出租车司机的特殊“春运”

Mr. Vansittart introduced some financial measures which effected a material saving. He proposed a plan for reducing the interest of the Navy Five per Cents. to four per cent. Holders not signifying their dissent were to have one hundred and five pounds in a New Four per Cent. stock, and persons dissenting were to be paid off in numerical order. By this scheme an annual saving to the public of one million one hundred and forty thousand pounds would be effected; besides a further saving of upwards of ninety thousand pounds of annual charge, which would be gained by similar reduction of the Irish Five per Cents. The high prices of the public funds obviated all difficulty in the execution of this financial operation, and the holders of the Five per Cent. stock found it expedient to acquiesce in the Minister's terms. The dissentients were in number only one thousand seven hundred and seventy-eight, and the stock held by them amounted to two million six hundred and fifteen thousand nine hundred and seventy-eight pounds, not a fifteenth part of the Five per Cent. capital. Another operation related to what was called "The Dead Weight Annuity." The amount of military and naval pensions and civil supernumeraries was about five millions annually. Accordingly Mr. Vansittart brought forward an amended scheme for relieving the immediate pressure of this dead weight by extending it over a longer term of years than the natural lives of the annuitants. For this purpose an annuity of two million eight hundred thousand pounds was appropriated out of the existing revenue for forty-five years, invested in trustees for the discharge of the then payments, which for that year were estimated at four million nine hundred thousand pounds, subject to a yearly diminution by deaths. It was computed that, according to the ordinary duration of human life, the annuities for the lives of the then holders would be equal to the annuity of two million eight hundred thousand pounds for forty-five years. The trustees were therefore empowered to sell from time to time such portions of this annuity as would provide the funds required for the payment of the dead weight, according to a computation made of the amount which would probably be due in each year. The Bank of England became the contractor for a portion of the annuity. There was no novelty of principle in the project; it was only the old one of anticipating distant resources by throwing the burden of the existing generation on the next. It had the further disadvantage of incurring a useless expense for management; whereas the Sinking Fund, amounting at the time to about five millions, might have been applied to existing exigencies, and a real saving effected.

Ireland continued, during 1831 and 1832, in a very unsettled state. The restraint imposed by the Catholic Association during the Emancipation struggle was relaxed when the object was attained, and when Mr. O'Connell was absent from the country, attending his Parliamentary duties. The consequence was that the people, suffering destitution in some cases and in others irritated by local grievances, gave vent to their passions in vindictive and barbarous outrages. O'Connell himself was not in a mood to exert himself much in order to produce a more submissive spirit in the peasantry, even if he had the power. He was exasperated by his collisions with Mr. Stanley, by whom he was treated in a spirit of defiance, not unmingled with scorn; so that the great agitator was determined to make him and the Government feel his power. Had Mr. Stanley when he was Chief Secretary for Ireland possessed the experience that he afterwards acquired when he became Earl of Derby, he would have adopted a more diplomatic tone in Parliament, and a more conciliatory spirit in his Irish administration. His character as it appeared to the Irish Roman Catholics, sketched by O'Connell, was a hideous caricature. A more moderate and discriminating Irish sketch of him by Mr. Fitzpatrick represented the Chief Secretary as possessing a judgment of powerful penetration and a facility in mastering details, with a temper somewhat reserved and dictatorial. Popularity was not his idol; instead of the theatrical smile and plastic posture of his predecessors, there was a knitted brow and a cold manner. Mr. Stanley left much undone in Ireland. But this candid Catholic writer gives him credit for having accomplished much, not only in correcting what was evil, but in establishing what was good. He is praised for putting down Orange processions, and for "the moral courage with which he grappled with the hydra of the Church Establishment." He created as well as destroyed, and "his creations were marked with peculiar efficiency." "The Irish Board of Works sprang up under his auspices. The Shannon navigation scheme at last became a reality, and the proselytism of the Kildare Place Society received a fatal check by the establishment of the national system of education. The political philippics which Baron Smith had been in the habit of enunciating from the Bench were put a stop to by Mr. Stanley. He viewed the practice with indignation, and trenchantly reprobated it in the House of Commons. It ought to be added that Mr. Stanley built a house in Tipperary, chiefly with the object of giving employment to the poor." It has been often remarked that the Chief Secretary for Ireland, on his arrival in Dublin, is always surrounded by men each of whom has his peculiar specific for the evils of the country. But Mr. Sheil said that Mr. Stanley, instead of listening to such counsel with the usual "sad civility, invariably intimated with some abrupt jeer, bordering on mockery, his utter disregard of the advice, and his very slender estimate of the adviser." Mr. Stanley made an[355] exception, however, in favour of the then celebrated "J. K. L." He acknowledged a letter from Dr. Doyle, on the education question, with warm expressions of thanks for the suggestions contained in it, and a wish to see him on his arrival in Dublin. Towards O'Connell, however, Mr. Stanley seems to have cherished a strong antipathy. They exercised mutual repulsion upon one another, and they never came into contact without violent irritation.

