The soil is poor and the land minutely subdivided in the Jura, yet the condition of the peasant is now one of comparative ease and entire independence. Both morally and intellectually these mountaineers rank high among the rural population of France. An excellent notion of the mental capacities of the small land-owners may be obtained by attending a sitting of the Juge de Paix. The skill and readiness with which they state their cause and act the part of their own advocate are remarkable. For the most part the quarrels among neighbours arise from contested boundaries; the judge, after patiently hearing both sides of the question, settles matters for once and for all by visiting the spot, and in person fixing the landmarks.
The Revolution in a few years metamorphosed entire regions.
Introduced by the Convention in , it is now carried on so extensively that out of every hundred watches manufactured in France, eighty-six come from the chef-lieu of the Doubs. In the number of hands thus employed reached a total of 46, Many of these working watchmakers contrive by dint of extreme laboriousness and economy to purchase a vineyard or garden in the suburbs.
The department is neither pre-eminent in the matter of agriculture nor of social advance, yet it is a sight now-a-days to see "the fat farmers" at the September fair of Autun. From early morning they pour into the town, some in gigs or hooded carriages, with wife and children, others on foot, and the greater number driving their cattle—the splendid white oxen known as the Morvan breed.
Such experiences enable us to understand the stability and solid wealth of the French farmer. He is not above work, and does not disdain the uniform of labour. The same strict attention to daily concerns is seen on the occasion of a general election. Just before attending one of these cattle fairs of Autun I happened to be staying at St. The peasant farmers, although the day was Sunday, performed their electoral duties with the utmost despatch, and returned to their homes.
Much of the scenery of this part of France has an English look. We see fields set round with lofty hedges, winding lanes, sweeps of gorse and heather, alternately recalling Devonshire and Sussex.http://kick-cocoa.info/components/hijylikuk/derur-programmi-spia-iphone.php
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It was inevitable that a traveller in Arthur Young's time should miss many objects of striking interest on the way. The first itineraries of France seem to have been inspired by the Englishman's example—I allude to the voluminous works of Millin and Vaysse de Villiers published in the early part of the present century; the departmental system had not as yet created a French map, or, in the strict acceptance of the word, French Edition: current; Page: [ xxiv ] geography.
Thus he halted at Auray, and there was no one to point out the great stone avenues of Carnac and the dolmens of Locmariaker; he passed through Alsace, ignoring the famous shrine and grandiose site of St. Odille, extolled by Goethe in his poetic reminiscences. Here, too, he was on the threshold of the little Celtic kingdom of the Morvan, where village communism, as existing among patriarchal tribes, remained in force till our own day, and where the stalwart husbandman still throws over his shoulder the Gallic sagum, or short cloak, worn by the contemporaries of Vercingetorix.
The last village commune was broken up in The inhabitants of this most picturesque, but unproductive, country depend largely on industrial earnings, many migrating to Paris and other towns, and there pursuing various trades during part of the year. A wretched village occupied the site of the world-famous iron-foundries of Le Creusot, when Arthur Young journeyed from Autun to Nevers in From "the mild, healthy, and pleasant plains of the Bourbonnais," he passed into Auvergne, obtaining a glimpse of "the rich Limagne," of which Mr.
Barham Zincke has given us an exhaustive account. From its ruined battlements and prison towers, the tourist now beholds a heart-quickening scene of rural ease and smiling fertility; far and wide the beautifully cultivated plain, with its varied crops, not one inch of land wasted, the whole forming a brilliant patchwork of green fields and yellow corn, whilst dotted here Edition: current; Page: [ xxv ] and there are neat little homesteads and pasturing flocks and herds.
Here he describes "mountains covered with chestnuts and various articles of cultivation, which in districts not waste or volcanic, are waste, or in a great measure useless. Next he visits Avignon and the country of Venaissin, described as "one of the richest districts in the kingdom," and followed by a picture of Vaucluse no traveller has as yet surpassed. The supersession of madder by chemical dyes, and the phylloxera have of late years greatly diminished the revenues of this wealthy region, which, if visited in summer, almost persuades the stranger that he is in the East.
Nothing can be more Oriental than the veteran figtrees, the peach orchards, the olive groves, all veiled with finest white dust beneath a burning blue sky.
Here may be said to end Arthur Young's survey of France on the eve of the Revolution, an enterprise altogether original, and carried out under extraordinary circumstances. We need not feel astonishment at the great popularity enjoyed by his work on the other side of the Channel. Whilst many fairly educated English folk have never so much as heard the author's name, it is familiar to every schoolboy in France. Whilst, moreover, English students have been hitherto compelled to resort to the British Museum or wait long and patiently for an expensive copy of these Travels to Edition: current; Page: [ xxvi ] turn up at a secondhand bookseller's, unabridged edition after edition has appeared in Paris.
Arthur Young did not hesitate to tell his French readers some blunt home-truths, apparently taken in excellent temper; his journal must be described, for all that, as one long, graceful acknowledgment of courtesies and hospitalities, recorded in an age when anything like international friendship was rare indeed.
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The book has greater claims upon French sympathy. In spite of certain reservations, it is a vindication of peasant property and the Revolution, the two cardinal points of French belief. From the first page to the last, he sets down the abject wretchedness of the people and the stagnant condition of trade and commerce to bad government. But another adage of our "wise and honest traveller," his famous axiom, "The magic of property turns sands to gold," equally with improved administration, must account for the contrasted picture that now meets our view.
