类型:奇幻地区:发布:2020-09-19 08:57:56


With the reign of George III. commenced a series of improvements in the manufacture of iron, which have led not only to a tenfold production of that most useful of metals, but to changes in its quality which before were inconceivable. Towards the end of the reign of George II. the destruction of the forests in smelting iron-ore was so great as to threaten their extinction, and with it the manufacture of iron in Britain. Many manufacturers had already transferred their businesses to Russia, where wood was abundant and cheap. It was then found that coke made from coal was a tolerable substitute for charcoal, and, in 1760, the very first year of the reign of George III., the proprietors of the Carron Works in Scotland began the use of pit-coal. Through the scientific aid of Smeaton and Watt, they applied water-, and afterwards steam-power, to increase the blast of their furnaces to make it steady and continuous, instead of intermitting as from bellows; and they increased the height of their chimneys. By these means, Dr. John Roebuck, the founder of these works, became the first to produce pig iron by the use of coal. This gave great fame to the Carron Works, and they received large orders from Government for cannon and cannon-balls. It was some time, however, before enough iron could be produced to meet the increasing demand for railroads, iron bridges, etc.; and so late as 1781 fifty thousand tons were imported annually from Russia and Sweden.AMERICAN PROVINCES in 1763 AFTER THE CONTEMPORARY MAP by Peter Bell

Wolfe, meanwhile, had reached the St. Lawrence in June, on board a fleet commanded by Admiral Saunders. The navigation of that river was considered very dangerous, but in ascending they captured two small store-ships, and found on board some excellent charts of the river, which enabled the admiral to ascend safely. On the 27th of June the army was landed on the Isle of Orleans, in the middle of the St. Lawrence, in front of Quebec.

Misery and privation in large masses of people naturally engender disaffection, and predispose to rebellion; and this was the state of things in Ireland at the beginning of the memorable year of 1848. O'Connell had passed away from the scene. On the 28th of January, 1847, he left Ireland, never to return. He went to London for the purpose of attending his Parliamentary duties, but shortly after his arrival there he went for benefit of his health to Hastings. But a still greater change of scene and climate was found necessary, and he embarked for France, and proceeding to Paris, he was received with great consideration by the Marquis of Normanby, and other distinguished persons. In reply to a complimentary address from the electoral committee, of which Montalembert was chairman, O'Connell said, "Sickness and emotion close my mouth. I would require the eloquence of your president to express to you all my gratitude. But it is impossible for me to say what I feel. Know, simply, that I regard this demonstration on your part as one of the most significant events of my life." He went from Paris to Lyons, where he[562] became much weaker. In all the French churches prayers were offered on behalf of "Le clbre Irlandais, et le grand librateur d'Irlande." At Marseilles he became rather better; but at Genoa death arrested his progress. He expired on the 15th of May (1847), apparently suffering little pain. He was on his way to Rome, intending to pay his homage in person to Pius IX., but finding this impossible, he ordered that his heart might be sent to Rome, and his body to Ireland. It has been remarked that O'Connell was the victim of the Irish famine, and that its progress might have been learnt from the study of his face. The buoyancy had gone out of his step; he had become a stooping and a broken-down man, shuffling along with difficulty, his features betraying despondency and misery. His memory was respected by Englishmen, because of the devotion of his life to the service of his country. Born of a conquered race and a persecuted religion, conscious of great energies and great talents, he resolved to make every Irishman the equal of every Englishman. After the labours of a quarter of a century he obtained Catholic Emancipation.

