I was present at a meeting of the Geological Society at Manchester in 1853, in the discussions of which I took part.

    I was much impressed by an address of the Rev. Dr. Vaughan (then Principal of the Independent College at Manchester), which is as interesting now as it was then. After referring to the influence which geological changes had produced upon the condition of nations, and the moral results which oceans, mountains, islands, and continents have had upon the social history of man, he went on to say: "Is not this island of ours indebted to these great causes? Oh, that blessed geological accident that broke up a strait between Calais and Dover! It looks but a little thing; it was a matter to take place; but how mighty the moral results upon the condition and history of this country, and, through this country's influence, upon humanity! Bridge over the space between,Tunnels were not thought of at this time and you have directly the huge continental barrack-yard system all over England. And once get into the condition of a great continental military power, and you get the arbitrary power; you cramp down the people, and you unfit them from being what they ought to be -- FREE And all the good influences together at work in this country could not have secured us against this, but for that blessed separation between this Isle and the Continent."

    In 1853 I was appointed a member of the Small Arms Committee for the purpose of re-modelling and, in fact, re-establishing the Small Arms Factory at Enfield. The wonderful success of the needle gun in the war between Prussia and Denmark in 1848 occasioned some alarm amongst our military authorities as to the state of affairs at home. The Duke of Wellington to the last proclaimed the sufficiency of "Brown Bess" as a weapon of offence and defence; but matters could no longer be deferred. The United States Government, though possessing only a very small standing army, had established at Springfield a small arms factory, where, by the use of machine tools specially designed to execute with the most unerring precision all the details of muskets and rifles, they were enabled to dispense with mere manual dexterity, and to produce arms to any amount. It was finally determined to improve the musketry and rifle systems of the English army. The Government resolved to introduce the American system, by which Arms might be produced much more perfectly, and at a great diminution of cost. It was under such circumstances that the Small Arms Committee was appointed.

    Colonel Colt had brought to England some striking examples of the admirable machine tools used at Springfield, and he established a manufactory at Pimlico for the production of his well-known revolvers. The committee resolved to make a personal visit to the United States Factory at Springfield. My own business engagements at home prevented me accompanying the members who were selected; but as my friend John Anderson (now Sir John), acted as their guide, the committee had in him a most able and effective helper. He directed their attention to the most important and available details of that admirable establishment. The United States Government acted most liberally in allowing the committee to obtain every information on the subject; and the heads of the various departments, who were intelligent and zealous, rendered them every attention and civility.

    The members of the mission returned home enthusiastically delighted with the results of their inquiry.The committee immediately proceeded with the entire re-modelling of the Small Arms Factory at Enfield. The workshops were equipped with a complete series of special machine tools, chiefly obtained from the Springfield factory. The United States Government also permitted several of their best and workman and superintendents to take service under the English Government. Such was the origin of the Enfield rifle. The weapon came as near to absolute perfection as possible, It was perfect in action, durable and excellent in every respect even in it's conversion to the breechloader it is still one of the best weapons. It is impossible to give too much praise to Sir John Anderson and Colonel Dixon for the untiring and intelligent zeal with which they carried out the plans, as well as for the numerous improvements which they introduced. These have rendered the Enfield Small Arms Factory one of the most perfect and best regulated establishments in the kingdom.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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