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it would, in the end, only augment the
To be sure, France has not yet furnished us with so tempting an example; but, if she should not do it, what will then be said against admitting all Englishmen paying direct taxes to par ticipate in chosing their representatives, leaving the privileges and prerogatives of the Peers and the Crown wholly untouched 3 I am at a loss to guess ; but I am at no loss to foresee what would be the consequefice of the refusal. This is the race; this is the rivalship, which I wish to - see between England and France. Not a rivalsilip in war; not a rivalship in commercial restrictions; but a rivalship in the purstit of freedom: a rivalship in which I am not at all afraid that we should surpass her. Our natural character; our persevering attachments to country; our unwearied }oyalty; that modesty which indisposes individuals to aim at predominance; that moderation which limits our views of exaltation; that piain good sense, that justice, that mercy, which, if left to ourselves, guide us in all our decisions, that almost unbounded confidence between man and man, which gives to words the value of gold; our happy iceal situation; and a hundred other traits and circumstances: all seem to personify the loselves and to exclaim 2 Why is not songiand tile * freest and happiest country in the world ! What need has she of armies in “ time of peace? Why should she kuow ‘ of any force beyond the Sheriff's Walid '' and the Constable's Staff 7 Wily should ‘ her Government be uneasy at the pro‘ pagation of any opinions or principles, * political or religiotis '' How happy should I be, my Lord, if I could hope, iiiat you and your colleagues would take these questions into your serious consis, given; if, having new seen that foreign war and dome-ic coertion, have so coroletely failed, at the end of so it, any years, to produce that safety, witch has been the professed oilject of your predecessors, in power, as wełł as of yourse, ves; if, after these fruitiess endeavours, could hope, that you would take merely a trial of Par/iant mory riform; of that great measure, which wou'd renovate the natural spirit, make us bear our inevitable bur. deas with cheerfulness, and - strengthe: ..our love to c.1:1 country ! Put, if I am fori,joidea to votertain this hope, I will killi flatter Inyo, that what l have said
may, in some small degree, assist in making you hesitate before you agains plunge us into another long and sanguidary war. I am, &c. &c.
PRESENT STATE OF FRANCE.
It is a truth, confirmed by universal history, that the happiness or misery of a people depends almost entirely upon the principles of their government, and the conduct of their Faiers. Wherefore is it that in Europe there is more coinforts enjoyed, and greater progress made in the arts and sciences, than in Asia 3 it is because the Asiatic governments are more despotic ànd tyrannical than the European. It is from a similar cause that the improvement of Society in Spain, and in Portugal, is, at the present mo" ment, a century, at least, behind our own country. It is following this crite. rion only, by adopting it as a rule to form. the Judgiment, that we shall be able, at all times, to arrive at correct ideas respecting the condition of any people. Whenever we abandon this guide, we give
ourselves up to error, and to all its eonseo evils; we become, by habit, the
creatues of prejudice; and we seidon discover our mistake till dear bought experience has taught us the foily of our | deporture from truth. In nothing is the mistakes, which have arisen in consequence of this departure from rectitude, more obvious and extravagant, than in the opinions now almost generally prevailing as to the present state of society in France. Fully aware that the improvement which has taken place there, since the revolution, in the condition of the people, is the best procf that can be given of the superior exceiience of the government, airmost all our political writers, particularly our news-paper press, have unceasingly represented the people of france to be completely demoralized, ther fields uncultivated, her manufactures annihilated, and the whole: a spect of the country reduced to a state of dreary waste and desolation. It was by base attempts łike these that a too successful clamour against the republicans was first excited; that the nations of Europe were infuriated to embark in a bloody contest, and that they continued, for upwards of twenty years, to sacrifice their lives for the establishment of that “Social System," and
that “holy religion, which, it is said, had grity of her people—After some prelimi
