« AnteriorContinua »
Probably this return would compare very favourably with that from any other city where the traffic is not so well regulated, but still it shows that there is an ample field for such an ambulance service as has been described.
Finally, in considering the methods whereby such a system of ambulance service could be introduced into London, a consummation devoutly to be hoped for, two points of essential difference between the hospital systems in London and New York present themselves -the absence in London of municipal hospitals, and the exemption of the New York hospitals from taxation, rendered possible by the centralisation there of the taxing power, there being but one body to levy rates for the entire city; whereas the division of London into separate parishes renders taxation necessary, in order that certain districts may not be unduly burdened in comparison with others.
These two points of difference constitute a severe handicap in the case of the London hospitals.
In addition to which, the impecunious state in which far too many of them find themselves renders it extremely doubtful whether they would care to launch forth into any fresh undertaking that would entail further expenditure.
But still there are other methods to be considered whereby the end indicated might perhaps be attained.
One is by private philanthropy; another by the Metropolitan Asylums Board undertaking the matter; a third by the Metropolitan Police Department joining such ambulance wagons to their present hand-ambulance system; or, lastly, by the London County Council adding such a scheme to the improvements they are proposing, either in conjunction with the hospitals or otherwise.
As to private philanthropy, it would be doubtful wisdom waiting for it to tend in that direction—an event that might never happen.
The Metropolitan Asylums Board is a Government Department dealing with infectious cases, and is akin to the Department of Health of New York, that has been mentioned before.
It might be possible to have horse ambulances for cases of accident and non-contagious sickness added to their present system. But some difficulty might arise in keeping the two departments separate, and in giving confidence to the public that no danger would exist of an ambulance that had carried a patient suffering from an infectious disease being used in other cases.
Still, if the matter were taken in hand by the Board it might be able to cope with this difficulty.
The Police Department, if it were so decided, might introduce and take charge of the ambulances, as the police do in Chicago and other cities of the United States.
But probably the most satisfactory way of all would be for the London County Council to take up the matter, either by subsidising the hospitals according to the number of ambulances employed by each, as in Brooklyn, U.S.A., or by working them by means of their own employés, in conjunction with the hospitals.
The first plan of the two would probably prove the more satisfactory; but as to the details, it would be for the future to decide them.
It has only been attempted in this slight sketch to draw some attention to what is being done by other countries in the alleviation of human suffering, and it seems impossible not to believe but that in the greater London of the future the same kind of system will ultimately prevail, by whatever means it is set in motion.
And certainly, when ambulance wagons take the place of the present old-world stretcher, or the worn-out cab so often made use of in this great city, it will be a matter of wonder that, with all our many philanthropic schemes, and all our efforts to minimise the terrible suffering that flesh is heir to, we have so long neglected an example set us by far younger cities than our own.
A VISIT TO QUEEN ELIZABETH
HOARDED among the archives of the kingdom of Würtemberg, and unknown, it would seem, to our historians, there exists to this day the confidential report of an envoy despatched to England on a difficult and delicate mission. In the year 1563 the future of England and of the English people hung, men said, upon a woman's life; and that woman was Queen Elizabeth. It was not only that her death, issueless, would leave the succession doubtful : the nation had too good cause to fear that to the miseries of civil war would be added the horrors of invasion and the fury of religious strife. From the prospect of these dangers there was but one escape—Queen Elizabeth must marry. This, indeed, was no new discovery; but the recent and dangerous illness of the Queen, together with the threatening outlook abroad, had brought out vividly the danger. A fresh and urgent remonstrance from Parliament impressed, it was thought (or at least hoped), upon Elizabeth the absolute necessity of sacrificing her anti-matrimonial feelings to the welfare of her people.
Now among the Queen's many suitors the Archduke Charles had met with a considerable degree of favour. Some years younger than the Queen-an important consideration with Elizabeth—he was barely twenty when his father, the Emperor Ferdinand, sent an ambassador, Count George of Helfenstyn, to negotiate for his marriage with the Queen. His Catholic faith had created difficulties; and, as usual, it was gravely doubted whether Elizabeth was in earnest. Possibly she could not make up her mind; in any case the matter dropped. Since 1560 the project had not been revived. But Cecil, three years later, had more reason than his standing anxiety to see the Queen married for urging that, after all, she should marry the Archduke Charles. There was a rival in the field. The Cardinal of Lorraine was known to be scheming to bring about a marriage between the Archduke and his own great-niece, the dreaded Queen of Scots. To Cecil this match presented an alarming prospect; and yet so probable did it seem that in the autumn of this year it was thought to be a settled thing. Whether or not he hoped to play upon the Queen's jealousy, he set himself to do what he could, knowing that almost any marriage would be rapturously acclaimed by the people, while a marriage with the Archduke would at least be as popular as any other. As for the Queen herself, she was beyond all calculation; but Charles was by no means devoid of attraction. His inventory, as it were, was taken by Lord Sussex, acting on Elizabeth's behalf, a few years later; and the Queen learnt, among its contents, that his hands (are) very good and fair ; his legs clean, well-proportioned, and of sufficient bigness for his stature; his foot as good as may be.' #: We had at the time in Germany a confidential agent, Christopher Mundt by name.
