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Title: Memoirs of the Distinguished Men of Science of Great Britain Living in the Years 1807-8
Author: Walker, William Sidney, Jr.
Language: English
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                                OF THE


                           OF GREAT BRITAIN

                      LIVING IN THE YEARS 1807-8.

                             AND APPENDIX.

                        WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY

                       ROBERT HUNT, F.R.S., &c.

                       COMPILED AND ARRANGED BY

                        WILLIAM WALKER, JUNIOR.

                            Second Edition.

               "The evil, that men do, lives after them;
                The good is oft interred with their bones."

                  E. & F. N. SPON, 16, BUCKLERSBURY.


                           OXFORD STREET, W.



  ALLEN, WILLIAM                                     1

  BAILY, FRANCIS                                     2

  BANKS, SIR JOSEPH                                  4


  BOULTON, MATTHEW                                  13

  BRAMAH, JOSEPH                                    15

  BROWN, ROBERT                                     18

  BRUNEL, SIR MARK ISAMBARD                         21

  CARTWRIGHT, REV. DR. EDMUND                       24

  CAVENDISH, HON. HENRY                             27

  CHAPMAN, WILLIAM                                  30

  CONGREVE, SIR WILLIAM                             34

  CROMPTON, SAMUEL                                  35

  DALTON, JOHN                                      41

  DAVY, SIR HUMPHRY                                 44

  DOLLOND, PETER                                    49

  DONKIN, BRYAN                                     51

  FRODSHAM, WILLIAM JAMES                           53

  GILBERT, DAVIES GIDDY                             53

  HATCHETT, CHARLES                                 56

  HENRY, DR. WILLIAM                                58

  HERSCHEL, SIR WILLIAM                             61

  HOWARD, EDWARD CHARLES                            63

  HUDDART, CAPTAIN JOSEPH                           64

  JENNER, DR. EDWARD                                67

  JESSOP, WILLIAM                                   72

  KATER, CAPTAIN HENRY                              75

  LESLIE, SIR JOHN                                  77

  MASKELYNE, DR. NEVIL                              81

  MAUDSLAY, HENRY                                   83

  MILLER, PATRICK                                   86

  MURDOCK, WILLIAM                                  87

  MYLNE, ROBERT                                     90

  NAYSMITH, ALEXANDER                               91

  PLAYFAIR, JOHN                                    92

  RENNIE, JOHN                                      96

  RONALDS, FRANCIS                                  99

  RUMFORD, COUNT                                   102

  RUTHERFORD, DR. DANIEL                           107

  SMITH, WILLIAM                                   107

  STANHOPE, CHARLES, EARL                          112

  SYMINGTON, WILLIAM                               114

  TELFORD, THOMAS                                  117

  TENNANT, CHARLES                                 122

  THOMSON, DR. THOMAS                              124

  TREVITHICK, RICHARD                              126

  TROUGHTON, EDWARD                                132


  WATT, JAMES                                      137

  WOLLASTON, DR. WILLIAM H.                        142

  YOUNG, DR. THOMAS                                145


  BLACK, DR. JOSEPH                                150

  CORT, HENRY                                      152

  IVORY, JAMES                                     155

  PRIESTLY, JOSEPH                                 157


THE following brief memoirs were originally compiled for the purpose
of accompanying the Engraving of "The Distinguished Men of Science of
Great Britain living in 1807-8, assembled at the Royal Institution."
As, however, "The Memoirs" were found to have a considerable sale,
independent of the Engraving, it has been found necessary to produce
a second edition. All the lives have been carefully revised, and
considerable additions made, while, in order to render the present book
a more complete compendium of the great men of that period, an Appendix
has been added, containing the Memoirs of Black, Cort, Ivory, and
Priestly, who unfortunately were, from different reasons, unable to be
included in the group in the Engraving.

With the exception of the notices of Trevithick, Tennant, Maudslay,
Francis Ronalds, and one or two more, these memoirs necessarily contain
little information which has not been previously published in some
shape or other. The authorities from which the present particulars have
been taken are given at the end of each memoir; and the writer claims
no further merit than that of having compiled and arranged the works of
others, whose language, in most cases, it would indeed be presumption
in him to alter, further than was necessary to present to the public in
a clear, brief, and (it is hoped) readable form, the doings of men who
must ever be held in the grateful remembrance of their country.


THE influences of human thought on the physical forces which regulate
the great phenomena of the universe,--and the operation of the powers
of mind, on the material constituents of the planet, which is man's
abiding place, form subjects for studies which have a most exalting
tendency. Thought has made the subtile element of the thunderstorm
man's most obedient messenger. Thought has solicited the sunbeam to
betray its secrets; and an invisible agent, controlled by light,
delineates external nature at man's request. Thought has subdued the
wild impulses of fire, and heat is made the willing power to propel
our trains of carriages with a bird-like speed, and to urge--in proud
independence of winds or tides--our noble ships from shore to shore.
Thought has penetrated the arcana of nature, and, by learning her laws,
has imitated her works. Thus, Chemistry takes a crude mass,--rejected
as unworthy and offensive,--it recombines its constituent parts, and
gives us, the grateful odours of the sweetest flowers, and tinctures
which rival nature in the intensity and the beauty of its dyes.

No truth was ever developed to man, in answer to his laborious toils,
which did not sooner or later benefit the race. Every such development
has been the result of the continuous efforts of an individual mind;
therefore it is that we desire to possess some memorial of the men to
whom we are indebted.

We have advanced to our present position in the scale of nations by the
efforts of a few chosen minds. Every branch of human industry has been
benefited by the discoveries of science. The discoverers are therefore
deserving of that hero-worship which, sooner or later, they receive
from all.

The following pages are intended to convey to the general reader a
brief but correct account of the illustrious dead, whose names _are_
for ever associated with one of the most brilliant eras in British
science. It will be remembered that, in the earliest years of the
present century, the world witnessed the control and application of
steam by Watt, Symington and Trevithick; the great discoveries in
physics and chemistry by Dalton, Cavendish, Wollaston and Davy,--in
astronomy by Herschel, Maskelyne and Baily; the inventions of
the spinning-mule and power-loom by Crompton and Cartwright; the
introduction of machinery into the manufacture of paper, by Bryan
Donkin and others; the improvements in the printing-press, and
invention of stereotype printing, by Charles Earl Stanhope; the
discovery of vaccination by Jenner; the introduction of gas into
general use by Murdock; and the construction (in a great measure) of
the present system of canal communication by Jessop, Chapman, Telford
and Rennie. During the same period of time were likewise living Count
Rumford; Robert Brown, the botanist; William Smith, "The Father of
English Geology;" Thomas Young, the natural philosopher; Brunei;
Bentham; Maudslay; and Francis Ronalds, who, by securing perfect
insulation, was the first to demonstrate the practicability of passing
an electric message through a lengthened space; together with many
others, the fruits of whose labours we are now reaping.

The following pages briefly record the births, deaths, and more
striking incidents in the lives of those benefactors to mankind.

"Lives of great men all remind us we may make our lives sublime."--The
truth of this is strongly enforced in the brief memoirs which are
included in this volume. They teach us that mental power, used
judiciously and applied with industry, is capable of producing vast
changes in the crude productions of Nature. Beyond this, they instruct
us that men, who fulfil the commands of the Creator and employ
their minds, in unwearying efforts to subdue the Earth, are rarely
unrewarded. They aid in the march of civilization, and they ameliorate
the conditions of humanity. They win a place amongst the great names
which we reverence, and each one

                  "becomes like a star
  "From the abodes where the Eternals are."

                              ROBERT HUNT.


Born August 29, 1770. Died December 30, 1843.

William Allen, the eminent chemist, was born in London. His father was
a silk manufacturer in Spitalfields, and a member of the Society of
Friends. Having at an early period shown a predilection for chemical
and other pursuits connected with medicine, William was placed
in the establishment of Mr. Joseph Gurney Bevan in Plough Court,
Lombard Street, where he acquired a practical knowledge of chemistry.
He eventually succeeded to the business, which he carried on in
connection with Mr. Luke Howard, and obtained great reputation as a
pharmaceutical chemist. About the year 1804, Mr. Allen was appointed
lecturer on chemistry and experimental philosophy at Guy's Hospital,
at which institution he continued to be engaged more or less until the
year 1827. He was also connected with the Royal Institution of Great
Britain, and was concerned in some of the most exact experiments of the
day, together with Davy, Babington, Marcet, Luke Howard, and Dalton.
In conjunction with his friend Mr. Pepys, Allen entered upon his
well known chemical investigations, which established the proportion
of Carbon in Carbonic Acid, and proved the identity of the diamond
with charcoal; these discoveries are recorded in the 'Philosophical
Transactions' of the Royal Society, of which he became a member in
1807. The 'Transactions' for 1829 also contain a paper by him, based on
elaborate experiments and calculations, concerning the changes produced
by respiration on atmospheric air and other gases. Mr. Allen was mainly
instrumental in establishing the Pharmaceutical Society, of which he
was president at the time of his death. Besides his public labours as
a practical chemist, he pursued with much delight, in his hours of
relaxation, the study of astronomy, and was one of the original members
of the Royal Astronomical Society. In connection with this science, he
published, in 1815, a small work entitled 'A Companion to the Transit

Many years before his death Mr. Allen withdrew from business, and
purchased an estate near Lindfield, Sussex. Here while still engaged
in public schemes of usefulness and benevolence, he also carried out
various philanthropic plans for the improvement of his immediate
dependants, and poorer neighbours. He erected commodious cottages on
his property, with an ample allotment of land to each cottage, and
established Schools at Lindfield for boys, girls, and infants, with
workshops, outhouses, and play-grounds. About three acres of land were
cultivated on the most approved system by the boarders, who also took
a part in household work. The subjects taught were land-surveying,
mapping, the elements of Botany, the use of the barometer, rain-gauge,
&c., and there was a good library with various scientific and useful

Mr. Allen died at Lindfield, the scene of his zealous benevolence, in
the seventy-fourth year of his age.--_English Cyclopædia_, London,
1856.--_Monthly notices of the Royal Ast. Soc._ vol. 6, Feb., 1844.


Born April 28, 1774. Died August 30, 1844.

This eminent English astronomer was born at Newbury in Berkshire, and
received his education at the school of the Rev. Mr. Best of that town,
where he early showed a propensity to physical inquiry, obtaining
among his schoolmates the nickname of 'the Philosopher of Newbury.'
Francis Baily quitted this school, when fourteen years old, for a
house of business in the city of London, and remained there until his
twenty-second year, when, desirous of the enlargement of views which
travel affords, he embarked for America in 1795. Mr. Baily remained
there nearly three years, travelling over the whole of the United
States and through much of the western country, experiencing at various
times great hardships and privations.

Shortly after his return to England he commenced business in London as
a stockbroker, and was taken into partnership by a Mr. Whitmore, in the
year 1799. While engaged in this business he published several works on
Life Annuities, one of which, entitled 'The Doctrine of Life Annuities
and Insurances analytically investigated and explained,' was published
in 1810, with an appendix in 1813, continuing to this day to be a
standard work on the subject, and it may serve to give some idea of the
estimation in which it was held, to mention, that when out of print,
copies used to sell for four to five times their original value.

Although Mr. Baily was thus actively devoting himself to matters of a
direct commercial interest, he was still able to find time for works of
a more general nature: in 1810 he wrote his first astronomical paper on
the celebrated Solar Eclipse, said to have been predicted by Thales,
published in the 'Philosophical Transactions' for 1811, and in 1813
published a work entitled 'An Epitome of Universal History.' Astronomy,
however, was his chief pursuit; and shortly after the celebrated
fraud of De Beranger on the Stock Exchange in 1814, (in the detection
and exposure of which Baily had a considerable share), this science
absorbed more and more of his attention. His accounts of the Eclipse of
1820; of the Annular Eclipse of 1836, which he observed at Jedburgh;
and the Total Eclipse of July 8, 1842, with its marvellous revelation
of the rose-coloured protuberances of the solar atmosphere, since known
as 'Baily's Beads,' are among the most interesting and classical of his

In January, 1823, the Royal Astronomical Society was founded, chiefly
through the suggestions of Francis Baily and Dr. Pearson, and for the
first three years of its existence Mr. Baily filled the office of
Secretary, sparing no exertions on its behalf, watching over its early
progress with paternal care, and as the Society grew and prospered,
contributing to its transactions many copious and valuable papers.

In 1825 Baily retired from the Stock Exchange, having acquired a
considerable fortune, and shortly afterwards took a house in Tavistock
Place, giving his whole attention to the furtherance of astronomical
science. Here, he executed that grand series of labours which has
perpetuated his name, and the building in which the Cavendish
experiment of weighing the earth was repeated, its bulk and figure
determined, and the standard of British measure perpetuated, must
continue to be a source of interest to scientific men for many
generations to come. The chief works to which Mr. Baily devoted himself
during this later portion of his life are:--

  1. The Remodelling of the Nautical Almanac.

  2. The Determination of the length of the Seconds Pendulum.

  3. The Fixation of the Standard of Length.

  4. The Determination of the Density of the Earth.

  5. The Revision of the Catalogues of the Stars.

  6. The Reduction of Lacaille's and Lalande's Catalogues; and

  7. The Formation of a New Standard Catalogue.

The benefits which not only astronomy but all England have derived from
these laborious investigations, can hardly be too much appreciated.
But a short time elapsed, after Baily had completed his observations
on the pendulum, and determined the standard of length,--being thereby
enabled to compare his new scale with the imperial standard yard,--when
the conflagration of the Houses of Parliament in 1834 took place, and
both the latter standard, and the original one by Bird (that of 1758)
were destroyed. When it is considered that Baily's repetition of the
Cavendish Experiment involved untiring watching for more than 1200
hours, and this, too, by one who in early life seemed only able to find
food for his vigorous mind amidst the hardships and fatigues of travel,
it affords a remarkable instance how a man, active and full of ardour
in early youth, can yet be enabled, by the strength of his character,
to concentrate the full force of his powers upon a series of researches
apparently the most wearying and full of disappointment, an example
well fitted for the earnest consideration of all who imagine that the
energies of their minds can alone be satisfied by stirring scenes or a
life full of activity and adventure. Mr. Baily's last public appearance
was at Oxford, to which place he went with some difficulty, to receive
the honorary degree of Doctor of Civil Law. He was distinguished by
great industry, which was made more effective by his methodical habits;
and also by a suavity of manner which greatly enlarged the circle of
his friends. In fact, Mr. Baily effected in the last 20 years of his
life, a greater number of complete and refined researches than most
other philosophers have accomplished during a whole lifetime.--_Memoir
of Francis Baily, by Sir John Herschel, Bart._ London, 1856.



Born February 12, 1743. Died June 19, 1820.

Sir Joseph Banks, President of the Royal Society for upwards of forty
years, was born in Argyle Street, London. He was the eldest son of Mr.
W. Banks, a gentleman of considerable landed property, whose family
was originally of Swedish extraction, although it had been settled in
England for several generations. The early life of Joseph Banks was
passed principally at Revesby Hall, his father's seat in Lincolnshire,
and his education was for several years entrusted to a private tutor;
in his ninth year he was sent to Harrow and four years after to Eton,
from whence he proceeded to Christ's College, Oxford.

During his residence at college, he made considerable progress
in classical knowledge, but evinced at the same time a decided
predilection for the study of natural history. Botany in particular
was his favourite occupation, and one to which his leisure hours were
devoted with enthusiastic ardour and perseverance. An anecdote is told
of Mr. Banks being on one occasion so intent on exploring ditches
and secluded spots, in search of rare plants, as to have excited the
suspicions of some countrymen, who, conceiving that he could have no
innocent design in acting thus, seized the young naturalist, when
he had fallen asleep exhausted with fatigue, and brought him as a
suspected thief before a neighbouring magistrate. After a strict
investigation he was soon liberated, but the incident occasioned much
amusement in the neighbourhood.

In the year 1761 Mr. Banks lost his father, and in 1764, on coming of
age, was put in possession of his valuable estates in Lincolnshire.
Mrs. Banks, soon after the death of her husband, removed with her
family from Lincolnshire to Chelsea, as a spot likely to afford her son
Joseph peculiar advantages in the study of botany, from the numerous
gardens in the vicinity devoted to the culture of rare and curious
plants of every description. And now it was that the great merit of Mr.
Banks shone forth. With all the incitements which his age, his figure,
and his station naturally presented to leading a life of idleness, and
with a fortune which placed the more vulgar gratifications of sense
or of ordinary ambition amply within his reach, he steadily devoted
himself to scientific pursuits, and only lived for the studies of a
naturalist. He remained out of Parliament, went little into any society
but that of learned men, while his relaxation was confined to exercise
and to angling, of which he was so fond, that he would devote days
and even nights to it. Whilst living at Chelsea, Mr. Banks formed the
acquaintance of Lord Sandwich, afterwards first Lord of the Admiralty,
who as it happened had the same taste, and to the friendship of whom
he was in after life indebted for essential aid in the furtherance of
his numerous projects for the advancement of scientific knowledge.
Soon after attaining his 21st year, Mr. Banks undertook a voyage to
Newfoundland and the Labrador coast, for the purpose of exploring the
botany of those unfrequented regions. On his return, he brought home
valuable collections not only of plants, but also of insects and other
natural productions of that district. In 1768, he obtained leave from
Government, through the interest of Lord Sandwich, to embark in the
ship commanded by the great navigator Cook, who had been commissioned
to observe the transit of Venus in the Pacific ocean, by the
observation of which phenomenon the sun's parallax might be measured,
and to fulfil also the usual object of a voyage of discovery.[1]

In order to turn to the best account all opportunities that might
occur during the voyage, Mr. Banks made most careful preparations.
He provided himself with the best instruments for making all kinds
of scientific observations, and for preserving specimens of natural
history, and persuaded Dr. Solander, a distinguished pupil of Linnæus,
to become his associate in the enterprise. He also took with him two
draughtsmen, to delineate all objects of interest that did not admit of
being transported or preserved, and four servants. This voyage occupied
three years; during that period all engaged in it incurred many and
severe hardships; several, including three of the attendants of Dr.
Solander and Mr. Banks, losing their lives. The results were highly
important, the observations necessary for making the solar parallax
were made with perfect success. The manners of the natives in the
Society Islands had been examined, and the singular state of their
society ascertained. Their products, vegetable, mineral, and animal,
as well as those of New Holland, New Zealand, and New Guinea, had been
fully explored, and a considerable share of the fame, which accrued
to Captain Cook and his associates in the enterprise, was due to Mr.
Banks, who brought home a splendid collection of specimens from those

No sooner had Mr. Banks returned from this expedition than he
commenced, with unabated vigour after a few months repose, preparations
for another. Having been prevented from joining Captain Cook's second
expedition, chiefly through the influence of Sir Hugh Pallisser with
the admiralty, he undertook the equipment of a ship at his own expense;
and, taking with him Dr. Solander, Dr. Lind, Dr. Von Troil, a Swedish
naturalist, and others, he sailed for Iceland in 1772. After exploring
during two months that interesting region of volcanoes he returned
to England, enriched with many valuable specimens, and still more
valuable information respecting the productions of the country. A fine
collection of books and manuscripts were purchased and presented by
Mr. Banks to the British Museum, and Dr. Von Troil, in whose hands Mr.
Banks, with his wonted aversion to literary fame, left the subject,
published a full and interesting account of the voyage.

A great part of the knowledge resulting from the various travels of
Mr. Banks were communicated by him, at different times, in papers to
the Royal Society, of which he had been elected a fellow as early as
the year 1766. On the resignation of Sir John Pringle, in 1778, Mr.
Banks was elected President of this Society, an honour he continued to
hold until his death. During the whole of his life Sir Joseph enjoyed
the favour of the king, forming a kind of connecting link between
his scientific compeers, and the courtly circles of the aristocracy.
In 1781 he was made a baronet; in 1795 was invested with the order
of the bath; and, in 1797, became a member of the privy council. He
did not, however, engage much in politics, but used the influence he
had acquired chiefly in the promotion of scientific objects, and the
encouragement of those who pursued them.

Sir Joseph Banks's published works bear little proportion either to
his scientific labours or his exertions on behalf of learned men, nor
are his real claims to the gratitude of posterity much known. He it
was who may truly be said to have planted and founded the colony of
Botany Bay. He was the real founder of the African Association, and
by his scientific exertions the productions of other climates were
diffused over each portion of the globe. Thus he brought over into
Europe the seeds of the South Sea lands, having previously distributed
to the latter those of Europe. To him are we indebted for many of
the beautiful plants which adorn our gardens and shrubberies. The
sugar-cane of Otaheite was transplanted by him into the colonies, the
bread fruit tree of the Pacific introduced into the tropical soil of
America, and the flax of New Zealand brought into Europe. While among
animals, the black swan and the kangaroo were brought from Australia
and introduced into this country by this eminent man.

Sir Joseph Banks was married but had no family. He continued to fill
the honourable office of President of the Royal Society for the
unprecedented period of nearly forty-two years, enjoying, during that
time, the correspondence and confidence of most of the distinguished
men of learning both of this and other nations. His name was enrolled
amongst the associates of almost every academy and learned society
in Europe. His house and table were ever open for the reception and
entertainment of all those who were eminent for their scientific
attainments, with that spirit of liberality so conducive to the union
of interests and co-operation of efforts, requisite for the cultivation
of knowledge. During the latter part of his life Sir Joseph Banks was
a great sufferer from the gout, and during the last fourteen years was
almost deprived of the use of his feet and legs. At last, he gradually
sank under the exhausting effects of this ailment, and died at his
villa at Spring Grove, Hounslow, in the seventy-eighth year of his age.
He was succeeded in the chair of the Royal Society by Dr. Wollaston for
the remainder of the year, until the election of Sir Humphry Davy on
the anniversary of the Society in November.--_Memoir of Sir J. Banks,
by Dr. P. M. Roget, Encyclopædia Britannica_, Eighth Edition.--_Welds'
History of the Royal Society, with Memoirs of the Presidents._ London,
1848.--_Brougham's Lives of Philosophers._ London and Glasgow, 1855.


Born January 11, 1757. Died May 31, 1831.

Sir Samuel Bentham was the youngest son of Jeremiah Bentham, and
brother of Jeremy, the celebrated jurist. He was placed when very
young at a private school, from whence, at the age of six, he was
sent to Westminster. His father occupied a house in Queen's Square
Place, in the stable-yard of which were spacious workshops, let to a
carpenter; here Samuel used to spend all his leisure time, and soon
acquired considerable skill in handling tools, for when only thirteen
years old he had managed to construct with his own hands a carriage,
for a young friend and playmate, Miss Cornelia Knight. At the age of
fourteen he exhibited so strong a taste for naval matters, that his
father yielded to his wishes, and bound him apprentice to the master
shipwright of Woolwich Dockyard. At that time the superior officers
of a royal dockyard were exempted from keeping their apprentices at
hard labour, so that time might be allowed for general instruction.
Samuel, however, soon perceived that practical manipulation was no less
essential than theoretical knowledge, and used therefore to work at
the dock side till breakfast-time, and devote the rest of the day to
scientific acquirements. In time, Samuel and his master were removed
from Woolwich to Chatham Dockyard, by which he was enabled to obtain
a practical knowledge of the behaviour of vessels at sea; for he was
often permitted to sail in the British Channel, and sometimes extended
his voyages further. About this period his brother, Jeremy Bentham,
had returned from college, and used to instil into him many of the
first ideas of political economy: on these occasions Samuel would take
advantage of the Saturday afternoons to _walk_ from Chatham to his
brother's chambers in Lincoln's Inn.

At the end of his seven years' apprenticeship, Samuel spent another
year in the other royal dockyards, and at the Naval College at
Portsmouth. He then went to sea as Captain Macbridge's guest, whose
ship was one of Lord Keppel's fleet, and on this occasion he suggested
sundry improvements in the apparatus of a ship, which were executed
in Portsmouth Dockyard. In consequence of the abilities manifested
by Bentham, many advantageous appointments were offered him; these
were, however, refused, and in 1780 he embarked for the Continent, in
order to obtain greater experience in the different practices in the
art of naval construction. After having visited Holland he proceeded
to Russia, and was well received at St. Petersburgh by the English
Ambassador, Sir James Harris, who introduced him to the best society,
and through whose means he became acquainted, among others, with Prince
Potemkin, and the celebrated traveller, Pallas. Whilst on a visit to
the large manufactory of Count Demidoff, Bentham constructed a sort
of amphibious vehicle, in the form of a boat, and capable of serving
as an ordinary wheel-carriage, and also, when necessity required, of
being navigated across, or along a stream of water. This invention
he subsequently patented, and likewise extended its utility by
constructing the carriages so as to serve as army baggage-waggons, a
supply of which Prince Potemkin ordered to be furnished to a regiment
at Jassy. They were also introduced into England about the year 1793,
when the Duke of York requested that one should be built for the
English service, which was successfully tried on the River Thames. In
gratitude to Count Demidoff for the facilities which he had afforded
him in constructing this carriage, Bentham invented for the use of the
Count's factory, a wood-planing machine, which could also be used for
making mouldings by changing the cutting tool.

Bentham's stay in Russia was prolonged for a greater period than he
originally intended, from his having become attached to a Russian
lady of considerable rank and beauty; but although this attachment
was mutual, nothing came of it, owing to the opposition of the lady's
relatives, on the score of Bentham being a foreigner. During this
period Bentham had the direction of the Fontanka Canal, in connection
with which he invented a peculiar form of pile-driving machine, in
which the weight was attached to a sort of endless ladder, moved by
a man stepping on it, on the principle that a man's weight exceeds
considerably his muscular strength.

After the completion of the canal, Prince Potemkin induced Bentham
to accept military service, and appointed him to the command of a
battalion stationed at Critcheff, in White Russia, with the rank
of lieutenant-colonel. As the prince's manufactories were in the
neighbourhood of Critcheff, Bentham offered to superintend them. This
offer was gladly received; and as the management of the works had been
previously grossly misconducted, the lieutenant-colonel soon perceived
the necessity of his own constant inspection of what was going on, and
for this purpose contrived a panoptican building or inspection-house,
the centre of which commanded a view of all its parts. His brother
Jeremy was on a visit whilst he was devising this panoptican, and the
contrivance has frequently on this account been attributed to Jeremy,
although in his works Jeremy repeatedly says it was his brother's. Up
to this time the panoptican principle has only been adopted in gaols;
but Jeremy Bentham has shown that it is equally desirable for a great
variety of buildings.

Bentham's next invention was a sort of jointed vessel, for the
conveyance of the Empress Catherine down the Dnieper and its affluents,
which were shallow, tortuous, and their navigation much impeded by
sandbanks and sunken trees. This vessel was in six links, drawing only
six inches of water when loaded, and with 124 men at the oars on board.
Many more were constructed on the same principle, for carrying the
produce of the prince's establishments and manufactories to the Black

On the breaking out of war with Turkey, Bentham was sent to the
south with his battalion, of which, according to orders, he had made
sailors and shipwrights; and shortly afterwards, by the joint order of
Souvaroff and Admiral Mardvinoff, he was commanded to fit out vessels
at Cherson to oppose the enemy. It happened that he had the sole
command of the arsenal at Cherson, in which he found an immense stock
of ordnance of all descriptions, but no better navigable vessels than
the pleasure-galleys which had brought the empress and her suite down
the Dnieper. But nothing daunted, Bentham set to work. He reflected
that it is not size of vessel which ensures victory, but that it is
gained by the fleet that can throw the heaviest weight of missile in
the shortest time, joined to the facility of manœuvring vessels.
Strengthening his vessels as well as he could, he fitted them with as
heavy artillery as they could possibly bear, and when all was finished,
took the command of the flotilla himself, and had the satisfaction of
engaging the Turks on three separate days, in all of which actions
he was equally victorious, notwithstanding the enemy's flotilla were
doubly as numerous and powerful. For these three victories Bentham
received from the empress a like number of honourable rewards--rank in
the army, a gold-hilted sword, and the Cross of the Order of St. George.

Sir Samuel Bentham now returned to the army, and by his own choice
was appointed to the protection of the eastern frontier of Siberia,
his command extending from the northern part of the Ural Mountains to
the confines of Russia in the Chinese dominions. After holding this
appointment for a couple of years, during which period he established
schools for his troops, and introduced other improvements into their
condition, Bentham obtained leave of absence to visit England.

Here commences another epoch in Sir Samuel's life. Arrived in England,
he found his brother Jeremy absorbed in investigations relative to
jurisprudence. Jeremy, however, had not forgotten his brother's
Panoptican, but had proposed its adoption for the County Gaol of
Middlesex. This led to some explanations with the ministers, who
ultimately entrusted Jeremy Bentham with a thousand convicts, of
whose labour he was to make the best use he could. In the meanwhile
Samuel went to visit the principal manufactories in England; he found
that steam-engines were used for giving motion to machinery for
spinning cotton, but in no case were they applied to machinery for the
working of wood, metal, &c.; nor, in fact, were there any mechanical
apparatuses for saving labour, with the exception of turning-lathes,
and some boring tools worked by horses, for making ships' blocks.
Bentham therefore patented, in 1791, his machinery for planing and
making mouldings, specifying the improvements which he had made on
the machine constructed ten years before for Count Demidoff. His
brother's arrangements for the industrial employment of convicts
having been concluded, Sir Samuel considered that the most profitable
means of employing them would be the working of machines for saving
manual labour, which at the same time ensured accuracy of work; he
therefore exerted his mechanical genius to perfect several engines he
had previously contrived in Russia, and patented his inventions in the
specification (No. 1951). This specification includes machines for
sawing, boring, and many other operations necessary for the working of
wood or metal.

Nor did the general confine himself to mere verbal descriptions of
his machines; many of them were constructed and erected under his
own eye, in Queen's Square Place, amongst which may be mentioned an
apparatus for making wheels, and another for making all the parts of
a window-sash frame; both of these leaving nothing for the skilled
workman to do, save putting the pieces together. There were also planes
of various descriptions, saws for cutting extremely fine veneers,
machines for boring, dovetailing, cutting stone, &c., &c. Machines for
metal-work were not, however, attempted, on account of the difficulty
of obtaining the necessary power for working them, the Queen's
Square Place apparatus being all worked by men. The fame of this
machinery attracted many visitors, amongst others Mr. Secretary Dundas
(afterwards Lord Melville), who stated in the House of Commons that it
opened a new era in the manufacturing prosperity of the country.

But the circumstance which completely changed Bentham's future destiny,
was the frequent visits of Earl Spencer and the Lords of the Admiralty,
who soon perceived the advantages which would accrue to the state
by engaging the general in the British service. Various proposals
were made by the Admiralty to engage him permanently in the public
service; but Bentham refused all in which he had not the individual
responsibility. Ultimately a new office was created for him, under the
name of Inspector-General of Naval Works; not, however, without the
fierce opposition of the Naval Board, who, although unable to change
the title of the office, managed to reduce the salary from the sum of
2000_l._ per annum, as originally proposed, to 750_l._ nominal, with
an addition finally agreed upon of 500_l._ a year--in all, 1250_l._
per annum. Notwithstanding this opposition, Bentham, convinced of
the services he could render, gave up the honours and riches which
awaited him in Russia--amongst others, an estate promised him on his
return--and determined to devote his energies to his native country,
regardless of all pecuniary advantages. During the interval which
elapsed before the actual institution of his new office, Bentham was
authorized by the Lords of the Admiralty, early in 1795, to build seven
experimental vessels; into these he introduced many improvements,
amongst which may be mentioned diagonal braces, metallic tanks for
water, metallic canisters for powder, means for filling the magazine
with water in case of fire, safety lamps, &c.

Appointed Inspector-General of Naval Works in 1796, the whole of Sir
Samuel's energies were henceforward directed towards the improvement of
naval arsenals, and the introduction of his machinery for shaping wood,
with steam-power to give it motion. This introduction of steam-power
into the naval dockyards of Great Britain experienced at first the most
violent opposition; and it was not until 1797 that any progress was
made towards the furtherance of his object. During the same year Sir
M. Isambard (then Mr.) Brunel presented himself to the general, for
the purpose of bringing before his notice certain machinery for making
blocks. Bentham was at that time fully engaged by Lord St. Vincent in
organizing a better mode of managing timber in the royal dockyards,
and it occurred to him that Brunei would be likely to influence the
public in favour of machinery for working wood, and therefore proposed
that he should be engaged for that purpose, recommending at the same
time the adoption of his apparatus for shaping blocks, to which
Brunel's machines were solely confined[2]--a measure which has had the
effect of giving almost the entire merit of the Portsmouth machinery
to Brunel. This statement is made without any intention of detracting
from Sir Isambard's well-earned reputation, but simply in justice to
Bentham, who, singularly free from an inventor's jealousy, himself
officially stated:--"In regard to the machinery, I was afterwards
satisfied that Mr. Brunel had skill enough to have contrived machinery
to have answered the same purposes, had he not found mine ready to his

To describe all Bentham's subsequent improvements, not only in
machinery, but also in the economy of the management of the dockyards,
would take too much space. By his energetic efforts and inventive
genius, the wood mills, metal mills, and millwrights' shop were
established at Portsmouth. In 1800, he proposed to the Admiralty a
steam dredging-machine, of which he gave drawings, similar to the ones
now in such general use; and the efficacy of this invention has since
realized the most sanguine hopes of its designer. Notwithstanding the
great value of Bentham's services, he seems to have experienced little
gratitude on the part of the government. During the year 1805, he was
requested by the Admiralty to proceed to Russia, and commence building
in that country ships of war for the British navy. On his consenting,
and arriving at St. Petersburgh, he found, much to his surprise,
that nothing had been done to facilitate his mission; and although
personally received with great kindness by the emperor, he was unable
to obtain the required permission to build vessels of war for Great

Returning to England in 1807, he learnt that his office had been
abolished, and that henceforth he would be amalgamated with the Naval
Board. Nothing but the necessity of supporting his family, made Bentham
accept this new post, which gave him the title of Civil Engineer and
Architect of the Navy--an employment for which he had manifested
peculiar talents, although not educated for it, but excluding him at
the same time from all interference in ship-building, for which he
had served a regular apprenticeship, and had subsequently manifested
extraordinary talents. When this office also was abolished, about the
year 1812, Sir Samuel, by the desire of Lord Melville, applied for
some compensation for loss of office, and likewise for a remuneration
for his services. On account of the loss of office, Bentham's salary
was continued; but during the discussion which arose regarding the
statement of services which Sir Samuel had drawn up at the request of
the Admiralty, although, on coming to the metal mills, Lord Melville
said, "There Sir Samuel stands upon a rock," it proved a slippery one;
for under the pretext that it would be necessary to apply to parliament
for so large a sum as a year's savings effected by the introduction of
the metal mills, no remuneration was ever accorded to Bentham for any
one of his services.

After the restoration of peace in 1814, Sir Samuel retired to France,
for the economical education of his children. In 1827 he returned to
England, where he remained until his death in 1831, at the age of
seventy-four.--_Papers and Practical Illustrations of Public Works of
Recent Construction_, &c. London, 1856.


Born at Birmingham, Sept. 3, 1728. Died Aug. 17, 1809.

This skilful, energetic, and farseeing man, who, by his extended views
and liberal spirit of enterprise, contributed so greatly towards the
successful introduction of Watt's condensing steam-engine, commenced
life at Birmingham as a maker of buttons and shoe-buckles. Matthew
Boulton received an ordinary education at a school at Deritend. He
was, however, gifted with rare endowments, and of these he made the
best use; with a thorough knowledge of business, great prudence, and
admirable tact, he combined boldness of spirit, quickness of thought,
and promptitude of action. At the death of his father, Boulton became
possessed of considerable property, and desirous of extending his
commercial operations, purchased, about the year 1762, a lease of
Soho, near Handsworth, where he founded that establishment which has
become renowned as the nursery of English mechanics. The hill from
which this place derived its name was, at that time, a bleak and
barren heath, at the bottom of which rippled a small stream. Boulton's
instinctive mind saw the uses to which these waters might be turned.
By collecting them into a pool, and pouring their united weight upon a
water wheel, he became possessed of a motive-power sufficient to set
in motion various machines, by whose agency were fabricated articles
in gold, silver, and tortoise-shell, and plated and inlaid works of
the greatest elegance and perfection. On the side of the hill, Boulton
built extensive workshops, and dwellings capable of holding many
hundreds of workmen, and erected a mansion for himself surrounded
by beautiful grounds, where he lived as a prince among his people,
extending hospitality to all around. In 1767, Boulton, finding that the
motive-power which he possessed was inadequate to the various purposes
of his machinery, erected a steam-engine upon the original construction
of Savery. This, however, in turn was found to be insufficient for the
objects required, and Boulton then had the discernment to perceive that
they might be very completely attained by the adoption of the various
improvements lately made in the steam-engine by James Watt. In 1773
he entered into partnership with this great scientific inventor, and
induced him to settle at Soho and superintend personally the erection
of his new steam-engines. This bold but clear-sighted act of Boulton
was destined to crown with honour a reputation, already rising, and
built upon the firm foundation of uprightness and integrity. "Had Watt
searched all Europe," says Playfair, "he could not have found another
man so calculated to introduce the machine to the public in a manner
worthy of its reputation." Its sale as an article of commerce was
entirely conducted by him, and the skilful and liberal way in which
he performed this difficult task brought in time its own reward; yet
as great a sum as 47,000_l._ had to be expended upon the steam-engine
before any profit resulted to its owners. In process of time, however,
wealth flowed into the hands of Boulton and Watt; and in the year 1800
Mr. Watt was enabled to retire from the firm possessed of a large
competency, and leaving the exclusive privilege of the sale of the
engine to Boulton. Boswell, who visited Soho in 1776, shortly after
the manufacture of steam-engines had been commenced there, was greatly
struck by the vastness and contrivance of the machinery. "I shall never
forget," he says, "Mr. Boulton's expression to me when surveying the
works: 'I sell here, sir, what all the world desires to have--_Power_.'
He had," continues Boswell, "about 700 people at work; I contemplated
him as an iron chieftain, and he seemed to be the father of his

In 1785 Mr. Boulton was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, and
two or three years after this, turned his attention to the subject of
coining, to the improvement of which art he devoted the last twenty
years of his life. He erected extensive machinery for this purpose,
and by uniting some processes originating in France with new kinds of
presses, he was enabled to obtain great rapidity of action combined
with the utmost perfection in the articles produced; so much so, that
having been employed by the British Government to recoin the whole
of the British specie, he rendered counterfeits nearly impossible
by the economy and excellence of his work. In addition to this, Mr.
Boulton planned and directed the arrangement of the machinery in
the British Mint, and executed that for the coining department. He
also constructed the machinery for the great national mints of St.
Petersburgh and Copenhagen; his son, to whom the establishment at Soho
devolved upon his death, doing the same for the extensive and splendid
establishments of the East India Company at Bombay and Calcutta.

Boulton died August 17, 1809, in his eighty-first year, and his remains
were borne to the grave by the oldest workmen connected with the works
at Soho; five hundred persons belonging to that establishment joined
in the procession, which numbered among its ranks several thousand
individuals, to whom medals were given recording the age of the
deceased and the date of his death.--_Stuart's Anecdotes of the Steam
Engine._ London, 1829.--_Muirhead's Translation of Arago's Life of J.
Watt._ London, 1839.


Born April 13, 1749. Died December 9, 1814.

This eminent practical engineer and machinist was born at Stainborough,
in Yorkshire. His father rented a farm on the estate of Lord Strafford,
and Joseph, being the eldest of five children was intended for the
same employment; but fortunately for his subsequent career, an
accidental lameness, which occurred when he was sixteen years old,
prevented his following agricultural pursuits. When quite a boy, Bramah
exhibited unusual mechanical talent; he succeeded in constructing two
violoncellos, which were found to be very tolerable instruments, and
also managed to cut a violin out of a single block of wood, by means
of tools which were forged for him by a neighbouring smith, whom in
after life he engaged in London as one of his principal workmen. After
having served an apprenticeship to a carpenter and joiner, Bramah
obtained employment in the workshop of a cabinetmaker in London, and
soon afterwards established himself as a principal in the business. The
history of his life after this is perhaps best given by a record of
his numerous inventions, all of which are, more or less, of a highly
useful character. For the manufacture of these, Bramah first took up
his residence in Denmark Street, Soho, but subsequently removed to
Piccadilly, and established the various branches of his manufactory
in some extensive premises at Pimlico. In 1783 he took out a patent
for an improved watercock, and in the year following, completed the
invention of his famous lock, which for many years stood unrivalled
in ingenuity of construction, workmanship, and powers of resistance
against all attempts to pick.[4] Bramah's indefatigable spirit of
invention was stimulated to fresh efforts by the success of his lock,
and he now entered upon a more important and original line of action
than he had yet ventured upon. In his patent of 1785 he indicated
many inventions, although none of them came into practical use--such
as a Hydrostatical Machine and Boiler, and the application of the
power produced by them to the drawing of carriages and the propelling
of ships, by a paddle-wheel fixed in the stern of the vessel. For
different modifications of pumps and fire-engines, Mr. Bramah took out
three successive patents, the two last being dated in 1790 and 1798.
But in the year 1795 he produced and patented the most important of all
his inventions, namely, 'The Hydraulic Press,' a machine which gives
to a child the strength of a giant, enabling him to bend a bar of iron
as if it were wax. The chief difficulty which Bramah experienced in
constructing this press was that of devising an efficient packing for
the ram or solid piston, which, while capable of keeping out the water
under the tremendous internal pressure exercised by the pump, should,
on the withdrawal of that pressure, allow the ram to sink into its
original place. This was at length accomplished by the invention of the
self-tightening leather-collar, which was firmly secured in a recess at
the top of a cylinder, with the concave side downwards. Consequently,
when the water was pumped into the cylinder, it immediately forced its
way between the bent edges of the collar; and the greater the pressure
of water, the tighter became the hold which the collar took of the
solid piston. It appears from the testimony of Mr. James Nasmyth, that
Bramah was indebted for this simple but beautiful contrivance, to Henry
Maudslay, who was at that time a workman in his shop, and who had
already greatly assisted him in the construction of his lock.

Bramah continued his useful labours as an inventor for many years,
and his studies of the principles of Hydraulics, in the course of
his invention of the press, enabled him to introduce many valuable
improvements in pumping machinery. By varying the form of the piston
and cylinder, he was enabled to obtain a rotary motion, which he
adopted in the well-known fire-engine. In 1797 he took out a patent
for the beer-machine, now in such general use in public houses, and in
the description of this he includes a mode of converting every cask
in a cellar into a force pump, so as to raise the liquor to any part
of the house; a filtering machine; a method of making pipes; a vent
peg, and a new form of stop-cock. Bramah also turned his attention
to the improvement of the steam-engine, but in this, Watt's patent
had left little room for other inventors: and hence Bramah seems to
have entertained a grudge against Watt, which was shown strongly in
the evidence given by him in the case of Boulton and Watt _versus_
Hornblower and Maberly, tried in December 1796. On the expiry, however,
of Boulton and Watt's patent, Bramah introduced several valuable
improvements in the details of the condensing engine, the most
important of which was his "four-way cock," which was so contrived as
to revolve continuously instead of alternately, thus insuring greater
precision with less wear of parts. In this patent, which he secured
in 1801, he also proposed sundry improvements in the boilers, as well
as modifications in various parts of the engine. In the year 1802,
Bramah obtained a patent for a very elaborate and accurate machine for
producing smooth and parallel surfaces on wood and other materials.
This was erected on a large scale at Woolwich Arsenal, and proved
perfectly successful. The specification of the patent includes the
description of a mode of turning spherical surfaces either convex or
concave, by a tool moveable on an axis perpendicular to that of the
lathe, and of cutting out concentric shells, by fixing in a similar
manner a curved tool, nearly of the same form as that employed by
common turners for making bowls. Bramah also invented machinery for
making paper in large sheets, and for printing by means of a roller,
composed of a number of circular plates, each turning on the same
axis, and bearing twenty-six letters capable of being shifted at
pleasure, so as to express any single line by a proper combination of
the plates. This was put in practice to number bank-notes, and enabled
twenty clerks to perform the labour which previously had required one
hundred and twenty. In 1812 he projected a scheme for main-pipes, which
was, however, in many respects, more ingenious than practicable. In
describing this, he mentions having employed a hydrostatic pressure
equal to that of a column of water twenty thousand feet high (about
three and a half tons per square inch). Mr. Bramah made several
improvements in the bearings of wheels, and suggested the use of
pneumatic springs formed by pistons sliding in cylinders, in place
of the usual metal springs for carriages. He likewise improved the
machines for sawing stones and timber, and suggested some alterations
in the construction of bridges and canal locks. He died in his
sixty-sixth year, his last illness having been occasioned by a severe
cold caught during the month of November, while making some experiments
with his hydraulic press on the tearing up of trees in Holt Forest. He
was a cheerful, benevolent, and affectionate man, neat and methodical
in his habits, and knew well how to temper liberality with economy;
greatly to his honour he often kept his workmen employed solely for
their sake, when the stagnation of trade prevented him from disposing
of the products of their labour. As a manufacturer he was distinguished
for his promptitude and probity, and was celebrated for the exquisite
finish which he gave to his productions. At his death he left his
family in affluent circumstances, and his manufacturing establishments
have since his death been continued by his sons. Unfortunately, Mr.
Bramah had an invincible dislike to sitting for his portrait, and
there consequently exists no likeness of this distinguished man; for,
although a cast of his face was taken after death by Sir Francis
Chantry, this, together with many others was destroyed by Lady Chantry
after the death of her husband.--_Memoir by Dr. Brown._--_Stuart's
Anecdotes of the Steam Engine._ London, 1829.--_Smiles's Industrial
Biography._ London, 1863.

ROBERT BROWN, D.C.L., F.R.S., P.L.S., &c.


Born December 21, 1773. Died June 10, 1859.

Robert Brown, whom Humboldt has designated as the "Prince of
Botanists," was the second and only surviving son of the Rev. James
Brown, Episcopalian Minister, of Montrose. Several generations of his
maternal ancestors were, like his father, ministers of the Scottish
Episcopalian Church, and from them he appears to have inherited a
strong attachment to logical and metaphysical studies, the effects
of which are so strikingly manifested in the philosophical character
of his botanical investigations. At an early age he was sent to the
grammar-school of his native town, and in 1787 entered at Marischal
College, Aberdeen, where he immediately obtained a Ramsay Bursary in
philosophy. About two years afterwards, on his father quitting Montrose
to reside in Edinburgh, he was removed to the University of that city,
in which he continued his studies for several years; but without taking
a degree, although destined for the medical profession.

In the year 1791, at the age of seventeen, Brown laid before the
Natural History Society, of which he was a member, his earliest paper,
which contained, together with critical notes and observations, an
enumeration of such plants as had been discovered in North Britain
subsequent to the publication of Lightfoot's "Flora Scotica." Although
this paper was not intended for publication, it brought the young
botanist into communication with Dr. Withering, and laid the foundation
of a warm and intimate friendship between them. In the year 1795, soon
after the embodiment of the Fifeshire Regiment of Fencible Infantry,
Brown obtained in it the double commission of ensign and assistant
surgeon, proceeding with the regiment to the north of Ireland, in
various parts of which he was stationed until the summer of 1798, when
he was detached to England on recruiting service.

Fortunately for himself and for science, this service enabled him
to pass some time in London, where his already established botanical
reputation secured him a cordial reception from Sir Joseph Banks, of
whose library and collections he availed himself to the utmost. In 1799
he returned to his regimental duties in Ireland, from which he was
finally recalled, in December of the following year, by a letter from
Sir Joseph Banks, proposing for his acceptance the post of naturalist
in the expedition for surveying the coasts of New Holland, then fitting
out under the command of Captain Flinders.

