« AnteriorContinuar »
tive is nearly the same as in England; but in France the king exclusively has the right of bringing in bills in parliament. The opposition act there as in Britain, except that they are denied that important privilege, a denial founded on the supposed agitation which might be produced by the proposition of popular measures in a country where the constitution is as vet unsettled. The chamber of peers comprises about 200 members, ho possess privileges similar to those of the peerage in England ; their number is unlimited: the grant of titles is vested in the king and the dignity is hereditary. No clerical dignitaries have seats in the legislature. The house of commons or chamber of deputies are elected by the people; the number returned mav in some measure be altered at the will of the king; at present it is only 256, the smallest number allowed by the constitution. The election of the deputies was at first made by an intermediate body, the voters naming a committee of electors, and the latter choosing the members. The election is now vested immediately in the people on a very simple and uniform principle, the only qualification for a voter being the payment of taxes to the amount of £12 annually. For a deputy the requisites are, that he shall be of the age of 40, and pay taxes to the amount of £40 a year. One fifth of the chamber of deputies is re-elected annually, tbe whole being thus changed in five years.
Administration of Justice. The administration of justice has been entirely new-modelled and simplified since the revolution. There is a justice of the peace for each canton, an inferior court for each arrondisement, and a superior court, or provincial court of appeal in 27 of the principal towns. A justice of the peace acts nearly as the same magistrate in England ; his decision is tinal in petty matters, such as cases below 50 francs ; in others an appeal lies from him to the inferior court, which is composed of 3 or 4 judges, making above 1,000 judges of this class for the whole kingdom. Their decisions are final wherever the amount in debate does not exceed £40; in all other cases an appeal lies to the superior court. Besides these courts there are tribunals of police for the punishment of small delinquencies, and tribunals of commerce, composed of merchants who act without salary, and whose decision is final in all commercial disputes below £40. Lastly comes the cour de cassation or highest court in France, which is stationary at Paris, and takes cognizance of all appeals from the 27 provincial courts. The cour de cassation is divided into three chambers, and composed of 48 judges, with a yearly salary of nearly £500 each. There are no circuits in France, the judges being all stationary. Juries are employed in criminal cases only.
Debt, Revenue, &•c.] The national debt amounts to nearly 200 millions sterling; the interest is between 11 and 12 millions. The revenue amounts to about £30,000,000, nearly one third of which is derived from a direct tax on lands and houses. The taxes in general are much lighter in France than in England, but the direct tax on real estate is considerably greater. The pro
duce of the customs on the other hand is much smaller, the amount being scarcely one twentieth part of the whole revenue.
Ariny and Navy.) The French army, which under Bonaparte, was in peace above 400,000, and in war neariy 600,000 effective
men, is now in a very different condition. Many of the old soldiers perished in the disastrous campaigns of 1812, 1813, 1814 and 1815; others received their discharge, in consequence of their attachment to their late commander, and though the army on the peace establishment amounts nominally to 250,000 men, considerable difficulty has been experienced in raising half that number. The navy consists of about 40 ships of the line and 40 frigates, but very few of them are in commission.
Manufactures.] In manufactures the French have long been noted for the fineness and durability of their woollens : linen also is a staple article, particularly in the north of France. In hardware they are greatly deficient; but in silk they support, particularly at Lyons, their former reputation The cotton manufactures are of récent introduction and maintain with difficulty à competition with England. The manufactory of plate glass for mirrors at St. Gobin, in the department of the Aisne, is well known as the first in Europe.
Commerce.] The natural situation of France on two seas, its many navigable rivers and the canals with which they are connected, the fine roads which intersect the country in every direction, the natural riches of the soil and the industry of the inhabitants greatly promote its commerce. The foreign trade extends to every part of Europe, the Levant, the north coast of Africa, the East Indies, China, the United States of America and the West Indies. The principal exports are wine, brandy, woollen and linen goods, and silks. Since the loss of St. Domingo the foreign trade and navigation have declined, but the internal commerce is as active as ever. There is very little paper money in France ; almost all business being transacted by gold and silver. The amount of the precious metals in circulation is estimated at the enormous sum of 80 millions sierling.
