Puslapio vaizdai

into a

majority of thinking men will agree Hainaut, hideous to look at, devoid of that the salvation of the world lies in peasants, full of thistles and cactus. reconstruction on the old foundations. That is the way we shall go about it.

And Jean Juvénal des Ursins, Bishop of There is no fear that France will be Beauvais, wrote to King Charles: swept away from her moorings. In

How many churches have been burned! studying what confronts France we do

They take the poor farmers, they imprison not need to take into consideration the

them, they put them in irons in disgusting possibility of a social revolution, part

places full of vermin. They are freed only nership in a super-state, or the insti

after having paid more than they possess. tution of the era of internationalism

These brigands mistreat also the women and in Europe.

girls. Mills, ovens, cider-presses, every sort The prevalent idea that France has

of agricultural and household utensil, is just passed through an ordeal unique in

ruined or stolen. Alas! Sire, look at your her history and that the nation has

other cities and countries, like Guyenne, Tounever before been called upon to face

louse, Languedoc. Everything is going to post-bellum conditions as calamitous

destruction and desolation-even to final and as hopeless as those she faces to-day

perdition. is wholly wrong. Let us leave to the ignorant and unthinking the belief that But both bishops lived to write about our experiences are unlike those of the wonderful recovery of France after others. Human nature is never called Joan of Arc compelled the English to upon to bear more than it can stand or withdraw from the devastated regions. more than previous generations have Peasants and artisans reappeared, when stood. The Preacher was not mistaken all were thought to be hopelessly diswhen he said, “There is no new thing persed, if not dead; cities were rebuilt;

“ under the sun.” No historian has been industry, with a fresh impetus, entered able to refute Vico's theory of cycles.

more flourishing period than If we want to forecast the reaction of France had ever known; commerce, France to the losses and devastation of despite currency depreciated to nothing, the recent war, we have every reason to revived and restored confidence in the study the periods in her history when coinage; and soon the cultivated lands through war her fairest provinces were of the kingdom were a third more than devastated, her economic life ruined, they had ever been. Charles VII beher financial credit impaired, and her came the greatest monarch in Europe. soil occupied for a long time by the It was a far cry-and yet not many enemy.

years—from the day Joan of Arc sought For propaganda purposes during the an audience with her dispossessed and war it was justifiable to claim that what discredited sovereign to the time when the Germans did between 1914 and 1919 the Doge of Venice said of the ruler of

worse than anything that ever France that he was "the king of kings happened in France and than anything without whom nothing could be done that had been done by other nations at in Europe.”

When I traveled through the To cheer up his compatriots during devastated regions of northern France the war Ernest Lavisse, the aged hisI remembered what I had read of other torian, wrote a detailed account of how invasions in the fourteenth, fifteenth, France was left after the wars of the and sixteenth centuries. It was of a Ligue. The period of strife that ended more extended region that Thomas with Henry IV hurt France as much as Basin, Bishop of Lisieux, said:

the Hundred Years' War, but the first

ten years of peace brought a change as I have seen with my own eyes the fields of rapid as that after the English had been Champagne, Brie, Gâtinais, Chartres, Dreux, driven out.

The recovery

not Maine, and Perche, those of Vexin, Beauvais, immediate. Prosperity began to set in from the country of Caux on the Seine up to five years after Henry IV entered Paris. Amiens, from Senlis, Soissons, Valois, and all In proportion to the population and the country up to Laon and beyond towards wealth of the country, France suffered




