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´╗┐Title: Fifty Years of Railway Life in England, Scotland and Ireland
Author: Tatlow, Joseph, 1851-1929
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Fifty Years of Railway Life in England, Scotland and Ireland" ***

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by Joseph Tatlow

Director Midland Great Western Railway or Ireland and Dublin and
Kingstown Railway; a Member of Dominions Royal Commission, 1912-1917;
late Manager Midland Great Western Railway, etc.

Published in 1920 by The Railway Gazette, Queens Anne's Chambers,
Westminster, London, S.W.1.

[The Author: tatlow.jpg]


I.      Introductory
II.     Boyhood
III.    The Midland Railway and "King Hudson"
IV.     Fashions and Manners, Victorian Days
V.      Early Office Life
VI.     Friendship
VII.    Railway Progress
VIII.   Scotland, Glasgow Life, and the Caledonian Line
IX.     General Railway Acts of Parliament
X.      A General Manager and his Office
XI.     The Railway Jubilee, and Glasgow and South-Western Officers and
XIII.   Men I met and Friends I made
XIV.    Terminals, Rates and Fares, and other Matters
XV.     Further Railway Legislation
XVI.    Belfast and the County Down Railway
XVII.   Belfast and the County Down (continued)
XVIII.  Railway Rates and Charges, the Block, the Brake, and Light
XIX.    Golf, the Diamond King, and a Steam-boat Service
XX.     The Midland Great Western Railway of Ireland
XXI.    Ballinasloe Fair, Galway, and Sir George Findlay
XXII.   A Railway Contest, the Parcel Post, and the Board of Trade
XXIII.  "The Railway News," the International Railway Congress, and a
        Trip to Spain and Portugal
XXIV.   Tom Robertson, more about Light Railways, and the Inland Transit
        of Cattle
XXV.    Railway Amalgamation and Constantinople
XXVI.   A Congress at Paris, the Progress of Irish Lines, Egypt and the
XXVII.  King Edward, a Change of Chairmen, and more Railway Legislation
XXVIII. Vice-Regal Commission on Irish Railways, 1906-1910, and the
        Future of Railways
XXIX.   The General Managers' Conference, Gooday's Dinner, and Divers
XXX.    From Manager to Director
XXXI.   The Dominions' Royal Commission, the Railways of the Dominions,
        and Empire Development
XXXII.  Conclusion


The Author
George Hudson, the "Railway King"
Sir James Allport
W. J. Wainwright
Edward John Cotton
Walter Bailey
Sir Ralph Cusack, D. L.
William Dargan
The Dargan Saloon
Sir George Findlay
Sir Theodore Martin
The Gresham Salver


North-West Donegal.  A fine afternoon in September.  The mountain ranges
were bathed in sunshine and the scarred and seamy face of stern old
Errigal seemed almost to smile.  A gentle breeze stirred the air and the
surface of the lakes lay shimmering in the soft autumnal light.  The blue
sky, flecked with white cloudlets, the purple of the heather, the dark
hues of the bogs, the varied greens of bracken, ferns and grass, the gold
of ripening grain, and the grey of the mountain boulders, together formed
a harmony of colour which charmed the eye and soothed the mind.

I had been travelling most of the day by railway through this delightful
country, not by an express that rushed you through the scenery with
breathless haste, but by an easy-going mixed train which called at every
station.  Sometimes its speed reached twenty-five miles an hour, but
never more, and because of numerous curves and gradients--for it was a
narrow gauge and more or less a surface line--the rate of progress was
much less during the greater part of the journey.

The work of the day was over.  My companion and I had dined at the
Gweedore Hotel, where we were staying for the night.  With the setting
sun the breeze had died away.  Perfect stillness and a silence deep,
profound and all-pervading reigned.  I had been talking, as an old
pensioner will talk, of byegone times, of my experiences in a long
railway career, and my companion, himself a rising railway man, seemed
greatly interested.  As we sauntered along, the conversation now and
again lapsing into a companionable silence, he suddenly said: "Why don't
you write your reminiscences?  They would be very interesting, not only
to us younger railway men, but to men of your own time too."  Until that
moment I had never seriously thought of putting my reminiscences on
record, but my friend's words fell on favourable ground, and now, less
than a month since that night in Donegal, I am sitting at my desk penning
these opening lines.

That my undertaking will not be an easy one I know.  My memory is well
stored, but unfortunately I have never kept a diary or commonplace book
of any kind.  On the contrary a love of order and neatness, carried to
absurd excess, has always led me to destroy accumulated letters or
documents, and much that would be useful now has in the past, from time
to time, been destroyed and "cast as rubbish to the void."

Most autobiographies, I suppose, are undertaken to please the writers.
That this is the case with me I frankly confess; but I hope that what I
find much pleasure in writing my readers may, at least, find some
satisfaction in reading.  Vanity, perhaps, plays some part in this hope,
for, "He that is pleased with himself easily imagines that he shall
please others."

Carlyle says, "A true delineation of the smallest man, and his scene of
pilgrimage through life, is capable of interesting the greatest man; that
all men are to an unspeakable degree brothers, each man's life a strange
emblem of every man's; and that human portraits, faithfully drawn, are of
all pictures the welcomest on human walls."

I am not sure that portraits of the artist by himself, though there are
notable and noble instances to the contrary, are often successful.  We
rarely "see oursels as ithers see us," and are inclined to regard our
virtues and our vices with equal equanimity, and to paint ourselves in
too alluring colours; but I will do my best to tell my tale with strict
veracity, and with all the modesty I can muster.

An autobiographer, too, exposes himself to the charge of egotism, but I
must run the risk of that, endeavouring to avoid the scathing criticism
of him who wrote:--

    "The egotist . . . . . . .
   Whose I's and Me's are scattered in his talk,
   Thick as the pebbles on a gravel walk."

Fifty years of railway life, passed in the service of various companies,
large and small, in England, Scotland and Ireland, in divers' capacities,
from junior clerk to general manager, and ultimately to the ease and
dignity of director, if faithfully presented, may perhaps, in spite of
all drawbacks, be not entirely devoid of interest.


I was born at Sheffield, on Good Friday, in the year 1851, and my only
sister was born on a Christmas Day.

My father was in the service of the Midland Railway, as also were two of
his brothers, one of whom was the father of the present General Manager
of the Midland.  When I was but ten months old my father was promoted to
the position of accountants' inspector at headquarters and removed from
Sheffield to Derby.  Afterwards, whilst I was still very young, he became
Goods Agent at Birmingham, and lived there for a few years.  He then
returned to Derby, where he became head of the Mineral Office.  He
remained with the Midland until 1897, when he retired on superannuation
at the age of seventy-six.  Except, therefore, for an interval of about
three years my childhood and youth were spent at Derby.

My earliest recollection in connection with railways is my first railway
journey, which took place when I was four years of age.  I recollect it
well.  It was from Derby to Birmingham.  How the wonder of it all
impressed me!  The huge engine, the wonderful carriages, the imposing
guard, the busy porters and the bustling station.  The engine, no doubt,
was a pigmy, compared with the giants of to-day; the carriages were
small, modest four-wheelers, with low roofs, and diminutive windows after
the manner of old stage coaches, but to me they were palatial.  I
travelled first-class on a pass with my father, and great was my juvenile
pride.  Our luggage, I remember, was carried on the roof of the carriage
in the good old-fashioned coaching style.  Four-wheeled railway carriages
are, I was going to say, a thing of the past; but that is not so.  Though
gradually disappearing, many are running still, mainly on branch lines--in
England nearly five thousand; in Scotland over four hundred; and in poor
backward Ireland (where, by the way, railways are undeservedly abused)
how many?  Will it be believed--practically none, not more than twenty in
the whole island!  All but those twenty have been scrapped long ago.  Well
done Ireland!

From the earliest time I can remember, and until well-advanced in
manhood, I was delicate in health, troubled with a constant cough, thin
and pale.  In consequence I was often absent from school; and prevented
also from sharing, as I should, and as every child should, in out-door
games and exercises, to my great disadvantage then and since, for
proficiency is only gained by early training, and unfortunate is he whose
circumstances have deprived him of that advantage.  How often, since
those early days, have I looked with envious eyes on pastimes in which I
could not engage, or only engage with the consciousness of inferiority.

I have known men who, handicapped in this way, have in after life, by
strong will and great application, overcome their disabilities and become
good cricketers, great at tennis, proficient at golf, strong swimmers,
skilful shots; but they have been exceptional men with a strong natural
inclination to athletics.

The only active physical recreations in which I have engaged with any
degree of pleasure are walking, riding, bicycling and skating.  Riding I
took to readily enough as soon as I was able to afford it; and, if my
means had ever allowed indulgence in the splendid pastime of hunting, I
would have followed the hounds, not, I believe, without some spirit and
boldness.  My natural disposition I know inclined me to sedentary
pursuits: reading, writing, drawing, painting, though, happily, the
tendency was corrected to some extent by a healthy love of Nature's fair
features, and a great liking for country walks.

In drawing and painting, though I had a certain natural aptitude for
both, I never attained much proficiency in either, partly for lack of
instruction, partly from want of application, but more especially, I
believe, because another, more alluring, more mentally exciting
occupation beguiled me.  It was not music, though to music close allied.
This new-found joy I long pursued in secret, afraid lest it should be
discovered and despised as a folly.  It was not until I lived in
Scotland, where poetical taste and business talent thrive side by side,
and where, as Mr. Spurgeon said, "no country in the world produced so
many poets," that I became courageous, and ventured to avow my dear
delight.  It was there that I sought, with some success, publication in
various papers and magazines of my attempts at versification, for
versification it was that so possessed my fancy.  Of the spacious times
of great Elizabeth it has been written, "the power of action and the gift
of song did not exclude each other," but in England, in mid-Victorian
days, it was looked upon differently, or so at least I believed.

After a time I had the distinction of being included in a new edition of
_Recent and Living Scottish Poets_, by Alexander Murdoch, published in
1883.  My inclusion was explained on the ground that, "His muse first
awoke to conscious effort on Scottish soil," which, though not quite in
accordance with fact, was not so wide of the mark that I felt in the
least concerned to criticise the statement.  I was too much enamoured of
the honour to question the foundation on which it rested.  Perhaps it was
as well deserved as are some others of this world's distinctions!  At any
rate it was neither begged nor bought, but came "Like Dian's kiss,
unasked, unsought."  In the same year (1883) I also appeared in
_Edwards_' Sixth Series of _Modern Scottish Poets_; and in 1885, more
legitimately, in William Andrews' book on _Modern Yorkshire Poets_.  My
claim for this latter distinction was not, however, any greater, if as
great, as my right to inclusion in the collection of _Scottish Poets_.  If
I "lisped in numbers," it was not in Yorkshire, for Yorkshire I left for
ever before even the first babblings of babyhood began.  However,
"kissing goes by favour," and I was happy in the favour I enjoyed.

I may as well say it here: with my poetical productions I was never
satisfied any more than with my attempts at drawing.  My verses seemed
mere farthing dips compared with the resplendent poetry of our country
which I read and loved, but my efforts employed and brightened many an
hour in my youth that otherwise would have been tedious and dreary.

Ours was a large family, nine children in all; nothing unusual in those
days.  "A quiver full" was then a matter of parental pride.  Woman was
more satisfied with home life then than now.  The pursuit of pleasure was
not so keen.  Our parents and our grandparents were simpler in their
tastes, more easily amused, more readily impressed with the wonderful and
the strange.  Things that would leave us unmoved were to them matters of
moment.  Railways were new and railway travelling was, to most people, an

Our fathers talked of their last journey to London, their visit to the
Tower, to Westminster Abbey, the Monument, Madame Tussauds; how they
mistook the waxwork policeman for a real member of the force; how they
shuddered in the _Chamber of Horrors_; how they travelled on the new
Underground Railway; and saw the wonders of the Crystal Palace,
especially on fireworks night.  They told us of their visit to the _Great
Eastern_, what a gigantic ship it was, what a marvel, and described its
every feature.  They talked of General Tom Thumb, of Blondin, of Pepper's
Ghost, of the Christy Minstrels.  Nowadays, a father will return from
London and not even mention the Tubes to his children.  Why should he?
They know all about them and are surprised at nothing.  The picture books
and the cinemas have familiarised them with every aspect of modern life.

In those days our pleasures and our amusements were fewer, but impressed
us more.  I remember how eagerly the coloured pictures of the Christmas
numbers of the pictorial papers were looked forward to, talked of,
criticised, admired, framed and hung up.  I remember too, the excitements
of Saint Valentine's Day, Shrove Tuesday, April Fool's Day, May Day and
the Morris (Molly) dancers; and the Fifth of November, Guy Fawkes Day.  I
remember also the peripatetic knife grinder and his trundling machine,
the muffin man, the pedlar and his wares, the furmity wheat vendor, who
trudged along with his welcome cry of "Frummitty!" from door to door.
Those were pleasant and innocent excitements.  We have other things to
engage us now, but I sometimes think all is not _gain_ that the march of
progress brings.

Young people then had fewer books to read, but read them thoroughly.  What
excitement and discussion attended the monthly instalments of Dickens'
novels in _All the Year Round_; how eagerly they were looked for.  Lucky
he or she who had heard the great _master_ read himself in public.  His
books were read in our homes, often aloud to the family circle by
paterfamilias, and moved us to laughter or tears.  I never now see our
young people, or their elders either, affected by an author as we were
then by the power of Dickens.  He was a new force and his pages kindled
in our hearts a vivid feeling for the poor and their wrongs.

Scott's _Waverley Novels_, too, aroused our enthusiasm.  In the early
sixties a cheap edition appeared, and cheap editions were rare things
then.  It was published, if I remember aright, at two shillings per
volume; an event that stirred the country.  My father brought each volume
home as it came out.  I remember it well; a pale, creamy-coloured paper
cover, good type, good paper.  What treasures they were, and only two
shillings!  I was a little child when an important movement for the
cheapening of books began.  In 1852 Charles Dickens presided at a meeting
of authors and others against the coercive regulations of the
Booksellers' Association which maintained their excessive profits.
Herbert Spencer and Miss Evans (George Eliot) took a prominent part in
this meeting and drafted the resolutions which were passed.  The ultimate
effect of this meeting was that the question between the authors and the
booksellers was referred to Lord Campbell as arbitrator.  He gave a
decision against the booksellers; and there were consequently abolished
such of the trade regulations as had interdicted the sale of books at
lower rates of profit than those authorised by the Booksellers'

Practically all my school days were spent at Derby.  As I have said, ours
was a large family.  I have referred to an only sister, but I had step-
sisters and step-brothers too.  My father married twice and the second
family was numerous.  His salary was never more than 300 pounds a year,
and though a prudent enough man, he was not of the frugal economical sort
who makes the most of every shilling.  It may be imagined, then, that all
the income was needed for a family that, parents included, but excluding
the one servant, numbered eleven.  The consequence was that the education
I received could not be described as liberal.  I attended a day school at
Derby, connected with the Wesleyans; why I do not know, as we belonged to
the Anglican Church; but I believe it was because the school, while cheap
as to fees, had the reputation of giving a good, plain education suitable
for boys destined for railway work.  It was a good sized school of about
a hundred boys.  Not long ago I met one day in London a business man who,
it turned out, was at this school with me.  We had not met for fifty
years.  "Well," said he, "I think old Jessie, if he did not teach us a
great variety of things, what he did he taught well."  My new-found old
schoolmate had become the financial manager of a great business house
having ramifications throughout the world.  He had attained to position
and wealth and, which successful men sometimes are not, was quite
unspoiled.  We revived our schooldays with mutual pleasure, and lunched
together as befitted the occasion.

"Jessie" was the name by which our old schoolmaster was endeared to his
boys; a kindly, simple-minded, worthy man, teaching, as well as
scholastic subjects, behaviour, morals, truth, loyalty; and these as much
by example as by precept, impressing ever upon us the virtue of
thoroughness in all we did and of truth in all we said.  Since those days
I have seen many youths, educated at much finer and more pretentious
schools, who have benefited by modern educational methods, and on whose
education much money has been expended, and who, when candidates for
clerkships, have, in the simple matters of reading, writing, arithmetic,
composition and spelling, shown up very poorly compared to what almost
any boy from "old Jessie's" unambitious establishment would have done.
But, plain and substantial as my schooling was, I have ever felt that I
was defrauded of the better part of education--the classics, languages,
literature and modern science, which furnish the mind and extend the
boundaries of thought.

"Jessie" continued his interest in his boys long after they left school.
He was proud of those who made their way.  I remember well the warmth of
his greeting and the kind look of his mild blue eyes when, after I had
gone out into the world, I sometimes revisited him.

But my school life was not all happiness.  In the school there was an
almost brutal element of roughness, and fights were frequent; not only in
our own, but between ours and neighbouring schools.  Regular pitched
battles were fought with sticks and staves and stones.  I shrunk from
fighting but could not escape it.  Twice in our own playground I was
forced to fight.  Every new boy had to do it, sooner or later.
Fortunately on the second occasion I came off victor, much to my
surprise.  How I managed to beat my opponent I never could understand.
Anyhow the victory gave me a better standing in the school, though it did
not lessen in the least my hatred of the battles that raged periodically
with other schools.  I never had to fight again except as an unwilling
participant in our foreign warfare.


In the year 1851 the Midland Railway was 521 miles long; it is now 2,063.
Then its capital was 15,800,000, against 130,000,000 pounds to-day.  Then
the gross revenue was 1,186,000 and now it has reached 15,960,000 pounds.
When I say _now_, I refer to 1913, the year prior to the war, as since
then, owing to Government control, non-division of through traffic and
curtailment of accounts, the actual receipts earned by individual
companies are not published, and, indeed, are not known.

Eighteen hundred and fifty-one was a period of anxiety to the Midland and
to railway companies generally.  Financial depression had succeeded a
time of wild excitement, and the Midland dividend had fallen from seven
to two per cent.!  It was the year of the great Exhibition, which Lord
Cholmondeley considered _the_ event of modern times and many
over-sanguine people expected it to inaugurate a universal peace.  On the
other hand Carlyle uttered fierce denunciations against it.  It certainly
excited far more interest than has any exhibition since.  Then, nothing
of the kind had ever before been seen.  Railway expectations ran high;
immense traffic receipts, sorely needed, ought to have swelled the
coffers of the companies.  But no! vast numbers of people certainly
travelled to London, but a mad competition, as foolish almost as the
preceding _mania_, set in, and passenger fares were again and again
reduced, till expected profits disappeared and loss and disappointment
were the only result.  The policy of Parliament in encouraging the
construction of rival railway routes and in fostering competition in the
supposed interest of the public was, even in those early days, bearing
fruit--dead sea fruit, as many a luckless holder of railway stock learned
to his cost.

Railway shareholders throughout the kingdom were growing angry.  In the
case of the Midland--they appointed a committee of inquiry, and the
directors assented to the appointment.  This committee was to examine and
report upon the general and financial conditions of the company, and was
invested with large powers.

About the same time also interviews took place between the Midland and
the London and North-Western, with the object of arranging an
amalgamation of the two systems.  Some progress was made, but no formal
_engagement_ resulted, and so a very desirable union, between an
aristocratic bridegroom and a democratic bride, remained unaccomplished.

Mr. Ellis was chairman of the Midland at this time and Mr. George Carr
Glyn, afterwards the first Lord Wolverton, occupied a similar position on
the Board of the London and North-Western.  Mr. Ellis had succeeded Mr.
Hudson--the "_Railway King_," so christened by Sydney Smith.  Mr. Hudson
in 1844 was chairman of the first shareholders' meeting of the Midland
Railway.  Prior to that date the Midland consisted of three separate
railways.  In 1849 Mr. Hudson presided for the last time at a Midland
meeting, and in the following year resigned his office of chairman of the

The story of the meteoric reign of the "_Railway King_" excited much
interest when I was young, and it may not be out of place to touch upon
some of the incidents of his career.

George Hudson was born in 1800, served his apprenticeship in the
cathedral city of York and subsequently became a linendraper there and a
man of property.

Many years afterwards he is reported to have said that the happiest days
of his life passed while he stood behind his counter using the yardstick,
a statement which should perhaps only be accepted under reservation.  He
was undoubtedly a man of a bold and adventurous spirit, possessed of an
ambition which soared far above the measuring of calicoes or the
retailing of ribbons; but perhaps the observation was tinged by the
environment of later and less happy days when his star had set, his
kingly reign come to an end, and when possibly vain regrets had
embittered his existence.  It was, I should imagine, midst the fierceness
of the strife and fury of the _mania_ times, when his powerful
personality counted for so much, that he reached the zenith of his

[George Hudson: hudson.jpg]

Whilst conducting in York his linendraper business, a relation died and
left him money.  The railway boom had then begun.  He flung his yardstick
behind him and entered the railway fray.  The Liverpool and Manchester
line and its wonderful success--it paid ten per cent.--greatly impressed
the public mind, and the good people of York determined they would have a
railway to London.

A committee was appointed to carry out the project.  On this committee
Mr. Hudson was placed, and it was mainly owing to his energy and skill
that the scheme came to a successful issue.  He was rewarded by being
made chairman of the company.

This was his entrance into the railway world where, for a time, he was
monarch.  He must have been a man of shrewdness and capacity.  It is
recorded that he acquired the land for the York to London railway at an
average cost of 1,750 pounds per mile whilst that of the North Midland
cost over 5,000 pounds.

On the 1st July, 1840, this linendraper of York had the proud pleasure of
seeing the first train from York to London start on its journey.

From this achievement he advanced to others.  He and his friends obtained
the lease, for thirty-one years, of a rival line, which turned out a
great financial success.  His enterprise and energy were boundless.

It is said that his bold spirit, his capacity for work and his great
influence daunted his most determined opponents.  For instance, the North
Midland railway, part predecessor of _the_ Midland, was involved in
difficulty.  He appeared before the shareholders, offered, if his advice
and methods were adopted, to guarantee double the then dividend.  His
offer was accepted and he was made chairman, and from that position
became chairman, and for a time dictator, of the amalgamated Midland
system.  Clearly his business abilities were great; his reforms were bold
and drastic, and success attended his efforts.  He soon became the
greatest railway authority in England.  For a time the entire railway
system in the north was under his control, and the confidence reposed in
him was unbounded.  He was the lion of the day: princes, peers and
prelates, capitalists and fine ladies sought his society, paid homage to
his power, besought his advice and lavished upon him unstinted adulation.

In 1845 the railway mania was at its height.  It is said that during two
or three months of that year as much as 100,000 pounds per week were
expended in advertisements in connection with railway promotions, railway
meetings and railway matters generally.  Scarcely credible this, but so
it is seriously stated.  Huge sums were wasted in the promotion and
construction of British railways in early days, from which, in their
excessive capital cost, they suffer now.  In the _mania_ period railways
sprang into existence so quickly that, to use the words of Robert
Stephenson, they "appeared like the realisation of fabled powers or the
magician's wand."  The _Illustrated London News_ of the day said:
"Railway speculation has become the sole object of the world--cupidity is
aroused and roguery shields itself under its name, as a more safe and
rapid way of gaining its ends.  Abroad, as well as at home, has it proved
the rallying point of all rascality--the honest man is carried away by
the current and becomes absorbed in the vortex; the timid, the quiet, the
moral are, after some hesitation, caught in the whirlpool and follow
those whom they have watched with pity and derision."

Powers were granted by Parliament in the year 1845 to construct no less
than 2,883 miles of new railway at an expenditure of about 44,000,000
pounds; and in the next year (1846) applications were made to Parliament
for authority to raise 389,000,000 pounds for the construction of further
lines.  These powers were granted to the extent of 4,790 miles at a cost
of about 120,000,000 pounds.

Soon there came a change; disaster followed success; securities fell;
dividends diminished or disappeared altogether or, as was in some cases
discovered, were paid out of capital, and disappointment and ruin
followed.  King Hudson's methods came under a fierce fire of criticism;
adulation was succeeded by abuse and he was disgraced and dethroned.  A
writer of the day said, "Mr. Hudson is neither better nor worse than the
morality of his time."  From affluence he came to want, and in his old
age a fund was raised sufficient to purchase him an annuity of 600 pounds
a year.

About this time, that most useful Institution the Railway Clearing House
received Parliamentary sanction.  The _Railway Clearing System Act_ 1850
gave it statutory recognition.  Its functions have been defined thus: "To
settle and adjust the receipts arising from railway traffic within, or
partly within, the United Kingdom, and passing over more than one railway
within the United Kingdom, booked or invoiced at throughout rates of
fares."  The system had then been in existence, in a more or less
informal way, for about eight years.  Mr. Allport, on one occasion, said
that whilst he was with the Birmingham and Derby railway (before he
became general manager of the Midland) the process of settlement of
receipts for through traffic was tedious and difficult, and it occurred
to him that a system should be adopted similar to that which existed in
London and was known as the Bankers' Clearing House.  It was also said
that Mr. Kenneth Morrison, Auditor of the London and Birmingham line, was
the first to see and proclaim the necessity for a Clearing House.  Be
that as it may, the Railway Clearing House, as a practical entity, came
into being in 1842.  In the beginning it only embraced nine companies,
and six people were enough to do its work.  The companies were:--

   London and Birmingham, Midland Counties, Birmingham and Derby, North
   Midland, Leeds and Selby, York and North Midland, Hull and Selby,
   Great North of England, Manchester and Leeds.

Not one of these has preserved its original name.  All have been merged
in either the London and North-Western, the North-Eastern, the Midland or
the Lancashire and Yorkshire.

At the present day the Clearing House consists of practically the whole
of the railway companies in the United Kingdom, though some of the small
and unimportant lines are outside its sphere.  Ireland has a Railway
Clearing House of its own--established in the year 1848--to which
practically all Irish railway companies, and they are numerous, belong;
and the six principal Irish railways are members of the London Clearing

The English house, situated in Seymour Street, Euston Square, is an
extensive establishment, and accommodates 2,500 clerks.  As I write, the
number under its roof is, by war conditions, reduced to about 900.
Serving with His Majesty's Forces are nearly 1,200, and about 400 have
been temporarily transferred to the railway companies, to the Government
service and to munition factories.

In 1842, when the Clearing House first began, the staff, as I have said,
numbered six, and the companies nine.  Fifty-eight railway companies now
belong to the House, and the amount of money dealt with by way of
division and apportionment in the year before the war was 31,071,910
pounds.  In 1842 it was 193,246 pounds.


The boy who is strong and healthy, overflowing with animal spirits,
enjoys life in a way that is denied to his slighter-framed, more delicate
brother.  Exercise imparts to him a physical exuberance to which the
other is a stranger.  But Nature is kind.  If she withholds her gifts in
one direction she bestows them in another.  She grants the enjoyment of
sedentary pursuits to those to whom she has denied hardier pleasures.

During my schooldays I spent many happy hours alone with book or pen or
pencil.  My father was fond of reading, and for a man of his limited
means, possessed a good collection of books; a considerable number of the
volumes of _Bohn's Standard Library_ as well as _Boswell's Life of
Johnson, Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, Butler's Hudibras, Bailey's
Festus, Gil Blas, Don Quixote, Pilgrim's Progress, the Arabian Nights,
Shakespeare_, most of the poets from _Chaucer_ down; and of novels,
_Bulwer Lytton's, Scott's, Dickens_' and _Thackeray's_.  These are the
books I best remember, but there were others of classic fame, and I read
them all; but not, I fear to much advantage, for though I have read many
books it has been without much method, just as fancy led, and study,
memory and judgment have been little considered.  Still, unsystematic
reading is better than no reading, and, as someone has said, "a phrase
may fructify if it falls on receptive soil."

I never in my boyhood or youth, except on short visits to relatives,
enjoyed the advantage, by living in the country, of becoming intimate
with rural life.  We resided at Derby in a terrace on the outskirt of the
town, much to my dislike, for monotonous rows of houses I have ever
hated.  One's home should be one's friend and possess some special
feature of its own, even in its outward aspect, to love and remember.  As
George Eliot says: "We get the fonder of our houses if they have a
physiognomy of their own, as our friends have."

In my schooldays, country walks, pursued as far as health and strength
allowed, were my greatest pleasure, sometimes taken alone, sometimes with
a companion.  The quiet valley of the Trent at Repton, Anchor Church,
Knoll Hills, the long bridge at Swarkestone, the charming little country
town of Melbourne, the wooded beauties of Duffield and Belper, the ozier
beds of Spondon; how often have I trod their fields, their woods, their
lanes, their paths; and how pleasantly the memory of it all comes back to
me now!

In those days fashions and manners differed greatly from those of to-day.
Ladies wore the crinoline (successor to the hoop of earlier times),
chignons and other absurdities, but had not ventured upon short skirts or
cigarettes.  They were much given to blushing, now a lost art; and to
swooning, a thing of the past; the "vapours" of the eighteenth century
had, happily, vanished for ever; but athletic exercises, such as girls
enjoy to-day, were then undreamed of.  Why has the pretty art of blushing
gone?  One now never sees a blush to mantle on the cheek of beauty.  Does
the blood of feminine youth flow steadier than it did, or has the more
unrestrained intercourse of the sexes banished the sweet consciousness
that so often brought the crimson to a maiden's face?  The manners of
maidens had more of reserve and formality then.  The off-hand style, the
nod of the head, the casual "how d'ye do," were unknown.  Woman has not
now the same desire to appear always graceful; she adopts a manly gait,
talks louder, plays hockey, rides horseback astride, and boldly enters
hotel smoking rooms and railway smoking compartments without apology.

When walking with a lady, old or young, in those days, the gentleman
would offer his arm and she would take it.  The curtsey was still
observed but gradually disappearing.  When about nineteen years of age, I
remember being introduced to one of the young beauties of the town, who I
had long secretly admired.  She made me a profound and graceful
curtsey--feminine homage to my budding manhood.  The first curtsey I
remember receiving, except of course in the stately ceremonies of the
dance.  For many a day afterwards my cheek glowed with pleasure at the
recollection of that sweet obeisance.  She became my sweetheart,
temporarily; but a born butterfly, she soon fluttered away, leaving me
disconsolate--_for a time_!

Women then wrote a sloping hand, delicate penmanship, to distinguish them
from men; crossed and re-crossed their letters, and were greatly addicted
to postscripts.

The men?  Well, they wore mutton chop whiskers, or, if Nature was
bountiful, affected the Dundreary style, which gave a man great
distinction, and, if allied to good looks, made him perfectly
irresistible.  They wore "Champagne Charley" coats, fancy waistcoats,
frilled-fronted shirts, relic of the lace and ruffles of Elizabeth's
days; velvet smoking caps, embroidered slippers, elastic-side boots and
chimney pot hats.

At eighteen years of age I had my first frock coat and tall hat.  Some of
my companions, happy youths! enjoyed this distinction at sixteen or
seventeen.  These adornments were of course for Sunday wear; no weekday
clothes were worn on Sundays then.  My frock coat was of West of England
broadcloth, shiny and smooth.  Sunday attire was incomplete without light
kid gloves, lavender or lemon being the favourite shade for a young man
with any pretension to style.

Next in importance to my first frock coat ranked my first portmanteau; it
was a present, and supplanted the carpet bag which, up to then, to my
profound disgust, I had to use on visits to my relatives.  The
portmanteau was the sign of youth and progress; old-fashioned people
stuck to the carpet bag.

Man's attire has changed for the better; and woman's, with all its
abbreviations and shortcomings, is, on the whole, more rational; though
in the domain of Fashion her _vagaries_ will last no doubt as long
as--woman is woman; and if ever that shall cease to be, the charm of life
will be over.

With man the jacket suit, the soft hat, the soft shirt, the turn-down
collar, mark the transition from starch and stiffness to ease and
comfort; and Time in his course has brought no greater boon than this;
except, perhaps, the change that marks our funeral customs.  In those
days, hatbands, gloves and scarves were provided by the bereaved family
to the relatives and friends who attended the obsequies; and all of
kinship close or remote, were invited from far and near.  Hearse and
coaches and nodding plumes and mutes added to the expense, and many a
family of moderate means suffered terrible privation from the costliness
of these burial customs, which, happily, now are fast disappearing.

Beds, in those days, were warmed with copper warming pans, and nightcaps
adorned the slumbering heads of both sexes.  Spittoons were part of
ordinary household furniture.  To colour a meerschaum was the ambition of
smokers, swearing was considered neither low nor vulgar, and snuffing was
fashionable.  Many most respectable men chewed tobacco, and to carry
one's liquor well was a gentlemanly accomplishment.

Garrotters pursued their calling, deterred only by the cat-o'-nine tails,
pickpockets abounded and burglaries were common.

The antimacassar and the family album; in what veneration they were held!
The antimacassar, as its name implies, was designed to protect chairs and
couches from the disfiguring stains of macassar oil, then liberally used
in the adornment of the hair which received much attention.  A parting,
of geometrical precision, at the back of the head was often affected by
men of dressy habits, who sometimes also wore a carefully arranged curl
at the front; and manly locks, if luxuriant enough, were not infrequently
permitted to fall in careless profusion over the collar of the coat.

Of the family album I would rather not speak.  It is scarcely yet
extinct.  A respectable silence shall accompany its departing days.

Perhaps these things may to some appear mere trivialities; but to recall
them awakens many memories, brings back thoughts of bygone days--days
illumined with the sunshine of Youth and Hope on which it is pleasant to
linger.  As someone has finely said: "We lose a proper sense of the
richness of life if we do not look back on the scenes of our youth with
imagination and warmth."


In the year 1867, at the age of sixteen, I became a junior clerk in the
Midland Railway at Derby, at a salary of 15 pounds a year.

From pre-natal days I was destined for the railway service, as an oyster
to its shell.  The possibility of any other vocation for his sons never
entered the mind of my father, nor the mind of many another father in the
town of Derby.

My railway life began on a drizzling dismal day in the early autumn.  My
father took me to the office in which I was to make a start and presented
me to the chief clerk.  I was a tall, thin, delicate, shy, sensitive
youth, with curly hair, worn rather long, and I am sure I did not look at
all a promising specimen for encountering the rough and tumble of railway

The chief clerk handed me over to one of his assistants, who without
ceremony seated me on a tall stool at a high desk, and put before me, to
my great dismay, a huge pile of formidable documents which he called _Way
Bills_.  He gave me some instructions, but I was too confused to
understand them, and too shy to ask questions.  I only know that I felt
very miserable and hopelessly at sea.  Visions of being dismissed as an
incompetent rose before me; but soon, to my great relief, it was
discovered that the Way Bills were too much for me and that I must begin
at more elementary duties.

A few weeks afterwards, when I had found my feet a little, I was promoted
from the simple tasks assigned to me in consequence of my first failure
and attached to the goods-train-delays clerk, a long-bearded elderly man
with a very kind face.  He was quite fatherly to me and took a great deal
of trouble in teaching me my work.  With him I soon felt at ease, and was
happy in gaining his approbation.  One thing found favour in his eyes; I
wrote a good clear hand and at fair speed.  In those days penmanship was
a fine art.  No cramped or sprawling writing passed muster.  Typewriting
was not dreamed of, and, at Derby, shorthand had not appeared on the

One or two other juniors and myself sedulously practised imitating the
penmanship of those senior clerks who wrote fine or singular hands.  At
this I was particularly successful and proud of my skill, until one day
the chief clerk detained me after closing time, gave me a good rating,
and warned me to stop such a dangerous habit which might lead, he said,
to the disgrace of forgery.  He spoke so seriously and shook his head so
wisely that (to use Theodore Hook's old joke) "I thought there must be
something in it," and so, for a long while, I gave up the practice.

Office hours in those days were nominally from nine till six, but for the
juniors especially often much longer.  In 1868 or 1869, 1 do not remember
which, a welcome change took place; the hours were reduced to from nine
till five, and arrangements made for avoiding late hours for the juniors.
This early closing was the result of an "appeal unto Caesar."  The
clerical staff in all the offices had combined and presented a petition
in the highest quarter.  The boon was granted, and I remember the wave of
delight that swept over us, and how we enjoyed the long summer evenings.
It was in the summer time the change took place.

Combined action amongst railway employees was not common then, not even
in the wage-earning class, but Trade Unionism, scarcely yet legalised,
was clamouring for recognition.  Strikes sometimes occurred but were not

In 1867 Mr. James Allport was general manager of the Midland Railway, Mr.
Thomas Walklate the goods manager and Mr. William Parker head of the
department in which I began my railway life.  Ned Farmer was a notable
Midland man at that time; notable for his bucolic appearance, his genial
personality, and, most of all, for the well-known songs he wrote.  He was
in charge of the company's horses, bought them, fed them, cared for them.
He was a big-bodied, big-hearted, ruddy-faced, farmerlike man of fifty or
so; and the service was proud of him.  He had a great sense of humour and
used to tell many an amusing story.  One morning, he told us, he had been
greatly tickled by a letter which he had received from one of his
inspectors whose habit it was to conclude every letter and report with
the words "to oblige."  The letter ran: "Dear Sir, I beg to inform you
that Horse No. 99 died last night to oblige Yours truly, John Smith."  He
wrote the fine poem of "_Little Jim_," which everyone knew, and which
almost every boy and girl could recite.  His then well-known song, "_My
old Wife's a good old cratur_," was very popular and was sung throughout
the Midlands.  The publication of his poems and songs was attended with
great success.  His Muse was simple, homely, humorous, pathetic and
patriotic, and made a strong appeal to the natural feelings of ordinary
folk.  Often it was inspired by incidents and experiences in his daily
life.  His desk was in the same office as that in which I worked, and I
was very proud of the notice he took of me, and grateful for many
kindnesses he showed to me.

After spending twelve months or so in Mr. Parker's office, I was removed
to another department.  The office to which I was assigned had about
thirty clerks, all of whom, except the chief clerk, occupied tall stools
at high desks.

I was one of two assistants to a senior clerk.  This senior was middle-
aged, and passing rich on eighty pounds a year.  A quiet, steady,
respectable married man, well dressed, cheerful, contented, he had by
care and economy, out of his modest salary, built for himself a snug
little double-breasted villa, in a pleasant outskirt of the town, where
he spent his spare hours in his garden and enjoyed a comfortable and
happy life.

Except the chief clerk, whose salary was about 160 pounds, I do not
believe there was another whose pay exceeded 100 pounds a year.  The real
head of the office, or _department_ it was called, was not the chief
clerk but one who ranked higher still and was styled _Head of
Department_, and he received a salary of about 300 pounds.  Moderate
salaries prevailed, but the sovereign was worth much more then than now,
while wants were fewer.  Beer was threepence the pint and tobacco
threepence the ounce, and beer we drank but never whiskey or wine; and
pipes we smoked but not cigars.

This chief clerk was an amiable rather ladylike person, with small hands
and feet and well-arranged curly hair.  He was quick and clever and work
sat lightly upon him.  Quiet and good natured, when necessity arose he
never failed to assert his authority.  We all respected him.  His young
wife was pretty and pleasant, which was in his favour too.

The office was by no means altogether composed of steady specimens of
clerkdom, but had a large admixture of lively sparks who, though they
would never set the Thames on fire, brightened and enlivened our

There was one, a literary genius, who had entered the service, I believe
by influence, for influence and patronage were in those days not unknown.
He wrote in his spare time the pantomime for a Birmingham theatre; and
there constantly fluttered from his desk and circulated through the
office, little scraps of paper containing quips and puns and jokes in
prose or verse, or acrostics from his prolific pen.  One clever acrostic
upon the office boy, which has always remained in my memory, I should
like for its delicate irony (worthy of Swift himself) to reproduce; but
as that promising youth may still be in the service I feel I had better
not, as irony sometimes wounds.  For some time we had in the office an
Apollo--a very Belvidere.  He was a glory introduced into railway life by
I know not what influence and disappeared after a time I know not where
or why.  A marvel of manly strength and grace and beauty, thirty years of
age or so, and faultlessly dressed.  Said to be aristocratically
connected, he was the admiration of all and the darling of the young
ladies of Derby.  He lodged in fashionable apartments, smoked expensive
cigars, attended all public amusements, was affable and charming, but
reticent about himself.  Why he ever came amongst us none ever knew; it
was a mystery we never fathomed.  He left as he came, a mystery still.

There was an oldish clerk whom we nicknamed _Gumpots_.  This bore some
resemblance to his surname, but there were other reasons which led to the
playful designation and which I think justified it.

There was another scribe of quite an elegant sort: a perambulating
tailor's dummy; a young man, well under thirty.  He was good-looking, as
far as regularity of features and a well-formed figure went, but mentally
not much to boast of.  He lounged about the station platform and the town
displaying his faultlessly fitting fashionable clothes.  They always
looked new, and as his salary was not more than 70 pounds a year, and his
parents, with whom he lived, were poor, the story that he was provided
gratis by an enterprising tailor in town with these suits, on condition
that he exhibited himself constantly in public, and told whenever he
could who was his outfitter, received general credence, and I believe was
true.  He was never known to hurry, mingled little with men and less with
women, but moved along in a stiff tailor-dummy fashion with a sort of
self-conscious air which seemed to say, "Look at my figure and my
clothes, how stylish they are!"

I remember a senior clerk in the office where I first worked to whom
there was a general aversion.  He was the only clerk who was really
disliked, for all the others, old or young, serious or gay, steady or
rackety, had each some pleasant quality.  This unfortunate fellow had
none.  He was small, mean, cunning, a sneak and a mischief maker.  He
carried tales, told lies, and tried to make trouble, for no reason but to
gratify his inclinations.  He was a dark impish looking fellow, as lean
as Cassius and as crafty and envious as Iago.  The chief clerk, to his
credit be it said, gave a deaf ear to his tales, and his craft and
cunning obtained him little beyond our detestation.

In our own office about half our number were youths and single men and
about half were married.  Our youngest benedict was not more than
eighteen years of age, and his salary only 45 pounds a year.  On this
modest income for a time the young couple lived.  It was a runaway match;
on the girl's part an elopement from school.  They lived in apartments,
kept by an old lady, a widow who, being a woman, loved a bit of romance,
and was very kind to them.  He was a manly young fellow, a sportsman and
renowned at cricket, and she was amiable and pretty, a little blonde
beauty.  The parents were well to do, and in due time forgave the
imprudent match.  At this we all rejoiced for he was a general favourite.

Looking back now it seems to me the office staff was in some ways a
curious collection and very different to the clerks of to-day.  Many of
them had not entered railway life until nearly middle-age and they had
not assimilated as an office staff does now, when all join as youths and
are brought up together.  They were original, individual, not to say
eccentric.  Whilst our office included certain steady married clerks, who
worked hard and lived ordinary middle-class respectable lives, and some
few bachelors of quiet habit, the rest were a lively set indeed, by no
means free from inclinations to coarse conviviality and many of them
spendthrift, reckless and devil-may-care.  At pay-day, which occurred
monthly, most of these merry wights, after receiving their pay, betook
themselves to the _Midland Tap_ or other licensed house and there
indulged, for the remainder of the afternoon, in abundant beer, pouring
down glass after glass; in Charles Lamb's inimitable words: "the second
to see where the first has gone, the third to see no harm happens to the
second, a fourth to say there is another coming, and a fifth to say he is
not sure he is the last."  Some of the merriest of them would not return
to the office that day but extend their carouse far into the night; to
sadly realise next day that it was "the morning after the night before."

I do not think our ladylike chief clerk ever indulged in these orgies,
but I never knew more than the mildest remonstrance being made by him or
by anyone in authority.

Pay-day was also the time for squaring accounts.  "The human species,"
Charles Lamb says, "is composed of two distinct races, the men who borrow
and the men who lend."  This was true of our office, but no equal
division prevailed as the borrowers predominated and the lenders, the
prudent, were a small minority.  A general settlement took place monthly,
after which a new period began--by the borrowers with joyous unconcern.
"Take no thought for the morrow" was a maxim dear to the heart of these
knights of the pen.

Swearing, as I have said, was not considered low or vulgar or unbecoming
a gentleman.  There was a senior clerk of some standing and position, a
married man of thirty-five or forty years of age, who gloried in it.  His
expletives were varied, vivid and inexhaustible, and the turbid stream
was easily set flowing.  Had he lived a century earlier he might have
been put in the stocks for his profanity, a punishment which magistrates
were then, by Act of Parliament, empowered to inflict.  He was a strange
individual.  _Long Jack_ he was called.  He is not in this world now so I
may write of him with freedom.

No one's enemy but his own, he was kindly, good-natured, generous to a
fault, but devil-may-care and reckless; and, at any one's expense, or at
any cost to himself, would have his fling and his joke.

It was from his lankiness and length of limb that he was called "_Long
Jack_."  He stood about six feet six in his boots.  He must have had
means of his own, as he lived in a way far beyond the reach of even a
senior clerk of the first degree.  How he came to be in a railway office,
or, being in, retained his place, was a matter of wonder.  Sad to tell,
he had a little daughter, five or six years of age; his only child, a
sweet, blue-eyed golden-haired little fairy, who, never corrected,
imitated her father's profanity, and apparently to his great delight.  He
treated it as a joke, as he treated everything.  _Long Jack_ loved to
scandalise the town by his eccentricities.  He would compound with the
butcher, to drive his fast trotting horse and trap and deliver their
joints, their steaks and kidneys to astonished customers, or arrange with
the milkman to dispense the early morning milk, donning a milkman's
smock, and carrying two milk-pails on foot.  I remember one _Good Friday_
morning when he perambulated the town with a donkey cart and sold, at an
early hour, hot cross buns at the houses of his friends, afterwards
gleefully boasting of having made a good profit on the morning's
business.  In the sixties and early seventies throughout the clerical
staff of the Midland Railway were many who had not been brought up as
clerks, who, somehow or other had drifted into the service, whose early
avocations had been of various kinds, and whose appearance, habits and
manners imparted a picturesqueness to office life which does not exist to-
day, and among these.  _Long Jack_ was a prominent, but despite his
joviality, it seems to me a pathetic figure.


Delicate health, as I have said, was my lot from childhood.  After about
eighteen months of office work I had a long and serious illness and was
away from duty for nearly half a year.  The latter part of the time I
spent in the Erewash Valley, at the house of an uncle who lived near Pye
Bridge.  I was then under eighteen, growing fast, and when convalescing
the country life and country air did me lasting good.  Though a colliery
district the valley is not devoid of rural beauty; to me it was pleasant
and attractive and I wandered about at will.

One day I had a curious experience.  In my walk I came across the
Cromford Canal where it enters a tunnel that burrows beneath coal mines.
At the entrance to the tunnel a canal barge lay.  The bargees asked would
I like to go through with them?  "How long is it?" said I, and "how long
will it take?"  "Not long," said bargee, "come on!"  "Right!" said I.  The
tunnel just fitted the barge, scarcely an inch to spare; the roof was so
low that a man lying on his back on a plank placed athwart the vessel,
with his feet against the roof, propelled the boat along.  This was the
only means of transit and our progress was slow and dreary.  It was a
journey of Cimmerian darkness; along a stream fit for Charon's boat.
About halfway a halt was made for dinner, but I had none.  Although I was
cold and hungry the bargees' hospitality did not include a share of their
bread and cheese but they gave me a drink of their beer.  The tunnel is
two miles long, and was drippingly wet.  Several hours passed before we
emerged, not into sunshine but into the open, under a clouded sky and
heavy rain which had succeeded a bright forenoon.  I was nearly five
miles from my uncle's house, lightly clad, hungry and tired.  To my
friends ever since I have not failed to recommend the passage of the
Butterley tunnel as a desirable pleasure excursion.

When I returned to work my health was greatly improved and a small
advancement in my position in the office made the rest of my time at
Derby more agreeable, though, to tell the truth, I often jibbed at the
drudgery of the desk and the monotony of writing pencilled-out letters
which was now my daily task.  Set tasks, dull routine, monotonous duty I
ever hated.

About this time shorthand was introduced into the railway.  A public
teacher of Pitman's phonography had established himself in Derby, and the
Midland engaged him to conduct classes for the junior clerks.  It was not
compulsory to attend the classes, but inducements to do so were held out.
A special increase of salary was promised to those who attained a certain
proficiency, and a further reward was offered; the two clerks who earned
most marks and, in the teacher's opinion, reached the highest
proficiency, were to be appointed assistants to the teacher and paid
eight shillings weekly during future shorthand sessions, in addition to
the special increase of salary.  It was a great prize and keen was the
contest.  I had the good fortune to be one of the two; and the praise I
got, and the benefit of the money made me contented for a time.  My
companion in this success, I am glad to know, is to-day alive and well,
and like myself, a superannuated member of society.  In his day he was a
notable athlete, at one time bicycling champion of the Midland counties;
and his prowess was won on the obsolete velocipede, with its one great
wheel in front and a very small wheel behind.

