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Chap, xxxv.] HIS DEATH. 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 Chap, xxxv.] HIS PORTRAIT. 495
few advertisements were inserted in the newspapers, inviting subscriptions; and it is a notable fact that the voluntary offerings shortly received included an average of two shillings each from 3150 working men, who embraced this opportunity of doing honour to their distinguished fellow workman.
The portrait prefixed to this volume gives a good indication of George Stephenson's shrewd, kind, honest,' manly, face. His fair, clear countenance was ruddy, and seemingly glowed with health. The forehead was large and high, projecting over the eyes; and there was that massive breadth across the lower part, which is usually observed in men of eminent constructive skill. The mouth was firmly marked; and shrewdness and humour lurked there as well as in the keen grey eye. His frame was compact, well-knit, and rather spare. His hair became grey at an early age, and towards the close of his life it was of a pure silky whiteness. He dressed neatly in black, wearing a white neckcloth; and his face, his person, and his deportment at once arrested attention, and marked the Gentleman.
The life of George Stephenson, though imperfectly portrayed in the preceding pages, will be found to contain many valuable lessons. His was the life of a true man, and presented a striking combination of those sterling qualities which we are proud to regard as essentially English.
Doubtless he owed much to his birth, belonging as he did to the hardy and persevering race of the north,—a race less supple, soft, and polished than the people of the more southern districts of England, but, like their Danish progenitors, full of courage, vigour, ingenuity, and persevering industry. Their strong, guttural speech, which sounds so harsh and unmusical in southern ears, is indeed but a type of their nature. When Mr. Stephenson was struggling to give utterance to his views upon the locomotive before the Committee of the House of Commons, those who did not know him supposed he was "a foreigner." Before long the world saw in him an Englishman, stout-hearted and true,— one of those master minds who, by energetic action in new fields of industry, impress their character from time to time upon the age and nation to which they belong.
The poverty of his parents being such that they could not give him any, even the very simplest, education, beyond the good example of integrity and industry, he was early left.to shift for himself, and compelled to be self-reliant. Having the will to learn, he soon forced for himself a way. No beginning could have been more humble than his; but he