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and in coals. From 1750 to 18 16, the tin obtained
annually from the mines of Cornwall, was in the

* History of the Cotton Manufacture in Great Britain, by E. Baines.
Memoirs of the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society, vol. iii.
Dr. Ure's Philosophy of Manufactures. M'Culloch's Statistical Account,
part iii. c. iv. Porter's Progress of the Nation, sec. ii. c. ii. On the river
Derwent near Derby, Sir Thomas Lombe ' erected those mills which work
the three capital Italian engines for making organzine or thrown-silk, which
was purchased fonnerly by the English merchants with ready money in
Italy; and in the session of parliament held in the year 1732, an act
passed for granting to his majesty the sum of 14,000?. to be paid to Sir
Thomas Lombe, as a reward for his eminent service, in discovering and in-
troducing the arts of making and working the said three caj^ital Italian
engines, and preserving the invention for the benefit of the kingdom, and a
further term of fourteen years was granted him for the sole privilege of
making and working the said engines. By this invention, one hand will
twist as much silk as about fifty could before, and it is done much truer
and better than by any other way. The engine contains 26,586 wheels,
and 97,746 movements, which works 73,726 yards of silk thread every
time the waterwheel goes round, which is thrice in one minute, and
318,504,960 yards in one day and night. One waterwheel gives motion to
all the rest of the wheels and movements,* — Chamberlayne'a Present State
of Great Britain, p. 9.


averaere between two and three thousand tons. Sub- book xv,
sequently it began to exceed four thousand. The ^"^^''' ^ -
ishmd of Banca, restored to the Dutch on our peace
Avith France, became from that time a formidable rival
to Cornwall in the supply of that article. The produce
from the Cornwall copper mines became somewhat
more than double during the last half century. In
1 844 it amounted to between eleven and twelve thou-
sand tons. But our mineral wealth consists mainly in
our iron and in our coals. Without the assistance of
coal, the ores of the country must all have been
worked by slow, costly, and imperfect processes, and
the iron especially, with which we have supplied both
ourselves and the world so lavishly, could never have
been at our disposal. The quantity of iron made in
England in 1740 was a little more than seventeen
thousand tons. The tons made in 1840 — an exact
century later — were estimated at a million and a half.
Tiiis progress was realized by unequal steps. The
17,350 tons produced in 1740, came from fifty-nine
furnaces, in which only charcoal was used. Between
that time and 1788 the smelting of iron-ore by the
use of coke was introduced ; and in the latter year
there were in England, Wales, and Scotland eighty-
five furnaces, producing annually 68,000 tons, of
which quantity 52,200, were smelted with coke. In
1796 there were in England, Wales, and Scotland 121
furnaces producing 124,879 tons of iron; in 1806 it
had advanced to nearly 260,000. In 1825 the make
was nearly 600,000 tons ; in 1 840 it amounted to
1,300,000 tons; in 1854 to 2,700,000 tons; at this
time it cannot be much below 4,000,000.* In the
average, the smelting of one ton of iron consumes six
tons of coals — a fact wdiich suggests much as to the
value of coals in this branch of industry. The gold
and silver of South America made the Spaniards rich
Avithout labour, and so conduced to the fall of the

Qiutrterhj Bevieiv, No. 217, p. 117.


BOOK XV. Spanish greatness. The less-coveted metals found in
Chap^. j^ngland have made Englishmen rich by means of
labom' ; and have served to show how the corrupting
tendencies of wealth may be neutraHzed by the healthy
tendencies of industry,
Birming. The workiug up of these metals in various articles
.sHfieid for use or ornament — as in Birmingham and Sheffield
trade, — and the application of them to all new kinds of
machinery, to new weapons of war, to locomotives and
to railroads, have opened to the industry and skill of
our countrymen fields of employment almost without
limit. Every new form of industry comes as new life
to the old. It may supersede what is superannuated ;
but it not only fills the void it creates, it does much
more. In the commencement of this century the
population of Birmingham was little more than seventy
thousand. In little more than fifty years it has become
nearly three hundred thousand ; and the growth of its
manufactures has greatly exceeded this growth in popu-
lation. This last result must be attributed in part to
the greater skill which has been introduced into nearly
all artizan operations. By this means, the same goods
can be produced at an average of fifty per cent, less in
cost. What we say of Birmingham may be said in
great part of Sheffield, The export trade of these
towns has always been very large.*
Badness of Tliis growtli of trade, both foreign and domestic,
^°^'^^' was greatly facilitated by the improvement of roads,
and by new means of transit both for persons and
property. At present England takes precedence of
all other countries in the number and excellence of its
roads. But a hundred years since no such praise
could have been bestowed upon us. In 1690, a bar-
rister, afterwards chancellor Cowper, complains of the
roads in Sussex as so bad, as to be to a large extent
impassable during the greater part of the year. The
tracks which should have been roads are described as

Porter's Progress

Online LibraryRobert VaughanRevolutions in English history (Volume 3) → online text (page 55 of 60)