Silesia--Breslaw--Journey to Berlin--The Country--Agriculture--Description of Berlin-- Present State of the King of Prussia's Forces, Revenues, &c.--Saxony--Leipsick--Dresden--State of the Electorate.
NOTHING could be more striking, than the different appearance of Silesia from that of Poland. We entered it the 13th, and found the country full of villages, half of which at least were peopled with Poles; the land all cultivated, and much of it extremely well; the houses and cottages in good repair; with all the appearances of ease and happiness; which formed such a contrast to the wretchedness we had so lately seen, that the view had the effect of making Silesia appear a paradise. Much of this must certainly be occasioned by the great increase of population from such numbers of Poles, who fly to escape the miseries that every where desolate and lay waste their own country. The King of Prussia has officers appointed along all his frontiers, to see that all these poor people arc received, and to provide cottages for them as fast as possible. In this
work the King is at no expence; he only grants them permission to build cottages on any wastes or commons that are not absolute property; and his edict directs, that every neighbourhood should give all due assistance to the new settlers, and find them employment in husbandry or manufactures, after the rate of the country; and for the maintenance of such as do not find employment, he directs a tax to be laid on the district; but this cannot be lasting, as they have portions of land assigned them sufficient for their maintenance when brought into culture. Upon the wastes belonging to the crown, these portions are considerable enough to form, when cultivated, small farms, that hereafter will yield the crown a good rent. I saw many of these poor people, and it is hardly credible how much they seemed to enjoy themselves, on escaping the miseries of Poland, and finding such an humane protection in the territories of the neighbouring princes. I am informed that the Empress Queen receives them in the same manner in Moravia, Austria, and Hungary; many of them are in Transilvania. All the King of Prussia's long line of frontier, from the bottom of Silesia to Livonia, is open to them; and great numbers take refuge in every part of it. I before gave an account of
the multitudes, to whom the Empress of Russia gave protection; if all this is considered, it must at once be apparent, that the kingdom of Poland must be amazingly depopulated, since it cannot be doubted but several millions of people, probably not less than three or four, are driven out of the country, or killed. Such a depopulation will take several ages to recover: and still this evil continues, without any appearance of its coming to an end; so that what the event will be, except leaving that country a mere desart, is very difficult to know.
We travelled thirty miles before we reached Breslaw. All this line of country is rich either in corn, meadow, or wood; the arable lands seemed very well cultivated; the wheat looked well, and the quantity of land occupied with it is considerable: they also cultivate rye: the barley was all coming up, and seemed to promise good crops: they do not sow any oats; but they cultivate many cabbages as winter food for their cattle, and they reckon them much better, and to last longer than turneps: potatoes they plant in large quantities for Breslaw, which city consumes great deal of all the products of the earth; a vast advantage to all the neighbouring country: the small potatoes they fatten their
hogs with. The river Oder is navigable there, which is another great benefit to the country, always keeping the markets brisk, which of all other circumstances is the most certain means of introducing good husbandry. The ease and happiness of the peasants in this country is the more surprizing, as their taxes are very heavy, and carry as much into the King's coffers almost as into their own pockets. It can be attributed only to the regularity of his Prussian majesty's government; for that monarch looks so much into all his affairs, that there is no such thing in his dominions as irregular oppression: no minister, no officer dares to lay the hand of power on the defenceless poor; the King is their protector, and they had better be heavily taxed by him, than pay less, but be open with it to those numerous and accidental oppressions common in all other arbitrary governments.
