时间: 2019年12月10日 05:33

As in the whole history of the world, perhaps, so great a calamity as the Irish famine never called for sympathy and relief, so never was a more generous response elicited by any appeal to humanity. The Government and the Legislature did all that was possible with the means at their disposal, and the machinery that already existed, or could be hastily constructed, to meet the overwhelming emergency. The newly established Poor Law system, though useful as far as it went, was quite inadequate to meet such great distress. It had been passed while the country was comparatively prosperous, and contained no provision for such a social disorganisation as this famine. By the Acts of 1 and 2 Victoria, c. 56, no outdoor relief whatever could be given in any circumstances. The size of the unions was also a great impediment to the working of the Poor Law. They were three times the extent of the corresponding divisions in England. In Munster and[544] Connaught, where there was the greatest amount of destitution and the least amount of local agency available for its relief, the unions were much larger than in the more favoured provinces of Ulster and Leinster. The union of Ballina comprised a region of upwards of half a million acres, and within its desert tracts the famine assumed its most appalling form, the workhouse being more than forty miles distant from some of the sufferers. As a measure of precaution, the Government had secretly imported and stored a large quantity of Indian corn, as a cheap substitute for the potato, which would have served the purpose much better had the people been instructed in the best modes of cooking it. It was placed in commissariat dep?ts along the western coast of the island, where the people were not likely to be supplied on reasonable terms through the ordinary channels of trade. The public works consisted principally of roads, on which the people were employed as a sort of supplement to the Poor Law. Half the cost was a free grant from the Treasury, and the other half was charged upon the barony in which the works were undertaken. The expense incurred under the Labour Rate Act, 9 and 10 Victoria, c. 107," amounted to 锟?,766,789. It was almost universally admitted, when the pressure was over, that the system of public works adopted was a great mistake; and it seems wonderful that such grievous blunders could have been made with so many able statesmen and political economists at the head of affairs and in the service of the Government. The public works undertaken consisted in the breaking up of good roads to level hills and fill hollows, and the opening of new roads in places where they were not required攚ork which the people felt to be useless, and which they performed only under strong compulsion, being obliged to walk to them in all weathers for miles, in order to earn the price of a breakfast of Indian meal. Had the labour thus comparatively wasted been devoted to the draining, subsoiling, and fencing of the farms, connected with a comprehensive system of arterial drainage, immense and lasting benefit to the country would have been the result, especially as works so well calculated to ameliorate the soil and guard against the moisture of the climate might have been connected with a system of instruction in agricultural matters of which the peasantry stood so much in need, and to the removal of the gross ignorance which had so largely contributed to bring about the famine. As it was, enormous sums were wasted. Much needless hardship was inflicted on the starving people in compelling them to work in frost and rain when they were scarcely able to walk, and, after all the vast outlay, very few traces of it remained in permanent improvements on the face of the country. The system of Government relief works failed chiefly through the same difficulty which impedes every mode of relief, whether public or private攏amely, the want of machinery to work it. It was impossible suddenly to procure an efficient staff of officers for an undertaking of such enormous magnitude攖he employment of a whole people. The overseers were necessarily selected in haste; many of them were corrupt, and encouraged the misconduct of the labourers. In many cases the relief committees, unable to prevent maladministration, yielded to the torrent of corruption, and individual members only sought to benefit their own dependents. The people everywhere flocked to the public works; labourers, cottiers, artisans, fishermen, farmers, men, women, and children攁ll, whether destitute or not, sought for a share of the public money. In such a crowd it was almost impossible to discriminate properly. They congregated in masses on the roads, idling under the name of work, the really destitute often unheeded and unrelieved because they had no friend to recommend them. All the ordinary employments were neglected; there was no fishing, no gathering of seaweed, no collecting of manure. The men who had employment feared to lose it by absenting themselves for any other object; those unemployed spent their time in seeking to obtain it. The whole industry of the country seemed to be engaged in road-making. It became absolutely necessary to put an end to it, or the cultivation of the land would be neglected. Works undertaken on the spur of the moment攏ot