日媒:疫情当前农忙将至 各国人手告急

JAMESTOWN, ST. HELENA.

[See larger version]

[58] The fire had soon become general, and a desperate struggle was raging along the whole line. Buonaparte threw column after column forward against the British squares; but they were met with deadly volleys of artillery and musketry, and reeled back amid horrible slaughter. A desperate push was made to carry La Haye Sainte and the farm of Mont St. Jean, on Wellington's left centre, by the cuirassiers, followed by four columns of French infantry. The cuirassiers charged furiously along the Genappe causeway, but were met and hurled back by the heavy British cavalry. The four columns of infantry reached La Haye Sainte and dispersed a body of Belgians; but Picton, advancing with Pack's brigade, forced them back, and the British cavalry, which had repulsed the cuirassiers, attacking them in flank, they were broken with heavy slaughter and left two thousand prisoners and a couple of eagles behind them. But the British, both cavalry and infantry, pursuing their advantage too far, were in turn repulsed with great loss, and Generals Picton and Ponsonby were killed. The French then again surrounded La Haye Sainte, where a detachment of the German legion, falling short of ammunition, and none being able to be conveyed to them, were literally massacred, refusing to surrender. In a little time the French were driven out of the farmhouses by shells.

[565]

The regathering of Parliament, on the 11th of November, was distinguished by two circumstances of very unequal interest. The Prince of Wales, having arrived at his majority, took his seat as Duke of Cornwall, as it was well known, intending to vote for a great measure which Fox was introducing regarding India. We shall now almost immediately enter on the narration of the[302] important events which had been transpiring in India during the American war. It is sufficient here to observe that these were of a nature to give the most serious concern and alarm to all well-wishers of the country, and of the unfortunate natives of that magnificent peninsula. Fox's measure for the reform and restraint of the East India Company was comprehended in two Bills, the first proposing to vest the affairs of the Company in the hands of sixteen directors, seven of them to be appointed by Parliament, and afterwards sanctioned by the Crown, and nine of them to be elected by the holders of stock. These were to remain in office four years; the seven Parliament nominees to be invested with the management of the territorial possessions and revenues of the Company; the nine additional to conduct the commercial affairs of the Company under the seven chief directors; and both classes of directors to be subject to removal at the option of the king, on an address for the purpose from either House of Parliament. The second Bill related principally to the powers to be vested in the Governor-General and Council, and their treatment of the natives. "The Minister might ask Parliament for power to suspend the Habeas Corpus Act, and to place all Ireland under military law. To ask for less would be ridiculous; because the Act against unlawful assemblies had failed, and, on account of its helplessness, was suffered to expire. Now, would Parliament grant such extensive powers to any Government merely that the Government might be enabled to debar his Majesty's Roman Catholic subjects a little longer from enjoying equal political privileges with Protestants? The issue was very doubtfulperhaps it was not doubtful at all. Parliament would never grant such powers. But, assuming that the powers were given, what must follow?a general insurrection, to be put down after much bloodshed and suffering, and then a return to that state of sullen discontent which would render Ireland, ten times more than she had ever been, a millstone round the neck of Great Britain, and by-and-by, when military law ceased, and the same measure of personal liberty was granted to Irishmen which the natives of England and Scotland enjoyed, a renewal of agitation, only in a more hostile spirit, and the necessity of either reverting again and again to measures of coercion, or of yielding at last what, upon every principle of humanity and common sense, ought not to have been thus far withheld. But the Minister, if the existing Parliament refused to give him the powers which he asked, might dissolve, and go to the country with a strong Protestant cry; and this cry might serve his purpose in England and Scotland. Doubtless; but what would occur in Ireland?the return of Roman Catholic members in the proportion of four to one over Protestants, and the virtual disfranchisement thereby of four-fifths of the Irish people. Would Ireland submit quietly to any law carried against herself in a House of Commons so constituted? Was it not much more probable that a dissolution would only lead to the same results which had been shown to be inevitable in the event of the existing Parliament acquiescing in the Ministers' views? And was there not, at all events, a chance that the electors, even, of England and Scotland, might refuse to abet a policy so pregnant with danger to themselves and to the commonwealth? But why move at all? Mr. O'Connell had been elected by the priests and rabble of Clare to represent them in Parliament. Let him retain this empty honour; or, better still, let him be summoned by a call of the House to the bar, and, on his refusal to take the oaths, issue a new writ, and go to a new election. In the first place, Mr. O'Connell could not be forced to attend to a call of the House, such call being obligatory only on members chosen at a general election; and in the next, if he did attend, what then? As soon as the new writ was issued, he would take the field again as a candidate, and again be elected; and so the game would continue to be played, till a dissolution occurred, when all those consequences of which we have elsewhere spoken would inevitably come to pass."

On the 22nd the Commons went into committee on this subject, and Mr. Tierney then proposed that both the establishment at Windsor and the salary to the Duke of York should be paid out of the Privy Purse or other private funds of the Crown. There was a private property belonging to the Crown of one hundred and forty thousand pounds a year, and surely this was sufficient to defray the charge of the necessary care of the king's person. He reminded the House also of the sums which had been voted for the royal family since 1811. Besides fifty thousand pounds a year set apart for the debts of the Prince Regent, he had a privy purse of sixty thousand pounds a year, besides an additional grant of ten thousand pounds a year made since. The king had also a privy purse of sixty thousand pounds a year, with an additional revenue of ten thousand pounds from the Duchy of Lancaster. Surely, out of all these sums, there must be ample means of taking care of the king's person. To all these second statements Mr. Peelafterwards the Sir Robert who began his political career in the ranks of high Toryismreplied that the Duke of York would accept no salary which came from the Privy Purse, and he quoted Sheridan and Adam, old friends of the Prince Regent, and staunch Whigs, who had zealously advocated the sacredness of the Privy Purse. When the vote was taken for the disposal of the sum for the Windsor establishment, it was carried by two hundred and eighty against one hundred and eighty-six, a sufficient proof that in the new Parliament the Government possessed a strong majority. On the 25th the proposal to confer on the Duke of York ten thousand pounds per annum, for this charge of his own father's person, was also carried by a still larger majoritytwo hundred and forty-seven against one hundred and thirty-seven. In the debate, Denman and Brougham opposed the vote, and Canning supported it. In the House of Peers Lords Grey, Lansdowne, and other Whig peers opposed the vote of the ten thousand pounds to the Duke of York. And truly, in private life, it would not have seemed very filial conduct for a man, already possessing a large income, to require a great annual payment for discharging the simple duty of seeing that his aged father, a gentleman also of ample means, was well looked after.