转换思路修内功 五成订单云上来

The first steamboat that was worked for hire in Britain was the Comet, a small vessel with an engine of three horse-power. Two years later the Elizabeth, of eight horse-power, and the Clyde, of fourteen horse-power, were placed upon the river Clyde. Thus Scotland has had the honour of leading the way in this great line of improvement. In 1820 there were but three steam-vessels built and registered in England, four in Scotland, and one in Ireland. In 1826 there were fifty in England, and twenty-two in Scotland, with 9,000 tons burden. The building of steamers proceeded regularly, with an increasing amount of tonnage, till the number rose in 1849 to 1,296 steam-vessels, the aggregate burden of which was 177,310 tons. They were distributed as follows:In the ports of England, 865 vessels, 103,154 tons; Scotland, 166 vessels, 29,206 tons; Ireland, 111 vessels, 26,369 tons; the Channel Islands, 7 vessels, 955 tons; the colonies, 147 vessels, 17,626 tons. A Committee of the House of Commons was appointed in June, 1837, to inquire into the best means of establishing communication by steam with India by way of the Red Sea. During the year arrangements were made for the establishment of a regular monthly steam communication between Great Britain and India by way of the Red Sea upon the following basis:"The Government undertakes the transmission of the monthly mails between Great Britain and Alexandria at the sole charge of the public; and the East India Company undertakes the transmission of these[422] mails between Alexandria and Bombay, upon condition that one-half of the expense incurred in the purchase and navigation of steam-vessels, and of any other expense incurred in the service, is defrayed by the Government, which is to receive the whole money connected with postage of letters between London and Bombay." This arrangement was carried out, and a further economy of time was obtained by the overland route to Marseilles, instead of transmitting the mails by steam-packets from Falmouth through the Strait of Gibraltar. In this way the journey was shortened to the extent of more than 1,000 miles, the direct distance by Marseilles and Malta being 5,238 miles, and by way of Falmouth, 6,310 miles. This system of conveyance was maintained till 1841, when the Government entered into a contract with the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, which undertook to employ powerful steam-vessels for the carrying of letters and passengers between England and Egypt, and between Suez, Ceylon, Madras, and Calcutta, towards the expenses of which the East India Company undertook to contribute 20,000 per annum for five years. After some time there was a further extension of the plan, by which the Government engaged to contribute 50,000 per annum towards the expense of the line of steam-packets between Bombay and Suez, 115,000 per annum for the service between Calcutta and Suez, and 45,000 for the service between Ceylon and Hong Kong, making a total of 210,000 per annum, of which one-third was to be repaid by the East India Company. By these arrangements was obtained a regular and safe steam communication twice a month to India, and once a month to China. We may judge of the extent of the intercourse thus carried on by the fact that in 1836 Great Britain received from Calcutta, Madras, Bombay, and Ceylon about 180,000 letters, and sent to those places in the same year nearly 112,000 letters. Parliament met on the 10th of January, 1765. The resentment of the Americans had reached the ears of the Ministry and the king, yet both continued determined to proceed. In the interviews which Franklin and the other agents had with the Ministers, Grenville begged them to point to any other tax that would be more agreeable to the colonists than the stamp-duty; but they without any real legal grounds drew the line between levying custom and imposing an inland tax. Grenville paid no attention to these representations. Fifty-five resolutions, prepared by a committee of ways and means, were laid by him on the table of the House of Commons at an early day of the Session, imposing on America nearly the same stamp-duties as were already in practical operation in England. These resolutions being adopted, were embodied in a bill; and when it was introduced to the House, it was received with an apathy which betrayed on all hands the profoundest ignorance of its importance. Burke, who was a spectator of the debates in both Houses, in a speech some years afterwards, stated that he never heard a more languid debate than that in the Commons. Only two or three persons spoke against the measure and that with great composure. There was but one division in the whole progress of the Bill, and the minority did not reach to more than thirty-nine or forty. In the Lords, he said, there was, to the best of his recollection, neither division nor debate!

On the 13th of February the Opposition in the Commons brought on the question of the validity of general warrants. The debate continued all that day and the next night till seven o'clock in the morning. The motion was thrown out; but Sir William Meredith immediately made another, that a general warrant for apprehending the authors, printers, and publishers of a seditious libel is not warranted by law. The combat was renewed, and Pitt made a tremendous speech, declaring that if the House resisted Sir William Meredith's motion, they would be the disgrace of the present age, and the reproach of posterity. He upbraided Ministers with taking mean and petty vengeance on those who did not agree with them, by dismissing them from office. This charge Grenville had the effrontery to deny, though it was a notorious fact. As the debate approached its close, the Ministers called in every possible vote; "the sick, the lame were hurried into the House, so that," says Horace Walpole, "you would have thought they had sent a search warrant into every hospital for Members of Parliament." When the division came, which was only for the adjournment of Meredith's motion for a month, they only carried it by fourteen votes. In the City there was a confident anticipation of the defeat of Ministers, and materials had been got together for bonfires all over London, and for illuminating the Monument. Temple was said to have faggots ready for bonfires of his own.

