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order, I do not for one moment doubt ; in fact, his very nature appears to me to have been cast in a thoroughly scientific mould. Nor have I any less doubt that he was a wily, crafty man, ever ready to take advantage of anything calculated to benefit himself, even at the risk of injuring others. If George Stephenson had not appropriated to himself the labours of others, and his history ħad been faithfully recorded, his life would have been worthy the study of anyone ; but, instead of this, his biographer claims for him almost every invention of his age, and details common-place events of his life with a minuteness that almost borders on the ridiculous. For instance, we are told that he excelled in the making of pitmen's clothes, and that his cut is still preserved amongst the pitmen of the North ;-that he mended and made shoes for his fellowworkmen, and even lasts upon which to make them ;-he also repaired their clocks and watches ;-gave lessons in the embroidering of ladies' petticoats ;-grew cabbages of enormous sizes ;-compelled cucumbers to grow straight, a feat never before accomplished ;-fed chickens in half the time of anyone else ;-lifted enormous weights, and ran races with great fleetness ;-beat the bully of the colliery in a pitched battle, and delighted in wrestling, until overcome by old age. His son Robert once sent him in a bill for £2. 10s., for chairs broken in his office whilst indulging in this sport with one of his friends. I do not wish to trespass at greater length by a description of the composition of the biographies of "Geordy;" hut, perhaps, you will pardon me in giving one other illustration, namely, that although he had often a short sleep after dinner, it is stated there to have only been a wink.
ROBERT STEPHENSON, the son of the foregoing, was born at Willington, Northumberland, on the 16th December, 1803. His father resolved that he should not labour under the same difficulties, for want of education, that he had
and nobly did he respond to the resolution he had made, denying himself almost the necessaries of life in order that his son might receive an early education.
In 1820, George Stephenson decided upon sending his son to the University of Edinburgh ; and, knowing his father's straitened circumstances, Robert devoted his whole energies of mind to the study of those subjects which were brought before him, as is evidenced by the fact of his taking down the whole of the lectures in shorthand, and afterwards transcribing them. Such well-directed efforts could hardly do otherwise than succeed.
In 1824, Robert Stephenson designed the machinery for the inclined planes on the Stockton and Darlington Railway : he was shortly afterwards appointed one of a commission to examine and explore the gold and silver mines of Columbia (New Granada), South America. He returned to this country in the year 1828, and from this time he was engaged in the engineering of many of the principal railways in this country, as well as upon the Continent. But it is more particularly in connection with those stuperdous works, the tubular bridge which crosses the Menai Straits, and the Victoria Bridge over the St. Lawrence, which connects Canada with the United States, that his name will be handed down to posterity as one of the brightest ornaments to this country that lived during the reign of Queen Victoria. He was elected M.P. for Whitby in 1847, which seat he retained until his death, which took place on the 12th October, 1859. His remains were laid side by side with Telford's, in the nave of Westminster Abbey
WILLIAM JAMES was born at Henley-in-Arden, in the county of Warwick, on the 13th of June, 1771. His descent can be traced from the noble families of Ormonde and Shelly. He was educated at Warwick and Winson Green Schools, and at an early period of life evinced talents of a superior order. He was brought up to the law, and studied in London. During the period of his studies he attended
various debating societies, by which he acquired considerable oratorical powers: these he displayed frequently in after-life, and they materially tended to his advancement and usefulness. For the first few years that he was engaged in business, he does not appear to have made any considerable progress ; but owing to his father having lost the bulk of his property by speculating in Worcester and other canal shares, it rendered attention to business
more necessary on his part, in order to secure
He was appointed the Deputy-Recorder of Warwick in the year 1798; and by this time he had become the Master of a Freemason Lodge, and had also engaged
in the business of land agency: and by the exertion of his great natural powers, and his steady application to business, he soon became eminent in his profession. In the year 1801, he organised the Warwick Volunteers, at a great expense to himself, owing to the threatened invasion of this country by Napoleon. At the disbanding of this corps he was presented by his brother officers with a sword of a hundred guineas value, and was also promised a compensation from Government, which, however, he never received. He was held in the highest estimation by Lord Warwick, as will be seen from the following letter, which is only one out of many of the same character :
DEAR SIR,–We are all well; and I find plenty of time to do what I like, not having any acquaintances here.
I could not occupy myself more to my satisfaction than in studying your plans, which are extensive; but, I am persuaded, founded on the certain basis of sound good sense and ability, and as such I feel their value, and that of their author.
I am sincerely, dear Sir,
WARWICK, WM. JAMES, Esq., St. John's, Warwick.
