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south-east coast there is the road from Dover to London. The statute for amending of highways gave power to 2. From the south-west coast there is a road from the the jobbers, and the highways became worse. The extreme point of Cornwall to Exeter, by Launceston evil went on for another century, till at last came the and Okehampton, and thence to London by Shaftesbury turnpike system for its remedy. The first turnpike act and Salisbury. 3. There are two roads from Norfolk was passed in 1663 (15th Charles II.), and its preamand Suffolk to London-one from Walsingham, by ble shows what a state of road perfection we had reached, Newmarket, till it joins the north road near Royston; even after the establishment of the Post: “Whereas the the other from Yarmouth to Ipswich, Colchester, and ancient highway and post-road leading from London to Chelmsford. 4. From South Wales to London, there | York, and so into Scotland, and likewise from London is a road from St. David's, by Caermarthen and Hay into Lincolnshire, lieth for many miles in the counties to Gloucester, and thence by Cirencester, Farringdon, of Hertford, Cambridge, and Huntingdon, in many of Abingdon, Henley, and Maidenhead; where it unites which places the road, by reason of the great and many with, 5, the road from London to Bristol, by Reading, loads which are weekly drawn in waggons through the Marlborough, and Chippenham. The northern roads said places, as well by reason of the great trade of barley constitute the longest and most important lines. They and malt that cometh to Ware, and so is conveyed by are, 6, the road from London to Cockermouth, by Saint water to the city of London, as other carriages, both from Alban's, Dunstable, Daventry, Coventry, Lichfield, the north parts, as also from the city of Norwich, Saint Stone, Warrington, Preston, Lancaster, Kendal, and Edmundsbury, and the town of Cambridge, to London, Keswick; 7, the road from London to Berwick, by is very ruinous, and become almost impassable, insomuch Ware, Huntingdon, Stamford, Grantham, Newark, that it is become very dangerous to all his Majesty's York, Darlington, Durham, Newcastle, Morpeth, Aln liege people that pass that way.” The “ ancient highwick, and Belford; 8, the road from North Wales,- way and post-road leading from London to York, and from Caernarvon to Conway and Chester, and thence to so into Scotland,” is on many accounts one of the most Newcastle-under-Lyne, where it joins the road from important lines of the country, and has been more London to Cockermouth. There are, in addition to travelled on than any other line. For this reason, prothese eight great lines, the road from London to Oxford, bably, there are more incidental descriptions of the by Uxbridge ; and the road from London to Cambridge, mode of travel on this road, to be found in books, than by Saffron Walden.
all which refer to other roads. From its great length, The most cursory inspection of the map of England its passage through the border country, and its onward will shew the imperfect nature of our internal commu- progress through what was another kingdom, the north nication, when the lines we have recited were the only road offers very striking contrasts between its ancient great thoroughfares. But it must also be borne in and its modern state. The contrasts will be still mind, that the manufacturing hives of English popula- greater in a few short months, when this famous road tion were not yet formed. We are speaking of the time will be, as it were, annihilated by the railway from whieh preceded turnpikes by a century, canals by two London to Edinburgh. Let us see, then, what this centuries, and railways by three centuries. The tran- north road will supply us of material for this our introsition from one state of things to the other involves ductory paper on the communications of “ The Land some curious particulars.
