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Chap. VII. HIS SON STUDIES AT EDINBURGH. 117
college in England accessible to persons of moderate means, for purposes of scientific culture. He was furnished with some good introductions to men of science in Edinburgh, the reputation of his father in connexion with the safety-lamp and the locomotive being of some service to him in this respect. Though he studied at Edinburgh College for only one session of six months, he entered upon the work with such zest and interest—his mind was so ripe for the pursuit and reception of knowledge—that it is not too much to say, that in that short period he learnt more than most students do during a three years' course. He attended the chemical lectures of Dr. Hope, the lectures on natural philosophy by Sir John Leslie, and the natural history classes of Jameson; and his evenings were sedulously devoted to the study of practical chemistry under Dr. John Murray, himself one of the numerous speculators respecting the safety-lamp. This six months' study cost his father SOL, a considerable sum with him in those days; but he was amply repaid when, his son returned to Killingworth in the summer of 1821, bringing with him the prize for mathematics, which he had gained at the university.
As an illustration of Eobert Stephenson's industry and application while attending college, we may adduce the following anecdote:—An engineering friend (Mr. T. Harrison) was engaged with him one evening in the discussion of a scientific subject in his own library, when Mr. Stephenson rose from his seat and took down a volume from his book-shelves. Mr. Harrison observed that the book was in MS., neatly written out. "What have we here?" he asked. The answer was,—" When I went to college, I knew the difficulty my father had in collecting the funds to send me there. Before going I studied short-hand; while at Edinburgh, I took down verbatim every lecture; and in the evenings, before I went to bed, I transcribed those lectures word for word. You see the result in that range of books."
118 RAILWAY PIONEERS. Chap. VIII.
Engineer Op The Stockton And Darlington Eailway.
The district lying west of Darlington, in the county of Durham, is one of the richest mineral fields of the North. Vast stores of excellent coal underlie the Bishop Auckland Valley; and from an early period it was felt to be an exceedingly desirable object to open up new communications to enable the article to be sent to market. But as yet it remained almost a closed field, the cost of transport of the coal in carts, or on horses' or donkeys' backs, greatly limiting the sale. Long ago, in the days of canal formations, Brindley was consulted about a canal; afterwards, in 1812, a tramroad was surveyed by Eennie; and eventually, in 1817, a railway was projected from Witton Colliery, a few miles above Darlington, to Stockton-on-Tees.
Of this railway Edward Pease was the projector. A thoughtful and sagacious man, ready in resources, possessed of indomitable energy and perseverance, he was eminently qualified to undertake what appeared to many the desperate enterprise of obtaining an Act of Parliament to construct a railway through a rather unpromising district. One who knew him in 1818 said, "he was a man who could see a hundred years ahead." When the writer last saw him, in the autumn of 1854, Mr. Pease was in his eightyeighth year; yet he still possessed the hopefulness and mental vigour of a man in his prime. Hale and hearty, full of interesting reminiscences of the past, he yet entered with interest into the life of the present, and displayed a warm sympathy for all current projects calculated to render the lives of men happier. Still sound in health, his eye had not lost its brilliancy, nor his cheek its colour; and there was an elasticity in his step which younger men
might have envied.* His vigorous judgment and genuine native shrewdness, together with that courageous strength and tenacity of purpose, which made him, when once convinced, stand by the railway project upon which he had set his heart, when all the world called him schemer and fool, had not yet departed from him: and he could now
The late Mr. Edward Peaue. (From a Photograph.)
afford to crack a lively joke at the prejudiced blindness of those who had so long made him the subject of their ridicule. Pointing to a fine prospect from his drawing
* Mr. Pease died at Darlington on the 31st of July, 1858, aged 92. The photograph from which the above cut is taken, was kindly supplied by Mr. refute himself in the course of the preceding month.
120 THE STOCKTON AND DARLINGTON LINE. Chap. VIII.
room window, extending to the wooded knolls on the further side of the valley, the numerous full-grown trees within sight, gay in all the gorgeous livery of autumn, Mr. Pease observed:—" What changes happen in a single lifetime! Look at those fine old trees; every one of them has been planted by my own hand. When I was a boy I was fond of planting, and my father indulged me in my pastime; I went about with a spade in my hand, planting trees everywhere as far as you can see: they grew whilst I slept; and now see what a goodly array they make! Aye," continued he, "but Eail Ways are a far more extraordinary growth even than these. They have grown up not only since I was a boy, but since I became a man. When I started the Stockton and Darlington Eailway, some fiye-and-thirty years since, I was already fifty years old. Nobody could then have dreamt what railways would have grown to, within one man's lifetime."
In getting up a company for the purpose of surveying and forming a railway, Mr. Pease had great difficulties to contend with. The people of the neighbourhood spoke of it as a ridiculous undertaking, and predicted that it would be the ruin of all who had to do with it. Even those who were most interested in the opening out of new markets for the vend of their coals, were indifferent, if not actually hostile. The Stockton merchants and shipowners, whom the formation of a railway was calculated to benefit so greatly, gave the project no support; and not twenty shares were subscribed for in the whole town. Mr. Pease nevertheless persevered with the formation of a company; and he induced many of his friends and relations to subscribe for shares. The Eichardsons and Backhouses, members, like himself, of the Society of Friends, influenced by his persuasion, united themselves with him; and so many of the same denomination (having great confidence in these influential Darlington names) followed their example and subscribed for shares, that the railway subsequently obtained the designation, which it still enjoys, of "The Quakers' Line."
Chap. VIII. THE STOCKTON AND DARLINGTON LINE. 121
The engineer first employed to make a survey of the tramroad, was a Mr. Overton, who had had considerable experience in the formation of similar roads in Wales. The necessary preliminary steps were taken in the year 1818 to apply for an Act to authorise the construction of a tramroad from Witton to Stockton. The measure was, however, strongly opposed by the Duke of Cleveland, because the proposed line passed near to one of his fox covers; and, having considerable parliamentary influence, he succeeded in throwing out the bill by a majority of only thirteen,— above one hundred members voting in support of the measure. A nobleman said, when he heard of the division, "Well, if the Quakers in these times, when nobody knows anything about railways, can raise up such a phalanx as they have dona on this occasion, I should recommend the county gentlemen to be very wary how they oppose them."
A new survey was then made, avoiding the Duke's fox cover; and in 1819 a renewed application was made to Parliament for an act. But George III. dying in January, 1820, while Parliament was still sitting, there was a dissolution, and the bill was necessarily suspended. The promoters, however, did not lose sight of their project. They had now spent a considerable sum of money in surveys and legal and parliamentary expenses, and were determined to proceed, though they were still unable to enlist the active support of the inhabitants of the district proposed to be served by the railway.
The energy of Edward Pease, backed by the support of his Quaker friends, enabled him to hold the company together, to raise the requisite preliminary funds from time to time for the purpose of prosecuting the undertaking, and eventually to overcome the opposition raised against the measure in Parliament. The bill at length passed; and the royal assent was given to the first Stockton and Darlington Eailway Act on the 19th of April, 1821.
The preamble of this Act recites, that "the making and maintaining of a Eailway or Tramroad, for the passage of waggons and other carriages" from Stockton to Witton