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ART. VII. The Jacobite Relics of Scotland, being the Songs,
Airs, and Legends, of the Adherents to the
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VIII. The Sketch Book. By Geoffrey Crayon, Gent.
X. 1. Endymion: A Poetic Romance. By Jo. Keats.
XI. Essay on the Evils of Popular Ignorance. By John
Quarterly List of New Publications
ART. I. 1. Recherches sur les Causes qui ont empeché les François de devenir libres et sur les Moyens qui leur restent pour le devenir. Par MR MOUNIER. 1792.
2. Statistique Elémentaire de la France, &c. Par MR JACQUES PEUCHET. 1805.
3. Rapport fait au Conseil-General des Hospices par un de ses Membres sur l'Etat des Hopitaux et des Hospices, ainsi que des secours à domicile, du 1er Janvier 1804 au 1er Janvier 1814. Paris, 1816.
4. Administration des Hopitaux, Hospices civils secours à domicile, enfans trouvés, &c. au 31 Mars, 1819.
5. Rapport Général sur les Travaux du Conseil de Salubrité pour 1819.
6. Mémoire sur le Cadastre et détails Statistiques sur le nombre et la division des taxes de la contribution fonciere, sur le revenu commun des Proprietaires de Biens Fonds en France, &c. Par MR LE DUC DE GAETA, Membre de la Chambre des Députés. 1818.
7. Reflexions sur l'Organisation Municipale et sur les Conseils Generaux de Departemens et les Conseils d'Arrondissemens. Par MR DUVERGIER DE HAURANNE, Deputé de la Seine. Inferieure.
8. Considerations sur la Politique et sur les Circonstances aetuelles. 1820.
9. Petit Catéchisme à l'Usage des François, &c. Par MR DE PRADT, Ancien Archevêque de Malines. 1820.
THERE is nothing so common as to mistake a knowledge of the recent events in a nation's history for a knowledge of VOL. XXXIV. No. 67.
its true state and condition. But there can scarcely be a greater delusion. Where the events have been numerous and important, it is generally extremely difficult to ascertain what has been their general result, even in what is called a political point of view, or as to the parties and principles immediately concerned-so much and so variously do they modify and balance and neutralize each other-and so frequently do parties change their names, and qualify their principles in the alternations of success and defeat that occur in a protracted struggle. This, however, is a kind of equation for which, at all events, a diligent study of the history will furnish the necessary terms-and to which a reasonable approximation may generally be made by proper pains and precaution. But it is a thousand times more difficult, and in fact often impossible, to gather or infer from the modern annals of any country, what is the actual condition of its people, or even what are the changes which the events there recorded have wrought in its condition. The practical results of political innovations are often so different from what had been contemplated, either by their advocates or opposers-the collateral effects of all exclusive changes are generally so much greater than the direct, and the new interests that are silently generated from the contention of old ones so often of far more importance than those to which they have succeeded, that events which would have been of the greatest moment in the former state of things, become altogether insignificant in the present, and men continue fighting and debating about measures which can no longer exert much influence on their fortunes.
All these remarks, we think, are eminently applicable to the recent history and present situation of France. For the last twentyfive years, the world have been occupied almost exclusively with the great events of which that country has been the theatre and the spring-and yet there are very few, we are persuaded, even among its own politicians, who are thoroughly aware either of the changes which these events have produced on the bulk of the population, or of the effects which these changes must still have on the institutions which are now on their trial. We have all heard of its Revolution-of its long and unexampled successes in war-of its reverses-of the fate of its ambitious rulerof restoration the first and restoration the second-of charters
of chambers of deputies and chambers of peers-of ministries and parties and laws of election. But it has seldom been considered of what elements those things were compounded, or in what way the changes in the state of the nation rendered other changes indispensable or insignificant. Our travellers indeed
continue to resort to Paris in vast numbers, and go the usual round of sights and introductions: occasionally take part with Ultras or with Liberals, with Bonapartists, with Bourbonists; but few have thought of inquiring what sort of thing the People of France actually is at this moment?-we do not mean the politicians of Paris only, but the thirty millions of souls which compose the population of the kingdom. We have lately taken some pains to inform ourselves upon this great question-and shall now lay before our readers the sum of the knowledge we have acquired.
A very large proportion of the French nation, composed of mere country labourers, found themselves unexpectedly raised to the rank of Proprietors by the sale of national lands in small parcels at the beginning of the Revolution. A prodigious impulse was given to industry by this change of situation; and the love of property it originally produced has continued ever since to increase. The competition for the acquisition of land is such, that a farm in the neighbourhood of any village, if sold in small lots, is sure to bring a considerable advance of price. There are instances of sales at the rate of 80 or even 100 years' purchase the new proprietor depending for his subsistence in a great degree on the produce of his personal labour and that of his family. Children usually inherit equal shares of the paternal property, although the law allows the father to dispose of one-third if he leaves only two children, and one-fourth if he leaves a greater number. This is another and a constantly increasing principle of division of property, and with it of popu lation, every fractional proprietor thinking he can marry upon his small patrimony.
A change, no less important, has taken place in the condition of Artificers: the Gothic system of corporate bodies of tradesmen (Jurandes et Maîtrises) endowed with exclusive privileges, was abolished at the Revolution, as well as the regular course of apprenticeship, companionship, &c. Society has so far gained, that natural abilities, and superior industry have freer scope, and the skilful and the strong win the race easier than they would have done otherwise-at the same time that those of inferior capacity are sooner distanced. Some of the old regulations were tyrannical and absurd: they might have been amended with evident benefit; but it is not certain that the pub lic or the workmen themselves have gained upon the whole by their indiscriminate abolition.
The continental system had given to French industry a mo nopoly which some of the great manufactories established under
its protection did not survive: but the workmen attached to these establishments have most of them set up individually in the same line. It is a fact, that for every extensive establishment relinquished for want of sufficient encouragement, many small ones have started up, and a race of needy manufacturers has arisen, who are reduced, by their want of capital, dispersion, and limited market, to fall back in the scale of improvement, and do less work with more labour. Innumerable patents are taken by individuals, classed under 488 distinct heads, a very great proportion of whom work harder for a less and more precarious reward, than mere journeymen, living, as the French Statistical Tables express it, on the produit brut of the useful arts.
All the establishments of Education, good and bad, were destroyed during the Revolution: those which came in their place might be better in theory, but they were neglected in practice: both primary schools and central schools remained in the most deplorable state, and but a very small portion of the lower people enjoyed the benefit of any teaching, before the Lancaster schools (l'Enseignement mutuel), of which we gave an account in a late Number, were introduced in France. The mass of the people have acquired some political experience; but in other respects they must be as ignorant as the Revolution found them. It is a well known fact, that for the last twenty years, the Government has experienced the greatest difficulty in procuring individuals fit to be Maires de Communes; and these places are generally wretchedly filled. The difficulty of forming proper juries is also such, that a sense of shame alone prevents the institution being given up at once in despair :-it certainly is not popular.
During Bonaparte's long course of victory, the Civil and Military departments, abroad as well as at home, opened such a vast field to the ambition of individuals, that all promising young men were brought up with a view to advancement in the conquering branch of industry; and none who felt any talent or spirit would consent to be farmers or in trade. The chances of war have taken back what they had given; rendering the most able and active part of the nation mere supernumeraries, a burthen to themselves and to society; and many of the suicides which take place at Paris, 30 to 35 a month, are occasioned by the disappointments experienced by this class of men, who, although forming but an inconsiderable fraction of the people, occasion, nevertheless, some uneasiness to those who wish for peace and tranquillity, at the same time that all who have any humanity must feel for their misfortunes.