In the summer of 1801 he embarked at Portsmouth and set out on this
expedition. His absence from England lasted more than four years,
during which period the southern, eastern, and northern coasts of New
Holland, and the southern part of Van Diemen's Land were thoroughly
explored; and he arrived in Liverpool, in the month of October, 1805,
enriched with a collection of dried plants amounting to nearly 4000
species, a large proportion of which were not only new to science, but
likewise exhibited extraordinary combinations of character and form.
Immediately on his arrival in England, Brown was appointed librarian of
the Linnean Society, of which he had been elected an associate in 1798.
The materials which he had been indefatigable in collecting during
this voyage, and the vast store of facts and observations in relation
to their structure and affinities which he had accumulated, opened
out to him new views upon a multitude of botanical subjects, which he
was enabled by his position in the Linnean Society to enlarge, and to
perfect, and ultimately to lay before the world in a series of masterly
publications, which at once stamped upon him the character of the
greatest and most philosophical botanist that England had ever produced.

In 1810 appeared the first volume of his 'Prodromus Floræ novæ
Hollandiæ et Insulæ Van Diemen.' This important work, together with
his memoirs on Proteaciæ and Asclepiadeæ, which immediately followed,
and his 'General Remarks, Geographical and Systematical, on the Botany
of Terra Australis,' appended to the 'Narrative of Captain Flinder's
Voyage,' published in 1814, by displaying in the most instructive form
the superior advantages of the Natural System, gave new life to that
system, which had hitherto found little favour in France, and speedily
led to its universal adoption. A series of memoirs followed the above
works, chiefly in the Transactions of the Linnean Society, or in the
appendices to various books of travel and survey, which gave fuller and
more complete development to his views upon almost every department
of botanical science, and induced the illustrious Humboldt not only
to confer upon Brown the title mentioned at the beginning of this
memoir, but also to designate him as the "Glory and Ornament of Great

At the close of the year 1810, on the death of his learned and
intimate friend Dryander, Mr. Brown succeeded to the office of
Librarian to Sir Joseph Banks, who (on his death in 1820) bequeathed
to him for life the use and enjoyment of his library and collections.
These were subsequently, with Mr. Brown's consent, and in conformity
with the provisions of Sir Joseph's will, transferred, in 1827, to
the British Museum; and from this latter date, until his death, he
continued to fill the office of Keeper of the Botanical Collections in
the National establishment. In 1849 Mr. Brown was elected President
of the Linnean Society, of which, soon after the death of Sir Joseph
Banks, he had resigned the Librarianship, and had become a fellow.

In 1811 he had been made a fellow of the Royal Society; and in 1839
received its highest honour in the Copley medal, awarded to him "for
his discoveries during a series of years on the subject of vegetable
impregnation." In the meantime, honours and titles flowed in upon him
from all quarters. In 1832 the University of Oxford conferred on him,
in conjunction with Dalton, Faraday, and Brewster, the honorary degree
of D.C.L.; and, in the succeeding year, he was elected one of the
eight foreign associates of the Academy of Sciences of the Institute
of France, his name being selected from a list, including those of
nine other savans of world-wide reputation, nearly every one of whom
has since been elected to the same distinguished honour. During the
administration of Sir Robert Peel, he received, in recognition of his
great eminence in botanical science, a pension on the Civil List of
200_l_. per annum, and shortly afterwards the King of Prussia decorated
him with the cross of the highest Prussian Civil Order--'Pour le

Of Mr. Brown's later publications the most important are, his
'Botanical Appendix to Captain Burt's Expedition into Central
Australia,' published in 1849; and his Memoir 'On Triplosporite, an
undescribed Fossil Fruit,' published in the Linnean Transactions for
1851. The pervading and distinguishing character of all these writings,
is to be found in the combination of the minutest accuracy of detail
with the most comprehensive generalization; and no theory is propounded
which does not rest for its foundation on the most circumspect
investigation of all attainable facts. Among the most important
anatomical and physiological subjects of which they treat, particular
mention is due to the discovery of the nucleus of the vegetable cell,
the development of the stamina, together with the mode of fecundation
in Asclepiadeæ and Orchideæ; the development of the pollen and of the
ovulum in Phœnogamous plants, and the bearing of these facts upon the
general subject of impregnation; also the origin and development of
the spores of mosses; and the discovery of the peculiar motions which
take place in the "active molecules" of matter when seen suspended in
a fluid under the microscope. Of structural investigations, the most
important are those which establish the relation of the flower to
the axis from which it is derived, and of the parts of a flower to
each other, as regards both position and number; the analogy between
stamina and pistilla; the neuration of the corolla of compositœ,
their œstivation and inflorescence; and the structure of the stems of
cycadeœ, both recent and fossil.

Mr. Brown was also strongly attached to the study of fossil botany,
and, with a view to its prosecution, he formed an extensive and
valuable collection of fossil woods, which he has bequeathed, under
certain conditions, to the British Museum.

After the death of Sir Joseph Banks, who bequeathed to him his house
in Soho Square, Mr. Brown continued to occupy that portion of it which
opened upon Dean Street; and it was in the library of that illustrious
man, the scene of his labours for sixty years, surrounded by his books
and by his collections, that Robert Brown breathed his last, on the
10th of June, 1859, in the eighty-fifth year of his age.--_Memoir
by John J. Bennett, F.R.S._, read at the Anniversary Meeting of the
Linnean Society, May, 1859.


Born April 25, 1769. Died December 12, 1849.

This celebrated engineer was born at Haqueville, in Normandy, where his
family had for several centuries held an honourable position, numbering
among its members the eminent French painter Nicholas Poussin.
Brunel was educated at the seminary at Rouen, with the intention of
his entering holy orders, but he displayed so decided a taste for
mathematics and mechanics,[6] that by the advice of the superior of the
establishment he was removed to follow a more congenial career.

His father then destined him for the naval service, which he entered
on the appointment of the Mareschal de Castries, the Minister of
Marine, and made several voyages to the West Indies. While in this
position, although only fifteen years old, his mechanical talents
showed themselves on many occasions, and he surprised his captain by
the production of a sextant of his own manufacture, with which he took
his observations.

In 1792 Brunel returned to France, where he found the revolution
at its height, and, like all who entertained Royalist principles,
was compelled to seek safety by flight, which with difficulty he
effected,[7] taking refuge in the United States of America. Here,
driven by necessity to the exercise of his talents, he followed the
bent of his inclination, and became a civil engineer and architect.
His first engagement in this capacity was on the survey of a tract of
land near Lake Erie; he then became engaged in cutting canals, and was
employed to erect an arsenal and cannon foundry at New York, where he
erected several new and ingenious machines. He was also engaged to
design and superintend the building of the Bowery Theatre, New York,
since destroyed by fire, the roof of which was peculiar and original
in its construction. Brunel now rose high in the estimation of the
citizens of New York; they appointed him their chief engineer, and in
that capacity he organized an establishment for casting and boring
ordnance, which at that time was considered unsurpassed for its novelty
of design and general practicability. Previously to this the idea of
substituting machinery for manual labour in making ships' blocks had
long occupied Brunel's mind, and in 1799, having matured his plans, he
determined upon coming to England, finding that the United States were
unable to afford full occupation for his inventive genius.

In the month of May of the same year Brunel took out his first patent
in England, which was for a duplicate writing and drawing machine. His
next invention was a machine for twisting cotton thread and forming
it into balls; it measured the length of thread which it wound, and
proportioned the size of the ball to its weight and firmness. This
machine was not, however, patented, and it became rapidly and generally
adopted without bringing any advantage to the inventor.

Brunel's next contrivance was a machine for trimmings and borders
for muslins, lawns, and cambrics, somewhat of the nature of a sewing
machine. Shortly after this he patented his famous block-machinery,
which he submitted for the inspection of the Admiralty in 1801.

Earl St. Vincent was at that time at the head of the Admiralty, and
after many delays and difficulties, which were ultimately overcome
chiefly through the influence of Earl Spencer and Sir Samuel Bentham,
Brunel's system was adopted; and he was enabled to erect the beautiful
and effective machinery, which has continued until the present time,
without any alteration or improvement, to produce nearly all the
blocks used in the Royal Navy.[8] The construction of this block
machinery, completed in 1808, was entrusted to the late Mr. Henry
Maudslay, from whom Brunei had already derived considerable assistance
in the execution of his models and working out of his designs. It
was erected in Portsmouth Dockyard, and the economy produced by the
first year's use of these machines was estimated at about 24,000_l._,
two-thirds of which sum was awarded to the ingenious inventor, who was
soon after engaged by the government to erect extensive saw mills,
and carry out other improvements at Chatham and Woolwich. Brunel was
essentially an inventor; besides the above-mentioned machines, he took
out patents for "the manufacture of tin-foil," for "copying presses,"
for "stereotype printing plates," a contrivance for making the small
boxes used by druggists, and a nail-making machine.

He likewise introduced the system of cutting veneers by circular saws
of a large diameter, to which is mainly due the present extensive
application of veneers of wood to ornamental furniture.

A short time before the termination of the war with France he devised
a plan for making shoes by machinery, and under the countenance of the
Duke of York the shoes so manufactured were introduced for the use of
the army, on account of their strength, cheapness, and durability;
but at the peace in 1815, the machines were laid aside, manual labour
having become cheaper, and the demand for military equipments having in
a measure ceased. Steam navigation also attracted Brunel's attention,
and he became deeply interested in establishing the Ramsgate steam
vessels, which were among the first that plied effectively on the
River Thames. About this period, after much labour and perseverance,
he induced the Admiralty to permit the application of steam for towing
vessels to sea, the experiments being made chiefly at his own expense,
a small sum in aid having been promised, but eventually withdrawn
before the completion of the trials, the Admiralty considering the
attempt too chimerical to be seriously entertained.

In the year 1824 Brunel, undeterred by the two previous failures of
Dodd and Trevethick, commenced his great work--the Thames Tunnel. It
is said that the original idea occurred to him as applied to the Neva
at St. Petersburgh, in order to avoid the inconvenience arising from
the floating ice; a plan which he offered to the Emperor Alexander,
on the occasion of his visit to this country in 1814. During the
above-mentioned year a company was formed for the execution of this
work, under the auspices of the Duke of Wellington, who had always
entertained a favourable view as to its practicability; and after
numerous accidents, and frequent suspensions of the works, this great
and novel undertaking was successfully accomplished, and opened to
the public in the year 1843. In the prosecution of this undertaking
Sir Isambard derived great assistance from his son, the late Mr. I. K.

The shield, as it was termed, under shelter of which the excavation
beneath the bed of the river was carried forward, required very
peculiar contrivances to adapt it to its purpose. It was made in
sections or compartments contained in a strong square frame, each
section or compartment being moved forward by screws, as the men
working in them proceeded with the excavation; the entire shield was
thus enabled to be moved forward, and the brickwork, consisting of two
tunnels, was built up to the extent that it had been advanced.

After the completion of the Tunnel, Brunel's health became seriously
impaired from the labours he had undergone in its execution, and he was
unable to mix in active life; he expired on the 12th of December, 1849,
in his eighty-first year, after a long illness.

He received the honour of Knighthood in 1841, and the order of the
Legion of honour in 1829; he was also a corresponding member of
the French Institute, a Fellow of the Royal Society, and a member
of the Institution of Civil Engineers, which he joined in the year
1823.--_Annual Report of the Institution of Civil Engineers._ December
17, 1850.--_Beamish's Life of Brunel._ London, 1862.


Born April 24, 1743. Died October 30, 1823.

Dr. Cartwright, whose invention of the power-loom may be considered as
one of the valuable elements of our national manufacturing superiority,
was born at Marnham in Nottinghamshire, and was the youngest of three
brothers, all of whom were remarkable men.[9] He was educated under
Dr. Clarke, at the Grammar School of Wakefield, and had he been
permitted to follow the bent of his own inclination in the choice of
a profession, would have preferred the navy; but two of his brothers
being already designed for that service, it was thought advisable that
Edmund should enter the Church. Dr. Cartwright began his academical
studies at University College, Oxford, where he was entered at fourteen
years of age, and during the vacations was placed under the private
tuition of Dr. Langhorne, the editor of 'Plutarch's Lives.'

In process of time he became distinguished for his literary abilities,
and was elected a Fellow of Magdalen College. He likewise evinced a
considerable taste for poetry, and published in 1770 a legendary tale,
entitled 'Armine and Elvira,' which went through seven editions in
little more than a year, and was greatly admired for its pathos and
elegant simplicity. Some years subsequent to this, Cartwright wrote
'The Prince of Peace,' published in 1779, and was also for several
years a principal contributor to the 'Monthly Review.'

In the year 1772 he married the daughter of Richard Whittaker, Esq.,
of Doncaster, and after his marriage resided first at Marnham, and
afterwards at Brampton in Derbyshire, to the perpetual curacy of
which he was presented by the Dean of Lincoln, Dr. Cust. It was
while attending to his clerical duties at this latter place, that
Cartwright discovered the application of yeast as a remedy for typhus
fever. In 1779 he was presented to the living of Goadby Marwood in
Leicestershire, and continued to reside there until the summer of 1796,
when he removed with his family[10] to London, as being a situation
more favourable for the cultivation of the scientific pursuits in which
he had by that time become engrossed.

Dr. Cartwright had attained the mature age of forty, before his
attention was drawn towards the subject of weaving, by the following
accidental occurrence:--In the summer of 1784, he happened to be on a
visit at Matlock, in Derbyshire, and in the company of some gentlemen
from Manchester. The conversation turned upon Arkwright's spinning
machinery; and fears were expressed by one of the company, that, in
consequence of the recent improvements, so much cotton would soon be
spun, that hands would not be found to weave it. To this the doctor
replied, that the only remedy for such an evil would be to apply the
power of machinery to weaving as well as spinning. The discussion which
ensued upon the practicability of doing this, made such an impression
on Cartwright's mind, that on returning home he determined to try and
see what he could do.

His first attempts, as might be supposed, were very clumsy, but he at
length succeeded in constructing a machine (for which he took out a
patent in 1785), which, although rude and cumbersome in its action, was
yet capable of weaving a piece of cloth. Up to this time he had never
turned his mind to anything mechanical, either in theory or practice,
and his invention was consequently susceptible of great improvement.
To accomplish this, he now examined with care the contrivances already
in use among the weavers, and availing himself of their general
principles, produced in the year 1787 a far more complete and valuable
machine, since known as the power-loom.

Shortly after he had brought his loom to perfection, a manufacturer who
had called upon him to see it at work, after expressing his admiration
at the ingenuity displayed in it, remarked, that wonderful as was Dr.
Cartwright's skill, there was one thing that would effectually baffle
him, and that was, the weaving of patterns in checks, or, in other
words, the combining in the same web a pattern or fancy figure with
the crossing colours which constitute the check. The doctor made no
reply to this at the time; but some weeks afterwards, on receiving a
second visit from the same person, he showed him a piece of muslin, of
the description mentioned, beautifully executed by machinery, which so
astonished the man, that he roundly declared his conviction that some
more than human agency must have been called in on the occasion.[11]

Dr. Cartwright being precluded by his clerical character from entering
himself into the manufacture of his machines, a weaving factory was
erected at Doncaster, by some friends, with his licence, but it
was unsuccessful; and another establishment, built at Manchester,
containing 500 looms, was destroyed by an exasperated mob in 1790.
Cartwright, however, still continued his inventions, and shortly
afterwards contrived a wool-combing machine, which met with even
fiercer opposition from the working-classes, who went the length of
petitioning parliament to suppress all such obnoxious machines. Their
great utility, however, caused them by degrees to be generally adopted;
and at the time of Cartwright's death, steam-looms had increased so
rapidly, that they were performing the work of 200,000 men.

Notwithstanding the great advantages which the cotton and wool
manufacturers reaped from these inventions, their author had as yet
obtained no emolument from them, but, on the contrary, had incurred a
heavy loss. In consideration of this, and on the petition of several
influential cotton-spinners, Parliament in 1810 made the doctor a
grant of 10,000_l._--a sum which, although munificent as a present,
hardly covered what he had expended in his experiments. Having received
the sum awarded by Parliament, and being now sixty-six years of age,
Dr. Cartwright was desirous of passing the remainder of his life in
retirement and tranquillity, and for this purpose purchased a small
farm at Hollenden, in Kent. At this place he spent the remainder of his
life, occupied in various scientific and mechanical experiments.

Dr. Cartwright was the author of many other inventions in the arts and
agriculture, for some of which he received premiums from the Board
of Agriculture and Society of Arts. He also contrived an ingenious
modification of the steam-engine, in which he made use of _surface
condensation_, and metallic spring packing for the piston.

Till within a few days of his death, Dr. Cartwright retained full
possession of his mental faculties, and attained, at the time of his
decease in 1823, the age of eighty-one. His remains were interred in
the church at Battle, in Sussex. _Memoir of Dr. Edmund Cartwright._
London, 1843.--_Stuart's Anecdotes of the Steam-Engine._ London, 1829.


Born October 10, 1731. Died February 24, 1810.

Henry Cavendish, the third in order of time among the four great
English pneumatic chemists of the eighteenth century,[12] was the
younger son of Lord Charles Cavendish, whose father was the second
Duke of Devonshire. His family trace back their descent in unbroken
and unquestionable links to Sir John Cavendish, Lord Chief Justice
during the reign of Edward III. The great majority of the distinguished
chemists of Great Britain have sprung from the middle and lower
ranks of the people, but in this respect Henry Cavendish presents
a remarkable exception. He was moreover immensely wealthy, so much
so, that it has been epigrammatically remarked of him, "That he was
the richest of all wise men, and probably, too, the wisest of all
rich men;" yet no one could well be more indifferent than he, to the
external advantages which are conferred by birth and fortune. Few
particulars are known of his early life. He was born at Nice, whither
his mother, who died when he was two years old, had gone for the sake
of her health.

In 1742 Cavendish became a pupil at Dr. Newcome's school at Hackney,
continuing his studies there until he had reached his seventeenth year,
when he went to Cambridge, where he matriculated in the first rank on
the 18th of December, 1749. He remained at this university until 1753,
but did not graduate.

After leaving Cambridge, the personal history of Cavendish becomes a
blank for the next ten years. He joined the Royal Society in 1760, but
did not contribute anything to its 'Transactions' until the year 1766,
when he published his paper 'On Factitious Airs,' which contains the
first distinct exposition of the properties of hydrogen, and the first
full account of those of carbonic acid; and a paper published by him in
the following year may be considered as a still further extension of
his research into the properties of this acid.

For some considerable time after this, Cavendish appears to have
laid aside Chemistry for other departments of physics. In 1771 he
published an elaborate paper on the theory of the principal phenomena
of electricity; and in 1776 appeared the curious and interesting
account of his attempts to imitate the effects of the torpedo, by an
apparatus constructed in imitation of the living fish, and placed in
connection with a frictional electrical machine and a Leyden battery.
In this imitation he succeeded so well, that all doubts were removed
as to the identity of the torpedinal benumbing power with common
electricity. In 1776 Cavendish was selected by the Royal Society,
in whose 'Transactions' all his previous papers had been published,
to describe the various meteorological instruments which were made
use of in their apartments; and the succeeding year to this marks
the period when he commenced his most important chemical researches,
entitled 'Experiments on Air,' which were carried on with frequent and
sometimes long interruptions until 1788, no part of them, however,
having been published before the year 1783. They led to the discovery
of the constant quantitative composition of the atmosphere, the
compound nature of water, and the composition of nitric acid. To solve
the important problems, whether the atmosphere is constant in its
composition, and if so, what is its composition? Cavendish experimented
in 1781 for some sixty successive days, making many hundred analyses of
air. The honour of the discovery of the compound nature of water, by
which perhaps his name has become most famous, is also claimed by James
Watt. Cavendish, however, seems at all events entitled to the honour
of having first supplied the data on which that discovery was founded,
whilst Watt appears to have supplied the conclusion.

Between the years 1783 and 1788, Cavendish published his papers on
'Heat,' and his 'Experiments on Air;' the former are three in number,
and relate chiefly to the phenomena of congelation, and embody some
of the results of experiments made as early as the year 1764. The
first of these papers refer to quicksilver, demonstrating the true
freezing-point of this metal to be 39° or 40° below zero, while the
second and third refer to the freezing of the mineral acids and of

His experiments on air, which led to the important results already
referred to, supplied materials for four papers, besides leading to the
observation of many phenomena which were never made public. With the
last of these papers published in 1788, Cavendish closed his chemical
researches, his remaining publications referring to meteorology and

In 1798 appeared the celebrated enquiry into the density of the earth,
communicated by Cavendish, in a paper to the Royal Society, in which
he determined, by means of an apparatus contrived by the Rev. John
Mitchell, the density of our globe to be 5·4,--or, in other words,
nearly five-and-a half times heavier than the same bulk of water would
be. The experiments made with this apparatus consisted in observing,
with many precautions, the movements of a long lever delicately
suspended by the centre, so as to hang horizontally, and furnished at
either extremity with small leaden balls. When two much larger and
heavier balls of the same metal were brought near the smaller ones,
the latter were attracted towards them with a certain force, the
measurement of which supplied one essential datum for the determination
of the mean density of the earth. No greater compliment to the accuracy
of the 'Cavendish Experiment' (as the researches taken as a whole are
generally called) can be afforded, than the slight difference which
appeared when the experiment was repeated at a later period by Francis
Baily, who, with extraordinary precautions to ensure a correct result,
and with all the improvements which forty fertile years had added to
mechanical contrivances, determined the density to be 5·6, or a little
more than five-and-a-half times that of water.

The last paper which Cavendish published, on an improvement in the
manner of dividing astronomical instruments, appeared in 1809,--a
year before his death. His published papers give, however, but an
imperfect notion of the great extent of ground over which he travelled
in the course of his investigations, and of the success with which
he explored it. He was an excellent mathematician, electrician,
astronomer, meteorologist, and geologist, and a chemist equally learned
and original. He lived retired from the world among his books and
instruments; he never meddled with the affairs of active life, but
passed his whole time in storing his mind with the knowledge imparted
by former inquirers, and in extending its bounds. His dress was of the
oldest fashion; his walk was quick and uneasy; he never appeared in
London unless lying back in the corner of his carriage; and he probably
uttered fewer words in the course of his life than any man who ever
lived to fourscore years. His private character has been thus described
by Dr. George Wilson, from whose comprehensive life of Cavendish the
present memoir has been chiefly taken:--

"Morally it was a blank, and can only be described by a series of
negations. He did not love, he did not hate, he did not hope, he did
not fear, he did not worship as others do. He separated himself from
his fellow men, and apparently from God. There was nothing earnest,
enthusiastic, heroic or chivalrous in his nature; and as little was
there anything mean, grovelling or ignoble. He was almost passionless.
An intellectual head thinking, a pair of wonderfully acute eyes
observing, and a pair of very skilful hands experimenting or recording,
are all that I recognize in his memorials. His brain seems to have been
but a calculating engine; his eyes inlets of vision, not fountains of
tears; his hands instruments of manipulation, which never trembled
with emotion, or were clasped together in adoration, thanksgiving
or despair; his heart only an anatomical organ necessary for the
circulation of the blood. A sense of isolation from his brethren made
him shrink from their society and avoid their presence; but he did so
as one conscious of an infirmity, not boasting of an excellence. He was
like a deaf mute, sitting apart from a circle whose looks and gestures
show that they are uttering and listening to music and eloquence, in
producing or welcoming which he can be no sharer. Wisely therefore he
dwelt apart. He was one of the unthanked benefactors of his race, who
was patiently teaching and serving mankind, whilst they were shrinking
from his coldness or mocking his peculiarities. He could not sing
for them a sweet song, or create a 'thing of beauty,' which would be
'a joy for ever,' or touch their hearts, or fire their spirits, or
deepen their reverence or their fervour. He was not a poet, a priest,
or a prophet, but only a cold clear intelligence, raying down pure
white light, which brightened everything on which it fell, but warmed
nothing--a star of at least the second, if not of the first magnitude
in the intellectual firmament."

As Cavendish had lived, so he died--alone. He died after a short
illness, probably the first as well as the last under which he ever
suffered. His habit of curious observation continued to the end; he was
desirous of marking the progress of disease and the gradual extinction
of the vital powers. With this view, that he might not be disturbed,
he desired to be left alone. His servant returning sooner than he
had wished was ordered again to leave the chamber of death, and when
he came back a second time he found his master had expired. Although
in many respects of a highly liberal character, so great was the
frugality of his ordinary mode of living in comparison to his income,
that at his death Cavendish left the enormous sum of 1,200,000_l._ to
be divided among his relations.--_Life of the Hon. Henry Cavendish,
by George Wilson, M.D., F.R.S.E._ London, 1851.--_Brougham's Lives of
Philosophers._ London and Glasgow, 1855.


Born 1749. Died May 29, 1832.

William Chapman, Civil Engineer, was born at Whitby, in Yorkshire, of
a respectable and wealthy family, who had resided in that town for
several generations. He inherited the freedom of Newcastle-upon-Tyne
from his father, who, in common with all the chief people of Whitby,
was engaged in shipping, and was besides particularly distinguished
for his attainments in mathematics and other scientific pursuits.
William Chapman derived great advantage from his father's knowledge of
these subjects, contracting a strong taste for similar occupations.
After receiving a liberal education at different public schools, he was
put in command, at the early age of eighteen, of a merchant vessel,
in which he enjoyed the opportunity of visiting numerous harbours,
both in Great Britain and other countries. He continued thus occupied
for a period of three years, losing no opportunity of making himself
acquainted with the circumstances of the various harbours he was in
the habit of visiting, and he thus acquired that valuable practical
knowledge on the subject of these works for which he became afterwards
so highly distinguished.

After leaving the merchant service, Mr. Chapman was fortunate enough to
become acquainted with James Watt, with his partner Matthew Boulton,
and also with Mr. Wooller, Engineer to the Board of Ordnance. By
these eminent men he was strongly advised to become an engineer, and
follow as a profession that which he had already closely studied as an
amusement. Chapman accordingly accompanied Mr. Boulton into Ireland,
about the close of the year 1783, but although well introduced, was
unable to obtain any employment of consequence in that country, until
he had written a prize essay on the effects of the river Dodder on
the Harbour of Dublin. Shortly after this, he was appointed resident
engineer to the County of Kildare Canal, the works of which were
carried on under the surveillance of the Duke of Leinster, the county
members, and other leading men. In the execution of this undertaking,
Mr. Chapman was requested not to alter the direction of the roads
intersected by it, although one of them deviated from the right angle
across the canal upwards of 50 deg. To meet this difficulty, and
knowing that a bridge of the ordinary construction, with any obliquity,
could not possibly stand, Chapman invented, and put into practice, the
method of building oblique or skew bridges, which has since been so
generally adopted throughout the country, in railway, canal, and other
bridges. Before this period, (1787), whenever a road crossed the course
of a canal or river, requiring the construction of a bridge, it had
been usual to deviate the course, either of the road or the object it
crossed, so that the crossing should be at right angles; a practice
which occasioned a great waste of land and considerable expense as
well as awkward and dangerous bends in the roads thus treated. In some
few cases where the bridge was required to be of only a small opening,
no alteration in the direction was made, but a bridge built of an
oblique form, that is with abutments forming oblique angles with the
road passing over it, the courses of the arch being built in lines
parallel with the abutments, and the ends of the voussoirs bevelled
off to coincide with the direction of the road. Bridges built in this
manner consequently became highly dangerous when the span was great, or
the obliquity considerable. The value of Chapman's invention consists
in this, that he gave the means of building bridges on the skew
principle, in any required situation, without altering the direction of
the roads or wasting material, and at an expense little above that of
ordinary rectangular bridges. This he accomplished by the principle of
building the courses of voussoirs at right angles to the face of the
arch, meeting the abutments at oblique angles, being the very reverse
of the system previously practised.

During the progress of the Kildare Canal, Mr. Chapman, at the request
of the Duke of Leinster, became overseer, conjointly with him and the
Hon. Mr. Ponsonby Moore, for the building a bridge of five arches over
the Liffey, to replace the former one which had been carried away
by a flood. The bridge itself was a plain structure, but the means
employed in forming and securing the foundations attracted general
attention, and brought Mr. Chapman into still greater notice. From
this time the number and importance of his professional engagements
continued to increase, and he was engaged to survey and report upon
several projects for the improvement of the navigations of various
rivers, of which plans the most important was the navigation of the
river Barrow, from Athy downwards. During this period he was appointed
consulting engineer to the Grand Canal of Ireland, of which undertaking
Mr. Jessop was directing engineer; and under the joint superintendence
and surveys of these two gentlemen, the extension of the Grand Canal
from Robarts Town to Tullamore was laid out, as well as the Dock
between Dublin and Ringsend, and the canal of communication by the
line of the circular road. The projected canal from near Tullamore
passed through extensive bogs, some of which were thirty feet in depth,
and in consequence of its difficulties was laid out by Mr. Chapman
himself. The directors of the Grand canal had expended upwards of
100,000_l._ in a very short space of ground between Robarts Town and
Bathangar, from not being acquainted with the extent of the subsidence
of bogs under superincumbent weight, or when laid dry by drainage.
Mr. Chapman, therefore, availed himself of their dearly bought
experience, and adopted the following ingenious method of comparing
different kinds of bogs and their relative subsidence. He provided
himself with a cylindric implement of steel plate, sharp at the lower
edges, and containing exactly one hundredth part of a cubic foot, and
having divided the strata of the bogs into as many leading classes and
subdivisions as were necessary, he filled the cylinders with a specimen
of each, by twisting them round so as to cut the fibres of the bog. The
samples thus taken were carefully cut off at the level of the cylindric
guage, and their weight having been ascertained, they were left to
dry during the space of several months; and when in a firm state and
consequently greatly contracted, were again weighed, the result being
that the originally wettest bog was found to have lost 10-11ths of its
weight, and the firmest 2-3rds, the rest in due progression between.
It therefore became a simple process to ascertain pretty nearly the
extent of subsidence in any bog to be passed through, and of course to
lay out the line of the canal with such levels, that after subsidence,
its surface should be at the required depth below the surface of the

Amongst Mr. Chapman's other extensive employments in Ireland, he
caused, at the instance of the Irish Government, a survey to be made of
the harbour of Dublin to beyond the Bar at Howth; and on this occasion
projected a pier from the Clontarf shore to a due distance from the
lighthouse, and then to the westward to a proper distance from the
north wall, so as to confine all the tidal water covering that vast
space, and to cause it to pass down the channel of Pool Beg, in place
of being permitted to flow inwards and outwards over the North Bull.

In the year 1794 Mr. Chapman returned from Ireland, and fixed his
general residence at Newcastle-upon-Tyne. About this time the great
project of a canal communication between the German Ocean and the
Irish Sea, was engaging general attention in the North of England,
and Mr. Chapman was fixed upon to survey the line of country for this
proposed canal between Newcastle and the Solway Firth. His reports on
this subject, which were made during the years 1795 and 1796, are still
extant; and although the work to which they relate was never executed,
the documents connected with it are of a very interesting nature. In
1808 this project, which had lain dormant for many years, was again
revived, and Mr. Telford was employed to survey and report upon the
best line of canal between Carlisle and a suitable port on the Solway
Firth. Although Mr. Telford's plan was highly approved of, the time
had not yet arrived for the carrying out of even this small portion of
the original great scheme; and it was not until the year 1818, when
Mr. Chapman drew up a plan and report upon this line from Carlisle to
Bowness, that a Bill was brought into Parliament, for which an act
was obtained early in 1819. The canal which has been in successful
operation for many years, is eleven-and-a-half miles in length, and
cost about 120,000_l._ It commences on the south-eastern side of
Carlisle, and falls into the sea, through a height of seventy feet, by
means of nine locks.

About the year 1796 Mr. Chapman became a member of the Society of
Civil Engineers, which at that time numbered amongst its members Watt,
Jessop, and Rennie, and amongst its honorary associates Sir Joseph
Banks, and other leading men of the day. In conjunction with Mr.
Rennie, Chapman was then occupied in designing the London Docks, and
subsequently the southern dock and basin at Hull. He was also engaged
as engineer for the construction of Leith, Scarborough, and Seaham
Harbours, the last named work being undertaken for the Marquis of

In addition to his regular professional occupations, Mr. Chapman
devoted a portion of his time to the publication of works bearing on
engineering. Amongst the most important of these were the following: 'A
Treatise on the various inventions for effecting ascents in rivers;'
'Hints on the necessity of Legislative interference for registering the
extent of workings in the Coal Seams, and preventing such accidents
as arise from want of that knowledge;' 'An Essay on Cordage;' and
'A Treatise on the preservation of Timber from premature decay.'
Mr. Chapman also took out a patent for an improvement upon Captain
Huddart's system of manufacturing ropes. This method was successfully
carried into effect in all the rope grounds on the river Tyne, and in
some of those on the Wear and Tweed. His next invention was for an
expeditious and easily practicable method of lowering coal waggons,
with their contents, immediately over the hatchways of ships, so as to
prevent the great breakage of coals which attended the usual method of
shooting them through long spouts; this system, after the expiration of
the patent became universal upon the Tyne.

Mr. Chapman possessed a robust constitution, and practised through
life the most temperate habits; he was thus enabled to retain the full
enjoyment of his faculties, and to continue employed upon various
public works, in drainages, canals, and harbours, up till within a
very short period of his decease, which occurred in 1832, in the
eighty-third year of his age.--_Life of Chapman._ London, John Weale.


Born in Middlesex, May 20, 1772. Died May 3, 1828.

Sir William Congreve was the son of the first baronet, an Artillery
officer of the same name. He entered early into the branch of military
service his father had pursued, and, in 1816, attained in it the rank
of Lieutenant-Colonel. He was also at this time equerry to the Prince
Regent, which office he retained on the occasion of his quitting the
military service in 1820. Congreve very early distinguished himself by
his inventions in the construction of missiles. He invented the rocket
which bears his name in the year 1808, and succeeded in establishing
this destructive engine of warfare as a permanent instrument in
military and naval tactics, both at home and abroad. It was used by
Lord Cochrane in his attack on the French squadron in the Basque
roads, in the expedition against Walcheren, at Waterloo, and with
most serviceable effect in the attack on Algiers. It was also used at
the battle of Leipzig in 1813, and for its service on this occasion
the Order of St. Anne was conferred on Sir William by the Emperor
of Russia. Since that time the rocket has been much improved and
modified, and has become an essential part of every armament, not in
England alone, but universally.

Sir William Congreve was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in the
year 1811. In 1812 he became a Member of Parliament for Gatton, and in
1820 and 1826 for Plymouth. He succeeded his father as baronet in 1814.
Besides the above important invention, Sir William wrote and published
in 1812 an 'Elementary Treatise on the Mounting of Naval Ordnance,' and
in 1815 'A Description of the Hydro-Pneumatic Lock.' During the course
of the same year he obtained a patent for a new mode of manufacturing
gunpowder. This invention consisted, first, of a machine for producing
as perfect a mixture as possible of the ingredients; and, secondly,
of an improved mode of passing the mill-cake under the press, and a
new granulating machine. In 1819 a patent was granted to him for an
improved mode of inlaying or combining different metals, and another
for certain improvements in the manufacture of bank-note paper for the
prevention of forgery.

The last public service performed by Sir William was the drawing up
and publishing, in 1823, a very interesting report on the gaslight
establishments of the metropolis. In 1826, he became mixed up in the
speculative mania which prevailed at that period, and was ultimately
compelled to seek refuge on the continent at Toulouse, where he shortly
afterwards died at the age of fifty-six.--_Annual Register_, 1828.


Born December 3, 1753. Died June 26, 1827.

Few men, perhaps, have ever conferred so great a benefit on their
country and reaped so little profit for themselves as Samuel Crompton,
inventor of the Spinning Mule. He was born at Firwood, in the township
of Tonge near Bolton, where his parents occupied a farm, and spent
their leisure hours according to the custom of the period--in the
operations of carding, spinning, and weaving. Soon after the birth of
Samuel, the Cromptons removed to a cottage near Lower Wood in the same
township, and afterwards, when their child was five years old, to a
portion of the neighbouring ancient mansion called Hall-in-the-Wood.
Almost immediately after this last removal Samuel's father died, at the
early age of thirty seven, and he was left to be brought up under the
care of his mother, a prudent and virtuous woman, who took care that
her son should have the benefit of all available means of education.
Samuel first attended the school of Mr. Lever in Church Street,
Bolton, but was very early removed to the school of William Barlow, a
master well known at that time for his success as a teacher of writing,
arithmetic, and the higher branches of mathematics.

From the exigencies of her situation, Mrs. Crompton was compelled to
take advantage of her son's assistance, as soon as she possibly could,
and there is little doubt that Samuel's legs must have been accustomed
to the loom almost as soon as they were long enough to touch the
treddles. Little, however, is known of his early life until the year
1769. He was then sixteen years old, and continued to reside with his
mother, occupied during the day at the loom and spending his evenings
at a school in Bolton, where he advanced his knowledge of algebra,
mathematics, and trigonometry. For some years previous to this period
there had been a greatly increased demand for all kinds of cotton
goods, particularly for imitations of the fine muslins imported from
India; and many attempts were made by the manufacturers in Lancashire
and Scotland to produce similar fabrics, but without success, for the
handspun yarn of this country could not compete with the delicate
filaments produced by Hindoo fingers. Still, the demand for fine
cottons of various kinds was so considerable, that the weavers, for the
sake of high wages, were stimulated to make great exertions. But they
were continually impeded by the scarcity of yarn for weft, which often
kept them idle half their time, or compelled them to collect it in
small quantities from the cottages round about.

Another important cause of this scarcity had been the invention of
the fly-shuttle, by Kay of Bury, in 1738, which by doubling the speed
of the weaver's operations, had destroyed the arrangement which,
up to that time, existed between the quantity of yarn spun and the
weavers' demand for it. This natural balance, the fly-shuttle suddenly
disturbed, and, notwithstanding the great efforts of others, it was not
again adjusted until after Crompton's invention was in full operation.
Such was the weavers' state of starvation for yarn, when, in 1767,
Hargreaves invented the jenny, which enabled a number of threads to be
spun at the same time.

It was on one of these machines with eight spindles, that Samuel
Crompton was in the habit of spinning the yarn which he afterwards wove
into quilting, and he continued thus occupied for the five following
years. During this period, being debarred from company and accustomed
to solitude, he began to show a taste for music; to gratify which he
was led to the first trial of his mechanical skill in making a violin,
upon which he commenced learning to play. With this musical friend
Crompton would beguile many a long winter night, or during the summer
evenings wander contemplatively among the green lanes, or by the margin
of the pleasant brook that swept round the romantic old residence of
Hall-in-the-Wood. He had, however, little leisure in general to spend
with his favourite instrument; the necessities of his situation
compelled him to perform daily a certain amount of weaving, and he
only succeeded in performing this at the expense of much time lost in
mending the ever breaking ends of the yarn spun on Hargreave's machine,
which was of a very soft nature, and quite unfitted for warps or for
the muslins so much in demand.

During this same period Arkwright had risen to eminence, by adopting
and carrying into practice the ideas of Highs,[13] and one Kay a
clockmaker, and had constructed his water-frame, which by means of
rollers produced thread of a very superior texture and firmness.
It remained, however, for Crompton to combine in his machine the
improvements of Hargreaves and Arkwright, and hence was derived the
name given to it of the Spinning-Mule.

Crompton commenced the construction of this machine, which for many
years was known by the name of the 'Hall-i'-th'-Wood Wheels,' in the
year 1774. His first spinning-mule was constructed chiefly in wood,
by the aid of a scanty supply of tools which had been left by his
father, who, enthusiastically fond of music, had shortly before his
death commenced making an organ. With the help of these tools, and
the assistance which a small wayside smithy afforded him, Samuel
Crompton completed that invention which, from the extended benefits
it has conferred upon our commerce, entitles him to rank amongst the
greatest inventors Britain has ever produced. The important part of his
invention was the spindle carriage, and the principle of there being no
strain upon the thread until it was completed. This was accomplished by
causing the carriage with the spindles to recede by the movement of the
hand and knee, just as the rollers delivered out the elongated thread
in a soft state, so that it would allow of a considerable stretch,
before the thread had to encounter the stress of winding upon the
spindle. "This," as the late Mr. Kennedy of Manchester truly said, "was
the corner stone of his invention."

When Crompton was on the eve of completing his first mule, about the
year 1779, the Blackburn spinners and weavers, who had previously
driven Hargreaves from his home, again commenced their riotous
proceedings, and began to destroy all the jennys round about, which
had more than twenty spindles. Crompton, fearful lest his new machine
should meet with a similar fate, took it to pieces and kept it hid in a
loft above the ceiling of his room during several weeks. In the course
of the same year, however, the Hall-i'-th'-Wood Wheel was completed,
and the yarn spun on it proved fit for the manufacture of muslins of an
extremely fine and delicate texture.

Shortly before this, Crompton had married Mary Pimlott, the daughter
of a gentleman residing at New Keys Hall, near Warrington. After
his marriage he lived in a cottage attached to the old Hall, though
he still continued to occupy part of the mansion, in one of whose
large rooms he now operated upon the mule with the utmost secrecy
and with perfect success, startling the manufacturing world by the
production of yarn which both in fineness and firmness had hitherto
been unattainable. This seems to have been the happiest portion of
Crompton's life. He was then twenty-seven years of age, and the
acknowledged inventor of a machine which, from the first hour of its
operation, altered the entire system of cotton manufacture in this
country. Its merit was universally acknowledged by all engaged in
the trade who had an opportunity to examine the yarn spun on it, or
the fabrics made from that yarn; but paradoxical as it may appear,
the very _perfection of his principle of spinning_, was in a measure
instrumental in depriving him of the harvest for which he had so
laboriously worked.

The demand for his yarn became so extensive and urgent, that the old
Hall was literally besieged by manufacturers and others from the
surrounding districts--many of whom came to purchase yarn, but many
more to try and penetrate the mystery of the new wheel, and to discover
if possible the principle of its operations. All kinds of stratagems
were practised in order to obtain admission to the house; and one
inquisitive adventurer is said to have ensconced himself for some days
in the cockloft, where he watched Samuel at work through a gimlet-hole
pierced through the ceiling.

Crompton, at length wearied out, and seeing the utter impossibility
of retaining his secret, or of spinning upon the machine with the
undisturbed secrecy he desired, yielded to the urgent solicitations,
and liberal but deceitful promises of numerous manufacturers, and
surrendered to them not only the secret of the principle upon which he
spun the much prized yarn, but likewise the machine itself. This he
did on the faith of an agreement drawn up by themselves, in which they
promised to subscribe certain sums as a reward for his improvement in
spinning. No sooner, however, was the mule given up to the public than
the subscriptions entirely ceased, and many of those who had previously
put down their names evaded or refused payment; some actually denounced
Crompton as an impostor, and when he respectfully put before them their
own written agreement, asked him how he dared to come on such an errand!

The gross sum of money realized by this subscription amounted to
between 50 and 100_l._ Mr. Crompton himself says:--"I received as
much by way of subscription as built me a new machine, with only
four spindles more than the one I had given up--the old one having
forty-eight, and the new one fifty-two spindles." This shameful
treatment rested in Crompton's memory through life, and to the morbid
distrust of his fellow-men, which it engendered, may be ascribed many
of the misfortunes which attended his succeeding life.

About the year 1785 Mr. Crompton removed from the 'Hall-in-the-Wood' to
a farmhouse at Oldhams, in the township of Sharples, about two miles
from Bolton. Here he farmed several acres of land, and kept three
or four cows; while in the upper story of the house was erected his
spinning mule, upon which he continued to spin with as much privacy
as possible. He was, nevertheless, still troubled by many curious
visitors, who were desirous of seeing the improvements he was supposed
to have made on it. Among others he received two visits from the first
Sir Robert Peel, then an eminent though untitled manufacturer, who
came with the hope of inducing Crompton to join his establishment, and
on his second visit made him an offer of partnership. It is much to
be regretted that this offer was declined, as Mr. Peel's enterprising
business character was exactly that most suited for supporting
Crompton's great inventive genius. Had these two men continued as
partners at this particular time, the successful development of the
cotton trade would have been hastened by at least twenty years, while a
large and well deserved fortune might have been secured to Crompton and
his children.

Excelling all other spinners in the quality and fineness of his yarn,
Crompton continued to obtain a high price for all he could produce,
but his production was restricted to the work of his own hands, (an
increasing family having deprived him of the aid of his wife); for
whenever he commenced to teach any new hands to assist him in his
work, no matter how strictly they were bound to serve him by honour,
by gratitude, or by law, as soon as they acquired a little knowledge
and experience under his tuition, they were invariably seduced from his
service by his wealthy competitors; so that he was ultimately compelled
to renounce the use of his mules, and betake himself to his original
occupation of weaving, or at least to spin only such yarn as he could
employ in his own looms as a small manufacturer.

In 1800 some gentlemen of Manchester, among whom ought to be mentioned
Mr. George Lee and Mr. Kennedy, sensible that Mr. Crompton had been
illused and neglected, agreed, without his knowledge, to promote a
subscription on such a scale as would result in a substantial reward
for his labours. But this scheme, although generous and noble in its
intention, in a great measure failed. Before it could be carried out,
the country suffered severe distress from a failure in the crops; in
addition to this the horrors of the French Revolution approached their
crisis; war broke out, and trade was all but extinguished. Ultimately,
all that could be realized amounted to about 450_l._, and this was
handed over to Crompton to enable him to increase his operations in
spinning and weaving.

In October, 1807, Mr. Crompton, in the hopes of gaining the patronage
of Sir Joseph Banks, wrote a letter to him, but unfortunately addressed
it to Sir Joseph Banks, President of the Society of Arts, and it is
probable that Sir Joseph never read the letter, but transmitted it
to the Society to which it was addressed; in any case, no notice was
taken of this letter, and Crompton's too morbidly sensitive mind thus
received an additional wound.

Two or three years after this, his family circumstances became very
precarious, and in the undefined hope of yet obtaining some recompense
for his labours which might better his position, Crompton, in the
year 1811, commenced a statistical investigation into the results of
his invention. For this purpose he visited the various manufacturing
districts of Great Britain, and, from the information he obtained,
calculated that between four and five millions of mule spindles were
then in actual use. But this estimate was afterwards found to be much
too low, as it did not include any of the numerous mules used in the
manufacture of woollen yarn.

A story is told of Mr. Crompton, that, when at Glasgow engaged in
collecting this information, he was invited to a complimentary dinner,
but his courage was unable to carry him through so formidable an
ordeal; and so when the time came for going, to use his own words,
"rather than face up, I first hid myself and then fairly bolted from
the city."

Mr. Crompton laid the result of his investigation before some kind
friends[14] at Manchester, who undertook to draw up a memorial to
Parliament on his behalf. But in this matter Crompton's continued
ill-fortune was singularly displayed. When the time came for the
grant to be proposed to Parliament (May 11, 1812), Mr. Percival, the
Chancellor of the Exchequer, who had intended proposing 20,000_l._ as
the sum to be awarded, was assassinated while entering the lobby of the
House of Commons. Crompton's petition was consequently postponed, and
ultimately 5000_l._ was all that was awarded to the _Inventor of the
Spinning-Mule_; and thus, after having haunted the lobby of the House
of Commons for five wearisome months, Samuel Crompton went back to
Bolton with this shadow of a national reward.

Late in life Mr. Crompton's family became dispersed, and as old age
crept on he became less and less fitted for business, and now for the
first time sank into actual poverty.

