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selling the vessel at Belfast was not realised, and the enterprising owner and his daring crew set sail for Liverpool. The first day's sail from Belfast brought the steamer to Douglas, in the Isle of Man; and after a detention of several days, in consequence of the boisterous character of the weather, another day's sailing and steaming found the “Greenock" in the Mersey. This was the first steam-boat that ever entered the port of our modern Tyre, and may in one sense be regarded as the pioneer of that noble steam fleet for which the port of Liverpool is now so justly celebrated.
In opposition to the claim thus set forth on behalf of the “Greenock," as the first steamer that ever appeared in Irish waters, a claim of priority is put forth on behalf of the “Argyle," subsequently named the “Thames.” And without pretending to settle the dispute, I will briefly glance at the record of the “Argyle's" voyage from the Clyde to London, which is not without interest in connection with the early history of steam navigation. The “Argyle,” like the “Margery," was purchased in the Clyde by a London company, for the purpose of trading between the City and Margate; and being too broad in the beam to pass the locks of the Forth and Clyde canal, as the “Margery" did, had to be navigated round by Land's End and the south coast to the Thames. The enterprising seaman who undertook this difficult task, at that time regarded by not a few as insuperable, was Captain Dodd, who had served in the Royal Navy, and was a person of some note as an engineer and architect, one of his projects being a tunnel under the Thames from Gravesend to Tilbury. He arrived in Glasgow, changed the name of the vessel from “Argyle” to Thames, and set sail from the Clyde about the middle of May 1816, with a crew of eight men. In due course, the “Thames o arrived in the Liffey, having encountered during her passage thither more than the usual average of seafaring dangers, on one occasion escaping shipwreck on a lee shore, under circumstances which must have resulted in her total destruction had she been a sailing vessel. Her gallant commander declared that no other power than that of steam could have saved the vessel in the position in which she was placed. At Dublin, the “Thames” was joined by Mr. Isaac Weld, the author of “Travels in America,” who, being desirous of proceeding to London, requested Captain Dodd to receive him as a passenger. The request was complied with, and Mrs. Weld determined to share the dangers of the voyage with her husband. On the 28th of May the enterprising voyagers left the Liffey, and on the following morning by 9 o'clock were off Wexford, where the inhabitants thought the vessel was on fire. The pilots of the coast set off to render her assistance, but on nearing the smoking craft were both surprised and disappointed to find there was no danger and no hope of salvage. From Wexford the “Thames," with her gallant crew, sailed to the Pass of Ramsay, on the coast of Wales, and to save five hours, but against the urgent remonstrances of the pilot, dashed through the dangerous passage of Jack Sound, between Skomar Island and the mainland, and reached Milford Haven in safety. After remaining for some time at St. Ives, they doubled the Land's End, encountering a tremendous swell from the Atlantic, and a strong tide running down St. George's Channel, and proceeded to Plymouth, from thence to Portsmouth, thence to Margate, and landed at Limehouse on the 12th of June, at 6 o'clock in the evening. The distance traversed was 758 nautical miles, and the time occupied in sailing, 121 hours.
At every port where the “Thames” touched, in the course of her successful voyage, her appearance excited mingled surprise and admiration. At St. Ives, where, as at Wexford, thinking she was on fire, the pilot boats came out to render her assistance, the pilots complimented the voyagers by telling them that their vessel was the first they had met that could surpass them in swiftness. At Plymouth, so great was the anxiety and enthusiasm to see the fire-ship, that Captain Dodd had to request the Port Admiral for a guard to enable him to preserve order.
If the dates given in this narrative be correct, the “Thames,” and not the “Greenock,” was the first steam vessel in Irish waters; and if the practicability of steam navigation in the open sea had not been proved by the voyage of the “Margery” from the Forth to the Thames, it was certainly placed beyond dispute by this voyage of the “Thames” from Glasgow to London. But it was not till 1818 that steam packets were employed in ocean navigation, the first line started being one which is still successfully carried on by Messrs. Burns, of Glasgow,--the mail steamers trading between Glasgow and Belfast.
