Wherein he gives a brief account of his first travels in the fairest parts of Europe up to Constantinople.
IF the first education is, as it were, a second birth, I am able to say that I came into the world with a desire to travel. The interviews which many leamed men had daily with my father upon geographical matters, which he had the reputation of understanding well, and to which, young as I was, I listened with pleasure, inspired me at an early age with the desire to go to see some of the countries shown to me in the maps, which I could not then tire of gazing at.
At the age of twenty-two years I had seen the best parts of Europe, France, England, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Poland, Hungary, and Italy, and I spoke fairly the languages which are the most necessary, and which have the greatest currency.
My first sortie from
the Kingdom was to go to England, where the reigning monarch was James
I, Sixth King of Scotland, who caused himself to be called King of Great
Britain, to satisfy both the English and Scotch by a name common to these
two nations. From England I passed into Flanders, to see Antwerp, my father's
native land. From Flanders I continued my joumey to the United Provinces,
where my inclination to travel increased on account of the concourse of
so many strangers, who came to Amsterdam from all parts of the world.
Some years afterwards I followed this colonel to Vienna. He presented me to the Governor of Raab, his uncle, to whom belonged the title of Viceroy of Hungary. This Governor received me into his house to be one of his pages. It is usual to serve in this position in Germany up to the age of twenty-five years, and one never quits the service without being prepared to carry arms, and without obtaining a Cornetcy or an Ensign's Commission. I had been four and a half years with the Viceroy when the Prince of Mantua arrived at Vienna to urge the Emperor to the designs which the Duke his father desired, but he was unable to accomplish anything; and even the negotiation of M. de Sabran, Ambassador of the King to his Imperial Majesty, for the arrangement of the investiture which was the subject of his mission, was also fruitless. During the years I spent in Hungary I had time to learn something of war, having been with the master whom I served on many noteworthy occasions. But I shall say nothing of the affairs which we had with the Turks, because so many have treated of the subject, and because they have nothing to do with the subject of my travels.
The Viceroy had espoused, on his second
marriage, a sister of Count d'Are, Prime Minister of State of the Duke
of Mantua, and Envoy at Vienna with the Prince his son, and this Count
was a relative of the Empress, who was of the House of Gonzague. The Count
having come to see the Viceroy, I was ordered to attend on him during his
sojourn at Javarin, and when about to depart he told the Viceroy that the
Prince of Mantua having no one with him who knew the language, he would
please him by permitting me to attend on him while he remained at the Emperor's
court. The thing was readily granted to the Count d'Arc, who took me to
Vienna, and as I had the good. fortune to be not unpleasing to the Prince,
he assured me on his departure that he would be much pleased to see me
at Mantua, where, as he believed the war would end satisfactorily, he would
remember the service which I had done him. This was sufficient to arouse
in me straightway a desire to pass into Italy, and continue the travels
which I meditated.
During some days which we remained at
Venice I studied with pleasure this town, so celebrated and so unique among
all others in the universe; and as it has many things in common with Amsterdam
-- the site, the size, the splendour, the commerce, and the concourse of
strangers -- it contributed no less to increase the desire which I had
of becoming thoroughly acquainted with Europe and Asia.
The siege did not
last long, and no considerable action took place -- nothing which could
instruct young soldiers. I shall only say that one day eighteen men having
been commanded to go to reconnoitre the width and depth of the ditch which
the enemy had made by cutting a dyke for the defence of a small fort from
whence he had driven us, and eight troopers of our company being of this
number, I obtained from, the Prince, with great trouble, permission to
be one of these eight, he having had the goodness to say to me privately
that a heavy fire would have to be faced. In short, of the eighteen of
us who went out but four returned, and we having gone the length of the
dyke among the reeds, as soon as we appeared on the border of the ditch
the enemy fired so furious a discharge that they did not give us time to
make observations. I selected in the magazine a very light cuirass, but
of good material. This saved my life, having been struck by two bullets,
one of which struck the left breast and the other below, the iron being
indented in both places. I suffered some pain from the blow which had struck
the breast, and when we went to make our report, M. Ie Comte de Guiske,
who perceived the good quality of my cuirass, had it decorated, and retained
it, so that I have not seen it since.