A noble effort was, however, made by some of the inhabitants of Bolton
to rescue him from his distressing position, and by their efforts an
annuity of 63_l._ per annum was secured to him for the remainder of his

In the year 1827 Samuel Crompton's melancholy life came to an end. He
died at his house in King Street, Great Bolton, aged seventy-three,
of no particular complaint, but by the gradual decay of nature. His
body was placed in a grave near the centre of the parish churchyard,
underneath a flagstone with the following inscription:--"Beneath this
stone are interred the mortal remains of Samuel Crompton, of Bolton,
late of Hall-i'-th'-Wood, in the township of Tonge, inventor of the
spinning machine called the _Mule_; who departed this life the 26th day
of June, 1827, aged seventy-two years."[15]--_The Life and Times of
Samuel Crompton, &c., by Gilbert J. French, F.S.A., &c._ Manchester and
London, 1860.

JOHN DALTON, D.C.L., L.L.D., F.R.S., L. and E.


Born September 5, 1766. Died July 27, 1844.

John Dalton was born at Eaglesfield, a small village in Cumberland,
near Cockermouth. His father, Joseph Dalton, was a woollen-weaver, and
at the birth of his second son, John, gained but a scanty subsistence
by weaving common country goods. At the death of his elder brother,
however, he inherited a small estate of sixty acres, which enabled him
to give up weaving. John Dalton had consequently few opportunities of
obtaining a good education; he was emphatically self-taught, and from
his very childhood began to acquire those habits of stern self-reliance
and indomitable perseverance which in after life, rather than any
direct inspirations of genius (as Dalton himself used to affirm),
enabled him to work out his grand discovery of the 'Atomic Theory.'

Dalton attended the schools in the neighbourhood of Eaglesfield
until eleven years old, by which time he had gone through a course
of mensuration, surveying, and navigation. At the age of twelve he
began to teach in the village school, and for the next two or three
years continued to be partially occupied in teaching and in working
on his father's farm. When fifteen years old he removed to Kendal, to
become an assistant in a boarding school established there; and, after
remaining in this capacity for four years, he determined to undertake,
with the assistance of his elder brother, the management of the same
school. Dalton continued to be connected with this school for the next
eight years, during which time he occupied his leisure in studying
Greek, Latin, French, and Natural Philosophy, and was also a frequent
contributor to the 'Gentleman's and Lady's Diaries,' two periodicals
then in considerable repute. While residing at Kendal, Dalton became
acquainted with Mr. Gough, a man who, though blind from infancy, was
yet possessed of high scientific attainments. With this gentleman he
contracted an intimate friendship, and in 1793 was invited, chiefly
through Mr. Gough's favourable recommendation, to join a college,
established in Manchester by a body of Protestant dissenters, as tutor
in the department of mathematics and natural philosophy. He resigned
this appointment after holding it for a period of six years, but
continued to reside in Manchester during the whole of his subsequent

In September 1793 Dalton published his first work, entitled
'Meteorological Observations and Essays,' the materials of which
were, however, collected, and the work entirely completed during his
residence at Kendal. A second edition was printed in 1834, and he
continued to pay much attention to this subject until within a short
period of his death, by which time he had recorded upwards of 200,000
meteorological observations.

In the year 1794 Dalton became a member of the Literary and
Philosophical Society of Manchester, of which, during the course of
his life, he filled in succession all the more important offices;
including that of the presidentship, which he held from the period of
his election in 1817, until his death in 1844. On the 31st of October,
1794, he read his first paper to this Society, entitled, 'Extraordinary
Facts relating to the Vision of Colours,' in which he gives an
account of a singular defect in his own vision, known by the name
of colour-blindness, which rendered him incapable of distinguishing
certain colours, such as scarlet and green. He first became aware of
this defect in his sight from the following circumstance. When a boy he
had gone to see a review of troops, and being surprised to hear those
around him expatiating on the gorgeous effect of the military costume,
he asked, "In what a soldier's coat differed from the grass upon which
he trod," a speech which was received by his companions with derisive
laughs and exclamations of wonder.[16] Until Dalton had announced his
own case, and described the cases of more than twenty persons similarly
circumstanced, this peculiar form of blindness was supposed to be very
rare. In the annals of the above-mentioned Society, Dalton published
a long series of important essays, among the most remarkable of which
are some papers read in the year 1801, entitled, 'Experimental Essays
on the Constitution of Mixed Gases;' 'On the Force of Steam or Vapour
and other liquids at different temperatures in a vacuum and in air;'
'On Evaporation,' and 'On the Expansion of Gases by Heat.' In January
1803 he read to the same Society an inquiry 'On the tendency of Elastic
fluids to diffusion through each other,' and in October of the same
year wrote an Essay containing an outline of his speculations on the
subject of the composition of bodies, in which he gave to the world
for the first time a 'Table of Atomic Weights.' In the following year
he communicated his views on the theory of definite proportions to Dr.
Thomas Thomson, of Glasgow, who at once published an abstract of them;
and in 1808 Dalton himself published the first volume of his new system
of Chemical Philosophy, in which he placed the Atomic Theory on a firm
and clear basis, and established the law of Multiple Proportions. The
value of Dalton's researches on this great subject is immense; by
the promulgation of his views Chemistry became for the first time a
science, and one great law or theory was seen to govern its actions;
before it was a series of separate facts, but by this fundamental law
and its branches, and by this only, it is preserved as a science.

Dalton's theory incurred much opposition before it was finally
accepted by scientific men, and among the unbelievers in it may be
mentioned Sir Humphry Davy. The baronet, however, in the year 1826,
clearly acknowledged and accurately defined Dalton's discoveries in
his anniversary discourse, when he made known that the first award of
the Royal Society's Prize, founded by George IV. in the year before,
would be given to Mr. John Dalton, "for the development of the chemical
theory of Definite Proportions, usually called the Atomic Theory, and
for his various other labours and discoveries in physical and chemical

During his later life Dalton continued to gain his living as
professional chemist, lecturer, and teacher of Chemistry and
Mathematics, and contributed to the advancement of science many
valuable papers chiefly relating to Chemistry; he was also accustomed
in his analytical researches to use the graduated dropping tube,
and may be considered as the originator of analysis by volume. Mr.
Dalton was present at the first meeting of the British Association
held in York in 1831, and continued to feel a lively interest in its
prosperity, and to attend the annual meetings as long as his health
permitted him. On the occasion of the second meeting at Oxford in 1832,
the honorary degree of D.C.L. was conferred upon him, in conjunction
with Faraday, Brown the botanist, and Sir David Brewster. In the summer
of the following year, at the meeting of the same society in Cambridge,
it was announced by Professor Sedgewick, that the King had conferred
on Dalton a pension of 150_l._ per annum, which was increased in 1836
to 300_l._; and as his brother Jonathan died about the same time and
left him heir to the paternal estate, he became comparatively wealthy.
He, however, still continued working according to his strength, and so
late as 1840 published four Essays, entitled, 'On the Phosphates and
Arseniates;' 'Microcosmic Salt;' 'Acids, Bases, and Water;' and 'A New
and Easy Method of Analysing Sugar.' In 1837-8 Dalton was attacked by
paralysis, which greatly enfeebled him; he, however lived till the
year 1844, when a third attack occurred, from which he never recovered,
but died shortly afterwards in his seventy-eighth year.

Dr. R. Angus Smith thus describes Dalton's mode of life while living
with the family of the Rev. W. Johns, of George Street, Manchester,
with whom Dalton continued to reside for twenty-six years: "He rose
at about eight o'clock in the morning; if in winter, went with his
lantern in his hand to his laboratory, lighted the fire, and came over
to breakfast when the family had nearly done. Went to the laboratory
and staid till dinner-time, coming in a hurry when it was nearly
over, eating moderately, and drinking water only. Went out again and
returned about five o'clock to tea, still in a hurry, when the rest
were finishing. Again to his laboratory till nine o'clock, when he
returned to supper, after which he and Mr. Johns smoked a pipe, and the
whole family seems much to have enjoyed this time of conversation and
recreation after the busy day".--_Life of J. Dalton, by William Charles
Henry, M.D., F.R.S., &c._ London, 1854.--_Life of J. Dalton, by Robert
Angus Smith, Ph.D., F.R.S., &c._ London, 1856.



Born December 17, 1778. Died May 30, 1829.

This eminent philosopher was born at Penzance, in Cornwall. As a child
he was remarkably healthy and strong, displaying at the same time
great mental capacity. The first school he ever attended was that of
Mr. Bushell, at which reading and writing only were taught. In these
rudimentary branches of education he soon made such progress, that he
was removed, by the master's advice, to the grammar school kept by the
Rev. Mr. Coryton. He was then only six years old. Here Davy received
the elements of his education until 1793, when he went to the grammar
school of Truro, conducted by the Rev. Mr. Cardew, at which place he
continued for about a year.

Both Davy and his family received much assistance from the
disinterested friendship of Mr. Tonkin, a respectable medical
practitioner at Penzance, who had adopted the mother of Davy and her
sisters, under circumstances of deep distress, extending his kindness
to all her family, particularly to Humphry.

Soon after leaving Dr. Cardew's school, Davy's father died in 1794;
and in the following year Humphry was apprenticed to Mr. Bingham
Borlace, a gentleman at that time practising as surgeon-apothecary in
Penzance. While yet very young, Davy had exhibited traces of an ardent
and inquisitive mind, displaying also a great predilection for poetry;
but from this period he directed his attention more particularly to the
study of chemistry and natural philosophy. His efforts at attaining an
experimental knowledge of the above sciences were, however, greatly
retarded by the defects of his apparatus, which was necessarily very
limited, and consisted chiefly of phials, wine-glasses, tobacco-pipes,
and earthen crucibles. But about this time he had the good fortune
to make the acquaintance of Mr. Davies Giddy Gilbert and Mr. Gregory
Watt,[17] by whose instrumentality the subject of our memoir was
introduced to Dr. Beddoes, who engaged him to superintend a pneumatic
medical institution, which that able but eccentric man had just then
established at Clifton, for the purpose of trying the effects of gases
upon various diseases. This event took place in 1798, Mr. Borlace
readily giving up Davy's indenture, which had not as yet expired.
During his residence at Clifton, Davy was placed in a sphere where his
genius could expand; he was associated with men engaged in similar
pursuits, was provided with suitable apparatus, and enabled to speedily
enter upon that brilliant career of discovery which has rendered his
name illustrious among philosophers.

Soon after he had removed to the neighbourhood of Bristol, Davy's
first published paper, on 'Heat, Light, and Respiration,' appeared
in 'Beddoes' West Country Contributions.' His earliest scientific
discovery was the detection of siliceous earth in the epidermis of
canes, reeds, and grasses.

About the same period, he began to investigate the properties of
gases, and discovered the respirability of nitrous oxide, giving in a
letter to his friend Mr. Davies Gilbert (dated April 16, 1799), the
first intimation of the intoxicating qualities of that gas. Shortly
afterwards he examined its properties more accurately, administering
it to various individuals, and published an account of his discoveries
in a volume entitled 'Researches Chemical and Philosophical chiefly
concerning Nitrous Oxide and its Respiration.' While the favourable
impression from this publication was still fresh on the public mind,
the establishment of the Royal Institution, under the auspices of
Count Rumford, had taken place, and a lecturer of talent was wanting,
to fill the chemical chair. Through the recommendation of Dr. Hope
of Edinburgh, with whom he had become acquainted Davy received the
appointment, and became lecturer to the institution and director of the

It is a singular fact, that although Davy's attention had never
been confined to his favourite science, for he had studied general
literature as well as poetry, yet he was of so uncouth an exterior
and manners, notwithstanding an exceedingly handsome and expressive
countenance, that Count Rumford, a leading director of the Institution,
on seeing him for the first time, expressed no little disappointment,
even regretting the part he had taken in promoting the engagement.
But these feelings were of short duration. Davy was soon sufficiently
humanized, and even refined, to appear before a London and a
fashionable audience of both sexes with great advantage, and by
his ingenuity, and happy facility of illustration, he rendered his
lectures so popular, that at the early age of twenty-two, he found
his company courted by the choicest society of the metropolis. An
anecdote is told illustrative of his popularity, even among the more
humble classes. While passing through the streets one fine night, he
observed a man showing the moon through a telescope to the surrounding
bystanders; Davy stopped to have a look, and having satisfied his
curiosity, tendered a penny to the exhibitor. The man had, however,
in the meanwhile, learnt the name of his customer, and exclaimed,
with an important air, that he could not think of taking money from a
'brother philosopher.' Davy's style of lecturing was animated, clear
and impressive, notwithstanding the naturally inharmonious tones of his
voice; whilst the ingenuity of his happily devised experiments, the
neatness of their execution, and above all the ingenious enthusiasm
which he displayed for his subject, fixed and arrested the attention of
his hearers.

At this time, experimental chemistry began to be the fashion of the
day. Voltaic electricity had just been found to possess extraordinary
powers in effecting the decomposition of chemical compounds; and by
the liberality of the Royal Institution, Davy was put in possession
of a battery consisting of 400 5-inch plates, and one of 40 plates,
1-foot in diameter, with which batteries his early and most brilliant
investigations were conducted.

In 1801 he made his first important discovery, which was communicated
to the Royal Society under the title 'An Account of some Galvanic
Combinations formed by an Arrangement of Single Metallic Plates and
Fluids,' read in June of the same year. In this paper, he showed that
the usual galvanic phenomena might be energetically exhibited by a
single metallic plate, and two strata of different fluids; or that a
battery might be constructed of one metal and two fluids, provided one
of the fluids was capable of oxidizing the surface of the metal. In the
following year to this, Davy was appointed professor to the Board of
Agriculture, and in 1803 was admitted a member of the Royal Society, of
which he became first the secretary, and ultimately the president.

To the 'Philosophical Transactions' of this society he continued to
contribute papers on different branches of experimental philosophy;
and it is on these papers that his claims to celebrity almost entirely
rest. From 1802 to 1805, Davy published several minor papers; but in
the following year appeared his first Bakerian lecture, read to the
Royal Society in November, 1806, in which he detailed the phenomena
of electro-chemical decomposition, and laid down its laws; while in
his second lecture, read in the November following, he announced the
successful application of these principles, and the discovery of the
metallic bases of the fixed alkalies, witnessed by the production of
two new metals, which he named potassium and sodium.[18] This splendid
discovery was fully confirmed by Guy Lussac and Thenard, who, in the
following year, succeeded in decomposing potash by iron filings,
in a red-hot gun barrel. From 1808 to 1810, Davy gave three more
lectures, in which he announced the results of his further chemical
investigations. It may be interesting to remark that the original
batteries of the institution were so worn during the course of his
experiments, as to be unserviceable; a liberal voluntary subscription,
however, amongst the members, in July 1808, put him in possession of
the most powerful voltaic battery ever constructed, consisting of
2000 double plates, with a surface equal to 128,000 square inches.
The results produced by this tremendous power did not, however, add
to science one new fact of any importance. All Davy's great voltaic
discoveries were made before it was in use, and it only served to show
the phenomena of galvanism with greater brilliancy.

Mr. Davy's reputation was now at its height, and he was invited by
the Dublin Society to give a course of lectures on electro-chemical
science. For these lectures, which were commenced on the 8th, and
concluded on the 29th of November, 1810, he received 500 guineas. In
the following year he was invited to give two more courses, on the
Elements of Chemical Philosophy, and on Geology, for which he received
750_l._,--the Provost and Fellows of Trinity College also conferring
on him the degree of LL.D. In 1812, Davy dissolved his connection with
the Royal Institution, by giving a farewell lecture on the 9th of
April; on the preceding day he had received the honour of knighthood
from the hands of the Prince Regent, and on the 11th of the same month
was married to Mrs. Apreece, daughter and heiress of Charles Kerr,
of Kelso, and the possessor of an ample fortune. During the next two
or three years, Sir Humphry communicated several papers to the Royal
Society, but they contained little of importance to science.

Whilst experimenting, in the latter part of 1812, upon azote and
chlorine, he was severely wounded in the eye by the explosion of these
substances; and it is a strong proof of his energy, that when his eye
was sufficiently recovered, he renewed his experiments upon the same
bodies, and was again wounded in the head and hands, but this time
slightly, as he had taken the precaution of defending his face by a
plate of glass.

In the autumn of 1813 he obtained the permission of Napoleon to
travel in France, whither he proceeded, accompanied by his lady and
Mr. Faraday. From France, Davy proceeded to Italy, where he spent the
winter, returning to London on the 23rd of April, 1814. During his stay
in Italy, he collected specimens of the colours used by the ancients
in their pictures. This formed the subject of a memoir to the Royal
Society, the most interesting part of the paper being the announcement
that the fine blues of the ancients were formed of silex, soda, and
copper, and that they may be exactly imitated by strongly heating
together, for the space of two hours, three parts of copper filings,
fifteen of carbonate of soda, and twenty of powdered flint.

In the year 1816, Davy turned his attention to a method of preventing
the dreadful accidents in coal mines, from explosions of the fire-damp.
After considerable investigation, he found that this gas would not
explode when mixed with less than six times or more than fourteen times
its volume of atmospheric air; and in the course of experiments made
for the purpose of ascertaining how the inflammation takes place, he
was surprised to observe that flames will not pass through tubes of a
certain length or smallness of bore. He then found that if the length
was diminished, and the bore also reduced, that flames still would
not pass; and further, that the length of the tubes might safely be
diminished to hardly anything, provided their bore was proportionably
lessened. Working from these principles, he proposed several kinds
of lamps, but all were finally superseded by the simple one known
as the Davy safety-lamp, in which a small oil light is covered by a
cylinder of wire gauze, the small apertures[19] of which flame will
not pass through, and the explosion is thus prevented from extending
outside the wire gauze. The introduction of this beautiful invention,
although freely given to the public, was for a time violently opposed
by prejudice and passion. Experience, however, showed the comparative
safety which the miners who used it possessed, and the coal-owners of
Newcastle and the vicinity presented Davy with a superb service of
plate, as some recognition of the important benefit he had conferred on

During the later years of Sir Humphry Davy's life, various
communications appeared from him to the Royal Society, none, however,
presenting any very remarkable features. In November, 1820, a few
months after the death of Sir Joseph Banks, he was elected president of
the above society. In 1823 he repeated the interesting experiment of
Mr. Faraday, as to the condensation of gases by mechanical pressure,
and succeeded in converting sulphurous acid and prussic acid gases
into liquids, by heating them in strong sealed tubes. During the same
year he investigated the causes of the rapid decay of copper sheathing
on ships, and attributing this to electro-chemical action, succeeded
in preventing it, by attaching plates of iron or zinc to the copper.
This, however, on being tried practically, introduced the unlooked
for evil, of excessive fouling of the bottoms of ships so protected,
which became liable to marine deposits in an equal manner with wooden
bottoms. Davy's plan was thus rendered utterly useless, much to his

During the later portion of his life, Sir Humphry was in very infirm
health, and in 1828 he determined to go abroad. Proceeding into Italy,
he fixed his residence at Rome, whence he sent his last communication
to the Royal Society, viz., 'Remarks on the Electricity of the
Torpedo.' The chief peculiarity of this paper was the discovery that
the electricity of this curious creature had no effect on the most
delicate galvanometer. While staying at Rome, Sir Humphry was seized
with a paralytic attack, which greatly alarmed his friends. Shortly
afterwards he left Rome for Geneva, on reaching which city an attack
of apoplexy seized him during the night, which terminated fatally.
The funeral took place on the 1st of June, 1829, with all the honour
and respect the inhabitants of Geneva could testify. His remains were
deposited in the burying-ground of the city, without the walls, the
spot being marked by a simple monument, with a Latin inscription,
erected by Lady Davy.--_Life of Sir H. Davy, by his brother, John Davy,
M.D., F.R.S._ London, 1839.--_Memoir by Dr. Thomas Trail, Encyclopædia
Britannica._--_Weld's History of the Royal Society, with Memoirs of the
Presidents._ London, 1848.--_Brougham's Lives of Philosophers._ London
and Glasgow, 1855.


Born February 2, 1731. Died July 2, 1820.

Peter Dollond, the subject of the present memoir, was the eldest son
of John Dollond, the celebrated inventor of the Achromatic Refracting
Telescope, who, during the greater portion of his life, was engaged in
the business of a silk-manufacturer, in Stuart Street, Spitalfields.
Here Peter Dollond was born and spent the early portion of his life.
On reaching manhood he engaged in the same occupation as his father,
and for several years they carried on their manufactures together in
Spitalfields. Peter Dollond had, however, acquired some knowledge
of the theory of Optics, and he determined, if possible, to turn
the knowledge he had gained to the improvement of himself and his
family. He accordingly commenced business as an optician, under the
direction of his father, in the year 1750, occupying a small house
in Vine Street, Spitalfields. In 1752 John Dollond, who up till
then had pursued his original occupation, grew weary of pursuits so
little in accordance with the natural bent of his mind, and entered
into partnership with his son, in a house near to Exeter Change, in
the Strand. Here father and son began and continued that series of
experimental researches which, in June 1758, led to the memorable
conclusion on which was founded the construction of the Achromatic
Refracting Telescope. In the following year a patent was obtained for
the exclusive sale of these telescopes, but so limited were the means
of the authors of this invention, that, in order to defray the expenses
of the patent, they were compelled to sell a moiety of its value to an
optician, with whom they entered into partnership. Notwithstanding the
great practical value of this discovery, it produced little benefit
for some years to the owners of the patent. In 1761 John Dollond
died, leaving to his son Peter the task of carrying on the business
in partnership with the optician who had paid for the patent. This
connection was, however, of short duration, for the conduct of his
partner was so unsatisfactory, that in 1763 Mr. Dollond purchased from
him his share in the business for 200_l._, the full commercial value of
this most important discovery being considered at that time to be worth
only 400_l._ Peter Dollond was now in possession of the entire patent,
and he was soon called upon to contest its validity with the very man
who had so lately been concerned in protecting it. These suits were
uniformly decided in favour of Dollond, and although vexatious in their
character, were of advantage to him, not only in their immediate issue,
but also in extending the name, reputation, and sale of the object
whose right of ownership was contested.

Mr. Dollond now began to be more generally known, and made the
acquaintance of many of the philosophical men of the time, becoming
intimate with Dr. Maskelyne, the Astronomer Royal at that period, and
with Mr. James Short, a man highly distinguished in arts and science.
To this latter gentleman he, in 1765, proposed an improvement in the
Achromatic Telescope, which Mr. Short laid before the Royal Society,
at the same time signifying that it had his entire concurrence and
approval. Among other works of Dollond are an improvement of Headley's
Quadrant, communicated to the Royal Society, in 1772, by the Astronomer
Royal; and an apparatus for the improvement of the Equatorial
instrument, laid before the Society, through the same medium, in 1779.

Mr. Dollond had now earned for himself a well-deserved reputation. In
1786 the American Philosophical Society, unsolicited, and with the
approval of Benjamin Franklin, elected him a member of their society.

About the year 1766 the optical business had been removed from the
Strand to St. Paul's Churchyard, where it became so extensive and
prosperous, that Mr. Dollond took into partnership his brother John.
For nearly forty years the brothers resided here, endeavouring, by
their cordial and united efforts, to improve and extend each branch of
their profession. In 1804 John, the younger brother, died, and in the
following year his place was supplied by a nephew, George Huggins, who,
on being admitted into partnership, changed his name to Dollond, and
eventually succeeded to the whole concern. In 1817 Peter Dollond took
up his residence at Richmond Hill, remaining there till June 1820, when
he removed to Kennington Common, where he breathed his last, having
arrived at his 90th year.--_Memoir by the Rev. Dr. Kelly._


Born March 22, 1768. Died February 27, 1855.

Bryan Donkin was born at Sandoe, in Northumberland. His father, who
followed the business of a surveyor and land agent, was acquainted with
John Smeaton, the eminent engineer, from having had occasion to consult
him frequently on questions relating to the bridges and other works
on the Tyne. Donkin early showed a taste for science and mechanics,
and when almost a child was to be found continually occupied in making
various ingenious mechanical contrivances. He commenced life in the
same business as his father, being engaged for a year or two as land
agent to the Duke of Dorset. Donkin, however, soon showed the bent
of his natural genius by quitting this agency, and going to consult
Smeaton as to how he could best become an engineer. By Smeaton's
advice, he apprenticed himself to Mr. Hall, of Dartford, in the
carrying on of whose works he was soon able to take so active a part,
that in 1801-2 he was principally entrusted with the construction of a
model of the first machine for making paper, the execution of which had
been put into Messrs. Hall's hands by the Messrs. Fourdrinier. The idea
of this machine originated with Mr. Roberts, and formed the subject
of a patent, which was assigned to Messrs. Bloxam and Fourdrinier.
After considerable expense had been incurred, and many trials made
with the model, the paper produced was found to be of too inferior a
quality for sale. The model remained at Mr. Hall's works for some time,
till at length Donkin agreed with the owners to take the matter in
hand himself, and for this purpose took premises at Bermondsey (still
occupied by his sons). In 1804 he succeeded in producing a machine
which, on being erected at Frogmore, Herts, and set to work, was found
to be successful, although still far from perfect. A second one, in
which still further improvements were introduced, was consequently made
the following year and erected at Two-waters; and in 1810 eighteen
more of these complex machines were erected at various mills, some of
which are even now at work. The practical difficulties having been
at length overcome, these machines soon superseded, both at home and
abroad, the ordinary method of making paper by hand; and although the
original idea was not Mr. Donkin's, still to him the credit is due of
having developed, and practically introduced into general use, these
most useful and complete mechanical contrivances, by means of which the
process of making paper is carried on uninterruptedly from the liquid
pulp to the perfect sheet ready for writing or printing.

About the year 1812 Donkin's attention was turned to the subject of the
preservation of meat and vegetables in air-tight cases, and he erected
a considerable manufactory for this purpose at Bermondsey. Mr. Donkin
was also one of the first to introduce improvements into printing
machinery. In 1813 he, in conjunction with Mr. Bacon, secured a patent
for a Polygonal printing machine, and in the same year invented and
brought into use composition rollers, by which some of the greatest
difficulties experienced at that time in printing by machinery were
overcome. Among other inventions and mechanical contrivances of
Donkin's are a very beautiful screw-cutting and dividing machine; an
instrument to measure the velocity of the rotation of machinery; and
a counting engine: for the two last gold medals were awarded by the
Society of Arts. In 1820 Mr. Donkin was much engaged with Sir William
Congreve in contriving a method of printing stamps in two colours, with
compound plates, for the prevention of forgery; and with the aid of
Mr. Wilks, who was at that time his partner, he produced the beautiful
machine now used at the Excise and Stamp Offices, and by the East India
Company at Calcutta.

Mr. Donkin was an early member of the Society of Arts, and became one
of the vice-presidents. From this society he received two medals, one
for his invention of an instrument to measure the velocity of the
rotation of machinery, and another for his counting-engine.

During the last forty years of his life he was greatly occupied as a
civil engineer, and was one of the originators and a vice-president
of the Institution of Civil Engineers, which was founded by one
of his pupils, Mr. Henry Palmer, and a few other gentlemen, the
Royal Charter being obtained by Mr. Telford and himself. He died
in his eighty-seventh year, having passed a long life in an almost
uninterrupted course of usefulness and good purpose.--_From the
Proceedings of the Royal Society_, Nov. 30, 1855.


Born July 25, 1778. Died June 29, 1850.

William J. Frodsham was born in London, and brought up under the care
of his grandfather, a great admirer of John Harrison, the inventor
of the timekeeper for ascertaining the longitude at sea. From thus
spending his early life with his grandfather, young Frodsham acquired a
strong desire to engage in the business of chronometer making, he was
consequently apprenticed to a man eminent in that art. Shortly after
completing his apprenticeship Mr. Frodsham, in the year 1800, entered
into partnership with Mr. W. Parkinson of Lancaster, and hence arose
the celebrated firm of Parkinson and Frodsham.

During his entire life Mr. Frodsham devoted himself to the advancement
of the art he had engaged in, and being ably assisted by his
partner effected various improvements in chronometers, watches, and
other timekeepers, and was also the author of a paper on pendulum
experiments. Mr. Frodsham lived to an advanced age, surviving his
partner by many years. During his career he acquired a large fortune,
which he bequeathed to his family, leaving at the same time a sum of
1000_l._ to the Clockmakers' Company, of which he had been Master
several times during his life. Mr. Frodsham died at Chatham Place,
Hackney, and was buried in Highgate Cemetery.


Born March 6, 1767. Died December 24, 1839.

Davies Giddy Gilbert was born at Tredrea, in the parish of St. Erth,
in the west of Cornwall. His paternal name was Giddy, his father
being the Rev. Edward Giddy of St. Erth. His mother, an heiress of
very considerable property, was Catherine Davies, allied to the noble
family of Sandys, and a descendant of William Noye, attorney general
in the reign of Charles the First. Young Giddy, not being of very
robust health, was reared with great care, and his education chiefly
superintended by his father, who was an accomplished scholar, and a man
of acknowledged ability and attainments.

As Gilbert grew up, it was thought desirable to place him in the
grammar school at Penzance; and for this purpose his parents
removed for about eighteen months to that town. In 1782 they went to
Bristol, where their son's studies were assisted for some time by Mr.
Benjamin Donne. In 1785 Gilbert matriculated at Oxford, and became a
gentleman-commoner of Pembroke College. He was already master of a
considerable amount of mathematical and physical knowledge, the greater
portion of which he had acquired by almost unassisted application.
While residing at the University he associated with the senior members
of his college, preferring their company to that of students of his own
age; and considering the natural bent of his tastes, which led him to
prefer the study of the severer sciences to the elegancies of classical
literature, it is not surprising that such should be the case. Dr.
Parr, writing at this time to the late Master of Pembroke, speaks of
Mr. Giddy, then twenty-three years old, as 'the Cornish Philosopher,'
and adds that he deserved that name.

During his residence at Oxford, Gilbert was a regular attendant at
the lectures on anatomy and mineralogy, delivered by Dr. Thompson,
at Christ Church. He also attended with assiduity the lectures on
chemistry and botany of Drs. Beddoes and Sibthorp, with whom he
contracted a friendship, which terminated only with their lives. To
the former of these two gentlemen Gilbert subsequently introduced his
friend Sir Humphry Davy, at that time in comparatively humble life, but
whose extraordinary combination of poetical and philosophical genius
had attracted Gilbert's attention, and he thus had the merit and good
fortune of contributing to rescue from obscurity one of the greatest
discoverers in modern chemistry.

Mr. Gilbert continued to reside principally at his college until the
year 1793, when, having previously taken the honorary degree of M.A.,
he returned to Cornwall to serve as sheriff, and to divide his time,
between the cultivation of science and literature, and the duties
of a magistrate in a populous and busy town. Previous to this, in
the year 1791, he had been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society,
his certificate describing him as being "devoted to mathematical and
philosophical pursuits." It was signed by Thomas Hornsby, Savilian
professor of astronomy, G. Shuckburgh, N. Maskelyne, George Staunton,
and other Fellows. In 1804 Mr. Gilbert became a member of Parliament
for Helstone, and at the general election in 1806, was chosen to
represent Bodmin, continuing to sit for that borough until December,
1832. He was emphatically the representative of scientific interests
in the House of Commons, and was continually appointed to serve on
committees of inquiry touching scientific and financial questions.
He acted as Chairman of the committee for rebuilding London Bridge,
causing it to be widened ten feet more than originally proposed, and
he greatly contributed by his exertions to carry many very important
public projects, amongst which may be mentioned, the Breakwater at
Plymouth, and the bill for the revision of weights and measures, of
which he was appointed a commissioner. He was also a member of the
Board of Longitude.

On the 8th of April, 1808, he married Mary Ann Gilbert, only niece of
Charles Gilbert of Eastbourne in Sussex, under whose will he came into
possession of considerable estates in that county; and, in compliance
with its conjunctions, obtained permission to assume the name and arms
of Gilbert.

Mr. Gilbert contributed several important papers on mathematical
subjects to the 'Philosophical Transactions.' In July, 1819, he
succeeded Samuel Lyons in the office of treasurer to the Royal Society,
which office he retained until elected President in 1828. He was also
the author of numerous papers in the 'Quarterly Journal of Science
and Arts,' and presented the world with the fruits of his labours
as an antiquary, by publishing, in 1838, 'The Parochial History of
Cornwall,' in four volumes 8vo., founded on the manuscript histories
of Mr. Hals and Mr. Tonkin. Mr. Gilbert was a diligent collector of
ancient traditions, legendary tales, songs, and carols, illustrating
the manners of the Cornish peasants, and printed various ballads at his
house at Eastbourne. He possessed great memory and powers of quotation
and anecdote; his conversation has been described as being a continued
stream of learning and philosophy, adapted with excellent taste to the
capacity of his auditory, and enlivened with anecdotes to which the
most listless could not but listen and learn.

"His manners," says Dr. Buckland, "were most unaffected, childlike,
gentle, and natural. As a friend, he was kind, considerate, forbearing,
patient, and generous; and when the grave was closed over him, not one
man, woman, or child, who was honoured with his acquaintance, but felt
that he had a friend less in the world."

Mr. Gilbert retired from the chair of the Royal Society in 1830, and
two years later from Parliament; he did not, however, resign himself
to repose, but continued in many ways still to advocate the cause of
science. In 1839 he became much weaker in health and spirits; and
although he made a journey to Durham, and afterwards into Cornwall,
where he presided for the last time at the Anniversary of the Royal
Geological Society of Cornwall (of which he had been President since
its institution in 1814), he was evidently unequal to the exertions he
was making. His last visit was to Oxford, which University had some
years before conferred on him the title of D.C.L. From that period he
never went into public, but, bidding farewell to London, retired to his
house at Eastbourne on the 7th of November, 1839, where he died on the
24th of the following December. His body was borne to the grave by his
own labourers, and followed by his widow and family, which consisted of
one son (the present J. D. Gilbert, F.R.S.) and two daughters.--_Weld's
History of the Royal Society, with Memoirs of the Presidents._ London,


Born January 2, 1765. Died March 10, 1847.

Charles Hatchett was born at a house in Long Acre, where his father
carried on the business of a coachmaker. He was sent to a school known
by the name of Fountayne's, situated in what was formerly called
Marylebone Park. On leaving school, Mr. Hatchett continued to live for
some time with his father, purposing to follow the same business; he,
however, never took kindly to it, but spent the chief part of his time
in perusing books of science, or in attending lectures on scientific
subjects; and his father, perceiving the bent of his inclination, made
him a handsome allowance, to enable him to prosecute his studies.

An amusing story is told by the Rev. Mr. Lockwood, Rector of Kingham,
who was an intimate friend of Mr. Hatchett's, that one day he
remembered asking Hatchett what first led him to turn his attention to
the study of chemistry; he replied, that he believed it was his love
for raspberry-jam; for, when quite a boy, he used to accompany his
mother to the storeroom, and on one occasion, while as usual entreating
for some jam, she locked the door, and putting the key in her pocket,
told him he might now get as much as he could. This somewhat nettled
the lad, and setting his wits to work, he remembered having read of the
power of certain acids to dissolve metals. Young Hatchett accordingly
purchased what he thought would suit his purpose, and applying it
to the lock of the cupboard, gained an entrance, and carried off in
triumph the pot of jam.

On the 24th of March, 1786, when just one-and-twenty, Mr. Hatchett
married the only daughter of Mr. John Collick, of Saint Martin's Lane,
and shortly afterwards, in company with his wife, visited Russia and
Poland, where they remained for nearly two years. On returning to
England, Mr. Hatchett established himself in a house at Hammersmith,
which he fitted with an excellent laboratory, so as to be able to
pursue his chemical studies. On the 9th of March, 1807, he was elected
into the Royal Society, his first paper having appeared in their
'Transactions' in 1796; it was entitled, 'An Analysis of the Carinthian
Molybdate of Lead, with Experiments on the Molybdic Acid; to which are
added, some Experiments and Observations on the Decomposition of the
Sulphate of Ammonia.' This paper was followed by fifteen others, on
various subjects, exhibiting the extent and research of his chemical
investigations. In one of these, published in 1802, and entitled an
'Analysis of a Mineral Substance from North America, containing a metal
unknown,' Mr. Hatchett gives an account of his discovery of the metal

During the later portion of his life, Mr. Hatchett was often called
upon committees, whenever points of chemistry or other sciences were
to be discussed. In 1818, he formed one of the commission, comprising
amongst others Dr. Wollaston, Sir Joseph Banks, Sir William Congreve,
Davies Gilbert, &c., appointed to authorize an inquiry into the best
means of preventing the forgery of bank notes; he was also one of the
chemists (consisting of Brande, Hatchett, Wollaston, and Young) who met
at Sir Joseph Banks's house, to decide on the respective merits of Sir
Humphry Davy and George Stephenson, in the matter of the safety-lamp.

Besides his scientific attainments, Hatchett possessed great
conversational powers; he was good-humoured, full of drollery, and
never at fault for some jocular or pleasant story, to amuse the company
he might be with. At the Royal Society Club, of which he was a member,
he was a great favourite, particularly with Sir Joseph Banks, who,
after Dr. Johnson, used to call him a clubable man. Sir John Barrow
gives the following anecdote:--That "one day, at the club, Hatchett
amused us with the story of a dream, which he prefaced by saying that,
although it was 'such stuff as dreams are made of,' it still contained
a reality in its conclusion, which had very much distressed him. He
dreamt that he had lost his way, but came to a dark and dismal-looking
building, into which he passed through a forbidding sort of gate,
opened by a black-looking porter, who closed it immediately after him.
He walked on, and everywhere observed clumps of ill-looking people
skirmishing and fighting, while a little beyond were other groups,
weeping and in great distress; further on still were flames of fire.
Beginning to think he had got into a very bad place, he endeavoured
to retrace his steps and get out again; but the black doorkeeper
refused to let him pass. A furious fight ensued, and he pummelled the
negro-looking rascal, first with one fist and then with another. At
length he was brought to his senses by a scream, which, to his dismay,
proceeded from his poor wife, and he found that, instead of pummelling
the black doorkeeper, he had given Mrs. Hatchett a black eye."

In 1809, Mr. Hatchett was elected one of the chosen few of the Literary
Club, originally instituted by Dr. Johnson and Sir Joshua Reynolds;
and on the death of Dr. Burney, in 1829, was appointed to the chief
official station of treasurer to the club.

In 1810 he took up his residence at Belle Vue House, Chelsea,
where he continued for the remainder of his life, which terminated
in 1847, Mr. Hatchett having then attained the advanced age of
eighty-two.--_Sketches of the Royal Society and Royal Society Club, by
Sir John Barrow, Bart., F.R.S._ London, 1849.


Born December 12, 1774. Died September 2, 1836.

Dr. William Henry, the distinguished chemical philosopher, was born at
Manchester. His father, Mr. Thomas Henry, was a zealous cultivator of
chemical science. The earliest impressions of Henry's childhood were,
therefore, such as to inspire interest and reverence for the pursuits
of science; and he is said, when very young, to have sought amusement
in attempting to imitate, with such means as were at his disposal, the
chemical experiments which his father had been performing. A severe
accident which occurred in early life, by disqualifying him for the
active sports of boyhood, also contributed to determine his taste for
books and sedentary occupations. This injury, occasioned by the fall
of a heavy beam upon his right side, was of a very serious nature,
and materially checked his growth; it left as its consequence acute
neuralgic pains, which recurred from time to time, with more or less
severity, during the remainder of his life.

Dr. Henry's earliest instructor was the Rev. Ralph Harrison, who
possessed considerable repute as a teacher of the ancient languages,
and was considered at that period to be one of the best instructors of
youth in the North of England. Immediately on leaving Mr. Harrison's
academy at Manchester, Henry had the good fortune to become the private
secretary of Dr. Percival, a physician of great general accomplishments
and refined taste, whose example and judicious counsels were most
instrumental in guiding the tastes of his young companion, and in
establishing habits of vigilant and appropriate expression. In this
improving residence Dr. Henry remained for the space of five years;
he was then removed, in the winter of 1795-6, to the University of
Edinburgh, after having acquired some preliminary medical knowledge
at the Infirmary at Manchester. Prudential considerations compelled
him to leave the University at the end of a year, and commence general
medical practice in company with his father. A few years' experience,
however, showed the inadequacy of his delicate frame to bear up against
the fatigues of this branch of the medical profession, and he was
permitted, in the year 1805, to return to the University, at that
time adorned by the learning of Playfair and Stewart. So powerful was
the stimulus given to his mental powers during his residence at the
University, that he often declared that the rest of his life, active as
it was, appeared a state of inglorious repose when contrasted with this
season of unremitted effort. The period intervening between Dr. Henry's
two academic residences, although passed in the engrossing occupations
of his profession, to which was added the superintendence of a chemical
business previously established by his father, was yet marked by
several important contributions to science. In 1797 he communicated to
the Royal Society an experimental memoir (the first of a long series
with which he enriched the 'Transactions' of that body), the design
of which was to re-establish the title of carbon to be ranked among
elementary bodies, which had been denied by Austin, Beddoes, and other
eminent chemists. In this paper he subsequently discovered a fallacy
in his own reasoning, which he exposed before it had been detected
by any other chemist. In 1800 he published in the 'Philosophical
Transactions' his experiments on muriatic acid gas, and in 1803 made
known to the Royal Society his elaborate experiments on the quantity of
gases absorbed by water at different temperature and under different
pressures, the result of which was the establishment of the law that
"water takes up of gas, condensed by one, two or more additional
atmospheres, a quantity which would be equal to twice, thrice, &c. the
volume absorbed under the ordinary pressure of the atmosphere." In
1808 Henry was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, and in the same
year described in their 'Transactions' a form of apparatus adapted to
the combustion of larger quantities of gases than could be fired in
eudiometric tubes. This apparatus, though now superseded, gave more
accurate results than had ever before been attained. In the following
year (1809) the Copley gold medal was awarded to him for his valuable
contributions to the 'Transactions' of the Royal Society. For the
next fifteen years Dr. Henry continued his experiments on gases,
making known to the Society the results from time to time. In his
last communication, in 1824, he claimed the merit of having conquered
the only difficulty that remained in a series of experiments on the
analysis of the gaseous substances issuing from the destructive
distillation of coal and oil--viz., the ascertaining by chemical
means the exact proportions which the gases, left after the action of
chlorine on oil and coal gas, bear to each other. This he accomplished
by skilfully availing himself of the property (recently discovered
by Döbereiner), in finely divided platinum, of causing gaseous
combinations, and he was thus enabled to prove the exact composition
of the fire-damp of mines. All the experiments of Dr. Henry which have
been previously alluded to bore upon äeriform bodies; but although
these were his favourite studies, his acquaintance with general
chemistry is proved by his 'Elements of Experimental Chemistry,' to
have been both sound and extensive. This work was one of the first
on chemical science published in this country, which combined great
literary elegance with the highest standard of scientific accuracy. His
comparative analysis of many varieties of British and foreign salts
were models of accurate analysis, and were important in dispelling
the prejudices then popular in favour of the latter for economical
purposes. His 'Memoir on the Theories of Galvanic Decomposition'
earned the cordial approval of Berzelius, as being among the first
maintaining that view which he himself so earnestly supported.

It is greatly to be regretted that Dr. Henry did not contribute more
to the literature of science, as he appears to have been eminently
fitted, both by natural tastes and by after culture, to excel in this
particular respect; especially is it to be regretted that he did not
live to carry out the great literary project for which he had collected
materials--a history of chemical discovery from the middle of the last
century. He could have made it one of the most popular books in our

In the general intercourse of society Dr. Henry was distinguished by
a polished courtesy, by an intuitive propriety, and by a considerate
forethought and respect for the feelings and opinions of others;
qualities issuing out of the same high-toned sensibility, that guided
his taste in letters, and that softened and elevated his whole moral
frame and bearing. His comprehensive range of thought and knowledge,
his proneness to general speculation in contradistinction to detail,
his ready command of the refinements of language, and the liveliness
of his feelings and imagination, rendered him a most instructive and
engaging companion. To the young, and more especially to such as gave
evidence of a taste for liberal studies, his manner was peculiarly
kind and encouraging. In measuring the amount and importance of his
contributions to chemical knowledge, it must be borne in mind, that
in his season of greatest mental activity, he never enjoyed that
uncontrolled command of time and that serene concentration of thought
which are essential to the completion of great scientific designs.
In more advanced life, when relieved from the duties of an extensive
medical practice and other equally pressing avocations, growing
infirmities and failing bodily power restrained him to studies not
demanding personal exertion, and even abridged his season of purely
mental labour. That amid circumstances so unfriendly to original
and sustained achievements in science, he should have accomplished
so much, bears testimony to that energy of resolve, that unsubdued
ardour of spirit which ever glowed within him, urging him steadily
onwards in the career of honourable ambition, and prompting exertions
more than commensurate with the decaying forces of a frame that had
never been vigorous. At intervals during his whole life, Dr. Henry
suffered severely from the effect of the accident already mentioned.
The paroxysms of intense neuralgic agony which attacked him, at length
caused the whole nervous system to be so irritated as to deprive
him of sleep, and cause his death in September, 1836, at the age of
sixty-one.--_Biographical Account of the late Dr. Henry, by his son,
William Charles Henry, M.D., F.R.S., &c._--_Encyclopædia Britannica_,
Eighth Edition.


Born November 15, 1738. Died August 23, 1822.

Authentic particulars respecting both the early and private life of
this great astronomer are sadly deficient; his scientific works are,
however, of a world-wide reputation, and it is with these that we are
chiefly concerned. William Herschel was born at Hanover, and was one of
a numerous family, who supported themselves chiefly by their musical
talents. At the age of fourteen William was placed, it is said, in the
band of the Hanoverian regiment of Guards, which he accompanied to
England at a period variously stated from 1757 to 1759. On his arrival
he remained for some time at Durham, and was subsequently, for several
years, organist at Halifax, where he was also employed in teaching
music and studying languages. At length, about the year 1766, he found
himself in comparatively easy circumstances, as organist of the Octagon
Chapel at Bath. Here Herschel began to study earnestly the science of
astronomy; and feeling the necessity of obtaining a good telescope, the
purchase of which would be beyond his means, he determined to make one
himself. After many trials, he succeeded in 1774 in executing with his
own hands a reflecting telescope, and soon acquired so much dexterity,
as to construct instruments of ten and twenty feet in focal length.

In the year 1780 he contributed his first paper, 'On the Variable
Star in Cetus,' to the Royal Society; and on the 13th of March, 1781,
announced to the world his discovery of a supposed comet, which, on
further examination, proved to be a planet exterior to Saturn, now
named Uranus.[20] This fortunate success was the first addition to the
number of primary planets since a period of an immemorial antiquity,
and it speedily made the name of Herschel famous.

George III. took the new astronomer under his protection, and attached
him to his court, bestowing on him the title of astronomer to the
king, with a salary of 400_l._ a year. It is difficult to estimate the
amount of benefit thus conferred on astronomy by the award of this
pension; for nothing short of the entire devotion of a lifetime, could
have produced such results as we owe to Herschel. His contributions
to the 'Philosophical Transactions' alone amount to sixty-nine in
number, and may give some idea of the unwearied activity of the author;
they range over a period of thirty-five years, commencing in 1780 and
terminating in 1815. The numerous bodies which he added to the solar
system, make that number half as large again as he found it. Including
Halley's comet, and the four satellites of Jupiter and five of Saturn,
the number previously known was eighteen, to which Herschel added
nine--namely Uranus and six satellites, and two satellites of Saturn.
His discovery of the rotation of Saturn's ring, his measurements of
the rotation of Saturn and Venus, his observations of the belts of
the former, and his conjectural theory--derived from observation--of
the rotation of Jupiter's satellites, with a large number of minor
observations, prove that no one individual ever added so much to the
facts on which our knowledge of the solar system is founded. His
leading discoveries in siderial astronomy include--the discovery of
binary systems of stars, and the orbits of several revolving stars; the
discovery and classification of a prodigious multitude of nebulæ; the
law of grouping of the entire firmament, and its connection with the
great nebula of the Milky Way; and lastly, the determination of the
motion of our sun and system in space, and the direction of that motion.

