Distress Among the Working Classes in France.
--The Opinion Nationale
of the 20th of February, contains a communication growing out of a petition of 500 inhabitants of Clignancourt to the Senate for relief in their destitute condition.--The article alluded to is quite lengthy as to the evils to which the workmen are subject in their spinning and weaving occupations, and we make only a short extract to show the deep distress, debasement, and degradation to which they have been reduced by the want of the great staple — cotton — which bother to has not only furnished them employment and subsistence, but has been in its various ramifications the source of commerce to a large but now suffering population.
It is easy to see that if the conflict between the North and South continues much longer, and France
is still deprived of the staples and markets of this country, she must either find some new undiscovered path to relief, or else submit to the fate which a revolution will entail.
The following is the extract:
As to the actual condition of the workmen, what shall be said of it which is not already known !--The weavers of some parts of Normandy
eat the leaves of the colza or rape-seed.
At Eouen a single parish, at Vivien, contains 1,173 families in a state of constitution, and there 1,170 families have their most indispensable effects, to the amount of one hundred thousand Iranes, in pledge with the pawn brokers Mothers inscribe their daughters' names upon the public registers for prostitution,
and when the Registrar endeavors to turn them from their frightful intentions they answer, "We have no bread !
" The peasants, in the middle ages, gave their children to the wolves, and we have now advanced one degree further in misery and sham.
We are only yet in the beginning of this doleful condition, and must await the development of this "immense process"