It was a common practice with him, after the day's military duty, to ride on horseback to his mines in Staffordshire-a distance of thirty miles—and be back again to exercise in the morning. His exertions at this time were of the most extraordinary kind,-travelling post often two or three nights a-week to and from various distant parts of the kingdom. As an instance of his determined and unremitting energy, we give the following extract from a letter addressed to his friend, W. Whitmore, Esq.,
of Birmingham, upon the subject of his sinking for coal at Bexhill, in 1806. After expressing his wish for Mr. Whitmore to send more boring rods immediately, he says :-“Conceiving this a very important crisis, I am, I confess, very anxious to get the hole proved in my presence. I have been exceedingly ill, with aguish symptoms; violent fever arising from exposure over Lambeth Marsh and on the river several days last week. I still continue extremely unwell, but have not time to rest myself; and in consequence of this sudden break from my other engagements, I must work night and day until I recover this time.” In 1804, he projected the drainage of Lambeth Marsh, which he surveyed and levelled by the direction of the late Prince of Wales and
the Archbishop of Canterbury: Waterloo Bridge formed a part of this plan. He likewise projected and surveyed, at ħis own expense, a new line of turnpike-road from Warwick, through Buckingham, to London ; and was the first person to open the West Bromwich coal field, in Staffordshire, where he established, at an immense outlay, the Ball's Hill and Golden Hill Collieries. He was also the proprietor of the Wednesbury Old Field Colliery. He bought several others about this time, viz., the Ocker Hill, Lee Brook, and New Contract Collieries ; the Birchill Colliery and Iron Works; the Pitsalt Colliery ; Swadlincote Colliery, in Derbyshire; Wyken Colliery, near Coventry;
-the whole of which he carried on with his own capital. He, at the same time, had the management, for the late Lord Warwick, of the Clutton Mines, in Somersetshire; and embarked with the late Lord Whitworth, the Duchess of Dorset, and others, in a trial for coals at Bexhill, in the county of Sussex, in which upwards of £30,000 were spent without success. In 1816, he was connected with several extensive drainage schemes ; and in the same year he was elected Chairman of the Coal and Iron Masters' Association. About this time it was suggested by several capitalists that a suitable acknowledgment should be presented to him for the great benefits he had conferred upon the coal and iron trade. This, however, was declined by him; and, at his request, the subscription was not proceeded with. Owing to the oppressive conduct of several canal companies, and the monopoly exercised by them, William James laid out a line of rail from Wolverhampton to Birmingham, and excavated a large piece of ground at Newhall Hill, upon which he formed a series of wharves, which are now become of great value. The alteration in the currency at that time, however, so altered the state of his finances, that he was unable to carry out his project of cutting the line.
It is worthy of note that Duncan, in his work on the currency, states the fact, that in the year 1816 there was an increase of 55 per cent. of bankruptcy cases ; and Sir James Graham asserted, on the authority of the most competent judges, that the losses sustained by individuals at that period counterbalanced all the profits of all the bankers during the war. William James was agent and receiver to the late Duke of Northumberland, Lord Whitworth, and the Duchess of Dorset ; Lords Willoughby-deBrooke, Dartmouth, Thurlow, and others; besides being extensively engaged in business for the late Dukes of Norfolk and Marlborough, Marquis of Headfort, Bishop of Bath and Wells, Lords Clifden, Holland, Spencer, St. John, Denegal, Redesdale, and many of the most wealthy commoners of the country. He purchased the principal tonnage of the river Avon, and spent £6,000 in order to render it navigable for barges of considerable tonnage. He became possessed of the Snowford and Trebershaw estates, containing nearly 1,700 acres. He realised more than £10,000 per annum by his profession, and in 1812 was estimated to be worth more than £150,000,—all of which he lost in labouring to benefit his country and succeeding generations.
Many interesting circumstances in the life of William James I am relactantly compelled to pass over, and come to the question- Who is entitled to the appellation of the “Father of Railways ? We find that in 1802 Mr. James traversed the country around Bolton, Wigan, Leigh, &c., &c., to judge of the population to consume coal ; and that he viewed, with Messrs. Yates and Nightingale
, the two lines of railway to Leigh and Ashton; also the line of railway past Ellenbrook Chapel to the Duke's Canal. On October 22nd he made another journey to Mr. Fletcher's, of Clifton, to consult him upon the propriety of his communicating with the Duke of Bridgewater on the subject of railroads, &c. It was at this period that his mind was first impressed with the importance of rapid railway transit. Shortly afterwards he visited and inspeed Trevithick's engine, and every subsequent locomotive that was manufactured up to the time of Stephenson's ; with a view of carrying out his favourite project of passenger traffic by locomotive
power. It w for this purpose that he paid his first visit to Killingworth, whilst Stephenson was still employed as enginewright: he on this occasion had not an interview with Stephenson, but shortly afterwards saw him there, and conversed with him upon the importance of passenger traffic, and the advantages to be derived from the introduction of such a system. He described his views upon the feasibility of such an undertaking, and unfolded the whole of his plans and schemes, and declared his conviction that the locomotive already improved to run at the rate of six miles an hour, was capable of being much further improved. In Stephenson he found a willing listener,