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View of the Palace of the Tuilleries, Paris.
The surface on the north is considerably low and level, in the central parts it is variegated with hills and valleys, and in the south-east portion more mountainous. Nature has done wonders for France, in providing not only for the fertility and beauty of the country, but also for the compactness, strength and defence of the kingdom. On all sides except the north, it is enclosed by the waters of the sea, or by lofty and durable barriers of mountains. The atmosphere is more dry and serene and less liable to change than that of England. And though there are considerable portions of land unsuited to cultivation, the soil for the most part is eminently fruitful, producing in the north section, wheat, barley, oats and potatoes, and toward the south, indian corn, wine and olive oil in rich abundance. Grass is less flourishing here than in England. Grain is congenial to the soil, and the harvests generally are very plentiful. The state of agriculture is good and improving, but inferior to that of the English.
Manufactures are very flourishing, especially in silk and woollen. The commerce extends over the world. The principal articles of export are silk and woollen goods, wine and brandy. France is well supplied with springs, rivers, and canals. The most noted rivers are the Loire, the Rhone, the Garonne and the Seine. The canals are the Languedoc, the Central and the Orleans.
The French people in character, are distinguished for their ingenuity, vivacity, cheerfulness, sociability, politeness and bravery.
They are fond of freedom, but are rather unstable and fickle in politics, and singularly moved by national vanity.
Some of the principal cities are Paris, Lyons, Marseilles, Bordeaux, Rochelle, Brest, Orleans, Lisle, Cherbourg, L'Orient and Rochfort.
Paris is one of the finest and most splendid cities in the world, and in point of population the second in Europe. It is delightfully situated on a plain, upon both banks of the Seine, and surrounded by a wall 16 miles in extent. The houses are built of stone, from four to seven stories high. The streets are generally narrow, crowded in the day time by a gay, polite, fashionable people, and enlivened with coaches and brilliant equipages. At night they are elegantly lighted with reflecting lamps, and guarded by a most vigilant and effective police. The public buildings are superior in splendour and magnificence to those of London. The public gardens and walks are elegant beyond description, and thronged by the votaries of amusement and pleasure. The Palais Royal, the Tuilleries, the Champ Elysees and the Boulevards, are distinguished here as places of fashionable resort.
Paris is also renowned as a seat of learning and science, and for the immense and admirable collections which it exhibits, in sculpture, painting and the various fine arts. It embraces some of the most learned characters, societies, and institutions in the world. Its libraries are numerous and large, and many of them are at all times accessible to strangers, who are hourly arriving from every quarter of the globe. Here are museums containing an endless variety of natural and artificial curiosities, to be seen gratis. And here, also, are colleges and schools, in almost every branch of learning, and of every grade. The manufactures of this city are various and of the finest quality. The seaport of Paris, is Havre or Havre de Grace, at the mouth of the Seine, 112 miles north
Lyons is situated on the Rhone, 280 miles S. E. of Paris, and is celebrated as the most manufacturing city of France, especially in silks and articles of gold and silver. Pop. 145,000. Marseilles, on the Mediterranean, excels in beauty and elegance, and is noted for the security and capaciousness of its harbour, which is capable of accommodating about 1,000 merchant vessels. Pop. 120,000. Bordeaux, on the Garonne, is a highly commercial place, trades extensively in wine and brandy, and contains a flourishing university.
The most important naval stations are Toulon, Rochfort and Brest, the last of which can afford anchorage for 500 men of war. L'Orient and Cherbourg have fine harbours, the former is important for its naval magazines. Nantes and Rouen are distinguish
ed for their flourishing manufactures and commerce. At Versa lles, near Paris, is a magnificent palace, surrounded by beautiful gardens, which are adorned with statues and fountains. Caais is on the straits of Dover, opposite to the city of Dover in England, where the channel is only 22 miles wide. Learning and science are extensively cultivated in France in the higher ranks of society, but great multitudes of the common people are uneducated and ignorant.
The system of general instruction is here divided into three departments, viz. primary, secondary, and superior. Primary instruction relates to the elementary and essential branches of learning, as reading, writing and arithmetic. The secondary embraces Latin and Greek and all those higher branches, usually attended to in American colleges. The superior embraces, theology, law, medicine, and the highest branches of science and literature. The schools for secondary instruction are called Colleges; the schools for superior instruction, are denominated Faculties. Twenty-nine millions of the people of France speak the French language, in more than 70 different dialects. The French language has its origin from the Latin, and is more or less spoken throughout Europe. It is more convenient and useful for purposes of travelling than any other European language.
The prevailing religion in France is Roman Catholic, but Protestantism is fast increasing in popularity and influence. The Catholic schools of Theology have very few students, and the Catholic clergy appear disposed to avoid public instructions and examinations.
The government is a constitutional monarchy. The leading branches of the government are, the king and his ministers, the Chamber of Peers, Chamber of Deputies, or the House of Commons. The Chamber of Peers consists of 259 members, nominated by the king, but it embraces no Ecclesiastical Dignitaries. The Chamber of Deputies is composed of 430 members, elected by the people. The island of Corsica belongs to France. Bastia is the chief town. Ajaccio is noted as the birth place of Napole
Between what parallels of latitude is France? What part of N. America corresponds with it in latitude? What are the boundaries of France? What channel and strait separate it from England? What mountains divide it from Spain? What mountains from Italy and Switzerland? How large and how populous is France? How in this respect does it compare with G. Britain? How is France divided and subdivided? What is the surface on the N.? What is said, in general, of the climate? Of the atmosphere? Of the soil? What does it produce on the N.? What, toward the S.? What is said of grass, in this country? What of grain? Of agriculture? Of manufactures? Of commerce? Of the exports ?
