Page images
PDF
EPUB

the se

to heavy rains, which, however, produce beautiful verdure and rich pastures. France may

be divided into three climates, the northern, the central, and the southern. The first yields no vines, cond to maize; the third produces vines, maize, and olives. These divisions proceed in an oblique line from the south-west to the north-east, so as to demonstrate that the eastern part of the kingdom is two and a half degrees of latitude hotter than the western, or, if not hotter, more favourable to vegetation.” France is also happy in an excellent soil, which produces corn, wine, oil, and almost every luxury of life. Though some of their fruits have a higher flavour than those of England, yet neither the pasturage nor tillage is comparable. 1" Mountains. The chief mountains in France, or its borders, are the Alps, which divide France from Italy; the Pyrenees, which divide France from Spain; the Vosges, which divide Lorraine from Burgundy and Alsace ; Mount Jura, which divides Franche Compté from Switzerland; the Cevennes, in the province of Languedoc; and Mont-d'Or, iu the province of Auvergne.

Rivers and Canals. The principal rivers in France are the Loire, the Rbone, the Garonne, and the Seine. The Loire takes its course north and north-west, being, with all its windings from its source to the

sea, computed to run about 500 miles. The Rhone flows south-west to Lyons, and then runs due south till it falls into the Mediterranean. The Garonne rises in the Pyrenean mountains, takes its course first north-east, and has a communication with the Mediterranean by Jeans of a canal, the work of Louis XIV. The Seine, soon after its rise, runs to the north-west, visiting Troyes, Paris, and Rouen in its way, and falls into the English Channel at Havre. To these

[ocr errors]

memang addete

Charente, which rises in the department of that name, and discharges itself into the sea below Rochefort; the Rhine, which rises in Switzerland, is the eastern boundary between France and Germany, and receives the Moselle and the Sarthe in its passage: not to mention many other rivers of smaller course and reputation."

Of the numerous canals, the most considerable are, (1) The Canal du Midi, or Canal of Languedoc, noticed in another part of this work, (2) The Canal of Briare and Orleans; thus called, because it forms a communication

between the Seine and Loire, which begins at Orleans and ends at Briare. (3) The Canal de la Côte d'Or, forming a communication between the Yonne and Saone, (4) The Canal of the Centre, forming a communication between the Saone and Loire (5) The Canal de l'Ourcq, which is intended to supply Paris with water, and various other minor and junction canals made by order of Bonaparte, Natural Productions.-France abounds in cellent roots, which are more proper for soups than those of England, As to all kinds of seasoning and salads, they are more plentiful, and in some places better than in England; they being, next to their vines, the chief object of their culture. France produces excellent fruits of all kinds, particularly grapes, figs, prunes, chesnuts, cider in the northern provinces, and capers in the southern. It produces annually, though not enough for consumption, about 12,000,000 pounds of tobacco, hesides hemp, flax, manna, saffron, and many drugs! Alsace, Burgundy, Lorraine, and especially the Pyrenean mountains, supply it plentifully with timber and other wood. The wines of Champagne, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Gascony, and other provinces of France, are so well known that they need

ex

a.

only be mentioned! Francc contains few animals, eitlier wild or lamie, that are not to be found in England, excepting wolves. Their horses, black cattle, and sheep, are far inferior to the English ; nor is the wool of their sheep so fine. The horses : of Normandy are preferred for draught, and those of Limosin for the saddle. The castor or bearer is found in the islands of the Rbone; and the bear, in Dauphiuy and the Pyrenees. Vipers abound in La Vendée.

