Page images
PDF
EPUB

RECORD OF RAILWAYS, JOINT-STOCK COMPANIES, ETC. The railway-meetings during the early part of The report of the Whitehaven and Furness the month have been both numerous and important. Railway was agreed to, the shareholders approving The Midland dividend of £1 7s. 6d. on the con- the progress made. solidated stock, and in proportion on other shares, In the St. Andrews and Quebec report, details has been confirmed, and the report carried. The are furnished of the measures determined upon to points discussed comprised the increase of traffic, carry out the undertaking, together with the the attempted amalgamation with the North assent gained to a division of the shares into capital, Western, and the continuance of competition with stock and land-stock. the Great Northern.

A Committee has been appointed to consult The South Western poll, concerning which some with the Directors of the Londonderry and Colelegal difficulty was raised, has been decided in raine Company on the best mode of completing favour of the re-election of the retiring Directors. that undertaking. Owing to recent damage of the

The dividend of the Bristol and Exeter Rail- works by a storm, the report had not been comway has been declared at 4} per cent. per annum, pleted. leaving a reserve £17,080.

The management of the Buckinghamshire RailAn extension of steam-navigation will, it is an- way having passed into the hands of the London ticipated, benefit the Plymouth Great Western and North Western Company, no further details of Dock Company, and the shareholders have there-expenditure were presented, but it was intimated fore been called upon to support that undertaking. that the traffic showed an increase. In general respects the report was regarded as The construction of the Newport, Abergavenny satisfactory.

and Hereford line has been actively promoted ; At the South Devon meeting, the same topic and it is expected that it will be completed in the was brought forward, the interest of the Company course of next year. being identified with the promotion of Plymouth The dividends on the preference and other to a first-class steam-port. Although the traffic of shares of the Leeds Northern Company had been the line had not been favourably influenced by agreed to. The revenue, making allowance for the Great Exhibition, the dividend is to be main- absence of increase during the Exhibition, had tained at 5s. per share, or at the rate of one per proved favourable, and a reduction had been accent.

complished in the expenditure for maintenance of The Great Northern meeting passed off in a way, satisfactory manner. The dividend was declared The Norfolk report was agreed to, and at 24 per cent. per annum, and the traffic, passen- evinced great improvement compared with pregers, goods and mineral, showed an increase. Full vions periods. explanations were afforded respecting the Eastern The state of revenue in connexion with the Counties arrangement, the differences with the Eastern Counties, allowed at the last meeting a London and North Western regarding an equit- dividend of 20s. per £100 of the capital stock. able division of territory, and the heavy amount It had been answered at the Newmarket meetof working-expenditure.

ing, that the chief difficulties of the Company had At the Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton been surmounted, and that the Directors were enameeting, the question brought under the conside- bled to pay a dividend of 1s. 6d. per share. A proration of the proprietors was the desirableness of posed communication with Bury St. Edníunds maintaining an independent position; and, with will, it is believed, considerably increase the traffic. this view, they agreed to the recommendation of The Eastern Union Company propose to treat the Directors to carry out an extension from Wol- with the Eastern Counties for a lease of the former ; vercot to Brentford.

and a negotiation is now on foot upon the subject. At the meeting of the York Newcastle and The South Staffordshire Directors communiBerwick Company, a dividend was declared of cated the progress of their negotiation with the 3 per cent.; but a discussion on the large amount London and North Western Company. retained for a reserved fund induced the Board to The Directors of the Ambergate, Nottingham give a pledge that that fund should in future be and Boston Company declared a dividend of ls. limited to £16,000.

per share, and the receipts were stated to be inThe report of the Manchester, Sheffield and creasing. Lincolnshire Company was adopted, and the divi- The Maryport and Carlisle dividend was dedends on preference stocks declared. The ultimate clared at £1 per share on each original share, or at development of traffic, which is already satisfac- the rate of 4 per cent. per annum. torily augmenting, is considered to present en- The mineral traffic on the Vale of Neath had couraging propects

, particularly in connexion with not been developed, but it represented a favourable the Great Grimsby Docks. The assets of the Port- tendency, and the undertaking will be completed bury Pier and Railway Company have been nearly about the middle of next year. realised, but the Chancery proceedings have not The East Lincolnshire report has been adopted. yet terminated.