From Marseilles I came to Paris, where I did not remain long, and wishing to see Poland, I entered Germany by Switzerland. After having traversed the principal cantons, I descended the Rhine in order to reach Brisac and Strassburg, then ascending by the Swabe I passed to Ulm and Augsburg to go to Munich. I saw the magnificent palace of the Dukes of Bavaria, which William V had commenced and Maximilian his son accomplished during the heat of the wars which troubled the Empire. From thence I went, for the second time, to Nuremburg and to Prague, and going from Bohemia I entered Silesia and crossed the Oder to Breslau. From Breslau I went to Cracow, one of the largest towns of Europe, or rather one composed of three towns, and the ancient abode of the Kings of Poland. I then went to Warsaw, on the left bank of the VistuIa, and saw the tomb of King Sigismund, which was beautiful and magnificent.
From Warsaw I returned to Breslau, and took the route to Lower Silesia, to visit one of the principal officers of the Emperor's household whom I knew very well. But at two leagues from GIogau I was turned from my intention by meeting, and the pressing invitation of, Colonel Butler, a Scotchman, who commanded a regiment of cavalry for the Emperor, and who since killed Wallenstein on account of the order which he received. His wife, who was with him, was fond of the French, and both of them having treated me with much kindness, accompanied by some presents, to induce me to remain with them, I was unable to resist such evidences of kindness. The King of Sweden at that time was invading Pomerania, and the army of the Emperor marched towards Stettin to prevent his entry. We were not more than four leagues off when we heard that the Swedes were in it. This news caused great disorders in the Imperial army, of which Tureste-Conte was the General, and out of 40,000 men, of which it was composed, he disbanded 9,000 or 10,000, which compelled the remainder to withdraw themselves to Frankforton-the-Oder and its environs.
It was then that I
heard that the Emperor was going to Ratisbon with his son, Ferdinand III,
in order to have him crowned King of the Romans. I had witnessed the crowning
of the Kings of Hungary and of Bohemia, and being desirous to witness this
third ceremony, which should be finer than the others, I took leave of
my Colonel and came quickly to Ratisbon. All took place with much magnificence,
and many young gentlemen showed their skill in the tournaments. In front
of the course where they tilted the ring there were two platforms. The
grandest was for the Emperor and the Empress, and all the ladies of the
Court; the other resembled a large shop, where were suspended many jewels
of great price. They made parties of seven or eight cavaliers, who with
a lance touched the object for which they wished to run; and there were
some of the jewels worth 10,000 écus and more. He who had the good
fortune to win had nothing to pay; it was the others who had competed with
him who had to pay the merchant for it. The conqueror received it from
the hands of the Prince of Ekemberg, First Minister of State of the Emperor,
and having placed it at the end of his lance went to present it to the
Empress, who would not receive it; this allowed him to offer it to that
one of the ladies of the Court for whom he had the most esteem.
The matter was discovered thus. Immediately after this cruel murder a herald of the Emperor, named Jean-Marie, passing through this obscure street, struck his feet against the body of this young man, who still breathed, and fell on top of him. Feeling some moisture on his hand, he at first thought that he was a drunken man who had been ill and was unable to stand. But on second thoughts it occurred to him that it might be a wounded man. He ran for a light to an office of the Marshal at the corner of the street. The Marshal and his compa ions took a lantern, and on arriving at the place with the herald saw the melancholy spectacle of a young man bathed in his own blood, who had but few moments to live. The Marshal would not allow them to carry him to his office, in order not to embarrass justice, and they found nowhere more suitable for prompt aid than the house of the Dauphin, which was not far off. He was at once taken there, and as soon as they had washed his face, which was covered with blood and dust, the mother and daughter of the house at once recognised him as the person who came to drink there with the Jew. He expired a moment afterwards, without having been able to speak or to give any sign of consciousness, and it was in this way that they discovered the murderer, who was taken in his own house the same evening, and straightway confessed his crime.
