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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. "NAPOLEON."

The relief committees were also authorised to adopt measures to avert or mitigate the famine fever, which had prevailed to an awful extent. They were to provide temporary hospitals, to ventilate and cleanse cabins, to remove nuisances, and procure the proper burial of the dead, the funds necessary for these objects being advanced by the Government in the same way as for furnishing food. Upwards of 300 hospitals and dispensaries were provided under the Act, with accommodation for at least 23,000 patients, and the sanitary powers which it conferred were extensively acted upon. The expense incurred for these objects amounted to 119,000, the whole of which was made a free gift to the unions in aid of the rates. The entire amount advanced by the Government in 1846 and 1847 towards the relief of the Irish people under the fearful calamity to which they were exposed was 7,132,286, of which one half was to be repaid within ten years, and the rest was a free grant.

The Ministry of Addington was felt to be utterly inadequate to the difficulties of the times. The country felt that Pitt or Fox must soon be called to the helm. Addington had shown a desire to strengthen his administration by bringing into it George Tierney, whom he had appointed Treasurer of the Navy and a Privy Councillor. Pitt, who had an intense dislike to Tierneywith whom he had, in 1798, fought a duelshowed increasing determination, from the introduction of Tierney to the Cabinet, to oppose the Ministry of Addington with all his vigour. An opportunity was given him on the 27th of February. The Hon. Sir Charles Yorke, the Secretary-at-War, had introduced a Bill for consolidating all the existing laws respecting the volunteers. In the debate on the second reading of this Bill on this day, a question was incidentally introduced by Sir Robert Lawley as to the exact state of the king's health, which, he said, concerned the safety of the country as much as the affairs of the volunteers. Fox followed up this idea, and demanded more perfect information on this subject from Ministers. He declared that the House had no information on this important subject, and he asked whether the Chancellor of the Exchequer really had any. He supported the motion for an adjournment which Sir Robert Lawley had made, in order that the House might be put in possession of the truth. Fox made it felt that he was looking forward to the fact of a regency. Addington, on this, declared that there was no necessity for any serious measures, that he was persuaded that the king's indisposition would be of short duration. Pitt made some strong observations on the conduct[495] of Ministers in keeping Parliament in the dark on this head, though he opposed the adjournment.

FREE TRADE HALL, MANCHESTER. (From a Photograph by Frith and Co., Reigate.)

The sum of twenty millions was divided into nineteen shares, one for each of the colonies, proportioned to the number of its registered slaves, taken in connection with the market price of slaves in that colony, on an average of eight years, ending with 1830. But no money was payable in any colony until it should have been declared by an Order in Council that satisfactory provision had been made by law in such colony for giving effect to the Emancipation Act. Two of them were so perverse as to decline for several years to qualify for the reception of the money; but others acted in a different spirit. Believing that the system of apprenticeship was impolitic, they declined to take advantage of it, and manumitted their slaves at once. Antigua was the first to adopt this wise course. Its slaves were all promptly emancipated, and their conduct fully justified the policy; for on Christmas Day, 1834, for the first time during thirty years, martial law was not proclaimed in that island. Thus, the effect of liberty was peace, quietness, and confidence. Bermuda followed this good example, as did also the smaller islands, and afterwards the large island of Barbadoes; and their emancipation was hailed by the negroes with religious services, followed by festive gatherings. Jamaica, and some other islands, endeavoured to thwart the operation of the new law, as far as possible, and took every advantage in making the apprentices miserable, and wreaking upon them their spite and malice. They met with harsher treatment than ever, being in many instances either savagely ill-used or inhumanly neglected. Considering their provocations, it was generally admitted that they behaved on the whole very well, enduring with patience and resignation the afflictions which they knew must come to an end in a few years. The total number of slaves converted into apprentices on the 1st of August, 1834, was 800,000. The apprenticeship did not last beyond the shorter time prescribed, and on the 1st of August, 1838, there was not a slave in existence under the British Crown, save only in the island of Mauritius, which was soon required by instructions from the Home Government to carry the Act into effect.