been overthrown and profaned by the jacobins of France. The repose which the treaty of Paris had given to the continent, has served in a great measure to dissipate the delusion. Liberal minded and sensible men, who could not understand how a country demoralized and debased as France was represented to be, should be abie to maintain its existence against the combined attacks of Europe, were desirous to satisfy themselves as to the conse of this unaccountable phenomenon. They visited France; they observed the customs and manners of the people; they investigated the progress of the arts, of mantifactures, of agriculture, of £4; tıcation; they particularly infortied theiuseives as to the national chargeter of the people, and the general «spect of the country; and the result of these inquiries, and oilservations has been, that the public are now in posession
of a real picture of France, drawn from actual survey, by persons of undoubted credit, and who were under no temptation whatever to give a false colouring to the subject. Of the unany works which have issued from the press on the present state of France, I have seen no... so wei, calcotiated to give correct ideas. especting it, as that published by or. Boeck. t is crittled “ Notes of a “Journey through France from Dieppe “ through Paris and i yons to the Pyremnees, and back through Toulou,e, in July, August and September, 1844; describing the habits of the people, and the agriculture of the country.”—it is lay intention, as already stated, to give a summary or **'vs's of this vałitable production. it will form a striking contrast to the view of society and manners in France, before the revolution, as given by Mr. Arthur Young, and which has aiready *ppeared in the Register. The reader wit! observe that Mr. Birbeck is not an «dmirer of Napoleon. On the contrary, he freely censures what he considers reprehensible in his conduct, and more than once stigmatizes him with the epithet of “ tyrant.”—Yet it was under the Government of this “ tyrant” that France made such prodigious progress, in the arts and sciences, and has acquired so high a character for moral conduct, and, what may be truly called
the glory of a nation, for tle strict inte
rary remarks on the appearance of the houses, &c. at Dieppe, where Mr. Birbeck and his friends landed, he proceeds as follows.
about living, that we really have not time to tive and our recreations have so much of vice in them, that serious folks have imagined it impossible to ise both merry and wise. The people here, though infinitely behind us in the accommodations of life, seem to be as much our superiors in the art of living. labouting class learn to read; and are generally taught by their parents. The relation between a good education and loot morals might be studied here, to advantage, by the opposers of our inproved modes of teaching the children of the poor.
Cn the subject of Education, our author afterwards says, that at Deville—
At a very poor inn, in a remote village, where we stopped on our morning's ritic, the landlady kept a ch.id's school, and her daughter was weaving cotton cheek; her sister kept a little shop, and was reading a translation of Young's Night i boughts. This was inore t'an we should have exp:ced, in a village Ale-house, in England.
I am in tormed that all the children of the
The babits of the people more towards:
the Soutin, lie thus describes: :
Having quitted the Pyrennecs, and entered on a district, where, instead of small fields, numerous
villages, and a thick population, are large towns.
large divisions of land, and fewer people ; I have
to remark, on taking leave of my, uvuntain friends, that their poverty is more in appearance than reality. They have frugal habits; and consider as luxuries, some things which may perhaps be among the necessaries of life in the estimation of their lowland neighbours. They are not an
the busy season (which is of pretty long duration, including harvest and threshing, then the vintage, and afterwards the olives) 40 sous and board, women 25 sous, without board. The allowance of board is 3 b of bread, 11b of meat, besides vege. table dishes, such as haricos, &c. and three bottles in and threshing, The pound French, is about equal to 18 ounces, English. * , The Shepherd is a wealthy man. His wife shewed us her ample stores of home-spun Jinon. She sows the hemp, prepāres and spins it herself. The labouring class here sat Isy no ar Paris] is certainly mitch higher, on the social scale, than with us. Every opportunity of collecting information on this Subject confirms my first impression, that there are very few really poor people in Fr nce.
of wine, per day: six bottles of wine.
