« السابقةمتابعة »
on either side Its massive walls arose, and overhead
persecution. In 1825, the Quarterly Review thus Instinct with motion ; by what wondrous skill Compact, no human tongue could tell,
ridiculed the notion of certain engineers, Telford Nor human wit devise ?"
amongst the number, that a railway engine could go Did he contemplate the union of safety and speed, eighteen or twenty miles an hour : " The gross exagwhen he wrote,
gerations of the powers of the locomotive steam engine,
or, to speak plain English, the steam carriage, may delude “Steady and swist the self-moved chariot went ?"
for a time, but must end in the mortification of those Did he prefigure the mighty tunnels of our day, when
concerned. .. .. We should as soon expect the people he said —
of Woolwich to suffer themselves to be fired off upon one “Their way was through the adamantine rock:
of Congreve's ricochet rockets, as trust themselves to the
mercy of such a machine, going at such a rate." In Arch'd the long passage?”.
that year, the common belief was that railways were Southey had no such visions : but he had somewhat of altogether delusions and impositions. The Liverpool that universal sense called poetry, in this case adopted and Manchester Railway was opposed in Parliament from the legends that have been told to the listening with every form of invective. One member, in 1825, wonder of the oldest races of the world ; and his declared his opinion " that a railway could not enter imaginative creations were, in these particulars of into successful competition with a canal. Even with mystic sublimity, the realities of this our age, falsely the best locomotive engine the average rate would called prosaic. Wherever there is power, there is be but three miles and a half per hour, which was poetry. The tread of a mighty army is poetry; the slower than the canal conveyance.” (Hansard, 2nd rush of an engine that breaks down the barriers of series, vol. iv. p. 853.) Another assertion, which Mr. mountains and rivers, and annihilates distance, is Huskisson was obliged to meet doubtfully and apolopoetry. There is poetry in the wind that scatters, getically, was, " that there were two or three canals and the lightning that blasts ; nor is there less poetry in which were sufficient for every purpose of commerce the little bark that outrides the storm. There is poetry in the districts through which the railway was to pass." in the brave man who teaches his suffering fellows Let us be just to what we have been accustomed to to put down oppression; there is poetry in the good man decry as the dark ages. Let us be tolerant to those who stands up against the wildest buffets of fate with an who imprisoned Galileo, and rewarded Columbus with equal mind. Poetry is not the exclusive property of chains. If there be a reality in any discovery-a true any age, or any class, or any locality. Manchester thing, and not a sham,—if there be strength, or utility, has its poetry, as much as Loch Katrine. We admit or beauty, in any work of mind, -it will live and that Roger North was not thinking of poetry when he fructify, whatever critics, or orators, or inquisitors, described a Newcastle railway in 1680 : “ Another or even kings, may do to crush it. And so it is with thing, that is remarkable, is their way-leaves; for railways. On the 15th September, 1830, the first when men have pieces of ground between the colliery passenger line, the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, , and the river, they sell leave to lead coals over their was opened. The conveyance of passengers appears ground; and so dear that the owner of a rood of originally to have been an inferior consideration to the ground will expect 201. per annum for this leave. conveyance of goods ; and the Directors modestly anThe manner of the carriage is by laying rails of timber, ticipated that one half of the passengers travelling by from the colliery down to the river, exactly straight coaches between the two towns might venture on the and parallel ; and bulky carts are made with four railway. In the first year after the opening, 1831, rowlets fitting these rails ; whereby the carriage is so there were conveyed four hundred and forty-five thoueasy, that one horse will draw down four or five chal- sand passengers ; in the year ending 1st July, 1845, dron of coals, and is an immense benefit to the coal the passengers so conveyed amounted to eight hundred merchant.” Who would have thought that this con- and ninety-seven thousand. On this 24th April, 1847, trivance would have led to no large results till a there has been a total expended on the railways of the hundred and fifty years had passed away? Who could United Kingdom, of seventy-eight millions sterling; have believed that “the rails of timber, exactly straight and in the last week the aggregate receipt upon these and parallel," and the “bulky carts with four rowlets railways was one hundred and sixty thousand pounds, exactly fitting the rails," would have changed the face, being a total exceeding eight millions sterling per and to a great degree the destinies, of the world? annum, for the conveyance of passengers and goods.
