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A powerful fellow, a noted bruiser, was hired by the surveyors to carry the instrument, with a view to its protection against all assailants; but one day an equally powerful fellow, a St. Helen's collier, who was the cock of the walk in his neighbourhood, made up to the theodolite carrier to wrest it from him by sheer force. A battle took place, the collier was soundly pummelled, the natives poured in volleys of stones upon the surveyors and their instruments, and the theodolite was smashed to pieces.
It may readily be conceived that a survey made in the face of such opposition would necessarily be very incomplete; but the surveyors did their best, and when they found they could proceed no further at St. Helen's, they proceeded round Chat Moss to Hiliffe to try the ground there. Their proceedings at that place excited the same degree of surprise amongst the villagers, who turned out in a body to watch them, and appeared perfectly bewildered. The Moss was so soft, in consequence of the wetness of the season, that it was impossible to enter upon it; and the party very shortly retraced their steps, and stationed themselves for a short time at the Three Swans at Eardley. There they began an intermediate survey of a branch tramroad between St. Helen's and the Mersey; and after about a month's labour, when the wet weather set in, the survey was suspended until the following spring
In the meantime public meetings had been got up by Mr. Sandars in several of the principal towns of the district, on the subject of the proposed tramway. One was held in the Exchange at Liverpool, and another in the George Hotel, Warrington, at which Mr. Sandars, Mr. Moss, and Mr. James appeared as the advocates of the measure, which, however, did not as yet meet with any degree of general support. But the subject was thus brought prominently
was very much wonificent uses
under notice, and only wanted time to enable it to work its way in public estimation.
About the middle of the year 1821, Mr. James, having heard of Stephenson's engines, which were reported to him as being more efficient than any locomotives that had yet been constructed, determined to go down to Killingworth to inspect them in person. He was not so fortunate as to meet Mr. Stephenson on that occasion ; but he examined his locomotive at work, and was very much struck by its power and efficiency. He saw at a glance the magnificent uses to which it might be applied. “Here,” said he, “is an engine that will, before long, effect a complete revolution in society.” Returning to Moreton-in-the-Marsh, he wrote to Mr. Losh (Stephenson's partner in the patent) expressing his admiration of the Killingworth engine. “ It is,” said he, “the greatest wonder of the age, and the forerunner, as I firmly believe, of the most important changes in the internal communications of the kingdom.” Mr. Losh invited him again to visit Killingworth, for the purpose of having an interview with Mr. Stephenson on the subject of the locomotive. Accordingly, in September of the same year, accompanied by his two sons, he met Mr. Losh at Newcastle; they proceeded together to Killingworth, where Mr. Stephenson met them; and taking them to where the locomotive was working, he invited them to mount. The uncouth and extraordinary appearance of the machine, as it came snorting along, was somewhat alarming to the youths, who expressed their fears lest it should burst; and they were with some difficulty induced to mount.
The locomotive went through its usual performances, dragging a heavy load of coal waggons at about six miles an hour with apparent ease, at which Mr. James expressed his extreme satisfaction, and declared to Mr. Losh his opinion that Stephenson “ was the greatest practical genius of the age,” and that, “if he developed the full powers of that engine (the locomotive), his fame in the world would rank equal to that of Watt.” Mr. James, who had long been an advocate of the locomotive system, was confirmed in his views by the performances of the Killingworth engine; and informing Stephenson and Losh of the survey of the proposed tramroad between Liverpool and Manchester, upon which he had been engaged, he did not hesitate to state that he would henceforward advocate the adoption of a locomotive railroad instead of the tramroad which had originally been proposed.
As Mr. James's influence amongst persons of influence was considerable, and he was particularly identified with the more important railway projects of the day, Stephenson and Losh were naturally desirous of enlisting his good services on behalf of their patent locomotive. As yet it had proved comparatively unproductive. The Hetton Railway was the only line, in addition to the Killingworth, on which they had then a prospect of getting their engines introduced. Although Stephenson had virtually solved the problem of the locomotive, and demonstrated its profitable employment as a tractive power on railroads, neither he nor Mr. Losh were able to write up and advocate the invention so as to ensure its more extensive adoption. This they believed Mr. James might be able effectually to do for them. With this object, they proposed to give him an interest in their patent, in exchange for his services in this way; and accordingly, by a deed, dated the 1st September, 1821, they assigned to Mr. James one fourth of the profits which might be derived from the use of their patent locomotive for railroads on any lines which might be constructed south of a line drawn across England from Liverpool to Hull, the deed setting forth that this assignment of profits was made in consideration of Mr. James giving “his recommendation and best Coap. xv.] LIVERPOOL AND MANCHESTER LINE.
assistance” towards the use of the patent locomotive on all such railways.
Mr. James's first recommendation did not prove successful. He endeavoured to introduce the locomotive upon the Moreton-on-Marsh Railway; but Mr. Rastrick, who was the engineer of the line, was so much opposed to its use that Mr. James failed in carrying his point, and he consequently gave up all further connection with that company. In the following year (1822) he wrote to Mr. Losh from Boswell Court, as to a locomotive which he wished to get from Mr. Stephenson for the working of the Croydon and Merstham Railroad, but against which Mr. Stephenson had dissuaded him, as the cast-iron plates were not calculated to bear the weight of the engine, and the result could only bring the locomotive into disrepute. Mr. James was, however, very anxious to have the engine introduced on some railway in the south of England. “I can appreciate,” he said, “ Mr. Stephenson's objections to use his engine on this defective road; but years will elapse, and the patent may expire, before we can get a new road in the south for his engine if this plan is not embraced.” Mr. James at the same time intimated that he was busy with the plans and sections of the Liverpool line, which would furnish a proper opportunity for the introduction of the engine “ for the conveyance of passengers and light goods with the utmost dispatch” between that town and Manchester. By the following year, he added, he hoped to have four bills before Parliament for railroads 150 miles in length, the surveys of which were completed.
The survey of the Liverpool and Manchester line was proceeded with early in 1822, Mr. Padley conducting the work under the superintendence of Mr. Francis Giles. The people of the locality still offered every possible resistance to their proceedings; and the surveyors were, on several occasions, driven off the ground by force. They were under the necessity of proceeding with their work in the early dawn, before the inhabitants were astir. Chat Moss was surveyed by placing hurdles on the bog; and thus with great difficulty, a very imperfect survey of the proposed line was at length effected.
Mr. James, however, failed to produce the plans and estimates for the session of 1823; but he sent in to the promoters of the line his preliminary report on the survey of investigation, in which he stated “ that from their commencement the works may be completed in eighteen months, on a capital not exceeding 100,0001., but the parliamentary survey and estimates will state the sums at which contractors will be found to execute the work.” Mr. James was repeatedly pressed to supply the necessary plans and estimates ; but though he made many promises, he failed to perform any of them. And thus the parliamentary session of 1824 was lost also.
Indeed, the time seems to have been not yet fully come for the adoption of the railway. The projectors found that the line, as laid out, would provoke a powerful opposition in Parliament; and the local support which they had received was not such as to justify them in proceeding in the face of such opposition. The project therefore slept for a time, but it was not lost sight of. Mr. Sandars continued to agitate the question, and he shortly found the number of his supporters was such as to enable him again to take the field with a better prospect of success.