Probably the rights and duties of the Colognese and their civil and ecclesiastical ruler were never well defined

At a later period Cologne has been celebrated chiefly for its „monks and bones“ – the number of its ecclesiastics, and the relics of its churches. In 1646 a local historian, after mentioning the city wall, with its eighty-three towers and thirty-four gates, gives the following account: – „In Cologne there be eleven colleges of canona, twenty-seven monasteries, thirty-two nunneries, together with a great many convents of Beguines, and several houses for religious old ladies not professed; nineteen parish churches, ten churches attached to religious houses, thirty chapels; two great hospitals, or, more properly speaking, hostelries, for destitute travelers; two hospitals for the cure of the sick poor, and eight poor-houses for the permanent abode of those who possess no property of their own. There are also a foundling hospital and a lunatic asylum. It hath as many steeples as there be days in the year; and twenty-five thousand of its inhabitants are of the ecclesiastical condition.“ This unfortunate preponderance of one class has not been a fortunate ingredient. The archbishopric, together with the temporal principality, was bestowed, in 949, by Otho the Great, upon his brother, who was the first Elector of Cologne. Probably the rights and duties of the Colognese and their civil and ecclesiastical ruler were never well defined, but at any rate they seem scarcely ever to have been at peace with each other. The right of taxing the inhabitants was one of the disputed points. Each party had its faction, and intrigues and manoeuvres were practised, so that one faction might be played off against the other. Thus disunion was created between the patrician and plebeian classes, though cases sometimes occured when, for the sake of their common interests, they joined in opposing the pretensions of the archbishop-electors. It was chiefly at the instigation of the ecclesiastical population that the Jews were expelled in 1425, to the number, as it is said, of eighty thousand, but most probably much fewer. They carried their capital of habits of economy and preseverance to the commercial rivals of Cologne. Soon afterwards, after some disturbances in which they had taken part, the weavers were driven out, and nearly two thousand looms were burnt by the order and in the presence of the magistrates. The weavers transferred their industry principally to the Netherlands, and another source of the wealth of Cologne was undermined. In 1616 an explosion of religious fanaticism occured, and the Protestants were expelled. On this occasion fourteen hundred of the best houses in Cologne were left tenantless. Besides these successive shocks to its prosperity, the ordinary fluctuation of interests had ceased to run in its favour, though, from its position, it is still an important central mart of the Rhenish trade with the Netherlands, Germany, and Switzerland. The fame of its shrines and relics, which once procured for it the appellation of the „Holy City,“ no longer attracts pilgrims from every part of Christendom; and the bones of St. Ursula and her eleven thousand virgins, and of the three Magi, or Kings of Cologne, as they are called, have become objects of curiosity instead of faith and veneration.
Cologne extends rather more than two miles along the left bank of the Rhine in a semicircular shape, and stretches about a mile inland. It is enclosed by a lofty wall about six miles in circuit, with eighty-three towers rising out of the wall, which is surrounded on the land side by ramparts and deep ditches. Strong redoubts have been erected at the principal gates. About a third of the space comprised within the walls consists of the public squares, and gardens and vineyards which once belonged to the religious establishments. The city has a curious antique appearance, and is built in a very irregular manner. The streets are narrow, dark, and crooked, and paved with basalt, and are remarkable for their filthy state. The prevailing character of the architecture is Gothic. Only one edifice, the town-hall, is in the Grecian style. The principal structures are ecclesiastical. Though the number of its towers and spires is not so great as formerly, they give a rich, varied, and imposing aspect to the city when viewed from distance. One vast pile will not fail to arrest the attention. This is the Dom Church, or cathedral. It is unfinished, but its massiveness and the magnificent scale on which it is designed give it a noble and stately character; and even in its present state it is one of the grandest specimens of Gothic architecture. Six centuries have elapsed since the work was commenced. From 1248 to the end of the fifteenth century the builders now resumed and now laid aside their work. That iron crane, left on the summit of one of the unfinished towers when the scaffolding was removed, was perhaps intended to remind coming generations, living in more favourable times, that the grand fabric still awaited the last stone of the builder. Wars of politics and religion, usurpations and aggressions, and the bitter fruits which they bear, have hitherto left men no time to complete this temple of Christian peace. But at length the work is commenced, and in an ensuing number we shall enter more fully into the singular history of this edifice, and the means which are in progress for finishing it in a manner worthy of the original design.

