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respect, and so great an advantage as to be more than a compensation for their inferiority in sheep.* It is argued that the petite propriete must diminish the number of cattle, because it leads to the breaking up of natural pasture. But when natural pasture is fit for the plough, a greater number of cattle than were supported on the whole, may be supported on a part, by laying it out in roots and artificial grasses; and it is well known that on the stall-feeding system there is much greater préservation of manure. The question of petite culture, in relation to cattle, is, in fact, one and the same with the question of stall-feeding. The two things must stand or fall together. Stall-feeding produces, cæteris paribus, a greater quantity of provisions, but in the opinion of most judges a lower quality. Experience must decide.
This brings us back to the causes assigned by the committee of the Paris town.council, for the falling off in the quality of the beef consumed at Paris. One is, the extraordinary increase in the consumption of dairy produce. Milk is now brought from distances of thirty leagues, and within six or eight leagues of Paris no calves are now bred up, all being sold at the earliest moment possible. In consequence, a great part of the beef sold at Paris is the flesh of cows too old to be fit for producing milk. A second cause assigned is, the increase of stall-feeding. But the committee make an instructive distinction. In Normandy, which affords the greatest portion of the supply, the quality, they say, has deteriorated; but in La Vendée, and the central provinces, the Limousin, Nivernais, Bourbonnais, and La Marche," there is improvement in weight, in fatness, and from some districts in number," although these countries have also adopted stall-feeding; and in this, say the committee, there is no contradiction, since " what is a deterioration in the rich pasturages of Calvados, is improvement in the petites herbes of the Allier and the Nièvre."
It may now be left to the reader to judge if the case of our adversaries has not broken down as completely on this, their strongest point, as it has done on every other point of any importance.
See this question discussed in Book I. chap. 9 of the present work, pp. 178–180.
We cannot close this long controversy without producing evi. dence of the extraordinary improvement, extraordinary both in amount and in rapidity, which is taking place in the productiveness of the agriculture of some parts of France. We quote from another work by an authority already cited, M. Hippolite Passy, several times a minister of Louis Philippe, and well known as one of the first politicians and publicists of France. This tract, published in 1841, is an examination of “the changes in the agricultural condition of the department of the Eure since 1800.” The Eure is one of the five departments of Normandy, and belongs to the region of which M. Rubichon admits the agriculture to be the best in France; but only (as he contends) because the morcellement has not had time to produce its effects, having commenced in that region only from the Revolution, and he assigns to it, accordingly, no privilege but that of Outis in the Odyssey, to be devoured the last. Let us now see the facts. This department, fortunately, possesses an accurate agricultural statistique for the year 1800, drawn up by a prefect who took great pains to be correct in his information. M. Passy's pamphlet is a comparison of these returns with those collected by the present French government in 1837.
In this interval of thirty-seven years, scarcely any new land was taken into cultivation, nearly all fit for culture having been already occupied. But fallows have diminished from 172,000 hectares to a little more than 80,000. The cultures which supply cattle have increased in a much greater proportion than any others; instead of 17 per cent. of the cultivated area, they now occupy 37 per cent. Horses have multiplied from 29,500 to 51,000, horned cattle from 51,000 to 106,000, sheep from 205,000 to 511,000, and as their food has increased in a still greater ratio, and there is importation beside, all kinds of live stock are better fed, and have gained in size, weight, and value. The produce per hectare of all kinds of grain, and of must other kinds of produce, has considerably increased, of some kinds nearly doubled. These changes have chiefly been effected during the second half of the period, so that the improvement is as progressive as on M. Rubichon's theory should have been the deterioration. There has been no perceptible variation in the proportion between the grande and the petite culture ; nor has the division of properties at all promoted the division of farms. On the soils where small farms are most profitable, large properties are rented to small tenants; where the reverse is the case, a single farmer often rents the lands of several proprietors, and this arrange. ment extends itself more as the subdivision of property advances. The consumption of food per head of the population has largely increased-in the ratio, according to M. Passy, of about 37 per cent. ; and while the agricultural wealth of the department has in. creased, according to his estimate, by 54 per cent., the population has only increased 5 per cent.*
Though the Eure belongs to the most productive and thriving region of France, it is not the most productive or the most thriving department. The Nord, which comprises the greater part of French Flanders, and is a country of small farms, maintains, according to M. Passy, proportionally to its extent, a third more cattle than the Eure; and the average produce of wheat per hectare, instead of seventeen, is twenty hectolitres, about twenty-two English bushels per acre.
Results almost as satisfactory may be deduced from a statistical account of a much less improved district than the Eure, the most eastern district of Brittany, the arrondissement of Fougères, published in 1846, by the Sous-prefet, M. Bertin. “It is only since the peace,” says this intelligent functionary, " that the agriculture of the arrondissement has made much progress; but from 1815 it has improved with increasing rapidity. If from 1815 to 1825 the improvement was as one, it was as three between 1825 and 1835, and as six since that period.” At the beginning of the century little wheat was cultivated, and that little so ill, that in 1809 the produce per hectare was estimated only at 9 hectolitres. At present, M. Bertin estimates it at 16. The cattle, being better fed, and crossed with more vigorous breeds, have increased in size and strength; while in number, horned cattle, between 1813 and 1844, multiplied from 33,000 to 52,800, sheep from 6,300 to 11,000, swine from 9,300 to 26,100, and horses from 7,400 to 11,600. New and valuable manures have been introduced, and
* During the last quinquennial period, the population of this department, on the showing both of the census and of the register of births and deaths, has actually diminished.
have come largely into use. The extent of meadow land has increased and is increasing, and great attention has of late been paid to its improvement. This testimony comes from an enemy of the morcellement, who, however, states that it is advancing very slowly, and is not likely to advance much further, the co-heirs not dividing each parcelle, but either distributing the parcelles among them, or disposing of them by private or public sale. Some farmers, he says, who are also proprietors, have the good sense to sell the few fields which belong to them, in order to increase their farming capital. M. Bertin is an enemy to stall-feeding, which, he says, is not practiced in his arrondissement. The increase of live stock is therefore the more remarkable. It may not be useless to mention an assertion of this writer, that the official publication from which M. Rubichon's data are taken, greatly understates the number of horned cattle in France, by the accidental omission of a column in summing up, by which the number is brought below ten millions, when it ought, according to M. Bertin, to be thirteen.
Of the food of the inhabitants he says, that not long ago it was composed almost exclusively of milk, buckwheat cakes, and rye bread, but has greatly improved in quantity, quality, and variety, especially in the last ten years, and now consists of wheaten bread, or bread of two thirds wheat and one third rye, with butter, vegetables, and, " in good farms," about a kilogramme (or 24 lbs.) of pork per week for each person. There is also some consumption of other flesh-meats among the laboring people, and the arrondissement contains 63 butchers' shops, where fifteen years ago there were not 30; the increase not being in the towns, (or rather town,) but in the villages. The clothing of the rural population is substantial," and different for every season, which is always a sign of general comfort,” and “persons in rags are very rare in the arrondissement."
We cannot further extend this long discussion ; but enough has been said, to enable our readers adequately to appreciate the terrible predictions of alarmist writers respecting the consequences of the Division of Landed Property in France.