In England a poor man and a labourer are synonymous terms; we speak samiliarly of the poor, uneaning the labouring class: not so here. I have now learnt enough to explain this difference; and having received the sane information from every quarter, there is
no room to doubt its correctness,
The general character of the French, and the beneficial effects which the revolution has produced, particelarly on the habits of the people, are thus spoken of :
The approach to Rouen is noble: every object denotes prosperity and coultort. Since i entered the country I have been lookog, in all directions, for the ruins of France: for the horrible effects of the revolution, of which so inch is said on our side of the water: but instead of a ruined country. I see fields highly cultivated, and towns full of inhabitants. No houses tumbling down, or empty. no ragged, wretched-looking, people. I have exquired, and every body assures me, Jat agriculture has been improving rapidly for the last twenty-five years; that the riches and comforts of th: cultivators of the soil have been doubled during that period; and that vast improvenient has taken place in the condition and character of the common people. In the early part of the revolution, wiere was done in the promoting the instruction of the lower order than the sinister policy of the late Emperor was able to destroy ; and, though much remains to be desired on this point, rnough has been effected to shew that a well-educated commonalty would not he wanting in industry or subordination. The National Domains, consisting of the confiscated estates of the church and the emigrant nobility, were ex. posed to sale during the pecuniary distresses of the revolutionary government in small portions, for the accommodation of the lowest order of purchasers, and five years allowed for completing the payment. This indulgence, joined to the depreciation of assignats, euobled the poolest description of peasants is become proprietors; aud snch they are almost universally ; possessing trom one to ten ecres. A "c as the education of ule poor was sedulously promoted during the early years of the revolction, their great advance, in character as well as coudition, is uo mystery, I prefer the country character of France to that of the city. In the former, the good fruits of the Revolution are visible at every step : previous to that ora, in the country, the ines. numerous class, the bulk of the population, all but the nobles and the priests, w re wretchedly poor. servile and thiev’sh. This class has assumed a new character, improved in proportion to the improvement of its cond ion. Servility has vanished with their poverty; their thievisiness, an effect of the same cause, has also in great measure disappeared.
on my first landing, I was struck with the respectable appearance of the labouring class; I see the same marks of comfort and plenty, every where as I proceed. I ask for the wretched peasantry, of whom I have heard and read so inuch ; but I am always referred to the revolution; it seems they vanished, then.---Wages about lanet; 20". a di'y the men ; 10d. to 151. the women. Asked soore men who were digging in a vineyard, how many shirts they had 5--fifteen to twenty, “suivant la personne,” was the reply, I have met with this unequivocal proof of ricles in every part of the country. The labouring class, formerly the poor, are now ric", in consequence of the national domains having been sold in small allotments, at very low rates, and with the indulgence of five years here are
or completing the payment. Thus
few labourers or domestic servants who are not
in sormed me that it usual for a youth
of sixteen, to hire himself, as a cloinestic servant in “griculture; and, when he airives at twenty-one or twenty-two, to have laid up 400 or 50t) trai,ks, 18l. or 201. Sterling. With 469 ranks, he buys a cottage unil marries: his wife has probably a little portion. He has an opportunity also ot buying 1500 sqmare toises (nearly an acre and hall English) at uncultivated mountain land, rocky but
fifteen or twent'v franks, and becomes a proprietor;
and poor, fit for vines: for this he pays
having a constant resource of profitable industry, iu-wiliter, wi: - work may be saaice. Wages, in
As a proof of the homest disposition of the lower orders, Mr. Birbeck gives the following anecdote of a postiilion:
. On our arrival at our hotel, the postillion demanded double for the last post, as a Poste Royale; armed a l’Analois at all points against imposi ion, I objected ; he proposed going to the 15tue4 u des Postes, to prove his right; I, curious to be introduced to a French Authority, willingly consented, and away we went to the
J}ureau des Postes: there he established his claim.
On returning to the hotel to his voit arc and horses, an article of our baggage was missi, g; the postillion det larcd he had not sten it, and as we oould not ascertain at what place it had been left,
it was given up as Host; it was a suc de nuit, con
taining sundrics of some value. In three days
case before the revolution : on
—I have had constant occasion to remark the *-
wretches staggering home from a filthy althouse.
means of intoxication, as might have been the
A habit of economy and frugality, accompanied
of my schow travellers from Clermont, who was on his way to Paris, I believe, to purchase an estate,