The population of Paris is considerably more than a million. The number of births in a year is a little more than thirty thousand, and of these, ten thousand are illegitimate. This fact speaks volumes in reference to the morals of Paris. The deaths usually fall short of the births by about four thousand. The increase of population in France is great, though it is now a very populous country.
The increase in forty years is more than nine millions. The births in France in one year are about eight hundred and ninety-seven thousand, and the deaths eight hundred and sixty-five thousand. Of the births, more than seventy thousand are illegitimate. This fact shows that the morals of Paris, in one respect, are worse than those of the provinces.
It is calculated that one-half of the inhabitants of Paris are working men; the rest are men who live by some trade or profession, or have property and live upon it. Paris has more than eighty thousand servants, and at least seventy thousand paupers. The latter class, as a matter of course, varies with the character of the times; sometimes, a bad season enlarging the number by many thousands. There is an average population of fifteen thousand in the hospitals; five thousand in the jails; and at least, twenty thousand foundlings are constantly supported in the city. The annual number of suicides in France is nearly six thousand. Yet the French are a very gay people!
The police regulations of Paris are very good, but not so good as those of London, though New York might learn from her many useful lessons. Rogues thrive better in Paris than in London. The Paris policeman wears no distinctive dress, and there are streets in which if you are attacked by night, your cries will call no officer to the rescue. The police have been proved often to be in league with bad men and bad women, and these cases are occurring from day to day. I should not like to walk alone on a winter’s night, after midnight, anywhere for half a mile on the southern side of the Seine. Some of the streets are exceedingly narrow, and are tenanted by strange people. Still, one might have many curious adventures in them, and escape safely—but La Morgue tells a mysterious tale every day of some dark deed—a suicide or a murder, perhaps.
Getting lost after midnight in one of the narrow streets of Paris, is not particularly pleasant, especially if every person you meet looks like a thief. The police system of Paris is in one respect far more strict than that of London—in political matters. Every stranger, or native, suspected in the least of tendencies to republicanism, is continually watched and dogged wherever he moves. While in Paris, my whereabouts was constantly known to the police, and though I made several changes in my abode, I was followed each time, and my address taken; yet I was but an in offensive republican from America. A man must be careful to whom he talks of French despots, or despotism. For speaking against Louis Napoleon in an omnibus, a Frenchman was sentenced to two years imprisonment, and men have been exiled for a less offense. The police are everywhere to detect conspiracy or radicalism, but are more slack in reference to the safety of people in the streets.