we live in," with occasional glances at other highways. Cross-roads, as well as the great thoroughfares, were Those who not tolerably familiar with the of course absolutely necessary for carrying on the Memoir Literature of the sixteenth and seventeenth business of life. Some were merely lanes over the centuries, will have some difficulty to comprehend how natural soil, --some paved roads for pack-horses. An- our ancestors moved about from place to place, and nual labour for the repair of roads was first imposed by carried on the business of communication with distant the statute of the 2nd and 3rd Philip and Mary, “ for inland parts. The mode of conveyance was so uniamending of highways, being now both very noisome versal, and so established, that it rarely offers itself to and tedious to travel in, and dangerous to all passengers any especial notice. Till the beginning of the eightand carriages.” Harrison says that the statute was eenth century we were almost wholly an EQUESTRIAN constantly evaded by the covetousness of the rich and people. Harrison describes “the excellent paces” the laziness of the poor; that parish surveyors took of our saddle-horses as peculiar to those of our soil ; care to have good roads to their own fields, but neg- and says, that “our countrymen, seeking their ease in leeted those that led from market to market; and that every corner where it is to be had, delight very much encroachments were daily made upon the highways by in this quality.” From the days of the Wife of Bath, covetous landowners, so
" that whereas some streets girt with a pair of spurrés sharp," to the days of within these five-and-twenty years have been in most Queen Elizabeth, we have scarcely a trace of ladies places fifty feet broad, according to the law, whereby accomplishing their peregrinations in any other manner the traveller might either escape the thief, or shift the than that which Chaucer has recorded : mire, or pass by the loaden cart, without danger to
"Upon an amber easily she sat." himself or his horse ; now they are brought unto twelve, Luxury had its appliances ready for this almost excluof twenty, of six-and-twenty at the most." Local sive mode of travel. “A lover of his country," who, jobbing, we thus see, is an hereditary accomplishment. in 1673, saw that coaches would be the ruin of the
" before these coaches were set up, two o'clock of the morning of Thursday, the 24th travellers rode on horseback; and men had boots, spurs, of March, and James was proclaimed king, at London, saddles, bridles, saddle-cloths, and good riding suits. on the same morning, " yet the news of it reached not .... Most gentlemen, before they travelled in their the city of York, until Sunday, March the 27th.” coaches, used to ride with swords, belts, pistols, hol- (Continuation of Stow's Annals.) sters, portmanteaus, and hat-cases; for when they rode The days before the Post were days when those who on horseback they rode in one suit, and carried another left their houses, for distant parts of England, were to wear when they came to their journey's end, or lay more separated from their friends than the North by the way. .... And if they were women that tra- American emigrant of our own times. The transmisvelled, they needed to have safeguards and hoods, side- sion of intelligence across the Atlantic is now an easier saddles, and pillions, with strappings, saddle or pillion thing than the old conveyance of a letter two hundred cloths, which, for the most part, were either laced or miles, upon a cross road. The historian of Craven, embroidered.” The saving of much of this expendi- speaking of 1609, says, “at this time the communiture, by travelling in coaches, the writer holds, is the cation between the north of England and the univerruin of trade. “ For, formerly, every man that had occa- sities was kept up by carriers, who pursued their sion to travel many journeys yearly, or to ride up and tedious but uniform route with whole trains of packdown, kept horses for himself and his servants, and horses. To their care were consigned not only the seldom rid without one or two men." In 1526, the packages, but frequently the persons, young scholars. Earl of Cumberland rode from Skipton to London, It was through their medium, also, that epistolary with thirty-three servants. (Whitaker's Craven.) In correspondence was managed; and as they always 1582, the Earl of Shrewsbury writes to a dependant: visited London, a letter could scarcely be exchanged “I think my company will be twenty gentlemen and between Yorkshire and Oxford in less time than a twenty yeomen, besides their men and my horse- | month." Charles I. seems, in 1635, to have resolved keepers. I think to set forwards about the 11th of to remedy this evil, by the establishment of the home September, from Wingfield to Leicester, to my bed, and post-office. In his proclamation of that year he says, to make but four days' journey to London.” (Lodge's that there had been no certain intercourse between Illustrations.) In 1640, the wife of the last Earl of England and Scotland; and he therefore commands a Cumberland rode from London to Londesborough, running post to be established between London and having thirty-two horses in her train; and the journey Edinburgh, to go thither and come back again in six occupied eleven days. These slow progresses were the days; and for other roads there are promised the same relies of the old times of sumpter-horses, when princes advantages. In 1660 the General Post-office was and nobles travelled with vast cavalcades, like an ori- established by act of parliament; and all letters were ental caravan. We must not imagine that all equestrian to