The Llynvi Valley dividend is 13 per cent, for

15s.

3 per cent.

5

per cent.

the half-year. The traffic from the mineral dis- the working expenses being diminished, and a retrict was shown to be on the increase, and further duction in the interest on mortgage charges having improvement is anticipated, when the South Wales been effected. line at Chepstow will open fresh resources. The following are the dividends declared at

At the Londonderry and Enniskillen meeting, the other meetings, held during the early part of the directors reported the progress of the works, and month : a dividend at the rate of 5 per cent. was declared on the £12 10s. paid shares.

Lancaster and Carlisle

64 per cent.

Dublin and Drogheda The South Wales report was adopted, the divi- Lancashire and Yorkshire.. dend being at the rate of 14 per cent.

Great Southern and Western (Ireland) 188.3d. per sh. The Furness dividend was at the rate of 5

Belfast and County Down......

11s.6d. per sh. per

Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley, Wakecent. on the preference, and 3 per cent. on the field and Goolo...... original shares.

Dundalk and Enniskillen

6s. per sh. The report of the Waterford and Limerick was

Caledonian and Chester and Holyhead
(Preference Shares).

£4 4s. per sh. favonrably received.

Midland Great Western (Ireland) ComAt the London and Blackwall meeting a divi- pany

4 per cent.

Edinburgh and Glasgow dend of 2s. 6d. per share was carried.

3 per cent. Scottish Midland Junction.

1} per cent. The East and West India Docks and Birmingham Junction Company paid a dividend of 1 per Want of space prevents us giving a statecent. for the half-year. The directors stated that ment of the Californian and Australian Gold Mines they were in communication for traffic arrange and Companies. The following numbers will, ments with the Great Northern and other parties, however, contain a monthly statement of the affairs which, if concluded, would augment their revenue of those Companies, and of the statistics of the pre

The South Eastern dividend at the rate of 3. cious metals; and also of assurance and water per cent., was confirmed, and the report unani- companies. mously adopted.

The Merchants' and Tradesmen's Assurance The Glasgow and South Western dividend was Company held its annual meeting on the 18th of at the rate of 5 per cent. on the guaranteed and March ; and its report, showing its favourable propreference shares, and 2 per cent. on ordinary gress and condition, was received with great satisstock; the results of the revenne proved favourable, faction by the proprietors.