When Jacquard, the inventor of the wonderful loom To attempt anything like a connected view of the that bears his name, was arrested and carried to Paris, existing railway system of our land, would be to with his machine, Carnot, in the presence of Napoleon, embarrass our readers with details which are constantly roughly said to him, “Are you the man that pretends changing. There is scarcely a week passes in which to do that impossibility—to tie a knot in a stretched new railways are not opened. They lead not now to string ?" His compatriots of Lyons, the impossibility marts of commerce alone. They take us amongst being surmounted, broke his machines in 1806, and mountains and lakes, the margins of the broad sea, raised a statue to his memory in 1840. All those who and the banks of the smiling rivers. John Wilsonare in advance of public opinion must bear ridicule or a name never to be uttered by the lover of nature and
He is a monarch, and his throne
natural things without a grateful homage-tells us in train by hill and champaign. The herds in the pashis beautiful lines in a “Highland Glen,"
tures heed not its accustomed thunder ;—the villagers
sleep on in defiance of the whistle. Ever and anon a “Yea! long as Nature's humblest child Hath kept her temple undefiled
bag is dropped at some solitary station; or there is By sinful sacritice,
a short parley at the more important stations of city Earth's fairest scenes are all his own,
and town. The
passengers slumber; or, looking forth Is built amongst the skies."
over the moon-lit country, sometimes trace the silver It is for the humblest children of Nature that we espe-thread of a gentle river, or the lurid glare of a smoking cially rejoice, when “ Earth’s fairest scenes” are for furnace. Onward it sweeps, till the morning breaks, the first time opened to their view, by the marvellous and the solemn towers of York are gilded with the first inventions of our own age. Grudge not, ye poets of sunbeam. A short pause, and away for Newcastle. the wild glens and the solemn lakes, that unaccustomed Then comes, for awhile, the aid of the road to Berwick; crowds come to gaze upon your solitudes. Yourselves and then again the railway to Edinburgh. In twentyare the greatest amongst the powers that have carried two hours, even with the change from one mode of them thither. Ye have scattered your thoughts amidst conveyance to another--with absolute certainty—the the multitude ; and your disciples are come to worship letter that costs one penny is transmitted to its destiin the temples ye have consecrated. Steam-boats and nation in a fifth of the time, and at a five-thousandth railways are completing the work which ye have part of the cost, of the express that once, bore the begun. To the genius of Watt and of Wordsworth mandates of the great ones of the earth. It is a lesson we may indifferently say,
for the feebleness of individual pride to take to its “ Thou hast to those in populous city pent
heart, and think how many things which solitary man Glimpses of wild and beauteous nature lent,A bright remembrance ne'er to be destroy'd."
