The trial of the chief prisoner lasted nine days. The jury brought in a verdict of guilty, but unanimously and strongly prayed that his life might be spared. It was generally understood that this recommendation would be acted upon, especially as the insurgents had killed none of the Queen's subjects, and their leader had done all in his power to dissuade them from the perpetration of crime. McManus and Meagher were next tried, and also found guilty, with a similar recommendation to mercy. When they were asked why sentence of death should not be passed upon them, Smith O'Brien answered that he was perfectly satisfied with the consciousness of having performed his duty to his country, and that he had done only what, in his opinion, it was the duty of every Irishman to have done. This no doubt would have been very noble language if there had been a certainty or even a likelihood that the sentence of death would be executed, but as no one expected it, there was perhaps a touch of the melodramatic in the tone of defiance adopted by the prisoners. The Government acted towards them with the greatest forbearance and humanity. They brought a writ of error before the House of Lords on account of objections to the jury panel; but the sentence of the court was confirmed. The sentence of death was commuted to transportation for life; but they protested against this and insisted on their legal right to be either hanged or set free, in consequence of which an Act was passed quickly through Parliament to remove all doubt about the right of the Crown to commute the sentence. The convicts were sent to Van Diemen's Land, where they were allowed to go about freely, on their parole. Meagher and McManus ultimately escaped to America, and Smith O'Brien after some years obtained a free pardon, and was permitted to return home to his family, but without feeling the least gratitude to the Government, or losing the conviction that he had only done his duty to his country. Mr. (afterwards Sir) Gavan Duffy was tried for high treason in Dublin, in February, 1849, but the jury disagreed. He was again tried in April following, when the same thing occurred, and Mr. Duffy gave security to appear again, if required, himself in 1,000.

On the 13th of April the Speaker read to the House a notice which he had received, that a bill would be filed against him, in the Court of King's Bench, to try the validity of his warrant in this case, and the House ordered the letter and the notice to be entered on the Journals. On the 16th Sir Samuel Romilly moved for the discharge of Gale Jones; but Windham observed that a meeting of the electors of Westminster was announced for the morrow, to take into consideration the case of their representative, and that to liberate Jones at that moment would be sure to be attributed to fear on the part of the Commons. The motion was, therefore, rejected.

In the spring of 1814 the Americans made a fresh attempt to invade Canada. Wilkinson, who had retreated so precipitately the preceding autumn, was the first to cross the frontier; but he was repulsed and pursued to Sacketts Harbour, where he took refuge. The British burned some of his block-houses and barracks, and carried off great quantities of stores. In April General[108] Drummond, being put across Lake Ontario by Sir James Yeo's squadron, stormed Fort Oswego, destroyed it, and burnt the barracks. In May the British were not so successful in intercepting some naval stores which the Americans were conveying to Sacketts Harbour. They were repulsed with loss. At the beginning of July the American general, Brown, crossed the Niagara with a strong force, attacked and took Fort Erie, and advanced into Canada. General Riall attempted to stop him at Chippeway, with an insufficient force, and was compelled to retreat to near Fort Niagara. There he was reinforced by General Drummond, with a detachment of the troops recently landed from the army of the Peninsula. Riall and Drummond had now about three thousand men, and Brown had five thousand. A severe battle was fought, almost close to the cataract of Niagara, where the veteran Peninsular men defeated Brown, killing and wounding one thousand five hundred of his troops, but having six hundred killed and wounded themselves. They pursued Brown to Chippeway, and thence to Erie. There Drummond rashly attempted the reduction of the fort with his inferior numbers, and was repulsed with loss. Prince Ferdinand this summer had to contend with numerous armies of the French. De Broglie marched from Frankfort into Hesse with a hundred thousand men. On the 10th of July they met the hereditary Prince of Brunswick at Corbach, and defeated him, though he gained a decided advantage over them a few days after at Emsdorf, taking the commander of the division and five battalions prisoners. This was followed by Ferdinand himself, who was at Warburg, where he took ten pieces of artillery, killed one thousand five hundred of the French, and drove them into the Dimel, where many were drowned. The British cavalry had the greatest share in this victory. In fact, the Marquis of Granby led them on all occasions with such spirit and bravery, that Ferdinand placed them continually in the post of danger, where of course they suffered more severely than the other troops.

