On this page
- Text (5)
lords . The repeated compliment of public addresses and public dinners is scarcely more than a matter of course at the present day ; the latest occasion afforded him . an opportunity of making'a report upon his achievements * a War Minister . He las carried out a thorough separation of ike civil and military department * He has concentrated the . "whole management of the army , including the hitherto * ^ isjoi ^ ted Ordnanc&y m $ er the Commander-in-Ctuef ; he has brought together all the civil administration of the army under the War Department . The practical consequence of this natural division with concentration of
authority is , tbiit any army -which England could be required to produce , could , he says , be embarked and landed on the continent of Europe within ten days' notice . He assures us that this efficient army £ s to be maintained at a cost very much less than that which has been required to produce it—20 , 000 , 000 / . under the expenditure of
the past year . We have , therefore , ample means to keep the highest position which England ever arrogated to herself ; and there is no necessity for our statesmen , to succumb to the pretensions of despots with whom the people of this country have no sympathy , -whose policy is alien to our own , and whose influence constantly obstructs and injures our interest .
The official reports of revenue and trade paint a glorious picture of national prosperity . Tho revenue for the quarter exceeds that of the same quarter last year by 80 O , OOOZ ., of the year by 4 jOOO , 000 / . ; the exports for the eleven months of 1856 exceeding those of the whole year 1855 by 10 , 000 , 000 ^ . The City is comfortable , and the manufacturing districts report constant activity , notwithstanding this dull season of the year .
" While trade is thus flourishing , however , w& have fresh e-vidences of the canker which affects our commercial body . A new defrauder comes before the police-court in a Mr . Edkins . Messieurs Paul and Mauxni—the clerk and collector of the City of London Poor-law Union Lave been detected in extensive frauds sinre
1853 . The discoveries of their defalcations begin with a sum of about 12 , 000 / ., and it is said that a long time will be required to trace out all their depredations ; yet , the official accountant had reported that the books were perfectly square . Thus , we have commercial men and official men pilfering on a grand scale , and more accountants reporting politely upon the books .
We suspect that yet more will be discovered through the gross negligence , as well as the dis-Lonesty , of people in trade . Recently there has 1 )«) en . occasion to go over the books of one of the anost eminent firms in the country , —one which must have handled millions upon millions , and millions again , through a long series of years and their books are discovered to Lave been in a state so slovenly — so utterly unlike anything which we ascribe to the regularity of trade as powerfully to illustrate the opportunities which defrauaws may have since English commerce has lost its proverbial integrity .
THE REVENUE . The official return for the concluding quarter of the year 1856 haa been issued . In every department but pae , ( tho Miscellaneous ) th « ro is an Increase , especially in tho main sources of permanent revenue , viz ., Customs and Exciao . Tho main figures stand thus : ¦ Increase . Customs . £ 525 , 074 Excise 212 , 000 Stamps 88 , 231 Taxe 9 : 5 , 000 Property Tax 88 , 091 Post-office 101 , 000 Crown Lands 1000 ' £ 1 , 020 , 89 . 0 Decrease . Miscellaneous , 149 475 Not Increase . £ 870 , 921 Qn tho whole year , up to tho aist of Decembor , 1856 , tba net increase amounts to 8 , 977 , 772 ? .
. STATE OI ? TRADE . Tnit trade reports from the manufacturing districts for tho cloning week of tl »« year all refer to tho extraordinary prosperity by which tho past twolvo months have been characterized , and indicate great confidence in tho
iirosjtects of 18 && .-At Manchester , although the Christmas fc . olidays fcav » interfered with business , the market has jtftBiBted a . v « ry favourable appearance , and the low-ness of Btodk % coupled with the upward movement in cotton , causes a great increase of firmness in all descriptions of goods . Tlife Birmingham accounts mention that the question of the maintenance of the existing prices of tron ctaxiqg the coming quarter has been decided , and tlat there i » active employment in all the manufactures erf tha pl « ce ^ the reports as to the general demand tdtawttghout the country being extremely satisfactory . At Nottingham , large American orders have been received , and the most favourable anticipations are entertained of fUe spring season . Tn the woollen districts theie has been more than an average business ; but in th * Irish linen-markets quotations have shown a tedden-. j to heaviness . —Times .