To him Cecil addressed himself; and the correspondence which ensued is still in Lord Salisbury's possession. Writing from Windsor, he asked Mundt whether negotiations could be resumed. But diplomacy had to reckon, in those days, with unforeseen delays, and it was not till the 9th of October (1563) that Mundt received Cecil's letter of the 25th of August. He promptly replied that the best plan would be to approach the Duke of Wurtemburg, who had favoured the match when originally proposed, and he promised to leave Strasburg in search of the Duke the following day. He was as good as his word. Pointing out that Parliament was eager for the Queen's marriage, and that the Archduke would prove an acceptable consort, he lightly alluded to the Queen's relations with the Lord Robert Dudley-over which there had been, in Germany, much shaking of heads—and assured the Duke that, while rightly gracious to so loyal and noble a subject, she had not the least idea of marrying him, and had given no ground for supposing it. He implored him to consider favourably the suggestion as to the Archduke, which (he'was, of course, careful to add) was entirely his own. The Duke allowed himself to be persuaded to act as intermediary, and wrote on the 17th of October to sound the Emperor on the subject. Ferdinand's reply was not encouraging. He reminded the Duke, with much dignity, of the unsatisfactory treatment his mission had encountered on the previous occasion, and observed that to court a renewal of it would expose his son and himself to ridicule. They had, therefore, abandoned all thought of the marriage, while entertaining towards the Queen perfect goodwill and friendship. The Duke sent for Mundt and read him the letter. Undeterred, the sturdy agent insisted that the Queen could not be expected to make the first advance; her modesty as a woman, her dignity as a sovereign, alike forbade her even to appear to be in search of a husband. But to no prince in the world could it be unbecoming to risk all for such a bride and such a dowry. Then he implored the Duke to put an end to the impasse by sending an envoy himself to England to sound the Queen on the subject.
To this the Duke at length agreed, and set himself to find a
1 His letter to the Duke (December 1) is in the archives of Stuttgart. He repeated his arguments in the personal interview, when the Duke showed him the Emperor's letter.
plausible excuse for approaching his cousin of England. He found it in the close of the Council of Trent, and in the condemnation of their common cause by its decrees. Authorship, theological authorship above all, had for the Duke, as for Henry the Eighth, an irresistible fascination. Mundt, it may be, worked upon this weakness; but in any case the Duke had endeavoured, some months before, to convert from the error of their ways two of the leading cardinals by sending them certain books 'refuting' the abuses of the Mass and the decrees of the Council of Trent, and by personally exhorting them in a friendly manner' to devote themselves to piety and to propagating the true faith. While ingenuously confessing that to these letters he had as yet received no reply, he now wrote to Elizabeth informing her that the old friendship between their fathers, and their own, which he eagerly desired to maintain, compelled him to send her by his envoy certain little books, which he hoped she would find time to read carefully, and would find acceptable. Then, reminding her of the dangers and uncertainties of human affairs, he begged her to listen graciously to his envoy, who had certain secret communications to make to her, and ended by expressing the pious hope that all might tend to the glory of God and the propagation of His eternal word as well as to the weal of her royal person and of her realm.
To Cecil he wrote more plainly, commending his piety, wisdom, and loyalty, and expressing his earnest hope that the Queen might be induced by his envoy's arguments to turn her mind to matrimony as ordained by God Himself, and to choose a worthy and suitable husband. To bring this about would be a good work, and one pleasing to God. At the same time he drew up a paper of secret instructions for his envoy, explaining in minute detail what arguments he was to employ. The Duke was careful to mention that the Queen should be shown, if she expressed a wish for it, copies of his letters to the cardinals, but soon came to the point, and urged that Elizabeth should be warned of the dangers awaiting her realm if she should die childless. The envoy was specially to impress upon the Queen the eager efforts to bring about a marriage between the Archduke and the Queen of Scots, and was to leave her in no doubt that the Duke was acting on his own initiative, without the knowledge of the Emperor or his son, and that Ferdinand was resolved to send no embassy to England till it was absolutely certain that the marriage would take place.3
Allinga, the envoy selected, reached Antwerp on the 4th of January, and started at length, on the 8th, on the perilous passage to England. He had found the men of Antwerp furious at the seizure of their merchantmen by English pirates. French pirates also scoured the narrow seas, and if, as happened to him on his return, the hapless traveller was driven too near to the French coast, magnce bombardo
2 Letters of the Duke, December 28, 1563 (Archives of Stuttgart). Vol. XLNo. 236