Islands. Corsica, one of the largest islands in the MediterraDean, lies between the coasts of France and Italy, and is separated from the island of Sardinia on the south by the strait of Bonifacio. It is 110 miles long and contains 4300 square miles and 174,702 inhabitants. The mountains, with which the island is covered, rise to a great height, and some of the summits are covered with snow during the greater part of the year. The soil is productive in coro, excellent wines, oranges, lemons, figs and other fruits. The principal towns are Bastia, on the N. E. coast of the island, Bonifacio, at the southern extremity, and Ajaccio, the birth-place of Napoleon Bonaparte, on a bay of the same name on the western coast.
There are several small islands on the coast of France, the principal of which are the isle of Oleron, a little north of the mouth of the Gironde ; the isle of Re, a little further north and opposite Rochelle ; Bellisle, opposite the mouth of the Vilaine,
and Ouessant or Ushant, remarkable as the farthest headland of France towards the west, being about 12 miles from the continent.
Situation and Extent.] Switzerland is bounded N. and E. by Germany; S. by Italy and w. by France. It lies between 45° 45' and 47° 48' N. lat. and between 6° 6' and 10° 36' E. lon. The area is estimated at 19,000 square miles.
Divisions.] Switzerland formerly consisted of 13 cantons, with their allies and subjects. In 1803, the constitution underwent a considerable change, and the country was formed into 19 cantons. In 1815, 3 new cantons were added by the Congress of Vienna, making the whole number at present 22, as in the follow
Cantons. Square miles. Population. Pop. on a sq. m. Religion. 1. Schaffhausen, 176 30,000 170 Protestant. 2. Thurgau or
366 76,700 206 Prot. and Cath Thurgovia, 3. Zurich,
990 182,000 184 Protestant. 4. Aargau or
792 143,960 181 Prot. and Cath. Argovia, 5. Bale or Basil, 275
47,200 171 Protestant. 6. Soleure,
286 47,892 167 Cath. and Prot. 7. Lucerne,
792 100,000 126 Catholic 8. Zug,
14,300 118 Catholic. 9. Schweitz,
28,900 59 Catholic. 10. St. Galle,
880 130,300 180 Prot. and Cath, 11. Appenzell, 231 55,000 238 Cath- and Prot. 12. Glarus,
467 24,000 51 Cath. and Prot. 13. Uri,
528 14,000 26 Catholic 14. Underwalden, 286 21,200 74 Catholic. 15. Berne,
3,784 291,200 77 Protestant. 16. Friburg,
506 70,000 138 Catholic. 17. Pays de Vaud
1,540 150,000 97 Protestant. or Leman, 18. Tesino, 1,177 88,793 75 Catholic. 19. Grisons, 3,080 73,200 23 Prot. and Cath 20. Valais,
2,024 63,400 31 Catbolic. 21. Geneva,
132 47,800 362 Protestant. 22. Neufchatel, 330 50,800 154 Protestant
Mountains.] The principal chain of the Alps passes through the country in a northeasterly direction and with its numerous branches overspreads all the southern cantons.
In different parts of its course it has different names. 1. The most southern division, called the Pennine Alps, comes from Italy, and entering Switzerland at its S. W. corner, runs along the southern border of the canton of Valais as far as Mount Rosa. It passes over the summits of Mont Blanc (which is in Italy, and 14,676 feet high,) the great St. Bernard (10,380 feet high,) Mount Combin, Mount Cervin and Mount Rosa (13,428 feet high.) 2. The Lepontine Alps stretch themselves from Mount Rosa over Mount Simplon (6,597 feet high, the Griesburg and Mount St. Gothard (9,964 feet high, to Mont Bernhardin, in the capton of the Grisons. A branch of the Lepontine Alps proceeds from Mount St. Gothard in a W. S. W. direction almost to the lake of Geneva, occupying the southern part of the canton of Bern and the northern part of the Valais, and containing among many others the summits of the Furca, the Schreckhorn, the Viescherhorn, the Jungfrau, all of which are more than 12,000 feet high. 3. The Rhaetian Alps commence at Mont Bernhardin at the eastern termination of the Lepontine Alps, and extend into Germany, after throwing off many branches both to the north and south which overspread the whole canton of the Grisons.— The Mount Jura chain forms the boundary between Switzerland and France.
