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AND OF HIS SON
A HISTORY OF THE INVENTION AND INTRODUCTION
OF THE RAILWAY LOCOMOTIVE.
By SAMUEL SMILES,
With Portraits and Numerous Xllustrations.
HARPER & BROTHERS, PUBLISHERS,
The present is a revised edition of the Life of George Stephenson and of his son Robert Stephenson, to which is prefixed a history of the Railway and the Locomotive in its earlier stages, uniform with the early history of the Steam-engine given in vol. iv. of “Lives of the Engineers” containing the memoirs of Boulton and Watt. A memoir of Richard Trevithick has also been included in this introductory portion of the book, which will probably be found more complete than any notice which has yet appeared of that distinguished mechanical engineer.
Since the appearance of this Life in its original form ten years ago, the construction of Railways has continued to make extraordinary progress. The length of lines then open in Europe was estimated at about 18,000 miles: it is now more than 50,000 miles. Although Great Britain, first in the field, had then, after about twenty-five years' work, expended nearly 300 millions sterling in the construction of 8300 miles of double railway, it has during the last ten years expended about 200 millions more in constructing 5600 additional miles.
But the construction of railways has proceeded with equal rapidity on the Continent. France has now 9624 miles at work; Germany (including Austria), 13,392 miles ; Spain, 3161 miles ; Sweden, 1100 miles; Belgium, 1073 miles ; Switzerland, 795 miles; Holland, 617 miles; besides railways in other states. These have, for the most part, been constructed and opened during the last ten years, while a considerable length is still under construction. Austria is actively engaged in carrying new lines
across the plains of Hungary to the frontier of Turkey, which Turkey is preparing to meet by lines carried up the valley of the Lower Danube; and Russia, with 2800 miles already at work, is occupied with extensive schemes for connecting Petersburg and Moscow with her ports in the Black Sea on the one hand, and with the frontier towns of her Asiatic empire on the other.
Italy also is employing her new-born liberty in vigorously extending railways throughout her dominions. The length of Italian lines in operation in 1866 was 2752 miles, of which not less than 680 were opened in that year. Already has a direct line of communication been opened between Germany and Italy through the Brenner Pass, by which it is now possible to make the entire journey by railway (excepting only the short sea-passage across the English Channel) from London to Brindisi on the southeastern extremity of the Italian peninsula; and, in the course of a few more years, a still shorter route will be opened through France, when that most formidable of all railway borings, the seven-mile tunnel under Mont Cenis, has been completed.
During the last ten years, nearly the whole of the existing Indian railways have been made. When Edmund Burke in 1783 arraigned the British government for their neglect of India in his speech on Mr. Fox's Bill, he said, “England has built no bridges, made no high roads, cut no navigations, dug out no reservoirs. . . . . Were we to be driven out of India this day, nothing would remain to tell that it had been possessed, during the inglorious period of our dominion, by any thing better than the
orangoutang or the tiger.” But that reproach no longer applies. Some of the greatest bridges erected in modern times—such as those over the Sone near Patna, and over the Jamna at Allahabadhave been erected in connection with the Indian railways, of which there are already 3637 miles at work, and above 2000 more under construction. When these lines have been completed, at an expenditure of about £88,000,000 of British capital guaranteed by the British government, India will be provided with a
magnificent system of internal communication, connecting the capitals of the three Presidencies—uniting Bombay with Madras on the south, and with Calcutta on the northeast—while a great main line, 2200 miles in extent, passing through the northwestern provinces, and connecting Calcutta with Lucknow, Delhi, Lahore, Moultan, and Kurrachee, will unite the mouths of the Hooghly in the Bay of Bengal with those of the Indus in the Arabian Sea.
When the first edition of this work appeared in the beginning of 1857, the Canadian system of railways was but in its infancy. The Grand Trunk was only begun, and the Victoria Bridge—the greatest of all railway structures—was not half erected. Now, that fine colony has more than 2200 miles in active operation along the great valley of the St. Lawrence, connecting Rivière du Loup at the mouth of that river, and the harbor of Portland in the State of Maine, via Montreal and Toronto, with Sarnia on Lake Huron, and with Windsor, opposite Detroit, in the State of Michigan. The Australian Colonies also have during the same time been actively engaged in providing themselves with railways, many of which are at work, and others are in course of formation. Even the Cape of Good Hope has several lines open, and others making. France also has constructed about 400 miles in Algeria, while the Pasha of Egypt is the proprietor of 360 miles in operation across the Egyptian desert.
But in no country has railway construction been prosecuted with greater vigor than in the United States. There the railway furnishes not only the means of intercommunication between already established settlements, as in the Old World, but it is regarded as the pioneer of colonization, and as instrumental in opening up new and fertile territories of vast extent in the west —the food-grounds of future nations. Hence railway construction in that country was scarcely interrupted even by the great Civil War; at the commencement of which Mr. Seward publicly expressed the opinion that “physical bonds, such as highways, railroads, rivers, and canals, are vastly more powerful for hold