Breslaw is a very extensive and well-built city: it is most advantageously situated on the Oder, upon the banks of which are some very fine streets; they are strait, well paved, and with many very well-built houses. There are several squares in it, and many public buildings, worthy the attention of a traveller; among which are several churches, the Jesuits college, the town-house, the arsenal, the
quay, &c. It is a bishop's fee, but the cathedral has nothing remarkable in it: also the seat of an university, which has for some time been in a flourishing situation. It was pretty strongly fortified in the last war; has a good wall, a double ditch, several bastions and ravelins, and a strong citadel; but the works are so extensive, that they require an army to defend them. The King keeps a garrison here of ten thousand men; they are drawn up in the great square every day, and go through their exercises, being as well-disciplined regiments as any in the King's service. There certainly results from this strong garrison, and the others throughout Silesia, which are all proportionably numerous, great security; of which the last war was a very striking proof; for, undoubtedly, the King owed his preservation to the excellent order all his fortresses were in, and the numerous garrisons they were furnished with: had the Austrians met him unprepared, they would have at least wrested Silesia from him, and perhaps have made some impression upon his hereditary dominions. There are many churches and convents in the city; but I did not hear of any thing in them that was particularly worthy of attention. There is a great trade carried on here by means of
the Oder, and especially since the canal was cut between that and the Elbe, which communicates with Hamburgh. The articles in which this commerce is particularly carried on, are linen and flax, corn, timber, plank, &c. all which are staple commodities in Silesia, and produced in very great plenty. Most of the staves which form so great an export at Hamburgh, come from this duchy; and the quantity of oak timber and plank, which is exported from it, is very considerable. Upon all these articles the King lays a duty on the exportation; which is a piece of wrong politics of so flagrant a nature, that would make one think his abilities those of a warrior alone. The trade of Breslaw has declined a little since the troubles broke out in Poland; for in times of tranquillity in that kingdom, this province exports large quantities of goods thither, particularly linens, of which the Poles buy more than any other nation; but since the commencement of the civil war, they have been too much impoverished to be able to purchase any quantity worth mentioning.
The manufacture of linen in Silesia is very considerable: it employs many thousands of people, enriches the whole duchy, and brings in a very considerable revenue to the King.
Most of the linens which are bleached at Haerlam in Holland, and afterwards are so well known under the name of Dutch, are made in Silesia: formerly immense quantities were consumed in England; but since the great success which has attended the fabricks of Ireland and Scotland, this impolitic importation is come to nothing, and thereby vast sums saved to Great- Britain.----At this place I lessened my expences of travelling considerably, by paying off all my attendants, except my old Swiss, Martin, who has rode through the best part of Europe with me.
The 16th I left Breslew, taking a postchaise to Steinau, on the Oder; the distance thirty miles. This line of country is remarkably fine, fully cultivated, and in general well peopled. Landed property here is much divided; here and there is found an old baron's estate of great extent, around an old castle with all the marks of antiquity and grandeur; but in general the lands belong to persons enriched by trade and manufactures, which has had one excellent effect, that of diffusing much more liberty among the peasants than they have in other parts. Upon these estates, the lands are let in farm, as in England, and the peasants, not being vassals to tenants, are
hired in the manner of our day-labourers, which is the system of all others the most beneficial. A common rent, in their farms, is from seven to eleven shillings an acre: wheat yields two quarters an acre; barley three; buck-wheat four: the flax grounds are all inclosed by ditches, and they reckon an acre that yields three pounds a very good one. They keep all their cattle in winter in houses, and feed them with boiled cabbages and straw. They lay most of the manure they make upon their cabbage grounds, in the culture of which plant they seem to be very attentive. They make great use of mud from the Oder as a manure, and value it so much, that they go several miles for it. They plough their land with oxen; the structure of their ploughs is remarkable; they seem, from the height of the wheels, to be very well instructed in the doctrine of the lever.
The 17th I reached Grumberg, through forty-five miles of very indifferent road; dining at Glogau, a pretty town, agreeably situated on the Oder, very strongly fortified, and always garrisoned with two thousand men. It was anciently the residence of the dukes of Glogau, and there are remains of their palace in the castle. The cathedral is a very ancient
and a fine building. They have some linen fabricks, and a good trade on the Oder. The country around it, and quite to Grumberg, is various, consisting of woods, arable, meadow, some waste, and also some marsh land. The villages are not very thick, and the peasants do not seem to be so well off as those nearer to Breslaw; what the reason is, I could not discover.
