« VorigeDoorgaan »
whether the opinions of a friend, even if they are delivered with impartiality-of a friend, who, seeing with foreign eyes, gazes as it were through a magnifying glass, on all around him, and discerns at once both beauties and blemishes which are imperceptible to persons, who, under the influence of long habit and custom, 'regard without observing-I ask myself whether the opinions of such a friend, even if they do not always contain praise, ought to be considered as any derogation from that amity which he is bound to feel, and very distant from forswearing. It is told of Hercules ( a great reverer of the gods), that when he saw the statue of Adonis in the temple of Venus, he exclaimed with indignation “nil sacri es." so surely there are objects which a traveller may venture to criticize, even when he finds them in a nation which he is most inclined and bound to respect.
But enough of this—the preceding pages have been written. too much for the sake of the author--the few introductory remarks I have to add will concern the reader only—and I imagine that he may like to have submitted to him a rough sketch of the form, and a brief summary of the materials of the country to which he is about to be introduced.
A SHORT ANALYSIS OF FRANCE."
The extent of France from north to south, from Dunkirk to Perpignan, is 575 French miles: its breadth from east to west, from Strasbourg to Brest, is 499 French miles; its total superficies about 53,000,000 hectares ;* its population in 1833 , 32,560,934 inhabitants.f This population is divided between the towns and the country in the following manner :
An hectare is equal to two acres, one rood, thirty-five two-fifths perches English measure.
† In France the population increases every sixteen years by one-tenth. The proportion of male to female births is as sixteen to fifteen, and not as twenty-two to twenty-one-a proportion anciently established. The average of life calculated fifty years ago at twenty-eight years, is now calculated at thirty-five.
35,38A little communes contain
so that 23,725,809 may be considered the agricultural population, and 8,835,125 the population devoted to other pursuits-a result entirely different from that which the population of Great Britain gives us.f
The division of France, according to law, is into 86 departments, 363 arrondissements, 2,835 cantons, 37,012 commuues.
The division which nature seems to bare established is of a different description : for Nature seems to have divided France into four great plains, round which are grouped other parts less important, and which amalgamate less with the general character of the kingdom. Each of these plains or platforms is confined, as it were, by a net of streams, rivulets, and rivers, which intersecting it in every direction, keep it at once in communication with itsell, and separate from the adjoining districts.
For the south you have the Saône and the Rhône, which meet at Lyons, and fall into the Mediterranean, between Marseilles and Montpellier, after having received into their bed all the rivers and rivulets which flow through this division.
For the north you bave the Seine, communicating between Paris and Rouen.
For the east the Loire, with its various tributary strcams falling into the sea beneath Nantes.
And, lastly, you have the Gironde, forming the other great division, wbich bas always had its peculiar characteristics.
Round these four great fluvial divisions are, to the south-th:e little basins of the Hérault, and the Aude. To the west-the Landes, so
1,625,270 7.209,855 23,725,809
+ In England, as appears by the census of 1821. 1,350,239 families engaged in trade and manufacture. 978,656
in agriculture. 612,488
other objects. 2,941,383 families.
46 per cent. in trade.
different from the rest of France, the country watered by the Charente, La Vendée, and that ancient Britanny, with its old manners, its peculiar language, and peculiar history. To the north-Normandy and the basin of the Orne. And to the north-east—that region bordering on the Rhine, only half French, where three millions of men still talk German and Flemish—that region of which France covets the entire possession, and over which Germany will not permit the progress of France—that region which must be attacked and defended in the next war that breaks out in Europe.
Here then is France as divided by pursuits, as divided by law, as divided by nature. Another division exists in cultivation ; and the 53,000,000 hectares which constitute her surface, are thus distributed :
Thus out' of the 53,000,000 of hectares capable of cultivation in France,
There are under the plough or spade.
France being the only country in the world, perhaps, where ten-elevenths of the land fit to be cultivated is actually under cultivation. But at the same time there are few countries where upwards of 22,000,000 of cultivated hectares (54,000,000 English acres) are hardly sufficient to supply food to 32,000,000 of inbabitants.* These two facts are conected toge. ther by another, for which France is more especially remarkable, viz. the allotment of her soil.