be sent through this office, “except such letters as travelling was at this slow rate. James I. of England shall be sent by coaches, common known carriers of was indeed nearly five weeks on his padded saddle, in goods by carts, waggons, and pack-horses, and shall his royal progress from Edinburgh to London ; but Sir be carried along with their carts, waggons, and packRobert Carey, determining to be the first to tell James horses respectively.” The Post-master General and that he was king of England, stole out of Richmond his deputies, under this statute, and no other person or Palace, at three o'clock of the morning of Thursday, persons, "shall provide and prepare horses and furnithe 24th of March, and reached Edinburgh on the night ture to let to hire unto all thorough posts and persons of Saturday, the 26th, the king having gone to bed by riding in post, by commission or without, to and from the time he had knocked at the gate. This ride of four all and every the places of England, Scotland, and hundred miles in seventy hours, gives one an elevated Ireland, where any post-roads are.” We find, by notion of the travelling accommodations of two centuries various clauses of this act, that the Post-master was and a half ago. But it must be borne in mind that also to furnish a guide with a horn to such as ride such instances were the exceptions to the rule of slow post,—that he was to furnish horses within half an hour travelling. Although the Post was not established by after demand,--and that if he could not accomplish law, there were post-masters, at the end of the sixteenth this, persons might hire a horse where they could, and century, on all the great lines of roads; and, for a sue the Post-master for a penalty. The country Postsufficient consideration, they would furnish such master was an ancient functionary, who had long been traveller as Sir Robert Carey with abundant horses, in the habit of attending to the wants of those who bore that he might ride till they dropped,-as, indeed, he letters inscribed “Haste, haste, post haste.” He was records one of his horses to have done. Then, again, generally an inn-keeper. Taylor, the water poet, in although the roads were bad, the equestrian. had many his "Penniless Pilgrimage" from London to Scotland, a mile of the smooth turf of an unenclosed country to in 1618, has described one that might rival any Bonigallop over. Let it not be forgotten, that if Sir Robert face on record : “ From Stamford, the next day, we Carey rode from London to Edinburgh at the rate rode to Huntingdon, where we lodged at the postof six miles an hour, keeping on night and day, with master's house, at the sign of the Crown; his name is relays of horses, the general communication of the Riggs. He was informed who I was, and wherefore country was so slow, that although Elizabeth died at I undertook this my penniless progress; wherefore he
came up to our chamber, and supped with us, and very | while he is on the king's highway, and the bells go bountifully called for three quarts of wine and sugar, cheerily as he crosses some pleasant common. Perand four jugs of beer. He did drink and begin healths chance, as he ascends the wide moorlands, the clouds like a horse-leech, and swallowed down his cups without darken around him, the mist falls heavily, the carriers feeling, as if he had had the dropsy, or nine pound can see no track ; but by an unerring instinct the of spunge
in his maw. In a word, as he is a post, he cautiously stepping horses keep their file, and ask no drank post, striving and calling by all means to make better guide than the sound of their sagacious leader's the reckoning great, or to make us men of great reckon- bells. He will not lead them into boggy places; he ing. But in his payment he was tired like a jade, leaving will keep steady, even when man has ceased to direct the gentleman that was with me to discharge the terrible him. If the way is unusually rough, the old and feeble shot, or else one of my horses must have lain in pawn horses lag behind; but they never break the order of for his superfluous calling and unmannerly intrusion.” their march, and they ultimately push on, even if they
The CARRIERS of England have always been a pro- should die in their perseverance. The inexperienced gressire body, in more than one sense of the word. passenger must have needed some courage in these They were amongst the first in our days to see what passages across the semi-deserts of uncultivated Engrailways would accomplish for the transit of goods and land, But soon he is in a lane some four feet wide,passengers. They were the first, more than two cen- sometimes floundering in the mud-at other times turies ago, to change the mode of passenger-conveyance slipping upon a paved causeway, with a thick sludge from the riding-horse to the waggon. They brought on either side of the narrow track. In the hills of the Oxford scholars, as we have seen, out of the North Derbyshire have we ridden the sure-footed pony of the with their pack-horses. The most famous of all the country down these winding roads, shut out from the old carriers was he of Cambridge, of whom Milton wide prospect around us by overhanging hedges-a wrote,
privation which the pack-horse traveller little cared "Here lies old Hobson; Death hàth broke his girt,
for. But not only in Derbyshire, in the days before And here, alas! hath laid him in the dirt." He it was that gave rise to the saying of “ Hobson's
men sought the picturesque, were such roads travelled choice;" for he obliged his customers for hackney- over, but in the very thickest of our metropolitan
suburb. horses to take the one that stood next the stable-door.