I have already remarked that the first efforts in steam navigation in this country were with vessels of much smaller dimensions than Fulton experimented with in America. Fulton's “Hudson” was a vessel of 133 feet in length; whereas Bell's “Comet” was only 40 feet keel; and even the adventurous “Argyle," alias Thames," measured only 79 feet. But compared with the leviathan steam-ships that now plough the ocean in both hemispheres, the largest of these primitive steam vessels was but a model. The half century which has elapsed since the time of which I have been speaking, has produced marvellous changes in the speed, safety, and comfort of both river and ocean steamers, and has effected quite a revolution in the means of communication between distant countries. And it would be hazardous to predict what may be the final results of human ingenuity and enterprise in an art and science which are daily receiving some new development.
HISTORY OF THE STEAM ENGINE.
HANDEL COSSHAM, ESQ., F.G.S.
[Delivered at the Bristol Mining School.]
HE wonders that have been accomplished in this country
and the world by the application of the power of steam, and the invention of the steam engine, make the subject of the present lecture one of great interest and importance. Nothing has so completely revolutionised the commerce and trade of the world, as the steam engine. Nothing has done more to promote the social, political, and intellectual advancement of the human family, than the steam engine. Nothing in the order of Providence seems more likely to promote the moral advancement of mankind, and to produce
peace on earth and good-will amongst men,” than the steam engine.
There is evidence that the force of steam confined in close vessels was known among the ancients, and that the priesthood of Egypt and Greece employed it for the purpose of giving motion to their images and gods in their religious temples, the object being, of course, to make their deluded votaries believe that they were endowed with supernatural power. Aristotle and Seneca also state that the ancient philosophers believed that earthquakes were caused by the explosions of vapour, under the influence of heat. "It is remarkable that, with this general view of the power and force of steam, they should not have pursued the subject further, and endeavoured to confine and control this great agent, and make it subservient to the wants and necessities of man.
There is also evidence of steam being applied in many novel ways by the Egyptians and Grecians for superstitious purposes. We are too much given to look upon all past periods of the world's history as dark and barbarous. There is reason for believing that some of the Asiatic nations employed many of the fundamental principles of natural science that we now recognise and employ. No doubt wars and the changes of government have often led to the loss of inventions and improvements. The Greeks were chiefly given to pleasure, and did not do much in the cultivation of science; but yet they have left some great monuments of genius, such as the works of Euclid, whose treatise on “Geometry” is the text book to this day. The Romans were almost entirely absorbed in war, and that prevented them from greatly advancing in science; for it is a great fact, stamped upon the history of the world, that nations whose energies are chiefly devoted to war and conquest, seldom advance in science and social improvement.
HERO'S ÆOLIPILE* (B.c. 120). This ingenious man flourished at Alexandria, about 120 B.C., and thus describes an apparaatus which he invented, in a treatise still extant, called, "Spiritalia seu Pneumatica." “Let a boiler be set on the fire, and nearly filled with water, and let its mouth be closed by a cover which is pierced by a bent tube, whose extremity fits exactly into a hollow sphere; but, at the opposite end of the diameter of the sphere, let there be an iron axis supported from the top of the cover, and let the sphere have two bent pipes from the ends of a diameter of the sphere perforated therewith, and bent round in opposite directions, and let the bends make right angles, and be in the plane perpendicular to the axis of rotation. Then it will follow that, the boiler being heated, the vapour rushing through the tubes and the sphere will rush out through the reversed pipes, and whirl the sphere round on its axis.” There can be no doubt that this instrument derived its motion from the power of steam. The motion in this machine was caused by that law in mechanics which says “that re-action will always correspond with action;" that is, two bodies striking against each other, will produce motions in contrary directions. This can be illustrated by two persons knocking against each other, and also by the rebounding of a gun when fired off. We have evidence, also, that Hero knew a little of the law of atmospheric pressure—a principle afterwards applied by Newcomen, in the steam engine, with so much advantage. Hero says, “When round medical glasses, with long slender necks, are filled with water, the air contained in them is sucked out, and the orifice closed with the finger, and they are then
Æolipile, from two Greek words, signifying the ball of Æolus.