Edward Browne (1677): An Account of Several Travels through a Great Part of Germany, pp. 154-179: A Journey from Colen to London.
DURING the Treaty of Peace at Colen in the year 1673. between the United States of the Netherlands, the King of Great Britain, and the French King; many English Gentlemen having accompanied their Excellencies the Lords Ambassadours and Plenipotentiaries in their Journey, had a desire to view some of the Neighbouring Territories, and to divertise themselves during the heat of the Summer, at the Spaa, the Baths of Aken, and other places. Having therefore, in order to our Journey, obtained a Passport for our Safety from the Count Blondel, one of the Spanish Plenipotentiaries, and from their Excellencies Sir Joseph Williamson, and Sir Leoline Jenkins; we left Cöln on Munday the Fourth of July, and upon the Road overtook my Lord of Peterborough, who had been at Dusseldorp, at the Duke of Newburg’s Court, and went afterwards into Italy to Modena, and brought over her Highness the present Dutchess of York. We dined at a small walled Town, called Berckem, which some think to be a name corrupted from Tiberiacum, where we stayed a great part of the Afternoon, to accommodate an unlucky Accident which happened: A Servant of one of the English Gentlemen having casually shot a Horse, which belonged to a Commander under the Duke of Newburg, lying at that time with a party of Horse at this Town, so that we travelled in the Evening through the Woods, and came late to a place called Steinstrasse, and the next day morning we went to Juliers.
Gulick, or Juliers, is a small Town by the River Roer, but very ancient, and called by the Romans, Juliacum, conceived to have been founded by Julius Cæsar; the Seat sometimes of the Dukes of Gulick, before the uniting hereof with Cleve; and since the dissolution of that Estate, possessed by the United Provinces; and then again by the Spaniards; but at present in the hands of the Duke of Newburg. It being agreed at the conclusion of Peace between the Spaniards and the Hollanders, That the Marquess of Brandenburg should have Marck and Cleve, and the Duke of Newburg, Gulick and Berg. This is a handsome well fortified Town, the Streets streight, and the Houses of Brick. The Citadel consists of four Bastions, of a regular Fortification; within which is the Princes Palace. The Piazza in the Town is handsome; and the whole considerable for its beauty and strength.
July the 5th. we came to Aken, or Aquisgranum, five Leagues distant from Gulick; the French call it Aix la Chapelle, from a Chappel in the great Church, much visited by Pilgrims from many parts; and famous for the great number of Reliques preserved therein. When the Romans made war upon the Germans, they possessed themselves of divers places between the Rhine and the Maes. And Granus, a noble Roman, being sent into these parts of Gallia Belgica, about the year of our Lord Fifty three, discovered among the Woods and Hills these hot Springs, which to this day are so much celebrated in many parts of Europe; who afterwards made use of them, and adorned them after the manner of the Roman Baths, and built a noble Habitation near them; part of which the Inhabitants would have still to be standing, retaining the name of Turris Grani, an old Tower at the East-end of the Town-house; a noble Antiquity: But the manner of its building gives suspicion it cannot be so old. Hence these Thermæ from their Discoverer have been named Aquæ Graniæ, and came to be frequented; and the Town of Aquisgrane built and flourished, till Attila, the King of the Huns, or Hungarians, destroyed it.
About four hundred years after, Charles the Great riding out a hunting in these parts, as he passed through the Woods, his Horses Foot strook into one of these Hot-springs; near which he also took notice of the Ruins of ancient Palaces and Buildings long before forsaken; and being still more and more delighted with the pleasant Situation of the place, and conveniency of these hot Rivolets, he renewed and adorned the Baths, built his Royal Palace near them: and appointed that the King of the Romans should be crowned with an Iron Crown here, as with a Silver one at Milan, and a Gold one at Rome. He also built a noble Collegiate Church, dedicated to the blessed Virgin, in the presence of many Princes and Bishops, in the year 804, and endowed it with Revenues for the maintainance of Canons, who lived together in a Colledge at first, but at present separately in the manner of Prebends. He built also the old or inward Wall of the City, so that it flourished till the year 882. at which time it was again ruined by the Fury of the Normans, and the Emperours Palace burnt to the ground. This City, besides these Devastations from the Irruptions of the Huns and Normans, hath been divers times since destroyed by Fire; as in the year 1146. which loss it overcame in such a manner, that Twenty six years after, it recovered not only its former greatness, but was so much increased, that the large outward Wall was built by the command of the Emperour Frederick the First.
In the year 1224. happened another great Fire, in which, not only the Buildings, but many of the Inhabitants perished. And the Roof of the Church was burnt in another Fire 1236. And now of late, for it is not long since it hath recovered its losses by the Fire in the year 1656. when twenty Churches and Chappels, and about five thousand private Houses were destroyed.
