习近平对朝鲜进行国事访问

At the close of the Session of 1837 an earnest desire was expressed by the leaders of both parties in the House for an amicable adjustment of two great Irish questions which had been pending for a long time, and had excited considerable ill-feeling, and wasted much of the time of the Legislaturenamely, the Irish Church question, and the question of Corporate Reform. The Conservatives were disposed to compromise the matter, and to get the Municipal Reform Bill passed through the Lords, provided the Ministry abandoned the celebrated Appropriation Clause, which would devote any surplus revenue of the Church Establishment, not required for the spiritual care of its members, to the moral and religious education of all classes of the people, without distinction of religious persuasion; providing for the resumption of such surplus, or any part of it, as might be required, by an increase in the numbers of the members of the Established Church. The result of this understanding was the passing of the Tithe Bill. But there were some little incidents of party warfare connected with these matters, which may be noticed here as illustrative of the temper of the times. On the 14th of May Sir Thomas Acland brought forward a resolution for rescinding the Appropriation Clause. This Lord John Russell regarded as a breach of faith. He said that the present motion was not in accordance with the Duke of Wellington's declared desire to see the Irish questions brought to a final settlement. Sir Robert Peel, however, made a statement to show that the complaint of Lord John Russell about being overreached, was without a shadow of foundation. The noble lord's conduct he declared to be without precedent. He called upon Parliament to come to the discussion of a great question, upon a motion which he intended should be the foundation of the final settlement of that question; and yet, so ambiguous was his language, that it was impossible to say what was[451] or was not the purport of his scheme. Sir Thomas Acland's motion for rescinding the Appropriation resolution was rejected by a majority of 19, the numbers being 317 and 298. On the following day Lord John Russell gave Sir Robert Peel distinctly to understand that the Tithe measure would consist solely of a proposition that the composition then existing should be converted into a rent charge. On the 29th of the same month, Lord John Russell having moved that the House should go into committee on the Irish Municipal Bill, Sir Robert Peel gave his views at length on the Irish questions, which were now taken up in earnest, with a view to their final settlement. The House of Commons having disposed of the Corporation Bill, proceeded on the 2nd of July to consider Lord John Russell's resolutions on the Church question. But Mr. Ward, who was strong on that question, attacked the Government for their abandonment of the Appropriation Clause. He concluded by moving a series of resolutions reaffirming the appropriation principle. His motion was rejected by a majority of 270 to 46. The House then went into committee, and in due course the Irish Tithe Bill passed into law, and the vexed Church question was settled for a quarter of a century. The Municipal Bill, however, was once more mutilated by Lord Lyndhurst, who substituted a 10 for a 5 valuation. The amendment was rejected by the Commons, but the Lords stood firmly by their decision, and a conference between the two Houses having failed to settle the question, the measure was abandoned. In these events the Ministry had incurred much disrepute.

A remarkable conflict took place this year between the jurisdiction of the House of Commons and that of the Court of Queen's Bench, which excited great interest at the time, and has important bearings upon the constitutional history of the country. The following is a brief narrative of the facts out of which it arose:In the year 1835 a Bill was proposed in the House of Lords by the Duke of Richmond for the purpose of appointing inspectors of prisons. The inspectors were appointed, and, in the discharge of their duty, reported on the state of Newgate. The House ordered the report to be printed and sold by the Messrs. Hansard. In this report it was stated that the inspectors of that gaol found amongst the books used by the prisoners one printed by John Joseph Stockdale in 1827, which they said was "a book of the most disgusting nature, and the plates are obscene and indecent in the extreme." On the 7th of November, 1836, Stockdale[469] brought an action for libel against the Messrs. Hansard for the sale of this report, which was alleged to be false. Sir John Campbell, who was counsel for the defendants, argued that the report was a privileged publication, being printed by the authority of the House of Commons, and on that ground they were entitled to a verdict. But Lord Denman, in his charge to the jury, said: "I entirely disagree from the law laid down by the learned counsel for the defendants. My direction to you, subject to a question hereafter, is, that the fact of the House of Commons having directed Messrs. Hansard to publish all the Parliamentary Reports is no justification for them, or for any bookseller who publishes a Parliamentary Report containing a libel against any man." In addition, however, to the plea of "Not Guilty," there was a plea of justification, on the ground that the allegations were true, and on this the jury found a verdict for the defendants. On the 16th of February, 1837, the Messrs. Hansard communicated the facts to the House of Commons. A select Committee was consequently appointed to examine precedents, and report upon the question of its privileges in regard to the publication of its reports and other matters. They reported in favour of the privilege which would protect any publication ordered by the House of Commons, and resolutions based upon the report were adopted.

