The Eve of the French Revolution
Edward Jackson Lowell
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The writer is dominated throughout by a judicial temper. Facts about which exaggerated views are commonly held, are set in their true light. The upshot of it all may be described by saying that things under the ancien regime were bad, but not so bad as they have been sometimes represented. In some parts of France the peasantry were deplorably poor ; in others, they wero better off than the same class elsewhere. An English traveller, writing in 1789 of North-Eastern France, says, "all the people look happy," and thinks that the great difference that he sees between England and France is "in favour of the former."