Sir William Congreve, an English engineer, born at Woolwich, May 20, 1772, died in Toulouse, May 15, 1828. In 1804, being then an artillery officer, he invented the rocket known by his name, which was used for the first time against Boulogne in 1806. He rose to the rank of general of artillery, succeeded his father as superintendent of the royal laboratory at Woolwich, and was member of parliament successively for Gatton and Plymouth. He wrote an "Elementary Treatise on the Mounting of Naval Ordnance" (1812), and a "Description of the Hydro-pneumatic Lock "for sluices and canals (1815). He invented improved processes of manufacturing gunpowder, amalgamating metals, and printing bank notes, and gave some attention toward a new mode of propelling ships. It is said that, foreseeing a war in the East, he submitted to the British government two plans, the one to defend, the other to reduce Constantinople, according as England might side with or against the Turks. Having become implicated in some questionable financial operations, he retired to the continent, where he remained till his death.