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Howells, William - Letter to Orson Pratt - 11 Feb 1850

Boulogne, Feb. 11, 1850

Dear Brother O. Pratt,--This town is divided into two parts, the upper and lower town, both connected by a steep street. The upper town is built on the summit of an eminence, and compassed with walls; the lower town is partly situated upon declivities, stretching down from the ramparts, and the slopes of the hills, which line the harbour, and is flanked on either side by two long piers, upwards of 2000 feet long; its population exceeds 29,000. During the summer the number of visitors generally amount to 10,000. Good and friendly feelings appear to exist between the French and English families. The distance from London Bridge is 120 miles.
The inhabitants say that the town of Boulogne is one of the most ancient in France, and its origin may be traced back to the invasion of the Romans. This part of the country was at that time called Morina. When Julius Caesar had rendered himself master of Gaul, he built a city on the present site of the old town, in order to preserve his conquests, and to facilitate his communication with Britain. Quintus Pedius, one of his lieutenants, gave to the town the name of the place of his nativity, (Boulonia,) from which is derived Boulogne, 54 years B.C. The old town is still encircled with feudal ramparts, and entered by three arched gateways.

The ramparts, citadel, palaces, convents, seminaries, churches, &c., are grand and worth seeing, showing the ingenuity of the mental powers of man. The museum contains nine extensive galleries, enriched with a valuable collection of curiosities; the library open, free from ten to three daily, containing 22,000 vols., in ancient and modern languages, and 300 manuscripts, many of them of the 7th, 10th and 11th centuries. The music academy is open, free of all expense; also the drawing academy, to both French and English. The town contains thirty boarding, and many day schools for the instruction of both sexes, many of whom are wholly english. The town likewise possesses a great number of learned, private professors in every branch of knowledge; but you know the number was not complete until the Mormon professor appeared with his encyclopedia. Such is the brief account of the town, destined, I hope, for the gospel conquest. The arrival of the false prophet (as they say) at Boulogne, spread like fire, and due warning given by the shepherds to all the flocks not to handle such, nor taste the poisonous pastures of the said false teacher, &c.

I have visited three clergymen of the Church of England, the Protestant French clergymen, Baptist Ministers, the Wesleyan Ministers, &C., but my reception was rather cold. I left the pamphlet, entitled "the Kingdom of God," &c., with fifty families. I hope the Lord will find me one friend amongst them, if not I shall go on.

Yours in the Lord,




Howells, William


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