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indeed-for the coo!” The learned counsel asked no more questions.
The principal difficulty in the way of the construction of the road was presumed to lie in Chat Moss, which might be likened more to the Slough of Despond in Pilgrim's Progress than to anything else, and which indeed was a formidable barrier, as we shall soon see. Mr. Giles, a civil engineer of twenty-two years' experience, pronounced the construction of a road across this bog impossible; Mr. Stephenson, in an examination of three days, maintained its feasibility. The counsel for and against the road summed up in long and powerful speeches, and on a division the first clause, empowering the company to make the road, was lost by a vote of nineteen to thirteen. In the same manner, the next clause, empowering the company to take land, was lost, on which the promoters withdrew their bill. Nothing daunted, however, they soon renewed their suit, Mr. Huskisson, among others, speaking powerfully in its favor. It passed the House of Commons by a vote of eighty-eight to forty-one, and the House of Lords almost unanimously. The cost of obtaining this act amounted to the immense sum of £ 27,000 sterling.
Mr. Stephenson was forthwith appointed engineer, at a salary of £ 1,000 per annum, and he at once began his work with Chat Moss, over which engineers had declared it impossible to carry the road. The draining of the Moss commenced in June, 1826. It appeared an impassable dreary waste. Roscoe, the historian of Leo X., had buried his fortune in it in a vain attempt to cultivate it. It extended for four miles along the line of railway; the drainage was found to be exceedingly difficult, and perplexities continually presented
themselves, which were met with extraordinary sagacity by the engineer. Stephenson said, “We must persevere,"—the watchword of his life.' He persevered, and accomplished his work. His idea was simply this: he knew that a ship would float; and he maintained that the Moss was certainly much more capable of supporting such a work than water was, and that, if he could once get his material to float, he should succeed. Trains of locomotives and carriages therefore pass over the rails, somewhat as a train of artillery is borne upon a pontoon bridge across a stream. The railway floats on Chat Moss, and there may it float for centuries to bear witness to the genius of George Stephenson!
Even while the vast undertaking was in progress, no decision had been arrived at regarding the employment of locomotives, and Mr. Stephenson stood almost alone in advocating their use in preference to fixed engines and ropes, although the Killingworth steamcarriages had been in regular use for fifteen years. The most eminent engineers were consulted, and they, even after thorough examination of the locomotives, persisted in recommending stationary engines, so difficult was it to overcome the prejudice against the new machines. Accordingly, it was proposed to divide the road between Liverpool and Manchester into nineteen stages of about a mile and a half each, with twenty-one engines to work the trains forward. And this was to be the result of all George Stephenson's labors! He implored the directors not to enter on such an expensive and abortive plan, and solemnly engaged, if they gave him time, to build a locomotive that should satisfy all their requirements, as to speed and power. Fortunately for all parties, the directors were sensible men; they had confidence in Stephenson; they had seen his Herculean labors on Chat Moss succeed, when all but him despaired; and they were finally induced to offer a prize of five hundred pounds for a locomotive which, under certain specifications as to construction, should be capable of drawing twenty tons' weight at a speed of ten miles an hour.
Stephenson at once commenced the building of his famous "Rocket' engine, and it will suffice for our purpose to say, that its excellence consisted in the combination of the multitubular' boiler with the steamblast. Stephenson was not the inventor of the multitubular boiler, but he made great improvements in it, and was the first to use it in locomotives. The engine, together with its load of water, weighed only four tons and a quarter. Three other engines, constructed by Messrs. Braithwait and Ericsson, Mr. Hackworth, and Mr. Burstall, were entered for the trial, which took place on the 6th of October, 1829. Neither of them met the conditions or succeeded. Mr. Stephenson's was first tested, steam being raised until it lifted the safety. valve loaded to a pressure of fifty pounds to the square inch. It then started on its journey to make the specified number of trips forward and back on two miles of the road, running the first thirty-five miles, including stoppages, in an hour and forty-eight minutes, dragging after it about thirteen tons weight in wagons. Its maximum velocity was twenty-nine miles an hour, about three times the speed which scientific men had declared possible. When the Rocket, having complied with all the conditions of the trial, came to the platform at the close of its successful day, one of the directors who
had been most decided for the plan of the stationary engines, lifted up his hands and exclaimed, “Now has George Stephenson at last delivered himself."
The public opening of the railway, so long and anxiously looked for, took place on the 15th of September, 1830. Eight of Mr. Stephenson's locomotives had been finished and placed upon the road. There
more talk of fixed engines. On the opening day he drove the Northumbrian' himself, while the North Star' and the Phønix' were driven respectively by his brother Robert and his son Robert. All of the eight engines had been repeatedly tried with entire
The completion of the great work was justly regarded as a national event, and was celebrated accordingly. The Duke of Wellington, then Prime Minister, Sir Robert Peel, Secretary of State, Mr. Huskisson, then member of Parliament for Liverpool, and many other distinguished personages, were present. That was a memorable meeting. There was the great Duke, the most famous soldier of his time, Napoleon Bonaparte alone excepted, on whom wealth and titles had been heaped without limit,—on whom panegyric had been exhausted,—who had won the proudest honors of the senate, as of the battle-field. And there was the railway engineer, known but by his honest English name, who had fought his way from obscurest
verty; who, without the aid of a penny from government, had persevered for twenty years against ignorance, and prejudice, and official stupidity, and the insolence of "vested rights;" who had singly created a new motive-power, and who now (without any adequate reward for his unparalleled services) stood ready with his little phalanx of locomotives to inaugurate a new reign of peace.
The Northumbrian' engine took the lead, with the carriage containing the Duke and the most distinguished visitors, while the others followed. Thousands upon thousands of persons lined each side of the railway for miles, and all through the country vehicles were drawn
up and elevated stands erected, whence the multitude greeted the flying trains with tumultuous cheering. At Parkside, seventeen miles from Liverpool, the engines stopped to take in water; and here a terrible accident cast a gloom over the further proceedings of the day. Contrary to the request of the railroad directors, most of the passengers alighted and were standing upon the opposite track, when the Duke, between whom and Mr. Huskisson some coolness had existed, bowed and held out his hand. Mr. Huskisson grasped it, and just then the "Rocket' was observed rapidly coming up, and a cry of “Get in, get in," was heard.
Mr. Huskisson became confused, and, in his attempt to avoid danger, was struck down by the “Rocket,' which instantly ran over his leg and crushed it. “I have met my death,” were his first words. Mr. Stephenson was at once des patched with the unfortunate gentleman to the parsonage of Eccles, fifteen miles off, where he died that evening. The engine on this melancholy trip ran at the then astounding speed of thirtysix miles an hour. It was proposed by the Duke of Wellington and Sir Robert Peel to return at once to Liverpool; but during the delay the borough-reeve of Manchester arrived at Parkside, saying that the immense concourse of people at the terminus were becoming very impatient, and, if the procession did not appear as announced, he would not be answerable for the consequences. It was then determined to proceed, but to