Herschel's magnificent speculations on the Milky Way, the constitution
of nebulæ, &c., first opened the road to the conception, that what was
called the universe was, in all probability, but a detached and minute
portion of that fathomless series of similar formations which ought
to bear the name. Imagination roves with ease upon such subjects; but
before Herschel's observations, even that daring faculty would have
rejected ideas which afterwards proved to be but sober philosophy.
These great and arduous enquiries occupied Herschel during nearly the
whole of his scientific career, extending to almost half a century,
and, excepting the continuation of his labours by his illustrious son,
Sir John, little has been added to our knowledge of 'the constitution
of the heavens' since his death.

As an optician, Herschel deserves equal notice for the wonderful
improvements which he effected in the dimensions and magnifying power
of telescopes, and by the skill with which he applied them to celestial
observations. The reflecting telescope was the one to the improvement
of which he so successfully devoted himself; and the real secret of his
success in this, was his astonishing perseverance; his determination
being to obtain telescopes of twenty feet focal length or more, and
of a perfection equal or superior to the small ones then in use. He
himself relates, that whilst at Bath he had constructed 200 specula of
seven feet focus, 150 of ten feet, and about 80 of twenty feet; a proof
of extraordinary resolution in a man of limited means, and at that time
engaged in a laborious profession.

Herschel at last succeeded in constructing his enormous telescope of
forty feet focal length, which he erected in the grounds of his house
at Slough. This instrument was begun in 1785, and finally completed on
August 28th, 1789, on which day Herschel discovered with it the sixth
satellite of Saturn; the diameter of the tube was 4 feet 10 inches, the
speculum having a useful area of 4 feet: the total cost was 4000_l._,
which was entirely defrayed by the liberality of George the Third.

After the award of the king's pension, Sir William Herschel fixed his
residence at Slough, near Windsor, his family consisting at first of
one of his brothers, and his sister, Miss Caroline Herschel, who was
his coadjutor and assistant in his computations and reductions, and
was also actively employed in astronomical observation, being the
discoverer of more than one comet. Herschel married a widow lady, Mrs.
Mary Pitt, and left one son, the present Sir John, whose name has long
been known to the public as one of the most active and successful
adherents of science that our day has produced.

Dr. J. D. Forbes thus sums up the philosophical character of Sir
William Herschel:--

"He united, in a remarkable degree, the resolute industry which
distinguishes the Germans, with the ardour and constancy which has
been thought characteristic of the Anglo-Saxon. From his native
country he brought with him the boldness of speculation which has
long distinguished it, and it is probable that he had also a vigorous
and even poetical imagination. Yet he was ever impatient until he had
brought his conjectures to the test of experiment, and observation
of the most uncompromising kind. He delighted to give his data a
numerical character, and where this was (by their nature) impossible,
he confirmed his descriptions by reiterated observation, in different
states of weather, with different telescopes, apertures, and magnifying
powers; and with praiseworthy fidelity he enabled his readers to form
their own judgment of the character of his results, by copious and
literal transcripts from his journals."

Herschel died peacefully at Slough, at the advanced age of
eighty-three, on the 23rd of August, 1822, only one year after the
publication of his latest memoir in the 'Transactions' of the then
recently formed Astronomical Society, of which he was the first
president.--_Sixth Dissertation, by James David Forbes, D.C.L., F.R.S.,
&c., Encyclopædia Britt._, eighth edition.--_English Cyclopædia._
London, 1856.--_Weld's Hist. of Roy. Society._


Born May 28, 1774. Died September 28, 1816.

Mr. Howard was born at Darnell, in the parish of Sheffield, and
was the third brother of the twelfth Duke of Norfolk. His name has
become intimately connected with the manufacture of sugar, from the
many improvements which he introduced into the old processes for the
refinement of this most important article of commerce, and especially
by his invention of the vacuum-pan.

It is related, on the authority of the late Mr. C. Few, that Mr.
Howard's attention was drawn towards this subject by Mr. Charles
Ellis, who, on the occasion of an immense quantity of West India
sugar being in bond, and for which the revenue could find no market,
recommended Howard, whose talents as a practical chemist Mr. Ellis
was well acquainted with, to try and see if he could not relieve the
Government warehouses, by converting the raw sugar into some kind of
manure, and thus avoid the duty and render the article saleable. While
experimenting for this purpose, Mr. Howard accidentally discovered his
process of purifying sugar, for which, in conjunction with certain
sugar refiners, he took out patents, and ultimately realized a
considerable fortune.

Howard's vacuum-pan was patented in 1812; it depends for its action
on the principle that liquids boil at temperatures dependent on the
pressures they have to sustain. Thus water, under the ordinary pressure
of the atmosphere (30 inches barometer), boils at 212° F., whereas
in vacuo it will boil at about 80°; consequently a comparatively
low temperature will effect the boiling of sugar-syrup in vacuo,
evaporation will proceed far more safely than in the old process of
heating the syrup in open pans, and the percentage of waste will be
greatly reduced, rendering the manufacture highly profitable in a
commercial point of view.

Mr. Howard died at the early age of forty-two, and was buried at
St. Pancras, Middlesex. He left one son, and a daughter, Julia, who
was married in the year 1829 to the Hon. Henry Stafford Jerningham,
afterwards Lord Stafford.


Born Jan. 11, 1740. Died August 19, 1816.

Joseph Huddart was born at Allonby in Cumberland. His Father, who was
a shoemaker and farmer, desiring to give his son the best education
in his power, sent him to a day-school kept by Mr. Wilson, the
clergyman of the village. Here young Huddart acquired a knowledge of
the elements of mathematics, including astronomy, sciences in which he
attained great proficiency in after life. When quite a boy, Huddart
gave indications of an original mind, combined with great industry and
unwearied patience. Having fallen in with a treatise by Mungo Murray
on ship building, he was so pleased with its clear directions, that
he set to work and succeeded, after immense labour and ingenuity, in
making a model of a seventy-four gun-ship, with ribs, planks, and bolts
complete. When engaged in herding his father's cows, he used to carry
out into the country a desk of his own manufacture, employing his time
in reading, and mathematical drawing and calculations.

As Huddart grew up he evinced a strong bias for a sea-faring life, and
an event occurred in 1756 which decided his future career. In that year
large shoals of herrings came into the Solway Firth, and the elder
Huddart took advantage of the circumstance to trade in conjunction with
a Herring Fishery Company, while his son took his place with others
in the boats, and soon displayed so much skill and ability in their
management that he became noted among his fellows for superiority of
knowledge in nautical matters. Young Huddart continued more or less
in this new employment until his father's death, in 1762, when he
succeeded to a share in the fishery, and at once took the command of a
sloop employed in carrying the salted herrings to Cork and other parts
of Ireland, for the supply of the West India markets.

These voyages gave him a thorough knowledge of St. George's Channel,
convinced him of the insufficiency of the charts then in use, and
ultimately led to his making a complete survey of that sea, and to
the subsequent publication of his own most valuable chart. In 1768
Huddart, with the assistance of his uncle, designed and built a vessel
for himself, and named it the Patience, every timber in it having been
moulded with his own hand. In this vessel he made his first voyage
to North America, and continued to sail in her until the year 1771,
when he was induced by Sir Richard Hotham, with whom he had become
acquainted, to enter the East India Mercantile Marine, in which service
he continued for many years, and realized a considerable independency.

Captain Huddart's scientific knowledge and high character introduced
him into the Trinity House as an Elder Brother, and also into the
Committee of the Ramsgate Harbour Trust, and into the London and East
India Dock Directions. At the Trinity House all inquiries relating to
lights, lighthouses and charts were chiefly referred to him, while the
lighthouses on Hurst Point were built under his superintendence and
immediate direction.

On retirement from the East India Company's service, Huddart engaged
again in his favourite pursuit of ship building, making many practical
experiments to determine the lines, which consistent with stability
and capacity for stowage would give to vessels the greatest velocity
through the water. But that which constitutes Captain Huddart's chief
claim on the gratitude of posterity are his great improvements and
inventions in the manufacture of Cordage; before his time nothing
worthy of the name of machinery had been applied to rope-making, and to
him was reserved the honour of bringing the wonderful power of Watt's
steam engine to bear upon this most important article of manufacture.

Captain Huddart's attention was first drawn towards the subject during
a voyage from India to China through the Straits of Sunda, where
the ship he commanded was frequently compelled to anchor. When the
anchor was weighed, the outer yarns of the cable were often found to
be broken, and on opening a piece of cable to find out the cause,
Huddart's attention was forcibly drawn to the fact that rope as then
manufactured, bore almost the entire strain on the outer yarns of the
strands, from the yarns being originally of the same length, and the
strand in the process of twisting becoming shortened. He determined to
remedy this, and ultimately constructed a machine which, by means of
what he called a register plate, gave to every yarn the same strain,
and its proper position in the strand which was compressed through a
tube into the desired form.

Government refusing to take up this valuable invention, a company was
formed by Huddart's friends for the manufacture of rope upon his new
principle. These gentlemen built a factory at Limehouse, which was
established under the name of Huddart & Co.

Captain Huddart now devoted himself to the further development of his
valuable invention; he contrived a registering machine whereby the
yarns were formed as they came out of the tar-kettle, the tar being
kept at the temperature (212-220° Fah.) he found by experiment to be
sufficient for the required purpose, without injuring by too great heat
the fibres of the rope.

He also constructed a laying machine, which gave the same length and
twist to every strand, and an uniform angle and pressure to the rope or
cable. These improvements involved the manufacture of much beautiful
machinery, which was made after Huddart's design and under his own
personal superintendance.[21]

Captain Huddart lived to an advanced old age, and even in his last
illness his disposition to inquire into causes and effects did not
forsake him, as his body gradually wasted away, he caused himself to
be weighed from time to time, noting thereby the quantity of moisture
which escaped by the breath and insensible perspiration. He died at
Highbury Terrace, London, at the age of seventy-six, and was interred
in a vault under St. Martin's Church, in the Strand.--_Memoir of Capt.
Jos. Huddart, by Wm. Cotton, D.C.L._ London, 1855.

EDWARD JENNER, M.D., L.L.D., F.R.S., &c.


Born May 17, 1749. Died January 26, 1823.

Edward Jenner, who by his discovery of vaccination has pre-eminently
acquired a right to the title of the "Benefactor of Mankind," was
born at the vicarage house of Berkeley, in Gloucestershire, and was
the third son of the Rev. Stephen Jenner, rector of Rockhampton, and
vicar of Berkeley. Jenner's father died when he was only five years
old, leaving him to be brought up under the care of his uncle. At
eight years of age he was put to school at Wotton-under-Edge, from
whence he was removed shortly afterwards to the care of Dr. Washborn,
at Cirencester. Jenner early displayed that taste for natural history
which afterwards formed so marked a feature in his character. Before
he was nine years old he had made a collection of the nests of the
dormouse, and when at Cirencester used to spend his hours of recreation
in searching for the fossils which abound in that district.

After the completion of his scholastic education, Jenner removed to
Sudbury, near Bristol, where he acquired the elements of surgery and
pharmacy under Mr. Ludlow, an eminent surgeon in the neighbourhood.
Having completed his term with this gentleman, he went to London and
became a pupil of the celebrated John Hunter, in whose family he
resided for two years, laying the foundation of an intimate friendship
only broken by Hunter's death. Under the tuition of this distinguished
anatomist he acquired an almost unrivalled skill in minute dissections
and delicate injections of parts; and when, in the year 1771, Captain
Cook returned from his first voyage of discovery, the valuable
specimens of Natural History, which had been collected by Sir Joseph
Banks, were in a great measure arranged and prepared by Jenner, who
was recommended by Mr. Hunter for that purpose. In executing this
task, he evinced so much dexterity and intelligence, that he was
offered the post of Naturalist in the next expedition, which sailed in
1772. Jenner, however, refused the offer, and determined to fix his
abode at the place of his birth. He returned to Berkeley when about
twenty-four years old, and at once commenced practice as a country
surgeon. His first attempts were very successful; and as he added
to his professional skill the manners of a thorough gentleman, and
the information of a scholar, he became a welcome guest in the most
distinguished families. He was in the habit at this time of cultivating
the art of poetry, and used to send his compositions to his friends in
the ordinary interchange of literary correspondence. He was likewise
clever at an epigram or a ballad, and had a natural taste for music,
being able to play on the flute and violin, and sing his own verses
with considerable taste and feeling. Such was the attachment of
Jenner's friends to him at this period of his career, and so highly
did they value his amusing and interesting conversation, that, when he
had called at their houses, either as a visitor or in his professional
capacity, they would accompany him, on leaving, many miles on his way
home, and this too, often at midnight, in order that they might prolong
the pleasure derived from his company and conversation.

Although Jenner's time was chiefly occupied with his professional
duties, he still kept up a constant and regular correspondence with
his friend John Hunter on different scientific subjects. He managed
also to find leisure to institute many experiments and observations
in natural history, one of the results of which was his account of
the Cuckoo, a most carefully elaborated essay, and which has always
been considered as a model of accurate observation. This paper was
read to the Royal Society on the 10th of March, 1788, and printed in
their 'Transactions.' It explained the habits of this curious bird
very satisfactorily, and its publication at once secured the author a
considerable reputation as a Naturalist. As this paper appears not to
be very generally known, the following account taken from it may be

"The cuckoo furtively deposits her egg in the nest of another bird;
it is done not that her offspring may be a sharer of the care of
the foster-parent, but that it may engross it entirely to the total
destruction of its own natural offspring. A perversion of all the
maternal instincts is a most remarkable result of this vicarious
incubation. The hedge-sparrow, or other birds whose nests have been
visited by the cuckoo, actually sometimes eject their own eggs to
make room for the new guest; but it occasionally happens that this
is not done; the eggs are not disturbed, and the process of hatching
is allowed to go on regularly, and the young sparrows and the cuckoo
emerge from the shell about the same time. This event, when it is
permitted to happen, does not at all improve the condition of the
former; on the contrary, it only exposes them to greater sufferings.
The size of the egg of the cuckoo does not vary much from that of the
bird in whose nest it is deposited. When the young sparrow, therefore,
and the intruder first come into life, they are pretty much on an
equality; but unhappily for the foster-brethren, this equality does
not last long: the cuckoo's growth rapidly outstrips that of his
companions, and he immediately exercises his new powers with abundant
selfishness and cruelty. By a singular configuration of his own body he
contrives to lodge his companions, one by one, upon his back, and then
scrambling up the sides of the nest, he suddenly throws them from their
seat, and completely ejects them from their own home to become food
for worms. There is reason to believe that the unnatural parent is
often an unmoved witness of this atrocity. Her whole care and affection
are absorbed by the intruder, and her own flesh and blood literally
turned out to perish. It sometimes, though very rarely, happens that
two cuckoo's eggs are deposited in the same nest. When this occurs, and
they are both hatched together, a bitter feud arises, which is only
terminated by the ejection of one or other from the nest."

All naturalists previous to Jenner were inclined to ascribe the
peculiarity in the economy of the cuckoo to its structure; the
largeness of the stomach, which is only protected by a thin covering,
they asserted, rendered the pressure attendant upon incubation
incompatible with health. This theory is incorrect, and was adopted
without due examination.

Jenner observes, "May they not, be owing to the following
circumstances?--namely, the short residence this bird is allowed to
make in this country, where it is destined to propagate its species,
and the call that nature has upon it, during that short residence, to
produce a numerous progeny. The cuckoo's first appearance here is about
the middle of April. Its egg is not ready for incubation till some
weeks after its arrival. A fortnight is taken up by the sitting bird
in hatching the egg. The young bird generally continues three weeks in
the nest before it flies, and the foster-parents feed it more than five
weeks after this period: so that even if a cuckoo should be ready with
an egg much sooner than the time pointed out, not a single nestling,
would be fit to provide for itself, before its parent would be
instinctively directed to seek a new residence, and be thus compelled
to abandon its young; for the old cuckoos take their final leave of
this country the first week in July."

The domestic incidents of Jenner's life during this period, although
important to himself and his future career, were not otherwise
remarkable. Having experienced a disappointment in his affections early
in life, he continued for many years unmarried. Ultimately, however,
on the 6th of March, 1788, he was married to Catherine Kingscote, a
descendant of an ancient Gloucestershire family.

In 1793 John Hunter died, and Jenner was deeply affected by the loss of
his esteemed friend. Many years previous to this sad event, Jenner's
anxious and affectionate attention to the symptoms of the disease,
which as early as 1777 had begun to attack Hunter, had enabled him to
detect the true nature of his illness (Angina pectoris), and the result
of the examination after death fully established the correctness of
Jenner's views.

In 1792, having determined to give up the general practice of his
profession, and practice as a physician only, Jenner obtained the
degree of Doctor of Medicine from St. Andrews; and three years
afterwards, on finding that Berkeley by itself could never support
a physician, commenced making professional visits to Cheltenham, a
practice which he continued for many years.

We now come to the important epoch in the life of this eminent man. On
the 14th of May, 1796 (commemorated in Berlin as an annual festival),
he made his first successful vaccination on a boy of the name of
Phipps, eight years old, and announced the event in a letter to a
friend named Gardner, in the following words: "But listen to the most
delightful part of my story. The boy has since been inoculated for
the small-pox, which, as I ventured to predict, produced no effect.
I shall now pursue my experiments with redoubled ardour." In the
year 1798 he made public the result of his continued observations
and experiments, published during this year his work entitled an
'Inquiry into the Causes and Effects of the Variolæ Vaccinæ,' and
henceforth the imperishable name of Jenner was to be identified with
vaccination. Although Jenner announced his discovery thus late in life,
his attention had been drawn forcibly towards the subject when quite
a youth, while pursuing his professional education in the house of
his master at Sudbury. During that time, a young countrywoman having
come to seek advice, the subject of small-pox was mentioned in her
presence; she immediately observed, "I cannot take that, for I have had
the cow-pox." This incident rivetted the attention of Jenner, and he
resolved to let no opportunity escape of procuring knowledge upon so
interesting a subject. When, in 1770, he was prosecuting his studies in
London, he mentioned the matter to Hunter, who told him not to _think_
but _try_, and above all to be patient and accurate. Hunter, however,
from the great number of original and important pursuits, which fully
engrossed his attention, was never so greatly impressed, as Jenner,
with the probable consequences of the successful elucidation of the
subject of cow-pox; while other surgeons and scientific men, to whom
the subject was mentioned, ridiculed the idea; and even when Jenner
had drawn up his 'Inquiry,' he was recommended not to send it to the
Royal Society, lest it should injure the scientific reputation which
he had formerly acquired with that body by his paper on the 'Natural
History of the Cuckoo.' Undeterred by this want of sympathy, Jenner,
during the time of his practice at Berkeley, patiently continued
his investigations as to the nature of cow-pox, and, gradually
struggling through the difficulties which he had to encounter on his
way, eliminated the following facts: that there were certain people
to whom it was impossible to give the small-pox by inoculation, and
that these had all had the cow-pox; but that there were also others
who had had cow-pox, and who yet received small-pox. This, after
much labour, led him to the discovery that the cow was subject to a
variety of eruptions, of which one only had the power of guarding from
small-pox, and that this, the true cow-pox, as he called it, could,
at only one period of its course, produce, by inoculation, such an
influence upon the constitution as to render the individual safe from
further contagion. This was the basis upon which the fundamental rules
for the practice of vaccination were founded. The publication of his
'Inquiry' excited the greatest interest, for the evidence in it seemed
conclusive; yet the practice of vaccination met with opposition, as
severe as it was unfair, and its success seemed uncertain until a year
had passed, when upwards of seventy of the principal physicians and
surgeons in London signed a declaration of their entire confidence in
it. An attempt was then made to deprive Jenner of the merit of his
discovery, but it signally failed, and scientific honours began to
be bestowed on him from all quarters. Nothing could, however, induce
Jenner to leave his native village, and all his correspondence shows
that the purest benevolence, rather than ambition, had been the motive
which actuated his labours. In a letter to Mr. Clive, who instituted
the first successful case of vaccination in London, he says: "Shall I,
who, even in the morning of my life, sought the lowly and sequestered
paths of life, the valley and not the mountain; shall I, now my evening
is fast approaching, hold myself up as an object for fortune and for
fame? Admitting it as a certainty that I obtain both, what stock
should I add to my little fund of happiness? And as for fame, what is
it?--a gilded butt for ever pierced with the arrows of malignancy."
On the Continent Jenner's claims on the gratitude of mankind were
quickly recognised, and the influence of his name and character was
very great. On one occasion during the war he addressed a letter to
Napoleon, requesting permission for two men of science and literature
to return to England; and it is related that Napoleon, being about to
reject the petition, heard Josephine utter the name of Jenner; on which
the Emperor paused for an instant, and exclaimed, "Jenner! ah, we can
refuse nothing to that man." He subsequently made other applications
both to the French and other governments, which were uniformly attended
with similar success. In fact his name became at length so potent,
and his influence so well known, that persons left England with
certificates signed by him, which had all the force and value of real
passports. England, however, was more tardy in recognizing the claims
of this great man. He once or twice applied to the British government
on behalf of some French prisoners, but unhappily without success. Nor
was he permitted to share in the least degree in the vast patronage
at the disposal of the government, and all his attempts to obtain a
living for one of his nephews failed, although he applied where he was
quite justified in thinking he would meet with attention and success.
On the occasion of the first parliamentary grant to Jenner in the
year 1802, the Chancellor of the Exchequer stated that he thought
the "approbation" of the House was the highest reward that could be
given him, inasmuch as it would lead to an extended and very lucrative
practice; and although it was proved in evidence that 40,000 men were
annually preserved to the State, even at that time, by Dr. Jenner's
discovery, the proposition of a grant for 10,000_l._ was carried
only by a majority of three. Jenner's feelings were deeply wounded
by the manner in which this grant was made, and he would gladly have
repudiated the whole affair. It remained unpaid for two years, and when
at length the money was paid to him, it was so loaded with taxes and
other expenses, as to be of little pecuniary benefit. Happily, however,
both for Jenner and the credit of Great Britain, the Marquis of
Lansdowne (then Lord Henry Petty) was a principal mover in his second
parliamentary grant, and through the able advocacy of this enlightened
nobleman, together with Mr. Whitbread, Mr. Windham, and Mr. Edward
Morris and others, a more fitting recompense of 20,000_l._, free of all
charges, was awarded him in July 1807.

Jenner had several attacks of severe illness during his life, but
he notwithstanding attained to a good old age. Till the last day
of his life he was occupied in the most anxious labours to diffuse
the advantages of his discovery both at home and abroad; and he had
the satisfaction of knowing that vaccination had even then shed its
blessing over every civilised nation of the world, prolonging life, and
preventing the ravages of one of the most terrible scourges to which
the human race was ever subject. He died suddenly from an attack of
paralysis in July 1823, having attained the seventy-fifth year of his

Shortly after Jenner's death a statue was erected to his memory in
Gloucester Cathedral, chiefly through the exertions of his friend
and biographer, Dr. Baron; still more recently the statue in bronze,
by William Calder Marshall, R.A., was erected in Trafalgar Square,
and afterwards removed to Kensington Gardens, as a 'TRIBUTE FROM ALL
NATIONS' to the memory of this distinguished philanthropist.--_Life of
Edward Jenner, by John Baron, M.D., &c._ London, 1827.--_Memoir by Dr.
Thos. Laycock, Encyclopædia Britannica._


Born 1745. Died 1814.

This engineer forms the connecting link between the first and second
generations of civil engineers in this country. To the former belong
Smeaton and Brindley, while the latter are headed by the great names of
Telford and Rennie.

The father of Mr. Jessop was engaged under Smeaton in superintending
the erection of the Eddystone Lighthouse, and his son William, the
subject of this memoir, was born at Plymouth. When he had attained the
age of sixteen his father died, leaving the guardianship of his family
to Smeaton, who thenceforth adopted William as his pupil, determining
to bring him up to his own profession. Young Jessop remained with
Smeaton for a period of ten years, enjoying, during this the busiest
part of Smeaton's active career, many opportunities of acquiring an
extensive knowledge of the business of civil engineering. After leaving
the service of Smeaton, Mr. Jessop was engaged for several years in
improving the navigation of the rivers Aire and Calder, and of the
Calder and Hebble in Yorkshire. He was also employed on the river Trent
in Nottinghamshire, and he appears to have been principally occupied on
these works for some time subsequent to his leaving Smeaton.

A few years before the retirement of the latter, which took place in
1791, his pupil began to obtain active employment, and we find him
about the years 1788 and 1789, reporting on the navigation of the
Sussex Ouse, and the drainage of Laughton Level in the same country,
being called on, at the same time, by the Commissioners of the Thames
and Isis, to advise on the works they had undertaken, and were about to
execute, for the improvement of this important navigation.

In the three following years (1790-2) his professional employment
greatly increased. He was now actively engaged in prosecuting various
important canals in connection with the great central navigation of
the Trent. Amongst these were the Cromford Canal, penetrating amongst
the mountains of Derbyshire into the rich mineral districts of that
wild and romantic country; the Nottingham Canal, which connects the
Cromford with the Trent at Nottingham; the Loughborough and Leicester
navigation, connecting the Ashby Coalfield with the navigable part of
the Soar and with Nottingham, thus opening an important communication
with the Trent on the one hand, and with Nottingham and the whole south
of England on the other. In addition to this system in connection with
the Trent, he projected and commenced at this time the Horncastle
navigation, which, besides acting as a valuable drainage for this part
of the fens, was productive of great benefit to a large district,
by bringing it into communication with the river Witham, which is
navigable to the sea in one direction, and in the other through Lincoln
to the Trent.

But a larger and more important work than these last named, which Mr.
Jessop was at this period engaged on, was the Grand Junction Canal,
which, joining the Oxford Canal at Braunston, in Northamptonshire,
connects the whole inland navigation with the metropolis, by means of a
comparatively direct line ninety miles in length, traced in a diagonal
direction across the two formidable ranges of hills peculiar to the
secondary formations of England.

This canal communicates with the Thames by its main line at Brentford,
and by a branch starting five miles above at Bullbridge, stretching
to Paddington, from whence the Regent's Canal proceeds round the
north side of London to the Thames at Limehouse, thus completing the
connection between the main line and the lower part of the river. The
execution of this canal necessitated the construction of many heavy
works, consisting of tunnels, deep cuttings, embankments, aqueducts,
reservoirs, and weirs. Of these works one of the most famous is the
Blisworth Tunnel, 3080 yards in length, cut through the inferior oolite
and the shales of the lias. Its internal width is 16½ feet, the
depth below the water-line to the inverted arch being 7 feet, while the
soffit or crown of the arch is 11 feet above the same line. The cost
of this great undertaking, with all its branches and attendant works,
amounted to about two millions sterling.

During the execution of this work, Mr. Jessop was also called into
Ireland, and was taking an active part in carrying on the public works
which had been undertaken by the authority of Parliament in that

The year 1793 originated several great projects, in furtherance of
which Mr. Jessop's aid was secured. Amongst these were the Grantham
Canal, supplied by vast artificial reservoirs, and extending from the
river Trent, through a rich pasture district of the new red sandstone,
winding for many miles through the broad and fertile vale of Belvoir,
up to Grantham at the base of the Lincolnshire hills, the furthest
point to which it is possible to penetrate in this direction.

The Barnsley Canal, which opens up an immense amount of mineral wealth
in the Yorkshire coalfield, and brings it into communication with the
river Calder, and the Dearn and Dove Canal; and finally, the Great
Ellesmere Canal, which completes a communication between the Severn
and the Mersey, and ramifies in numerous directions amongst the rugged
hills and valleys of North Wales.

In the carrying on of this last named undertaking, Mr. Telford was
likewise engaged under Mr. Jessop. Two of its most important works are
the great aqueducts of Chirk and Pont-y-cysylte, the former of which
carries the canal over the river Ceriog, at an elevation of 70 feet,
while the latter carries it across the Dee at an elevation of 127 feet.
The grand peculiarity in these aqueducts consisted in constructing
a water-tight trough of cast iron for carrying the canal across the
arches, instead of an immense puddled clay trough, as was the practice
until that time in use. The execution and management of the numerous
works here mentioned occupied the greater part of Mr. Jessop's time
during the next few years. But the commencement of the present century
was the signal for another torrent of speculation, which, in addition
to canals, began now to be directed towards docks and railroads. The
promoters of the first great public dock establishment employed Mr.
Jessop to conduct their works, and he had the honour of completing the
great project of the West India Docks, with their numerous accompanying
details, in a manner which alone entitles him to rank among our most
eminent engineers.

On the completion of these docks his professional services were engaged
by the citizens of Bristol, to effect a great and comprehensive measure
of harbour improvement, designed to place the port of Bristol at once
in the foremost position with respect to commercial advantages. This
was the conversion of part of the river Avon into an immense floating
dock, capable of accommodating 1400 vessels. Mr. Jessop was also at
this time occupied in constructing the Surrey iron railways, which
consisted of a double tramroad, from the Thames at Wandsworth to
the town of Croydon, with an extension from Croydon to Godstone and
Merstham; they are principally remarkable as being the first public
railroads constructed in the south of England. The whole of these
tramroads were afterwards bought and taken up by the Brighton Railway
Company. Mr. Jessop was likewise connected with the Caledonian Canal,
which he was specially called upon to survey before its commencement,
and of which he continued to be the consulting engineer for many years.

In concluding this brief notice of Mr. Jessop's life, it remains only
to be said that with him exclusively originated the idea of taking
advantage of the immense floods to which certain districts are subject,
by storing these waters up for the gradual and regular supply of his
canals. In addition to this he shares with Mr. Telford the honour of
first using iron in the construction of the troughs of aqueducts, and
for the heads, heel-posts and ribs of lock-gates, as adopted on the
Caledonian and Ellesmere canals.--_Memoir of William Jessop, by Samuel
Hughes, C.E._


Born April 16, 1777. Died April 26, 1835.

Captain Henry Kater, distinguished by his mathematical and physical
researches during the space of nearly half a century, was born at
Bristol; his father was of a German family, and his mother was the
daughter of an eminent architect; both were distinguished for their
scientific attainments, and united in imbuing their son with a similar
taste. Henry was, however, destined by his father for the law, and had
with great reluctance to give up for a time his hitherto exclusive
devotion to abstract science. Mr. Kater continued for two years
to remain in a pleader's office, during which time he acquired a
considerable portion of legal knowledge, on which he valued himself
through life; but the death of his father, in 1794, permitted him to
resume his favourite studies; and bidding adieu to the law, he obtained
a commission in the 12th Regiment of Foot, at that time stationed in

During the following year, Mr. Kater was engaged in the trigonometrical
survey of India under Colonel Lambton, contributing greatly, by his
untiring labours, to the success of that vast undertaking. About
the same period, he was also occupied in constructing a peculiarly
sensible hygrometer, of which he published a description in the
'Asiatic Researches.' Mr. Kater remained in India seven years, during
which time his unremitting study in a hot climate greatly injured his
constitution, and was the cause of his falling into a state of ill
health, from which he suffered more or less until the end of his life.

On his return to England, he qualified himself to serve on the general
staff, and later in life retired on half-pay, from which period he
devoted himself entirely to science. When Parliament, in the years
1818-19, determined on establishing an uniform system of weights
and measures, Captain Kater, in conjunction with Sir Joseph Banks,
Sir George Clerk, Davies Gilbert, and Drs. Wollaston and Young, was
appointed to investigate this most important subject; and he instituted
a series of experiments with a pendulum made of a bar of brass, 1½
inches wide and 1/8 of an inch thick, to which two knife-edges of a
kind of steel prepared in India, and known by the name of wootz, were
attached, playing upon agate plates. The knife-edges were placed in a
parallel direction on the brass bar, facing opposite ways upon either
of which it might be swung. They were so arranged, that when either
was used as the point of suspension the other nearly represented the
centre of oscillation, and by means of a small adjustable weight,
this condition might be accurately fulfilled. These experiments were
made in the house of Mr. H. Browne, F.R.S., which was situated in
a part of Portland Place not likely to be disturbed by carriages.
They occupied Captain Kater's close attention for several years;
and he has permanently attached his name to the beautiful theorem
of Huygens respecting the reciprocity of the centres of oscillation
and suspension, and their consequent quality of convertibility.
Although this was a property already known to belong to the centre
of oscillation, it had never hitherto been practically applied to
determine the exact length of a pendulum vibrating seconds; it was,
therefore, highly creditable to his ingenuity, and claims the same
order of merit as an original invention. In this, as well as in Kater's
laborious inquiries respecting a standard of weights and measures,
even where his conclusions have not escaped all the chances of error,
he has led the way to the still more delicate researches which have

Captain Kater also instituted a series of experiments as to the best
kind of steel and shape for compass needles; it resulted in the
adoption of the shear clock-spring steel, and the pierced rhombus form,
in the proportion of five inches in length to two in width. In the year
1831 he received the gold medal of the Royal Astronomical Society,
for the construction of his floating collimator, an instrument for
ascertaining the accurate zero or level points of divided astronomical
instruments. The optical principle upon which it depends is a very
beautiful one, and the invention of Kater, with several improvements in
point of form, has become the auxiliary of nearly every observatory in
the world, being one of those small but happy improvements which affect
materially the progress of science. Most of the learned societies in
Great Britain and on the Continent testified at different times their
sense of the value of his services, by enrolling him among their
members. The Emperor of Russia employed him to construct standards for
the weights and measures of his dominions, and was so pleased with the
execution of them, that he presented Kater with the Order of St. Anne
and a diamond snuff-box. The greater part of his publications appeared
in the 'Philosophical Transactions' of the Royal Society, chiefly
between the years 1813 and 1828.

Captain Kater died from a severe affection of the lungs, at his
residence, York Gate, in the fifty-third year of his age.--_Athenæum_,
May, 1835.--_Weld's History of the Royal Society._ London,
1848.--_Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society_, vol. 3,
February, 1836.--_Sixth Dissertation Encyclopædia Britannica_, Eighth


Born April 16, 1766. Died November 3, 1832.

Sir John Leslie, Professor of Natural Philosophy in the University of
Edinburgh, the son of a poor joiner or cabinetmaker, was born at the
village of Largo, in the county of Fife. Although both weak and sickly
as a child, he soon acquired considerable knowledge of mathematical and
physical science, and at the age of eleven attracted the notice of Mr.
Oliphant, the minister of the parish, by his precocious attainments.
This gentleman kindly lent young Leslie some scientific books, and
strongly advised him to continue the study of Latin, for which he had
a great aversion, although in after life he attained considerable
proficiency in that language.

He also became known to Professors Robison and Stewart, of Edinburgh,
and by their advice was sent, in his thirteenth year, to the University
of St. Andrew's, to study mathematics under Professor Vilant. Here, at
the end of the first session, his abilities procured him the second
prize, and likewise attracted the notice of the Earl of Kinnoull, then
Chancellor of the University, who undertook to defray the expenses
of his education, provided that he would enter the Church. Leslie
prosecuted his studies at this university during six sessions, and
became about this time acquainted with Playfair and Dr. Small.

In 1783-4 he quitted St. Andrews and went to Edinburgh, where, though
he formally entered the Divinity Hall, he contrived to devote his first
session to the sciences, particularly chemistry; in fact, Leslie seems
early to have relinquished all thoughts of the Church--a resolution
hastened by the death of his patron, the Earl of Kinnoull, shortly
after his removal to Edinburgh. While engaged at the university, he
also acted as tutor to Mr. Douglas, afterwards Lord Reston, the nephew
of Dr. Adam Smith, and he thus became known to that philosopher, who
treated him kindly, and occasionally favoured him with directions as to
his pursuits. Leslie's first essay, 'On the Resolution of Indeterminate
Problems,' was composed about this time, and read to the Royal
Society of Edinburgh by Mr. Playfair, in 1788, and published in their
'Transactions' for 1790.

In 1788, he became tutor to two young Americans of the name of
Randolph, and accompanied them to Virginia, where he remained for about
a twelvemonth, during which time he visited New York, Philadelphia,
&c. In January 1790, carrying, among other letters of recommendation,
one from Adam Smith, Leslie repaired to London, with the intention of
delivering a course of lectures on natural philosophy; but finding,
to use his own words, that "rational lectures would not succeed," he
employed himself for some time in writing for the 'Monthly Review,' and
in other literary occupations.

In April 1790, he became tutor to the younger Wedgewoods, of Etruria,
in Staffordshire, who had been his former fellow-students, and with
whom he remained until the close of 1792. Leslie was likewise employed
during this period in experimental investigations, and in completing
a translation of Buffon's 'Natural History of Birds,' published in
1793, in nine volumes, for which he received a considerable sum,--the
foundation of that pecuniary competency which his industrious and
prudent habits enabled him ultimately to acquire.

During the years 1794-5 he resided at Largo, occupied upon a long
series of hygrometrical experiments, during the course of which he
invented his differential thermometer, the parent, as it may be called,
of his subsequent inventions--the hygroscope, photometer, pyroscope,
æthrioscope, and atmometer. Although Leslie has been accused of having
plagiarized this invention either from Van Helmont, who died in 1644,
or from John Christopher Sturmius, who died sixty years later, he
at all events showed, by his skilful and fruitful employment of the
disputed invention, how much he surpassed, and how little he needed the
help of, him whom he is ungenerously supposed to have robbed of his
legitimate honours.

In 1800 he wrote several papers, on different branches of physics, in
Nicholson's 'Philosophical Journal,' which resulted in the publication
at London, in 1804, of his 'Experimental Inquiry into the Nature and
Propagation of Heat.' The originality and boldness of the peculiar
doctrines contained in this work, and the number of new and important
facts disclosed by its ingenious experimental combinations, rendered
it an object of extraordinary interest in the scientific world. The
Royal Society of London unanimously adjudged to its author the Rumford
medal; and although paradoxical in many of its theories, defective
in arrangement, and over ambitious in style, this work is almost
unrivalled in the entire range of physical science, for its indication
of vigorous and inventive genius.

Previous to this period of life, Leslie had appeared twice as a
candidate for an academical chair; first in the University of St.
Andrew's, afterwards in that of Glasgow; but on both occasions without
success. He now became a candidate for the Mathematical chair at
Edinburgh, vacant through the promotion of Professor Playfair to the
chair of Natural Philosophy. After a severe contest, during which much
party spirit was displayed, owing to his principal competitor, Dr.
Thomas Macknight, one of the ministers of Edinburgh, being supported by
the majority of the city clergy, Leslie was, in March, 1805, elected
to the Mathematical chair. He entered immediately upon his official
duties, which he continued to discharge with zeal and assiduity during
the following fourteen years.

Notwithstanding the labours which these duties entailed upon him,
Leslie continued his experimental inquiries, and in June, 1810,
discovered his beautiful process of artificial congelation, by which
he was enabled to produce ice, and even to freeze mercury at pleasure.
The process consists of a combination of the powers of rarefaction
and absorption, effected by placing a very strong absorbent under the
receiver of an air-pump. This experiment was performed in London in
1811, before a meeting of some members of the Royal Society; and the
discovery was announced in the same year in the 'Memoirs' of the French
Institute. He explained his experiments and views on this subject in
1813, in a volume published at Edinburgh, entitled, 'A short Account of
Experiments and Instruments depending on the Relations of Air to Heat
and Moisture.' Closely connected with the subject of this treatise was
an ingenious paper, published in 1818, in the 'Transactions' of the
Royal Society of Edinburgh, under the title, 'On certain Impressions
of Cold transmitted from the Higher Atmosphere; with a Description of
an Instrument to Measure them.' The æthrioscope was the instrument here
alluded to.

In 1819, upon the death of Playfair, Leslie was called to the chair of
Natural Philosophy, when his first care was directed to the extension
of the apparatus required in the more enlarged series of experiments
which he thought necessary for the illustration of the course. "This,
indeed," says his biographer, Mr. Napier, "was an object of which
he never lost sight; and it is due to him to state, that, through
his exertions, the means of experimental illustration in the Natural
Philosophy class were for the first time made worthy of the place."

In 1823 he published, chiefly for the use of this class, his 'Elements
of Natural Philosophy,' a second edition of which was published in
1829, with corrections and additions. Besides the above-mentioned
works, Leslie wrote the following:--'Elements of Geometry, Geometrical
Analysis and Plane Trigonometry,' in 1809; 'Observations on Electrical
Theories,' published in 1824, in the 'Edinburgh Philosophical Journal;'
also many articles in the 'Edinburgh Review;' and the articles on
Achromatic Glasses; Acoustics; Aeronautics; Andes; Angle and Trisection
of Angle; Arithmetic; Atmometer; Barometer; Barometrical Measurements;
Climate; Cold and Congelation; Dew; Interpolation; and Meteorology, in
the seventh edition of the 'Encyclopædia Britannica.'

Early in the year 1832, on the recommendation of Lord Brougham, then
Lord High Chancellor, Leslie was created, along with several other
eminent men of science, a Knight of the Guelphic Order. He was also a
member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and in 1820 had been elected
a corresponding member of the French Institute. During the month of
October, whilst engaged in superintending some improvements on his
grounds, he caught a severe cold, which was followed by erysipelas
in one of his legs, and his neglect of this, owing to a contempt for
medicine, and great confidence in his own strength and durability,
resulted in his death, at Coates, in the November following, at the age
of sixty-six.

Sir John Leslie has been described as rivalling all his contemporaries
in that creative faculty which discovers, often by an intuitive
glimpse, the hidden secrets of nature; but possessing in a less
degree the powers of judgment and reason, being thus often led in
his speculations to results glaringly inconsistent. His exquisite
instruments, and his experimental combinations, will, however, ever
test the utility, no less than the originality of his labours, and
will continue to act as aids to farther discovery.--_Encyclopædia
Britannica_, Eighth Edition.--_Abstract of Memoir of Sir John Leslie,
by Macvey Napier, English Cyclopædia._ London, 1856.



Born October 6, 1732. Died February 9, 1811.

This most accurate and industrious astronomer was born in London, and
was the son of Mr. Edmund Maskelyne, a gentleman of respectable family
in Wiltshire. At the age of nine Maskelyne was sent to Westminster
school, where he early began to distinguish himself, and to display a
decided taste for the study of optics and astronomy.

The great solar eclipse, which occurred in 1748 was, however, the
immediate cause of his directing his attention to these sciences,
and from that period he devoted himself with ardour to the study of
mathematics as subservient to that of astronomy. It is a curious fact
that the same eclipse is said to have produced a similar effect upon
the French astronomer Lalande, who was only three months older than his
English contemporary.

Soon after this Maskelyne entered the University of Cambridge as a
member of Catherine Hall, removing afterwards to Trinity, where he took
the degree of Bachelor of Arts with great credit in 1754, and proceeded
regularly through the succeeding stages of academical rank in divinity.
In 1755 he was ordained to a curacy at Barnet, and in the following
year obtained a fellowship at Trinity. In the year 1758 he was elected
a fellow of the Royal Society, previous to which event he had become
acquainted with Dr. Bradley, and had determined to make astronomy the
principal pursuit of his life, feeling that it was perfectly compatible
with an enlightened devotion to the duties of his own profession.

1761 marks the period when Maskelyne commenced his public career as
an astronomer. During that year he was chosen by the Royal Society
to undertake a voyage to the island of St. Helena, for the purpose
of observing the transit of Venus; and in order to make the voyage
as useful as possible, Maskelyne undertook to make observations upon
the parallax of Sirius. He remained ten months at St. Helena, but the
weather hindered his observing the transit to advantage, while the
inaccuracy of his quadrant, which was of the same construction as was
then usually employed, prevented his observations on the stars from
being as conclusive as he had expected. His voyage was, however, of
great service to navigation, by promoting the introduction of lunar
observations for ascertaining the longitude; and he taught the officers
of the ship in which he was in, the proper use of the instruments as
well as the mode of making the computations.

On his return to England, Maskelyne published, in 1763, his 'British
Mariner's Guide,' the earliest of his separate publications, in
which he proposes the adoption of a Nautical Almanac according to
the plan indicated by Lacaille, after his voyage to the Cape of
Good Hope. In the same year he performed a second voyage to the
island of Barbadoes, in order to determine the rates of Harrison's
chronometers. In his report on the results of this voyage Maskelyne,
while doing justice to the works of this eminent mechanician, decided
in favour of the employment of lunar observations for determining the
longitude, strongly supporting the cause of Professor Mayer, who had
computed lunar tables for this purpose. The liberality of the British
Government, however, bestowed on Harrison the whole reward that he
claimed,[22] while Maskelyne, having been appointed to the situation
of Astronomer Royal which likewise made him a member of the Board of
Longitude, was instrumental in procuring a reward of 5,000_l._ for the
family of Professor Mayer, and a compliment of 300_l._ for Euler, whose
theorems had been employed in the investigation.

When the merits of Mayer's tables had been fully established, the Board
of Longitude was induced to promote their application to practical
purposes by the annual publication of the Nautical Almanac, which,
during the remainder of his life, was arranged and conducted entirely
under Maskelyne's direction.

Maskelyne held the situation of Astronomer Royal for forty-seven
years, during which period he acquired the respect of all Europe, by
the diligence and accuracy of his observations, which he always, if
possible, conducted in person, requiring the aid of only one assistant.

Up to Maskelyne's time the observations of the Astronomers Royal had
been considered as private property; Flamsted publishing his own, while
Bradley's were very liberally bought of his family, and afterwards
printed by the University of Oxford. Dr. Maskelyne, on the contrary,
obtained leave from the British Government to have his observations
printed at the public expense under the direction of the Royal Society,
who are the legal visitors of the observatory, appointed by the royal
sign manual; and by thus causing the observations of the Astronomer
Royal to be recorded publicly, he supplied a great want which had
hitherto existed both in the English and French establishments. He also
made several improvements in the arrangement and employment of the
instruments used in the observatory, particularly, by enlarging the
slits through which the light was admitted; by making the eyeglass of
his transit telescope moveable to the place of each of the wires of the
micrometer; and above all, by marking the time to tenths of a second, a
refinement which had never been attempted before.

Maskelyne received his doctor's degree in the year 1777, he also
obtained the rare distinction of being made one of the eight foreign
associates of the French Academy of Science. In consequence of an
unsuccessful attempt made by Bouguer to measure the local attraction
of a mountain in South America, Maskelyne determined, in 1772, to
ascertain that of Schehallien in Scotland; and this latter undertaking,
together with the determination of the lunar orbit from observation,
and its application to navigation, may be considered as his most
important contributions to the cause of science.

In character Dr. Maskelyne was modest and somewhat timid in receiving
the visits of strangers, but his ordinary conversation was cheerful
and often playful, with a fondness for point and classical allusion.
He inherited a good paternal property, and obtained considerable
preferment from his college; somewhat late in life he married the
sister and co-heiress of Lady Booth of Northamptonshire; his sister was
the wife of Robert Lord Clive, and the mother of the Earl of Powis. Dr.
Maskelyne died on the ninth of February, 1811, in his seventy-ninth
year, leaving a widow and an only daughter.--_Notice sur la vie et les
travaux de M. Maskelyne par Delambre._ London, 1813.--_Memoir by Dr. T.
Young, Encyclopædia Britannica._


Born Aug. 22, 1771. Died Feb. 14, 1831.