because they were needful, but merely to employ the people攚ere in many cases ill-chosen, and the execution equally defective. The workers, desirous to protect their employment, were only anxious to give as little labour as possible, in which their overlookers or gangers in many cases heartily agreed. The favouritism, the intimidation, the wholesale jobbing practised in many cases were shockingly demoralising. The problem was to support 2,000,000 or 3,000,000 of destitute persons, and this was in a great measure effected, though at an enormous cost to the empire. Thus the Cabinet was evidently fast breaking up, when Mr. Littleton introduced his Tithe Bill. Its object was much the same as Mr. Stanley's Act of 1832 for the Compulsory Commutation of Tithe. This last Act had been a failure, and Mr. Littleton was compelled to ask Parliament to grant the sum of 锟?,000,000 to pay the arrears. He hoped to remedy its defects by reducing the number of people who were liable to tithe, and then, after the 1st of November, to commute the tithe into a land tax, payable to the State, to reduce its amount by one-fifth, and to allow any person having a substantial interest in the estate to redeem the residue of it, after five years had expired, on easy terms. After a number of stormy debates the progress of the measure seemed assured, when Lord John Russell went out of his way to express his views in favour of the appropriation of the surplus revenues of the Irish Church to secular purposes. Stanley wrote to Graham the laconic note, "Johnny has upset the coach." Indeed, the declaration was the more indiscreet because the Cabinet was hopelessly divided on the point. � � The Whig party were in consternation at this sudden disruption of the union of the heads of their party. A meeting was held on the night of the 11th of February at Burlington House, which did not separate till three in the morning. The result did not appear to have been very satisfactory, and the fears of the Whigs were greatly augmented by finding Pitt, who had hitherto praised the Revolution, now express the great obligations of the country to Mr. Burke, for the able warning which he had given against revolutionary principles. The king made no secret of his abhorrence of these principles. He considered the French Revolution as the direct result of the American one; and having come to the conclusion that he had himself erred by too much concession, he now censured the concessions of Louis XVI. as fraught with certain calamity. All this boded a decided resistance to the spirit of reform at home. There was a new schism amongst the organs of the press. Many of the newspapers still fostered in their columns the wildest hopes of universal advantage to the cause of liberty from the French Revolution; but others adopted the opinions and views of Burke攁nd no few of the Whig and Foxite papers were of this class. The effect of the alarm at the wild conduct of the French was speedily seen in the refusal to consider the repeal of the Test and Corporation Act, which was brought forward by Fox, on behalf of the Dissenters, and a motion for parliamentary reform, introduced by Mr. Flood. Both were strongly opposed, on the ground that this was not the time to make any changes whilst so riotous a spirit of change was near us, and was so warmly admired by many of our own people. Both motions were rejected by large majorities. The supplies for the present year were voted to the amount of fifty million one hundred and eighty-five thousand pounds. No new taxes were to be levied, but there was to be a loan of eight million pounds. This money was distributed as follows: twenty-five million pounds to the land service and ordnance, twenty million pounds to[600] the navy, a subsidy to Portugal of nine hundred and eighty-eight thousand pounds, and to Sicily of four hundred thousand pounds. 东京热影院-天天操操操-91国产精品-一夜七次影院青青 � In the midst of the excitement at Pesth, Count Lamberg was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Imperial army in Hungary; and a decree appeared at the same time ordering a suspension of hostilities. The Count immediately started for Pesth without a military escort. In the meantime Kossuth had issued a counter-proclamation, in which the appointment of Lamberg was declared to be illegal and null, as it was not countersigned by the Hungarian Minister, according to the Constitution, and all persons obeying him were declared to be guilty of high treason. Unknown assassins, translating this language into action, stabbed the Count to death in the public street (September 28, 1848). The Government of Vienna resolved now to crush the Hungarian insurrection at any cost. A decree was issued by the emperor, who had lately returned to the capital, dissolving the Diet, declaring all its ordinances and acts illegal and void, constituting Jellacic Commander-in-Chief in Hungary and Transylvania, with unlimited powers, and appointing also a new Hungarian Ministry. Kossuth met this by a counter-proclamation, asserting the entire independence of Hungary, and denouncing the Ban and the new Prime Minister as traitors. The power given to Jellacic excited the indignation not only of all Hungarians, but of the citizens of Vienna. They rose the second time, and again forced the Emperor to fly, this time to Olmütz. � � �