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chap. xxxv.] SPEECH AT TRENT VALLEY OPENING. 489

to Julius Agricola and a direct line. If Julius Agricola laid down the most direct lines, it must be recollected that he had no heavy goods’ trains to provide for, and gradients were of no consequence. The line that general took was probably very good for his troops, where the hills would serve to establish his watches; but such lines would be in no way applicable at the present day, where the road is covered with long goods' trains propelled by the locomotive. What we require now is a road with such gradients that locomotives shall be able to carry the heaviest loads at the least expense. The right honourable baronet will excuse me if I say that to have a line that is direct is not the main thing. Had he studied the laws of practical mechanics as I have done, he would, doubtless, have regarded good gradients as one of the most important considerations in a railway. I will also venture to say a word as to the broad gauge. I am afraid that this is another misconception, almost as great as the atmospheric railway; only they have had the advantage of my engines to drag them through. The Great Western commenced operations by endeavouring to have everything different from us, – a different gauge and different engines. They put the boiler on one carriage and the engine on another, and they used ten-feet wheels, which were to go at a hundred miles an hour. But what became of those engines? They required porters to help them out of the station; and then they would not work. Luckily, however, we had sent them one engine from Newcastle, called the “North Star, to carry on the traffic; and though, like a horse, an engines requires rest, yet it was continually being called out to bring in the trains, thereby doing double duty in conducting the traffic for which the original broad-gauge engines were found incapable.” Nothing had occurred to weaken his confidence in the locomotive; it had gone on increasing in power and efficiency, perfected by the labours of a succession of eminent engineers, chief amongst whom was his son; and he regarded it as more than ever the king of machines. Doubtless, he had a strong bias in favour of his own engine,—his mind having, like all others, become almost exclusively impressed with the idea which it had exclusively pursued. Nevertheless, continued experience only served to confirm the soundness of his opinion as to the superiority of the locomotive. That his views on the subject of gauge and gradients were equally sound is now, we believe, generally admitted by railway managers and engineers. Shortly after the triumphant celebration of the success of the railway system at Tamworth, Mr. Stephenson was invited to be present at an interesting assemblage of railway men in Manchester, at which a testimonial was presented to Mr. J. P. Westhead, the former chairman of the Manchester and Birmingham Railway. The original Liverpool and Manchester line had swelled into gigantic proportions. It formed the original nucleus of the vast system now known as the London and North Western Railway. First one line, and then another, of which Mr. Stephenson had been engineer, became amalgamated with it, until the main line extended from London to Lancaster, stretching out its great arms to Leeds in one direction and Holyhead in the other, and exercising an influence over other northern lines as far as Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Aberdeen. On the occasion to which we refer, Mr. Stephenson, the father of railways, was not forgotten. It was mainly his ingenuity, energy, and perseverance that had called forth the commercial enterprise which issued in this magnificent system of internal communication; and the railway men who assembled to do honour to Mr. Westhead, did not fail to recognise the great practical genius through whose labours it had been established. He was “the rock from which they had been hewn,” observed

citAP. xxxv.1 INTERVIEW WITH EMERSON. 491

Mr. Westhead, - the father of railway enterprise, – and the forerunner of all that had been done to extend the locomotive system throughout England and throughout the world. This was the last railway meeting that Mr. Stephenson attended, and the last occasion on which he appeared in public, with the exception of a soirée of the Leeds Mechanics' Institute, in December, 1847. The words which he then addressed to the young men at Leeds were highly characteristic. Though crowned with honours, the architect of the railway system, and the constructor of some of the greatest works of his time, “he stood before them,” he said, “but as a humble mechanic. He had risen from a lower standing than the meanest person there; and all that he had been enabled to accomplish in the course of his life had been done through perseverance. He said this for the purpose of encouraging youthful mechanics to do as he had done—to persevere.” The words were simple, but forcible and pregnant with life and instruction for all men. In the spring of 1848 Mr. Stephenson was invited to Whittington House, near Chesterfield, the residence of his friend and former pupil, Mr. Swanwick, to meet the distinguished American, Emerson. It was interesting to see those two remarkable men, so different in most respects, and whose lines of thought and action lay in such widely different directions, yet so quick to recognise each other's merits. Mr. Stephenson was not, of course, acquainted with Mr. Emerson as an author; and the contemplative American might not be supposed to be particularly interested beforehand in the English engineer, whom he knew by reputation only as a giant in the material world. But there was in both an equal aspiration after excellence, each in his own sphere, the aesthetic and abstract tendencies of the one complementing the keen and accurate perceptions of the material of the other. Upon being introduced, they did not immediately engage in conversation; but presently Mr. Stephenson jumped up, took Emerson by the collar, and, giving him one of his friendly shakes, asked how it was that in England we could always tell an American This led to an interesting conversation, in the course of which Emerson said how much he had everywhere been struck by the haleness and comeliness of the English men and women; and this diverged into a further discussion of the influences which air, climate, moisture, soil, and other conditions exercised upon the physical and moral development of a people. From this the conversation was directed upon the subject of electricity, upon which Mr. Stephenson launched out enthusiastically, explaining his views by several simple and striking illustrations. From thence it diverged into the events of his own life, which he related in so graphic a manner as completely to rivet the attention of the American. Afterwards Emerson said, “that it was worth crossing the Atlantic to have seen Stephenson alone; he had such native force of character and vigour of intellect.” Although Emerson does not particularly refer to this interview in the interesting essay afterwards published by him, entitled “English Traits,” embodying the results of the observations made by him in his journeys through England, one cannot help feeling that his interview with such a man as Stephenson must have tended to fix in his mind those sterling qualities of pluck, bottom, perseverance, energy, shrewdness, bravery, and freedom, which he so vividly depicts in his book as the prominent characteristics of the modern Englishman. The rest of his days were spent quietly at Tapton, amongst his dogs, his rabbits, and his birds. When not attending to the extensive works connected with his collieries, he was engaged in horticulture and farming. He continued proud of his flowers, his fruits, and his crops; and the old spirit of

cHAP. xxxv.] HIS DEATII. 493

competition still lived strong within him. Although he had for some time been in delicate health, and his hand shook from nervous affection, he appeared to possess a sound constitution. Emerson had observed of him that he had the lives of many men in him. But perhaps the American spoke figuratively, in reference to his vast stores of experience. It appeared that he had never completely recovered from the attack of pleurisy which seized him shortly after his return from Spain. As late, however, as the 26th of July, 1848, he felt himself sufficiently well to be able to attend a meeting of the Birmingham Institute, and to read to the members his paper “On the fallacies of the Rotatory Engine.” It was his last appearance before them. Shortly after his return to Tapton, he had an attack of intermittent fever, from which he seemed to be recovering, when a sudden effusion of blood from the lungs carried him off, on the 12th of August, 1848, in the sixtyseventh year of his age. His remains were followed to the grave by a large body of his workpeople, by whom he was greatly admired and beloved. They remembered him as a kind master, who was ever ready actively to promote all measures for their moral, physical, and mental improvement. The inhabitants of Chesterfield evinced their respect for the deceased by suspending business, closing their shops, and joining in the funeral procession, which was headed by the corporation of the town. Many of the surrounding gentry also attended the funeral. The body was interred in Trinity Church, Chesterfield, where a simple tablet marks the great engineer's last resting-place. The statue of George Stephenson, which the Liverpool and Manchester and Grand Junction Companies had commissioned, was on its way to England when his death occurred; and the statue served for a monument, though

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