This distinguished mechanical engineer was descended from an eminent
Lancashire family, who trace back their origin as far as the year 1200.
His father in early life enlisted in the Royal Artillery at Norwich,
and afterwards became store-keeper at the Royal Dockyard of Woolwich,
where his son Henry was born and spent his boyhood, acquiring in the
dockyard the first rudiments of that mechanical knowledge which has
since made him so justly celebrated.

After being employed for two years as a 'powder monkey' in the
dockyard, that is, in making and filling cartridges, Maudslay was
placed, at the age of fourteen, in the carpenter's shop. He however
infinitely preferred the blacksmith's shop, availing himself of every
opportunity to escape from his proper place, and steal off to the
smithy. His propensity was in fact so strong that it was thought better
to yield to it, and he was accordingly removed there in his fifteenth
year. He now made rapid progress, and soon became so expert a smith
and metal-worker as to attract considerable notice. Even in after
life, when at the head of the well-known firm which he founded, nothing
pleased him more than to set to work upon a difficult piece of forging
and to overcome the difficulties which it presented, which few could do
so well as he. The reputation which Maudslay acquired here, led to his
introduction and ultimate employment by Bramah, who was at that time
engaged in constructing his celebrated lock.

One of the chief obstacles which Bramah had to contend with in getting
his lock into general use, was, the difficulty he experienced in having
it manufactured with sufficient precision and at such a price as to
render it an article of successful commerce. Maudslay's[23] ability as
a workman and sound mechanical knowledge was of great service to Bramah
in this particular; the most difficult and delicate jobs were entrusted
to him, and among others he constructed the identical lock, the picking
of which so severely tested the skill and ability of Mr. Hobbs in the
year 1851. He also, according to the testimony of Mr. J. Nasmyth,
supplied Bramah with the key to the practical success of the hydraulic
press, viz., the self-tightening leather collar.[24]

About the year 1797 Maudslay commenced business on his own account
in Wells Street, Oxford Street, removing a few years afterwards to
Margaret Street, Cavendish Square. Here he matured and carried out many
improvements in tools connected with the mechanical arts, bringing
into general notice and use planing machines and the slide rest. So
great was the prejudice felt against this last named important adjunct
of a lathe, that on the first introduction of the slide rest to the
engineers of the period, it was received with great disfavour, and
called by one in derision the 'Go Cart.' Maudslay also directed his
attention to the subject of screw cutting. Previous to his time the
tools used for making screws were of the most rude and inexact kind:
each manufacturing establishment made them after their own fashion,
and no system was observed as to the pitch. Every bolt and nut was a
speciality in itself; and to such an extent was this carried that all
bolts and their corresponding nuts had to be marked, any mixing of
them together causing endless trouble and confusion. Maudslay changed
all this--he brought screw-cutting into a proper system, and laid the
foundation of all that has since been done in this important branch
of machine-construction, and many of those who afterwards became
eminent in this particular branch of manufacture, acquired their first
knowledge of the subject in his employ.[25] While residing in Margaret
Street he became acquainted with Sir Isambard (then Mr.) Brunel, who
was in the habit of bringing drawings of small pieces of machinery
for him to construct: this attracted Maudslay's attention, and at last
he one day exclaimed to Sir Isambard, "Ah! I see what you are thinking
of--you want machinery for making blocks:" this so pleased Brunei,
that he became more open of communication, and in the subsequent
completion of the beautiful block machinery afterwards erected at
Portsmouth Dockyard, Mr. Brunel derived great advantage from the sound
mechanical knowledge of Maudslay. The friendship commenced thus was
never afterwards shaken, and when Brunel began the Thames Tunnel, he
consulted his old friend relative to the construction of the shield, as
it was termed, under shelter of which the excavation beneath the bed of
the river, and the brickwork for forming the Tunnel were proceeded with.

In the year 1807 Maudslay took out a patent for improvements in the
steam-engine, by which he much simplified its parts and secured greater
directness of action. His new engine was called the Pyramidal, from its
form, and was the first move towards direct acting engines. In 1810,
finding his business getting too extensive for his premises in Margaret
Street, he removed to the more capacious ones in Westminster Road,
Lambeth. Here he for many years carried on a large business, embracing
the manufacture of all kinds of machinery, but more particularly of
marine engines, to the construction and improvement of which he early
directed his attention, foreseeing how important a branch of industry
they would eventually become; and it may be interesting to record, that
the engines (24 H. P.) of the 'Regent,' the first steamboat which ran
between London and Margate, were made at this yard in the year 1816.

Mr. Maudslay held for several years the contract for supplying the
Royal Navy with ship tanks, and this led to his making improved
machinery for punching and shearing the iron plates used in their
manufacture, reducing the cost of preparing the plates for receiving
the rivets from seven shillings, to ninepence, per Tank.

Mr. Maudslay has been described by his friend Mr. James Nasmyth as the
very beau-ideal of an honest, upright, straightforward, hardworking
intelligent Englishman: he died in his 60th year from a severe cold
which he had caught on his way home from a visit to France, and
was buried in Woolwich churchyard, in a vault he had caused to be
constructed there; the monument and tablet erected to his memory were
of cast iron, and were made from a design of his own. Maudslay married
when twenty years old Sarah Tindel, by whom he had four sons and
three daughters, of whom now survive only one daughter, and one son
Thomas Henry Maudslay.--_From particulars communicated by members of
the present firm of Maudslay, Sons and Field._--_Smile's Industrial
Biography._ London, 1863.


Born in Scotland 1730. Died at Dalswinton House, near Dumfries, 1815.

Patrick Miller, of Dalswinton, was originally a banker, and ultimately
became possessed of considerable independent property. At different
periods of his life he embarked in many schemes of great public
utility. He made considerable improvements in artillery and naval
architecture, and during the course of his various experiments expended
upwards of thirty thousand pounds. One of the immediate results of
his experiments in the first-named science was the invention of the
well-known carronade; while in the course of his experiments in naval
architecture, he constructed double and triple vessels, and was the
first to practically apply the present form of the paddle-wheels
now in ordinary use to their propulsion. Having satisfied himself
of the usefulness of his researches in this respect, by many costly
experiments undertaken at his own expense, Mr. Miller published at
Edinburgh, in 1787, a book in English and French, containing a full
account of them, and sent a copy of his work to every sovereign in
Europe, and also to the American States, inasmuch as he considered that
his inventions ought to be the property of the human kind.[26] The
paddle-wheels in these experiments (undertaken in the years 1786-7)
were turned by manual labour, and on the occasion of a severe contest
between one of his double boats and a Custom-house boat, reckoned to be
a fast sailer, the want of a more powerful force to turn the wheels was
greatly felt. Mr. James Taylor, at that time a tutor in Mr. Miller's
family, suggested steam power, and ultimately introduced Miller to Wm.
Symington, with whose aid Mr. Miller commenced and carried out those
experiments (in the years 1788-89) which have justly entitled him to
the honour of being the first to originate the present system of steam

It is much to be regretted that since the deaths of Mr. Miller and
Mr. Symington, statements have been made in which the _entire_
merit of first establishing steam navigation is claimed, on the one
hand, for Miller, by his eldest son, in a paper published in the
'Edinburgh Philosophical Journal' for July 1825; and on the other
for Symington, by Richard Bowie, in his pamphlet published in 1833;
whereas these two gentlemen appear to be inseparably connected with
the first introduction of this grand application of steam. As far
as it is possible to reconcile the conflicting statements, the
facts may be briefly stated thus. Patrick Miller was the first to
successfully propel vessels by paddle-wheels moved by manual labour.
He then, in conjunction with William Symington, applied steam to move
these paddle-wheels, and constructed two steam-boats, which were
publicly tried, on the Forth and Clyde Canal, in the years 1788-89.
Although these trials triumphantly proved the practicability of
steam navigation, further improvements were required before a really
successful steam-boat could be said to have been constructed. At this
point, unfortunately, Mr. Miller, having already spent large sums of
money in his experiments, let the matter drop; but Symington, about
ten years afterwards, under the patronage of Lord Dundas, succeeding
in constructing 'The Charlotte Dundas,' a steam-boat which, for the
first time, combined together those improvements which constitute
the present system of steam navigation. In the narrative written by
Patrick Miller, Jun., a good deal of praise, in regard to this matter,
is given to James Taylor, before referred to, who is considered by
some as having a just claim to participate in the honour awarded to
Miller and Symington. Mr. Taylor's merits, however, appear chiefly to
consist in having suggested, upon the occasion of a race between one
of Miller's boats and a Custom House boat, that they only required
the help of a steam-engine to beat their antagonists; also, in having
introduced Symington, whose steam-carriage had rendered him famous,
to the notice of Mr. Miller; and although Taylor assisted in the
subsequent experiments, he seems to have contributed little to their
practical success.--_Narrative of Facts relative to Invention and
Practice of Steam Navigation, &c., by Patrick Miller, Jun., 'Edinburgh
Philosophical Journal,'_ Vol. 13, July 1825.--_Narrative by R.
Bowie, proving William Symington the Inventor of Steam Land Carriage
Locomotion and of Steam Navigation._ London, 1833.--_Stuart's Anecdotes
of the Steam Engine._ London, 1829.--_Descriptive Catalogue of the
Museum of the Commissioners of Patents._


Born 1754. Died November 15, 1839.

William Murdock was born at Bellow Mill, near Old Cumnock, Ayrshire,
where his father carried on the business of a millwright and miller,
and likewise possessed a farm on the estate of the Boswell family of
Auchinleck. His mother's maiden name was Bruce, and she used to boast
of being lineally descended from Robert Bruce, of Scottish History.
Little is known of Murdock's life prior to his coming to England, and
joining, in the year 1777, Boulton and Watt's establishment at Soho,
at that time in its infancy. He must, however, have had some celebrity
in his native country, as he was employed to build a bridge over the
river Nith, in Dumfrieshire, a very handsome structure, and still in
existence. His talents were soon appreciated at Soho, particularly by
James Watt, with whom he continued on terms of the closest friendship
until Mr. Watt's death in 1819. After remaining two years at Soho,
Murdock was appointed by Messrs. Boulton and Watt to superintend the
erection, and undertake the general charge, of their new steam-engines
in Cornwall, where he erected the first engine, in that part of the
country, with a separate condenser. He continued to live in the
district for the space of nineteen years, giving great satisfaction to
the mining interest; so much so, that when it became known that he was
about to return to Soho, 1000_l._ a-year was offered him to remain in
Cornwall. During his residence there Murdock contrived and executed a
model locomotive, which, as early as the year 1784, he was in the habit
of showing to his friends in working order, and drawing a small waggon
round a room in his house at Redruth. He used to tell a story, that
while making experiments with this engine, he one night determined to
test its powers on a level road leading from his house to the church,
which was situated about a mile distant from the town; this road was
bounded on each side by high edges, and well suited for the purpose.
Murdock accordingly sallied out, and placing his engine on the ground,
lit the fire, or rather lamp, under the boiler; after a few minutes off
started the locomotive with the inventor full chase after it; after
continuing the pursuit for a short distance, he heard cries as of a
person in great distress; the night was too dark to perceive objects
afar off, but on going on, he found that the sounds proceeded from the
clergyman of the parish, who had set out for the town on business, and
being met on this lonely road by the fiery monster, had taken it for
the Evil One in person. This model locomotive was exhibited before a
meeting of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1850, sixty-six
years after the date of its construction.

Mr. Murdock is, however, better known to the public by his application
of the light of coal gas to general purposes. Although this gas had
been well known, and obtained both naturally and artificially more
than half a century before his time, no attempt had as yet been made
to turn the discovery to any useful account. In the year 1792 Murdock
first employed coal gas for the purpose of lighting his house and
offices at Redruth; he made it serve also as a lantern, by attaching a
bladder with a tube mouthpiece under the bottom of a glass shade, which
contrivance used to light him across the moors when returning home
at night from the mining engines he was erecting in different parts
of the district. After various experiments which proved the economy
and convenience of light so obtained, he perfected his apparatus and
made a public exhibition of it by lighting up the front of Boulton
and Watt's manufactory at Soho, on the occasion of the general
illumination for the peace of Amiens, in 1802. He subsequently lighted
up some cotton mills at Manchester, beginning with Messrs. Phillips
and Lee's, and published a paper on the subject in the 'Philosophical
Transactions' of 1808, for which the Royal Society presented him with
the Rumford gold medal.

In 1798 Murdock returned to take up his permanent residence at Soho,
superintending the machinery there, and occasionally the erection of
engines at a distance, among which may be mentioned those of the New
River Head, Lambeth, Chelsea, Southwark, East London, West Middlesex,
and other waterworks. In the following year he took out a patent for
improvements in boring cylinders and in the manufacture of steam
casings; this patent also included the double =D= slide valve and a
rotary engine. Amongst other inventions and discoveries of Murdock's
are: a plan for boring stone pipes for water, and cutting columns
out of solid blocks of stone (for which he took a patent in 1810);
a pneumatic lift working by compressed air; and a cast iron cement,
which he was led to discover by the accidental observance of some iron
borings and sal-ammoniac, which had got mixed in his tool-chest and
rusted a sword blade nearly through. He also made use of compressed
air to ring the bells in his house; a plan which so pleased Sir
Walter Scott, to whom it had been described, that he had his house at
Abbotsford fitted up in a similar manner. Murdock likewise discovered
a substitute for isinglass, and when in London for the purpose of
explaining to the brewers the nature of his discovery, occupied
very handsome apartments. Being, however, at all times absorbed in
whatever subject he had in hand, he little respected the splendour
of his drawing-room, but proceeded with his experiments as if in the
laboratory at Soho, quite unconscious of the mischief he was doing.
This resulted in his abrupt dismissal from the apartments by the
enraged landlady, who one morning, on calling in to receive orders, was
horrified at seeing all her magnificent paper-hangings covered with
wet fish skins hung up to dry, and actually caught him in the act of
pinning up a cod's skin to undergo the same process.

In the year 1815, while Mr. Murdock was fitting up an apparatus of
his own invention for heating the water of the baths at Leamington, a
ponderous cast-iron plate fell upon his leg above the ankle, nearly
severing it in two. This severe accident laid him up for a long time,
and he never entirely recovered from the effects of it. During the
latter years of his life Murdock's faculties, both corporeal and
mental, experienced a gradual decay, causing him to live in complete
retirement. He died in 1839, aged eighty-five years, and his remains
were buried in Handsworth Church, near to those of Boulton and James

Mr. Murdock married in the year 1785 the daughter of Captain Paynter,
of Redruth, Cornwall, who died at the early age of twenty-four, having
had four children.--_From a Paper read by Mr. William Buckle, of Soho,
before a meeting of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers_, October
23, 1850.


Born January 4, 1733. Died May 5, 1811.

Robert Mylne, the architect of Blackfriars Bridge, was born at
Edinburgh. His father was an architect, and magistrate of the city; and
his family, it has been ascertained, held the office of Master Masons
to the Kings of Scotland for a period of five hundred years, until the
union of the crowns of England and Scotland.

On arriving at man's estate, Mylne travelled for improvement; and his
enthusiastic prosecution of his art soon brought him into notice. In
1758 he became a candidate for the honours of the Academy of St. Luke
at Rome, and the chief prize in the highest class of architecture was
awarded to him; being the first instance of a native of Great Britain
obtaining that honour.

Mylne resided at Rome during a space of five years, and on his return
to England executed a design for Blackfriars Bridge, which was selected
from among twenty others. This bridge was commenced in 1760; and on the
occasion of the laying of the foundation-stone by the Lord Mayor, among
other medals deposited in the stone was a silver one, the memorial
of the young architect's first triumph, viz., the medal (one of two)
given him by the Academy at Rome. The bridge was completed in 1769; the
arches are elliptical in shape, and were the first instances in England
in which the form of an ellipse was substituted for a semicircle. The
total cost of the bridge itself, exclusive of the approaches, amounted
to 152,840_l._

Mylne's reputation was now established, and his services were employed
in the erection or improvement of many edifices throughout the United
Kingdom. He received at the hands of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the
Bishop of London, and the Lord Mayor, the office of Surveyor of St.
Paul's Cathedral; and while holding this appointment, suggested the
famous inscription to Sir Christopher Wren--'_Si monumentum quæris
circumspice_.' He also held the office of Clerk of the Works at
Greenwich Hospital for fifteen years, and was Engineer to the New River
Water Works from the year 1762 until his death, in 1811, when he was
succeeded by his son.

Towards the close of the eighteenth century, he became acquainted with
Mr. John Rennie, whose celebrity as an engineer was then approaching
its height; and the two became from that time inseparable friends.[28]
Mr. Mylne was also an intimate friend of Dr. Johnson, their
acquaintance having originated out of a controversy as to the form of
the arch for Blackfriars Bridge.

Mylne was buried in St. Paul's Cathedral, by the side of his
illustrious predecessor, Sir Christopher Wren.--_Gateshead Observer_,
October 20, 1860.--_Encyclopædia Britannica._


Born September 7, 1758. Died April 10, 1840.

Alexander Nasmyth, the distinguished Scotch landscape painter, and
known also as a man of science, was born at Edinburgh. He came early in
life to London, where he was for some time the pupil of Allen Ramsay,
painter to George III. He resided afterwards in Rome for several years,
during which time he studied portrait, history, and landscape painting.

From Rome, Nasmyth returned to Edinburgh, where he settled as a
portrait painter, and executed his well-known painting of Robert
Burns-the most authentic likeness of this great poet. Having, however,
a decided taste for landscape painting, he ultimately confined himself
to this branch of art; but much of his time was occupied in teaching,
in which he was very successful. His landscapes, which are very
numerous, were, many of them, reminiscences of Italian scenery, and
although wanting in originality and vigour, possess so much beauty
and grace as to have caused their author to acquire the name of the
'Scottish Claude.'

Mr. Nasmyth was a favourite in society, and was the leading teacher
in art of the highest classes in Scotland; during his later years
being commonly looked up to as the patriarch of Scottish art. He not
only took much interest in the proceedings of the artistic societies
of Edinburgh, but often raised an influential voice in respect to the
alterations making in that city; and was one of the three successful
competitors between whom the first prize offered for the best plan for
laying out and building the New Town of Edinburgh was equally divided.

Mr. Nasmyth spent much of his time in scientific experiments, and was
the inventor of 'bow and string bridges,' and of a method of driving
the screw-propellers of vessels by direct action, in front of the
rudder. Much of his leisure time was spent in a workshop which he
had fitted up for himself, and which proved the nursery of the early
mechanical genius of the present James Nasmyth, the celebrated engineer.

Soon after his return from Italy, Alexander Nasmyth married the sister
of Sir James Foulis of Woodhall Colinton, by whom he had a family of
three sons and five daughters, all of whom inherited more or less their
father's talents, while the eldest, Patrick, has acquired a separate
renown of no inconsiderable extent, for the beauty of his landscapes.

Alexander Nasmyth died in York Place, Edinburgh, at the age of
eighty-three, and was interred in the West Church burying-ground of
that city.--_English Cyclopædia._ London, 1857.--_Catalogue of Gallery
of Portraits of Inventors, &c., in the South Kensington Museum._



Born March 10, 1748. Died July 19, 1819.

John Playfair, a mathematician and philosopher of great eminence and
celebrity, was born at Benvie in Forfarshire, and was the eldest son of
the Rev. James Playfair, the minister of that place. Playfair resided
at home, under the domestic tuition of his father, until the age of
fourteen, when he entered the University of St. Andrew's, where he
became almost immediately distinguished, not merely for his singular
proficiency in mathematical learning, but also for the extent of his
general knowledge, the clearness of his judgment, and the dignity and
propriety of his conduct. A strong proof of his capabilities at this
time is given by the fact, that when Dr. Wilkie, the professor of
natural philosophy, was prevented by indisposition from delivering the
regular lectures, he used generally to delegate the task of instruction
to his youthful pupil, Playfair.

In 1769 Playfair removed to Edinburgh, and while residing there became
acquainted with Adam Smith, Drs. Robertson, Matthew Stewart, Black, and
Hutton, with all of whom he continued on terms of the utmost cordiality
during the whole period of their lives.

During the course of the year 1772, the death of his father suddenly
devolved upon Playfair the burden of supporting his family, and
compelled him in a measure to seek a livelihood by entering the
Church. Although he had been educated with a view to his entering this
profession, for which he was in every way qualified, his decided
predilection for science had hitherto made him hesitate about engaging
in a vocation, the duties of which, he felt, if conscientiously
discharged, would necessarily interfere greatly with the studies he was
loath to abandon. In this emergency, however, he considered himself no
longer entitled to indulge in these predilections, and therefore made
an application, which proved successful, to Lord Gray, the patron,
for a presentation to the livings of Liff and Benvie, which had been
previously held by his father. From this period until 1782, he was
constantly resident at Liff, occupied almost exclusively with the
pastoral duties of his office, and with the education of his younger

In the year 1779 Playfair contributed to the 'Transactions' of the
Royal Society of London a paper on the 'Arithmetic of Impossible
Quantities,' which exhibits, within a very small compass, a striking
example of the rare and admirable talent of detaching the sound spirit
of science from what may be termed its mysticism. In the year 1782 he
was induced by very advantageous offers to resign his charge, and to
superintend the education of Ferguson of Raith, and his brother Sir
Ronald; an arrangement which restored him in a great measure to the
literary and scientific society of Edinburgh, and enabled him to visit
London, where he was gratified by a personal introduction to several of
the most eminent cultivators of science in that city.

Playfair was received into the University of Edinburgh during the
course of the year 1785, and, in consequence of an arrangement made
between Dr. Adam Ferguson and Mr. Dugald Stewart, was appointed
joint-professor of mathematics with Dr. Ferguson, whose delicate
state of health prevented him from discharging the active duties of
the professorship; Mr. Stewart filling the chair of moral philosophy,
previously held by Dr. Ferguson.

Previous to this, like Leslie, Playfair had been twice a candidate for
a similar honour, but unsuccessfully. On the first occasion, when only
eighteen years old, he had offered himself, with the approbation of
his instructors at St. Andrew's, as candidate for the professorship of
mathematics in Marischal College, Aberdeen, and had sustained with much
credit a competitive examination which lasted eleven days, and embraced
nearly the whole range of the exact sciences. Out of six competitors,
two only were judged to have surpassed him--the Rev. Dr. Trail, who was
appointed to the office, and Dr. Hamilton, who afterwards succeeded to
and long filled it with much reputation.

In 1788, Playfair published, in the 'Transactions' of the Royal Society
of Edinburgh, a biographical account of Dr. Matthew Stewart, which also
contains a singularly clear and interesting account of the labours
of Dr. Simson in the restoration of ancient geometry. In this year
likewise appeared his paper 'On the Causes which affect the accuracy of
Barometrical Measurements,' which is written with all the perspicuity,
caution, and sagacity, that constitute the great excellence and the
great difficulty of such disquisitions, where scientific principles are
employed to give precision to physical observations. In 1790 appeared,
in the same 'Transactions,' a paper of still greater interest and
delicacy, 'On the Astronomy of the Brahmins,' the publication of which
attracted very general attention, both in Europe and in Asia, and gave
rise to much discussion and research. This was followed in 1794 by a
learned and very beautiful treatise on the 'Origin and Investigation
of Porisms,' in which the obscure nature of the very comprehensive
and indefinite theorems to which this name was applied by the ancient
geometers, is explained with the most lucid simplicity.

In 1797 he composed a sequel to his first paper on the Indian
astronomy, in the shape of 'Observations on the Trigonometrical Tables
of the Brahmins,' and also a masterly collection of 'Theorems on the
Figure of the Earth.' During the course of the last-mentioned year,
his friend Dr. James Hutton died; and Playfair, having undertaken to
draw up a biographical account of him for the Royal Society, was led
to study the doctor's ingenious but crude speculations on the 'Theory
of the Earth,' and afterwards to lend them the assistance of his own
powerful pen, in his 'Illustrations of the Huttonian Theory.' This
work, upon which he bestowed more time and labour than on any of his
other productions, did not appear until 1802; and whatever opinion may
be formed of the truth or soundness of Dr. Hutton's speculations, it is
impossible to doubt that Playfair's illustration of that theory must
always be ranked amongst the most brilliant and powerful productions of
philosophical genius. Its merits have been universally acknowledged,
even by those not convinced by its reasonings, and have extorted, even
from the fastidious critics of France, the acknowledgment that "Mr.
Playfair writes as well as Buffon, and reasons incomparably better."

In 1805 he quitted the chair of mathematics to succeed Professor
Robison in that of natural philosophy. In the contest which ensued
upon the appointment of Leslie as his successor in this chair, he took
a very active part; and amongst the heaviest blows which Leslie's
opponents had to sustain, were those that parted from the hand of
Mr. Playfair. In 1807 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society,
to which learned body he very soon afterwards presented his 'Account
of the Lithological Survey of Schehallien;' this was the result of
his investigations during the period of Dr. Maskelyne's visit to
Schehallien, to measure the attraction of that mountain, on which
occasion Playfair shared the shelter of this distinguished astronomer's
tent on the side of the mountain, and contracted with him a friendship
which lasted during the remainder of their lives.

In 1809 he contributed to the 'Edinburgh Transactions' an excellent
paper on 'Solids of the Greatest Attraction,' and in 1812, another,
on the 'Progress of Heat in Spherical Bodies.' In 1814 he published,
in two volumes octavo, for the use of his class, an elementary work
of great value, under the title of 'Outlines of Natural Philosophy.'
About the same time he drew up for the 'Encyclopædia Britannica' an
introductory 'Dissertation on the Progress of Mathematical and Physical
Science,' a treatise distinguished for the soundness of judgment,
beauty of writing, and extent of knowledge displayed in it. In 1815,
Playfair wrote for the Royal Society of Edinburgh a very interesting
memoir of his distinguished predecessor, Dr. Robison. In the course of
the same year he undertook, at the age of sixty-eight, a long journey
through France and Switzerland into Italy, and did not return for a
period of nearly eighteen months, during which time his principal
attention was directed to the mineralogical and geological phenomena
of the different regions which he visited. On his return from this
expedition, he was occupied in drawing up a memoir on the 'Naval
Tactics of Clerk of Eldin,' which was published after his death in the
'Philosophical Transactions.'

Playfair had for several years suffered from a recurrence at different
times of a painful affection of the bladder, which appeared with
increased seventy in the early part of 1819, but was so far got under
as to enable him to complete his course of lectures in the spring. It
returned, however, in a still more distressing form in the summer, and
at last put a period to his life on the 19th of July. Though suffering
great pain during the last part of his confinement, he retained not
only his intellectual faculties quite unimpaired, but also the serenity
and mildness of his spirit, occupying himself until within a few days
of his death in correcting the proof-sheets of the 'Dissertation'
before noticed.

Besides the previously mentioned works, Playfair was a frequent
contributor to the 'Edinburgh Review,' and also wrote the articles
'Æpinus' and 'Physical Astronomy,' in the 'Encyclopædia Britannica.'
Francis Jeffrey, of whose elaborate and elegant memoir the above is but
a brief summary, speaks of Playfair as being "one of the most learned
mathematicians of the age, and among the first, if not the very first,
who introduced the beautiful discoveries of the later Continental
geometers to the knowledge of his countrymen, and gave their just
value and true place in the scheme of European knowledge, to those
important improvements by which the whole aspect of abstract science
has been renovated since the days of our illustrious Newton;" also, "as
possessing in the highest degree all the characteristics both of a fine
and powerful understanding, at once penetrating and vigilant, but more
distinguished perhaps for the caution and sureness of its march than
for the brilliancy or rapidity of its movements; and guided and adorned
through all its progress by the most genuine enthusiasm for all that is
grand, and the justest taste for all that is beautiful."--_Memoir of
John Playfair, by Lord Jeffrey._--_Encyclopædia Britannica._

JOHN RENNIE, F.R.S., L. and E., &c.

Born June 7, 1761. Died October 4, 1821.

John Rennie was born at Phantassie, in the parish of Prestonkirk, in
the county of East Lothian. His father was a highly respectable farmer,
who died in 1766, leaving a widow and nine children, of whom John was
the youngest. He acquired the first rudiments of his education at the
village school, which was situated on the opposite side of a brook.
To cross this at certain seasons of the year it was necessary to
make use of a boat, which was kept at the workshop of Andrew Meikle,
an ingenious mechanic well known in Scotland as the inventor of the
threshing machine. Young Rennie, having thus frequent occasion to pass
through Meikle's workshop, became deeply interested in the various
mechanical operations that were in progress, and a great part of his
leisure and holiday time was spent therein. During the evening he
employed himself in imitating the machines which had particularly
attracted his attention, and when only ten years old succeeded in
constructing a model of a steam-engine, a windmill, and a pile-driving
machine. At twelve years of age he left the Preston school and entered
the service of Mr. Meikle for a space of two years, at the end of which
time, finding that a constant application to manual labour retarded the
progress of his intellectual faculties, he determined to place himself
under the tuition of Mr. Gibson, an eminent mathematical master at
Dunbar. Here Young Rennie attained such proficiency in his studies,
that when, two or three years afterwards, Mr. Gibson was appointed
master to the public academy at Perth, he was able to undertake the
temporary management of the Dunbar school. While at this school he
attracted the especial notice of Mr. David Lock, who, in describing a
visit to Dunbar, makes particular mention of him as one likely to prove
an honour to his country.[29] On leaving Mr. Gibson, Rennie returned
to Mr. Meikle, continuing more or less with that ingenious man for the
next two or three years.[30] His first essay in practical mechanics
was the repairing of a corn mill in his native village, and he erected
two or three others before he had reached the age of eighteen. While
occupied in these works Rennie took care at the same time to attend
to his other studies, managing occasionally to visit Edinburgh, where
he entered himself as a student at the University, and attended the
lectures of Professors Robison and Black. With the former gentleman he
gradually formed an intimate acquaintance, and was by him introduced
to Messrs. Boulton and Watt, of Soho, with whom he remained during
the space of twelve months; it being their wish to have engaged his
services for a longer period, but Rennie, conscious of his own powers,
determined to make the capital the theatre of his future efforts. His
first practical essay at millwright work in England was the rolling
mills at Soho, which were entirely remodelled and rebuilt under his

In 1784 he established himself in London, and commenced work by the
erection of the Albion Mills near Blackfriars Bridge, Boulton and Watt,
who had the direction of the steam-engines, having, in accordance
with the advice of Professors Robison and Black, entrusted to him
the execution of the millwork. Mr. Watt, in his notes to Professor
Robison's account of the steam-engine, says that "in the construction
of the millwork and machinery, they derived most valuable assistance
from that able mechanician and engineer, Mr. John Rennie, then just
entering into business, who assisted in placing them, and under whose
direction they were executed." He also adds that the machinery, which
used to be made of wood, was here made of cast iron, and considers that
this was the commencement of that system of millwork which has proved
so beneficial to this country. After executing this undertaking, Rennie
was employed on the flour mills at Wandsworth, and the rolling and
triturating mills at the Mint. His mills, and particularly his water
wheels, were regarded as models of perfection, while in all hydraulic
works he was the worthy successor of Smeaton. From this time until his
comparatively early death in 1821, Rennie was constantly employed on
various large and splendid undertakings, among which his bridges occupy
an important place. Of these structures the finest is the Waterloo
Bridge over the Thames, begun in 1809 and finished in 1817. It is built
of Aberdeen granite, and consists of nine equal semi-elliptical arches
of 20 feet span, with a level roadway 45 feet wide from outside to
outside of parapet, which adds greatly to its beauty. This bridge was
opened to the public by the Prince Regent, who offered at the time to
confer upon Mr. Rennie the honour of knighthood; this offer, however,
he declined. London Bridge, which he designed but did not live to
execute, was finished by his sons, Mr. George and Sir John Rennie.
It is built of the finest blue and white granite from Scotland and
Devonshire, and consists of five semi-elliptical arches, two of 130,
two of 140, and the centre one of 152½ ft. span, being perhaps the
largest elliptical arch ever attempted. The beautiful stone bridge
over the Tweed at Kelso, and those at Musselburgh and New Galloway,
were also designed by him. When speaking of the first-named of these
bridges, Mr. Rennie used often playfully to declare, that he considered
himself a benefactor to his country, inasmuch as one of his earliest
public works was to build a bridge across the Tweed! The iron bridges
which he executed are, the one at Boston, over the Witham, with a span
of 100 feet; and the noble bridge at Southwark, over the Thames, begun
in 1815 and opened in 1819. The latter consists of three circular
arches of equal curvature, the centre one having a span of 240, and the
other two of 210 feet. The total weight of iron in the structure was
5780 tons, and the entire cost, including approaches, &c., 800,000_l._

The improvement of harbours and the construction of docks occupied much
of Mr. Rennie's attention, and in these operations his diving-bell
apparatus was of peculiar value. Smeaton was the first who used the
diving-bell effectually for building with stone under water; the
machine he employed for that purpose was, however, very defective, and
could only be used in certain situations. But Rennie, by improvements
in the instrument itself, and in the machinery by which its movements
could be regulated,[31] was enabled to carry on masonry, and the
foundations of sea-walls, piers, and quays, as well under water as
above it. He first employed his apparatus in 1813, in building the
East Pierhead at Ramsgate, the foundations of which were 17 feet
below low water at spring tides. It was afterwards used in founding
the pierheads and outer walls of the harbours at Holyhead, Howth, and
Sheerness, and other works under his direction. Amongst the numerous
wet docks introduced at Liverpool in 1716, and since constructed at
almost all the principal sea-ports in the kingdom, Mr. Rennie executed
the London Docks, and those at Leith, Dublin, Hull, and Greenock,
and also the East and West India Docks, in conjunction with Jessop
and Ralph Walker. He also constructed the harbours of Queensferry,
Berwick, Howth, Holyhead, and that at Kingston, the largest attempted
in this country. At the low water of spring tide, the depth of this
harbour was 26 feet, while the area enclosed amounted to 250 acres. The
breakwater at Plymouth for protecting the Sound from the swell of the
sea was likewise designed by him and Mr. Whitby, and was the first and
largest example of a detached breakwater in this country. One of the
most useful works executed by Mr. Rennie was the drainage of the great
Fen district bordering upon the rivers Trent, Witham, New Welland,
and Ouse, and extending 60 miles in length by 25 in breadth. In the
carrying out of this great work, by which many hundreds of square miles
were rendered productive, and the salubrity of the district improved,
he was assisted by Mr. Telford and his son, Sir John Rennie. The chief
canals of which he was engineer are the Kennet, Avon, Crinan, Rochdale,
and Lancaster. The naval dockyards at Portsmouth, Plymouth, Chatham,
and Sheerness, also attest his skill as an engineer. The latter was
a mere quicksand 40 feet deep, mixed with mud and the wrecks of old
ships; the whole of which was excavated, and a magnificent basin
constructed with a surrounding wall of granite, with which three large
and commodious dry docks communicated. Several magnificent works of
great public utility were proposed to the government by Mr. Rennie but
never executed. The most remarkable of these is his design for a great
naval arsenal on the Thames at Northfleet, intended as a substitute for
the imperfect naval establishments on the river. It was to consist of
six capacious basins, with an area of 600 acres within the walls, and
to comprehend machinery for every operation connected with the naval
science. The estimated cost of this noble plan was eight millions,
which might have amounted to ten or eleven millions, but would even
then have been a measure of economy compared with the vast sums
expended on the old establishments on the Thames and Medway.

Before closing the present brief account of this celebrated engineer's
life and works, his lighthouse on the Bell Rock must not be passed by
without notice. Like the Eddystone, it was built of stone; commenced in
1806, and finished in 1811, it still remains an enduring monument of
the skill of its architect.

Until within a few years of his death Mr. Rennie enjoyed robust health,
but he was cut off in the sixty-first year of his age after a few
days' illness. He was buried in St. Paul's Cathedral, his remains
being interred near to those of Sir Christopher Wren.--_Encyclopædia
Britannica._--_North British Review_, Feb., 1861.--_Mechanics'
Magazine_, September 20 and November 22, 1861.


Francis Ronalds was born in London, in the year 1788. From a very early
period in life he devoted himself to the advancement of electrical
science, a course he has consistently pursued during a large portion
of his life, which has not yet we are glad to be able to state drawn
to its close. He is the inventor of an electric telegraph, electrical
machine, electrometer, a new mode of electrical insulation, a pendulum
doubler, an electric clock, several meteorological and magnetical
instruments and other mechanical contrivances. The year 1816, however,
marked Mr. Ronald's great achievement in the advancement of electric
telegraphs. During that year he was the first to demonstrate that
they could be practically and unerringly applied to the passage of
messages through a long distance. Well aware of the difficulties
arising from imperfect insulation, which had baffled his predecessors,
Mr. Ronalds secured the success of his apparatus both by employing
better means of insulation than had hitherto been adopted, and also by
making use of a form of apparatus which should of itself be capable
of supplying any loss of electricity which might arise from defects
in the insulation.[32] Mr. Ronalds placed his telegraph wire in glass
tubes surrounded by wooden troughs lined with pitch, which were placed
in a trench dug in his garden at Hammersmith. He also suspended eight
miles of wire by silken cords from a wooden frame erected on his lawn,
through which he was enabled to successfully pass messages except in
wet weather, the cords not being protected from the wet.

Mr. Ronald's peculiar form of apparatus may be thus briefly
described:--At two stations were placed two clocks, with a dial with 20
letters placed on the arbour of the second-hand; in front of each of
these dials was placed a screen with a small orifice cut in it so that,
as the dial revolved, only one letter could be seen at a time. The
clocks were made to go _isochronously_, and were started at the same
instant with the same letter appearing on the dial through the orifices
of each of the screens, both dials, therefore, as they revolved, would
of course continue to show similar letters. This formed the readable
index of his telegraph; means of communication between the two stations
were produced in the following manner:--connected with each end of the
telegraph wire, and placed in front of the clocks, were two pith ball
electrometers, upon which a constant stream of electricity, produced
from an ordinary frictional machine, operated and consequently kept
in a state of divergence, except when a letter on the dial was to be
denoted; the electricity was then partially discharged by breaking the
connection, the pith balls in a measure collapsed, and the distant
observer was thereby informed to note down the letter then visible
through the orifice on the screen. In this way letter after letter
might be denoted and intelligence of any kind conveyed. All that was
absolutely required for the success of Mr. Ronald's telegraph was,
that the clocks should go isochronously _during the time_ intelligence
was being transmitted, for, by a preconcerted arrangement, both clocks
might be easily started at the same letter upon a given signal. The
attention of the distant observer was called by the explosion of gas
by means of an electric spark. In 1823, Mr. Ronalds published a full
description of his telegraph, in a work entitled, 'Descriptions of an
Electrical Telegraph, and of some other Electrical Apparatus.'

In 1825, Mr. Ronalds invented a perspective tracing instrument,
to facilitate drawing from nature or from plans and elevations,
an account of which he published in 1828 in a work entitled,
'Mechanical Perspective.' With this machine he was enabled some
years afterwards (in 1835), assisted by Dr. Blair, to procure exact
perspective projections taken from given noted stations, of the Celtic
remains at Carnac in Brittany. The result of these researches was
published by Mr. Ronalds and Dr. Blair in 1836, and was entitled,
'Sketches at Carnac; or, Notes concerning the present state of the
Celtic Antiquities in that and some of the adjoining Communes.' In
connection with this tracing apparatus, he likewise contrived a
hexipod staff used for a support, and which has been much employed
for the support of instruments requiring great steadiness, such as
telescopes, theodolites, cameras, &c. In the year 1843 he became
the first and honorary director of the Kew Observatory, and while
occupying this office he supplied the observatory with various new
contrivances, for which he received a government reward from the
special service fund, and a small pension from the civil list. The most
considerable of these contrivances were his atmospheric electrical
conductor and its appendages, adopted at the Greenwich, the Madrid,
and the Bombay magnetic observatories; his photo-barograph, and two
photo-thermographs, adopted at the Radcliff observatory, Oxford;
his photo-electrograph, and three photo-magneto-graphs. Besides the
writings above-mentioned, Mr. Ronalds is the author of an article in
the _Philosophical Magazine_ of 1814, entitled, 'On Electro-galvanic
Agency, employed as a moving power, with descriptions of a Galvanic
Clock;' and other articles in the same journal, detailing his
original experiments to illustrate the relations of _quantity_ and
_intensity_ in the electric pile. He also wrote four Reports on the Kew
observatory, which were fully illustrated and printed in the reports of
the British Association for the years 1845-50-51 and 52; and one paper
in the Philosophical Transactions on 'Photographic Self-registering
Meteorological and Magnetical Instruments,' written in 1846 and printed
in the year following. In 1856 Mr. Ronalds published in French, at
Paris, a summary of these reports, with some additions, entitled,
'Descriptions de quelques Instruments Meteorologiques et Magnetiques,'
intended to explain his instruments at the French exhibition.

Mr. Ronalds is now (April 1864) residing at Battle in Sussex, and
during the latter years of life has spent much time and part of his
small pension, in collecting and collating an electric library,
which might be conveniently available for the advancement of his
favourite science, and prove worthy of presentation or bequest to some
British public institution, so as to form the nucleus of one which
might approximate possibly to a complete electrical library.--_From
particulars derived from authentic sources._



Born March 26, 1753. Died Aug. 21, 1814.

Benjamin Thompson, the founder of the Royal Institution, and more
generally known by the title of Count Rumford, which he afterwards
acquired, was born at Woburn in Massachussets. His ancestors appear to
have been among the earliest colonists of this district, and in all
probability came originally from England.

Thompson's father died while his son was a mere infant, and two or
three years afterwards his mother married a second husband, Josiah
Pierce, also a resident at Woburn. As soon as young Thompson was able
to learn his letters he was sent to the school of his native town,
kept by a Mr. John Fowle, where he remained until his eleventh year,
when he joined the school of a Mr. Hill at Medford. Here Thompson
made such advances in mathematics and astronomy as to be able to
calculate eclipses. At the age of thirteen he was bound apprentice to
Mr. John Appleby, a respectable merchant in Salem, the second town in
point of size in Massachussets. His occupations with Mr. Appleby were
principally those of a clerk in the counting house, but he appears
to have had sufficient leisure to extend his reading in scientific
subjects, and also to indulge a taste, he began to exhibit, for
designing and engraving. At this time he was likewise occupied with
a contrivance for solving the famous problem of perpetual motion,
but was ultimately made to see the fallacy of his expectations, by
the arguments of an old friend and schoolfellow, Loammi Baldwin,
who induced him to attempt-something more practicable though less

At this period, 1767, the differences between Great Britain and her
American colonies were beginning to assume a serious aspect, and there
ensued such a stagnation of trade at Salem and other towns, that Mr.
Appleby, having no further occasion for the services of a clerk, was
glad to give up to young Thompson his indentures, and allow him to
return to Woburn. For the next two or three years Thompson's course
of life seems to have been wavering and undecided. At one time he
appears to have had thoughts of entering the medical profession,
for he remained during some months under the tuition of Dr. Hay, a
physician in Woburn, and entered zealously upon the study of anatomy
and physiology.

In 1770, however, he resumed his mercantile avocations in the capacity
of a clerk at a dry goods store at Boston, kept by a Mr. Capen, and was
thus engaged during the famous riots which took place in that town, on
the attempt to land a cargo of tea from a British vessel, contrary to
a resolution of the colonists against admitting British goods. These
disturbances caused Mr. Capen's business to decline as Mr. Appleby's
had formerly done, and Thompson was again obliged to return to Woburn.
He now seriously turned his attention to the acquisition of scientific
knowledge, and in company with his friend Baldwin attended a course
of lectures on experimental philosophy delivered at Harvard College,
instituting at the same time many experiments of his own, some of which
proved the germs of valuable conclusions published in after life. In
particular may be mentioned a course of experiments which he began in
order to ascertain and measure the projectile force of gunpowder.

Thompson, though still only in his seventeenth year, had now acquired
a certain amount of reputation; he was also endowed with much natural
grace and many personal advantages, which subsequently proved the means
of gaining him access to the first circles in Europe.

Towards the close of the year 1770 he was invited by Colonel Timothy
Walker, one of the most important residents in the village of Rumford,
now Concord, in New Hampshire, to take charge of an Academy in that
place. Two years later, at the age of twenty, he married Mrs. Rolfe, a
colonel's widow possessed of a considerable fortune. After his marriage
Thompson took his place as one of the wealthiest inhabitants of the
district in which he resided, mixing with the best society the colony
afforded. Among others he made the acquaintance of the governor John
Wentworth, who, wishing to attach to the British party so influential
a colonist, gave Thompson the commission of major in a regiment of the
New Hampshire Militia, in which a vacancy had occurred. This act of
attention, while gratifying to Thompson, procured him much ill-will
from the officers already in the service, and over whose head he had
been promoted.

From this period he began to be unpopular in his native country. He
was represented as a friend of Great Britain, and an enemy to the
interests of the colonies. The public hatred of him at length rose to
such a height, that he only escaped by flight from the ignominy of
being tarred and feathered in the open streets. Leaving his wife and
an infant daughter, Thomas first took refuge in his native town of
Woburn, and then proceeded to Charlestown where he remained for several
months. From Charlestown he went to Boston, at which place he was well
received by General Gage and the officers of the British army at that
time in garrison at Boston. Returning in the spring of 1775 to Woburn,
he again ran the risk of being tarred and feathered, but was saved by
the interference of his friend Baldwin.

The commencement of open hostilities between the Colonists and the
British troops in May, 1775, made Thompson's position still more
critical, and finding that he could not overcome the prejudice felt
against him, he came to the desperate resolution of quitting his
native country, and leaving his wife and child. To effect this he
first escaped to Boston, where he remained, with his friend General
Gage, until the evacuation of the town by the British troops, when
he embarked on board the Scarborough, and set sail for England, with
despatches from General Gage to Lord George Germain, the British
Secretary of State for Colonial Affairs.

Although Thompson arrived in England the bearer of gloomy tidings, and
sustaining the equivocal character of a deserter from the American
cause, he soon showed that he was a man capable of commanding his
fortune anywhere. The capacity in which he had come over introduced
him to various public men who were both struck by his abilities and
charmed by his manners. But a short time elapsed after his arrival
before he was offered a post in the Colonial Office, and four years
after, in 1780, was raised by his patron Lord Germain to the post of
under secretary for the colonies, an instance of rapid promotion which,
considering the circumstances in which the subject of it stood, is
almost unexampled.

The income and consequence which Thompson derived from this office
gave him admission to the highest metropolitan circles, and he had
thus opportunities not only of becoming known, but also of exercising
his inventive mind in many pursuits not immediately connected with his
official duties. Fertility of resources, and a disposition to propose
improvements in all departments, appear to have been his most striking
characteristics, and it was probably this ready genius for practical
reform in everything which came under his notice, that recommended
him so much to public men. While engaged generally in a variety of
matters, Thompson was at the same time following out certain specific
lines of scientific investigation. His experiments on the heat caused
by friction, deduced from the boring of cannon, are among the best we

In 1777 he made some curious and interesting experiments on the
strength of solid bodies, which were, however, never published. In
1778 he employed himself in further experiments on the strength of
gunpowder and the velocity of military projectiles; and these were
followed up by a cruise of some months in the Channel fleet, where he
proposed to repeat his experiments on a larger scale. He communicated
the result of his researches on this subject, in several papers, to the
'Philosophical Transactions' of the Royal Society, of which he became a
member in the last-mentioned year.