A shorthand writer, my work was now to take down letters from dictation,
a remove only for the better from the old way of writing from pencilled

Now it was that I made my first sincere and lasting friendship, a
friendship true and deep, but which was destined to last for only ten
short years.  Tom was never robust and Death's cold hand closed all too
soon a loveable and useful life.  Our friendship was close and intimate,
such as is formed in the warmth of youth and which the grave alone
dissolves.  To me, during those short years, it lent brightness and
gaiety to existence; and, in the days that have followed, its memory has
been, and is now, a rich possession.

With both Tom and me it was friendship at first sight, and nothing until
the final severance came ever disturbed its course.  He came from Lincoln
and joined the office I was in.  He was two years my senior and had the
advantage of several years' experience in station work which I had not.
We were much alike in our tastes and habits, yet there was enough of
difference between us to impart a relish to our friendship.  Indifferent
health, for he was delicate too, was one of the bonds between us.  We
were both fond of reading, of quiet walks and talks, and we hated crowds.
He was a good musician, played the piano; but the guitar was the
favourite accompaniment to his voice, a clear sweet tenor, and he sang
well.  I was not so susceptible to the "concord of sweet sounds" as he
was, but could draw a little, paint a little, string rhymes together; and
so we never failed to amuse and interest each other.  He was impulsive,
clever, quick of temper, ingenuous, and indignant at any want of truth or
candour in others; generous to a fault and tender hearted as a woman.  I
was more patient than he, slower in wrath, yet we sometimes quarrelled
over trifles but, like lovers, were quickly reconciled; and after these
little explosions always better friends than ever.

At Derby, for three years or so, we were inseparable.  What walks we had,
what talks, "what larks, Pip!"  Dickens we adored.  How we talked of him
and his books!  How we longed to hear him read, but his public readings
had ended, his voice for ever become mute and a nation mourned the loss
of one who had moved it to laughter and to tears.  Tom had a wonderful
memory.  He would recite page after page from _Pickwick, David
Copperfield, Barnaby Rudge_ or _Great Expectations_, as well as from
_Shakespeare_ and our favourite poets.  He was fond of the pathetic, but
the humorous moved him most, and his lively gifts were welcome wherever
we went.

Our favourite walk on Saturday afternoons was to the pleasant village of
Kedleston, some five miles from Derby, and to its fine old inn, which to
us was not simply the _Kedleston Inn_ and nothing more but Dickens'
_Maypole_ and nothing less.  We revelled in its resemblance, or its
fancied resemblance to the famous old hostelry kept by old John Willet.
Something in the building itself, though I cannot say that, like the
_Maypole_, it had "more gable ends than a lazy man would like to count on
a sunny day," and something in its situation, and something in the
cronies who gathered in its comfortable bar, and something in the bar
itself combined to form the pleasant illusion in which we indulged.  The
bar, like the _Maypole_ bar, was snug and cosy and complete.  Its rustic
visitors were not so solemn and slow of speech as old John Willet and Mr.
Cobb and long Phil Parkes and Solomon Daisy, "who would pass two mortal
hours and a half without any of them speaking a single word, and who were
firmly convinced that they were very jovial companions;" but they were as
reticent and stolid and good natured as such simple country gaffers are
wont to be.

I remember in particular one Saturday afternoon in late October.  It was
almost the last walk I had with Tom in Derby.  The day was perfect; as
clear and bright, as mellow and crisp, as rich in colour, as only an
October day in England can be.  We reached the _Maypole_ between five and
six o'clock.  No young Joe Willet or gipsy Hugh was there to welcome us,
but we were soon by our two selves in a homely little room, beside a
cheerful fire, at a table spread with tea and ham and eggs and buttered
toast and cakes--our weekly treat.

When this delightful meal was over, a stroll as far as the church and the
stately Hall of the Curzons, back to the inn, an hour or so in the snug
bar with the village worthies, who welcomed our almost weekly visits and
the yarns we brought from Derby town; then back home by the broad
highway, under the star-lit sky--an afternoon and an evening to be ever

The _Kedleston Inn_, I am told, no longer exists; no longer greets the
eye of the wayfarer, no longer welcomes him to its pleasant bar.  Now it
is a farmhouse.  No youthful enthusiast can now be beguiled into calling
it _The Maypole_; and, indeed, in these unromantic days, though it had
remained unchanged, there would be little danger of this I think.

Soon after this memorable day Tom left the service of the Midland for a
more lucrative situation with a mercantile firm in Glasgow, and I was
left widowed and alone.  For six months or more we had been living
together in the country, some four miles from Derby, in the house of the
village blacksmith.  It was a pretty house, stood a little apart from the
forge, and was called Rock Villa.  I wonder if the present Engineer-in-
Chief of the Midland Railway recollects a little incident connected with
it.  He (now Chief Engineer then a well grown youth of eighteen or
nineteen) was younger than I, and was preparing for the engineering
profession in which he has succeeded so well.  He lived with his parents
very near to Rock Villa, and one day, for some reason or other, we said
we would each of us make a sketch of Rock Villa, afterwards compare them,
and let his sister decide which was the better, so we set to work and did
our best.  In the matter of correct drawing his, I am sure, far surpassed
mine, but the young lady decided in my favour, perhaps because my
production looked more picturesque and romantic than his!

When Tom had gone I became dissatisfied with my work, and a
disappointment which I suffered at being passed over in some office
promotions increased that dissatisfaction.  I was an expert shorthand
writer and this seemed to be the only reason for keeping me back from
better work, so at least I thought, and I think so still.  My sense of
injustice was touched; and I determined I would, like Tom, if the
opportunity served, seek my fortune elsewhere.  The chance I longed for
came.  I paid a short visit to Tom, and whilst in Glasgow, obtained the
post of private clerk to the Stores Superintendent of the Caledonian
Railway, and on the last day of the year 1872, I left the Midland
Railway, to the service of which I had been as it were born, in which my
father and uncles and cousins served, against the wish of my father, and
to the surprise of my relatives.  But I had reached man's estate, and
felt a pride in going my own way, and in seeking, unassisted, my fortune,
whatever it might be.

What had I learned in my first five years of railway work?  Not very
much; the next few years were to be far more fruitful; but I had acquired
some business habits; a practical acquaintance with shorthand, which was
yet to stand me in good stead; some knowledge of rates and fares, their
nature and composition, which was also to be useful to me in after life;
some familiarity with the compilation of time-tables and the working of
trains; but of practical knowledge of work at stations I was quite

Thus equipped, without the parental blessing, with little money in my
purse, with health somewhat improved but still delicate, I bade good-bye
to Derby, light-hearted enough, and hopeful enough, and journeyed north
to join my friend Tom, and to make my way as best I could in the
commercial capital of "bonnie Scotland."


Before entering upon any description of the new life that awaited me in
Glasgow, I will briefly allude to the principal events connected with the
Midland and with railways generally which took place during the first
five years of my railway career.

Closely associated with many of these events was Mr. James Allport, the
Midland general manager, one of the foremost and ablest of the early
railway pioneers, regarding whom it is fit and proper a few words should
be said.  Strangely enough I never saw him until nearly two years after I
entered the Midland service, and this was on the occasion of a visit of
the Prince and Princess of Wales to Derby.  We clerks were allowed good
positions on the station platform to witness the arrival of their Royal
Highnesses by their special train from London.  Mr. Allport accompanied
them along the platform to the carriages outside the station.  Probably
the chairman and directors of the company were also present, but our eyes
were not for them.  Directors were to us junior clerks, remote
personalities, mythical beings dwelling on Olympian heights.

[Sir James Allport: allport.jpg]

It was a great thing to see the future King and Queen of England, and our
loyalty and enthusiasm knew no bounds.  They were young and charming, and
beloved by the people; but, hero worshipper as I was, our great general
manager was to me even more than royalty.  I little thought, as I looked
on Mr. Allport then, that, twenty years later, I should appear before him
to give evidence concerning Irish railways, when he was chairman of an
important Royal Commission.

The great abilities which enable a man to win and hold such a position as
his fired my fancy.  I look at men and men's affairs with different eyes
now; but Mr. Allport was a great personality, and youthful enthusiasm
might well be excused for placing him on a high pedestal.  He was tall
and handsome, with well-shaped head, broad brow, large clear keen eyes,
firm well-formed mouth, strong nose and chin, possessed of an abundant
head of hair, not close cropped in the style of to-day, but full and
wavy, and what one never sees now, a handsome natural curl along the
centre of the head with a parting on each side.  This suited him well,
and added to his distinctive individuality.  When I entered the Midland
service he was fifty-six years of age and in the plenitude of his power,
for those were days when the company was forcing its way north and south
and widely extending its territory.  He was the animating spirit of all
the company's enterprises.  No opposition, no difficulties ever daunted
him.  His nature was bold and fitted to command, and to him is due, in a
large degree, the proud position the Midland holds to-day.  It was not
until late in life, 1884 I think, when he had reached the age of seventy-
two, that his great qualities were accorded public recognition.  He then
received the honour of knighthood but had retired from active service and
become a director of his company.

There was another personality that loomed large, in those years, on the
Midland--Samuel Swarbrick, the accountant.  His world was finance, and in
it he was a master.  So great was his skill that the Great Eastern
Railway Company, which, financially, was in a parlous condition and their
dividend _nil_, in 1866 took him from the Midland and made him their
general manager, at, in those days, a princely salary.  Their confidence
was fully justified; his skill brought the company, if not to absolute
prosperity, at least to a dividend-paying condition, and laid the
foundation of the position that company now occupies.

His reputation as a man of figures stood as I have just said very high,
but, whilst I was at Derby, and before he moved to the Great Eastern, he
was prominent also as the happy possessor of the best coloured meerschaum
pipes in the county, and this, in those days, was no small distinction.
But a man does not achieve greatness by his own unaided efforts.  Others,
his subordinates, help him to climb the ladder.  It was so with Mr.
Swarbrick.  There was a tall policeman in the service of the company, the
possessor of a fine figure, and a splendid long sandy-coloured beard.  His
primary duty was to air himself at the front entrance of the station
arrayed in a fine uniform and tall silk hat, and this duty he
conscientiously performed.  Secondarily, his occupation was to start the
colouring of new meerschaums for Mr. Swarbrick.  Non-meerschaum smokers
may not know what a delicate task this is, but once well begun the rest
is comparatively easy.  The tall policeman was an artist at the work; but
it nearly brought him to a tragic end, as I will relate.

Outside Derby station was a ticket platform at which all incoming trains
stopped for the collection of tickets.  This platform was on a bridge
that crossed the river.  One Saturday night our fine policeman was airing
himself on this platform, colouring a handsome new meerschaum for Mr.
Swarbrick.  It was a windy night and a sudden gust blew his tall hat into
the river, and after it unfortunately dropped the meerschaum.  Hat and
pipe both!  Without a moment's hesitation in plunged the policeman to the
rescue; but the river was deep and he an indifferent swimmer.  The night
was dark and he was not brought to land till life had nearly left him.  He
recovered, but lost his sight and became blind for the rest of his life.
Mr. Swarbrick provided for him, I believe, by setting him up in a small
public house, where, I am told, despite his loss of sight, he ended his
days not unhappily.

In 1867, compared with 1851, the Midland had made giant strides.  It
worked a thousand miles of railway against five hundred; its capital had
doubled and reached thirty-two millions, about one-fourth of what it is
to-day; its revenue had risen from about a million to over a million and
a half; and the dividend was five and a half compared with two and five-
eighths per cent.

The opening of the Midland route to Saint Pancras; the projection of the
Settle and Carlisle line; the introduction of Pullman cars, parlour
saloons, sleeping and dining cars; the adoption of gas and electricity
for the lighting of carriages; the running of third-class carriages by
all trains; the abolition of second-class and reduction of first-class
fares; and the establishment of superannuation funds were amongst the
most striking events in the railway world during this period.

On the first day of October, 1868, the first passenger train ran into
Saint Pancras station, and the Midland competition for London traffic now
began in earnest, and from that time onward helped to develop those
magnificent rival passenger train services between the Metropolis and
England's busy centres and between England and Scotland and Ireland,
which, for luxury, speed and comfort, stand pre-eminent.  Prior to this,
the Midland access to London had been by the exercise of running powers
over the Great Northern Railway from Hitchin to King's Cross.  The Great
Northern, reluctant to lose the Midland, and fearing their rivalry, had,
a few years previously, offered them running powers in perpetuity.  "No,"
said Mr. Allport, "it is impossible that you can reconcile the interests
of these two great companies on the same railway; we are always only
_second-best_."  Second-best certainly never suited the ambitious policy
of the Midland, and so the offer was rejected, and their line to London
made.  It was at that time thought that the Midland headquarters would be
removed from Derby to London, and I remember how excited the clerical
staff and their wives and sweethearts were at the prospect.  The idea was
seriously considered but, for various reasons, abandoned.

The Settle and Carlisle line, perhaps the greatest achievement of the
Midland, was not completed until sometime after I left their service.  It
was opened in the year 1875.  In 1866 they obtained the Act for its
construction.  For some years their eyes had been as eagerly turned
towards Scotland as the eyes of Scotchmen had ever been towards England,
and for the same reason--the hope of gain.  The Midland had hitherto been
excluded from any proper share of the Scotch traffic, but now having
secured the right to extend their system to Carlisle, they hoped to join
forces with their allies, the Glasgow and South-Western, and secure a
fair share of it.  But "there's many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip,"
and in 1869 in a fit of timidity--a weakness most unusual with them--they
nearly lost this valuable right.  The year 1867 was a time of great
financial anxiety; the Midland was weighted with heavy expenditure on
their London extension, the necessity for further capital became clamant,
the shareholders were seized with alarm, and a shareholders' consultative
committee was appointed, with the result that, in 1869, the company,
badgered and worried beyond endurance, actually applied to Parliament for
power to abandon the Settle and Carlisle line, and for authority to enter
into an agreement with the London and North-Western for access over that
company's railway to Carlisle.  That power and authority, however,
Parliament, _in its wisdom_, refused to give.

The financial clouds, as all clouds do, after a time dispersed; the
outlook grew brighter, the Midland made the line, and it was opened, as I
have said, throughout to Carlisle in 1875.

In the autumn of 1872 Mr. Allport visited the United States and was
greatly impressed with the Pullman cars.  On his return he introduced
them on the Midland, both the parlour car and the sleeper.  About the
same time the London and North-Western also commenced the running of
sleeping cars to Scotland and to Holyhead.  To which company belongs the
credit of being first in the field with this most desirable additional
accommodation for the comfort of passengers I am not prepared to say;
perhaps honors were easy.

But the greatest innovation of the time were the running by the Midland
of third-class carriages by all trains; and the abolition of second-class
carriages and fares, accompanied by a reduction of the first-class fares.
The first event took place in 1872, but the latter not till 1875.  The
first was a democratic step indeed, and aroused great excitement.
Williams, in his book _The Midland Railway_, wrote, "On the last day of
March, 1872, we remarked to a friend: 'To-morrow morning the Midland will
be the most popular railway in England.'  Nor did we incur much risk by
our prediction.  For on that day the Board had decided that on and after
the first of April, they would run third-class carriages by all trains;
the wires had flashed the tidings to the newspapers, the bills were in
the hands of the printers, and on the following morning the Directors
woke to find themselves famous."  At a later period, Mr. Allport said, if
there was one part of his public life on which he looked back with more
satisfaction than another it was the time when this boon was conferred on
third-class passengers.

When we contemplate present conditions of third-class travel it is hard
to realise what they were before this change took place; slow speed,
delays and discomfort; bare boards; hard seats; shunting of third-class
trains into sidings and waiting there for other trains, sometimes even
goods trains, to pass.  Mr. Allport might well be proud of the part he

Another matter which concerned, not so much the public as the welfare of
the clerical staff of the railways, was the establishment of
Superannuation Funds; yet the public was interested too, for the
interests of the railway service and the general community are closely
interwoven.  Up till now station masters and clerks had struggled on
without prospect of any provision for their old age.  Their pay was
barely sufficient to enable them to maintain a respectable position in
life and afforded no margin for providing for the future.

At last, the principal railway companies, with the consent of their
shareholders, and with Parliamentary sanction, established Superannuation
Funds, which ever since have brought comfort and security to their
officers and clerical staff, and have proved of benefit to the companies
themselves.  A pension encourages earlier retirement from work, quickens
promotion, and vitalises the whole service.  On nearly all railways
retirement is optional at sixty and compulsory at sixty-five.

The London and North-Western was the first company to adopt the system of
superannuation, the London and South-Western second, the Great Western
came third, the Midland fourth, and other companies followed in their

In 1873 the Railway Clearing House obtained Parliamentary power to form a
fund for its staff, with permission to railway companies not large enough
to successfully run funds of their own, and also to the Irish Railway
Clearing House, to become partners in this fund.  The Irish Clearing
House took advantage of this, as also have many railway companies, and
practically the whole of the clerical service throughout the United
Kingdom can to-day look forward to the benefits of superannuation.


On the last day of December, in the year 1872, between seven and eight
o'clock in the evening, I arrived at Glasgow by the Caledonian train from
Carlisle, and was met at Buchanan Street Station by my good friend Tom.

After supper we repaired to the streets to see the crowds that congregate
on _Hogmanhay_, to make acquaintance with the mysteries of
"first-footin'," and to join in ushering in the "guid new year."  It was
a stirring time, for Scotchmen encounter their _Hogmanhay_ with ardent
_spirits_.  They are as keen in their pleasures as in their work.  Compare
for instance their country dances with ours.  As Keats, in his letters
from Scotland says, "it is about the same as leisurely stirring a cup o'
tea and beating up a batter pudding."  The public houses and bars were
driving a lively trade, but "Forbes Mackenzie" was in force, and come
eleven o'clock, though it were a hundred _Hogmanhays_, they all had to
close.  We met some new-made friends of Tom's and joined in their
conviviality.  I was the dark complexioned man of the party, and as a
"first-footer" in great request.  We did not go home till morning, and
reached there a little hilarious ourselves, but it was our first
_Hogmanhay_ and may be forgiven.

Dear reader, did you ever lie in a _concealed bed_?  It is a Scottish
device cunningly contrived to murder sleep.  At least so Tom and I found
it.  It was my fate to sleep, to lie I should say, in one for several
weeks.  Its purpose is to economise space, and like Goldsmith's chest of
drawers, it is "contrived a double debt to pay," a sleeping room by
night, a sitting room by day.

Whilst Glasgow is a city of _flats_ its people are resourceful and
energetic.  Keen and canny, they drive a close bargain but, scrupulous
and conscientious, fulfil it faithfully.  Proud of their city and its
progress, its industries and manufactures, its civic importance, they are
a little disdainful perhaps, perhaps a little jealous, of their beautiful
elder sister, Edinburgh.  Glasgow is the Belfast of Scotland!

Self-contained houses are the exception and are limited to the well-to-
do.  The flat, in most cases, means a restricted number of apartments,
insufficient bedroom accommodation, and the _concealed bed_ is Glasgow's
way of solving the difficulty.

Tom and I did not take kindly to our hole in the wall, and soon found
other lodgings where space was not so circumscribed, and where we could
sleep in an open bed in an open room.

Our new quarters were a great success; a ground-floor flat with a fine
front door; a large well-furnished sitting room with two windows looking
out on to the street, and an equally large double-bedded room at the back
of the sitting room.  Our landlady, a kind, motherly, canny Scotchwoman,
looked after us well and favoured us with many a bit of good advice: "You
must be guid laddies, and tak care o' the bawbees; you maun na eat
butchers' meat twice the week; tak plenty o' parritch and dinna be
extravagant."  Economy with the good old soul was a cardinal virtue,
waste a deadly sin.  I fear she was often shocked at our easy Saxon ways,
though Tom and I thought ourselves models of thrift.

Once, it was on a Sunday, Tom and I, with a party of friends, had had a
very long walk, a regular pedestrian excursion, thirty miles, there or
thereabouts, to use a Scotticism, and poor Tom was quite knocked up and
confined to bed for several days.  Our good old landlady was greatly
shocked; a strict Sabbatarian, she knew it was a punishment for "breakin'
the Sabbath; why had na ye gane to the kirk like guid laddies?"  We
modestly reminded her that we always did go, excepting of course on this
particular Sunday.  "Then whit business had ye to stay awa on ony
Sabbath?"  We had nothing to say in answer to this.  The dear old
creature was really shocked at our backsliding; but she nursed Tom very
tenderly all the same.

When the sultry heat of summer came we found Glasgow very trying, and
though sorry to leave our good landlady, moved into the country, to
Cambuslang, a village some four miles from the city, which was then
becoming a favourite residential resort.

At Cambuslang I made the acquaintance and became the friend of _Cynicus_,
the humorous artist whose satirical sketches have, for many years, been
well-known and well sold in England, in Scotland and in Ireland too.  He
was then a youth of about twenty.  Longing to see the world and without
the necessary means, he emulated Goldsmith, made a prolonged tour in
France and Italy supporting himself not by his flute nor by disputations,
but by his brush and palette.  For a few weeks at a time he worked in
towns or cities, sold what he painted, and then, with purse replenished,
wandered on.  He and I were living "doon the watter," at Dunoon, on the
Clyde, one summer month.  A Fancy Dress Bazaar was on at the time.  The
first evening we went to it, and he, unobserved, made furtive sketches of
the most prominent people and the prettiest girls.  We both sat up all
that night, he working at and finishing the sketches.  Next morning by
the first boat and first train, we took them to Glasgow, had six hundred
lithographic copies struck off; back post-haste to Dunoon; in the evening
to the Bazaar, and sold the copies at threepence each.  It was an immense
success; we could have disposed of twice the number; every pretty girl's
admirer wanted a copy of her picture, and the portraits of the presiding
"meenister" and of the good-looking unmarried curate were eagerly
purchased by fond mammas and adoring daughters.  We had our fun, and
cleared besides a profit of nearly four pounds sterling.  This financial
_coup_ would not have come off so well but for the warm-hearted
co-operation of our railway printers, McCorquodale and Coy.  They, good
people, entered into our exploit with a will, did their part well, and
made little if any profit, generously leaving that to _Cynicus_ and

To his mother, like many another clever son, _Cynicus_ owed his talent.
She was a woman of great intellectual endowment, with highly cultivated
literary tastes.  Her memory was remarkable and her conversational powers
very great.  She read much and thought deeply.  In a modest way her
parlour, which attracted many young people of literary and artistic
leanings, recalled the _Salons_ of France of a century ago.  She
entertained charmingly with tea and cakes and delightful talk.  Of
strong, firm, decided character, she might, perhaps, have been thought a
little deficient in womanly gentleness had not genuine kindness of heart,
motherly feeling, and a happy humour lent a softness to her features and
imparted to them a particular charm.  She exercised an authority over her
household which inspired respect and contrasted strikingly with the easy-
going parental ways of to-day.  There were other sons and there were
daughters also, all more or less gifted, but _Cynicus_ was the genius of
the family--its bright particular star.

The various lodgings of my bachelor days was never quite of the
conventional sort.  The Cambuslang quarters certainly were not.  The
house was large and old-fashioned.  Originally it had been two smallish
houses: the two front doors still remained side by side, but only one was
used.  The rooms on the ground floor were small, the original building
composed of one storey only, but another had been added of quite spacious
dimensions.  We had two excellent, large well-furnished rooms upstairs.
The landlady was an interesting character and so was her husband.  She
was Irish, he Scotch; she about seventy years of age, he under fifty; she
ruddy, healthy, hearty, good-looking; he, pale, nervous, shy, retiring.
But on the last Thursday of each month he was quite another man.  On that
day he went to Glasgow to collect the rents of some small houses he
owned; and generally came home rather "fou" and hilarious, when the old
lady would take him in hand, and put him to bed.

They had an only child, a son, a grown up man, an uncouth ill-looking
ungainly fellow, who did no work, smoked and loafed about, but was the
idol of his mother.  He resembled neither parent in the least, and,
except that such vagaries of nature are not unknown, it might have been
supposed that some cuckoo had visited the parental nest.

A gaunt, hard-featured domestic completed this interesting family, and
she was uncommon too.  By no means young, what Balzac calls "a woman of
canonical age," she resembled Pere Grandet's tall Nanon.  Like Nanon, she
had been the devoted servant of the family for nearly a quarter of a
century, and like her, had no interest outside that of her master and
mistress.  She was always working, rarely went out, spoke little, but
ministered to the wants of Tom and myself, and waited on us with
unremitting attention.

Despite all drawbacks, however, they were fine lodgings.  The old lady
was a wonderful cook and had all the liberality of her race.

New Year's Day, the great Scotch holiday, Tom and I spent in Edinburgh,
and returned much impressed with its stately beauty.

The next morning I entered upon my work at St. Rollox, where the stores
department of the Caledonian Railway is situated.  The head of the
department was styled Stores Superintendent.  I thought him the most
impressive looking man I had ever seen.  He overpowered me; in his
presence I never felt at ease.  He was a big man, and looked bigger than
he was; good-looking too; ruddy, portly, well-dressed and formal.  An
embodiment of commercial energy and dignity.  In his face gravity,
keenness, and good health were blended.  Soon after I joined his staff he
left the Caledonian to become General Manager of Young's Paraffin Oil
Company, and subsequently its Managing Director.  Success, I believe,
always attended him.  No position could lose any of its importance in his
hands.  When he left St. Rollox a great blank was felt; he filled so
large a space.  He has lately gone to his rest full of years and honors.

I fear he never liked me, nor had any great opinion of my abilities.  This
was not to be wondered at, for I am sure I did not display any excessive
zeal for the work on which I was then employed, and which I found
monotonous and uninteresting.

He confided to his chief clerk, who was my friend, that one day he had
seen me, in business hours, in the city, smoking a cigarette and looking
at the girls, and was sure I would never do much good.  He had very
strict business notions.  I confessed to the cigarette, but not to the
graver charge.  It was a wholesome tonic, however, and pulled me up.  I
wanted to get on in life; ambition was stirring within me; and I formed
some good resolutions which, as time went on, I kept more or less

At St. Rollox one's daily lunch was a matter of some difficulty.  It was
a district of factories, and the only restaurants were the Great Western
Cooking Depots, where one could get a steak and bread and cheese for
fivepence, but the rooms and tables and accessories were, to say the
least, unappetising.  Hunger had to be satisfied, however, and I had to
swallow my pride and my five-pennyworth.  I varied this occasionally by
bringing with me my own sandwiches and eating them seated on a tombstone
in Sighthill cemetery, which was less than a quarter of a mile distant
from the stores department.

My work, as I have said, was monotonous enough: writing letters from
dictation, an occupation which gave but little exercise to one's
faculties.  I obtained some variation by occasionally taking a turn
through the various stores and getting into touch with the practical men
in charge.  They were always very civil and ready to talk of their
business, and so I learned something of the nature, quality, uses and
cost of many things necessary to the working of a railway, which I
afterwards found very useful.  Occasionally also I visited the
laboratory, in which an analytical chemist was regularly engaged.

The event which, in my short service of two years with the Caledonian,
seemed to me of the greatest moment, was that, after six months or so, I
became a taxpayer!  This was an event indeed.  In the offices at Derby it
was only, as a rule, middle-aged or old men who attained this proud
distinction; and here was I, not yet twenty-two, with my salary raised to
100 pounds a year, paying income tax at the rate of _threepence_ in the
pound on forty pounds, for an abatement of sixty pounds was allowed.
Until I got used to the novelty I was as proud as Lucifer.

The office in which I now worked had no Apollos, no literary geniuses, no
Long Jacks, no boy benedicts, such as adorned our desks at Derby, but it
rejoiced in one _rara avis_, who came a few months after and left a few
months before me.  He was a middle-aged, aristocratic, kind,
good-hearted, unbusinesslike man, and was brother to a baronet.  He
professed a knowledge of medicine and brought a bottle, a bolus or a
plaster, whichever he deemed best, whenever any of us complained of cold
or cough, of headache or backache or any ailment whatever.  When he left
we all received from him a parting gift.  Mine was a handsome, expensive,
red-felt chest protector.  I wore it constantly for a year or two and,
for aught I know, it may be that by its protecting influence against the
rigour of Glasgow winters, the bituminous atmosphere of St. Rollox and
the smoke-charged fogs of the city, I am alive and well to-day.  Who can
tell?  It is certain that I then had a bad cough nearly always; and this
I am sure was what decided the form of his parting gift to me.

It was about this time that I attended my first public dinner and made my
first speech in public.  Several days before the event I was told that,
being in the Volunteer Force, I had been placed on the toast list to
reply for the Army, Navy and Volunteers.  It was a railway dinner, for
the purpose of celebrating the departure to England, on promotion, of the
chief clerk in the Midland Railway Company's Scottish Agency Office.  The
dinner was largely attended.  The idea of having to speak filled me with
trepidation.  But to my great surprise I acquitted myself with credit.
Once on my legs I found that nervousness left me, words came freely and I
even enjoyed the novel experience.  To suddenly discover oneself
proficient where failure had been feared increases self esteem and adds
to the sum of happiness.  At this dinner I also made my first
acquaintance with that "Great chieftain o' the puddin' race," the
_Haggis_, which deserves the pre-eminence it enjoys.

One night, towards the end of December, in 1874, when skating by
moonlight, not far from Cambuslang, I chanced to meet a young friend, a
clerk in the Glasgow and South-Western Railway, who, like myself, was
enjoying the pleasures of the ice.  Tom was not with me, for he, poor
fellow! was not well enough to be out o' nights in winter.  My young
friend gave me, with great eagerness, a rare piece of news.  Mr.
Johnstone, the Glasgow and South-Western general manager, was retiring
and Mr. Wainwright was to succeed him!  Well, that did not excite me, and
I wondered at his earnestness; but more was to follow.  Mr. Wainwright,
as general manager, required a principal clerk and there was, it seemed,
no one in the place quite suitable.  He must be good at correspondence,
and expert at shorthand.  I was, my young friend said, the very man; I
must apply.  Mr. Wainwright was English, so was I; I came from the
Midland, and the Midland and the Glasgow and South-Western were hand and
glove.  How lucky we had met; he had not thought of me till this very
moment.  It was fate.  Would I write tonight?  By this time I was as
eager as himself.  No more skating for me that night.  I hurried home,
Tom and I composed a careful and judicious letter.  I posted it in Her
Majesty's pillar box hard by; went to bed, but was too excited to sleep.
An answer soon came, and an interview with Mr. Wainwright followed.  I
received the appointment, at a salary of 120 pounds a year to begin with;
and in the early days of the new year, two years after my first
appearance in Scotland, entered upon my duties, not at Saint Enoch
Station, where the headquarters of the Glasgow and South-Western now are,
but at Bridge Street Station on the south side of the river, where the
office staff of the company was then accommodated.


Such unromantic literature as Acts of Parliament had not, it may be
supposed, up to this, formed part of my mental pabulum.  I knew that an
Act was a necessary preliminary to the construction of a railway, and
this was all I knew concerning the relations between the railways and the
State.  Whilst a little learning may be a dangerous thing, in my new
situation, I soon discovered that a general manager's clerk would be the
better of possessing some knowledge of the numerous Acts of Parliament
that affected railway companies.  Almost daily questions arose in which
such knowledge was useful; so I determined to become acquainted with
them, and in my leisure hours made as profound a study as I could of that
compilation which, in railway offices was then in general use--_Bigg's
General Railway Acts_.  I found the formidable looking volume more
readable than I had imagined and less difficult to understand than I had

Governments have ever kept a watchful eye on railway companies.  Up to
1875, the year at which we have now arrived, no less than 112 general
Acts of Parliament affecting railways had been placed on the Statute Book
of the realm.  They were applicable to all railways alike, and in
addition to and independent of the special Acts which each company must
obtain for itself, first for its incorporation and construction, and
afterwards for extensions of its system, for the raising of capital, and
for various other purposes.

Many of the general Acts have been framed upon the recommendations of
various Select Committees and Royal and Vice-Regal Commissions, which
have been appointed from time to time since railways began.  From 1835
down to the present year of 1918 some score or more of these Committees
and Commissions have gravely sat and issued their more or less wise and
weighty reports.

What are these numerous Acts of Parliament and what are their objects,
scope, and intentions?

Whilst neither time nor space admit of detailed exposition, not to speak
of the patience of my readers, a few observations upon some of the
principal enactments may not be inapposite or uninteresting.

Pride of place belongs to the _Carriers' Act_ of 1830, passed in the
reign of William IV., five years after the first public railway (the
Stockton and Darlington) was opened.  This Act, although in it the word
_railway_ does not appear, is an important Act to railway companies, and
possesses the singular and uncommon merit of having been framed for the
_protection_ of Common Carriers.  It is intituled "_An Act for the more
effectual Protection of Mail Contractors, Stage Coach Proprietors, and
other Common Carriers for Hire, against the Loss or Injury to Parcels or
Packages delivered to them for Conveyance or Custody, the Value and
Contents of which shall not be Declared to them by the Owners thereof_."
The draughtsman of this dignified little Act it is clear was greatly
addicted to _capitals_.  Probably he thought they heightened effect, much
as Charles Lamb spelt plum pudding with a _b_--"plumb pudding," because,
he said, "it reads fatter and more suetty."  At the time this Act came
into being, railways in the eye of Parliament were public highways, upon
which you or I, if we paid the prescribed tolls, could convey our
traffic, our vehicles, or ourselves.  In the years 1838-1840 many of the
companies obtained powers enabling them to act as public carriers; and in
1840 questions having arisen in Parliament as to the rights of the public
in this respect the subject was referred to a Select Committee of the
House of Commons.  The Committee's report disposed of the view which,
until then, Parliament had held, and expressed the opinion that the right
of persons to run their own engines and carriages was a dead letter for
the good reason, amongst others, that it was necessary for railway trains
to be run and controlled by and under one complete undivided authority.

After the _Carriers' Act_, which applied to all carriers as well as to
railways, the first general railway Act of importance was the _Railways
(Conveyance of Mails) Act_ of 1838.  This Act enabled the
Postmaster-General to require railway companies to convey mails by all
trains and to provide sorting carriages when necessary, the Royal Arms to
be painted on such carriages, and in 1844, under the _Railway Regulation
Act_, it was further enacted that the Postmaster-General could require,
for the conveyance of mails, that trains should be run at any rate of
speed, _certified to be safe_, but not to exceed 27 miles an hour!

As I have said, the Select Committee of 1840 reported against the right
of the public to run their own engines and carriages on railways.  They
made recommendations which led to the passing of the _Railway Regulation
Act_ of that year, and in that Act powers were, for the first time,
conferred upon the Board of Trade in connection with railways.  It was
the beginning of that authority, which since has greatly grown, but which
the Board of Trade have in the main exercised with an impartiality, which
public authorities do not always display.  The Act empowered the Board,
before any new railway was opened, to require notice from the railway
company.  This power was repealed by an Act of 1842, and larger powers
granted in its place, including the right to compel the inspection of
such railways before being opened for traffic.  The Act of 1840 also
required the companies, under penalty, to furnish to the Board of Trade
returns of traffic, as well as of all accidents attended with personal
injury; and to submit their bye-laws for certification.

Of the _railway mania_ period I have spoken in a previous chapter.  For a
time enormous success attended some of the lines.  Amongst others the
Liverpool and Manchester and the Stockton and Darlington enjoyed mouth
watering dividends; the former ten, the latter fifteen per cent.!  Said
the Government to themselves, "'Tis time we saw to this," and accordingly
they passed the _Railway Regulation Act_ of 1844.  This Act provided that
if at any time, after twenty-one years, the dividend of any railway
should exceed ten per cent., the Treasury might revise the rates and
fares so as to reduce the profits to not more than ten per cent.  This
expectation of high dividends, I need hardly say, has not been realised,
and the Act in this respect has been a dead letter.  The Act also
conferred an option on the Treasury to acquire future railways at twenty-
five years purchase of the annual profits; or, if such profits were less
than ten per cent., the price was to be left to arbitration.

It is interesting now, when, owing to the war, the railways of the land
are under temporary Government control, and their future all uncertain,
to remember that, on the Statute Book to-day, there is an Act which
provides for State purchase of the railways of the country.  Whether a
solution of the difficulty will be found in State purchase or in State
control it is hard to say, but it is clear that some solution of the
problem will become imperative when the war is ended and normal
conditions return.  Justice and reason demand it.

In the year 1845 three long Acts of Parliament came into force; the
_Companies Clauses_, the _Lands Clauses_ and the _Railway Clauses Acts_.
Between them they contained no less than 483 sections.  Each Act was a
consolidating measure.  The first contained provisions usually inserted
in Acts for the constitution of public companies, the second the same in
regard to the taking of land compulsorily, and the third consolidated in
one general statute provisions usually introduced into Acts of Parliament
authorising the construction of railways.

The _Railway Clauses Act_ authorised railway companies to use locomotive
engines, carriages and wagons; to carry passengers and goods, and to make
reasonable charges not exceeding the tolls authorised by their special
Acts.  Since then the whole of the trade of transit by rail has been
conducted by the companies owning the lines.

The gauge of railways in Great Britain was not fixed upon any scientific
principle.  At first it followed the width of the coal tram-roads in the
north of England, which was adopted simply on account of its practical
convenience (five feet being the usual width of the gates through which
the "way-leaves" led) and so four feet eight and a-half inches became the
ordinary gauge, but in the early days it was by no means the universal
gauge.  Five feet was chosen for the Eastern Counties Railway; seven feet
for the Great Western and five feet six was used in Scotland.  The Ulster
Company in Ireland made twenty-five miles of the line from Belfast to
Dublin on a gauge of six feet two, while the Drogheda Company, which set
out from Dublin to meet the Ulster line, adopted five feet two.  When the
Ulster Company complained of this, the Irish Board of Works, it is said,
admitted that it was a little awkward, but added that, as it was not
likely the intervening part would ever be made, it did not much matter.
The subject was, I believe, in Ireland referred to a General Pasley, who
consulted the authorities (who were many) throughout the kingdom.  He
ultimately solved the question by adding up the various gauges the
authorities favoured, and recommended the mean, which was five feet three
inches; and so, for Ireland, five feet three became the standard gauge.

"The battle of the gauges," as it was styled at the time, was lively and
spirited.  Eventually it was decided by Parliament, which in the year
1846 passed the _Railway Regulation (Gauge) Act_.  This Act ordained that
in Great Britain all future railways were to be constructed on a gauge of
four feet eight and a-half inches, and in Ireland of five feet three
inches, excepting only certain extensions of the broad gauge Great
Western Railway.

Up to this time no action at common law was maintainable against a person
who by his wrongful act, neglect or default caused the immediate death of
another person, and an Act (known as _Lord Campbell's Act_), "for
compensating the Families of Persons Killed by Accidents," became law.
This enactment was due principally to the railway accidents that
occurred.  They were relatively more numerous than they are now, for the
many modern appliances for ensuring safety had not then been introduced.
The Act provided that compensation would be for the benefit of wife,
husband, parent and child of the person whose death shall have been
caused.  The Act did not apply to Scotland.  Perhaps it was because the
laws of the two countries differed more then than now, and the life of
the railways in Scotland was young, England being well ahead.  Probably
England thought she was doing enough when she legislated for herself by
passing this Act.  It must be observed, however, that the Act applies to
Ireland as well as England.

In the year 1854 Parliament considered that _regulations_ were necessary
to further control the companies and passed an important statute, the
_Railway and Canal Traffic Act_.  Known, for short, in railway parlance,
as "the Act of '54," its main provisions dealt with:--

   Reasonable facilities for receiving and forwarding traffic
   The subject of undue preference, which was forbidden
   Railways forming part of continuous lines to receive and forward
   through traffic without obstruction
   The liability of railway companies for loss of, or damage to, goods or

and it preserved to railway companies the _protection_ of the _Carriers'
Act_, to which I have referred.

The Select Committees of 1858 and 1863 sat on the subject of the great
length of time and the immense cost which railway promotion in those days
entailed, when Bills were fiercely contested, and protracted struggles
before Parliamentary Committees took place.  Two Acts resulted from their
deliberations: the _Railway Companies' Powers Act_, 1864, and the
_Railway Construction Facilities Act_ of the same year.  These Acts
empowered railway companies to enter into agreements with each other in
regard to maintenance, management, running over or use of each others
lines or property and for joint ownership of stations.  They also enabled
powers to be obtained from the Board of Trade to construct a railway
without a special Act of Parliament, subject to the conditions that all
the landowners concerned agreed to part with the requisite land, and that
no objection was raised by any other railway or canal company.  Little
use has ever been made of this well-intentioned enactment.  Landowners
have rarely been disposed to accept terms which the companies thought
fair; and rival railways, in the days gone by, dearly loved a fight.

By the _Companies Clauses Consolidation Act_ of 1845 railway companies
were required to keep full and true accounts of receipts and expenditure,
but it was not until the year 1868 that Parliament placed upon the
companies an obligation to keep their accounts in a prescribed form.  This
form was scheduled to the _Regulation of Railways Act_, 1868.  It
provides for half-yearly accounts, and is the form which has been
familiar to shareholders for many years.  This Act (1868) also ordained
that smoking compartments be provided on all trains, for all classes, on
all railways, except on the railway of the Metropolitan Company.  Up to
then the railway smoker had to obtain the consent of his fellow
passengers in the same compartment before he could light up, or brave
their displeasure; and many were the altercations that ensued.  The Act
also imposed penalties on railways who provided trains for attending
prize fights, which was hard on companies of sporting instincts.  A
clause provided for means of communication between passengers and the
servants of the company in charge of trains running twenty miles without
stopping; and another clause gave the companies power to cut down trees
adjoining their line which might be dangerous.  Prior to 1868, although
railways had then existed for three and forty years, the accounts of one
company could not usefully be compared with those of another, for
scarcely any two companies made up their accounts in the same way.
Variety may be charming, but uniformity has its advantages.

The Board of Trade, in 1871, was endowed with further powers.  By the
_Regulation of Railways Act_ of that year, they were given additional
rights of inspection; authority to enquire into accidents, and further
powers in regard to the opening of additional lines of railway, stations
or junctions.  And by this statute the companies were required to furnish
the Board of Trade with elaborate statistical documents, annually, in a
form prescribed in a schedule to the Act.

The only other important Act down to the year 1875 is the _Regulation of
Railways Act_ of 1873.  This Act was passed for the purpose of making
"better provision for carrying into effect the _Railway and Canal Traffic
Act_ of 1854, and for other purposes connected therewith."  In 1872 a
Joint Committee of both Houses sat and, following upon their report, this
Act was passed.  It established a new tribunal, to be called the _Railway
and Canal Commission_, to consist of three Commissioners, of whom--one
was to be experienced in the law, one in railway business, and it also
authorised the appointment of not more than two _assistant_
Commissioners.  As to the _third Commissioner_, no mention was made of
qualifications.  This tribunal, though styled a _Commission_, conducted
its work as if it were a court; and a regularly constituted court in time
it became.  By the _Railway and Canal Traffic Act_, 1888, the section in
the Act of 1873 appointing the Commission was repealed and a new
Commission established consisting of two appointed and three _ex officio_
Commissioners, such Commission to be "a Court of Record, and have an
official seal, which shall be judicially noticed."  One of the
Commissioners must be experienced in railway business; and of the three
_ex officio_ Commissioners, one was to be nominated for England, one for
Scotland and one for Ireland, and in each case such Commissioner was to
be a Judge of the High Court of the land.  Under the Act of 1873, the
chief functions of the Commissioners were: To hear and decide upon
complaints from the public in regard to undue preference, or to refusal
of facilities; to hear and determine questions of through rates; and to
settle differences between two railway companies or between a railway
company and a canal company, upon the application of either party to the
difference.  The Act of 1888 continued these and included some further

In my humble opinion the Railway Commissioners have done much useful work
and done it well.  For more than forty years I have read most if not all
the cases they have dealt with.  On several occasions I have been engaged
in proceedings before them, and not always on the winning side.


January, 1875, was a momentous time for me.  In the second week of that
month I commenced my new duties at Glasgow and bade farewell for ever to
the tall stool and "the dry drudgery of the desk's dead wood."  Before me
opened a pleasing prospect of attractive and interesting work, brightened
by the beams of youthful hope and awakened ambition.  I was now chief
clerk to a general manager.  Was it to be wondered at that I felt proud
and elated if also a little scared as to how I should get on.

Mr. Wainwright assumed the office of general manager on the first day of
the year.  I say _office_, but in fact a general manager's office
scarcely existed.  His predecessor, Mr. Johnstone, a capable but in some
respects a singular man, performed his managerial duties without an
office staff, wrote all his own letters, and not only wrote them but
first carefully drafted them out in a hand minute almost as Jonathan
Swift's.  A strenuous worker, Mr. Johnstone, like most men who have no
hobby, did not long survive his retirement from active business life.

Mr. Wainwright, who, like myself, was born in Sheffield, was twenty-three
years my senior.  His early railway life was passed in the Manchester,
Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway (now the Great Central), of which the
redoubtable Mr. (afterwards Sir) Edward Watkin was then the lively
general manager.

A different man to his predecessor was Mr. Wainwright.  Unlike Mr.
Johnstone he was modern and progressive.  _He_ never scorned delights or
loved, for their own sake, laborious days; pleasure to him was as welcome
as sunshine; and work he made a pleasure.

As I have said, no general manager's _office_ existed.  Of systematic
managerial supervision there was none.  What was to be done?  Something
certainly, and soon.  Mr. Wainwright concurred in a suggestion I made
that I should visit Derby, see the general manager's office of the
Midland there, and learn how it was conducted.  This I did.  E. W. Wells,
a principal clerk in that office, who was married to my cousin, showed
and told me everything.  I returned laden with knowledge which I embodied
in a report and my recommendations were adopted.  Several clerks were
appointed and the general manager's office, of which I was chief clerk,
soon became efficient.

Wells afterwards became Assistant General Manager of the Midland, and
Frank Tatlow, my cousin and brother of Wells' wife, is now its General
Manager, in succession to Sir Guy Granet.  I am not a little proud that
the attainments of one who bears the name of Tatlow, and is so nearly
related to myself, have enabled him to reach the topmost post on a
railway such as the Midland Railway of England.  He commenced as a junior
clerk in the General Manager's office and worked his way step by step to
that eminent position.  No adventitious circumstances helped him on.

I became fond of railway work, which it seems to me for interest and
variety holds a high place among all the occupations by which man, who
was born to labour, may earn his daily bread.  My duties were certainly
arduous but intensely interesting.  The correspondence with other railway
companies regarding agreements, joint line working, Parliamentary
matters, and many other important subjects, conducted as it required to
be, with skill, care and precision, was for me a liberal education.  The
fierce rivalry which, in those days, raged in Scotland for competitive
traffic culminated often in disputes which could only be settled by the
intervention of the general managers, and these brought much exciting
work into the office.  Again, the close and intimate relations between
the Midland and the Glasgow and South-Western involved interesting
communications, meetings and discussions, and the keeping of certain
special accounts which it fell to me to supervise.

The Midland and the Glasgow and South-Western alliance was regarded by
the West Coast Companies (the London and North-Western and the
Caledonian) with much disfavour.  In their eyes it was an attack upon
their hen roost, and it certainly resulted in the loss to them of a large
share of through traffic between England and Scotland which the West
Coast route had previously had all to itself.  To carry on the
competition successfully necessitated a large expenditure of capital by
the Glasgow and South-Western, and the Midland, of course, had to help in
this.  The original cost of Saint Enoch Station for instance was nearly
one and three-quarter millions sterling, and a considerable outlay was
also necessary for goods stations and other accommodation.  There was in
those days much doing between the general managers' offices of the
Midland and Glasgow and South-Western companies, and it was all
delightfully new and novel to me.

A Committee of Directors of the two companies, called the _Midland and
Glasgow and South-Western Joint Committee_, was established.  This
committee, with the two general managers, met periodically either at
Derby, London, Carlisle or Glasgow.  Mr. Wainwright acted as secretary
and I kept the minute book and papers relating to the business of the

Pullman cars had been introduced on the Midland and were run on the
through trains between Saint Pancras and Saint Enoch.  The cars were the
property of Mr. Pullman, but the Midland kept them in repair, the Glasgow
and South-Western relieving them of a proportion of the cost
corresponding to the mileage run over their line.  Mr. Pullman received
as his remuneration the extra fare paid by the passengers--three
shillings each for drawing-room cars and five shillings each for sleeping
cars.  Other through carriages on these trains were jointly owned by the
two companies.  The interesting accounts connected with these
arrangements were supervised by me.  I commenced work with Mr. Wainwright
on a Monday.  The following Saturday afternoon, before leaving the
office, to my great surprise and delight, he presented me with a first-
class station to station pass over the railway.  With what pride I showed
it to Tom that evening!  Six months later my salary was increased, and
the pleasant fact was announced to me by my kindly chief, coupled with
the expression of a wish that he and I might long work together.

