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[243 the value of the inheritance. Thus, in the direct line, a legacy of less than 2,000 francs only paid 1 per cent., but above a million the duty would be 25 per cent. The progression was possibly moderate, but the principle of progression at all had been up to this time obstinately rejected by the Senate; its appearance therefore in a financial law constituted a serious novelty. The Chamber of Deputies did not content itself with the concession thus made to it, and when the Budget returned to it from the Senate, in the middle of February, it voted a formidable increase in the succession duties on great estates, bringing the rate up to 64 per cent. In vain the Government explained that this rate was simple confiscation, the Chamber none the less maintained its opinion, and even voted, on the proposal of M. Gauthier de Clagny, a resolution declaring that it counted on the Government to defend this unfortunate innovation before the Senate. The Government did nothing of the kind, and after many journeys from the Quai d'Orsay to the Luxembourg, the budget was finally voted on Monday, February 25, and circulated the next day.
The budget of 1901 amounted to the sum of 3,554,254,212 francs of expenditure. The receipts were calculated to reach 3,554,602,862 francs, leaving the very slight balance of 348,650 francs.
The first budget of the century was made up thus: the national debt absorbed more than 1,245,000,000 francs—the public powers 13,000,000 francs, the general administration of the Government departments about 1,835,000,000 francs. The greater part of this imposing total was, as everywhere on the Continent, absorbed by the fighting departments, military, naval, and colonial. The Army had for its ordinary expenses 632,500,000 francs, and 60,000,000 francs for expenses said to be extraordinary, though they were of a partly perennial character, The department of the Navy claimed no less than about 328,000,000 francs, and the Colonies 112,000,000 francs. The extension of her dominions beyond the seas cost France dear: thus the military expenses of Indo-China, for which the local budget asked for no contribution from the metropolis, exceeded 29,000,000 francs. The same figure was put down for Madagascar, and if Western Africa (Senegal and its dependencies) no longer appeared among the dominions incapable of supporting themselves, it was written down for more than 12,000,000 francs in the chapter of military expenses.
On the other hand, the endowment of the Civil Service seemed relatively moderate. The pay for public works was reduced to 218,500,000 francs, including the expenditure for new works on railways and canals. Agriculture only received 45,000,000 francs, of which part was squandered on bonuses on crops, which France might, without inconvenience, have left to foreign countries, such as flax and hemp. Public education received 222,000,000 francs, trade and its connections
242,000,000 francs, religion 42,000,000 francs, and foreign affairs only 16,000,000 francs.
The discussion of the budget as amended by the Senate had hardly interrupted the debates in the Chamber on the law of associations, which was the chief business of the first part of the session. This law contained seventeen clauses, of which several were divided into paragraphs. Each line, almost each word, was passed through the crucible of vigilant criticism. The Catholic speakers did their best to produce counter proposals and amendments, which they were free to explain and to defend at whatever length they liked; but the Chamber showed unusual discipline, and one after another the clauses were passed. The Minister of the Interior and the introducer of the bill, M. Trouillot, displayed a singular power of tenacity for keeping in hand the members of the majority. On two occasions the President of the Council was forced, by an illness of the throat, to interrupt his work; exhausted but victorious he arrived, nevertheless, at the end.