The Town-house, or Senate-house, was built 1353. being all of Free-stone, handsomely adorned with the Statues of the Emperours. The first and second Story of this Building is divided into Chambers; but the highest is all one entire Room or Hall, 162 Foot long, and 60 Foot broad. It is well painted in divers parts by Amisaga:1 Two Pieces of whose drawing are much esteemed here; one of the Resurrection, and another of Charles the Great, giving the Charter to the City of Aken. Here the Emperours, at the time of their Coronation, used to keep their Feasts, together with the Electours and other Princes. The Roof is supported by four Pillars; through the middle of which, the smoak of all the Chimneys of this Building, is by a handsome contrivance conveyed away.
Over against this House, in the middle of the Piazza, is a Fountain, considerable both for largeness and neat structure, contrived by a great Artist, Gerard Coris: where four Springs perpetually empty themselves from above into a large Bason of Copper, of thirty Foot Diameter; from whence again it descends by six Pipes into a Cistern of Stone, handsomely engraved, and passeth to many other Fountains in the Town. On the top of this Fountain stands a large Statue of Charles the Great, Patron of this City, made of brass, and gilded over. He is in Armour, and looketh towards Germany. About the edges of the great brass Bason is this Inscription:
Hic aquis per Granum Principem quendam Romanum, Neronis, & Agrippæ fratrem inventis, calidorum fontium Thermæ à Principio constructæ. Postea verò per D. Carolum Magnum Imp. constituto ut locus hic sit caput & regni sedes trans Alpes, renovatæ sunt: quibus Thermis hic gelidus fons influxit olim quem nunc demum hoc æneo vase illustravit S. P. Q. Aquisgranensis, Anno Domini 1620.
The Church of our Lady, built by Charles the Great, is of an odd Figure. At the West-end is a Steeple adorned with divers Pyramids; and on the top a large Globe and Cross. From hence, higher much than the Church, passeth a Gallery, supported by a large Arch to a Cupola near the middle of the Church. At the East-end is also a small Turret or Lanthorn. The inside of the whole is adorned with Marble Pillars of divers sorts, with Pillars of brass, gilded Statues, brass Doors and Partitions, and much Mosaick work.
In the middle of the Church, where Charles the Great was buried, hangeth a very large Crown, given to this Church by the Emperour Frederick the First. This Crown is made of silver and brass gilt, adorned with sixteen little Towers, and eight and forty Statues of silver, of about a Foot high, and thirty two which are lesser. Between these stand eight and forty Candlesticks to receive the Lights burnt there upon Festivals.
Of these large Crowns I have seen at Colen, and other parts; and it hath been an ancient Ornament in Churches. The Greeks have a Crown, or large Circle much like this, in the middle of most of their best Churches; on which they hang many Ostrich Eggs, and the Pictures of the Apostles and Saints. The Turks do likewise imitate it in their Mosques, but instead of Pictures place Lamps.
Frederick the First took up the Body of Charles the Great out of its Sepulchre in the middle of the Church, and afterwards buried it again; partly in a silver Coffin under the Altar of the Quire, and partly near the Wall of the old Building, covering it with the same Tomb-stone,2 as before; which is here reported to have been first taken from the Tomb of Julius Cæsar. It is of white Marble, and hath the Figure of Proserpina upon it. Out of this Tomb of Charles the Great, were taken up a great number of Reliques and considerable Rarities, which he had got together in his life time; some of them given him by Aaron King of Persia, by the Patriarch of Constantinople, and others; divers of which are still preserved here: and these following we had the opportunity to see. Some of the blessed Virgins hair. One ring or link of the Chain with which St. Peter was chained in Prison. The Head of Charles the Great. The bones of his Arm. His Sword which the Emperours wear at the time of their Coronation. The Picture of the Virgin Mary, with our Saviour in her Arms, embossed upon a Jaspis, done by St. Luke, hanged about the Neck of Charles the Great, and so found in his Tomb. A Noble Manuscript of the Gospels found in the same Tomb. Charles the Great's Horn which he used when he went a hunting. His Crucifix made out of the wood of the Cross. Our Saviour's Girdle of Leather, with the Seal of Constantine the Great at end end. A piece of the true Manna. Some of the Bones and Blood of St. Stephen, richly enchased, upon which the Emperours are sworn at their Inauguration. A piece of one of the Nails of the Cross. An Agnus Dei sent from the Pope to Charles the Great; and many other Reliques. Here is also the Tomb of the Emperour Otho the Third, in black Marble, who in the year 1000, first constituted the Electors of Germany.