On the Scottish railways the financial half-years ended, not in June and
December, as in other parts of the United Kingdom, but at the end of July
and January.  This was for the better equalisation of receipts, taking a
month from the fat half-year to the lean, and giving, in exchange, a
month from the lean to the fat.  Soon after the first-half-year was
concluded and the accounts published, which was in the month of September
(my first September with the Glasgow and South-Western), Mr. Wainwright
handed to me a large sheet of closely printed figures, giving a detailed
analysis and comparison of the accounts of five of the principal English
and the three principal Scottish railways in columnar form, with a
request that I should take out the figures and compile for printing a
similar statement for the past half-year, from the accounts of the eight
companies.  I trembled inwardly for I had never yet looked at a railway
account, but I took them home, and, as in the case of the Acts of
Parliament, found them simpler than I thought; and, with less trouble
than I expected, succeeded in accomplishing the task.

Mr. Wainwright was himself a skilful statistician and tested everything
he could by the cold logic of figures.  I was soon surprised to find that
I too had a taste for statistics and acquired some skill in their
compilation.  Up to this I had always imagined that I disliked everything
in the shape of arithmetic.  At school I was certainly never fond of it,
and since school my acquaintance with figures had been little more than
the adding up of long columns in huge books at the half-yearly
stocktaking in the stores department at St. Rollox, a thing I detested,
and which invariably gave me a headache.  Well pleased was Mr. Wainwright
to see that statistics took my fancy.  As general manager he had not much
time himself to devote to them, but the office was now well manned and we
were able to establish, and keep up, tables, statistics and returns
concerning matters of railway working in a way which I have not seen
surpassed.  These statistics were of much practical use when considering
questions of economy and other matters from day to day.

My first year as general manager's clerk was, I have always thought, the
most important in my railway life.  Certainly in that year I learned much
and acquired from my chief business habits which have stood me in good
stead since.  Mr. Wainwright was a man of no ordinary nature, as all who
knew him will admit.  He was a pattern of punctuality and promptitude,
never spared himself in doing a thing well and expected the same
thoroughness in others, though he would make allowance for want of
capacity, but not for indolence or carelessness.  Straightforwardness,
honesty and rectitude marked all he did.  His word was his bond.  His
disposition was to trust those around him, and his generous confidence
was usually justified.  High-minded and possessing a keen sense of honor
himself, he had an instinctive aversion to anything mean or low in
others.  A man of great liberality and generous to a fault he often found
it hard to say no, but when obliged to adopt that attitude it was done
with a tact and courtesy which left no sting.  In all business matters he
required a rigid economy though never at the expense of efficiency.

Intellectually he stood high, as I had ample opportunity of judging, but
if asked what were his most striking qualities I should say _goodness_
and a charm of manner which eludes description, but irresistibly
attracted all who met him.  In appearance he was tall and portly, and his
bearing, carriage and presence were gentlemanly and refined.  He was of
fair complexion, was possessed of a delightful smile, and had side
whiskers (turning white) continued in the old-fashioned way under the
chin, and yet he was so bright and debonair that he never looked
old-fashioned.  Like myself he was a great lover of Dickens, and I think
his most prized possession was a small bookcase which had belonged to
Dickens' study and which he purchased at the sale at _Gad's Hill_.  His
directors esteemed him highly, and the officers of the company were all
sincerely attached to him.  In his room he held almost daily conferences.
Correspondence formed but a small part in his method of dealing with
departments.  He believed in the value of _viva voce_ discussion, and
discouraged all unnecessary inter-departmental correspondence.  In this
he was right I am sure.  The daily conferences were cheerful and
pleasant, for he had the delightful faculty of "mixing business with
pleasure and wisdom with mirth."  I consider that I was singularly
fortunate at this period of my life in finding myself placed in close and
intimate association with such a man as Mr. Wainwright, in enjoying his
confidence as I did, and in being afforded the opportunity of benefiting
by his kind precepts and fine example.

[W. J. Wainwright: wainwright.jpg]

In Glasgow there was a weekly paper of much humour and spirit called _The
Bailie_.  With each issue it published an article on some prominent man
of the day under the title of _Men You Know_, accompanied by a portrait
of the person selected.  It is the Glasgow _Punch_.  It was established
in 1873,and "_Ma Conscience_!" is its motto.  It still, I am glad to
hear, runs an honorable and profitable course, which its merits well
deserve.  In its issue of September 13th, 1882, Mr. Wainwright was _The
Man You Know_, and, at the request of the Editor, I wrote the article
upon him.  In it are some words which, penned when I was with him daily,
and his influence was strong upon me, are, perhaps, more true and
faithful than any I could at this distance of time write, and so I will
quote them here, and with them conclude this chapter.

"He (_The Man You Know_) is one upon whom responsibility rests gracefully
and lightly, who accomplishes great things without apparent effort, and
whose personal influence smoothes the daily friction of official life.  He
rules with a gentler sway than many who are accustomed to other methods
of command would believe possible.  He believes in Emerson's maxim that
if you deal nobly with men they will act nobly, and his habit towards
everyone around him, and its success, lends force to the genial truth of
the American philosopher."


The 27th day of September, 1875, was the Jubilee of the British Railway
System.  It was celebrated by a banquet given by the North-Eastern
Railway Company at Darlington, for the Stockton and Darlington section of
the North-Eastern was, as I have mentioned before, the first public
railway.  A thousand guests were invited.  No building in Darlington
could accommodate such a number, and a great marquee, large enough to
dine a thousand people, was obtained from London.  My chief attended the
banquet and I remained at home to hear the news when he returned.  Dan
Godfrey's band was there, and Dan Godfrey himself composed some music for
the occasion.  The _menu_ was long, elaborate and imposing; equalled only
by the _toast list_, which contained no less than sixteen separate
toasts.  It was a Gargantuan feast befitting a great occasion.  Could we
men of to-day have done it justice and sat it and the toast list out, I
wonder.  It took place over forty years ago, when the endurance of the
race was, perhaps, greater than now; or why do we now shorten our
banquets and shirk the bottle?

The Stockton and Darlington Railway is 54 miles long, and its authorised
capital was 102,000 pounds--a modest sum indeed, under 2,000 pounds per
mile, less than half the outlay for land alone of the North Midland line
and not one twenty-fifth of the average cost of British railways as they
stand to-day, which is some 57,000 pounds per mile.  The railway owed its
origin to George Stephenson and to Edward Pease, the wealthy Quaker and
manufacturer of Darlington, both burly men, strong in mind as body.  The
first rail was laid, with much ceremony, near the town of Stockton, on
the 23rd of May, 1822, amid great opposition culminating in acts of
personal violence, for the early railways, from interests that feared
their rivalry, and often from sheer blind ignorance itself, had bitter
antagonism to contend with.

The day brought an immense concourse of people to Darlington, all bent on
seeing the novel spectacle of a train of carriages and wagons filled with
passengers and goods, drawn along a _railway_ by a _steam_ engine.  At
eight o'clock in the morning the train started with its load--22
vehicles--hauled by Stephenson's "Locomotion," driven by Stephenson
himself.  "Such was its velocity that in some parts of the journey the
speed was frequently 12 miles an hour."  The number of passengers reached
450, and the goods and merchandise amounted to 90 tons--a great
accomplishment, and George Stephenson and Edward Pease were proud men
that day.

Seven years from this present time will witness the _Centenary_ of the
railway system.  How shall we celebrate _it_?  Will railway proprietor,
railway director and railway manager on that occasion be animated with
the gladness, the pride and the hope that brightened the Jubilee Banquet?
Who can tell?  The future of railways is all uncertain.

A word or two regarding the railway system of Scotland may not be

Scotland has eight _working_ railway companies, England and Wales 104,
and Ireland 28.  These include light railways, but are exclusive of all
railways, light or ordinary, that are worked not by themselves but by
other companies.  Scotland has exhibited her usual good sense, her canny,
thrifty way, by keeping the number of _operating_ railway companies
within such moderate bounds.  Ireland does not show so well, and England
relatively is almost as bad as Ireland, yet England might well have shown
the path of prudence to her poorer sister by greater adventure herself in
the sensible domain of railway amalgamation.  Much undeserved censure has
been heaped upon the Irish lines; sins have been assumed from which they
are free, and their virtues have ever been ignored.  John Bright once
said that "Railways have rendered more service and received less
gratitude than any institution in the land."  This is certainly true of
Ireland, for nothing has ever conferred such benefit upon that country as
its railways, and nothing, except perhaps the Government, has received so
much abuse.  On this I shall have more to say when I reach the period of
the Vice-Regal Commission on Irish Railways, appointed in 1906.

The average number of miles _operated_ per working railway company in
Scotland compared with England and Wales and Ireland, are:--

Scotland                       477
England and Wales              156
Ireland                        121

and the mileage, capital, revenue, expenditure, interest and dividends
for 1912, the latest year of which the figures, owing to the war, are
published by the Board of Trade, are as follows:--

                                                           Average rate
                                                            of interest
                                                           and dividend.
                                                             Per cent.
            Miles.     Capital.     Revenue.    Expenditure.
                        Pounds       Pounds         Pounds
 and Wales  16,223  1,103,310,000  110,499,000   70,499,000     3-58
Scotland     3,815    186,304,000   13,508,000    7,882,000     3-07
Ireland      3,403     45,349,000    4,545,000    2,842,000     3-83

The General Manager of the Glasgow and South-Western Railway and his
office I have described, but I have not spoken, except in a general way,
of the other principal officers, with whom, as Mr. Wainwright's
assistant, I came into close and intimate relationship.  They, alas! are
no more.  I have outlived them all.  Each has played his part, and made,
as we all must do, his exit from the stage of life.

Prominent amongst these officers was John Mathieson, Superintendent of
the Line, who was only twenty-nine when appointed to that responsible
post.  We became good friends.  He began work at the early age of
thirteen, had grown up on the railway and at nineteen was a station
master.  He was skilful in out-door railway work, and an adept in
managing trains and traffic.  Ambitious and a bit touchy regarding his
office, all was not always peace between his and other departments,
particularly the goods manager's.  The goods manager was not aggressive,
and it was sometimes thought that Mathieson inclined to encroach upon his
territory.  Often angry correspondence and sometimes angry discussion
ensued.  Yet, take him for all in all, John Mathieson was a fine man with
nothing small in his composition.  Soon his ambition was gratified.  In
1889 he was appointed Chief Commissioner of the Railways of Queensland;
and after a few years occupation of that post was invited by the
Victorian Government to the same position in connection with the railways
of that important State.  In 1900 he left Australia and became General
Manager of the Midland Railway; but his health unfortunately soon failed,
and at the comparatively early age of sixty he died at Derby in the year
1906.  In his early days, on the Glasgow and South-Western, Mathieson was
a hard fighter.  Those were the days when between the Scottish railway
companies the keenest rivalry and the bitterest competition existed.  The
Clearing House in London, where the railway representatives met
periodically to discuss and arrange rates and fares and matters relating
to traffic generally, was the scene of many a battle.  Men like James
MacLaren of the North British, Tom Robertson of the Highland, Irvine
Kempt of the Caledonian, and A. G. Reid of the Great North of Scotland
were worthy of Mathieson's steel.  Usually Mathieson held his own.  Irvine
Kempt I cannot imagine was as keen a fighter as the rest, for he was
rather a dignified gentleman with fine manners.  To gain a few tons of
fish from a rival route, by superior service, keen canvassing, or by
other less legitimate means, was a source of fierce joy to these ardent
spirits.  The disputes were sometimes concerned with through traffic
between England and Scotland, and then the English railway
representatives took part, but not with the keenness and intensity of
their northern brethren, for the Saxon blood has not the fiery quality of
the crimson stream that courses through the veins of the Celt.  Now all
is changed.  Combination has succeeded to competition, alliances and
agreements are the tranquil order of the day, and the Clearing House has
become a Temple of Peace.

Between David Dickie, Goods Manager, and John Mathieson, Passenger
Superintendent, as I have said, many differences arose.  I sometimes
thought that Mathieson might well have shown more consideration to one so
much his senior in years as Dickie was.  Poor Dickie!  Before I left
Scotland he met a tragic death.  He was a kind-hearted man, a canny Scot,
and died rich.

James Stirling was the Locomotive Superintendent.  He and Mathieson did
not always agree, and the clash of arms frequently raged between them.
Mr. Wainwright's suavity often, and not infrequently his authority, were
required to adjust these domestic broils, but as all deferred to him
willingly, the storms that arose were usually short lived.

In 1878 Mathieson and I took a short holiday together and crossed to
Ireland.  It was our first visit to that unquiet but delightful country,
in which, little as I thought then, I was destined a few years later to
make my home.

It was in January, 1879, that the headquarters of the company were
removed from the old and narrow Bridge Street Station to the new palatial
St. Enoch, and there a splendid set of offices was provided.  This was
another advantage much to my taste.  St. Enoch was and is certainly a
most handsome and commodious terminus.  Originally it had one great roof
of a single span, second only to that of St. Pancras Station.  Other
spans, not so great, have since been added, for the business of St. Enoch
rapidly grew, and enlarged accommodation soon became necessary.  In 1879
it had six long and spacious platforms, now it has twelve; then the
number of trains in and out was 43 daily, now it has reached 286; then
the mileage of the railway was 319, now it is 466; then the employees of
the company numbered 4,010 and now they are over 10,000.  These figures
exemplify the material growth of industrial Scotland in the forty years
that have passed.  St. Enoch Station was not disfigured by trade
advertisements, and it is with great satisfaction I learn that the same
good taste has prevailed to this day.  Not long after it was opened a
great grocery and provision firm, the knightly head of which is still a
well-known name, offered to the company a large annual sum for the use of
the space under the platform clock, which could be seen from all parts of
the station, which the directors, on the representation of their general
manager, declined; and I am proud to remember that my own views on the
subject, pretty forcibly expressed, when my chief discussed the subject
with me, strengthened his convictions and helped to carry the day in the
board room.  The indiscriminate and inartistic way in which throughout
the land advertisements of all sorts crowd our station walls and
platforms is an outrage on good taste.  If advertisements must appear
there, some hand and eye endowed with the rudiments of art ought to
control them.  In no country in the world does the same ugly display mar
the appearance of railway stations; and considering what myriad eyes
daily rest on station premises it is well worth while on aesthetic
grounds to make their appearance as pleasant and as little vulgar as
possible.  The question of revenue to the companies need not be ignored
for proper and efficient control would produce order, moderation,
neatness, artistic effect--and profit.

With the principal clerks of the office staff my relations were very
pleasant.  The consideration with which I was treated by my chief, and
the footing upon which I stood with him, gave me a certain influence
which otherwise I should not have possessed.  Till then there had been
absent from the company's staff any gathering together for purposes of
common interest or mutual enjoyment.  The _Railway Benevolent
Institution_ provided a rallying point.  I had been appointed its
representative on the Glasgow and South-Western Railway and we held
meetings and arranged concerts in its aid.  Then, after a time, we
established for the principal clerks and goods agents and certain grades
of station masters, an annual day excursion into the country, with a
dinner and songs and speeches.  "Tatlow is good at the speak," said
publicly one of my colleagues, in his broad Scotch way, and so far as it
was true this I daresay helped me.  I was made permanent president of
these excursions and feasts, and often had to "hold forth," which I must
confess I rather enjoyed.  We christened ourselves _The Railway
Ramblers_.  The fact that I became the Scotch correspondent of the
_Railway Official Gazette_, a regular contributor to the _Railway News_,
and had access to the columns of several newspapers, enabled reports of
our doings to appear in print, and diffused some pleasure and pride
throughout the service.  Also I became a weekly contributor of _Scotch
Notes_ to the _Montreal Herald_.  In the _Railway Official Gazette_ was a
column devoted to short reviews of new books which were sent to the
editor.  For a time, from some reason or other, I undertook this
reviewing.  Possession of the books was the only recompense, though for
all other work payment in money was made.  It was a daring thing on my
part and I am sure many a reader of the paper must have smiled at my
criticisms.  I forget why I soon gave up the duty; probably from
incompetence, for I am sure I was not at all qualified for such a task;
but what will the audacity of youth not attempt?  This journalistic work
occupied much of my spare time, but it supplemented my income, a
consideration of no little importance, for in October, 1876, I had
entered the married state.  My wife came from the Midlands of England.  My
friends became her friends, and other friends we made.  Children soon
appeared on the scene; my bachelor days were over.

Societies amongst the staff of a railway company, whether for the purpose
of physical recreation, for mutual improvement or for social enjoyment
are to be much commended.  The assembling together of employees of
various ages, filling various positions, from the several departments,
from different districts, freed from business, and mixing on equal terms
for common objects, promotes good feeling and good fellowship, provides
pleasant memories for after life, gives a zest to work, and adds to the
efficiency of the service.

Amongst all my fellow clerks I remember one only who resembled as a
borrower some of my quondam associates at Derby.  But this was in
Scotland where more provident ways prevailed.  He was a married man,
about 30 years of age, with a salary of 100 pounds a year.  By no means
what one would call a nice fellow, he had nothing of the _bonhomie_ or
light-hearted good nature that distinguished my Derby friends.  He
possessed a good figure, wore fierce moustaches, and affected a military
air.  One suit of well-made, well-cut clothes by some means or other he
managed to keep in a state of freshness and smoothness nothing short of
marvellous.  Borrowing was his besetting sin, and he was always head over
ears in debt.  Duns pursued him to the office and he sometimes hid from
them in a huge safe which the office contained.  It was a wretched life,
but he brazened it out with wonderful effrontery, and, outwardly, seemed
happy enough.  From all who would lend he borrowed, and rarely I believe
repaid.  Once I was his victim, but only once.  I lent him 3 pounds, and,
strange to say, he returned it.  Of course he approached me again, but I
had read and digested the _master's_ wisdom and determined to "neither a
borrower nor a lender be."

Prominent amongst the principal clerks was David Cooper.  When I left
Glasgow he succeeded me as assistant to the general manager.  Now he is
general manager of the company himself.  Recently he celebrated his 50th
year of railway service.  Like me, he entered railway life in 1867; but,
unlike me, has not been a rolling stone.  One company only he has served
and served it well, and for nearly a quarter of a century has filled the
highest office it has to bestow.  He and I have been more fortunate than
many of our old-time colleagues.  In the list of officers of the Glasgow
and South-Western to-day I see the names of two only, besides David
Cooper, who were principal clerks in those days--F. H. Gillies, now
secretary of the company, and George Russell, Telegraph Superintendent.

In railways, as in other departments of life, ability and industry
usually have their reward; but alone they do not always command success.
Other factors there are in the equation of life and not least luck and
opportunity.  In those distant days, in the pride of youth, I was too apt
to think that they who succeeded owed their success to themselves alone;
but the years have taught me that this is not always so, and I have
learned to sympathise more and more with those to whom opportunity has
never held out her hand and upon whom good luck has never smiled.


In the last few chapters I have made but little mention of Tom.  The time
was drawing nearer when I was to lose him for ever.  Until early in 1876
we lived together in the closest intimacy.  We pooled our resources, and
when either ran short of money, which often happened, the common purse,
if it were not empty, was always available.  Similar in height and in
figure, our clothes, except our hats, boots and gloves, in each of which
I took a larger size than he, were, when occasion required,
interchangeable.  We standardised our wardrobe as far as we could.  We
rose together, ate together, retired together, and, except during
business hours, were rarely apart.  I being, he considered, the more
prudent in money matters, kept our lodging accounts and paid the bills.
He being more musical, and a greater lover of the drama than I, arranged
our visits to the theatres and concert halls.  I was the practical, he
the aesthetical controller of our joint menage.  Once I remember--this
occurred before we left Derby--we both fancied ourselves in love with the
same dear enchantress, a certain dark-eyed brunette.  Each punctually
paid his court, as opportunity offered, and each, when he could, most
obligingly furthered the suit of the other; and this went on till the
time arrived for Tom's departure to Glasgow, when I was left in
possession of the field.  Then I discovered, to my surprise, that I was
not so deeply enamoured as I had imagined; and, curiously enough, Tom on
his part had no sooner settled in Scotland than he made a similar

The climate of Glasgow never suited Tom's health and in 1876, on the
advice of his doctors, he decided to return to England.  For a time he
seemed to regain his health, but only for a time.  Soon he relapsed, and
before another year dawned it became evident, if not to himself, to his
friends, that his years on earth were numbered.  With what grief I heard
the news, which came to me from his parents, I need not say.  Bravely for
a while he struggled with work, but all in vain; he had to give in, and
return to his parents' home in Lincolnshire.  That home he never again
left, except once, in the summer of 1877, to visit my wife and me, when
he stayed with us for several weeks.  Though greatly reduced and very
thin, and capable only of short walks he was otherwise unchanged; the
lively fancy, the bright humor and the sparkling wit, which made him so
delightful a companion, were scarcely diminished.  He himself was
hopeful; talked of recovery, planned excursions which he and I should
take together when his health returned; but his greatest pleasure was in
recalling our Derby days, our _Maypole_ visits, our country rambles, our
occasional dances and flirtations, and our auld acquaintances generally.

Tom was remarkable for the quickness of his observation, for keen
penetration of character, and for happy humorous description of
particular traits in those he met.  He possessed, too, a wonderfully
retentive memory.  It is largely due to his lively descriptions of our
interesting fellow clerks at Derby that I have been able, after the lapse
of half a century, to sketch them with the fidelity I have.  His humorous
accounts of their peculiarities often enlivened the hours we spent
together, and impressed their personalities more forcibly on my mind than
they otherwise would have been.

When his visit came to an end, and he returned to his home, I too
indulged in the hope that he might regain some measure of health, for he
seemed much improved.  But it was a temporary improvement only, due in
part, perhaps, to change in environment, and in part to the exhilaration
arising from our reunion, heart and mind for a time dominating the body
and stimulating it to an activity which produced this fair but deceptive
semblance of health.  His letters to me breathed the spirit of hope till
almost the last.  We never met again.  The intention I had cherished of
going to see him was never fulfilled.  The illness of my wife and the
death of one of our children, and other unfortunate causes, prevented it;
and in little more than a year and a half from our farewell grasp of the
hand at the railway station in Glasgow my dear and beloved friend
breathed his last.  Often and often since I have heard again the music of
his voice, have seen his face smiling upon me, and have felt

   "_His being working in mine own_,
   _The footsteps of his life in mine_."


Ten years I served the Glasgow and South-Western Railway Company as chief
clerk, or as Mr. Wainwright euphemistically called it, _assistant_ to the
general manager.  In that position I met from time to time, not only many
prominent railway men, but also other men of mark.

Amongst these, two stand out with great distinction because of the effect
they had upon me at a memorable interview I had with each.  I never
forgot those interviews, and nothing that ever occurred in my life tended
to strengthen in me the quality of self-reliance so much as they did.
Their effect was sudden, inspiring and lasting.  These well-remembered
men were Mr. John Burns (afterwards the first Lord Inverclyde), head of
the shipping firm of G. and J. Burns, and chairman of the Cunard Line,
and Mr. John Walker, General Manager of the North British Railway.  The
interviews occurred, as nearly as I recollect, during the second or third
year of my Glasgow and South-Western life, and took place within a few
weeks of each other.

John Burns was one of the largest shareholders in the Glasgow and South-
Western Railway, his steamers plied between Greenock and Belfast, and his
relations with the company were intimate and friendly.  At the time I
speak of some important negotiations were proceeding between him and Mr.
Wainwright concerning the company and his firm, and whilst they were at
their height Mr. Wainwright was unexpectedly summoned to London and
detained there.  Now Mr. Burns was a man who greatly disliked delay, and
I was told to see him and, if he wished, discuss the business with him,
and, if possible, further its progress.  It was the way in which Mr.
Burns received me, young and inexperienced as I was, the manner in which
he discussed the subject and encouraged me, and the respect with which he
listened to my arguments, that surprised and delighted me.  I left him,
feeling an elation of spirit, a glow of pride, a confidence in myself, as
new as it was unexpected.  It is a fine trait in Scotchmen that, deeply
respecting themselves, they respect others.  Difference of class or
position does not count much with them in comparison with merit or
sterling worth--

   "_The rank is but the guinea's stamp_,
   _The man's the gowd for a' that_."

Mr. Burns was a striking personality; strong and vigorous, mentally and
physically.  He had a good voice, and was clear, decided and emphatic in
speech.  He was a doughty champion of the Glasgow and South-Western
Company, with which at this time, affairs, like the course of true love,
did not run smooth.  The dividend was down and discontented shareholders
were up in arms.  Bitter attacks were made on the directors and the
management.  Not that anything was really wrong, for the business of the
line was skilfully and honestly conducted, but the times were bad, and
"empty stalls make biting steeds."  The very same shareholders who, when
returns are satisfactory, are as gentle as cooing doves, should revenue
and expenditure alter their relations to the detriment of dividend,
become critical, carping and impossible to please, though the directors
and management may be as innocent as themselves, and as powerless to stem
the tide of adversity.  At shareholders' meetings Mr. Burns was splendid.
He rose after the critics had expended their force, or if the storm grew
too violent, intervened at its height, and with facts and figures and
sound argument always succeeded in restoring order and serenity.  An
excellent story of him appeared about this time in _Good Words_.  He,
Anthony Trollope and Norman Macleod were once at a little inn in the
Highlands.  After supper, stories were told and the laughter, which was
loud and long, lasted far into the night.  In the morning an old
gentleman, who slept in a room above them, complained to the landlord of
the uproar which had broken his night's rest, and expressed his
astonishment that such men should have taken more than was good for them.
"Well," replied the landlord, "I am bound to confess there was much loud
talk and laughter, but they had nothing stronger than tea and fresh
herrings."  "Bless me," rejoined the old gentleman, "if that is so, what
would they be after dinner!"

In the entrance hall of the North British Railway Company's Waverley
station at Edinburgh stands the statue, in bronze, of Mr. John Walker.  As
far as I know this is, the whole world over, the only instance in which
the memory of a railway general manager has been so honoured.  It is of
heroic size and eloquently attests his worth.  He was born in Fifeshire
in 1832, and died with startling suddenness from an apoplectic seizure,
at the age of fifty-nine, at Waterloo station in London.  When he left
school he was apprenticed to the law, but at the age of nineteen entered
the service of the Edinburgh, Perth and Dundee Railway.  This railway was
in 1862 amalgamated with the original North British, which was first
authorised in 1844, and extended from Edinburgh to Berwick.  His
exceptional ability was soon recognised and his promotion was rapid.  He
became treasurer of the amalgamated company, and in 1866 was appointed
its secretary.  In this office he rendered great service at a trying time
in the company's affairs, and in 1874 was rewarded with the position of
general manager.

The North British Railway has had a chequered career, has suffered great
changes of fortune, and to Mr. Walker, more than to any other, is due the
stability it now enjoys.  On the occasion of his death, the directors
officially recorded that, "He served the company with such ability and
unselfish devotion as is rarely witnessed; became first secretary and
subsequently general manager, and it was during the tenure of these
offices that the remarkable development of the company's system was
mainly effected."

His capacity for work was astounding.  He never seemed to tire or to know
what fatigue meant.  Ordinary men are disposed to pleasure as well as to
work, to recreation and social intercourse as well as to business, but
this was not the case with Mr. Walker.  It must be confessed that he was
somewhat exacting with his staff, but his own example was a stimulus to
exertion in others and he was well served.  One who knew him well, and
for many years was closely associated with him in railway work, tells me
that his most striking characteristics were reticence, combativeness,
concentration and tenacity of purpose, and that his memory and mastery of
detail were remarkable.  Deficient perhaps in sentiment, though in such
silent men deep wells of feeling often unsuspectedly exist, he was, by
those who served under him, always recognised as fair and just, and no
one had ever to complain of the slightest discourtesy at his hands.  Like
Lord Byron, he was lame from birth, and while this may have affected his
character and pursuits, it never, I am told, in business, which indeed
was practically his sole occupation, impeded his activity.  On the
failure of the City of Glasgow Bank, in 1878, which involved in ruin
numbers of people, he lost a considerable fortune.  He was a large
shareholder of the bank, and the liability of the shareholders was
unlimited.  He faced his loss with stoical fortitude, as I believe he
would have confronted any disaster that life could bring.

On a certain day Mr. Walker came to Glasgow by appointment to discuss
with Mr. Wainwright some outstanding matters which they had failed to
settle by correspondence.  In the afternoon Mr. Wainwright had an
important meeting of his directors to attend.  The business with Mr.
Walker was concluded in time, all but one subject, and Mr. Wainwright
asked Mr. Walker if he would let me go into this with him.  Without the
least hesitation he consented; and he treated me as Mr. John Burns had
done, and discussed the matter with me as if I were on an equal footing.
This was the interview that strengthened and confirmed that self-reliance
which Mr. Burns had awakened, and which never afterwards forsook me.
Great is my debt to Scotland and to Scotchmen.

Amongst the most prominent railway men I have met were Sir Edward Watkin,
Chairman of the South-Eastern Railway, and the following general
managers:--Mr. Allport, Midland, the exalted railway monarch of my early
railway days; Mr. (afterwards Sir) Henry Oakley, Great Northern; Mr.
Grierson, Great Western; Mr. Underdown, Manchester, Sheffield and
Lincolnshire; and Mr. (afterwards Sir Myles) Fenton, South Eastern.  Of
Sir Edward Watkin a good story was told.  When he was general manager of
the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway (he was Mr. Watkin
then) many complaints had arisen from coal merchants on the line that
coal was being stolen from wagons in transit by engine drivers.  Nothing
so disgraceful could possibly occur, always answered Mr. Watkin.  Down
the line one day, with his officers at a country station, a driver was
seen in the very act of transferring from a coal wagon standing on an
outlying siding some good big lumps to his tender.  This was pointed out
to Mr. Watkin, who only said--"The d---d fool, _in broad daylight_!"  When
Mr. Allport learned that I came from Derby, and was the son of an old
Midland official, he treated me with marked kindness.  Mr. Oakley came in
the year 1880 to Glasgow, where he sat for several days as arbitrator
between the Glasgow and South-Western and Caledonian Railway Companies,
on a matter concerning the management, working, and maintenance of
Kilmarnock Station, of which the companies were joint owners, and I
learned for the first time how an arbitration case should be conducted,
for Mr. Oakley was an expert at such work.  This experience stood me in
good stead, when, not many years later, I was appointed arbitrator in a
railway dispute in the North of Ireland.

In the front rank of the railway service I do not remember many beaux.
General managers were men too busy to spend much time upon the study of
dress.  But there were exceptions, as there are to every rule, and Sir
James Thompson, General Manager, and afterwards Chairman of the
Caledonian Railway, was a notable exception.  Often, after attending
Clearing House meetings or Parliamentary Committees, have I met him in
Piccadilly, Bond Street, or the Burlington Arcade, faultlessly and
fashionably attired in the best taste, airing himself, admiring and
admired.  We always stopped and talked; of the topics of the day, the
weather, what a pleasant place London was, how handsome the women, how
well dressed the men.  At the Clearing House we usually sat next each
other.  I liked him and I think he liked me.  Do not think he was a beau
and nothing more.  No, he was a hard-headed Scotchman, full of ability
and work, and as a railway manager stood at the top of the ladder.  Next
to him Sir Frederick Harrison, General Manager of the London and North-
Western Railway, was, I think, the best dressed railway man.  Both he and
Sir James were tall, handsome fellows, and I confess to having admired
them, perhaps as much for their good looks and their taste and style, as
for their intellectual qualities; and I have often thought that men in
high positions would not do amiss to pay some attention to old Polonius'
admonition to his son that, "the apparel oft proclaims the man."

In the friends I made I was fortunate too.  They included two or three
budding lawyers, a young engineer, a banker, a doctor, two embryo hotel
managers, an auctioneer, and one or two journalists; and, as I have
mentioned before, my artist friend _Cynicus_.  We were, most of us,
friends of each other, met often, and the variety of our pursuits gave
zest and interest to our intercourse.  First amongst these friends ranked
G. G., one of the young lawyers, or _writers_, as they are called in
Scotland.  He was my closest friend.  We have not met for many years, but
the friendship remains unweakened; for there are things that Time the
destroyer is powerless to injure.  Like myself, G. G. comes of the middle
class.  His parents, like mine, were by no means affluent, but they were
Scotch and held education in veneration, and were ambitious, as Scottish
parents are, for their sons.  They gave him a University education, and
afterwards apprenticed him to the law.  He became, and is still, a
prosperous lawyer in Glasgow.

Then came J. B., a young lawyer too, who blossomed into the pleasant and
important position of Senior Deputy Town Clerk of the City of Glasgow.
He, too, had sprung from the great middle class.  Well versed in
classical lore he was a delightful companion.  He had travelled much and
benefited by his travels; was a sociable being, exceedingly good-natured,
and peered through spectacles as thick as pebbles, being very
short-sighted, and without his glasses would scarcely recognise you a
yard off.  Yet he could see into the heart of things as well as most men,
for he was a shrewd Scotchman, and had a pawky humour.  If he possessed a
fault it was a love for a game of cards.  We played _nap_ in those days,
and when a game was on it was hard to get him to bed.  He has gone over
to the majority now.  His sudden death a year ago came as a great blow to
his family and a large circle of friends.  Next to G. G., as intimate
friends, came H. H. and F. K.  They were in the company's service though
not in the railway proper, but connected with the management of the hotel
department.  Of foreign birth, sons of a nation with whom we are now,
alas! at war, they were youths of fine education, disposition and
refinement, and I became greatly attached to each.  H. H. preceded and F.
K. followed me to Ireland, where he (F. K.) still resides, honoured and
respected, as he deserves to be.  He and I, throughout the years, have
been and are the closest of friends.  Once, not very long ago, in a grave
crisis of my life, when death seemed near, he stood by me with the
devotion of a brother.  My auctioneer friend (G. F.) was, perhaps, the
most interesting man of our circle; certainly he possessed more humour
than the rest of us put together.  Fond of literature, with a talent for
writing, he was a regular contributor to the Glasgow Punch, _The Bailie_.
But his greatest charms were, his dear innocence, his freshness of mind,
his simple inexpensive tastes, his enjoyment of life, and his infectious
laugh.  In years he was our senior, but in worldly knowledge junior to us
all.  He lives still and is, I believe, as jocund as ever.  Another of
these Glasgow friends I must mention--a poet, and like Burns, a son of
the soil.  His name was Alexander Anderson.  When first I met him he was
in the railway service, a labourer on the permanent way, what is called a
surfaceman in Scotland, a platelayer in England and a milesman in
Ireland.  Self taught, he became proficient in French, German and
Italian, and was able to enjoy in their own language the literature of
those countries.  A Scottish nobleman, impressed by his wonderful
poetical talent, defrayed the expenses of a tour which he made in Italy
and an extended stay in Rome, to the enrichment of his mind and to his
great enjoyment.  On his return to Scotland he published a book of poems.
In an introduction to this book the Revd. George Gilfillan wrote, "The
volume he now presents to the world is distinguished by great variety of
subject and modes of treatment.  It has a number of sweet Scottish
verses, plaintive or pawky.  It has some strains of a higher mood,
reminding us of Keats in their imagination.  But the highest effort, if
not also the most decided success, is his series of sonnets, entitled,
'In Rome.'  And certainly this is a remarkable series."  A remarkable man
he was indeed; simple and earnest in manner, with a fine eye, a full dark
beard and sunburnt face.  Tiring, however, of a labourer's life and of
the pick and shovel, he left the railway and became assistant librarian
of Edinburgh University, and three years afterwards Secretary to the
Philosophical Institution of Edinburgh.  He afterwards became Chief
Librarian to the Edinburgh University.  He died in the summer of 1909.  He
stayed with me in Glasgow once for a week-end, and on the Sunday
afternoon we together visited a friend of his who lived near, a literary
man, who then was engaged in writing a series of lives of the Poets for
some publishing house.  An interesting part of our conversation was about
Carlyle with whom this friend was intimate, had in fact just returned
from visiting him at Chelsea.  He told us many interesting stories of the
sage.  I remember one.  He was staying with the Carlyles, when Mrs.
Carlyle was alive.  One evening at tea, a copper kettle, with hot water,
stood on the hob.  Mrs. Carlyle made a movement as if to rise, with her
eye directed to the kettle; the friend, divining her wish, rose and
handed her the kettle.  She thanked him, and, with a pathetic and wistful
gaze at Carlyle, added, "Ay, Tam, ye never did the like o' that!"

My first trip abroad was in 1883, and my companion, G. G.  We went to
Paris via Newhaven, Dieppe and Rouen, and at Rouen stayed a day and a
night, and spent about a fortnight in Paris.  We were accompanied from
London by a friend I have not yet named, one who was well known in the
railway world, Tony Visinet, the British Engineering and Commercial Agent
of the Western Railway of France; a delightful companion always, full of
the charm and vivacity that belong to his country.  He took us to see his
mother at Rouen, who lived in an old-fashioned house retired from the
road, in a pleasant court-yard; a charming old lady, with whom G. G. was
able to converse, but I was not.  Tony Visinet's life was full of
movement and variety.  He had lodgings in London, and a flat in Paris,
traversed the Channel continually, and I remember his proudly celebrating
his fifteen hundredth crossing.

From childhood I had longed to see something of the world, and this
excursion to Paris was the first gratification of that wish.  Paris now
is as familiar to me almost as London, but then was strange and new.
Rouen and its cathedral we first saw by moonlight, a beautiful and
impressive sight, idealised to me by the thought that we were in sunny
France.  Little I imagined then how much of the world in later years I
should see; but strong desires often accomplish their own fulfilment, and
so it came to pass.


Of course it was right that Parliament, when conferring upon the railway
companies certain privileges, such as the compulsory acquisition of land
and property, should, in the public interest, impose restrictions on
their charging powers.  No one could reasonably complain of this, and had
it been done from the beginning in a clear, logical way, and in language
free from doubt, all might have been well and much subsequent trouble
avoided.  But this was not the case.  Each company's charging powers were
contained in its own private Acts (which were usually very numerous) and
differed for different sections of the railway.  It was often impossible
for the public to ascertain the rights of the companies, and well nigh
impossible for the companies themselves to know what they were.  These
powers were in the form of tolls for the use of the railway; charges for
the use of carriages, wagons, and locomotive power, and total maximum
charges which were less than the sum of the several charges.  In the Acts
no mention was made of terminals, though in some of them power to make a
charge for _services incidental to conveyance_ was authorised, and what
these words really meant was the subject of much legal argument and great
forensic expenditure.

In addition to the tolls and charges, the Acts usually contained a rough
classification of goods to which they applied.  These were divided into
from three to five classes, and comprised some 50 to 60 articles.  The
railway companies, however, had in existence, for practical everyday use,
a general classification called The Railway Clearing House
Classification, and this contained over 2,700 articles divided into seven

The tolls and charges in the Companies' Acts were fixed originally in the
old belief (to which I have before alluded) that railway companies, like
canal companies, would be mere owners of the route; and when they became
carriers and provided stations, sidings, warehouses, cranes, and all the
paraphernalia appertaining to the business of a carrier, the old form was
not altered, the charging powers remained as originally expressed in
subsequent Acts, and the same old model was followed.  For several years
prior to 1881 complaints by merchants, traders and public bodies against
railway rates and fares had become very common.  The cry was taken up by
the public generally, and railway companies had a decidedly unpleasant
time of it, which they bore with that good temper and equanimity which I
(perhaps not altogether an unprejudiced witness) venture to affirm
generally characterised them.  The complaints increased in number and
intensity and Members of Parliament and newspaper writers joined in the

Parliament, as Parliaments do, yielded to clamour, and in 1881 a Select
Committee was appointed by the House of Commons to inquire into railway
charges, into the laws and conditions affecting such charges, and
specially into passenger fares.  It was a big committee, consisted of 23
members, took 858 pages of evidence, and examined 80 witnesses.  At the
end of the session they reported that, although they had sat
continuously, time had failed for consideration of the evidence, and
recommended that the committee be re-appointed in the next session.  This
was done, and the committee, enlarged to 27 members, took further
evidence, and submitted a report to Parliament.

The gravest issue was the right of the companies to charge terminals, and
the committee found that the railways had made out their case, and
recommended that the right of the companies to station terminals should
be recognised by Parliament.  Further, the committee, on the whole of the
evidence, acquitted the railway companies of any grave dereliction of
their duty to the public, and added: "It is remarkable that no witnesses
have appeared to complain of 'preferences' given to individuals by
railway companies as acts of private favour or partiality."  As to
passenger fares, the committee reported that the complaints submitted to
them were rather local than general, and not of an important character,
but thought that it might be well for the Railway Commissioners to have
the same jurisdiction in respect to passengers as to goods traffic.

The railway companies thus emerged from this searching inquiry with
credit, as they have done in the many investigations to which they have
been subjected, and no high-minded and aspiring young railway novice need
ever blush for the traditions of the service.

Before the committee Mr. James Grierson, General Manager of the Great
Western, was the principal witness for the railway companies, and yeoman
service he rendered.  He presented the railway case with great ability,
and his views were accepted on the important terminal question.  In 1886
he published a book on _Railway Rates_, which was warmly welcomed by the
Press and, in the words of _Herepath's Journal_, was "an exhaustive,
able, and dispassionate _resume_ of all the conflicting statements,
claims, and interests verging round the much vexed question of railway
rates."  Certainly he did much towards the ultimate settlement of the
matter.  Mr. Grierson was, perhaps, the ablest witness before
Parliamentary Committees the railway service ever had, which is saying
much.  A leading counsel, during the luncheon interval, once said to him,
"We feel small when we are cross-examining you.  You know all about the
business, and we can only touch the fringe of it."  The great secret of
Mr. Grierson's success was his mastery of, and scrupulous regard for,
facts and his straightforwardness.  Of his book he himself said, "My
conclusions may be disputed, but no one shall dispute the facts on which
they are based."

The committee recommended that Parliament, when authorising new lines, or
extending the powers of existing companies, should have its attention
drawn by some public authority to the proposed, and in the case of
existing companies, to the existing rates and fares.  They also
recommended that one uniform classification of merchandise be established
by law; that the Court of Railway Commissioners be made permanent; and
that the amalgamation of Irish Railways be promoted and facilitated.  Thus
the great inquiry ended; but public agitation did not cease.  One or two
attempts at legislation followed, but from one cause or another, fell
through; and it was not until 1888 that the subject was seriously tackled
by Parliament.  In that year the _Railway and Canal Traffic Act_, of
which I shall later on have something to say, was passed.

On the appearance of the Report in 1882, it was recognised in railway
circles that something _must_ happen regarding the eternal rates
question, and the companies began to prepare themselves as best they
could.  It fell upon me to examine the many Acts of Parliament of the
Glasgow and South-Western Railway, to collate the provisions relating to
tolls, charges and maximum powers, to compare those powers with actual
rates, to work out cost of terminal service, and to draw up a revised
proposed scale of maximum conveyance rates and terminal charges.  Deeply
interesting work it was, and led, not very many years afterwards, to
unexpected promotion, which I valued much, and about which I shall have
more to say.

In the year 1880 a Scotch branch of the Railway Benevolent Institution
was established.  Mr. Wainwright was made its chairman, and I was
appointed secretary.  He and I had for some time urged upon the Board in
London the desirability of a local committee of management in Scotland.
The Institution had a great membership in England, and was generously
helped there in the matter of funds by the public.  The subscription
payable by members was small, and the benefits it bestowed were
substantial; but railway men in Scotland looked at it askance: "the Board
in London kenned little aboot Scotland and Scotch claims wouldna get vera
much conseederation."  Well, all this was changed by what we did.  Soon a
numerous membership succeeded to the few who on Scottish railways had
previously joined the Institution, and we had much satisfaction in
finding that we were able to dispense substantial aid to many old and
needy railwaymen and to their widows and orphans.  Mr. Wainwright
remained Chairman of the Branch till his death, and I continued Secretary
until I left Scotland.

In 1883, after my return from Paris, I grew restless again, with a
longing for more responsibility and a larger and freer life; with,
perhaps, an admixture of something not so ennobling--the desire for a
bigger income.  Never was I indifferent to the comforts that money can
bring, though never, I must confess, was I gifted with the capacity for
money making or money saving.  The pleasures of life (the rational
pleasures I hope) had always an attraction for me.  I could never forego
them, or forego the expense they involved, for the sake of future distant
advantages.  What weighed with me, too, was the fact that I was
undoubtedly overworked and my health was suffering.  It was not that my
railway duties proper were oppressive, but the duties as Secretary of the
Railway Benevolent Institution in Scotland added considerably to my
office hours, and at home I often worked far into the night writing for
the several papers to which I contributed.  Too much work and too little
play was making Jack a very dull boy.  I envied those officers, such as
John Mathieson, whose duties took them often out of doors, and gave them
the control and management of men.

My chief was as kind and considerate as ever, and I confided to him the
thoughts that disturbed me.  Warm-heartedly he sympathised with my
feelings.  He himself had gone, he said, through the same experience some
twenty years before.  The prospect of promotion at St. Enoch, he agreed,
seemed remote; the principal officers, except the engineer, were young or
middle-aged; and he himself was in the prime of life.  He did not want to
lose me, but I must look out, and he would look out too.  At last the
opportunity came, and it came from Ireland.  The Belfast and County Down
Railway Chairman, Mr. R. W. Kelly, and a director, Lord (then Mr.)
Pirrie, were deputed to see half a dozen or so likely young applicants in
England and Scotland.  I was interviewed by these gentlemen in Glasgow,
was selected for the vacant post of general manager, and in May, 1885,
removed with my family to Belfast, and entered upon my duties there.

Lord Pirrie is a great shipbuilder of world-wide fame.  I was not long at
the County Down before I discovered his wonderful energy, his marvellous
capacity for work, his thoroughness, and keen business ability.  I always
thought that at our interview at Saint Enoch he was as much impressed
with the order and method which appeared in the office of which I had
charge as by anything else.  I showed him everything very freely, and
remember his appreciation and also his criticism, of which latter, as I
afterwards found, he was at times by no means sparing, but if sometimes
severe, it was always just and salutary.  How little one foresees events.
Not long had I left Glasgow before unexpected changes occurred.  In 1886,
Mr. Wainwright took ill and died; soon after Mathieson went to
Queensland; and in less than eight short years three general managers had
succeeded Mr. Wainwright.

They were good to me when I left Glasgow.  I was presented with a
valuable testimonial at a banquet at which Mr. Wainwright presided and at
which my good friend, G. G., made a fine speech.  It would be idle for me
to say that the warm congratulations of my friends, the prospects of
change, and the sense of new responsibilities, did not delight and excite
me.  But a strong measure of regret was mixed with the pleasurable
draught.  I was greatly attached to my chief, and keenly felt the parting
from him.  He felt it too.  When it came to the last handshake words
failed us both.

The Nestor of the Glasgow and South-Western Railway was Andrew Galloway,
the chief engineer.  A Nestor he looked with his fine, strong, grave
features, abundant hair, and flowing beard.  He was a very able engineer,
but had many old-fashioned ways, one of which was an objection to anyone
but himself opening his letters, and when absent from his office they
would at times lie for several days untouched.  If remonstrated with he
was quite unmoved.  He had a theory that most letters, if left long
enough unanswered, answered themselves.  In me he always showed a
fatherly interest, and sometimes chided me for talking too freely and
writing too much.  His last words when he bade me farewell, and gave me
his blessing were, to remember always to think twice before I spoke once.
On the very day I was assured of my appointment as general manager for
the County Down Railway I discarded the tall silk hat and the black
morning coat, which for some time had been my usual business garb, as it
was of many serious-minded aspiring young business men in Glasgow.  Mr.
Galloway asked me the reason of the change, which he was quick to
observe.  "Well," said I, "I have secured my position, so it's all right
now."  Never since, except in London, have I renounced the liberty I then
assumed; the bowler and the jacket suit became my regular business wear,
and the other habiliments of severe respectability were relegated to
churchgoing, weddings, christenings, and funerals and other formal


In Chapter IX., at the outset of my Glasgow and South-Western service, I
reviewed the public Acts of Parliament passed since the beginning of
railways down to the year 1875, and it may not be amiss to notice now the
further railway legislation enacted up to 1885.

