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Spain, England and France, but above all the union of the country with France and the consequent loss of the colonies, brought all the branches of this flourishing commerce to the verge of ruin. Since the establishment of the independence of the kingdom, most of its former colonies have been restored, and commerce has begun to revive, but it will take a long time to restore it to its former prosperity. Islands. There are many large islands formed by the mouths of the Maese and the Scheldt, the principal of which are Walcheren, South Beveland, North Beveland, Tholen, Schouwen, Overflakkee. Voorn, Beierland, and Ysselmonde. Texel, at the mouth of the Zuyder Zee, is a large island, on the east side of which is the famous road where the Dutch East India ships assemble. The other considerable islands on the northern coast are Vlieland, Schelling, and Ameland.
Situation and Extent.] France is bounded N.W. by the English channel; N.E. by the kingdom of the Netherlands; E. by Germany, Switzerland, and Italy; S. E. by the Mediterranean; S.W. by Spain, and W. by the bay of Biscay. It is remarkably fortunate in its frontier, having strong natural barriers in the Pyrenees on the side of Spain, in the Alps on the side of Italy, in the ridge of Jura on the side of Switzerland, and in the Vosges mountains and the river Rhine on the side of Germany; it is open only on the side of the Netherlands. It lies between lat. 42° 23' and 51°3' N. and between lon. 4° 40' W. and 9° 3' E. It is 650 miles long from E. to W. and 560 broad from N. to S. The area is computed at 200,000 square miles. Divisions.] Before the reyolution France was divided into 32 provinces. At present it is divided into 86 departments. The departments are subdivided into 368 arrondissements, the arrondissements into 2,669 cantons, and the cantons into 38,990 com
Ancient Provinces. Departments. Population: Square miles.
238,819 237,785 284,703 385,949 365,810 334.169 318,577 391,642 508,544 519.620 452,895 403.423 407,900 332,250 410,380 403,864 275,292 286,153 265,996 212,552 204,721 228,158 241,520 325,994 355.436 471.457 304,468 300,156 240,792 292,882 268,786 254,105 253,048 226,224 243,195 254,271 260,266
Square miles. 187
1826 1936 2838 3036 2882 28 16 3036 2178 2574 3058 2948 26 18 2431 2662 2926 2930 2948 2948 3432 3564 2966 2000 2233 2068 2860 2508 2904 2332 2266 2088 2882
Ancient Provinces. #. Population: Square miles.
Corsica, Corsica, 174,702 3916
Mountains.] The Pyrenees, which separate France from Spain. run in a direction a little south of east from the bay of Biscay to the Mediterranean. They contain many lofty summits, the highest of which is Mont Perdu, which is 10,578 feet above the leves of the sea. The mountains of Lozere, which are loosely connected with the eastern part of the chain of the Pyrenees, proceed in a N. E. direction to the sources of the Loire, where they divide into two branches; the northwestern branch, called the Mountains of Auvergne, proceeds towards the centre of France, and contains the summits of Mont d’Or, (6,288 feet,) the Cantal, (5,964 feet,) and the Puy de Dome, (4,960 feet high;) the northeastern. called the Sevennes, less lofty than the other, passes between the Loire and the Rhone, and proceeds as far north as the department of Cote d'Or.
On the east side of the Rhone there are several chains, more or less connected with each other. The Alps, called here the Maritime Alps, separate France from Italy. The Mount Jure thain, which may be regarded as a branch of the Alps, commences near Geneva at the S.W. extremity of Switzerland, and after forming the boundary between Switzerland and France, continues its course in a northerly direction under the name o( the Vosges as far as the parallel of 50° N. lat. The most elevated peaks in the Jura chain are the Reculet, (5,200 feet,) and the Dole (5,178 feetabsve the level of the sea.)