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more from civil strife at the end of the victory consecrated by the restoration sixteenth century than from the Ger- of Alsace and Lorraine. mans in the twentieth century. As In the speech at Strasburg that many as 4000 châteaux and 125,000 crowned his long career, Premier Clemhouses were burned, and the weaving enceau gave the slogan for the reconand silk industries were completely struction era. He said simply, “Work stopped. At Provins, for instance, 4 is our salvation.” France has already looms out of 600, and at Tours 200 silk got to work. The record of the year weavers out of 1400, were left. The since the armistice is impressive. M. cities were full of beggars, refugee Tardieu has given some of the figures: peasants, and unemployed workmen. 2016 kilometers of railway reëstablished In March, 1596, the police of Paris out of 2246 destroyed; 700 kilometers of counted nearly 8000 refugees sleeping in canals out of 1075 again in commission; one cemetery. In 1597, 150,000 Pari- 588 repaired out of 1160 tunnels and sians died of the plague. Etienne Pas- bridges blown up; 60,000 houses rebuilt; ; quier said that he saw no longer France, nearly 1,000,000 acres (one fourth of the but the corpse of France. And yet total ravished) bearing crops; virtually before the end of his reign Henry IV was all the trenches filled in; and 10,000,000 able to boast that every peasant could meters of barbed-wire torn up and eat chicken on Sunday. In 1598 the removed. Venetian ambassador wrote that France To the Ciceronian cry that the was recovering easily, "just as that had republic must not be despaired of the happened several times in the space of French have answered, Nihil desperana thousand years.”

dum. Prince von Bülow has given remark- But what confronts France to-day has able testimony of the traditional power three elements that are without analogy of the French to recover after long in past history. Upon the problems periods of war and invasion. He de- arising from German political unity, clared:

decreasing birth-rate, and a national

debt that threatens bankruptcy, we France has an unchangeable faith in the

must concentrate our attention. In indestructibility of the vital forces of the nation. No people have ever repaired as

examining these three problems, ex

plaining the solutions that are suggested quickly as the French the results of national

for them, and pointing out how America catastrophes; no people have found again

can aid France in solving two of them, I the same easy self-confidence and the spirit

desire to insist upon the fact that my of initiative after cruel misfortune. More

of information

French than once Europe believed that France

sources. The French are alive to the had ceased to be dangerous, but each time

serious character of the problems. They the French nation confronted Europe again

have not waited for foreigners to call after a short delay with its former vigor or increased strength.

attention to the danger of failing to

solve them promptly. They do not The confidence that we have every need to be exhorted to confront them reason to feel in the rapid rehabilitation resolutely and effectively. No nation of France is a confidence based not only in the world knows better than the on the admirable spirit of the French French that God helps those who help race, but also on the natural resources of themselves. They proved that during France. The country has unrivaled the war. wealth in her soil, her rivers, her outlet Americans and Britishers regard too to two oceans, with the longest port- lightly the effect of the numerical and studded sea-coast in Europe, and her industrial strength of post-bellum Gercolonies, the richest of which are very many upon the rehabilitation of France. near the mother country. France has They do not comprehend that her the good-will and friendship of the Continental position handicaps France world. And we have to take into con- in a way that neither Great Britain nor sideration the inestimable moral value the United States needs to fear. Writof the victory and how it was won-a ing from Paris during the peace con



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ference, I attempted to set forth in The many that we are in dead earnest in our CENTURY the attitude of France toward pledge to protect France against milipeace and to show why it necessarily tary aggression and unfair commercial differed from the attitude of her Anglo- competition. Saxon allies. As a continental Euro- M. Eric Sjoestedt, Paris correspondpean state having a frontier in common ent of the "Dagens Nyheter" of Stockwith Germany it is impossible for France holm, wrote in 1913 a very clever article to trust her security to the vague and on what he called the “depopulation as yet untried formulas of the League of scare." M. Sjoestedt thought the Nations. She must have more positive French were bothering their heads military guaranties against a renewal of excessively over the failure of the popuGerman aggression than are required by lation of France to increase. From the the other great powers. Owing to the economic point of view France was better wanton destruction of her industries, off through not increasing her populacommitted by the Germans for the very tion. He pointed to the competitive purpose of putting her out of the running industries of England and Germany to

a competitor in commerce, it is prove what happens to nations that reasonable for her to demand aid and multiply too rapidly. The prosperity protection against the intact industrial and tranquillity of France were due to machinery of Germany.

