Зображення сторінки

“value as a separate property. The heirs accord“ingly either sell to each other or sell the whole to “a stranger and divide the proceeds.” The fertility and careful cultivation of Northern Italy is the theme of every traveller. “No where “is the art of irrigation carried to greater per“fection than in that part of the great plain of the “Po included in Piedmont. Water is here mea“sured with as much accuracy as wine, an hour “ per week is sold, and the fee simple of the water “is attended to with the same solicitude as that of “the land. The irrigated lands being under the “influence of a southern sun, produce the most “luxuriant crops...Savoy, which is remarkable for “the grandeur and beauty of its scenery, though a “poor country, produces sufficient for the wants of “ its inhabitants. The peasants are all or mostly all “proprietors; on the high grounds, the peasants “ break up the soil with the pickaxe and spade, “ and, to improve it, carry up mould and manure “ in baskets from the valleys. The plough is of “ use only in the valleys. Small reservoirs are “prepared near the tops of the hills and moun“tains, from which water is let out at pleasure “in spring and summer, while to prevent the “earth from being washed down the declivity, “small stone walls are erected, so that by dint of “skill and industry, cultivation is extended over “tracts which would otherwise be a continued “surface of naked rock.”* Switzerland is so well known, and the industry, and frugality, and public spirit of its inhabitants so highly appreciated, that it may seem hardly necessary to quote authorities in proof of its superior condition. “It is a country of small proprie“tors, an estate of 150 or 200 acres, belonging to “an individual, worth perhaps from £90 to £100 “a year, would be considered large every where, “except in the Canton of Tessin, or the Emmen“thal in Berne, and a few other districts, where “local customs exist to prevent the too great sub“division of property.”...... “There are generally “speaking no farmers, each proprietor farming “his own small portion of land, and the moun“tainous tracts belonging to the different commu“nities being depastured in common.”...“Every “parish or community is obliged to support its “own poor, who become chargeable in their own “commune, but those only having the rights of “citizenship have a right to eleemosynary sup“ port.”...“The number of poor appears to be on the “decrease; and it is only in Uri, Tessin, Valais,

* Laing's Norway, pages 162 and 280.

* M'Culloch's Geographical Dictionary, art. Kingdom of Sardinia. T

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

and one or two other cantons that pauperism is at all common.”...“ The peculiar feature in the condition of the Swiss population, the great charm of Switzerland, next to its natural scenery, is the air of well-being, the neatness, the sense of property imprinted on the people, their dwellings, their plots of land. They have a kind of Robinson Crusoe industry about their houses and little properties; they are perpetually building, repairing, altering, or improving something about their tenements. The spirit of the proprietor is not to be mistaken in all that one sees in Switzerland. Some cottages, for instance, are adorned with long texts from scripture, painted on or burned into the wood in front over the door ; others, especially in the Simmenthal and Haslithal, with the pedigree of the builder and owner. These shew sometimes that the property has been held two hundred years by the same family.” The canton of Zurich ranks first in the confeder

ation. “Agriculture is perhaps better conducted

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

in this than in most other parts of Switzerland. Manuring is well understood, and irrigation is successfully practised....The labouring classes in

this canton are almost universally proprietors

“of the small farms and cottages which they cul“tivate and inhabit.”...“Zurich is also one of the “principal manufacturing cantons of Switzerland; “its inhabitants generally dividing their attention “between the labours of agriculture and those of “the loom. “I have seldom entered, says Dr. “Bowring, ‘a rural dwelling, without finding one “ or more looms in it employed in the weaving of “silk or cotton. If the labours of the field de“mand the hand of the peasant, his wife or “children are employed in manufacturing indus

* M*Culloch's Geographical Dictionary, art. Switzerland.

“try; when lighter toils suffice for the agricultural “ part of the family exertions, the females and the “young people resign the loom to the father or “ the brothers. The interstices of agricultural “labour are filled up by manufacturing employ“ment; and in more than half of the operations “ of Zurich, the farmer and the weaver are united.’ “Most of the families of Zurich canton, consisting “ of father and mother and two or three children, “earn among them, or possess in the produce of “ their land, an income fully equal to thirty shil“lings a week in England. The working classes “are, compared with those of England, more “moral and better educated. With regard to “education, the law compels it; and consequently “there are scarcely any persons to be found, “who cannot read, and very few who cannot

“write. Music is much cultivated in this can

“ton ; and the whole demeanor and appearance “of the working classes, present a most gratifying “ picture of high prosperity, contentment, morality “ and intelligence. Few cantons are really more “flourishing : the entire poor-rates a few years “since were only two pence halfpenny per head, “ per annum. In point of fact, however, this “state of things is mainly to be ascribed to the “extreme economy of the people, a consequence “in part, of severe sumptuary laws, and to their “avoiding all superfluous expenditure.” The frugality and cleanliness of the Dutch, are as remarkable as the energy and persevering industry which reclaimed the polders and sandy plains, and which still maintain them from the constant attacks of the ocean. “Nothing,” says Mr. Nicholls, “can exceed the cleanliness, the personal propriety, “and the apparent comfort of the people of Holland. “I did not see a house or a fence out of repair, or “a garden that was not carefully cultivated. We “met no ragged or dirty persons, nor any drunken “man....We only saw two beggars, and they in “manner and appearance scarcely came within the “designation.....A scrupulous economy and cautious “foresight seem to be the characteristic virtues of “every class. To spend their full annual income is

* M’Culloch's Geographical Dictionary, art. Zurich.

« НазадПродовжити »