镜头下安静从容 黄轩:想踏踏实实演一辈子戏

The farmers were not so discontented with this allowance system as might be supposed, because a great part of the burden was cast upon other shoulders. The tax was laid indiscriminately upon all fixed property; so that the occupiers of villas, shopkeepers, merchants, and others who did not employ labourers, had to pay a portion of the wages for those that did. The farmers were in this way led to encourage a system which fraudulently imposed a heavy burden upon others, and which, by degrading the labourers, and multiplying their numbers beyond the real demand for them, must, if allowed to run its full course, have ultimately overspread the whole country with the most abject poverty and wretchedness. There was another interest created which tended to increase the evil. In the counties of Suffolk, Sussex, Kent, and generally through all the south of England, relief was given in the shape of house accommodation, or free dwellings for the poor. The parish officers were in the habit of paying the rent of the cottages; the rent was therefore high and sure, and consequently persons who had small pieces of ground were induced to cover them with those buildings.

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Taking this view of his Continental neighbours, George was driven to the conclusion that his only safety lay in firmly engaging France to relinquish the Pretender. The means of the attainment of this desirable object lay in the peculiar position of the Regent, who was intent on his personal aims. So long as the chances of the Pretender appeared tolerable, the Regent had avoided the overtures on this subject; but the failure of the expedition to the Highlands had inclined him to give up the Pretender, and he now sent the Abb Dubois to Hanover to treat upon the subject. He was willing also to destroy the works at Mardyk as the price of peace with England. The preliminaries were concluded, and the Dutch included in them; but the Treaty was not ratified till January, 1717. Frederick of Prussia, meanwhile, had been beset by Austrians, Russians, and French, and had never been able to retire to winter quarters. He had continued to blockade Schweidnitz amid frost and snow, and having reduced it, at the very first symptoms of spring he suddenly burst into Moravia, and invested Olmütz, its capital. There he had to contend with the able and cautious Marshal Daun and General Laudohn, nearly as efficient. Laudohn managed to seize three thousand waggons, bringing from Silesia supplies for Frederick; and whilst the king was in this state of destitution for food even for his army, a hundred thousand Russians, under General Fermor, were marching steadily on Berlin. They had taken K?nigsberg, laid waste the whole country beyond the Vistula, and then pushed on for the Oder. They had arrived before Küstrin, only a few marches from Berlin, when Frederick, leaving his brother, Prince Henry, to keep Daun and Laudohn in check before Olmütz, marched against them. A terrible battle took place on the plain of Z?rndorf, near Custrin, in which neither Prussians nor Russians gave quarter, and which lasted from nine in the morning till seven at night. Twenty thousand Russians were left killed or wounded on the field, and eleven thousand Prussians. The Russians retired with reluctance, and did not wholly evacuate the Prussian territory till the end of October. But Frederick himself, long before that time, had been compelled to hurry back to the support of his brother Henry, whom Daun had driven back into Saxony. He fixed his camp at Hochkirch, near Bautzen, and close to the Bohemian lines. But a few mornings after, before daybreak, Daun and Laudohn burst into his camp by a combined movement, and threw the whole into confusion before the troops could muster. When Frederick awoke at the uproar and rushed from his tent, all around was one fearful scene of slaughter and flight. The news of this defeat of the generally victorious Prussians threw the court of Vienna into ecstacies, for they thought that Frederick was ruined; and so he might have been had Daun been as alert to follow him up as he had been successful in surprising him. But Daun was naturally slow; a very few days sufficed for Frederick to collect fresh forces around him, and he suddenly darted away into Silesia. There he raised the siege of Neisse, which was invested by another division of the Austrian army; then, falling back on Dresden, threatened by Daun, he drove him back, and, marching to Breslau, fixed there his winter quarters.

Subscriptions began to pour in for the Association, and the work went on. The year 1839 opened with bright prospects for the Anti-Corn Law crusade. Times were, indeed, changed since pseudo-Liberals had been able to make the apathy of the country an excuse for withholding aid from those who had, on principle, continued to demand justice in the matter of the poor man's loaf. The movement was rapidly becoming general. Mr. Villiers had prophesied in the last Session of Parliament that the day was not far distant when the landed interest would be compelled to treat this question with respect, and abandon the practice of shouting down the advocates of Free Trade in the Legislature. That day had now arrived, and sooner, probably, than the prophet himself had expected it. There was scarcely a large town or thickly populated district in Great Britain which had not moved, or which was not about to petition Parliament against the bread-tax. In many cases political differences were not allowed to hinder the common fellowship of citizens having such an object as the overthrow of a system that threatened to convert the mercantile community into a mass of bankruptcy, and to involve all classes in deep distress.