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The names and prices of all the purchased members of the Irish Parliament were preserved in the Irish Black and Red lists. A selection of a few of them will interest the reader: During the excitement that followed the passing of the Emancipation Act incessant attacks were made upon the character of the Duke of Wellington. Perhaps the most violent of these was published in the Standard by the Earl of Winchilsea, one of the most ardent of the anti-Catholic peers, who charged the Premier with disgraceful conduct. The offence was contained in a letter addressed by Lord Winchilsea to Mr. Coleridge, secretary to the committee for establishing the King's College, London. He said he felt rather doubtful as to the sincerity of the motives which had actuated some of the prime movers in that undertaking, "when he considered that the noble duke at the head of his Majesty's Government had been induced on this occasion to assume a new character, and to step forward himself as the public advocate of religion and morality." He then proceeded:"Late political events have convinced me that the whole transaction was intended as a blind to the Protestant and High Church party; that the[300] noble duke, who had, for some time previous to that period, determined upon breaking in upon the Constitution of 1688, might the more effectually, under the cloak of some outward show of zeal for the Protestant religion, carry on his insidious designs for the infringement of our liberties, and the introduction of Popery into every department of the State." The Duke having obtained from Lord Winchilsea an avowal of the authorship, demanded a retractation or apology, which was refused. The matter was then referred to friends, and a hostile meeting was agreed upon. "It is," says Mr. Gleig, "a curious feature in this somewhat unfortunate occurrence, that when the moment for action arrived it was found that the Duke did not possess a pair of duelling-pistols. Considering the length of time he had spent in the army, and the habits of military society towards the close of the last century, that fact bore incontestable evidence to the conciliatory temper and great discretion of the Duke. Sir Henry Hardinge, therefore, who acted as his friend, was forced to look for pistols elsewhere, and borrowed them at lasthe himself being as unprovided as his principalfrom Dr. Hume, the medical man who accompanied them to the ground. The combatants met in Battersea Fields, now Battersea Park. Lord Winchilsea, attended by the Earl of Falmouth, having received the Duke's fire, discharged his pistol in the air. A written explanation was then produced, which the Duke declined to receive unless the word 'apology' was inserted; and this point being yielded, they separated as they had met, with cold civility."

General Cartaux arrived and took up his position in the villages around Toulon. He was reinforced by General Doppet, from the Rhone, and General Dugommier, from the Var; and the latter had in his corps-d'arme a young lieutenant of artillery, who contained in his yet unknown person the very genius of warnamely, Napoleon Buonaparte. Cartaux was a man who had risen from the ranks; Doppet had been a physician in Savoy; and Dugommier was acting on a plan sent from the Convention. Buonaparte suggested what he thought a much superior plan. "All you need," he said, "is to send away the English; and to do that, you have only to sweep the harbour and the roadstead with your batteries. Drive away the[423] ships, and the troops will not remain. Take the promontory of La Grasse, which commands both the inner and outer harbour, and Toulon will be yours in a couple of days." On this promontory stood two forts, Equilette and Balaquier, which had been much strengthened by the English. It was resolved to assault these forts, and batteries opposite to them were erected by the French under Buonaparte's direction. After much desperate fighting, vast numbers of troops being pressed against the forts, that of Balaquier was taken. This gave the French such command of the inner harbour, that Lord Hood called a council of war, and showed the necessity of retiring with the fleet, and thus enabling the Royalists to escape, who would otherwise be exterminated by their merciless countrymen. This was agreed to, and it was resolved to maintain the different forts till the ships had cleared out. The Neapolitans behaved very ill, showing no regard for anything but their own safety. They held two fortsone at Cape Lebrun, and the other at Cape Lesset; these, they said, they would surrender as soon as the enemy approached. They made haste to get their ships and men out of harbour, leaving all else to take care of themselves. The Spaniards and Piedmontese behaved in a much nobler manner. They assisted willingly all day in getting on board the Royalistsmen, women, and children. All night the troops began to defile through a narrow sallyport to the boats under the guns of the fort La Malaga. This was happily effected; and then Sir Sidney Smith, who had recently arrived at Toulon, and had volunteered the perilous office of blowing up the powder-magazines, stores, arsenals, and the ships that could not be removed, began his operations. He succeeded in setting fire to the stores and about forty ships of war that were in the harbour.