LIFE ASSURANCE COMPANIES, Professional Life Assurance Company. - The meeting of this Company. 2,227 Periodical tickets, 19,744 fifth annual report of this Company announces a gratifying Double-journey tickets, and 237,004 Single journey tickets increase in the business during the past year; the total were issued during the half-year. The amount received sum assured during the year 185) being £176,680; the for premiums was £4,197 2s. 3d., showing an increase of number of policies issued, 611; and the increase of annual £1,041 6s. 6d. upon the previous half-year, and making the income from new premiums, £5,807 Os. 6d. Agencies had total receipts of the year 1851, the sum of £7,352 188. been established in Newcastle and Sunderland, and a local The claims upon the Company for compensation, which board of management instituted in Dublin. The former, were made and adjusted in that period, consisted of 8 fatal it was stated, had already borne substantial fruit; and in cases, and 85 cases of personal injury: and the entire Birmingham the business had fully answered the anticipa- number of claims met by payments since the formation tions of the directors. Agencies are also to be established of the Company consist of io fatal cases, on which an in various parts of our Australasian colonies. By such aggregate amount of £2,580 has been paid, and 184 cases proceedings, the directors report that they have succeeded, of personal injury, the payments on wbich have amounted to with eight per cent. only paid upon å fully-subscribed £3,209 3s.: making a total paid in compensation on 194 capital of £250,000, in creating an annual income which, claims, up to 31st December last, of £5,789 3s., in addition to on the 31st of December last, amounted to £15,000 from the sum of £324 15s. 6d. paid for medical expenses. It is s life premiums alone, exclusive of a large yearly return satisfactory feature in the working of the Company, that from instalments, and interest on loans. A peculiar fea- the Single journey ticket branch of its business continues ture of this Company, and one specially worthy of atten. to increase, for it is one of universal application, and by it tion, is, that not only are the interests of the representa- the very humblest classes of travellers may secure the adtives of the assured protected and provided for after their vantages of the institution. But notwithstanding that the decease, but that the assured themselves are, whilst living, extent of the transactions of this young society is decidedly secured from want and distress. By the deed of settle satisfactory so far as the interests of the shareholders are ment, the directors have power to appropriate one-tenth of concerned, and though there can be no doubt that these the entire profits of the Company-Ist, for the relief of transactions will extend in a rapidly-increasing ratio, it is aged and distressed parties assured for life, who have paid really remarkable that so small a proportion of the millions five years' premiums, their widows and orphans; and, who journey by rail should seek to insure themselves 2ud, for the relief of aged and distressed proprietors, against its casualties. Of ten persons who expend their assured or not, their widows and orphans, together with sixpence on a newspaper or pamphlet to beguile the tedium five per cent. per annum on the capital originally invested of travel, not one, comparatively speaking, is wise enough by them. At the close of the report, a dividend of five to risk half that sum in insuring against pecudiary per cent. per annum, free from income-tax, was declared. loss to himself or to his family, contingent on accidental

Railway Passengers Assurance Company.-An loss of limb or life. But, with so many facilities of assurance, increased amount of business during the last half-year, for our own part, we question whether a man is not and a satisfactory result in the working of the Company, morally responsible for any discomfort that may be enis the burden of the report read at the last half-yearly tailed on his family through such neglect.

LONDON : SALISBURY AND CO., PRINTERS, BOUVERIE-STREET AND PRIMROSE-UILL, FLEET-STREIT,

TAITS EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.

MAY, 1852.

THE GOVERNMENTS OF CONTINENTAL EUROPE.

II. FRANCE AND ROME.

France and the French are to the other nations | dissimulation and perfidy. He was sagacious and of the world incomprehensibilities. Statesmen the subtle : his maxim was to deceive all other most acute and sagacious, historians the most pro- monarchs and to betray his own vassals. This found and logical, moralists the most inquisitive maxim became hereditary in the house of Valois, and philosophic, are astounded and perplexed on it was refined upon by the Medici, and it was reading and studying the history of France from polished by the Bourbons. Among his great the disruption of the feudal system by Louis XI. vassals Louis XI. was defied by the Dukes of down to the present day. During the last four Burgundy and Boulogne, and by the Count of hundred years—from the day when Charles VII. Anjou. The first was the feudal sovereign of instituted a standing army-when that monarch, all Franche-Compté, Burgundy, Flanders, and the aided by Joan of Arc and the enthusiasm and Low Countries. The second was the lord of all courage inspired by superstition, was enabled to Brittany. The third possessed all Anjou, Maine, drive the English for ever from holding dominion Provence and Lorraine. The south of France in France—we find civil war, bloodshed, leagues, was divided by the Counts of Fois, Armagnan, the quarrels of kings and of temporal lords and Albert, and other feudal tyrants. The feudal ecclesiastical prelates, almost constantly devastating system, which probably secured Europe from being and impoverishing that kingdom until Louis XIV. utterly destroyed by the ferocity of barbarians in consolidated absolute despotism in the Crown. Yet the tenth century, became the plague and scourge amid those disorders great men, remarkable as of nations in the fourteenth and beginning of the warriors, ecclesiastics, and lawgivers--men also fifteenth century; yet it contained not the elements distinguished for their acquirements in the learn- of permanence. It contained, on the contrary, the ing and accomplishments of each reign, or period materials of exhaustion and self-destruction. -were probably more numerous in France than Louis d'Outre-Mer, as early as the beginning in any other country. The misfortunes of France of the tenth century, conferred privileges, or charare to be traced to the monarchical institutions ters of community, on several towns, which abowhich supplanted the feudal system by the double lished the servitude of the citizens to the feudal force of concentrating all executive and adminis- barons, and strengthened the power of the Crown. trative power in the king, and of the fatal strength He was the last of the Carlovingian kings; for his which he acquired on founding a standing army. son, Louis V., or the Feeble, was killed within a