My next day's journey was thirty miles, through Crofton, to Frankfort on the Oder. Crofton is the capital of a territory of the same name: it is a very well-built town, having been rebuilt after a great fire which happened at the beginning of this century: the streets are strait, broad, and well paved: it is adorned with an handsome town-house, and five churches, one of which makes a good figure, being situated in the middle of a square.
Frankfort is in Brandenburg, and was once one of the most considerable cities in the Empire, being an hanse town, and an Imperial city; but it has lost most of its privileges. It is divided into the old and new town by the Oder, over which there is a handsome bridge, instead of an old wooden one which was burnt in the last war. The
streets are handsome, and many of the houses make a good figure, especially those which have been built before the last war. Their trade is considerable, both with Berlin, Hamburgh, the Baltic, and all Silesia; and before the war raged in Poland, with that kingdom also; so that it is one of the richest places in the King's dominions. They have an university, but it is not very well stocked with students of any consequence, though they have two well-built colleges. The town- house is an handsome building; and the arsenal is large and well filled. The most agreeable part of the town is the great market-place, which is surrounded by the best houses in the place.
The soil around Frankfort is sandy, and not very well inhabited: there is much waste land, which might be cultivated to good profit, considering the near neighbourhood of so many navigations, but encouragement seems to be wanting. I made many enquiries concerning the depredations of the Russians here; and from the information I could get, I have reason to believe that the accounts we had in England were much exaggerated: the burnt some villages, and raised heavy contributions; but as to utterly destroying a whole track of
country, it was not true. Another circumstance I should remark, which is, the mischief being all repaired which they did; for I have yet seen no signs of any of that ruin which fell from their hands: this is to be attributed to the good conduct of the King of Prussia, who, notwithstanding the general severity of his government, very widely favoured those parts of his dominions that suffered most by war, as soon as the peace was made.
The 18th carried me 36 miles to Berlin, through a continued track of sand, yet tolerably cultivated in some parts, but much of it a dreary waste, and very thinly peopled. They find that the only very profitable crop upon these lands is buck-wheat, which the sow in large quantities, and they get a product which equals the best soils applied to that grain: when a piece of land has been more carefully managed than ordinary, it will yield a good crop of rye; but as to wheat or barley, it is hardly to be seen.
As I designed to make some stay at Berlin, I hired private lodgings; of which I had as good for fifteen shillings a week, as would have cost me five and thirty at London. But this city is not peopled proportionably to its
size; hence the general remark, that grass is seen in the streets, which is, however, only in one neglected quarter of the town; the other parts are very well built; the streets are remarkably spacious, long, and well paved; and the buildings in general are such as certainly rank it among the finest cities in Europe. Of the public edifices, those which are usually visited by travellers are, the royal palace--the arsenal--the churches of Notre Dame, St. Nicholas, St. Martin, and the Roman chapel--the theatre--the equestrian statue of Frederick the first, &c. The palace is a magnificent but an unequal building, like all those that are raised at different times: some of the apartments are large, and well proportioned; but they by no means answered my expectations, either in dimensions, fitting up, or furniture. The immensity of silver remarked by Mr. Hanway, when he was here, was all melted in the late war, and very little of it is restored. Much of the furniture, for a royal palace, is very mean; but this we are not to be surprized at, as the King gives his attention to so much greater objects. Some of the pictures are fine. The front of the arsenal would be very beautiful, but, as the above-mentioned traveller justly observes, it is profusely
loaded with ornaments. I viewed the contents, and was much entertained with them; for, very contrary to what is seen in most other buildings under this name, here are no useless arms, nothing but what is ready for immediate service. The train is a very fine one. The theatre is in a most grand stile, admirably contrived to give much magnificence to the representation of operas. A very few circumstances excepted, it deserves to be considered as a model for these buildings. The Romish chapel is a monster of disproportion, but the portico is elegant. The equestrian statue of Frederick the First is a fine performance; the horse is remarkably fine, and there is much spirit in the attitude of the figure.