The first measure of importance was the _Railway Returns (Continuous
Brakes) Act_, 1878.  The travelling public had for some years been
sensitive regarding railway accidents which, though infrequent,
nevertheless occurred much oftener then than now, and were more serious
in their results.  The matter of their reduction began to receive the
serious attention of railway engineers and inventors, and among many
appliances suggested was the system of continuous brakes.  In June, 1875,
a great contest of brakes, extending over three days, in which trains of
the principal companies engaged, took place on the Midland railway
between Newark and Bleasby.  A large number of brakes competed--the
Westinghouse, the Vacuum, Clarke's Hydraulic, Webb's Chain, and several
others.  It is recorded that at the conclusion of the trial, each
patentee left the _refreshment tent_ satisfied that his own brake was the
best; but Time is the great arbiter, and _his_ decision has been in
favour of two--the Automatic Vacuum and the Westinghouse, and these are
the brakes the companies have adopted.  The Act required all railway
companies to submit to the Board of Trade, twice in every year, returns
showing the amount of rolling stock fitted with continuous brakes, the
description of brake and whether self-acting and instantaneous in action.
So far there was no compulsion upon the railways to use continuous
brakes, though most of the companies were earnestly studying the subject,
but the rival claims of inventors and the uncertainty as to which
invention would best stand the test of time tended to retard their
adoption.  Meanwhile, the publicity afforded by the Board of Trade
Returns, and public discussion, helped to hasten events and the climax
was reached in 1889, when a terrible accident, due primarily to
inefficient brake power, occurred in Ireland, and was attended with great
loss of life.  The Board of Trade was in that year invested with
statutory power to _compel_ railway companies, within a given time, to
provide all passenger trains with automatic continuous brakes.

In 1878 there was also passed the _Contagious Diseases (Animals) Act_.
Foot and mouth disease had for some time been rife in Great Britain and
Ireland, and legislation became necessary.  The Act applied not only to
railways but was also directed to the general control and supervision of
flocks and herds.  It contained a number of clauses concerning transit by
rail, and invested the Privy Council with authority to make regulations,
the carrying out of which, as affecting the Glasgow and South-Western
Railway, devolved upon me, and for a year or two occupied much of my

An Act to extend and regulate the liability of employers, and to provide
for compensation for personal injuries suffered by workmen in their
service, came into force in 1880.  It was called the _Employers'
Liability Act_, and was the first step in that class of legislation,
which has since been greatly extended, and with which both employer and
employed, are now familiar.

That great convenience the _Parcel Post_, which for the first time
secured to the public the advantage of having parcels sent to any part of
the United Kingdom at a fixed charge, and which seems now as necessary to
modern life as the telephone or the telegraph, and as, perhaps, a few
years hence, the airship will be, was brought into existence by the _Post
Office (Parcels) Act_, 1882.  Under that Act it was ordained that the
railways of the United Kingdom should carry by all trains whatever
parcels should be handed to them for transit by the Post Office, the
railway remuneration to be fifty-five per cent. of the money paid by the
public.  The scheme was a great success.  During the first year of its
operation the parcels carried numbered over 20 millions, and in the year
1913-14 (the last published figures) reached 137 millions.

The _Cheap Trains Act_, 1883, was passed to amend and consolidate the law
relating to (_a_) railway passenger duty, and (_b_) the conveyance of the
Queen's Forces by railway.  It did not apply to Ireland.  Passenger duty
was never exacted in that happy land.  In Great Britain the Act relieved
the railway companies from payment of the duty on all fares not exceeding
one penny per mile; provided for the running of workmen's trains; and
prescribed a scale of reduced fares for the conveyance of Her Majesty's
soldiers and sailors.

After this Act, and until the year 1888, no further general railway
legislation of importance took place.


After eighteen years of railway life, at the age of 34, I had attained
the coveted position of a general manager.  Of a small railway it is
true, but the Belfast and County Down Railway, though unimposing as to
mileage, was a busy and by no means an uninteresting line.  A railway
general manager in Ireland was in those days, strange to say, something
of a _rara avis_.  There were then in the Green Isle no less than
eighteen separate and distinct working railways, varying from four to
nearly 500 miles in length, and amongst them all only four had a _general
manager_.  The system that prevailed was curious.  With the exception of
these four general managers (who were not on the larger lines) the
principal officer of an Irish railway was styled _Manager_ or _Traffic
Manager_.  He was regarded as the senior official, but over the Traffic
Department only had he _absolute_ control, though other important duties
which affected more than his own department often devolved upon him.  He
was, in a sense, maid of all work, and if a man of ability and character
managed, in spite of his somewhat anomalous position, to acquire many of
the attributes and much of the influence of a real general manager.  But
the system was unsatisfactory, led to jealousies, weakened discipline,
and was not conducive to efficient working.  Happily it no longer exists,
and for some years past each Irish Railway has had its responsible
_General Manager_.  Something that happened, in the year 1889, gave the
old system the first blow.  In that year a terrible accident to a Sunday
school excursion of children occurred on the Great Northern Railway near
Armagh, and was attended with great loss of life.  This led the company
to appoint a General Manager, which they did in June, 1890, Thomas
Robertson, of the Highland Railway of Scotland, of whom I spoke earlier
in these pages, being the capable man they selected.

Curious certainly was the method which up to then prevailed on the Great
Northern system.  Three different _Managers_ exercised jurisdiction over
separate sections of the line, and the _Secretary_ of the Company, an
able man, stationed in Dublin, performed much more than secretarial
duties, and encroached, so I often heard the managers complain, upon
their functions.  This divided authority was a survival of the time
before 1877, when the Great Northern system belonged to several
independent companies; and, in the words of the Allport Commission of
1887, "its continued existence after ten years could hardly be defended."

Very pleasant and very interesting I found my new avocation on the County
Down, which for short the Belfast and County Down Railway was usually
called.  My salary certainly was not magnificent, 500 pounds a year, but
it was about 100 pounds more than the whole of the income I earned in
Scotland, and now for the 500 pounds I had only my railway work to
perform.  Now I could give up those newspaper lucubrations, which had
become almost a burden and daily enjoy some hours of leisure.  The change
soon benefited my health.  Instead of close confinement to the office
during the day, and drudgery indoors with pen and ink at night, my days
were varied with out-door as well as in-door work, and I had time for
reading, recreation and social enjoyment.  My lean and lanky form filled
out, and I became familiar with the greeting of my friends: "Why, how
well you look!"

The County Down railway was 68 miles long.  Situated entirely in County
Down, it occupied a snug little corner to itself, bounded on the north by
Belfast Lough, on the south by the Mourne Mountains, and on the east by
Strangford Lough and the Irish Sea.  To the west ran the Great Northern
railway but some distance away.  The County Down line enjoyed three fine
sources of seaside traffic, Bangor, Donaghadee and Newcastle, and was
rich in pleasure resorts and in residential districts.  It even possessed
the attractions of a golf course, the first in Ireland, the _Kinnegar at
Holywood_, but more of that anon.  As I have said, it was a busy line,
and it was not unprosperous.  The dividend in 1885 reached five and a-
half per cent., and in spite of considerable expenditure necessary for
bringing the line up to first-class condition, it never went back, but
steadily improved, and for many years has been a comfortable six and a-
half per cent.  In 1885 the condition of the permanent way, the rolling
stock, and the stations was anything but good, and as the traffic showed
capacity for development, to stint expenditure would have been but folly.
I do not think, however, the outlay would have been so liberal as it was
but for Lord (then Mr.) Pirrie, who was an active and influential
director, though there were also on the Board several other business men
of energy and position.  Indeed, it was a good Board, but the Chairman,
though a shrewd far-seeing man, had, like John Gilpin's spouse, "a frugal
mind," and Lord Pirrie's bold commercial spirit quite eclipsed his
cautious ways.  One instance will suffice to exemplify this, and also to
illustrate the novelty of my new duties, which were delightful in their
diversity and activity to one whose life hitherto had been confined to
sedentary work.

It was the rolling stock that demanded the most urgent attention--engines,
carriages and wagons and especially carriages.  Of carriages there were
not enough for the traffic of the line, and many were in a very sorry
condition, particularly those which had been taken over with the Holywood
and Bangor Railway, acquired by the company the previous year.  One
weekend, soon after I joined the service, I had all passenger carriages
brought into Belfast, except those employed in running Sunday trains, and
early on the Sunday morning (it was in the summer) with the company's
locomotive and mechanical engineer I examined each carriage thoroughly
from top to bottom, inside and out, above and below, and with his
practical help and expert knowledge, noted carefully down the defects of
each.  He worked with a will, delighted that someone as enthusiastic and
even younger than himself was now in charge.  He little suspected, I am
sure, how ignorant I was of practical matters, as I kept my own counsel
which was my habit when prudence so dictated.  I knew the names of things
and was well versed in the theory and statistics of repairs and renewals,
but that was all.  A fine worker was and is R. G. Miller.  Well over 70
now, healthy and energetic still, he occupies the position he did then.
Age has not withered nor custom staled his juvenility.  I met him on
Kingstown promenade the other day walking with an elastic step and with
the brightness of youth in his eye.  The ordinary age-retirement limit,
though a good rule generally, was not for him.  Daylight failed and night
came on before our task was finished, several carriages remaining
unexamined.  These and the Sunday running vehicles we subjected to
scrutiny during the following week.  At the next meeting of the Board I
presented a report of what I had done, and urged that a number of new
carriages should be contracted for without delay, enlarging upon the
return we might confidently expect from a responsive traffic.  The
Chairman and most of the Board were a little aghast at what appeared, to
a small company that had only recently emerged from straitened
circumstances, a very large order.  But Lord Pirrie came to the rescue,
strongly supported my proposal and commended the thoroughness with which
I had tackled the subject.  The day was won, the carriages secure, and
the order for their construction was placed with a firm in Birmingham.
This expenditure was the precursor of further large outlays, for it was
soon seen that the prospects of the company warranted a bold course.

I may, I am sure, be pardoned if I quote here some words from the report
of Sir James Allport's Commission on Irish Public Works.  It is dated 4th
January, 1888.  I had then been less than three years with the County
Down, and so could claim but a modicum of the praise it contains, and my
modesty, therefore, need not be alarmed.  The words are: "_The history of
the Belfast and County Down Company is sufficient to show how greatly
both shareholders and the public may benefit from the infusion into the
management of business qualities.  In that case a board of business men
have in ten years raised the dividend on the ordinary stock from nil to
5.5 per cent., while giving the public an improved service and reduced
rates_."  My satisfaction was the greater as I had given evidence before
the Commission, and helped to tell them the cheerful story of the
progress and development of the County Down Company.  It was my first
appearance as a railway witness and before Sir James Allport, who had
commanded my unbounded admiration from my first entrance at Derby into
railway life.  Need I say that to me it was an event of importance.

In the year 1875 the Board of the County Down, after an investigation of
its affairs by a Committee of Shareholders, was reorganised, and it was
then that Mr. Richard Woods Kelly became Chairman, and Lord (then Mr.)
Pirrie a Director.  The latter has more than once since told me that the
County Down shares were one of his best investments.

Mr. Kelly merits more than a passing word.  Before I joined the County
Down I was told he was a "terror," and that I ran foolish risk in leaving
a service like the Glasgow and South-Western for a position in which I
might find it impossible to please.  But fears like that never disturbed
me.  To wrongdoers Mr. Kelly could certainly be "a terror," and
wrongdoers there were, I believe, in the service in the early days of his
chairmanship.  He was a mild-mannered man, tall, rather pale, with
refined features and a low-toned pleasant voice.  But beneath this smooth
and gentle exterior resided great firmness.  He would smile and smile
with wonderful imperturbability and, in the quietest tones and the
blandest way, say severe and cutting things.  Economy was his strong
point and he observed it in his public and private life with meritorious
consistency.  Impervious to cold, as to most other human weaknesses, in
winter or summer he never wore an overcoat.  His smooth face and tall
slight figure seemed as indifferent to the angry elements as bronze or
stone.  By man or Nature I never saw him ruffled or in the least degree
disturbed.  But he had his human side, as all men have, and in time I
discovered it and grew to like him.  He was not at heart so cold as he
seemed.  Though he could not write a page without mis-spelling some of
the words, his letters were always concise and very much to the point.
But it was only in spelling he was deficient.  He spoke well, was a
shrewd judge of men, had a keen sense of humour, a clear perception of
facts, and was quick to detect and discard everything irrelevant.

Lord Pirrie and Mr. Kelly, in connection with the County Down, were hand
and glove, and it was no small part they played in its transformation
from dark and dismal poverty to smiling prosperity.

My assistant was James Pinion, afterwards my successor, and later on
Manager of the Cheshire Lines Committee at Liverpool.  Being a capable
fellow and a hard worker, it was only natural that he felt disappointed
at not being made general manager of the County Down instead of imported
me; but any sign of soreness soon disappeared.  The kindness, the
consideration and the confidence I had received at Mr. Wainwright's
hands, as his assistant, were not forgotten and I felt pleasure in
endeavouring to treat my assistant in the same way.  It was not long
before its effect appeared.  He told me one day that it was a new
experience for him to be so frankly trusted and so freely consulted, but
it made him happier and imparted a greater zest to his work.  Certainly
he served me with enthusiastic zeal and fine loyalty.  Throughout a long
period of railway management I have been most fortunate in securing the
goodwill and ready help of the staff, and in many instances their strong
personal attachment.  There are men no doubt whose natures are proof
against kindness and consideration, but my experience is that they are
few and far between.  I have found also that if one refrains from fault-
finding, gives praise where praise is due, and overlooks small or venial
faults, when reproof becomes necessary, if it be temperately
administered, it is always effective and productive of good.  But even
such reproof may be carried too far as on one occasion I found to my
dismay.  Pinion, one forenoon, came into my room to tell me he had
discovered that the man in charge of the cloak room was guilty of
peculation; had been tampering with the tickets, and appropriating small
sums.  I sent for him, talked to him very severely, sent him home, and
told him he should hear what would be done.  An hour later, I heard he
was _dead_: that on his way to his home he had purchased a bottle of
laudanum and swallowed the contents!

In Scotland a railway manager was rarely worried by outside interference
in the management of his men.  Well intentioned people either credited
him with the possession of good sense and decent feeling, or, themselves
resentful of any inter-meddling in their own affairs, refrained from
meddling in his.  But it was different I found in Ireland, even in
Belfast where Scottish traditions and Scottish ways were not unknown.
Exceeding good nature, I suppose, is largely accountable for the
readiness with which people in the sister isle espouse, often with little
consideration, the cause of any railway employee who has or fancies he
has a grievance.  A rather ridiculous instance of this occurred soon
after my installation at the County Down.  One of my first duties was to
examine the line and the employees at each station.  At one small station
I found in charge a station master in poor health and well advanced in
years--in fact quite beyond his work.  I learned that he possessed a
small property in land and was quite willing to retire if given a few
weeks in which to make his arrangements.  This, of course, I gladly
granted as well as a little parting gratuity.  He was well pleased, and
wrote me to that effect.  But, to my astonishment, not many days passed
before a long and numerously signed Memorial to the Board arrived
beseeching the Directors to stay the hand of their General Manager in his
harsh and unfeeling treatment of a faithful old servant.  He was indeed a
faithful old servant; but he was quite ignorant of any memorial on his
behalf having been sent to the Directors.  Apparently the memorialists
did not consider it necessary to consult him.

To be now my own master, subject only to the control of a reasonable and
businesslike Board of Directors, a Chairman who resided in Dublin,
visiting Belfast once a fortnight only, to have the command of men and
the working of a railway, and to be free to move about the line as I
thought fit, was a pleasure indeed and made Ireland a pleasant place.  I
lived near the city, but on its outskirts, with open country and sea
views around me, occupied a neat little detached house, with a bit of
garden wherein I could dig and cultivate a few roses, where the air was
pure and clear--a refreshing change from the confinement of a flat, four
stairs up, in the crowded environs of smoky Glasgow.


During the first few years of my service on the County Down little
occurred to disturb the even tenor of my way.  In a sense the duties of
my new position were simple.  There were no such things as joint lines,
joint station working, running powers or joint committees, as in England
and Scotland, to distract attention or consume time which could more
usefully be devoted to the affairs of one's own railway.  Gradually I
grew familiar with out-door matters, and duties that seemed strange at
first grew as easy as second nature.  I learned a good deal about
signalling, became an adept in single line working, an expert in engine
running economies, and attained some success in the management of men.

One thing especially gave me pleasure--my monthly visit to the Managers'
Conference at the Irish Railway Clearing House in Dublin.  There I met my
brother managers in the Irish railway world, and learned something of the
other lines.  The leading men at the Conference were Ilbery, Great
Southern and Western; Cotton, Belfast and Northern Counties; Plews and
Shaw, Great Northern; Ward, Midland Great Western; and Skipworth, Manager
in Ireland of the London and North-Western.  Of all the managers who
assembled there I was the youngest, and the greatest personality was
Edward John Cotton.  By common consent, he had acted as Chairman of the
Conference from the year 1864.  No one had ever dreamed of assuming the
position when he was present.  This continued till 1890, when Tom
Robertson came on the scene.  _He_ was all for change and innovation, and
managed to get the principle of formal election to the chairmanship
established.  Many of us thought it was a pity to make the change in
Cotton's time, but Edward John seemed the least concerned of us all, for
nothing ever disturbed his good humour.  Robertson was a veritable
Hotspur and upset for a time the serenity of our meetings.  He was
overcharged with energy, and a bachelor.

It is my belief that had our genial Cotton chosen the stage for a
profession he would have found a place among the distinguished actors of
his time, if not in tragedy, certainly in comedy.  His face, voice,
manner and style all proclaimed it.  You had only to hear him read in
public, which he loved to do, see how natural his dramatic action was,
and feel the effect of a mere wave of his hand through his abundant hair,
to be convinced of this.  In railway circles throughout England, Scotland
and Ireland he was widely known.  He attended all railway conferences for
he loved movement and travel.  Shrewd and well-informed, his knowledge
was acquired not from books or study but from close observation of
passing events and free and friendly intercourse with all whom he met.
His railway was very popular and he and it were held in high esteem.
Easily accessible to all, courteous and reasonable ever, he was in many
respects a model railway manager.  His success lay not so much in the
work he performed himself as in obtaining the best results from those
around him, and the capacity to accomplish this is certainly one of the
most useful qualities a railway manager, or any man in a position of
authority, can possess.  It is not too much to say that his staff loved
him; certainly they all admired him.  He was the readiest man I ever met
to generously acknowledge the worth of those who served him, and whenever
possible he took occasion to do so in public.

[Edward John Cotton: cotton.jpg]

I have spoken previously of the _beaux_ I knew in the higher ranks of the
railway service but, strange to say, omitted to mention Edward John who,
in some respects outshone all others.  His coat may not have been cut by
a west-end tailor, his hat may not have been a Lincoln Bennett, or his
necktie the latest production of Burlington Arcade, but who could wear a
tall white hat with a black band, with the least little rakish tilt, and
a light grey frock coat with a rose in the buttonhole, with such an air
and grace as he?  He appreciated keenly all the good things that life can
give and loved his fellow men.  _Pax vobiscum_, kind, warm-hearted Edward
John!  You were an ornament to the railway world and always my friend.

It was Cotton and his Chairman, the Right Hon. John Young, who put in my
way my first arbitration case, to which I have in a previous chapter
alluded.  This, as far as I remember, occurred in 1886.  A dispute had
arisen between the Northern Counties Company and a small railway company
whose line they worked, concerning, I think, the payment for and use of
some sidings.  I conducted the proceedings of course with the greatest of
care, attended, perhaps, with a little trepidation, summoned every
possible witness to appear before me, and visited in state the _locus_.
Edward John was, I think, a little amused.  Much older than I he had long
since passed through these youthful phases.  I issued my award, with the
usual result that while each party was fairly well pleased neither was
altogether satisfied.  I was proud of my _debut_ as an arbitrator,
especially as it was rewarded by, what seemed to me then, a very handsome

In January, 1886, an incident that is worth narrating occurred.  In my
office a new junior clerk was required.  An advertisement in the
newspapers produced a large number of applications, and about a dozen of
the applicants were selected to be seen, one after the other, by Pinion
and myself.  Before lunch one day we interviewed half a dozen or so.
Returning together from lunching in the city, as we neared the station,
Pinion drew my attention to a youth who was evidently making for the
railway premises.  Said I to Pinion: "If that youth is one of the
candidates, I'll be surprised if he's not the boy for us."  It was only a
back view we had of him, but he held himself so well, walked so briskly,
looked so neat, smart, and businesslike that he arrested attention.  That
boy, Charles A. Moore, then fresh from school and just fifteen, is now
general manager of the railway!

It was in 1886, too, that I first met Walter Bailey, between whom and
myself a friendship sprung up which grew in depth and sincerity as time
went on, lasted for thirty years, and was only terminated by his lamented
death in January, 1917.  The friendship thus formed yielded much pleasure
and happiness to me and, I think I may safely say, also to my departed
friend.  Bailey, who was about my own age, came to Ireland from the South-
Eastern Railway, soon after my settlement in Belfast, to fill the
position of Accountant to the Belfast and Northern Counties Railway.  Two
young Englishmen, landed in Ireland, engaged in the same sort of
business, in the same city, would naturally gravitate towards each other
but, more than this, what made us such intimate friends were, tastes in
common, similarity of views, especially concerning railway affairs, a
mutual liking for literary matters, and--well, other less definable
things that form the foundation of all true friendships.  Throughout our
long intimacy we often took counsel together on subjects of mutual
interest, but it was I who sought his advice and help much oftener than
he sought mine, for he was cleverer than I.  Indeed in the whole railway
world I never met an intellect so quick, or so clear and luminous as his.

Bailey was the most unselfish man I ever knew; the readiest to help
others.  His pen, his remarkable stores of knowledge, and his spare time
too, were always at the service, not only of his friends, but often of
those who were scarcely more than mere acquaintances.  The amount of work
which he cheerfully imposed upon himself in this way was astounding and
never was it done grudgingly or half-heartedly, but always promptly and
generously.  It afforded him a pleasure that only one endowed as he could
feel.  This part of him was often the subject of talk with those of us
who knew him well.  But what charmed _me_ most, more even than his
brilliant mental gifts, were the sweetness of his disposition and his
quaintly quizzical and happy humour.  Ambition was not strong in him, was
in fact all but absent, and he often rallied me on mine.  He never in all
his life asked for any improvement in salary or position; but, in spite
of his inveterate modesty, rose high, became Chief Accountant of the
Midland Railway of England and, I should say, the leading railway
accountant in the United Kingdom.  On railway matters he was a writer of
great skill, and all he wrote was enlivened with the happiest humour.  To
the _Railway News_ he was a valued contributor, and in railway polemics a

[Walter Bailey: bailey.jpg]

The Director on the County Down with whom I became most intimate was the
Right Honourable (then Mr.) Thomas Andrews.  He was brother to Judge
Andrews; brother-in-law of Lord Pirrie; became Chairman of the Company;
was made a Privy Councillor; a Deputy Lieutenant of Down; High Sheriff of
that County and President of this and that, for he was a man of ability
and character, but simple in mind and manners as the best men mostly are.
Eloquent in speech, warm-hearted and impulsive, he found it difficult to
resist a joke, even at the expense of his friend.  In April, 1890, he
wrote me: "I hope you were not at all annoyed at my pleasantries to Mr.
Pinion.  I am not exactly one of those men who would rather lose a friend
than a joke, but I find it hard to resist a joke when a good opportunity
presents itself.  I am bound to say that I would be sorry to annoy you,
by a jest or in any other way."  His temper was lively but though quickly
roused soon subsided, and he never harboured resentment.  At the
conclusion of the very first Board meeting I attended as general manager
at the County Down, he followed me into my room, complimented me on the
way I had discussed the business of the day, and added: "I'm sure you'll
be successful in Ireland for you have the _suaviter in modo_ combined
with the _fortiter in re_."  It was a pretty compliment, and sincere I
knew, for no one could meet him without recognising his frank outspoken
nature.  On the threshold of my new work such encouragement greatly
cheered me and increased my determination to do my best.  Until his
death, not long ago, we often corresponded on railway and other matters,
and he was always my staunch friend.  He had a taste, too, for poetry
which we sometimes discussed.  The _Thomas Andrews_, who went down with
the _Titanic_ in the North Atlantic, on the 14th April, 1912, was his
son, the story of whose short but strenuous life, and its tragic end, is
told in a little book written by Shan F. Bullock.  Sir Horace Plunkett
wrote an introduction to it, in which he says: "He was one of the noblest
Irishmen Ulster has produced in modern times, to whom came the supreme
test in circumstances demanding almost superhuman fortitude and
self-control.  There was not the wild excitement of battle to sustain
him; death had to be faced calmly in order that others--to whom he must
not even bid farewell--might live."  A few minutes before the end, so it
is recorded, on the boat deck of the _Titanic_, the grandest sight of him
was seen, as he stood with wonderful calm, throwing overboard deck chairs
to those who were struggling in the water below.  He had no thought of
himself, but only of duty and of others.  Then came the end: the
_Titanic_, with a low long slanting dive went down and with her Thomas
Andrews.  He was only 39, but had attained the high position of a
Managing Director of the great firm of Harland and Wolff.  I knew him as
a boy, manly, handsome, high-spirited, clever--"the father of the man."
That this terrible tragedy shortened the life of _his_ father is certain.

In 1887, and again in 1888, Bailey and I took our holidays together,
visiting Normandy, Paris, Belgium, Holland and the Rhine, doing a great
deal of walking, which he liked as much as I.  He was the prince of
travelling companions, always gay and sprightly, and spoke French with
great fluency.  His happy disposition, unfailing good humour, and keen
enjoyment of everything, even of the occasional discomforts that arose,
as in travelling discomforts will arise, especially when funds are not
too plentiful, made every hour of our holiday enjoyable.  He had the
happy gift of seeing always the humorous and the best side of things.  He
acted as paymaster on our tours and presented with great regularity
records of our joint expenditure with the neatness and accuracy of the
perfect accountant.  Never a pipe smoker, he had no special interest in
pipes, but to me the happiness of our first holiday was increased by the
colouring of a new meerschaum.  In this delightful art I was a disciple
of Samuel Swarbrick, though I needed not, as he did, the services of
another in the early stages of the colouring process.  Whoever has been
the votary of a meerschaum will understand the pride with which I
frequently displayed my pipe and its deepening colour to Bailey, often to
his great amusement I must admit.  In a hotel in the city of Antwerp,
where we stayed for several days, we occupied adjoining bedrooms having a
communicating door.  One night, towards early morn, but before daylight
had dawned, I was suddenly awakened out of a sound sleep, and to my
astonishment saw Bailey with lighted candle standing by my bedside, with
a serious look on his face.  "Great Scott! what's the matter?" I
exclaimed.  "_My dear boy, I can't sleep; do let me see your pipe_," he
answered.  With such like pleasantries he beguiled the happy times we
spent together.

In these years I had another pleasure: I learned to ride, taking lessons
in horsemanship at a riding school in Belfast.  I soon acquired a firm
seat, and my good friend H. H. (who was a practised horseman, and then
lived in Belfast too) and I had many delightful rides in the beautiful
country around the city.  For many years, so far as opportunity and means
allowed, I indulged myself in this best of all exercises.


Until the autumn of 1888 nothing occurred to disturb the even tenor of my
way, and I pursued in peace my daily work at the County Down.  It was
interesting work and pleasant to become personally acquainted with the
customers of the company, many of whom lived in towns and villages some
distance from the railway, and to gain their good will.  It was
interesting and also satisfactory to gradually establish an improved and
efficient train service and to watch the traffic expand.  It was
exhilarating to engage in lively competition with carriers by road who,
for short distance traffic, keenly competed with the railway.  It was
good to introduce economies and improvements in working, and gratifying
to do what one could to help and satisfy the staff--a thing, I need
scarcely say, much easier to accomplish then than now.

And so the time passed until August, 1888, when the railway world was
deeply moved by the introduction of the _Railway and Canal Traffic Act_.

This Act was the outcome of the Report of the Select Committee of 1881,
before which Mr. James Grierson gave such weighty evidence.  One of the
most important measures Parliament ever passed, it imposed on railway
companies an amount of labour and anxiety, prolonged and severe, such as
I hope they may not have to face again.

The Act, as I have stated before, altered the constitution of the Railway
Commission, and also effected minor alterations in the law relating to
railways and canals, but its main purpose was the revision of Maximum
Rates and Charges.  It ordered each company to prepare a revised
classification of goods and a revised Schedule of Maximum Rates, and
submit them to the Board of Trade, who, after considering objections
lodged against them, were to agree (if they could) with the companies
upon a classification and schedule for adoption; and if they failed, to
determine a classification and schedule themselves.  Public sittings at
Westminster, Edinburgh and Dublin, occupying 85 days, took place, but no
agreement was reached; and in their Report to Parliament the Board of
Trade embodied a Revised Classification and a standard Schedule of
Maximum Rates for general adoption.  The Schedule included Terminals.  In
accordance with the Act, it then became necessary for this Revised
Classification and Schedule to be confirmed by Parliament.  Against them
petitions were lodged by both railways and traders, and the whole matter
was referred to a Joint Committee of both Houses.  This Committee sat in
1891 from April till July; but it was not until January, 1893, that all
was completed and the Revised Classification and the new rates brought
into force.  Little time was afforded to the companies for their part of
the work.  The whole system of rates was changed.  New rates had to be
calculated on the new scale; thousands of rate books had to be compiled,
and millions of rates altered and revised.  It was a colossal task;
impossible of fulfilment in the time allowed.  The application of the new
Schedule forcibly reduced many rates, inflicting much loss upon the
companies, and because the companies advanced other rates (within the
limits of the new maximum powers of course) to meet this loss, or to meet
it to some extent, a storm of abuse arose and swept across the land.  A
trader from Berwick-on-Tweed, more frank than most, wrote the following
"characteristic" letter as it was called at the time:--

"What we want is to have our fish carried at _half_ present rates.  We
don't care a --- whether it pays the railways or not.  Railways ought to
be made to carry for the good of the country, or they should be taken
over by the Government.  That is what all Traders want and mean to try to

Perhaps they would not be happy if they got it!  In his clear, and most
interesting book _Railways and Their Rates_, my friend Edwin A. Pratt
says this letter was quoted in the Report which the Board of Trade made
to Parliament after their 85 days' Inquiry.  The railway companies
announced that the new rates were in no sense final, that the time
allowed them was insufficient for proper revision, that they would give
an assurance that no increase would be made that would interfere with
trade or agriculture or diminish traffic and that, unless under
exceptional circumstances, no increase would in any case exceed 5 per
cent.  But all was in vain, and Parliament passed an Act which provided
that any increase whatever (though within the limits of the new statutory
maximum) if complained of, should be heard and decided upon by the
Railway Commissioners, and that the onus of proving the reasonableness of
the increase should rest on the railway company.  Sir Alexander (then
Mr.) Butterworth, in his book on _The Law Relating to Maximum Rates and
Charges on Railways_, published in 1897, says this remarkable result is
presented: that Parliament, "after probably the most protracted inquiry
ever held in connection with proposed legislation, decided that certain
amounts were to be the charges which railway companies should for the
future be entitled to make, and in 1894 apparently accepted the
suggestion that many of the charges, sanctioned after so much
deliberation, were unreasonable, and enacted that to entitle a company to
demand them, it should not be sufficient that the charge was within any
limit fixed by an Act of Parliament."  Thus Parliament, yielding to
popular clamour, stultified itself, and in feverish haste to placate an
angry and noisy public tied the hands of the railway companies, doing, I
believe, more harm than good.  This legislation naturally made the
companies very cautious in reducing a rate because of the difficulties to
be encountered should circumstances require them to raise it again, and
railway rates thus lost that element of elasticity and adaptability so
essential to the development of trade.  Many a keen and enterprising
business man have I heard lament the restrictions that Parliament imposed
and declare that such interference with the freedom of trade was short-
sighted in the extreme and bad for the country.

Immediately after the passing of the Act of 1888 the railway companies
vigorously attacked the work imposed upon them.  A special meeting on the
subject was held at the Irish Railway Clearing House in Dublin for the
purpose of preparing a revised Classification and Schedule of Rates.  This
was a rare opportunity for me and I eagerly availed myself of it.  Before
I left Glasgow it will be remembered I had been entrusted with an
examination of the statutory charging powers of the Glasgow and South-
Western company, and with the drawing up of a suggested scale of maximum
rates.  No similar work had yet been done in Ireland, and it was
altogether new to the Irish companies.  I produced copies of the
statements which I had prepared in Glasgow, and they served as a basis
for what had to be done, saved much time and trouble and gained for me no
little _kudos_.  But more than this resulted.  As I have hinted before,
and as will hereafter appear, this bit of Glasgow work led to my
promotion to a greater charge than the busy little County Down, which
though I loved it well, I had begun to feel I was now outgrowing.  Many
other meetings at the Clearing House followed in which I took part with
increasing confidence, and in which Walter Bailey also prominently
figured.  He and I were hand and glove.  Cotton, who soon discovered that
Bailey was an authority on the subject, as indeed he was on most railway
matters, was not slow to profit by his knowledge and ability.  He brought
him to all our meetings, and valuable was the help that Bailey gave.

In 1889 there came into operation the _Regulation of Railways Act_.  It
invested the Board of Trade with power to order any company to adopt
block working, to interlock all points and signals, and to use on all
trains carrying passengers automatic continuous brakes.  Before issuing
the order the Board consented to hear any representations which the
railways desired to make.  The smaller companies, upon which the
expenditure involved would press very hardly, and the circumstances of
whose traffic seemed scarcely to require the same elaborate precautions
for safety in working as the bigger and more crowded systems, banded
together and waited on the Board of Trade.  Upon me devolved the duty of
presenting the case for the smaller Irish companies, and upon Conacher,
of the Cambrian, for the smaller English lines.  How finely Conacher
spoke I well remember.  He had an excellent voice, possessed in a high
degree the gift of concise and forcible expression, and his every word
told.  But our eloquence accomplished little--some small modification
regarding mixed trains, and that was all.  Many of the lines in Ireland
serving districts where population is scanty, traffic meagre, and trains
consequently infrequent, could well have been spared the costly outlay
which the Act involved.  Three or four trains each way per day represent
the train service on many of these small railways, and some of the
sections of the larger lines warrant little more.  Take, for instance,
the case of the Midland Great-Western.  On 330 out of its 538 miles not
more than six trains each way in the 24 hours are required, and they
could probably be reduced without hurting anyone.  These figures relate
not to the exceptional war time in which I pen these lines, when stern
necessity has sweepingly reduced the train service, but to pre-war days
when normal conditions prevailed.  Half a dozen trains each way per day!
In England there are as many, or more, in the hour!

The Act of 1889 also dealt with the working hours of railway men whose
duty involved the safety of trains or passengers, and required each
company to make periodical returns of those employed for longer hours
than were to be named from time to time by the Board of Trade; and it
contained further a useful clause to the effect that the fares were in
future to be printed on passenger tickets.  I should not be surprised if
this simple little clause has not brought more real satisfaction to the
minds and hearts of the people of the British Isles than all the laboured
legislation on railway rates and charges.

In the year 1889 a great fillip was given to the extension of railways in
Ireland by the passing of the _Light Railways (Ireland) Act_.  It was
familiarly known as "Balfour's Act."  Mr. Balfour was then Chief
Secretary of Ireland, and it was due to him that it was passed.  The Act
was designed "to facilitate the construction of Light Railways in
Ireland," and embodied various recommendations of the Allport Commission.
It was the first introduction of the principle of State aid by free money
grants.  Such aid was conditional upon the light railway being
constructed or worked by an existing railway company, except in cases
where the Baronies guaranteed dividends upon a portion of the capital.
The amount which the Treasury was authorised to grant was 600,000 pounds.
In 1896 this was increased by a further sum of 500,000 pounds, and both
were, in addition to a capital sum, represented by 40,000 pounds per
annum which had been granted under previous legislation.  Under this Act
and Acts of 1890 and 1896, over 300 miles, comprising 15 separate lines,
were constructed at a total cost, exclusive of what the railway companies
contributed, of 1,849,967 pounds, of which the Government contribution
was 1,553,967 pounds.  Although the lines were promoted under Light
Railway Acts, and the Government grants were based upon light railway
estimates, Parliamentary power was obtained to construct, maintain, and
work them as other than light railways.  This was taken advantage of by
some of the working companies who, in eight instances contributed
themselves a considerable amount of capital, in order that the lines
should be made sound and substantial, of the usual gauge, and such as
could be worked by the ordinary rolling stock of the company.  The
Midland Great-Western, for instance, so expended no less than 352,000
pounds of their capital on "Balfour Lines" in the west.  It was a
spirited thing to do.

Of the 309 miles of "light" railways, made under the 1889 and subsequent
Acts, 194 were constructed on the ordinary gauge of the country, 5 feet 3
inches, and the remainder on a 3-foot gauge.

Several Light Railway or Tramway Acts were passed in Ireland between 1860
and 1883, under which 295 miles of light railways at a cost of 1,389,784
pounds were constructed.  With the exception of the small sum of 144,804
pounds, the interest on the whole of this capital was guaranteed by the
Baronies, the Treasury repaying the Baronies one-half but not to exceed
two per cent.

The lines constructed under "Balfour's Act" are situated mostly in
Connemara, Kerry, Mayo and Donegal, serving districts remote and thinly
populated, where as commercial ventures they could not have been
projected.  That they have proved to be of great benefit to the country
is beyond question.  They have developed fishing and agriculture, and
have brought the tourist into districts little visited before.  Live
stock and farm produce are able to reach their market, and places before
isolated are in touch with the outer world.

One of the first of the railways made under the 1889 Act was a short line
of 8 miles from the County Down line at Downpatrick to the little fishing
village of Ardglass.  It stood first on the list of lines recommended for
construction in the Report of the Allport Commission.  Primarily it was
intended for the development of the herring traffic which for years had
abounded on the coast, but no sooner was the line opened, than that
perverse migratory fish sought other seas, and did not return to Ardglass
for I don't know how long.

The promotion of the Ardglass railway, and the steps necessary for
obtaining an Order in Council for its construction and working,
familiarised me with the Light Railway Legislation of Ireland, with which
in subsequent years I was often concerned.

In the autumn of 1889, in company with Mr. Jackson (afterwards Lord
Allerton), then Secretary of the Treasury, Mr. Andrews and other
directors of the County Down, I visited Ardglass.  Under the new Act the
Treasury, in connection with the projected railway construction, held the
purse strings, and the Treasury, so far as we were concerned, was Mr.
Jackson.  We of the County Down were keen on getting the line sanctioned,
and were very anxious concerning Mr. Jackson's visit.  He was a man who
drove a hard bargain, so it was said.  Certainly he was an able man, and
I greatly admired him that day.  Later in life, when he was Lord
Allerton, and Chairman of the Great Northern Railway of England, I met
him again and liked him well.

In 1889 there were no _light railways_ in Great Britain, or practically
none.  Except in Ireland they are of modern growth.  What really
constitutes a light railway it is not easy to say.  Commonly it is
thought to be a matter of gauge, but that is not so.  Mr. Acworth says:
"such a definition is in the nature of things impossible," but that, "a
light railway must be something simpler and cheaper than an ordinary
railway."  Mr. Cole says that "the natural demand for a definition must
he frankly met with the disappointing reply that a hard and fast
definition, at once concise, exact, and comprehensive is not forthcoming,
and that a partial definition would be completely misleading."  As such
authorities are unable to furnish a definition I shall not attempt it,
and will content myself with suggesting that the most recognisable
feature of a _light_ railway is its _light_ traffic.


Thought not a golfer myself, never having taken to the game in earnest,
or played on more than, perhaps, twenty occasions in my life, I may yet,
I think, in a humble way, venture to claim inclusion amongst the pioneers
of golf in Ireland, where until the year 1881 it was unknown.  In the
autumn of that year the Right Honourable Thomas Sinclair, Dr. Collier, of
"British History" fame, and Mr. G. L. Baillie, a born golfer from
Scotland, all three keen on the game, set themselves in Belfast to the
task of establishing a golf club there.  They succeeded well, and soon
the Belfast Golf Club, to which is now added the prefix _Royal_, was
opened.  The ground selected for the links was the _Kinnegar_ at
Holywood, and on it the first match was played on St. Stephen's Day in
1881.  That was the beginning of golf in Ireland.  Mr. Baillie was the
Secretary of the Club till the end of 1887, when a strong desire to
extend the boundaries of the Royal game in the land of his adoption led
him to resign the position and cast around for pastures new.  Portrush
attracted him, engaged his energies, and on the 12th May, 1888, a course,
which has since grown famous, was opened there.  About this time I made
his acquaintance and suggested Newcastle, the beautiful terminus of the
County Down railway, as another likely place.  On a well remembered day
in December, 1888, he accompanied me there, and together we explored the
ground, and finished up with one of those excellent dinners for which the
lessee of our refreshment rooms and his capable wife (Mr. and Mrs.
Lawrence) were famous, as many a golfer I am sure, recollects.  Mr.
Baillie's practised eye saw at once the splendid possibilities of
Newcastle.  Like myself, he was of an enthusiastic temperament, and we
both rejoiced.  I remembered the shekels that flowed to the coffers of
the Glasgow and South-Western from the Prestwick and Troon Golf Courses
on their line, and visions of enrichment for my little railway rose
before me.  Very soon I induced my directors to adopt the view that the
railway company must encourage and help the project.  This done the
course was clear.  They were not so sanguine as I, but they had not lived
in Scotland nor seen how the Royal game flourished there and how it had
brought prosperity to many a backward place.  Mr. Baillie's energy, with
the company's co-operation to back it, were bound to succeed, and on the
23rd March, 1889, with all the pomp and ceremony suitable to the occasion
(including special trains, and a fine luncheon given by the Directors of
the Company) the Golf links at Newcastle, Co. Down, were formally opened
by the late Lord Annesley.  From that time onward golf in Ireland
advanced by leaps and bounds.  Including Newcastle, there were then in
the whole country, only six clubs and now they number one hundred and
sixty-eight!  The County Down Railway Company's splendid hotel on the
links at Newcastle, with its 140 rooms, and built at a cost of 100,000
pounds, I look upon as the crowning glory of our golfing exploration on
that winter day in 1888.  To construct such a hotel, at such a cost, was
a plucky venture for a railway possessing only 80 miles of line, but the
County Down was always a plucky company, and the Right Honourable Thomas
Andrews, its Chairman, to whom its inception and completion is chiefly
due, was a bold, adventurous and successful man.

Another experience somewhat removed from ordinary railway affairs that
helped to enliven the latter part of my time on the County Down, and
added variety to the work imposed by the Railway and Canal Traffic Act
and the revision of Rates and Charges, was a project in which I became
engaged connected with the Isle of Man.

Joseph Mylchreest was a Manxman, a rough diamond but a man of sterling
worth.  He left home when young and worked first as a ship's carpenter.
An adventurous spirit led him to seek his fortune in various parts of the
world--in the goldfields of California and Australia and in the silver
mines of Peru and Chili.  Later on he went to South Africa, where in the
diamond mines he met with great success and made a large fortune.  His
property there he disposed of to Cecil Rhodes, and it now, I am told,
forms part of the De Beers Consolidated Company's assets.  In the late
eighties he returned to his native island, settled at Peel, and became a
magnate there.

One afternoon early in the year 1889 two gentlemen from the Isle of Man
called upon me at my office.  They were Mr. Mylchreest (the "_Diamond
King_") and a lawyer friend whose name I forget, but I remember they
informed me they were both members of the House of Keys.  Mr. Mylchreest
was anxious to do something to develop the little port of Peel, his
native town, and a steamboat service between Peel and Belfast, Bangor or
Donaghadee, seemed to him and his friends a promising project.  What did
the County Down think?  Would either Bangor or Donaghadee be better than
Belfast?  If so, would my company join in and to what extent?  We had no
power to expend money in steamboat enterprise, but I assured them we
would do all we could to help in other ways, and that Bangor was the port
to select.  My directors heartily approved and other interviews followed.
Once, I had hurriedly to go over to Peel to meet Mr. Mylchreest and his
lawyer, on a certain day, as some hitch had arisen, and by this time I
was desperately keen on getting the steamboat service started.  The only
way of reaching Peel in time was by a collier steamer, belonging to the
East Downshire Coal Co., which plied between Dundrum on the Co. Down
coast, and Whitehaven; the manager of the company was my friend, and
would allow the steamer to drop me at Peel.  It was a memorable crossing,
the weather was _bad_ and so was I.  But my journey was successful, and
soon the Peel and North of Ireland Steamship Company, Limited, in which
the "_Diamond King_" was much the largest shareholder, was established,
and on the 26th June, 1889, the first voyage was made from Peel to
Bangor.  It was a great event for the quiet little town of Peel.  Mr.
Mylchreest had invited all his friends to the inaugural service, in
addition a good number of the public travelled, and the steamer arrived
at Bangor with nearly 300 passengers on board.  On the return voyage from
Bangor to Peel the same evening the "_Diamond King_" gave a great dinner,
champagne and speeches freely flowed, and music and dancing enlivened the
proceedings.  The service prospered for a time, but the traffic did not
reach expectations.  Ultimately it was taken over by the Isle of Man
Steampacket Coy., and after a few years discontinued.

Little more remains to be told of my five and a-half years' sojourn in
the north of Ireland.  They were pleasant and profitable years for mind
and body.  With health improved, experience gained in _practical_ railway
work, knowledge acquired by personal contact with men of all sorts and
conditions, I felt strong and confident, ready for anything, and, like
Micawber, longed for something to turn up.

Early in October, 1890, Walter Bailey and I took our second Continental
holiday together.  We re-visited Paris, but spent most of our three weeks
in a tour through Belgium, finishing up at Brussels.  When we reached
London I received a letter from my friend, W. R. Gill, Secretary of
Bailey's railway, the Belfast and Northern Counties.  It was to tell me
that the position of Manager of the Midland Great Western Railway of
Ireland had become vacant, and suggested that I should return home by way
of Dublin and call upon the chairman of the company, Sir Ralph Cusack, in
regard to the succession.  Now something _had_ turned up, and Bailey
declared I was as good as appointed.  At dinner that night we indulged in
a bottle of sparkling wine--in nothing meaner would my warm-hearted
friend drink success to the prospect that had so unexpectedly opened
before me.

The Midland Great Western was the third largest railway in Ireland, nor,
in the matter of length of line, was there very much between the three.
The Great Southern and Western consisted of 522 miles, the Great Northern
487, and the Midland Great Western 432, nearly seven times as long as the
County Down.  No wonder I felt elated.

How it all came about was in this way.  Skipworth, the London and North-
Western Manager in Ireland, was on very friendly terms with Sir Ralph
Cusack, and Sir Ralph had a high opinion of his judgment.  He consulted
Skipworth about a manager and asked if he knew any railway man in
Ireland, not too old, who would do.  Said Skipworth, "Tatlow of the
County Down.  He has shown up remarkably well at the Clearing House over
this terrible Railway and Canal Traffic Act, and seems to know all about
it."  And so I was appointed, and thus it was that the bit of work in
Glasgow, of which I have spoken more than once, brought me this
substantial promotion.  My friend Gill not long before had left the
service of the Midland Great Western, where he was Assistant Secretary,
to become Secretary of the Belfast and Northern Counties Railway, and
when Sir Ralph wrote to him about me he valiantly backed up Skipworth's
fine recommendation.  Skipworth was himself for several years manager of
the Midland Great Western.  He gave up the post when he joined the London
and North-Western as their Irish Manager.  It is good for a man to have
friends, and I have been fortunate throughout my life in possessing many.