Near to this City are many sorts of Minerals found; as Lead ore, the Sulphur, and Vitriol-stone, Iron, Coal, and Cadmia, or Lapis Calaminaris: With this latter we saw them make Brass, or multiply Copper in this manner. They take calcined Cadmia, or Calmey, as they call it, Copper from Sweden, and the melted dross of both; to twenty eight pounds of Copper they put an hundred pound of Calmey: They put first into very large Crucibles, some old pieces of brass and slacken, or the dross, and afterwards the Calmey and Copper, and let them stand in the Furnace twelve hours; after which, they put eight Crucibles full into one, and let what will run over, the best sinking always to the bottom; and then cast it into a Frame made of stone, bordered with bars of Iron; and so run it into brass Plates, which are afterwards cut in pieces with large Cissars.
The hot Bathes are very much frequented at present. Within the inward Walls are three convenient ones: the Emperours Bath, the Little Bath, and the Bath of S. Quirinus. The Emperours Bath is in the same place, and fed with the same Springs with that in which formerly Charles the Great took so much delight, that he frequently used to swim therein; in which Exercise few were more expert than himself; and spent the latter end of his days here, and would often invite to the Bath, not only his Sons, but his Nobles, his Friends and Guards; so as it was customary to Bathe a hundred together in those days. But now they are divided into lesser Partitions. The Emperours Bath having five Bathing Rooms; and the Little Bath which cometh out of it three. These are reckoned to be Nitro-Sulphureus; and arise so hot, that they let them cool twelve hours before they use them. From under a great round Stone which covered a Well, in which there were some of these Hot Springs, I saw Brimstone, hard, above an inch thick, and Salt peter, and a petrified Substance finely variegated, taken out.
Besides these, near unto the inward Wall of the City, there are Baths which are not so hot as the former, esteemed to be Sulphureo-nitrous: The smell of them is somewhat offensive, and the water in the Cisterns not transparent. The first is the Bath of St. Cornelius, which hath two Receptacles. The second, the Rose Bath, so called from Mr. Rose, a Citizen of Aken, who built it. The third, Compus Badt, or the Poor man's Bath. Of this sort of warm Water there is also a Fountain, much resorted to, and drank of every morning in the Summer for many Chronical Diseases. About a Furong out of the South-gate of Aken, is a Village called Porcetum, or Borset, from the great number of wild Hoggs, which formerly frequented that place; in which are many Hot Springs upon both sides of a little Rivolet, and let into Houses, where they are distributed into several Baths of Stone. There are fourteen of these Houses, and twenty eight Baths; the Baths holding ordinarily about fifty Tuns of Water, each of them: the Water is clear and pleasant, without any offensive smell; excessive hot when it cometh first out of the Ground, hotter than the hottest of Aken, and is left to cool about eighteen hours before they use it. They use also an Instrument of Wood, pierced with many holes, to help to cool them sooner, or to stir the Water when any one goeth in, whereby he is not sensible of the heat. There are many cold Springs rise near these hot ones, whereby they might be tempered; and surely the quantity of the hot Water being so great, no place might be made more delightful, nor no Baths more noble. The Turks in our times, do most of any Nation beautifie their Baths, and render them serviceable to their health and pleasure.
In Austria at Baden, the Sawer Bath is built after the Turkish manner, with a Cupola over it: and if any one hereafter shall build or beautifie these, they will yield to very few in Europe. At present most of them are of a square Figure, of about five or six yards over; and the Houses in which they are, very near one another. The first House hath the name of the Ladies Bath; the second is the Snake; the third and fourth the Sword; the fifth the Golden Mill; the sixth the Fool; the seventh the Cock; the eighth the Great Bath; the ninth the Fountain; the tenth the Crab; the eleventh the World Inverted; the twelfth the Glass; the thirteenth the Angel; and the fourteenth the Rose. There is also another in the open Air, called the Poor man's Bath. In the Street is a Well or Fountain of these Hot-Springs, of as great a heat as any I have seen; perpetually boyling or bubling. But of all these Baths Dr. Blondel and Dr Didier have written so particularly, as I need not add any thing more, and particularly of their Uses.
Within two Leagues of Aken, in the Country of Limbourg, is a Mine of Lapis Calaminaris, which we went to see, having a Corporal and eight Musquetiers for our Security to pass the Wood. This Mine lieth over against the Castle of Einenberg. As soon as I had delivered a Letter to Mr. John Franck, Comptroller of the Mine for his Catholick Majesty, he went along with us, to shew us the manner how the Cadmia groweth in the Earth, and other Curiosities. This Mine having been wrought Three hunded years, and being one of the most remarkable of that kind, it may not be impertinent to set down some particulars concerning it. It is about eighteen or nineteen Fathoms deep, lying all open like a Chalk Mine, of an Oval Figure; they digg at present in several places, and the best Calmey lieth between the Rocks, in the deepest parts of the Mine: They have now found an excellent Veyn so placed, of eleven or twelve Foot thick, which they digg out with Pickaxes, with some difficulty, by reason that the Lapis Calaminaris is so very hard.
