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theorists was terminated by a vessel crossing the Atlantic under steam power only. This was accomplished for the first time in April 1838, by the English steamship Sirius,' whereby the voyage was shortened by fully one half of its previous average duration. By this time lines of steamships had been established between London and Edinburgh, and elsewhere along our own coasts. As frequently happens in such cases, this new kind of locomotion was regarded in some quarters with considerable prejudice, and to a lively fancy its possibilities of danger were readily obvious. When Charles Dickens made his first visit to America in 1842-in the Britannia,' carrying eighty-six passengers, and which made the voyage from Liverpool to Boston in seventeen days --he was by no means satisfied with the venture. Writing to his friend Forster in London, Dickens declares his intention 'to return in a packet ship, not in a steamer!' And he adds

'Were I to tell you all that I observed in our voyage out on board the "Britannia," you would not wonder at my determination never to trust myself on the wide ocean in a steamer again. Consider, for instance, two of the dangers. First, that if the funnel were to be blown overboard the vessel must instantly be on fire from stem to stern-to comprehend which you have only to understand that the funnel is more than forty feet high, and that at night you see the solid fire two or three feet above its top. Secondly, each of these boats consumes, between London and Halifax, seven hundred tons of coal; and it is pretty clear, from this enormous difference of weight in a ship of only twelve hundred tons burden, that she must either be too heavy when she comes out of port or too light when she goes in. Add to all this that by day and by night she is full of fire and of people, that she has no boats, and that the struggling of that enormous machinery in a heavy sea seems as though it would rend her in fragments.'

The beginning of railways may be dated from the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, September 15, 1830, a ceremony which was attended by many political and scientific celebrities, and which was saddened by the fatal accident which befell Mr. Huskisson, one of the most eminent statesmen of the time. But a full dozen years had to elapse ere this new locomotive agency seized upon the mind and imagination of the public. The years 1842-46 were a peculiar period in very various aspects. It was an epoch of intellectual ferment, in which new ideas and sentiments were combined, or arose in conjunction, with an enthusiasm of hopefulness born of a sudden return of prosperity after a long winter of discontent.' The fervour was felt in religion and in art, as well as in the domain of practical science. The Oxford movement' and the Tracts

for which service, indeed, they were chiefly designed; and the happy effects of their commercial operation are to be seen in the remarkable extension of trade and production which had its beginning at the middle of the present century. Moreover, these effects of improved conveyance and communication have much to do with the present depression of prices, just as previously they tended to check the depreciation of the precious metals. These influences, therefore, are obviously of no small importance at the present time, and their operation will be duly considered in the sequel, in connexion with the position and prospects alike of our commercial and of our monetary affairs.

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In our own country-which took the lead of the world in this matter the first epoch of improvement in the means of conveyance was marked by the Canal Mania' of the last century, now wellnigh forgotten, but which rendered, and in its effects still renders, great service by cheapening the conveyance of heavy and bulky goods. Nor let us forget how early the great modern work of cutting through isthmuses and connecting adjoining seas by navigable canals was begun in Scotland-by the Caledonian Canal; by the Forth and Clyde Canal, uniting the German Ocean with the Atlantic; and in later times by the Crinan Canal, so familiar to tourists. But it is with the fifth decade of the present century that the great revolution in locomotive agencies fairly began. During the previous twenty years (1820-40), the powers of the steam engine had been proved applicable alike to ships and to railways, to the work of traction or propulsion both by sea and land. So early as 1802 Symington's steamboat was successfully employed on the Forth and Clyde Canal; a steam-packet first plied for hire on the Thames in 1814; and the steam engine was first employed for traction on tramways on the short mineral line now known as the Stockton and Darlington Railway.

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Of these two greatest of the new agencies of locomotion, steam navigation at first took the lead. In the year 1819 the Savannah,' an American sailing ship fitted with steam enginery, crossed the Atlantic, arriving at Liverpool after a voyage of twenty-three days, during sixteen of which she was propelled by steam. So strange was her appearance in those days that when first seen off the Irish coast, at Cape Clear, the Savannah' was mistaken for a ship on fire; and the admiral in command of the British squadron lying in Queenstown harbour sent out a vessel to her relief. But it was not until nearly twenty years later that the scepticism of scientific

theorists was terminated by a vessel crossing the Atlantic under steam power only. This was accomplished for the first time in April 1838, by the English steamship Sirius,' whereby the voyage was shortened by fully one half of its previous average duration. By this time lines of steamships had been established between London and Edinburgh, and elsewhere along our own coasts. As frequently happens in such cases, this new kind of locomotion was regarded in some quarters with considerable prejudice, and to a lively fancy its possibilities of danger were readily obvious. When Charles Dickens made his first visit to America in 1842-in the Britannia,' carrying eighty-six passengers, and which made the voyage from Liverpool to Boston in seventeen days -he was by no means satisfied with the venture. Writing to his friend Forster in London, Dickens declares his intention "to return in a packet ship, not in a steamer!' And he adds

'Were I to tell you all that I observed in our voyage out on board the "Britannia," you would not wonder at my determination never to trust myself on the wide ocean in a steamer again. Consider, for instance, two of the dangers. First, that if the funnel were to be blown overboard the vessel must instantly be on fire from stem to stern-to comprehend which you have only to understand that the funnel is more than forty feet high, and that at night you see the solid fire two or three feet above its top. Secondly, each of these boats consumes, between London and Halifax, seven hundred tons of coal; and it is pretty clear, from this enormous difference of weight in a ship of only twelve hundred tons burden, that she must either be too heavy when she comes out of port or too light when she goes in. Add to all this that by day and by night she is full of fire and of people, that she has no boats, and that the struggling of that enormous machinery in a heavy sea seems as though it would rend her in fragments.'

