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On the Consequences likely to follow from
the French Revolution.
I shall consider this question as it regards France itself, and as it regards other nations. I am of opinion that a representative government is permanently established in France. It is probable that the Nobles, who, comprehending every age and both sexes, are computed to amount to 150,000, will endeavour to re-establish their ancient privileges; they will be assisted in this by the clergy and the fanatics. The Bourbon family is suspected of wishing them success; but the united efforts of nobles and priests will fail. The French nation retains too strong an abhorrence of the ancien régime, and too correct a sense of the advantages obtained by the Revolution, ever to suffer itself to be deprived of those advantages, The Kings of Europe confederated to pre vent the French nation from establishing a representative government, but their efforts have failed.
I have already remarked, that in consequence of the French Revolution, their lands, in tillage, now yield a produce of onethird more than before the Revolution. Is this owing to the abolition of tithes, or to the abolition of feudal burdens ? or must we attribute it to the more equal imposition of taxes, and the security from oppression which the subject now enjoys ? or is it owing to the division of great masses of landed property, formerly possessed by ecclesiastics? or to the division of the landed property of the Nobles, in consequence of the late confiscations, and the present law of succession ? or shall we say that it is owing to the Nobles being obliged to reside on their estates, and to superintend their cultivation, in consequence of their being no longer supported by the bounty of a Court? In what degree these, or other causes unknown to me, have occasioned the improvement in the produce of their land, I cannot pretend to say ; but I believe the assertion to be true, that the land in France now yields one third more than it did before the Revolution.
I have said, that France has established a representative government. In trict, the man who pays 300 francs, or 121. 108. a year, in direct taxes, is entitled to vote. It is calculated, that the man who pays this sum annually in direct taxes, will most commonly have property to the value of from 1500 to 1800 pounds sterling : this is a sufficient property to create an interest in the elector, that taxes should be moderate; he will, therefore, give his vote with this impression on his mind; and the sentiments of the elected will most probably be in unison with those of the electors : thus the deputies will really be the representatives of their constituents; they will guard the people's money; and it is the money of the people which every government is endeavouring to obtain. Every measure which government brings forward in every country, has more or less a reference to this end. The Nobles will no longer be supported by the profusion of a court; they will no longer be exclusively entitled to advancement in the army or the
church; and their Parliaments are abolished. Whatever large estates may yet remain to individual Nobles, they will gradually be divided by the existing law of succession: no means of acquiring affluence will remain to the Nobles, except agriculture and com
I know that French nobles have hitherto been accustomed to think themselves disgraced by engaging in commerce, or by the practice of the professions of law and physic; but these prejudices must be got over. The Nobles will soon feel themselves on a level with their fellow-subjects, and agriculture and commerce will be their chief pursuits : thus France will become an agricultural and commercial nation. It is supposed that there is a wish in the Bourbon family to reserve commissions in the army for the Nobles, but they will not be able to effectuate this wish. While the
is recruited by conscription, there will be necessarily found men of education among
the conscripts ; and such men will not submit to be considered in a degraded character : they will demand advancement according to their merits.
The French Ministers are at this time endeavouring to obtain a change in the law. of election, and also a change in that law by which the army is recruited. By a change in the law of election, they propose to diminish the commercial influence in elections. By a change in the law of recruiting, they wish to prevent a large proportion of officers being taken from the ranks. They will probably fail in both these attempts. A very large proportion of those who are now officers have risen from the ranks : even the Generals and Marshals who are now seen at the French Court, are well aware that they would soon be treated with contempt if the ancient Nobles were advanced to high military rank. It has even been said, that the disgust of the late Marshal Ney originated in insults offered to his wife by emigrant Nobles, when she presented herself at Court. If the measure were persevered in, the Bourbons might fall victims to the attempt.
I have said that a representative government is established in France. I do not mean by this, that corrections may not be