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present century has witnessed of our yeoman and
“statesman” into renters of farms (page 131, and again
page 188). He regards the combination of capital
with labour as most desirably exhibited in the union
of landlord and tenant, as in England, where each
party has an interest in the land tilled. In other
countries the cultivator, who either has not the means
of doing justice to the land, or who is saddled with an
obligation to pay interest on the shares possessed in
it by his co-heirs (a frequent cause of embarrassment
in France), must borrow to carry him through; and
thence his chance of bettering his condition becomes
next to hopeless.
The general propensity of French cultivators to
get into debt is admitted by our author. But if
possessors of capital are willing to lend upon the
security of land, there is every reason why they
should be encouraged to do so. Check borrowing by
the straitened farmer, and you check production.
And if you ask why the farmer does not sell, and
why the capitalist does not buy, this same land, the
answer is obvious—such is the mode, clumsy, if you
please to call it so, in which capital and labour are in
the habit of co-operating in France. The capitalist
prefers to lend rather than cultivate, and the owner
clings to possession on any terms. But, as M.
Lavergne remarks, land in England is also enormously
indebted, only that it is the landlord, and not the culti-
Vator, who borrows. Everyone conversant with English
provincial affairs, is aware of the vast extent to which
estates are mortgaged. But, he adds, “this is less
matter of regret in a rich country, such as England,
where the debtors have commonly other sources of
income on which to eke out their living.” Still, the
fact ought to be borne in mind when we talk so
compassionately of the landed property of France
being “crippled with debts.” We earnestly commend
to our reader's attention the whole chapter “Sur les
Débouchés,” where ample and instructive explana-
tions abound of the various differences in the eco-
nomic condition of the two countries.
As a relief to the foregoing somewhat dry though
instructive speculations, concerning the best modes of
holding property in land, and the various conditions
under which it may be cultivated, we enter upon
what we may describe as the picturesque portion of
M. Lavergne’s “Essai,” entitled “Country Life.”
But under this general and familiar head there is
unpacked and rolled out before us, to our no small
surprise, a whole shipload of literary merchandize.
And in the face of such a mass of facts and erudite
researches, so extensive a knowledge of the works of
our poets, such intimate acquaintance with the springs
of national life, and the sources of English social
peculiarities, how, we should like to know, is a
reviewer to approach the task of furnishing even an
outline of this truly comprehensive chapter? We
feel that it is beyond our capabilities, yet we must
attack it.
It is, first of all, our duty to apprise the reader
that he will be carried as far back as the “Saxons
and Normans” for the origin of that peculiar charac-
teristic for which the English are famed—viz., a
passion for country life; he will therefore be prepared
for a pretty extensive journey over the field of illus-
trative historical gleanings. And he will do wisely to be


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prepared; for we ourselves, not having been so, were
nearly run out of breath in toiling after the author
through this maze of black-letter lore. Only think,
too, of coming unexpectedly upon a passage so gran-
diose as this, when we imagined ourselves to be
dealing with a quiet treatise upon the “hum-drum
topic of farming!”—
“When the barbarian multitudes came swarming
down upon the Roman Empire, from every quarter,
they spread themselves over the face of the country,”
&c. &c.
Then we have William the Conqueror and Dooms-
day Book, Henry VIII., Charlemagne, Queen Eliza-
beth, Cambrian Bards, Magna Charta, and the like
imposing persons and things. They file off, however,
after having opened the piece with a certain amount
of solemn parade, and leave us to the company of
English gentlemen, and we may add English ladies,
for they naturally form one of the features of
“country life,” as agreeably depicted in this chapter.
The bearing of the rural habits of our gentry upon
the political machine is skilfully sketched, and com-
pared with the opposite tastes of the modern French
noblesse, who usually prefer spending the winter in
towns. We say prefer, although we do not think
that they would like towns better, having the same
inducements set before them as are present with
English country gentlemen; but their political world
is and has been so organized for the last hundred and
fifty years, that rural existence has long been, in
great part, stripped of its charm and interest for
French gentlemen of independent fortune.
M. Lavergne has penetrated the crust of English

society, thereby acquiring an insight into our provincial mind, such as is exceedingly rare with foreigners. He of course notes, and indeed goes so far as to admire, the complicated but unseen network of powers which forms the internal administration of this unique country. He quotes the anecdote of Queen Elizabeth sending back to their “demesnes” her nobles who came thronging to court, with a metaphor signifying that they would be of more use and importance there than in the capital; and he remarks that neither Henri Quatre nor his grandson would have done as much. The rulers of France, with their narrow, selfish aims, took the most effective course to disgust the territorial aristocracy with provincial life, when they deprived them, step by step, of all local authority and influence, and laid the foundation of the system of carrying on internal government by an army of officials: a system of which we have lived to see the many disastrous consequences.

But we must return to M. Lavergne's description of English life, and the contrast it presents to that of the Continental “classes aisées.” “Such as the Palace of Chatsworth is, on the grand scale of residences, such is the abode of each private gentleman, only on a lesser footing. The smallest squire must have his ‘park,' or park-like enclosure. The number of these sort of residences is enormous, beginning with such as contain some few acres only, and mounting up to

others of more than a thousand in extent. . . . It

is easy to perceive how much this habit—so universal with the English—of passing their lives in the country, affects the prosperity of the land itself. Whereas in France it is the produce of the fields which serves to maintain the opulence of our cities, in England it is the industrial towns which sustain the progress of husbandry. They enrich the farmer by the demand they furnish, and farming flourishes accordingly. Again, the self-love of the occupier of a country seat will not permit him to neglect the appearance of his farming establishment. Ostentation, in rural England, finds a vent in fine teams, substantial farm buildings, handsome cattle, and the like. A ‘crack home farm' may, in fact, stand as the equivalent of a splendid ‘hotel, luxuriously furnished, in Paris.” (page 155.) We pass over the comparison between the burthens borne by the land in both countries, although it is set forth with candour, and will be found instructive; our limits force us to select among the topics treated in the “Essai,” and we prefer touching upon the chapter headed “Political Institutions.” Though short, it is perhaps the one which, by the extent of its range of information, its historical illustrations, and intelligent commentary, offers the liveliest interest to the student of social economy, of any in the book. How one is led to reflect upon the waves which advance and recede in the course of human affairs; and what striking differences may we not discern in the groups of facts which command the approval of the actual generation of the day, to be contemned and avoided by that of another! Like all foreign interpreters of the causes of our advance in material wealth, M. Lavergne naturally ascribes the largest share in its development to our exemption from internal discord and ruinous revolutionary wars. “The eighteenth century, so disastrous throughout for us, exhibits England in a state of con

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