still boasts of as his exclusive own, will crumble into
nothingness before the power of association. As we draw towards the close of this desultory The merchants of Manchester have complained to paper, the magnificence of the railway system presents the Directors of the London and North Western Railitself to our minds in a dreamy vastness that forbids way, that the newspapers of London, which are pubany systematic attempt to follow it out to its ultimate lished at six o'clock in the morning, do not reach them tendencies. View it in connexion with the arrange- till the late hour of three in the afternoon. And they ments of the Post-office. “Ride for your life—haste, have a right to complain. It is no answer to their comhaste, post-haste,"—were the commands of ambitious plaint to point to the times when the same merchants peers and crafty ministers in the days of Elizabeth, to did not receive the letters which left London at eight the unhappy courier who was to post from London o'clock at night, until three in the following afternoon. to Edinburgh. Onward he went, through miry ways That antique state of things is within the memory even and over trackless commons,--sometimes dashing up of the young; and the remembrance is still green of the to his saddle-bows through a ford swollen by mountain early dinner at the snug villa; the hurrying to the countrains—sometimes bewildered in the mists of the tracking-house; the labour till a late hour of the evening ; less moorlands. As he approaches the borders new the ride home in dreary darkness. The daily moveterrors await him. He rides in the dim morning twi-ments of the great commercial body of Manchester light, with his ears alive to every sound. He fancies were then under the absolute regulation of the Post, that the tread of horses and of cattle is at hand. He and that regulation was not of the most 'convedares not hide himself, for he would be mistaken for a nient. A great revolution is effected. The London spy. He rides boldly on into the troop of marchers letters, the Scotch letters, the correspondence of the who are returning from their foray; and, to his surprise, world, now wait lovingly upon the earliest industry is permitted to escape, after he has been saluted with of the merchant of Manchester. A mighty power a few words of opprobrium, and a snatch of the ballad | has been working for him while he has slept. He is of Johnnie Armstrong. At last he reaches “Edina, brought into more intimate contact with all his comScotia’s. darling seat,” after a perilous journey of five patriots. His actions are not now to be postponed to days. His despatches are brought forth from their one day later than the actions of the metropolis. hiding-place ;—the great men meet and deliberate ;- He claims his right to a simultaneous movement. and after a tarrying of a day or two, the express has He has been freed from the trammels of space in a to face again the same rough road. Take the Post- wonderful degree; he struggles to make his emanoffice arrangements between London and Edinburgh— cipation more perfect. Distance indeed ! Has not not yet carried out with all the railroad power that will the Indian mail arrived in thirty days; and shall belong to them in a few months, -and
mark what they Manchester be nine hours behind London, in knowing now do for the humblest in the land. We have some. what it brings ? It is the same principle which now where seen it recorded, that the mail-bag from London regulates our intercourse of friendship and of family to Edinburgh once arrived with a single letter. The affection. We breakfast in the suburbs of the capital penny co-operation of thousands now places a ton of with the cheerfulness of the domestic hearth around northern letters in a carriage at Euston-square, at a us; a long journey is before ts; there is a slight pang quarter before nine at night. Away rushes the mighty when we feel that an inexorable power will that same
evening separate us by three hundred miles from those empty the arsenals of Woolwich upon Southampton, we love, and set us down on the banks of the Tyne, or Brighton, or Hastings, or Folkstone,—with a coastor by the Solway Frith, a solitary. It may be a line uninterruptedly communicating with London as a childish feeling in the eyes of the young; but we who common centre ? No, no. The Land we live in said, have lived in the sober days of seven miles an hour “ Come, if you dare,” in the days before steam had cannot quite throw it off. Happy is it that the iden- remodelled its communications. The first pulsation tical power which so suddenly interposes its almost of the electric telegraph that proclaimed a hostile impossible distance between us and our household feet in the Channel would have an answering movesympathies, brings its own wondrous consolations— ment from the Admiralty, that would make the island separates and unites in the same day. We rest for throb to its remotest extremities. Invade a country twelve hours after our rush of three hundred miles ; that could collect the sturdiest of its population upon and during those twelve hours there has been a winged any given point within eight-and-forty hours, and messenger travelling towards us, to make us feel that provide them with all the materials of war in half the we are not alone,-that strange faces may
same time! The thing is too ludicrous! The colliers us, but that "the old familiar faces” are still greeting of Northumberland could be whirled from the north to us wherever we move. We know that they are close the south by the fuel that their sturdy hands have around us, when no distance can separate our written brought to the surface ; and they alone would be a host thoughts even for a day. A single word of home to sweep the aggressor from our earth. news, a single touch of home feeling, holds us toge- But the Railway has its real work to do—not a hypother. We drag not "at each remove a lengthening thetical work like this, of grappling with shadowy chain" of anxiety and "hope deferred.” Separation-giants. It has to raise the condition of all those who real separation of thought and interest,-is not to be for centuries have lived remote from the nourishing spoken of in a land, where science and commercial influences of our growing civilization. Rustic innoenergy bave rendered the all-penetrating influence of cence and rustic happiness have been found out to be the Post rapid as the winds, certain as the alternations dreams of an age that never existed. The seats of light and darkness. If it were possible to use the of ignorance are in the villages where never mail-horn Railway for the conveyance of our persons, while our has been heard. There live the bondmen, as much letters travelled by the Road, who would not exclaim, bound to the soil as the villains of the fourteenth “Chaos is come again !"
