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Swiss Diet to pass an act for the formal separation of the canton into two parts, called Basle Ville and Basle Campagne. The latter consists of two-thirds of the territory of the whole canton, and has for its capital Liesthal. Each sends a deputy to the Diet; but the two divisions enjoy only half a vote each, and when the deputies of the two parts take opposite sides (which hitherto has been invariably the case), their vote does not count. This revolution has left the town of Bâle saddled with a debt of two millions of francs.
About two miles out of the town, just within the French frontier, is the ruined fortress of Hüningen, erected by Louis XV. to overowe his Swiss neighbours, and dismantled in 1815.
A good representation of the Dance of Death, in burnt clay, may be purchased of Maehly and Schablitz, who have a manufactory peculiar (it is believed) to the spot of" figures plastiques voieen terre cuite.'
The traveller, entering Switzerland by Basle, is particularly recommended to take the following route, by the Val Moutier, or Münster Thal, on his way either to Berne or Geneva.
Posting ceases at Basle, and travellers should therefore engage voiturier's horses to carry them on their journey. Return-coachmen are generally to be found at all the inns, and there are persons in the town who keep horses and carriages for hire.
A Diligence goes daily, in two days and three nights, to Paris.
Postwaggons daily to Berne and Neufchâtel, by Moutiers and Bienne; to Chaux de Fonds and Geneva.
Mond., Wed., Sat., to Olten, Soleure, and Lucerne.
--Baden, Strasburg, Frankfurt a M.
Mond., Thursd., Sat., Schaffhausen.
Bâle to Bienne,
16 1/2 Swiss stunden-54 Eng. miles.
Thence to Berne by Aarberg, 6 stund=e20 Eng. miles.
The valley of the Birs, commonly called the Val Moutiers (Münster Thal, in Germ.), through which this excellent road passes, is the most interesting and romantic in the whole range of the Jura. It consists of a series of narrow and rocky defiles, alternating with open basins, covered with black forests above, and verdant meadows below, enlivened by villages, mills, and forges. A road was originally carried through the Val Moutiers
Route 1.- Buste to Bienne - St. Jacob - Dornach. 7· by the Romans, to keep up the communication between Aventicum, the Helvetian capital, and Augst, their great› fortified outpost on the Rhine.
At St. Jacob, about a quarter of a mile beyond the gates of Bâle, in the angle between two roads, a small Gothic cross has been erected, to commemorate the battle of St. Jacob, fought in 1444, when 1600 Swiss had the boldness to attack, and the courage to withstand for 10 hours, a French army tenfold more numerous, commanded by the Dauphin, afterwards Louis XI. Only 10 of the Swiss escaped alive, the rest were left dead on the field, along with thrice their own number of foes, whom they had slain. This almost incredible exploit first spread abroad through Europe the fame of Swiss valour; and Louis, the Dauphin, wisely seeing that it was better to gain them as friends than to oppose them as enemies, courted, their alliance, and first enrolled them as a permanent bodyguard about his person-a practice continued by the French monarchs down to Charles X. The Swiss themselves refer to the battle of St. Jacob as the Thermopyla of their history. The vineyards near the field produce a red wine, called Schweitzer Blut (Swiss blood).
A few miles farther, near Reinach, on the opposite, bank of the Birs, is another battle-field-that of Dornach-where the Swiss gained a victory over a much larger Austrian force in 1499, during the Suabian war. The bone-house, in which the remains of the slain were collected, still exists near the Capu-, chin Convent, and is filled with skulls gathered from the field. In the church of the village Maupertuis is buried. A monuinent, set up to his memory by his friend Bernouilli, was destroyed by the curé of the village, who was in the habit of repairing his hearthstone when broken, with slabs taken from the churchyard. It has been replaced by a fresh monument set up at the expense of canton Soleure.
Beyond Oesch the road enters that part of the Canton Bern which anciently belonged to the Archbishop of Basie; the valley contracts, increasing in picturesque beauty as you advance. The castles of Angerstein and Zwingen are passed before reaching
4 1/4 Lauffen,- a walled village.
2 1/2 Soy hière, a village prettily situated, with a small country inn, tolerably good. A contracted pass, the rocks of which on the rt. are surmounted by a convent, leads into the open basin of Délémont (Delsberg); but it is unnecessary to pass through that little town (situated on the way to Portentruy), as our road turns to the 1., and, continuing by the side of the Birs, enters a defile higher, grander, and more wild than any that have preceded it. This is, properly speaking, the commencement of the Val Moutiers. Rocky precipices
overhang the road, and black forests of fir cover the mountains above. In the midst of it are the iron furnaces and forges of
1 1/4 Courrendelin, supplied with ore in the shape of small granulated red masses, varying from the size of a pea to that of a cherry, from the neighbouring mines. The remarkable rent by which the Jura has been cleft from top to bottom, so as to allow a passage for the Birs, exhibits marks of some great convulsion of the earth, by which the strata of limestone (Jurakalk) have been thrown into a nearly vertical position, and appear like a succession of gigantic walls on each side of the road. The gorge terminates in another open basin, in the midst of which lies
1 3/4 Moutiers Grandval, or Münster-(Inn: Krone, good)-a village of 1250 inhabitants, named from a very ancient Minster of St. Germanus on the height, founded in the 7th century, and now fast falling to ruin. There is a car rand from Moutiers to the summit of the Weissenstein, a distance of about 10 miles, up-hill nearly the whole way, and the latter part very rough and bad; fit only for the cars of the country, one of which, drawn by two horses, may be hired here to go and return for 20 fr. It passes through the villages of Grandval (Grossau) and Ganzbrunnen; the ascent occupies 3 1/2 hours, and the jolting is very severe. The Weissenstein is described in Route 3.
