Page images
PDF

trict, and into which the scattered merchandize is nptin rollectod, when finished, to be wot to Hull. Liverpool -nnd London, and thence nil over the world. The spinning, weaving, nnd various other operations connected with the manufacture, are performed by machinery, nnd nearly the whole of these mnrhint-s are now set in motion by the steam engine. The erection nnd keeping up of this various and complicated machinery has given rise to great iron fnunderies, and numerous other subordinate establishments. The principal cause which has rendered Manchester so great an emporium of manufactures is its natural situation in the midst of inexhaustible fields of coal, and on the banks ofa navigable river, by means of which, and of the various canals connected with it, an uninterrupted water communication i» maintained with the Western and eatern coasts of the island, and all parts of the interior. The population, within the la«t fifU years, has rapidly increased. In 1757 it was 19,800; in 1811, 98,000 and at present is estimated at more than 110,000. The public buildings, houses, literary and charitable institutions, kz. are in a style corresponding with the opulence of the inhabitants

Leeds, the principal scat of the woollen trade, is on the north bnnk of the river Aire, which is navigable from the I lumber up to the town, whence the Leeds and Liverpool canal proceeds on the other hand to the west. It has thus an easy communication with the great depots on the oppo-ite shores of the kingdom, and being amply supplied with coal from the neighboring mines, it is admirably situated for a manufacturing town. The most remarkable buildings in Leeds are the two cloth halls, where all the gTeat sales of woollen cloth take place. The largest, where the dved cloths are sold, is 382 feet long and lflO broad, and is divided into six departments, resembling covered streets, each containing; two row» of stands. The whole number of stands is 1800. The markets are held on Tuesdays ami Saturdays, and merchants are not permitted to buy or even look at the cloth at any other time. The market opens with the rintring of a bell: in a few minutes the hall is filled with merchants; each manufacturer appears behind his own stand, and the sales immediately begin. At the end of an hour and 20 minutes the bell again strikes and terminates all the proceedings. Yet in this short space sales are often made to the amount of £20.000. The white cloth hall opens when the other shuts, and is under similar regulations The first stages of the manufacture of woollen cloth arc carried on in the towns and villages of the surrounding district, where the wool goes through the operations of spinning.wcaving and fulling. From nil these scattered establishments the cloth is sent in its rough state to the cloth halls of Lced«, and the Leeds merchant completes the unfinished manufacture. The population of the town in 1811 was 02,534.

Birmingham, situated 07 miles N. of Bristol, and 109 N. N. W. of London, has been long distinguished as one of the first cities in the world for the variety and importance of its manufactures. It bat been especially famous for metallic articles, particularly those of iron. Here are manufactured steam engines, and other heavy iron machinery, muskets, and all sorts of tire-arm*, locks, hinges, hultons, pins,screws, buckles, watch chains, vast quantities of toys, &c. Here also" is a coining mill which is capable of striking between 30,000 and 40,000 pieces of money in an hour. In the various operations connected with these manufactures, every complicated and ingenious contrivance is employed from the most ponderous machines, such as steam engines, down to those framed for the most nice and minute accuracy. The prosperity of Birmingham has been greatly promoted by various caoals, which connect it with the coast and with all parts of the interior. The population is 85.753. . .

Sheffield, which has also been long noted for its hardware manufactures, is situated 36 miles S. of Leeds, in a district abounding in coal, on the river Don, which opens a navigable communication to "the Aire and the I lumber. Its manufactures consist of two principal divisions, viz. cutler's goods and plated goods. To the first division belong edge-tools, dies, knives of all kinds, razors, snuffers, scissars, saws, scythes, &c. Plated goods comprise an endless variety of articles, such as tea-urns, coffee-pots, cups, candlesticks, tankards, &c. The manufacture of plated goods is confined to the town of Sheffield, but that of cutler's goods extends to all the villages and hamlets far seven miles around. The population of the town in 1811 was 35,840.

. Bath, celebrated for its medicinal springs, is beautifully situated on the Avon, 12 miles above Bristol. It is a famous resort of invalids and votaries of pleasure*. The houses are of very beautiful construction, being built of freestone, and Bath has long been considered as one of the most elegant cities in Europe. The population is 38.434.

