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      GEORGE II.

      The progress of our manufactures was equally satisfactory. At the commencement of this period that great innovator and benefactor, the steam-engine, was produced. The idea thrown out by the Marquis of Worcester, in his "Century of Inventions," in 1663, had been neglected as mere wild theory till Savery, in 1698, constructed a steam-engine for draining mines. This received successive improvements from Newcomen and Crawley, and further ones from Brindley in 1756, and Watt extended these at the end of this period, though this mighty agent has received many improvements since. Navigable canals, also, date their introduction by the Duke of Bridgewater, under the management of Brindley, from the latter end of this period, 1758. Other great men, Arkwright, Compton, Hargreaves, etc., were now busily at work in developing machinery, and applying steam to it, which has revolutionised the system of manufacture throughout the world. In 1754 the Society of Arts and Manufactures was established.

      In July, 1814, whilst the struggles were going on upon the Canadian frontiers, the British projected an expedition against the very capital of the United States. This was carried into execution about the middle of August. Sir Alexander Cochrane landed General Ross, and a strong body of troops, on the banks of the Patuxent, and accompanied them in a flotilla of launches, armed boats, and small craft up the river itself. On entering the reach at Pig Point they saw the American flotilla, commanded by Commodore Baring, lying seventeen in number. They prepared to attack it, when they saw flames begin to issue from the different vessels, and comprehended that the commodore had deserted them; and it was firmly believed that he had so timed the setting fire to his vessels that they might blow up when the British were close upon them, if they had not already boarded them. Fortunately, the flames had made too much progress, and the British escaped this danger. The vessels blew up one after another, except one, which the British secured. Both soldiers and sailors were highly incensed at this treachery, and prepared to avenge it on Washington itself. On the 24th of August they were encountered at Bladensburg, within five miles of Washington, by eight or nine thousand American troops, posted on the right bank of the Potomac, on a commanding ridge. Madison was on one of the hills, to watch the battle, on the event of which depended the fate of the capital.

      The result of this division shook the last resistance of Walpole. When the motion which had been rejected on the 18th of Decemberfor copies of the correspondence with the King of Prussiawas again put, he made no opposition, and it[79] passed without a division. He made, however, one more attempt to carry his measures. In the disputed election of Chippenham he stood his ground against the petition, and was defeated by a majority of one. It was now clear to himself that he must give way. His relatives and friends assured him that to defer longer was only to court more decided discomfiture. On the 31st of January, he, therefore, prepared to depart for his seat at Houghton, and the next morning he demanded of the king, in a private audience, leave to retire. George, on this occasion, evinced a degree of feeling that did him honour. When the old Minister who had served him through so long a course of years knelt to kiss hands, the king embraced him, shed tears, and begged that he would often come to see him. On the 9th of February Sir Robert was created Earl of Orford, and on the 11th he made a formal resignation of all his places.Lord Melbourne on announcing the completion of his arrangements made a general statement of his policy. In forming his Cabinet he had had to contend with difficulties "peculiarly great and arduous, and some of them of a severe and mortifying nature." He had no change of policy to declare. "His Government would be based upon the principles of a safe, prudent, and truly efficient reformprinciples the tendency of which was not to subvert or endanger, but, on the contrary, to improve, strengthen, and establish the institutions of the country; and in regard to ecclesiastical government, every measure contemplated in reference to that subject would have for its end the increase of true piety and religion through the whole of his Majesty's dominions." From the disposition and character popularly ascribed to Lord Melbourne, it could not be expected that he should prove an energetic Reformer. The Earl of Derby mentions a saying of his which often escaped him as a member of Lord Grey's Cabinet. When they had to encounter a difficulty, he would say, "Can't you let it alone?" This accords with the portrait of him presented by Sydney Smith, in his second letter to Archdeacon Singleton.

      The victory of Napoleon over Austria had wonderfully increased his influence with those German States which formed the Confederation of the Rhine. Bavaria, Würtemberg, Hesse-Darmstadt, and other of the small princes, especially those on the right bank of that river, were more than ever bound to him, and were prepared to follow him in any wars that he might make against other countries, or even their own fatherland. Whilst some of them received crowns for their unnatural subserviency, several smaller princes were sunk into the condition of mere nobles. The military contingents which he exacted from them amounted to sixty thousand men, and these he soon had in a state of discipline and efficiency very different to that which they exhibited under the old German federation. Under Napoleon they behaved as well as any of his troops, showing that they needed only leaders of activity and talent to make good soldiers of them. Thus France superseded Austria in its influence over all the south-west of Germany. Nor did he stop here. He had created dukes and princes, and resolved also to create kings. These were to be his brothers, who were to be placed on half the thrones of Europe, and set there as vassal monarchs doing homage and service to him, the[524] great emperor of France. He expected them to be the obedient servants of France, or, rather, of himself, and not of the countries they were ostensibly set to govern. He began by making his brother Joseph King of Naples in March, and in June he made his brother Louis King of Holland. He told them that they must never forget that their first duty was to France and to himself. He intended to make his brother Jerome King of Westphalia; but Jerome had married a Miss Paterson, the daughter of an American merchant, and he must have this marriage broken, and a royal one arranged, before he could admit him to this regal honour: he must also wrest part of this territory from Prussia. His sister Pauline, widow of General Leclerc, who perished in St. Domingo, he had now married to the Roman Prince Borghese, and he gave her the Italian duchy of Guastalla. Murat, who had married another sister, he made Grand Duke of Berg and Cleve, and Marshal Berthier he made Prince of Neuchatel. These territories, taken from Prussia, Bavaria, and Switzerland, he conferred, with all their rights and privileges, on these generals. The duchy of Parma he conferred on Cambacrs, and Piacenza on General Lebrun.