(Text: The Penny Magazine, November 1842)

In those days… (The Penny Magazine on Cologne)

The fervent admiration with which the Rhine is regarded by Germans is a just tribute to its natural beauties, and still more to the stirring events which are associated with the noble river. The vineyards mirrored on its bosom, and all the varied beauties characteristic of the „scenery of the Rhine,“ would not be half so inspiring if its castled crags and ancient towns were not rich to overflowing in the legends of antique romance. Here the old Roman civilization irradiated the darkness of the wild forests, and the more benevolent influences of the modern civilization were fostered and developed. Few of the ancient cities of Europe can trace their origin so distinctly as Cologne. It was a Roman station, and subsequently a „colonia“ under the name of Colonia Claudia Agrippinensis, from the Emperor Claudius and his wife Agrippina, who was born here while her father, Germanicus, commanded in these parts. Agrippina adorned it with an amphitheatre, temples, aqueducts, &c., the ruins of which may still be traced. No spot on the banks of the Rhine exhibits so many Roman vestiges. A great part of the wall which extends along the river is Roman, and also one of the gates. Some of the streets still bear Latin names. Many busts, sarcophagi, and stones, with the numbers of the legions stationed here, have been dug up, and with other relics are placed in a public museum. It has been doubted whether the Emperor Constantine erected a bridge across the river at this spot. The story is, that it was destroyed in the tenth century by Otho the Great, Emperor of Germany, and that the piers are now occasionally visible. Between Cologne and the opposite bank of the river there is now a bridge, erected in 1822, which rests upon thirty-nine pontoons, and rises and falls with the tide. It is a favourite promenade in fine weather. Vitellius was proclaimed emperor at Cologne. Trajan was here when nominated by the Emperor Nerva as his successor. Several of the Roman emperors resided for some time, and Sylvanus was assassinated, at Cologne. It continued to be the capitol of Lower Rhenish Gaul until the fourth century, when it was sacked by the Franks, who were now harassing the Roman power; but it was retaken. In 460 the ranks once more obtained possession, and kept it. Clovis, their king, was proclaimed here. After a frequent change of masters Cologne was annexed to the German empire, and in 949 was constituted an imperial free city. The Roman municipal constitution might be traced down to the period when Cologne, in 1792, ceased to be a free city. It is now the capital of a Prussian province, and contains about sixty thousand imhabitants.
In the early part of the fourteenth century, Cologne, where the grander part of the Rhine commences, was called the „Rome of the North“. It was then the seat of the greatest wealth and civilization on this side the Alps. Petrarch visited it in 1333, and, writing to his friend Cardinal Colonna, he exclaims, „How glorious is this city!“ and he commends the taste of its inhabitants for literature and the refinements of life. Cologne was at that time the principal town of the great Hanseatic League, which it had joined in 1201, and had grown rich by industry and an extensive commerce. It could muster an armed force of thirty thousand men, and its population amounted to one hundred and fifty thousand souls. Even in the eleventh century the vessels of the Colognese carried Rhenish wines, corn, flour, malt, beer, linen and other German produce to all countries lying on the German Ocean and the Baltic, to England, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Norway, Sweden and Russia, and brought back the productions of those countries. King John granted extraordinary privileges to the merchants of Cologne who traded to England. Whitehall was assigned to them exclusively for the Rhenish trade. They had factories also in Norway and the Netherlands. In those days the Colognese carried matters with a high hand. They obliged all vessels navigating the Rhine to unlade their cargoes at Cologne, whence they were conveyed in its own ships. In 1452 Cologne was formally excluded from the Hanseatic League, having taken the part of England, against which the League had declared war, and it was not until 1474 that it was re-united. While commerce flourished, the arts and sciences were equally vigorous. The University of Cologne was the most famous in Germany. The specimens of architecture, paintings on glass, sculptures, and pictures, which still exist, attest the perfection which the Colognese artists had attained.

(The Penny Magazine, November 1842)