At the beginning of the year the domestic outlook was clouded by serious difficulties of an industrial character. In the middle of January a strike had begun at Montceau-lesMines, where the Socialists claimed to rule, not only the mayoralty, which had been handed over to them at the elections, but also the mines. A few young men who were discontented with their pay having refused to work, the Trade Unions backed them up, and ordered a strike. But a society of miners had been formed with the help of the company working the pits, which rejected the doctrines and the demands of the Collectivists. This second union was distinguished by the name of the Yellow Union, the other being the Red Union, and, as formerly Florence had been divided between the whites and the blacks, so Montceau found itself divided between the reds and the yellows. As usual, the speakers of the revolutionary party came from Paris, from Marseilles and elsewhere. The Montceau strike escaped the usual common-places of such conflicts between capital and labour by the originality of the means employed by the Reds to economise their munitions of war, that is their financial resources. They started public soup kitchens, where soup was distributed to the fighters in proportion to the number of their children ; reviews, parades, manoeuvres to the sound of the trumpet, and nocturnal patrols gave to their proceedings a military and picturesque appearance, which greatly impressed the good citizens, and furnished themes easy to be enlarged upon by the opposition. The Government, after trying temporising and conciliation, ended by sending troops in fairly large numbers to Montceau to secure freedom of labour, and gave precise instructions to the departmental authorities of Saône-et-Loire so as to circumscribe the hot-bed of agitation. At Chalon-sur-Saône, on February 15, troubles had begun. The sub-prefect demanded
1901.) France. —The Montceau and Marseilles Strikes. [245 troops, had the three legal summonses made to the sound of the drum, and arrested in person the leaders of the movement. This energetic action cut short the disorders. Calm returned little by little. The Montceau strikers became tired of the noise of the Reds, they had the disappointment of learning that the miners of the Pas-de-Calais refused to join the movement, and by way of climax of misfortune, when they presented themselves afresh at the office of the mine, they found that from lack of work the company only took back about 400 of them. This strike had its regulation epilogue; the deputy of the district, M. Boysset, one of the patriarchs of the Radical party, having died shortly after, M. Bouveri, the Socialist mayor, was elected in his place. The Marseilles strike, which began in the middle of all this, was also an affair of unions. The workmen of the port, who were of Italian origin, had grouped themselves into a society, of which the chiefs decided to stop work on the pretext that the employers had not observed the conditions of the agreement come to the year before. The French workmen, who had no pretext of complaint, allowed themselves to be drawn by degrees into a strike for which they cared nothing. The riots soon assumed a menacing character. The Government intervened. They obtained from the Council of State a decision authorising the employment of military labour to secure the loading and unloading of the steamers carrying mails and goods. The professional agitator Quillici was arrested, and military forces guarded the principal quays. By degrees the strikers returned to work, the Mayor of Marseilles, who wished to interpose between the Government and the contractors for maritime transport and the workmen, had the mortification of having the audience refused which he asked from M. Waldeck-Rousseau, and on March 8 the Chamber decided by 306 votes to 234 in favour of the Ministry, approving its declarations in an order of the day proposed by MM. Dubief and Isambert.
While the Government was, little by little, strengthening a position already much improved, the sections of the Opposition were falling apart. M. Déroulède was bored at S. Sebastian ; at the end of February he had made use of the anniversary of the death of President Faure to deliver a great speech before a few friends who had come from France. In his harangne he formally accused the Royalist party of having caused the failure of the plot which the Nationalists had audaciously made to get possession of the Government. This unexpected assertion, which, on the whole, rehabilitated the High Court, provoked vehement denials from the Royalists ; and M. Buffet, who had, like M. Déroulède, been condemned to exile, sent a telegram of protest from Brussels to the head of the League of Patriots. In reply he received insults, and then a challenge en règle. A duel was settled, the two adversaries started to meet each other. But the Swiss authorities
were on the watch, the Duke of Orleans on his side forbade his supporter to fight, and finally the duel did not take place.
While the Nationalists were attacking each other, President Loubet continued his successful conquests of popularity. On March 23 he went, with General André, to the Ecole Polytechnique, where he handed to the scholars the flag which had been given them in 1815; then he paid a visit to the higher Normal School, where he was received with the utmost enthusiasm. A few weeks before General Pendezec, chief of the Headquarters Staff of the Army, had gone to invite the Tsar to be present at the great review which was to end the maupuvres ; and when, on March 23, the Chambers adjourned till May 14, everything seemed to promise Parliamentary holidays both peaceful and profitable.