The fortifications of Berlin are regular; but the city is of too great extent to have any thing of strength, if attacked by a powerful army. The number of inhabitants are reckoned at about an hundred thousand. There is always a garrison of from eight to twelve thousand men in it. Charlottenburgh is a small palace within a mile of Berlin; the rooms of which are small, but very elegant: it contains nothing that appears very striking to a traveller; the ball-room is handsome,
but much exceeded by many others. The gardens here, as well as at Potsdam, have nothing in them but regularity, which is disgusting. Sans Souci is a detached apartment in a garden; but nothing of this fort that I have seen abroad is comparable to a number of places we have in England: nor do I think any of these palaces and boxes in the neighbourhood of Berlin are tolerable in taste: the only natural beauty they had was the river, and that is moulded into a canal for them: they have no verdure; the walks are sand, and the situations in general flats.
There is a good deal of commerce carried on at Berlin, by means of the canals which join the Spree and the Oder, and the Oder and the Elbe; by which means there is a most advantageous communication with Hamburgh, the Baltick, and all Silesia. This is of great consequence to the manufactures of Berlin, which are numerous and flourishing: they have fabricks of silk, stuffs, woollen cloths of several forts, and in particular one which clothes most of the army; tapestry, laces, glass, a little hardware, &c. The King gives great encouragement to all manufactures, which has had a great effect in a place where he found many fabricks fixed by French
refugees after the revocation of the edict of Nantes, whose posterity now carry on the principal trade of title city. Berlin supplies Silesia with great quantities of these goods; and before the civil war raged in Poland, that kingdom took off much. They have a small export to the Baltic; formerly to Sweden, but that is now no more.
I was twice or thrice at court, more to see the King, than for any other entertainment. I saw him about nine years ago, and was much surprized to find him so little altered. The immensity of fatigue, both of body and mind, which he went through during the last war, one would have apprehended must have entirely broke him; but he has, by a regular way of life, and great abstemiousness, both then and since, prevented any ill effects. Bodily fatigue may be physick, and mental labour not very destructive, but anxiety is the destroyer, against which it is very difficult to guard: for several years the King was uncertain of his fate; victories had little effect, defeats were ruinous, and he could scarcely conjecture whether he was to be stripped of several provinces, or even his whole dominions. In such a situation, we may easily conceive that anxiety must commit great ravages on
him; and I must own myself surprized to see his health continue so good. His principal amusement is exercising his troops; to see them, is one of the most entertaining sights at Berlin. It is thought that the King himself has not so nice an eye as formerly to the minuti‘ of the tactic, but his officers keep it up in the highest perfection. His army is at present more numerous, and better provided than ever; they do not fall short of one hundred and forty thousand men; and there is not a regiment in his service that is not ready for marching: his whole army, artillery, baggage, and all attendants, could be in the field upon a week's notice at any time; his fortresses are all in better order than before the last war, and some places made of great strength upon the frontiers of Silesia, which never before were fortified at all. His treasure is reported to be considerable, and he certainly is not encumbered with debts; for the last war, immense as it was to him, did not make him contract a shilling of debt, tho' it is certain his antagonist, the Queen of Hungary, anticipated many of her revenues. If all things are considered, it will appear very evident, that his power is better established than ever, and that he has no prospect
of seeing another confederacy, which will bear so hard upon him as the last. Austria will not be eager to attack him, after having failed, with every possible advantage on her side. If she could not wrest Silesia from him, when France, Russia, Sweden, and Saxony were in alliance with her, and their power so actually brought to bear upon him, that he fought battles with them all; such a confederacy is not to be looked for in an age; and if it failed in its aim, that aim may be pronounced impracticable. Saxony, it cannot be expected will unite again, unless it be with Prussia, but the situation of it considered, if it proves an enemy, it will be an enemy swallowed up as in the last war, and the country made to contribute amply to pay the expence of it. Russia will scarcely unite against the King, with whom she is now in close alliance; it would be extremely contrary to her interest. France will always be found in full employment by England; she will not quickly send armies against Prussia. The King therefore has the satisfaction of enjoying peace.
