The effect of steam communication between Great Britain and Ireland was to increase very greatly the traffic of those countries. It has been stated that in order to save the salaries of one or two junior clerks, it was determined to cease keeping any official records of this traffic, with the exception of grain and flour. In the absence of such records we can only arrive at an approximation to the quantity and value of the exports and imports. It was, however, estimated by persons acquainted with the subject, that the quantity of agricultural produce imported into Liverpool alone in 1832 was worth four millions and a half sterling; and this produce consisted chiefly of live stock—horses, sheep, and pigs—which could not have been so profitably brought over by sailing vessels. The value of agricultural produce brought to the port of Bristol from Ireland in the same year was one million sterling. The total value of all sorts of live animals brought from Ireland to Liverpool in 1837 was ￡3,397,760. One of the most curious items in the traffic is the egg trade. In the course of the year 1832 no less than ￡100,000 was paid for Irish eggs in Liverpool and Bristol alone. Looking at the whole traffic between the two islands, we perceive that the amount of tonnage employed in 1849 was 250 per cent. more than it was in 1801. Up to 1826 the increase was not so rapid as subsequently, it being then only 62 per cent. on the whole period, showing an annual increase of 2-2/5 per cent., whereas for the quarter of a century that followed, the increase was 188 per cent., the annual increase being 8 per cent.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.
Iron suspension bridges were also introduced towards the end of this reign. Chain bridges had been erected in China for nearly two thousand years, and rope bridges in India and South America still earlier. In England a foot-bridge of iron chains was erected at Middleton, over the Tees, in the middle of the eighteenth century. In 1816 a bridge of iron wire was thrown across the Gala Water; and another, on a different principle, the following year, was erected over the Tweed, at King's Meadows. But now much greater and more complete works of the kind were to be executed. Captain (afterwards Sir Samuel) Brown introduced many improvements into these structures. He substituted iron ropes for hempen ones, thereby forming cable-chains, like those used in Wales on quarry tram-roads, and these he applied to suspension bridges. In 1819 he was commissioned to construct an iron suspension bridge over the Tweed, near Kelso, called the union Bridge, which he completed in 1820, at a cost of five thousand pounds. In 1827 the first suspension bridge was thrown over the Thames by Mr. William Tierney Clarke; and in 1818 Telford commenced his great work of throwing a suspension bridge over the Menai Strait, near Bangor, which he completed in 1825. The main opening of this stupendous work is five hundred and sixty feet wide, and one hundred feet above high-water mark. The length of the roadway of the bridge is one thousand feet. The cost was one hundred and twenty thousand pounds. This was Telford's chef-d'?uvre. But the same neighbourhood was destined to see a more stupendous structure span the Strait from the Welsh shore to Anglesey. This was the tubular railway bridge, connecting the London and Holyhead line, within view of Telford's elegant suspension bridge. This was erected by Robert Stephenson, from his own design, greatly improved by suggestions from William Fairbairn of Manchester. It was completed in October, 1850, at a cost of six hundred and twenty-five thousand eight hundred and sixty-five pounds. Further description of this great work is not proper here, as it belongs to a later date, but it seemed fit to mention it in passing, as an evidence of the progress of the engineering science in the reign of Victoria.This proposal, which, at an earlier stage of the dispute, might have been listened to, was one at this stage which was sure to be rejected, and was only one of those miserable half measures which commonplace minds so frequently put forth only to demonstrate their inability to grasp the amplitude of the occasion. It was supposed that the measure had been intended to be larger, but that the Bedford party had fallen on it in Council, and reduced it to these pitiable dimensions. Yet when it was introduced into the Commons by Lord North, the Bedford party looked at each other in consternation, and soon the tempest broke loose on the Treasury benches.[See larger version]
BURNING OF THE HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT. (See p. 376.)William IV. was welcomed to the Throne with great acclamation. Called "The Sailor King," he was endowed with many of the personal qualities which make the sailor's character popular with Englishmen. He had been Lord High Admiral, and in that capacity he had lately been moving about the coasts, making displays and enjoying fêtes, although this was thought by some to be unseemly in the Heir Presumptive to the Throne, at a time when its occupant was known to be in a very infirm state of health. Heavy bills connected with these vainglorious displays were sent to the Treasury, which the Duke of Wellington endorsed with a statement that such expenses were not allowed. Although opinions differed about William very much, not only between the friends of Reform and the Conservatives, but between the leaders of the Liberal party themselves, he was esteemed the most popular king since the days of Alfred. William was certainly a more exemplary character than his brother. He had indeed formed an attachment to a celebrated actress, Mrs. Jordan, by whom he had a numerous family, one of whom was subsequently admitted to the ranks of the nobility with the title of Earl of Munster, and the others were raised to the dignity of younger sons of a marquis. He had, however, been married for several years to the Princess Adelaide, of Saxe-Meiningen, who became Queen of England, and adorned her exalted station by her virtues and her beneficence. They had two children, both of whom died in infancy; and as the king was in the sixty-fifth year of his age, and the queen was not young, there was no longer any hope of a direct succession to the Throne. Altogether, Charles Greville's verdict on the king—"something of a buffoon and more of a blackguard"—is excessively severe. If eccentric and hot-tempered, William IV. was straightforward and upright. He had some knowledge of foreign affairs, and thoroughly understood his position as a constitutional king.