[See larger version] It was proposed also to form, in certain districts, relief committees, which should be empowered to receive subscriptions, levy rates, and take charge of donations from the Government; and that out of the fund thus raised they should establish soup kitchens, and deliver rations to the famishing inhabitants. Sir John Burgoyne, Inspector-General of Fortifications, was appointed to superintend the works. Lord John Russell referred to measures for draining and reclaiming waste land in Ireland, and to advances of money for this purpose to the proprietors, to be repaid in instalments spread over a number of years. On a subsequent day, in answer to questions from Mr. Roebuck, the noble lord gave a statement of the sums that had already been advanced. 2,000,000 had been issued on account of the Poor Employment Act of the last Session. He expected that not less than 500,000 or 600,000 a month would be spent from the present time until August, and he calculated the whole expenditure would not be less than 7,000,000. There was great difference of opinion on the subject of the Government plans. A counter-scheme for the establishment of reproductive works deserves to be noticed for the interest it excited and the attention it occupied for years afterwardsnamely, the railway plan of Lord George Bentinck. Acts of Parliament, he said, had been passed for 1,582 miles of railway in Ireland, of which only 123 miles had then been completed, while 2,600 miles had been completed in England. In order to encourage the formation of Irish railways, therefore, he proposed that for every 100 expended by the companies 200 should be lent by the Government at the same interest at which they borrowed the money, Mr. Hudson, who was "chairman of 1,700 miles of railroad," pledging his credit that the Government would not lose a shilling by the transaction. By adopting this plan they could give reproductive employment to 109,000 men in different parts of the country, for earth-works, fences, drains, and watercourses connected with the lines. This would give support of 550,000 souls on useful work, tend to develop the resources of the country, and produce such improvement that the railways constructed would add 23,000,000 to the value of landed property in twenty-five years, and would pay 22,500 a year to the poor rates. The purchase of land for the railways would moreover place 1,250,000 in the hands of Irish proprietors, for the employment of fresh labour, and 240,000 in the hands of the occupying tenants for their own purposes. The Government also would reap from the expenditure of 24,000,000 on railways in Ireland, an enormous increase of revenue in the augmented consumption of articles of excise and customs. The noble lord's speech, which lasted two hours and a half, was received with cheers from both sides of the House. Leave was given to bring in the Bill, though it was strongly objected to by Lord John Russell, Mr. Labouchere, and other members of the Government. It was also opposed by Sir Robert Peel, who exposed the unsoundness of the economic principles involved in it. The Bill was rejected by a majority of 204, the numbers being 118 for the second reading, and 322 against it. Notwithstanding this decision, loans were subsequently advanced to certain Irish railways, amounting to 620,000, so that the objection of the Government was more to the extent than to the principle of Lord George Bentinck's measure.

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."

The deaths of monarchs, however, were peculiarly fatal to this ambitious man; that of Queen Anne had precipitated him from power, and rescued his country from the ruin he prepared for it; that of George now came as opportunely to prevent the national calamity of his ministry. George set out for Hanover on the 3rd of June, accompanied, as usual, by Townshend and the Duchess of Kendal. Just before his departure the youthful Horace Walpole saw him for the first and last time. When the king was come down to supper, Lady Walsingham took Walpole into the Duchess's ante-room, where George and his favourite were alone. Walpole knelt and[57] kissed the king's hand. George appeared in his usual health.

But if Lucien, who had rendered Napoleon such essential services in enabling him to put down the French Revolution, could not escape this meddling domination as a private man, much less could his puppet-kings, whether brothers or brothers-in-law. He was beginning to have violent quarrels with Murat and his sister Caroline, king and queen of[4] Naples; nor could the mild and amiable temper of Louis, king of Holland, protect him from the insults and the pressure of this spoiled child of fortune.