These are the ideas of the Berlin politicians, who all declare the peace will be lasting, from the great jealousy of Austria, and Russia, either opposing or uniting with each
other: every party is strongly armed, and looks on in silence, except Russia, who, knowing her own strength and fearless of consequences, carries on a most extensive war with Turkey and in Poland.
The King's revenues amount at present, to about a million and an half sterling; a sum which in England appears small; but if the different value of money there, and in Brandenburg be considered; and likewise, the uncommon exertions of ‘conomy unequalled in any other court; this sum, I am confident, is in the King's hands as good as four millions, perhaps as five in England. The land-tax throughout his dominions is regular, and equals about nine shillings in the pound: the crown lands yield a considerable rent, and are as well managed to profit, as a private gentleman's estate. The customs are but a small article; they are gathered in his ports on the Baltick and at Embden. The excise is general on all the necessaries of life, and rises so high as forty per cent. These taxes are very heavy; but such is the regularity of his government, and so little oppression is met with from ministers and revenue-officers, that the people are beyond comparison happier than in the dominions of Saxony, Au-
stria, or Bavaria. Much of his success in the late war, was doubtless owing to the subsidy he received from England: the discontinuance of which, and the breaking off all connections between the two courts, struck hard upon him; for it took him out of the hands of France, from whom he received a subsidy of three hundred thousand pounds a year, and left him without an equivalent from England. The treatment he received from the latter country, upon the change of that ministry which had conducted the war, made an impression upon him much against England, of whom he has often expressed himself with some acrimony: what the result will be in future political arrangements, is not easy to say; but if the connection continuous between France and Austria, that between England and Prussia, must in the nature of things be renewed; for when one part of Europe throws itself into an alliance offensive to rest--a counter alliance must ever be formed, or all good ideas of politicks be absolutely given up.
The 1st of June I left Berlin, and got to Britzen, the distance thirty miles: all which track of country is very sandy, though tolerably populous, and some of it well cul-
tivated. They sow much buck-wheat; and were now ploughing for turneps, which they sow the middle of this month: and I believe this root and buck-wheat, with a very little rye, to be all the products these poor lands yield, and yet they seem to be very well manured; for the countrymen house their cattle in winter, and raise by that means large quantities of dung, which they mix with a kind of stiff earth, which they dig from under the sand; a compost which I should suppose, must agree extremely well with such dry barren soils.
The 2d I advanced no further than Wittenburg, the distance only 15 miles. In this journey I passed from Brandenburg to Saxony, and the soil changes almost immediately for the better, and the population of the country also. The soil is a good loam, which yields tolerable crops of wheat; they have also barley, and I remarked a few pieces of flax. Wittenburg was noted before the last war for its cloth manufactories, and for dying better than at any other place in the electorate; the latter business is yet found here, though not near so much as formerly; but most of its fabricks are removed to Berlin, so that the
place has not been able to recover the ruin it met with in the war. Martin Luther's church is yet standing, tho' three hundred years old, and has seen so many sieges, cannonades, and bombardments without any damage.
The 3d I went to Leipsick, the distance 30 miles, through a country naturally exceedingly fertile, but carries many marks of the miseries of the late war. Most of it has been well cultivated, but upon riding into several fields now in grass, and whose appearance indicates wretched management, I found they had been arable ones within a few years; and upon making enquiries, I had several spots pointed out to me, whereon stood small villages, consisting of farm-houses, now no more; and all the lands which belonged to them, and once yielded abundant crops of corn, are now little better than waste and common forest land, whereon the tenants of the same landlord turn their cattle. This is not the case with two or three places, but continues for many miles; and is owing to the nobles to whom the country belongs, having ruined themselves with paying military contributions so often, that at last, they had nothing to pay when their buildings were burnt down, and themselves left too poor to erect
new ones: This is generally the reason, why the feat of war is so very injurious to a country; for nothing is so great an evil, as land cultivated, formerly belonging to owners, too poor to raise the buildings necessary for bringing it again into culture. If the landlords of such a country would allow every thing to be destroyed the first campaign, they would be reduced it is true; but then they would be free from those enormous debts which not only carry their ruin with them to the graves of such as groan under them, but entail misery upon their children.