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By the light of after-events he was led to modify his ideas concerning the establishment of a democracy in France. But he had already given his experiences to the world; he could not undo the effect of his published work, and the observations summed up in his final chapter, to quote a great living critic, were "a luminous criticism of the most important side of the Revolution, worth a hundred times more than Burke, Paine, and Macintosh all put together.
Young afterwards became panic-stricken, but his book remained. There the writer enumerates without trope or invective the intolerable burdens under which the great mass of the French people had for long years been groaning.
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It was the removal of those burdens that made the very heart's core of the Revolution, and gave to France that new life which so soon astonished and terrified Europe. Into Arthur Young's services to agriculture we have no space Edition: current; Page: [ xxvii ] to enter here. They have been briefly indicated by the brilliant, but all too rapid, historian of the English people. Green, "which began with the reign of George the Second, and especially marked that of his successor, changed the whole face of the country. Ten thousand square miles of untilled land have been added, under their operation, to the area of cultivation, while in the tilled land itself the production had been more than doubled by the advance of agriculture, which began with the travels and treatises of Mr.
Arthur Young. His claims are not only those of a foremost agriculturist, an indefatigable promoter of the arts of peace, a citizen of the world in the widest acceptation of the name. He had pondered long and deeply on those social and political problems that occupy thinkers of our own day. Eminently practical, he yet indulged from time to time in the loftiest idealism.
My warm thanks are due to Mr. Arthur Young, grandson and granddaughter-in-law of the great agriculturist, without whose kind assistance the following memoir could not have been written. The materials were placed at my disposal whilst enjoying the hospitality of Bradfield Hall, the modern mansion occupying the site of Arthur Young's old home. I also beg to express my indebtedness to M. Paul Joanne, and other obliging correspondents, French and English. His home from the first, as it remained throughout the greater part of his life, was Bradfield Hall, of Bradfield-Combust, near Bury St.
Edmunds, a property held by the Young family since He was the youngest son of the Reverend Dr. Speaker Onslow and the Bishop of Bristol stood sponsors for the boy, appropriate inauguration of a life destined to be spent in the best company. From his father, an extremely handsome man six feet in stature, and the author of a learned work commended by Voltaire, he inherited good looks, a striking presence, and literary facility; from his mother, an inordinate craving for knowledge, and conversational powers of a high order.
He describes her as very amiable and cheerful, fond of conversation, for which she had a talent, and a great reader on a variety of subjects. She brought her husband a very large dowry, and no inconsiderable portion of this handsome jointure seems to have been swallowed up in the speculations of her son, one of the greatest agriculturists and least successful practical farmers who ever lived.
We can easily understand Arthur Young's love of rural life and keen appreciation of scenery, after a visit to Bradfield, reached from Mark's Tey on the Great Eastern Railway.
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It is a sweet spot, in the near neighbourhood of much of the beautiful country with which Gainsborough has familiarized us. Alighting at the quiet little station of Whelnetham, we follow a Edition: current; Page: [ xxx ] winding road overhung with lofty elms, that leads to the village; or in summer, knee-deep in wild flowers and waving grasses, we may take a traverse through the meadows, their lofty hedges a tangle of eglantine and honeysuckle, on every side stretches of rich pasture, cornfields, and woods.
The place has a very old-world look; here and there, between the trees, peeps a whitewashed cottage, with overhanging thatched roof, or a farmhouse of equally rustic appearance, very little modernization having taken place in these regions. The Suffolk farmer, as Arthur Young modestly calls himself, was in reality a country squire. His old home has been replaced by a Gothic mansion, but nothing can be more squirarchal than the well-wooded park, ornamental water with its swans, Queen Anne's garden and stately avenues, leading to church and lodge, which remain as they were in his own time.
Opposite the gates of Bradfield Hall stands the village ale-house, no quainter, more antiquated hostelry in rural England. Between park and village, consisting of church, rectory-house, and a dozen cottages, lies the broad, elm-bordered road leading to the railway station. This is the old London coach road followed by our traveller when setting forth on his French travels a hundred years ago, enterprises regarded by his family mad as those of Don Quixote himself. Entrancing as were these adventuresome journeys, we can fancy with what pleasure he hailed the first glimpse of Bradfield on returning home safe and sound from one expedition after another.
As happens with so many men of genius, Arthur Young owed little to schools or schoolmasters. He was first sent to the grammar school at Lavenham—that exquisitely clean, picturesque village, with its noble cathedral—no other name befits the church—lying between Sudbury and Whelnetham. My mother soon bought me a little white pony, which was sent every Saturday to bring me home, and though the plan was that of returning every Monday morning, yet the weather or some other circumstance would often occasion delays, not a little injurious. The latter part of the time I had a pointer and a gun, and went out with the master.
I had also a room to myself and a neat collection of books, and I remember beginning to write a history of England, thinking that I could make a good one out of several others. How early began my literary follies! I seemed to have a natural propensity to writing books. All readers of the "Travels in France" will remember Arthur Young's love of music and the drama.
His diary shows at what an early age those tastes were fostered. In his thirteenth year, he tells us, he is taken to London, sees Garrick in tragedy, and hears the Messiah. Another characteristic, equally familiar to us, is his deep admiration of personal beauty, and his delight in the society of graceful, attractive women. This, too, we find a feature of his somewhat precocious boyhood. Two of these in succession made terrible havoc with my heart.