Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 53.djvu/14

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4
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

The fair promise thus held out was not maintained, as the country suffered heavily from the bad season of 1897.

Year. Area.
Hectares.
Production.
Hectolitres.
Total imports.
Metric quintals.
Imports from
the United
States.
Metric quintals.
Import price
per quintal.
fr. c.
1875. 6,946,981  100,634,000  3,493,711  6,029   25.
1876. 6,859,458  95,439,000  5,281,459  121,612   27.
1877. 6,976,785  100,145,000  3,397,462  202,636   30.5
1878. 6,843,085  95,270,000  13,873,473  5,631,097   30.
1879. 6,941,675  79,355,000  22,170,966  13,205,436   30.
1880. 6,879,875  99,471,000  19,999,437  12,439,501   30.5
1881. 6,959,114  96,810,000  12,852,054  6,330,307   30.
1882. 6,907,792  122,153,000  12,946,981  5,396,475   28.75
1883. 6,803,821  103,753,000  10,117,673  3,627,304   24.92
1884. 7,052,221  114,230,000  10,549,219  2,969,077   22.24
1885. 6,956,765  109,861,000  6,457,821  1,490,211   19.15
1886. 6,956,167  107,287,000  7,097,486  2,508,769   21.61
1887. 6,967,466  112,456,000  8,967,143  4,149,152   26.5
1888. 6,978,134  98,740,000  11,357,123  1,759,034   22.4
1889. 7,038,968  108,320,000  11,417,592  2,061,740   22.3
1890. 7,061,739  116,916,000  10,551,014  1,810,087   20.9
1891. 5,754,844  77,658,000  19,601,834  8,155,505   23.35
1892. 6,986,628  109,538,000  18,842,470  10,062,892   22.
1893. 7,073,050  97,792,000  10,031,629  2,876,386   15.50
1894. 6,991,449  122,469,000  12,496,188  3,233,230   14.
1895. 7,001,669  119,968,000  4,507,304  282,734   13.5
1896. 6,867,572  119,742,000  1,584,751  779   16.4

The agriculture of France presents an interesting study because of a steady and continuous effort on the part of the Government to make it sufficiently profitable to assure adequate home supply. As the only means of giving profit to one industry is through a restriction on foreign competition, it is the Government that has intervened to ward off this competition; and as the cost of foreign wheat has tended steadily downward, the interference of the Government has become more frequent and extreme. In this policy it has been supported and encouraged by two very large elements of the agricultural interest — the grain and the wine growers. At first glance the interests of these elements might seem to be opposed to one another, as the one exports and the other is facing an importation. The vineyards of France long possessed a position which fashion and prejudice almost made a monopoly. French wines constituted one of the leading items in the export trade. In 1873 more than 398,000,000 litres of wine were sent to foreign countries, representing a value of 281,300,000 francs. This was the highest return ever made, before or since that year. The visitation of the phylloxera, which impaired the wine industry of entire provinces, and the introduction of Spanish and Italian wines under commercial arrangements believed to be more favorable to the foreign than to the domestic producer, brought the wine growers to the aid of the farmer in demanding higher protection against the encroachments of foreign grain, meat, and wine