In the general business of the port of London daring the same -week , there has "been diminished activity . The total number of ships reported inward was 161 , "being 110 less than in the previous week . These included 49 laden with grain , flour , and rice . The number of ships cleared outward was 89 , including 12 in ballast , slio-wing a decrease of 28 . —Idem . The Board of Trade tables for November were issued last Saturday morning , and present results similar to those which , have characterized nearly the entire year . The increase in the declared value of our exportations , as compared with November , 1855 , is 1 , 512 , 226 ? . 5 and , while the principal augmentation has been in . cotton goods , it is to be noticed that these have consisted of the
sorts involving the greatest employment , the shipments of yarn exhibiting a considerable decrease . Metals , among / which railroad iron is the moat important article , continue to show large totals , and all the general productions of the country have been in proportionate demand , the colonial having evidently more than kept pace with the foreign trade . The only articles on tho unfavourable side , in addition to cotton yarn , are cordage and soap , but even this falling off is simply on the month , the shipments of these goods during tlie j-ear having been larger than in 1855 . The total value of our exportations in the eleven months from January to November , inclusive , has amounted to 105 , 845 , G 31 J .,
against 86 , 847 , 280 ? . in the preceding year , sho-wing an increase of 18 , 998 , 351 ? ., or 21 J per cent . As compared ¦ with the corresponding period of 1854 the increase is 16 , 107 , 0457 . —With regard to imported commodities , the chief feature consists in the large arrivals of foreign grain which have led to the late depression in the wheat-market . The quantities of other articles of food and luxury imported and taken into consumption present nothing to call for remark , except that they continue to afford proof tbat , while a high rate of discount has been perfectly compatible with an extended tracle , it has also been concurrent with general prosperity among the people . —Idem .
THE DEATH OF HUGH MILLER . We briefly mentioned last week the death from a pistol shot of Mr . Hugh Miller , tlie celebrated Scotch geological writer and journalist . It was at first believed , as we then stated , that the firing of the pistol was accidental : it now appears certain that the act was intentional—that , in truth , it was a case of suicide arising from temporary insanity . Mr . Miller had worked himself into a frightful state of nervous excitement and cerebral disorder ; and his melancholy end holds out another warning to those overwrought men of letters who supply the periodical writing of these fearfully high-pressure days . Tho facts of the case are so extremely , though painfully , interesting , that we reproduce them at some length from last Saturday ' s number of the Witness , the Edinburgh newspaper which . Mr . Miller edited up to the time of his death : —>
" For some months past , his overtasked intellect had given evidence of disorder . Ho became tbo prey of fnlso or exaggerated alarms . ' He fancied—if , indeed , it was a fancy—that occasionally , and for brief intervals , his faculties quite failed him , that his mind broke down . Ho was engaged at this time with a treatise on tho Testimony of the Hocks , tipon which he was putting out all hia strength , -working at his topmost pitch of intensity . That volume will in a few weeks he in tho hands of many of our readers ; and , while they peruse it with the saddened impression that tho intellect nml genius of tho author poured out their latest treasures in its composition , thoy will search through it in vain for tho slightest evidence of feebleness or decaying powor .