During the most calamitous period of England's year after his decease; and the throne was seized history the wars of York and Lancaster—a most upon by Hugues, the founder of the long Capeextraordinary man ascended the throne of France, tian dynasty-who consolidated the feudal system, and his reign constituted an epoch in the history which was concentrated in the despotism of the of that kingdom. Louis XI. was sagacious, cun- Crown in the fifteenth century by Louis XI., or ning, false and treacherous. His conduct as the Crafty, who, with his father, Charles VII., Dauphin gave unpardonable offence to his father, were the real founders of that monarchical absoCharles VII., and he fled to the Court of Bur- lutism which attained its maximum power and gundy. It was during the latter and peaceful tyranny under Richelieu, Mazarin, and Louis years of the reign of Charles VII. that France XIV. The non-aristocratical population of France, began to enjoy some domestic tranquillity; that until the Reign of Terror, were contemptuously the conquest of Constantinople by the Turks drove termed “Le bas peuple," or the low people. This the remaining literature and learning of the Byzan- despised class, however, by industry and skiltines to Western Europe, and that poetry, espe- ful labour, became during the seventeenth and cially lyrics, became harmonised and national in eighteenth centuries the source, after all, of the France. It was Louis XI. who first gave a system wealth and civilisation of France. They first, grato diplomacy; but it was a system of duplicity, of dually by agriculture, and then by manufactures,

VOL. XIX-NO. CCXXI.

[ocr errors]

serves :

acquired some importance in the State. In the magnificence of his palaces, the gorgeousness of army, none but the aristocracy were qualified to his retinue and the fame of his campaigns. But hold any rank above that of a private soldier. he died worn out in body by his irregularities, and

Religion,” says M. de Bonnechose,“ continued ruined in his finances by his extravagance. He from the time of the invasion of Gaul by the died in superstitious fear, leaving a nation to become Franks, to consist principally of external cere- bankrupt, and an aristocracy, by their corruption monies and in pious practices, in which were ex. and heartlessness, to be annihilated. He was proposed to view relics, images of the Virgin and phetic in saying, “ Après moi le deluge." saints, pictures representing the mysteries of faith, Yet the reign of Louis XIV. was the Augustan the actions of Christ, of the apostles, and the first age of modern Europe; and as private vices are believers. The magnificence of this worship exer. sometimes the cause of public benefits, arts and cised an overwhelming influence; and the priests, sciences were developed by luxury creating an use under the Carlovingians, imposed on the people, for new inventions. The aristocracy emulated and especially on the barons, by their fortune and each other, and even the sovereign, in displaying by their power.” After remarking that the clergy. works of taste and vertu, and in the decorations on becoming rich, became feudal lords, he ob- and splendour of their hótels in Paris and of their

The clergy, by their feudal organisation, châteaux in the provinces. The passion for the disregarded the duty of their original institution; drama brought forth artists and poets, lyrists and the people found rarely from them succour or con- musicians. It was an age of historians, philosolation; and most of the dignitaries of the sophers and accomplished divines; of mathemaChurch were ranged among the number of pub- ticians, astronomers, architects, sculptors and lic oppressors." The Church afterwards increased painters. The people were, however, ground to in bigotry and magnificence during the whole period the earth by extortions, exacted from the produce of monarchical absolutism.

