本市复工复产装上“安全阀”

Meanwhile, the Highland army was continuing its retreat. On the 20th of December they left Carlisle, and crossed into Scotland by fording[103] the Esk. On the 26th Lord George entered Glasgow, and Charles, with the other division, on the 27th. At Glasgow the prince and the army lay for seven days to rest, and to levy contributions of all kinds of articles of apparel for the soldiers. On the 3rd of January, 1746, the same day that Cumberland left Carlisle for London, Charles marched his army out of Glasgow, new clad and new shod, for Stirling. The next day he took up his quarters at the house of Bannockburn, and distributed his men through the neighbouring villages, Lord George Murray occupying Falkirk. Lords Strathallan and Drummond soon arrived from Perth with their united force, attended by both battering-guns and engines from France. [See larger version]

[See larger version] Had this Bill been frankly accepted by Ministers, it would have gone far to heal the rupture between the mother country and her colonies. The Earl of Dartmouth, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, proposed that the Bill should lie on the table for deliberation. The Duke of Grafton complained of the manner in which the Bill had been hurried into the House, and, as Chatham in his reply observed, showed every disposition to hurry it as quickly out again. The friends of the Duke of Bedford, who had joined the administration, exhibited the most rancorous disposition towards America. The chief of these, Lord Sandwich, declared that he never could believe this Bill was the work of any British peer, but rather of an American, and he looked full at Dr. Franklin, who was leaning on the bar. He declared the Americans to be in actual rebellion; that they were not troubling themselves about mere words and nice distinctions; that they were aiming at independence, and nothing else. The Bedford party carried the day, and the Bill was rejected by sixty-one votes against thirty-two.

When Parliament reassembled, after the Christmas recess, the great question of economical reform took the first place in its deliberations. The great Yorkshire petition was introduced on the 8th of February by Sir George Savile, who, as the forms of the House then allowed, made a speech on its presentation. He was a small, weakly man, but of the most upright character, and was listened to with the highest respect. On the 11th Burke rose to bring forward his extensive scheme of retrenchment and reform. It was a scheme of reforms so vast and multiform as to require five Bills to include them. It dealt with the sale of the Crown lands; the abolition of the separate jurisdictions of the Principality of Wales, the Duchies of Cornwall, Chester, and Lancaster; of the Court offices of Treasurer, Comptroller, Cofferer, Keeper of the Stag, Buck, and Fox Hounds, of the Wardrobe, Robes, Jewels, etc.; of the recently-instituted office of Third Secretary of State; the reduction and simplification of offices in the Ordnance and Mint departments; the Patent Office of the Exchequer; the regulation of the pay offices of the army, navy, and of pensioners; and, finally, the Civil List. Such a host of corrupt interests was assailed by this wholesale scheme, that it was certain to receive a very determined opposition; and it might have been supposed that it would be encountered by the most rabid rage. But not so. The great tribe whose interests were affected were too adroit strategists for that; they were too well assured that, being legion, and all knit up together from the Crown downwards, embracing every branch of the aristocracy, they were safe, and might, therefore, listen to the fervid eloquence of the poetic Irishman, as they would to a tragedy that did not affect them further than their amusement was concerned. Lord North very soon managed to put the Principality and the Duchies out of the range of his inquiries. He declared that nobody was more zealous for a permanent system of economy than he was; but then, unfortunately, the king's[264] patrimonial revenue was concerned in these Duchies, and therefore he must be first consulted; and, what was still more embarrassing was, that these proposals affected the rights of the Prince of Wales, and therefore could not be mooted till he was of age; so that branch of the inquiry was lopped off, under the gentle phrase of postponement. When the discussion reached the reform of the king's household, Burke was compelled to admit that a former attempt to reform this lavish yet penurious household by Lord Talbot, had been suddenly stopped, because, forsooth, it would endanger the situation of an honourable member who was turnspit in the kitchen! The end of it was, that though all expressed themselves as delighted and as acquiescent, almost every detail was thrown out in committee. The only point carried was that which abolished the Board of Trade, by a majority, however, of only eight. The Board of Trade was ere long restored again. The other portions of Burke's great scheme occupied the House through March, April, and May, and then was got rid of by a man?uvre in the committee, Burke declaring that he would bring the measure forward again next session. Great attention was drawn at this time to the operation of the new Poor Law Act, which seemed, in some respects, repugnant to humane and Christian feeling, and was strongly denounced by a portion of the press. An attempt was made by Mr. Walter to get the stringency of the law in some measure relaxed, and on the 1st of August he moved for a select Committee to inquire into its operation, particularly in regard to outdoor relief, and the separation of husbands from their wives, and children from their parents. But it seemed to be the opinion of the House that the workhouse test would lose its effect in a great measure if the separation in question did not take place. The operation of the Act was certainly successful in saving the pockets of the ratepayers, for on a comparison between the years 1834 and 1836 there was a saving to the amount of 1,794,990. The question did not seem to excite much interest, for the attendance was thin, as appears by the numbers on the division, which werefor the motion, 46; against it, 82.

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