      The removal of this popular and "chivalrous" Viceroy caused universal expressions of grief among the Roman Catholic party. In the Association, O'Connell and Sheil spoke in the most glowing terms of his character and his administration. He quitted Ireland on the 19th of January, 1829, followed from the Castle gates to the pier at Kingstown by an immense concourse of people. In a letter to Dr. Curtis Lord Anglesey gave an extraordinary parting advice for a chief ruler of Ireland, "Agitateagitateagitate!" He was succeeded by the Duke of Northumberland, a man not at all likely to trouble his chief with controversy about anything. His appointment, however, brought back the Conservative aristocracy to the Castle, and had a soothing effect on the Protestant mind, while his administration was mild towards the other party.


      The spirit of Choiseul having departed from the French administration, and the king having so unequivocally expressed his intention not to go to war, the Spanish Court hastened to lower its tone and offer conciliatory terms. In December they had proposed, through Prince de Masserano, to disavow the expedition of Buccarelli, if the English Court would disown the menaces of Captain Hunt. This was promptly refused, and orders were sent to Mr. Harris to quit the capital of Spain. He set out in January, 1771, but was speedily recalled; the expedition of Buccarelli was disavowed; the settlement of Port Egmont was conceded, whilst the main question as to the right of either party to the Falklands at large was left to future discussion. So little value, however, did Britain attach to the Falkland Isles, that it abandoned them voluntarily two years afterwards. For many years they were forsaken by both nations; but in 1826 the Republic of Buenos Ayres adopted them as a penal colony, and in 1833 the British finally took possession of them.


      Grey and Fox then made an equally brisk attack on the support of Turkey by Ministers. They greatly applauded the Czarina, and Fox affirmed that so far from Turkey soliciting our interference, it had objected to it. On the same day, in the Lords, Lord Fitzwilliam opened the same question. He contended that we had fitted out an expensive armament to prevent the conquest by Russia of Oczakoff, and yet had not done it, but had ended in accepting the very terms that the Czarina had offered in 1790. Ministers replied that, though we had not saved Oczakoff, we had prevented still more extensive attempts by Russia. Though the Opposition, in both cases, was defeated, the attack was renewed on the 27th of February, when the Earl Stanhopean enthusiastic worshipper of the French Revolutionrecommended, as the best means of preventing aggression by Continental monarchs, a close alliance on our part with France. Two days afterwards Mr. Whitbread introduced a string of resolutions in the Commons, condemning the interference of Ministers between Russia and Turkey, and the needless expenditure thus incurred, in fact, going over[390] much the same ground. A strenuous debate followed, in which Grey, Fox, Windham, Francis, Sheridan, and the whole Whig phalanx, took part. On this occasion, Mr. Jenkinson, afterwards Earl of Liverpool, first appeared, and made his maiden speech in defence of Ministers. He showed that the system of aggression had commenced with Russia, and menaced the profoundest dangers to Europe; that Britain had wisely made alliance with Prussia to stem the evil, and he utterly repudiated all notion of the moderation of the Czarina, whose ambition he asserted to be of the most unscrupulous kind.


      Among the resources of Great Britain to which she is mainly indebted for her pre-eminence as a manufacturing nation, and without which she would not have been able to make anything like the progress she has made, or to bid defiance to foreign competition as she may always do, are her mines of coal and iron. The total produce of all the British ironworks was found, after a careful estimate, to be, in 1823, 442,066 tons; in 1825, 581,367 tons; in 1828, 653,417, and in 1830, 702,584 tons. In 1844 the quantity reached 1,500,000 tons. The quantity of tin produced in England in 1820 was 3,578 tons; in 1834 it was 4,000 tons. In addition to the quantities used at home, there was a considerable exportation of tin plates, the value of which in 1820 was about 161,000, and in 1840 it was more than 360,000. The produce of the copper mines in Cornwall was much greater than that of the tin mines; for while in 1820 it was only 7,364 tons, it had increased in 1840 to 11,000 tons. The increase during 60 years had been threefold, and the value annually raised exceeded 1,000,000 sterling. In the year 1820 the quantity of coals shipped from the port of Newcastle was more than 2,000,000 tons. In the year 1840 it had increased to nearly 3,000,000. From the port of Sunderland the quantity shipped in 1820 was considerably more than 1,000,000. In 1840 it was 1,300,000 tons. Large quantities were also shipped from the port of Stockton. The chief coal districts have naturally become the chief manufacturing districts; and as the coal is on the spot, it is impossible to estimate the quantities consumed in working the factories in Lancashire, the West Riding of Yorkshire, Nottingham, Derby, Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Leicester, Coventry, and Staffordshire. The town of Sheffield alone, it was estimated in 1835, required for manufacturing purposes about 515,000 tons of coals. Dr. Buckland, in his address to the Geological Society, in 1840, stated that "the average value of the annual produce of the mines of the British islands amounts to the enormous sum of 20,000,000, of which about 8,000,000 arises from iron, and 9,000,000 from coals."