페이지 이미지

prevail. The sight of it produces the most striking effect on the visitor of all the marvels he has yet seen.

Crossing a small canal, we reach the gun-park, where all the cannon, arranged according to their calibre, reach in interminable files along the quay. They are all made on the new model, and the old guns have been broken up and recast. Opposite the park are the buildings and workshops of the artillery, while to the right is the armoury, one of the handsomest in Europe. French ingenuity has been exhausted in producing pleasant combinations of arms; and you see, for instance, weeping willows, the leaves being formed of bayonets. There are some very valuable coats of mail also scattered about the room, while in the centre is a statue of Bellona, menacingly raising her sword, as if just about to rush on the foe.

From the gun-park to the mouth of the basin runs a mole, along which the disarmed vessels and those intended for the service of the port lie in regular rows. The frigates intended for the latter service are in reality only nominally disarmed, and could be got perfectly ready for sea in twenty-four hours. They lie next to the entrance of the harbour, have their guns, water, and coals aboard, and though the stripped lower masts ostensibly make them look as if disarmed, a nautical eye detects at once that everything is ready to hand. The only thing wanting to animate them is the crew, but the men are ready at a moment's notice. It is the silence of annihilation, the slumber of the lightning, which a nod can discharge. In the magazines running along this mole are all the stores of the vessels in ordinary, so perfectly arranged that ten to twelve ships might be equipped simultaneously without the slightest con


Going along the mole we reach the opening of the new basin, which is closed at night by a chain, and is thence called Chaine Neuve. A ferryboat, or va-t-et-vient, served by a galley-slave, maintains the communications with the western mole, on which is the Bagne. Two howitzers are pointed at the latter from the eastern mole to defend the Chaine Neuve, in the event of a revolt among the convicts.


The Bagne runs along the western mole. In former days, the convicts were chained in galleys, and rowed them in conjunction with the slaves captured from the Mussulmans. If there were any deficiency in slaves, the authorities were empowered to impress free men, which, though tyrannical, freed the community from all scamps. At times, too, men voluntarily entered this dismal service, and were known as buono-voyos -bonne volonté―an expression still used in Provence to indicate a mauvais sujet.

Marseilles and Toulon were the first points where galley-slaves were established; but afterwards bagnes were also erected at Rochefort, Brest, and Lorient. For some time past only the one at Toulon has been kept up, and the other convicts were transported to Cayenne, ostensibly through motives of humanity; and measures are being taken to abolish the bagne at Toulon. The average number of convicts there is 4000. Since the abolition of the galleys, in 1750, they have been employed to do all the heavy work in the arsenal.


The entrance to the bagne is by a heavy iron door, which, however, remains open by day. Close to the gate is the bazaar, where articles made by the convicts during their leisure hours are sold to visitors. principal productions are carvings in cocoa-nut-shell and straw mosaic. Powder-flasks made of the former, and carved in the most masterly manner, are generally for sale. A chef-d'œuvre in this class is a couple of flasks made by an engraver, condemned for bank-note forgery to twenty-five years' penal servitude, and on which the battle of Balaklava and another action are engraved in relief. On the two flasks there are one hundred and forty-five distinct figures, and it took the prisoner two and a half years to execute them. Their price is in no proportion to their artistic value. Each leisure hour's work is only estimated at 1 to 4 centimes; hence, during his six hours of liberty a prisoner can only earn from 1 to 5 sous. These flasks, whose value is at least 1000 francs, consequently cost only 125 francs. The cheapness of these little articles produces a ready sale, and hardly any visitor goes away without purchasing something.

The bagne is divided into several rooms, which serve as sleepingapartments for the convicts, who are formed into three classes. The first consists of those condemned for life; the second of the indociles, who refuse to work; and the third of the éprouvés, or convicts who have conducted themselves properly for a certain number of years. Each new arrival is chained to another man, though, we are happy to say, regard is paid to the character of the men. Every convict is, on coming in, put to heavy work (grande fatigue), and it requires a year's. good conduct to be removed to lighter tasks (petite fatigue). In the latter case, the convict is loosed from his companion, and carries his chain alone, which weighs 15lbs. Double chains, bastinado, solitary confinement, and the Salle des Indociles, are the punishments awarded for offences within the bagne.

The Salle des Indociles causes the visitor to shudder involuntarily. The convicts lie there, fastened to iron bars, and have only a space of three paces to move in. The bed, consisting of an oblique wooden surface, with a loose log for a pillow, is just behind the bar. These convicts have neither blankets nor mattresses. So long as they remain obstinate, they are kept here, and never enjoy the fresh air. They see no one with the exception of the gaoler who brings their food, and the visitor is only allowed a hurried peep at them through an iron trap in

the door.