Rather let us anticipate tho general verdict tbat will be pronounced upon it , and speak of it as one of tlie ablest of all his writings . But ho wrought at it too cngorly . Hours after midnight , the light was seen to glimmer througb tho window of that room which within iao same eventful week was to witness tho close ^ volume and tho closft of the writers life , ' . rnia overworking of tho brnin began to tell u" ** * ' nientftl hcnUh . Ho had always been somenrl » at moodily apprehensive of being attacked by footpads , and hu < l oarricd loaded firearms about J' * person . Latterly , having occasion sometimes to return to Portobello from Edinburgh » t unseasonable hours , lie had furnished himself with it revolver . Uut now , to all his old feara as to
mr . sMrifcl O'BBsnEN oasr the interests of HH&LAND . A long letter , addressed : " To the People of Ireland , " has been ianed by Mr . Smith O'Brien . He commences by sayfegr— " Although , ifc is my intention to shim , henciferih berth tie showy felasioJte of Jft «* a » BBtary life and tlie treacherous quicksands of ' eonstitetional agitasfiwi , ' I bare not abdicated wry right to expwae my opinions witbxiespect to the interacts of my native land or of aunJkiaiI » and , having reason to believe thtut it is the wfsfc af » eonsiderabte -potiiam of my felftMMWuntrymen that I should devote my leisure hours to such an occupation , I shall make no apology for offering to you some observations upon the present circumstances of
public affairs . " He proceeds to say that he has seldom any occasion to invite his countrymen to co-operate with an English movement , bat that he considers it would be well for Irishmen to join in the agitation for getting rid of the additional war per-centage on the income-tax . That addition is applied to the maintenance of a war establishment " for the promotion of objects in which Ireland has no imaginable ; concern . " The late war , ' Mr . O'Brien contends , was not in the least degree to the advantage of Ireland . He is not prepared to contend that England should have remained an indifferent spectator of the struggle bet-ween France and Russia ( the war being in fact a contest for ascendancy in the East on the pait of those two powers ) , nor does he think , that
this country " was at liberty to acquiesce in tn& occupation by Russia of the Danubian Principalities ; " but he conceives that a more vigorous line of conduct at the commencement of the dispute than that pursued by Lord Aberdeen would have prevented hostilities . Mr . O'Brien then proceeds to taunt Great Britain with the ill-success of her arms in the course of the war ; to assure hia countrymen that it is the universal opinion on the Continent that to France alone is due the credit of humbling Russia ; and to compliment the Russians on the heroism of their resistance , single-handed , to " four of the most
powerful nations in Europe . " Enumerating our various disasters , including the loss of Kars , he says that they " have brought disgrace not unmerited upon British generalship , if not upon British valour . " He therefore asks the Irish people , and even the British people , " whether it is desirable , by consenting to a continuance of the / war income-tax , to encourage the Minister , whoever he may be , to involve Ireland—to involve the empire—in new collisions , which may be infinitely more disastrous and more ignominious in their results than that which has been recently terminated ?"
Mr . O'Brien likewise rates the Queen and the English people for subserviency to the French Emperor during the war , ¦ while but a short time previously the nation had denounced Louis Napoleon as an unprincipled usurper ; and he states that there is not a politician in Europe -who does not kaow that England made peace at the dictation of the Tuileries . While hating the Government of Naples ( though , he observes , the Neapolitans live more comfortably than the Irish ) , he thinks we were not justified in breaking off diplomatic intercourse with that country ; and he is opposed to the war with Persia—Herat being , in hi 3 opinion , a city of no importance to Ireland . Great Britain , however , probably " covets the valley of the Euphrates . " ' He aslss
what motive the Irish can have to encourage the continued occupation of Greece ; and states his opinion that European . Governments instead of supporting " the cruel domination of a Turkish minority" over the Greeks , should aid in establishing the independence of the latter , who would form an " effective barrier against Russian , aggression . " SpeaMng of financial matters , Mr . O'Brien observes : —" During the year preceding that in which I waa transported to the antipodes , the British Parliament advanced on loan 8 , O 0 O , O 0 ( tf . with a view to tho relief of the Irish nation when suffering from famine . I well remember the insulting language with - which this aid was accompanied , and so great was the apparent magnitude of the effort that it might have been supposed that England had exhausted all her resources in performing an act of unparalleled generosity ; yet I find that last year additioof 30 made to the
an n , 000 , 000 ^ . was ordinary war estimates of tho United Kingdom with scarcely a murmur of dissension About fifteen years ago , I studied with much attention tho writings of various patriotic Irishmen who endeavoured by many elaborate statements to prove that , inasmuch as England was subjected before tho Union to a much larger amount of debt than had been contracted by tho Irish Parliament , it was only reasonable that the interest of the ante-Union debt of England should bo borne exclusively by the English people This separate obligation was calculated to amount to abovo 15 , 000 , 000 ? . sterling per annum ., ami it -was argued that grievous injustice had been don « to Ireland by tho gradual equalization of Irish with English taxation . At prcBcnt , instead of a separate taxation amounting to 15 , 000 , 000 ? ., the exemption ortjoyed ly Ireland from taxation common to tho United Kingdom amounts to a , mere fraction "
2 THE LEADER . [ No . 354 , Saturday ,
Leader (1850-1860), Jan. 3, 1857, page 2, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/l/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2174/page/2/