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regarded as the inventor of the present locomotive, or to the perfecting of it, can be best determined by briefly referring to the early history of the locomotive. We find that Savrey, the inventor of the working steam engine, was the first to propose the application of steam power for the purpose of carriage traction. Dr. Robinson made the same suggestion to his friend James Watt. This was in the year 1759. Watt, in the specification of his patent in 1769, describes an engine of the kind suggested by Robinson, but no steps appear to have been taken to reduce it to practice. The first locomotive engine was constructed at Paris by the French engineer, Cugnot, about the year 1760. After this period we find the same subject taken up by many ingenious and highly-talented individuals ; but it was not until the great intellect of Trevithick was brought to bear upon the subject, that much progress was made in the construction of an engine that could be said to contain the elements of future success.
In 1803, Trevithick constructed a locomotive engine for the Pen-yDarran Iron Company, South Wales, which, on its first trial, succeeded in drawing several wagons-one loaded with 10 tons of iron-at the rate of five-and-a-half miles an hour. It worked for a length of time pretty successfully ; but owing to the weakness of the rails upon which it travelled, and the frequent breakage of them, it was discontinued, rather than go to the expense of re-laying the road with stronger rails. It is particularly worthy of note that in this engine the steam blast was employed which George Stephenson and his friends so many years afterwards claimed as his invention. This engine also worked with smooth wheels upon smooth rails. Trevithick, many years after this time, and after the successful introduction of the locomotive engine, met Mr. Robert Stephenson at Cartagena, in Central America, and showed to him the advantages to be derived from enclosing the locomotive cylinder in a smoke box. Upon this suggestion the Stephensons acted in constructing their subsequent locomotives.
I am reluctantly compelled, from want of time, to pass over many interesting circumstances in connection with the early history of the locomotive ; circumstances, too, which clearly establish the fact that the locomotive has been brought to its present state of utility
not say perfection-by the combined engineering talent of this country during the last half century. That the Stephensons were never entitled to a tithe of the credit that Smiles, in his biography, awards them, I most unhesitatingly aver; and have now before me infallible evidence that George Stephenson was by no means scrupulous in pirating the invention of others who had been less fortunate than himself, as is evidenced by his connection with Messrs. Hedley, Hackworth, and others. It may not be generally known that the Blenkinsop locomotive was worked for many years on the Middleton Colliery Railway, near Leeds; and that a locomotive was working at the Wylam Colliery, upon the very tramroad that George Stephenson had tended the cows upon when a boy. These engines were constructed long before we have any evidence of Stephenson even contemplating the construction of a locomotive. It was upon this tramroad that Mr. Hedley demonstrated, upon a working scale, that the mere friction of the wheels of a heavy carriage upon the smooth rails of a tramroad, was sufficient to enable it to draw a train of loaded carriages ; and in this Wylam engine the steam blast was also used. No stronger proof needs to be adduced to show that neither George Stephenson nor any of the other claimants to this invention ever knew the value of it until applied-and even not fully then-than the fact that it was never patented ; although in that invention rested a princely fortune. George Stephenson repeatedly inspected the Wylam engines before constructing one of his own. When all these circumstances are considered, I say it appears passing strange that anyone should have the boldness to come forward and claim for him the title of inventor of the locomotive, or even the perfector of it. More especially so, when it is borne in mind that Stephenson's locomotive had only attained a speed of six miles an hour before he and his partner entered into an agreement with Wm. James to enable them to use the present William Henry James's tubular boiler. Upon this we shall presently have to speak.
Shortly after George Stephenson was appointed enginewright at Killingworth, he turned his attention to the invention of the safety lamp, having been brought face to face with one or more of those deplorable accidents that were then so common in the North of England. Much has been said regarding the invention of that invaluable instrument, the Miners' Safety Lamp ; and Stephenson's friends have laboured assiduously to claim priority of invention over that of Sir Humphrey Davy. Whether the grounds of their claims were substantial or not, and their arguments unanswerable, will be best seen by referring to the report of a public meeting that was held on the 11th of October, 1816, at Newcastle, for the purpose of presenting Sir Humphrey Davy with a reward for the invention of his safety lamp. The result of this meeting was, that a sum of £2,000 was presented to Sir Humphrey Davy for the invention of the Safety Lamp ; and a hundred guineas to George Stephenson for what he had done in the same direction. I do not say that this proves beyond doubt that Stephenson was not the inventor of the safety lamp, but I do say that it was more likely that his claim could then have been substantiated, and the question for ever set at rest, than can be now, after the lapse of nearly half a century; especially so, when it is considered that most of the living witnesses could be then present, and that the subject had been thoroughly discussed previous to the meeting. That George Stephenson was entitled to very great credit, and the best thanks of every class in the community, for his labours in connection with so laudable an object, I do not dispute ; but this forms no reason why his biographer should appropriate the labours of others, in order to place him in a more elevated position. Since Siniles has undertaken the task of showing the superiority of Stephenson's lamp over that of the Davy, and cited Mr. Brown, of Barnsley, as an authority to prove his position, it may not be considered out of place if I say it is possible that I know as much of the properties of both lamps as either Mr. Smiles or Mr. Brown; and that I certainly consider the Davy lamp far superior to the Stephenson, and the objections urged against the Davy lamp by Mr. Brown as only tending to show how little he knew upon the subject he professed to be acquainted with.
