vaulted chamber.

In the long catalogue of remarkable events and ceremonies attached to this cathedral, the coronation of a pope, Amadeus VIII., duke of Saxony, known under the title of Felix V., and the funeral obsequies of Anne, empress of Germany, whose posterity still occupy the throne of Austria, are perhaps the most striking.

There is, in the record of the empress's interment, a strange mixture of barbaric pomp and human

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