The dress of the convicts consists of a shirt of coarse linen, a long red frieze jacket without buttons or collar, a pair of trousers, linen in summer, cloth in winter, a pair of shoes, and a long woollen cap, on which the number of the prisoner, engraved on tin, is attached. The letters GAL. are also printed on various parts of all the articles of clothing. All the relapsed criminals are distinguished by having one red and one yellow sleeve. A red cap distinguishes those condemned for five to ten years; a yellow band round it, those for more than ten years; a green cap, those condemned for life. Their food consists of bread and vegetables; only the invalids receive meat daily; the éprouvés, twice a week. The latter also have a mattress, while all the rest have only a blanket. At night the convicts are chained to iron posts fastened in the ground at the foot of their beds.

The convicts à la grande fatigue are not allowed to earn anything, but only the éprouvés. Half the earnings are laid aside for the prisoner, and, on his release, transmitted to the maire of the town where he intends to settle, and carry on the trade he has learned in the bagne, for every convict is bound to learn one. What results have been caused from this system is proved by the buildings of the general magazines, the covered slips, and the hospitals, all made exclusively by the galley-slaves. The gaolers are called "gardes-chiourmes," and are armed inside with a sabre, outside with a loaded musket. There is one guard to every five couples

of convicts.

Of the buildings attached to the bagne, the hospital deserves special mention. It was formerly a magazine for cables, but was handed over for its present object at the beginning of the century. It consists of a single room, 300 feet long and 25 feet wide, divided into three galleries by two rows of pillars. The central one is employed as a passage, while in either of the others are fifty iron beds. The sick convicts are attended in the most careful manner, and it is a pleasant sight to see the Sisters of Charity waiting on them, and the exquisite cleanliness everywhere visible. The repeated attempts of the convicts to break out of hospital have rendered it necessary to chain them up, even during illness, and they can only be unchained by the physician's order. Every evening a gaoler examines the iron bars of the windows by passing a knife along them, and thus convincing himself that none have been sawn through.

To the north of the hospital is the boat-builders' yard, the long boats of the vessels being constructed on the ground floor, while the lighter boats are built above. At the end of the mole are the slips for building frigates and corvettes, and to the right of them are stored the new boilers for steam-vessels.


We have now gone the round of the arsenal, and find ourselves once more at the entrance. There are, however, two auxiliary arsenalsCastigneau to the west, Mourillon to the east, of the town-both very extensive, and deserving a description consequently.

At Castigneau we first notice the great bakery, an establishment now being removed to make room for a new iron foundry. The ovens are on the ground floor: in one wing there are eight, in the other, twelve. The building has two stories: one for flour, the other used as a magazine for ship's biscuits. Very great alterations are being effected at Castigneau; a new boiler manufactory is being built, a coal depôt prepared, and two new docks are in construction.

Beyond Castigneau is the marine laboratory, where all the ammunition is made; and farther on may be seen the two naval powder magazines, called Millaud and La Goubran. Behind the latter, and close to the coast, is a battery, and another above it. The former is called Batterie des Sans-culottes; the latter, Batterie de la Montagne. Both were made by Napoleon in 1793, and did considerable injury to the English fleet. Close to Castigneau is the suburb Pont de Lac, so named from the mountain stream that runs through it, whose bed Vauban altered when building the arsenal.

To the east of Toulon is the Faubourg la Rode, or, as it is more commonly called, Mourillon, adjoining the old harbour, and giving its name

to the arsenal. For more than a century it has been the depôt for the ship-building timber. In 1821 sheds were erected to cover it, and in 1836 the building of the present establishment was commenced. The most important part of it will be found close to the water's edge, consisting of three groups of five building-slips each, which render it feasible to build fifteen ships of the line at once; as also two docks. As these docks, owing to the absence of ebb and flow, had to be formed in water at least thirty feet deep, the engineers had enormous difficulties to contend with. Each dock cost 1,650,000 francs, or about the price for building and equipping a three-decker.

A chain of fortifications encloses these succursales of the great arsenal. A portion of the Lesser Mourillon roads is reserved for ships of war, which get ready for sea here, after they have been equipped in the arsenal. A height is crowned by Fort Lamalgue, which commands the roads and the entire town. It consists of a bastioned parallelogram, surmounted for two-thirds of its length by a cavalier. This fort is armed with 200 guns, and supplied with bomb-proof casemates.