The beginning of railways may be dated from the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, September 15, 1830, a ceremony which was attended by many political and scientific celebrities, and which was saddened by the fatal accident which befell Mr. Huskisson, one of the most eminent statesmen of the time. But a full dozen years had to elapse ere this new locomotive agency seized upon the mind and imagination of the public. The years 1842-46 were a peculiar period in very various aspects. It was an epoch of intellectual ferment, in which new ideas and sentiments were combined, or arose in conjunction, with an enthusiasm of hopefulness born of a sudden return of prosperity after a long winter of discontent.' The fervour was felt in religion and in art, as well as in the domain of practical science. The Oxford movement' and the Tracts

‹ for the Times' in England had their counterpart in the Free Church and Headship of Christ' movement in Presbyterian Scotland—an idealising and illusive fervour which arose in antagonism to the moderatism or somnolence in religious matters which had long been prevalent. In fine art there was an analogous awakening or revival, which by and by produced the pre-Raphaelite school of painting; and in the sterner domain of politics, the Chartism of the masses and the growing antagonism of the lower to the middle and upper classes, bred of the general suffering of the time, was begetting a reaction against the too rigid application of the political economy which had recently become the creed and foundation of our industrial system-a reaction which showed itself weakly, yet with generous spirit, in the short-lived 'young England' party, and in some of Mr. Disraeli's novels. It was amidst this general fervour that engineering science notably began its long series of triumphs. And the first two great achievements of this kind made a profound impression upon the popular mind, and aroused a contagious enthusiasm. The Thames Tunnel and the building of the "Great Eastern' steamship were the talk of the time. In neither case did the usefulness and profit of these works correspond with the engineering genius of which they were an outcome. Both the tunnel and the gigantic iron steamship were, in the ordinary acceptation of words, great failures. But they were eminently fitted to touch the popular imagination. That so gigantic a vessel could be constructed entirely-and, so far as floatage was concerned, most successfully-of iron, was at that time a marvel; and the Great Eastern' proved singularly effective as an inaugural force to the subsequent revolution in shipbuilding, whereby iron has so largely supplanted wood, with an important increase in the speed and economy of navigation.

The rapid outburst and remarkable developement of engineering science which then occurred, and which has since rendered incalculable service to trade and to the general condition of civilised mankind, was largely promoted, and doubtless was in some degree originated, by a sudden and happy change in the national fortunes which synchronised with, yet which was wholly independent of, the accession to office of Sir R. Peel, and to which his memorable administration at the outset owed its popularity. The five bad harvest years which began with 1837 came to an end with the fine season of 1842-the long, long summer' of which year (only equalled since then by 1868) still lives in the memory

of sexagenarians like some bright dream of youth! Under a succession of fine harvests our islands (for the last time) became virtually self-supporting,-the imports of wheat in the year 1845 amounting in value to only 313,000l., proportionately lessening the export of the precious metals in payment. Still more important was the change in the production and supply of the precious metals. The yield of the Russian gold mines, especially, which amounted to 900,000l. in 1837, had increased to twice that sum in 1842, and became quadrupled in 1846, when it amounted to 3,410,000l.; the Mexican and South American mines also at this time appear to have become somewhat more productive, owing to the re-establishment of settled government; while under the treaty of Nanking in 1841 twenty-one million dollars in silver became payable to our Government by China, in three annual instalments. Under this fortunate inflow of specie the bullion in the Bank of England rose to double its average amount in the ten previous years. In September, 1844, the Bank's stock of coin and bullion amounted to 15,210,000l., and in August, 1846, to 16,360,000l.; averaging during these two years 16,000,000l.; while the Bank rate for the first time was reduced to 2 per cent. in September, 1844, and thereafter stood on the average at 3 per cent. until January 14, 1847. And this increase in the Bank's reserve was purely due to an augmented supply of gold, not to any decrease in the demand for loanable capital; for simultaneously the commercial paper under discount at the Bank nearly doubled, rising from 7 millions in the autumn of 1844 to 13 millions in 1845.

Such were the circumstances under which our Railway Mania took place. During the previous ten years, bills for the construction of railway lines had been submitted to Parliament in augmenting numbers, rising from fourteen in 1834 to forty-two in 1837. Railway making had also been. begun on the Continent, and in Germany and Austria fifteen lines were in existence in 1844, including a continuous railway route from Hamburg to Trieste. Not unnaturally, the general fervour and spirit of industrial enterprise in England rushed impetuously into this new channel. In the three years 1845-7, railway Acts were passed authorising an expenditure of 230 millions sterling, and before 1850 no less. than 1,100 Acts were passed for the construction of new lines or for the extension of old ones. This memorable mania. inflicted severe and widespread suffering upon the shareholders in the new companies, many of whom found them

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