صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

(most of the French proprietors are labourers likewise); and the number of agricultural labourers also is something greater in France. Upon the whole, there appears to be in England a saving of about one half the labour bestowed upon land in France; and thus, owing to a better system of husbandry, larger farms, and more pastures, we can afford a double proportion of our population for commercial and manufacturing labours, the liberal and the useful arts, and a life of leisure and enjoyment: And yet, if we look to the result of this state of things in the two countries, for the last few years, we shall find no great reason to boast. In France, a whole army of more than 400,000 men was disbanded in 1816; the men originally raised by the conscription were most of them the sons of proprietors; they dispersed in all directions, each of them taking the nearest road to his native cottage; neither robberies nor assassinations took place, and travelling through all parts of the country remained perfectly safe. A general failure of crops occurred immediately after this, and the scarcity amounted almost to a famine. In several departments, this occasioned some trifling disturbances on market days; but the peace of the country was never seriously endangered. All Europe, and even the United States of America, have since experienced unexampled commercial and manufacturing distresses, and France has had her share; yet complaints were comparatively less there than anywhere else, and we have heard of no riots in that country. Taxes are no doubt high-that on land is equal to above one fifth of the net produce, yet they are punctually paid. We annex here an official statement of the number of trials, condemnations and acquittals for the whole kingdom (a population of 29 millions), from 1813 to 1818– with which a similar statement, for the same years, in England, forms but a melancholy contrast.

FRANCE. (Population of 29 millions.)


(Population of 10 millions.)


[ocr errors]

Transportation for life

[ocr errors]

11813.) 1814., 1815.) 1816. 1817. 1818.

| 1813. 1814. 1815. 1816. 1817. (1818.
| Individus traduits en jugement
"}/80425485 6551 9890 14,1469722

Accused - - - 171646390

. 17164 6390 7818 9091 |13,932
devant les cours d'assises - ŠI

Condemned · - | 4422 4025 4883 5797 9,056
5343 3402 43766807 9,431 | 6712 Acquitted or not pro-?12742 2365 |2935 3294
Acquittés - ..

2699 2083 2175 5083 4,715 3010 secuted - - - S
Ce Tableau général se subdi-

vise de la maniere suivante.
Crimes contre la chose publique | 191 174 319 546 438 166

contre les personnes - | 1130 902 1206 1589 | 1,638 1262

contre les propriété .. 459 283131114722 7,0865547
Condamnés à mort -

| 307
83 256 414

324 Sentence of death - 713 558 553 890 1,302 1254
aux travaux forces à per-

393 petuité - - S

for 14 years 95 78 941 133 à la deportation

for 7 years

826 861 | 1,474
aux travaux forces à temps

1992 Imprisonment - | 2759 2574 (32183663 | 5,700
aux travaux forees et à la 2

Whipping and fines 96

183 137 154 190320


fetrissure -
à la reclusion - - 1916|119815112217 | 2,774 2116
reclusion et fletrissure


au carcan
au bannissement -

Out of the above capi-
à la degradation civile

| 120 70
tal condemnations, CI 1ooo l

57 95
the executions have (

115 97
l'amendemement et a}|1133 780 1014 1906 2,629 1619

been only . :-)
N. B. D'après les renseignemens recueillis jusqu'à ce jour la diminution dans l'année 1819 sera encore plus consi-



[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

The people of France, without great proprietors; without corporations; with a mere shadow, as we shall immediately see, of municipal administration; with a very imperfect and confined establishment of juries ; * with aristocrats setting forth absurd

* The courts of justice in France present, from the number of judges who sit together, something like the exterior of a jury, but without any of its peculiar advantages,--that of mixing with the immutability and rigour of law which governs the Bench, something of the com. mon sense and common feelings of men, making strict rule bend to unforeseon circumstances, and placing arbitrary power in transitory hands least likely to abuse it.

The judicial organization is as follows. , Justices of the Peace about 2700, appointed by the Government during pleasure, with a small salary. They try civil causes to a certain amount, beyond which they act only as mediators between the parties, who cannot proceed at law before this preliminary re

ference. Many compromises are effected through their means. Tribunaux de premiere instance, composed of 355 to 360 courts, and · 3300 judges and assistant judges. An appeal lies from all these

to the Cours d'Appel. Cours d'Appel, or Cours Royales, composed of twenty-seven courts,

and about one thousand judges or assistant judges. Cour de Cassation, composed of 49 supreme judges divided into

three distinct chambers. 1. For criminal cases. 2. & 3. Admit or reject petitions for new trials in civil cases, on the ground of de

fects of form. . Tribunaux de Commerce, composed of merchants serving without a

salary, presented by the body of merchants, and appointed by the Government; deciding in all commercial cases to a limited amount, without appeal. 212 or 215 courts, of five judges each.