The colour of this Stone is of a dark yellow and red, and hath Veyns of natural Brimstone mixed thinly in it. The Veyns of the Lapis Calaminaris being so large, they follow them not only in one place, but digg over one anothers heads, and frame their work into the shape of large Stayrs, and one throws up what another diggs, and so upward till they lade the Carts with it. Some of the Cadmia is blackish and dark brown; and there are Fluores between the Cavities of the Stone handsomely figured, but most of a blackish colour. The works about the Mine the most remarkable, are these: 1. An Overshot-
Limburg is seated upon a high Rock, which overlooks all the Country, and a little River runneth almost round it at the bottom. The Avenue to the Town on the North-side is difficult all along upon the edge of the Rock; and the Gate of the Town, over which is the Governour's House, spreads it self from one side of the Rock to the other, and locketh up the passage. Here we shew our Passports from the Spanish Plenipotentiaries; and in the Afternoon had a pleasant Journey to the Spaa. In the way we saw where the French Army had passed the Country towards Metz, having lain about a Fortnight at Vichet,3 after the taking of Maestreicht.
Spà is a neat Villedge in the Forest of Ardenna, seated in a bottom, encompassed on all sides with Hills, and on the North with steep Mountains. So that it happening to rain while we were there, the place was, in some hours time, filled with water, the Hay washed out of the Meadows, the falls in the River made even, and Pohunt,4 one of the Mineral Fountains, was drowned. There was not much Company when we were there, although it were in the hottest time of the year, which is most for drinking the waters; by reason of the wars, and the danger of coming through the Country to them. But in Spà it self all people are free from danger, all the Neighbouring Princes protecting it, and would count it very dishonourable to disturb a place, which by the virtue of its Mineral Springs, is so beneficial to Mankind. These Waters are not only drunk upon the place, but are also sealed up in Bottles, and sent into many parts of Europe. And Mr. Coquelet, at whose House we lodged, told me that he sent it as far as Saragossa in Spain: and that he had at that time Thirty thousand Bottles empty, and waited for a good season to fill them, which is the hottest, dryest time of the Summer, and the hardest Frost in Winter; at which times the water is strongest, sparkling, and brisk. The chiefest of these Mineral Fountains are these, Geronster, Saviniere, Tonnelet, and Pohunt.
Geronster is in the middle of a thick Wood, about an English mile and a half Southward of the Spà; it is the strongest of any, and the best adorned, being built up with stone, and a Pavilion over it, supported with four handsome stone Pillars. There is a green place cleared in the Wood near to it, and a little House for the Patients to warm themselves in early, in the morning, or in cold weather. The Arms of Sr Conrad Bourgsdorff, who adorned this Fountain, are placed over, on two sides; and on the other two this Inscription in French and High-dutch, in a handsome Oval.
Le Reverendissime & Excellentissime Sr Sr Conrade Bourgsdorff, Grand Chamberlan, & premier Conseiller d'Estat, Colonel & Gouverneur General de tous les Forts & Forteresses du Serenissime Electeur de Brandenbourg dans son Estat Electoral, Grand Prevost des Eglises Cathedrales d’Halberstadt & Brandenbourg, Chevalier de l’Ordre de St. Jean, & Commandeur du Baillage de Lagow, de gros Machenau, Golbeck, Bouckow, Oberstorff, &c. &c. &c.
This Fountain smelleth very strong of Brimstone, and causeth vomitting in a great many, yet passeth chiefly by Urine, as they do all; and strikes a purple with Nutgalls more inclining to red, than the waters at Tunbridge. The Sediment is of a light blew in the Fountain, but of a dark dirty red every where else. Nor far from this is another large Spring in the Wood much like it, but not as yet built and beautified.
Savniere is another Fountain, almost as far from the Spà Eastward, and built after the manner of a Tower: the Acidulæ are not so strong as the former. There is another Fountain hard by this, almost the same, held to be particularly good for the Stone and Gravel.
The third is Tonnelet, arising in the Meadow, and built up with stone: But being there are no Trees nor Shades about it, it is not so delightful as the others. And Henricus ab Heers in his Spadacrene, saith that this is more nitrous than the rest, and causeth such a coldness in the mouth and stomach, that few can drink of it.
The fourth is Pohunt, in the middle of the Town, from whence most of the water is drawn which is sent abroad, if no particular one be sent for. This was beautified with handsome Stone-work, by the Bishop of Liege, to whom this place belongeth, and this Inscription set over it, Sanitati Sacrum. It is also called the Fountain of St. Remaclus, to whom it was dedicated; and these Verses are likewise engraven upon it:
Obstructum reserat, durum terit, humida siccat
Debile fortificat, si tamen arte bibis.