The enormity of the deed justified that
the guilty one should be condemned to a very severe sentence, and the judgement
provided that he should be hung to a gallows, head downwards, between two
large dogs, suspended close to him, so that in their rage they should eat
out his vitals, and so make him suffer more than one death by the protraction
of the torment. It is the sentence provided by the Imperial law for a Jew
who has killed a Christian, and the method of this assassination had about
it something more horrible than ordinary murders. However, the Jews of
Batisbon made such large presents to the Empress and to the two Princesses
that they obtained an alteration. in the sentence, and the culprit was
condemned to a shorter execution, but which was not less rigorous. He was
tom with hot irons in various parts of the body and in different quarters
of the town, and as the pincers tore out the flesh molten lead was poured
into the openings, after which he was taken outside Ratisbon and broken
on the wheel at the place destined for the execution.
Before quitting Germany these gentlemen desired to see the court of Saxony, where we arrived in a short time. You pass through Freiburg on this route, a small town, but well worthy of being seen, because it contains the tombs of the Electors, which, whether as regards material or form, are the finest in Europe. From thence we went to se,e the splendid Castle of Augustburg, which is on a high mountain, wherein there are many remarkable things. There is a hall which, for sole decoration from top to bottom, has a multitude of horns of all kinds of animals hung on the walls, and you see the head of a hare with two small horns, which was sent to the Elector as a great curiosity by the King of Denmark. There is in one of the courts of this castle a tree of such enormous size, and the branches of which are so extended, that one can place underneath it a great number of tables. I did not count them, but the concierge told us that there were as many as there are days in the year. That which makes this tree more wonderful is that it is a birch, which it is rare to see attain to such a size. There is also in this castle a well so deep that one cannot draw water from it in less than half an hour, and considering the altitude of the place, one cannot sufficiently admire the boldness of the designer.
All Germany is so well known that I shall not delay [=pause] to describe Dresden, which is the residence of the Elector. I shall merely say that the town is not large, but that it is very beautiful and well fortified, and that the Elbe, over which there is a fine stone bridge, separates the old and the new towns. The palace of the Elector is one of the largest and most beautiful in Germany, but it lacks an open space in front, and its principal gate is at the bottom of a cul de sac. The treasure-rooms, to the number of sixteen, are open to all strangers of distinction; and there are catalogues, both in German and in other languages, of all that is beautiful and rare in each. MM. l'Abbé de Chapes and de Saint Liebau were very well received by the Elector -- father of him who reigns to-day; he kept them to supper, and treated them with much kindness. A grand buffet had been arranged this evening, upon which all the pieces were of a perfectly beautiful and shining stone, which was obtained in the silver mines of Saxony, and on a lower shelf there were several goblets of silver gilt of different sizes. The Elector, wishing to give the health of the King to these gentlemen, allowed them to select of these goblets the one from which they wished to drink, on condition of drinking it full, according to the custom of the country. M. I'Abbé de Chapes caused one to be brought which did not appear to be large, and M. de Saint Liebau asked for another which held a little more. But l'Abbé de Chapes was much surprised when, having taken the goblet which he had chosen, it expanded in his hands when he touched a spring, like a tulip which opens to the sun, and it became forthwith a large cup capable of containing nearly a pint. He was not forced to drink it full, and the Elector forgave him, contenting himself with a laugh at his surprise.
From Dresden we went to Prague, and it was for the third time that I saw this grand and beautiful town, or, if you wish it, these three towns, separated by the Molde, which falls into the Elbe 5 or 6 leagues below. Having traversed Bohemia through the middle, and touched an angle of Moravia, we entered Austria and came to Vienna, intending to embark at once, the cold beginning to make itself already felt. These gentlemen confiding on [=to] me the arrangements of the journey, I went to ask the Governor of Vienna to write in their favour to the Viceroy of Hungary, his brother, to give us necessary passports; this he granted with a good grace, and he also gave two boats to these gentlemen, one for themselves, which had a good room, and the other for the kitchen. We remained one day at Presburg, to see the great church and a quantity of relics which they had to show there, and from thence we descended to Altemburg.
Altemburg is a town and county which belong to Comte d'Arach. It was the property of a Queen of Hungary, who presented it when dying to a noble of her court, on condition that he and his successors should always keep in this castle a certain number of peacocks, which this Queen was very fond of; and that if anyone omitted to do so the county should revert to the throne.