But a very different spirit displayed itself in America on the arrival of the news of the passing of the Act. Franklin's friend, Thompson, replied to him, that, instead of lighting candles, there would be works of darkness. The rage of the American public burst forth in unequivocal vigour. At New York, the odious Stamp Act was represented surmounted with a death's head instead of the royal arms, and was hawked through the streets with the title of "the folly of England and the ruin of America." At Boston the colours of the shipping were lowered half-mast high, and the bells of the city were muffled and tolled funeral knells. Everywhere there was a frenzied excitement, and the provincial Assemblies resounded with the clamour of indignant patriotism. It was the fortune of that of Virginia to give the leading idea of union and co-operative resistance, which led to the grand conflict, and to eventual victory over the infatuated mother country. There Patrick Henry, a very different man to Franklin, started up, and kindled by his fiery breath the torch of confederate resistance. But it was at once seen that, to acquire their full weight, the colonies must unite. Speeches, pamphlets, articles in newspapers, all called for co-operation. A print was published exhibiting a snake cut into a number of pieces, each piece inscribed with the name of a colony, and with the motto, "Join or die." In consequence, several of the states sent representatives to a general congress, to be held at New York in the month of October, to take measures for a general resistance to the Stamp Act.

DR. JOHNSON VIEWING THE SCENE OF SOME OF THE "NO POPERY" RIOTS. (See p. 268.)

During the summer a French squadron stretched away across the Atlantic with six sail of the line, and finding our Newfoundland coasts almost wholly unprotected, destroyed and plundered the fishermen's huts and fishing stages, as well as their vessels, and then, returning, picked up a considerable number of our merchantmen at sea, and was lucky enough to make a retreat, by favour of a fog, through our watching squadrons, into Brest. After this clever exploit, they joined the great Brest fleet, which sailed for Ireland on the 15th of December. This consisted of no fewer than forty-three sail, seventeen of them of the line, four frigates, six corvettes and brigs, with six transports. On board the transports were twenty-five thousand men, who had been well tried in the war of La Vende, and abundance of arms and ammunition, as well as extra arms to put into the hands of the disaffected Irish, for to Ireland the armament was bound. General Hoche, who had terminated the Vendan war, was appointed to terminate all the woes of Ireland, and convert that sacred island into another French paradise. Besides Hoche, Generals Grouchy, Hombert, and Bruix were attached to the expedition. The fleet sailed out and anchored in Camaret Bay, but no British fleet was visible to intercept them. But no sooner did the armament put out to sea again the next day, than it was assailed by a tempest and the ships were driven different ways. One of them was forced immediately on the Grand Stenet rock, and wreckedout of one thousand four hundred souls on board only sixty were rescued. Seven ships of the line, and ten of the vessels commanded by Rear-Admiral Bouvet, managed to reach Bantry Bay on the 24th of December, but there the storms continued to batter them. There being no sign of an insurrection, and no other part of the fleet appearing, they sailed back and reached Brest on the 1st of January, 1797. When they were gone, another portion of the fleet arrived in Bantry Bay, but only to be tossed and driven about without rest, to lose several of the ships, and to put back again. As for Hoche, he never saw Ireland; the greater part of the fleet being driven about and swamped in the Channel. Of the forty-three sail, only thirty-one returned, and thousands of the soldiers were drowned in the foundering transports. Sir Edward Pellew, in the Indefatigable, of forty-four guns, and Captain Reynolds, in the Amazon, of thirty-six guns, fell in with the Droits de l'Homme, of seventy-four guns, and after a severe fight close in Audierne Bay, south of Ushant, left her a wreck aground, where, of the one thousand eight hundred men aboard, scarcely more than three hundred were saved, notwithstanding the greatest exertions of the British seamen to rescue them.

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