France, I am assured on all sides, is rapidly improving, and the government is satisfactory to all liberal men, in which number I include persons of every opinion, except the emigrants and those attached exclusively to the ancien regime. Men of the latter description are commonly known by the name of Ultras; and, speaking with a degree of freedom, which is practised here, to at least as great an extent as in England, they do not hesitate to express their decided disapprobation of the present system of government, and to declare, not only that Napoleon was more of a royalist than Louis, but that the King is a jacobin. They persuade themselves also, and would fain persuade others, that he is generally hated; and their doctrine is, that the nation is divided into three parties, ready to tear each other in pieces: the Ministerialists, who are few, and in every respect contemptible; the Ultras, not numerous, but headed by the Princes, and thus far of weight; and the Revolutionists, who, in point of numbers, as well as of talents and of opulence, considerably exceed the other two, and will, probably, ultimately prevail; so that these conflicts of opinion will terminate by decomposing the constitutional monarchy into a republic. To listen to these men, you might almost fancy they were quoting from Clarendon’s History of the Rebellion in our own country; so entirely do their feelings coincide with those of the courtiers who attended Charles in his exile. Similar too is the reward they receive; for it is difficult for a monarch to be just, however he may in some cases he generous.
Yet even the Ultras admit that the revolution has been beneficial to France, though they are willing to confine its benefits to the establishment of the trial by jury, and the correction of certain abuses connected with the old system of nobility. Among the advantages obtained, they include the abolition of the game laws; and, indeed, I am persuaded, from all I hear, that this much-contested question could not receive a better solution than by appealing to the present laws in France. Game is here altogether the property of the land-owner; it is freely exposed for sale, like other articles of food; and every one is himself at liberty to sport, or to authorize his friend to do so over his property, with no other restriction than that of taking out a licence, or port d’armes, which, for fifteen francs, is granted without difficulty to any man of respectability, whatever may be his condition in life. In this particular, I cannot but think that France has set us an example well worthy of our imitation; and she also shews that it may be followed without danger; for neither do the pleasures of the field lose their relish, nor is the game extirpated. The former are a subject of conversation in almost every company; and, as to the latter, whatever slaughter may have taken place in the woods and preserves, at the first burst of the revolution, I am assured that a good sportsman may, at the present time, between Dieppe and Rouen kill with ease, in a day, fifty head of game, consisting principally of hares, quails, and partridges.