Leipsick, the suburbs included, is one of the most considerable cities in this part of Germany, notwithstanding its having suffered very severely in the two last wars, and felt some heavy strokes, which are not yet recovered. It has been the theatre of almost every war that has happened in Germany. In the famous one of thirty years, it was very often taken and retaken by the Swedes, and Imperialists; no less than five times in two years: It felt the weight of Charles XII's invasion of Saxony, than whom there have been few more brutal invaders. And the two last wars succeeded each other very quickly; its trade and buildings much declined in
them. The city itself is not an agreeable place, from the narrowness of the streets, and the height of the houses, which rise to eight or nine stories; but the suburbs are much more spacious and better built; they are also pleasant, from the number of areas, and gardens in them; and from the conflux of three small rivers. They have not many publick buildings at Leipsick that much deserve a stranger's attention; the best among them is St. Nicholas Church, which is a very fine edifice. The townhouse is an old but a good structure; the exchange is another: and around the great market place are many houses of private merchants, which make an uncommon figure for buildings of that sort; but there are several traders in the city, that have made considerable fortunes, and before the last war treble the number; but the greatest among them upon the breaking out of it, removed themselves and their effects to Hamburgh. The university is one of the most famous in Germany, and much frequented by students of family and fortune; but this also declined much in the last war.
Trade is the soul of Leipsick: Considering that it is an inland place, and without the advantage even of a navigable river, the great-
ness of its commerce is very surprizing; but it is owing to its fairs, of which they have three very considerable ones every year. To them merchants bring or send goods of all sorts from every part of Europe: all the manufactures of Germany, France, Italy, England, Holland, and Flanders are met with here: Vast magazines are formed of East India goods of all sorts; of West India commodities; of wines, brandies, fruits, silk, hemp, flax, iron, and in a word all sorts of products: And purchasers resort hither from every part of Germany and the North. These fairs also carry off great quantities of the fabricks which are made at Leipsick, of which there are several sorts; such as silk, cotton and woollen manufactures, paper, gold, and silver laces, &c. but all these suffered much from the last war; nor have they recovered themselves to any thing like their former success: Indeed, I observed in conversation with several merchants here, that they had all a distrust that they were by no means secure from fresh visits of the Prussians; and while this is the case, (at which we cannot be surprized) it is not to be wondered that commerce and manufactures do not thrive. The injury the whole Electorate
sustained last war, in the destruction of its manufactures and trade; the ruin of its agriculture, and the decline of its population, was of an exceedingly great amount, and such as cannot be recovered without the most unremitting attention, and political conduct of half a century; before which time it will probably see in some cause or other, a renewal of its calamities. If these circumstances are considered, with the oppressive government of all the German princes that have an absolute authority, we shall have reason to wonder at any trade at all being found in Saxony.
The 6th, I travelled thirty miles to Meissen, through the finest part of Saxony; and which, notwithstanding the fury of the late war, is now a populous and a well cultivated country; there is a areat deal of arable land, and very fine champain fields, covered with corn; many villages, and the people seemed to be active, and quite alive in their business. Part of the females were collected in small knots in the villages spinning wool; others drove the horses and oxen that drew the ploughs; this employment of the women is an excellent sign, where the men do not, in consequence, indulge in idleness, which is the case in some countries. They cultivate a great deal of wheat and barley, and were now sowing some
buck-wheat; but it is a grain for which their lands are too good, the poorest sands will rival them: They cultivate turneps, cabbages; and also cabbages for feeding themselves and their cattle; their herds are numerous; they feed them not only in their meadows, but also upon clover, of which I saw several large pieces, a thing I had not remarked of a long time. I enquired into their management of it; they sow it with barley, and in the succeeding year, either mow it twice for hay, thrice sometimes; or else feed sheep, young cattle, cows, oxen, and horses upon it: the hay they prefer to meadow hay. They keep it two years upon the ground, and after that plough it up for any sort of crop, but do not seem to consider it as a peculiar preparation for wheats, which is the idea in England: It has not been long cultivated here, but spreads very fast, from their finding the profit of it to be great. The lands here are cultivated by both the landlords and peasants; the latter are in general farmers, and not of very little spots, but they are bound to apply a part of their time with their teams, &c. to cultivate those parts of the estate, which the landlord holds in his own hands, and which are usually pretty considerable.