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The active mind, strong will, and philanthropic spirit of Mr. Stanley, now transferred from Ireland to the Colonial Secretaryship, found an important field for their exercise in the Colonial Office. He applied his energies to the abolition of negro slavery in the West Indies, and was happily more successful in that work than in his attempt to tranquillise Ireland. The time had arrived when the labours on behalf of the negro race, of Clarkson, Wilberforce, Mackintosh, Brougham, Buxton, Lushington, and William Smith were to be followed with success, by the abolition of slavery in the British West Indian colonies. The Society of Friends, as became that philanthropic body, led the van in the movement which began in 1823, when Wilberforce presented a petition from them in the House of Commons. Soon afterwards, when Mr. Buxton brought forward a resolution condemning slavery as repugnant to Christianity and to the British Constitution, Mr. Canning moved a counter-resolution as an amendment, recommending reforms in the system, which, he alleged, might be safely left to the West Indian Assemblies; and if they refused to do their duty, the Imperial Parliament might then interfere. These resolutions were carried, although any one acquainted with the history of the West Indies might have known that they would be perfectly futile. No amelioration of the system could be rationally expected from the reckless adventurers and mercenary agents by whom many West Indian plantations were managed. The infamous cruelty of which the missionary Smith had been the victim showed that, while the colonial laws allowed the most horrible atrocities, there existed among the planters a spirit of brutality which did not shrink from their perpetration. Time was when such barbarities might have escaped with impunity; when in Great Britain it was maintained in high places, and even by the legislature, that slavery was defended by an impregnable fortress, that property in human flesh was not only expedient for the good of the commonwealth, and beneficial for the negro, but also a sacred institution, founded on the authority of the Bible. But, thanks to the indefatigable labours of the friends of the negro race, such abominable dogmas had been long reprobated by public opinion, and at the period now referred to no man ventured to promulgate such heresies in England. The moral sense of the nation had condemned slavery in every form. The missionaries had, in the midst of tremendous difficulties and cruel persecutions, enlightened the West Indian slaves with regard to their rights as men and their privileges as Christians; and while they inculcated patience and meek submission even to unjust laws, they animated their crushed hearts with the hope that the blessings of liberty would soon be enjoyed by them, and that humanity and justice would speedily triumph over the ruthless tyranny under which they groaned.Sir John marched out of Edinburgh for the north on the very day that the standard of the Stuarts was erected in Glenfinnan, the 19th of August. On the following day he continued his route from Stirling, accompanied by one thousand five hundred foot, leaving, very properly, the dragoons behind him, as of no service in the mountains, nor capable of finding forage there. He then continued his march towards Fort Augustus, which he hoped to make the centre of his operations, and then to strike a sudden and annihilating blow on the handful of rebels. At Dalwhinnie he heard that the rebels now mustered six thousand, and that they meant to dispute the pass of Corriarrick, lying directly in the line of his march towards Fort Augustus. This Corriarrick had been made passable by one of General Wade's roads, constructed after the rebellion of 1715, to lay open the Highlands. The road wound up the mountain by seventeen zig-zags or traverses, and down the other side by others, called by the Highlanders the Devil's Staircase. Three hundred men were capable, much more three thousand, of stopping an army in such a situation, and Cope called a council of war. At length it was agreed that they should take a side route, and endeavour to reach Inverness and Fort George. The resolve was a fatal one, for it gave the appearance of a flight to the army, and left the road open to Stirling and the Lowlands.

But the matter was not to be thus peacefully ended. Before Lord Exmouth had cleared out of the Mediterranean, the Algerinesnot in any concert with their Government but in an impulse of pure fanaticismhad rushed down from their castle at Bona on the Christian inhabitants of the town, where a coral fishery was carried on chiefly by Italians and Sicilians, under protection of a treaty made by Britain, and under that of her flag, and committed a brutal massacre on the fishermen, and also pulled down and trampled on the British flag, and pillaged the house of the British vice-consul.