century-bondmen without the sustenance of bondmen. The transit from Newcastle to Edinburgh now offers The railway and the steam-boat, by opening markets, one of the few remaining links of rail and coach upon by saving cost of transit, assist the accumulation of direct and great lines. To our minds these memorials agricultural capital. That capital cannot be better of our transition state are singularly interesting. But employed than in the calling forth of skilled labour. under any future condition of railway extension, the Let labour circulate, and it must become skilled. Pen iron power can never accomplish its work alone. Its it up in hamlets, and it continues the mechanical, great natural allies are the road, the river, and the sea. hopeless, dangerous thing it is now in its uncultivated It must work in conjunction with the coach and the state. The noblest sight that a Railway can furnish steam-boat; and each, under a judicious system, has is, to our minds, not the equal adoption of its advanthe capacity of equal extension. We have, with all tages by the rich classes and the commercial classes, the vast expenditure upon railways, only about two by the bishop travelling to his see and the mill-owner thousand five hundred miles; the number will probably returning to his spindles; but by the smock-frocked be doubled in five years. But we have twenty-five agricultural labourer, whistling in the short course of thousand miles of turnpike-roads that are to be fed his sixpenny ride--a free man, who is not bound to his with passengers, and goods, and letters, and news- parish, but has found employment for his labour where papers, from the great veins and arteries of the rail- it is better paid than in the parish where the wages of ways. Every year and every month makes the alliance labour are doled out, not to the most skilful, but to more perfect. The remotest village is brought closer the most burthensome. The great work for all of us and closer to the capital and the great towns. The to work at-the great work which all our vast mechanews of the abdication of James II. was three months nical improvements have a tendency to facilitate—is reaching the Orkneys. How soon would the rail, the that of raising the standard of comfort and intelligence. coach, and the steam-ship tell the bold descendants The road and the railway are the tracks in which the of the sea-kings to gird on their swords, if a foreign highest civilization must, in our generation, march to foe should dare to plant his foot on British soil ! its triumphs over ignorance and misery. Invasion! it is a joke. Invasion! Open the map of England, and show the spot from the North Foreland to the Land's End, where an army of a hundred thou- Thus, then, we have glanced over one branch of the sand men could not be gathered in four-and-twenty large subject of our country's communications. The other hours.
Look, especially, at the most accessible coast branch, our mastery of the waters, will form a second -the coast where Cæsar landed his legions, and Horsa paper. We shall then be free to roam about "The Land his rabble. How many hours would it require to we live in,” and endeavour to carry our readers along with us, wherever the works of Nature or of Man pre- deur in their vastness and their moral influences. sent worthy subjects for the pen and the pencil. To The courts and offices of government, legislation, and explain our purposed course we repeat a passage of the administration of justice ; the halls of science, art, our Prospectus :—The Poet of “L'Allegro" and "Il and letters ; the seats of education; the emporiums of Penseroso" looked upon the picturesque features of commerce and manufactures ; the havens of maritime the external world as we may look to gather the mate- power; the material improvements of our day viewed rials of our unpretending prose; glancing from “russet- in connexion with the moral; the manners and social lawns,” and “mountains,” and “meadows trim,” and characteristics of the people. All these features, and
* rivers wide,” to “towers and battlements,” “ cities," many more which it is better here to suggest than and “the busy hum of men :" then turning to "some enumerate, make up the wonderful whole of “The wide water'd shore," or to “ arched walks of twilight Land we live in.” Be it our aim to seize upon the groves ;” then lingering in the “studious cloister's most permanent and most universal of these features ; pale,” or beneath “ the high embowed roof” of the in the desire to amuse as well as to inform,--to addim cathedral. But we have also to look upon many vance all safe and benevolent progress,—to nourish a things, some of which are scarcely picturesque, some just patriotism. wholly modern, but which have the elements of gran