Page images
PDF
EPUB

of which bears and wolves seemed the rightful tenants rather than men He taught the wild people around the arts of agriculture, as well as the doctrines of true religion. The humble cell which the Scotch missionary had founded became the nucleus of civilization; and 50 years after his death, when the fame of his sanctity, and the miracles reported to have been wrought at his tomb, drew thousands of pilgrims to the spot, it was replaced by a more magnificent edifice, founded under the auspices of Pepin l'Heristal. This Abbey was one of the oldest ecclesiastical establishments in Germany. It became the asylum of learning during the dark ages, and was the most celebrated school in Europe between the 8th and 10th centuries. Here the works of the authors of Rome and Greece were not only read but copied, and we owe to the labour of these obscure monks many of the most vaJuable classical authors, which have been preserved to modern times in MSS., treasured up in the Abbey of St. Gall; among them Quintilian, Silius Italicus, Ammian Marcellinus, and part of Cicero, may be mentioned.

About the beginning of the 13th century St. Gall lost its reputation for learning, as its abbots exchanged a love of piety and knowledge for worldly ambition, and the thirst for political influence and territorial rule. The desire of security, in those insecure times, first induced the abbot to surround his convent and the adjoining building with a wall and ditch, with 13 towers at intervals; and from that moment (the end of the 10th century) may be dated the foundation of the town. He and his 100 monks of the Benedictine order thought it no disgrace to sally forth, sword in hand and helmet on head, backed by their 200 serfs, in the hour of danger, when the convent was threatened by ungodly laymen. The donations of pious pilgrims from all parts of Europe soon augmented enormously the revenues of the abbots. They became the most considerable territorial sovereigns in N. Switzerland; their influence was increased by their elevation to the rank of princes of the empire; they were engaged in constant wars with their neighbours, and were latterly entangled in perpetual feuds with their subjects at home. These bold burghers, who, in the first instance, owed their existence and prosperity to the convent, became, in the end, restive under its rule. In the beginning of the 15th century the land of Appenzell threw off the yoke of the abbot; at the Reformation St. Gall itself became independent of him; and in 1712 the ecclesiastical prince was obliged to place the convent under the protection of those very citizens whose ancestors had been his serfs.

The French revolution caused the secularization of the abbey, and the sequestration of its revenues followed in 1805.

The last abbot, Pancratius Forster, died in 1829, a pensioner on the bounty of others, in the convent of Muri.

The Abbey Church, now cathedral, was so completely modernized in the last century, that it possesses little to interest the stranger.

The deserted Monastery is now converted into a public school, and the part of it which formed the abbot's Palace (Die Pfalz) now serves for the public offices of the Govern

ment of the canton.

The Convent Library (Stifts Bibliotheck) still exists in the town, and contains many curiosities, such as various ancient MSS. either from Ireland, or transcribed by Irish monks; also a MS. of the Niebelungen Lied.

At the Cassino Club will be found an excellent reading

room.

The Freudenberg, the neighbouring mountain on the W. of the town, commands from its summit, about 2 miles off, a fine panorama, including the lake of Constance and the mountains of St. Gall and Appenzell, with the Sentis at their head. A carriage-road leads up to the top, where an inn iş built.

Diligences go from St. Gall daily to Constance, Winterthur, and Zurich; 4 times a-week to Wesen and Rapperschwyi; twice a-week to Lindau; once a-week to Bregenz and Innsbruck; 3 times a-week to Donaueschingen and Carlsruhe; 3 times a-week to Coire, by Rorschach, Altstätten, and thence to Milan by the Splügen and Bernardin.

[blocks in formation]

ROUTE 67.

ALTSTET

ST. GALL TO COIRE, BY RORSCHACH, RHEINECK,
TEN, THE VALLEY OF THE RHINE, AND THE BATHS OF
PFEFFERS.

8 Swiss posts 61 1/2 Eng. miles.

This road is supplied with post horses (see above, and §5). It is traversed by diligences 3 times a-week. Travellers should endeavour to reach Pfeffers in one day, as the intermediate stations are not good sleeping-places. There is a direct road from St. Gall to Altstätten, avoiding the detour by Rorschach and the Lake of Constance; but it is very steep and bad, not fit for a heavy carriage. The pedestrian, with the aid of a guide, may reach Coire by Appenzell, crossing the mountains to Wildhaus (Routes 68 and 71).

1 Rorschach-(Inns: Post; Krone, dear and uncivil; Löwe). This little lake-port and town of 1650 inhabitants is the principal corn-market in Switzerland The grain required to supply the greater part of the Alpine districts of N. Switzerland is imported from Suabia, in boats, across the lake, and is deposited temporarily in large warehouses here. Much muslin is made at Rorschach.

A steam-boat goes 5 times a-week between it and Friedrichshafen, in Würtemberg, and the steamers from Constance and Lindau also touch here regularly. The deposits of the Rhine are, it is said, forming themselves into shallows between Rorschach and Lindau, which may soon impede the direct navigation of the lake between the two places. On the slope a little above the town in the large dilapidated buil ding, called Statthaltery, or Marienberg, a palace once of the proud abbots of St. Gall, now a farm-house. It commands a fine view from its terrace. Near it, perched on a projecting sandstone rock, is the desolate Castle of St. Anne, with its square keep.