Hagbush Lane, which was described by His trade of horse-letting was a refinement upon the
William Hone only twenty years ago, but which has old trade of the postmaster : he intrusted a horse to
now vanished, was the ancient bridle or pack-horse the Cambridge scholar for a pleasure ride, and he sent
road from London to the North, and extended by the no guide to feed the horse and bring it back. He was
Holloway back road, as far as the City-road, near
Old Street. a pack-horse carrier. It was not till after his palmy
“Some parts of Hagbush-lane,” says days that the innovation of waggons came in, in which
Hone, are much lower than the meadows on either passengers were carried from city to city. But long
side.” At one time a terraced ridge, at another a deep did the passenger-waggon and the pack-horse continue rut, the pack-horse road must have been to the unacto travel in good fellowship. Roderick Random tried customed traveller a somewhat perilous pass. Happy both conveyances : “ There is no such convenience as
would he be when the house which promised “good a waggon in this country (Scotland), and my finances
entertainment for man and horse,” and which, in the were too weak to support the expense of hiring a horse. early days of English art, hung out a representation I determined therefore to set out with the carriers, who
of the animal he bestrode, which might be mistaken transport goods from one place to another on horse
for a dromedary, — happy would he be when the back; and this scheme I accordingly put in execution
"watering-time” arrived. Well-earned would be the on the 1st day of November, 1739, sitting upon a pack, till dewy eve," —again would come the rasher and
rest. Again would the cavalcade be in movement, saddle between two baskets, one of which contained my goods in a knapsack. But by the time we arrived
eggs for supper, with the black jack of home-brewed at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, I was so fatigued with the ale ; again the sound sleep, in spite of night plagues ; tediousness of the carriage, and benumbed with the and again the early morning journey. A fortnight coldness of the weather, that I resolved to travel the between York and London would be a quick passage. rest of my journey on foot, rather than proceed in such Well, there might be worse arrangements for a cona disagreeable manner." We of this age complain that templative traveller ; but for ourselves, being somethe penny-a-mile passengers in covered railway car
what fearless of innovations, we must avow a preference riages
, which only go ten miles an hour, are somewhat for the Express-train. (Cut, 1.) hardly used. Let us contrast this case with that of
Our antiquarian annalist, Stow, records that, in 1605, the pack-horse traveller. Seated in the throne which
LONG WAGgons for passengers and commodities traRoderick Random occupied, he sallied forth at * four velled to London from Canterbury and other large by the day,” when the horses were “ packed;" forget- towns. According to this authority, they were known ting, for a little while, the uneasiness of his seat, by
as early as 1564. The lover of his country,” whom the remembrance how he had been"
we have already quoted, has no violent objection to
stung like a teneh.” He is stuck in the midst of a file of fifty pack-forse
, thus exerting himself to maintain his place, dropping down dead
• See, in Bewick's “History of Quadrupeds," an interesting anecdote of a horses, a large companionship for safety. For a little
when he reached the inn-yard.
these "long waggon coaches," as he calls them. They , wart driver tells the anxious maiden that it is only one plead some antiquity; "they were first set up." more mile to the turnpike where she is to meet " the Moreover they are not guilty of the sin of expedition. young man ?" Have we not sat beneath the branching Compared with the objects of his hatred, the stage elm which fronts some little inn where waggons 'concoaches, they are innocent things : “they travel not gregate, and heard much goodly talk about the dearness such long journeys, go not out so early in the morn- of horses, and the craft of Lunnun? (Cut, 4.) They ing, neither come in so late at night; but stay by the are gone—these once familiar scenes ; way, travel easily, without jolting men's bodies, or
“They live no longer in the faith of reason;" hurrying them along, as the running coaches do.” but they will live for ever in such pictures as that our These convenient creeping things had a safe existence friend Creswick has painted of "The London Road a for a century or two; and bore up bravely against the hundred years ago," sneers of the “flying-coaches” that went four miles We are arrived at the next phase of our travelling an hour. Roderick Random, as we have said, tried progress—the introduction of STAGE-COACHES, towards both the pack-horse and the waggon. This waggon the end of the 17th century. But before we proceed
the long waggon" of Stow; the “long waggon to this subject, let us say a few words upon the roads coach" of "the lover of his country.” Not much more of that time. than a hundred years ago there was a vehicle moving The turnpike upon the great Northern road does not on the Great North Road, in which passengers, who appear to have done much for its reparation. In the assumed to be gentlefolks, were travelling from York “Diary of Ralph Thoresby," under the date of Octoto London at the fare of a shilling a-day,-not being ber, 1580, we find this entry : “To Ware, twenty more than a fortnight in the transit,
