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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 ina creasing principle of division of property, and with it of popus 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 a. mended with evident benefit; but it is not certain that the pubo lic or the workmen themselves have gained upon the whole by their indiscriminate abolition.
The continental system had given to French industry a mos 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.
A curious view of the composition of the vast population of France is exhibited in the Duke of Gaëta's Memoires sur le Cadastre, 1818. His Tables present 10,414,121 taxable properties, great and small, forming so many separate items in the accounts (róles) of the direct tax on real estate for 1815, as follows.
7,897,110 properties, rated at 21 francs a year or un
der, producing 47,178,649 francs.
(Average 6 fr. for each property.) 704,871 Do. rated 21 to 30 fr. producing 17,632,083) 699,637 Do. 31 to 50 fr. do. 27,229,518 486,043,089 594,048 Do. 51 to 100 fr. do. 41,181,488)
(Average of these three different
rates, 43 fr. for each property.)
(Average 196406 fr.)
(Average 678100 fr.)
(Average 1783 106 fr.)
(ties, 10,414,121 sum tot. taxed proper- producing 282,935,928 fr.
This statement does not give the number of proprietors, many of them holding properties in several communes, and being taxed in each. År de Gaëta, however, reckons that there are 4,833,000 individual proprietors; but as many of these are heads of families estimated at 5 persons, he gives 14,479,830 as the amount of the class of proprietors: According to this view, very nearly one half of the population of France belongs to that
More than three-fourths of these 4,833,000 proprietors, say-. 3,665,300 pay, upon an average, 12*8 francs yearly
tax upon their property or properties, re-
:. fr. 47,178,649 928,000 pay, upon an average, 92. fr. representing
a yearly income of 464 fr. or 171. 11s. Ster. .
- 86,043,089 212,636 pay, upon an average, 42546 fr. represent,
ing a yearly income of 2127 fr. or 85l. Ster-
4,805,936 carried over.
Carry over 223,633,444
4,805,936 Brought over.
Brought over 223,633,444 18,848 pay, upon an average, 1468 fr. representing
a yearly income of 7340 fr. or 2931. lls.
27,653,016 8,216 pay, upon an average, 385440 fr. represent
ing a yearly income of 19,272 fr. or 7711.
The Agricultural class in France then consists, of 1,421,000 proprietors and their families, living wholly, or mostly,
on the net proceeds of land, with an income of from two to twenty thousand francs a year for each family,
(801. Sterling to 8001. a year.) 13,059,000 proprietors and their families, of the class of peasants,
living partly by their labour, with an income of from
64 to 464 francs a year for each family. 4,941,000 agricultural labourers, who are not proprietors.
Therefore pne half of the population of France is composed of proprietors great or small, and one-sixth of agricultural labourers; and altogether two-thirds are employed in agriculture. In Great Britain, on the other hand, proprietors and farmers together (the latter with us may fairly be rated among proprietors, having a large capital vested in stock and improvements on land) do not appear to amount to more than 2,975,000 individuals, and agricultural labourers to 2,654,142. Altogether not more than one-third of the British population (17,000,000) is concerned in agriculture. *
* Colquhoun's Wealth and Power of the British Empire. Lon
don, 1814. p. 124. Freeholders of the better sort in Great Britain
and Ireland, and their families, 385,000) Lesser freeholders
1,050,000 2,975,000 Farmers
1,540,000) Labourers, people employed in agriculture, mines and minerals
3,154,142) Supposing miners to be half a million--to de
Carry over 5,629,14%
The remaining third of the population of France is composed
of4,309,000 manufacturing and commercial labourers without
property; and 5,270,000 merchants, manufacturers, or individuals living on
the interest of their capital, the emoluments of
liberal professions, public offices, &c. The remaining two-thirds of the population of Great Britain are composed as follows5,163,389 labouring workmen, employed in trade and manu.
• factures; and 6,207,469 merchants and manufacturers, individuals living on
the interest of their capital, professions, public
offices, or in any other way not agricultural. In order to render this comparison clearer, we shall reduce the respective numbers to fractional parts of the same denominator (30,000).
Merchants, inLanded Proprietors
Manufactur- dividuals living| Proprietors living partly, Agricultural ing and on the interest living on the or mostly, Labourers. Commercial of their capital, net pro- by their la
Labourers. for in any other ceeds. bor.
way not agri
The proportion of landed proprietors appears from this statement to be nearly three times greater in France, than with us;
Brought over 5,629,142 Aquatic labourers in the merchants' service,
fisheries, rivers, canals, 320,000, and miners taken from above, 500,000
- 820,000) Artisans and labourers in manufactories, and
$5,163,389 works of all kinds
4,343,389) Remaining for all other classes, including ar. my and navy