The way having been thus prepared, Mr. O'Connell proceeded to the scene of the contest. On the day of his departure his carriage, with four horses, drove into the yard of the Four Courts, where he had been engaged on an important trial. Having concluded his address to the judges, he put off his wig and gown, and proceeded through the hall, where he was followed by the lawyers and the persons from the different courts, so that the judges were deserted. Stepping into his open barouche, accompanied by Mr. P. O'Gorman, secretary of the Association, Mr. R. Scott, solicitor, and Father Murphy, the celebrated parish priest of Corrofin, he drove off amidst the cheers of all present. The greatest possible excitement prevailed along the whole route, and he enjoyed an ovation at every town he passed through. At Ennis, though he entered the town by daybreak, the traders and the inhabitants turned out in procession to meet him. Priests swarmed in all the streets, and in every face there was an unconcealed expression of joyous and exulting triumph.

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In such very discouraging circumstances the American campaign began. Whilst insurrection was in their camp, Sir Henry Clinton dispatched General Arnold to make a descent upon the coast of Virginia. That general had been dispatched into that quarter, at the close of the year, with one thousand six hundred men, in ships so bad, that they were obliged to fling overboard some of their horses. Arnold, however, first sailed up the river James, and landed at Westover, only twenty-five miles from Richmond, the capital of Virginia. Jefferson, who was Governor of Virginia, was seized with great alarm; for, though the militia of the State were nominally fifty thousand, he could muster only a few hundreds. He therefore hastily collected what property he could, and fled up the country, dreading to fall into the hands of a man so embittered against the Americans as Arnold was, who was himself well aware that they had determined to hang him without mercy if they caught him. Arnold did not allow much time to elapse without action. The next day he was in Richmond, and sent word to Jefferson that, provided British vessels might come up the river to take away the tobacco, he would spare the town. Jefferson rejected the proposal, and Arnold burnt all the tobacco stores and the public buildings, both there and at Westham. After committing other ravages, he returned to Portsmouth, on Elizabeth River, where he entrenched himself. On the 26th of March, General Phillips, having assumed the command, in company with Arnold ascended James River with two thousand five hundred men, took and destroyed much property in Williamsburg and York Town, ravaged the country around, and then sailed to the mouth of the Appomattox, and burnt all the shipping and tobacco in Petersburg. After other depredations, and forcing the Americans to destroy their own flotilla between Warwick and Richmond, Phillips and Arnold descended the James River to Manchester, and proposed to cross over to Richmond. But Lafayette having just reached that place before them with upwards of two thousand men, they re-embarked, and, after destroying much other property, especially shipping and stores, at Warwick and other places, they fell down to Hog Island, where they awaited further orders.

On the 23rd of June the king sent down a message to the Commons, recommending them to[301] take into consideration a separate establishment for the Prince of Wales, who had arrived at the age of twenty-one. This young man, whose whole career proved to be one of reckless extravagance and dissipation, was already notorious for his debauched habits, and for his fast accumulating debts. He was a great companion of Fox, and the gambling rous amongst whom that grand orator but spendthrift man was accustomed to spend his time and money, and therefore, as a pet of this Coalition Ministry, the Duke of Portland proposed to grant him one hundred thousand pounds a year. The king, alarmed at the torrent of extravagance and vice which such an income was certain to produce in the prince's career, declared that he could not consent to burden his people, and encourage the prince's habits of expense, by such an allowance. He therefore requested that the grant should amount only to fifty thousand pounds a year, paid out of the Civil List, and fifty thousand pounds as an outfit from Parliamentary funds. The Ministers were compelled to limit themselves to this, though the saving was merely nominal, for the debts on the Civil List were again fast accumulating, and the prince was not at all likely to hesitate to apply to Parliament to wipe off his debts, as well as his father's when they became troublesome to him. Resenting, however, the restraint attempted to be put upon him by his father, the prince the more closely connected himself with Fox and his party, and the country was again scandalised by the repetition of the scenes enacted when Frederick, Prince of Wales, father of George III., was the opponent of his own father, George II., and the associate of his opponents. Such, indeed, had been the family divisions in every reign since the Hanoverian succession. On the 16th of July Parliament was prorogued.

Population. Valuation. Greatest number