In December, 1890, I left the County Down to enter upon my duties as
manager of the Midland Great Western.  The County Down Directors, at
their Board meeting on the 16th of that month, passed a minute recording
their "high appreciation of the ability with which he" (my humble self)
"has discharged his duties as general manager," adding that "his uniform
courtesy, tact and judgment, added to his strict sense of honour, secured
him the confidence of the Board."  Need I say that I was proud of this
testimonial, and as pleased as proud, because it went on to wish me
success in my new duties, where I would "have a wider field for the
exercise of my talents," and begged my "acceptance of a cheque as a mark
of regard."  This was better than the _walking stick_ with which a
certain railway officer, who was not too popular with his staff, was, it
is said, presented by them, when he left for a bigger post on another


I had now completed one half of my active railway life; reached the age
of 39; and, no longer a rolling stone, was settled in the service of a
company with which I was destined to remain for the rest of my railway
career.  That my aspirations were satisfied I do not pretend, for
ambition forbade any settled feeling of rest or content.  Happily, my
nature inclined to the sunny side and disappointments never spoiled my
enjoyment of life or marred the pleasure I found in my daily work.  My
friend, Edward John Cotton, who, like myself, was an imported Englishman,
had, like me, indulged in dreams of going back to England to fill some
great railway post, but he had reached his sixties and his dreams were
over.  Often, when we talked familiarly together, he would say: "Joseph,
if you aspire to be a general manager in England you ought never to have
come to Ireland.  They don't think much on the other side of Irish
railways or Irish railway men."  This, I daresay, was true, though he,
well known, liked and admired as he was, ought to have been considered an
exception, and why no British railway company, when posts were going,
ever snapped him up is hard to say.  Later on, even I, once or twice
narrowly escaped obtaining a good thing on the English side of the
Channel, but it never _quite_ came off, and so I was left to make myself
as happy as I could in Ireland.

Perhaps it was as well.  Railway life in Ireland, though not highly
remunerated, had its compensations as most situations in life have.  There
the pressure of work was less constant and severe than in England.  A
railway manager was not confined to crowded cities, and enjoyed more
breathing space.  When he travelled on his line he came in contact with
bucolic interests instead of the whirring wheels of trade.  Time moved
more slowly, greater leisure prevailed, the climate was softer, the
country greener, manners easier, and more wit and humour abounded.  Yes,
on the whole, I was more fortunate than had my ambitious hopes been
realised to the full.  At least I think so now; and, as Hamlet says,
"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."

One immediate advantage I gained by entering the Midland Great Western
service.  Until then I had no chance of joining a superannuation fund.
The Glasgow and South-Western had none, neither had the County Down; but
the Midland Great Western was a party to the Clearing House
Superannuation Corporation, and of it I became a member.

The Midland Great Western, as I have said, is the third largest railway
in Ireland.  It stretches from the Liffey to the Atlantic, serves the
plains of Meath, the wilds of Connaught, and traverses large expanses of
bog.  Galway, Sligo, Westport, Athlone and Mullingar are the principal
towns on its system.

When I became its manager, Sir Ralph Cusack had been chairman of the
railway for nearly a quarter of a century and was in his sixty-ninth
year.  He attended daily in his office, devoting much time to the
company's affairs.  Although my position was not all I could have wished
in the matter of that wide authority I coveted, and which, in my humble
opinion, every railway manager should possess, it was in many respects
very satisfactory, and every lot in life has its crumpled rose leaf.  Sir
Ralph regarded me as an _expert_, which, notwithstanding all his long
experience as chairman, he did not himself pretend to be, and _railway
experts_ he held in high esteem.  He supported me consistently,
permitting no one but himself to interfere with anything I thought it
right to do.  I did not, to be sure, always get my own way, but I
accomplished much, and, what I cared for most, was able to do good work
for the company.  Enthusiasm for one's work is a splendid thing, and so
is loyalty to one's employers.  I make no boast of possessing these, for
they were common property; they permeated the railway service and
inspired the youngest clerk as well as his chief.  Sometimes in these
latter days I imagine such things are changed, though I would like to
think it is only an old man's fancy, as it was in the case of the dear
old Dubliner, who in his time had been a beaux and had reached his
eightieth year.  One sunny forenoon when airing himself in a fashionable
street of the city, he was met by another old crony, who accosted him

   "Well, old friend, how are you this morning?"

   "Oh, very well, thanks, quite well, only--" he responded.

   "Only what?" asked his friend.

   "Only the pavements are harder and the girls are not so pretty as they
   used to be," he replied with a whimsical look of regret in his face
   and a twinkle in his still bright eye.

Sir Ralph was a man of striking appearance, tall and imposing in figure.
His head was massive and fine.  His full beard was snowy white, as white
as his abundant hair which was of a beautifully soft silky texture, with
a sheen like satin.  His voice was low and at times not very distinct.
This was disappointing as his conversation was always interesting, not
only for its intrinsic value, but also by reason of his charmingly varied
and copious vocabulary, and his perfectly balanced phrases.  Naturally
and without the least effort the aptest words sprang to his lips in
perfect order and sequence.  His letters, too, were always exceedingly
well expressed.  He wrote a neat, sloping, rather flowing and somewhat
old-fashioned hand, which greatly resembled the writing of Beau Brummell,
and, like the illustrious Beau's, his numerals, which is rare nowadays,
were very clearly and very beautifully formed.  The Prince of Beaux was
fastidious in his penmanship as in everything else.  Sir Ralph's half-
yearly speeches to the shareholders, though delivered extempore, were
models of perspicuity.  He used the scantiest notes, mere headings of
subjects, and a few scraps of paper containing figures which he usually
remembered without their aid.  Of his memory he was proud.  One day, at a
meeting of the Board, after recalling particulars of some old transaction
which no one else could in the least recollect, he turned to me and said:
"Well, Tatlow, you see I sometimes remember something."  I rejoined:
"Well, Sir Ralph, my only complaint is that you never forget anything."
The little compliment pleased him.  Never in his whole life, he said, had
he written out a speech, and hoped he never would, but he lived to do so
once.  As he advanced in years his voice grew weaker, and on the last
occasion on which he presided at a meeting of shareholders, he wrote his
speech, or partly wrote it and, at his request, I read it to the meeting.
Reported verbatim his addresses read as though they had been composed and
written with the utmost care, so precise and correct was the language and
so consecutive the matter.  Though few could hope to do so well as he, I
have always thought that in addressing shareholders, railway chairmen
might trust less to formally prepared speeches and more to their powers
of extemporaneous exposition.  Some chairmen do this I know, but others
still read from manuscript.  However able the matter, the reading, in my
judgment, is much less effective than the spontaneous expression of the
speaker.  The atmosphere created by the meeting, often a valuable
adjunct, cannot be taken advantage of when the speech is read, nor can
the chance of improvising a telling point, of enforcing an argument, or
of seizing a passing mood of the audience or some fleeting incident of
the moment.

Sir Ralph was made a Director of the Midland Great Western Company in
1864, and a year later was elected chairman, a position he occupied for
the long period of 39 years.  In 1864 the railway was in a very bad
condition, wretchedly run down, and woefully mismanaged.  Indeed,
according to an official report at the time, worse than mismanagement
existed.  It was stated: "There were grave charges of official corruption
which necessitated the retirement of one of the leading officers from the
company's service."  This was very exceptional in railway history, for
British and Irish railways possess a record that has rarely been sullied.
In my long career I only remember two other instances--one, the famous
_Redpath_ fraud (a name not inappropriate for one whose destiny it was to
tread a road that led to his ruin) on the Great Northern in 1856, which
Sir Henry (then Mr.) Oakley greatly assisted in discovering, and which, I
believe, led to his first substantial advancement; the other on the
Belfast and Northern Counties in 1886.  This was in Edward John Cotton's
time, but it would be superfluous to say that _he_ was clear of blame for
he was integrity itself.  That the occurrence could have happened during
his management distressed him greatly I know.

[Sir Ralph Cusack: cusack.jpg]

When he was elected to the office of Chairman, Sir Ralph, it is said,
accepted the position on the understanding that he should have autocratic
power.  In the task he undertook this was very likely desirable, and once
acquired he was not the man to let such power slip from his grasp.  His
strong hands would firmly retain whatever they wished to hold.

In 1865 no less than 15 directors _adorned_ the Midland Great Western
Board, twice too many no doubt the chairman thought for a railway of 344
miles.  In 1867 they were reduced to 8; in 1877 to 7; since when they
have never numbered more.  During the long period of Sir Ralph's
occupancy of the chair no deputy chairman existed.  The chairman reigned
alone.  That he was an _autocratic_ chairman, his brother directors, were
they now living, would I am sure attest.  But though a strong, it was a
beneficent sway that he exercised.  He could be hard at times, but his
nature was essentially kind and generous and his friendships numerous and
lasting.  He prided himself on his knowledge of the railway staff, down
to the humblest member.  He had strong likes and dislikes, and those who
came under his displeasure had sometimes cause to fear him; but they were
amongst the few, and the many remember him with nothing but the kindest
feelings.  To me he was always a warm and sincere friend, and between us
existed, without interruption, the greatest frankness and confidence.

How wonderfully adaptable a creature is man.  I had not been a fortnight
in my new position when I felt myself quite at home, as though Dublin and
the West of Ireland had been my natural habitat.  Belfast and the County
Down receded into the past; and shall I confess it? much as I had liked
the north, much as I admired the industry, manliness and energy of its
people, much as I had enjoyed my life there, and highly as I esteemed the
friends I had made, something I found in my new surroundings--easier
manners, more of gaiety, and an admixture of pleasure with work--that
added to life a charm I had hitherto missed, not only in the North of
Ireland but in Glasgow and Derby as well.

The Secretary of the Midland Great Western Railway, George William
Greene, and Martin Atock, the locomotive engineer, were good fellows, and
warm friends of each other.  I became and remained the sincere friend of
both until death took them hence.  My principal assistant, called
_Assistant Manager_, was John P. Hornsby, now in his 85th year and living
in New Zealand.  Robert Morrison, whom I stole for his good sense, manly
worth, and excellent railway ability, from the Belfast and Northern
Counties in October, 1891, succeeded Hornsby as my assistant.  Afterwards
he became goods manager at the time Thomas Elliot was appointed
superintendent of the line, two appointments which relieved me of much
detailed work.

"The battle of Newcomen Junction" was raging at the time I joined the
"Midland," as for shortness we dubbed the Midland Great Western and
which, for the same reason, I shall continue to dub it, as convenience
may require, during the continuance of my story.  If I have occasion to
again speak of my _alma mater_, the Midland of England, it shall, for the
sake of clearness, be so designated.  "The battle of Newcomen Junction."
What of it?  In railway circles, not only in Ireland but in England and
Scotland too, it caused some talk at the time and no little amusement.
Like many another conflict, 'twere better it had never been fought, for
it left for long afterwards angry feelings where peace and amity should
have existed, and it gained nothing that discussion and compromise could
not have effected.  The City of Dublin Junction Railway, a small line, a
little over a mile in length (worked by the Dublin and South-Eastern
Company) was formed to link up the Dublin railways and to provide through
routes in connection with the Holyhead and Kingstown Royal Mail steamers
and the steamers of the London and North-Western Company.  A junction was
authorised to be made at Newcomen with the Midland Great Western system.
Parliament had sanctioned a junction, but not such a junction, the
Midland said, as it was proposed to make.  It would be unsafe and
unworkable they contended, and they refused to allow it.  The promoters
insisted, the Midland were obdurate; the promoters invaded the Midland
premises, knocked down a wall and entered on Midland land; the Midland
gathered their forces, drove back the attacking party, and restored the
wall; again the attack was made and repulsed and again the wall was
demolished and re-built, and so the warfare continued, until at length an
armistice was declared and the _casus belli_ referred for settlement to
the Railway Commissioners.  Soon I had to prepare the Midland case for
the Commissioners' Court and give evidence before them.  They decided
against us and I am sure they were right, though of course I swore, as I
was bound to do, that our opposition to the junction was natural and
proper and our opponents were an unreasonable set of people.  The Railway
Commissioners sat in Dublin to hear the case; it was my first appearance
before them, and I was sorry that appearance was not in a better cause.

My first few years in Dublin were as busy as could be.  Much was astir in
the Irish railway world and particularly on the Midland, which had their
share (a larger share than the other companies) of the "Balfour"
extension lines in hand.  The proceedings under the _Railway and Canal
Traffic Act_ were also in full swing, involving frequent meetings at the
Irish Clearing House, and many journeys to London.  Hard upon all this
came the work of preparing for a Parliamentary fight.  This I thought a
joyful thing, and I was eager for the fray.  I had helped to prepare my
old chief, Mr. Wainwright, for such contests but had never been in one
myself, had never even been inside a committee room.  In 1891 the Midland
gave public notice of their intention to acquire by Act of Parliament the
Athenry and Ennis Railway, and lodged a Bill for the purpose, which was
vigorously opposed.  It was with great zest that I made my preparations,
arranged for witnesses, drafted briefs, consulted with lawyers and
counsel, and compiled my evidence, not neglecting the important matter of
visiting the district served by the railway we sought to acquire, making
friends and working up local feeling in our favour.  How the Bill
proceeded, and what was its fate, will be set forth in another chapter.

Very soon after I settled in Dublin I was able to carry out a long
cherished wish.  Ever since I first arrived in Ireland I had hoped to be
able to establish an Irish branch of the Railway Benevolent Institution,
such as Mr. Wainwright and I had succeeded in forming in Scotland in the
year 1880, but whilst I remained in Belfast my efforts were of no avail.
When, however, I moved to Dublin and became manager of one of the
principal railways, the difficulties disappeared, and _The History of the
Railway Benevolent Institution, its Rise and Progress from 1858 to 1897_,
by _Mr. W. F. Mills_, its late Secretary, contains the following:--

   "In February, 1891, Mr. Joseph Tatlow proposed to establish a
   Committee in Ireland, where supporters were few and far between, and
   in the report presented at the annual meeting in June, it was stated
   that 'The Board have great pleasure in announcing the appointment of a
   Committee in Dublin, presided over by Mr. Tatlow, the manager of the
   Midland Great-Western, and the founder of the successful Branch in

Edward John Cotton warmly seconded my efforts, for his heart was in the
work, and he was proud of telling us that he was one of the few surviving
members of the first Board of Management of the parent Institution, which
had its first meeting in London in May, 1858.  He was then the
newly-appointed manager of the Belfast and Northern Counties Railway, and
was only twenty-eight years of age.  The Irish Branch, like the Scotch,
has been a great success.  Its Committee of Management consists of the
principal officers of the Irish railways, and they have brought home to
the rank and file of the railway service a knowledge of the society and
the solid benefits that membership confers.  Year by year the membership
has increased, and year by year the number of old and needy railway
servants, and their widows, who have been pensioned from the funds, and
the orphans who have been clothed, educated and maintained, have grown
greater and greater.  The Irish railway companies, the directors, the
officers, and the public in Ireland, generously contribute to the funds
of the institution.  I filled the office of chairman of the Irish branch
for 21 years, until in fact I retired from active railway work, since
when the chairmanship has been an annual honour conferred upon the
chairman for the year of the Irish Railway Managers' Conference.  To
quote again from Mr. Mills' book on the Institution:--

   "Mr. Joseph Tatlow, at the Dinner in aid of the Institution held in
   Dublin on October 23rd, 1902, said: 'It is now 30 years since I first
   became a collector for this Institution, and when I look back on the
   past, if there is one matter in my life which contains no grain of
   regret, it is my connection with the Institution, as in regard to it I
   can feel nothing but honest pride and gratification.'"

I am still a member of the Irish Committee, as well as of the London
Board of Management, and those words, spoken sixteen years ago, express
my feelings to-day.

Whilst writing the final words of this chapter the news reaches me of the
death of Mr. Mills, at the fine old age of eighty-seven.  He had a long
and useful life, and the railway service owes him much.  He it was whose
zeal and enthusiasm firmly established the Railway Benevolent as a great
institution.  When, in 1861, he became its secretary, the income was only
1,500 pounds, and on his retirement in 1897, at the age of sixty-five, it
had grown to 53,000 pounds.  His mantle fell upon his son, Mr. A. E.
Mills, who inherits his father's enthusiasm and carries on the good work
with great success, as attested by the fact that for the year 1917 the
income reached 106,000 pounds.  The invested funds of the society to-day
amount to upwards of a million, and in 1897 they were 476,000 pounds.

Mr. Mills senior I knew for forty years; and I often thought that, search
the world over, it would be hard to find his equal for the work to which
his life was devoted, and for which his talents were so specially


A few days before the battle of Waterloo, during the journey to Brussels,
partly by canal and partly by road, of Amelia and her party, Mrs. Major
O'Dowd said to Jos Sedley: "Talk about kenal boats, my dear!  Ye should
see the kenal boats between Dublin and Ballinasloe.  It's there the rapid
travelling is; and the beautiful cattle."  "The rapid travelling" was by
what was called the _fly boat_, which was towed by three horses at a jog
trot, and as to cattle, the good-humoured eccentric lady, who Thackeray
tells us came from County Kildare, was thinking perhaps of the great
Ballinasloe Fair where cattle and sheep assemble in greater numbers, I
believe, than at any other live stock fair in the United Kingdom.

On the first Monday in October, 1891, to a special train of empty
carriages run by the Midland from Dublin for the purposes of this fair, a
vehicle, called the directors' saloon was attached, and in it the
chairman of the company, most of the directors and the principal officers
travelled to Ballinasloe, there to remain until the conclusion of the
fair at the end of the week.  It was my first introduction to

[William Dargan: dargan.jpg]

This saloon merits a word or two.  It was built in the year 1844, was
originally the property of William Dargan, the well-known contractor and
the promoter of the Dublin Exhibition of 1853, whose statue adorns the
grounds that front the Irish National Gallery.  Dargan made the Midland
railway from Athlone to Galway, completed the work before the specified
contract time (in itself a matter worthy of note), and on its completion
in 1851, presented this saloon carriage to the company, which also, I
think, deserves to be recorded.  Thus, in 1891, it was nearly 50 years'
old and was handsome still.  The panels were modelled on the old stage
coach design, and a great bow window adorned each end.  In the seventies
and eighties it enjoyed the distinction of being the favourite carriage,
on the Midland, of the Empress of Austria in her hunting days in Meath.
This fine old carriage, now in its 75th year, does good work still.  It
has had a new under frame, its roof has been raised, and it looks good
for another quarter of a century.  Perhaps, granting an originally sound
constitution, its longevity is largely due to the regular life it has
led, never having been overworked, and having enjoyed many periods of

Ballinasloe fair has two specially big days--Tuesday and Friday--the
former devoted to the sale of sheep and the latter to cattle, though in
fact its commerce in cattle, sheep, horses, pigs, calves, rams and goats,
not to mention donkeys and mules, goes on more or less briskly throughout
the whole week, Saturday being remnant day when jobbers pick up bargains.
In 1891 the fair was not, and is not now, what it once was, which recalls
the answer a witty editor of _Punch_ once made to a friend.  Said the
said friend: "My dear fellow, _Punch_ is not so good as it used to be."
"No, it never was," came the quick rejoinder.  But of Ballinasloe fair I
cannot say it never was, for a hundred years ago, in Peggy O'Dowd's time,
in the west of Ireland it was the great event of the year, not only for
the sale of flocks and herds, but also for social gatherings, fun and
frolic, so at least I am told by the oldest inhabitant.  An older account
still, says these fairs were a time for games and races, pleasure and
amusement, and eating and feasting, whilst another record describes them
as places "where there were food and precious raiment, downs and quilts,
ale and flesh meat, chessmen and chess boards, horses and chariots,
greyhounds, and playthings besides."  It is curious that dancing is not
mentioned, but dancing in the olden days in Ireland was not, I believe,
much indulged in.  Eighty years ago over 80,000 sheep entered the fair,
and 20,000 cattle.

Arrived at Ballinasloe we established ourselves in quarters that were
part of the original station premises.  These consisted of a good sized
dining-room, six bedrooms, and an office for the manager and his clerk.
The walls and ceilings of the rooms were sheeted with pitch pine and
varnished.  They were very plainly furnished, the only thing in the way
of decoration being a production in watercolour representing a fair green
crowded with herds of cattle and flocks of sheep, and adorned with sundry
pastoral and agricultural emblems, from the brush of my friend _Cynicus_.
This I framed and hung in the dining-room.  As it had columns for
recording statistics of the fair for a period of years, it was
instructive as well as ornamental.  Three of the bedrooms were on the
ground floor and were small apartments.  The upstair rooms were much
larger, were situated in the roof, and were lit by skylight windows which
commanded a limited view of the firmament above but none whatever of the
green earth below.  These upper rooms were reached by an almost
perpendicular staircase surmounted by a trap door, a mode of access
convenient enough for the young and active, but not suitable for those of
us who had passed their meridian.  Two of these rooms were double-bedded
and all three led into each other.  In the innermost, Atock, our
locomotive engineer, and I chummed together.  He had slept there for many
years, with two previous managers, and, in Robinson Crusoe fashion, had
recorded the years by notches in a beam of the ceiling.  The notches for
him then counted twenty-three years, and number one he notched for me.
Every morning an old jackdaw perched on a chimney outside our skylight,
and entertained us with his chatter.  Atock said the old bird had perched
there during all his time; and as long as I visited Ballinasloe--a period
of nearly twenty years, he regularly reappeared.

To be able once a year to entertain friends and customers of the company
was one of the reasons, probably the main reason, why the directors
passed the fair week at Ballinasloe.  Their hospitality was not limited
to invitations to dinner, for guests were welcomed, without special
invitation, to breakfast and lunch and light refreshments during the day.
It was an arrangement which gave pleasure to both hosts and guests, and
was not without advantage to the company.  A good dinner solves many a
difficulty, whilst the post-prandial cigar and a glass of grog, like
faith, removes mountains.  One who, in the last century, became a great
English statesman (Lord John Russell) when twenty years of age was in
Spain.  The Duc d'Infantado was President of the Spanish Ministry at the
time.  The Duke of Wellington was there too, and great banquets were
being given.  The _Duc_ had more than once visited Lord John's home and
enjoyed its hospitality, but he neglected to invite Lord John to any of
his banquets; and this is the cutting comment which the youthful future
statesman recorded in his diary: "The Infantado, notwithstanding the
champagne and burgundy he got at Woburn, has not asked me.  Shabby
fellow!  It is clear he is unfit for the government of a great kingdom."

[The Dargan Saloon: saloon.jpg]

In the creature comforts provided at Ballinasloe the working staff was
not forgotten.  Adjacent to the station was a large room in which meals
were provided for the men, and another large room was furnished as a
dormitory.  Two long sleeping carriages had also been built for the
accommodation of drivers, guards and firemen, which were used also for
other fairs as well as that of Ballinasloe.

Ballinasloe was new to me, and I felt not a little anxious concerning the
working of the fair traffic, which I knew was no child's play, and which
I was told was often attended with serious delays.  Early on Tuesday
morning I was awakened, long before daylight, by the whistling of
engines, the shunting of wagons and the shouting of men.  My friend Atock
and I rose early, went along to the loading banks where we found the work
in full swing and one special train loaded with sheep ready to start.  The
entraining of sheep, not so difficult or so noisy a business as the
loading of cattle, is attended with much less beating of the animals and
with fewer curses; but there was noise enough, and I can, in fancy, hear
it ringing in my ears now.  Throughout the day I was besieged by
grumbling and discontented customers: want of wagons, unfair
distribution, favouritism, delays, were the burden of their complaints,
and I had to admit that in the working of the Ballinasloe fair traffic
all was not perfect.  The rolling stock was insufficient; trains after a
journey to Meath or Dublin with stock had to return to Ballinasloe to be
loaded again, which was productive of much delay; and what added to the
trouble was that everyone seemed to have a hand in the management of the
business.  It gave me much to think about.  Before the next year's fair I
had the whole arrangements well thrashed out, and when the eventful week
arrived, placed the working of the traffic under the sole control of my
principal outside men, with excellent results.  In the course of a year
or two the directors opened the purse strings and considerably increased
the engine and wagon stock of the company which helped further, and by
that time I had in charge an official, of whose energy and ability it is
impossible to speak too highly, Thomas Elliott, then a promising young
assistant, now the competent Traffic Manager of the railway.  Under his
management the work at Ballinasloe has for many years been conducted with
clock-work regularity.

In 1891 there were 25,000 sheep at the fair, 10,000 cattle and 1,500
horses, and the company ran 43 special trains loaded with stock.  The
sheep fair is held in Garbally Park, on the estate of Lord Clancarty, and
the counting of the sheep through a certain narrow _gap_, and the
rapidity and accuracy with which it is done, is a sight to witness.

The hospitality part of the business was attended with the success it
deserved, and helped to smooth the difficulties of the situation.  I
remember well our dinner on the Tuesday night.  On the Monday we dined
alone, directors and officers only, but on Tuesday the week's hospitality
began.  That night our table was graced with five or six guests, one
being Robert Martin, of Ross, a famous wit and _raconteur_, and the
author of _Killaloe_.  It was a delightful party, for your Galway
gentleman is a genial fellow, who likes a good dinner, and a good story
which he tells to perfection.  Sir Ralph never took the head of the
table, liking best a less prominent seat; but his seat, wherever he chose
to sit, always seemed to be to the central place.  Never lacking natural
dignity, he was not punctilious in mere matters of form.  Secure in his
authority, to its outward semblance he was rather indifferent.  Another
delightful guest was Sir George (then Mr.) Morris, brother of the late
Lord Morris, the distinguished judge.  Until a few months previously, Mr.
Morris had been a director of the company, but had resigned upon his
appointment to the position of Vice-President of the Irish Local
Government Board.  He, too, was a Galway man, big, handsome, with a fine
flowing beard, a fund of humour, and the most genial disposition
imaginable.  His anecdotes were ever welcome, and the smallest incident,
embellished by his wit and fancy, and told in his rich brogue, which he
loved, were always sufficient to adorn a tale.  He was rare company, and
though, perhaps, he could not, like Swift, have written eloquently on a
broomstick, he could always talk delightfully on any subject he chose.

Whilst Sir Ralph remained chairman of the company, which he did until the
year 1904, the directors annual stay at Ballinasloe and its attendant
hospitality continued.  He was not likely to give up a good old custom.
But time inevitably brings changes; for some years now the old
hospitality has ceased, the rooms at Ballinasloe are turned into house
accommodation for one or two of the staff, and the great fair is worked
with no more ado than a hundred other fairs on the line.  Not many
complaints are made now, for delays and disappointments are things of the
past.  Yet, I dare say there are some who, still attending the fair, look
back with regret on the disappearance of the good old days.

Ballinasloe station is on the main line to Galway, 34 miles distant from
the "City of the Tribes."  Galway is the principal western terminus of
the Midland railway.  It was once a famous city, but its glory has gone.
In 1831 its population was 33,000; to-day it is 13,000!  Then, measured
by inhabitants, it was the fifth town in Ireland; now it is the eighth.
Then it had a large trade with Spain and France, and was a place of note
for general trade and commerce; now its harbour is almost idle, and its
warehouses and stores nearly empty.  Many of its stately old houses have
disappeared, and those that remain are mostly now tenements of the poor.
Not so very long ago Galway had a trans-Atlantic steamship service, and
when the railway was opened in 1851, there was opened also a fine hotel
adjoining the station, which the company had built, chiefly for trans-
Atlantic business, at a cost of 30,000 pounds.  It may be that better
times are in store.  Some day great harbour works will adorn the bay of
Galway, from which fine steamers, forming part of an Imperial route to
our Dominions and beyond, shall sail, and shorten the Atlantic voyage.  A
tunnel too, _uniting_ Great Britain and Ireland, may be made, which all
will agree, is "a consummation devoutly to be wished."

Galway is the gateway to Connemara, and Connemara is one of the best
places under the sun for a healthy and enjoyable holiday.  To be sure the
sun does not always shine when expected, but he is seen much oftener than
is generally believed.  Of course, it sometimes rains, but the rain never
lasts long, for no place has such quick and surprising climatic changes
as the west of Ireland or such enchanting atmospheric effects.  I soon
became enamoured of Connemara, and for several years, in whatever time I
could call my own, explored its mountain roads and valleys, sometimes on
horseback, sometimes afoot, and sometimes on bicycle or outside car.  The
construction of our "Balfour" extension line from Galway to Clifden,
begun in 1891 and finished in 1895, often called me on business to the
wilds it penetrated, and gladly I always answered the call.  Sometimes on
these excursions one had to rough it a little, for hotel accommodation
was scarce and scanty in some of the districts, but in one's early
forties such trifles scarcely count.

As soon as I took up office at Broadstone, Sir Ralph informed me I was to
be chairman of the Midland Great Western Benefit Society, which was
partly a sick fund, partly a pension fund and applied to all the wages
staff.  It was managed by a committee of twelve, half of whom were
appointed by the directors and half by the employees.  Gladly I undertook
a post which would bring me into close touch with the men.  I made a
point of never, if I could help it, being absent from a committee
meeting; nor, more particularly, from the annual general meeting of the
society when I had to give an address.  It was always to me a pleasure to
meet the men, to learn their views, and to help them as far as I could.
This they soon discovered, and I had the satisfaction of knowing that I
was liked and trusted.  Early in life I had learned to sympathise with
the wants and wishes of others, and sympathy I found increased one's
power of usefulness.  By sympathy I do not mean agreeing always with the
men and their views, and I never hesitated to strongly express to them my
own convictions, and rarely it was that they ever in the least resented
the plainest speaking.  I believe if the responsible leaders of labour
would follow a similar course, it would be better for themselves, for the
men they lead, and for the world at large.  The deputy-chairman of the
society was Michael O'Neill, the audit accountant of the company, and if
ever a plain-spoken man, blunt and direct of speech existed, it was he.
Every word he spoke had the ring of honest sincerity.  To the men he
spoke more plainly even than I, and him they never resented.  I think
their trust in him exceeded their trust in me.  True he was Irish and I
was not, and then they had known him much longer than me; and so, small
blame to them, said I.  One good thing for the society I managed to do.  I
induced the directors to treble the company's annual contribution to its
funds, a substantial benefit, of course, to the men.  I remained chairman
of the society, and Michael O'Neill its deputy chairman till 1912, when
the National Insurance Act came into operation.  Then, by a resolution of
a majority of its members, it was wound up, to the regret, however, of
many of them, who preferred their own old institution which they knew so
well, and in the management of which they had a voice, to what some of
them styled "a new-fangled thing."

The occasions on which I have met, for the first time, men eminent in the
railway world, and for whom I have had great admiration, have always left
upon me very clear impressions, and this was particularly so in the case
of Sir George Findlay, the General Manager of the London and
North-Western Railway.  He was not, however, Sir George when I met him
first, but plain Mr. Findlay.  It was in the year 1891, the occasion
being one of the periodical visits to Ireland of the London and North-
Western chairman, directors, and principal officers.  They gave a dinner
at their hotel in Dublin to which, with other Irish railway
representatives, I was invited.  My seat at dinner was next to Mr.
Findlay, and I had much conversation with him.  Then in his sixty-third
year, he was, perhaps, interested in a young Englishman, 21 years his
junior, who had not long begun his career as a railway manager, and who
showed some eagerness in, and, perhaps, a little knowledge of, railway

I remember well the impression he made upon me.  I felt I was in the
presence of a strong, natural man, gifted with great discernment and
ability but full also of human kindness.  His face was one which
expressed that goodness which the consciousness of power imparts to
strong natures.  He was a notable as well as what is called "a self-made"
man, a fact of which he never boasted but I think was a little proud.  He
commenced work at the early age of fourteen as a mason--a boy help he
could only have been--and continued a mason for several years.  He was
employed in the building of the new Houses of Parliament and much of the
stone work and delicate tracery of the great window at the east end of
Westminster Hall is the work of his hands.  In his twenty-third year he
became manager of the Shrewsbury and Ludlow Railway--probably the
youngest railway manager recorded.  Ten years later the Shrewsbury
railway was acquired by the London and North-Western company, and
Findlay, to use his own words, "was taken over with the rest of the
rolling stock."  This was how his London and North-Western railway career
began.  He was a tall, portly man of fine presence, distinguished by a
large measure of strong, plain, homely commonsense, an absence of
prejudice, a great calmness of judgment, and a fearless frankness of
speech.  His sense of honour was very high, and he impressed upon the
service of which he was the executive head that the word of the London
and North-Western Railway must always be its bond.  "Be slow to promise
and quick to perform," was his guiding precept.  A born organiser and
administrator, he knew how to select his men.  Before Parliamentary
Committees he was the best of witnesses, always cool and resourceful,
with great command of temper, full of knowledge, and blest with a ready
wit.  His services as witness and expert adviser were in great request by
railway companies.  At the long Board of Trade Inquiry in connection with
the _Railway and Canal Traffic Act_ and Railway Rates and Charges, in
1889, he was the principal railway witness and was under examination and
cross-examination for eight consecutive days.  He had a real love for
Ireland, was partly Irish himself, his father being Scotch and his mother
Irish--a fine blend.  Fishing was his chief recreation and this often
brought him to the lakes and rivers of Ireland.  He asked, was I the son
of William Tatlow of the Midland Railway, whom he had met a good many
years before on some coal rates question?  On my saying, Yes, he was
pleased to know that I belonged to a railway family; and said what a fine
service the great railway service was, how absorbing the work and what
scope it afforded for ambition and ability.  He asked about my railway
experience, was amused at my reason for leaving Derby and the Midland,
and interested at hearing of my work with Mr. Wainwright, whom he had
known and esteemed.  He was sure I had learned nothing but good from him.
I was able, and very glad, of course, to tell Mr. Findlay with what
interest Bailey and I had listened for several days to his evidence at
Westminster Hall at the Railway Rates Inquiry, and how much we had
profited by it.  This led to some talk on the great rates question, of
which he was a master.  I felt he was just a bit surprised to find that I
was rather well informed upon it, which made me not a little proud.
Altogether it was a memorable night, and left me with a feeling of
elation such as I had experienced in the meetings I had in Glasgow some
years before with Mr. John Burns and Mr. John Walker.  How little I
thought then, that in less than two years I should follow Mr. Findlay's
remains to the grave.

[Sir George Findlay: findlay.jpg]

Between the London and North-Western and the Midland Great-Western much
good feeling existed.  They were natural allies, both greatly interested
in the trade and prosperity of Ireland, and of the port of Dublin in
particular.  As time went on many matters of mutual interest brought me
into close relation with the North-Western general manager and other
prominent officers of the company.


The long-looked for fight in the Committee Rooms at Westminster came at
last, as most things that are eagerly looked and longed for do.  In May,
1892, a Bill, promoted jointly by the Midland Great-Western and Athenry
and Ennis Railway Companies, was considered by a Select Committee of the
House of Lords.  It was a Bill for the acquisition by the Midland of the
Ennis Railway (a line from Athenry to Ennis, 36 miles long), worked but
not owned by the Waterford and Limerick Railway Company.  The Midland
were anxious to buy and the Ennis were willing to sell, but Parliament
alone could legalise the bargain.  To the Waterford and Limerick, the
bare idea of giving up possession of the fair Ennis to their rival the
Midland was gall and wormwood; and so they opposed the project with might
and main, and they were assisted in their opposition by certain public
bodies, some thought as much for the excitement of a skirmish in the
Committee Rooms as anything else.  The working agreement between the
Waterford and Limerick and the Ennis Companies, which had lasted for ten
years or so, was expiring; the Ennis Company had grown tired of the
union; the Midland had held out to her certain glowing prospects, which
had captivated her maiden fancy, and so she was a consenting party to the
Midland scheme.  The Ennis line, in the Midland eyes, was a prize worth
fighting for, forming, as it did, part of a route from Dublin to Limerick
in competition with the Great Southern and Western, a company between
which and the Midland, at that time, little love was lost.  Those were
the days when competitive traffic, gained almost at any cost, was sweet
as stolen kisses are said to be.

The proceedings opened on Monday, 16th May.  _Ennis_ was as familiar to
the Committee Rooms as the suit of _Jarndyce and Jarndyce_ was to the
Court of Chancery.  In 1880 the Midland had also sought by Bill to obtain
the fair Ennis (with her consent) but had failed; in 1890 the Waterford
and Limerick (against her wishes) had essayed to do the same and failed
also, and in years long prior to these, other attempts had been made with
the like result.  But to proceed: our leading counsel were Sir Ralph
(then Mr.) Littler; Mr. Pember, Mr. Pope and other leaders, and a host of
juniors being arrayed against us.  The straitened circumstances of the
Waterford and Limerick; its dearth of rolling stock; its inefficient
ways; its failure to satisfy the public; the admitted superiority of the
Midland and all its works; the splendid results which would "follow as
the night the day," if only Parliament would be wise enough to sanction a
union which the public interest demanded and commonsense approved--these
were the points on which our counsel exercised their forensic skill,
expended their eloquence, and to which they directed the evidence.
Amongst our supporters we had some excellent witnesses, one, a well-known
cattle dealer, named Martin Ryan.  The question of _running powers_ was
prominent throughout the case and had been much debated and discussed.
Ryan's evidence was not, however, concerned with this, but in his cross-
examination, relative to something he had stated in his
evidence-in-chief, he was asked this question: "If a beast got on to the
line as a train came along, what would happen to the beast?"  "It would
exercise its running powers," answered Mr. Ryan, amidst great laughter.
As good as Stephenson's answer about the "coo," said Mr. Pope.

On the fourth day of the proceedings I made my _debut_ as a Parliamentary
witness.  In the preparation of my evidence I had expended much time and
trouble, keeping well in mind the way in which Mr. Wainwright used to
prepare his.  Before my examination-in-chief concluded, a short
adjournment for lunch took place--a scramble at the refreshment bars in
the lobbies, where wig and gown elbowed with all and sundry; where cold
beef, cold tongue, cold pie, and, coldest of all cold comestibles, cold
custard, were swallowed in hot haste, washed down with milk and soda, or
perhaps with something stronger.  "Quick lunches" they were with a
vengeance.  Time was money, and in the brief interval allowed, more than
lunch had to be discussed.  Sir Ralph, Mr. Findlay (who was helping us)
and I, had our hasty lunch together.  When it was over we discussed the
morning's proceedings, and Mr. Findlay, to my great satisfaction, said I
was doing well--very well indeed, for a first appearance.  Then, in a
kind and fatherly way, he gave me some good advice: Don't show too much
eagerness, he said: don't go quite so much into detail; keep on broader
lines; speak deliberately and very distinctly; make your points as plain
as a pikestaff; rub them well in; don't try to make too many points, but
stick fast to the important ones.  You've a good manner in the box, he
said; remember these things and you'll make an excellent witness.  Then
he added: above all, whilst giving your leading evidence never forget the
_cross_ that has to follow.  Be always as frank as you can, and never
lose command of your temper.  These were not his very words.  I do not
pretend that he expressed himself with such sententious brevity, though
he never wasted speech, but they are the pith and marrow of his
admonitions.  For twenty years or so from then nearly every session saw
me in the Committee Rooms, not always on the business of my own company,
as other Irish railway companies on several occasions sought my help in
their Parliamentary projects.  Mr. Findlay's advice I never forgot.

In the afternoon my cross-examination began.  The final question put to
me by our counsel was: "Lastly, if this amalgamation is carried out, do
you think the public would be served by it, and if so, how?"  This
appeared to me a great chance for a little speech, so I summed up as
forcibly and graphically as I could all the advantages that would follow
if the Bill were passed.  Then my cross-examination commenced, and the
first words addressed to me, by Mr. Pembroke Stephens, were: "I do not
think that one could have made a better speech oneself, if one had been
on your side."  "Not half so good," said Mr. Littler in a stage whisper.
I thought Mr. Stephens spoke satirically, but remembered Mr. Findlay's
advice, and if I flushed inwardly, as I believe I did, no outward sign
escaped me.  After Mr. Stephens, three other opposing counsel fired their
guns, but I withstood their shot and shell, and when I came out of the
box Mr. Findlay said I had done well.  This was praise enough for me.
Then he gave his evidence in his usual masterly convincing way and I
listened in admiration.

We made a good fight I know, the odds were in our favour and success
seemed assured.  Our opponents then presented their case, and still we
felt no doubt; but Fortune is a fickle jade and at the last she left us
in the lurch.  On the eighth day of the proceedings the Chairman
announced: "The Committee are of opinion that it is not expedient to
proceed with the Bill."  This was the _coup de grace_.  No reasons are
ever given by a Committee for their decision and the contending parties
are left to imagine them.  The losing side sometimes has the hardihood to
think a decision is wrong.  I believe we thought so; and I know that
_Ennis_, who was thus doomed to a further period of single blessedness,
thought the same.

In a previous chapter I have spoken of the _Parcel Post Act_ of 1882, and
mentioned the share of the receipts apportioned to the railway companies
of the United Kingdom.  The Act also prescribed the manner in which this
share was to be divided amongst the respective railways.  When it was
devised the method seemed fair to all, and had the consent of all.  But
the best of theories do not always stand the test of practice and so it
was found in this case.  It did not suit Ireland.  We discovered that the
Irish railways were, in equity, entitled to more than the scheme awarded
them, and Mr. Alcorn, the Accountant of the Great Southern and Western
Railway, discovered the way to set the matter right; but it could not be
righted without the consent of the Parcel Post Conference, a body which
sat at the Railway Clearing House in London, and was composed of the
managers of all the railways parties to the parcel post scheme, some
eighty or so in number.  On the 10th November, 1892, we brought our case
before that body, and Colhoun, Robertson and I were the spokesmen for the
Irish Railways.  On the previous day we had met Sir George Findlay (he
had been knighted this year) and had satisfied him of the justice of our
claim.  He promised to support us.  The meeting commenced at 10 o'clock.
We made our speeches, which were not long, for our printed statement had
been in each member's hands for some time.  Clear as our case was to us
the Conference seemed unconvinced, and we began to fear an adverse vote.
Sir George was not present, something had happened, for he was not the
man to disappoint his friends without grave cause.  Voting seemed
imminent.  Robertson whispered to me, "For heaven's sake, Tatlow, get on
your legs again and keep the thing going; Findlay may be here any
moment."  I was supposed to be the glibbest of speech of our party, and
up I got.  But Mr. Thompson (afterwards Sir James), the _beau_, was in
the chair, and thought there had been talking enough.  However, like the
Irishman I was not, I went on, and--at that moment entered Sir George!
The scene was changed; the day was won!  A Sub-Committee of seven, three
of whom were Colhoun, Robertson and myself, was appointed to follow up
the matter, and ultimately the Irish proposal was adopted.

It was a very busy period, this year of 1892, and as interesting as busy.
On the 20th June the _Railway Rates and Charges (Athenry and Ennis
Junction Railways) Order Confirmation Act_, 1892, received the Royal
Assent.  It applied to all the railways in Ireland and contained the
Revised Classification and Maximum Rates and Charges settled after long
inquiries under the _Railway and Canal Traffic Act_, 1888, and which were
to control the future rates to be charged by the companies.  Only six
months were allowed in which to revise all rates and bring them into
conformity with the new classification and the new conditions--an
absurdly short time, for the work involved was colossal.  But it had to
be done.  Robert Morrison, Michael O'Neill and I, took off our coats and
worked night and day.  We had the satisfaction of accomplishing the task
in the allotted time, which not every company was able to do.  Generous,
as always, Sir Ralph in his speech to the shareholders in February, 1893,
said: "I wish to express that we are greatly indebted to Mr. Tatlow for
the care and anxiety with which he has endeavoured to arrange this
important rates matter.  He has worked most energetically; has attended
the Committees of the Board of Trade, and the Parliamentary Committee,
and he is now seeing traders constantly.  I may tell you that I and my
brother directors place the most implicit reliance on our manager, and I
am satisfied that anything he has done has been reasonable to the traders
and for the benefit of the shareholders."  This was warm praise, and the
more welcome, being, as it was, the spontaneous expression of what I knew
he felt.

My meetings with the traders usually, but not invariably, resulted in
friendly settlements.  The great firm of Guinness and Company were not so
easily satisfied, and offered a _stout_ resistance which correspondence
and conference failed to overcome.  Under the Railway and Canal Traffic
Act a mode of dealing with the _impasse_ was provided by conciliation
proceedings presided over by the Board of Trade.  This we took advantage
of, and after several meetings in London a compromise was effected.  It
was then that I met for the first time Mr. Francis Hopwood, who had just
been appointed Secretary to the Railway Department of the Board of Trade.
I liked his way and thought that conciliation could not be in better
hands than his.

The Board of Trade is more or less a mythical body, but very practical I
found it on these and all other occasions.  Its proper designation is, I
believe, "Committee of Privy Council for Trade."  This Committee was
first appointed in Cromwell's time, and was revised under Charles II., as
"Committee of Privy Council for Trade and Foreign Plantations," under
which title it administered the Colonies.  When the United States became
independent, Burke in a scathing speech, moved and carried the abolition
of this paid Committee, which included Gibbon as its Secretary.  However,
the Board of Trade could not be spared, and so it was restored by Order
in Council in 1786.  Under that order the principal officers of State,
and certain members of the Privy Council, including the Archbishop of
Canterbury, have, _ex officio_, seats on the Committee, although no
record exists of His Grace having ever left his arduous duties at Lambeth
to attend the Committee.  Its jurisdiction extended as trade and commerce
developed and railways appeared on the scene, and gradually it was
divided into departments, and so the _Board of Trade_ came into being.
Like Topsy it "grow'd."  The Board of Trade is, in fact, a mere name, the
president being practically the secretary for trade, the vice-president
having, for 50 years past, been a Parliamentary secretary with duties
similar to those of an under-secretary of State.  At present, besides the
president (who has usually a seat in the Cabinet), the Parliamentary
secretary and a permanent secretary, there are six assistant secretaries
(in late war time many more), each in charge of a department.

In charge of the railway department in 1893 was, as I have said, Mr.
Francis Hopwood.  He became Sir Francis in 1906, and from then onwards
advanced from office to office and from honour to honour, until, during
his secretaryship of the Irish Convention in 1917, his public services
were rewarded with a peerage.  As railway secretary of the Board of Trade
he was particularly distinguished for tact, strength and moderation.
Singularly courteous and obliging on all occasions, I, personally, have
been much indebted to him for help and advice.

But all was not sunshine and happiness in this busy year of 1892.  A dark
cloud of sorrow overshadowed it.  On a fateful day in January I lost,
with tragic suddenness, the younger of my two sons, a bright amiable boy,
of a sunny nature and gentle disposition.  He was accidentally killed on
the railway.


In Chapter XX I recorded the death of my old friend W. F. Mills, which
took place whilst I was writing that chapter.  Now, as I pen these lines,
I hear of the loss of another old familiar railway friend; not indeed a
sentient being like you, dear reader, or him or me, yet a friend that
lacked neither perception nor feeling.

The _Railway News_ on Saturday, the 30th day of November, 1918, issued
its last number, and, as a separate entity, ceased to be, its existence
then merging into that of the _Railway Gazette_.  I am sad and sorry for
I knew it well.  For forty years it was my week-end companion; for ten
years or more, in the April of life, I contributed regularly to its
pages; and never, during all the years, have its columns been closed to
my pen.  One of its editors, F. McDermott, has long been my friend, and
its first editor, Edward McDermott, his father, a grand old man, was kind
to me in my salad days and encouraged my budding scribbling proclivities.
He and Samuel Smiles, the author of _Self Help_ (then Secretary of the
South Eastern Railway), were, in 1864, its joint founders.

"Death," the Psalmist saith, "is certain to all."  In 1893, the railway
world lost one whom it could ill spare.  In the month of March, after a
short illness, Sir George Findlay died at the early age of 63.  Gifted of
the gods, in the midst of his work, young in mind and spirit, his
faculties in full vigour, he was suddenly called away.  His funeral, I
need not say, was attended by railway men from all parts of the kingdom.
I was one of those who travelled to London to follow his remains to their
resting place.

Further public railway legislation was enacted in 1893 and 1894, and four
important Acts were passed.  The first was the _Railway Regulation Act_,
1893.  It dealt with the hours of labour of railway servants, a subject
which for some time previously had been enjoying the attention of the
Press.  It culminated in the appointment of a Parliamentary Committee.  In
February, 1891, a Select Committee, consisting of 24 members, with Sir
Michael Hicks Beach as chairman, was formed, "To inquire whether, and if
so, in what way, the hours of railway servants should be restricted by
legislation."  The Committee examined numerous railway servants and
officials, and reported to Parliament, in June, 1892.  I was summoned by
the Committee to give evidence and appeared before them in London on 24th
March of that year.  My business was to furnish facts concerning the
hours of duty of the employees on my own railway and the conditions of
their work.  This I did pretty fully and embraced the opportunity of
showing how different were the circumstances of Irish railways compared
with English, and how legislation suitable to one country might be very
unsuitable to the other.  It scarcely needed saying that England was an
industrial country whilst Ireland was agricultural; that England, with
620 people to the square mile, was thickly populated and Ireland with 135
sparsely; that population meant trains and traffic; that in England
railway traffic amounted to about 7,000 pounds per mile per annum and in
Ireland a little over 1,000 pounds; that in Ireland on many lines not
more than five or six trains ran each way daily, and on others only three
or four, whilst in England, on most lines, the _hourly_ number exceeded
these.  When the Committee rose Sir Michael engaged me, informally, in
conversation for a little while.  He was curious concerning some of the
facts I had adduced, particularly as to the Midland line and the country
it served.