This opens all Ostructions,
And wears away hard Tumours;
This strengtheneth much the weaker parts,
And dries up cold moist Humours.
Being at the Spà, we visited Franchimont one Afternoon, passing, through a thick Wood, there is an old Castle, and good Brimstone and Vitriol-works, the same Stone affording both; and I presume may also make the Spa-water under ground, or at least be a principal Ingredient in it. We saw the manner here how they melted, and cast their Brimstone first into great Pails, the florid and clear parts remaining at the top and middle, the thick and more obscure subsiding and adhering to the bottom and sides, and that is sold for Sulphur Vivum. We saw also the manner of casting the Brimstone into Rolls, or Magdaleons: And near unto this place a smoaking, burning, little Hill, which is thus caused: They throw out the burnt Pyrites, out of which Brimstone hath been distilled, and the Vitriol drawn out by infusion, upon this Hill, which consists all of the same matter, which ferments in time, grows hot, smoaks, and burns perpetually, and withal, drinks in a new Vitriol unto its self.
From the Spà we crossed over to Frapont, a Village seated upon the pleasant River Uta, or Ourte, where we took Boat and went down a rapid Stream, yet one of the pleasantest I ever saw, winding and turning between so many green Hills, in part of the Forest of Arduenna. We descended afterwards thirty or forty small Falls in a long Boat made on purpose. The Oar or Paddle being only a square piece of Board fixed to the end of a Pole, the Pole standing perpendicularly in the middle of it. The delightful River Vesa, or Wesdret, soon met us, and joyning together, we fell down with them into the Maes near Liege. Upon the Banks of these Rivers all the Arms, Guns, and other Instruments are made, for which the Country of Liege is remarkable.
Liege, Luick, Leodium, or Augusta Eburonum; Learned Men think this City to be seated near that Valley, wherein two Legions of Julius Cæsar, under Sabinus and Cotta, were destroyed by Ambiorix, chief Commander of the Eburones. It is seated upon the River Mosa, which entring with two Streams, makes some pretty Islands. Three other small Rivers arising in the Forest or Ardenna, are also here received into the Maes, whereby they have plenty of Fish and other Conveniencies. The City is very populous, and so it hath been in former Ages, when as Charles Duke of Burgundy, sacked it, and destroyed an hundred thousand of the people.
It aboundeth with fair Churches, stately Convents, and Religious Foundations, richly endowed, so that it hath been called the Paradise of Priests, and is in that kind the most notable in all these parts. The Palace of the Bishop is a noble Fabrick, built by Cardinal Erardus, Bishop of Liege. The Cathedral beareth the Name of St. Lambert, who being Bishop of Maestreicht was murdered by Dodo and others, about the year 622. The See was afterwards translated unto Liege by Hubertus, as it has been formerly from Tongres to Maestreicht, and the Body of St. Lambert removed unto this Church, which is at present very noble, being built of a reddish Stone, very much carved without, and handsomely adorned within. Between the Quire and Sacristy, is this Inscription in very large Letters:
D. O. M.
Intemeratæ Virgini Mariæ, Sancto Lamberto, Ecclesiæ & Patriæ Divis Tutelaribus, Maximilianus Henricus utriusque Bavariæ Dux, Archiepiscopus & Elector Coloniensis, Episcopus & Princeps Leodiensis, Ernesti & Ferdinandi Bavariæ Ducum, Episcoporum & Principum Leodiensium Nepos & Successor in sui & Prædecessorum memoriam Ponebat. MDCLVIII.
The Canons hereof are of great riches and power, and have the Election of the Bishop and Prince, who hath also had the Titles of Duke of Bouillon, Marquis of Franchimont, and Count of Lootz and Hasbania. In the Coin of Maximilian, the present Elector of Colen and Bishop of Liege, I find this Inscription:
Maximilianus Henricus Dei gratiâ Archiepiscopus Coloniensis, Episcopus & Princeps Leodiensis, Supremus Bullonensis Dux.
Speutus the Bishop of Liege, bought the Principality of Liege of Godfrey of Bouillon, when he went to the Holy Land: And in the Treaty of Cambray, 1559. the possession of Bouillon, and precedency of Title, was granted to the Bishop of Liege, although at this time also the Houses of La Tour and Mark do bear the same.