We arrived at Sighet
after midday, and immediately I took a small boat and went quickly to Raab,
formerly called Javarin, which is only two hours distant. I gave the Viceroy
the letter which his brother had given me, and I informed him of the arrival
of MM. de Chapes and de Saint Liebau. As I had had the honour of being
some years in his service, he told me he was glad to see me again, and
that he would do everything to satisfy those whom his brother recommended.
From Vienna to Javarin we were three days on the water, because the Danube makes a great circuit, though one can make the land journey in two hours. From Javarin one goes to Coinorre, and from Comorre we descended to Buda in less than two days. The journey from Raab to Buda is seldom taken by land, because the country being .on the frontier there are brigands on both sides whom it is dangerous to meet. In the fine season one can go from Buda to Belgrade in less than eight days; but we took eight, the cold and snow delaying our progress. We took an equal time up to Constantinople, where we did not arrive till the 29th day after our departure from Belgrade, because the days were short and the way bad.
It is the custom in Hungary, especially on routes little frequented by strangers, to take no money from travellers; a householder lodges them and treats them well, and the mayor of the place repays him at the end of the year out of the public revenue for the expense which he has incurred. But it should be remembered that they arc not charged with a great number of travellers, and that in Hungary, which is one of the best countries in Europe, food is so cheap that we did not expend at Belgrade for fourteen months as much as two crowns a day.
Buda is on the right of the Danube, distant from the river about half an hour. As soon as the Bacha had news of our arrival he sent his equerry with horses led by well-dressed slaves for our conduct to the town. Among these slaves were two Parisians, and our gentlemen, knowing their families, offered unavailingly up to 800 crowns for their ransom.
We remained twelve days at Buda before we could have audience of the Bacha, who was unwell. He sent us our food daily -- a sheep, fowl, butter, rice, and bread, with two sequins for other fresh supplies; and on the day upon which he granted an audience to MM. de Chapes and de Saint Liebau, they presented him with a watch, the case of which was covered with diamonds. The Bacha is a man of good figure and pleasing countenance; he received them with much civility, and on their departure for Belgrade, which was on the fourteenth day of their arrival at Buda, he sent them six chariots with two soldiers to conduct them, and an order to defray their expenditure for food throughout, of which they did not wish to avail themselves.
On our arrival at
Belgrade we entered an old caravansarii, but four of the principal merchants
of Ragusa, who do a large trade in this place, took us from this poor inn
to convey us to the house of a good citizen. The Ragusans carry cloth to
Belgrade, and take wax in exchange, and quicksilver, which they obtain
from Upper Hungary and from Transylvania.
During this fifteen days' detention we had the small consolation of enjoying good fare. The bread, the wine, and the meat are all excellent and cheap in this place; and Belgrade being built on a point of land where two great rivers -- the Danube and Save -- join, so large a quantity of large pike and fine carp were caught that we only used the livers and milts, giving the fish to the poor. Two Jesuit Fathers, chaplains of the merchants of Ragusa, contributed much to dissipate the annoyance which these gentlemen experienced from the delay of their journey, caused by thc injustice of the Sangiac. The merchants too, did not limit themselves to the good services which they rendered on several occasions; they added a magnificent banquet to which they invited them on Christmas Eve, after which they went to the midnight mass, accompanied by music and instruments, with which they were pleased.
We took saddle horses and chariots at Belgrade for Adrianople, each selecting the mode of conveyance he considered most comfortable. As for me, I preferred a chariot, wherein, covering myself with straw, my body being clad in a good sheep skin, I did not feel the cold. We came to Sophia, a large and populous town, the capital of the old Bulgarians, and the residence of the Bacha de Romeli. You see there a beautiful mosque, which was once a Christian church, with a tower so artfully made that three persons can ascend it at the same time without seeing one another.
