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WEDDING IN THE FLEET. (From a Print of the Eighteenth Century.)

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The evening of the 27th of January was fixed for the Minister's general statement upon the commercial policy of the Government. Sir Robert proposed the reduction of the duty on Russian tallow from 3s. 2d. to 1s. 6d.; the abolition of duty on the coarser fabrics of linen, cotton, and woollen, and the reduction on the finer from 20 to 10 per cent.; on French brandy and Geneva, a reduction from 22s. 10d. to 15s.; on foreign free-grown Muscovada sugar, a reduction from 9s. 4d. to 5s. 10d.; and on clayed 11s. 10d. to 8s.; the admission of Indian corn and buckwheat duty free; on butter, the duty to be reduced from 20s. to 10s.; and on cheese, from 10s. to 5s.; the duty on live animals, and fresh and salted meats, pork, and vegetables to be abolished. As to corn, in lieu of the then sliding scale, he proposed that when the average price of wheat was 48s., the duty should fall by 1s. with every 1s. of rise in price, till on reaching 53s. the duty should be a fixed one of 4s.; that this mitigated scale should last for three years, and, by a positive enactment, then disappear on the 1st of February, 1849, leaving for the future only a nominal rate of duty; and that all British colonial wheat and flour should be forthwith admitted at a nominal rate..
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The amended copy of the proposed tariff was laid on the table of the House of Commons on the 5th of May; and its details explained by the Premier in a speech which served to bring out still more strongly the anomalous position in which he was placed. His speech was a long elaborate statement distinguished for its excellent temper, its clearness, and, above all, by its singularity as delivered by the Conservative leader. He went over all the sections of his subject, showing how the removal of prohibitions would benefit everybody; how the reduction of duties on raw materials would stimulate trade; how the diminished duties on provisions would make living cheaper for all; and how the lesser protection to manufactures would injure none. Such, he said, were the grounds of the change which it was his intention to carry through; adding, "I know that many gentlemen who are strong advocates for Free Trade may consider that I have not gone far enough. I believe that on the general principle[489] of Free Trade there is now no great difference of opinion, and that all agree in the general rule that we should purchase in the cheapest market and sell in the dearest." Loud cheers from the Opposition benches here interrupted him. Turning in the direction of the cheerers, he said, "I know the meaning of that cheer. I do not now wish to raise a discussion on the Corn Laws or the sugar duties. I have stated the grounds, on more than one occasion, why I consider these exceptions to the general rule, and I will not go into the question now. I know that I may be met with the complaints of gentlemen opposite of the limited extent to which I have applied the general principle to which I have adverted to these important articles. I thought, after the best consideration I could give to the subject, that if I proposed a greater change in the Corn Laws than that which I submitted to the consideration of the House, I should only aggravate the distresses of the country, and only increase the alarm which prevailed among important interests. I think that I have proposed, and the Legislature has sanctioned, as great a change in the Corn Laws as was prudent, considering the engagements existing between landlord and tenant, and also the large amount of capital which has been applied to the cultivation of the soil. Under these circumstances, I think that we have made as great a change as was consistent with the nature of the subject.".
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Far above all other English artists of this period, however, stood William Hogarth (b. 1697). There is no artist of that or any former age who is so thoroughly English. He is a John Bull from head to foot鈥攕turdy, somewhat headstrong, opinionated, and satirical. He is, indeed, the great satirist of the brush; but his satire, keen as it is, is employed as the instrument of the moralist; the things which he denounces and derides are crimes, follies, and perverted tastes. In his own conduct, as on his canvas, he displayed the same spirit, often knocking down his own interests rather than not express his indignant feeling of what was spurious in art, or unjust towards himself. Hogarth was the first English painter who attracted much notice amongst foreigners, and he still remains one of the most original in genius of the British school. His subjects are not chosen from the loftier regions of life and imagination, but from the very lowest or the most corrupted ones of the life of his country and time. "The Harlot's Progress," "The Rake's Progress," "Marriage 脿 la Mode,"[163] "The March to Finchley," "Gín Lane," "Beer Lane," etc., present a series of subjects from which the delicate and sensitive will always revolt, and which have necessarily an air of vulgarity about them, but the purpose consecrates them; for they are not selected to pander to vice and folly, but to expose, to brand, to extirpate them..
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21 August, 2019 - 13:08
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