Of the Parish Churches that of St. John, and of St. Servasius are fair. Of the Abbies that of St. Jacob within the Town, and of St. Lawrence, built by Bishop Raginardus upon an Hill out of the Town, are noble. There is also a Colledge of English Jesuites, well-seated upon a Hill, where the Garden is handsome, and the Dyals made by Franciscus Linus, are worth the seeing: And an English Nunnery handsomely built. In the Church of the Gulielmites, out of the Town, lieth the body of our famous Country-man Sir John Mandeville, who, after he had travelled through so many parts, took an affection unto this place, and here passed the remainder of his life, and whose Epitaph, and some Rarities of his, are still to be seen.
Bishop Notger, who was consecrated by St. Gereon, Arch-bishop of Colen, and died in the year 1007. built the walls of this City, and being Tutor to Otho the third, he found means very much to beautifie it, to repair and build divers Churches, and endow them with rich Revenues, and let the River Maes into the Town, which before ran upon one side of it.
As their Churches are fair and numerous, so are their Bells and Chimes remarkable. In the Cathedral of St. Lambert there are eight large Bells, and twelve lesser; and there is one so great, as it is said to require Twenty four men to ring it. In the Church of St. Paul the Bells and Chimes are considerable; as also at St. Lawrence and the crossed Friers. It is also an University, and was so famous in former Ages, that they still take notice that at one time there have been Nine Sons of Kings, Twenty four Dukes Sons, Twenty nine of Counts, besides many of great Barons Students therein.
Their Speech here, as also at Spaw, is called Roman, and is a kind of old French, or Dialect of that Language, a great part of which is made up of Latin, or Roman words: and they call the Neighbouring Language of the Dutch, Tuiscon. But many speak very good French. They have some Vineyards affording a small wine. The Hills about furnish them with Quarries of good Stone, and of several kinds. They have also divers Mines and Minerals, and great quantity of Pit-coal for Fire, in some places fetched deep out of the Earth, in others nearer the Surface: and in one place I saw them beginning to dig where they immediately found Coal. Their Pumps and Engines to draw out the water, are very considerable at these Mines; in some places moved by Wheels, at above a Furlongs distance, to which they are continued by strong Wood-work, which moves backwards and fowards continually.
The Citadel standeth upon a Hill, and is of great Strength. It was built to keep the City of Liege under Subjection. For 1649. there being some disturbances in the City, Ferdinand, the Elector of Colen, offering to come into the Town to appease it, was opposed by the Consul, Jacobus Hennet, who was soon after surprised and beheaded, together with Bartholomæus Rolandus; the Consul having sworn the Elector should never come in whilst he were alive. And the Citadel soon after was ordered to be built. The Bridges are handsome: that over the great Stream of the Maes is very broad and fair, and hath large Arches. From hence we could read the Elector's name upon the Citadel, Maximilianus, although it were at a very great distance, the Letters were so large.
From Liege we had a pleasant passage down the Water to Maestreicht, passing by Argentau, a Castle seated upon a high Rock on the right side of the River, belonging then to the King of Spain, afterwards by Vichet in the half way, and then by Navagne, a strong Fort in the Maes, which commands the River, and at that time did the Spaniard service; then by pleasant rocks on our left hand, wherein many Cuts and Passages have been digged, till we came in sight of Maestreicht.
This Town having been a little before taken from the United States by a sharp Siege, was full of French, and had a Garrison in it of about Ten thousand men; and in the Market-place tood about Two hunded large Field-pieces. We saw the places where they had their Batteries and their Mines, and the Half-moon which the Duke of Monmouth took: the Out-works were very numerous, and many of them undermined. Colonel Storff shew’d us a handsome Draught of all the Works, Approaches and Manner of taking of the Town.
About a quarter of a Mile out of the Town we went into the great Quarry of Stone, which is one of the noblest sure in the World. Between Padoa and Vicenza I had formerly seen the famous Cave of Custoza, or Cubola, said to be above Five hundred Fathoms in breadth, and Seven hundred in length, but this doth far surpass it: the Roof is very high and stately in most places, the pillars not to be numbred, and very large; we passed two miles under ground amongst them: No Labyrinth can be contrived more intricate, and yet all parts are uniform. The Floor all in a level, and the Roof in most places of the same height, and so much hath that uniform rule, which I suppose was set to those who first digged, and so hath successively been observed, added to the beauty of this place, that there is scarce any thing more noble. It put me in mind of the hundred Chambers of Nero, which he caused to be made under Ground in the Rocks at Baiæ. And the Water which we met with in one place, made me think of Nero’s admirable Fish-pond, built in the like manner within the Earth. We came out again near to a Convent upon the Banks of the River, and returned by water to Maestreicht.
The next day we parted Company. Mr. Newton, Mr. Ettrick, Mr. Grove, Mr. Carlton, and Mr. Newcomb went for Aken and Colen; Mr. Bates and Mr. Daston went up the River again to Liege, at which place, staying a day or two to find a convenience to pass to Brussels, we were nobly entertained at a Dinner with Venison, Wild-boar, and other Dishes, by that worthy Person and Learned Mathematician Franciscus Slusius, one of the great Canons of Liege, who also continued his high Civilities to us to the last Minute we stayed in Town.