From Sophia we came
to Phi1ippopolis, and between this last town and Adrianople we met two
well-mounted companies of Tartars. They come to make raids on this side
of the Danube, and indeed farther into the portion of Hungary which belongs
to the house of Austria. As soon as they saw us they hastily ranged themselves
in two lines on either side, to allow us to pass through them, designing,
doubtless, to attack us, being without hope of vanquishing us except by
numbers and surprise. They had for their only arms a poor sort of sabre,
and we on our side had wherewithal to prevent their approach, each having
a musket and a pair of pistols, and the majority good sporting guns also.
For fear they should come to attack us if we neglected to defend ourselves,
we stood our ground and made a barricade of our chariots. However, our
two guards with our interpreter were sent to the chief of these Tartars
to tell him that we should not move till they decamped, and that being
soldiers like them they would obtain nothing from us. The chief replied
that he had only drawn up his men in order to honour us, and that, as we
wished it, they would pass on if we gave them something to buy tobacco.
We speedily satisfied them; and our interpreter having taken them four
sequins, they drew off and left our passage open.
Curiosity to see a room furnished in the French fashion, of which they gave us a great account, led us to go to the serrail at Scutari. Two eunuchs who guarded it made much fuss about permitting us to enter, for which we bad to pay well, and we saw nothing but a bed after our pattern, of rich material, with the chairs and carpets, which constituted the whole lot. On another day we took boats with our friends to go to Chalcedonia, which is on the margin of the sea. There is a very ancient church there, in which one sees the council hall, with the original chairs still preserved. It is to-day a monastery, and two bishops who were there, after having conducted us all through, civilly presented us with a collation.
We then went to see Pompey's Pillar, at the mouth of the Black Sea, and going from serrail to serrail, which are the royal houses of the Grand Seigneur, we occupied eight days upon this pleasant outing. But one might do it in two, if content to see the pillar without stopping anywhere. We met in one of these serrails an old French eunuch, who was delighted to see us, and gave us all possible good cheer.
I shall make here a remark about the Black Sea canal. There is no strait of the sea without a current, and this has two opposite ones. That from the European side carries vessels towards the Black Sea, and that which is from the Asiatic side brings them back towards the Mediterranean. Thus in the trip which one often makes from Constantinople to the mouth of the canal, both in going and returning you find the stream favourable, and you have but to cross from one bank to the other.
The rigour of winter being over, MM. de Chapes and de Saint Liebau continued their journey, and accompanied by two guards, engaged two brigantines for the journey to Alexandretta. I have since heard that they saw all that is most remarkable in the Archipelago and along the coasts of Natalie; that from Alexandretta they went to Aleppo, from thence to the Euphrates, and that, retracing their steps to Aleppo, they went to Damascus, and from thence to Jerusalem.
As for me, having another journey in view, and wishing to see Persia, I remained at Constantinople, awaiting a caravan which I was encouraged to hope for from one month to another. But without that it often happened that eight or ten merchants, joining together, made the journey in safety to Ispahan. My ignorance was the reason for my making a much longer stay at Constantinople than I had contemplated. I remained eleven months, during which time I saw M. de Marcheville arrive, who came to relieve. M. de Cesi. He had an audience of the Grand Seigneur as Ambassador of France, but M. de Cesi, who did not wish to retire, intrigued so well with the Grand Vizir that he remained Ambassador at the Porte, while M. de Marcheville was compelled to return to France. I was in his cortege on the day when he had audience with his Highness, as I have stated in my account of the Serraglio.
At length, after eleven
months' delay, a well-equipped and numerous caravan left Constantinople
for Ispahan, and I joined it on the road, for my first journey to Asia.
It has been followed by five others, and I have thus had time to observe
the nature of the country well, and the genius of the populations. I have
pushed the three last beyond the Ganges and to the island of Java; and
during the space of forty years I have traversed more than 60,000 leagues
by land, only having once returned from Asia to Europe by sea. Thus I have
seen at my leisure in my six journeys, and by different routes, the whole
of Turkey, all Persia, and all India, and especially the famous mines of
diamonds, where no European had been before me. It is of these three grand
Empires that I propose to give a full and exact account, and I shall commence
with the different routes which one may take to go from Paris to Persia.
|~~ Glossary ~~ Tavernier index page ~~ fwp's main page ~~|