In their report the Committee stated they had confined their inquiry to
the hours of duty of those classes of railway servants that were engaged
in working traffic, viz., drivers, firemen, guards, signalmen, shunters,
platelayers and porters, and had not dealt with other classes; a wise
distinction I thought.  It was much easier, they said, to regulate the
hours of persons occupying fixed posts of duty within reasonable limits,
than those of the running staff on railways, on account of the variety in
the nature of the work.  They reported also that they were unable to
recommend a "legal day," as they considered it would be found
impracticable owing to the number of cases which must necessarily be
admitted as exceptions to any fixed limit of hours, adding that the hours
of railway servants engaged in working traffic cannot be regulated like
those in a factory, which, I may add, experience has abundantly shown.  I
believe, and have always believed, in reasonable working hours, and have
often worked unreasonably long hours myself in endeavouring to arrange
them for others; and more than once when I have re-arranged a rota for
drivers, firemen and guards, to my own satisfaction, I have been begged
by the men concerned not to make any change and to let well alone; not,
of course, because the new rota gave shorter hours, but because it
prevented the men from getting to their homes or interfered with
something else that suited them.  Sometimes I gave way to the men and
sometimes I stuck to my revised rota.  Every case varied and required
special consideration.  The Committee also said: "It is universally
admitted that the railway service is very popular under existing
conditions; and several railway servants who appeared as witnesses
protested vigorously against any interference by Government or the
Legislature."  State interference, I know, is the fashion now; but the
blind worship of _any fashion_ is but weakness and folly.

The Act of 1893 was the outcome of the Report.  It provided that on
representation being made to the Board of Trade that the hours of any
railway servants were excessive, the Board might inquire into the
complaint, and order the company concerned to submit an amended schedule
of time and duty for such servants, and if the railway company failed to
comply with the order the matter might then be referred to the Railway
Commisioners whose order the company must obey under a penalty of 100
pounds a day.  I do not think any company was ever fined; nor do I,
indeed, remember the Commissioners services being required.  If they
were, the occasions were few and far between, as the companies generally
loyally carried out the provisions of the Act.

In 1894 was passed the _Notice of Accidents Act_.  Where any person
employed in the construction, use, working or repair of any railway,
tramroad, tramway, gas works, canal bridge, tunnel, harbour, dock or
other work authorised by Parliament, suffered (it said) an accident
causing loss of life or bodily injury, the employer must notify the Board
of Trade, and if the Board of Trade considered the case of sufficient
importance, they may (it provided) direct the holding of a formal
inquiry; a report of such inquiry to be presented to the Board of Trade,
which may (it stated) be made public in such manner as they think fit.  As
far as accidents to railway servants were concerned, I can vouch that
these inquiries were pretty often held, and the companies, concerned
always for the safety of their employees, never did other than welcome

The _Railway and Canal Traffic Act_, 1894, was an Act to _amend_ (save
the mark!) _The Railway and Canal Traffic Act_, 1888.  Its effect, in
fact, was to embitter instead of amend.  It was, as I have previously
indicated, panic legislation yielded in haste to unreasonable clamour,
unfair to the railways, and of doubtful advantage to traders.  I will say
no more lest I say too much.

The fourth of these enactments was the _Diseases of Animals Act_, 1894.
It invested the Board of Agriculture with further powers to make orders
and regulations respecting animals affected with pleuro-pneumonia or foot-
and-mouth disease, particularly with regard to markets, fairs, transit
and slaughter houses; for securing the providing of water and food; and
for cleansing and disinfecting vessels, vehicles and pens.  As regards
Ireland the powers were vested in the Lord Lieutenant and Privy Council,
and on the establishment of the Department of Agriculture for Ireland, in
the year 1899, were transferred to that body.

The International Railway Congress Association is an interesting if not
an ancient body.  It dates back to the year 1885.  Gallant little Belgium
was its parent.  In 1885, the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the
first public railway on the Continent of Europe (the line between
Brussels and Malines) was celebrated at Brussels by a Congress convened
on the invitation of the Belgian Government, and this meeting was the
beginning of the now worldwide association.  At the first assembly at
Brussels "the study of technical and administrative questions for
railways" was the avowed object in view; and it has been the serious
purpose of every Congress since.  But gradually pleasant relaxations,
such as lunches, dinners, dances and excursions, for wives and daughters
accompanying husbands and fathers graced these gatherings of railway
wisdom.  During the first ten years the sessions were bi-annual, but
since 1895 have been held every five years.  Brussels, Milan, Paris, St.
Petersburg, London, Washington and Berne have each been the scene of
their celebration, and Paris has been favoured twice.  For 1915 Berlin
was the capital selected, but the war decided against that; and when
Berlin shall see the world's railway representatives assembled within her
gates only a very bold man will venture to prophesy.

The Congress is composed of some 420 railway systems represented by
nearly 1,500 delegates; and any railway company, the wide world over,
that possesses a mileage of 62 miles or more is competent for membership.
In addition to holding Sessions the Congress publishes a monthly Bulletin
(or did prior to the war), containing, besides original articles on all
questions relating to the construction, operation, and organisation of
railways, reproductions of interesting articles published in the railway
and engineering papers of any nation, as well as notices of books and
pamphlets on railway questions.  The Bulletin contains also all reports
prepared for the various Sessions of the Congress and minutes of the
discussions.  It was a great gathering that the late King Edward (then
Prince of Wales) opened on June the 26th, 1895, when the Congress was in
London.  The scene was the Imperial Institute, and the meetings lasted
till July the 9th.  From all parts of the globe delegates came.  All was
not dull routine for British hospitality abounded and the companies vied
with each other in worthy entertainments, and Her Majesty the Queen saw
fit to signalise the occasion by giving a garden party in its honour.

Mr. W. M. Acworth, the well-known writer on railway economics, and a keen
but friendly critic of railway affairs, was appointed Secretary to the
English Section of the Congress, and to him fell the principal work
connected with the Session.  His scholarly and linguistic attainments and
his varied travels, fitted him well for the task.  My eldest son, then a
youth of 18, just entered the railway service, had the good fortune to be
selected as one of Mr. Acworth's assistants.  He had not long finished
his education in France, and spoke the language fluently, which, of
course, was a recommendation.  It was valuable experience to him as well
as delightful work.  He conducted several parties of delegates through
various parts of England and Ireland in connection with the many
excursions that were arranged for their pleasure and profit.  The weather
was very hot, and railway travelling at times oppressive, even to
delegates from the sunny land of France, and _shandy-gaff_, a beverage
new to most of the visitors, was in great request.  Said a French
delegate one day to my son, as the train was approaching Rugby: "Oh!
M'sieu Tatlow, the weather it is so hot; will you not at Rugby give us
some of your beautiful _char-a-banc_?"  On another occasion he was asked
if he would "be so kind as to give the _recipe_ for making that beautiful

At the close of the session in London, a number of the foreign delegates,
at the invitation of the Irish Railway Companies, visited Ireland, and
were shown its railways, and its beauty spots from east to west, from
north to south.  It is not too much to say they were greatly impressed.
The splendid scenery that surrounds the island like a beautiful frame,
delighted them, and the excellence of the Irish railways was no little
surprise.  They did not expect to see such fine carriages, such handsome
dining saloons, nor such permanent way and stations.  Of course we showed
them our best and the best was very good.  Ireland is often accused of
neglecting her opportunities, but never her hospitality.  On this
occasion, personified by her railway companies, she neglected neither,
and in the latter surpassed herself.

In the autumn of this year I was able to gratify my taste for travel by a
longer excursion than usual.  Hitherto my furthest flights had been to
Paris, Belgium, and Holland, but now I went as far as Spain and Portugal.
F. K. was my pleasant companion and we travelled, _via_ Paris, straight
through to Madrid, where we stayed for a week at the Hotel de la Paix, in
the bright and busy and sunny Puerto del Sol.  In Madrid we visited the
Royal Palace (or so much of it as was shown to the public--principally
the Royal stables); the Escurial; the Art Galleries and Museums; drove in
the Buen Retiro; witnessed a bull fight, which rather sickened us when
the horses, which never stood a chance in the contest, were ripped up by
the bull; admired dark-eyed senoritas, their mantillas and coquettish
fans, enjoyed the southern sunshine and the Spanish wines; and then left
for Lisbon by an _express_ train that stopped at nearly every station.  At
Lisbon three or four days were pleasantly passed, though we were annoyed
sometimes by the crowd of persistent beggars that thronged the streets,
and who, we were told, pursued their calling by license from the
authorities.  This was a small matter, however.  He who travels should be
proof against such minor annoyances.  Then Oporto was visited, and the
Douro valley, the very centre of the port wine industry.  A young
Englishman, a wine merchant, accompanied us in our journey through this
sultry valley and was our cicerone.  Under his guidance we visited many
famous "wine lodges," sampled wonderful vintages in most generous
glasses, drank old port, green port, tawny port, and I am sure too much
port, and when, at last, we reached the port of Biarritz, where we stayed
for several days, we blessed its lighter wines and refreshing breezes.
After Biarritz Bordeaux detained us for a day or two, and so did Paris,
which we found very attractive and refreshing in early November.

This year also had for me a delightful week's interlude, in the month of
June, in the Committee Rooms at Westminster.  A certain Bill was promoted
by an Irish railway company, which we considered an aggressive attempt to
invade our territory, and, of course, we vigorously opposed it.  Again I
had the pleasure of giving evidence and of being crossed-examined by Mr.
Pembroke Stephens; but the Bill was passed and became an Act.  Further
sign of vitality it never showed as the line was never made.  It is one
thing, by the grace of Parliament to obtain an Act, but quite another by
the favour of the public to obtain capital.  Parliament is often more
easily persuaded than the shrewd investor, as many a too sanguine
promoter knows.


By his friends and intimates he was called _Tom_, and mere acquaintances
even usually spoke of him as _Tom Robertson_.  Rarely was he designated
_Thomas_.  A man who is known so familiarly is generally a good fellow,
and Tom Robertson was no exception, though he possessed some pretty
strong qualities, and was particularly fond of getting his own way.

In his early days at the Great Northern, sundry skirmishes at the
Clearing House had taken place between him and me, which for a time
produced a certain amount of estrangement, but we afterwards became
excellent friends and saw a good deal of each other.  He was no longer a
_general manager_, having given up that post for another which was
pressed upon him--the post of Chairman of the Irish Board of Works.  It
was certainly unusual, unheard of one might say, in those days, for an
important government office to be conferred upon a railway official,
though now it would excite but little surprise.  The Government it was
thought contemplated something in the shape of a railway policy in
Ireland, and had spotted Robertson as the man for the job; it was
certainly said that someone in high authority, taken greatly by his
sturdy independence, his unconventional ways, and his enormous energy,
had determined to try the novel experiment which such an appointment
meant.  I do not think that Robertson himself ever really enjoyed the
change.  He liked variety it is true, but governmental ways were not, he
often said, his ways, and he seemed to lack the capacity to easily adapt
himself to new grooves.  Unconventional he certainly was, and never in
London even would he wear a tall hat or a tail coat; nor could he ever be
persuaded to attend a levee or any State function whatever.  He usually
dressed in roughish tweeds, with trousers unfashionably wide, and a
flaming necktie competing with his bright red cheeks, which contrasted
strongly with his dark hair and beard.  He was, however, a strong manly
fellow, with a great deal of determination mingled with good humour.
Usually in high spirits, he often displayed a boyish playfulness that
resembled the gambols of a big good-natured dog.  He was musical too, and
would sing _Annie Laurie_ for you at any time, accompanying himself on
the piano.  To practical joking he was rather addicted, and once I was
his reluctant accomplice, but am glad to say it was the last time I ever
engaged in such rude pleasantry.  I can write of him now the more freely
that he is no longer of this world.  Excessive energy hastened his death.
In 1901 he went to India to investigate for the Government the railways
there, and to report upon them.  It was a big task, occupied him a long
time, and I am told he worked and lived there as though he were in his
native temperate zone.  His restless energy was due I should say to
superabundant vitality.  Once, when he and I were in London together, on
some railway business, we took a stroll after dinner (it was summertime)
and during a pause in our conversation he surprised me by exclaiming:
"Tatlow, I'm a restless beggar.  I'd like to have a jolly good row with
somebody."  "Get married," said I.  This tickled him greatly and restored
his good humour.  He lived and died a bachelor nevertheless.

In 1896 the _Railways (Ireland) Act_ was passed, and with it Robertson
had much to do.  Its purpose ran: "To facilitate the construction of
Railways and the Establishment of other means of Communication in
Ireland, and for other purposes incidental thereto."  It provided for
further advances by the Treasury, under prescribed conditions, for
constructing railways and for establishing lines of steamers, coaches,
etc., which were shown to be necessary for the development of the
resources of any district, where owing to the circumstances of such
district, they could not be made without government assistance.  It also
authorised the construction and maintenance, as part of such railways, of
any pier, quay or jetty.  This little Act, which consisted of thirteen
sections (I wonder he did not think the number unlucky), was Robertson's
particular pet.  Concerning its clauses, from the time they were first
drafted, many a talk we had together over a cup of tea with, to use his
own expression, "a wee drappie in't."  I may have hinted as much, but do
not think I have mentioned before that he was a Scotchman and a

In the same year was passed the _Light Railways Act_, an Act which
applied to Great Britain only.  Ireland had already had her share (some
thought more than her share) of light railway legislation, with its
accompanying doles in the shape of easy loans and free gifts, whilst
England and Scotland had been left in the cold.  It was their turn now;
but as this Act, and the subject of light railways generally, formed the
substance of a paper which I prepared and read in 1900 before the
International Railway Congress at Paris, and of which I shall speak later
on, I will pass it now without more comment.

At Robertson's request I appeared as a witness this year for the Great
Northern Railway, before Committees of both Houses of Parliament, in
connection with a Bill which sought powers to construct an extension of
the Donegal railway from Strabane to Londonderry.  Robertson himself did
not give evidence in the case.  Before the Committees sat he had left the
Great Northern for the Board of Works, and Henry Plews, his successor,
represented the Great Northern Railway.  The proposed line was in direct
competition with the Great Northern, and they sought my aid in opposing
it.  Certainly there was no need for two railways, but Parliament thought
otherwise and passed the Bill.  Indeed Parliament is not free from blame
for many unnecessary duplicated lines throughout the kingdom.
_Competition_ was for long its fetish; now it is _unification_, and
(blessed word!) _co-ordination_.  Strange how men are taken with fine
words and phrases, and what slaves they are to shibboleths!  Before the
House of Commons Committee which sat on this Bill I had the pleasure, for
the first time, of being examined by Balfour Browne.  He was leader in
the case for the Great Northern, and I met him also in consultations
which took place.  Since then I have crossed swords with him too, and
always I must confess with keen enjoyment.  His knowledge of railway
matters was so remarkable, his mind so practiced, alert, and luminous,
that it was rare excitement to undergo cross-examination at his hands.  In
his book, _Forty Years at the Bar_, he himself says: "I have not had many
opportunities of giving evidence, but I confess that when I have been
called as a witness I have enjoyed myself."  Well, I can say that I have
had many such opportunities, and can truthfully declare that I have
enjoyed them all.

A few weeks holiday in Holland, Cologne, the Rhine and Frankfort, with
some days on the homeward journey in Brussels, all in company of my dear
delightful friend, Walter Bailey, complete the annals of this year,
except that I recall a little arbitration case in which I was engaged.  It
was during the summer, in July I think.  The Grand Canal (not the canal
which belongs to the Midland and is called the Royal) is a waterway which
traverses 340 miles of country.  Not that it is all canal proper, some of
it being canalised river and loughs; but 154 miles are canal pure and
simple, the undisputed property of the Grand Canal Company.  On a part of
the river Barrow which is canalised, an accident happened, and a trader's
barge was sunk and goods seriously damaged.  Dispute arose as to
liability, and I was called on to arbitrate.  To view the scene of the
disaster was a pleasant necessity, and the then manager of the company
(Mr. Kirkland) suggested making a sort of picnic of the occasion; so one
morning we left the train at Carlow, from whence a good stout horse
towed, at a steady trot, a comfortable boat for twenty miles or so to the
_locus_ of the accident.  We were a party of four, not to mention the
hamper.  It was delightfully wooded scenery through which we passed, and
a snug little spot where we lunched.  After lunch and the arbitration
proceedings had been despatched, our Pegasus towed us back.

I must return again to Robertson, the Board of Works, and light railways.
Preliminary to the authorisation of light railways in Ireland, the
legislation which had been passed concerning them required that the Board
of Works should appoint fit and proper persons to make public inquiry
regarding the merits of proposed lines, as to engineering, finance,
construction, the favour or objection with which they were regarded by
landowners and others, the amount of capital required, the assistance
that would be given by landowners, local authorities and others towards
their construction, and their merit generally from all points of view;
such fit persons after they had done all this, to report to the Board of
Works.  In 1897 Robertson thought that "Joseph Tatlow of Dublin, and
William Roberts of Inverness, were fit and proper persons" for conducting
the necessary inquiry concerning a proposed light railway in north-west
Donegal, from Letterkenny to Burtonport, a distance of 50 miles.  William
Roberts was the Engineer of the Highland Railway of Scotland, a capable,
energetic, practical man, and a canny Scot.  This line was promoted by
the Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway Company.  Roberts and I gladly
undertook the work.  We held public meetings, which were largely attended
(for it was an event in Donegal) in Letterkenny, Falcarragh and
Burtonport, examined nearly fifty witnesses, and heard a great variety of

But the hearing of evidence was by no means all we did.  It was our duty
to examine the route, and determine if it were the best practicable route
(keeping steadily in view that the available funds were limited in
amount), scrutinise and criticise the estimates, consider the stations to
be provided, inquire as to the probable traffic and working expenses, and
inform ourselves thoroughly on all the aspects and merits of the case.  We
drove some 240 miles, not of course by motor car (motors were not common
then) but with stout Irish horses, and inspected the country well.  After
we presented our report, certain procedure followed; the Baronies
guaranteed interest on 5,000 pounds of the capital; the government gave
the rest (some 313,000 pounds) as a free grant; an Order in Council was
passed, and the line was made and opened for traffic in 1903.  It has
more than verified all predictions as to its usefulness, and has proved a
blessing to north-west Donegal.  My relations with the line by no means
ended with the inquiry, and more about it will later on appear in this
authentic history.

In the same year, 1897, with G. P. Culverwell, the engineer of my old
railway, the Belfast and County Down, as co-adjutor, I was entrusted by
Robertson with a similar inquiry concerning the Buncrana to Carndonagh
line (18 miles in length) also in Donegal, and also promoted by the
Londonderry and Lough Swilly Company.  It was a smaller affair than the
Burtonport line, but involved similar pleasant and interesting work.  This
line was also constructed and was opened in 1901.

Pleasant times, Joseph Tatlow, you seem to have had, and much variety and
diversion; but what of your own railway and your duties to it?  Well,
these Parliamentary proceedings, arbitration cases, and light railway
adventures were, after all, only interludes, and I can conscientiously
say that the Midland line and its needs and interests were never
neglected.  I am one of those who always believed that everything which
served to enlarge experience and mature judgment made a man more
competent for his daily work.

In July a Departmental Committee was appointed by the Board of
Agriculture "To inquire into and Report upon the Inland Transit of
Cattle."  The Committee numbered ten, Sir Wm. Hart Dyke, M.P., being
chairman.  Three other M.P.s were members of the Committee, one being
that redoubtable champion of the cattle trade and chairman of the Irish
Cattle Trades Association, Mr. William Field.  Two railway
representatives were amongst the ten, one of them, Sir William Birt,
general manager of the Great Eastern Railway; the other the Honourable
Richard Nugent, a director of the Midland Great Western Railway, the
latter having considerable experience of the cattle trade and of cattle
transit in Ireland.  He was no bad judge himself of a beast.  He farmed
in County Galway, and farming in the west of Ireland meant the raising of
cattle, though nowadays some tillage is also done.  He loved attending
cattle fairs, and more than once turned me out of bed before the break of
day to accompany him to a fair green, much to my discomfiture; but so
great was _his_ enjoyment, and so pleasant and lively his company that I
believe I thanked him on each occasion for bringing me out.

Sir William Hart Dyke did not act as chairman of the Committee; in fact
he was prevented by illness from attending any meeting after the first,
and in his absence the chair was taken by Mr. Parker Smith, M.P.

The scope of the inquiry included Great Britain and Ireland; but, as the
Committee stated in their report, "In Ireland the proportional importance
of the cattle trade is much the greater," and that no doubt was why they
examined in Dublin 42 witnesses against about half that number in

Plews, Colhoun and I gave evidence for the Irish railways, supplemented
with testimony on matters of detail by some of our subordinates.  My
railway (the Midland) being, relatively at any rate, the principal cattle-
carrying line in Ireland, it was agreed that I should give the greater
part of the evidence and appear first.  The railway companies, of course,
came on after the public witnesses had had their say.

The Committee in their report made some useful recommendations both for
Great Britain and Ireland, not only in regard to the transit of cattle by
railway, but also in reference to public supervision at fairs;
accommodation and inspection at ports; the licensing of drovers;
dishorning of young cattle, etc.  With respect to railway transit the
recommendations were directed principally to control and accommodation at
stations; pens and loading banks; improvement in cattle trucks; and rest,
food and water.

It is but fair to the railway companies to say that for some years
previous to the inquiry they had been making constant and steady
improvements in these matters, and I believe the Irish Department of
Agriculture, which was established by Act of Parliament in 1899, and in
which are vested the powers and functions of the Privy Council in regard
to live stock, with some added powers as well, would, were they appealed
to now, bear testimony to the good work of the Irish railways in regard
to the "Inland Transit of Cattle."


It would be tedious as well as tiresome to describe the many railway
contests in the Committee Rooms at Westminster in which, during the
remainder of my managerial career, it was my lot to be engaged; but one
great case there was, in 1899 and 1900, which, by its importance to my
company, and I may say, to the south and west of Ireland generally,
should not pass unnoticed, and of it I propose to give a short account.

It was from the grasp of the Waterford and Limerick, as I have mentioned
before, that in 1892 we (the Midland) sought, though unsuccessfully, to
snatch possession of the Ennis line.  Now the Waterford and Limerick were
to lose, not only the Ennis line, but all their lines and their own
identity as well.  A great struggle ensued which, from the length of time
it lasted, and the number of combatants engaged, was one of the biggest
railway fights the Committee Rooms had for many a long year witnessed.
For 106 days, from first to last, the battle raged.  In it thirty-one
companies and public bodies participated, most of them being represented
by counsel. There was a famous Bar, including all the big-wigs of course,
and some lesser wigs, and numbering more than twenty in all.  The
promoters were very strongly represented, but we had Littler for our
leader, who, indeed, was our standing senior counsel.  Their team
consisted of Pope, Pember, Balfour Browne, Seymour Bushe, McInerny and
two juniors; our, much smaller but well selected, of Littler,
Blennerhassett and Vesy Knox; the last-named then a rising junior, but
long since a senior, and for some time past a leader, is still to the
front in the bustling, reckless, impatient world of to-day.  Most of the
others, alas, are no longer with us.  Littler later on was knighted, but
is beyond all earthly honours now, and so are Pope, Pember and

As I have said, the proceedings occupied two sessions.  In the first,
1899, two Bills came before a Select Committee of the House of Commons,
one promoted jointly by the Great Southern and Western and the Waterford
and Limerick Companies, the other by the Great Southern and the Waterford
and Central Ireland.  But the Great Southern were the real promoters of
both; they paid the piper and, therefore, called the tune.  The Great
Southern being the largest railway company in Ireland aspired to be
greater still, nor need this be considered in the least surprising, for
who in this world, great or small, is ever satisfied?  The Waterford and
Limerick, a line of 350 miles, then ranked fourth amongst the railways of
Ireland, and its proposed absorption by the Great Southern and Western
Company aroused no little interest.  The Central Ireland, a small concern
of 65 miles, running from Maryborough to Waterford, was a secondary
affair altogether and I shall say little more about it.  The Waterford
and Limerick had its headquarters at Limerick, its southern terminus at
Waterford, its northern at Sligo--a direct run from south to north of 223
miles, certain branch lines making up the rest of its mileage.  Its
access to Sligo was by means of the Athenry to Tuam, the Tuam to
Claremorris and the Claremorris to Collooney lines, all of which it
worked.  The last-mentioned was one of the "Balfour" light railways
(constructed on the ordinary Irish gauge of 5 feet 3 inches) and should
have been given to the Midland Company, but by some unfortunate
_contretemps_, when constructed, it passed into the hands of the
Waterford and Limerick.  From Collooney to Sligo (six miles) running
powers were exercised by that company over the Midland line into Sligo.
This Claremorris-Collooney line intersected the Midland system and in the
hands of the Waterford and Limerick Company introduced a competition in
Connaught which that poor district could ill afford to bear--a district
in which one railway system alone, though it enjoyed the whole of the
traffic, would scarcely earn a living.  The Waterford and Limerick was
not what would be called a prosperous line, nor was its physical
condition anything to boast of, but it had latent possibilities, and was
in active competition with the Great Southern.  Such railway competition
as existed in Ireland was dear to traders and the general public.  In
country towns in the sister Isle there is not (more the pity!) much afoot
in the way of diversion, and to set the companies by the ears or get the
better of either one or the other was looked upon as healthy and innocent

On the 7th of June the contest began, and this, the first engagement,
lasted for 44 days, when the Chairman of the Committee announced that the
Bills would not be passed.  Great was our delight and that of our allies,
though the cup of joy was a little dashed on learning that the Great
Southern had determined to renew the struggle in the following year.

My company was the principal opponent, and bore the brunt of the fight,
though the Dublin, Wicklow and Wexford Railway (now the Dublin and South-
Eastern) were vigorous opponents too.  A. G. Reid (from Scotland, who I
have mentioned before) was general manager of the Dublin and Wicklow
Railway.  Like myself he is a pensioner now enjoying the evening of life.
Living near each other in the pleasant Kingstown-Dalkey district, we meet
not infrequently, and when we do our talk, as is natural, often glides
into railway reminiscence.  We fight our battles over again.  We had many
allies, prominent amongst them being the City and Harbour Authorities of
Limerick.  They were represented by good men who were hand and glove with
us.  Sir (then Mr.) Alexander Shaw, John F. Power and William Holliday
were particularly conspicuous for their valuable assistance.  Power (well
named) was a host in himself.  Strong, keen, clever, energetic,
enthusiastic, yet cautious and wary, he was a splendid witness.  I
sometimes said he would have made a fine railway manager, had he been
trained to the business.  Could I give him higher praise?

Mr. Littler was in great feather at our success.  He entertained us
(_i.e_., his Midland clients) to lunch.  Over coffee and cigars we
learned that he had not been in Ireland for over 20 years; so to equip
him the better for next year's fight we invited him over, promising that
I would be his faithful cicerone on a tour through the country.  As soon
as Parliament rose he came, and he and I spent a fortnight together,
visiting Limerick, Waterford, Cork, Galway, Sligo and other places.  It
was a sort of triumphal march, for our friends, and they were many,
warmly welcomed on Irish soil the great English Q.C. who had routed the
enemy.  Littler enjoyed it immensely, and was charmed with Irish warmth
and Irish ways.  Full of good humour and good nature himself, with a
lively wit, and an easy unaffected manner, he gained new friends to our
cause, and increased the zeal of old ones.  He was a charming companion,
a keen observer and interested in everything he saw and everybody he met.

Before the next session arrived my company determined upon a bold course,
and decided to themselves lodge a Bill to acquire the Waterford and
Limerick line.  There was much to be said for this.  With the Waterford
and Limerick in our hands the competition, which the public loved, would
continue, whilst in the hands of the Great Southern monopoly would
prevail.  That we would command much public support seemed certain.  So
in the following year three Bills were presented to Parliament, viz.:--

   Midland Great Western
   Great Southern and Western and Waterford and Limerick
   Great Southern and Western and Waterford and Central Ireland

That Parliament regarded these proposals as being of more than ordinary
importance is clear from the fact that it referred the three Bills to a
Joint Select Committee of both Houses--Lords and Commons--describing them
as "The Railways (Ireland) Amalgamation Bills."  An experienced and able
chairman was appointed in the person of Lord Spencer.

On the 18th of May the proceedings opened.  Day by day every inch of
ground was stubbornly fought, and on the 12th of July the decision of the
Committee was announced.  After the presentation of the Great Southern
case our Bill was heard and all the opposition.  One of the most
effective witnesses for the Great Southern was Sir George (then Mr.)
Gibb, general manager of the North-Eastern, the only big railway in the
country that enjoyed a district to itself.  His _role_ was to persuade
the Committee that railway monopoly, contrary to accepted belief, was a
boon and a blessing, and well he fulfilled his part.

My examination did not take place until July 6th, after nearly all other
witnesses had been heard.  Mr. Littler intentionally kept me back, which
was a great advantage to me, as when placed in the box I had practically
heard what everybody else had said, and the last word, as every woman
knows, is not to be despised.  Littler took me through my "proof."  I had
spent the whole of the previous Sunday with him at his house at Palmer's
Green and we had gone through it together most carefully.  He attached
great importance to my direct evidence, and we underlined the parts I was
to be particularly strong upon.  That I had taken great pains to prepare
complete and accurate evidence I need scarcely say, for, as I have stated
before, if there is any kind of work I have liked more than another, and
into which I have always put my heart and soul, it is this kind.  After
we had got through I was cross-examined by eight opposing counsel,
including Pope, Pember, Balfour Browne and Seymour Bushe.  One of the
very few things connected with my appearance in the case I have preserved
(and this I have kept from vanity, I suppose) is a newspaper cutting
which says, "In cross-examination Mr. Pope could not get a single point
out of Mr. Tatlow.  On the contrary it actually made his case stronger.
His evidence from beginning to end was most masterly.  It was the
evidence of a man who knew what he was talking about and who told the
truth.  Mr. Pope, in the end, agreed with Mr. Tatlow's statement on
running powers."  Mr. Pope was a big, generous-minded man.  In the course
of his great speech on the case he paid me the very nice compliment of
saying that, "Mr. Tatlow went into the box and with a candour that did
him great credit at once admitted that they (the clauses) were the most
stringent that he knew of."  This from opposing counsel was a compliment
indeed, and I was much complimented upon it.  Mr. Pope greatly admired
candour, and indeed I found myself that candour always told with the
Committees.  Littler loved Pope, and so did all the Parliamentary Bar, of
which he was the acknowledged leader and the respected father.  Littler
said to me, "He is a wonderfully and variously gifted man, and had he
chosen the stage as a profession would have been a David Garrick."  I
said, "What about his very substantial person?" for he was colossal in
figure.  "I had forgotten that," said Littler.  Littler told me a good
story of him which Pope, he said, was also fond of telling himself.

It was in the great man's biggest and busiest days.  Influenza was rife.
Mr. Pope was a bachelor, and his valet inconsiderately took the "flu."
Mr. Pope's nephew said the valet must go away till he fully recovered, or
Mr. Pope would be sure to take it.  "What shall I do?" said Mr. Pope, in
dismay.  "Oh, I'll get you a good man for the time," said the nephew; and
so he did; a skilful, quiet, efficient, attentive man, whose usual duty
it was to attend on a rich old gentleman, who resided, on account of a
little mental derangement, in a certain pleasant private establishment.
Mr. Pope had not been told, nor had he inquired, where the excellent
valet, with whom he was well pleased, hailed from, nor had the valet
asked any questions concerning Mr. Pope.  Both seemed to have jumped to
certain conclusions.  After the valet had been there a week or more, one
day, when _downstairs_, he said to the servants: "Tell me, what is it
that is wrong with the master?  He seems to me to be as sane as any of

Balfour Browne, in his book _Forty Years at the Bar_, says, "He" (Mr.
Pope) "had a broad equitable common sense, and never did anything mean or
little."  He was certainly an orator, and displayed in his speeches much
dramatic power.  His voice was fine, flexible and sonorous.  In his later
years he must often have wished his "too too solid flesh would melt," for
it had become a heavy burden.  He had to be wheeled from Committee Room
to Committee Room in a perambulating chair, and was allowed to remain
seated when addressing Committees.  On the 12th of July Lord Spencer
announced that "the Great Southern Amalgamation Bill may proceed subject
to clauses as to running powers, etc."  This meant that _our_ Bill was
gone, and that the Great Southern had gained possession of the Waterford
and Limerick, Ennis, the line to Collooney and running powers to Sligo.
Thus they had secured a monopoly in Munster and an effective competition
with us in poor Connaught.  It was hard lines for the Midland, but all
was not yet lost.  If only we could obtain running powers to Limerick and
carry them back to Ireland, we should have secured some of the spoil.
Another week was spent fighting over running powers, facilities, etc.,
and I was in the witness box again.  Balfour Browne and Littler now
conducted the warfare on either side, and keenly they fought.  The
Committee at one time seemed disposed to put us off with little or
nothing.  In the box I know I waxed warm--"the Great Southern to get all
and we nothing--iniquitous," and then, "the public interest to count for
nought--Oh, monstrous!"  Well, in the end, on the 19th of July, we were
awarded full running powers to Limerick, and--the curtain fell!

The Act came into operation on the 2nd of January, 1901, the 1st being a
Sunday.  On the 8th we ran our first running power train, and the Joy
Bells rang in Limerick.  The Great Southern threatened us with an
injunction because we began to exercise our powers before the terms of
payment, etc., were fixed between us; but we laughed at threats and went
gaily on our way.  Limerick rewarded us by giving us their traffic.

In this last amalgamation year (1900) we were in the Committee Rooms also
in connection with another case--the Kingscourt, Keady and Armagh Railway
Bill; but, I will say no more about it than that we opposed the Bill for
the purpose of obtaining proper protection of Midland interests.

The year 1900 brought a general Act of some importance called the
_Railway Employment (Prevention of Accidents) Act_.  It empowered the
Board of Trade to make rules with the object of reducing or removing the
dangers and risks incidental to certain operations connected with railway
working, such as braking of wagons, propping and tow roping, lighting of
stations, protection of point rods and signal wires, protection to
permanent way men, and other similar matters.  It also empowered the
Board to employ persons for carrying the Act into effect.

Nineteen hundred, take it all in all, was a busy, interesting and
delightful year.  Though we did not succeed in acquiring the Waterford
and Limerick Railway, which I may now say we scarcely expected, for
_compulsory_ railway amalgamation was then unheard of, yet our _bold
course_ was regarded with considerable success (as boldness often is) and
the running powers we had won were pecuniarily valuable as well as
strategically important.  Sir Theodore Martin, our Parliamentary Agent,
and who had taken the keenest interest in the contest, wrote me: "After
all I do not much regret the issue of the fight the Midland have had.  To
have got running powers to Limerick, and to have to give nothing for them
is a substantial triumph."  So also thought my Chairman and Directors,
for on the 25th of July they passed the following Board minute:--

"Resolved unanimously, that having regard to the great exertions of Mr.
Tatlow in connection with the several Bills before Parliament, and the
Directors being of opinion that the favourable terms obtained by this
Company were due to the great care and attention given by him, they have
unanimously decided to raise Mr. Tatlow's salary 200 pounds a year on and
from the 1st inst."

Not a very great amount in these extravagant days, perhaps, but in
Ireland, nineteen years ago, it was thought quite a big thing; and it had
the additional charm of being altogether unexpected by its grateful

Sir Theodore Martin, though 84 years of age, was full of intellectual and
physical vigour.  He was a sound adviser, and enthusiastic in the
amalgamation business.  Poet, biographer and translator, he kept up his
intellectuality till the last, and the end of his interesting life did
not come until he reached his 94th year.  In 1905 he published a
translation of Leopardi's poems.  Between us arose a much greater
intimacy than the ordinary intimacy of business, and his friendship,
through a long series of years, I enjoyed and highly valued.

[Sir Theodore Martin: martin.jpg]

Between the two periods of the Amalgamation control I sandwiched a
delightful holiday, and in the autumn of 1899, after the conclusion of
the great Ballinasloe Fair, travelled east as far as Constantinople.  Were
this a book of travel (which it is not) a chapter might be devoted to
that trip.  But the cobbler must stick to his last, though a word or two
may, perhaps, be allowed on the subject, if only by way of variety.

My companions on this interesting tour were my good friends F. K. and H.
H.  We went by sea from Southampton to Genoa, where we stayed two days to
enjoy the sunshine and colour; its steep, picturesque and narrow streets,
and its beautiful old palaces.  Then we visited Milan and Venice.  At
Venice we spent several days, charmed with its beauty.  From Trieste we
took an Austrian Lloyd steamer, the _Espero_, to Constantinople.  At
Patras we left the steamer to rejoin it at Piraeus, wending our way by
rail along the Gulf of Corinth to Athens, in which classical city we
stayed the night.  Messrs. Gaze and Sons had ordered their guide (or
dragoman as he was called) to meet us and devote himself to our service.
The next morning at 7 o'clock, he called for us at our hotel, and from
that hour till noon, under his guidance, we visited the temples and
monuments of ancient Athens, and inspected the modern city also.  In the
afternoon we drove or rather ploughed our way from Athens to Piraeus
(five miles) along the worst road I ever traversed, not excepting the
streets of Constantinople.  We found the harbour gay with music, flags
and bunting, in honour of a great Russian Admiral who was leaving his
ship to journey by ours to Constantinople.  His officers bade him
respectful farewells on the deck of our steamer, and he ceremoniously
kissed them each and all.

On the twenty-second day after leaving home, at six o'clock in the
morning, we were aroused in our berths and informed that we had arrived
at Constantinople.  The morning, unfortunately, was dull, and our first
view of the Ottoman city, therefore, a little obscured.  All the same, it
was a great sight, with its minarets and towers, its Golden Horn and
crowded quays.  Our dragoman kept at bay all the clamouring crowd of
porters, guides and nondescripts of all colours and races that besieged
us.  It was 8.30 a.m. when we landed, but 3.30 p.m. by Turkish time.  The
Moslem day is from sunset to sunset, and sunset is always reckoned 12
o'clock; an awkward arrangement which the reforming "Young Turk" perhaps
has since altered.  The week we spent in Constantinople was all too
short.  We stayed at the Pera Palace Hotel, and the first night after
dinner, in our innocence, strolled out.  All was dark and dismal; no one
in the streets.  We went as far as the quays, strolled back and on the
way called at a small cafe, the only inmate of which was a dwarf, as
remarkable looking as Velasquez's _Sebastian de Morra_.  The hall porter
at our hotel was waiting our return with anxiety.  "It was not safe to be
out at night," he said; "we had gold watches on us and money in our
purses, and knives were sharp."  Murray's guide book, we afterwards
found, gave similar warning, without mentioning knives.  Sir Nicholas
O'Connor was our Ambassador in Constantinople.  He was an Irishman from
County Mayo, and I had a letter of introduction to him from my friend Sir
George Morris.  Sir Nicholas invited me to lunch at Therapia, where the
Embassy was in residence in its summer quarters.  He was exceedingly kind
and facilitated our sightseeing in the great city during our stay.  We
witnessed the Selamlik ceremony of the Sultan's weekly visit for prayers
to the Mosque Hamedieh Jami, which stands adjacent to the grounds of
Yildiz Kiosk.  It was worth seeing.  There was a great gathering of
military in splendid uniforms and glittering decorations.  Seven handsome
carriages contained his principal wives, or ladies of the harem (wives we
were told), and several of the Sultan's sons (mere youths) were there,
beautifully apparelled.  We caught glimpses of the ladies through their
carriage windows, and being women (though veiled) I should be surprised
if they, on their part, did not get glimpses of us.  There were eunuchs
too, black frock-coated--and the chief eunuch, an important personage who
ranks very high.  Then came the Sultan (Abdul Hamid) himself in an open
carriage, closely surrounded and guarded by officers.  He was an elderly,
careworn, bearded, sallow, melancholy looking man, whose features seemed
incapable of a smile.  He entered the Mosque alone; his wives remaining
seated in their carriages outside.  In the room in which we sat at an
open window to view the ceremony we were regaled with the Sultan's coffee
and cigarettes.

The streets and bazaars of Constantinople were absorbingly interesting.
The various nationalities that everywhere met the eye; the flowing
eastern costumes, the picturesque water carriers, the public letter
writers patiently seated at street corners and occupied with their
clients, the babel of voices, and yet an Oriental indolence pervading
all, crowds but no hurry; the sonorous and musical sound of the Muezzin
call to prayers from the minarets--all was new and strange; delightful
too, if you except the dogs that beset the streets and over which, as
they lay about, we stumbled at every step.  They are now a thing of the
past.  Poor brutes, they deserved a better fate than the cruel method of
extinction which Turkish rule administered.

Of course we visited Stamboul's greatest Mosque, S. Sophia.  Many other
Mosques we saw, but none that approached the majesty of this.  One, the
Church of the Monastery of the Chora, famous for its beautiful mosaics,
we did not see, although the German Emperor had driven specially to it on
his visit in 1898 to the Sultan.  The only good road Constantinople
seemed to possess was this road to the church, which lies outside the
city, and this road, we were told, was constructed for the convenience of
His Imperial Majesty.

One day, on the bridge that spans the Golden Horn, we passed the Grand
Vizier in his carriage.  It was the day on which we crossed the Bosphorus
by steamer to visit Scutari on the Asiatic shore.  Scutari commands a
splendid view of the city, the Golden Horn, and the Bosphorus in its
winding beauty, right away to the Black Sea.  What a city some day will
Constantinople be!  The grandest perhaps on earth.  In Scutari we heard
the Howling Dervishes at their devotions, and the following day, in
Constantinople, witnessed a _performance_ shall I call it? of the Dancing
Dervishes in their whirling, circling, toe-revolving exercise.  The
object of both is said to be to produce the ecstatic state in which the
soul enters the world of dreams and becomes one with God.  There is no
question as to the ecstatic, nay frenzied state many of them attained.

Our last day was the eve of the Ramadan Fast.  At eight o'clock that
night we left by train to journey homeward overland, for time demanded
that we should go back much quicker than we came.

We broke our journey for two days at Buda-Pesth, and looked on the
Danube; at Vienna we stayed a little longer, and found that gay city hard
to leave.  We drove and rode in the Prater, and horseback exercise in
such a place was, I need not say, delightful.  We stopped at Frankfort,
enjoyed its opera and other things, then, _via_ Ostend, wended our way to


"Will you undertake to report on the subject of Light Railways for the
International Railway Congress at Paris?"  This question was put to me in
the year 1899, and although I was busy enough, without shouldering
additional work, I at once said "Yes," and this was how I came to spend
part of my 1900 annual holiday in the beautiful but crowded capital of
France.  Crowded it was almost to suffocation, for 1900 was the Great
Exhibition year, and all the world and his wife were there.  The Railway
Congress took place in September.  The business part of the proceedings
came first, and I did not stay for the festivities.  When my Report was
made and discussed (a reporter was not allowed to read his paper, but was
required to speak from notes), I made, with three railway friends from
Dublin, tracks for Switzerland.  It had been a strenuous year and
mountain air and exercise were needed to restore one's physical strength
and jaded faculties.

"_Means of developing light railways.  What are the best means of
encouraging the building of light railways_?"  This was the text for my
paper, as sent to me by the Congress, and my Report, I was told, should
be confined to the United Kingdom, Mr. W. M. Acworth having undertaken a
report on the subject for other countries.

In my Report I first disposed of Ireland, concerning which and its light
railways I have already written with some fullness in these pages; and my
readers, I am sure, will not be surprised to hear that, as regards that
country I answered the question remitted to me by saying that the only
practical means I could see of further encouraging the construction of
light railways in Ireland was by the wise expenditure of additional
Government Grants, while as regards England, I pointed out that she had
for long preferred to dispense with light railways, that, as forcibly
expressed in _The Times_, she alone of civilised countries had but one
standard for her railways, that is "the best that money could buy"; that
times had changed, and in 1894 and 1895 much discussion and investigation
on the subject had taken place, brought about chiefly, I thought, by
depression in agriculture; that the energy which France, Germany, Sweden,
Belgium and Italy had expended on their light railway systems, especially
in agricultural and rural districts, had helped to further concentrate
public opinion on the question; that a conference had been held at the
Board of Trade and a Committee appointed to investigate the subject; that
this Committee, after various sittings, had reported in favour of
legislation, and that the result had been that the _Light Railway Act_ of
1896 had come into being.  My paper also dealt with this Act, explaining
its scope, its limitations and what its effect had been during the
comparatively short time (only four years) it had been in force; and my
conclusion was that in Great Britain no further facilities were at that
time required for encouraging the building of light railways, the best
policy in my judgment being, to give the Act a fair trial, as time only
could show to what extent the railways to be made in virtue of its
provisions would fulfil the objects for which it had been passed.

Mr. Acworth did not tackle the question as affecting other countries.  He
reported that he had no special knowledge which would entitle him to say
how light railway enterprise could best be developed in countries other
than his own, and that as my Report "sufficiently set out the present
position of affairs in reference to light railways in the United
Kingdom," he thought the most useful contribution he could offer to the
discussion of the question would be "a short criticism of the working,
both from a legal or administrative and also from a practical point of
view, of our English Act of 1896."

The Act of 1896 was one of considerable importance to British Railways
and, therefore, merits a few words.  It established three Commissioners
who were empowered to make Orders authorising the construction of Light
Railways, including powers for the compulsory acquisition of land;
authorised the granting of Government loans and, under special
circumstances, free grants of money.  The Board of Trade might require
any project brought forward under the Act to be submitted to Parliament,
if they considered its magnitude, or the effect it might have on any
existing railway, demanded such a course.  The Act simplified and
cheapened the process for the acquisition of land, and ordained that in
fixing the price the consequent betterment of other lands held by the
same owner should be taken into account.  It imparted considerable power
to dispense with certain expensive conditions and regulations in working
railways constructed under its authority.  Though it was intended
primarily to benefit agriculture, it was capable of an interpretation
wide enough to include all kinds of tramways, and it has been extensively
used for that purpose, sometimes, I fear, to the detriment of existing

According to an article in the Jubilee (1914) number of the _Railway
News_, by Mr. Welby Everard, up to the end of the year 1912 (since the
outbreak of the war figures are not obtainable) a total of 645
applications (including 111 applications for amending Orders) were made
to the Commissioners, the total mileage represented being 4,861 miles.  Of
these applications 418 were passed, comprising 2,115 miles, of which,
1,415 miles were in class A, _i.e_. light railways to be constructed on
land acquired or "cross-country" lines, that is to say, lines which
legitimately fulfilled the purposes of the Act.  But, up to October,
1913, only 45 of these lines, with a total length of 441 miles, had been
constructed and opened for traffic.  The number of applications to the
Commissioners seemed to show a considerable demand for greater facilities
for transit in rural districts, but capital apparently was slow to
respond to that demand.  Perhaps it will be different now, in these days
of change and reconstruction.  The Government is pledged to tackle the
whole question of Transport, and Light Railways will, of course, not be
overlooked, though Motor Traction will run them a close race.

For ten years I had now been manager of the Midland Great Western
Railway, and busy and interesting years they were.  In that period Irish
railways, considering that the population of the country was diminishing,
had made remarkable progress, and effected astonishing improvements.
Whilst the population of England during the decade had _increased_ by
9.13 per cent., and Scotland by 4.69, that of Ireland had _decreased_ by
4.29 per cent!  Yet, notwithstanding this, the railway traffic in
Ireland, measured by receipts, had increased by 22 per cent., against
England 31 and Scotland 36.  In the number of passengers carried the
increase in Ireland was 29 per cent.  In the same period the increase in
the number of engines and vehicles in Ireland was 22, in England 30, and
Scotland 33 per cent., whilst the number of train miles run (which is the
real measure of the usefulness of railways to the public) had advanced 27
per cent. in Ireland, compared with 28 in England, and 30 in Scotland.

