« 이전계속 »
and a receptive and plastic mind, which retained the ideas so generously given until the season arrived for appropriating them to his own purposes.
About 1819 and 1820, Wm. James was surveying and making a line called the Central Union Railroad, the lithographed plan of which is still in the possession of the family. It cominenced at the Stratford Canal, passing through Moreton, Charlbury, Oxford, Wendover, Amers ham, and Rickmansworth,—thus missing the Boxmoor and other tunnels ; thence to Uxbridge and Paddington, with branches through Shipton, Warwick, and Coventry, to his mines at Wyken, in Warwickshire, and Swanlicote, in Derbyshire ; and from Stow to meet the Gloucester Railway at Cheltenham ; and from Shipton to the Wilts, and Berks. Canal, near Longshot. The following are extracts from a letter from Lord Redesdale, addressed to Wm. James, at Joseph Sandar's, Esq., Liverpool, respecting the said railway :
When it is seen that the work will be proceeded with, we shall probably find no difficulty in obtaining money without the aid of the Commissioners for the Exchequer Bills' loan. I have great doubt as to obtaining a contract for the whole, of sufficient responsibility; but I shall attend to what may be said on that subject. I was particularly struck with your assertion that the ironworks would more readily contract for the iron in the credit of the railway, than in the credit of individuals; and probably they would be induced to contract at a lower rate with the company, because they would contract at less hazard. I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
REDESDALE. William James published a series of twelve essays in 1822 and 1823, setting forth the advantages to be derived from the introduction of the railway system, and contending that accelerated locomotion would, in some degree, compensate for a diminished currency ; that cheap freights would leave more gain for the agriculturist, the manufacturer, and the miner; and, consequently, low prices might be made compatible with increased profit; and that steam power was the agent best adapted to obtain these results,– remarking that he had satisfied his mind, “ by experience and observation, that locomotive steam carriages can be employed in most situations with the greatest security and advantage, and that he had surveyed many extensive lines in the northern and milland parts of the kingdom." He also observes that the facility and economy of its construction and repair, and the speed and regularity of its trade, must influence its extended adoption. In the same essays he advocated the possibility of obtaining a velocity of twenty or thirty miles an hour.
In 1822, Wm. James formed the first railway company for the Liverpool and Manchester line, which formed the nucleus for the second,-many of the members of the first company being the same as those of which the second was composed. In the first survey of this line, Wm. James took Robert Stephenson under his fostering care, and placed him in a position where he would be most likely to improve himself, he being then only about 19 years of age, and unaccustomed to surveying. Whilst conducting this survey, William James was very near losing his life, by being smothered in the bog at Chat Moss. In the year 1822, the survey and plans for the Liverpool and Manchester line, with the adjacent ones to Bolton and Warrington, were completed,—the survey having been commenced in the year 1819, and intended from the first for engine and passenger traffic. His labours in connection with this survey were of the most Herculean character, and he displayed the most unremitting perseverance, as is evidenced by his repeated letters and addresses to the aristocracy and great landed proprietors, whether to such as were well known to him, or strangers, as will be seen from the following copy of a letter from Wm. James to Lord Stanley :
Prescott, Nov. 13, 1822. MY LORD,—The plans and sections of the proposed Liverpool and Manchester railroad being completed, I have applied to your noble father to allow me to submit the same to his Lordship’s consideration to-morrow morning. I am not so fortunate as to posse a letter of introduction to the noble Earl or your Lordship, though, from long experience in Parliamentary and other business, as land agent for his present Majesty, the land revenue of the late Dukes of Northumberland and Norfolk, the Duchess of Dorset, Earls Whitworth and Warwick, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Holland, and other noble personages, I believe I must be personally known to your Lordship. The line is set out across the valuable coal mines of the Earl of Derby, near Whiston, and cannot fail to greatly enhance their value, as also that of his Lordship's very extensive adjacent estates ; and since it secures the greatest public advantages, the promoters of the measure look with confident hope to the noble Earl's and your Lordship’s powerful support. I shall have great satisfaction in laying the plans before your Lordship at
any hour this day or to-morrow you may have the goodness to
WM. JAMES. .Wm. James also enjoyed the confidence and friendship of the late Mr. Pease, the projector of the Stockton and Darlington line ; and mainly influenced that gentleman in obtaining an amended Act of Parliament, in 1823, for the construction of that line. A circumstance in connection with the construction of this line is brought forward to show the fundamental honesty of Stephenson: he is made to say—“Although it would put £500 in my pocket to specify my own patent rails, I cannot do so after the experience I have had.” It, however, appears that they did advertise for cast-iron rails, at which Wm. James was annoyed, it being contrary to his recommendation. The following is an extract from a letter, bearing Killingworth post-mark Dec. 20, 1821, from George Stephenson to Wm. James, in his son Robert's handwriting “With respect to the Stockton and Darlington Railway Company advertising for cast-iron rails, it was merely to please a few of the subscribers, who have been brought over by some of the cast-iron founders; but they have only advertised for onethird to be cast-iron.” In the above extract you will not fail to perceive the exercise of that predominant feature in the true character of George Stephenson.
