荔浦党建--广西频道--人民网

The debate on Mr. Villiers's annual motion, on June 10, produced still further evidences of the decline of Protectionist principles. On that occasion Sir James Graham, who was currently believed to be better acquainted with the feelings of the Premier than any other of the Ministers, said, "He would not deny that it was his opinion, that by a gradual and cautious policy it was expedient to bring our system of Corn Laws into a nearer approximation to those wholesome principles which governed legislation with respect to other industrial departments. But it was his conviction that suddenly and at once to throw open the trade in corn would be inconsistent with the well-being of the community, and would give such a shock to the agricultural interest as would throw many other interests into a state of convulsion. The object of every Government, without distinction of party, for the last twenty years, had been to substitute protecting duties for prohibitory duties, and to reduce gradually protecting duties, where it had them to deal with. He approved of this as a safe principle, and showed that it was the keystone of the policy of Sir Robert Peel.... If they could show him that Free Trade with open ports would produce a more abundant supply to the labourer, they would make him [Sir James] a convert to the doctrine of Free Trade in corn. He confessed that he placed no value on the fixed duty of four shillings lately proposed; it would be of no avail as a protection, whilst it would be liable to all the obloquy of a protecting duty; and he therefore thought that if they got rid of the present Corn Law, they had better assent to a total repeal." Sir Robert Peel spoke more cautiously; but he began by striking away a favourite maxim of his party, in observing that experience proved that the high price of corn was not accompanied by a high rate of wages, and that wages did not vary with the price of corn. He said that he "must proceed, in pursuance of his own policy, to reconcile the gradual approach of our legislation to sound principle on this subject, with the interests which had grown up under a different state of things;" but he admitted that it would be "impossible to maintain any law on the ground that it was intended to keep up rents." C'est le sort le plus beau, le plus digne d'envie!"

Paskievitch and the other Russian generals pleaded earnestly with the Emperor of Austria, imploring him to extend his clemency to all the officers and soldiers who had been engaged in the insurrection. But the Emperor was deeply mortified at the humiliation of having to call for Russian aid against his own rebellious subjects; he was vexed at the horror the Hungarians felt about surrendering to his army, as well as jealous of the magnanimity of the Muscovites. He therefore answered the Russian appeal, that he had sacred duties to perform towards his other subjects, which, as well as the general good of his people, he was obliged to consider. The warmest apologists of Austria were forced to condemn the vindictive and cruel policy now adopted. G?rgei was pardoned and offered rank in the Russian army, which he declined, and Klapka escaped by the terms of his capitulation; but fourteen other Hungarian officers of the highest rank were cruelly immolated to Austrian vengeance. One lady was ordered to sweep the streets of Temesvar, another was stripped and flogged by the soldiery. Many eminent Magyars were hanged. But of all the atrocities which stained the name of Austria, and brought down upon her the execration of the civilised world, none was so base and infamous as the judicial murder of Count Batthyny. This illustrious man, who had presided over the Hungarian Ministry, was sentenced to be hanged. Having taken leave of his wife, he endeavoured, in the course of the night, to escape the infamy of such a death by opening the veins of his neck with[581] a blunt paper-knife; but the attempt was discovered, and the surgeon stopped the bleeding. Next day the noble patriot procured a less ignominious doomhe was shot (October 6, 1849).

Lord Lovat was the last who was brought to the block for this rebellion, and we will conclude our account of it with his trial and execution, though they did not take place till March, 1747. Lovat had not appeared in arms, nor committed any overt act, and therefore it was difficult to[110] convict him. The cunning old sycophant hoped to elude the law, as he had done so often before, but Murray of Broughton, the brother of Murray, afterwards Lord Mansfield, to save his own life, turned king's evidence, and won eternal infamy by sacrificing his own friends. He not only produced letters and other documents which amply proved the guilt of Lovat, but threw broad daylight on the whole plan and progress of the insurrection from 1740 onwards. The conduct of Lovat on his trial was as extraordinary as his life had been. He alternately endeavoured to excite compassion, especially that of Cumberlandwho attended this, though he avoided the trials of the other insurgentsby representing how he had carried his Royal Highness in his arms about Kensington and Hampton Court Parks as a child, and then by the most amusing jests, laughter, execrations, and tricks, to puzzle or confuse the witnesses. During the recess of Parliament there was an active contest between the new French opinions and the old constitutional ones. One called forth and provoked the other. Clubs and societies for Reform were more after the model of the wholesale proceedings of France than the old and sober ones of England. The Society of the Friends of the People was compelled to disclaim all connection with the Society for Constitutional Information in London, which was in open correspondence with[394] the Jacobins of Paris. It was forced to disown societies in the country of the same stamp, and especially to check a branch of the Society for Constitutional Information in Sheffield, which, in May of the present year, called on the Society of the Friends of the People to establish a Convention in London. To allow of no mistake as to their principles, the Society of the Friends of the People held a great meeting on the 5th of May, in which they announced that they had no other object but to obtain Parliamentary Reform by strictly legal and constitutional means, and that after this end had been secured they should dissolve themselves. Yet, notwithstanding this, there were those in the Society who deemed that they were in connection with persons and associations whose views went farther than their own, and, on this ground, on the 9th of June, Mr. Baker, who had been the chairman at the late meeting at the Freemasons' Tavern, Lord John Russell, who had been deputy-chairman, Dudley North, Mr. Curwen, and Mr. Courtney, withdrew from it.

