【地评线】海报漫评:多管齐下 扩大内需

[See larger version] These arrangements having been made, the sovereigns of Russia and Prussia came over to London on a visit to the Prince Regent, and to take a look at that wonderful capital which had poured out such torrents of gold to bring up their armies to Paris. With them came the Duchess of Oldenburg, the sister of the Czar, the two sons of the King of Prussia, and a great number of the victorious field-marshals, generals, princes, dukes, barons, and the like. But the two grand favourites of the people were Platoff, whose Cossacks had charmed the British people so by their wild prowess, and the bluff old Marshal Blucher. This was a hero exactly after the British heartblunt, uncompromising, and, like the British, never knowing when he was beaten.

The tidings of this disaster roused the people of England to a pitch of desperation. The Ministers were condemned for their gross neglect and imbecile procrastination, and Byng was execrated as a coward and a traitor. Meanwhile, the most culpable man of all, Newcastle, was trembling with terror, and endeavouring to find a scapegoat somewhere. Fox was equally trembling, lest Newcastle should make that scapegoat of him. He declared to Dodington that he had urged Newcastle to send succour to Minorca as early as Christmas, and that Cumberland had joined him in urging this, to no purpose. He asserted that Newcastle ought to answer for it. "Yes," replied Dodington, "unless he can find some one to make a scapegoat of." This was the very fear that was haunting Fox, and he hastened, in October, to the king, and resigned the seals. This was a severe blow to Newcastle, and he immediately thought of Murray to succeed him; but, unfortunately, Sir Dudley Ryder, the Lord Chief Justice, just then having died, Murray had fixed his ambition on occupying his seat on the bench. They were obliged to give it to him, with the title[123] of Mansfield, or make a mortal enemy of him. Newcastle then thought of conciliating Pitt. Pitt refused to belong to any Ministry at all in which Newcastle remained. Newcastle, in his perplexity, next tried Lord Egmont, and even old Granville, but both declined the honour; and not a man being to be found who would serve under him, he was compelled most reluctantly to resign. He had certainly presided over the destinies of the nation far too long.

[See larger version] The General Congress met at Philadelphia on the 4th of September, when all the delegates, except those of North Carolina, who did not arrive till the 14th, were found to represent twelve States, namely, the four New England States, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and the two Carolinas. It was settled, however, that, whatever the number of delegates, each colony should have one vote. The next day they assembled in Carpenters' Hall for business, and elected Peyton Randolph, late Speaker of the Virginian House of Burgesses, president. It was soon found that so much diversity of opinion prevailed, it was deemed prudent, in order to preserve the air of unanimity, to deliberate with closed doors. It was clear that Massachusetts and Virginia were ready for war; but it became equally clear that other States yet[213] clung with all the attachment of blood and old connection to the fatherland. Strong and long-continued, according to Mr. Joseph Galloway, one of their own members, were the debates; and though they finally, and, from their system of secrecy, with an air of unanimity, drew up strong resolutions, they were more moderately expressed than the instructions of many of the delegates. They agreed to a Declaration of Rights, in which they asserted that they had neither lost the rights of nature, nor the privileges of Englishmen, by emigration; consequently, that the late Acts of Parliament had been gross violations of those rights, especially as affecting Massachusetts. They therefore passed resolutions to suspend all imports, or use of imported goods, until harmony was restored between Great Britain and her colonies. An association was formed to carry these resolutions out, to which every member subscribed. Having adjourned till the 10th of May of the next year, the Congress dissolved itself on the 26th of October, and the delegates then hastened home to keep alive the flame of their revived zeal in every quarter of the continent.

Previous to this, however, Chatham had thought over several decisive measures, and sketched out a scheme of foreign and domestic policy, which marked how far above the intellectual grasp of most of his contemporaries was that of his mind. He determined, if possible, to form an alliance of European states against the Family Compact of the Bourbons in France and Spain; to reform the Government of Ireland, which greatly needed it, and that of India.

The first indictment was preferred against James Tytler, a chemist, of Edinburgh, for having published an address to the people, complaining of the mass of the people being wholly unrepresented, and, in consequence, being robbed and enslaved; demanding universal suffrage, and advising folk to refuse to pay taxes till this reform was granted. However strange such a charge would appear now, when the truth of it has long been admitted, it was then held by Government and the magistracy as next to high treason. Tytler did not venture to appear, and his bail, two booksellers, were compelled to pay the amount of his bond and penalty, six hundred merks Scots. He himself was outlawed, and his goods were sold. Three days afterwards, namely, on the 8th of January, 1793, John Morton, a printer's apprentice, and John Anderson and Malcolm Craig, journeymen printers, were put upon their trial for more questionable conduct. They were charged with endeavouring to seduce the soldiers in the castle of Edinburgh from their duty, urging them to drink, as a toast, "George the Third and Last, and Damnation to all Crowned Heads;" and with attempting to persuade them to join the "Society of the Friends of the People," or a "Club of Equality and Freedom." They were condemned to nine months' imprisonment, and to give security in one thousand merks Scots for their good behaviour for three years. Next came the trials of William Stewart, merchant, and John Elder, bookseller, of Edinburgh, for writing and publishing a pamphlet on the "Rights of Man and the Origin of Government." Stewart absconded, and the proceedings were dropped against the bookseller. To these succeeded a number of similar trials, amongst them those of James Smith, John Mennings, James Callender, Walter Berry, and James Robinson, of Edinburgh, tradesmen of various descriptions, on the charges of corresponding with Reform societies, or advocating the representation of the people, full and equal rights, and declaring the then Constitution a conspiracy of the rich against the poor. One or two absented themselves, and were outlawed; the rest were imprisoned in different towns. These violent proceedings against poor men, merely for demanding reforms only too[427] much needed, excited but little attention; but now a more conspicuous class was aimed at, and the outrageously arbitrary proceedings at once excited public attention, and, on the part of reformers, intense indignation.