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Page:Principles of Political Economy Vol 1.djvu/619

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In 1846 there appeared an elaborate treatise,[1] by two authors, MM. Mounier and Rubichon, the latter of whom was by his own statement a public functionary for ten years preceding the French Revolution, and both appear to take their ideas of a wholesome state of society from the institutions and practices of the Middle Ages. In this book it is maintained, that while French writers and administrators are in a conspiracy to represent their country as making rapid strides in prosperity, the progress of the morcellement is in fact reducing it to beggary. An imposing array of official details, adduced in apparent support of this assertion, gave a degree of weight to it which it could not claim from any correctness of information or capacity of judgment shown by its authors. Their work was cried up as a book of authority by the Quarterly Review,[2] in an article which excited some notice by proclaiming, on the evidence produced by these writers, that "in a few years the Code Napoleon will be employed in dividing fractions of square inches of land, and deciding by logarithms infinitesimal inheritances." As such representations ought not to be without a permanent answer, I think it worth while to subjoin the substance of three articles in the Morning Chronicle, containing as complete a refutation of these writers and of their reviewer, partly from their own materials, as appears to be either merited or required.

  1. De l'Agriculture en France, d'après les Documents officiels. Par M.L. Mounier, avec des Remarques par M. Rubichon. Paris, 1846.
  2. For December 1846.