The year 1743 opened with a mighty struggle on the subject of gin. In 1736, as we have seen, the awful increase of drunkenness, which was attributed to the cheapness of gin, induced a majority of the House of Commons to pass an Act levying twenty shillings a gallon duty upon the liquor, and charging every vendor of it fifty pounds per annum for a licence. Walpole at the time declared that such an attempt to place gin beyond the reach of the poor consumers would fail; that it would fail equally as a source of revenue, for it would lead to wholesale smuggling and every possible evasion of the law. The event had proved Walpole only too correct in his prognostications. So far from checking the use of gin, the Act had stimulated it enormously. The licences, so preposterously high, were wholly neglected; no duty was paid, yet the destructive liquid was sold at every street corner. Ministers now saw that, by attempting too much, every thing in this case had been lost. They were sacrificing the revenues only to sacrifice the well-being of the people. They determined, therefore, to reduce the licences from fifty pounds to one pound per annum, and at the same time to retain a moderate duty on the liquor. By this means the fatal compound would remain much at the same price, but the vendors would be induced to take out licences, and the revenues would be greatly improved, whilst the whole sale of the article would be more under the restraints of law and police. A Bill was framed on these principles, and passed rapidly through the Commons; but in the Lords it encountered a determined opposition. It was, however, carried entire, and, says Smollett, "we cannot help averring that it has not been attended with those dismal consequences which the Lords in the Opposition foretold."

Gustavus Adolphus IV. of Swedenwith all the military ardour of Charles XII., but without his military talent; with all the chivalry of an ancient knight, but at the head of a kingdom diminished and impoverishedhad resisted Buonaparte as proudly as if he were monarch of a nation of the first magnitude. He refused to fawn on Napoleon; he did not hesitate to denounce him as the curse of all Europe. He was the only king in Europe, except that of Great Britain, who withstood the marauder. He was at peace with Great Britain, but Alexander of Russia, who had for his own purposes made an alliance with Napoleon, called on him to shut out the British vessels from the Baltic. Gustavus indignantly refused, though he was at the same time threatened with invasion by France, whose troops, under Bernadotte, already occupied Denmark. At once he found Finland invaded by sixty thousand Russians, without any previous declaration of war. Finland was lost, and Alexander saw his treachery rewarded with the possession of a country larger than Great Britain, and with the whole eastern coast of the Baltic, from Tornea to Memel; the ?land Isles were also conquered and appropriated at this time. The unfortunate Gustavus, whose high honour and integrity of principle stood in noble contrast to those of most of the crowned heads of Europe, was not only deposed for his misfortunes, but his line deprived of the crown for ever. This took place in March, 1809. The unfortunate monarch was long confined in the castle of Gripsholm, where he was said to have been visited by the apparition of King Eric XIV. He was then permitted to retire into Germany, where, disdainfully refusing a pension, he divorced his wife, the sister of the Empress of Russia, assumed the name of Colonel Gustavson, and went, in proud poverty, to live in Switzerland. These events led to the last of Sweden's great transactions on the field of Europe, and by far the most extraordinary of all. Sir E. Bulwer Lytton (afterwards Lord Lytton) is chiefly known as a most successful novelist, but he won fame also as a dramatic author, his chief productions in this line being The Lady of Lyons and Richelieu. He was born in 1805, and was the youngest son of General Bulwer, of Haydon Hall. He commenced the career of authorship very early, having written "Weeds and Wild Flowers," "O'Neil, the Rebel," and "Falkland," before the appearance of "Pelham" in 1828. Then in rapid succession appeared "The Disowned," "Devereux," "Paul Clifford," "Eugene Aram," "The Last Days of Pompeii," "Rienzi," "Ernest Maltravers," "Alice, or the Mysteries," "The Last of the Barons," "Harold, or the Last of the Saxon Kings," and several others. In 1831 he entered the House of Commons, and represented Lincoln till 1841. His political career, however, belongs to the reign of Queen Victoria.

Many improvements were made also in the glass manufacture during this reign, and more would undoubtedly have been made but for the very heavy duties upon it to help to support the ruinous wars of the period. In 1760, the first year of the reign, crown glass is said to have been introduced. In 1763 the first glass plates for looking-glasses and coach-windows were made at Lambeth. In 1779 flint-glass was first made; and about that time plate-glass. The duties on different kinds of glass at that date were about one hundred and forty thousand pounds per annum. So oppressive were those duties that, in 1785, the St. Helens Plate-glass Company petitioned Parliament, stating that, in consequence of the weight of taxation, notwithstanding an expenditure of one hundred thousand pounds, they had not been able to declare a dividend.