The Republicans achieved at the beginning of this vacation à sufficiently remarkable success. The Chamber of Deputies had decided, as a consequence of the startling revelations made by M. Déroulède, to pronounce him deprived of his mandate as Deputy. An election, therefore, took place at Angoulême, on March 31, to replace him. At the beginning of his exile the chief of the League of Patriots had solemnly invested its president, M. François Coppée, with his legislative succession. When, however, a year later, it became a question of facing the electoral struggle thus involved, the poet felt that he had little vocation for the part of the champion of Nationalism, and the former Bonapartist Deputy, M. Gellibert des Séguins, was substituted for M. Coppée in that rôle. He was defeated at the first ballot by the Republican candidate, M. Malac.
The favourable promise with which this Easter vacation began for the Republic was more than realised. President Loubet proceeded to the Riviera to take part in a great fête organised by the town of Nice, and to review the Mediterranean Squadron. The King of Italy availed himself of this circumstance to give a certain emphasis to the evidences of reconciliation between France and Italy. The Duke of Genoa came at the bead of a squadron to salute the President of the Republic in the name of Victor Emmanuel III. It was remarked that the Russian squadron, which had arrived a few days before to exchange salutes with the French warships, retired to Bastia during these manifestations of Franco-Italian regard.
If to-day there is no vacation without a review, neither is there one without a congress. The miners of France, at the demand of the Red Syndicate of Montceau-les-Mines, held a Congress at Saint-Etienne, with a view to considering the question of a strike. This gathering voted the principle of a complete stoppage of work, but relegated to another Congress, which was to meet at Lens, the business of arranging the ways and means of the strike. The second Congress was guided by the Socialist Deputies for the Pas-de-Calais, MM. Basly and Lamendin. These politicians were convinced that it would
[247 be folly to attempt to extend to the whole of France the conflict which was ruining Montceau, but that, on the other hand, it was important not to give direct offence to the prejudices of the groups of the Labour party. For these reasons the principle of a general strike was again affirmed, but before putting it into practice a delay of a fortnight was allowed to the Government, with a view to their obliging the Montceau-les-Mines Company to give satisfaction to their workmen, and another delay of six months was given as an interval within which the Chamber should be constrained to vote the laws required by the proletariat. These were the eight hours day, a minimum wage, and a pension of two francs a day secured to all workmen after twenty-five years of work. If, during the specified term of grace, the Ministry had not taken the action demanded, the directing committee of the Labour party was to organise a vote of all the miners in France on the question of further collective action.
Practically, in spite of the menacing and imperious tone of these resolutions, the Lens Congress resulted in an avowal of impotence. The claims of the miners were heard by M. Georges Leygues, in the absence of M. Waldeck-Rousseau, who had been obliged, by a serious affection of the throat, to leave Paris for the South. M. Leygues declared himself extremely desirous of improving the lot of the workmen, but utterly unable to compel the administration of the Montceau mines to give up their rights. He only promised to seek to obtain work in other parts of the country for the discharged workmen. Consequently, on April 28, the referendum took place. Out of the 162,000 workers in mines 112,000 thought it useless to give up their work. In certain regions there was not even an organised ballot. From these circumstances M. Basly took occasion to declare that there was no ground for pronouncing that the general strike had begun. The Montceau workmen, disappointed and deserted by all, had no other resource than to return to the mines and submit to their employers' terms. The fight had lasted 128 days, and ended thus, not without some brawling and individual acts of rowdiness, but at least without the fusillades which had at one moment been feared.
It was in Algeria that the reports of musketry were heard. The village of Margueritte, in the Department of Alger, was invaded by the natives and pillaged; some colonists perished, others, taken prisoners, were released a few days later, when the troops hurriedly despatched from Milianah had re-established order and arrested the rebels. These incidents produced a great sensation in France as well as in Algeria. They were regarded as illustrating the extent of the evils which the polemics of which the colony had been the scene had done to the French cause. The Governor-General, Jonnart, after only a few months of power, gave in his resignation, and adhered to it in spite of the pressure of the Ministry at home. This event, it was thought, showed that, in spite of its material prosperity, Algeria