政务“上网”发展成果与民共享

If the French had been by no means successful in Germany, they had been much less so in other quarters of the globe. In the East Indies we had taken Pondicherry, their chief settlement, from them, and thus remained masters of the whole coast of Coromandel, and of the entire trade with India. In the West Indies, the French had been fortifying Dominica, contrary to treaty, and Lord Rollo and Sir James Douglas were sent thither, and speedily reduced it. France, indeed, was now fast sinking in exhaustion. Louis XV. was a man of no mark or ability, inclined to peace, and leaving all affairs to his Ministers, and still more to his mistress, Madame de Pompadour. Choiseul was a man of talent, but of immense vanity, and little persistent firmness. He was now anxious for peace, but, too proud to make the proposal directly, he induced the Courts of Russia and Austria to do it. It was suggested that a congress should be held at Augsburg for settling the peace of Europe. England and Prussia readily consented. But the Duke of Choiseul, anxious to have a clear understanding of the terms on which England and France were likely to treat, proposed a previous exchange of views, and dispatched M. Bussy to London, whilst Mr. Pitt sent to Paris Mr. Hans Stanley. On the 11th of February Lord Althorp brought forward the Budget. Basing his calculations on the revenue of the previous year, he estimated the national income at 50,000,000, and the expenditure at 46,850,000, leaving an anticipated surplus of more than 3,000,000; and it was proposed to take off taxes to the whole of that amount, and to replace it to some extent by other taxes, less burdensome to the people. The principal taxes to be taken off were those on tobacco, sea-borne coal, tallow candles, glass, printed calicoes, and newspapers. The new taxes consisted in an increase of the duties on wine, colonial timber, and raw cotton, a tax on steamboat passengers, and on the transfers of funded property. The proposed new taxes excited violent opposition, which obliged the Chancellor of the Exchequer to modify some of them, and abandon the last two; in fact, the financial scheme was a failure. Equally unsuccessful were his attempts to introduce retrenchments into the Civil and Pension Lists. But the Government was borne up by its great measure, the Reform Bill.

This decided repulse ought to have shown the prince the violence that he was doing to the public sense of decency, and the mischief to his own character; but the disappointment only the more embittered him and increased his miserable obstinacy. Time had no effect in abating his unnatural resentment. Though this parliamentary decision took place in February, he continued so much in the same temper, that the very last day of the following May, his wife being seized with symptoms of labour, he suddenly determined to remove her from Hampton Court, where all the Royal Family then were, and hurry her off to London. When Parliament opened on the 20th of January, 1778, the Opposition fell, as it were, in a mass upon the Ministry on this question. There was much dissatisfaction expressed at the Government allowing Liverpool, Manchester, and other places, to raise troops without consulting Parliament. It was declared to be a practice contrary to the Constitution and to the Coronation Oath. Sir Philip Jennings Clerke, on the 22nd of January, moved for an account of the numbers of troops so raised, with the names of the commanding officers. Lord North, whilst observing that this mode of raising troops showed the[249] popularity of the war, and that the country was by no means in that helpless condition which a jealous and impatient faction represented it to be, readily granted the return. In the House of Lords the Earl of Abingdon moved to consult the judges on the legality of raising troops without authority of Parliament; but this motion was not pressed to a division. But, on the 4th of February, Sir Philip Jennings Clerke returned to his charge in the Commons. Lord North replied that this now hotly-decried practice was one which had been not only adopted, but highly approved of, in 1745, and again in 1759, when Lord Chatham was Minister, and that he had then thanked publicly those who had raised the troops for the honour and glory of their country. A motion was negatived by the Lords on the same day, to declare this practice unconstitutional, and a similar one later in the Session, introduced by Wilkes and supported by Burke.

PARIS UNDER THE REIGN OF TERROR: A VAIN APPEAL. (After the Picture by Paul Svedomsky)

Goldsmith was in his poetry, as in his prose, simple, genuine, and natural. His "Deserted Village" and "Traveller" were in the metre of Pope, but they were full of the most exquisite touches of pathos, of truth, and liberty; they were new in spirit, though old in form. Charles Churchill, the satirist, was full of flagellant power. He has been said to have formed himself on Dryden; but it is more probable that his models were Lucian and Juvenal. He was a bold and merciless chastiser of the follies of the times. He commenced, in the "Rosciad," with the players, by which he stirred a nest of hornets. Undauntedly he pursued his course, attacking, in "The Ghost," the then all-powerful Dr. Johnson, who ruled like a despot over both literary men and their opinions. These satires, strong and somewhat coarse, were followed by "The Prophecy of Famine," an "Epistle to Hogarth," "The Conference," "The Duellist," "The Author," "Gotham," "The Candidate," "The Times," etc. In these Churchill not only lashed the corruptions of the age, but the false principles of nations. He condemned the seizure of other countries by so-called Christian powers, on the plea of discovery. It was only to be lamented that Churchill, who was a clergyman, in censuring his neighbour's vices did not abandon his own. The Marquis Wellesley was sent over to Ireland by Lord Liverpool in order to govern Ireland upon this principle; and he might have succeeded better if he had not been checked by Mr. Goulburn, the Chief Secretary, distinguished by his hostility to Catholic Emancipation, who was appointed "viceroy over him." In a letter which the Marquis wrote to the Duke of Buckingham (June 14th, 1824) he refers to some of the difficulties with which he had to contend in carrying out an impartial policy between the extreme parties, which were then very violent. His labours, however, in enforcing respect for the law and effecting improvements were not altogether in vain. "The situation of Ireland," he writes, "although very unsatisfactory, is certainly much improved, and foundations of greater improvement have been firmly laid. The committees of Parliament have done much good; and, if vigorously and fairly pursued, may effect a permanent settlement of this distracted country. The present violent collision of the two ultra parties, or rather factions, Orange and Papist, is a crisis of the disorder which was necessary to their mutual dissolution, an event which I think is fast approaching, and which must be the preliminary of any settlement of peace."