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telegraphic enterprise were also embarked in to a considerable extent. The new Bankruptcy Law afforded further ground for confidence, from the promise which it held out of purging the atmosphere of commerce from some of its baser elements. Other farourable circumstances were the unusually large supplies of foreign grain, all of which had been paid for, and the indications of a buoyant condition of the public revenue, which, taken together with the retrenchment of expenditure in the public departments, seemed to point hopefully to a further diminution of public burdens.
În the face of the general complaints of the dulness of trade and commercial enterprise the official statistics show, so far as they can be relied upon, that our exports in the first eleven months of the past year exceeded those of the corresponding periods of the two previous years, the totals being as follows:
VALUE OF EXPORTS, ELEVEN MONTHS. 1869
167,931,378 As regards imports, the totals for the first ten months of each year were returned as follows :
VALUE OF IMPORTS, TEN MONTHS. 1869
191,848,008 It is true that considerable imputations had lately been cast, and but faintly repelled, on the accuracy of the official statements; nevertheless, the revenue returns appeared to indicate that there was an approximation at least to the correct figures. Mercantile failures of course occurred throughout the year, but generally they were of limited amount and confined to the country. Just before the end of December there was a great rush of traders into the Gazette, anxious to get a discharge from their liabilities before the new law should come into operation on the 1st January, 1870.
The extreme range of consols during the twelvemonths was only about 2 per cent., while that of the preceding twelvemonths had been 3 per cent., and the difference between the opening and closing quotations of the year showed a decline of $. In the foreign stock-market a good deal of animation prevailed, and in many instances there was a considerable rise of prices. In English railway stocks, which had experienced an aggregate reduction of about 17 per cent. in 1866 and 1867, and a recovery of about 5 per cent. in 1868, there were wide fluctuations, some descriptions showing an improvement of 10 or 20 per cent., and others a fall of like magnitude. The Bank of England bullion at the end of 1868 stood at 18,445,8581. It reached its highest point, 21,032,6771., on the 25th of August, and on December 31st, 1869, was 19,196,6221. At the Bank of France the total at the commencement was 44,310,0001., and after advancing to 50,673,0001. it fell again to 49,488,0001. On the Paris Bourse the range of fluctuation in Rentes was 37 per cent., and the result of the movements of the year was to establish an advance of 21 per cent. The changes in the Bank rate of discount, which were only two in number in 1868, were seven in 1869. On the 1st of January the rate was 3 per cent., by the 6th of May it had risen to 41 per cent., in August it fell to 24 per cent., and for the last two months of the
cent. In the cotton market the price of middling upland, which was about 10d. per lb. on the 1st of January, on December 31st was about 11 d. In the wheat market there was a decline of 98. in addition to that of 188. sustained in 1868, the average price, which in January was 528. 8d., having fallen in December to 43s. 8d.—the lowest price of the year.
The country sustained heavy losses, though not, perhaps, in greater proportion than in the average of years, from the decease of persons eminent for their services in the various departments of the Church and State, or distinguished in the spheres of art, literature, and science. One individual, indeed, deserves especial mention among the famous men who passed away from the scene, as he was not only the bearer of an illustrious historic name, but had been for a long period a conspicuous figure and a name of power in the political world. Edward Geoffrey, the fourteenth Earl of Derby, whose constitution had for some time shown signs of failure, and who had of late been gradually withdrawn, by successive attacks of illness, from the forefront of political life, closed in the autumn of this year his active and splendid career, having just completed the allotted term of seventy years. Concerning his wisdom as a statesman and his capacity as a political leader much difference of opinion will prevail, but there will be none as to his brilliant gifts, his powerful eloquence, his intrepid spirit; nor as to those qualities of character which made him in many respects a typical representative of the English nobleman, an honour to his order, and, though in his latter years he adhered to the unpopular side in politics, a favourite of the English people. In great emergencies, as in the Lancashire cotton famine, Lord Derby's generous public spirit and munificence were fully displayed. He filled most of the leading offices of the State with honour, he took a conspicuous part in all the great political controversies which occurred during his half-century of public life, and he was three times called upon to assume the highest elevation which a citizen of this country can aspire to—that of Prime Minister of the Crown.
Political situation --Speeches of the Emperor on New Year's Day– The Moniteur
Resignation of the Procureur-Impérial of Toulouse-Conference on the GræcoTurk Question-Report of the Minister of Finance-Opening of the French Chambers and Speech of the Emperor-Discussion on the Law relative to Public Meetings—The Army Contingent-Amalgamation of French and Belgian Railways -Speech of the Emperor at Council of State-Interference of Government at Elections— Debate on Foreign Policy of France-Letter of the Emperor on the centenary date of the Birth of Napoleon I.—Dissolution of the Chambers- Election Addresses-Disturbances – The Pamphlet L'Empereur-Result of the ElectionsLetter of the Emperor to M. de Machau–His Address to the Soldiers at the Camp of Chalons-Meeting of the Chambers to verify Elections - Speech of M. Rouher, Minister of State.
