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the English public and the English government as yet knew nothing.

Mr. Stephenson had no means of bringing his important invention prominently under the notice of the public. He himself knew well its importance, and he already anticipated its eventual general adoption; but being an unlettered man, he could not give utterance to the thoughts which brooded within him on the subject. Killingworth Colliery lay far from London, the centre of scientific life in England. It was visited by no savans nor literary men, who might have succeeded in introducing to notice the wonderful machine of Stephenson. Even the local chroniclers seem to have taken no notice of the Killingworth railway. The “ Puffing Billy” was doing its daily quota of hard work, and had long ceased to be a curiosity in the neighbourhood. Blenkinsop's clumsier and less successful engine — which has long since been disused, while Stephenson's Killingworth engines continue working to this day-excited far more interest, partly, perhaps, because it was close to the large town of Leeds, and used to be visited by strangers as one of the few objects of interest in that place. Blenkinsop was also an educated man, and was in communication with some of the most distinguished personages of his day upon the subject of his locomotive, which thus obtained considerable notoriety. The thinkers and observers on the subject of railway locomotion were yet few in number. Amongst these, however, was the late Sir John Sinclair, who had some correspondence with Mr. Blenkinsop on the subject, and also that sagacious observer, Sir Richard Phillips. As early as the year 1813, the latter writer, with clear foresight of the uses to which the railway locomotive might be applied, used the following remarkable words in his “ Morning Walk to Kew,” for some time a popular book. The reflections occurred to him on witnessing the performances of the horses then employed in

the other detail of the machine. His father, on the contrary, would offer every possible objection, defending the existing arrangements, — proud, nevertheless, of his son's suggestions, and often warmed and excited by his brilliant anticipations of the ultimate triumph of the locomotive.

These discussions probably had considerable influence in inducing Mr. Stephenson to take the next important step in the education of his son. Although Robert, who was only nineteen years of age, was doing well, and was certain, at the expiration of his apprenticeship, to rise to a higher position, his father was not satisfied with the amount of instruction which he had as yet given him. Remembering the disadvantages under which he had laboured in consequence of his ignorance of practical chemistry during his investigations connected with the safety lamp, more especially with reference to the properties of gas, as well as in the course of his experiments in connection with the improvement of the locomotive engine, he desired to furnish his son with as complete a scientific culture as his means could afford. He was also of opinion that a proper training in technical science was almost indispensable to success in the higher walks of the engineer's profession; and, aware that he himself could not now devote the requisite time and attention to its study, he determined to give to his son that kind and degree of education which he so much desired for himself. He would thus, he knew, secure a hearty and generous co-worker in the elaboration of the great ideas now looming grandly before him, and with their united practical and scientific knowledge he probably felt that they would be equal to any enterprise.

He accordingly took Robert from his labours as under viewer in the West Moor Pit, and, in the year 1820, sent him to the Edinburgh University, there being then no college in England, accessible to persons of moderate means, for purposes of scientific culture. He was furnished with some good

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introductions to men of science in Edinburgh, the reputation of his father in connection 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 801., 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.

CHAP. XIV.

RAILWAY PIONEERS. -- WILLIAM JAMES, EDWARD PEASE,

AND THOMAS GRAY.

It is somewhat remarkable that, although George Stephenson's locomotive engines were in daily use for many years on the Killingworth railway, they excited comparatively little interest. Yet by them he had already solved the great problem of the employment of steam power for the purposes of railway traction. In his hands the locomotive was no longer an experiment, for he had ascertained and proved, by the experience of years, that it worked more steadily, drew heavier loads, and was, on the whole, a more economical power to employ on railways than horses. Nevertheless eight years passed before another locomotive railway was constructed and opened for the purposes of coal traffic.

It is difficult to account for this early indifference on the part of the public to the merits of the greatest mechanical invention of the age. Steam carriages were exciting great interest; and numerous and repeated experiments were made with them. The improvements effected by Mr. M‘Adam in the mode of constructing turnpike roads were the subject of frequent discussions in the legislature, on the grants of public money being proposed, which were from time to time made to him. Yet here at Killingworth, without the aid of a farthing of government money, a system of road locomotion had been in existence since 1814, which was destined, before many years, to revolutionise the internal communications of England and of the world, but of which

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the English public and the English government as yet knew nothing.

Mr. Stephenson had no means of bringing his important invention prominently under the notice of the public. He himself knew well its importance, and he already anticipated its eventual general adoption ; but being an unlettered man, he could not give utterance to the thoughts which brooded within him on the subject. Killingworth Colliery lay far from London, the centre of scientific life in England. It was visited by no savans nor literary men, who might have succeeded in introducing to notice the wonderful machine of Stephenson. Even the local chroniclers seem to have taken no notice of the Killingworth railway. The “ Puffing Billy" was doing its daily quota of hard work, and had long ceased to be a curiosity in the neighbourhood. Blenkinsop's clumsier and less successful engine — which has long since been disused, while Stephenson's Killingworth engines continue working to this day, excited far more interest, partly, perhaps, because it was close to the large town of Leeds, and used to be visited by strangers as one of the few objects of interest in that place. Blenkinsop was also an educated man, and was in communication with some of the most distinguished personages of his day upon the subject of his locomotive, which thus obtained considerable notoriety. The thinkers and observers on the subject of railway locomotion were yet few in number. Amongst these, however, was the late Sir John Sinclair, who had some correspondence with Mr. Blenkinsop on the subject, and also that sagacious observer, Sir Richard Phillips. As early as the year 1813, the latter writer, with clear foresight of the uses to which the railway locomotive might be applied, used the following remarkable words in his “ Morning Walk to Kew,” for some time a popular book. The reflections occurred to him on witnessing the performances of the horses then employed in

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