Mines and Mineral Waters.-Gold mines formerly existed in the south of Fraped, and some of the rivulets still roll down partieles of that metal There are still silver mines in Alsace and the Upper Rhine; and copper in these districts, and in those of the Loire, Lozere, and Ardéche; tin in Bretagne, and in the centre of France; lead from Bretagne, and the mountains of Vosges ; antimony in Ardêche and Allier, manganese in the Loire and Vosges; and cobalt in Alsace. Iron is found in abundance in the northern departments, and coal mines more than 400 in number, besides many which are not wrought ; jet is found in the do partments of the south, and the most beautiful marbles in the Pyrenees. The environs of Paris abound with excellent free-stone and gypsum.riksta

The principal mineral waters of France are those of Bagnères and Barréges, in the Pyrenees, resembling those of Bath and Buxton; Forges, near Rouen; Vichi and Bourbon, celebrated by Mad. de Sévigné in her letters ; Plombières, among the mountains of the Vosges; Aix in Provence, etc. etc.

Forests.--The most remarkable are those of Orleans, Ardennes, and Fontainebleau ; and as wood is the general fuel, attention to their growth is indispensable. Besides these, numerous other smaller forests or woods might be mentioned, lying in dil

[ocr errors]

ferent departments, but 100 remote from sea-carriage to be of much national utility.

Suil and Agriculture. - The N. E. part of France, from Flanders to Orleans, is a rich loam ; 'farther to the W. the land is poor and stony; Britanny being generally gravel or gravelly sand, with low ridges of granite. . Chalk runs through the centre of the kingdom, from Germany, by Champagne, to Saintong, and on the porth of the mountainous tract is a large extent of gravel and alluvial carih. ven the mountainous region of the south is generally fertile, though the large province of ei-devarit Gascony, has many landes or level heaths.

The property of the yeomanry, the great landed proprietors, but more particularly of the nobility, has been subdivided and distributed among the peasauls; and, become their own, it is perhaps hetter managed, for it is their immediate interest that not an acre of ground should be wasted. The irse of machinery in the farm-stead is unknown, and grain, as of old, is very generally trodden by oxen, sometimes ou the high roads, and winowed by the breath of heaven. In the agriculture of France therc is a great same

The arable land, which comprises almost the whole surface of the country, the vineyards and a few tracts of mountain excepted, may he divided into five classes, according to its fertility, without regard to the nalure of the soil. The first bears a crop every year, as in Auvergne, in the neighbourhood of Toulouse, in some parts of Normandy, ele. This description is highly cultivated, and on a principle well adapted to soil and circumstances. The second, somewhat inferior in quality, but good. land, is also judiciously cultivated, with the intervention of a fallow once in six years, as about Dieppe and Rouen.'

The third,

ness.

51

viij 2'4.7.10 MB. INTRODUCTION, 'Histoire Jand of midaling quality, which enibraces a very large part of the kingdom, is managed on the old plan of fallow, wheat, pats. The fourth, poor land, which also covers a large space, is fallow and wheat alternately. The fifth, land still poorer, is cutivated in the round of fallow, rye, rest, without grass seeds,

The first and second classes include what there is of variety and spirit in French husbandry. In the south, Indian corn, alternating with wheat, exhibits management as good as the beans and wheat of the best English farmer; and the variod routine observable in the north, affords many proofs of a spirited and judicious culture. It is the three last which betray its weakness : if they comprise half the cultivated surface, which perhaps is not overrating their extent, half of that portion being fallow, it appears that one fourth of the whole country is lying in a state eutirely unpreductive, a few weeds, mostly thistles, ex cepted! A very few half-starved sheep are kept to pick over the constantly-recurring bairren fallows, often accompanied by three or four long-legged hogs. On t

the borders and out-of-the-way corners you may see a cow or two with an attendant; but there appears so little for any of these animals to eat, that you wonder how even they are supported. The prairies artificielles, (the artificial grasses, as we less properly call them), of which số much is said by the amateurs, are like specks of green on a desert. Clover and lucerne are cultivated, with great success, on the two first classes of land, but very rarely indeed on the others. Thus there is probably as much really waste land in France as in England, and it is of an expensive kind; whereas our wastes support much more stock than their's, without any expense whatever.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« EelmineJätka »