Germany. Hence the the fact that every one had elbow-room importance of the supplementary treaty and people could save money and buy with Great Britain and the United land. From a social point of view the States. Hence the insistence of France limitation of families was a distinct upon the necessity of inter-Allied control advantage to the well-being of the of Germany's export trade until such a nation. time as Germany has made full repara- Most French economists and publiction for the damage done to French ists were far from accepting these opinindustry during the German occupation. ions. They looked on the decreasing

None contests the argument that the natality of France as a source of ecobest solution of this problem is the nomic and social weakness. They had formation of a society of nations. Then their grave misgivings about the manner France, no more than any other nation, in which French surplus capital was need fear that she will be left alone to being invested. And they wondered confront an unscrupulous enemy of about the military inferiority of France superior numbers. But the League of in the face of Germany. Nations is still in the academic stage. This anxiety was also dismissed The surcharged atmosphere of the Con- lightly by the Swedish journalist. He ference of Paris could not have been said: expected to produce a viable charter

Remains the military point of view. With for an organization that must in the

her present population France is perfectly very nature of things be born of the

able to hold her own against Germany: for renunciation of particular interests for

nations cannot use their full numerical the common weal. The Covenant of

strength in war. It is physically impossible the League of Nations" did not have

to put millions of men in the field against the germ of life in it. In the Treaty of

each other: they could neither be fed nor Versailles it was an anomaly. None of

directed. my French friends expected the American Senate to accept this covenant How strange assertions like this read without reservation.

now that we have been through the Until such a time as world-wide public Great War! Of course the French opinion is ready to force statesmen to military authorities were not so unconformulate and adopt an honest and cerned as M. Sjoestedt. To make up inclusive and effective covenant, the for the inferiority of numbers, the law French_prefer the joint guaranty of increasing obligatory service from two Great Britain and the United States. to three years was passed just before the We can help France best by entering war. The invasion of France and the into this guaranty and showing Ger- occupation of Belgium and northern


France for more than four years by the this startling conclusion, which seems Germans, despite Russian and British to make hopeless any permanent good intervention immediately and Italian arising out of the victory over Germany, and American intervention later, is there are competent French authorities proof that the possession of a much who are not less positive that France is larger population gives the bigger nation going to impotence and destruction an overwhelming initial advantage that through the failure to procreate a new the most closely knit alliances are generation. In his pastoral letter for unable to offset. France now relies Easter, 1917, the Archbishop of Auch upon a defensive alliance with Great wrote that while less than a century ago Britain and America. But will it not France was at the head of all the peoples take time to mobilize and train and of Europe, to-day she counts for only transport our armies to France? And one tenth. In actual increase of popuare we sure of the future tendencies of lation, counting in all the little countries Russia ?

with a tithe or less; than a tithe of her The head-lines of French newspapers own population, France was sixteenth and reviews show very clearly that the on the list of the seventeen European molders of public opinion are alive to countries. M. Paul Bureau of the the dangers of the present situation. Catholic University of Paris declares Glancing through my last mail from that unless there is a sudden and sweepFrance, I find these headings: "France ing change in the demographic charts, is a dying country," "The decrease of the French nation is doomed to extincthe birth-rate,” “The problem of depop- tion. The famous Dr. Bertillon, who ulation,” “We must increase our birth- has worked for twenty years to arouse rate," "Warning-We must look out!" the French to the breakers ahead, in“Let us repeople France," "For large sists that the crisis is of recent origin. families," "The struggle against depop- From 1856 to 1866 France averaged ulation.” All tell the same sad tale, 1,000,000 births a year. In proportion statistics, reasons for the evil, dangers to other countries she ought to have had that await France, remedies.

1,400,000. From 1867 to 1882 the annual In the last normal year before the increase fluctuated between 1,000,000 war (1913) the increase in population and 900,000. The fall in the succeed. per thousand inhabitants in central and ing decades of the Third Republic was western Europe was as follows:

rapid-800,000, 700,000, 600,000.

