National Geographic : 1900 Jun
THE COLONIAL EXPANSION OF FRANCE and lead ores. The neighborhood of Algiers is the winter garden of Paris, sending daily during the season steamers to Marseilles loaded with garden produce, which is distributed through France. More and more a twofold current of life binds Africa with France and France with Africa. French civilization moves southward with its imperfections, with the usual concomitants of such movements, but also with blessings unspeakable for the natives. It is not astonish ing then that the north African colonies should excite a very legiti mate enthusiasm among Frenchmen. M. Paul Leroy-Beaulieu says : "Algeria and Tunis are and will remain the first European colonies of Africa." The late Grant Allen has expressed the desire that in the interest of civilization the beneficent French power, as Hamerton puts it, might ultimately be permitted to extend over Morocco. The natives under France have, as a whole, suffered less from their contact with European civilization than those under other great powers. Were Parkman still among us, he might repeat, concerning the lower races that come in touch with France, what he said of the Indian: " Spanish civilization crushed the Indian; English civiliza tion scorned and neglected him; French civilization embraced and cherished him." French expansion should not be judged by its economic results; yet even from that point of view it is gradually becoming more satis factory. The trade of the colonies reaches $231,000,000, $160,000,000 of which is with France. Were she to allow her colonies to levy duties upon metropolitan goods, most of them would have a large surplus. But even though they are not self-supporting, neither are all the de partments of France. The spirit of national solidarity which em braces poor departments must also prevail in the colonies; yet it must be admitted that the French colonies still cost far too much and that 85,000,000 francs or $17,000,000 a year is excessive, though there are many signs that the regular demands upon the budget will soon decrease. The colonial expansion of France has not only influenced for good the peoples whom it has reached and reacted favorably upon the French themselves, but it is also working for international enrich ment. Temporarily her fiscal measures, at some particular points, may disturb certain old trading establishments of foreign houses, but the development of the new countries and the increase of wealth will counterbalance these obstacles, and the most intelligent producers will have the best economic possibilities, for after all these possibilities are " mightiest in the mightiest."