"Lausanne," from Encyclpaedia Britannica (1797), II

{604} LAUSANNE, a large, ancient, and handsome town of Switzerland, capital of the country of Vaud, and in the canton of Berne, with a famous college and bishop's see. The town-house and the other public buildings are magnificent. It is seated between three hills near the lake of Geneva, in E. Long. 6. 35. N. Lat. 46. 30. -- The town stands on an ascent so steep, that in some places the horses cannot draw up a carriage without great difficulty, and foot-passengers ascend to the upper part of the town by steps. Here is an academy for the students of the country; the professors are appointed by government; and there is a pretty good public library. The church, formerly the cathedral, is a magnificent Gothic building, standing on the most elevated part of the town. Among other sepulchres it contains that of Amadeus VIII. duke of Savoy, styled the Solomon of his age; best known by the title of Antipope Felix V. who exhibited the singular example of a man twice abdicating the sovereignty, and retiring from regal pomp to a private station.

The same year that the country named Pays de Vaud was conquered from the house of Savoy, the inhabitants of Lausanne put themselves under the protection of the Canton of Berne, their bishop having retired from the town. At that time its privileges were confirmed and augmented, and it is still governed by its own magistrates. The citizens of the principal street have the privilege of pronouncing sentence in criminal cases. If the criminal is found, and acknowledges himself guilty, the burghers of the street assemble: one of the magistrates pleads in his behalf, and another against him; the court of justice give their opinion upon the point of law; and the majority of citizens possessing houses in the principal street, determine the penalty. In capital cases there is no pardon, according to the letter of the law, unless it can be obtained within 24 hours from the sovereign council of Berne, though it generally happens that eight days are allowed for this purpose. When the criminal is seized within the jurisdiction of the town, the fact is tried, and the burghers pronounce sentence, from which there is no appeal; but if he happens to be taken in the district of the bailiff, there is an appeal to the government of Berne.