Economic Annals of the Nineteenth Century

By William Smart | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER XXXI
1819. A DISASTROUS YEAR

THE Prince Regent's Speech, on 21st January, spoke of the intimate union so happily subsisting between the powers, and the prospect of peace and tranquillity for all Europe -- France, by the Convention of Aix-la-Chapelle, having now become a member of the great European Confederacy; of the renewal of the Commercial Convention with the United States for a further period of years; of the extent of the reduction which these circumstances had enabled him to make in the naval and military establishments of the country; and of the considerable and progressive improvement of the revenue in its most important branches. And he ended by expressing his pleasure in being able to say that the trade, commerce, and manufactures of the country were in a most flourishing condition, and that the favourable change which had so rapidly taken place in the internal circumstances of the kingdom were the strongest proof of the solidity of its resources.1

The promise of January.

These various matters, particularly the last, formed the text, as usual, of much discussion. Some doubts were expressed whether the effects of the revival had yet reached the labourers and the agricultural classes, and mention was made of disturbances which had recently taken place in the manufacturing districts over the reduced rate of wages. But, on the whole, there was little criticism of the Regent's statement, and the mover of the Address in the Commons said that there never was a period at which all branches of the different manufactures of the kingdom were more universally employed, or received a fuller and more comfortable remuneration for their labour.2

____________________
1
Hansard, xxxix. 17.
2
Castlereagh mentioned, in a subsequent speech, that the manufacture of cotton for home and export, on an average of the last few years, amounted to no less than £18,000,000 (ibid. xxxix. 745).

-670-

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