In the year 1823, Wm. James became seriously embarrassed, from having lost upwards of £70,000 by the change in the currency previously alluded to, and the great expense incurred in the numerous surveys made by him, and the neglect of business consequent thereon. About this time he was subjected to the annoyance of a law-suit, which ended in the discomfiture of his opponent; although, as he afterwards stated in a letter, dated Sept. 5th, 1824, “ being at this time arrested for an illegal demand, rather than compromise iniquity, I suffered the horrors of a prison, as my friend T. Atwood will certify." Joseph Sandars, one of the principal directors of the Liverpool and Manchester Company, had been taken into the entire confidence of Wm. James : he therefore well knew his position, and that his absence from Liverpool was unavoid. able, from being detained many months in the Queen's
Bench prison. Yet this was the particular juncture he chose to call a meeting of the shareholders, for the purpose of instituting an enquiry whether Wm. James had not forfeited the confidence of the company by his unavoidable delay in the prosecution of the work. George Stephenson by this time had been introduced to the committee as engineer to the Manchester and Liverpool line, by Wm. James, that gentleman believing that on account of the many benefits he had conferred upon Stephenson, his own interests would be safe and jealously watched over in his absence. But, instead of that, Joseph Sandars and George Stephenson entered into a conspiracy against him, for the purpose of appropriating to themselves the great advantages to be derived
from the many years' ceaseless and unwearied labours of Wm. James. After successfully using their efforts to obtain the possession of James's plans and ideas, which they did by holding out a strong inducement for Mr. Padley to desert his patron Wm. James-(this gentleman had accompanied Wm. James throughout all his surveys, and was therefore thoroughly acquainted with all his plans and ideas)- many of the difficulties were overcome, and it remained (a comparatively easy task) for them to step in and finish more than the half-completed labours of Wm. James. From a sense of James's superiority, and the fear of his again gaining an ascendancy over them, they acted on the principle of keeping him down while he was down, by appearing upon the same field of labour wherever he undertook a fresh project, and opposing him in the most determined manner. On several other lines he was served precisely the same as on the Manchester and Liverpool: this was the case with respect to his Birmingham and Warrington, and Manchester, Warrington, and Liverpool surveys, the London and Birmingham, and Canterbury and Whitstable surveys. The whole of these had been made at the sole expense of Wm. James, and to the everlasting discredit of George Stephenson, he actually obtained possession of the plans of the latter, and imposed them upon parliament as his own. The following extracts, from letters still in possession of the family, will suffice to show what Wm. James thought of George Stephenson. "I do not quarrel with Mr. Stephenson's good fortune, although through his fraud I have lately lost the Birmingham appointment (Birmingham and Liverpool line, of which
Wm. James was the projector): I envy him not, but lament my own hard fate, having, almost at the end of life, suffered in this business the loss of labour, property, and health.” Again he says—“My life, hitherto employed in conferring favours, has produced to my family only insult and persecution. I have done some service to my fellow subjects.* Within the last 16 years I have spent more than £400,000 in manual labours; and at this moment I give daily bread to several hundred human beings. * * Therefore, whilst my faculties remain unimpaired, and my body is capable of labour, I have resolved to emigrate to some of His Majesty's colonies, where the talents and labours of myself and five sons may procure a subsistence, and my family may be spared the misery of insult and persecution." Wm. James retired into Cornwall to spend the latter years of his life, for the purpose of getting away from the machinations of his enemies, being also disgusted and annoyed with his false friends. These were his principal motives for leaving not only his former connections, but likewise his valuable property in Staffordshire and Warwickshire to the management of solicitors and assignees. In the early part of 1837 he accidentally met Mr. Corrie (the principal solicitor for his bankruptcy estate), who assured him that he ght even then save £30,000 by returning to Warwickshire and investigating his own affairs. He, however, was not spared to do so, for
shortly after this he took cold whilst travelling night and day outside a stage coach ; influenza' ensued, which terminated fatally on the 10th March, 1837. Some idea may be formed of the amount of his property, from the fact that his estate occupied the commissioners and lawyers about twenty years in settling, and one solicitor's account was £7,000. Notwithstanding these enormous expenses, Chancery suits, &c., all the creditors were paid very nearly in full.
WILLIAM HENRY JAMES, not having the pecuniary means to assist his younger brothers and sisters, and knowing the justice of their claims upon the public purse, resolved to get up a testimonial. For this purpose, several of the principal engineers were called upon ; most of whom had been personally acquainted with Wm. James, and were
* These remarks allude to Wm. James's railway labours, and the insult and persecution hc sutfered in consequence.