The description miles from London, a most pleasant road in summer, which Smollett gives of his ride to London is known and as bad in winter, because of the depth of the to have been derived from his own experience. He cart-ruts, though far off as bad [far less bad) as thence and his faithful friend, Strap, having observed the to Buntingford and Puckeridge, and part of the way to waggon a quarter of a mile before them, speedily over
Royston." Fifteen years later we have a still more took it; and ascending the convenience by a ladder, gloomy account of the state of the same road in this tumbled into the straw, under the darkness of the tilt, Diary: “Rode by Puckeridge to Ware, where we amidst four passengers, two gentlemen and two very baited, and had some showers, which raised the washes genteel specimens of the fair sex. When they arrived upon the road to that height that passengers that were at the inn where they were to lodge for the night,
upon the road swam, and a poor higgler was drowned Captain Weazel and his lady desired a room for them
I have the greatest cause of thankfulness for selves, and a separate supper ; but the impartial inn- the goodness of my heavenly Protector, that, being keeper replied that "he had prepared victuals for the exposed to greater dangers by my horse's boggling at passengers in the waggon, without respect of persons. every coach , and waggon we met, I received no Roderick agrees to give ten shillings for his passage to damage, though the ways were very bad, the ruts London, provided Strap, who was to trudge by the deep, and the roads extremely full of water; which side, should change places with him when he was dis- rendered my circumstances (often meeting the loaded posed to walk. The mistakes, the quarrels, and the waggons in very inconvenient places) not only melanmirth of the passengers, are told by the novelist with choly, but really very dangerous." This state of a vivacity which would be admirable without its coarse- things was as late in the season as the 19th of May, ness. They got tolerably reconciled to each other after we cannot be surprised that poor Ralph Thoresby, the first five days' rumbling in the straw. “ Nothing with the feeling of these perils, caused public prayers remarkable happened during the remaining part of our to be offered up for one going a journey, previous journey, which continued six or seven days longer. to leaving home on another occasion. The frightful At length we entered the great city, and lodged all condition of the principal road out of London, after night at the inn where the waggon put up,”
the passing of the Turnpike Act for its amendment Let not the “long stage waggon,” which thus kept —which Açt imposed a toll pretty heavy, for those alive a monthly communication between Yorkshire and days, upon "horses, carts, coaches, waggons, droves London, and carried, according to Smollett, no less and gangs of cattle,” — may have arisen from the dignified persons than a medical student, an ensign in laxity with which the toll was collected. It is said a marching regiment, and a city money-lender, be that the toll was so unpopular, that “the mob” confounded with the broad-wheeled waggon that, after broke the toll-gates. We do not exactly see what being half drowned by the waters of the canal, has “the mob,” in the usual sense of the term, had to do now been swept from the surface of the earth by the with the matter, But we can picture to ourselves a fire of the railroad. Have we not ourselves heard the series of contests between the toll-keepers and a stout merry bells of the team, breasting their way right in body of drovers, swineherds, carriers, and waggoners, the centre of the broad Bath road, unyielding to coach that in those days of insufficient police must have proor curricle? Have we not seen the bright eye glancing duced many a forcible evasion of the law. It is not from the opening of the tilt behind, as the ponderous difficult also to believe that the first introduction of wain is moving beside the village green, and the stal- the system would be offensive
the system would be offensive to the richer dwellers
in the country, who in the pursuit of their field-sports but in 1692 it was again found necessary to give two were not very considerate as to the effect of trespass, days to the journey, from Michaelmas to Lady-day. and were not much accustomed to have their wills “ The lover of his country,” however, has furnished thwarted by authority of any sort. The old ballad us the most complete picture of coach travelling, in of the Pinder of Wakefield shows a stout fellow with a 1673. The long journeys were from London to quarter-staff, ready to break the heads of encroachers | Exeter, Chester, or York. On these roads the fare upon private property :
was forty shillings in summer, and forty-five shillings "Now turn again, turn again, said the Pinder,
in winter, each way. The coachman was changed four For a wrong way you have gone; For you have forsaken the King's highway,
times, and a passenger was expected to give each And made a path over the corn."
