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654 anrivalled degree of prosperity. Bri- | His active disposition and superior tish ingenuity, supported by increas- abilities were not, however, long uning capital, and aided by these advan- noticed: their fame extended beyond tages, defied competition in the foreign the small village to which they were market. The sea-ports of Liverpool, consigned, and the humble apprenHull, Bristol, &c. progressively rose tice was continually consulted in prein importance, as their several ship- ference to his more timber-headed ping and merchant services, the great master. Little mechanical contrivannurseries from which our fleets are ces, to accelerate the handicraft occusupplied with able and intrepid sea- pations of the district, and ingenious men, experienced increasing activity. alterations in several of the surroundIn short, the British merchant, secure ing manufactories, led to their gradual in the protection of his country's influ- development. It is recorded, that a ence, has been enabled to carry his machine of curious construction had commercial enterprise into the remo- been erected at some distance, contest corners of the globe.
taining, however, a defect, which No apology will therefore be re- rendered its operation useless. On quired, even at this distant period, the Saturday night, when the labours for introducing to the notice of our of the week were concluded, young readers, and for recording in the Brindley set off on foot, of his own pages of this publication, some brief accord, and without any intimation notices of an individual whose enter- of his design, to examine it. He prising genius secured to the commu- returned early on the Monday mornbity many of the above advantages; ing, and named the defect: it was and whose name, associated with the remedied under his superintendence, undertakings by which it is perpetu- and the engine shortly set to work. ated, is never mentioned but with a This was a voluntary journey of fifty corresponding tribute of admiration. miles on foot. And were there not, at every time, in At the expiration of his apprenticethe history of highly-gifted persons, ship, he met with very flattering enenough to justify an editor in reviv- couragement; and, in the few sucing the memorial of their lives, by the ceeding years, acquired increased READERS of the IMPERIAL MAGAZINE, celebrity by divers improvements in with whom are the speaking monu- enginery; especially by the erection ments of Mr. Brindley's talent, this of a curious water-engine for draining plate and memoir would scarcely be coal-works; of a new silk-mill, near deemed inappropriate.* There is, Congleton; and of an improved mamoreover, this distinguishing feature chine for manufacturing printing pain the character of Mr. Brindley ; that per.
But bis services were now to be the success which crowned his mecha- devoted to a different undertaking; nical inventions must be attributed the execution of which was as credientirely to the native force of his ge- table to his talent, as its completion nius, and the untutored energy of his was beneficial to the community. This mind. This celebrated individual was was the planning and making a naviborn at Tunsted, in the parish of gable canal from the populous town Wormbill, and county of Derby, in the of Manchester to the late Duke of year 1716. Though his parents were in Bridgewater's valuable coal mines at easy circumstances during the few Worsley. Brindley, as the event first years of his life, the dissolute proved, was the very man for the habits of the father prevented all atten- Duke's purpose ; since it is more than tion to the necessary culture of his probable, that had the plan been subchild ; and in consequence, at an age initted to an individual regularly inwhen other boys are supposed at least ducted to the profession of a civil to be acquainted with the common engineer, and guided more by rules principles of writing and arithmetic, of art than the force of genius, it young Brindley was apprenticed to would have been abandoned in the an obscure wheelwright, near Mac-onset as altogether chimerical. clesfield, totally ignorant of either. Indeed, in reviewing the transac
tions of Mr. Brindley's active but * The Imperial Magazine originated in Li-contracted life, and that in particular verpool: and its circulation is very extensive which introduced him to the notice of throughout Lancashire and Cheshire.
his illustrious patron, the manly for
7.7000............... titude and patriotic perseverance of Duke and his successors being obliged, the latter, are scarcely superseded in for ever, to supply the town with that interest by the native acuteness, the valuable commodity at 4d. per cwt. mental comprehension, and the unpa- The act allowed 2s.6d. per ton freightralleled success, which throughoat age for other produce. accompanied and distinguished the This first undertaking so fully realformer. The Duke found that he ized the anticipations of its noble must sacrifice a princely fortune for a originator, that in 1762 another act remote contingency, in which, how- was obtained for branching the canal ever splendid if secured, it was im- to the tide-way of the Mersey, at Runpossible for bim to participate. The corn in Cheshire. It was declared to novelty of the undertaking increased be “for improving the intercourse bethe number of those whom interest or tween Liverpool and Manchester;" it prejudice induced to oppose it. In secured an uninterrupted intercourse and out of Parliament, the scheme at the lowest neap tides ; and so deciwas ridiculed, obstructed, and con- sive were the effects, that in a few demned ; but his Grace most laudably weeks the rates of freightage by the persevered, and in the years 1758-9, Mersey and Irwell Navigation, were the necessary powers for effecting it reduced from 12s. to 6s. per ton. This were definitively obtained. The plan canal, also, is as nearly as possible had been previously digested by Mr. rectilineal, and on an entire level ; with Brindley ; who, relying upon his own the exception of a fall of 82 feet at the resources, adopted the unprecedented termination in Roncorn. It is obviidea of carrying the navigation as ated by ten locks, which immediately nearly as possible in a straight line, connect the navigation with the tide. without the aid of locks ; and of reme- way. The total level is therefore dying by art the natural inequalities of seventy-two miles; including a short surface. To do this, however, im- branch of the Trent and Mersey, mense embankments were to be con- which was improved by Brindley anstructed-subterraneous tunnels exca- der the second act, and forms a juncvated--and the then uncommon expe- tion with the Bridgwater at Preston dient of carrying a canal across a Brook. large navigable river,* was to be By the most experienced surveyors attempted. And here it may be well it was deemed impracticable to carry to remark upon a singular feature in the navigation across Sale Moor, as it Mr. Brindley's character. For this lay so much beneath the antecedent and for every other undertaking, how level; but Brindley thought otherwise, ever extensive or complex, he never and succeeded. Across the whole had recourse to calculation upon pa- valley at Stretford, it resembles raper, nor to the construction of a mo- ther a navigable river than an artifidel ; but he retired to bed, where he cial canal. The embankment in these would remain two or three days, till meadows is two thousand seren bunthe minutest parts of his plan were dre feet long, fifty-one high, nd methodized and adjusted ; and then, three hundred and thirty-six wide at without any text-book but his exten- the base : its dimensions, however, sive and capacious memory, would are considerably exceeded by another proceed with exactness to its execu- upon the same line at Bollington in tion. The want of early education Cheshire. For these, vast wooden has by some been assigned as the rea- cases were constructed, and large son for his doing so; but, in whatever piles sunk into the earth, for securing cause it might originate, the fact af- the mounds on each side. A portion fords a striking proof of the uncommon being formed, the piles were moved power of his mental faculties.