On the retirement of Lord George Germain from office, Thompson was
sent out to New York in the year 1781, with the royal commission of
major, afterwards changed to that of lieutenant-colonel, charged with
the task of organizing an efficient regiment of dragoons out of the
broken and disjointed native cavalry regiments which had been fighting
on the royalist side. This regiment was, however, of no avail; peace
was concluded between Great Britain and the United States, and Colonel
Thompson on his return to England obtained leave of absence to travel
on the Continent. In crossing from England to France, it happened
that he had as a fellow-traveller the celebrated historian Gibbon,
who, in some subsequent correspondence, spoke of him as "the soldier,
philosopher, statesman--Thompson."

While on his way to Vienna, Thompson attended a review of the garrison
of Strasbourg, and, attracting general attention by his superb English
horse and uniform of colonel of dragoons, became introduced to the
notice of Prince Maximilian, nephew and presumptive heir of the Elector
of Bavaria. This prince was agreeably impressed by the manners and
address of Thompson, and furnished him with letters of introduction
to his uncle, the Bavarian Elector. When Thompson arrived at Munich
(so great seems to have been his power of conciliating favour), he
was offered, on his first interview with the elector, an important
situation at court, if he would take up his residence there. After a
little delay, Thompson accepted this offer, conditional upon receiving
permission from his Britannic Majesty. Proceeding to London to obtain
the required consent, he was very favourably received by George III.,
who conferred on him the honour of knighthood, and allowed him to
retain his title of lieutenant-colonel, together with the half-pay
attached to it.

Towards the close of the year 1784, Sir Benjamin Thompson, at the age
of thirty-one, took up his residence at Munich, and filled the posts of
aide-de-camp and chamberlain to the Elector; being thus connected both
with the military and civil service of the Bavarian dominions. Into
these twin branches of government he soon introduced many important and
salutary reforms; he reorganized the Bavarian army, and introduced many
improvements into the art of agriculture as practised in that part of
Europe; he also took wise and effectual measures for the suppression
of mendicancy, and for the ameliorization of the condition of the
poor at Munich, introducing among them some excellent plans for the
economization of food and fuel.

While investigating this latter subject, Sir Benjamin paid particular
attention to the construction of grates and fireplaces, and to the
scientific properties of light and heat. He so improved the methods
of heating apartments and of cooking food, as to produce a saving in
the precious element of heat varying from one-half to seven-eighths
of the fuel previously consumed; so that it was wittily said, that he
would never rest satisfied until he had cooked his dinner with his
neighbours' smoke. To him also is the honour due of being the first to
explain the manner in which heat is propagated in fluids. In requital
of these important services to the Bavarian state, Thompson was
decorated with two orders of Polish knighthood; he also received the
appointments of member of the Council of State and lieutenant-general
in the army, was created commander-in-chief of the general staff,
minister of war, and superintendent of the police of the electorate,
and was finally, in 1790, raised to the dignity of Count of the
Holy Roman Empire, by the title of Count Rumford, in memory of the
American village where he had formerly officiated as schoolmaster. The
scientific part of the community also showed their esteem for him, by
electing him a member of the Academies of Munich and Manheim; and in
1787, when on a visit to Prussia, he was chosen a member of the Academy
of Sciences at Berlin.

When the advance of the French army under Moreau compelled the Elector
to quit his capital, Count Rumford was for a short time placed at the
head of the Regency, and in this capacity succeeded in the arduous task
of freeing the Bavarian state from foreign invasion. This important
service increased Rumford's reputation with the Elector and the people,
and he was permitted to settle one-half of the pension which he enjoyed
on his daughter, to be paid during her lifetime.

In the year 1798, the Elector appointed him his ambassador to the court
of Great Britain; but on arriving in London, Rumford, much to his
mortification, found that, as a British subject he could not hold that
office. Shortly after this, in 1799, his friend and patron the Elector
Charles Theodore died. Deeply grieved by the loss he had sustained,
Rumford contemplated returning to his native country, in compliance
with a formal invitation which he had received from the United States
government. He was, however, led to change this design, and remain for
several years in London, during which period he devoted the greatest
portion of his time to the interests of the Royal Institution, of which
he may be considered the founder. The objects of this institution,
now one of the recognised scientific establishments of the world, and
which can boast of having given employment to such men as Young, Davy,
Brande, and Faraday, were "to diffuse the knowledge and facilitate the
general introduction of useful mechanical inventions and improvements,
and to teach by courses of philosophical lectures and experiments
the application of science to the useful purposes of life." Such an
institution was precisely the one which Rumford was qualified to
superintend; and in its early history, the influence of his peculiar
habits of thought is discernible, in the choice of subjects for
investigation by the members. Rumford's name will ever be connected
with the progress of science in England, from the establishment of
this institution, and also from the foundation by him of a perpetual
medal and prize in the gift of the Royal Society, for the reward of
discoveries connected with light and heat.

During the latter portion of his life, Count Rumford, retaining an
income of 1200_l._ a year from the Bavarian court, resided chiefly at
Auteuil, a small villa near Paris. Here he was married again to the
widow of the eminent French chemist Lavoisier, his former wife having
died in 1792. Rumford's death took place at Auteuil, on the 21st of
August, 1814, in the sixty-second year of his age. His only daughter
by his first wife inherited the title of Countess of Rumford, with
the continuation of her father's Bavarian pension. She married Cuvier
the naturalist, and survived until a few years ago, forming a link
between the age of Lavoisier and those of the middle of the nineteenth
century.--_Chambers' Miscellany_, No. 161.--_Encyclopædia Britannica_,
eighth edition.--_Voyage de trois mois en Angleterre, en Ecosse, &c.,
par Marc-Auguste Pictet, F.R.S., &c._ Geneva, 1802.


Born November 3, 1749. Died November 15, 1819.

Daniel Rutherford was born at Edinburgh and educated at the University
of his native city. He took his degree of M.D. in 1772, and in the
Thesis which he published upon this occasion, entitled 'De Aëre Fixo,'
he pointed out for the first time a new gaseous substance, since
distinguished by the name of Azote or Nitrogen. On the 6th of May,
1777, he was admitted a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, and
in a paper on Nitre, read before the Philosophical Society in 1778, he
described, under the name of Vital Air, what is now called Oxygen gas.

On the death of Dr. John Hope in 1786, Rutherford was elected Professor
of Botany and Keeper of the Botanical Gardens at Edinburgh, a duty
which he discharged until the time of his death, in 1819, at the age of
seventy.--_Edinburgh Philosophical Journal_, vol. 3. May 1820.


Born March 23, 1769. Died August 28, 1839.

William Smith, the 'Father of English Geology,' was born at Churchill,
a village in Oxfordshire. His father died when he was eight years old,
and his mother marrying again, William was brought up under the care of
his uncle, to part of whose property he was heir. From this kinsman,
who had little sympathy with his nephew's early displayed taste for
collecting specimens of the various stones in the neighbourhood, young
Smith with difficulty obtained money for the purchase of a few books
fit to instruct a boy in the rudiments of geometry and surveying. He,
however, continued to prosecute these studies without instruction
or sympathy, but still with ardour and success until the year 1787,
when, having attained the age of eighteen, and being tolerably versed
in the geometry and calculations at that time thought sufficient for
engineers and surveyors, he became assistant to Mr. Edward Webb, of
Stow-on-the-Wold, who had been appointed to make a complete survey of
the parish of Churchill. Being speedily entrusted with the management
of all the ordinary business of a surveyor, Mr. Smith traversed in
continual activity the counties of Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, and
Warwickshire, carefully noticing all the varieties of soil over which
he passed, and comparing them with the general aspect and character
of the country. Between the years 1791 and 1793, he also made minute
subterraneous surveys of the High Littleton collieries, which afforded
him an opportunity of confirming views previously conceived as to the
regularity in formation of the different strata composing the earth's
crust. At this period the services of civil engineers were in great
request, and the duties entrusted to them were such as Mr. Smith was
well qualified to perform. Several gentlemen in the neighbourhood
interested themselves in forwarding his professional career, and he
obtained an engagement to make surveys and levels for a proposed line
of canal in Somersetshire. In the course of these operations, Smith
discovered that the strata lying above coal were not laid horizontally,
but inclined in one direction--viz., to the eastward; resembling on a
large scale the ordinary appearance of superposed slices of bread and
butter. This fact he had previously imagined to be the case, and it was
now proved to be true.

In 1794 the Canal Bill on which he was engaged received the sanction
of Parliament, and one of the first steps taken by the committee of
management was to depute two of their members to accompany Mr. Smith,
their engineer, on a tour of investigation as to the construction and
management of other navigations in England and Wales. This journey
extended altogether through 900 miles of country, and occupied the
space of one or two months; the party reached Newcastle by one
route, and returned by another, through Shropshire and Wales to
Bath. During the whole tour Mr. Smith seized every opportunity of
observing all local peculiarities as to the aspect and structure of the
country passed through, and was able to verify on a large scale his
pre-conceived generalizations regarding a settled order of succession,
continuity of range at the surface, and general declination eastward
of the different strata. During the next six years he was engaged in
setting out and superintending the works on the Somersetshire coal
canal; being able, from the knowledge he had acquired, to inform
the contractors what would be the nature of the ground to be cut
through, and what parts of the canal would require particular care
to be kept water-tight. He also discovered, during the formation of
this work, that each stratum contained organised fossils peculiar
to itself, by examination of which, it might in cases otherwise
doubtful be recognised and discriminated from others like it, but in a
different part of the series. This fact was subsequently still further
investigated by him, and he proved that whatever stratum was found in
any part of England, the same remains would be found in it and no other.

Mr. Smith was now (1795) twenty-six years old, and at this period
removed from the village of High Littleton to Bath, in the vicinity
of which city he shortly afterwards purchased a small but beautiful
estate. In the following year he first contemplated publishing his
discoveries in geology, but it was not until the year 1799, after his
engagement with the Coal Canal Company had ceased, that he made public
his intention of publishing a work on the Stratification of Britain,
and prosecuting an actual survey of the Geological structure of England
and Wales. About this time he became acquainted with the Rev. Benjamin
Richardson and the Rev. Jos. Townsend, two gentlemen thoroughly
competent to estimate the truth and value of his views, and who, in
conjunction with him, drew up a tabular statement of the order of the
strata, with their imbedded organic remains, in the vicinity of Bath.
Copies of this document were extensively distributed, and it remained
for a long period the type and authority for the descriptions and order
of the superposition of the strata near Bath. The original document,
in Mr. Richardson's handwriting, drawn up from Smith's dictation, was
presented to the Geological Society in 1831. Mr. Smith now turned all
his energies to the prosecution of his profession, and the tracing out
the courses of the strata through districts as remote from Bath as
his means would permit. In 1799 an unusual amount of rain prevailed,
producing in the neighbourhood of Bath an extraordinary phenomenon.
Vast mounds of earth, displaced by the augmented force of the springs
and the direction of water into new channels below the surface, were
sliding down the sides of the hills, bearing away with them houses,
trees, lawns, and fields. To remedy such disasters and prevent their
recurrence was exactly what Smith had learnt from Geology, and many
operations of this kind were placed under his care and successfully
accomplished. His reputation for success in draining on new principles
became established, carrying him into Gloucestershire, the Isle of
Purbeck, Wiltshire, &c., and for the next few years he was almost daily
occupied in various parts of the country, first in draining land,
and secondly in irrigating it when drained. In 1801 he accomplished
the effectual drainage of Prisley Bog, a work which had often been
attempted before, but without success. Mr. Smith thoroughly deprived
the bog of its stagnant water, and converted this hitherto worthless
waste into valuable meadows, by conducting a running stream over its
surface. For the performance of this undertaking he received in 1805
the medal of the Society of Arts. Another great work, on which he was
engaged more or less during the space of nine years (1800-1809), was
the draining of the marsh lands in East Norfolk, between Yarmouth and
Happisburgh. These lands were continually liable to be flooded by
inundations from the German Ocean, which poured in through breaches in
the sand-hills lining the coast, and forming a natural barrier against
these inroads. Mr. Smith at once saw that the first thing to be done,
to prove an effectual remedy, must be the stopping out the sea from the
whole region of marsh land. This he accomplished by filling up the vast
breaches (amounting altogether to one mile in length) with artificial
embankments made of pebbles and sand as like as possible to the
natural barriers thrown up by the sea. This simple and effective plan,
requiring almost nothing but labour for its accomplishment, entirely
succeeded; and the sea now being effectually kept out, he was able to
suggest to the proprietors proper methods for draining and improving
the marshes.

In 1806 Mr. Smith's first published work appeared, being entitled, 'A
Treatise on the Construction and Management of Watermeadows.' Several
years previous to this he had been repeatedly urged by his friends
(among whom he now counted Francis, Duke of Bedford, Sir Joseph Banks,
Mr. Crawshaw, Thomas W. Coke, of Norfolk, and the Rev. B. Richardson,
before mentioned) to put in force his intention of publishing his
discoveries. Many difficulties had, however, occurred; his means
were continually exhausted by his scientific investigations; and an
attempt, first made in 1801, to publish by subscription a work on the
natural order of the strata of England and Wales, failed, partially
from the deaths of his patrons the Duke of Bedford and Mr. Crawshaw,
and ultimately from his proposed publisher, Debrett, falling into

From this period until late in life, Mr. Smith continued unceasingly
his professional occupations. In 1809 he began to execute the Ouse
navigation in Sussex; in 1810 he restored the hot springs of Bath,
which had failed; in 1811 he examined into the causes of leakage
on the Kennet and Avon Canal, and reported on trials for coals in
Buckinghamshire; and in 1812-1814 executed the Minsmere drainage
in Suffolk. During these and a hundred other engagements of a like
nature, which furnished him with the means and occasion for incessant
travelling, Mr. Smith lost no opportunity of committing to paper the
result of the day's observations on the direction, dip, and aspect
of the rocks he passed over during his various journies. In 1812,
receiving proposals from Mr. Cary to publish his map of the strata
of England and Wales, Mr. Smith recommenced his efforts to produce
the great work on which he had been occupied for the space of twenty
years. This map was at length published on the 1st of August, 1815,
being dedicated to Sir Joseph Banks, and he received from the Society
of Arts the premium of 50_l._, which had long been offered for a
work of this description. The fame of its author as a great original
discoverer in English geology was now secured, but it brought Mr. Smith
little pecuniary benefit. Geology had kept him poor all his life by
consuming his professional gains; and an unfortunate speculation, which
he at this time entered into, entirely failed, and compelled him to
sell the property at Bath which he had purchased in 1798. A load of
debt still remained to be discharged, and in order to liquidate this
he proposed selling the valuable geological collection he had been
making during his past life. This collection, of which the number of
species was 693, and of specimens 2657, was purchased by Government
for the British Museum for a total sum of 700_l._ In 1818 Mr. Smith's
claims on public notice were fairly and fully advocated by Dr. Fitton,
and it was chiefly from the favourable light in which this gentleman
placed his long and solitary labours, that public interest for him was
stimulated, and the Geological Society, who had hitherto passed him
over, was at length roused to an impartial estimate of the value of
his works. This resulted in the passing of a resolution in February,
1831, "That the first Wollaston medal be given to Mr. William Smith,
in consideration of his being a great original discoverer in English
Geology; and especially for his having been the first in this country
to discover and to teach the identification of strata, and to determine
their succession by means of their imbedded fossils." The following
year he received from the Crown a pension of 100_l._ a-year. Previous
to this, however, the state of Mr. Smith's finances compelled him to be
unceasingly occupied in various professional engagements; and on one of
these occasions, being engaged by Colonel Braddyll to make a general
mining survey of some estates belonging to that gentleman, he drew
the Colonel's attention to the great probability of there being coal
at an attainable depth on part of his property situated at Haswell,
in Durham. This ultimately led to the foundation of the magnificent
works, called the South Hetton Colliery, which rival the greatest
establishments of the Lambtons, Vanes, and Russels.

During the last few years of his life Mr. Smith lived principally at
Scarborough, where, unfettered by any but temporary engagements, he
devoted his mind to a review of the circumstances of his life, and the
arrangement of his observations and opinions. In 1835 he received the
degree of LL.D., which was conferred on him by the members of Trinity
College, Dublin. Between the years 1837 and 1838 he was appointed by
Government to join Sir Charles Barry and Sir Henry De la Beche in
making a tour through a great part of England and Wales, to select the
most suitable stone for building the Houses of Parliament. The stone
ultimately selected for this purpose was the firm yellow granular
magnesian limestone, of Bolsover Moor, in Derbyshire. This was the
last scientific work on which Dr. Smith was engaged; a cold caught
the following year brought on diarrhœa, which terminated fatally.
He died on the 28th of August, in his seventy-first year, and was
buried at Northampton, at the west end of the church of All Saints,
in which, at the suggestion of Dr. Buckland, a tablet was erected to
his memory, the expense of which was defrayed by a subscription among
geologists.--_Memoirs of William Smith, LL.D., by his nephew, John
Phillips, F.R.S., F.G.S._ London, 1844.


Born August 3, 1753. Died December 17, 1816.

Charles Stanhope, third earl of that name, was born at Chevening in
Kent, and was sent at a very early period to Eton; but at the age of
ten he removed with his family to Geneva, where he was placed under
the tuition of M. Le Sage, a well-known man of letters in that place.
There can be but little doubt that the whole political career of Earl
Stanhope was deeply influenced by the circumstance of his receiving his
early education in this republican city; and to this may be ascribed
the extreme views which he entertained in after life respecting civil
liberty and other points affecting the welfare of great communities.

While acquiring these sentiments, Lord Stanhope was at the same
time pursuing a course of training which subsequently made him so
remarkable, as a man of science and letters. Natural philosophy was his
chief study; and the knowledge which he acquired of this subject was
decisively shewn by his gaining, at the early age of eighteen, a prize
offered by the Stockholm Society of Arts for the best essay, written
in French, on the pendulum; and this essay was the more remarkable,
as being the fruit not only of mere reading, but of numerous original
experiments, performed by him in person.

Shortly after attaining his majority, Lord Stanhope, together with
his family, left Geneva amidst the regrets of the whole population,
while crowds of poor people assembled to take a last look on the
noble English residents who had long been their generous benefactors.
On reaching England, the family rank and influence of the young
nobleman speedily procured him a seat in the House of Commons, which
he occupied until his succession to the Stanhope title called him to
the Upper House of Parliament. Here it was that he became famous as a
politician. Honesty and straightforwardness were the grand features
of his statesmanship; his views, however, although now entertained by
even moderate politicians, were at that time considered extreme, and
subsequently led to a separation of the earl from his family.

But it is chiefly as a man of science, and as an inventor in the
field of practical mechanics, that Earl Stanhope has rendered himself
celebrated. Shortly after leaving the Continent, about the year 1775,
he turned his attention to devising some means whereby forgeries
in coins and bank-notes might be prevented; this resulted in his
publishing a pamphlet on that subject, in which various processes
calculated to prevent forgeries on the mint are recommended.

In the 'Philosophical Transactions' for 1778, Lord Stanhope gives a
full account of experiments performed by him, on a large scale, in
presence of the Lord Mayor and members of the Royal Society, showing
that wood could be rendered fireproof, by coating it with a species of
stucco or plaster of his own invention. The practical efficiency of
this was still more decisively shown by a fire which broke out in the
earl's mansion at Chevening. Having had occasion to rebuild this some
time previously, Earl Stanhope had taken care to make use of his new
discovery; a portion of the offices, however, remained unsecured, and
here the fire originated; but on reaching the protected portion, it was
at once arrested, and the mansion saved from destruction.

Among other works of Lord Stanhope which attracted most attention at
that time are his experiments on electricity, his improvements in
shipbuilding and navigation, a calculating machine, and the Stanhope
printing-press, which to this day bears his name. He has also been
called the inventor of stereotype printing, and had at all events
the merit of greatly improving this most important process, and of
introducing it into general use. The application of steam to navigation
was another favourite study of Earl Stanhope; and, in concert with him,
Fulton the American entered into an extensive series of experiments to
prove its practicability. Although unsuccessful in this last pursuit,
canal navigation owes much to the earl; the value of his improvements
in canal-locks being felt to this day throughout the whole land. He
lived in constant pursuit of these philosophical enquiries till the age
of sixty-three, when he died of dropsy, at his seat in Kent.

Lord Stanhope was essentially a practical man, of a firm, upright, and
independent character; and it is related of him, that when advising his
children to pursue some useful calling, he remarked of himself, that
"Charles Stanhope, as a carpenter, blacksmith, or millwright, could
in any country, or at any time, preserve his independence, and bring
up his family to honest and industrious courses, without soliciting
either the bounty of friends or the charity of strangers." He merits
the grateful remembrance of posterity, not only for the practical
results of his genius, but for the indirect influence of his noble
example exerted on others, and for the generous patronage he bestowed
on many poorer fellow-labourers in the same great field.--_Chambers'
Edinburgh Journal_, No. 392, August 3, 1839.--_Stuart's Anecdotes of
the Steam-Engine._ London, 1829.


Born in 1763. Died March 22, 1831.

William Symington, claimant conjointly with Patrick Miller to the
honour of originating the present system of steam navigation, was
a native of Leadhills, in the county of Lanark, Scotland. He was
originally destined for the church, but an early predilection for
mechanical philosophy led him to abandon his theological studies,
and pursue with ardour those connected with his favourite science.
His genius soon attracted the notice, and secured the patronage of
Gilbert Meason, a gentleman at that time connected with the Wanlock
Head lead mines. Before completing his twenty-first year, Mr. Symington
made several improvements on the steam-engine, for which he took out
patents, and continued for some time to construct and introduce engines
on his principle, in various parts of England and Scotland.

In the year 1784, the idea first occurred to him that steam might be
advantageously employed for the propulsion of carriages; and in 1786
he succeeded in producing a working model of a steam-carriage, which
he submitted to the inspection of the professors and other scientific
gentlemen in Edinburgh. Although this steam-carriage afforded proofs
of considerable capability, it was never proceeded further with, on
account of the state of the roads in Scotland at that period, and the
difficulty of procuring fuel and water.

In the meanwhile Patrick Miller, a gentleman of property residing
on his estate at Dalswinton, Dumfriesshire, had for some time been
engaged in making various experiments for the improvement of naval
architecture, and had constructed a double or twin-boat, with
paddle-wheels, to be moved by manual labour. At this point Miller was
informed by Mr. James Taylor, a tutor in his family, of Symington's
model steam-carriage, and they both called at Mr. Meason's house in
Edinburgh to see it. During the course of conversation with Symington,
the practicability of advantageously employing steam for the purposes
of navigation was talked about, and it was ultimately arranged that
Symington should endeavour to construct a steam-engine to be fitted
on board Miller's twin-boat, and capable of moving the paddle-wheels.
This was accomplished in the autumn of 1788, when a trial was made,
in the presence of Mr. Miller and various others, of so satisfactory
a nature, that it was immediately determined to commence another
experiment, upon a larger scale. It may, however, be satisfactory to
state here, that this, the parent engine of steam navigation, after
enduring many vicissitudes, was ultimately rescued from destruction
by Mr. Bennet Woodcroft, and contributed by him for exhibition in the
South Kensington Museum.

In the month of October 1789, a second exemplification of the
practicability of steam navigation was afforded by Miller and
Symington, on the Forth and Clyde Inland Navigation Canal, in the
presence of many hundreds of spectators; the boat proceeding along at
the rate of nearly six miles an hour. In this instance the machinery
was constructed at the Carron Works, under the direction of Symington,
and placed on board a boat which had been used in Miller's previous
experiments. Unfortunately, Mr. Miller now withdrew from the concern;
he had already expended nearly thirty thousand pounds on various
experiments, and he determined to devote his time to the improvement of
the Dalswinton estate.

Symington's pecuniary resources were insufficient to enable him unaided
to pursue his experiments, and he was compelled to desist, and turn
his attention to the fulfilment of engagements with the Wanlock Head
company, for constructing machinery on a large scale. An interval of
ten years thus elapsed, at the end of which time Mr. Symington secured
the patronage of Thomas, Lord Dundas of Kerse, under whose auspices
another series of experiments were commenced, in January 1801, at the
cost of 7000_l._; but they placed beyond the possibility of doubt the
practicability of steam navigation. Symington had availed himself of
the improvements made in the steam-engine by Watt and others, and he
now constructed an improved marine engine, with boat and paddle-wheel
after the plan at present adopted. This boat, called the 'Charlotte
Dundas,'[34] was the first practical steamboat; and for the novel
combination of the parts, Symington obtained a patent on the 14th
October, 1801. The vessel made her first voyage in March 1803, on the
Forth and Clyde Canal, and proceeded upwards of nineteen miles, drawing
after her two laden vessels, each of seventy tons burden, although it
blew so strong a gale right ahead, that no other vessel in the canal
attempted to move to windward during that day. There were on board on
this occasion Lord Dundas, the Hon. Captain George Dundas, R.N., and
Archibald Spiers of Elderslee, together with several other gentlemen of
their acquaintance.

Miller's boat had proved a practical steam-boat, but in the 'Charlotte
Dundas' Symington had the undoubted merit of having combined together
for the first time those improvements which constitute the present
system of steam navigation. Although Henry Bell and Fulton the
American are both claimants for the above honour, their inventions
did not appear until some years afterwards, Fulton establishing his
steamboat at New York in 1807, and Bell establishing one on the Clyde
in 1811;[35] undoubted proof also exists that both these gentlemen were
well acquainted with the result of Miller of Dalswinton's experiments,
the 'Charlotte Dundas,' and must have derived considerable advantage
from such knowledge.

After the successful experiment with the 'Charlotte Dundas,' a proposal
was made to the canal proprietors to substitute steam-tugs in place
of horses, but it was rejected on the ground that the undulation
created in the water by the paddle-wheels might wash away the banks.
Lord Dundas then introduced Symington to the notice of the Duke of
Bridgewater, who, although at first averse to the project, ultimately
gave Symington an order to build eight boats on his principle. On this
Mr. Symington returned to Scotland full of hopes for the future, but
these were suddenly frustrated by the death of the Duke. His resources
were now exhausted, and, unable any longer to struggle against his
misfortunes, Mr. Symington was obliged, although with great reluctance,
to lay up his boat in a creek of the canal near Barnsford draw-bridge,
where it remained for many years exposed to the view of the public.

Shortly after Bell's steamboat, the 'Comet,' had begun plying upon
the Clyde, notice was sent by Symington, not only to Bell, but to all
other proprietors following his example, that by so doing they were
invading his right; and legal advice having been taken,[36] an action
for damages was commenced. Before, however, the cause was settled,
Mr. Symington's patent expired; and although he had given directions
to institute an application to have it renewed, this was most
unaccountably neglected to be done, and he saw his hopes expire, being
reduced to much and severe distress through want of money--a state in
which he continued more or less during the remainder of his life.

When in his last illness, the ruling passion of his life was strongly
exhibited. At one time the irregular form of his bedroom occasioned
him so much uneasiness, that, being slightly delirious, he requested
his son to reduce it to a square; while his last act was an imitation
of winding-up and adjusting a newly-invented chronometer, which he had
lately completed.--_Stuart's Anecdotes of the Steam-Engine._ London,
1829.--_Narrative by R. Bowie, proving W. Symington the Inventor of
Steam Land-Carriage Locomotion and of Steam Navigation._ London,
1833.--_Descriptive Catalogue of the Museum of the Commissioners of

THOMAS TELFORD, F.R.S., L. and E., &c.

Born August 9, 1757. Died September 2, 1834.

The life of Thomas Telford adds another striking instance to those
on record of men who, from the force of natural talent, unaided save
by uprightness and persevering industry, have raised themselves from
the low estate in which they were born, and taken their stand among
the master-spirits of their age. Telford was born in the parish of
Westerkirk, in the pastoral district of Eskdale in Dumfriesshire. His
father, who followed the occupation of a shepherd, died while his son
was yet an infant, and the orphan boy was thus left to the care of
his mother, whose maiden name was Janet Jackson, and for whom her son
always cherished an affectionate regard, being in the habit, in after
life, of writing letters to her in printed characters, in order that
she might be able to read them without assistance.

Young Telford received the rudiments of education at the parish school
of Westerkirk, and during the summer season was employed by his uncle
as a shepherd boy. This occupation left him abundant leisure, of which
he made diligent use in studying the books furnished by his village
friends. At the age of fourteen he was apprenticed to a stone mason in
the neighbouring town of Langholm, and for several years was employed,
chiefly in his native district, in the construction of plain bridges,
farm buildings, simple village churches and manses, and other works of
a similar nature, such as are usually performed by a country mason in a
district where there is little occasion for the higher departments of
his art.

These operations afforded, however, good opportunities for obtaining
practical knowledge, and Telford himself has expressed his sense of
the value of this humble training, observing, that "as there is not
sufficient employment to produce a division of labour in building, the
young practitioner is under the necessity of making himself acquainted
with every detail in procuring, preparing, and employing every kind
of material, whether it be the produce of the forest, the quarry, or
the forge; and this necessity, although unfavourable to the dexterity
of the individual workman, who earns his livelihood by expertness in
one operation, is of singular advantage to the future architect and
engineer, whose professional excellence must rest on the adaptation
of materials, and a confirmed habit of discrimination and judicious

When Telford had completed his apprenticeship as a stonemason, he
remained for some time at Langholm working as a journeyman, his wages
being _eighteenpence_ per diem.[37] The first bridge masonry on
which he was engaged was the erection of a structure over the Esk at
Langholm to connect the old with the new town. Mr. Smiles, in his
'Lives of the Engineers,' tells a good story in connection with this
bridge. Telford's master, one Thompson, was bound by contract to
maintain it for a period of seven years. Not long after the completion
of the structure an unusually high flood swept along the valley, and
Thompson's wife, Tibby, knowing the terms of her husband's contract,
was in a state of great alarm lest the fabric should be carried away by
the torrent. In her distress she thought of Telford, and calling out,
"Oh, we'll be ruined--we'll be ruined! where's Tammy Telfer--where's
Tammy? send in search of him." When he came running up, Tibby
exclaimed, "Oh, Tammy, they're been on the brig and they say it's
shaking! It'll be doon." "Never you heed them, Tibby," said Telford,
clapping her on the shoulder, "there's nae fear o' the brig--I like
it a' the better that it shakes; it proves it's weel put thegither."
Tibby's fears were not, however, so easily allayed, and asserting
that she heard the brig "rumlin," she ran up and set her back against
it to keep it from falling. Whether Tibby's zealous support to the
bridge in this instance was of any avail or no, Telford's opinion of
the soundness of the structure has been proved by its withstanding the
storms of nearly a century.

At this early period of his life, Telford was remarkable for his
elastic spirits and good humour, and in his native district of Eskdale
was long remembered as 'laughing Tam.' His favourite pursuits were
not as yet scientific but literary, and he acquired some distinction
as a poet. He wrote in the homely style of Ramsay and Ferguson, and
used to contribute small pieces to Ruddiman's 'Weekly Magazine,' under
the signature of 'Eskdale Tam.' One of his compositions, entitled
'Eskdale,' a short poem descriptive of the scenes of his early years,
appeared in a provincial miscellany, and was subsequently reprinted at
Shrewsbury, at the request of his friends, and ultimately inserted in
the appendix to his life. Another pleasing fragment of his composition
is given at the end of the first volume of Dr. Currie's 'Life and Works
of Burns,' published at Liverpool in 1800; it is an extract from a
poetical epistle sent by Telford, when at Shrewsbury, to the Ayrshire
poet, recommending him to take up other subjects of a serious nature,
similar to the 'Cottar's Saturday Night.'

At the age of twenty-three Telford at length quitted Eskdale, and
visited Edinburgh with a view to obtain better employment. The splendid
improvements then in progress in that city enlarged his field of
observation, and enabled him to contemplate architecture as applied to
the object of magnificence as well as utility; and he seems at this
time to have devoted much attention both to the scientific study of
architecture and to drawing.

After remaining in Edinburgh two years, he removed to London, where
he obtained employment upon the quadrangle of Somerset House, then
erecting by Sir William Chambers, an engagement in which he states that
he obtained much practical information.

After this, in 1784, he was engaged to superintend the erection of a
house for the resident commissioner at Portsmouth Dockyard, and for the
next three years was occupied upon various buildings in this dockyard,
which gave him good opportunities of becoming well acquainted with
the construction of graving-docks, wharf walls, and other similar
engineering works. Two or three years previous to this, Telford's good
character and promising talent had secured for him the friendship of
two families resident in his native district,--the Pasleys and the
Johnstones,--and to their influence his early employment on important
works is in some measure to be attributed.

In 1787, having completed his engagements at Portsmouth, he was
invited by Sir William Pulteney (a member of the Johnstone family) to
take the superintendence of some alterations to be made in Shrewsbury
Castle. Telford consequently removed to Shrewsbury, where he was
employed to erect a new jail, completed in 1793, and was afterwards
appointed county surveyor, in which office (retained by him until
death) he had to design, and oversee the construction of, bridges and
similar works. The first bridge which he designed and built was that
over the Severn at Mont-fort, consisting of three elliptical stone
arches, one of fifty-eight, and the others of fifty-five feet span.
His next was the iron bridge over the Severn at Buildwas, which was
the third iron bridge ever erected in Great Britain, the first being
the Colebrookdale in Shropshire, built in the years 1777-9, and the
second the Wearmouth,[38] erected between the years 1793-6. Telford's
bridge over the Severn was erected in 1796, and consisted of a single
arch of 130 feet span, formed of five cast iron ribs, and having a rise
of only 14 feet; the width of the platform is 18 feet, and the total
weight of iron in the bridge about 174 tons; it was constructed by the
Coalbrookdale Ironmasters at a cost of 6,034_l._ Forty smaller bridges
were erected in Shropshire under Telford's direction.

The first great undertaking, upon which Mr. Telford (in conjunction
with Mr. Jessop) was engaged, was the Ellesmere Canal, a series of
navigations intended to unite the Severn, the Dee, and the Mersey,
and extending altogether to a length of nearly one hundred and twenty
miles. From the date of this engagement, about 1793, Telford directed
his attention almost entirely to civil engineering. In the execution of
the immense aqueducts, required on this work, which cross the valleys
of the Ceroig or Chirk, and of the Dee, at an elevation of 70 and 120
feet respectively, cast iron was first introduced as a material for
forming the water-troughs of the canal, in place of the usual puddled
clay confined in masonry, a practice which involved great expense, and
some danger in times of frost, from the expansion of the moist clay. In
the locks of this canal Telford also introduced cast iron framing in
place of timber; and in one instance, where the lock was formed in a
quicksand, he made every part of the above material.

The Caledonian Canal, of which Mr. Jessop was consulting engineer,
was another of Mr. Telford's principal works. This canal was opened
throughout its course in the year 1823, and it forms a noble monument
of the skill of the engineer. The locks are stated by Telford to be the
largest ever constructed at that time, being 40 feet wide, and from 170
to 180 feet long. Of other canals constructed wholly or partially under
his superintendance, it is sufficient to mention the Glasgow, Paisley,
and Androssan; the Macclesfield; the Birmingham and Liverpool Junction;
the Gloucester and Berkeley; the Birmingham, which was completely
remodelled by him and adapted to the conduct of a very extensive
traffic, and the Weaver navigation in Cheshire. On the Continent he
likewise superintended the construction of the Gotha Canal in Sweden,
a navigation of about 125 English miles, of which 55 are artificial
canal. From the Lake Wener at one extremity, this navigation rises
162 feet to the summit level, and falls 370 feet to the Baltic at the
other; the rise and fall are effected by fifty-six locks, and the canal
is 42 feet wide at the bottom and 10 feet deep. Upon its completion
Telford received a Swedish order of knighthood, and as a farther mark
of the royal approbation, received the King of Sweden's portrait set in

The works executed by Telford under the Commissioners of Highland Roads
and Bridges are of great importance. The practical operations under
this commission, appointed in 1803, embraced about a thousand miles
of new road, with nearly 1,200 new bridges, which caused the whole of
Scotland, from its southern boundary near Carlisle, to the northern
extremity of Caithness, and from Aberdeenshire on the east, to the
Argyleshire islands on the west, to be intersected by roads; and its
largest rivers and even inferior streams to be crossed by bridges. The
execution of this undertaking occupied a period of twenty-five years,
and all was done under the sole direction of Telford. The great road
from London to Holyhead remains, perhaps, one of the most perfect
specimens of his skill as an engineer; the improvements in it were
executed by him, under another Parliamentary Commission appointed in
1815, and Telford himself appears to have regarded this work with
peculiar satisfaction.

The Menai suspension bridge is, however, unquestionably one of the
noblest monuments of Mr. Telford's fame, and it may be said to have
inaugurated the era of the extensive introduction of wrought iron into
great permanent structures exposed to heavy strains.[39] This bridge
was commenced in 1819, and opened for traffic in 1826. The distance
between the two piers is 550 feet, and the whole roadway, which is
carried over four arches on the one side, and three on the other, has
a length of 1000 feet, and a breadth of 30 feet. The total cost of the
work was 120,000_l._

Mr. Telford also built many other bridges of considerable size, and
executed some important harbour works at Aberdeen and Dundee; but his
most striking performance of this latter class is the St. Katharine
Docks, London. One of his latest engagements was the survey of Dover
harbour, undertaken in January, 1834, at the request of the Duke
of Wellington, (as Warden of the Cinque Ports,) with a view to the
adoption of measures to check the accumulation of shingle at the

During the course of his life Mr. Telford taught himself Latin, French,
and German, so as to be able to read those languages with fluency, and
to be able to converse freely in French. He is likewise said to have
been well acquainted with algebra, but to have placed more reliance
upon experiment, than on mathematical investigation. He contributed
to the 'Edinburgh Encyclopædia' the articles--'Architecture,' 'Bridge
Building,' and 'Canal Making.' Besides the above, he wrote an account
of his own life, giving elaborate descriptions of his various
professional undertakings. (Life of Thomas Telford, written by himself.
Edited by John Rickman. London, 1833, 4to.)

Although Telford was not connected with the Institution of Civil
Engineers at its formation, he accepted their invitation in 1820, and
became their President; and from that time he was unremitting in his
attention to the duties of the office, having become by his partial
retirement from business, a pretty regular resident in the metropolis.

Telford was possessed of a robust frame, and till he had reached the
age of seventy, had never been visited with any serious illness. While
at Cambridge, in the year 1827, he was afflicted with a severe and
dangerous disorder; and although he gradually recovered a certain
degree of health, he never regained his former vigour. He died a
few years afterwards at his house in Abingdon Street, Westminster,
having completed the seventy-seventh year of his age. His remains were
deposited in Westminster Abbey, where there is a statue erected to his
memory.--_Encyclopædia Britannica._--_English Cyclopædia._


Born May 3, 1768. Died October 1, 1838.

Charles Tennant, the founder of the celebrated chemical works at St.
Rollox, Glasgow, was born at Ochiltree, Ayrshire. His father, John
Tennant, was factor or steward to the Countess of Glencairn, and also
rented a farm on her estate, in the culture of which he displayed great
practical and scientific ability. John Tennant married twice; after
the death of his first wife, by whom he had two sons and one daughter,
he married, in the year 1757, Margaret McLure, who, in the course of
time, brought him a numerous family of six sons and seven daughters.
John Tennant's second wife possessed very superior abilities, which
she earnestly directed to the education and advancement of her family,
ultimately having the satisfaction of seeing all her children turn out
men of energy and success in life. Charles Tennant, the subject of our
memoir, was the fifth son; he received his early education at home,
afterwards attending the parish school of Ochiltree. When still very
young, Charles left home and went to Kilbarhan, with the intention
of learning the manufacture of silk. After remaining at this place a
short time, Tennant removed to Wellmeadow bleachfield, where he studied
the methods of bleaching at that time in use, and ultimately went to
Darnly (the place from which the unfortunate husband of Mary, Queen of
Scots, took his title), and established there an extensive bleachfield,
taking into partnership with him Mr. Cochrane of Paisley. Mr. Tennant
now devoted himself to the study of chemistry, feeling that the process
of bleaching could only be effected by true chemical agency, whatever
might be the particular method or operation, and that, therefore, the
bleacher must in the first case look to the chemist for the discovery
of more potent agents to effect his object. Before Mr. Tennant's time
the operation of bleaching was of a very tedious and expensive nature.
The cloth was steeped in alkaline lye, which was called 'bucking.' The
subsequent process of bleaching was done by exposure on the grass,
called 'crofting;' these operations were repeated five or six times,
and extended over a period of eight or ten weeks. In the year 1787 an
important change took place, in consequence of the discovery, by Mr.
Scheele, of Sweden, of chlorine, which was used as a substitute for
exposure to the atmosphere. The repeated experiments of Berthollet
added considerably to the facts already known, while the practical
effects of these discoveries were still more fully shown by Mr. Watt,
and Dr. Henry of Manchester. In 1798 Mr. Tennant made his first great
discovery, viz., a method of making saturated chloride of lime, an
article which was found to answer perfectly all the purposes required
by the bleacher. This invention, for which he took out a patent,
consisted in the substitution of lime for potash. His patent right
was, however, resisted by certain of the bleachers of Lancashire,
and was set aside by the verdict of a jury, on the grounds that the
patent included a mode of 'bucking' with quicklime and water, which
was not a new invention; and because one part of the patent was not
new, the whole of the claim must be set aside. By this decision the use
of liquid chloride of lime in bleaching was thrown open to all; and
through an unfortunate error of expression in describing his process,
Mr. Tennant was deprived of the fruits of a laborious investigation
extending over a period of several years. This subsequently caused a
strong feeling of sympathy to be manifested for him by many of the
bleachers of Lancashire, who, as an expression of their grateful
acknowledgment, presented him with a service of plate, which he
accepted. Mr. Tennant, however, in accordance with the character of his
original design, determined to press onward with his discoveries, and
to bring, if possible, his first invention to a still more practical
issue. He therefore adopted a new method, and at length completed and
secured by patent a process for impregnating quicklime in a dry state
with chlorine, which proved perfectly successful; this, his second
patent, remained uncontested, and he lived to secure a large pecuniary

Mr. Tennant's discoveries, together with the introduction of
soda-ash or 'British soda,' in place of potash, greatly facilitated
and cheapened the process of bleaching, while the introduction of
mechanical appliances and the power of the steam-engine superseded
the previous laborious operations by hand. The result has been that
the same amount of bleaching is now performed in as many days as was
formerly performed in weeks, while the price has been reduced from 7s.
6d. (1803) to 6d. (1861) for a piece of cloth of 28 yards.

In the year 1800 Mr. Tennant removed from Darnly to St. Rollox,
Glasgow, where he commenced business as a large manufacturing chemist,
taking into partnership Mr. Charles Mackintosh, Mr. William Cowper, and
Mr. James Knox. During the remainder of his life Mr. Tennant devoted
himself with energy to the forwarding of his business, and ultimately
caused his manufactory to become the largest and most extensive of its
kind in Europe. He also took considerable interest in the politics of
the day. His principles were those of an intelligent and liberal-minded
reformer, and he was long looked up to as one of the leading men of his
party, although the least tainted by mere party spirit or selfishness.
Mr. Tennant was likewise conspicuous in his promotion of many public
undertakings. He took a deep interest in the furtherance of the railway
system; the Garnkirk and Glasgow Railway may be said to owe its origin
and completion almost entirely to him, while his invincible industry
and perseverance contributed greatly towards the establishment of
the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway. He was a great friend of George
Stephenson's, and was present with him at the opening of the Liverpool
and Manchester Railroad when the unfortunate accident occurred which
resulted in the melancholy death of Mr. Huskisson.

Mr. Tennant died rather suddenly, in his seventy-first year, at
his house in Abercrombie Place, Glasgow. He was possessed of a
constitutional nervousness, rather remarkable in one of a large and
healthy frame, allied to a peculiar sensitiveness to the beautiful.
In after life he would often talk with pleasure of his youthful
reminiscences of the poet Burns, who was at that time on terms of
considerable intimacy with his family. Mr. Tennant was an earnest and
indefatigable promoter of economical and educational improvement; an
uncompromising friend of civil and religious liberty; while his own
inborn energy of character and clear intellect placed him among the
foremost of those men who, by uniting science to manufactures, have at
once extended their fields of action, and entitled their occupations to
be classed among the ranks of the liberal professions.--_The Progress
of Science and Art as developed in the Bleaching of Cotton, by Henry
Ashworth, Paper read before the British Association at Manchester_,
September 5, 1861; _and_, _Particulars communicated by the Family_.


Born April 12, 1773. Died July 2, 1852.

Dr. Thomas Thomson, Regius Professor of Chemistry in the University of
Glasgow, who exercised a remarkable influence in the development and
extension of the science of chemistry during the present age, was born
at Crieff, in Perthshire. He received his early education at the parish
school of that place, and after remaining for a time under the care of
Dr. Doig, of Stirling, went to the University of St. Andrews, where he
remained for a period of three years.

Thomson entered upon his medical studies at the University of
Edinburgh, and during the session of 1795-96 attended the lectures of
the celebrated Dr. Black, who first awoke in him the latent taste for
that science of which he was destined to become so bright an ornament.
In 1796 he became connected with the _Encyclopædia Britannica_, for an
early edition of which he wrote the articles--Chemistry, Mineralogy,
Vegetable Substances, Animal Substances, and Dyeing Substances, &c.
These articles formed the basis of his system of chemistry, which
he published at Edinburgh in the year 1804, in four volumes, and
afterwards greatly enlarged and improved as the demand for the book
increased. Dr. Thomson commenced delivering a series of lectures on
chemistry at Edinburgh in 1800, which were continued with increasing
popularity until 1810. Meanwhile he invented the system of chemical
symbols now generally adopted by all men of science (with variations
as the time demands), and without which chemical language would be
unintelligible. He was also the first to open a laboratory in Great
Britain for practical manipulation in chemistry. In 1810 he published
his 'Elements of Chemistry,' and in 1812 visited Sweden, and on his
return wrote a description of that country. The following year to this
Dr. Thomson started in London the 'Annals of Philosophy,' a scientific
journal, which he continued to edit until the year 1822, and which
a few years afterwards was merged in the 'Philosophical Magazine.'
He also about this time conducted for the Board of Excise a series
of investigations on brewing, which formed the basis of Scottish
legislation on that subject.

In the year 1817 Thomson was elected lecturer on chemistry in the
University of Glasgow, and in the following year received the title
of Professor. This chair he held until his death, being assisted in
his latter years by his nephew and son-in-law, Dr. R. D. Thomson.
When Dalton had worked out his grand discovery of the Atomic Theory,
he communicated the result of his researches to Thomson, who at once
perceived the value and importance of the discovery, and in the year
1807 was the first to publish it to the world. He gave a sketch of this
grand theory in the third edition of his 'System of Chemistry;' and we
are chiefly indebted to the labours of Professor Thomson, conjointly
with Dr. Henry of Manchester, and Dr. Wollaston, for luminous views on
this important subject. In 1825 Dr. Thomson wrote, in two volumes, 'An
Attempt to Establish the First Principles of Chemistry by Experiment.'
In 1830-31 he published his 'History of Chemistry,' a work which has
been described as a masterpiece of learning and research. In 1836
appeared his 'Outlines of Mineralogy and Geology;' and in 1849 he
issued his last work, 'On Brewing and Distillation.'

Thomson performed in science, and its history and literature, a
very great amount of valuable labour, and acquired a distinguished
reputation both as an original discoverer, and as a practical
teacher of his favourite science. He died in 1852, at the age of
seventy-nine, and has left behind him a son who bears his name, now
(1860) superintendent of the East India Company's Botanic Gardens at
Calcutta, and one of the most distinguished scientific botanists of the
day.--_Encyclopædia Britannica_, Eighth Edition.--_English Cyclopædia._
London, 1858.


Born April 13, 1771. Died April 22, 1833.