These figures indicate what Irish railways had accomplished in the decade
ending with December, 1900, and betoken, I venture to affirm, a keen
spirit of enterprise.  These ten years had witnessed the introduction of
breakfast and dining cars on the trains, of parlour cars, long bogie
corridor carriages, the lighting of carriages by electricity, the
building of railway hotels in tourist districts, the establishment of
numerous coach and steamboat tours, the quickening of tourist traffic
generally, the adoption of larger locomotives of greatly increased power,
the acceleration of the train service, the laying of heavier and smoother
permanent way, and a widespread extension of cheap fares--tourist,
excursion, week-end, etc.  It was a period of great activity and progress
in the Irish railway world, with which I was proud and happy to be
intimately connected.  But what a return for all this effort and
enterprise the Irish railway companies received--3 pounds 17s. 10d. per
cent. on the whole capital expended, plus a liberal amount of abuse from
the Press and politicians, neither of whom ever paused to consider what
Ireland owed to her railways, which, perhaps, all things considered, was
the best conducted business in the country.  It, however, became the
vogue to decry Irish lines as inefficient and extortionate, and a fashion
once started, however ridiculous, never lacks supporters.  The public,
like sheep, are easily led.  In England the average return on capital
expended was 4 pounds 0s. 5d., and in Scotland 4 pounds 2s. 2d.

In the spring of 1901, Mr. W. H. Mills, the Engineer of the Great
Northern Railway of Ireland, and I were entrusted by the Board of Works
with an investigation into the circumstances of the Cork, Blackrock and
Passage Railway in regard to a proposed Government loan to enable the
Company to discharge its liabilities and complete an extension of its
railway to Crosshaven.  It was an interesting inquiry, comprising a
broken contract, the cost of completing unfinished works, the financial
prospects of the line when such works were completed, and other cognate
matters.  A Bill in Parliament promoted by the Railway Company in the
following year became necessary in connection with the loan, which after
our Report the Government granted, and I had to give evidence in regard
to it.  In the same session I appeared also before two other
Parliamentary Committees, so again I had a busy time outside the ordinary
domestic duties pertaining to railway management.

On the first day of November, 1902, my good friend Walter Bailey and I
started on a visit to Egypt.  It, like Constantinople and Spain and
Portugal, occupied more than the usual month's vacation, but as these
extra long excursions were taken only every two or three years, and as it
was never my habit to nibble at holidays by indulging in odd days or week-
ends, my conscience was clear, especially as my Chairman and Directors
cordially approved of my seeing a bit of the world, and readily granted
the necessary leave of absence.  As for Bailey, he always declared this
Egyptian tour was the holiday of his life.  To continue, we arrived in
Cairo, _via_ Trieste and Alexandria, on the 10th.  There we were met by
Mr. Harrison, the general manager of Messrs. Thomas Cook and Son, and
their principal dragoman, _Selim_, whom he placed during our stay in
Cairo at our disposal.  _Selim_ was a Syrian and the prince of dragomans;
a handsome man, of Oriental dignity and gravity, arrayed in wonderful
robes, which by contrast with our Occidental attire made Bailey and me
feel drab and commonplace.  At Cairo we stayed for eight days at
Shepheard's Hotel, and under _Selim's_ guidance made good use of our
time.  On the ninth day we began a delightful journey up the Nile.  Mr.
Frank Cook had insisted upon our being the guests of his firm on their
tourist steamer _Amasis_.

My relations with Messrs. Thomas Cook and Son go back for many years, and
with the Midland of England, my _Alma Mater_, the firm is, perhaps, more
closely associated than with any other railway.  It was on the Midland
system that, in 1841, its business began.  In that year the founder of
the firm, Mr. Thomas Cook, arranged with the Midland the first public
excursion train on record.  It ran from Leicester to Loughborough and
back at a fare of one shilling, and carried 570 passengers.  This was the
first small beginning of that great tourist business which now encircles
the habitable globe.  Mr. Thomas Cook was a Derbyshire man and was born
in 1808.  My father knew him well, often talked to me about him, and told
me stories of the excursion and tourist trade in its early days.  But I
am digressing, and must return to Old Father Nile, who was in great
flood.  We saw him at his best.  His banks were teeming with happy dusky
figures and the smiling irrigated land was bright with fertility.  Our
journey to Assouan occupied eleven days, a leisurely progress averaging
about two and a-half miles an hour.  During the night we never steamed,
the _Amasis_ lying up while we enjoyed quiet rest in the quietest of
lands.  Of course we visited all the famous temples and tombs, ruins and
monuments, of ancient Egypt; and had many camel and donkey rides on the
desert sands before reaching the first cataract.  At Luxor, where we
stayed for five days, we were pleasantly surprised at seeing Mr. Harrison
and Mr. Warren Gillman come on board.  The latter was Secretary of
Messrs. Cook and Son's Egyptian business, and has, I believe, since risen
higher in the service of the firm.

The great Dam at Assouan was just completed and we traversed its entire
length on a trolley propelled by natives.  Assouan detained us for four
days; then, time being important, we travelled back to Cairo by railway.
Three more interesting days were passed in the Babylonian city, then
homewards we went by the quickest route attainable.

Whilst in Cairo and on our journey up the Nile, Bailey and I wrote,
jointly, a series of seven articles on "Egypt and its Railways."  These
appeared in the _Railway News_ in seven successive weeks during December
and January.

Our last hours in the land of the Pharaohs were filled with regret at
having to leave it so soon.  Said Bailey: "Cannot you, before we go,
write a verse of Farewell?"  So I composed the following:--

   Egypt, farewell, and farewell Father Nile,
   Impenetrable Sphinx, eternal pile
   Of broad-based pyramid, and spacious hypostyle!

   Farewell Osiris, Anubis and Set,
   Horus and Ra, and gentle Meskenhet,
   Ye sacred gods of old, O must we leave you yet?

   The mighty works of Ramesis the Great,
   Memphis, Karnak and Thebes asseverate
   The pomp and glory, Egypt, of your ancient state.

   Bright cloudless land!  Your skies of heavenly blue
   Bend o'er your fellaheen the whole day through;
   Night scarce diminishes their sweet celestial hue.

   Realm of enchantment, break your mystic spell,
   Land of the lotus, smiling land farewell!
   For ever it may be, what oracle can tell?


The memorable visit to Ireland of His Majesty King Edward, in the summer
of 1903, which embraced all parts of the country, furnished I think no
incident so unique as his reception in Connemara.  On the morning of the
30th July the Royal Yacht anchored off Leenane, in Killery Bay, and His
Majesty landed in Connaught.  He was accompanied by Queen Alexandra and
Princess Victoria.  This was the first time, I believe, that the people
west of the Shannon had seen their King, and whatever their politics, or
aspirations were, he was certainly received with every manifestation of
sincere good will.  His genial personality and ingratiating _bonhomie_,
his humanity, and his sportsmanlike characteristics, appealed at once to
Irish instincts, and Connaught was as enthusiastic in its welcome as the
rest of Ireland.  The Royal party motored from Leenane to Recess, where
they lunched at the Company's hotel, and where, of course, the Chairman,
directors and chief officers of the railway, as well as local magnates,
were assembled to assist in the welcome.  On nearing Recess a surprise
awaited the King.  He was met by the "Connemara Cavalry," which escorted
the Royal Party to the hotel and acted as bodyguard.  Mr. John
O'Loughlin, of Cashel, had organised this new and unexpected addition to
His Majesty's Forces.  It consisted of about 100 farmers, farmer's sons
and labourers, of all ages from 18 to 80, mounted (mostly bareback) on
hardy Connemara ponies.  "Buffalo Bill" hats, decorated with the Royal
colours or with green ribbon streamers, distinguished them from others.
It was a striking scene, unexpected, novel, unique; but quite in harmony
with the surroundings and the wild and romantic scenery of Connemara and
the Killeries.  The King plainly showed his hearty appreciation.  After
lunch their Majesties visited the marble quarries, situated some three
miles distant, and reached by a rough and rocky precipitous mountain
road, for which motor cars were entirely unsuited.  For this journey the
marble quarry people had ordered a carriage and horses from Dublin, but
which, by some unfortunate occurrence, had not turned up.  Though the
only carriage available in the neighbourhood was ill-suited for royalty,
the King and Queen, good naturedly, made little of that.  They were too
delighted with the unmistakable warmth of their welcome to mind such a
trifle.  Again the "Cavalry" were in attendance and escorted the party to
the quarries and back.

The Royal visit to Ireland, on the whole, was an unqualified success, and
there were many who hoped and believed that the King's good will towards
the country and its people, and his remarkable gifts as a peacemaker,
would in some way help to a solution of the Irish question; but, alas!
that question is with us still, and when and how it will be solved no man
can tell.  For myself, I am one of those who indulge in _hope_,
remembering that Time, in his healing course, has a way of adjusting
human misunderstandings and of bringing about the seemingly impossible.

It was in this year (1903) that I first met Charles Dent, the present
General Manager of the Great Northern Railway of England.  He had been
appointed General Manager of the Great Southern and Western Railway in
succession to R. G. Colhoun.  Dent and I often met.  We found we could do
good work for our respective companies by reducing wasteful competition
and adopting methods of friendly working.  In this we were very
successful.  A man of few words, disdaining all unnecessary formalities,
but getting quickly at the heart and essence of things, it was always a
pleasure to do business with him.

In this year also I enjoyed some variety by way of an inquiry which I
made for the Board of Works, concerning certain proposed light railway
extensions, called the Ulster and Connaught, and which involved the
ticklish task of estimating probable traffic receipts and working
expenses--a task for which the gift of prophecy almost is needed.  To
determine, in this uncertain world, the future of a railway in embryo
might puzzle the wisest; but, with the confidence of the expert, I faced
the problem and, I hope, arrived at conclusions which were at least
within a mile of the mark.

In 1904 that fine old railway veteran, Sir Ralph Cusack, resigned his
position of Chairman of the Midland and was succeeded by the Honourable
Richard Nugent, youngest son of the ninth Earl of Westmeath; Major H. C.
Cusack, Sir Ralph's nephew and son-in-law, becoming Deputy Chairman--the
first (excepting for a few brief months in 1903 when Mr. Nugent occupied
the position) the Midland ever had.  With Sir Ralph's vacation of the
chair, autocratic rule on the Midland, which year by year, had steadily
been growing less, disappeared entirely and for ever.  Well, Sir Ralph in
his long period of office had served the Midland faithfully, with a
single eye to its interests, and good wishes followed him in his
retirement.  Mr. Nugent was a small man, that is physically, but
intellectually was well endowed.  He had scholarly tastes and business
ability in pretty equal parts.  Movement and activity he loved, and, as
he often told me, preferred a holiday in Manchester or Birmingham to the
Riviera or Italian Lakes.  He liked to be occupied, was fond of details,
and possessed a lively curiosity.  Sometimes he was thought, as a
chairman, to err in the direction of too rigid economy, but on a railway
such as the Midland, and in a country such as Ireland, economy was and is
an excellent thing, and if he erred, it was on the right side.  Truth,
candour, courage and enthusiasm marked his character in a high degree.
Fearless in speech, the art of dissimulation he never learned.  I shall
not readily forget a speech he once made at the Railway Companies'
Association in London.  It was on an occasion of great importance, when
all the principal companies of the United Kingdom were present.  It was
altogether unpremeditated, provoked by other speeches with which he
disagreed, and its directness and courage--for it was a bold and frank
expression of honest conviction, such as tells in any assembly--created
some stir and considerable comment.  Of plain homely mother-wit he had an
uncommon share, and his mind was stored with quotations which came out in
his talk with wonderful ease and aptness.  A shrewd observer, his
comments (always good-natured if critical) on his fellow men were worth
listening to.

Our almost daily intercourse was intimate and frank.  Sometimes we
wandered into the pleasant fields of poetry and literature, but never to
the neglect of business.  He had an advantage that I greatly envied; a
splendid memory; could repeat verse after verse, stanza upon stanza,
whole cantos almost, from his favourite poet, Byron.  It was at the half-
yearly meetings of shareholders (they were held half-yearly in his day)
that he specially shone, not in his address to them (for that he _would_
persist in reading) but in the after proceedings when the heckling began.
This, during his chairmanship, was often severe enough, for owing to
unavoidably increased expenditure, dividends were diminishing and
shareholders, in consequence, were in anything but complacent mood.
Question time always put him on his mettle.  Then his mother-wit came
out, his lively humour and practical common sense--all unstudied and
natural.  The effect was striking.  Rarely did he fail in disarming
criticism, producing harmony, and sending away dissentients in good
temper, though some of them, I know, sometimes afterwards wondered how it
came about that they had been so easily placated.

From 1903 to 1906 several Acts of Parliament affecting railways generally
came into force, four of which were of sufficient importance to merit
attention.  The first, the _Railways (Electric Power) Act_, 1903, was a
measure to facilitate the introduction and use of electrical power on
railways, and invested the Board of Trade with authority to make Orders
for that purpose, which were to have the same effect as if enacted by

The second, the _Railway Fires Act_, 1905, was an Act to give
compensation for damage by fires caused by sparks or cinders from railway
engines, and increased the liability of railway companies.  It _inter
alia_, enacted that the fact that the offending engine was used under
statutory powers should not affect liability in any action for damage.

Next came the _Trades Disputes Act_, 1906, a short measure of five
clauses, but none the less of great importance; a democratic law with a
vengeance!  It is one of the four Acts which A. A. Baumann, in his recent
book, describes as being "in themselves a revolution," and of this
particular Act he says it "placed the Trade Unions beyond the reach of
the laws of contract and of tort."  It also legalised peaceful picketing,
that particular form of persuasion with which a democratic age has become
only too familiar.

Lastly, the _Workmen's Compensation Act_, of 1906, an Act to consolidate
and amend the law with respect to compensation to workmen for injuries
suffered in the course of their employment, is on the whole a beneficial
and useful measure, to which we have grown accustomed.

In these years I had other holiday trips abroad; some with my family to
France and Switzerland, and two with my friend, John Kilkelly.  One of
these two was to Denmark and Germany; the other to Monte Carlo and the
Riviera.  In Germany, at Altona, we saw the Kaiser "in shining armour,"
fresh from the autumnal review of his troops, though indeed I should
scarcely say _fresh_, for he looked tired and pale, altogether different
to the stern bronzed warrior depicted in his authorised photographic
presentments which confronted us at every turn.  Kilkelly was a busy, but
never seemed an overworked man, due I suppose to some constitutional
quality he enjoyed.  Added to a good professional business of his own, he
was Solicitor to the Midland, Crown Solicitor for County Armagh,
Solicitor to the Galway County Council, and, in _his leisure hours_,
farmed successfully some seven or eight hundred acres.  He had a fine
portly presence, and though modesty itself, could not help looking as if
he were _somebody_, like the stranger in London, accosted by Theodore
Hook in the Strand, who was of such imposing appearance that the wit
stopped him and said: "I beg your pardon, sir, but, may I ask, are you
anybody in particular?"

At Monte Carlo we both lost money but revelled in abundant sunshine, and
contemplated phases of humanity that to us were new and strange.  Soon we
grew tired of the gaming table and its glittering surroundings, bade it
adieu, and explored other parts of the Riviera, moving at our ease from
scene to scene and from place to place.

Kilkelly was an excellent travelling companion, readily pleased, and
taking things as they came with easy philosophy.  But never more shall we
travel together, at home or abroad.  A year ago, at the age of 82, he
passed from among us on the last long journey which we all must take.

   _Requiescat in pace_!


In previous pages I have spoken of the manner in which the railways of
Ireland had long been abused.  This abuse, as the years went on, instead
of diminishing grew in strength if not in grace.  The Companies were
strangling the country, stifling industry, thwarting enterprise; were
extortionate, grasping, greedy, inefficient.  These were the things that
were said of them, and this in face of what the railways were
accomplishing, of which I have previously spoken.  Politics were largely
at the bottom of it all, I am sure, and certain newspapers joined in the
noisy chorus.  At length the House of Commons, during the Session of
1905, rewarded the agitators by adopting the following resolution:--

   "_That in the opinion of this House, excessive railway rates and
   defective transit facilities, generally, constitute a serious bar to
   the advancement of Ireland and should receive immediate attention from
   the Government with a view to providing a remedy therefor_."

This Resolution bore fruit, for in the ensuing year (1906), in the month
of July, a Vice-Regal Commission was appointed to inquire into the
subject, and the Terms of Reference to the Commission included these

   "_What causes have retarded the expansion of traffic upon the Irish
   lines and their full utilization for the development of the
   agricultural and industrial resources of the country; and, generally,
   by what methods the economical, efficient, and harmonious working of
   the Irish Railways can best be secured_."

As the newspapers said, the Irish Railway Companies were put upon their
trial.  As soon as the Commission was appointed the Companies (19 in
number) assembled at the Railway Clearing House in Dublin to discuss the
situation, and decide upon a course of action.  Unanimously it was
resolved to act together and to make a common defence.  A Committee,
consisting of the Chairman and General Managers of the seven principal
companies, was appointed and invested with full power to act in the
interest of all, as they should find desirable.  The Right Honourable Sir
William (then Sir William) Goulding, Baronet, Chairman of the Great
Southern and Western Railway, was appointed Chairman of the Committee.  I
was appointed its Secretary, and Mr. Croker Barrington its Solicitor.  It
was further decided that one general case for the associated railways
should be prepared and presented to the Commission by one person, who
should also (under the direction of the Committee) have charge of all
proceedings connected with the Inquiry.  I, to my delight, was
unanimously selected as that person, and to enable me to do the work
properly, I was allowed to select three assistants.  My choice fell upon
G. E. Smyth, John Quirey, and Joseph Ingram, and I could not have chosen
better.  We were allotted an office in the Railway Clearing House; my
assistants gave their whole time to the work, and I gravitated between
Broadstone and Kildare Street, for of course I had to look after the
Midland Great Western as well as the Commission business.  That I could
not, like Sir Boyle Roche's bird, be in two places at once, was my
greatest disappointment.  I may record here that each of my assistants
has since, to borrow an Americanism, "made good."  Smyth is now Traffic
Manager of the Great Southern and Western Railway; Quirey is Chief
Accountant of the Midland Railway of England, and Ingram became Secretary
of the Irish Clearing House, from which be has been recently promoted to
an important position under the Ministry of Transport (Ireland).

The way in which the seven Companies worked together, and the success
they attained was, I think, something to be proud of.  Sir William
Goulding was an excellent Chairman.  There was just one little rift in
the lute.  One of the seven Companies showed a disposition, at times, to
play off its own bat, but this was, after all, only a small matter, and
the general harmony, cohesion and unanimity that prevailed were
admirable, and unquestionably productive of good.  We had as Counsel, to
guide and assist the Committee, and to represent the Companies before the
tribunal, Mr. Balfour Browne, K.C.; Mr. Jas. Campbell, K.C. (now the Rt.
Hon. Sir James Campbell, Baronet, Lord Chancellor of Ireland); Mr. T. M.
Healy, K.C.; Mr. Vesey Knox, K.C.; and Mr. G. Fitzgibbon.  They served us
well, and were all required.  During the proceedings, prolonged as they
were, each could not of course always appear, and it was important to
have Counsel invariably at hand.

Sir Charles Scotter was appointed Chairman of the Commission.  He was
Chairman of the London and South Western Railway; had risen from the
ranks in the railway service; had been a general manager, and was
unquestionably a man of great ability; but he was handicapped by his age,
which even then exceeded the Psalmist's allotted span.  His health
moreover was not good, and in less than six months after the completion
of the work of the Commission, he departed this life at the age of 75.

Mr. George Shanahan, Assistant Secretary of the Board of Works, was the
capable Secretary of the Commission.  He had the advantage of being a
railwayman.  From the service of the Great Northern Railway, Robertson
took him with him to the Board of Works in the year 1896.

Before the Commission began its public sittings it issued and freely
circulated a printed paper entitled "_Draft Heads of Evidence for
Traders, Industrial Associations, Commercial and Public Bodies, etc_."
This paper invited complaints under various set headings and concluded
with these words:--

   "Whether there is any other question that might be usefully considered
   in determining the _causes that have retarded the expansion of traffic
   upon the Irish lines_, and their full utilization for the development
   of the agricultural and industrial resources of the country."

The italics are mine.  We, rightly or wrongly, looked upon this paragraph
as _assuming_ the case against the Companies to have some foundation in
fact and likely to bias neutral opinion against us, and when (after the
hearing was concluded) three of the seven Commissioners reported that the
evidence "led them to doubt whether expansion of traffic had been
retarded," we felt that our view was not without justification.  But I am
anticipating the findings of the Commission, and perhaps, after all, the
peculiar Terms of the Reference largely dictated the course of procedure
which the Commission adopted.

The first public sitting was held in Dublin on the 12th of October, 1906,
and the last in the same city on the 29th of January, 1909.  There were
95 public sittings in all; and 293 witnesses were examined, 29 of whom
appeared on behalf of the Railway Companies.  The Reports of the
Commissioners (for there were two--a Majority and a Minority Report) did
not appear till the 4th of July, 1910, so from the time of its
appointment until the conclusion of its work the Commission covered a
period of four years, all but fourteen days.

During the course of this Inquiry I passed through a crisis in my life.
From more than a year before the Commission was appointed I had been in
most indifferent health, the cause of which doctors both in Dublin and in
London were unable to discover.  As time went on I became worse.
Recurring attacks of intense internal pain and constant loss of sleep
worked havoc with my strength; but I held on grimly to my work, and few
there were who knew how I suffered.  One day, indeed, at the close of a
sitting of the Commission, Sir John (then Mr.) Aspinall came over to
where I sat, and said: "How ill you have looked all day, Tatlow; what is
wrong?"  By the time March, 1907 came round, finding I could go on no
longer, I went to London and saw three medical men, one of whom was the
eminent surgeon, Sir Mayo (then Mr.) Robson.  He, happily, discovered the
cause of my trouble, and forthwith operated upon me.  It was a severe and
prolonged operation, but saved my life and re-established my health.  Not
until late in July was I able to resume work--an enforced absence from
duty of four long months.  In this absence my three assistants carried on
the Commission work with great efficiency.  It was a trying experience
that I passed through, but from it I gathered some knowledge of what a
man can endure and still perform his daily task, and what the value of
true and sympathetic friendship means to one in a time of suffering.  It
was during this illness that my friend, F. K. shewed what a true friend
he was.  He, and my dear kinsman Harry, devoted themselves to me,
especially during my convalescence, giving up their time ungrudgingly and
accompanying me to the Mediterranean and elsewhere.

The presentation of the Railway case and the rebutting evidence did not
begin till all the public witnesses had been heard.  My evidence, on
behalf of the associated companies, occupied five days.  Other railway
managers followed with evidence specially affecting their own railways,
and one Chairman (Mr. F. W. Pim, Dublin and South-Eastern Railway) also
appeared in the witness box.  We had also as a witness Mr. E. A. Pratt,
the well-known journalist and author of works on railways and commercial
subjects, who gave evidence for us regarding Continental railway rates
and conditions of transit abroad, in answer to evidence which had been
given on the subject by an official of the Department of Agriculture.  An
extraordinary amount of importance had been attached to Continental
railway rates as compared with rates in Ireland, and the Department had
sent their representative abroad to gather all the information he could.
He returned, armed with figures, and submitted lengthy evidence and
numerous tables.  A great outcry had been made for years in the Press and
on the platform that rates in Ireland were exorbitant compared with
Continental rates; and now, it was thought, this will be brought home to
the Irish Companies.  Mr. Pratt was well informed, having investigated
the subject thoroughly in various countries, and written and published
books and articles thereon.  Between us we were able to show the
unfairness of the comparisons, the dissimilarity of the circumstances of
each country, and the varied conditions and nature of the services
rendered in each, and the Commissioners in the Majority Report confessed
that after a full consideration of the evidence, they did not think any
useful purpose would be served by attempting to make particular and
detailed comparisons between Continental and Irish rates.

I could write much that would be interesting about the proceedings and
the evidence given against and for the Companies; how reckless were many
of the charges brought against them, how easily they were disproved; how
subtle and disingenuous other charges were and what skill was required to
refute them; how some of the witnesses were up in the clouds and had to
be brought down to common earth; how conclusively the Companies proved
that the railways had done their best to encourage and help every
industry and that their efforts had not been unsuccessful; but I will
resist the temptation, and proceed to the Reports which the Commissioners
presented to His Excellency the Lord Lieutenant.  As I have said, there
were two reports, one signed by four, the other by three Commissioners.
The Majority Report bore the signatures of the Chairman, the Rt. Hon.
Lord Pirrie, Colonel (now Sir) Hutcheson Poe, and Mr. Thomas Sexton,
while the Minority Report was signed by Sir Herbert Jekyll, Mr. W. M.
Acworth, and Mr. (now Sir) John Aspinall.  The first-mentioned Report was
not so favourable to the railways as the other, yet the worst thing it
said of the Companies was that they were commercial bodies conducted on
commercial principles and ran the railways for profit, and it admitted
that Irish railway managers neglected few opportunities for developing
traffic.  In a sort of way it apologised for the evidence-seeking printed
papers to which I have already referred, and admitted that had the
Commissioners been in possession of the statistics of trade and industry
published in 1906 by the Department of Agriculture (which seemed to have
surprised them by the facts and figures they contained of Ireland's
progress) these circulars might have been framed differently.  The Report
also said that the complaints the Commissioners received would have been
fewer in number if some of the public witnesses had been better informed
and had taken pains to verify their statements.  The Commissioners
further reported that they were satisfied that it was impracticable for
the Railway Companies, as commercial undertakings, to make such reduction
in rates as was desired, and, "as the economic condition of the country
required," but it was not mentioned that no inquiry had been made as to
the economic condition alluded to.  In regard to this question of
economic condition the Minority Report took a more modest view.  It
expressed the opinion that regarding the causes which had retarded the
expansion of traffic upon the Irish lines, "A complete answer would
involve an inquiry ranging over the whole field of agriculture and
industry in all its aspects," and that this the Commissioners had not
made.  It also added that the statistics of Irish trade which had been
published by the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction
since the commencement of the Inquiry led them (the Minority
Commissioners) to doubt whether the expansion of traffic _had_ been

To return to the Majority Report.  The Commissioners who signed it were
of opinion that Ireland needed special treatment in regard to her
railways and that public acquisition (not State acquisition) and public
control of a unified railway system was the consummation to be desired.
In their view, if only this were accomplished blessings innumerable would
ensue and all complaints would for ever cease.  As to the way in which
this unification and public control were to be carried out, they
recommended that an Irish Authority should be instituted to acquire the
Irish Railways and work them as a single system, that this Authority
should be a railway Board of twenty Directors, four nominated and sixteen
elected; that the general terms of purchase be those prescribed by the
Regulation of Railways Act of 1844; that the financial medium be a
Railway Stock; and that such Stock be charged upon (1) The Consolidated
Fund; (2) the net revenues of the unified railway system; (3) an annual
grant from the Imperial Exchequer; and (4) a general rate to be struck by
the Irish Railway Authority if and when required.

The Commissioners who signed the Minority Report said the evidence, as a
whole, had not produced the same general effect upon their minds as upon
the minds of their colleagues, and they were inclined to attach less
importance than their colleagues did to the evidence given against the
Irish Railway Companies, and more importance to the evidence given in
their favour.  In their opinion the result of the evidence was, that if
the Companies were to be considered as having been on their trial, _they
were entitled_ _to a verdict of acquittal_, and that no case had been
made out for the reversal of railway policy which their colleagues
advocated.  They added that it would hardly be disputed that the Railways
had on the whole conferred great benefits upon Ireland.

On the question of reductions in rates (reductions which the Majority
Report strongly urged as necessary), they did not think that reductions
were more likely to occur under public than under private ownership.  They
suggested, further, that the official statistics of various countries
showed that the fall in the average rate had been much greater on the
privately owned railways of France and the United States than on the
State-owned railways of Prussia, which were universally accepted as the
most favourable example of State managed railways in the world.  They
came to the conclusion, after hearing all the evidence, that the
management of the principal Irish Companies was not inferior to that of
similar companies in England and Scotland.  They narrated the many
improvements (with which they seemed much impressed) that Irish Companies
had in recent years effected for the benefit of the public and the good
of the country, and said "they had spent money, and not always
profitably, in endeavouring to promote the development of new
industries."  They considered the principle of private ownership should
be maintained, believing that railways are better and more economically
managed by directors responsible to their own shareholders than they
would be under any form of State or popular control, and that
administration on commercial principles was the best in the public

In their opinion, however, the Irish railway system was faulty by reason
of its sub-division into so many independent companies, and they
recommended a policy of amalgamation, with the ultimate object of
including the principal railways in one single system, and also, that
certain lines classed as railways, but which were really tramways serving
purely local interests, need not be incorporated with the general railway
system.  Such amalgamation, they considered, need not be effected at one
time, but should be accomplished gradually.  Failing amalgamation by
voluntary effort within three years, compulsion should be resorted to.

On the whole the Reports were highly satisfactory to the Irish railways.
They showed that the Companies had done their duty to the country
honestly and well, and that they had been unjustifiably attacked.  The
good character of the Irish railways was thus re-established, and they
again held their rightful place in public esteem.

Of the two I much preferred the Minority Report.  The working of the
Irish railways (in accordance with its Recommendations) as business
concerns on commercial principles, seemed to me both sound and sensible
and the policy best calculated to serve the interests of the country.  I
cannot, however, say that I concurred in that part of the Minority Report
which proposed the welding of all the railways of Ireland into one great
system.  In my humble opinion, the formation of three large systems--a
Northern, a Midland and a Southern--was the desirable course to adopt.
This course would, at any rate, keep alive the spirit of emulation which,
in itself, is a wholesome stimulant to enterprise and endeavour, as well
as to economy.

The Majority Report, which amongst other things said, "We consider it
obvious that Irish development will not be fully served by the railways
until they cease to be commercial undertakings," found favour mostly, I
think, with those who looked upon Ireland as an exceptional country
requiring eleemosynary treatment, and whose railways ought, in their
view, to be placed beyond the ordinary healthy necessity of paying their
way.  Our Chairman, the Honourable Richard Nugent, addressing his
shareholders at the time, put the matter rather neatly.  He said: "The
case, as recommended by the Majority Report, stands thus--the Government
to find the money for purchasing the railways; the Government to
guarantee the interest on the capital cost; the County Councils to work
the railways on uncommercial lines; the Government to pay to the extent
of 250,000 pounds a year any deficiency incurred by uncommercial
management; and any further annual losses to be paid by the County
Councils striking a general rate, which you and I and all of us would be
required to pay."  He added, "Does this seem a businesslike proposal?"

The Government took no steps towards carrying out the Recommendations of
either Report.  Perhaps they thought them so nearly divided, and so
almost evenly balanced, that the one neutralised the other.  They may
also have thought that each Report made it clear that the Irish railways
were well managed, not lacking in enterprise or energy, were doing well
for the country; and that, therefore, the wisest course was to "let well

Were we living in ordinary times, had there been no world-wide war, with
its vast upheavals and colossal changes, it would be both interesting and
profitable to further discuss the Reports, their conclusions and
recommendations; but the war has altered the whole railway situation, and
it would be idle to do so now.  Victor Hugo says: "Great events have
incalculable consequences," which is unquestionably true in respect of
the railways and the war.  The vital question now in regard, not only to
the railways of Ireland, but to the railways of the whole United Kingdom,
is as to their future.  It is, however, with the Irish railways I am
specially concerned, and of them I may pretend to have a little
knowledge, which must be my excuse for saying a few words more on the

The Irish railways, like those of Great Britain, are at present
controlled by the Government, under the _Regulation of the Forces Act_,
1871--a war arrangement which is to be continued, under the powers of the
_Ministry of Transport Act_, for a further period of two years, "with a
view to affording time for the consideration and formulation of the
policy to be pursued as to the future position" of the railways.  This
arrangement, temporary in its nature, provides, as is pretty generally
known, that during its continuance, the railway companies shall be
guaranteed the same net income as they earned in the year preceding the
war, viz., 1913.  So far so good.  But two years will quickly pass; and
what then?  It is also generally known that the Government control of the
railways, during the war and since, has resulted in enormous additions to
the working expenses.  Perhaps these additions were inevitable.  The cost
of coal, and of all materials used in the working of railways, advanced
by leaps and bounds; but the biggest increase has been in the wages bill.
The Government granted these increases of wages, and also conceded
shorter hours of labour, involving an immensity of expense, on their own
responsibility, without consultation with the Irish railway companies.
Upon the Irish railway companies, for the present position of affairs no
responsibility, therefore, rests.  Again I say, the course which the
Government adopted was, perhaps, inevitable.  They had to win the war.
Labour was clamorous and insistent, and serious trouble threatened.  High
reasons of State may be presumed to have dictated the Government policy.
Anyhow the thing is done, and the hard fact remains that the Irish
railways have been brought to such a financial condition that, if they
were handed back to the companies, many of them not only could not pay
any dividends but would be unable to meet their fixed charges whilst some
would not be able to even pay their working expenses.

In England the opinion is held that a proper balance between receipts and
expenditure can be restored by increased charges and reduced expenditure.
This may be so in England, with its teeming population and its almost
illimitable industrial resources.  As to that I venture no opinion, but
Ireland is very differently situated.  It is mainly an agricultural
country, and for most of its railways no such promising prospect can, it
seems to me, be discerned.  To _unduly_ increase rates would diminish
traffic and induce competition by road and sea.  Past experience teaches

It used to be said that railway companies asserted, in justification of
their rates, that they were fixed on the principle of "what the traffic
could bear," and the companies were reproached on the ground that the
principle involved an injustice, but a principle which involved the
imposition of rates beyond what the traffic _could bear_, could hardly be
said to be either sound or just.  However that may be, the Government
have imposed upon the Irish railways a burden of working expenses which
they cannot bear.  What is the remedy?  Whatever course is adopted, it is
devoutly to be hoped that it will be fair and just to the proprietors of
a railway system, which has done so much for Ireland, and in respect of
which the proprietors have received on their capital an annual return
averaging less than 4 per cent.!  No bloated capitalists these.  Irish
railway shareholders largely consist of people of moderate means, and
their individual holdings, on the Midland Great-Western, for example,
average only 570 pounds per shareholder.

Whilst I am by nature optimistic, I must confess that in these latter
days my optimism occasionally receives a shock.  Nevertheless, I believe
that the spirit of justice still animates the British people and
Parliament; that fair treatment will be accorded to the owners of Irish
railways, and that they shall not suffer by the policy which the
Government, under the stress of war, have pursued.  Railway directors are
alive to the seriousness of the position, and may I think be trusted to
see that no precaution will be neglected to secure for their companies
fair terms from the Government.  Shareholders also I am glad to observe
are banding themselves together for the protection of their interests.


Soon after the Vice-Regal Commission had concluded its public sittings,
and long before its Reports were issued, I had the pleasure of receiving
from the associated companies a cordial minute of appreciation of the
work I had done, accompanied by a handsome cheque.  Nor was this mark of
appreciation confined to me.  My friend, Croker Barrington, Solicitor to
the Committee, who had given yeoman service, and my capable assistants,
were not overlooked.

Sir William Goulding was proud of his chairmanship, and well he might be,
for during the long and trying period of the Inquiry he kept his team
well together and (no easy task) discharged the duties of Chairman with
admirable tact and ability.  He was well entitled to the Resolution of
cordial thanks which the associated companies accorded to him.  I should,
I feel, be lacking in gratitude if I failed to acknowledge also the
invaluable help afforded me by my brother managers, help ungrudgingly and
unstintingly given.

The Irish railways did not stand still.  Their march along the path of
progress and improvement continued _sans_ interruption.  From 1906 to
1910 (the Commission period) railway business, measured by receipts,
advanced in Ireland by seven per cent., compared with six per cent. in
England and three per cent. in Scotland!

In November, 1909, as was my habit unless prevented by other important
duties, I attended the General Managers' Conference at the Railway
Clearing House in London, and to my surprise and delight was unanimously
elected Chairman of the Conference for the ensuing year, the first and
only occasion on which the Manager of an Irish railway has been selected
to fill that office.

The Conference consists of the General Managers of all railways who are
parties to the London Clearing House, which means all the principal
railways of the United Kingdom.  Other Conferences there were such as the
Goods Managers', the Superintendents', the Claims Conference, etc., but
it was the General Managers' Conference that dealt with the most
important matters.

I remember that, in returning thanks for my election, I ventured on a few
remarks which I thought appropriate to the occasion.  Amongst other
things I said it was breaking new ground for the Conference to look to
Ireland for a Pope, but that in doing so they exhibited a catholicity of
outlook which did them honor; and I added that, in filling the high
office to which they had elected me, though I should certainly never
pretend to the infallibility of His Holiness, I should no doubt find it
necessary at times to exercise his authority.  At ten o'clock in the
morning this little attempt at pleasantry seemed to be rather unexpected,
but it raised a laugh, which, of course, was something to the good.  The
Conference was a businesslike assembly that prided itself on getting
through much work with little talk--an accomplishment uncommon at any
time, and particularly uncommon in these latter days.  In these restless
days when--

   "_What this troubled old world needs_,
   _Is fewer words and better deeds_."

My year of office quickly passed and I got through it without discredit,
indeed my successor to the chair, Sir (then Mr.) Sam Fay, writing me just
after his election, said that I "had won golden opinions," and expressed
the hope that he would do as well.  Of course he did better, for he was
far more experienced than I in British railway affairs, and this was only
his modesty.  My friend Sir William (then Mr.) Forbes was my immediate
predecessor as Chairman, and to him I was indebted for the suggestion to
the Conference that I should succeed him in the occupancy of the chair.

Early in the year 1910 a delightful duty devolved upon me, the duty of
presiding at a farewell dinner to J. F. S. Gooday, General Manager of the
Great Eastern Railway, to celebrate his retirement from that position,
and his accession to the Board of Directors.  For some years it had been
the custom, when a General Manager retired, for his colleagues to
entertain him to dinner, and for the Chairman of the Conference to
officiate as Chairman at the dinner.  Gooday's brother Managers flocked
to London from all parts of the kingdom to do him honor, for whilst he
was esteemed for his ability as a manager, he was loved for his qualities
as a man.  Of refined tastes, including a _penchant_ for blue china,
being a thriving bachelor, he was able to gratify them.  We were so fond
of him that the best of dinners was not enough, in our estimation, to
worthily mark the occasion and to give him the pleasure he wished, and we
presented to him some rare blue vases which _Cousin Pons_ himself would
have been proud to possess.

By virtue of my office of Chairman of the Conference, I also, during
1910, sat as a member of the Council of the _Railway Companies'
Association_.  This Association, of which I have not yet spoken, merits a
word or two.  As described by its present Secretary, Mr. Arthur B. Cane,
it is "a voluntary Association of railway companies, established for the
purpose of mutual consultation upon matters affecting their common
interests, and is the result of a gradual development."  It dates back as
far as the year 1854, when a meeting of Railway Directors was held in
London to consider certain legislative proposals which resulted in the
Railway and Canal Traffic Act of that year.  In its present form it
consists of all the principal railway companies of the United Kingdom,
each Company being represented by its Chairman, Deputy Chairman, General
Manager and Solicitor.  A Director of any so associated Company, who is a
Member of Parliament, is also _ex officio_ a member of the Association.
As its membership increased it was found that the Association was
inconveniently large for executive purposes, and some twenty years or so
ago a _Council_ was formed with power to represent the Association on all
questions affecting general railway interests.  At this moment this
Council is engaged in looking after the interests of the railway
companies in the matter of the great _Ways and Communications Bill_.  By
the suffrages and goodwill of my colleagues in Ireland, who had the
election of one member, I remained on the Council till the end of the
year 1912.  Mr. Cane states that "The Association has always preserved
its original character of a purely voluntary association, and has been
most careful to safeguard the independence of its individual members."
Also, that it has "been expressly provided by its constitution that no
action shall be taken by the Council unless the members are unanimous."
For many years Sir Henry Oakley was its honorary secretary, performing
_con amore_ the duties which were by no means light, but in 1898 it was
resolved to appoint a paid secretary and to establish permanent offices,
which now are located in Parliament Street, Westminster.  Mr. (now Sir
Guy) Granet was the first paid secretary, Mr. Temple Franks succeeded
him, and Mr. Cane, as I have already mentioned, is the present occupant
of the office.

In the autumn of 1910 I visited the English Lakes and spent a fortnight
in that beautiful district, in the company, for the first few days, of
Walter Bailey; and during the latter part of the fortnight, with E. A.
Pratt as a companion.  It was the last holiday Bailey and I spent
together, though happily at various intervals we afterwards met and dined
together in London, and our letters to each other only ended with his
lamented death.

In the year 1913 a new form of Railway Accounts came into operation.  This
new form became compulsory for all railways by the passing, in 1911, of
the _Railway Companies (Accounts and Returns) Act_.  This Act is the last
general railway enactment that I shall have to mention, for no
legislation of importance affecting railways was passed between 1911 and
1913; and since the war began no such legislation has even been
attempted, excepting always the _Ways and Communications Bill_ which, as
I write, is pursuing its course through the House of Commons.

The form of half-yearly accounts prescribed by the _Regulation of
Railways Act_, 1868, admirable as they were, in course of time were found
to be insufficient and unsatisfactory.  They failed to secure, in
practice, such uniformity as was necessary to enable comparisons to be
made between the various companies, and in 1903 a Committee of Railway
Accountants was appointed by the Railway Companies' Association to study
the subject, with the view of securing uniformity of practice amongst
British railways in preparing and publishing their accounts.  This
Committee, after an expenditure of much time and trouble, prepared a
revised form, but the companies failed to agree to their general
adoption, and without legislation, compulsion could not of course be
applied.  This led to the Board of Trade, who were keen on uniformity,
appointing, in 1906, a Departmental Committee on the subject.  On this
Committee sat my friend Walter Bailey.  The Committee heard much
evidence, considered the subject very thoroughly, and recommended new
forms of Accounts and Statistical Returns, which were (practically as
drawn up) embodied in the Act of 1911, and are now the law of the land.
From the shareholders' point of view the most important changes are the
substitution of annual accounts for half-yearly ones, and the adoption of
a uniform date for the close of the financial year.  In addition to the
many improvements in the direction of clearness and simplicity which the
new form of accounts effected, the following two important changes were

(1) _All information relating to the subsidiary enterprises of a company
to be shown separately to that relating to the railway itself_

(2) _A strict separation to be made of the financial statements from
those which were of a purely statistical character_

The first of these alterations had become desirable from the fact that
practically all the larger railway companies had, in the course of years,
added to their railway business proper such outside enterprises as
steamships, docks, wharves, harbours, hotels, etc.

One bright morning, in the autumn of 1911, I was summoned to the
telephone by my friend the Right Honorable Laurence A. Waldron, then a
Director of the Dublin and Kingstown Railway, and now its Chairman.  He
said there was a vacancy on the Kingstown Board; and, supposing the seat
was offered to me, would I be free to accept it?  As everybody knows, it
is not usual for a railway manager, so long as he remains a manager, to
be a director of his own or of any other company; so, "I must consult my
Chairman," said I.  The Dublin and Kingstown being a worked, not a
working line, the duties of its directors, though important are not
onerous, and my Chairman and Board readily accorded their consent.  Such
was my first happy start as a railway director.

[The Gresham Salver: salver.jpg]

The Dublin and Kingstown has the distinction of being the first railway
to be constructed in Ireland.  Indeed, for five years it was the only
railway in that country.  Opened as far back as 1834, it was amongst the
earliest of the railway lines of the whole United Kingdom.  The Stockton
and Darlington (1825), the Manchester and Liverpool (1830), and the
Dundee and Newtyle (1831), were its only predecessors.  Soon after its
construction it was extended from Kingstown to Dalkey, a distance of 1.75
miles.  This extension was constructed and worked on the _atmospheric
system_, a method of working railways which failed to fulfil
expectations, with the result that the Dalkey branch was, in 1856,
changed to an ordinary locomotive line.

The atmospheric system of working railways found favour for a time, and
was tried on the West London Railway, on the South Devon system, and in
other parts of Great Britain, also in France, but nowhere was it
permanently successful.  The reason of the failure of the system on the
Dalkey extension, Mr. Waldron tells me (and he knows all about his
railway, as a Chairman should) was due to the impossibility of keeping
the metal disc airtight.  The disc, shaped like a griddle, was edged with
leather which had to be heavily greased to enable it to be drawn through
the pipe from which the air was pumped out, in order to create a vacuum,
and the rats, like nature, abhorring a vacuum, gnawed the greasy leather,
letting in the air, and bringing the train to a standstill!

The Kingstown Railway was also interesting in another respect, as
illustrating the opposition which confronted railways in those early
days.  There was a Mr. Thomas Michael Gresham, who was the owner of the
well-known Gresham Hotel in Dublin, and largely interested in house
property in Kingstown--Gresham Terrace there is called after him.  He
organised a successful opposition to the Dublin and Kingstown Railway
being allowed--though authorised by Parliament--to go into Kingstown, and
its terminus was for some years Salthill Station (Monkstown) a mile away.
Mr. Gresham's action was so highly appreciated--incredible as it now
appears--that he was presented with a testimonial and a piece of plate
for his "_spirited and patriotic action_."  I have adorned this book with
a photograph of the salver which, with the inscription it bears, will I
think, in these days, be not uninteresting.

The year 1911 was darkened for me by the shadow of death.  During its
course I lost my wife, who succumbed to an illness which had lasted for
several years, an illness accompanied with much pain and suffering borne
with great courage and endurance.


I had long cherished the hope that when, in the course of time, I sought
to retire from the active duties of railway management, I might, perhaps,
be promoted to a seat on the Board of the Company.  Presumptuous though
the thought may have been, I had the justification that it was not
discouraged by some of my Directors, to whom, in the intimacy of after
dinner talk, I sometimes broached the subject.  But I little imagined the
change would come as soon as it did.  I had fancied that my managerial
activities would continue until I attained the usual age for
retirement--three score years and five.  On this I had more or less
reckoned, but

   "_There's a divinity that shapes our ends_
   _Rough hew them how we will_,"

and it came to pass that at sixty-one I exchanged my busy life for a life
of comparative ease.  And this is how it came about.  A vacancy on the
Board of Directors unexpectedly occurred in October, 1912, while I was in
Paris on my way home from a holiday in Switzerland and Italy.  I there
received a letter informing me that the Board would offer me the vacant
seat if it really was my wish to retire so soon.  Not a moment did I
hesitate.  Such an opportunity might never come again; so like a prudent
man, I "grasped the skirts of happy chance," and the 5th day of November,
1912, saw me duly installed as a Director of the Company which I had
served as Manager for close upon twenty-two years.  It was an early age,
perhaps, to retire from that active life to which I had been accustomed,
but as Doctor Johnson says, "No man is obliged to do as much as he can
do.  A man is to have a part of his life to himself."  I made the plunge
and have never since regretted it.  It has given me more leisure for
pursuits I love, and time has never hung heavy on my hands.  On the
contrary, I have found the days and hours all too short.  Coincident with
this change came a piece of good fortune of which I could not have
availed myself had not this alteration in my circumstances taken place.
Whilst in Paris I heard that Mr. Lewis Harcourt (now Viscount Harcourt),
then Colonial Secretary, had expressed a wish to see me as I passed
through London, and on the 28th of October, I had an interview with him
at his office in the House of Commons.  There was a vacancy, he informed
me, on the recently appointed Dominions' Royal Commission, occasioned by
the resignation of Sir Charles Owens, late General Manager of the London
and South-Western Railway, and a railway man was wanted to fill his
place.  I had been mentioned to him; would I accept the position?  It
involved, he said, a good deal of work and much travelling--voyages to
Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada and Newfoundland.  Two
years, he expected, would enable the whole of the work to be done, and
about twelve months' absence from England, perhaps rather more, but not
in continuous months, would be necessary.  It was a great honor to be
asked, and I had no hesitation in telling him that as I was on the eve of
being freed from regular active work, I would be more than happy to
undertake the duty, but--"But what?" he inquired.  I was but very
recently married, I said, and how could I leave my wife to go to the
other side of the globe alone?  No need to do that, said he; your wife
can accompany you; other ladies are going too.  Then I gratefully
accepted the offer, and with high delight, for would I not see more of
the great world, and accomplish useful public work at the same time.  Duty
and pleasure would go hand in hand.  I need not hide the fact that it was
one of my then Directors, now my colleague, and always my friend, Sir
Walter Nugent, Baronet (then a Member of Parliament), who, having been
spoken to on the subject, was the first to mention my name to Mr.

Soon after my retirement from the position of Manager of the Midland, my
colleagues of the Irish railway service, joined by the Managers of
certain steamship companies that were closely associated with the
railways of Ireland, entertained me to a farewell dinner.  Mr. James
Cowie, Secretary and Manager of the Belfast and Northern Counties Section
of the Midland Railway of England (Edward John Cotton's old line),
presided at the banquet, which took place in Dublin on the 9th of
January, 1913.  It was a large gathering, a happy occasion, though tinged
inevitably with regrets.  Warm-hearted friends surrounded me, glad that
one of their number, having elected to retire, should be able to do so in
health and strength, and with such a smiling prospect before him.