Meissen is a little town, weakly fortified, but with a strong castle on the Elbe; it is only remarkable (the Dresden Porcelane excepted) for a covered bridge of wood over that river; the cathedral I had been told was a fine building, with many fine electoral monuments in it, but I found it worthy of very little observation. The manufacture of Porcelane, was once more famous here, than at any other place in Europe, but the last war almost ruined it; upon the King of Prussia's irruption into Saxony, most of the workmen, and the materials were removed; but the war continuing so long, and Saxony remaining in the hands of the Prussians, some of the people died, and others were lost; some the King of Prussia secured, and sent them to Berlin; where he attempted to establish a similar manufactory, but he has executed nothing comparable to the old Dresden pieces. Upon the establishment of peace, the works at Meissen were restored, and a fresh set of workmen, with some old ones, resumed the manufactory : I have seen the best pieces they have made, and shall venture to assert, that the manufacture is lost; for they are not in the clearness of the white, to be compared with the metal formerly made; as to fine painting, it is any where to be had, and there-
fore not peculiar to the Dresden ware. This is a great loss to the curious, and lovers of fine Porcelane all over Europe; and the more so, as none of the numerous fabricks set up in England, France, or Holland, have come near equal to it.
The 17th I reached Dresden, which is only fifteen miles from Meissen, through the most beautiful line of country I have seen in Germany; it is all hill and dale, corn, vines, and meadows along the banks of the Elbe a continued picture; the river is every where seen to advantage, with the beautiful circumstance of the banks being high and woody; a more entertaining picturesque scene can hardly be viewed.
Dresden I can easily conceive, was before the destruction of the suburbs, one of the finest cities in Europe; but the Prussians have much reduced its beauty, by burning down a great part of the most beautiful quarters of it. The old city is fortified in a regular manner; the bastions are of stone; and there is a double ditch, but yet the strength of it is nothing, unless the garrison be very numerous: The river Elbe divides it into two cities, the old and the new. The bridge over that river which is built of stone, is reckoned the finest in Germany; but no person who has
seen that at Westminster, will think there either beauty or magnificence in it. It is five hundred and forty feet long, thirty six broad, and consists of nineteen arches. The electoral palace is not a very striking building for the beauties of architecture; but there are many very fine and spacious apartments in it very splendidly furnished; much of it done since the war; for some of the best furniture was ruined by the Prussians, and a vast number of curiosities carried off. The King it is supposed, did not design to touch any thing, and no commander keeps a more regular discipline, but in so long a war so full of events, and those remarkably severe; a place of curiosities, must necessarily fare but badly. The stables form a magnificent building, being very spacious, and were once filled with some of the finest horses in Germany, but many of the stalls are now unoccupied; indeed the revenues of the electorate suffered to so great a degree in the late war, that Dresden has ever since exhibited a very different appearance; the court is no longer what it was, and all those circumstances which flow from great revenues, have sunk proportionably to the decline, which the Saxon income has experienced. No court in Germany was so profuse; but there is an ‘conomy in it now,
which promises a much happier administration of affairs than has been experienced in the two last.
The Romish chappel is one of the finest edifices at Dresden; it is a well-proportioned and magnificent building; most highly ornamented: It was built for the private use of the late King and his court.
The chamber of curiosities, have yet a great many very beautiful models, and toys, which cannot fail entertaining any traveller; and the collection which they call the Kunts-kammar, which is chiefly of natural rarities, equal to any thing that can be seen; but as the particulars of these things have been published by more than one traveller, I shall not swell these pages with a recital of them. The gallery of pictures, is equal to most that are to be seen in Italy; and are kept in admirable preservation. The pieces by Correggio are to be equalled no where but in Parma. A very magnificent work, containing plates of all the pictures this gallery, was published at Dresden, under the direct inspection of the late King.