The panorama obtained from this height is one of the prettiest to be found all around Toulon, which is rich in pleasant views. The eye can survey from this point the entire system of fortification for town and harbour to the north and west, Forts Sainte-Catherine, Artigues, Faron with its tower, the forts and works of Saint-Antoine, Fort Malbousquet behind Castigneau; to the east, the very recently constructed fort on Cape Brun, and Fort Sainte-Marguerite; to protect the roads, in addition to the two last-named, Fort Lamalgue with its detached works, Fort Saint-Louis, Grosse Tour, Fort Balaguier or Petite Tour, Fort Aiguillette, Fort Napoléon or Petit Gibraltar, and, lastly, the tremendous battery on Cape Capet, strengthened by four other batteries flush with the water. These works mount altogether 800 guns; nearly all command and support each other in turn, and the most daring enemy would find it a hard task to inflict any injury on Toulon or its arsenal.

We cannot quit our subject without paying a visit to the new marine hospital St. Mandrier, built at the foot of the peninsula of Capet, not far from the coast. It is one of the largest buildings of its class; nothing was neglected which could add to the comfort of the patients or the object of the institution. Three main buildings form so many sides of a quadrangle, the fourth being enclosed by an iron railing, and in the centre are two enormous subterranean cisterns, containing 10,000,000 litres of water. In order to prevent the spread of any contagious disease from one building to the other, they are isolated, and only connected by flying-bridges. Each building has three stories, and each of the latter has externally a gallery of 21 arcades, a style of building which, while adding to the magnificence of the edifices, is very useful to temper the cold in winter and the heat in summer, without interfering with the ventilation or the light. In addition, these verandahs form a pleasant promenade for patients not strong enough to descend to the court-yard.

The two side buildings are reserved for patients, each containing 500 beds. The central building serves as residences for all the officers, and contains the offices, surgeries, laboratories, kitchens, and all the other departments, as well as rooms for sick officers. Behind the building towers Cape Capet, planted with trees and bushes of every variety. A portion of these park-like grounds has been walled in, and the convalescent are

allowed to walk in it. The chapel, which contains some very fine carved work, was entirely built by the galley-slaves.

Hence he has

A few remarks about the French fleet, and our subject is exhausted. We are all of us aware how much the present emperor has done to pull up his navies; but a perfect idea of it can alone be obtained by a visit to the French naval ports, more especially Toulon. Since 1853, the ministry of marine has published no statement as to the actual condition of the fleet, and other countries are still, to a certain extent, in the dark as to the real strength of the French marine. This strength becomes perfectly evident when with you see your own eyes the enormous stock of materials, which is visible not only in the ships, but at every step through the magazines. Louis Napoleon, in augmenting his fleet, has kept ever before him his wish not merely to make a powerful navy, but also a rapidly prepared reserve in case of accident. avoided the great mistake of his uncle, of risking everything on one stroke. Defeats like Aboukir and Trafalgar can no longer drive the French off the sea; and within a month an equal fleet would be got in readiness again. There is no want of crews to man it either; the lists of the "inscription maritime" display to us 145,000 men, sufficient to man 100 ships of the line, with their requisite complement of frigates and corvettes, although France at present has only 64 ships of the line. Hence we think that Louis Napoleon has fully carried out his designs, and is prepared, at any moment, to try a fall with us for the supremacy of the ocean. The only way to prevent it is increased activity in our own arsenals. And that such will be displayed there is no reason to doubt. Sir John Pakington showed the way in which it could be done, and his successor has only to follow his lead.

If we ask any Frenchman the character of Cherbourg, he will unhesitatingly reply that it is a "port d'agression." This expression can only refer to one power. Cherbourg is the embodiment of French feelings towards Englishmen, the result of a hatred which has been fostered for centuries. Louis XIV., that embittered foe of England, laid the first stone of the great work, although he intended it principally as a defensive measure. Napoleon I. intended Cherbourg as offensive, and the impulse he gave to the works was only checked by his overthrow. Louis Napoleon, faithful to the traditions of the Empire, has carried out his uncle's will with great energy, and this energy reveals the true feelings of the nephew towards his powerful rival. He proclaimed peace to the world when he was crowned emperor, but the feverish haste and terrific exertions he made to raise the military strength of his country, augment his fleet, and complete Cherbourg, sufficiently prove that his thoughts were directed to another object, which, though not expressed, was openly announced in his works. His error was in converting the completion of Cherbourg into a demonstration, and seeking in it a triumph. The consequence has been the formation of a Channel fleet.

From Toulon we have nothing to fear so long as Malta and Gibraltar are kept at a proper state of efficiency: to disarm Cherbourg we must press on the fortification and harbour works of Dover. Till these are completed, the safety of England against French invasion depends on our Channel fleet and our close attention to the movements of Louis Napoleon.

« 이전계속 »