coachman a shilling at the end of the stage, besides a In the middle of the seventeenth century, when total of three shillings for drink to the coachmen, at roving blades had not forgotten the license of the their halting-places. In summer, the time occupied civil war, the toll-man might, in the same manner as in riding was four days,-in winter, six days. But the Pinder, have to enforce his demand of “a penny these were long days. The complaining writer says, for your horse" — “sixpence for your coach.” Any “ what advantage is it to men's health to be called attempt or refusal to distrain the said horse would out of their beds into these coaches, an hour before invariably end in mutual blows. The neglected cava- day in the morning, to be hurried in them from place to lier, living in proud poverty away from an ungrateful place, till one hour, two, or three, within night; insomuch court, would, as a matter of course, despise the col- that, after sitting all day, in the summer time stifled lector of a parliamentary tax ; and even the fears of with heat and choked with dust,—or in the winter the fair lady clinging to his waist on the pillion would time starving and freezing with cold or choked with scarcely prevent a trial of strength. (Cut, 3.) Perhaps filthy fogs, they are often brought into their inns by his anger would go off in a snatch of the grumbling torch-light, when it is too late to sit up to get a ballad of his class,
supper; and next morning they are forced into the "My coin is spent, my time is lost."
coach so early that they can get no breakfast.” Added We have abundant evidence that stage-coaches were
to these troubles the fault-finder alleges the grievances in use soon after the middle of the seventeenth century. of crying children, and crowds of boxes and bundles. In 1663, Mr. Edward Parker, writing to his father, He gives us some notion of the roads and the safety who lived near Preston, says, “I got to London on of the carriages : “Is it for a man's health to travel Saturday last.
My journey was noways pleasant, with tired jades, to be laid fast in the foul ways, and being forced to ride in the boot all the way. The forced to wade up to the knees in mire; afterwards company that came up with me were persons of great sit in the cold till teams of horses can be sent to pull quality, as knights and ladies. My journey's expense the coach out ? Is it for their health to travel in was thirty shillings. This travel hath so indisposed rotten coaches, and to have their tackle, or perch, me, that I am resolved never to ride up again in or axletree broken, and then to wait three or four the coach." (Archæologia, vol. xx.) Let us turn hours, sometimes half a day, to have them mended, aside, for a moment, to explain what “the boot" was. and then to travel all night to make good their stage ?'' There were two boots to these old coaches-uncovered This is a queer state of things,-a little exaggerated projections from each side of the carriage. Taylor, perhaps, but in the main true. It is remarkable the Water Poet, thus describes them :—,"It (the how long the roads and the coaches continued to be coach] wears two boots, and no spurs, sometimes execrable. having two pair of legs in one boot; and oftentimes, The Express train of the Great Western Railway against nature, most preposterously, it makes fair goes to Exeter, a hundred and ninety-three miles, in ladies wear the boot. Moreover, it makes people four hours and a half. In 1725 the stage-coach imitate sea-crabs, in being drawn sideways, as they journey from London to Exeter occupied four summer are when they sit in the boot of the coach.” In this days. The passengers were aroused every morning at boot, then, travelled unhappy Edward Parker. He two o'clock, left their inn at three, dined at ten o'clock, does not tell us the rate at which he travelled. We and finished their day's labour at three in the afterwill supply that information from other sources.
(Mrs. Manley's Journey.) In 1739 Mr. From the Diary of Sir William Dugdale, it appears Andrew Thompson, of Glasgow, with a friend, left that in 1659 he set forward to London in the Coventry Glasgow to ride to London. There was no turnpikecoach, on the 2nd of May, and arrived on the 4th of road till they came to Grantham, within a hundred and May—three days. The Diary of a Yorkshire clergy- ten miles of the metropolis. Up to that point they man (quoted in Archæologia, vol. xx.) shows that in travelled on a narrow causeway, with an unmade soft the winter of 1682, a journey from Nottingham to road on each side. As strings of pack-horses met London in a stage-coach occupied four whole days. them, from time to time, they were obliged to plunge In Antony à Wood's Diary we are told, that in 1667 into the side road, and had often difficulty in scramhe travelled from Oxford to London in the coach, and bling again upon the causeway. (Cleland's Glasgow.) was two days in accomplishing the passage. A few As late as 1763 there was only a coach once a month years after, the feat was performed in thirteen hours ; from Edinburgh to London, which was twelve or four