With what is France well supplied? Which are the most noted rivers and where does each empty? What canals and what waters do they severally connect? For what are the French generally distinguished? Which are some of the principal cities? How is Paris described generally? On what river situated? By what surrounded? What is said of the houses? Of the streets? Of the people? How are the streets lighted and guarded? What of the public buildings? Of the gardens and walks? What places in Paris are some of the most distinguished as places of fashionable resort? For what is Paris also renowned? What does it embrace? What of the Libraries? Its museums? Its colleges, &c. ? Its manufactures? What and where is the seaport of Paris? Which way from Paris is Lyons, and for what celebrated? Where is Marseilles and what is said of it? What of Bourdeaux ? Which are the naval stations and where situated? Where are L'Orient and Cherbourg? Nantes and Rouen, and for what distinguished? Where are Toulouse, Orleans, Amiens, Lisle? What of Versailles? Where is Calais? How far is it across the strait from Calais to Dover? What of learning and science in France ? Are the common people ignorant? How is the system of instruction divided? What of the French language? Of the prevailing religion? Of the government ? Of the Chamber of Peers and of Deputies? What Island in the Mediterranean belongs to France, and for what is it celebrated?
Extent 180,000 sq. ms. Pop. 14,000,000. 78 per sq. m.
Spain is less extensive in territory, than France, and embraces not half so large a population. The number of counties contained in it is 31. It is a mountainous region. The chief mountains are, the Pyrenees, Cantabrian and Sierra Morena. The rivers are, the Tagus, Duero, Minho, Guadiana, Guadalquiver and Ebro.
The central parts are elevated into extensive table lands or lofty plains. The northern section is favoured with a mild, agreeable and healthy climate. At the south the climate is warm and sometimes sickly. The cool mountain air and the western sea breezes are refreshing; but the hut winds from Africa are oppressive and pestilential. The soil generally is fertile, but poorly cultivated and at certain seasons is much exposed to droughts. The intermediate valleys between the ranges of mountains, are extremely rich when well watered.
Nature has been very bountiful to Spain, but the Spaniards have been listless in the improvement of natural advantages, and singularly unfaithful to their own interests. The indolence and effeminacy of the people, operate to prevent the general productiveness of the soil, and the wealth and prosperity of the nation. Habits of sloth and luxurious ease, brought on by the influx of American gold, together with the influence of a bad government and corrupt religion, have relaxed the energies of the nation and depressed its condition. Tillage to a great extent is neglected, yet the country is congenial to grain, maize, coffee, cotton, cocoa, vines, and olives, which are the chief productions. It also abounds än silk, and produces, almost spontaneously, some of the most deli
cious fruits; as oranges, lemons, almonds, citrons, figs and raisins.
Spain is celebrated for rearing large flocks of sheep of the finest quality. Manufactures are not flourishing. Commerce is inactive and dependent. Enterprize and improvements are little seen or heard of in this country. The marks of poverty and decay are widely visible. Education and useful knowledge are little encouraged, either by the government or the clergy. The government is an absolute monarchy, and oppressive in its character. The religion is Roman Catholic. The clergy and monks are incredibly numerous. There are in Spain 146,000 Ecclesiastics, including 61 archbishops and bishops, and about 93,000 persons in convents, of whom 31,000 are females.
Many monasteries, nunneries and religious hermitages, are established in various parts of the kingdom, where men and women, in separate societies, profess to have taken vows of perpetual seclusion from worldly concerns. The most remarkable establishment of this kind, is to be seen on the mountain of Montserrat, 25 miles from Barcelona. This mountain is situated by itself, on a large plain, and is of a very singular and curious form, consisting of an indefinite number of spiral or conical hills, rising one above another, to the height of 3 or 4,000 feet. Here have been hermitages existing, for ages, and a rich monastery of Benedictine monks, which has been accustomed to receive, annually, a multitude of visitants, and to treat the poor and the sick, with the most liberal hospitality.
The Spaniards are of a swarthy complexion, grave but polite in their deportment, and temperate in their manner of living. Their principal amusements are, dancing, smoking and bull-fights, of the latter of which, they have long, as a nation, been notoriously fond. The ground work of the Spanish language is Latin, and is remarkably expressive, sonorous and majestic.
The cities most worthy of notice in Spain, are Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Cadiz, Grenada, Valencia, Salamanca, Saragosa, and Bilboa. Madrid, on the Tagus, is the metropolis, and it is this circumstance chiefly, which can give it any importance or celebrity. It has a very central and lofty situation about 300 miles from the sea. It is surrounded by a barren country, and is a place of little or no trade or manufactures. Its population, 200,000, derive the means of support from distant sources. Barcelona, on the N. E., is the next in population, and one of the most manufacturing, commercial and wealthy cities in Spain. Population 120,000. Seville, on the Guadalquiver, is a very ancient and spacious city, the original capital, and is celebrated for its immense