Richard Trevithick, inventor of the first high pressure steam-engine,
and the first steam-carriage used in England, was born in the parish
of Illogan, in Cornwall. He was the son of a purser of the mines in
the district, and although he received but little early education,
his talents were great in his own special subject, mechanics. When
a boy he had no taste for school exercises, and being an only son,
was allowed by his parents to do much as he pleased; so that most of
his time was passed either in strolling over the mines amidst which
he lived, or in working out schemes which had already begun to fill
his youthful imagination, seated under a hedge, with a slate in his
hand. Trevithick was a pupil of William Bull, an engineer practising
at that time in Cornwall, employed in erecting Watt's engines, and
who afterwards accompanied Trevithick to South America. When he had
attained the age of twenty-one, Trevithick was appointed engineer to
several mines, a more responsible situation than the one held by his
father, who, on hearing of his son's appointment, expressed great
surprise, and even considered it his duty to remonstrate with the
gentlemen who had proposed the appointment. About this period (in 1792)
he was also employed to test one of Hornblower's engines, and even
before this, had, with the assistance of William Bull, constructed
several engines which did not come under Watt's patent. Trevithick's
duties, as engineer, at this time, frequently required him to visit
Mr. Harvey's iron foundry at Hayle, who was in the habit of inviting
him to his house; this ultimately resulted in his becoming attached to
Mr. Harvey's daughter, to whom he was married on the 7th of November,
1797. After his marriage Trevithick lived at Plane-an-quary in Redruth
for a few months, then at Camborne for ten years. From about 1808
to 1810 he resided in London; but after his unfortunate failure in
attempting to tunnel the Thames, returned to Penponds in the parish of
Camborne, where he lived for five or six years, at the house of his
mother, afterwards living at Penzance, from which town he sailed for
Peru on the 20th October, 1816. While residing at Camborne, Trevithick
influenced perhaps by the success of Murdock's model steam-carriage,
determined to build one adapted to ordinary road traffic. One Andrew
Vivian supplied the pecuniary means and joined him in the project, for
which, on its completion, a patent was taken out in 1802, and in the
same year a small one was erected at Marazion, which was worked by
steam of at least thirty pounds on the square inch above atmospheric
pressure.[40] Their steam-carriage presented the appearance of an
ordinary stage-coach on four wheels, having one horizontal cylinder,
which, together with the boiler and fire-box, were placed at the back
of the hind axle. Mr. Michael Williams, late M.P. for Cornwall, in a
letter to Mr. E. Watkins, dated the 5th of January, 1853, mentions
having been present at the first trial of Trevithick's locomotive,
and says "the experiments made on the public road close by Camborne
were perfectly successful, and although many improvements in the
details of such description of engines have been since effected, the
leading principles of construction and arrangement are continued, I
believe, with little alteration in the magnificent railroad engines
of the present day." After making several satisfactory trials in the
neighbourhood of Plymouth, Trevithick and Vivian exhibited their
invention publicly in London, first at Lord's Cricket-ground, and
afterwards on the spot of ground now occupied by Euston Square.[41]
At this latter place, however, Trevithick, influenced by some curious
whim, suddenly closed the exhibition on the second day, leaving
hundreds waiting outside in a state of great wrath. Mrs. Humblestone,
an old inhabitant of London, who at that period used to keep a shop
near to the present Pantheon, Oxford Street, relates that she well
remembers witnessing a public trial of Trevithick's steam-carriage. On
this occasion the shops were shut, no horses or carriages were allowed
in the streets, and the roofs of the houses in the neighbourhood were
crowded with people, who hurraed and waived their handkerchiefs as the
'steam monster' was seen coming along Oxford Street at a rapid pace.[42]

Two years afterwards Trevithick constructed the first successful
railway locomotive, which was used on the Merthyr Tydvil Railway in
the year 1804. This engine had an eight-inch cylinder, of four feet
six inches stroke, placed horizontally as at present, and working on a
cranked axle; while, in order to secure a continuous rotatory motion,
a fly-wheel was placed on the end of the axle. When we add to this,
that the fly-wheel was furnished with a break, that the boiler had a
safety-valve or a fusible plug beyond the reach of the engineer, and
that the patent includes the production of a more equable rotatory
motion--"by causing the piston rods of _two_ cylinders to work on
the said axis by means of cranks at a quarter of a turn asunder"--it
is scarcely too much to say that nothing material was added to the
design of the locomotive until the invention of the tubular boiler
in 1829.[43] On the occasion of its first trial, on the 21st of
February, 1804, this engine drew carriages containing ten tons of
bar iron for a distance of nine miles, at the rate of five miles an
hour. The specification of the patent for Trevithick's steam-carriage
mentions a plan for causing the wheels, _in certain cases_, to take a
stronger hold of the ground by means of sundry rough projections, but
it also adds that, _in general, the ordinary structure or figure of the
external surface of these wheels will be found to answer the intended
purpose_, which appears to have been the case in the above-mentioned
engine.[44] After making a few experiments with his engine, Trevithick
forsook the locomotive for other projects of his versatile genius, and
this great invention was left to be perfected and carried into general
use by George Stephenson.

In the year 1809 Trevithick commenced an attempt at tunnelling under
the Thames. It was the second time that this difficult undertaking
had been tried, Ralph Dodd having been the first of the unsuccessful
borers. When a large sum of money had been raised by subscriptions
Trevithick commenced boring at Rotherhithe, and in order to save both
labour and expense, kept very near to the bottom of the river; but
notwithstanding the increased difficulties which he had to encounter
on this account, he actually carried the tunnel through a distance of
1011 feet, and within 100 feet of the proposed terminus. At this point
an unfortunate dispute arose between him and the surveyor appointed to
verify his work, the surveyor asserting that the tunnel had been run a
foot or two on one side. This reflection on his skill as an engineer
excited Trevithick's Cornish blood, and he is said to have adopted the
absurd expedient of making a hole in the roof of the tunnel at low
water, and thrusting through a series of jointed rods, which were to be
received by a man in a boat, and then observed from the shore. In the
execution of this scheme, delays ensued in fitting the rods together,
and at length so much water made its way through the gulley formed by
the opening in the roof, that retreat became necessary; Trevithick,
with an inborn courage, refused to go first, but sent the men before
him, and his life nearly fell a sacrifice to his devotion: as he made
his escape on the other side, the water rose with him to his neck,
owing to the tunnel following the curve of the bed of the river, which
necessarily caused the water to congregate towards one part. The work
was thus ended almost at the point of its successful completion, being
at once a melancholy monument of his folly and his skill.

After this unfortunate failure, Trevithick commenced many schemes;
among others, his attention was directed towards the introduction
of iron tanks and buoys into the Royal Navy. On first representing
the importance of this to the Admiralty, the objection was raised,
that perhaps, in the case of the tanks, iron would be prejudicial to
the water, and consequently to the health of the crews; Trevithick
was therefore requested to consult Abernethy upon the subject,
which he accordingly did, and received for his answer the following
characteristic reply: "That the Admiralty ought to have known better
than to have sent you to me with such a question." He likewise, about
this period, contributed largely to the improvement and better working
of the Cornish engines, and to him the merit is due of introducing into
these engines the system of high-pressure steam, and of inventing in
the year 1804 the cylindrical wrought iron boiler, (now known as the
Cornish boiler,) in which he placed the fire inside instead of outside,
as had been the practice before his time.

Trevithick also appears to have been among, if not the very first
to employ the expansive principle of steam. In the year 1811-12 he
erected a single-acting engine of 25 inches cylinder at Hull-Prosper
in Gwithian, with a cylindrical boiler, in which the steam was more
than 40 lbs. on the square inch above atmospheric pressure; and the
engine was so loaded that it worked full seven-eighths of the stroke
expansively. In this he seems to have preceded Woolf by several
years. It is also stated by Mr. Gordon in his 'Treatise on Elementary
Locomotion,' that Trevithick was the first to turn the eduction-pipe
into the chimney of the locomotive to increase the draught.[45]

We now come to the most romantic and stirring period of Trevithick's
career. In 1811 M. Uvillé, a Swiss gentleman at that time living
in Lima, came to England to see if he could procure machinery for
clearing the silver mines, in the Peruvian mountains, of water.
Watt's condensing engines were, however, of too ponderous a nature
to be transported over the Cordilleras on the backs of the feeble
llamas, and Uvillé was about to give the matter up in despair, when,
on the eve of his departure from this country, he chanced to see a
small working model of Trevithick's engine in a shop window near
Fitzroy Square. This model he carried out with him to Lima, and had
the satisfaction of seeing it work successfully on the high ridge of
the Sierra de Pasco. Uvillé now returned to England to procure more
engines of the same kind, but he was a second time almost forced to
give the matter up; for Boulton and Watt, the most distinguished
engineers of their time, assured him that it was impossible to make
engines of sufficient power and yet small enough to be carried over
the Andes. Fortunately, however, Uvillé at this point met with
Trevithick himself, and was enabled to make such arrangements with
him as resulted in the embarkation, during September 1814, of three
engineers and nine of Trevithick's engines. On landing at Peru, Uvillé
and his charge were received with a royal salute, and in due time the
engines, which had been simplified to the greatest extent, and so
divided as to form adequate loads for the weakly llama, were safely
carried over precipices where a stone may be thrown for a league. An
engine was soon erected at Lauricocha, in the province of Tarma, which
successfully drained the shaft of the Santa Rosa mine, and enabled
working operations to be recommenced. During the year 1816 Trevithick,
hearing of this success, gave up family and fortune and embarked for
South America. On landing he was received with the highest honours;
all Lima was in a state of excitement, which rose to a still greater
pitch, when it was found that his engines, by clearing the mines of
water, had doubled their produce and increased the coining machinery
sixfold. Trevithick was created a marquis and grandee of old Spain, and
the lord warden of the mines proposed to raise a silver statue in his
honour. All went well until the revolution broke out, when the Cornish
engineer found himself placed in a very disagreeable position between
the two parties. The patriots kept him in the mountains in a kind of
honourable captivity, while the royalists ruined his property and
mutilated his engines. Trevithick, never very patient, soon determined
to end this, and, after incurring many hardships and dangers, succeeded
in making his escape from the oppressive love and veneration of the
mountain patriots. On their way back Trevithick and his companions
encountered many perils; they had to shoot monkeys for subsistence,
their clothes were almost always wet through owing to it being the
rainy season of the year; they had also to ford rivers, and in many
cases make their own roads by cutting down the underwood and other
obstacles which impeded their progress. On one occasion Trevithick
nearly lost his life; in attempting to swim across a river he became
involved in a kind of whirlpool caused by some sunken rocks, and
notwithstanding all his efforts he was utterly unable to swim beyond
its influence, which kept carrying him round and round; fortunately
just as his strength was giving way a companion, who had cut down a
tall sappling, succeeded in stretching it out to his assistance, and
thus drew him to land. Ultimately, after a long interval, Trevithick
arrived at Cartagena, on the gulf of Darien, almost in a state of
utter destitution. Here he was met by the late Robert Stephenson, who,
having just received a remittance from home, lent half to his brother
engineer to help him on his way to England, where he arrived on the 9th
of October, 1827, bringing back a pair of spurs and a few old coins,
the sole remnants of the colossal fortune made, 'but not realized,'
in the Peruvian mines. Before this occurred, however, Trevithick had
visited various parts of the West coast of South America; part of this
time he was in the company of Earl Dundonald (then Lord Cochrane), but
the last four years of this period were spent by him at Costa Rica,
in the countries now so well known as the route of the Nicaraguan
transit and the scene of General Walker's filibuster warfare, where
he projected mines and devised many magnificent schemes, but realized
no permanent good for himself. Among other things, having discovered
some valuable mineral deposits, he obtained from the government a
grant of the land which contained them, and on his return to England
succeeded, by his representations (which were confirmed by a Scotchman
of the name of Gerard, who had been his companion), in organizing
a company for sinking the necessary mines. Before, however, active
operations were commenced, Trevithick one day entered the new company's
offices to arrange finally about his own interest in the concern. A
cheque for 7000_l._ was at once offered him as purchase-money for his
land in Southern America. This however was not what he had wanted,
and without giving a thought to the largeness of the sum offered, he
indignantly threw back the cheque across the table and walked out of
the office.[46] After this the company broke up, and Trevithick never
realized a penny-piece from his really valuable possessions in that

After his return from America but little is known of Trevithick;
late in life he commenced a petition to Parliament, in which he asks
for some grant or remuneration for his services to the country, by
reason of the superiority of his machinery, stating that from the
use of his engines the saving to the Cornish mines alone amounted to
100,000_l._ per annum; but before presenting this petition, he met
with a monied partner, who supplied him with the means of perfecting
his never-ceasing inventions. This was all Trevithick wanted, and the
petition was consequently laid aside. Thus assisted he obtained a
patent in 1831 for an improved steam engine; and another in the same
year for a method or apparatus for heating apartments; and a third on
the 22nd of September, 1832, for improvements on the steam engine, and
in the application of steam power to navigation and locomotion. This
was the last patent he took out; he died at Dartford in Kent during the
following year, at the age of sixty-two.

Trevithick, by his marriage with Miss Jane Harvey, had four sons and
two daughters, all of whom are still living. His manners were blunt
and unassuming, but yet possessed a certain kind of fascination which
generally secured for him, in whatever society he might be, an eager
and attentive auditory. In person he was tall and strongly made, being
six feet two inches in height, and broad in proportion, and to this
day stories of his extraordinary feats of strength are told among
the miners of Cornwall. His life remains a record of constant but
brilliant failures, and that from no inherent defect in his inventions,
but solely from the absence in his character of that perseverance
and worldly prudence necessary to bring every new undertaking to a
successful commercial issue.--_Contributions to the Biography of R.
Trevithick, by R. Edmunds, Jun., Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal_,
October, 1859.--_The Land's End District, &c., with Brief Memoir of
Ric. Trevithick, by R. Edmunds._ London and Penzance, 1862.--_All the
Year Round_, August 4, 1860.--And other particulars taken from original
and authentic sources.


Born October, 1753. Died June 12, 1835.

Edward Troughton, the first astronomical instrument maker of our
day, was born in the parish of Corney, on the south-west coast of
Cumberland, and was the third son of a small farmer. An uncle of
the same name, and his eldest brother John were settled in London
as mathematical instrument makers; and as his second brother was
apprenticed to the same business, Edward was designed to be a farmer,
continuing to be his father's assistant till the age of seventeen.

The death of his younger brother, however, altered Edward's
destination, and caused him to be placed with his brother John, at that
time a chamber master, employed chiefly in dividing and engraving for
the trade, and the higher branches of the art. Under the instruction of
John, who was an excellent workman, Troughton made very rapid progress,
and at the end of his time was taken into partnership.

About the year 1782 the Troughtons established themselves in Fleet
Street, where they commenced an independent business and soon rose into
eminence. After the death of his brother John, Edward alone continued
the business until the year 1826, when increasing age and dislike
to routine employment, induced him to take Mr. William Simms as his
partner and successor.

The instruments which facilitate navigation were peculiarly objects
of interest to Mr. Troughton, and long after his infirmities were an
effectual bar to the applications of his most esteemed friends, he
exerted himself to supply the seamen with well adjusted and accurate
sextants. "Your fancies," he would say, "may wait; their necessities

In 1778 he took out a patent for the double framed sextant, a
construction which, combining firmness and lightness, yet admitted of
a considerable radius in this invaluable instrument. After trying and
rejecting the repeating reflecting circle of Borda, Mr. Troughton,
in 1796, hit upon one of his happiest constructions, the British
reflecting circle, as he delighted to call it, an instrument which in
right hands is capable of wonderful accuracy. It is a characteristic
trait of Mr. Troughton, that in order to bring his favourite circle
into general use, he reduced its price far below the usual profits
of trade; and if he had succeeded in his attempt, he might have been
ruined by his success, for his sextants were by far the most gainful
article of his business.

With the same earnestness to promote the interests of navigation, he
invented the dip sector (afterwards re-invented by Dr. Wollaston), and
expended time, money, and ingenuity to no inconsiderable amount, in
attempting to perfect the marine top for producing a true horizontal
reflecting surface at sea. The marine barometer, the snuff-box sextant,
and the portable universal dial, owe to him all their elegance, and
much of their accuracy. Where others invented or sketched he perfected.

In the ordinary physical apparatus Troughton made considerable
improvement in the construction of the balance, and of the mountain
barometer. In the same class may be mentioned the form given to the
compensated mercurial pendulum; his pyrometer, by which some very
valuable expansions have been determined; the apparatus by which Sir
George Shuckburgh attempted to ascertain the standard of weight and
measure; and that apparatus which, in the hands of Francis Baily,
has given an invariable simple seconds pendulum. In the ordinary
geodesical instruments Mr. Troughton greatly improved the surveying
level and staff, and reduced them both in weight and price, with
increased convenience and accuracy. It is, however, in the construction
of astronomical instruments that this great mechanician particularly
excelled; here he reigned without a rival. His portable astronomical
quadrants are models of strength and lightness, while the repeating
circle of Borda, an instrument which he disliked, first received its
beauty and accuracy from his hands.

The ordinary reading micrometer, and the position micrometer, commonly
employed in the measurement of double stars, were greatly improved by
him in simplicity and brought to perfection; and he first applied the
former to dividing, though in circles and scales it had already been
used in reading off.

Mr. Troughton's larger works, such as his equatorial instruments,
circles, transits, &c., are as well known in the astronomical world as
those of Wren in the architectural; they are too numerous to mention
here, and are distributed in various parts of the world. The gigantic
zenith tube at Greenwich was about the last work on which he was
engaged, and he had just time to finish it before his strength failed.
The only astronomical instrument which is not greatly indebted to
Mr. Troughton is the telescope, and he was deterred from making any
attempt in this branch of his art by the curious physical defect of
colour blindness, which existed in many members of his family. Like
Dalton he could not distinguish colours, and had little idea of them,
except generally as they conveyed the impression of greater or less
light. The ripe cherry and its leaf were to him of one hue, only to be
distinguished by their form. With this defect in his vision he never
attempted any experiments in which colour was concerned; and it is
difficult to see how he could have done so with success.

The most remarkable of Troughton's writings are, 'An account of a
method of dividing astronomical and other instruments by ocular
inspection,' &c.--Phil. Trans., 1809, which was awarded with the
Copley medal; 'A comparison of the repeating circle of Borda, with
the altitude and Azimuth Circle'--Memoirs R. Ast. Soc.; and several
articles in Brewster's 'Edinburgh Cyclopædia,' such as 'Circle,'
'Graduations,' &c.

In the year 1825 Mr. Troughton paid a visit to Paris, and in 1830 he
received an honorary gold medal from the King of Denmark. During the
latter portion of his life he became almost entirely deaf, only hearing
by the aid of a powerful trumpet. He died at his house in Fleet Street,
June 12, 1835, in the eighty-second year of his age, and was buried at
the Cemetery, Kensal Green.--_Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical
Society_, vol. 3, February, 1836.


Born August, 1737. Died June 4, 1816.

Richard Watson, celebrated both as an able theologian, and as a
professor of chemistry, was born at Haversham, near Kendal in
Westmoreland. His ancestors had been farmers of their own estates for
several generations, and his father, a younger son, was for forty
years the head master of the Grammar-school at Haversham, but had
resigned his duties about the period of the birth of his son Richard.
Young Watson received his education at this school, and about a year
after his father's death, in 1753, was sent on an exhibition of 50_l._
belonging to the school, to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was
admitted as a sizar on the 3rd of November, 1754. All he had, besides
his exhibition, to carry him through college, was a sum of 300_l._
which his father had left him, but he set bravely to work, to make his
way to independence by hard study and hard living; his dress is said at
first to have been a coarse mottled Westmoreland coat, and blue yarn

In May, 1757, he obtained a scholarship, and in the September
following, while still only a junior soph, he began to take pupils,
continuing to be employed, first as private, then as a college tutor,
until in October, 1767, he became one of the head tutors of Trinity
College. Meanwhile Watson had taken his degree of B.A. in January,
1759, being classed as second wrangler, which he seems to have
considered, and not without reason, as the place of honour for the
year; the senior wrangler, who was a member of St. John's, having, as
it was generally believed, been unfairly preferred to him.

In October, 1760, he was elected a fellow of his college, and in
November, 1764, on the death of Dr. Hadley, he was unanimously elected
by the senate to the professorship of chemistry, although at that time
he knew nothing of the science. Watson did not, however, disappoint
the confidence that was placed by others in his abilities. With the
assistance of an operator, whom he immediately sent for from Paris,
and by shutting himself up in his laboratory, he acquired such an
acquaintance with his new subject, as to enable him in about fourteen
months to read his first course of lectures, which were honoured with
a numerous attendance, and proved highly successful. Other courses
followed which were equally well received; and, in 1768, he printed
a synopsis of the principles of the science, under the title of
'Institutiones Metallurgicæ.'

Watson was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1769, and for some
years afterwards contributed many chemical papers to the 'Philosophical
Transactions.' In 1771 he published 'An Essay on the Subjects of
Chemistry, and their General Divisions.' In 1781 he published two
volumes 12mo. of 'Chemical Essays;' a third appeared in 1782; and a
fourth in 1786 completed the work, which has often been reprinted, and
was long very popular. In connection with his chemical professorship,
Watson obtained from Government, by proper representations, a salary of
100_l._ for himself, and for all future professors. He also paid some
attention to theoretical and practical anatomy, as having a certain
relation to the science of chemistry.

In October, 1771, on the death of Dr. Rutherforth, he unexpectedly
obtained the lucrative and important office of Regius Professor of
Divinity, and in that capacity, held the Rectory of Somersham in
Huntingdonshire. At this time he had neither taken his degree of
B.D. or D.D., and by his own account, seems to have known little
more of theological learning than he did of chemistry seven years
before. Yet such was his good fortune, or the reputation that he had
established, for carrying an object whenever he took it in hand, that
no other candidate appeared for the professorship, while his eloquence
and ingenuity supplied the want of deeper erudition, and attracted
as numerous audiences to the exercises in the schools at which he
presided, as had ever attended his chemical lectures.

Watson himself, in the anecdotes of his life, gives the following
account of this circumstance:--"I was not, when Dr. Rutherforth died,
either Bachelor or Doctor in Divinity, and without being one of them
I could not become a candidate for the Professorship. This puzzled me
for a moment, I had only seven days to transact the business in, but
by hard travelling, and some adroitness, I accomplished my purpose,
obtained the King's mandate for a Doctor's degree, and was created
Doctor on the day previous to that appointed for the examination of
the candidates. Thus did I, by hard and incessant labour for seventeen
years, attain at the age of thirty-four, the first office for honour in
the University; and, exclusive of the mastership of Trinity College, I
have made it the first for profit; I found the Professorship not worth
quite 330_l._, and it is now worth 1000_l._ at least."

Watson's clerical preferment after this was very rapid. In 1773,
through the influence of the Duke of Grafton, he obtained possession
of a sinecure rectory in North Wales, which he was enabled to exchange
during the course of the following year for a prebend in the Church of
Ely. In 1780 he succeeded Dr. Plumtree as archdeacon of that diocese;
the same year he was presented to the Rectory of Northwold in Norfolk,
and in the beginning of the year following, received another much more
valuable living, the Rectory of Knaptoft in Leicestershire, from the
hands of the Duke of Rutland, who had been his pupil at the University.
Lastly, in July, 1782, he was promoted to the bishopric of Llandaff,
by the Prime Minister of that period Lord Shelburne, who hoped thereby
both to gratify the Duke of Rutland, and also to secure an active

Watson, however, proved a very unmanageable bishop, and during the
course of his political career was singularly free and independent
in his sentiments. One of his first acts was to publish in 1783, 'A
Letter to Archbishop Cornwallis on the Church Revenues, recommending an
equalization of the Bishoprics.' This he did in spite of all that could
be said to make him see that it would embarrass the Government, and at
the same time do nothing to forward his own object. And so he continued
to take his own way, and was very soon left to do so, without any party
or person seeking either to guide or stop him.

In 1783 Bishop Watson had married the eldest daughter of Edward Wilson
of Dalham Tower in Westmoreland. In the year 1789 he retired from
politics and betook himself to an estate which he had at Calgarth, on
the banks of Winandermere, occupying himself in educating his family,
and in agricultural improvements, especially planting, for which he
received a medal from the Society of Arts in 1789.

Previous to this, in 1786, his friend and former pupil, Mr. Luther,
of Ongar in Essex, had left him an estate which he sold for more
than 20,000_l._ Bishop Watson died on the 4th of June, 1816, in his
seventy-ninth year. His writings are very numerous and miscellaneous
in their character; some of the more well known are:--an 'Apology for
Christianity,' written in 1776 in answer to Gibbon; a 'Collection of
Theological Tracts, selected from various Authors, for the use of
the Younger Students in the University,' in six volumes 8vo., 1785;
'Apology for the Bible, in a series of Letters addressed to Thomas
Paine,' 1796; and, 'An Address to the People of Great Britain,' which
went through fourteen editions, 1798.

One of the best practical results of his chemical studies was the
suggestion which he made to the Duke of Richmond, at that time Master
of the Ordnance, respecting the preparation of charcoal for gunpowder,
by burning the wood in close vessels, a process very materially
improving the quality of the powder, and which is now generally
adopted.--_Anecdotes of the Life of Richard Watson, Bishop of Llandaff,
written by himself._ London, 1817.--_Memoir by Dr. Thomas Young,
Encyclopædia Britannica._--_English Cyclopædia._

JAMES WATT, LL.D., F.R.S. L. and E., &c.


Born at Greenock on the Clyde, 1736. Died August 25, 1819.

To James Watt, philosopher, mechanician, and civil engineer, whose
genius perfected the control of one of the greatest revealed powers
yet given to man, may well be applied the saying of Wellington,
"That which makes a great general makes a great artist, the power
and the determination to overcome difficulties." Born with a sickly
temperament, and prevented thereby from attending school, or indulging
in the usual healthy play of children, Watt, unassisted by others,
devoted his time to study, and in retirement and reflection laid the
foundation of knowledge destined to bear such ample fruit. In addition
to mere book knowledge, he early exhibited a partiality for mechanical
contrivances and operations, and this determined him to commence his
career as a mathematical instrument maker. For this purpose he set out
for Glasgow in 1754, but owing to the limited resources of the town
at that period, he finally decided on going to London, where, after
great difficulty, he was apprenticed for a twelvemonth to an instrument
maker in Finch Lane. At the end of his apprenticeship Watt, having
become enfeebled from over attention to work, repaired to Greenock to
recruit his health, and ultimately returned to Glasgow, where he was
established by the authorities, within the precincts of the college
as mathematical instrument maker to the University. In process of
time Watt's shop became a favourite resort for professors as well as
students, and he counted among his visitors Professor Simson, Drs.
Black, Dick, and Moor;[47] but his most intimate friend, and the one
most closely connected with his after life, was John Robison, a student
at Glasgow, afterwards Professor of Natural Philosophy at Edinburgh
University, to whom the honour is due of having first directed Watt's
attention to the steam-engine. The event which actually led to the
commencement of his invaluable discoveries on this subject, was the
entrusting to him the repair of a small model of Newcomen's engine,
which the college possessed. In his endeavours to put this engine into
working order, Watt was led to investigate thoroughly the properties
of steam upon which its action depended; and ultimately in the spring
of 1765, after many trials and untiring perseverance, he arrived at
the great and simple idea of a separate condenser, into which the
steam expanded; thereby preventing that wasteful expenditure of heat,
which was the necessary result of the old plan of condensing the steam
in the working cylinder, by admitting a jet of cold water directly
under the piston. In addition to this Watt surrounded the cylinder
with a second casing to be filled with the surplus steam, for the
purpose of preventing radiation of heat, and closed in the top (which
in Newcomen's engine had been left open for the sake of the pressure
of the atmosphere upon the piston) by putting a cover on, with a hole
and stuffing box for the piston rod to slide through; a plan which
enabled steam pressure to be used in place of atmospheric. Newcomen's
engine, at this time used only for pumping out water in mines, thus
became a true steam-engine of immense power, capable of being worked
with economy, and of being turned to the various uses to which science
has since applied it. For these great improvements a patent, dated
January 5, 1769, was taken out by Watt and Dr. Roebuck, the founder of
the Carron iron works, with whom Watt had become acquainted. Little,
however, was done for some years in manufacturing engines on a large
scale; Roebuck fell into difficulties, while Watt, harassed, depressed
in spirits, and in want of money, was forced to obtain employment
as a civil engineer and land-surveyor. Among the many works that he
was engaged on in this capacity may be mentioned: the Crinan Canal,
afterwards completed by Rennie; the deepening of the river Clyde;
improvements in the harbours of Ayr, Port Glasgow, and Greenock; the
building of bridges at Hamilton and Rutherglen; and lastly, surveying
and estimating a line of canal between Fort William and Inverness,
which was subsequently executed by Telford on a larger scale than was
then proposed, under the name of the Caledonian Canal. In the latter
half of the year 1773 Roebuck's affairs came to a crisis; and Watt,
through the agency of Dr. Small, having been brought into relation with
Mr. Boulton, a man possessing an intimate knowledge of business, with
extended views and a liberal spirit of enterprise, an arrangement was
entered into between them, and the firm of Boulton and Watt established
at Soho. This was the turning point in Watt's fortunes; under the
vigorous management of Boulton, his great invention at length began
to be appreciated, and the saving of fuel was found to be nearly
three-fourths of the quantity consumed by Newcomen's engine. In 1775
an extension of the original patent until the year 1800 was obtained.
This gave a fresh stimulus to Watt's fertile brain, and resulted in
patents being taken out, between the years 1781-1785, for the rotatory
motion of the sun and planet wheels (the crank having been pirated by
Wasbrough), _the expansive principle of working steam_; _the double
engine_; _the parallel motion_; _the smokeless furnace_; _the float to
regulate the supply of water into the boiler_; and _the governor_. At
a later period Watt also invented the indicator, by means of which the
actual horse power of an engine could be ascertained. This beautiful
series of inventions in a measure may be said to have perfected the
machine, and at the present time the condensing steam engine differs in
no material respect from the engine as Watt left it.

While residing at Birmingham, Mr. Watt's house became the resort
of many learned men. In the meetings of the Lunar Society, held at
Soho House, originated his experiments on water, and between him and
Cavendish is the honour divided of having first promulgated the theory
of its composition. During the dispute which arose upon this subject,
Watt's reply, on a friend regretting that another should have carried
off this honour, is worth recording, as showing the modest dignity of
his character: "It matters not," said he, "whether Cavendish discovered
this or I, it is discovered."

In the year 1800 Mr. Watt, having acquired an ample competency, ceased
to take an active part in the business of the firm, and the remainder
of his life was spent in retirement; but his active mind, still
unwearied, continued to follow its natural bent. On two occasions
afterwards, in 1811 and 1812, he gave proofs of the undiminished powers
of his inventive genius. In the one instance he was induced, by his
grateful recollections of his residence in Glasgow, to assist the
proprietors of the waterworks there with a plan for supplying the town
with better water, by means of a suction pipe laid across the Clyde to
reach to the other side, where water of a very superior quality might
be procured. This pipe was formed of cast iron, with flexible joints,
after the manner of a lobster's tail, so as to accommodate itself to
the bed of the river, and fully answered the purpose for which it was
designed. In the other instance he was prevailed upon, by the earnest
solicitation of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, to attend
a deputation of the Navy Board, and to give, with his friend Captain
Huddart and Mr. J. Jessop, an opinion upon the works then carrying
on at Sheerness Dockyard, and the further ones projected by Messrs.
Rennie and Whitby. On this occasion he no less gratified the gentlemen
associated with him by the clearness of his general views, than by his
knowledge of the details; and he received the thanks of the Admiralty
for his services. In 1814 he yielded to the wishes of his friends,
of Dr. Brewster especially, and undertook a revision of Professor
Robison's articles on steam and steam-engines for an early edition
of the _Encyclopædia Britannica_, which he enriched with valuable
notes, containing his own experiments on steam, and a short history
of his principal improvements upon the engine itself. Among other
mechanical contrivances of Mr. Watt's may be mentioned: a machine for
copying letters; an instrument for measuring the specific gravity of
fluids; a regulator lamp; a plan for heating buildings by steam; and a
contrivance for drying linen. In his eighty-third year, Mr. Watt was
still occupied in inventing a machine for copying statues, but this
remained unfinished, death arrested his hand; he died in the year 1819,
at Heathfield, in Staffordshire; and thus, full of years and honours,
ended the life of a man who, though born in a secluded village town,
and reared in comparative poverty, was yet enabled, by persevering
industry and the happy gifts of nature, to contribute so greatly to the
commercial prosperity of the world.

Mr. Watt was elected a member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in
1784, of the Royal Society of London in 1785, and a corresponding
member of the Batavian Society in 1787. In 1806 the honorary degree of
LL.D. was conferred upon him by the spontaneous and unanimous vote of
the Senate of the University of Glasgow; and in 1808 he was elected,
first a corresponding, and afterwards a foreign member of the Institute
of France. A few years before his death it was intimated to him, by a
message from Sir Joseph Banks, that, to use the words of Mr. Muirhead,
the highest honour usually conferred in England on men of literature
and science--namely a baronetcy, was open to him, should he desire it;
but, although Watt felt flattered by this intimation, he determined,
after consulting with his son, to decline the honour.

Five statues have been erected to the memory of this illustrious man,
of which number the one in Westminster Abbey, by Chantrey, bears on its
pedestal the famous inscription by Lord Brougham:--

                    BUT TO SHEW
                     THE KING
                    JAMES WATT
                 TO THE IMPROVEMENT OF
                   THE STEAM ENGINE

--_Muirhead's Translation of Arago's Historical Eloge of James
Watt._ London, 1839.--_Memoir, by his son J. Watt_, _Encyclopædia
Britannica_.--_Quarterly Review_, October, 1858.


Born August 6, 1766. Died December 22, 1828.

William Hyde Wollaston was born at East Dereham, a village sixteen
miles from Norwich. His father was an astronomer of some eminence,
who in the year 1800 published an extensive catalogue of the northern
circumpolar stars. After a preparatory education, Wollaston entered at
Caius College, Cambridge, where he took the degree of M.B. in 1787,
and that of M.D. in 1793; soon afterwards he became a Tancred Fellow.
During his residence at Cambridge, he devoted himself more to the study
of astronomy than any other science.

On leaving Cambridge in 1789, he settled at Bury St. Edmunds, and
began to practise as a physician, but met with so little success, that
he soon removed to London. Shortly after his arrival, he became a
candidate for the office of Physician to St. George's Hospital, but was
defeated by the election of his principal opponent, Dr. Pemberton. It
is stated that this circumstance had such an effect on Wollaston, that
he declared, in a moment of pique, he would abandon the profession,
and never more write a prescription, were it for his own father.
This statement is, however, contradicted in a biographical notice of
him, contained in the reports of the Astronomical Society, where it
is affirmed that he continued to practise physic in London to the
end of the year 1800, when an accession of fortune determined him to
relinquish a profession he never liked, and to devote himself entirely
to science.

On the 9th of May, 1793, Wollaston was elected a Fellow of the Royal
Society; and in June, 1797, appeared his first contribution to the
'Philosophical Transactions,' being a paper 'On Gouty and Urinary
Concretions.' From this period until his decease, Wollaston was a
constant contributor to the 'Transactions,' as well as to various
scientific journals. His papers in the 'Philosophical Transactions'
amount to thirty-nine, and, in addition to strictly chemical subjects,
include memoirs in astronomy, optics, mechanics, acoustics, mineralogy,
crystallography, physiology, and botany.

On the 30th of November, 1804, he was elected Junior Secretary to the
Royal Society; and on the death of Sir Joseph Banks, in June, 1820,
succeeded him in the President's chair, until the anniversary, November
30th of the same year, when he retired in favour of Sir Humphry Davy,
to whom, at the election, he gave the whole weight of his influence.

In the years 1804-5 Wollaston first made known to the world the
existence of the two metals, palladium and rhodium, which he found
were contained in the ore of platinum, associated with osmium and
iridium, two metals discovered about the same time by Mr. Tennant. In
1809 he showed that the supposed new metal, tantalum, was identical
with columhium, previously discovered by Mr. Hatchett; and shortly
before his death, he transmitted to the Royal Society a communication,
constituting the Bakerian lecture of 1828, in which he fully describes
his ingenius method of rendering platinum malleable. From this
invention he is stated to have acquired more than 30,000_l._

Dr. Wollaston's knowledge was more varied, and his tastes less
exclusive, than any other philosopher of his time, except Cavendish;
but optics and chemistry are the two sciences in which he made the
greatest discoveries. To him we owe the first demonstration of
the identity of galvanism and common electricity, and the first
explanation of the cause of the different phenomena exhibited by
them. Dr. Wollaston was accustomed to carry on his experiments in the
greatest seclusion, and with very few instruments; he was also endowed
with an extreme neatness of hand, and invented the most ingenious
methods of determining the properties and constituents of very minute
quantities of matter. It is related by Dr. Paris (in his Life of Davy),
that a foreign philosopher once calling on Wollaston with letters
of introduction, expressed a great desire to see his laboratory.
"Certainly," replied Wollaston, and immediately produced a small tray,
containing some glass tubes, a blowpipe, two or three watch-glasses, a
slip of platinum, and a few test-tubes.

Another anecdote is told of him, that, having been engaged one day in
inspecting a monster galvanic battery constructed by Mr. Children, he
accidentally met, on his way home, a brother chemist, who knew of Mr.
Children's grand machine, and uttered something about the inconvenience
of it being of such an enormous size; on this Wollaston seized his
friend by the button, led him into a bye corner, where, taking from
his waistcoat pocket a tailor's thimble which contained a galvanic
arrangement, and pouring into it the contents of a small phial, he
astonished his friend by immediately heating a platinum wire to a white
heat. He also produced platinum wire so extremely fine as to be nearly
imperceptible to the naked eye.

Towards the close of the year 1828, Wollaston became dangerously ill
with disease of the brain. Feeling his end approaching, and being
unable to write himself, he employed an amanuensis to write accounts
of such of his discoveries and inventions as he was unwilling should
perish with him; and in this manner some of his most important papers
were communicated to the Royal Society. It is a curious fact, that,
in spite of the extensive cerebral disease under which he laboured,
his faculties continued unclouded to the very last. When almost at the
point of death, one of his friends having observed, loud enough for
him to hear, that he was unconscious of what was passing around him,
Wollaston made a sign for pencil and paper, and then wrote down some
figures, and after casting up the sum, returned the paper: the amount
was found to be correct.

Dr. Wollaston died on the 22nd of December, 1828, at the age
of sixty-two--only a few months before his great scientific
contemporaries, Sir Humphry Davy and Dr. Thomas Young. He was buried in
Chiselhurst churchyard, Kent. Dr. William Henry[48] gives the following
summary of his character:--

"Dr. Wollaston was endowed with bodily senses of extraordinary
acuteness and accuracy, and with great general vigour of understanding.
Trained in the discipline of the exact sciences, he had acquired
a powerful command over his attention, and had habituated himself
to the most rigid correctness both of thought and language. He was
sufficiently provided with the resources of the mathematics, to be
enabled to pursue with success profound enquiries in mechanical and
optical philosophy, the results of which enabled him to unfold the
causes of phenomena not before understood, and to enrich the arts
connected with those sciences by the invention of ingenious and
valuable instruments. In chemistry he was distinguished by the extreme
nicety and delicacy of his observations, by the quickness and precision
with which he marked resemblances and discriminated differences, the
sagacity with which he devised experiments and anticipated their
results, and the skill with which he executed the analysis of fragments
of new substances, often so minute as to be scarcely perceptible by
ordinary eyes. He was remarkable, too, for the caution with which he
advanced from facts to general conclusions; a caution which, if it
sometimes prevented him from reaching at once the most sublime truths,
yet rendered every step of his ascent a secure station, from which it
was easy to rise to higher and more enlarged inductions."--_Weld's
History of the Royal Society, with Memoirs of the Presidents._ London,
1848.--_Sketches of the Royal Society, &c., by Sir John Barrow, Bart.,
F.R.S._ London, 1849.



Born June 13, 1773. Died May 10, 1829.

Dr. Thomas Young, celebrated for his universal attainments, was born
at Milverton, in Somersetshire. He was the eldest of ten children
of Thomas and Sarah Young; his mother was a niece of Dr. Richard
Brocklesby, a physician of considerable eminence in London. Both of
his parents were members of the Society of Friends, and to the tenets
of that sect, which recognizes the immediate influence of a Supreme
Intelligence as a guide in the ordinary conduct of life, Dr. Young
was accustomed in after years to attribute, in no slight degree, the
formation of those determined habits of perseverance which gave him
the power of effecting any object upon which he was engaged, and by
which he was enabled to work out his own education almost from infancy,
and with little comparative assistance from others. At the age of two
years Young could read with considerable fluency, and before he was
four years old had read the Bible through twice, and also Watts' hymns.
He was likewise from his earliest years in the habit of committing to
memory pieces of poetry, in proof of which there exists a memorandum,
written by Young's grandfather, on the margin of a copy of Goldsmith's
'Deserted Village,' to the effect that his grandson Thomas had repeated
to him the whole poem, with the exception of a word or two, before
he was five years old. In 1780 he was placed at a boarding-school at
Stapleton, near Bristol, and here the deficiency of the instructor
appears to have advanced the studies of the pupil, as Young now became
his own teacher, and used to study by himself the last pages of the
book taught almost before he had reached the middle under the eye of
the master.

In the year 1782 he became an inmate of the school kept by Mr.
Thompson, at Crompton, in Dorsetshire, remaining there nearly four
years, during which period he rapidly acquired knowledge upon various
subjects. Having commenced the study of botany, he was led to attempt
the construction of a microscope, with the assistance of an usher in
the school of the name of Benjamin Martin, in order to examine the
plants he was in the habit of gathering. In his endeavours to make
the microscope Young found it necessary to procure a lathe, and for a
time everything gave way to a passion for turning. This was, however,
at length succeeded by a desire to become acquainted with the nature
of fluxions, and after reading through and mastering a treatise upon
this subject, he turned his attention to the study of Hebrew and other
Oriental languages. Ultimately at the age of fourteen Thomas Young
was more or less versed in Greek, Latin, French, Italian, Hebrew,
Persic, and Arabic, and in forming the characters of these languages
had already acquired a considerable portion of that beauty and accuracy
of penmanship which was afterwards so remarkable in his copies of Greek
compositions, as well as those subjects connected with the literature
of ancient Egypt. A story is related of him, that when requested a few
years later, by a friend of Dr. Brocklesby, who presumed somewhat upon
Young's youthful appearance, to exhibit a specimen of his penmanship,
he replied by writing a sentence in his best style in fourteen
different languages.

In 1787 Young was engaged, in conjunction with Mr. Hodgkin, as private
tutor to Hudson Gurney, grandson of Mr. David Barclay, of Youngsbury,
near Ware, in Hertfordshire, and he remained thus occupied during the
space of five years, extending his knowledge as far as possible. The
number of books he read through at that time was comparatively small,
but whatever book he began to read, he read completely and deliberately
through, and it was perhaps this determination always to master what
he might happen to be engaged on before attempting anything else,
which enabled Dr. Young to attain so great knowledge on such various
subjects. He himself had little faith in any peculiar aptitude being
implanted by nature for any given pursuits. His favourite maxim was,
that whatever one man had done another might do, and that the original
difference between human intellects was much less than it was supposed
to be; in this respect he resembled his great predecessor Newton, and
his cotemporary Dalton, both of whom had unbounded confidence in the
powers of patient thought.

In the autumn of 1792 Thomas Young removed to London, in order to study
medicine, which profession he had determined to adopt, being greatly
influenced in his choice by the wishes of his uncle Dr. Brocklesby.
This gentleman had kindly undertaken the charge of his education, and
Young was by him introduced to the members of the most distinguished
literary circles in the metropolis, including Burke, Drs. Lawrence and
Vincent, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Sir George Baker, and others. In the
autumn of 1793 he became a pupil at St. Bartholomew's Hospital, and in
October 1794 proceeded to Edinburgh, still further to prosecute his
medical studies. While residing at Edinburgh Dr. Young mixed largely in
society, began the study of music, took lessons on the flute, and also
private lessons in dancing, and frequently attended performances at the
theatre. From this period he gave up the external characteristics of
the Quakers, and ultimately ceased to belong to their body, although he
practised to the end of his life the general simplicity of their moral

During the year 1795 he commenced a tour on the Continent, staying at
the University of Göttingen during nine months, in order to prosecute
his studies and take a doctor's degree. In February, 1797, he came
back to England, and was almost immediately after his return admitted
a Fellow-Commoner of Emmanuel College, Cambridge; the Master of the
College, Dr. Farmer, saying as he introduced Young to the fellows, "I
have brought you a pupil qualified to read lectures to his tutors."

In December 1797 Young's uncle, Dr. Brocklesby, died, bequeathing to
his nephew the sum of 10,000_l._, besides his house, furniture, and a
choice collection of pictures. Dr. Young was now entirely at liberty
to form his own scheme of life, and he determined to commence practice
as a physician, for which purpose, after having completed his terms of
residence at Cambridge, he took a house in Welbeck Street (No. 48),
which he continued to occupy for five-and-twenty years. His practice
as a physician, although respectable, was never large. He wanted
that confidence or assurance which is so necessary to the successful
exercise of the profession. He was perhaps too deeply informed, and
therefore too sensible of the difficulty of arriving at true knowledge
in the science of medicine ever to form a hasty judgment; while his
great love of, and adherence to truth, made him often hesitate where
others would have felt no difficulty in expressing an opinion. It
was perhaps a happy circumstance for the fame of Dr. Young that this
should be the case, as he was thereby enabled to devote a considerable
portion of his time to those literary and scientific studies in which
so few could compete with him. In 1799 he published his memoir entitled
'Outlines and Experiments respecting Sound and Light,' which was read
before the Royal Society and printed in their 'Transactions.' Other
papers, 'On the Theory of Light and Colours,' followed, which the
council of the Royal Society selected for the Bakerian lectures. In
the year 1801 Dr. Young accepted the office of Professor of Natural
Philosophy at the Royal Institution, which had been established the
year previously. The conducting of the journal of the Institution was
also entrusted to his care, in conjunction with his colleague Sir
Humphry Davy, at that time Professor of Chemistry. Dr. Young remained
at the Royal Institution two years, during which period he gave a
course of lectures on 'Natural and Experimental Philosophy,' a syllabus
of which he published in 1802, announcing for the first time his great
discovery of the general law of the interference of the undulations
of light. His lectures were not, however, popular; they embodied too
much knowledge to be intelligible to any considerable portion of his
hearers; and the matter was so abundant and the style so condensed,
that students tolerably versed in science might have found it extremely
difficult to follow him in his masterly discussions.

Dr. Young had been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society as early as
the year 1794, when he had just completed his twenty-first year; he was
now appointed (1802) Foreign Secretary to the same Society, an office
which he held during the remainder of his life, and for which he was
well qualified by his knowledge of the principal languages of Europe.

In 1804 he married Eliza, the daughter of James Primrose Maxwell, of
Cavendish Square, and this union is said to have been attended with
uninterrupted happiness; his wife who survived him left no children.