onwards, answering again the same In little more than a year the canal purpose, and the canal thus rapidly was publicly opened, and a cargo of elongated. Where the channel was coals conveyed to Manchester; the too deep, Mr. Brindley had a couple
of boats fastened, within a foot of each * Brindley, when before a Committee of the other ; above this intermediate openHouse of Commons, was asked by a Member, ing, was placed a triangular trough, What be considered rivers were intended for, the bottom of which had trap-doors : as he spoke of them so lightly? After some paase, he replied.m" To feed navigable ca- this being filled with earth from some nals !"
part of the embankment which required
658 lowering, was conveyed by the boats, principle was reversed, the road was exactly over the place to be raised, gradually sunk on each side, and by and the trap-doors being suddenly turning a large arch, the canal conopened, its contents were precipitated veyed over it as well as the river ! to the bottom. The scientific adoption Viewed from the battlements of of puddling to prevent leakage, ori- Barton Bridge, the interest of the ginated also with Mr. Brindley; and scene is not unfrequently heightened it has not hitherto been superseded by by the Duke's pleasure packet being any better appliance. His economy, seen on the aqueduct above, at the skill, and foresight, shone conspicu- moment when a large packet or lightoursly throughout the whole of this er of the river-company is passing in work; and were calculated to have full sail below it. These, with the lessened the expenses full £1000 per enlivening twang of the boatmen's cent. The canal has furnished a mo- horns-the horses with their drivers del to succeeding celebrated engi- on the towing-path of the conduit, neers; and at this very period, when | fifty feet above the river-and a mill improved science and renewed oppor- and waterfall some distance beyond tunities might be supposed to advance it-present a very noble combination considerably on the original, it is of nature and art. found that Brindley left little to But the subterraneous tunnel, com'amend. Indeed, the beautiful regu- municating with different shafts of the larity of the navigation-its extent- mine at Worsley, hewn out of the the excellence of the towing-paths— solid rock, and the first ever underthe magnitude and solidity of the em- taken in this country for the purposes bankments,* with the efficient provi- of navigation, is that which most sion for feeding it with water, and di- powerfully excites the astonishment verting superabundant supplies, elicit of a beholder. Little does be imagine, the approbation even of an unprofes- when seating himself in the small sional observer.
wherry at its entrance, to what diverThe opinion entertained sixty years sified instances of human ingenuity ago, of an aqueduct across the Irwell and human perseverance he will at Barton, may be gathered from the shortly be introduced. Yet, had Virwell-known remark of a celebrated gil lived in our days, the opening to surveyor, when interrogated as to the this invisible world might have furpossibility of erecting it: “I have nished the idea of his " fauces graveoften been told (said be) of building olentis Averni." The boat is just castles in the air, but never before large enough for the tunnel ; which at was shewn where any of them were to this part does not exceed five feet in be erected." The airy castle” was height, and six in width.
A sootyhowever raised; and in the short visaged guide, whose appearance is space of ten months : whilst, unlike strangely in character with the objects the creations to which this witty gen- around, propels it by means of rings tleman alluded, it still remains. In fixed in the rock. As it slowly reSeptember, 1760, it was commenced ; cedes from the entrance, the gloom and, in July, 1761, boats with coals increases, till the aperture gradually sailed across it. The river which dwindles into a mere point of light ; flows beneath it is wide and deep; the whilst the death-like stillness of the southern bank rocky and precipitous, cavern is momentarily interrupted by and covered towards the summit with the sound of the distant pick-the redense overhanging foliage. To raise echoed hail of the workmen--the tingthe northern bank to a corresponding ling of the notice-bells, or the clatter level was a work of considerable of subterraneous machinery. At relabour; and as a bridge of immense gular distances narrow perpendicular extent would have been required to niches are cut through the rock from carry the public road (which it inter- | the upper surface; as well to ventilate sects) above a canal raised artificially the passage, as to lower men down, so much beyond the natural level, the in case it be obstructed. Strong gates
are placed at intervals, which close One only gave way, by which a large up the arch in stormy and tempestuous barge, with sails spread, was floated into the weather. Arrived at the termination "middle of a bay-field. Query: Were the boat- of a level, a bell is rung, and the boat men or the baymakers most astonisked? expeditiously laden with the useful