Nothing could be more just or more excellent than the sentiments and arguments of this letter; but, unfortunately, circumstances on both sides were such as really precluded any hope of making peace. Great Britain foresaw Italy under the foot of France; Holland and Belgium in the same condition; Bavaria, Baden, Würtemberg, and other smaller German States, allied with France against the other German States. It was impossible for her to conclude a peace without stipulating for the return of these States to the status quo; and was Buonaparte likely to accede to such terms? On the contrary, at this very moment, besides being in possession of Hanover, George III.'s patrimony, he had been exercising the grossest violence towards our Ambassadors in various German States, was contemplating making himself king of Italy, and was forcibly annexing Genoa, contrary to the Treaty of Lunville, to the Cisalpine Republicthat is, to the French State in Italy. Whilst he was thus perpetuating want of confidence in him, on the other hand a league for resistance to his encroachments was already formed between Great Britain, Russia, Sweden, and Austria. Peace, therefore, on diplomatic principles was impossible, and Napoleon must have known it well. True, we had no longer any right to complain of the expulsion of the Bourbons from France, seeing that the nation had ostensibly chosen a new government and a new royal family, any more than France had a right to attack us because we had expelled the Stuarts and adopted the line of Brunswick. But the very nature of Napoleon was incompatible with rest; for, as Lord Byron says, "quiet to quick bosoms is hell." Buonaparte had repeatedly avowed that he must be warlike. "My power," he said, "depends upon my glory; my glory on my victories. My power would fall if I did not support it by fresh glory and new victories. Conquest has made me what I am, and conquest alone can maintain me. A newly-born government, like mine, must dazzle and astonish. When it ceases to do that, it falls." With such an avowal as that, in entire keeping with his character, there must be constant aggressions by him on the Continent which intimately concerned us. Accordingly, the British Government replied to Buonaparte by a polite evasion. As Britain had not recognised Napoleon's new title, the king could not answer his letter himself. It was answered by Lord Mulgrave, the Secretary[500] for Foreign Affairs, addressed to M. Talleyrand, as the Foreign Secretary of France, and simply stated that Britain could not make any proposals regarding peace till she had consulted her Allies, and particularly the Emperor of Russia. The letter of Buonaparte and this curt reply were published in the Moniteur, accompanied with remarks tending to convince the French that the most heartfelt desires of peace by the Emperor were repelled by Great Britain, and that a storm was brewing in the North which would necessitate the Emperor's reappearance in the field.

Still more have "The Seasons" and "The Castle of Indolence" of James Thomson retained, and are likely to retain, the public favour. "The Seasons" is a treasury of the life and imagery of the country, animated by a true love of Nature and of God, and abounding in passages of fire, healthy feeling, and strong sense, often of sublime conceptions, in a somewhat stiff and vicious style. "The Castle of Indolence" is a model of metrical harmony and luxurious fancy, in the Spenserian stanza. Another poet of the same time and countryScotlandis Allan Ramsay, who, in his native dialect, has painted the manners and sung the rural loves of Scotland in his "Gentle Shepherd" and his rustic lyrics. Till Burns, no Scottish poet so completely embodied the spirit, feelings, and popular life of his country. Amongst a host of verse-makers, then deemed poets, but who were merely imitators of imitators, we must except Gray, with his nervous lyrics, and, above all, his ever-popular "Elegy in a Country Churchyard." Gray also has a genuine vein of wit and merriment in his verse. Collins was a poet who under happier conditions might have done the greatest things. Parnell's "Hermit," Blair's "Grave," Shenstone's "School Mistress," Akenside's "Imagination," can yet charm some readers, and there are others in great numbers whose works yet figure in collections of the poets, or whose individual poems are selected in anthologies, as Smith, King, Sprat Bishop of Rochester, Duke, Montague Earl of Halifax, Nicholas Rowe, Dyerauthor of the "Fleece," "Grongar Hill," and "Ruins of Rome,"Sheffield, Duke of Buckinghamshire, Fenton, Somervilleauthor of "The Chase," "Field Sports," etc.,Hammondauthor of "Love Elegies,"Lord Lyttelton, Mallet, Mickleauthor of the ballads of "Cumnor Hall," "There's Nae Luck about the House," and translator of the "Lusiad" of Camoens,Shaw, Harte, West, Cawthorne, Lloyd, Gilbert Cooper, Graingerauthor of "The Sugar Cane," and the once popular ballad of "Bryan and Pereene,"Dodsley, poet and bookseller, Boyseauthor of "The Deity," a poem, etc.,Smollettmore remarkable as a novelist and historian,Michael Bruce, Walsh, Falconerauthor of "The Shipwreck,"Yalden, Pattison, Aaron Hill, Broome, Pittthe translator of Virgil,John Philipsauthor of "Cider," a poem, "The Splendid Shilling," etc.,West, and others. In fact, this age produced poets enough to have constituted the rhythmical literature of a nation, had they had as much genius as they had learning.

The next day, the 21st, Sir Hew Dalrymple arrived from Gibraltar, and superseded Sir Harry Burrard. But the mischief was done; the enemy had gained the strong position from which Wellesley would have cut them off. What would have been the effect of Sir Arthur's unobstructed orders was clearly seen by what did take place; for, notwithstanding the possession of the strong post of Torres Vedras, Junot saw that he could not maintain the conflict against the British, and on the 22nd he sent General Kellermann with a flag of truce to propose an armistice, preparatory to a convention for the evacuation of Portugal by the French.