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Chap. in many places to a famine level. It seemed impossible —.. c., for human malignity to conceive a greater accumulation i819# of disasters, or for human ability to devise any mode of rendering them bearable.
Nevertheless it proved otherwise, and the resurrection Rapid'flow of France was as rapid as had been her fall into the abyss rity which of misfortune. Three years only had elapsed, and all was themhuhe changed. Plenty had succeeded to want, confidence to next year, distrust, prosperity to misery. The Allies had withdrawn, the territory was freed: the contributions were paid or provided for, the national faith had been preserved entire. All this had been purchased by a cession of territory so small that it was not worth speaking of. The public funds were high in comparison of what they had been; and though the loans necessary to furnish the Government with the funds to make good its engagements had been contracted at a very high rate of interest, yet the resources of the country had enabled its rulers to pay it with fidelity and exactness, and strengthened their credit with foreign states. The simple preservation of peace—a blessing so long unknown to France—had effected all these prodigies, and worked wonders in the restoration of the national industry. Agriculture, relieved from the wasting scourge of the conscription, had sensibly revived; the husbandman everywhere sowed in hope, reaped in safety; and the benignity of Providence, which awarded a favourable harvest in 1818 and 1819, filled the land withplenteousness. Great improvements had in many places been introduced into this staple branch of the national industry. The division of property, which always induces a great increase in the amount of labour applied to the cultivation, had not as yet been attended by its subsequent effect—an exhaustion of its productive powers; and the six millions of proprietors succeeded in extracting a considerable increase of subsistence from the fields. New and valuable trees had been planted in the woods; and horticulture, to which a large part of the country near the Chap.
great towns was devoted, had made rapid strides by the IX"
introduction of the improved style of English gardening. 1819Population had largely advanced since the peace; but no want was experienced among the inhabitants. Commerce had everywhere revived, latterly it had come to flourish to an extraordinary degree. The animation on the roads in the interior, on the canals which conveyed merchandise, 1 and in the seaport towns, proved how largely the means 319, wi of consumption had increased among the inhabitants.1
The capital, in an especial mauner, had shared in the general prosperity, and gave unequivocal proof of its Brilliant reality and extent. The concourse of strangers attracted of ParTsT* by its celebrity, its monuments, its galleries, its theatres, and its other attractions, was immense; and their great expenditure consoled the Parisians for the national reverses which had paved the way* for their arrival. The Russians and English, their most formidable and persevering enemies, were in an especial manner conspicuous in this lucrative immigration. Under the influence of such extraordinary stimulants, Paris exhibited an unwonted degree of affluence: the brilliant equipages and crowded streets bespoke the riches which were daily expended, while the piles of splendid edifices arising on all sides exceeded anything previously witnessed in the brightest t Personal days of its history, and added daily to the architectural observationbeauties it presented.2
Statistical facts of unquestionable correctness and convincing weight attested the reality and magnitude of this Exports, change. The exports, imports, and revenue of the coun- revenue o"d try had all gone on increasing, and latterly in an accelerated ratio. The imports, which in 1815 (the lastPerio^year of Napoleon's reign) had been only 199,467,660 francs, had risen, in 1817, to 332,000,000, and in 1821 they had advanced to 355,591,877 francs. The exports also had risen considerably; they had increased from
Chap. 422,000,000 to 464,000,000 francs* The amount of IX" revenue levied during these years could not, by possi1819- bility, afford a true index to the real state of the country, from the enormous amount of the contributions to the allied powers; but in those items in which an increase was practicable, or which indicated the greater wellbeing of the people, the improvement was very conspicuous. So marked a resurrection of a country and advance of its social condition, in so short a period, had perhaps never been witnessed; and it is the more remarkable, from its occurring immediately after such unprecedented misfortunes, and from the mere effect of an alteration in the system and policy of Government.
Add to this, that France had now, for the first time in Thorough its entire history, obtained the full benefit of representammtrfrV institutions. The electors of the Chamber of DepufMtTtutions* ^es were few 'n numDer—indeed, not exceeding 80,000 in FrMce. for the whole country—but they represented the national feelings so thoroughly, that their representatives in parliament had not only got the entire command of the state, but they expressed the national wishes as faithfully as eight millions could have done. If there was anything to be condemned on the part of Government, it was that it had yielded too rapidly and immediately to the wishes of the people, whatever they were at the moment. The Royalist reaction of 1815;the subsequent leaning to liberal
* Exports And Imports And Revenue Of France, From 1816 To 1821.
—Statittique de la France Commerce ExUrieur, p. 9; Ibid., Administration PMique, 116, 121.
institutions; the coup d'etat of September 5, 1816; the Chap.
great creation of peers in March 1819, had all been done 1—
in conformity with the wishes, and in obedience to the 18 9fierce demands, of the majority at the time. Weak from the outset, in consequence of the calamitous circumstances under which it was first established, and deprived at length of all support from external force, the Government had no alternative throughout but to conform, in every material step, to the national will, and for good or for evil inaugurate the people at once in the power of selfgovernment. To such a length had this been carried, that at the close of the period the king had come to an entire rupture with his Royalist supporters, and thrown himself without reserve into the arms of the Liberal and anti-monarchical party.
It might reasonably have been expected that these great concessions would have conciliated the Constitutional which have party, who were now not only in possession of the bless- conciliating ings of freedom, but the sweets of office, and that they party.'1*TM would have done their utmost to support a Government which had conferred such advantages upon their country and themselves. Yet it was just the reverse. With every concession made to them, their demands rose higher, their exasperation became greater; the press was never so violent, the public effervescence so extreme, as when the Government was opposing the least resistance to the popular will; and at length the danger became so imminent, from the increasing demands of the Liberals and the menacing aspect of the legislature, that the king, from sheer necessity, and much against his will, was driven into a change of system, and return to a monarchical administration.
The new Ministry, appointed when the Liberals were in the ascendant, being not altogether confident in Popularacts their stability, and having come to an open rupture with M^try" the Royalists, did everything in their power to increase
Chap, their popularity, and conciliate the democratic party, upon
!_ whom they exclusively depended. Various measures of
819- great utility, and attended by the very best consequences, were set on foot, which have been felt as beneficial even to these times. To them we owe the first idea of an exhibition of the works of national industry, which was fixed for the 25th August 1819, to be followed by a similar one every two years afterwards, and which was attended with such success that it gave rise, in its ultimate effects, to the magnificent Great Exhibition in London, in the year 1851. A Council-General of Agriculture was established, consisting of ten members, of whom the Minister of the Interior was President, which was to correspond with and direct affiliated societies all over the kingdom. In the choice of its members the most laudable impartiality was shown, and the Duke de la Rochefoucauld, the head of the Royalist nobility, was the first person on the list, followed by the Dukes of Choiseul and Liancourt, who were equally distinguished by their opposition to the present Government. A Council-General of Prisons was established, and the attention of the philanthropist directed to the unhappy convicts, a class of sufferers who had been alike neglected amidst the declamations of the Republic and the glories of the Empire. To aid them in their philanthropic labour, a society was formed, under the direction of the Minister of the Interior, which, under the title of the " Royal Society of Prisons," was soon actively engaged with projects for the improvement of prison discipline, and moral and religious instruction of the inmates. Great solicitude was evinced for the advancement of primary instruction; and in no former szt'm- period, either of the Republic or the Empire, had a greater ui'\55- numDer of improvements been effected in that important circuiaire^ department of public instruction.1 Finally, the attention ii. 271. 'of the Government was directed, in an especial manner, to the administration of justice, and the numerous abuses