The effects of the growth in our commerce and manufactures, and the consequent increase of the national wealth, were seen in the extension of London and other of our large towns. Eight new parishes were added to the metropolis during this period; the Chelsea Waterworks were established in 1721; and Westminster Bridge was completed in 1750. Bristol, Hull, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, Sheffield, Leeds, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Frome, Dublin, and several other towns, grew amazingly.Under the influence of Granville and of Lord Bath, the king refused to admit Pitt, and they determined to resign, but got Lord Harrington to take the first step. He tendered the resignation of the Seals on the 10th of February, 1746, and the king accepted them, but never forgave Harrington. The same day Newcastle and Pelham tendered theirs, and their example was followed by others of their colleagues. The king immediately sent the Seals to Granville, desiring him and Bath to construct a new administration. They found the thing, however, by no means so easy. It was in vain that they made overtures to men of distinction to join them. Sir John Barnard declined the post of Chancellor of the Exchequer; Chief Justice Willes that of Lord Chancellor. After forty-eight hours of abortive endeavours, Lord Bath announced to the king that they were unable to form a Cabinet. It was with extreme chagrin that George was compelled to reinstate the Pelhams. He expressed the most profound mortification that he should have a man like Newcastle thus forced upon him—a man, he said, not fit to be a petty chamberlain to a petty prince of Germany. What made it the more galling, the Pelhams would not take back the Seals without authority to name their own terms, and one of them was, that such of the adherents of Bath and Granville as had been retained in the Ministry should be dismissed. The Marquis of Tweeddale was, accordingly, one of these, and his office of Secretary of State for Scotland was abolished. Pitt was introduced to the Cabinet, not as Secretary at War, as he had demanded, but as Vice-Treasurer of Ireland, and subsequently, on the death of Winnington, as Paymaster of the Forces. By this event the Opposition was still further weakened, and the Pelhams for some time seemed to carry everything as they wished, almost without a single ruffle of opposition.The garrison of Gibraltar was all this time hard pressed by the Spaniards. Florida Blanca had made a convention with the Emperor of Morocco to refuse the English any supplies; those thrown in by Rodney the year before were nearly exhausted, and they were reduced to grave straits. Admiral Darby was commissioned to convoy one hundred vessels laden with provisions, and to force a way for them into the garrison. Darby not only readily executed his commission, to the great joy of the poor soldiers, but he blockaded the huge Spanish fleet under Admiral Cordova, in the harbour of Cadiz, whilst the stores were landing.
