《奠基》第6集:圆梦

In the East Indies France agreed to keep no troops, and raise no fortifications in Bengal, and on these conditions their settlements were restored, but merely as places of trade. Goree, on the coast of Africa, was restored, but Senegal was surrendered.

ON BOARD AN EMIGRANT SHIP AT THE TIME OF THE IRISH FAMINE. (See p. 542.)

Ten years passed away from the adoption of Mr. Canning's resolution, and little or nothing was effectually done to mitigate the system, not-withstanding various subsequent recommendations of the British Government. The consolidated slave law for the Crown colonies contained in an Order in Council issued in 1830, was proposed for the chartered colonies as a model for their adoption; but it contained no provision for the education or religious instruction of the slaves. All the chartered colonies, except two, Grenada and Tobago, had legalised Sunday markets, and they allowed no other time to the negroes for marketing or cultivating their provision grounds. The evidence of slaves had been made admissible; but in most of the colonies the right was so restricted as to make it entirely useless. Except in the Crown colonies, the marriage of slaves was subject to all sorts of vexatious impediments. The provision against the separation of families was found everywhere inoperative. The right of acquiring property was so limited as to prove a mockery and a delusion. The Order in Council gave the slaves the right of redeeming themselves and their families, even against the will of their owners; but all the chartered colonies peremptorily refused any such right of self-liberation. In nearly all the colonies the master had a right by law to inflict thirty-nine lashes at one time, on any slave of any age, or of either sex, for any offence whatever, or for no offence. He could also imprison his victims in the stocks of the workhouse as long as he pleased. There was no return of punishments inflicted, and no proper record. An Order in Council had forbidden the flogging of females; but in all the chartered colonies the infamous practice had been continued in defiance of the supreme Government. The administration of justiceif the term be applicable to a system whose very essence was iniquitywas left to pursue its own course, without any effort[367] for its purification. In July, 1830, Mr. Brougham brought forward his motion, that the House should resolve, at the earliest possible period in next Session, to take into consideration the state of the West Indian colonies, in order to the mitigation and final abolition of slavery, and more especially in order to the amendment of the administration of justice. But the national mind was then so preoccupied with home subjects of agitation that the House was but thinly attended, and the motion was lost by a large majority. The Reform movement absorbed public interest for the two following years, so that nothing was done to mitigate the hard lot of the suffering negro till the question was taken up by Mr. Stanley, in 1833, in compliance with the repeated and earnest entreaties of the friends of emancipation. The abolitionists, of course, had always insisted upon immediate, unconditional emancipation. But the Ministerial plan contained two provisions altogether at variance with their views; a term of apprenticeship, which, in the first draft of the measure, was to last twelve years, and compensation to the ownersa proposition which, though advanced with hesitation, ultimately assumed the enormous amount of twenty millions sterling. On the principle of compensation there was a general agreement, because it was the State that had created the slave property, had legalised it, and imposed upon the present owners all their liabilities. It was therefore thought to be unjust to ruin them by what would be regarded as a breach of faith on the part of the legislature. The same excuse could not be made for the system of protracted apprenticeship, which would be a continuance of slavery under another name. If the price were to be paid for emancipation, the value should be received at once. This was the feeling of Lord Howick, who was then Under-Secretary for the Colonies, and who resigned his office rather than be a party to the apprenticeship scheme, which he vigorously opposed in the House, as did also Mr. Buxton and Mr. O'Connell. But the principle was carried against them by an overwhelming majority. Among the most prominent and efficient advocates of the negroes during the debates were Mr. Buckingham, Dr. Lushington, Admiral Flemming, and Mr. T. B. Macaulay. The opposition to the Government resolution was not violent; it was led by Sir Robert Peel, whose most strenuous supporters were Sir Richard Vivian, Mr. Godson, Mr. W. E. Gladstone, and Mr. Hume. In the House of Lords the resolutions were accepted without a division, being supported by the Earl of Ripon, Lord Suffield, Earl Grey, and the Lord Chancellor Brougham. The speakers on the other side were the Duke of Wellington, the Earl of Harewood, Lord Ellenborough, and Lord Wynford. The earliest idea of a steam-engine was that given by the Marquis of Worcester, in his "Century of Inventions," in 1663, which idea he obtained from De Caus, and reduced to action in London. The next step was to Papin's Digester, and then to Savery's so-called "Atmospheric Engine." This, improved by Newcomen in 1711,[195] was introduced to drain mines in all parts of the kingdom, but especially in the coal-mines of the north and midland counties, and the copper mines of Cornwall. By its means many mines long disused through the accumulation of water were drained and made workable, and others were sunk much deeper. Smeaton, in 1769, greatly improved this engine, which, from its rapid working of a horizontal beam, was called by the miners a "Whimsey," as having a whimsical look. Watt, then a student in the University of Glasgow, commenced a series of experiments upon it, which, between 1759 and 1782, raised the engine to a pitch of perfection which made it applicable not only to draining water out of mines, but, by the discovery of the rotatory motion, enabled it to propel any kind of machinery, spin cotton, grind in mills of all kinds, and propel ships and carriages. Watt was greatly aided in his efforts by Mr. Matthew Boulton, and their engines were manufactured at Soho Works, near Birmingham. They did not, however, enjoy the fruits of their patents for protecting their inventions without many most unprincipled attempts to invade their rights by masters of mines and others, by which they were involved in very harassing law-suits. The first application of the steam-engine to the machinery of a cotton-mill was at Papplewick, in Nottinghamshire, in 1785, and the first mill built for the employment of machinery driven by an engine was in Manchester, in 1789. The first application of the engine to propel a vessel was at Dalswinton, on the Clyde, in 1788, the boat being constructed by Patrick Miller, James Taylor, and William Symington. In the following year these inventors made a second experiment on the Forth and Clyde Canal at the Carron Works, with perfect success, the vessel going at the rate of nearly seven miles an hour. Symington was probably the real machinist in this firm, and in 1802 he made a tug-boat on the Forth and Clyde Canal, under the patronage of Lord Dundas, which was worked extremely well by its engine. In 1807 Fulton followed up these experiments by launching a steam-boat on the Hudson, in America, after having in vain solicited the patronage of the British and French Governments for his enterprise. The proposal of Fulton, submitted to the Academy of Paris, was received with a burst of laughter, and Napoleon abandoned the project in deep disgust at having been, as he supposed, made a dupe of by Fulton. We have pointed out on the preceding page the period of the first application of the steam-engine to railways. ST. GEORGE'S CATHEDRAL, SOUTHWARK.

