페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

therefore aware of his legitimate claims. The following document was drawn up under their joint direction-a document which must for ever invalidate the claims of George Stephenson to be considered the “Father of Railways.

24th day of June, 1846. We, the undersigned, hereby consent to act as a committee for promoting a general subscription for the three sons and one daughter of William James, C.E., and Land Agent, in consideration of their father's public services, as the original projector and surveyor of the Manchester and Liverpool railroad, and many other of the most important railroads in this kingdom, principally at his own cost; we being of opinion that the great benefits conferred upon this country in particular, and the world at large, by his successful exertions and great pecuniary sacrifices, to the injury of his family (who are thereby deprived of all patrimony), entitle them not only to public sympathy, but also compensation, it being an acknowledged fact that to their father's labours the public are indebted for the establishment of the present railroad system.

COMMITTEE :-
ROBERT STEPHENSON, Esq., M.P., C.E., Great

George-street, Westminster;
JOSEPH LOCK, M.P., C.E. ;
Colonel GEO. LANDMAN, C.E.;
J. K. BRUNEL, Esq., C.E. ;
GEORGE RENNIE, Esq., C.E. ;

CHARLES VIGNOLES, Esq., C.E.; and others. In fact, the committee was formed of sixteen of the first engineers of the age, both with regard to position and attainments. George Stephenson was exceedingly wroth with his son Robert for the part he had taken in the matter, and insisted upon his immediately taking measures to procure back the original document, signed by himself and the other eminent engineers. This was done without the knowledge of W. H. James, or any of the family, to whom it belonged. Previously, however, to this paper being given up, the solicitor for the James's had an exact lithographic copy of the whole taken, containing the facsimile signatures of Robert Stephenson and the other engineers, of the correctness of which he (the solicitor) made a solemn declaration before the Lord Mayor of London, on the 24th day of June, 1846. William Henry James, the eldest son of the late Wm. James, owing to intense study and disappointment connected with the testimonial, and other causes, was seized with a serious illness, which affected him for many years, and from which he has never

wholly recovered. The state of his health, combined with feelings of true delicacy, prevented his litigating the affair with Robert Stephenson. To William Henry James is the world truly indebted for the present rapid system of railway travelling; for without his invention of the tubular boiler, we might possibly have yet only attained a maximum velocity of ten miles an hour. În 1821, while yet quite young, this gentleman took out a patent for a tubular boiler, which he had invented for his steam carriage to run on common roads. For the safety of passengers, the tubular boiler was proved to ten times the amount of its working pressure. Upon trial of his steam carriage, it was found to travel at the rate of 18 miles an hour, up a newly-gravelled hill. Wm. James had the folly to give up this, his son's patent, to Messrs. Losh and Stephenson,-so insanely intent was he upon the accomplishment of his favourite scheme, as the following copy of agreement will show:

And in consideration of such grant of one-fourth share in the patent, William James hereby agrees to allow the said William Losh and George Stephenson to adopt any improvements, and the introduction of tubes to their boilers, as contained in the letters patent of W. H. James, son of the said Wm. James, and granted to him in the reign of his present Majesty.

WILLIAM HENRY JAMES.

WILLIAM JAMES. It was in consequence of the introduction of the tubular boiler into the "Rocket," that it was enabled to compete successfully at Rainhill: in fact, it is admitted by all authorities, that it has caused the entire success of the present railway system, particularly as regards passenger transit. Nor is this the only invention of great merit that William Henry James has given to the world, as is evidenced by his patent for producing superheated' high-pressure steam-an invention that is now producing an enormous saving in the expense of fuel in steam vessels, hoth to the public and to the Government, but without any advantage to the inventor. [See “Herbert's Register of Arts," from 1825 to 1829.] The inventive genius of Wm. Henry James displayed itself in infancy, and throughout life he has laboured assiduously to maintain his position as an inventor and perfector of machinery, as is abundantly testified by reference to the Patent Rolls ; in fact, it is no

longer than yesterday week that he completed and lodged the

specification of a patent for steam engines.