On the 29th of November Flood moved for leave to bring in a Bill for the more equal representation of the people. This was the scheme of the Volunteer Parliament, and all the delegates to the Convention who were members of the House, or had procured admittance as spectators, appeared in uniform. The tempest that arose is described as something terrific. The orders of the House, the rules of debate, the very rules of ordinary conduct amongst gentlemen, were utterly disregarded. The fury on both sides was uncontrollable. The motion was indignantly rejected by one hundred and fifty-seven votes against seventy-seven; and the House immediately voted a cordial Address to his Majesty, declaring their perfect satisfaction with the blessings enjoyed[311] under his auspicious reign, and the present happy Constitution, and their determination to support him with their lives and fortunes. On the 13th of March Mr. Flood introduced his Bill once more, for equalising the representation of the people in Parliament. It proposed to abolish the right of boroughs altogether to send members, and to place the franchise in the people at large. Sir John Fitzgibbon, the Attorney-General, stoutly opposed it; Grattan dissented from it, and it was thrown out on the motion to commit it. In Europe war was about to break forth, in consequence of war in America. Yet the Court of France did not lack solemn warnings of the fatal path on which they were entering. The honest and far-sighted financier, Turgot, who had been employed by Louis XVI., as Comptroller-General, to endeavour to bring the terribly disordered revenue of France into order, said, "I must remind you, sire, of these three words'No bankruptcy, no augmentation of imposts, no loans.' To fulfil these three conditions there is but one meansto reduce the expenditure below the receipt, and sufficiently below it to be able to economise, every year, twenty millions, in order to clear off the old debts. Without that, the first cannon fired will force the State to bankruptcy." He assured the king that all colonies, on arriving at a condition of maturity, would as naturally abandon the control of the mother country as children, arriving at majority, do the control of their parents; that the independence of America would, therefore, come of itself, without France ruining herself to accelerate the event; that, as to France wishing Spain to join in this attempt, Spain must remember her own colonies, for, by assisting to free the British colonies, she would assuredly assist to liberate her own.

On the 20th of August the Appropriation Bill and other measures of routine having been carried through with great triumph by the Ministry, the king prorogued the Parliament, which did not meet again till the 25th of January following. Fox came into the new Parliament in a very remarkable and anomalous position. In the election for Westminster, the candidates had been, besides himself, Admiral Lord Hood and Sir Cecil Wray. The election was of the most violent kind, distinguished by drunkenness, riot, and gross abuses. It continued from April the 1st to[309] the 16th of May, and the numbers on the poll-books, at its termination, stood as follows:For Lord Hood, 6,694; for Fox, 6,233; for Sir Cecil Wray, 5,598. The Prince of Wales had shown himself one of the most ardent partisans of Fox, all the more, no doubt, because Fox was detested by the king. The prince had displayed from his carriage the "Fox favour and laurel," and, at the conclusion of the poll, had given a grand fte at Carlton House to more than six hundred Foxites, all wearing "blue and buff." The Duchess of Devonshire and other lady politicians also gave Fox substantial help. But Fox was not allowed to triumph so easily. The Tory candidate, Sir Cecil Wray, as was well understood, instigated and supported by the Government, demanded a scrutiny; and Corbett, the high bailiff, in the circumstances, could make no return of representatives for Westminster. As a scrutiny in so populous a district, and with the impediments which Government and its secret service money could throw in the way, might drag on for a long period, and thus, as Government intended, keep Fox out of Parliament, he got himself, for the time, returned for a small Scottish borough, to the no small amusement of his enemies.

A second question regarding the late Minister became immediately necessary. He had died deeply in debt. It was one of the fine qualities of Pitt that he never had a love of money, or an ambition to create a great estate at the expense of the country, like too many statesmen. At an early period of Pitt's ministerial career, though a bachelor, he was so hopelessly in debt, that his friend, Robert Smith, afterwards Baron Carrington, had looked into his affairs, and declared that, of all scenes of domestic robbery by servants, and wild charges by tradesmen, he had never witnessed anything to compare with it. The financial management of his own income and that of the nation were just on a par in Pitt's case. He let his own money go like water, and he would have flung any quantity of the nation's property away on his quixotic scheme of propping up the thoroughly rotten and hopeless condition of the Continental governments. A strong effort was now made by such of Pitt's creditors as had advanced money to him, to be repaid by the nation. In this endeavour none were more eager than his great friends and relatives, who had been enabled by him to draw a hundredfold from the nation what they had lent him. Wilberforce, however, proposed that they should not only forego their individual claims, but should contribute each a moderate sum towards the raising of forty thousand pounds, which would pay his tradesmen; but here the great relatives and friends became dumb and motionless. Spencer Perceval offered a thousand pounds, and one or two others made some offers; but the appeal was in vain, and a motion was proposed by Mr. Cartwright, on the 3rd of February, that the nation should pay this sum. This was carried at once.

Before the close of April a great commercial crisis had taken place in England, and Ministers were compelled to make a new issue, by consent of Parliament, of five millions of Exchequer Bills, to assist merchants and manufacturers, under proper security. The sudden expansion of industry which was met by an undue increase of the paper currency rather than bullion, combined[417] with reckless banking, produced the crisis. It was calculated that out of the 350 provincial banks 100 failed. In the circumstances the issue of Exchange Bills was a most successful makeshift.