The Council now recalled the English troops from Rohilcund; and Bristow demanded, in the name of the Council, from Asaph-ul-Dowlah, the young Nabob, a full payment of all arrears; and announced that, Sujah Dowlah being dead, the treaty with him was at an end. Under pressure of these demands, Bristow, by instructions from the new regnant members of the Council, compelled the young Nabob to enter into a fresh treaty with them; and in this treaty they introduced a clause to the full as infamous as anything which Hastings had done. In return for renewing the possession of the provinces of Corah and Allahabad, they compelled him to cede to them the territory of Cheyte Sing, the Rajah of Benares, though this did not at all belong to the Nabob of Oude, and was, moreover, guaranteed to Cheyte Sing by Hastings, in solemn treaty. The revenue of Cheyte Sing, thus lawlessly taken possession of, amounted to twenty-two millions of rupees; and the Nabob of Oude was also, on his own account, bound to discharge all his father's debts and engagements to the Company, and to raise greatly the pay to the Company's brigade. Hastings utterly refused to sanction these proceedings; but the Directors at home, who cared not how or whence money came, warmly approved of the transactions. The complaints of agricultural distress prevalent in England, with the sudden reaction from war prices at the establishment of peace, had become so loud and general this year that Parliament undertook to find a remedy. An agricultural committee had been appointed to inquire into the subject, and had produced a report which was far from satisfactory. On the 29th of April the House of Commons resolved itself into a committee to consider the report. Three different schemes were proposed for the relief of the farmers and landlordsthe first by the Marquis of Londonderry, the second by Mr. Ricardo, and the third by Mr. Huskisson. There was no scarcity of produce in England; on the contrary, it was very abundant, and the evil that oppressed the farmers was excessive cheapness, by which they were disabled from paying the high rents and heavy taxation entailed by the war. Some of the remedies proposed were sufficiently radical in their character. The most natural was the reduction of taxation by means of retrenchment in the public expenditure. Some proposed that the tithes should be alienated from the Church, and used for the purpose of reducing the national burdens. The largest party insisted upon the reduction of the interest of the National Debt, which was defended as an equitable measure on the ground of the increased value of the currency since the passing of Peel's Bill for the resumption of cash payments. The plan of relief proposed by Lord Londonderry consisted of the repeal of the annual malt tax, and the loan of a million by Exchequer Bills to the landed interest upon the security of warehoused corn.

