Sivut kuvina

whole body of barristers. attorneys, clerks, and serving men, rode on horseback from Newcastle to Carlisle, armed and escorted by a strong guard under the command of the Sheriffs. It was necessary to carry provisions; for the country was a wilderness which afforded no supplies. The spot where the cavalcade halted to dine, under an immense oak, is not yet forgotten. The irregular vigour with which criminal justice was administered shocked observers whose lives had been passed in more tranquil districts. Juries, animated by hatred and by a sense of common danger, convicted housebreakers and cattle stealers with the promptitude of a court martial in a mutiny; and the convicts were hurried by scores to the gallows.‘ Within the memory of some whom this generation has seen, the sportsman who wandered in pursuit of game to the sources of the Tyne found the heaths round Keeldar Castle peopled by a race scarcely less savage than the Indians of California, and heard with surprise the half naked women chaunting a wild measure, while the men with brandished dirks danced a war dance.1‘

Slowly and with difiiculty peace was established on the border. In the train of peace came industry and all the arts of life. Meanwhile it was discovered that the regions north of the Trent possessed in their coal beds a source of wealth far more precious than the gold mines of Peru. It was found that, in the neighbourhood of these beds, almost every manufacture might be most profitably carried on. A constant stream of emigrants began to roll northward. It ap— peared by the returns of 1841 that the ancient archiepiscopal province of York contained two sevenths of the population of England. At the time of the Re

‘ North's Life of Guildford; 1' See Sir Walter Scott’s JourHutchinson’s History of Cumber- nal. Oct. 7. 1827, in his Life by land, Parish of Brampton. Mr. Lockhart.

volution that province was believed to contain only one seventh of the population. *" In Lancashire the number of inhabitants appears to have increased ninefold, while in Norfolk, Sufi'olk, and Northamptonshire it has hardly doubled.1'

Of the taxation we can speak with more confidence Revenue,“ and precision than of the population. The 1685' revenue of England, when Charles the Second died, was small, when compared with the resources which she even then possessed, or with the sums which were raised by the governments of the neighbouring countries. It had, from the time of the Restoration, been almost constantly increasing: yet it was little more than three fourths of the revenue of the United Provinces, and was hardly one fifth of the revenue of France.

The most important head of receipt was the excise, which, in the last year of the reign of Charles, produced five hundred and eighty-five thousand pounds, clear of all deductions. The net proceeds of the customs amounted in the same year to five hundred and thirty thousand pormds. These burdens did not lie very heavy on the nation. The' tax on chimneys, though less productive, called forth far louder murmurs. The discontent excited by direct imposts is, indeed, almost always out of proportion to the quantity of money which they bring into the Exchequer; and the tax on chimneys was, even. among direct imposts, peculiarly odious: for it could be levied only by means of domiciliary visits; and of such visits the English have always been impatient to a degree which the people of other countries can but faintly conceive. The poorer householders were frequently unable to pay their hearth money to the day. When this happened, their furniture was distrained without mercy: for the tax was farmed; and a farmer of taxes is, of all creditors, proverbially the most rapacious. The collectors were loudly accused of performing their unpopular duty with harshness and insolence. It was said that, as soon as they appeared at the threshold of a cottage, the children began to wail, and the old women ran to hide their earthenware. Nay, the single bed of a poor family had sometimes been carried away and sold. The net annual receipt from this tax was two hundred thousand pounds.‘

' Dalrymple, Appendix to to strict accuracy here; but I bePart IL Book I. The returns licve that whoever will take the of the hearth moneyleadtonearly trouble to compare the last rethe same conclusion The hearths turns of hearth money in the in the province of York were not reign of William the Third with a sixth of the hearth: of Eng- the census of 184l, will come to land. a conclusion not very difl‘erent

f I do not, of course, pretend from mine.