of labour, industry and skill by the farmers-geBut it was the Church alone that opened its neral for the king—by the noblesse for themselves, door to those called the low people in France, as and by the Church from its estates, its benefices the Church had done in England and other Chris- and its parishes. tian countries. The Church opened its schools and Louis XIV. was in religion a bigot, and, guided its priesthood to the low people, chiefly because by the advice of his confessor, Père la Chaise, and the aristocracy would not perform the ecclesias- the intrigues of his numerons mistresses, espetical drudgery, though they generally managed to cially Maintenon, he disgraced himself by his perpossess the rich benefices. This indolence was, secutions and his dragonnades. He felt, however, like some other evils, a cause of good effects. Many when the infirmities of the body were accompauied of the priests and monks of the low-people origin by those of the mind, that he was at the mercy of became scientific men, philosophers, historians and his courtiers, priests and women, and when he apinventors. The indolence of the aristocracy gave to proached his dissolution, that he had become a France a host of intellectual men of plebeian origin. helpless and a despised creature, exhibiting the As supplicants, the low people of France were ad- rotten vanity of human greatness—a wretched old mitted into the States-General as the tiers état, but wreck of humanity. only" on their knees to be taxed in mercy and in pity.The cost of Versailles, the regency, the national (Elle, la population, n'y parut qu'à genoux, pour debts, the taxes, John Law, the Mississippi scheme, étre taillée à merci et miséricorde.) Louis XIV: the immoralities of the court, the arrogance and declared, en cavalier, in riding boots and whip in profligacy of the noblesse, the administrative inhand, to the Parliament, that he would have no justice—all ripened those materials which exploded such miserable assemblies.

in the calamities, wars, conquests and misfortunes He reigned as a sumptuous despot, and by his of the most memorable of revolutions : a revoluflatterers he was styled the Grand Monarque. For tion terrible in its elements and atrocious in its his favour and gifts, the nobles abandoned their deeds, but a revolution instructive to mankind, feudal dignity, the gentlemen their honour, and although its tribunals and executions are never to the ladies their chastity; for his countenance, or be justified : a revolution which affords fearful rather for place or money, his courtiers became per- lessons to monarchs and ministers, but the torrent fidious to all others—often to one another and they of which has not yet prepared the French people were guilty of the most unblushing and corrupt for the self-government and practical institutions acts of vice, injustice and intrigue. This sove without which there can be no security for the reign reigned alone : "I am the State” (l'état, true liberty and rights of the human race. c'est moi") was his avowed maxim; no Parliament, at In the history of France, as well as that of other least, would dare refuse to register the taxes to be nations, four leading causes will invariably be levied on the industry of the low people—that is to found to terminate fatally, if not to the existing say, upon his most industrious and most virtuous order of rulers and administrators, certainly to subjects. The aristocracy and ecclesiastics were those who succeed them, unless remedies be early privileged, and paid no tax. Louis shed military and efficaciously applied. The first is profligate splendour and luxurious brilliancy over camps and expenditure ; the second, oppressive, unequal taracourts. The whole world was dazzled by the tion ; the third, financial embarrassment, inevitably

consequent to the two first; the fourth is incapacity • Histoire de France, Vol. I., pp. 147, 8. New Edition.

and injustice in administrators, who disregard Paris, 1860.

generally-entertained public opinion; which opinion, whatever may be its defects, is never at dan-carriages, and, though irretrievably in debt, dressed gerous variance with the commonweal of the whole in sumptuous apparel, the ladies glittering with nation.

diamonds, when the starving people cried out for In the history of all countries, no fact is more bread the stupid Court replied, “Why do you not glaring than that the profligate expenditure of the eat brioches ?' (sweet cakes). public revenue and the extravagance of princes

The extinction of the noblesse, the sequestr and rulers, are always accompanied by dissolute tion of the Church, the general war—for instigating morals. In France vulgar indecency and sensu- the latter Austria and Germany paid dearly, as ality were niasked by etiquette and external did England for aiding and provoking it the politeness. There was not in the society of the military ascendancy, the despotism and downfall Court and aristocracy any pretension to virtue. of Napoleon, the occupation of Paris, and the Louis XV. shocked the young and virtuous Marie restoration of the unworthy, at least incapable, Antoinette by causing her, immediately after her Bourbons—all followed. marriage with the Dauphin, to grace the suppers of The people of France, exhausted by conscriphis mistress, Madame du Barry. Yet royal eti- tions and by taxation, and deprived of commerce, quette was stiffly strained, even then, by the court finally submitted to the restoration. They had not lady, Madame de Noailles. As to chastity, a probably much confidence either in the Bourbons lady's purity was allowed to be unsullied if she was or in the aspect of Enropean affairs. Louis XVIII., not seen in a saloon without a ruff, fardingale and however, gave them a charter octroyée, and though hoop-dress. There was, in short, throughont society he restored the noblesse to some extent—at least in France before the first revolution, a general to their dignitics--and the Church as far as he pollution of morals, with all the externals of decency could, and although he reigned in peace, he died and good manners.

