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ROUEN.

Origin and Progress of the City--Cotton Industry-Situation–The Old Town- Modern Improvements, Introduction of

Christianity-The Cathedral: its Historical and Legendary Associations-Among the Tombs-Church of St. OuenA Tragical Story-Other Churches of Rouen- The Palais de Justice–The Markets -A Dragon Story-The Place de la Pucelle, and Joan of Arc-The Cloche d'Argent-Fountains-Gates—Biographical Reminiscences-Bridges.

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THE ARMS OF

ROUEX.

HE high importance of Rouen as a centre of commerce and industrial

skill, its historical associations, and the splendour and beauty of its

monuments, all join to give to the ancient capital of Normandy a foremost rank among the provincial cities of fair France; and, intimately connected as it was for a time with our own country, it presents to English

men many special features of interest. There are

some who assert that a town occupied the present site of Rouen long before Lutetia-now Paris-rose upon her islands in the Seine. This may be true, but at any rate it is certain that the Romans found Rothomagus on the spot where Rouen now stands. It was then the capital of the Gallic tribe of the Veliocasses, and, as shown by the discovery in modern times of numerous architectural and other remains, was a town of considerable importance during the Roman occupation. Clovis and his Franks seized upon the city in 529 A.D. Three centuries later pirate hordes were sweeping down upon the northern provinces of France, and, in order to save the rest of his kingdom, the King of France ceded to the Normans, Rouen and all the province of Neustria (since known as Normandy), on condition that the chief, Rollo, should be baptised. Of the many sieges and various vicissitudes Rouen has since experienced, we can mention here only the most prominent. Some, however, will be particularised in connection with the historical monuments.

After the conquest of England, in 1066, Normandy became an appanage of the English Crown till Philip Augustus, in 1204, re-united it to France, after a severance of three hundred years. The city of Rouen flourished and extended its commerce under Frankish and Norman rulers, and it was enlarged, improved, and embellished by Philip Augustus, Francis I., and other French monarchs. In 1419, Henry V. of England besieged the city, and for six months a desperate resistance was maintained, till 30,000 of the inhabitants had perished. The Rouennais were then about to fire the place, and finish by selling their lives as dearly as possible in a sortie en masse, when the king, hearing of the project, offered terms to the besieged. A heavy ransom was paid; Alain Blanchard, the brave and popular leader of the people in their gallant defence, was hanged, and for thirty years Rouen was occupied by the English forces. It was during this occupancy that the cruel tragedy of the burning of Jeanne d'Arc took place- an event to which we shall have again to refer. In 1449, Dunois, in spite of a brave defence by “the great Talbot," recaptured the city. Rouen saw many a sight of horror when the Roman Catholics were

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Rouen.)

HISTORY.

33

trying to suppress Huguenot heresy; and when Francis II. was king the adherents of the Reformation seized all the strongholds of the town, persecuted the Catholics, and did irreparable damage to the cathedral and churches. In October, 1562, the Duke of Guise established Catholic supremacy in Rouen, by giving the city up to eight days' pillage by his soldiery, and putting to the sword or burning every armed inhabitant. afterwards came the Massacre of St. Bartholomew. A humane governor was then ruling in the city, and to the utmost of his power he limited the operation of the cruel orders

Ten years

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received from the infamous Queen-Mother, Catherine de Medicis, so that in Rouen about four hundred persons only perished. In 1594 Henry of Navarre, when winning back his kingdom, piece by piece, occupied eight months in besieging the city. From later king's and rulers Rouen received a due share of notice. Louis XV. suspended its Parliament, but instituted an Academy of Literature, Science, and Arts. Its free institutions were, however, restored by the succeeding monarch. At the Revolutionary epoch Rouen suffered in turns from famine, pillage, and massacre. During more recent times her history has been for the most part a story of growth and prosperity. On December 5, 1870, she saw the enemy once more at her gates, deemed herself incapable of offering any effective resistance, and quietly became for a considerable time the head-quarters of the Prussian General Manteuffel, and in March, 1871, the residence of the Crown Prince and General von Moltke. But the Prussians went, and the war indemnity was paid, and Rouen has peacefully developed its commerce and industry, and grown richer and more prosperous every day.

As a commercial town of France, Rouen stands second only to Lyons. It is the chief French seat of the cotton industry, its speciality being the striped and checked stuffs known as Rouenneries. About 50,000 persons out of the 150,000 who make up the population of the town and its suburbs are employed in spinning, weaving, dyeprinting, bleaching, and similar pursuits. The manufacture of bon-bons and sucre de pomme is also carried on to a large extent.

The admirable situation of the city has, of course, conduced much to its commercial prosperity. As an inland town it has easy communication with Paris and all parts of France, and at the same time possesses maritime advantages by reason of its tidal river, a thousand feet in width, bearing vessels of 500 tons burthen to its busy quays. Two sheltering islands in the river enclose a broad haven for sea-going vessels. The visitor who stands to view the city and its environs from where the stone bridge crosses the extremity of the Ile de la Croix beholds a splendid panorama before him. The broad, bright river, sprinkled with green islets, is seen flowing gently along a rich valley, and past the majestic and venerable city. Behind the wide stone quays, continually traversed by steam tram-cars and alive with business activity, gradually rise the old tortuous streets and handsome new thoroughfares, the cathedral, the Gothic churches, the mediæval houses, the modern emporiums, the towers and belfries that go to make up Rouen. The Rouennais gondolas, associated like those of Venice with a thousand romantic stories, the steamers darting to and fro, and the flags of many nations fluttering above a forest of masts, lend life and colour to the foreground, and beyond the old Norman city are seen the encompassing hills and wooded ravines that make its environs so picturesque and delightful.

The most interesting portion of Rouen is the old town circumscribed by the Quays and the Boulevards, the latter having taken the place of the fortification which resisted Henry V. of England. Outside this boundary stretch the faubourgs, largely inhabited by the industrial classes, and displaying a vast number of tall smoky chimneys and long factories, reflecting back the sun's rays from their innumerable windows. within the old boundaries a great metamorphosis has of late years been effected. The Rouen whose picturesque streets Prout drew with such enthusiastic delight, and of which Victor Hugo sang, is fast disappearing. It wants to be like Paris, and is sacrificing therefore much of its picturesqueness for the sake of having rows of grand houses and handsome squares. It began to modernise itself in 1853, by improving its quays and chief thoroughfares; in 1860 it borrowed 12,000,000 francs in order to renovate the entire city, and, ever since, demolition and re-construction have been going on. The three principal new streets are the Rue de la République, the Rue Jeanne d'Arc, and the Rue de l'Hôtel de Ville, all lined with elegant structures and attractive shops. The principal artery of the city from north to south is formed by the Rue Grand Pont, the Rue des Carmes (the Bond Street of Rouen), and the Rue Beauvoisine. This is an ancient thoroughfare, but largely rebuilt, and splendid shops abound in it. The most frequented promenade in the city is the Cours Boieldieu, by the waterside, affording fine prospects of the town and

But even

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