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be expected from general sources, nor will those whom the cotton famine has thus driven away, speedily return to their early occupations. Labour will, therefore, be scarce, and associated with the usual condition, dear. To procure markets for the further increased production of yarn and cloth which may be spun and manufactured, great reductions in price and value must be sustained. By a fair computation the reduction in the value of the stocks of cotton, yarn, and cloth of British ownership, will not be less than forty million pounds sterling, involving a depreciation of property fearful to contemplate. If the reduction in the value of floating stocks belonging to this industry could be borne by those who have had the advantage of the increased value of this property, the ultimate losses and gains might approximate in amount in the persons of the same owners of the property, and thereby balance each other ; but those who have received the profit will chiefly retain it, and the losses will be thrown largely upon the new and confiding holders of existing stocks.
That the excess in price paid for cotton is causing an immense export of bullion there is no doubt, and the corisequent disturbance of the money market is unsatisfactory and alarming. For a half supply of cotton more than four times the normal price has been paid, thereby taking in a single year some forty millions sterling above the usual sum paid for a full time consuming quantity. In aid of the payment of this amazing increase in the cost of cotton, no apparent compensation is visible in any corresponding increase in the exported value of British cotton manufactures; hence the exhausting operation to which bullion and the circulation are and will be subjected. Pecuniary entanglements are unavoidable in the present state of the cotton trade, for when it is recollected that at the prevailing prices of cotton, if the trade could work full time, the cost of the raw material for one year would be not less than one hundred and sixty million pounds sterling alone, or nearly one hundred and thirty millions in excess of
previous payments, the indications of prolonged suffering become apparent. This amount is incapable of being refunded by the consumers of cotton manufactures, and it is evident that neither safety, full employment, nor enduring prosperity, can be identified with extravagant prices and abstractions.
Prosperity to the cotton trade can only be restored by the return of the abundance and cheapness of the raw material, which have been the foundation of its success. For the distress which still remains—for the unproductive and unprofitable spinning and manufacturing concerns for the interests of the engineer and machinist–for the safety of capital, whether supplied from the accumulations of industry, or from the liberal and over-trusting banker, there is only one remedy, and that is an abundant supply of good and cheap cotton ! The interests of commerce and of humanity point alike to such a desirable result; but the permanent interests of the British Empire demand that for the benefit of India, of the colonies, and of the home industry, cotton should be most largely obtained from the possessions of Great Britain, which indeed are better adapted for the growth and supply of excellent cotton than any other territory in the universe.
[Delivered at the Bardsley Institute, nèatt Ashton-under-Lyne, May 9, 1863.]
HE subject upon which I have this evening the honour
of addressing you, is one that I feel my inability to do justice to ; and even were I capable of dealing with the subject in the manner its importance demands, it wonld be difficult indeed to group all the points of interest within the compass of one lecture. For it is not too much to affirm, that to give a history of the present system of railways, would involve the necessity of treating upon most of the improvements that have been witnessed in this country during the last quarter of a century. It is principally in connection with the introduction of this great civilising
agent, that the labours of the two Stephensons and the two James's have placed this country under the greatest debt of gratitude. Nor is it this country alone that has untold advantages from the labours of these public benefactors, but the whole of the civilised world. It will scarcely be necessary for me to dwell upon the importance of rapid transit, and the advantages arising therefrom; but I may remark, that since the introduction of steam as a motive power, up to the present time, it has never been applied to any use that has given such an impetus to trade and commerce as in its application to railway transit. By this agent we are now enabled to economise time to such an extent as could never have entered the minds of our forefathers. Through it we are now enjoying the thousand advantages arising from the system of cheap postagea system which would have been inoperative had it not been for our present means of transit. And had it not been for the present system of railways, it would scarcely have been possible for that powerful agent, the Press, to have exercised that influence upon this country which it is now enabled to do, through its cheap literature. In short, its beneficial influence has been felt throughout the ramifications of society, as is evidenced by the increased intelligence of every class in the community. Perhaps no country ever exhibited a greater change in the character of its masses, than the revolution that has been wrought in this country since the introduction of the present system of railways. Compare the heroic, manly spirit, which has characterised the unfortunate class* that has been so suddenly deprived of many of the comforts and conveniences of life to which they have been so long accustomed, with the times and circumstances previous to those we are alluding. Mark you—I do not claim for the credit of the railway system the whole of this change ; but I do contend that, either directly or indirectly, it has contributed, in no small degree, to this happy change. That the present railway system has been unproductive of evil, I am not here to contend; but that it has been comparatively small, compared with the advantages it has conferred upon society at large, must be admitted by all. It has been charged with causing a system of speculation in railway
* Reference is here made to the cotton panic,
shares that has proved the ruin of many : but cannot that more properly be attributed to the growing evil of too great à desire to become suddenly rich ? The greatest charge that I can prefer against the railway system is, that it appears to be causing the young of both sexes to forget that nature intended them to make moderate use of their legs. Many of the young ladies of the present age would, I fear, be ill adapted for performing those pedestrian exercises that were common to their sex during the last generation.