Skirting the foot of low hills clad with vineyards, beneath which the yellow-bellied pumpkins may be seen basking in the sun, the road passes along under the shade of fruit-trees, but soon quits the margin of the lake to cross the flat delta of the Rhine. The district around the mouth of the river abounds in marsh and is by no means healthy.

1 1/2 Rheineck-(Inn: Krone) a village of 1370 inhabitants, on the 1. bank of the Rhine, about 4 miles above its embouchure, situated under vine-clad hills, surmounted by a ruined castle, which was destroyed 1445 by the Appenzellers. There are several other castles on the neighbouring heights. St. Margarethen, a pretty village completely embowered in a grove of walnut and fruit trees, is situated near the

Austrian ferry, over the Rhine, which must be crossed in going to Bregenz or Lindau (see Hand-book for S. Germany), but which our road leaves on the 1. It turns soon afterwards due S. up the valley of the Rhine, through an uninteresting district of flat and unhealthy marsh, interspersed with gravel-beds, which the traveller should get over as fast as possible, on account of malaria. The Rhine here is a wide, shallow, muddy, and unsteady stream, constantly changing its channel and overflowing its banks: it is not navigated except by wood rafts, which float down it.

1 1/4 Altstätten-(Inn: Rabe, Corbeau; just tolerable) -a village of 1815 inhabitants, in a fruitful neighbourhood. There is a road from this over the hill of Stoss to St. Gall, by Gais (Route 68); but it is very steep, only to be surmounted by the aid of extra horses, and barely practicable for English carriages. It takes two hours to reach the top. The view from it over the Alps of the Voralberg is fine.

1 1/4 Sennwald (Inn: Post, by no means first-rate, but tolerable). Down to the 17th century, the district which we now traverse belonged to the powerful barons of Hohen Sax, many of whose castles, reduced to ruins by the Appenzellers, may still be discerned upon the heights on the W. of the Rhine valley. One of this family, a brave and noble soldier and a Protestant, escaped with difficulty from the massacre of St. Bartholomew at Paris, and on his return home was murdered by his nephew. After this foul deed, it is the popular belief that the blessing of God was withdrawn from the race it is certain they never prospered. In 1616 their vast domains were sold to Zurich, and the family became extinct soon after. The body of the murdered man is still preserved in a perfect condition, in a coffin with a glass lid, dried like a mummy, under the church-tower of Sennwald. This circumstance, and the story connected with it, have given to the remains a reputation for sanctity; so that, though a Protestant, the Catholics have stolen some of the limbs as relics, and once actually carried off the body across the Rhine: it was, however, speedily reclaimed.

Werdenberg-(Inn: Post)-was the seat of a noble family of that name, who played an important part in early Swis shistory. The Slammschloss, the cradle of the race, still stands in good preservation above the town. A cross road runs hence through the vale of Toggenburg, and past Wildhaus, to Schaffhausen (Route 71).

1 1/4 Sewelen.

Below Sargans (described in Route 14), which we pass a little on the rt., the roads from the Grisons, and from Zurich, meet that from St. Gall.

1 1/2 Ragatz (Inn: Poste; Hotel of the Tamina; not

very good) a village situated at the mouth of the gorge (tobel) through which the torrent Tamina issues out into the Rhine. Mules and guides may be hired here (for 6 fr.) to go to Pfeffers. The authorised charges may be seen in the tarif hung up, both at the inns here and at the baths.

The BATHS OF PFEFFERS, which no one should omit to visit from Ragatz, are situated about 6 1/2 miles off, up the valley of the Tamina. The excursion to the baths and back need not occupy more than 6 or 8 hours, which will be well spent in exploring one of the most extraordinary spots in Switzerland. There are two paths leading to them, practicable only on foot or on horseback-one, on the rt. bank of the Tamina, leads past the Convent of Pfeffers; beyond which a horse cannot go, and is 1 1/2 mile longer than that on the 1. bank, the one commonly chosen, which is practicable for horses as far as the baths. The pedestrian may take one in going, the other in returning.

The bridle-path on the 1. bank of the Tamina, is carried at first up a very steep and fatiguing ascent, which it requires an hour to surmount, through beech-woods, and at times along the edge of the precipice, at whose foot the Tamina is heard, chafing and roaring. After surmounting this portion the traveller emerges from the wood and crosses the sloping pastures which clothe the upper part of the valley. On the opposite side the Convent of Pfeffers is seen. At the hamiet of Valens the path begins to descend by zigzags into the gloomy gorge of the Tamina, which is just like a crack traversing the valley longitudinally, and at the bottom of this the traveller finds himself arrived at the Baths.

The path along the right bank crosses the Tamina at Ragatz, and surmounts an equally steep ascent, on the top of which it reaches the Convent of Pfeffers, finely placed on an elevated mountain-platform, commanding, on one side, the valley of the Rhine, backed by the majestic Falkniss; on the other, opening out towards the Lake of Wallenstadt and the peaks of the Sieben Kurfürsten. The Benedictine monastery of Pfeffers, founded 713, was suppressed, after an existence of 10 centuries, in 1838, by a decree of the Government of the canton of St. Gall. "This suppression was effected by the Radical party, in opposition to the Conservatives; and, being contrary to the act of Confederation and the guarantees of the Congress of Vienna, will probably, in due time, be assigned as a reason for military interference."-P. The Convent once possessed a very extensive territory; its abbots were princes, but the French, as usual, appropriated their revenues; and the little property that was restored to them at the termination of the French rule, including the baths, of which they were proprietors, is now to be appropriated to

« PreviousContinue »