Leaving Liege we soon came in sight of Tongres, or Tungrorum oppidum, the most ancient place in all these Countries. Ortelius would have it called of old Atuatuca: It was a strong hold before the coming of Julius Cæsar into Gaul, and was afterwards made a Roman Station, and in process of time became so great, that Attila the Hun destroyed an hundred Churches in it, it being at that time a Bishops See, which in the year 498 St. Servatius removed unto Maestreicht.5 Many old Coins and Antiquities are still found here; and part of an old Chappel, said to be built by St. Maternus, disciple to St. Peter, is still remaining. When the King of France made his great inroad into the Low Countries, 1672. he borrowed this Town of the Elector of Cologne, and then passed on to Maseick, where crossing the Country to the Rhine, by the sides of these great Rivers, Rhine and Maes, he made that notable Incursion, and quitted not Tongres till he had taken Maestreicht the year following. We dined this day at Borchloe, and lodged at St. Truyn, or St. Truden, a handsome little Town, so called from a Church and Abbey herein dedicated to that Saint.
The next day we dined at Tienen, or Tilmont, on the little River Geet, once one of the chief Towns in Brabant, but long since decayed. In these Plain Countries, in many places we saw small Hills, or Sepulchral Eminences of the Ground: And near unto the Walls of Tienen, are three very remarkable ones, said to be the Tombs of great Commanders.6 In the Evening we came to Lovain.
Lovain is the chief City of that quarter of Brabant, which comprehendeth Arschot, Halen, and Judoigne; an ancient and large City, pleasantly seated upon the River Dele; it is of great Circuit, and the compaß of the wall accounted above four miles about: but there are many void Spaces, Hills, Fields, and Gardens within it, which makes it very pleasant and delightful. There are herein divers good Buildings, Convents, and Churches: the chief whereof is the stately Church of St. Peter, the Convent of the Carthusians, the Hospital. The publick Palace or Senate-house are also Noble.
It is the great University of these parts, said to have had its beginning about 926. but endowed by John the Fourth, Duke of Brabant, and confirmed by Pope Martin the Fifth, 1425. There are Forty three Colledges in it; whereof the four chief are Lilium, Falco, Castrum, Porcus. Goropius Becanus, a Learned Man, and Native of Brussels, affirmeth, That no University in Italy, France, Germany, or Spain, is to be compared unto it for its elegant and pleasant Situation. The University is under the Government of Rector, who is in great esteem and honour among them. This University hath produced many Learned Men: But neither the Buildings of the Colledges, nor their Endowments do equal those of our Universities, and the Situation thereof seems not to exceed that of Oxford.
We travelled from hence to Brussels, being most part of the way in the sight of the very high Tower of the Church of St. Rombald at Machlin.
Count Monterei was then Governour of the Low-Countries, and resided at Brussels, the ordinary Seat of the Governours of the Spanish Netherlands; which City he had taken care to fortifie, and to make it more tenable, if it should be attempted by the French.
From Brussels we passed to Antwerp, where we were handsomely treated by Mr. Wauters and Mr. Hartop, and having visited some of our Friends, the next day we passed the River Schelde, and took Coach in the morning, travelling through a fruitful, plain, flat Country, set with rows of Trees in most places, and arrived in the evening at Ghent.
Gaunt, Gandavum, or Ghent, is esteemed to be the greatest City, not only of Flanders, but of all the Low-Countries, and challengeth a place amongst the greatest in Europe; but at present it decreaseth and decays rather than encreaseth. And if Charles the Fifth were now alive, he could not put Paris into his Gant, a greater Glove would not fit that City, which is so much increased since his time. In Ghent are many noble Convents, among which the Jesuites is one of the fairest: There is a Cloister also of English Nuns. The Cathedral is stately, and the Tower belonging to it being very high, gives a prospect of a pleasant and fruitful country round about it. There are divers Piazza’s, large and fair; in one of which stands a large gilded Statua of Charles the Fifth, Emperour and King of Spain, who was born in this City. The whole Town is generally well built, and the Streets are fair and clean. The Inhabitants hereof have been taken notice of to be extreamly given to Sedition, and for their sake a great many other Cities in Europe are punished, and have in a manner totally lost their Liberties: For the Spaniards, to curb the Seditious humour of the People of Ghent, were put upon the Invention of building Citadels in Cities, whereby a few Souldiers were able to suppress any Commotion, or beat down the Town, so that here I saw the first Citadel that was built in Europe by Charles the Fifth: It is not large, and the Bastions little, and though of a Regular Figure, yet not so convenient as those of latter days, since that Art hath been improved.