With such chimerical fancies, the young Corsican saw the fleet, on a splendid morning, stand out into the Mediterranean, the line-of-battle ships extending for a league, and the semicircle formed by the convoy six leagues in extent. On their way to Malta, the first object of their enterprise, they were joined by a large fleet of transports, bringing the division of General Desaix. On the 10th they were before Valetta, a fortress which, properly defended, would have set the French at defiance for months, before which time the British Admiral would have been upon them, and destroyed the whole scheme of the expedition, and probably its commander and projector with it; but the surrender of the place had been bargained for with the Grand Master, Hompesch, before starting. The once formidable Knights of Malta were now sunk in indolence and sensual sloth, and the French agent had agreed for the surrender for a bribe of six hundred thousand francs to the Grand Master. As General Caffarelli passed through the most formidable defences with Napoleon on their way to the house of the Grand Master, he said to him, "It is well, General, that there was some one within to open the gates for us. We should have had more trouble in entering if the place had been altogether empty." By six o'clock in the evening the Allied army had lost ten thousand men in killed and wounded, besides a great number of the dispersed Belgians and other foreigners of the worst class, who had run off, and taken refuge in the wood of Soigne. But the French had suffered more severely; they had lost fifteen thousand in killed and wounded, and had had more than two thousand taken prisoners. At about half-past four, too, firing had been heard on the French right, and it proved to be the advanced division of Bulow. Grouchy had overtaken the Prussians at Wavre, but had been stopped there by General Thielemann, by order of Blucher, and kept from crossing the Dyle till it was too late to prevent the march of Blucher on Waterloo; so that whilst Thielemann was thus holding back Grouchy, who now heard the firing from Waterloo, Blucher was on the track of his advanced division towards the great battle-field. When Buonaparte heard the firing on the right, he thought, or affected to think, that it was Grouchy, whom he had sent for in haste, who was beating the Prussians; but he perceived that he must now make one gigantic effort, or all would be lost the moment that the main armies of the British and Prussians united. Sending, therefore, a force to beat back Bulow, he prepared for one of those thunderbolts which so often had saved him at the last moment. He formed his Imperial Guard into two columns at the bottom of the declivity of La Belle Alliance, and supporting them by four battalions of the Old Guard, and putting Ney at their head, ordered him to break the British squares. That splendid body of men, the French Guards, rushed forward, for the last time, with cries of "Vive l'Empereur!" and Buonaparte rode at their head as well as Ney, as far as the farm of La Haye Sainte. There the great Corsican, who had told his army on joining it this last campaign that he and they must now conquer[100] or die, declined the death by suddenly wheeling his horse aside, and there remaining, still and stiff as a statue of stone, watching the last grand venture. The British right at this moment was wheeling towards Buonaparte's position, so that his Guards were received by a simultaneous fire in front and in the flank. The British soldiers advanced from both sides, as if to close round the French, and poured in one incessant fire, each man independently loading and discharging his piece as fast as he could. The French Guards endeavoured to deploy that they might renew the charge, but under so terrible a fire they found it impossible: they staggered, broke, and melted into a confused mass. As they rolled wildly down the hill, the battalions of the Old Guard tried to check the pursuing British; but at this moment Wellington, who had Maitland's and Adams's brigades of Guards lying on their faces behind the ridge on which he stood, gave the command to charge, and, rushing down the hill, they swept the Old Guard before them. On seeing this, Buonaparte exclaimed, "They are mingled together! All is lost for the present!" and rode from the field. The battle was won. But at the same moment Wellington ordered the advance of the whole line, and the French, quitting every point of their position, began a hasty and confused retreat from the field. The earliest idea of a steam-engine was that given by the Marquis of Worcester, in his "Century of Inventions," in 1663, which idea he obtained from De Caus, and reduced to action in London. The next step was to Papin's Digester, and then to Savery's so-called "Atmospheric Engine." This, improved by Newcomen in 1711,[195] was introduced to drain mines in all parts of the kingdom, but especially in the coal-mines of the north and midland counties, and the copper mines of Cornwall. By its means many mines long disused through the accumulation of water were drained and made workable, and others were sunk much deeper. Smeaton, in 1769, greatly improved this engine, which, from its rapid working of a horizontal beam, was called by the miners a "Whimsey," as having a whimsical look. Watt, then a student in the University of Glasgow, commenced a series of experiments upon it, which, between 1759 and 1782, raised the engine to a pitch of perfection which made it applicable not only to draining water out of mines, but, by the discovery of the rotatory motion, enabled it to propel any kind of machinery, spin cotton, grind in mills of all kinds, and propel ships and carriages. Watt was greatly aided in his efforts by Mr. Matthew Boulton, and their engines were manufactured at Soho Works, near Birmingham. They did not, however, enjoy the fruits of their patents for protecting their inventions without many most unprincipled attempts to invade their rights by masters of mines and others, by which they were involved in very harassing law-suits. The first application of the steam-engine to the machinery of a cotton-mill was at Papplewick, in Nottinghamshire, in 1785, and the first mill built for the employment of machinery driven by an engine was in Manchester, in 1789. The first application of the engine to propel a vessel was at Dalswinton, on the Clyde, in 1788, the boat being constructed by Patrick Miller, James Taylor, and William Symington. In the following year these inventors made a second experiment on the Forth and Clyde Canal at the Carron Works, with perfect success, the vessel going at the rate of nearly seven miles an hour. Symington was probably the real machinist in this firm, and in 1802 he made a tug-boat on the Forth and Clyde Canal, under the patronage of Lord Dundas, which was worked extremely well by its engine. In 1807 Fulton followed up these experiments by launching a steam-boat on the Hudson, in America, after having in vain solicited the patronage of the British and French Governments for his enterprise. The proposal of Fulton, submitted to the Academy of Paris, was received with a burst of laughter, and Napoleon abandoned the project in deep disgust at having been, as he supposed, made a dupe of by Fulton. We have pointed out on the preceding page the period of the first application of the steam-engine to railways.