Much has been said regarding the engineering talent of Stephenson in the construction of railways. Well, let us see how matters stand in that direction. The line which Locke constructed from Liverpool to Birmingham, cost less than £25,000 per mile; the line which Stephenson constructed from London to Birmingham, cost over £46,000 per mile; Locke's Lancaster and Preston cost 20,000 per mile; Stephenson's Dublin and Kingston, £50,000 per mile; the Manchester and Liverpool upwards of a million. Locke, who was called in to rectify Stephenson's oversight with respect to the Rainhill Tunnel, showed that it could have been constructed for less than half a million. When Locke was appointed to supersede Stephenson as engineer on the Grand Junction, he cut down some of that gentleman's estimates in some cases to one-half-in others onefourth part of the whole. The Puckride Viaduct was tendered for under the original specification at £26,000. When Mr. Locke revised the specification, the very same contractor reduced his estimate to £6,000, and made by it a considerable profit.

Ladies and gentlemen,-These are by no means the only facts that can be brought forward to show the incapacity of George Stephenson in great undertakings, and his want principle in dealing with others; but I flatter myself that enough has been said to prove to you that he was guilty of the basest ingratitude towards the two James's. After pondering over the facts I have presented to you this evening, and reading his biography by Smiles, you must, I am persuaded, agree with the remarks in the British Quarterly Review of last month, that he was a man in his line of the most illimitable pretensions; and that he absorbed all the incense his flatterers gave him; and instead of entreating them to forbear, only thirsted for more.” With respect to the wrong and injustice that he inflicted upon the James's, his name must be handed down to the latest posterity with that foul spot upon his character, that no time or circumstance can efface. And what will be thought in after ages at the foremost nation upon earth allowing such public services as those rendered by the James's to go unrequited ? --services rendered at the expense of the loss of position, property, and health. I think you will agree with me in

saying, that it is clearly the duty of this country to render some compensation in return for the invaluable services rendered by these public benefactors, and thus endeavour to wipe away the stain that will otherwise attach itself to this ever-interesting portion of the history of this country. Whether such measures are taken or not, the names of the two James's are certain of being handed down to the latest posterity in connection with the introduction into this country of that civilizing agent, the railway system. And whether the present generation brands Smiles or not as an unreliable authority, I do not despair of the time coming when the whole facts will be placed on the broad pages of enduring truth, and the world called to witness the injustice that has been inflicted upon the James's family by the publishing of “Smiles' Lives of the Engineers, and Biographies of the Stephensons.”

With the foregoing facts before us, it is impossible to acquit Smiles of having practised deception upon his readers, not only by withholding facts that he must have been thoroughly acquainted with, or otherwise have obstinately closed his eyes against, but by colouring statements to make a popular idol of George Stephenson, at the expense of robbing others of that which they are fully entitled to.

Address of the Editor--36, CORPORATION STREET, MANCHESTER. Instructions in Phonography, or Phonetic Shorthand, personally or by Post. Terms moderate.

Vol. 8 of "The Popular Lecturer and Reader." Price 2s. 64. cloth, lettered. This Volume contains 20 Lectures and 18 Readings.

“We commend Mr. Pitman's volume." -The Athenaum.

Sent post-free for 30 Stamps, by the Editor, HENRY PITMAN, 36, Corporation-street, Manchester.

“The Co-operator," price 1d., published Monthly, records the wonderful progress of the Co-operative Movement. Edited by HENRY PITMAN.

London: FRED. PITMAN, 20, Paternoster Row, E.C.

Printed by J. WARD, Dewsbury.

[blocks in formation]

AM to tell you as much as can be said in few minutes

about CHARLES JAMES NAPIER, the Conqueror of Scinde ; but let me say at once, that it is not for that achievement chiefly I have selected his name.

I have no great faculty for explaining the history of campaigns, nor do I know that it is the most profitable study ; but Charles James Napier lived and worked for fifty-eight years before he went out to India to conquer a new empire ; a man tender and true in every relation—a prince of administrators, with an eye and a hand for whatever might tend to the well-being of his fellow-men. Therefore, even if I were compelled to omit the part of Hamlet-if we should never get to India at all—perhaps our attention might“ be worse directed than towards the life of the man.

Charles James Napier (who must not be confounded with his cousin, Admiral Sir Charles Napier), was born at Whitehall, on the 10th of August, 1782. There is soinething-whether we like to admit it or not-in blood ; so it is worth remembering that, through his father, Colonel the Hon. George Napier, Charles traced his descent back to the great Montrose, and to Napier, the inventor of logarithms. Through his mother, sister to the Duke of Richmond, he was great-great-grandson of Charles II. ; and still more remotely descended from Henry IV. of France. Through her, too, he was cousin to Charles Fox.

15.-MARCH.

« 이전계속 »