In the meantime the Chartists had made their preparations. The members of the National Convention met early in the morning at its hall in John Street, Fitzroy Square, and after this the members took their places in a great car, which had been prepared to convey them to the Common. It was so large that the whole Convention and all the reporters who attended it found easy accommodation—Mr. Feargus O'Connor and Mr. Ernest Jones sitting in the front rank. It was drawn by six fine horses. Another car drawn by four horses contained the monster petition, with its enormous rolls of signatures. Banners with Chartist mottoes and devices floated over these imposing vehicles. The Convention thus driven in state passed down Holborn, over Blackfriars Bridge, and on to the Common, attended by 1,700 Chartists, marching in procession. This was only one detachment; others had started from Finsbury Square, Russell Square, Clerkenwell Green, and Whitechapel. The largest body had mustered in the East, and passed over London Bridge, numbering about 6,000. They all arrived at the Common about ten o'clock, where considerable numbers had previously assembled; so the Common appeared covered with human beings. In all monster meetings there are the widest possible differences in the estimates of the numbers. In this case they were set down variously at 15,000, 20,000, 50,000, and even 150,000. Perhaps 30,000 was the real number present.No small curiosity was experienced to see the man that had maintained a defence, obstinate and protracted beyond any related in the annals of modern war. Gorgeously attired in silks and splendid arms, he rode a magnificent Arab steed, with a rich saddle-cloth of scarlet. He but little exceeded the middle size, was powerfully but elegantly formed; his keen, dark, piercing, restless eyes surveyed at a glance everything around. He neither wore the face of defiance nor dejection; but moved along under the general gaze as one conscious of having bravely done his duty.
[See larger version]It was not long before the Third Estate was discovered to be in hopeless antagonism with the Court and privileged Orders, and they resolved to act separately. They must act for themselves and for the people at large, or, by further delays, lose all the advantages of the moment. They resolved to assume the character of the representatives of the entire nation. Siéyès declared that the Commons had waited on the other Orders long enough. They had given in to all the conciliations proposed; their condescensions had been unavailing; they could delay no longer, without abandoning their duty to the country. A great debate arose regarding the name that the body of deputies which resolved to become the real legislative power should choose. Mirabeau proposed, the "Representatives of the People;" Mounier, "The Deliberative Majority in the absence of the Minority;" and Legrand, "The National Assembly." The proposal of Mounier was soon disposed of; but there was a strong inclination in favour of "The National Assembly," and Mirabeau vehemently opposed it. The name of "National Assembly" had, it is said, been recommended to Lafayette by Jefferson, the American Minister, and as Lafayette had not yet ventured to move before his Order, and join the Tiers état, Legrand, an obscure member, and lately a provincial advocate, was employed to propose it. But Siéyès had, in his famous brochure on the "Rights of Man," long before thrown out these words:—"The Tiers état alone, it will be said, cannot form a States General. So much the better; it will constitute a National Assembly!" On the 15th of June, Siéyès proposed that the title should be "The National Assembly of Representatives, known and verified by the French Nation." Mirabeau indignantly repelled the title in any shape. He declared that such a title, by denying the rights and existence of the other two Orders, would plunge the nation into civil war. Legrand proposed to modify the name by making it "The General Assembly." Siéyès then came back to his original title of simply "The National Assembly," as devoid of all ambiguity, and Mirabeau still more violently opposed it. But it was soon seen that this name carried the opinion of the mob with it; the deputies cried out loudly for it; the galleries joined as loudly in the cries. Mirabeau in a fierce rage read his speech, said to have been written by his friend Dumont, before the president Bailly, and withdrew, using violent language against the people who had hooted him down, declaring that they would soon be compelled to seek his aid. He had protested in his speech that the veto, which some of the deputies wished to refuse to the king, must be given to him; that without the royal veto he would rather live in Constantinople than in France; that he could conceive nothing more dreadful than the sovereignty of six hundred persons; that they would very soon declare themselves hereditary, and would finish, like all other aristocracies that the world had ever seen, by usurping everything. These words, only too prophetic, had brought down upon him a tempest of execration; and writhing under it he had hastened to the Court and had an interview with Necker, warning him of the danger of the crisis, and offering to use his influence in favour of the king's authority. Necker received him coldly, and thus Mirabeau was thrown back on the people. Siéyès's motion was carried by a majority of four hundred and ninety-one against ninety; and the National Assembly was proclaimed amid loud acclamations, mingled with cries of "Vive le Roi!"Thus surrounded by treason, Louis doubted the fidelity of Soult, who resigned his command; but he trusted Ney, and sent him to attack Buonaparte in the rear, whilst an army at Mélun, under Clarke, Duke of Feltre, was to attack him in front. Ney took leave of Louis on the 9th of March, declaring that he would bring Buonaparte to him in a cage; but at Lons-le-Saulnier, on the 14th, he received a letter from Napoleon, calling him "the bravest of the brave," and inviting him to resume his place in his army, and Ney went over at once. To abate the public opinion of his treason, he pretended that this expedition had been long arranged between himself and Buonaparte, but this Buonaparte at St. Helena denied.
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