Newcastle is on the north bank of the Tyne, 10 miles from its mouth, in the midst of the greatest coal district in the world. From this magazine the whole of the eastern and most of the southern coast of the island, together with the opposite coast ef France, Netherlands and Germany, have for centuries been supplied. The principal collieries are along the Tyne, both above and below the town, and the amount of coal annually exported is more than 1,500,000 tons. This trade is an excellent nursery for seamen. The shipping belonging to the port measures 184,149 tons, and employs 8,732 men. The populaton of Newcastle in 1811 was 35,711.

The other remarkable towns on the coast are, Falmouth, near the S. W. extremity of the island, whence packets sail regularly to Spain, the West-Indies, and other pans of the world; Brighton or Briglitelmstone, one of the most fashionable places ol resort in the kingdom, particularly for sea-bathing; Dover, on the strait of the same name, the principal place of embarkation for France; Rainsgate, a little further on, farnous for its excellent artificial harbor, built at an expense of £600,000; Haneich, on the eastern coast, the port from which the packets sail regularly for Holland and Germany; Yarmouth, a little further north, famous for the herring fishery; Berwick, on the north side of the Tweed, half a mile from its mouth, famous for the salmon fishery; Holyhead, in Wales, at the N. W. point of the island of Anglesea, whence the packets sail regularly for Dublin; and Milford Haven, at the S. W. extremity of Wales, famous for its fine harbor, and the station of the packets for Waterford in Ireland. * The principal towns in the interior, not already described, are York, on the Ouse, the second town in rank in the kingdom; Notsingham on the Trent, and Leicester on the Soar, a branch of the Trent, both famous for the stocking manfacture; Norwich on the Wensom, 22 miles west of Yarmouth, containing 37,000 inhabitants, and noted for its trade and extensive manufactures; Coventry, near the centre of the kingdom, 18 miles S. E. of Birmingham, famous for the manufacture of ribbons and watches; Oxford, on the Thames, 80 miles west of London, celebrated for its university, and the magnificence of its public buildings; Cambridge, 51 miles N. of London, the seat of another famous university; and Windsor, on the Thames, 22 miles W. of London, the favorite country residence of the British kings. - Canals.] The river Trent is navigable to the centre of the kingdom, and it is there connected by canals with the Mersey, the Severn and the Thames. An inland water communication is thus opened between the four great ports of the kingdom. London is connected with Liverpool, and Bristol with Hull There is besides a canal from the Severn to the Thames, connecting Bristol more directly with London, and another from the Severn to the Mersey connecting Bristol directly with Liverpool. The canal from Manchester to Leeds completes the water communication across the island from Liverpool to Hull. Besides these there are other canals too numerous to be mentioned. Several years since there were more than 250, intersecting the island in every direction, and imparting life and activity to commerce and manufactures. .Minerals.] The tin mines in Cornwall, at the S. W. extremity of the kingdom, are supposed to be the richest in the world. Copper is also produced in abundance in Cornwall, the adjoining county of Devonshire, and some other parts of England, but most abundantly in the N. W. part of the island of Anglesea. Lead and iron are found in various places, both in the north and south. The coal mines, the source of so much wealth and power to Great Britain, are found in the central and western parts, but particularly in the northern, around Newcastle. Mines of rock salt are found near Liverpool which produce more than 150,000 tons annually. Government.] The islands of Great Britain and Ireland constitute one kingdom, styled the United kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The constitution is a hereditary monarchy, in which the power of the sovereign is controled by the influence of the aristocracy in the house of the peers, and by that of the people in the hoise of commons. The house of peers consists of all the nobility of England, 16 peers from Scotland, who are the repre•entatives of the peerage of that country, and 28 from Ireland, as

*he representatives of the Irish peerage. The house of commons consists of Goo members, viz. 513 representatives from England and Wales, 45 from Scotland, ami 100 from Ireland. These are elected by the people in the counties, cities ;ind boroughs. The king, lords ami commons constitute the legislature, and their joint consent is necessary to the passing of every law. The king ha* the sole power of convoking, proroguing, or ilis*olving the legislature. The same parliament, if not previously dissolved, continues for the term of seven years, after which the constitution requires that a new election shall take place. The executive power resides wholly in the crown, and all honors and offices of the state are dispensed by the sovereign. The conduct of every officer, however, whether civil or military, is subject to the investigation of parliament, which may address the crown for the removal of any of its servants, in which case a compliance with its wishes immediately follows.