The attitude of France this year, as regards her external policy, was that of profound tranquillity. She was at peace with all her neighbours, and no question arose to disturb the world. A great and important measure of Constitutional reform was granted by the Emperor in surrendering a large share of the power he possessed by exercising what was known and called by the name of “personal government.” He voluntarily abandoned this, and made his Ministers directly responsible to the Chambers, by avowing the principle that henceforth he would choose them from that party which could command a majority, and by the vote of the Chamber they must stand or fall. This, of course, did not satisfy the Republican party, or even those members of the extreme Opposition who are not Republicans, but who justify the name by which they are designated—the Irreconcilables. But their efforts have been entirely impotent, and the good sense of the nation is strongly opposed to their wild and impracticable theories. Perhaps the least satisfactory part of the policy of the French Government is the unscrupulous interference of the Executive with the elections. Corruption in France does not, as in England, assume the coarse feature of money bribes ; but the Prefects and Sub-prefects everywhere attempt to influence the elections by bribes of another kind. They promise new roads, new bridges, and new railways, and hint to electors who are willing to vote for the Government candidate that they will not be unduly pressed for the payment of arrears of taxes. The consequence is that it is difficult to ascertain how far the majority returned to the Legislative Body represents the real wishes of the nation, and a dangerous weapon of attack is placed in the hands of the Opposition.
On New Year's Day the Emperor received the Diplomatic Body, and thus addressed them :
“ I am happy to say that a spirit of conciliation animates all the European powers, and that the moment a difficulty arises they agree among themselves to smooth away and avert complications. I hope the year now commencing will contribute, like the one just expired, towards removing many apprehensions and strengthening the bonds which should unite civilized nations."
To the congratulations of the Deputies his Majesty replied,
“Every year the co-operation of the Legislative Body becomes more indispensable to the preservation in France of that real liberty which can only prosper through respect for the laws and a just balance of power. It is always, therefore, with lively satisfaction that I receive the expression of your devoted and patriotic sentiments.”
To the members of the Court of Cassation the Emperor said,
“ The sense of justice must penetrate now more than ever our national customs; it is the most sure guarantee of liberty.”
And to the clergy,
“ The congratulations of the clergy move me deeply; their prayers sustain and console me. From what is going on in the world we can see how indispensable it is to assert the great principles of Christianity, which teach us virtue, that we may know how to live, and immortality, that we may know how
to die.” Since the year 1789 the Moniteur had been the official organ of every Government that has existed in France. But it was not wholly an official newspaper, and claimed to exercise an independent judgment in that portion of its columns which was not the mouthpiece of the Ministry of the day. This, however, was a freedom which the Second Empire did not approve of. To quote the words of the Moniteur at the beginning of this year,
“ The Second Empire claimed to take from the Moniteur its character of a calm chronicler, and make of it a more active political organ; to stamp upon it more distinctly and more completely its own impress ; in a word, to extend even to the smallest details, even to its literary articles, the same official character. But the old traditions of the paper resisted; an institution which counts nearly a century of existence does not easily allow itself to be transformed in a day, when it has proved that it knows how to march by itself, with progress. The Minister of State, irritated by this resistance, decided on undoing what the First Consul had done, and on having a journal for himself, in which every thing should be official, and in which not a line should be inserted but what the Government was responsible for.”
The consequence was that the alliance between the journal and the Government, which had existed for eighty years, was at the commencement of the present year brought to an end, and a new newspaper, called the Journal Officiel de l'Empire Française, was established as the organ of the Empire, and it appeared for the first time on January 2, with a Ministerial ordinance authorizing its title.
In connexion with the question of the press, we may mention that early in January M. Seguier, the Procureur-Impérial of Toulouse, having incurred the censure of the Government for supposed remissness in his duties in not prosecuting newspapers, sent in his resignation, and addressed the following letter to the editor of the Emancipation of Toulouse, a journal against which proceedings were instituted :
Sir,—The Keeper of the Seals (Minister of Justice) has accepted my resignation as Procureur-Impérial of Toulouse. I am the victim of my leniency towards the press. My cause is your own, and I ask of you to make known to my fellow-citizens the circumstances that have led me to adopt that resolution; the subjoined letter which address to the Procureur-Général leaves no doubt on the subject :
“« M. le Procureur-Général, I have the honour to thank you for having communicated to me the fresh reproaches addressed to me by the Keeper of the Seals, and I pray you to excuse the trouble I occasion you at this moment.
“It appears from the letter of the Keeper of the Seals, dated the 30th of December, (1) that in my address, pronounced on the 24th against the Emancipation, I desired to commit you to the singular engagement I am said to have taken to accept the indulgence of the Tribunal.
«"I never uttered a word of the kind ; and this proves to me what, in point of fact, I already knew—that the persons who are charged with watching me during the proceedings in the court, and with repeating my words, have been ill-selected. You inform me (2) that the Keeper of the Seals does not think he can any longer tolerate my addresses as public prosecutor, on the ground of their being too weak as regards the press.
“Now, to address a court under the supervision of a secret police, and to adopt conclusions imposed beforehand by the Keeper of the Seals, are two things which, for my part, I cannot accept ; and therefore I pray you, M. le Procureur-Général, to be so good as to place my resignation as Procureur-Impérial of Toulouse in the hands of the Keeper of the Seals.
“The resignation I offer is not a voluntary act. It is forced upon me by the unjust and offensive reproaches which have been lavished upon me for some time past, for my attitude towards the press; and it is a real disgrace I am subjected to at this moment for my desire to serve the Emperor with the moderation and dignity which the Keeper of the Seals himself recommended to us in his Circular of the 4th of June, 1868.'
“I remain respectfully yours,
“ SEGUIER, Procureur-Impérial.