From Ghent we passed by water about Twenty English miles to Bruges, a very elegant large City, and formerly a place of very great Trade, being within three Leagues of the Sea; so that from the tops of their highest Buildings, the Ships under Sail are visible, and at the same time a Fleet of Ships, and a large Territory of a fruitful, pleasant Country, cometh under your eye. It is fortified with Works of Earth and deep Ditches. The Convents are numerous: The artificial Cuts of Water from this Town to all places, maketh it of easie access; and though it hath no Port, the Passage from hence to Ostend by water is short: And they are at present upon a Design of bringing Ships up to this City.
Ostend is about Ten English miles from Bruges, seated upon the waves of the German Ocean, which wash it continually on one side: and they have now contrived it so, as to let the Sea in almost round the Town for a great space, whereby it is become much more strong and defensible than before. For when I looked upon it, and considered what it was when it was besieged by Archduke Albertus, and taken by Marquis Ambrosius Spinola, 1604. with an honourable Surrender after three years Siege, I cannot but ascribe very much unto their Supplies from England, and the obstinate Valour of the Defendants, especially the English under Sir Francis Vere. Sluys being in the hands of the States of the United Provinces, and Dunkirk under the French. The Spaniards possess no other Port in Flanders but this and Newport; and this being the most considerable, they are not making the Haven large, and are upon a considerable Work in order to the carrying of their Ships over into that Cut which goeth from Ostend to Bruges, out of their Harbour, by the means of a very great Lock or Receptacle of Water, which is to communicate with both; which, when it is finished, may be very advantageous to the Traffick, of the Spanish Netherlands. This Town stands very low, but the Streets are streight, large, and uniform.
From hence I went all along the Sea-shoar to Newport, a handsome Town, with large fair Streets, but low built. There were then a great number of small Ships in the Harbour. This place is famous for the Battel of Newport, fought here by Albertus, and Count Maurice, wherein the Spanish Forces lost the day, and much of the honour of the Field was due unto the English under Sir Francis Vere; since which time, although there hath been much blood shed in these Quarters, yet there hath not been so considerable a Battel ever since,, although the English had also the fortune to do great Service hereabout at a fight called the Battel of the Sandhils, when a part of the Army of French and English, which besieged Dunkirk, fought with the Spanish Forces by Newport, and overthrew them.
From Newport we put to Sea, sailing out of the Harbour, and intending for England; but the wind being very high and contrary, after having been at Sea all the night, and had leisure to take notice of the great number of Sands upon that Coast, in the morning we put into Mardike, where at present there is only a Fort of Wood just above the High-water mark, with some few Guns mounted. The other Fort, more into the Land, being demolished.
Dunkirk is much increased of late, and the King of France hath not spared mony to render it considerably strong. He hath very near finished a noble Citadel, begun by the English while this Town was in their possession, which the Sea on one side of it, the Haven on another, and the Sandhills towards the Land, which when the wind is at South-west, doth somewhat annoy it: To prevent which, the French have made divers Cuts and Chanels through the Sands, into which the Sea entring, doth moisten and fix the Sand, so as they are not so apt to fly. And every Bastion is sprucely kept and covered within with green Turf. Beyond the old Wall of the Town, there are now great Works drawn, which encompas so large a space of Ground, that the Town is made bigger by half: And in this part stands the English Nunnery, and many handsome Buildings. The new Fortifications are very large; and the Bastion towards the North the most stately, upon which the King of France entertained the Duke of Monmouth. The Port is large, and capable of receiving a great number of Ships, but at low water it is almost dry; and there are so many Sands before it, that at that time the Sea comes not in any depth within a mile of it.
From Dunkirk we travelled by Land to Graveling, where the Works are of Earth, large and high, the Churh stately, the Streets broad, but the Houses low, and at present not populous.
From Graveling I came to Calais, from whence setting Sail in the morning, we came to Dover, and the same day to London.
1 Amisaga: Probably the Aachen painter Antonius de Amezaga.
2 It is itself a sarcophogus, apparently used as a tombstone.
3 Vichet: that is, Visé.
4 Pohunt: that is, Pouhon.
5 There is gross error in this story. Servatius, who is said to have foreseen the destruction of Tongres in a vision, died around 384. Attila destroyed Tongres around 451. It is not clear when the bishopric was transferred from Tongres, but it surely was before 498 and probably after 384.
6 The three tumuli of Tienen are Gallo-Roman, of the 1st century B.C. Other barrows in the area are of a wide period from about fourth millennium B.C. to the first millennum A.D. Or so they say. Burial mounds seem to attract more story-tellers than anything outside of politics and mining.
James Eason welcomes most comments, criticism, and suggestions.