The new spring in poetry broke forth as brilliantly in this reign as that in prose. In the earlier portion of it, indeed, this was not so visible. The school of Pope seemed still to retain its influence. This school had produced a host of imitators, but little real genius since Pope's time. Almost the only exception to this mediocrity was Collins, whose odes were full of fire and genius. He died just before this period, and Gray,[182] Shenstone, and Goldsmith opened it with many of the exterior characteristics of that school. But, in truth, notwithstanding the mere fashion of their compositions, there were in them unmistakable evidences of new life. Shenstone was the least vigorous and original of the three, but his "Schoolmistress" possessed a natural charm that still gains it admirers. He belongs, however, rather to the past period than this, for he died but three years after the accession of George III., and had ceased to write some time before. Gray's "Elegy in a Country Churchyard" showed that he had deep feeling and a nice observation of nature; and his "Long Story" that he possessed real humoura quality abounding in his prose, but, except in this piece, little visible in his poetry. His odes are extremely vigorous, but somewhat formal. His "Bard," his "Ode on Eton College," and his "Fatal Sisters," are all full of beauty, but somewhat stilted. In the "Fatal Sisters" he introduced a subject from the "Scandinavian Edda" to the English reader, but in a most un-Scandinavian dress.The honour conferred upon Ireland and Hanover by the royal visits had excited the jealousy of Scotland; and the most ardently loyal of the nobility and people of that country were extremely desirous that a similar honour should be conferred upon them. The king complied with their request, and started on the 10th of August. "There were great preparations," says Lord Eldon, "to make his embarkation and voyage down the river one of the finest exhibitions ever seen upon the surface of old Father Thames." The river and its banks, from London to Greenwich, appeared in the highest state of animation, swarming with human life and gay with brilliant decorations. A party of hussars, guarding a plain carriage, were his Majesty's only equipage. The shouts of the different groups of spectators attended his progress along the road to Greenwich, until the royal standard floating over the Hospital announced his arrival. Thousands of voices hailed him as the yacht departed with a favourable breeze; and as he passed Woolwich a royal salute was fired, and the regiment on duty at the Arsenal presented arms. At Tilbury Fort, Southend, and Sheerness he met with lively demonstrations of loyalty. At the last named place the Lord Mayor, and other authorities who had escorted him down the river, parted from the royal squadron and returned in their barge to town. The tide now checked the king's progress, and the ships lay-to in the channel till morning. At Harwich, Scarborough, and other places, crowds of people put off in boats as the squadron neared the shore. It was twice becalmed; and it was not till the 14th that the Royal George cast anchor off Leith.CONFERENCE BETWEEN THE HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT, 1835. (See p. 392.)

Events now rushed on with accumulating force and accelerated pace. There had been a long drought, withering up the prospects of the harvest, and now, in July, came a terrible hailstorm, which extended one hundred and fifty miles round Paris, destroying the nearly ripe corn, the fruit on the trees, and leaving all that extent of country a desert, and the inhabitants the prey of famine. In such circumstances the people could not, those in other quarters would not, pay taxes; the Treasury was empty, and the king was compelled to promise to convoke the States General in the following May; Brienne endeavoured to amuse the active reformers by calling on men of intelligence to send in plans for the proper conduct of the States General, as none had been held for one hundred and seventy-two years. The public was impatient for a much earlier summons, but probably they would not have been much listened to, had Lomnie de Brienne known how to keep things going. His empty exchequer, however, and the pressing demands upon him, drove him to solicit the king to recall Necker and appoint him once more Comptroller of the Finances. He imagined that the popularity of Necker would at least extend the public patience. The queen energetically opposed the reinstatement of Necker; the position of affairs was, however, too desperate, and Necker was recalled. His triumphant return was speedily followed by the meeting of the States.



On the retirement of Townshend, Walpole reigned supreme and without a rival in the Cabinet. Henry Pelham was made Secretary at War; Compton Earl of Wilmington Privy Seal. He left foreign affairs chiefly to Stanhope, now Lord Harrington, and to the Duke of Newcastle, impressing on them by all means to avoid quarrels with foreign Powers, and maintain the blessings of peace. With all the faults of Walpole, this was the praise of his political system, which system, on the meeting of Parliament in the spring of 1731, was violently attacked by Wyndham and Pulteney, on the plea that we were making ruinous treaties, and sacrificing British interests, in order to benefit Hanover, the eternal millstone round the neck of England. Pulteney and Bolingbroke carried the same attack into the pages of The Craftsman, but they failed to move Walpole, or to shake his power.[See larger version]But the agitation of this question produced a strong sensation on the Continent. Buonaparte, who watched every movement of the British Parliament and Government with the deepest anxiety, immediately seized on the discussion as a proof that Great Britain was fast sinking under his Continental system. That system, indeed, was rapidly prostrating the Continent. From all sides complaints had long been pouring in upon him that the suppression of commerce was ruining the great mercantile citiesHamburg, Bremen, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Antwerp, Naples, Genoa, and the other parts of Italy; and that it was diffusing universal poverty and distress. The breach which the Emperor Alexander had made in it, and the determined resistance which the Swedes made to it, had caused him to feel the necessity of relaxing the rigour of his system. But now he took fresh courage. He believed that Great Britain was at her last gasp; that there would speedily be universal rebellion within her from starving citizens; and he held on in his plan, and this proved his ultimate destruction; for it made him all the more determined to coerce Russia, and thus precipitated his fatal campaign against that country.



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