Judicature.] Justice, both civil and criminal, is administered by judges appointed by the crown, but who hold their offices independent of it. The decisions of the judges in the various conrts have long been famed for their strict impartiality- The trial by jury is an admirable feature of English jurisprudence, and is justly considered as one of the safeguards of liberty and property. The criminal law is censured as sanguinary, and it is certain that of the numerous persons condemned to death for petty crimes, by far the greater part are respited by the humanity of the judges, and generally suffer the mitigated sentence of transportation.

Population.] The population of the United kingdom, in 1811, was about 17,000,000, divided as in the following table: England, 9,538,827

Wales, 611,788

Scotland, t-,805,688

Army, Navy, fcc, 640,500

Total in Great Britain, 12,596,803

Ireland supposed, 4,600,000

Total m the United kingdom, 17,096,803

Nearly one half of the population are engaged in trade and manufactures, and about one third in agriculture.

Paupers.] The number of persons who received relief from the poor rates in 18)5, in Englaod and Wales, was more than 1,000,000, or one tenth of the whole population. The taxea for the support of the poor amounted in that year to nearly £8,000,000, while in Scotland they were only a tew thousand* pounds. In the latter country there arc no poor rales, assessment* for the support of the poor being made only on extraordinary occasions.

Education.] The universities at Cambridge and Oxford ore among the most celebrated in Europe. The university of Oxford consists of 20 colleges and 4 halls, each of which form* an < »Ubrishment within itself, having its own students and teaxh«n>, taj

~jfi own revenues and regulations, while they arc all united under the government of the university. In addition to private officers in each college and hail, who sec that due order and discipline are preserved, and all the liberal sciences read and taught, there are numerous public lecturers and professor*. The number of fellows is 444, and the whole number of member* in the university bo ks is about 3,000, of whom 1,000 are maintained on the revenues of the university, and the rest live at their own expence. Besides the colleges and balls, the other public establishments belonging to the university are the public schools, the Bodieian library, containing one ol'the most valuable collection of books and manuscripts in Europe, the Radcliffe library, the Clarendon printing-house and the AshmoJean museum.

The university of Cambridge consists ot 13 colleges and four hails, each of which contains apartments for students and fellows, a chapel and a library. The whole number of fellows belonging to the university a few years since was 406, and of scholars 666, besides 236 inferior officers and servants, all of whom are maintained on the various endowments. The number of members supported at their own expence is upwards of 2000, but those who reside in the university during the term, seldom exceed 1000. Besides the universities there are several celebrated colleges and public schools, among which are those in Winchester, Eton, and Westminster. The middle and higher ranks spare no expence in the education of their sons by private tutors.' The education of tbe lower classes was formerly much neglected, but since the introduction of the Lancasterian system of education, numerous schools have been established. In 1817 there were more than one thousand schools connected with the National Education Society, in which 200,000 children were enjoying the benefits of instructs n.

Religion. J The established religion of England is Episcopacy. According to the constitution the king is considered the supreme head of the church. Next to the king are the two archbishops of Canterbury and York, under whom are 25 bishops. The archbishop of Canterbury is the primate of all England, and takes precedence of all persons with the exception of the royal family. The next order of the clergy after the bishops is that of the archdeacons, of whom there are about 60; and after these are tbe deacon*, vicars, rectors, and curates, on whom devolve the substantial duties of the priesthood. The whole number of clergy, in 1811, was 10,434 of whom 5.397 were residents, and 5,037 non-residents. Tbe number of chapels and churches connected with the established church at the same period was 2,533. The dissenters from the established church are Papists, Presbyterians, Independents, Baptists. Methodists, and Quakers. The whole number of places of worship belonging to Dissenters in 1811 was 3,438.

Public Debt.] Great Britain having been frequently engaged in tedious and expensive wars, has been compelled to have recoane, in order to provide for temporary exigencies, to the practice of borrowing the sum wanted for the public service, la

« PreviousContinue »