Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

ving many wounds, none of which are mortal. One of his servants was found dead in an adjoining apartment, with a bloody razor not far from him, his throat cut from ear to ear, and he is supposed to have been the assassin. This miserable man not having given before any marks of insanity, the motive of so desperate an act is become a great object of speculation. He was an Italian, · The birth-day, soon after this, has been cele. brated with more than usual pomp. The crowd was immense,-the town illuminated, the peo. ple full of joy and loyalty,—and quite on a cordial footing with the horse-guards on duty among them, which, considering the late tumults, and those expected shortly when Sir Francis Burdett comes out of the Tower, shews the English people to be, like all others, governed by the mere impulse of the moment.

The ladies who go to court on the birth-day are dressed in the fashion of fifty years ago, as more suitable, I suppose, to the age of their majesties. Many are carried there in sedan-chairs, which can penetrate further than carriages; and it is really a curiosity to see them as they pass along the street towards the palace of St James's. To enable them to sit in these chairs, their immense hoops are folded like wings, pointing forward on each side. The preposterous high head. dress would interfere with the top, and must be humoured by throwing the head back; the face is therefore turned up, kept motionless in that awkward attitude, as if on purpose to be gazed at; and that face, generally old and ugly, (young women not going much there, it seems) is painted up to the eyes, and set with diamonds.

Son gros cou jaune et ses deux bras quarrés
Sont de rubis, de perles entourés ;
Elle en étoit encore plus effroyable.- Voltaire.

The glasses of the vehicle are drawn up, that the winds of Heaven may not visit the powder and paint too roughly; and this piece of natural history, thus cased, does not ill resemble a fætus of a hippopotamus in its brandy bottle. The present generation can hardly believe that it was possible to be young and handsome in this accoutrement; and yet it was so. I have seen some of these ladies smile on the wondering spectators as they passed, conscious, I should hope, of their own absurd appearance.

I had received the commission from a person in a public station in France, to send there certain political pamphlets of the day, for and against the government; and, thinking there might be an impropriety in doing it clandestinely, the American minister, Mr Pinckney, had the good

VOL. I.

and dilapidations, much greater in proportion than those which are so much complained of at present. There is a remarkable similarity between the opinions and complaints of that time and the present, although under circumstances widely different. They spoke then of the debt just born as enormous.

A writer of great reputation, Davenant, said that England could not furnish a revenue of more than two millions sterling, (equal to eight millions now,) without ruin to its commerce and manufactures. That reve. pue is now seventy millions, and neither com. merce nor manufactures are ruined ; at least if they suffer it is from a different cause. Banknotes were then at a discount of twenty per cent. and stocks lost from forty to sixty per cent. Bank-notes are said to lose now also twenty per cent., and the want of specie was assigned as the cause at both periods. There was then five or six millions hid away in private hoards, and now there is not a thrifty housekeeper, or timid man, who has not also his hoard of guineas. Public officers had grown rich by fraud and peculation, -the crime was notorious, and remained unpunished :-I hear of cases of that sort now here every day. Finally, the terror of the power of France, and the absolute necessity of opposing it to extinction, was and is the order of the day. The emperor of this day is, no doubt, far more

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

PROGRESS OF THE NATIONAL DEBT,

Annual Taxes

The number of persons employed in the collection of this prodigious revenue is detailed in a very curious pamphlet, published

by one of the present ministers, Mr Rose, page 50 to 52.
In 1783.

In 1808.
The Excise produced £ 5,222,000, and employed 4985 persons.

£22,784,000, employing 50+3 persons.
Direct Taxes,
516,000 ditto 263 ditto.

16,747,000 ditto 438 ditto. Customs, 3,375,000 ditto 3450 ditto.

8,797,000 ditto 4317 ditto. Stamps, 726,000 ditto 215 ditto.

4,512,000 ditto 358 ditto. Post Office,

1,076,000

ditto 839 ditto. 10,087,000 9068

53,916,000

10,495
Increase of the re-
venue and of the
43,829,000

N. B. This was in 1808. The revenue is now greater, and the

number of persons employed, although, no doubt, in a persons employed,

smaller proportion.

Ivung "Wu Wuu www

148,000 ditto 165 ditto.

1427

* Mr Hamilton's late excellent work on the national debt of Great Britain agrees nearly with Sir John Sinclair, on whose authority the debt at the
peace of 1801 is estimated here at £570,551,640. Mr Hamilton states it to have been at that period £567,008,978

Of wbich redeemed, 67,225,915

- 499,753,063. The debt had increased
at the date of Mr Hamilton's publication, 1st Feb. 1813, to £812,013,135
Redeemed since 1801, 212,422,938

The final amount of the debt, deducting what had been extinguished by the
sinking-fund, was then, the 1st Feb. 1813,

£ 599,590,197 ; a calculation more likely to be correct than the foregoing statement, making it, in 1810, £ 651,898,08%

.Note to Second Edition,

« AnteriorContinuar »