The Indian palace, of which several writers have given long accounts, is in my opinion a very silly affair; and by no means even elegant. Count Bruhl's famous palace suf-
fered most severely in the war, at which nobody was concerned, from the foundation of all his grandeur being laid in the miseries of the Saxons; and from his being the principal plotter, and adviser of that war, which ruined his master. The picture gallery is one of the finest rooms I have any where seen.
From the best accounts I could get while at Dresden, the decline in all the affairs of consequence throughout the government of Saxony, upon account of the late war, is much greater than has been thought by some authors who have written lately. Before the war, the revenues of the electorate, by means however of very great oppression, amounted to a million and an half sterling; but I was assured, that they do not at this day, although near seven years of peace have intervened, rise to seven hundred thousand pounds, and yet the government is burthened with a very heavy debt. Saxony, before the war, contained near two millions of people ; it has not now much above one: In Dresden were an hundred and ten thousand people, but at present it would be difficult to find half the number; such strong marks of decline are not to be mistaken, they shew the severity of the late war, in the most striking colours; and prove
clearly that if it had continued much longer, the whole electorate would have been made a desart.
The present government conducts all things in a very sensible and political manner; they find the wretched state of the country will admit of nothing but an ‘conomy which has not been practiced in this country for a long while; the people see and know the publick distress, and do not repine at the taxes they are forced to pay, as all did when the amount was squandered by count Bruhl, and the King, in cloaths, toys, and gewgaws. Only fifteen thousand regular troops are kept up, but they have five or fix thousand militia regularly disciplined. This is certainly acting with prudence; for the whole country is so impoverished, that if they raised by taxes a revenue to do otherwise, it must be by the ruin of the people. They must have time not only to recruit their losses, but also their numbers. The soil is in general fertile, and the Saxons are industrious enough to bring it into culture, if they have time given them, without making even peace itself too burthensome, by taxation, and without hurrying them into another war, which could not fail of being ruinous to the whole electorate. Some encouragement has been given to agriculture
and manufactures since the peace; particularly by an exemption from taxes in certain cases wherein they would be extremely burthensome; but the essential foundation of tolerable cultivation, or activity in carrying on fabricks, is wanting, which is wealth, or at least easy circumstances in the undertakers; but this electorate, the Prussians exhausted to so great a degree, that they left scarcely any wealth in it; the lands are in the hands of nobility so reduced, that they can scarcely live; much less are able to carry on improvements in the manner requisite at present, for being effectual in reviving husbandry in their country; and when this is the case, such a renovation must be left to common causes, the increase of the people, and of industry among the lower classes, which is always of most slow operation.
The amazing difference of the event of the war to Brandenburg and Saxony, is striking. The latter is so ruined and exhausted, as to lye almost at the mercy of any invader; without people, trade, revenues, or forces, on a comparison with what all those articles were before the war: on the contrary, the King of Prussia is in possession of as great an income as ever; a finer army, than when he began the war: his dominions suffered indeed, but the
wounds seem to have been but skin-deep: certainly his country was not made the seat of war in the manner he made that of the Elector of Saxony. The contrast indeed is so striking, that if ever a new war breaks out between Prussia and Austria, Saxony most undoubtedly will not join the latter.
The 12th I set out from Dresden, and got to Lentmeritz, in Bohemia, in two days, passing through Pirna, and by the famous castle of Koningstein. Pirna is a little place among the mountains, and Koningstein is a castle situated on the top of a rock, three hundred feet high, and half a mile in circumference. The way to it is so difficult, that a company is sufficient to defend it against an army. In it is a well, above sixteen hundred feet deep, which supplies the garrison with water. In the labyrinth of these rocks and mountains, the King of Prussia caught the Saxon army and made them prisoners. The country is in general very wild and romantic, and the views of the Elbe running through such a region of mountains extremely grotesque: There are some vineyards planted upon southern spots of these mountains, where the grapes ripen tolerably, but the wine is not drinkable to those who have been used to that which is good.