NAPOLEON AND HIS SUITE AT BOULOGNE. (See p. 490.)

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.

It was seldom that his name was missed from the leaders of Conservative journals, and he was the great object of attack at the meetings of the Brunswick Clubs, which were called into existence to resist the Catholic Association. But of all his assailants, none dealt him more terrible blows than the venerable Henry Grattan, the hero of 1782. "Examine their leader," he exclaimed, "Mr. O'Connell. He assumes a right to direct the Catholics of Ireland. He advises, he harangues, and he excites; he does not attempt to allay the passions of a warm and jealous people. Full of inflammatory matter, his declamations breathe everything but harmony; venting against Great Britain the most disgusting calumny, falsehood, and treachery, equalled only by his impudence, describing her as the most stupid, the most dishonest nation that ever existed. A man that could make the speeches he has made, utter the sentiments he has uttered, abuse the characters he has abused, praise the characters he has praised, violate the promises he has violated, propose such votes and such censures as he has proposed, can have little regard for private honour or for public character; he cannot comprehend the spirit of liberty, and he is unfitted to receive it."

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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.

Regardless of all advice, Buonaparte hastened to precipitate matters with Russia. He seized and confiscated fifty Swedish merchantmen, and further to express his determination to punish Bernadotte for his refusal to be his slavehe boasted before his courtiers that he would have him seized in Sweden, and brought to the castle of Vincennes, and he is said to have planned doing itin January of this year he ordered Davoust to enter Swedish Pomerania and take possession of it. Buonaparte followed up this act of war by marching vast bodies of troops northwards, overrunning Prussia, Pomerania, and the Duchy of Warsaw with them. They were now on the very frontiers of Russia, and Alexander was in the utmost terror. He saw already four hundred thousand men ready to burst into his dominions, and as many more following. He had only one hundred and forty thousand to oppose them; he had no generals of mark or experience; confusion reigned everywhere. In the utmost consternation he demanded an interview with Bernadotte, now the sole hope of Europe, at Abo; and Bernadotte, who had his objects to gain, took his time. When the Russian Ambassador, in great trepidation, said to him that the Emperor waited for him, he rose, laid his hand on his sword, and said, theatrically, "The Emperor waits! Good! He who knows how to win battles may regard himself as the equal of kings!"