In 1821, Stephenson was appointed engineer for the Stockton and Darlington Railway, and the line was opened on the 27th of September, 1825. It may be as well to remark that this line was not originally intended for passcuger traffic, and that it was not until after the Liverpool and Manchester line had established their regular passenger traffic, that regular passenger trains were run. Stephenson supplied the first four locomotive engines that were required for this line ; and a fifth was supplied by Mr. Wilson, Forth-street, Newcastle. After these engines had been at work for 18 months, it was clearly proved that the cost of the engine-power was considerably more than horse-power would have been. A meeting of the directors was convened, for the purpose of taking into consideration the propriety of abandoning the locomotive, and returning to horses. After the subject had been fully discussed, Timothy Hackworth, who had had the full management of all the traction power, consisting of stationary, engines, locomotives, and horses, was asked what he would recommend the directors to do ? He said that if they would allow him to make an engine in his own way, he would engage that it should answer their purpose; "and in order to save you expense,” he added, “I will take the remnant of one of the old engines, and make it available as far as practicable in constructing the new one.” After due consideration on the part of the directors, Timothy's proposal was accepted. Accordingly, the boiler of Wilson's engine was altered and enlarged for carrying out the project. This engine was the first six-wheeled, coupled engine, ever constructed ; the first with direct action, the cylinders being placed above, and connected direct to crank pins in one pair of wheels; the first with balance beam bearing springs hinged in the centre, the extremes supporting the boxes of two separate axles ; the first with springs instead of weights for the safety valves ; the first with a heating apparatus for heating the feed water ; the first with steam blast, excepting Trevithick's, which was not, as some suppose, accidental ; in proof of which it was employed in two different ways at the same time in this engine,– was to combine the two exhaust pipes in one, and carry it. into the centre of the chimney, and directing it up in a long cone, reducing the opening from 4 to 2 inches; the other was taking a branch from the exhaust pipe, just before entering the chimney, and carrying it down into the tube beneath the fire grate, and giving its end an angular direction of about 45° to throw the jet of steam up through the fire. This branck was provided with a valve to shut or open at pleasure : however, it was found that the firstnamed plan would meet all requirements. This engine
was called the “Royal George." It commenced work in October, 1827 ; and during the first twelve months, she not only cleared her own first cost and working expenses, but £107 besides, at the same rate at which the horses were paid for. On this being clearly demonstrated, the directors declared that all they wanted were plenty of Timothy's engines. Messrs. Walker and Rastrick, the gentlemen appointed by the directors of the Liverpool and Manchester line, to report on the relative merits of fixed and locomotive engines, also declared Hackworth’s to be beyond doubt the best engine, as evidenced by the work performed. This information has been furnished by his son, John Wesley Hackworth, and confirmed in various ways.
And yet, in the face of these facts, which cannot fail to have been known to Samuel Smiles, he declares in his “Life of George Stephenson,” and in his “Lives of the Engineers,” that George Stephenson is entitled to be called the inventor of the locomotive, in the general acceptation of the term. What credit, I ask, can be attached to the testimony of such a biographer ?
From this time the success and prosperity of the Stephensons was guaranteed ; for what had been wanted to secure it had been accomplished, whether by himself or not mattered little to Stephenson, so long as he gained adyantages by it. Their engagements increased almost daily from this time. Scarcely a line was projected but either he or his son was engaged upon it;
and their engagements brought with them wealth, whicħ, in this country, is ever sure to secure friends and worshippers. Yes-if success crowns the efforts of anyone in this country, he is worshipped and adored, even if the elements of his success have been based upon the ruin of some one's prospects, who possessed far higher attainments, and who was more generous and noble in his disposition, more virtuous in character, and possessed more fully all the qualities that ennoble and elevate the mind of man. fully aware that we are fighting with the weapons of the dead, and that their characters are all that remain of them in this world ; but this, I think, ought not to deter us from endeavouring to clear away the cloud of obscurity that envelopes the early history of our railways, and thus enable the honour to be accorded to whom the honour is due. That George Stephenson possessed talents of a high