Rivers.] The four principal rivers in France are the Garonne, the Loire, the Seine and the Rhone. 1. The Garonne rises in the department of the Upper Pyrenees, and flowing on the whole in a N.VV. direction, passes by Toulouse, Agen, and Bourdeaux, and discharges itself into the Atlantic ocean through two mouths after a course of more than 400 miles. It is three miles wide at its mouth, and frigates ascend as far as Bourdeaux. Its principal tributaries are the Jrriege, the Tarn, the Lot add the Dordognt. Afier the junction of the Dordogne the river is called Girondt. 2. The Loire, the largest river in France, rises in the department of the Upper Loire, between the mountains of Sevenoes and Auvergne, and flows at first in a northerly direction to the centre of the kingdom, where it turns to the west, and passing by Orleans, Blois, Tours, Angers and Nantes, falls into the Atlantic after a course of 500 miles. It is navigable to Nantes for vessels? of 70 or 80 tons, and for boats almost to its source. Its principal tributaries are the Allier, the Cher, the Indre, the Fientu, the Sevre-of-Nantes, and the Mayenne. 3. The Seine rises in the department of Cote d' Or, and flowing in a northwest direction, passes by Troyes, Paris,and Rouen, and discharges it*elf into thp English channel, after a course of 400 miles. It admits vessels of considerable burden as far as'Rouen, and boats to Troyes. Its principal tributaries are the .lube, the Yonne, the Marnt, the Oise and the Eure. 4. The Rhone issues from the lake of Geneva in Switzerland, and pursues a S.W. course to Lyons, where it turns tosthe south, and passing by Vienne, Valence and Avignon, discharges itself through three mouths into the Mediterranean. It is the most rapid river in Europe, and the upward navigation can be performed only by draught or steam. Its principal tributaries are the Saone, a large river from the north which join* it at Lyons, and the here and Durance from the east, which bring the tributary waters of the western face of the Alps'.
The smaller rivers which discharge themselves directly into the sea are, the Somme and the Or/ie, which fall into the Engitsh ohannel; the Vilaihe, the Sevre-of-.\iort. the Charentt and the A J our, which fall into the bay of Biscay ; and the Herauh and J'Vr, which fall into the Mediterranean.
The principal rivers, whose course lies only partly in France are, I. The Etcaut or Scheldt, which rises in the dep.irtOM*nt of Aisne, and flows immediately into lh<- Netherlands. 2. Tiie Maese, or Meuse, which rises in Upper-Mame, and pu«#e« by """Mlfcbateau, Verdun, and Mezieres into the Netherlands. 3. The **, which rises in the mountains of the Vosges, and running Toss the S. E. corner of the Netherlands into Germany. pp.sses by Remiremont, Epinal, Mctz, and Treves, and joins the Rhino at Coi.leniz. Its principal tributaries are the Meurthe and the Sane. 4. The Rhine for a short distance forms the boundary between France and Germany.
Canals.] The following are the principal canals, 1. The celebrated canal of Languedoc, commenced and completed in the reign of Louis XIV. ai an expense of £500,000, opens a comunication between the bay of r>isca\ and the Mediterranean through the southern part of the kingdom It begins on the Garonne at Toulouse and proceeds in a direction a little S. of E. to a sma 11 lake or bay communicating with the Mediterranean at Cette. It is 140 miles long, 60 feet broad, 6 feet deep, and is carried over the intervening rivers by 58 aqueducts. In one place it passea through a hill by a tunnel 500 feet long and 20 feet broad. 2. The canal of the centre, which connects the Saone with the Loire, md thus opens a communication between the Mediterranean and the bay of Biscay through the centre of the kingdom. 3. The canals of Orleans and Briare which connect the Loire wiib the Seine. 4. The canal of St. Quentin, which connects the Somme with the Oise.
Face of the Country.] The southeastern part of the kingdom and narrow tracts along the eastern and southern borders are mountainous. The rest of the country mav be called uneven and in some places hilly, the surface being'everywhere sufficiently varied to render the prospects interesting. Correze and the neighboring departments surpass every part of France in beauty. Hills, dales, woods, streams, lakes and scattered farms are mingled into a thousand delightful landscapes. The hanks of the Seine, for 200 miles from its mouth, and of the Loire as high as Angers, are also eminently beautiful. The country east of the Rhone presents many pleasing prospects, and the course of he Isere is a scene of perpetual beauty. The Pyrenees are the most striking of the mountains, and their verdure, their forests, rocks and torrents have all the character of the sublime and beautiful.
Climate.] The eastern part of France is warmer than the western in the same parallels. Mr. Young divides the country into four climates. A line commencing a little north of the mouth of the Loire, and passing in an E.N.E. direction to the. Netherlands through fhe department of the Aisoe would leave a tract to the N.W. called the northern climate, in which the vin» will not grow. It is considerably warmer than in England but equally moist; and produces a great variety of fine fruits. The. vine climate is ti space included between the northern climate and a line passing nearly parallel with the other, from the mouth of the Garonne to the Rhine through the department of the MeurtLe. This is the pleasantest climate ; the air is light, pure atad elastic; and the sky is generally clear; the summer is not fervid, and the winters are mild. The Maize Climate is broader. Its southern boundary is a line beginning on the Pyrenees in the department of the Arriege and passing through Grenoble on the