Before proceeding to investigate or inquire how far the respective claims of these public benefactors have been acknowledged or rewarded, let us briefly glance at a few of the leading incidents in the lives of each of them ;-first remarking, that the success and history of the two Stephensons has been told so often, and with such detail, by a somewhat partial biographer, that the most trivial and unimportant circumstances in their lives have been given with such minuteness as to render it difficult for any to comprehend the object aimed at. Of this I do not myself complain ; but think that, upon public grounds, we justly entitled to take exception to the want of principle that pervades the biographies of the Stephensons. Strong as these remarks may now appear, I flatter myself that when all the facts of the case are placed before you, you will
agree with me in saying that the biographer of the Stephensons has pressed everything into his service that ingenuity or tact could devise, in order to raise them to the highest pedestal of fame, regardless of robbing others of that honour which our best feelings are ever ready to accord to those who have laboured to benefit mankind, if unaccompanied by selfish motives.
GEORGE STEPHENSON was born June 9, 1781, at Wylam, a village about eight miles from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, of very poor but honest parents. His early years were spent in a manner that strikingly illustrates the advantages of the age in which we now live; for neither opportunity nor means admitted of George Stephenson even learning his letters when a boy. At the early age of eight years he was put to work,- first to tend some cows pastured on the banks of the Wylam tramroad, afterwards to lead the horses when ploughing, and other work common to such an occu
pation. He was not long so employed, for we find that he shortly afterwards was engaged at the colliery at which his father was employed, in the respective capacities of gin-driver, dirt-picker, and assistant engine fireman,-his wages by this time being one shilling per day. From this humble position he gradually raised himself, step by step, to become the enginewright at Killingworth Colliery, at a salary of £100 per annum. He thereby became thoroughly schooled in the working and construction of the steam engine. Time will not permit of an attempt to describe the difficulties that George Stephenson had to encounter in his well-directed efforts of advancement, and how nobly he overcame them by sheer perseverance and a resolute determination to compel circumstances to favour him. Shortly after being appointed the enginewright at Killingworth Colliery, he brought under the notice of his employers the advantages to be derived from the locomotive engine ; and in the year 1813, Lord Ravensworth, the principal proprietor of the colliery, allowed him to make one. Accord. ing to the evidence of his son Robert, the construction of his first locomotive engine was very much after the same plan as that previously made, and successfully worked, by Blenkinsop, of Leeds; the only marked difference being that Blenkinsop's engine had five wheels, four of which were used for the purpose of carrying the engine, and the fifth to receive the motive power from the cylinders, and to propel its load along, by working into a peculiarly-constructed rail, which received the cogs of the wheel ; whilst Stephenson's engine had only four wheels, which received the power from the cylinders, as well as supported the
engine. This engine was tried upon the Killingworth | Railway on the 25th of July, 1814 ; but, like its prede
cessors, was not economical when compared with horses. In February of the following year, Stephenson obtained letters patent for the construction of an improved locomotive, and manufactured an engine which was certainly an improvement upon the one previously manufactured ; but even this was only able to move at the rate of 6 miles an hour. The second engine was manufactured at the works of Mr. Losh, an experienced engine manufacturer, who by this time had taken Stephenson in as partner; yet the credit of this improved engine has never been shared by Mr. Losh. How far Mr. Stephenson is entitled to be