with the conviction that his successor would not No minister ever studied more wisely or practi- reign in tranquillity. cally to avoid the causes of national decline and Charles X. sent an army to support despotism calamity than the great Sully. Before his time in Spain; the army and navy afterwards dazzled the pillage of the revenue, the oppressive taxation, the country by taking Algiers; but he proclaimed and the profligacy of the expenditure were enor- his ordinances, and the Revolution of July, 1830, mous. By economy he restored an exhausted drove him to England, and for ever from France. treasury, and relieved his sovereign from his debts ; Louis Philippe, Duke of Orleans, then accepted while he, by persisting in merely necessary though the charter proferred to him by the people. He not mean economy in the expenditure, was enabled swore to maintain it in all its integrity. The citigreatly to reduce the tailles and other taxes. zens, however, soon discovered that, instead of

After his retirement the finances fell into dis- having the régime of a citizen king, of whom order. The tax-gatherers carried devastation over they could say, “Le roi règne et ne gouverne the kingdom in their collections. Richelieu and pas”- king who reigns but does not governMazarin were unable to restore credit or practise they had placed over themselves a sovereign of economy; the latter they never attempted. strong and nearly absolute dictation.

Colbert was driven from power by the aris- He did govern. He did disdain to be taught tocracy, whose profligacy he was determined to even by all his eventful experience. He had forlimit, and whose estates he would have saved for gotten that he had ever written to a Bishop of them. They would have had his body torn to Llandaff,“ Que des réformes faites à propos peuvent pieces when he was dead, had he not been secretly être sans danger ; mais que la resistance aux réburied.

formes se termine le plus souvent par des revoluCorruption, and all the disorders of an impover- tions"-" that reforms, if made in due time, ished treasury, prevailed when Louis XVI.ascended may be effected without danger; but that resis-the throne. Turgot would have saved the monar- tance to reforms terminates most frequently by chy and possibly France; but Turgot was just, and revolutions.” He had forgotten or disregarded would not countenance corrupt expenditure. The in power what he had written in adversity. He noblesse disgraced him; that is to say, drove him discarded Lafayette, Lafitte and others, who were from the administration of the finance. Disorder chiefly instrumental, after the people had hazarded followed, and then Necker was called in. He, and performed the whole Revolution, in elevating too, was virtuous. He was persuaded that nothing him to sovereign power. He provoked in consecould save the king or his kingdom, unless justice quence, and by calling the men classed as les and moderation in taxing the people, and economy hommes de résistance to his administrations and in the expenditure, were established. He also was to his councils, dreadful revolts in Paris, Lyons, driven from the administration. The king, the and in other towns. In June, 1832, the citizens of queen, and the noblesse, and the Church would not Paris were killed in thousands by the artillery, be saved! No, they declared no one should deliver the fusillades and the bayonets. They shared a them from their perils. The Revolution came, and similar fate in Lyons, Grenoble and elsewhere. delivered them in its own stern fashion. Where The laws of September, with additional severity, are their primogenitures, entails, titles, estates, put into execution the ordinances which caused the châteaux, equipages? Where are they all ? Alas i Revolution of 1830, and drove the elder branch their possessors would not be taught wisdom or of the Bourbons from the throne. justice. When the Court and the noblesse were Under the Citizen King, the liberty of the press. revelling in their salons, rolling along in their was nearly abolished; the espionage of the police

« PreviousContinue »