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France and England being already agreed, independently of the consent of the rest of the Allies, the conference began on a basis which was sure to lead to immediate confusion and contention. The Dutch plenipotentiaries were astonished to see the different tone displayed by the French ambassadors. They were no longer the humble personages that they had been at Gertruydenberg. The Abb Polignac, who was the chief speaker, assumed a high and confident manner. The French envoys, therefore, when the Dutch deputies demanded that the treaty should be carried out on the basis of the terms offered at Gertruydenberg, told them plainly that matters were now quite altered, and that the conditions offered at Gertruydenberg could not be entertained by France at all, but those to which the Queen of England had agreed in London; that unless the Dutch were willing to treat on these conditions, they would find their allies concluding peace without them, and that on the spot. The chief article to which the Allies objected was the concession of Spain to Philip; and they were the more resolute because it had become imminently necessary from changes that had now taken place in France. The Dauphin had died of the smallpox during the last year. The title had been conferred on his son, the Duke of Burgundy; but the Duke of Burgundy had just expired, too, in the sixth year of his age; and of the Dauphin's children there only now remained the Duke of Anjou, a sickly child of two years old. This child was the only remaining obstacle to Philip, the King of Spain, mounting the throne of France. The danger was so obvious of the union of France and Spain in a very few yearsto prevent which had been the object of the warthat the English Government was compelled to demand from Philip a distinct renunciation of all claims on the French Crown, and from France as distinct a one in the treaty that any such claim should be resisted. St. John entered into a correspondence with De Torcy, the French minister, on this point; and the answers of De Torcy must have shown the English Government how useless it was to attempt to bind Frenchmen on such matters. He replied that any renunciation on the part of Philip or any French prince would be utterly null and void according to the laws; that on the king's death the next heir male of the royal blood succeeded, independently of any disposition or restriction of the late king, or any will of the people, or of himself, even; that he was, by the laws of France, sovereign by right of succession, and must be so, in spite of any circumstances to the contrary; that neither himself, the throne, nor the people had anything to do with it, but to obey the constitution. Therefore, even if Philip did bind himself to renounce the Crown of France, should the present Dauphin die, he would be king, independently of any circumstances whatever. Another expedient, however, was proposed by the English ministry, who must have seen clearly enough the folly of their treating on such hollow ground. That was, if Philip did not like to renounce the Crown of France, he should at once quit the throne of Spain, and agree that the Duke of Savoy should take it and the Indies, surrendering his own territories to Philip, to which should be added Naples, Sicily, Montserrat, and Mantua, all of which, whenever Philip succeeded to the French Crown, should be annexed to France, with the exception of Sicily, which should be made over to Austria. Louis XIV. professed to be delighted with this arrangement, but Philip would not listen to it, showing plainly that he meant, notwithstanding any renunciation, to retain his claim to both France and Spain.

The select committee of the Commons appointed at the instance of Lord Castlereagh, to inquire into the state of the national income and expenditure, now presented its report on the 3rd of June, and it was agreed to. The Chancellor of the Exchequer stated on its authority that, since 1815, taxation had been reduced eighteen million pounds per annum; that in 1816 the revenue of Great Britain and Ireland had been consolidated, and that, at that time, the interest of the Debt of Ireland, including the Sinking Fund provided for its reduction, exceeded the entire revenue of that part of the United Kingdom by one million nine hundred thousand pounds. He then announced that supplies for the present year would be required to the amount of twenty million five hundred thousand pounds; that the existing revenue would only furnish seven million pounds towards this; and that it would be necessary to have recourse to the Sinking Fund to make up the deficiency of thirteen million five hundred thousand pounds. This Sinking Fund was fifteen million five hundred thousand pounds, so that it would leave only two million pounds; but as it was necessary to have a tolerable surplus in hand to meet exigencies, it was proposed to raise this reserve fund to five million pounds by fresh taxes to the amount of three million pounds.

Numbers of persons fled from the different towns to the frontiers of Holland, trade became stagnant, manufactories stood empty; the whole country began to assume a melancholy and ruinous aspect. Many of the refugees, formed into revolutionary clubs by French emissaries, were prepared not merely to oppose Joseph's despotism, but all monarchical government whatever. A powerful body of these placed themselves under the leadership of Van der Noot, a lawyer, who assumed the title of plenipotentiary agent of the people of Brabant; and of Van der Mersch, an officer who had served in the Seven Years' War, who was made their commander-in-chief. These two men were in league with the new Assembly of Breda, and issued their proclamations. These Trautmansdorff caused to be burnt by the executioner. The patriots in Brussels who sympathised with those in arms were, many of them, arrested; the citizens were disarmed, the fortifications strengthened by palisades, and every means of defence was resorted to.

Meanwhile, Lafayette and Bailly, summoned by this strange news, had hurried to the H?tel de Ville, where they found the National Guard and the French Guard drawn up, and demanding to be led to Versailles. The French Guard declared that the nation had been insulted by the Flanders regimentthe national cockade trampled on; and that they would go and bring the king to Paris, and then all should be well. Bailly and Lafayette attempted to reason with them; but they, and thousands upon thousands of armed rabble again collected there, only cried, "Bread! bread! Lead us to Versailles!" There was nothing for it but to comply; and at length Lafayette declared that he would conduct them there. He mounted his white horse, and this second army, about three o'clock in the afternoon, marched in the track of the amazons who had already reached Versailles.

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