Pièce 39 - Commentaires de John Andrews sur le château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye

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Commentaires de John Andrews sur le château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye


  • 1784 (Production)

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(1736 - 1809)

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Historien et géographe anglais.

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« [p. 486] Of all the royal houses in the proximity of Paris, there is none to compare in point of situation to St. Germain. It is an ancient venerable building, not unlike the castle of Windsor : the apartements [p. 487] are grand and roomy, and quite worthy of a royal guest. Several of them are still inhabited by descendants of some of those families that followed the fortunes of our James the Second.
The gardens of this fine old palace exhibit a beautiful model of the taste of the last century. They are a curioux mixture of the French and English manner of laying out gardens at that time : the bowling-green still subsists, that was made for our dethroned monarch, who, like his brother Charles, took particular delight in that amusement ; il retains its original name, being called le Boulingrin to this day.
But what will please you beyond all the rest, is a terrass highly elevated, and of singular construction, from whence there is a prospect of twenty miles extent, richly variegated by every object which the noblest lendskip can offer to the eye.
[p. 488] It is observed by the French that no place in the neighbourhood of Paris, is so much relished as this by the English. This does not arise from any desire of communication with the descendants of their countrymen who fled from England at the time of the revolution, or those who have since left it from similar motives : with fugitives from this island on policital principles the English are not in the least fond of associating : it arises from the ruralness of the situation, the beautiful aspect of the country around, and the remembrance it inspires of some delightful spots in our own island, not far from our metropolis, by the resemblance it bears to them.
I have heard that James used to say, that his brother of France not being able to restore him to the possession of his kingdoms, had, however, by way of confort, bestowed upon him the beautifullest spot of his own dominions to dwell in.
[p. 489] If at any time you should be inclined to spend a few days in a country recefs, you cannot chuse one at once more elegant and rural. It is in the vicinity of a forest cut into a variety of walks and avenues, which all terminate in some agreeable object.
In this forest, I have been informed, Lewis and James used frequently, in the latter days of this monarch, to enjoy the close of a Summer’s afternoon in walking together. Though the first was incontestibly much superior in abilities to the last, yet their characters corresponded in many essential respects : they were attachew with many equal bigotry to the religion they protest, and equally averse to all others ; they were no less under the influence of a persecuting spirit, abhorrent of toleration, and ready to propagate their belief by violent and coercive means : nor were they dissimilar in their notions of government ; they were both immeasurably fond of unlimited [p. 490] power, and impatient of the least controul : in the privat concerns of life they were far from unlike ; James in his younger days was noted for having his mistresses as well as Lewis : they agreed also in some meritorious respects ; they were kind husbands, and fond parents ; they were gentle masters, and good-natured men within their domestic circle. These qualifications were a sufficient ground for mutual liking and confidence, especially when we consider how much they were personally interested in each other’s prosperity. »

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John Andrews, Letters to a young gentleman, on his setting out for France, containing a survey of Paris, and a review of French literature, with rules and directions for travellers, and various observations and anecdotes relating to the subject, Londres, J. Walter and W. Brown, 1784, p. 486-490.

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