There are in France about 10,200,000 of distinct properties charged to the land tax. This tax is about the sixth of the revenue from the land. Of these 10,000,000 properties there are not much above 34,000,
* See imports.
as will be seen by the annexed table, that pay upwards of 300 frs, i. e. that yield an income of 1,800 frs.- little more than £70, Number of properties paying from 300 frs.to 400 frs.
34,594 400 500
17,028 500 600
9,997 600 700
6,379 700 800
4,254 800 900
40,702 900 1,000
2,495 1,000 1,500
8,634 1,500 2,000
3,313 2,000 3,000
832 3,000 4,000
861 4,000 5,000
14,579 * Properties, however distinct in their taxation, may belong to the same proprietor. M. Dupin, taking this union of properties into consideration, reckons 5,000,000 of landed proprietors; and from the best sources from wbich I can derive information, there would be 1,400 or 1,500 persons paying from 4,000 to 5,000 francs, i.e. receiving a landed income of from 24,000 to 30,000 francs a year, instead of 939, which is the number of distinct properties paying that sum, or yielding that income, in the separate departements. † This division of land produces two rem ble effect
on the government, which it will be sufficient here merely to point out.
In the first place, property being distributed in such small portions in the country, twelve-fifteenths of the electors are from the towns, though three-fourths of the population are, as I have said, from the country.
Secondly, The want of any wealthy class in the nation invests in the state much of the power, and much of the business, which in more aristocratical countries would be performed by individuals. The demand, then, which the landed nobility make for a lower suffrage, is a demand natural to their situation, interests, and position, while the force and centralization of the French government is the consequence of that with which it is sometimes considered inconsistent, viz. the equality that exists among the French people.
There are upwards of 32,000,000 of people, then, in France-distributed between the towns and the country. In the country there are 10,200,000 landed properties paying the land tax, and 5,000,000 at least landed proprietors. In the towns there are 1,116,500 persons exercising trade and paying for a patent. § Add these 5,000,000 of landed proprietors, and these 1,118,500 persons exercising trade by patent together-and you have a total of 6,118,500.
* Taken from the returns of the different préfets. + The proprietors of forest lands are not included in this calculation. S A license to exercise a trade.
Suppose there to be four persons to the family of each of these proprietors, and tradespeople, or merchants -i, e. patentees—and you have 24,474,000 families possessing property in land or in trade. To this number again add the persons possessing property on mortgage, or in the funds,* and who do not come under either of the above denominations—and amidst this immense mass of proprietors, shopkeepers, fundholders, &c. behold 400,000 soldiers,† 55,000 placemen, and 200,000 electors!
Such is the population of France-its. total revenue is estimated at about 8 milliards fr.- $
of this there is only 696,282,132 frs. (1832) exported, the principal
* In 1824, the total amount of the interest, at five per cent. on the pational debt was 197,011,892 frs, divided as follows
10 to 50 frs.
1,000 1,000 4,999 5,000 9,999 10,000 and upwards.
310,000 frs. 2,750,000 30,600,000 42,500,000 27,290,000 36,550,000
Goldsmith's Statistics of France. + The standing army in France of 1833 consisted of 406,399 men fit for active service, and 93,509 horses ;-thus divided : staff, 2,586 officers; gendarmes, 622 officers, 15,277 subalterns and privates, and 12,260 horses; 89 regiments of infantry, 9,864 officers, 263,077 subalterns and privates; 52 regiments of cavalry, of which 24 are heavy-2,885 officers, 51,043 subalterns and privates, and 45,665 horses ; 11 regiments of artillery, 1,190 officers, 32,594 subalterns and privates, and 5,126 horses. Veteran corps, 466 officers, 12,841 subalterns and privates.
The naval force of France alloat in 1833 consisted of 289 vessels of various descriptions; namely, 33 ships of the line, 39 frigates, 17 corvettes, 9 advice boats, 54 brigs, 8 bomb-ships, 6 gun-brigs, 18 galliots and cutters, 36 flotilla boats, 17 steam-ships, 52 sloops, transports, and yachts.
I have a curious statement of these places now before me. S M. C. Dupin. During the empire, France, with its various additions and dependancies, was estimated at a revenue of 7,035,600,000 frs., of which 5,031,000,000 was the product of the soil.