Criminal Cases are classed as follows. 1. Contraventions. 2. Délits (Misdemeanors.) 3. Crimes. Justices of the Peace try cases of contravention, and can inflict five

days' imprisonment at most, and a fine of fifteen francs. An appeal lies to the Tribunaux Correctionnels. Tribunaux Correctionnels, composed of judges of the Tribunaux de premiere instance. They try misdemeanors without a jury, and can inflict five years' imprisonment, and a fine of twelve thousand franes.

An appeal lies to the Cours d'Appel. Cours d'Assises, composed of five judges (those of the Cours d'Appel),

try crimes with a jury, and can inflict capital punishment. Conseils de Guerre. They sit permanently in each of the twenty-one

military divisions of the kingdom ; are composed of about 200 judges, all military men. They try, without a jury, not military cases only, but any crime committed by a military man even a.

pretensions, but no aristocracy; with an ecclesiastical establishment which commands but little reverence; without any institution older than the present century, scarcely even excepting Royalty, which is now a thing wholly different from what it was formerly,presents an anomaly among nations. All political passions seem extinguished among the body of the people, except that for Equality. This was proclaimed at the time they became proprietors. The restoration of high and low in society is connected, in their mind, with the restoration of national property, with tythes and seigneurial privileges. They could do extremely well without civil liberty; but equality they must have. Their habeas corpus, or laws answering the same purpose, may be taken away or suspended without exciting material discontents. They are likewise unconcerned enough about the liberty of the press, whatever journalists may say to the contrary, and would not be sorry to get rid of trial by jury: But the very name of aristocrates is capable of exciting an insurrection at any time. In other respects, le peuple en France a donné sa demission witty but mortifying confession which one of the ablest of the French reformers suffered to escape from his lips.

From this slight outline, it is easy to see that the political machine among our neighbours is at this moment of very simple construction, consisting of two unconnected and opposite powers-the People, a promiscuous mass, in one scalethe King and Army in the other. If the king be warlike, he will have the army on his side, and soon find means of overruling the Legislature-if he be for a course of years weak or pacific, the Legislature elected by the people must in the end establish something very like a republic, of which a soldat heureux will in due time become the master. There is in that country no intermediate body, able to rally round the constitution when invaded by either of the opposed powers, and to resist the inroads either of despotism or of anarchy. Moreover, there are no materials to compuse such a body. The old aristocracy has proved itself signally unfit for a duty of this description.' Its marking character is an antipathy to all constitutional establishments.

gainst an individual not military! An appeal lies to a Conseil de Revision, composed likewise of military men.

N. B. This part of the Code is about to be amended. There are in France altogether about 5600 judges, exclusive of justices of the peace ;--a prodigious judicial establishment, compared to the twelve Judges in England, ten Masters in Chancery, and the Chancellor.

· Under this point of view, it is a matter of regret, perhaps, that

the government of Bonaparte did not last some years longer. He seemed to have felt the loneliness and consequent insecurity of his power, and the necessity of filling the immense and widening gulph between him and the promiscuous multitude, by some intermediate class which the nation could respect and confide in. He attempted, therefore, with great industry and perseverance, to reconstruct an aristocracy. The materials prepared were his Senate, his Legion of Honour, his titles of Nobility, his Majorats; but the transitory creation wanted the breath of life-independence. The senate was not a substantial, but a nominal power-not an auxiliary, but a mere servant of the Prince. As to the old noblesse, which through a mistaken policy, or rather through a childish vanity, Bonaparte was so anxious, during the latter part of his reign, to place in his household and government, and which was not at all backward in accepting the favour, the ill-assorted and base alliance could form no link between him and the people, and proved indeed a material injury to his popularity. His natural sagacity would in all probability have taught him to correct the defects of these institutions, for the sake of his own power, or rather of his dynasty; for although his own Sovereignty might be safe, enveloped as it was in the blaze of unrivalled glory, yet that of his posterity plainly required another base; and he could not but know a balanced constitution to be the only safe one. Europe in arms crushed in him the common enemy of their independence; but at the same time, perhaps, the only man who could arrest awhile the unsound and vicious tendency to perpetual political changes which haunts its repose, and afford time for something permanent to take root, some agglomeration of interests to be formed, some fortresses to be built on the debateable land of opinion, and check the sudden inroads of daring and restless innovation.

The history of Bonaparte affords, no doubt, a useful lesson to conquerors; but all princes might find in it something else to learn : for if his talents, his fame and his energy, could only silence for a while the spirit of civil liberty, or, if they please, of audacious independence, which burst forth the moment he fell ; they, with their bare legitimacy, respectable and useful in principle as it undoubtedly is, cannot reasonably hope to overcome it effectually; and must see the necessity of compounding on reasonable terms, and keeping the conditions of the treaty faithfully, for their own sakes.

In order to form an opinion of the present state of France, we have thought expedient to compare some of the earliest and

« السابقةمتابعة »