At the upper end of the basin of Moutiers the road is conducted through another defile, equally grand, at the bottom of which the Birs foams and rushes, overhung by perpendicuJar cliffs and funereal firs. To this succeeds the little plain of Tavannes, in which are situated the villages of Court, Malleray, and Dachsfelden, or
31/2 Tavannes (where the Couronne and the Croix are good inns, better than that at Moutiers). There are foot-paths over the mountains from Court and Bévilard to Reuchenette, by which some distance is saved on the way to Bienne, but the Pierre Pertuis is thus missed. The valley to the E. of Court, called Chaluat (Tschaywo), is inhabited by the descendants of the Anabaptists, expelled from Berne in 1708-11. They are distinguished by their industry and simple manners: the young men wear beards. A few miles above Tavannes is the source of the Birs; before reaching it our road quits the valley, mounting up a steep ascent, in the middle of which it passes under the singular and picturesque archway formed in the solid rock, called
1/4 Pierre Pertuis. It is probably a natural opening, enlarged by art. It existed in the time of the Romans, as is proved by a defaced inscription on the N. side.
It stood on the boundary-line, separating the people of the Rauraci, who extended to Bâle, from the Sequani. The archway is about 40 ft. high and 10 or 12 thick. The pass was fortified by the Austrians in 1813.
1/2 Sonceboz-(inn not very good)—a village in the Val St. Imier (Germ. Erguel), up which runs a good road to Chaux de Fonds, and out of which another branches S. to Neuchâtel from Villaret. The road to Bienne descends the valley along the 1. bank of the Süze, which forms several small cascades. The projecting rock of Rond Châtel was occupied in feudal times by a fort, and held by the powerful Bishops of Bâle, to whom it gave the command of this pass. The view from the last slope of the Jura, over Bienne, and its lake, backed in clear weather by the snowy range of the Alps, is exceedingly beautiful.
3 Bienne (Germ. Biel)-Inns: H. du Jura, outside the town, recently established, and good;-Couronne, within the town.-Bienne is prettily situated at the mouth of the valley of the Suze, at the foot of the Jura; here mantled with vines, and about a mile from the head of the lake of Bienne (Route 45). It is still surrounded by its ancient walls and watch-towers, and is approached by several shady avenues. The number of inhabitants, chiefly Protestants, amounts to 3000. The town anciently belonged to the Bishop of Bâle, but the citizens, early imbued with the spirit of freedom, formed a perpetual alliance with Berne in 1352, for the defence of their liberties, in revenge for which the town was burnt by their liege lord. The Reformation further weakened the connexion between the town and its ecclesiastical ruler, and at the beginning of the 17th century his authority became nominal. Bienne is an industrious town, situated at the junction of the high-roads from Berne, Bâle, Soleure, and Neuchâtel, between all which places there are public conveyances daily. The new road, recently completed, along the W. shore of the lake, shortens the distance to Neuchâtel by nearly 8 miles: it passes near the Isle St. Pierre, celebrated as the residence of Rousseau, and is described in Route 45.
Those who have a taste for climbing may gratify it by ascending from hence the Chasseral, one of the highest -mountains of the Jura, 5616 ft. above the lake, and 4936 ft. above the sea, with the certainty of being rewarded with a magnificent view if the weather be clear, but the ascent will Occupy 5 hours.
Quitting Bienne the high-road first crosses the Süze, on its way into the lake, and a quarter of a mile farther on, the Thiele (Zihl), on its way out of the lake. The last is a navigable river which drains the three lakes of Bienne, Neuchâtel, and Morat, and joins the river Aar about four miles lower down. On the margin of the lake, at the outlet of the Thiele, stand Nydau-(Inn : Bear)—and its castle, flanked by round towers and surmounted by a tall square keep. The lords of Nydau, an extinct family, to whom it once belonged, were foes of Berne; their stronghold now bears on its front the Bernese bear, painted of colossal dimensions, and is converted into the Cantonal salt-warehouse. From the slope of the hill, near Belmont, a good view is obtained of the lake and of St. Peter's Isle.
1/4 Aarberg is a town of 700 inhabitants, on a rocky promontory, nearly surrounded by the Aar, which, indeed, at high water, actually converts it into an island. The road enters and quits the town by two covered bridges. 3 1/4 BERN-in Route 24.
BASLE TO SCHAFFHAUSEN,
17 1/2 stunden=56 1/2 Eng. miles.
There are two roads of nearly equal length, one on the 1. bank of the Rhine, which is traversed by the daily diligence (13 hours is the time occupied in the journey); and the other on the rt. bank, through the territory of Baden, which is provided with post horses at the following stations :-Warmbach, 2 Germ. miles,-Säkingen, 2 1/2,-Waldshut, 3 1/2,— Ober Lauchingen, 1 1/2,-Schaffhausen 3.
The road on the Swiss side of the Rhine passes through the two villages of
2 Augst, which stand on each side of the river Ergolz, on the site of the Roman city Augusta Rauracorum, founded by Munatius Plancus, in the reign of Augustus. Its existence on this spot is sufficiently proved by the quantity of Roman remains that have been, and still are, discovered wherever the ground is turned up. There are indications of an amphitheatre, now converted into pleasure grounds; but the remains of buildings are very slight.
11/4 Rheinfelden-(Inn: Drei Könige)—a town of 1500 inhabitants, on the 1. bank of the Rhine, here crossed by a wooden bridge, above and below which the rocks in the river bed form considerable rapids and falls. On an island in the middle of the river, above the bridge, rise the ruins of the feudal Castle of Stein, which was destroyed by the army of the Swiss Confederacy in 1445.