When to the three great sources of income which have been mentioned we add the royal domains, then far more extensive than at present, the first fruits and tenths, which had not yet been surrendered to the Church, the Duchies of Cornwall and Lancaster, the forfeitures, and the fines, we shall find that the whole annual revenue of the crown may be fairly estimated at about fourteen hundred thousand pounds. Of this revenue part was here-ditary: the rest had been granted to Charles for life; and he was at liberty to lay out the whole exactly as he thought fit. Whatever he could save by retrenching from the expenditure of the public departments was an addition to his privy purse. Of the Post Office more will hereafter be said. The profits of that establishment had been appropriated by Parliament to the Duke of York.

' There are in the Pepysian Library, some ballads of that age on the chimney money. I will give a specimen or two : —

" The good old rlsmes. whenever they the chimney man espierl.

Unto their nooks they haste away, their pots and plpkins hide.

There is not one old dame in ten, and search the nation through.

But. if you talk of chimney men, will spare

a curse or two."


“ Like plundering soldiers they‘deuter the
And ms'ks s distress on the goods of the


While frightel‘l poor children distructedly cried

nu halting obsted thei'iusolent pride."

In the British Museum there are doggrel verses composed on the same subject and in the same spirit:

“ Or, if through poverty it be not paid.
For cruelty l0 tear sway the sin is her],
On which the poor man rests is weary
At ulhizddeprives him of his rest and bread."

I take this opportunity. the first which occurs, of acknowledging most gratefully the kind and liberal manner in which the Master and Vicemaster of Magdalene College, Cambridge, gave me access to the valuable collections of Pepys.

The King’s revenue was, or rather ought to have been, charged with the payment of about eighty thousand pounds a year, the interest of the sum fraudulently detained in the Exchequer by the Cabal. While Danby was at the head of the finances, the creditors had received dividends, though not with the strict punctuality of modern times: but those who had succeeded him at the Treasury had been less expert, or less solicitous to maintain public faith. Since the victory won by the court over the Whigs, not a farthing had been paid; and no redress was granted to the sufferers, till a new dynasty had been many years on the throne. There can be no greater error than to imagine that the device of meeting the exigencies of the state by loans was imported into our island by William the Third. What really dates from his reign is not the system of borrowing, but the system of funding. From a period of immemorial antiquity it had been the practice of every English government to contract debts. What the Revolution introduced was the practice of honestly paying them.“

By plundering the public creditor, it was possible to make an income of about fourteen hundred thousand pounds, with some occasional help from Versailles, support the necessary charges of the government and the wasteful expenditure of the court. For that load which pressed most heavily on the finances of the great continental states was here scarcely felt. In France, Germany, and the Netherlands, armies, such as Henry the Fourth and Philip the Second had never employed in time of war, were kept up in the midst of peace. Bastions and ravelins were everywhere rising, constructed on principles unknown to Parma and Spinola. Stores of artillery and ammunition were accumulated, such as even Richelieu, whom the preceding generation had regarded as a worker of prodigies, would have pronounced fabulous. No man could journey many leagues in those countries without hearing the drums of a regiment on march, or being challenged by the sentinels on the drawbridge of a fortress. In our Mmmy

' My chief authorities for this in the Commons’ Journal. March financial statement will be found 1. and March 20. 1683.

island, on the contrary, it was possible to Symm

live long and to travel far, without being once reminded, by any martial sight or sound, that the de~ fence of nations had become a science and a calling. The majority of Englishmen who were under twentyfive years of age had probably never seen a company of regular soldiers. Of the cities which, in the civil war, had valiantly repelled hostile armies, scarcely one was now capable of sustaining a siege. The gates stood open night and day. The ditches were dry. The ramparts had been suffered to fall into decay, or were repaired only that the townsfolk might have a pleasant walk on summer evenings. Of the old baronial keeps many had been shattered by the cannon of Fairfax and Cromwell, and lay in heaps of ruin, overgrown with ivy. Those which remained had lost their martial character, and were now rural palaces of the aristocracy. The moats were turned into preserves of carp and pike. The mounds were planted with fragrant shrubs, through which spiral walks ran up to summer houses adorned with mirrors and paintings? On the capes of the sea coast, and

"‘ See for example the picture of the mound at Marlborough, in Stukeley‘s I tiuerarium Curiosum.

« EdellinenJatka »