Rivers.] The two principal rivers are, 1. The Rhine, which rises in the Lepontine Alps, a little to the east of Mount St. Gothard, and flowing at first in a N. E. direction passes the town of Coire or Chur, where it begins to be navigable, and then, turning to the north, forins for a short distance the eastern boundary of Switzerland, and falls into the lake of Constance. Issning from that lake with a copious current it flows west, forming the boundary between Switzerland and Germany till it reaches Bale, where it turns to the north, and leaves the country. Its principal tributary from Switzerland is the Aar, which rises a little west of Mount St. Goihard, and flowing in a N. W. direction through the lakes of Brientz and Thun, passes by Berne, and soon after turns to the N E. and receiving the Great Emmen, the Reuss, and the Limmat, falls into the Rbine in the canton of Aargau. 2. The Rhone, whicb rises at the foot of Mount Furca, not far from Mount St. Gothard, and flowing in a W. S. W. direction through the canton of the Valais, discharges its turbid waters into the transparent lake of Geneva. Issuing from that lake in a purer stream, it flows south and forms for some distance the boundary between France and Savoy.
Lakes.] The principal lakes are, 1. The luke of Genera. which is 50 miles long and in its willest part 10 broad, and is surrounded with the most magnificent scenery, the north bank being fertile and beautifully diversified, while the south rises gradually until it terminates in the loftiest summits of the Alps. ?. The lake of Constance or Boden See, 35 miles long and 12 broad, has fertile and well cultivated banks, lined with beautiful towns, vil
lages and castles. 3. The lake of Neufchatel, in the west of Switzerland, about 20 miles long and 4 broad.
There are many small lakes in the interior, the principal of which are the lake of Zurich, in the canton of the same name, which discharges itself through the Limmat into the Aar; the lakes of Zug and Lucerne, in the cantons of the same name, through the last of which the river Reuss passes ; and the lakes of Brientz and Thun, through both of which the river Aar passes. In the southern part of the canton of the Grisons is the lake of Lugano which discharges itself through the small river Tresa into the lake of Maggiore. The lake of Maggiore lies partly in Switzerland, but principally in Italy. It receives the Tesino, Maggiore, and several other rivers from the eastern face of the Lepontine Alps.
Face of the Country.] The southern part of Switzerland is covered with mountains, whose barren, inaccessible summits pierce the region of perpetual snow. The northern cantons contain an agreeable mixture of lofty mountains, rugged rocks, green hills, fertile vales, beautiful pastures and finely cultivated fields. The lakes and mountains of Switzerland everywhere give a wonderful sublimity and beauty to the scenery.
Climate.] The climate is very different in different parts. In the proper Alps it is cold, rough and unfriendly; in the southern vallies the climate resembles that of Italy, and in the northern cantons that of the neighboring parts of France and Germany, yet on account of the many mountains and lakes it is extremely variable.
Soil and Productions. The soil in the vallies is deep and in some parts very fertile, particularly on the Aar; in the mountains it is very thin and so barren that cultivation is very rarely attempted The vine is cultivated with success, principally in the cantons of Berne, Schaffhausen and the Pays de Vaud. Of all kinds of fruit there is an abundance, and corn, hemp and flax are cultivated to a considerable extent though not in sufficient quantities for the supply of the country. But the principal occupation of the Swiss farmer is the raising of cattle, particularly horned cattle, and most of the fertile land is used for meadow and pase ture. lo mineral productions Switzerland is not so rich as might be expected from its mountainous situation. For salt it is almost entirely dependent on France and Germany.
Natural Curiosities.] The glaciers of the Alps are immense fields of ice, unrivalled in their extent and magnificence. The peaks and ridges of the higher summits are overspread with perpetual snow and ice, which reach often a great distance downthe mountains, even to the borders of the cultivated vallies. These jm nense misses resting on an inclined plane, and often feebly supported, sometimes slide down the declivities, and in a moment over.vhelm the villages and hamlets below. They are usually intersected by numerous deep fissures and chasms, which present to the eye a thousand fantastic shapes of walls and pyramids, houses and temples, cascades and torrents. lo some places the ice is