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single extract from the Paris correspondent of the Times newspaper, to show that the commerce and credit of the French nation present dismal appearances of uncertainty and instability, that ill serve to realise those splendid anticipations of prosperity, which the agents of political sedition were always promising while they were engaged in sapping and undermining the foundations of the monarchy
Paris, April 1st, 1851. “ Commercial men here are beginning to regard the present position of affairs with dismay, nor is it extraordinary that it should be so, when they consider the last account published by the Bank of France, which shows that the commercial bills in the portfolios of that establishment lave diminished to the insignificant amount of 47,403,568f., while the unemployed capital in its cellars has increased to 390,000f. These figures prove that commercial credit has not been at so low an ebb since the revolution of February, and can only be accounted for by the apprehension created by the approaching period for the revision of the Constitution, and the uncertainty which prevails with respect to the course the Legislature may adopt on that question. The manufacturers in the mean time are receiving but few orders, and the number of unemployed operatives is every day increasing. At Lyons, St. Etienne, and Nîmes, the silk manufacturers are nearly idle. The linen trade is in a state of stagnation, and the timber trade, which was comparatively prosperous a month since, is now suffering like the others. The accounts from the agricultural districts show a tendency to a further decline in the price of grain in the various markets.”
The national credit, which generally serves as a tolerable test of the condition of a people, speaks equally unfavourably of the results produced by the Revolution. Thus,
In January, 1848, the 5 per cents stood at 118f. In April, 1851,
stand at 93f. In January, 1848, the 3 per cents stood at 78. In April, 1851,
stand at 55f.
The published accounts of the Bank of France disclose how significantly the trading transactions of the French people have been influenced by the conversion of the Monarchy into a Republic. Thus,
In January, 1848, § Commercial bills were dis- 156,614,000f. In April,
1851, I counted to the amount of } 47,403,000f. The indirect taxes and revenues are materially diminished in amount, although the expenditure of the state shows no corresponding decrease. Thus,
In 1847, the revenue returned 820,643,000f.
738,242,000f. Some deductions, it is true, must be allowed for remission of taxation on several articles, such as the duty upon salt, yet when these items are subtracted, the deficit still remains considerable.
Neither has the legislative business of the nation been conducted with better success by an Assembly elected upon the basis of a more expanded suffrage, than by the Chamber of Deputies, as constituted under the Monarchy of 1830; for every impartial observer must admit, that in point of practical legislation, the latter has left indisputable proofs of statesmanlike ability, which its successors have hitherto been unable to vie with, much less to surpass. As to the stability of the present form of government in France, no one seems to think much about that, for the question on every Frenchman's lips is, when will be the proper time to overthrow it, and in what manner shall the blow be struck ? Conceive the prospects of a nation, in which one of its most profound statesmen is obliged to ask such a series of questions as these : "Can the Republic be re-established ? Can the Monarchy
be restored ? Which Monarchy-the Empire, or the House of Bourbon ? What branch of the House of Bourbon-the elder, or the younger, or both together and in concert ?” Neither does the present constitution work with any degree of regularity or efficiency. The executive and the legislative powers of the government are constantly at variance with one another; and instead of attempting to act in harmonious co-operation, each is perpetually on the watch to crush its rival and exclaim, l'etat c'est moi. Even the Assembly itself is so harassed and divided by turbulent and conflicting factions, that the President has been recently compelled to announce, that all the ministerial combinations he had endeavoured to realise have definitively broken down.' In truth, the time has at length arrived when even those persons who were the most eager to create the Republic, have began to feel the bitterness of that dignified but prophetic language, which the Queen of Louis Philippe is reported to have used when the King's abdication was finally yielded—“Vous l'avez-vous vous en repentirez.”
Of the character and virtues of Louis Philippe this is not the place to speak, but we cannot refrain from noticing the ingratitude of that people to whose service the declining years of his life were almost wholly dedicated. In point of ability, he was not unworthy to be ranked with some of the greatest of French Monarchs, with Henry IV., Louis XIV., or Napoleon, for though he occupied a less conspicuous field, his actions were not less meritorious than theirs. It certainly is not to the credit of France that such a man should have been driven from her shores, with circumstances of contempt that the meanest criminal could hardly have deserved. It has been said that he was ambitious, selfish, and tyrannical, but these are accusations much more easily advanced than substantiated. With greater truth it might be said, that he was too much inclined to clemency and mercy for the age in which he lived, and too little disposed to exercise that extreme authority which the necessities of the times required. If he had had a worse heart, he might have died King of the French, but he preferred the obscurity of exile to that tenure of power which is only preserved and maintained by the constant presence of military force. How far he was justified in laying down the sword, it will be for History to decide, but he had at least that consolation, which Pericles upon his death-bed was proud of, concerning his citizens, “ that no Frenchman liad ever worn a mourning gown through his occasion."
“Now what relief can righteous David bring ?
How fatal 'tis to be too good a King,
Who dare be such, must be the people's foes." Of all the great political changes that at various epochs have convulsed modern Europe, we cannot point to one which has borne within it such scanty germs of improvement for the future, or which has removed so few evils of the past, as the Revolution of February, for whatever might have been the calamities and vicissitudes that followed the Great Rebellion in England, or the Reign of Terror in France, those events undoubtedly swept away many corruptions and abuses which scarce anything but such violent and terrible remedies could have accomplished. The changes of the last three years in France have, on the contrary, embarrassed the nation with all the disorders consequent upon political tumult, without having, in scarcely a single instance, conferred any one advantage that half compensates the losses which have been sustained in acquiring it. Indeed, it is difficult to regard the fall of Constitutional Monarchy in France in any other light than as one of the most disastrous calamities that ever happened to that nation; and we fear that when after the lapse of ages, the future historian shall be engaged in tracing the decline and fall of French civilisation, amidst the solitudes of her deserted palaces and the broken ruins of her once stately and magnificent cities, he will point through centuries to this fatal Revolution, and exclaim in the language of the Roman poet,