“We are falling behind now about Germany


500,000 births per year in proportion to Great Britain

11.5 Austria-Hungary


other countries," says Dr. Bertillon. Italy

11.3 Our death-rate is increasing: each year France


300,000 above fifty years are dying. If the

birth-rate continues to fall in the same de One of the prophets whose voice and

gree, in eighty years there will be no France. pen have warned France of the danger

Reducing infant mortality is a drop in the ahead summed up the problem in a

bucket. In 1913 only 83,000 babies died. single sentence. Said Emile Picard:

The best of care and skill could hardly have “At this rate it would require 370 years

saved a quarter of these. The only remedy for our population to double, while Ger

for France is to have as many births as other many in a century has almost tripled

nations. her population." A Japanese correspondent writing from Paris put the An analysis of comparative population situation more brutally in the sweeping of France and Germany shows only statement, “Each year the population of one fourth more Germans than FrenchFrance is diminishing: one can there- men between forty and fifty, and two fore reasonably predict that at the end fifths more between twenty and forty. of this century France will, because of But between seventeen and nineteen, this fact, disappear from the list of and certainly under that age, Germany nations."

has more than twice as many males as If we are inclined to protest against has France. The losses in the war do not change greatly this proportion. tries, her means of transportation, her And the return of Alsace-Lorraine to cities, her agricultural yield, for the France brings an increase of population very reason that the population grew so that scarcely balances the dead and rapidly and thus made possible greater disabled of the French armies. The collective effort and expenditure. In latest statistics at hand show an excess America we have had the experience of of deaths over births in 1917 of 269,838; Germany.

Germany. Our rapid increase of wealth and in 1918, 389,575.

and power is largely due to the rapid The failure of France to breed a new increase of population. generation constitutes a military infe- Another serious phase of depopulation riority that no alliances can make up for. is its threat to the influence of France The stipulations of the Treaty of Ver- overseas. With a colonial empire secsailles are only temporary. Germany ond only to that of Great Britain and bowed to force. France will not be mostly won since the population of able to continue to apply that force France became stationary, the French when the British and American armies have been able to carry on and expand are far away and demobilized. The up to this point only because the flower Anglo-American Treaty helps for the of France felt the sacred call to a militime being. France will have a breath- tary career. I have had the fortune to ing-spell. This will give her time to live in intimate association with many make children. Make children she men of my own age and older in France. must. France realizes that.

It is a generation born between 1850 The handicap from depopulation is and 1880. In other circumstances than far greater than military inferiority. those of the humiliating defeat and Granted that we are able to hold Ger- the loss of Alsace-Lorraine, very many of many to her promises to limit armies these men, the men who have made and the manufacture of war materials, possible the colonial success of France, we cannot conceive of a larger racial would not have chosen a military career. unit being kept under the economic It has been difficult enough to get civil control, or being checked in economic administrators for the French colonies. expansion, by a smaller racial unit, Of bona fide colonists there have been especially when the smaller unit is very few. Now that the military inferior in the tools of production. incentive may be lacking, how can France must have a large new genera- France hope to induce her good men, tion to man her factories, to furnish the


even enough men, to enter the home market for manufactured articles, colonial career? There is no inducement to act as agents for trade abroad.

of caste. Remains the reason that has Decrease in the density of population, sent Britons overseas, surplus populaor failure to increase the density of tion. The present conditions may be population, makes impossible further maintained in the French colonies for a development of public works, canals, decade or two, but that is the limit. railways, mining and industrial enter- Eventually there must be more Frenchprises. Far-seeing Frenchmen do not men or there will be fewer colonies. hesitate to hold up the example of Ger- Qualified French observers are virmany before their compatriots. In tually unanimous in denying that the 1880, with a population of less than reason for a low birth-rate is the gen50,000,000, Germany had an emigration eral economic reason given to explain overflow of 200,000 per annum. In smaller families the world over. In the 1914, with a population of nearly upper classes the economic reason may 70,000,000, emigration had ceased, and be true, as it is in other countries. But from 600,000 to 800,000 foreigners France is the last country in Europe to entered Germany every year to work in be able to advance this reason as applicthe fields and in the mines and factories. able to the mass of her population. For This refutes the theory that increase in France has greater natural wealth and population brings economic and social a better distribution of land and affords distress by making work harder to find. more opportunities for making a living Germany was able to increase her indus- than any other European country

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