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eighteenth century, might have been applied the words of the inspired prophet: “ The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores," Isa. i. 6. The symptoms of deep and inveterate corruption had developed themselves in all ranks of society, from the throne to the cottage. A British traveller, who visited France towards the year 1789, has left a graphic description of the condition of the peasantry and agricultural population at that period. Droves of wild boars and herds of deer were permitted to wander over the farmers' grounds at will, destroying the produce of his labours ; for the husbandman to kill any of these animals without the permission of his seigneur, or feudal superior, was an offence punishable with confinement to the galleys. In four parishes alone, the destruction of property in one year, under this erroneous system, was estimated at 7,7001. Various other oppressive regulations existed. One law prevented the use of certain species of manure, lest the flavour of the game should be injured ; a second prevented the operations of weeding and hoeing, lest the partridges should be dis

turbed; while a third, for the same selfish reason, prohibited the mowing of hay before a certain period of the year. Large tracts of land were often left uncultivated in consequence of these impolitic and unjust regulations. The expense of making public roads, instead of being defrayed by the community, was thrown upon the private individuals of particular districts. More than three hundred farmers were upon one occasion reduced to beggary, by filling up, in this manner, a valley in Lorraine. Weighed down by such heavy burdens, agriculture languished, and alarming scarcity of food at times prevailed. The article of salt was heavily taxed in particular provinces of France. The gabelle, as this obnoxious impost was styled, was the fruitful source of popular dissension. It operated also as a powerful agent in the demoralization of the lower orders, by encouraging amongst them habits of smuggling. Nearly three thousand four hundred persons, comprising men, women, and children, were annually committed to prison for contraband dealings in this article, so necessary to the support of human life. In various provinces of France different modes of taxation prevailed. The duties upon merchandize, and the standard

of weights and measures, varied in particular counties ; while, between certain districts of the country, the interchange of commodities was entirely prohibited. The state of the law in France previously to the revolution was also very defective, and in the administration of justice the grossest abuses openly prevailed. In the courts of criminal jurisprudence the use of the torture was permitted. During the reign of Louis xv., the humanity of Europe had been outraged by the refinements of cruelty practised upon the half lunatic Damien, who had attempted the assassination of that monarch. His flesh was burned with instruments of hot iron ; molten lead was poured into his wounds, and his body torn asunder by four wild horses. The power of issuing lettres de cachet, also, was vested in the hands of the king. By means of these formidable instruments of tyranny, any party could be arrested and confined in prison, even for life, without evidence or trial. Fifteen thousand such letters of arrest are said by Blackstone to have been issued in the reign of the licentious Louis xv. They were freely granted at the request of the most worthless and abandoned favourites of the court, and ' were even made a source of revenue to the

crown, by being sold to parties who wished to gratify their revenge. On the judicial bench, venality was rife and public, and the independence of the judges was destroyed by their holding their situations at the pleasure of the crown, or local sources of authority. Servility and corruption characterised, therefore, but too frequently, the administration of justice, and the cause of poverty had little chance of coping with that of wealth and authority. Decrees and judgments are stated to have been at times openly sold. It was one of the sins of ancient Israel that its judges asked for a reward," Micah vii. 3; nor perhaps can a surer forerunner of national declension be discovered, than the troubling of the fountain of justice by such pollutions. Happy is that land, (and may we not claim such happiness for our own ?) whose rulers act upon the inspired maxim, "Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour," Lev. xix. 15. ... While such were the grievances of the lower and middling classes in France previously to the revolution, the state of the monarchy of that country was such as gradually to alienate from it the affections of the people. The national finances had been impoverished and embarrassed by the unjust and expensive wars waged by Louis xiv. The reign of his successor, Louis xv., was stained by the grossly licentious manners of his court, which contaminated in turn the morals of the community. Secluded in the recesses of his palace at Versailles, this weak-minded monarch entirely surrendered himself to the influence of two profligate women, Pompadour and Dubarry, and, sunk in the blandishments of sinful pleasure, enjoyed a false peace, heedless of the elements of destruction which were fast gathering round his country. Instead of using the power with which Providence had entrusted him, for the advancement of the interests of piety and virtue, he employed it in lowering the standard of the morals of the age, and exhibited in his person an example of unfeeling selfishness and unblushing debauchery. So notorious was his profligacy, that upon one occasion, when some children had been kidnapped from Paris, a rumour was circulated, and greedily believed by the populace, that they had been carried away to furnish mate

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