In 1807 appeared his most elaborate and valuable work, 'A Course
of Lectures on Natural Philosophy and the Mechanical Arts,' being
the embodiment of the sixty lectures delivered while at the Royal
Institution, together with the labour of three more years occupied in
further arranging and improving them. This work comprises a complete
system of natural and mechanical philosophy, drawn from original
sources, and is distinguished not only by the extent of its learning
and the accuracy of its statements, but by the beauty and originality
of the theoretical principles. It also contains a disquisition upon
the doctrine of interference in the undulatory theory of light
mentioned before, the general law of which he thus enunciates: "When
two undulations from different origins coincide, either perfectly or
very nearly in direction, their joint effect is a combination of the
motions belonging to each."[49] Sir John Herschel, speaking of this
discovery, says that it alone "would have sufficed to have placed its
author in the highest rank of scientific immortality, even were his
other almost innumerable claims to such a distinction disregarded."
Amongst other laborious and difficult matters of investigation, Dr.
Young made the first and most important steps in reading the Egyptian
Hieroglyphics, in which he preceded Champollion; and he afterwards, in
1823, published a work on this subject, under the title of 'An Account
of some recent Discoveries in Hieroglyphical Literature and Egyptian
Antiquities; including the author's original Alphabet as extended by
Mr. Champollion; with a Translation of five unpublished Greek and
Egyptian Manuscripts.' In the year 1808 Dr. Young was admitted a fellow
of the College of Physicians, and in 1810 was elected physician to St.
George's Hospital, a situation which he retained for the remainder of
his life. In 1813 he published 'An Introduction to Medical Literature,
including a system of practical Nosology intended as a guide to
Students and as an Assistant to Practitioners.' In 1816 Dr. Young was
appointed Secretary to the Commission empowered to ascertain the length
of the second's pendulum, and thereby establish an uniform system of
weights and measures. Two years subsequent to this he became secretary
to the Board of Longitude, and on the dissolution of that body, became
sole conductor of the 'Nautical Almanac.' Dr. Young at various times
contributed eighteen articles to the 'Quarterly Review,' of which nine
were on scientific subjects--the rest on medicine, languages, and
criticism. Between 1816 and 1823 he wrote sixty-three articles for the
'Supplement to the Encyclopædia Britannica,' Sixth Edition, of
which forty-six were biographical. In the year 1821 he made a short
tour in Italy with his wife, and, in August 1827, was elected one of
the eight Foreign associates of the Academy of Sciences at Paris, in
the place of Volta, who died in 1826; the other competitors for this
honour being the astronomers Bessel and Olbers, Brown the botanist,
Blumenback, Leopold, Von Buch, Dalton, and Plana the mathematician.

Dr. Young's course of life, considered apart from the variety of his
occupations, was remarkably uniform. He resided in London from November
to June, and at Worthing from July to the end of October, continuing
this regular change of residence for fourteen successive years. In the
year 1826 he removed from his house in Welbeck Street, where he had
resided for a quarter of a century, to another in Park Square, which
had been built under his own directions, and fitted up with great
elegance and taste. He continued to live here for the remainder of his
life. During the month of February, 1829, he began to suffer from what
he considered repeated attacks of asthma. His health gradually got
worse, but though thus under the pressure of severe illness, nothing
could be more striking than the entire calmness and composure of his
mind, or could surpass the kindness of his affections to all around
him. In the very last stage of his complaint, in an interview with
Mr. Gurney, his perfect self-possession was displayed in the most
remarkable manner. After some information concerning his affairs, and
some instructions concerning the hieroglyphical papers in his hands,
he said, that perfectly aware of his situation, he had taken the
sacrament of the Church on the day preceding; that whether he should
ever partially recover, or whether he were rapidly taken off, he could
patiently and contentedly await the issue. His illness continued, with
some slight variations, until the morning of the 10th of May, when he
expired without a struggle, having hardly completed his fifty-sixth
year. The disease proved to be an ossification of the aörta, the
large arterial trunk proceeding from the left ventricle of the heart.
It must have been in progress for many years, and every appearance
indicated an advance of age, not brought on probably by the natural
course of time, nor even by constitutional formation, but by unwearied
and incessant labour of mind from the earliest days of infancy. His
remains were deposited in the vault of his wife's family, in the church
of Farnborough, in Kent.--_Life of Thomas Young, M.D., &c., by Dr.
George Peacock, Dean of Ely._ London, 1855.--_Memoir by Dr. D. Irving_,
_Encyclopædia Britannica_, Eighth Edition.--_English Cyclopædia._
London, 1858.




Born 1728.[50] Died November 26, 1799.

Dr. Joseph Black was born at Bourdeaux, where his father, a native of
Belfast but of Scotch descent, was settled as a wine merchant; and
being a man of engaging disposition and extensive information was much
esteemed by his friends, among whom he reckoned Montesquieu, at that
time one of the presidents of the court of justice in the province
where Mr. Black resided. At the age of twelve Joseph Black was sent
to a school at Belfast, where he remained for some years. In 1746 he
was removed to the College at Glasgow and ever afterwards lived in
Scotland, which was, properly speaking, his native country. While at
the College of Glasgow he studied under the celebrated Dr. Cullen, then
professor of anatomy and lecturer on chemistry, and in the year 1751
removed to Edinburgh to complete the course of his medical studies.
In the following year Black made his first great discovery of the
cause of the causticity of lime, a property till then supposed to be
due to the absorption by the lime of some igneous agency. He placed
this question on a scientific basis by ascertaining the chemical
difference between quick-lime and other forms of the carbonate, and
first announced his discovery in a Latin Thesis upon the occasion
of his taking his degree of Doctor of Medicine in 1754. It was not,
however, given in its fullest details until the year afterwards,
when he published his celebrated work entitled, 'Experiments on
Magnesia, Quick-lime, and other alkaline substances;' a work which
Lord Brougham describes as being incontestably the most beautiful
example of strict inductive investigation since the 'Optics' of Sir
Isaac Newton. In 1754, as has been mentioned, Black took his medical
degree at Edinburgh; in 1756 he was appointed to succeed Dr. Cullen as
professor of anatomy and lecturer on chemistry in the University of
Glasgow. Soon after, however, he exchanged this for the professorship
of medicine at the same university, as being more congenial to his
tastes. Dr. Black continued at the University of Glasgow for the next
ten years, and it was during this period, between the years 1759 and
1763, that he brought to maturity his speculations concerning _heat_,
which had occupied his attention from the very first commencement of
his philosophical investigations. His two great discoveries were the
doctrines of 'Latent Heat,' and 'Specific Heat.' The theory of 'Latent'
Heat, which mainly urged Watt to the adoption of improved arrangements
in the steam-engine, may be briefly described as the absorption of
heat by bodies passing from the solid to the fluid state, and from the
fluid to the aëriform, the heat having no effect on surrounding bodies
(being, therefore, insensible to the hand or thermometer), and only by
its absorption maintaining the body in the state which it has assumed,
and which it retains until the absorbed heat is given out and has
become again sensible, when the state of the body is changed back again
from fluid to solid, from aëriform to fluid.

The doctrine of 'Specific Heat,' or as it was called by Dr. Black
the _capacity_ of bodies for heat, is summed up in the facts, that
different bodies contain different quantities of heat in the same bulk
or weight; and different quantities of heat are required to raise
different bodies to the same sensible temperature. Thus it was found
that a pound of gold being heated to 150° and added to a pound of water
at 50° the temperature of both became not 100°, the mean between the
two but 55°, the gold losing 95° and the water gaining 5°, because the
capacity of water for heat is 19 times that of gold. So twice as much
heat is required to raise water to any given point of sensible heat as
to raise mercury, the volumes of the two fluids compared being equal.
The true doctrine of combustion, calcination of metals, and respiration
of animals, which Lavoisier deduced from the experiments of Priestly
and Scheele upon oxygen gas, and of Cavendish on hydrogen gas, was
founded mainly upon the doctrines of latent and specific heat; and it
was thus the singular felicity of Black to have furnished both the
pillars upon which modern chemistry reposes.

In 1766 Black succeeded Dr. Cullen in the professorship of chemistry at
the University of Edinburgh, and in the new scene on which he entered
his talents became more conspicuously and more extensively useful. Dr.
Robison thus characterises him as a lecturer--"He became one of the
principal ornaments of the university, his lectures were attended by
an audience which continued increasing from year to year; his personal
appearance and manners were those of a gentleman, and peculiarly
pleasing. His voice in lecturing was low but fine, and his articulation
so distinct that he was perfectly well heard by an audience consisting
of several hundreds. His discourse was so plain and perspicuous, his
illustration by experiment so apposite, that his sentiments on any
subject never could be mistaken even by the most illiterate." Dr.
Black continued to lecture at the University of Edinburgh for thirty
years; he then retired and died three years afterwards, in 1799. His
health, never robust, was precarious at all times from a weakness in
the bronchia and chest, but he prolonged life by a system of strictest
abstinence, frequently subsisting for days together on watergruel
and diluted milk. He was never married. He lived in a select circle
of friends, the most illustrious men of the times in science and in
letters; Watt, Hutton, Hume, Robertson, Smith; and afterwards with
the succeeding generation of Scottish worthies, Robison, Playfair,
and Stewart. He was extremely averse to publication, contemning the
impatience with which so many men of science hurry to the press, often
while their speculations are crude and their inquiries not finished. He
never published any work himself with the exception of his 'Experiments
on Magnesia, &c.,' and two papers, one in the 'London Philosophical
Transactions' for 1775 on the Freezing of boiled Water; the other in
the second vol. of the 'Edinburgh Transactions,' on the Iceland Hot

Dr. Black expired in the seventy-first year of his age, without any
convulsion, shock, or stupor to announce or retard the approach of
death. Being at table with his usual fare, some bread, a few prunes,
and a measured quantity of milk diluted with water, and having the
cup in his hand when the last stroke of the pulse was given, he set
it down on his knees, which were joined together, and kept it steady
with his hand in the manner of a person perfectly at his ease; and in
this attitude he expired without a drop being spilt or a feature in his
countenance changed. His servant coming in saw him in this posture and
left the room, supposing him asleep. On returning soon after, he saw
him sitting as before and found that he had expired.--_Brougham's Lives
of Philosophers._ London and Glasgow, 1855.--_Encyclopædia Britannica_,
Eighth Edition.


Born 1740. Died 1800.

The sad history of this great inventor, who has been well surnamed
"The Father of the iron trade," is comparatively soon told. Although
his discoveries in the manufacture of iron were so important as
to have been one of the chief causes in the establishment of our
modern engineering, little is known of the life of the unfortunate
inventor. He was born in 1740 at Lancaster, where his father carried
on the trade of a builder and brickmaker. In 1765, at the age of
twenty-five, he was engaged in the carrying on of the business of a
navy agent in Surrey Street, Strand, in which he is said to have
realized considerable profits. While conducting this business Cort
became aware of the inferiority of British iron in comparison with
that of foreign countries, and entered on a series of experiments
with the object of improving its manufacture. In 1775 he relinquished
his business as a navy agent and took a lease of some premises at
Fonltey, near Fareham, where he erected a forge and an iron-mill.
He afterwards took into partnership Samuel Jellicoe, son of Adam
Jellicoe, then deputy-paymaster of seamen's wages, a connection which
ultimately proved the cause of all Cort's subsequent misfortunes.
Ford in 1747, Dr. Roebuck in 1762, the brothers Cranege in 1766, and
Peter Onions, of Merthyr Tydvil, in 1783, had all introduced valuable
additions to the then known processes of iron manufacture. In 1783-4
Cort took out his two patents which, while combining the inventions
of his predecessors, specified so many valuable improvements of an
original character, that they established a new era in the history of
iron manufacture, and raised it to the highest state of prosperity.
Mr. Truran,[51] in speaking of Cort, remarks "The mode of piling iron
to form large pieces, as described in his inventions, is the one at
use in the present day."--"The method of puddling iron now in use is
the same as that patented by Henry Cort. There has been no essential
departure from his process. Iron bottoms have been substituted for
sand and by building the furnace somewhat larger, a second charge of
cast-iron is introduced and partially heated during the finishing
operations in the first, as conducted at the present day. All that has
been done in the last seventy-three years has been in the way of adding
to and perfecting Cort's furnaces, as experience has from time to time
suggested." Cort's method of passing the piled wedged-shaped bars of
iron through grooved rollers has been spoken of by another competent
authority as of "high philosophical interest, being scarcely less
than the discovery of a new mechanical power in reversing the action
of the wedge, by the application of force to four surfaces so as to
elongate the mass instead of applying force to a mass to divide the
four surfaces." The principal iron masters soon heard of the success
of Cort's new inventions, and visited his foundry for the purpose
of examining his process, and of employing it at their own works if
satisfied with the result. Among the first to try it were Richard
Crawshaw of Cyfartha, Samuel Homfray of Penydarran (both in South
Wales), and William Reynolds of Coalbrookdale. The two first-named at
once entered into a contract to work under Cort's patents at 10_s._
a ton royalty; and the quality of the iron manufactured by the new
process was found to be so superior to other kinds, that the Admiralty
directed it, in 1787, to be used for the anchors and other iron-work
in the ships of the Royal Navy. The merits of the invention were now
generally conceded, and numerous contracts for licenses were entered
into with Cort and his partner, by the manufacturers of bar-iron
throughout the country, and licenses were taken at royalties estimated
to yield 27,500_l._ to the owners of the patent. Cort himself made
arrangements for carrying on the manufacture on a large scale, and
with that object entered upon the possession of a wharf at Gosport
belonging to Adam Jellicoe, his partner's father, where he succeeded
in obtaining considerable government orders for iron made under his
patents. This period, apparently the crowning point of Cort's fortunes,
was but the commencement of his ruin. In August, 1789, Adam Jellicoe
died, and defalcations were found in his public accounts to the extent
of 39,676_l._ His papers and books were at once seized by Government,
and on examination it was found that a sum of 54,853_l._ was owing
to Jellicoe by the Cort partnership for moneys advanced by him at
different times to enable Cort to pursue his experiments, which were
necessarily of a very expensive character. Among the sums advanced by
Jellicoe to Cort was found one of 27,500_l._ entrusted to Jellicoe
for the payment of seamen and officers' wages. As Jellicoe had the
reputation of being a rich man, Cort had not the slightest suspicion
of the source from which the advances made to the firm were derived,
nor has any connivance whatever on the part of Cort been suggested.
The Government, however, bound to act with promptitude in such a
case, at once adopted extraordinary measures to recover their money.
The assignments of Cort's patents, which had been made to Jellicoe
in consideration of his advances, were taken possession of, but,
strange to say, Samuel Jellicoe, the son of the defaulter, was put
in possession of the properties at Fonltey and Gosport and continued
to enjoy them, to Cort's exclusion for a period of fourteen years.
Notwithstanding this, the patent rights seem never to have been levied
by the assignees, and the result was that the whole benefit of Cort's
inventions was made over to the ironmasters and to the public, although
there seems little reason to doubt, that had they been duly levied, the
whole of the debt due to the government would have been paid in the
course of a few years. As for Cort himself, on the death of Jellicoe
he left his iron works a ruined man. He subsequently made many appeals
to Government for the restoration of his patents, and offered to find
security for payment of the debt due by his firm to the Crown, but in
vain. In 1794 an appeal was made to Mr. Pitt by a number of influential
members of parliament, on behalf of the inventor and his destitute
family of twelve children, when a pension of 200_l._ was granted to
him, which he enjoyed until the year 1800, when, broken in health
and spirit, he died at the age of sixty. He was buried in Hampstead
Church, where a stone marks the date of his death and is still to be
seen; a few years ago it was illegible, but it has been restored by his
surviving son Richard Cort.

Mr. Smiles thus concludes a long and interesting account of Cort in his
'Industrial Biography:'--"Though Cort died in comparative poverty, he
laid the foundations of many gigantic fortunes. He may be said to have
been, in a great measure, the author of our modern iron aristocracy,
who still manufacture after the processes which he invented or
perfected, but for which they never paid him one shilling of royalty.
These men of gigantic fortunes have owed much, we might almost say
everything, to the ruined projector of 'the little mill at Fonltey.'
Their wealth has enriched many families of the older aristocracy, and
has been the foundation of several modern peerages. Yet Henry Cort,
the rock from which they were hewn, is already all but forgotten; and
his surviving children, now aged and infirm, are dependent for their
support upon the slender pittance,[52] wrung by repeated entreaty and
expostulation, from the state."--_Smiles's Industrial Biography._
London, 1863.--_Mechanics' Magazine_, 1859-60-61.


Born 1765. Died September 21, 1842.

This distinguished mathematician was born at Dundee and received the
elements of his education in the public schools of that town. His
father was a watchmaker and intended that his son should become a
clergyman of the church of Scotland, for which purpose he sent him,
when fourteen years old, to the University of St. Andrews. Here Ivory
remained for six years, and had for his fellow student, Mr. (afterwards
Sir John) Leslie, with whom, at the end of the above period he removed
to the University of Edinburgh, where he remained one year to complete
the course of study required as a qualification for admission into the
church of Scotland. Circumstances, however, seem to have prevented
Ivory from carrying out the intentions of his father, for, on leaving
the university in 1786, he became an assistant teacher in an academy
at that time recently established in Dundee. After remaining at this
academy for three years, Ivory, in company with several others,
established a factory for spinning flax at Douglastown, in Forfarshire.
In this apparently uncongenial occupation he remained for fifteen
years (from 1789 to 1804), but the undertaking proved unsuccessful
and in 1804 the company ceased to exist. Mr. Ivory then obtained
the appointment to a professorship of mathematics in the Royal
Military College at Marlow, in Buckinghamshire (afterwards removed to
Sandhurst), with which establishment he remained until his retirement
from public service. This was the most active period of his life,
for while fulfilling assiduously the duties of his professorship he
continued unremittingly his scientific studies. His earliest writings
were three memoirs, which he communicated in the years 1796, 1799,
and 1802, to the Royal Society of Edinburgh. The first of these was
entitled, 'A New Series for the Rectification of the Ellipse;' the
second, 'A New Method of Resolving Cubic Equations;' and the third, 'A
New and Universal Solution of Kepler's Problem;' all of them evincing
great analytical skill, as well as originality of thought. Mr. Ivory
contributed fifteen papers to 'The Transactions of the Royal Society of
London,' nearly all of them relating to physical astronomy, and every
one containing mathematical investigations of the most refined nature.
The first, published in the 'Transactions of 1809,' and entitled, 'On
the Attractions of Homogeneous Ellipsoids,' is his most celebrated
paper, in which he completely and definitely resolved the problem of
attraction for every class of ellipsoidal bodies. Many of Ivory's
remaining contributions, ranging through a period of nearly thirty
years, related to the subject of the attraction of spheroids and the
theory of the figure of the Earth, and some of them are considered
masterpieces of analytical skill. One of the last subjects which
occupied his attention was the possible equilibrium of a spheroid with
three unequal axes when revolving about one of the axes, a fact which
Jacobi had discovered. This Ivory demonstrates in the volume for 1838
of the 'Philosophical Transactions.' The volumes in 1823 and 1838,
contain Ivory's two papers on the 'Theory of Atmospheric Refraction,'
a subject which, next to the Theory of Attractions, engaged most
seriously his attention on account of its great importance in astronomy
and the curious mathematical difficulties which its investigation
presents. For each of these papers he was awarded the Royal medal by
the Society. Of all his contributions to the 'Transactions,' only one
is purely mathematical; this is contained in the volume for 1831,
and is entitled, 'On the Theory of Elliptic Transcendants.' Besides
these contributions to the Royal Society, Ivory wrote several papers
in the Philosophical Magazine of 1821-27; in Maseres's 'Scriptores
Logarithmici;' in Leybourne's 'Mathematical Repository;' and in the
Supplement to the sixth edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica.
In the beginning of 1819 Ivory, finding that his health began to
decline under the great exertions which he made in carrying on his
scientific researches, and performing his duties as professor, resigned
his professorship at Sandhurst and retired into private life. In
consideration, however, of his great merit, the pension due for the
full period of service required by the regulations was granted to him,
although that period had not been completed. After his retirement,
Ivory devoted himself entirely to his scientific researches, living
in or near London until his death. In 1814 he had received the Copley
medal for his communications to the Royal Society; in 1815 he became a
Fellow of the same society. He was also an honorary fellow of the Royal
Society of Edinburgh; an honorary member of the Royal Irish Academy and
of the Cambridge Philosophical Society; a corresponding member of the
Institute of France, of the Royal Academy of Sciences at Berlin, and of
the Royal Society of Göttingen.

In the year 1831, in consideration of the great talent displayed in his
investigations, Ivory was recommended by Lord Brougham, whom he had
known in early life, to the notice of the King (Wm. IV.), who, with the
Hanoverian Guelphic Order of Knighthood, gave him an annual pension
of 300_l._, which he enjoyed during the rest of his life; and in 1839
he received the degree of Doctor in Laws from the University of St.

Mr. Ivory attained the age of seventy-seven before his death; he was
essentially a self-taught mathematician, and spent most of his leisure
in retirement. He fathomed in private the profoundest writings of the
most learned continental mathematicians, and at a period when few
Englishmen were able to understand those difficult works; he even
added to their value by many original contributions, and must always
be remembered with special interest when the singular destitution of
higher mathematical talent, which had reigned in this country for so
long a period before his time, is considered.--_English Cyclopædia._
London, 1856.--_Encyclopædia Britannica._ Eighth Edition.


Born March 24, 1773. Died February 26, 1804.

Joseph Priestly was the son of a cloth-dresser at Burstal-Fieldhead,
near Leeds. His family appear to have been in humble circumstances,
and he was taken off their hands after the death of his mother by
his paternal aunt, who sent him to a free school at Batley. There
he learnt something of Greek, Latin, and a little Hebrew. To this
he added some knowledge of other Eastern languages connected with
Biblical literature; he made a considerable progress in Syriac and
Chaldean, and began to learn Arabic; he also had a little instruction
in mathematics, but in this science he did not make much proficiency.
Indeed his whole education was exceedingly imperfect, and, excepting in
Hebrew and Greek, he never afterwards improved it by any systematic
course of study. Even in chemistry, the science which he best knew,
and in which he made so important a figure, he was only half-taught,
so that he presents one of the memorable examples of knowledge
pursued, science cultivated, and even its bounds extended, by those
whose circumstances made their exertions a continued struggle against
difficulties which only genius like theirs could have overcome.
After studying for some years at the Dissenting Academy founded by
Mr. Coward at Daventry (afterwards transferred to London), Priestly
quitted Daventry and became minister of a congregation at Needham
Market, in Suffolk, where his salary never exceeded thirty pounds.
He had been brought up in the strictest Calvinistic principles, but
he very soon abandoned these, and his tenets continued in after life
to be those of the moderate Unitarians, whose leading doctrine is
the proper humanity of Christ, and who confine all adoration to one
Supreme Being. Priestly's religious opinions proving distasteful to
his congregation at Needham Market, caused him to remove in 1758 to
Nantwich, in Cheshire, where he obtained a considerable number of
pupils, which greatly increased his income and enabled him by strict
frugality to purchase a scanty scientific apparatus, and commence a
study of natural philosophy. In 1761, Priestly removed to Warrington,
where he was chosen to succeed Dr. Aitken as tutor in the _belles
lettres_ at that academy. On settling at Warrington he married the
daughter of Mr. Wilkinson, an ironmaster in Wales, by whom he had
several children. His literary career may be said to have commenced
here, and having once begun to publish, his appeals to the press
were incessant and on almost every subject. The universality and
originality of his pursuits may be judged from his delivering at
Warrington a course of lectures on anatomy, while his published works
during the next seven or eight years comprise:--'The Theory of Language
and Universal Grammar,' 1762; 'On Oratory and Criticism,' 1777; 'On
History and General Policy,' 1788; 'On the Laws and Constitution of
England,' 1772; 'On Education,' 1765; 'Chart of Biography,' 1765;
'Chart of History,' 1769. During the same period appeared, in 1767,
his work entitled, 'A History of Electricity,' &c., which was so well
received that it went through five editions. This was followed in
1772 by a 'History of Vision.' In 1767, on account of a dispute with
the Warrington trustees, Priestly removed to Leeds, where he became
minister of the Mill-Hill Chapel, and wrote many controversial books
and pamphlets. In after times he wrote--'Letters to a Philosophical
Institution;' 'An Answer to Gibbon;' 'Disquisitions on Matter and
Spirit;' 'Corruptions of Christianity;' 'Early Opinions on Christ;'
'Familiar Letters to the Inhabitants of Birmingham;' 'Two different
Histories of the Christian Church;' 'On Education;' 'Comparison of
Heathen and Christian Philosophy;' 'Doctrine of Necessity;' 'On the
Roman Catholic Claims;' 'On the French Revolution;' 'On the American
War;' besides twenty volumes of tracts in favour of Dissenters and
their Rights. His general works fill twenty-five volumes, of which
only five or six are on scientific subjects; his publications being
in all 141, of which only seventeen are scientific. When residing at
Leeds Priestly's house immediately adjoined a brewery, which led him
to make experiments upon the fixed air copiously produced during the
process of fermentation. These experiments resulted in his discovering
the important fact that atmospheric air, after having been corrupted by
the respiration of animals, and by the burning of inflammable bodies,
is restored to salubrity by the vegetation of plants; and that, if
the air is exposed to a mixture of sulphur and iron-filings, its bulk
is diminished between a fourth and a fifth, and the residue is both
lighter than common air and unfit to support life; this residue he
termed 'phlogistic air,' afterwards called azotic or nitrogen gas.[53]
For these experiments the Copley medal was awarded to him in 1773 by
the Royal Society. The following year to this, from experiments with
nimium or red lead, Priestly made his great and important discovery
of oxygen gas. This was followed by his discovering the gases of
muriatic, sulphuric, and fluoric acids, ammonial gas and nitrous
oxide gas. He also discovered the combination which nitrous gas forms
suddenly with oxygen; diminishing the volume of both in proportion to
that combination; and he thus invented the method of eudiometry or the
ascertainment of the relative purity of different kinds of atmospheric

In considering the great merits of Priestly as an experimentalist, it
must not be forgotten that he had almost to create the apparatus by
which his processes were to be performed. He for the most part had to
construct his instruments with his own hands, or to make unskilful
workmen form them under his own immediate direction. His apparatus,
however, and his contrivances for collecting, keeping, transferring
gaseous bodies, and for exposing substances to their action, were
simple and effectual, and they continue to be still used by chemical
philosophers without any material improvement. Although Priestly
was the first to discover oxygen, and thus give the basis of the
true theory of combustion, he clung all his life with a wonderful
pertinacity to the Phlogistic Theory,[54] and nothing in after life
would make him give it up. In 1773 Priestly accepted an invitation
from Lord Shelbourne (afterwards first Marquis of Lansdowne), to fill
the place of librarian and philosophic companion, with a salary of
250_l._, reducible to 150_l._ for life should he quit the employment;
40_l._ a-year was also allowed him for the expense of apparatus
and experiments, and homes were provided for his family in the
neighbourhood both of Lord Shelbourne's town and country residence.
Priestly remained with the Earl of Shelbourne for six or seven
years, at the end of which period, in 1780, he settled at Birmingham
and became minister of a dissenting body there. While residing at
Birmingham he engaged fiercely in polemical writings and discussions,
particularly with Gibbon and Bishop Horseley. He also displayed a warm
interest in the cause of America at the time of the quarrel with the
mother-country, and likewise took an active and not very temperate
part in the controversy to which the French Revolution gave rise;
and, having published a 'Reply' to Burke's famous pamphlet, he was in
1791 made a citizen of the French Republic. This gave considerable
offence to the inhabitants of Birmingham, an ironical and somewhat
bitter pamphlet against the high church party still further excited
their feelings against him; and a dinner which was given on the 14th
of July, to celebrate the anniversary of the attack upon the Bastile,
became the signal for a general riot. The tavern where the party were
assembled was attacked, and, although Dr. Priestly was not present,
his house and chapel were immediately afterwards assailed, he and his
family escaped, but his house, library, and manuscripts were burnt.
Although his losses were made up to him partially by an action at
law and partially by a subscription among his friends, Priestly felt
that he could no longer live at Birmingham, he therefore removed to
London and succeeded his friend Dr. Price as principal of the Hackney
Academy. He, however, still found himself highly unpopular and shunned
even by his former associates in silence. This determined Priestly
to leave England, and in the spring of 1794 he withdrew with his
family to America and settled at Northumberland, in Pennsylvania,
where he purchased 300 acres of land. Here he remained the rest of
his life, occupied in cultivating his land, in occasional preaching,
and in scientific studies. He continued writing and publishing until
his death, in February 1804, in the 72nd year of his age. He expired
very quietly, and so easily that having put his hand to his face
those who were sitting close to him did not immediately perceive
his death.--_Brougham's Lives of Philosophers._ London and Glasgow,
1855.--_Encyclopædia Britannica._ Eighth Edition.



LIVING A.D., 1807-8.



Accompanying the picture, &c., there is a volume by Mr. W. Walker,
junior, giving a brief memoir of the salient points of each individual
history. This is well executed, and forms a useful book of reference
for those who would know more than the picture can tell.


Messrs. Walker's great historical engraving of the "Distinguished Men
of Science," noticed some weeks ago in these columns, is accompanied
by a well written and handsomely printed octavo volume of 228 pages,
containing condensed biographical sketches of the fifty-one subjects of
the picture itself. The book appears to have been first undertaken with
the view of furnishing a mere outline of the life and achievements of
these eminent men, but the inevitable delay attending the production
of a large engraving, and the gradual accumulation of personal and
historical details, at last led Mr. Walker, Jun., to revise and
considerably extend the scope of his work, which now forms a very
complete and desirable compendium of long-neglected, and, popularly
speaking, almost inaccessible biography, of interest and value as
well to those who cannot possess themselves of the picture as to the
subscribers to that work. The whole is preceded by an introduction,
not wanting in suggestive matter, from the pen of Mr. Robert Hunt,
F.R.S.... There is probably no work, certainly none so well within
the reach of the general public, which gives anything like as full
and yet concise an account of the great men of science who lived and
flourished half a century ago. The arrangement of the book is such as
to facilitate the readiest reference to any part, and, while the matter
is abundant, the style is clear and pleasing. We believe the book will
be in large request.


In our notice last week of Mr. Walker's engraving of the distinguished
men of science, we were only able to make a passing mention of the
book of memoirs which accompanies it. As, however, this book is to
be obtained separately, and has evidently been written with care, we
will now speak further as to its deserts. In the preface the writer
claims the merit only of a compiler, with one or two exceptions, and
he expresses a hope that he may have performed his task with clearness
and brevity, not neglecting, at the same time, to present his facts in
a readable form. The combination of these three qualities is not often
to be met with in a series of short biographies, and we are, therefore,
glad to be able to say that Mr. W. Walker has, in a great measure,
succeeded in accomplishing this. We would particularly call attention
to the notices of Cavendish, Samuel Crompton, Dr. Jenner, Count
Rumford, and Dr. Thomas Young, as instances of the successful manner
in which good sketches of character have been interwoven with plain
records of the facts occurring in the lives of these eminent men. The
memoir of James Watt is also well put together, and it must have cost
the writer considerable labour to compress into the space of six pages
so clear an account of the numerous works of this great philosopher and

The biographies which claim particular notice, from containing original
information, are those of Tennant, Maudslay, and Trevithick. The life
of Charles Tennant, the founder of the celebrated chemical works at St.
Rollox, Glasgow, gives to the public for the first time a sketch of
the career of one whose inborn energy of character and clear intellect
(to use the author's words), placed him among the foremost of those
men who, by uniting science to manufactures, have entitled their
occupations to be classed among the ranks of the liberal professions.

But the memoir the perusal of which will afford the greatest interest
to engineers is that of Trevithick. Without pretending to anything
like a life worthy of the genius of this extraordinary man, it is,
notwithstanding, the most complete biographical notice which has yet
been published of him. We trust the book may be extensively read, as it
affords interesting information, in an easily accessible shape, of men,
the memory of whose deeds is too liable to pass away.


LIVING A.D., 1807-8.

This Great Historical Engraving represents, assembled at the Royal
Institution, authentic Portraits of the following illustrious
first to introduce gas into practical use; RUMFORD, HUDDART, BOULTON,
Geology; CROMPTON, inventor of the Spinning Mule: CARTWRIGHT, TENNANT,
RONALDS, the first to successfully pass an electric telegraph message
MILLER of Dalswinton, and SYMINGTON, the inventors and constructors
of the first practical Steam Boat; PROFESSOR THOMSON, of Glasgow;
and BANKS, the Presidents of the Royal Society at that epoch of time;
CAPTAIN KATER, celebrated for his pendulum experiments; DR. THOMAS
YOUNG, and JENNER the benefactor of mankind.

Engraved in the best style of Stipple and Mezzotinto by WM. WALKER and
GEORGE ZOBEL. From an original drawing in Chiaroscuro. Designed by
GILBERT; drawn by J. F. SKILL and W. WALKER.


_Size of the Engraving, without Margin, Forty-one by Twenty and a half

  Plain Impressions, £5 : 5.
  Proofs, with Title and Autographs, £8 : 8.
  Artist Proof, with or without Autographs, £10 : 10.



An Engraving before us comprises the portraits of 50 distinguished Men
of Science of Great Britain who were living in 1807-8, and who are here
represented as assembled in the Upper Library of the Royal Institution
... we can easily conceive, as the preface to an accompanying volume
of biographies informs us, that the collection and combination of these
portraits occupied five years,--for some of them, at this distance of
time, must have been discoverable with very great difficulty. Thus we
have among them portraits of some of the inventors of whom we know very
little in proportion to their acknowledged capacities, such for example
as Trevithick the friend of Robert Stephenson, and Murdock the Achates
of James Watt and introducer of gas ... there can be little doubt that
the 50 physiognomies are derived from authentic originals in every
case, great diligence having been employed in searching for such in the
hands of their representatives ... as we said, this engraving must not
be regarded only as a work of art, but as a collection of portraits of
special interest, some of which are not attainable in any other form;
while, as a whole, they are an appropriate monument of _our greatest
scientific epoch_.


We may fairly commence the following remarks with unqualified praise
of a work of art, which is intended to honour the distinguished men
of science who were living in Great Britain early in the present
century, and who, with one surviving exception, having passed into a
deathless fame, are yet remembered by philosophers equally great, who
were their contemporaries. Mr. Wm. Walker, with the assistance of Mr.
Zobel, has produced a really great historical engraving from a design
by Mr. Gilbert, representing an assemblage of fifty eminent chemists,
engineers, astronomers, naturalists, electricians and mechanical
inventors, grouped in the library of the Royal Institution. The scene
is thoroughly appropriate, for these men were living in the years
1807-8, while the Royal Institution itself dates from 1800, having
been founded to promote the application of science to practical uses.
The period marked by the pictorial gathering in question, belonged
to an era as complete and brilliant as any that British science has
yet passed through. A glance round the circle of intensely thoughtful
faces composing this great portrait group will revive many a page of
instructive and ennobling history. We see in the centre, seated round
a table, James Watt, Sir Isambard Brunel, John Dalton, &c.... Such
men were our fathers--patient, indomitable, calmly and wisely bold,
modestly self-reliant; ever watching, ever toiling, ever adding to the
store of knowledge that was to benefit not them alone but the great
human race. Such men are their sons who carry on the appointed work
of improvement and civilization. To such men do we point as examples
for our children. Their sterling qualities may be best summed up in
the words of Lord Jeffrey, written of that same John Playfair to whom
we have already referred. Their's was the understanding "at once
penetrating and vigilant, but more distinguished, perhaps, for the
caution and sureness of its march than for the brilliancy or rapidity
of its movements: and guided and adorned through all its progress by
the most genuine enthusiasm for all that is grand, and the justest
taste for all that is beautiful."


Messrs. Walker and Son have published a large engraving of fifty-one
distinguished men of science, alive in 1807-8, grouped together in
the library of the Royal Institution. This engraving, which is a
beautiful production, is described as designed by Gilbert, &c.... It is
accompanied by a book, the frontispiece of which is a reduced copy of
the engraving, for reference, &c.


An earnest artist named William Walker, not being wholly absorbed in
the pursuit of gain, but working with enthusiasm on his own perceptions
of what is great in humanity and fitting in a nation, has for many
years devoted himself to the task of gathering and grouping together
the great men who were living in the early part of the present
century.... This is of a verity a picture of great men--men whose
instinct it was to work for the world and fight against misery: some of
them wealthy and some of them poor; with visions perchance of wealth
to come, but still working for the world's welfare as the only path
through which to ensure their own,--the race of path-finders who are
ever setting copies for the English nation to work by, and thus gain
more results by the development of national energy. Accompanying the
picture, which contains upwards of fifty portraits, some full figures,
and some more or less hidden, but all admirably grouped, there is a
volume, by Mr. Walker's son, giving a brief memoir of the salient
points of each individual history; this also is well executed, and it
forms a useful book of reference for those who would know more than the
picture can tell.... Grateful are we to men like Mr. Walker, who has
thus gathered together in groups the world's workers, with their images
and superscriptions, that men may know their benefactors, and render to
their memory that justice which was too rarely accorded to their lives.
So, all honour to the work of both the father and the son, the picture
and the book, in teaching the men of the present what they owe to men
of the past.


Perhaps no class of men have deserved more of their country and
of mankind than the great inventors and discoverers in astronomy,
chemistry, engineering and other departments of science; yet very
little is known of many of them in proportion to the acknowledged
good which has resulted from their labours. We possess works of art
commemorating the achievements of heroes in the field, and of statesmen
in parliament, but until now no work of any magnitude has ever been
executed in honour of men whose doings have laid the foundation
of our commercial prosperity. We are, however, able to state that
this can no longer be said, as Mr. Walker, of 64, Margaret-street,
Cavendish-square, has, after an extended period of labour, produced
an engraving which must remain an enduring record of our greatest era
in science--the early part of the present century. At that epoch of
time, steam, under the hands of Watt, Symington, and Trevithick, was
commencing its marvellous career; astronomy and chemistry began to
reveal their long-hidden secrets; while the discovery of vaccination,
by Jenner, had already rescued thousands from death to enjoy the
blessings left as a legacy by many a silent worker in science....
We may fairly state that we have never seen so large a body of men
arranged in a group, where it is necessary that all should, in a
measure, present their faces turned towards the spectator, so free from
that stiffness which is the general fault of works of this class. For
this, great praise is due to John Gilbert, by whom the original picture
(drawn by J. F. Skill and W. Walker) was designed. The engraving has
been executed by W. Walker and George Zobel; while in order to render
the work complete, a series of memoirs have been drawn up by Mr. W.
Walker, Jun., and furnished with a short introduction by Mr. Robert
Hunt, F.R.S., keeper of the Mining Records. We can only now say of the
book, that while many of the memoirs are necessarily brief, one, that
of Trevithick, contains the most information yet published regarding
that eminent engineer.


We are glad to be able to inform our readers, that a large engraving
has just been completed by Mr. Walker, of 64, Margaret-street,
Cavendish-square, in honour of the men of science who have done so
much towards the establishment of our present commercial prosperity.
This work, which may well be called historical, represents fifty-one
illustrious men, living in the early part of the present century,
assembled in the Upper Library of the Royal Institution. The picture is
divided into three groups, and comprises authentic portraits of our
greatest inventors and discoverers in astronomy, chemistry, engineering
machinery, and other departments of science.... The grouping of so
large a number of figures must have been a difficult task; this has,
however, been successfully accomplished by John Gilbert, the designer
of the original picture, who, by a skilful combination of various
attitudes, has given both grace and ease to the figures represented.
The engraving has been executed by William Walker and George Zobel,
and the greatest care seems to have been taken to secure faithful and
authentic likenesses. The work is rendered complete by a series of
well-written memoirs, compiled to accompany the engraving. This book is
also published separately, and we should think there would be many who
would buy the memoirs although unable to purchase the engraving.



[1] The portable observatories used in this expedition were constructed
by Smeaton the engineer.--_Wild's History of the Roy. Soc._ vol. 2, p.

[2] Mr. Samuel Bentham had amongst his other contrivances for shaping
wood, described one in his patent of 1793, for shaping the shells of
blocks, but with a singular degree of candour and generosity, he at
once acknowledged the superiority of Brunel's machinery.--_Smiles's
Industrial Biography._ London, 1863.

[3] _Quarterly Review_, October, 1858.

[4] For Maudslay's connection with this lock, see Maudslay.

[5] In the dedication of the 'Synopsis Plantarum Orbis Novi,' Roberto
Brownio, Britanniarum Gloriæ atque Ornamento, totam Botanices Scientiam
ingenio mirifico complectenti.

[6] At eleven years of age, Brunel's love of tools was so great that he
once pawned his hat to buy them; and at the age of twelve he is said to
have constructed different articles with as much precision as a regular

[7] Brunel had scarcely left the shores of France when he found that
he had lost his passport. This difficulty he, however, got over by
borrowing a passport from a fellow-traveller, which he copied so
exactly in every particular, down to the very seal, that it was
deemed proof against all scrutiny. He had hardly completed his task
when the American vessel was stopped by a French frigate, and all the
passengers were ordered to show their passports. Brunel, with perfect
self-possession, was the first to show his, and not the slightest doubt
was aroused as to its authenticity.

[8] The total number of machines employed in the various operations of
making a ship's block by this method was forty-four, and 16,000 blocks
of various sizes could be turned out in the course of a year.

[9] Dr. Cartwright was the younger brother of Major John Cartwright,
the well-known English Reformer of the reign of George III., to whose
memory a bronze statue is erected in Burton Crescent, London.

[10] Dr. Cartwright was married twice. His first wife died in 1785, and
in 1790 he married the youngest daughter of the Rev. Dr. Kearney.

[11] _Pursuit of Knowledge_, vol. 2.

[12] The other three being Hales, Black, and Priestly.

[13] Highs or Hays was a reedmaker at Leigh, and in 1767 took up the
plan of attempting to spin by rollers running at different speeds,
previously invented by Lewis Paul in 1738. Highs employed Kay to carry
out his plans, from whom Arkwright obtained the requisite information.

[14] Mr. Lee, Mr. Kennedy, and Mr. George Duckworth.

[15] There is an unaccountable mistake of one year in Mr. Crompton's
age as engraved on his tombstone.

[16] Memoir, by Dr. T. S. Trail, _Encyclopædia, Britannica_.

[17] Youngest son of James Watt.

[18] Davy also reduced by voltaic electricity alumina, but aluminium
was first obtained in a perfectly separate state by Wohler in 1827.

[19] The meshes or apertures of the wire gauze ought not to be more
than one twenty-second of an inch in diameter.--_Brougham's Lives of

[20] Called at first Georgium Sidus in honour of George the Third.

[21] This machinery was constructed by John Rennie.--_Mechanics'
Magazine_, Sept. 20, 1861.

[22] 20,000_l._, the reward offered for a chronometer sufficiently
exact to correct the longitude within certain limits required by Act of

[23] A very interesting account of Maudslay's introduction, &c., to
Bramah is given by Mr. Smiles in his 'Industrial Biography.' London
1863. P. 201-3.

[24] See 'Memoir of Bramah.'

[25] In particular may be mentioned Joseph Clement and Joseph Whitworth.

[26] See 'Memorials of Great Britain and Ireland,' by Sir John
Dalrymple, Bart.

[27] For fuller account of Miller and Symington's experiments see
'Memoir of Symington.'

[28] _Mechanics' Magazine_, September 20, 1861.

[29] _Lock's Essays on the Trade and Commerce, Manufactories and
Fisheries, of Scotland_, 1779. 3 vols.

[30] According to an article published in the _Mechanics' Magazine_,
Sept. 20, 1861, Mr. Rennie appears likewise to have attended the
collegiate academy at Perth. The above brief account of his early life
is given on the authority of a Memoir furnished by Mr. George Rennie,
F.R.S., and published in the _Encyclopædia Britannica_.

[31] By the invention and employment of what is now well known as the

[32] This peculiarity of Mr. Ronalds' apparatus is stated in full by
Mr. Highton, C.E., in his work on the 'Telegraph,' page 50. London,
John Weale.

[33] See also Patrick Miller.

[34] Named in honour of Lord Dundas's daughter, Lady Milton.

[35] The 'Comet.'

[36] John Clerk (Lord Eldin) pronounced the patent to be correctly
drawn up, and that no doubt existed of Mr. Symington's right to recover
damages from its invaders.

[37] Smiles's 'Lives of the Engineers.' London, 1861.

[38] Originally designed by Thomas Paine.

[39] Sixth Dissertation, by Dr. J. D. Forbes, F.R.S.--_Encyclopædia
Britannica_, Eighth Edition.

[40] The specification of this patent gives likewise the first mention
(we believe) on record of oscillating engines. Sir John Rennie,
F.R.S., in his address to the Institution of Civil Engineers, in 1846,
mentions the following passage:--"Even the objection of extra friction,
however, if tenable, is obviated _by the vibrating cylinder described
in Trevithick and Vivian's patent, in 1802_; patented by Whitty in
1813, and by Manby in 1821, by whom the first engines of the kind were

[41] An eye-witness, who is still living, relates that on one of these
trials he saw Trevithick's steam-carriage proceeding at the rate of
twelve miles an hour.

[42] Mrs. Humblestone (1861) is now eighty-one years of age, and is
residing in the neighbourhood of Edgware Road.

[43] Sixth Dissertation, _Encyclopædia Britannica_, Eighth Edition.

[44] See _Practical Treatise on Railroads, &c._, by Luke Hebert,
London, 1837. Pages 21-4.--Mr. Francis Trevithick, who has spent
considerable time in ascertaining the facts regarding his father's
first locomotive, states that he has no doubt the wheels of this engine
were not in any way roughed: that he has often conversed with those who
made and worked the engine; that he has their copies of the original
drawings; and that in all these cases he never heard or saw anything
which indicated that the wheels were roughed.

[45] _Phil. Mag. and Annals of Philosophy_, August, 1831, in a letter
to Richard Taylor, F.S.A., by W. Jory Henwood, F.G.S.

[46] The late Michael Williams, M.P. for West Cornwall, was present
during this transaction, and afterwards remonstrated with Trevithick on
his folly.--The cheque offered to him has been stated by one gentleman
to have been for a far larger sum.

[47] During his residence at Glasgow, a Mason's Lodge were desirous of
possessing an organ, and Watt was asked to build it. He was totally
destitute of a musical ear, and could not distinguish one note from
the other, but he nevertheless accepted the offer; for having studied
the philosophical theory of music, he found that science would be a
substitute for want of ear. He commenced by building a small one for
Dr. Black, and then proceeded to the large one, in the building of
which he devised a number of novel expedients, such as indicators and
regulators of the strength of the blast, with various contrivances for
improving the efficiency of the stops. The qualities of this organ
when finished are said to have elicited the surprise and admiration
of musicians. During this period of his life Watt used likewise to
construct and repair guitars, flutes, and violins, and had the same
success as with his organ.--_Quarterly Review_, October, 1858.

[48] Preface to _Elements of Experimental Chemistry_, Eleventh Edition.

[49] _Life of Thomas Young, M.D., &c., by George Peacock_, page 143.

[50] Lord Brougham gives the date of Dr. Black's birth as 1721.--_Lives
of Philosophers._ Third Edition, 1855.

[51] _Mechanics' Magazine_, vol. v. (new series), page 276.

[52] After many appeals, a pension of 50_l._ a-year was granted by the
Crown to Richard Cort, the sole surviving son of Henry Cort.

[53] Discovered at the same time by Dr. Rutherford of Edinburgh.

[54] The Phlogistic Theory explained the phenomena of combustion by
supposing the existence of a hypothetical substance termed Phlogiston,
the union of which with bodies made them combustible, and the
disengagement of which was the occasion of combustion.

Transcriber's Notes.

  Footnotes have been moved to the end of the book.
  Italics are shown thus: _sloping_.
  Bold type is shown thus: =shout=.
  Small capitals have been capitalised.
  Inconsistent hyphenation retained.
  Obvious typos and printer errors have been corrected.
  Old spelling forms are retained.
  In the appendix 'RICHARD CORT' has been corrected to 'HENRY CORT'.

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