The ruinous expenditure of the war, and the continual difficulties into which the Civil List had fallen, now roused throughout the country a strong demand for economical reform. The Duke of Richmond introduced the subject into the Upper House by moving, on the 7th of December, that an Address be conveyed to his Majesty representing the distress of the country, the heavy demands upon it for the complicated war, and recommending a reduction of all useless expenses; it also set out that profusion, so far from being strength, was weakness; that it behoved all classes of officials to consent to a curtailment of the lavish salaries; and that it would be a noble example in the Crown to take the lead, which could not fail of enhancing the love of the people, and diffusing an excellent influence throughout every department of the State. His grace represented that the vast military establishment by sea and land could not include less than three hundred thousand men; that, since the beginning of the American war the expenditure had added sixty-three millions of pounds to the Debt, and its interest, eight millions, to our annual payments. The interest of the Debt had now become of itself equal to the whole of our expenditure in years of peace before. He laid much stress on the belief that the example of the king would induce all orders of men to make equal sacrifices to the needs of their country. Richmond declared that he had no wish to curtail the pensions of those who had wasted their fortunes in the service of their country, as the Pelhams, for the Duke of Newcastle was said to have sunk five hundred thousand pounds during the years that he so fondly adhered to office. He gave the Ministers and the aristocracy credit for a disinterestedness which they did not possess. They admitted the vastness of the expenditure, and that there was wastefulness, and that they were desirous of economy; but they could not believe that any reduction of the Civil List would be sensibly felt, whilst it would reflect dishonour on the country, as if it were incapable of maintaining the Crown in due credit. Lord Chancellor Thurlow affected not to believe in the distress, or that any case of public extravagance had been made out. The Duke of Richmond's motion was negatived by seventy-seven votes against thirty-six. During this year Great Britain held that position which properly belonged to her, and which showed how unassailable she was whilst employed in self-defence. Her fleets covering the Channel, and at the same time plying in the most distant regions for that money which for years had been wasted on helpless and ungrateful Continental nations, were calculated to make her invincible on the ocean. So far from permitting Buonaparte to set foot on her coasts, she continually insulted his. She entered the ports and roadsteads of Havre, St. Valery, and other places, and brought away ships and gunboats; she attacked Dieppe, and destroyed its batteries; she bombarded Granville, and demolished its pier, under the eyes of some of Napoleon's[491] most distinguished officers. Her fleet amounted to nearly six hundred vessels of different kinds, and she began rapidly to recapture the colonies which she had so tamely, and without compensation, surrendered at the strange Peace of Amiens. St. Lucia was retaken by Commodore Hood and General Grinfield on the 22nd of June. In one day, the 30th of June, were retaken Tobago, in the West Indies, and St. Pierre and Miquelon, on the coast of Newfoundland. Demerara, Essequibo, and Berbice were soon after reconquered, and Guadeloupe was invested, and destined to fall into our hands ere long. The rapid growth of the commerce of the American colonies excited an intense jealousy[166] in our West Indian Islands, which claimed a monopoly of supply of sugar, rum, molasses, and other articles to all the British possessions. The Americans trading with the French, Dutch, Spaniards, etc., took these articles in return; but the West Indian proprietors prevailed upon the British Government, in 1733, to impose a duty on the import of any produce of foreign plantations into the American colonies, besides granting a drawback on the re-exportation of West Indian sugar from Great Britain. This was one of the first pieces of legislation of which the American colonies had a just right to complain. At this period our West Indies produced about 85,000 hogsheads of sugar, or 1,200,000 cwts. About three hundred sail were employed in the trade with these islands, and some 4,500 sailors; the value of British manufactures exported thither being nearly 240,000 annually, but our imports from Jamaica alone averaged at that time 539,492. Besides rum, sugar, and molasses, we received from the West Indies cotton, indigo, ginger, pimento, cocoa, coffee, etc.

The folly of Ripperda, however, had ruined his credit with his own sovereigns and the nation even more than with foreign Powers. His swaggering and inflated language, in which he imagined that he was enacting Alberoni, had destroyed all faith in him. But his final blow came from his own false representations to each other of the preparations for war made by Austria and Spain. Count K?nigseck was most indignant when he discovered the miserable resources of the Spanish monarchy in comparison with the pompous descriptions made of them by Ripperda at Vienna; and the Spanish Court was equally disappointed by a discovery of the real military status of Austria. Ripperda was suddenly and ignominiously dismissed on the 14th of May.

With the reign of George III. commenced a series of improvements in the manufacture of iron, which have led not only to a tenfold production of that most useful of metals, but to changes in its quality which before were inconceivable. Towards the end of the reign of George II. the destruction of the forests in smelting iron-ore was so great as to threaten their extinction, and with it the manufacture of iron in Britain. Many manufacturers had already transferred their businesses to Russia, where wood was abundant and cheap. It was then found that coke made from coal was a tolerable substitute for charcoal, and, in 1760, the very first year of the reign of George III., the proprietors of the Carron Works in Scotland began the use of pit-coal. Through the scientific aid of Smeaton and Watt, they applied water-, and afterwards steam-power, to increase the blast of their furnaces to make it steady and continuous, instead of intermitting as from bellows; and they increased the height of their chimneys. By these means, Dr. John Roebuck, the founder of these works, became the first to produce pig iron by the use of coal. This gave great fame to the Carron Works, and they received large orders from Government for cannon and cannon-balls. It was some time, however, before enough iron could be produced to meet the increasing demand for railroads, iron bridges, etc.; and so late as 1781 fifty thousand tons were imported annually from Russia and Sweden.

The other measures of Parliament during this Session were these:In the House of Lords Lord Holland, and in the Commons Henry Brougham, moved for addresses to his Majesty, exhorting him to persevere in his efforts to induce the Governments of other nations to co-operate in the abolition of the slave trade, and to take measures for putting a stop to the clandestine practice of British subjects yet carrying on this trade in a fraudulent manner, as well as to adopt plans for preventing other evasions of Mr. Wilberforce's Act. Mr. Bankes introduced a motion for rendering perpetual his Bill to prevent the grant of offices in reversion, and such a Bill was passed in the Commons, but rejected in the Lords.