When I became a Midland Director, Mr. Nugent was no longer Chairman of
the Board.  He had been called hence, after only a few days' illness at
the Company's Hotel at Mallaranny, near Achill Island, where, in January,
1912, he had gone for a change.  In him the company lost a faithful
guardian and I a valued friend.  He was succeeded by Major H. C. Cusack
(the Deputy Chairman), who is still the Chairman of the Company.  A
country gentleman of simple tastes and studious habits, Major Cusack,
though fond of country life, devotes the greater part of his time to
business, especially to the affairs of the Midland and of an important
Bank of which he is the Deputy-Chairman.  The happy possessor of an
equable temperament and great assiduity he accomplishes a considerable
amount of work with remarkable ease.  For his many estimable qualities he
is greatly liked.

On the 14th of November I made my _debut_ as a Dominions' Royal
Commissioner, at the then headquarters of the Commission, Scotland House,
Westminster.  Soon the Commissioners were to start on their travels, and
were at that time holding public sittings and taking evidence.

This is a narrative of railway life at home, not of Imperial matters
abroad, and it is therefore clearly my duty not to wander too far from my
theme; nevertheless my readers will perhaps forgive me if in my next
chapter I give some account of the Commission and its doings.  The fact
that I was placed on the Commission chiefly because I was a railway man
is, after all, some excuse for my doing so.


For the first time in the history of the British Empire a Royal
Commission was appointed on which sat representatives of the United
Kingdom side by side with representatives of the self-governing
Dominions.  This Commission consisted of eleven members--six representing
Great Britain and Ireland and five (one each) the Dominions of Canada,
Australia, New Zealand, the Union of South Africa, and Newfoundland.  The
Commission came into being in April, 1912.  It was the outcome of a
Resolution of the Imperial Conference of 1911.  The members of that
Conference and of others which preceded it had warmly expressed the
opinion that the time had arrived for drawing closer the bonds of Empire;
that with the increase in facilities for communication and intercourse
there had developed a deepened sense of common aims and ideals and a
recognition of common interests and purposes; and that questions were
arising affecting not only Imperial trade and commerce but also the many
other inter-relations of the Dominions and the Mother Country which
clamantly called for closer attention and consideration.  The time at the
command of the Conference was found to be too short for such a purpose,
and it was to study problems thus arising, and to make practical
recommendations that our Commission was appointed.

The individuals forming the Commission were, first and foremost, Lord
D'Abernon (then Sir Edgar Vincent).  He was our Chairman, the biggest man
of us all; ex-banker, financial expert, accomplished linguist; a
sportsman whose horse last year won the Irish St. Leger; an Admirable
Crichton; an excellent Chairman.  Then came Sir Alfred Bateman, retired
high official of the Board of Trade, a master of statistics and
unequalled in experience of Commissions and Conferences.  He was our
Chairman in Canada and Newfoundland and a most capable Chairman he made.
Sir Rider Haggard, novelist, ranked third; a master of fact as well as of
fiction; a high Imperialist, and versed both theoretically and
practically in agriculture and forestry.  Next came Sir William (then
Mr.) Lorimer of Glasgow, a man of great business experience, an expert
authority in all matters appertaining to iron and steel and in fact all
metals and minerals.  He was Chairman of the North British Locomotive
Company and of the Steel Company of Scotland, also a Director of my old
company, the Glasgow and South-Western Railway.  Then Mr. Tom Garnett
(christened Tom), an expert in the textile trade of Lancashire, owning
and operating a spinning mill in Clitheroe; a good business man as well
as a student of "high politics," a scholar and a gentleman.  Of the last
and least, my humble self, I need not speak, as with him the reader is
well acquainted.

Canada's representative was the Right Honorable Sir George Foster,
Minister of Trade and Commerce, steeped in matters of State, experienced
in affairs, a keen politician and a gifted orator.

Australia selected as her representative Mr. Donald Campbell, a clever
man, well read and of varied attainments, sometime journalist, editor,
lawyer, Member of Parliament, and I don't know what else.

The Honorable Sir (then Mr.) J. R. Sinclair was New Zealand's excellent
choice.  A barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of his country,
he had retired from practice but was actively engaged in various
commercial and educational concerns and was a member of the Legislative
Council of New Zealand.

South Africa's member was, first, Sir Richard Solomon, High Commissioner
for the Union of South Africa in London.  He died in November, 1913, when
Sir Jan Langerman took his place.  Sir Jan was an expert in mining, ex-
President of the Rand Chamber of Mines, and ex-Managing Director of the
Robinson Group, also a Member of the Legislative Assembly of South
Africa.  Keen and clever in business and a polished man of the world, he
was a valuable addition to the Commission.

Lastly, Newfoundland was represented by the Honorable Edgar (now Sir
Edgar) Bowring, President and Managing Director of a large firm of
steamship owners.  He was experienced in the North Atlantic trade, in
seal, whale and cod fishing and other Newfoundland industries.  He was
also a member of the Newfoundland Legislative Council.

Such were the members of the Commission.  All endowed with sound common
sense and some gifted with imagination.

Shortly stated the main business of the Commission was to inquire into
and report upon:--

(a) The natural resources of the five self-governing Dominions and the
best means of developing these resources

(b) The trade of these parts of the Empire with the United Kingdom, each
other, and the rest of the world

(c) Their requirements, and those of the United Kingdom, in the matter of
food and raw materials, together with the available sources of supply

The Commission was also empowered to make recommendations and suggest
methods, consistent with then existing fiscal policy, by which the trade
of each of the self-governing Dominions with the others, and with the
United Kingdom, could be improved and extended.

Mr. E. J. Harding, C.M.G., was our Secretary.  An Oxford man of
distinction, a member of the permanent staff of the Colonial Office,
studious, enthusiastic, energetic, of rare temper, tact and patience, he
was all such a Commission could desire.  He and three or four assistants,
with local officers selected by the Governments in each of the Dominions,
one and all most capable men, formed a Secretariat that served us well.

The Commission started operations by taking evidence in London in the
autumn of 1912, but its main work lay in the Dominions, and on the 10th
of January, 1913, we sailed for Australia and New Zealand, touching at
Fremantle (Western Australia), Adelaide (South Australia), Melbourne
(Victoria), and Hobart (Tasmania) on our way.

In New Zealand we travelled through the island from south to north,
staying in that beautiful country for nearly a month, and holding
sittings in the principal cities.  One sitting we held in the train--a
record surely for a Royal Commission.  Easter intervening, we indulged in
a few days' holiday in the wonderful Rotorua district, where we enjoyed
its hot springs, its geysers, its rivers, its lakes and its Maori
villages.  Returning to Sydney, we travelled northwards to Queensland and
there entered seriously upon our Australian duties, holding sittings at
Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Hobart and Perth.  In Queensland
we penetrated north as far as Bundaberg, Gladstone, Rockhampton and Mount
Morgan.  In the other States tours were made through the irrigation areas
of New South Wales and Victoria, and visits paid to the mines at Broken
Hill (New South Wales), the Zeehan district and Mount Lyall (Tasmania);
Iron Knob (South Australia), and Kalgoorlie (Western Australia).  Some of
our party penetrated to remoter parts of Australia such as Cairns
(Northern Queensland), Condobolin (west of New South Wales), and
Oodnadatta (Central Australia), still the furthest point of railway
extension toward the great Northern Territory.

To Tasmania we were able to devote a few days, taking evidence and
enjoying its wonderful beauty.

Finally, we left Australia on the 9th of June, four months after our
first landing on its sunny shores.

On arriving home it was determined that for the remainder of the year
1913 we should remain in England and take further evidence in London.

We resumed our travels in January, 1914, when we left for South Africa.
There we held a number of sittings, taking evidence at Capetown,
Oudtshoorn, Port Elizabeth, East London, Kimberley, Bloemfontein, Durban,
Pietermaritzburg, Pretoria and Johannesburg.  Our journeys to these
various places were so planned as to involve our travelling over most of
the principal railway lines of the Union, so that we were able to see a
considerable portion of its beautiful scenery as well as its great mining
and pastoral industries.  Our work finished, most of us returned direct
to England, but some were able to penetrate northwards into Rhodesia, and
return by way of the East Coast of Africa.

It was our intention, after taking further evidence in London, to proceed
to Canada and Newfoundland, and to return home before the winter began,
when we looked forward to making our Final Report.  This intention we
partially fulfilled, as in July, 1914, we sailed from Liverpool, and
after exchanging steamers at Rimouski, landed at St. John's,
Newfoundland.  There we stayed for a few days whilst the crisis in Europe
deepened.  We then travelled through the island by railway and crossed to
the Maritime Provinces of Canada.  On that fatal day in August on which
war broke out we were in Nova Scotia.  A few days after, the British
Government, considering that under such conditions we could not finish
our work in Canada, called us home.  In common with many of our
countrymen we indulged in the hope that the duration of the war would be
a matter of months and not of years, and that we should be able to resume
our work in Canada in the autumn of 1915.  But this was not to be.
However, in 1916, the Governments represented on the Commission came to
the conclusion that the completion of our work ought not to be longer
delayed, and accordingly, in August, 1916, we sailed again to Canada.

In the Maritime Provinces of Canada, in 1914, we visited Sydney, Cape
Breton, Halifax, the Annapolis Valley and Digby in Nova Scotia; St. John,
Fredericton and Moncton in New Brunswick, and Charlottetown in Prince
Edward Island.

In 1916 the resumption of our Canadian work began at Montreal.
Thereafter, the great mining districts of Northern Ontario engaged our
attention, where, amongst other valuable products of the earth, nickel,
silver and gold abound.  From Ontario we travelled westward to Prince
Rupert on the British Columbian coast, holding sittings at Saskatoon,
Edmonton and Prince Rupert.  We then proceeded by steamer, through
glorious scenery, southward to Victoria, Vancouver Island.  At Victoria
and also at Vancouver we took evidence.  From Vancouver we journeyed
eastwards by the Canadian Pacific Railway over the Rockies, breaking our
journey and holding sittings at Vernon, in the Okanagan Valley, at
Calgary, Regina, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec, devoting
several days each to many of these places.  Whilst in British Columbia we
also visited the lower part of the Okanagan Valley, and whilst in the
prairie provinces stopped at Medicine Hat (where the gas lamps burn day
and night because it would cost more in wages than the cost of the gas to
employ a man to turn them out).  In Ontario we visited North Bay, Fort
William, Port Arthur, Guelph and Niagara Falls.  In addition some of us
travelled through the mining districts of British Columbia, and also
inspected the asbestos mines at Thetford, in the Province of Quebec.

This is the bald outline of our long and interesting journeys, which by
land and sea comprehended some 70,000 miles.  How bald it is I keenly
feel, and it would afford me more pleasure than I can tell to give some
account of our wonderful experiences--of the delight of sailing in
southern seas; of the vast regions of the mainland of Australia; of the
marvels of its tropical parts; of the entrancing beauty of New Zealand
and Tasmania; of the wonders of Canada, the variety of its natural
productions, its magnificent wheat-growing areas; of the charm of South
Africa with its glorious climate and its beautiful rolling veldt.  What a
memory it all is!  Tranquil seas, starlit nights, the Southern Cross,
noble forests, glorious mountains, mighty rivers, boundless plains; young
vigorous communities under sunny skies, with limitless space in which to
expand.  I should love to enlarge on these things, but a sense of
proportion and propriety restrains my pen.

In all the Dominions we were received with the warmest of welcomes and
most generous hospitality--governments, municipalities and corporations
vieing with each other in doing us honor, whilst private individuals
loaded us with kindness.  It was clear that our mission was popular, and
clear too that affection for the old country was warm and lively.  I
cannot attempt to narrate all that was done for us--banquets, receptions,
excursions, garden parties, concerts--time and space will not allow.  But
I cannot be altogether silent about the splendid special train which the
South African Government placed at our disposal from the time we left
Capetown until we reached Johannesburg, which (taking evidence at the
various places on the way) occupied several weeks.  This sumptuous train
consisted of dining car, sleeping cars and parlour car, was liberally
staffed and provisioned; with a skilful _chef_, polite and attentive
waiters and attendants.  It was practically our hotel during those forty
days or more.

In Australia and New Zealand, more than once, the various governments
provided us with special cars or special trains to visit their remoter
districts with the greatest possible comfort.  The same was the case in
Newfoundland, whilst the Canadian Government lent to us a steamer--the
_Earl Grey_--for our journey from Rimouski to Newfoundland, which since
has done good service for the Allied cause in the war.

In Canada we travelled from Montreal to Prince Rupert, some 3,000 miles,
in a handsome and most commodious car kindly lent to us by Sir Daniel
Mann, one of the founders of the Canadian Northern Railway.  It, too, was
our home and hotel during the ten days which that journey occupied.  The
longest passenger vehicle I had ever seen, it had ample kitchen, dining
room, sitting room, sleeping and "observation" accommodation for us all,
with an excellent bathroom and the luxury of a shower bath.

On all our journeys to and from the Dominions, and in all our expeditions
by sea or by land, my wife accompanied me.  She was an excellent
traveller.  There is considerable difference in our years; but, as
Dickens has said: "There can be no disparity in marriage save
unsuitability of mind and purpose."  The only lady who accompanied the
Commission everywhere, she was sometimes called "The Lady Commissioner."
One must not praise one's own, but this much I may say: Her Irish wit and
bright unselfish ways made her, everywhere and always, a welcome addition
to the Commission party.

After November, 1916, we held no more public sittings, took no further
evidence, but sat down at Spencer House (one of the many stately London
residences lent by their owners to the Government during the war) and
there, in its ballroom, industriously worked out our Final Report.  This,
of course, reviewed the whole subject of our inquiry and embodied our
final conclusions and recommendations.  To the credit of the Commission
be it said, these conclusions and recommendations were entirely
unanimous, as also were those in each of our Interim Reports, published
in connection with the Dominions separately.

In this Final Report the subject of railways was not included.  Railways
of course formed part of our inquiry, but they were dealt with in our
Interim Reports.

To a large extent railways were more a matter of domestic than of
Imperial concern, but as the development of the resources of the
Dominions depended greatly upon the adequacy of railway transit, the
subject came within the province of our inquiry.  I will not trouble the
reader with statistics (which can be readily obtained elsewhere) beyond
the following statement which represented, at the time we made our
investigations, the railway mileage and the population in each Dominion
compared with the United Kingdom:--

                     Miles of    Population.   Number of
                     Railway.                 Inhabitants
                                              per Mile of
Canada               35,600      8,075,000        280
Australia            18,000      4,500,000        250
South Africa          8,800      1,300,000{207a}  150{207b}
New Zealand           2,900      1,052,000{207a}  370
Newfoundland            800        250,000        320
United Kingdom       23,500     46,000,000      1,950

It is clear that railway construction has not been neglected in the
Dominions, and that, measured by population, the mileage is considerable.
Speaking generally, the Dominion railways are highly efficient and serve
their purpose well.  Extensions were being projected and many were in
course of construction for the further development of natural resources
and of trade and commerce.

In Australia the railways, with the exception of certain lines belonging
to the Commonwealth, are owned and worked by the several States.  We
found them paying full interest on the cost of construction, and sound
assets of the country.  The cost of working was, however, greatly
increasing, due mainly to increase of salaries and wages.  How this
stands since the war I do not know; but that expenses have further
advanced goes without saying.  An important railway witness whom we
examined expressed the opinion that increased expenditure could be
recouped by increased rates.  Perhaps that is still true.  If it is, the
railways of Australia are happier than most of the railways in Ireland.

The railways of New Zealand belong to and are worked by the Government.
For many years the Government, looking upon the railways as an adjunct to
the settlement and development of the country, only expected them to
return 3 per cent. interest on the capital expended.  In 1909 this
policy, however, was modified, 3.75 to 4 per cent. being then regarded as
a proper result, and this result was accomplished.  Water power in New
Zealand is so abundant that the adoption of electricity for railway
working has been engaging the attention of the Government.  Many, well
qualified to judge, were satisfied that it would prove more economical
than steam locomotion.

In both Australia and New Zealand, borrowing for railway construction had
been by means of general loans raised for all kinds of Government
expenditure.  We came to the conclusion that if loans for reproductive
works, such as railways, had been segregated from others, it would have
helped the raising of capital, and probably secured easier terms.

The construction of railways in Canada has, in recent years, proceeded at
a rapid pace.  We found that the mileage had doubled since the beginning
of the present century, due, to a large extent, to the construction of
two new Trans-Continental lines.  The grain-growing districts of the
prairie provinces, south of latitude 54 degrees, are now covered with a
network of railways, and British Columbia has three through routes to
Eastern Canada.

The enterprise of the principal Canadian railway companies is remarkable.
They own and operate not only railways, but also hotels, ferry services,
grain elevators, lake and coast steamers, as well as Trans-Atlantic and
Trans-Pacific steamers.  One company also has irrigation works, and ready-
made farms for settlers in the prairie provinces.  But Canada lies so
near to us, and in the British Press its railways receive such constant
attention, that I need not descant further upon them.

In South Africa, with the exception of about 500 miles mainly in the Cape
Province, the railways are all Government owned, and are worked as one
unified system.  The Act of Union (1909) prescribed that the railways and
the harbours (which are also Government owned and worked) were to be
administered on business principles, and that the total earnings should
not exceed the necessary expenditure for working and for interest on
capital.  Whenever they did, reductions in the rates, or the provision of
greater facilities, were to restore the balance.  This provision also had
the effect of preventing the imposition of taxation upon the community by
means of railway rates.  The Act contained another practical clause,
designed to block the construction of lines from political
considerations.  Any line constructed contrary to the advice of the
Railway Board, if it resulted in loss, the loss was to be a charge, not
upon the general railway revenue, but upon the Consolidated Fund--a
useful "brake," which I have no doubt has often pulled up hasty and
impetuous politicians.

South African railways enjoy one great advantage--cheap coal for their
engines.  In 1913 the average cost at the pit's mouth was 4s. 11.5d. per

The railways of Newfoundland have had a chequered history.  Now they are
Government property, worked by a private company under a 50 years' lease,
which dates from 1901, and under that lease no rent is paid.  As the
capital expenditure (about 3,000,000 pounds) averages less than 4,000
pounds per mile, it may be conceived that the railway system of
Newfoundland is not of an extravagant character, and in my humble
opinion, the country deserves something much better.  In our fourth
report (on Newfoundland) we stated: "It must also be said that the state
of the permanent way does not conduce to speedy or comfortable

The gauges of the Dominions' railways are very varied.  In Australia
there are three--5ft. 3in., 4ft. 8.5in. and 3ft. 6in., with some 300
miles or so of less than 3ft. 6in.  The Commonwealth has for some time
been considering the conversion of the lines into one standard gauge, the
British gauge of 4ft. 8.5in. being favoured.  The cost of this conversion
naturally increases the longer action is deferred, and in any case would
be very great.  It was officially estimated at the time of our visit at
37,000,000 pounds.

New Zealand, Canada, South Africa and Newfoundland are each the happy
possessor of one gauge only.  In Canada it is the British gauge of 4ft.
8.5in., and in New Zealand, South Africa and Newfoundland, 3ft. 6in.

Our Final Report was signed on the 21st of February, 1917, and published
as a Blue Book in the usual way, but, what is rarely done with any Blue
Book, it was also published in handy book-form, bound in cloth, at the
popular price of 1s. 6d.  Blue Books do sometimes contain matter of
general interest, are sometimes well written and readable, and would be
more read if presented to the public in a handy form such as we succeeded
in publishing.

The main purposes of the Commission I have already briefly stated.  They
embraced many subjects for inquiry and study, of which the following are
the most important, and regarding each of which it may be appropriate to
say a word or two:--

External Trade of the Self-Governing Dominions

We ascertained and compiled in detail, tables of the Imports and Exports,
distinguishing Trade with (_a_) the United Kingdom, (_b_) the other parts
of the Empire, and (_c_) with foreign countries.  The figures showed the
need there was for an Imperial trade policy, which should lead to British
manufacturers and merchants cultivating more the Dominion markets, and
utilising more the vast resources of raw materials which the Dominions
possess.  We found that a detailed examination of existing conditions,
and practical and definite proposals for the removal of difficulties,
were required.

Natural Resources of the Dominions

In regard to agricultural matters we gathered and published much
information, finding that in one part or other of the Dominions all
animals and almost every crop flourished that are needed by man, that if
the products of the more tropical parts of the Empire were taken into
account, the Empire could meet more than its own needs; and that if men
existed in sufficient numbers in our Dominions, there was scarcely any
limit to the external trade they could do.  In this part of our Inquiry
we found to what a considerable extent people concentrated in large
cities to the detriment of the country districts.  "Back to the land" is
a question there of as much if not greater moment than in the Mother
Country.  The mineral resources of the Dominions, like the agricultural,
provided us with a big subject.  In every Province or State, by oral
evidence, by official statistics, by discussion with Government
geologists, officials of the Mines Departments and others, we gathered a
large amount of valuable information.  The volumes of printed evidence
give full particulars of this and other subjects.  The mineral deposits
of Canada especially are varied in character and large in respect both of
quantity and value--gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, nickel, coal, iron,
asbestos, natural gas, petroleum, peat, gypsum--all are found in
unstinted quantity.  Nor are the other Dominions deficient.  The
goldfields of Australia are historic, and the silver, lead and zinc mines
of Broken Hill deserve particular mention.  In South Africa gold and
diamonds are plentiful; and Newfoundland has wonderful deposits of iron

In forests and fish the Dominions abound, and possess enormous
possibilities of extended trade.

Conservation and Development of Natural Resources in the Future

This subject received our earnest attention.  We considered that the
various Governments of the Empire should take steps to secure the
development and utilisation of their natural wealth on a well considered
scheme, and that to do this, a preliminary survey was needed of the
relation between Empire production and Empire requirements.  No such
survey, as far as we knew, had yet been undertaken, but in the
_Memorandum and Tables relating to the Food and Raw Material Requirements
of the United Kingdom_, which we submitted to His Majesty in 1915, the
Commission had made an effort, not without some measure of success, in
this direction.  We regarded it as vital that the Empire's supplies of
raw material and commodities essential to its safety should be, as far as
possible, independent of outside control, and made suggestions which
aimed at effecting this object.  We recommended that the survey mentioned
above should be made by an Imperial Development Board, which should be
entrusted with the whole subject.

Scientific Research in Relation to the Development of Natural Resources

We dwelt on the importance of securing to all parts of the Empire
adequate facilities for scientific research in connection with the
development of their natural resources; and, in connection with this,
made certain recommendations as regards the Imperial Institute, for the
purpose of increasing its efficiency and usefulness.


To this important matter we devoted much time and thought, not only in
London, but in each of the Dominions as well, obtaining much valuable
evidence and personally examining the circumstances and conditions that
prevailed.  No Imperial question, we considered, could be of greater
importance than this.  We made many recommendations, some of which have
already been adopted, whilst the remainder are coming into great
prominence now that the war is over.  In the past we found no effort had
been made to regulate emigration from the United Kingdom, and we proposed
the establishment of a Central Emigration Authority.  The surplus of
females in the United Kingdom, increased unfortunately by the war, will
probably result in many young women seeking their fortune overseas, and
we urged increased facilities and better regulations for their migration,
showing how best we considered they could be given.

Oversea Communications

To this subject, which embraced sea transport, harbours, waterways, mail
communications, postal rates, freight rates, etc., we devoted
considerable time, calling attention in particular to an aspect of the
question never, so far as I know, investigated before, viz., the urgency
of constructing deep harbours suited for the deep draught vessels which
alone can carry on cheap and rapid transport.  We made recommendations as
to the improvements immediately necessary on the great trade routes, and
urged that future schemes should be submitted to an Imperial Development

Telegraphic Communications

In the far distant Dominions, cable communication is a matter of great
importance to the community; and increased facilities and cheaper rates
are much desired.  Some of the recommendations we made to this end have
since been adopted.

Improvement in Commercial Practice

This presented a large field for inquiry; and, after much investigation,
we made recommendations on Trade Intelligence; Trade Commissioners and
Correspondents; Consular Service; Improvements in Statistics; Conference
of United Kingdom and Dominion Statisticians; and other matters, all of
which we considered were of practical necessity.

Lastly, the need of creating an _Imperial Development Board_ engaged our
serious attention.  Early in our Inquiry we had been impressed with the
necessity for the appointment of some board or body whose constant duty
it should be to consider questions affecting Imperial trade and
development, from the point of view of the interests of the whole Empire.
We took some evidence on the subject, discussed it with leading men in
the Dominions, gave the question much thought, and finally recommended
the establishment of a new Imperial Development Board, which should
include not only representatives of the United Kingdom and all the
Dominions, but also of India, the Crown Colonies and the Protectorates.
In the course of our work we had been much impressed with the inadequacy
of existing organisations to deal promptly and efficiently with such
matters as the following:--

Telegraphic, cable and shipping communications between the various
portions of the Empire

Inter-Imperial mail services and postal rates

The development of harbours and waterways on the great routes of commerce
to meet Imperial requirements

Migration as a factor in Empire development and trade

Legislation affecting the mechanism of trade, such as that on patents,
companies, copyright, weights and measures, etc.

The application and better utilisation of capital raised in the United
Kingdom and other parts of the Empire, towards promoting the development
of the Empire's resources

The systematic dissemination throughout the Empire of news bearing upon
Imperial questions and interests

The preparation and publication of Imperial statistics

Better organisation for handling and for disposal of the produce of
various parts of the Empire

These, and subjects of a similar nature, we considered should be assigned
to the proposed Board as its ordinary work; and to the duty of advising
the Governments on these matters would be added that of collecting the
necessary particulars bearing upon them, involving research not only into
the conditions prevailing in the Empire, but into the methods of rival
trading countries.

To a large Board we were opposed.  We suggested that members should be
required to give their whole time to the work, and that representation of
the various parts of the Empire might be as follows:--

United Kingdom, India, Crown Colonies and Protectorates  7
Canada                                                   1
Australia                                                1
New Zealand                                              1
South Africa                                             1
Newfoundland                                             1

Such is a brief summary of our Mission, our Report, and our

Whilst we were impressed by the vast extent and infinite variety of the
Empire domain we were also touched by the sentiment which held together
its widely scattered parts.  Without this sentiment, and without loyalty
to the Crown and Mother Country, what, we often thought, would happen?

The war has taught us much as to the unity of the Empire.  Peace, we may
be sure, will bring its own lessons, perhaps its own dangers, in its
train.  To strengthen the bonds so loosely yet so finely drawn must
henceforth be the constant duty of the Statesmen of the Empire.  The
governing machinery requires overhauling, demands adjustment to the needs
of the various sections of the Empire, and to the throbbing anxiety of
each to share in the duties and responsibilities of Empire Government and


The year 1917 terminated our Dominions' Commission work and brought to a
close the fiftieth year of my railway life.  As if to mark the occasion,
Dame Fortune gave me a pleasant surprise, and what it was I will now

In an earlier chapter I have spoken of the Letterkenny to Burtonport
Railway (in North-West Donegal), with the early stages of which, in 1897,
I had something to do.  Now, in 1917, twenty years later, I was to become
still more intimately acquainted with it, and, in an unexpected but
practical way, concerned in its domestic affairs.

Though the Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway Company, which worked the
Burtonport line, was a railway of only 14.5 miles in extent, it was
entrusted with the working of no less than 85 other miles, 50 of which
consisted of the Burtonport railway--a condition of things quite unique:
the tail wagging the dog!

The total capital expenditure on the whole of the 100 miles of line
worked by the Lough Swilly Company amounted to 727,000 pounds.  Of this
sum about 500,000 pounds, or 68 per cent., was money provided out of
Government funds.  The ordinary stock of the Lough Swilly Company was the
exceedingly small sum of 50,330 pounds, upon which for twenty years a
dividend of 7 per cent. had been regularly paid.

The Burtonport line was opened for traffic in 1903.  From the first, its
management, to say the least, was faulty and illiberal.  So early in its
history as 1905 an inquiry into its working was found to be necessary,
and I was asked by the Board of Works to undertake the inquiry.  I did
so, and I had to report unfavourably, for "facts are chiels that winna
ding."  For some time after my report things went on fairly well, but
only for a time.  The Board of Works were, by Act of Parliament,
custodians of the public interest in the matter of this and other similar
railways, and a long-suffering and patient body they were.  From time to
time they complained, protested, adjured, threatened; sometimes with
effect, sometimes without.  Years rolled on and matters grew worse.  Loud
public complaints arose; the patience of the Board of Works exhausted
itself, and a climax was reached.

_The Railways Ireland Act_, 1896, provides that where any railway,
constructed under that Act, or under other Irish Light Railway Act, had
been aided out of moneys provided by Parliament, the Board of Works
might, at any time, appoint "a fit person to inspect and report upon the
condition of the undertaking and the working, maintenance and development
of the same," and if such "fit person" reported that the undertaking was
"not efficiently worked, maintained and developed" the Privy Council
might then make an Order appointing a manager or receiver of the
undertaking, with such powers as should be specified in the Order.  The
powers thus given are, it will be observed, certainly drastic.

In April, 1917, Sir George Stevenson, K.C.B., the Chairman of the Board
of Works, asked me would I make such an inquiry for them into the
Burtonport line, and, considering myself a "fit person," I gladly
answered _Yes_.  Sir George Stevenson was Tom Robertson's successor,
though not his immediate successor, as another George (Sir George Holmes)
came between.  He (the reigning Chairman) was, in 1892, appointed a
Commissioner of the Board of Works; and in 1913 he attained the position
of Chairman; and the chair it is generally conceded has never been better
filled.  He has the advantage of continuous experience of Treasury
business since 1886, and possesses an exceptional knowledge of all
matters, local and otherwise, affecting the development of State Railways
in Ireland.

My inquiry I may, I am sure, without immodesty, say was thorough and
complete.  On the 7th of May I presented my report.  The facts which I
found were such that only one conclusion was possible--the line was not
in good condition; was not and had not been efficiently worked,
maintained or developed.  I will not harrow my readers with a description
of its condition.  One little quotation from the summing up in my report
will suffice to indicate the state of affairs, and, to the imaginative
mind, present a picture of the whole.  "Everything has for years past
been allowed to run down; the direction and management have been
characterised by extreme parsimony; and the disabled condition of the
engines is undoubtedly due to lack of proper upkeep, which must have been
going on for years.  The state of the permanent way shows a want of
proper maintenance; and the condition of the stations, buildings and of
the carriages speaks of neglect."

In fairness, I ought to say that the direction and management responsible
for these things are not the direction and management that exist to-day.

Mr. Henry Hunt, the present General Manager of the Londonderry and Lough
Swilly Company, was appointed to that position in September, 1916.  He
came from the Great Central Railway.  This is what I said about him in my
report: "He is a good railway man, capable and experienced.  He has
assumed and exercises an authority which none of his predecessors
possessed, and is keen to do all he can to improve matters and develop
the railway."  Further acquaintance with Mr. Hunt has more than confirmed
my high opinion of him.

In due time my report was submitted to the Privy Council, which august
body, after hearing all that was to be said on the subject by the Lough
Swilly Railway Company and others, made an Order which is the first of
its kind--an Order which, for a period of two years, took out of the
hands of the Lough Swilly Railway Directors the management of the
Burtonport Railway, and placed it in the hands of Mr. Hunt, subject to my
supervision.  The Order said: "Henry Hunt, at present the General Manager
of the Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway Company, is hereby appointed
Manager of the said undertaking of the said railway under and subject to
the supervision of Mr. Joseph Tatlow, Director of the Midland Great
Western Railway Company of Ireland."  Then followed various clauses
defining the duties and authority with which Mr. Hunt, as Manager, was

This appointment, to supervise, under the Privy Council, the management
of the Burtonport line, was the pleasant surprise which Dame Fortune
brought me in my fiftieth year of railway work.

The duties of the office began on the 1st of July, 1917, and the two
years prescribed have expired; but Mr. Hunt's management and my
supervision have, by Privy Council Order, been extended for a further
period.  My story may not go beyond fifty years, but this I may say, that
what Hunt and I were able to accomplish in the first six months of our
novel _regime_ was an augury of what we have accomplished since, and that
a grateful public throughout the district of North-West Donegal, which
the Burtonport Railway serves, does not stint its praise.  Trains are
punctual now, engines do not break down, carriages are comfortable, goods
traffic is well worked, and delays are exceptional.  Much has been done,
more would have been done but for difficulties due to the war, and a good
deal still remains to be done.

In North-West Donegal, some two years ago, the idea of writing this book
was conceived, and with North-West Donegal its pages close.  As I lay
down my pen, some words which I used in my opening chapter recur to my
mind.  I then expressed the hope that, in spite of all its drawbacks, my
story, if faithfully told, might not be entirely devoid of interest, and
now that I have finished my task, I humbly trust that the hope then
expressed has been attended with some measure of success, and that my
purpose has not altogether failed.


Accidents Compensation Act, 1846 52
Accounts, form of railway 53, 193
Acts of Parliament, general railway 49
Acworth, W M 145, 166, 183
Advertisements on railway stations 66
Alcorn, J., Great Southern & Western Railway 137
Allerton, Lord 109
Allport Commission, 1887 91, 93, 107, 109
Allport, Sir James 15, 22, 35, 39, 76, 77
Analysis of railway accounts 59
Anderson, Alexander, surfaceman poet 79
Andrews, Thomas, and the _Titanic_ 101
Andrews, Thomas, Right Honorable 100, 109, 111
Apollo Belvidera 24
"Appeal unto Caesar" 22
Arbitration, my first case 99
Ardglass Light Railway 108
Aspinall, Sir John 181, 183
Athenry and Ennis Junction, railway rates and charges, Order Confirmation
Act, 1892 138
Athenry and Ennis Railway 121, 134, 155
Atmospheric railways 195
Atock, Martin 119, 126, 127
Austria, Empress of 125

Bailey, Walter 99, 151, 193, 194
Bailie, the, Glasgow 61, 79
Baillie, G L 110
"Balfours Act"--Light railways, Ireland 107
Ballinasloe Fair 125
Barrington, Croker 179, 190
Bateman, Sir Alfred, K.C.M.G. 201
"Battle of the Gauges" 52
Beach, Sir Michael Hicks 142
Beaux 77, 98
Belfast and County Down Railway 91, 94
Belgium, a tour in 113
Benedict, a youthful 25
Benefit Society, Midland Great Western Railway 130
"Bigg's General Railway Acts" 48
Birt, Sir William 153
Block working 106
Board of Trade inquiry as to railway rates 104
Board of Trade, the 139
Bowring, the Hon Sir Edgar 202
Boyhood, pleasures and amusements 7
Boyhood, Schoolmaster "Jessie" 9
Bridge Street Station, Glasgow 47, 66
Brother to a baronet 45
Browne, Balfour, K.C 150, 155, 159, 160, 180
Buchanan Street Station, Glasgow 40
Buncrana to Carndonagh Railway 152
Burns, Mr. John (Lord Inverclyde) 73, 133
Burtonport Railway 152, 215
Bushe, Seymour 155, 159
Butterley Tunnel, the 29
Butterworth, Sir Alexander 105

Caledonian Railway Stores Superintendent 32, 44
Cambuslang, our lodgings at 42, 43
Campbell, Donald 201
Campbell, the Right Hon. Sir James, Baronet, Lord Chancellor of Ireland
Cane, Arthur B 192
Carlyle, Thomas 80
Carriages, four-wheeled 5
Carriages, second-class, abolition of 38
Carriers' Act, the 1830 49
"Champagne Charley" coats 19
Charles Lamb, "plumb pudding" 49
Cheap Trains Act, 1883 89
City of Dublin Junction Railway 120
City of Glasgow Bank, failure of 76
Clerks in office, Derby 23
Colhoun, R G 137, 153
Collier, Dr. 110
Committee Rooms, Westminster 135, 136
Committee, Select, 1840 50
Companies Clauses Act, 1845 51
Competitive traffic 65
Concealed bed, a 40
Connemara 129, 173
Constantinople 162
Contagious Diseases (Animals) Act, 1878 88
Continuous brakes, a trial of, at Newark 87
Continuous Brakes Act, 1878 87, 106
Conveyance of Mails, Railways, Act, 1838 50
Cook, Thomas, & Son 170
Cooper, David 68
Cork, Blackrock & Passage Railway 170
Cotton, Edward John 97, 98, 115, 122
Country walks 18, 30
Cowie, James 199
Cromford Canal and Butterley Tunnel 28
Culverwell, G P 152
Curtsey, the 18
Cusack, Major H C 175, 199
Cusack, Sir Ralph 113, 116, 117, 118, 119, 129, 136, 138, 175
Cynicus 42, 43, 78, 126

D'Abernon, Lord 200
Dan Godfrey's band 62
Dargan, William 124
Delicate health 5, 17, 21, 91, 181
Dent, Charles 174
Derby, General Manager's Office 57
Dickens, Charles 8, 17, 30
Dickie, David 65
Directors, railway 34
Directorship, my first 194
Diseases of Animals Act, 1894 144
Drudgery of the desk 29
Dublin & Kingstown Railway, opposition to 195
Dublin & South Eastern Railway 157
Dundreary whiskers 19
Dunoon, bazaar at 42

Edinburgh 41, 44
Egypt and the Nile 170
Elliott, Thomas 120
Employers' Liability Act, 1880 88
Engineer, Midland Railway 32

Family album 20
Fares, first-class, reduction of 37
Farmer, Ned 22
Fashions, Victorian days 18
Father, my 4
Fay, Sir Sam 191
Fenton, Sir Myles 76
Findlay, Sir George 131, 136, 141
"First-footin'" 40
First public speech 46
Fitzgibbon, G 180
Forbes, Sir William 191
Foster, the Right Hon. Sir George 201
Franks, Temple 193
Friends in Glasgow 78
Funeral customs 20

Galloway, Andrew 86
Galway, "City of the Tribes" 129
Galway, Trans-Atlantic Steamship Service 129
Garnett, Tom 201
Garrotters 20
Gauge of railways 51
General managers' conference 191
General managers in Ireland 90
General Manager's Office, Derby 57
General Railway Acts of Parliament 49
Gibb, Sir George 158
Gill, W R 113, 114
Gillies, F H 69
Glasgow & South-Western Railway 37
Glasgow & South-Western Railway, my removal to the 47, 57
Glasgow Bailie, the 61, 79
Glasgow, Bridge Street Station 47, 66
Glasgow, Buchanan Street Station 40
Glasgow flats 41
Glasgow landlady, our 41
Glasgow, S. Enoch Station 58, 66
Golf, its introduction in Ireland 110
Gooday, J F S 192
Goods-train-delays Clerk 22
Goulding, Right Hon. Sir William 179, 180, 190
Grand Canal, arbitration 151
Granet, Sir Guy 57, 193
Great Eastern Railway 35,
Great Eastern steamer 7
Great Northern Railway to King's Cross 37
Great Southern & Western Railway 134, 156
Great Western cooking depots 44
Greene, George William 119
Gresham, Thomas Michael 195
Grierson, James 76, 83, 103
Guinness & Co., a _stout_ resistance 139
"Gumpots" 24
Gweedore Hotel 1

Haggard, Sir Rider 201
Harcourt, Viscount 198
Harding, E J, C.M.G 202
Harrison, Sir Frederick 77
Health, delicate 5, 17, 21, 28, 91, 181
Healy, T M, K.C. 180
Hogmanhay 40
Holland, Cologne and the Rhine 151
Holliday, William 157
Hopwood, Sir Francis (Lord Southborough) 139
Hornsby, John P 120
Horsemanship 5, 102
Hospitality, Ballinasloe 126
Hours of work of railway men 107, 142, 143
Hudson, George, the "Railway King" 12
Hunt, Henry 217

Imperial Development Board 213
Income Tax, 3d in the pound 45
Ingram, Joseph 179
Interference of outsiders 95
Interlocking points and signals 106
International Railway Congress 144, 150, 166
Inverclyde, Lord (Mr John Burns) 73, 133
Ireland, general managers in 90
Ireland, holiday 66
Irish Board of Works 148, 174, 180, 216
Irish Department of Agriculture 154
Irish Railway Clearing House 15, 97, 148
Irish railways abused 178
Irish railways, progress of 169, 190
Isle of Man, a steamboat service 112

Jekyll, Sir Herbert, K.C.M.G. 183
Johnstone, Mr. Glasgow & South-Western Railway 56
Jubilee, the railway 62
Junior clerk, salary 21

Kaiser, the 177
Kedleston Inn 31
Kelly, R W 85, 94
Kempt, Irvine 65
Kilkelly, John 177
King Edward, visit to Ireland 173
Kinnegar, the first golf links in Ireland 110
Knox, Vesey, K.C. 155, 180

Ladies' manners, Victorian days 18
Lands Clauses Act, 1845 51
Langerman, Sir Jan 201
Letterkenny to Burtonport Railway 152, 215
Light Railway Acts, Ireland, 1860-1883 108
Light Railway, definition of 109
Light Railways Act, 1896 150
Light railways in Connemara, Kerry, Mayo and Donegal 108
Light railways in Great Britain 109, 167
Light Railways (Ireland) Act, 1889 107
Limerick, the joybells 161
"Little Jim" 23
Littler, Sir Ralph 135, 136, 155, 157, 159
Liverpool and Manchester Railway, the 13, 50, 195
Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway Company 152, 215
Long Jack 26
Lorimer, Sir William 201

McCorquodale & Co 42
McDermott, Edward 141
McDermott, F 141
MacLaren, James 65
Mann, Sir Daniel 206
Martin, Robert, of Ross 128
Martin, Sir Theodore 161, 162
Mathieson, John 64
Maximum rates and charges 104, 106
Maypole, the 31
Meerschaum pipe, colouring of 20, 35, 102
Midland and Glasgow and South-Western Alliance 58
Midland Great Western Railway and "Balfour Lines" 108
Midland Great Western Railway Benefit Society 130
Midland Great Western Railway, extent of, &c. 113, 116
Midland Railway, comparison with year 1851 11
Midland Railway, present general manager 4, 57
Midland Railway, progress of 36
Midland Railway, proposed amalgamation with L & NW 12
Miller, R G 92
Mills, A E 123
Mills, W F 121, 123
Mills, W H 169
Ministry of Transport 179, 187
Money grants for light railways, Ireland 107
Monte Carlo 177
_Montreal Herald_, the 67
Moore, Charles A 99
Morris, Sir George 128, 163
Morrison, Robert 120
"My old Wife's a good old cratur" 23
Mylchreest, Joseph, the "Diamond King" 112

National Insurance Act 131
New Year's Day 44
Newcastle golf links, County Down 111
Newcomen Junction battle 120
North British Railway 75
North West Donegal 1, 218
Notice of Accidents Act, 1894 143
Nugent, the Hon Richard 153, 175, 186, 199
Nugent, Sir Walter, Bart 198

Oakley, Sir Henry 76, 77, 193
O'Connor, Sir Nicholas 163
Office hours, 1868 22
Office life, beginning of 21
O'Neill, Michael 130
Owens, Sir Charles 198

Parcel post receipts, Irish railways 137
Paris 80, 166, 198
Parker, William 22, 23
Parliament yields to popular clamour 105
Parliamentary Committee, evidence before 135, 156
Pay-day in office 26
Pease, Edward 62
Peel, Isle of Man 112
Pember, Mr. K.C. 135, 155, 159
Penmanship, imitation of 22
Pim, F W 182
Pinion, James 94, 99
Pirrie, Lord 85, 92, 183
Pitman's shorthand 29, 32
Plews, Henry 97, 150, 153
Poe, Colonel Sir Hutcheson 183
Poetical productions 6
Pope, Mr Samuel, K.C. 135, 155, 159, 160
Portrush golf links 110
Post Office (Parcels) Act, 1882 88
Power, John F 157
Practical railway work 97, 103
Pratt, Edwin A 105, 182, 193
Prince and Princess of Wales 34, 145
Privy Council Order, Burtonport Railway 217
Prize fights, trains for 54
Pullman Cars 36, 38, 58

Quirey, John 179

Railway Accounts, analysis of 59
Railway Accounts, form of 53, 193
Railway and Canal Commission 54, 120
Railway and Canal Traffic Act, 1854 52
Railway and Canal Traffic Act, 1888 103, 113, 121, 132
Railway and Canal Traffic Act, 1894 144
Railway Benevolent Institution 67, 84, 121
Railway Clauses Act, 1845 51
Railway Clearing House 15
Railway Companies (Accounts and Returns) Act, 1911, 193
Railway Companies' Association 192
Railway Companies' Powers Act, 1864 53
Railway Construction Facilities Act, 1864 53
Railway Employment (Prevention of Accidents) Act, 1900 161
_Railway Gazette_, the 141
Railway life in Ireland 115
Railway mania, 1845 14, 50
_Railway News_, the 67, 100, 141
Railway Ramblers 67
Railway Regulation Act, 1840 50
Railway Regulation Act, 1844 50
Railway Regulation Act, 1893 142
Railway Regulation (Gauge) Act, 1846 52
Railway Societies 68
Railway Statistics 59
Railway system of Scotland 63
Railways (Electric Power) Act, 1903 176
Railways Fires Act, 1905 176
Railways, Inspection of 54
Railways Ireland Act, 1896 149
Railways of the Dominions 207
Railways, Scotland, England and Ireland compared, 64, 142, 169
Railways, State purchase of 51
Railways, the future of 187
Rates and fares 32, 82
Regulation of Railways Act, 1868 53
Regulation of Railways Act, 1871 54
Regulation of Railways Act, 1873 54
Regulation of Railways Act, 1889 106
Reid, A G 65, 157
Revision of railway rates 104, 138
Roberts, William 152
Robertson, Tom 65, 91, 98, 137, 148, 150, 151
Robson, Sir Mayo 181
Rock Villa 32
Rolling stock, County Down Railway 92
Running powers 135, 156, 159, 160
Russell, George 69
Russell, Lord John 126
Ryan, Martin, cattle dealer 135

Sabbath, breaking the 41
St. Enoch Station, Glasgow 58, 66
St. Pancras Station, opening of 36
St. Rollox, Glasgow, lunch 45
Saloon, the Dargan 124
Schooldays, country walks 18
Schooldays, reading and drawing 17
Scotter, Sir Charles 180, 183
Scottish railways 63
Second-class carriages, abolition of 37
Select Committee, 1840 50
Select Committee on railway charges, 1881 82
Select Committees, 1858 and 1863 53
Settle and Carlisle line 36, 37, 38
Sexton, Thomas 183
Shanahan, George 180
Shaw, Sir Alexander 157
Shorthand, Pitman's 29, 32
Sighthill Cemetery, lunch on a tombstone 45
Sinclair, the Hon Sir John 201
Sinclair, Right Hon Thomas 110
Skipworth, W G 97, 113
Sleeping cars 38
Smiles, Samuel 141
Smoking compartments 53
Smyth, G E 179
Southborough, Lord (Sir Francis Hopwood) 140
Spain and Portugal, visit to 146
Speech, first in public 46
Spencer, Lord 158
State purchase of railways 51
Stephens, Mr Pembroke K.C. 136, 147
Stephenson, George 62
Stevenson, Sir George, K.C.B 216
Stirling, James 65
Stockton & Darlington Railway 50, 62, 195
Superannuation funds 39, 116
Swarbrick, Samuel 35
Swearing, an accomplishment 20, 26

Tailor's dummy, a perambulating 24
Tatlow, Frank 57
Tatlow, William 132
Terminals 82
Theodore Hook's old joke 22
Third-class carriages by all trains 36, 38
Thompson, Sir James 77, 138
Time-tables and train working 33
Tom 29, 70
Trade unionism 22
Trades Disputes Act, 1906 176
Trans-Atlantic steamship service, Galway 129

Ulster & Connaught Railway 174

Visinet, Tony 80

Wainwright, Mr W J 46, 56, 59, 60, 66, 73, 76, 86
Waldron, the Right Hon Laurence A. 194
Wales, Prince and Princess of 34
Walker, John 75, 133
Walklate, Thomas 22
Walks, favourite 18, 30
Warming pans 20
Waterford & Limerick Railway 134, 135, 155, 156
Watkin, Sir Edward 56, 76, 77
Way bills 21
Wells, E W 57
Workmen's Compensation Act, 1906 177

Young, Right Hon John 99
Youthful benedict, A 25


{207a}  White population.

{207b}  If native population taken into account the approximate figure is
700 inhabitants.

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