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this great decision of Lord Mansfield was mainly owing to Mr. Sharp's firm, resolute, and intrepid prosecution of the cause from the beginning to the end.
It is unnecessary further to follow the career of Granville Sharp. He continued to labour indefatigably in all good works. He was instrumental in founding the colony of Sierra Leone as an asylum for rescued negroes. He laboured to ameliorate the condition of the native Indians in the American colonies. He agitated the enlargement and extension of the political rights of the English people; and he endeavoured to effect the abolition of the impressment of seamen. Granville held that the British seaman, as well as the African negro, was entitled to the protection of the law; and that the fact of his choosing a seafaring life did not in any way cancel his rights and privileges as an Englishman-first amongst which he ranked personal freedom. Mr. Sharp also laboured, but ineffectually, to restore amity between England and her colonists in America; and when the fratricidal war of the American Revolution was entered on, his sense of integrity was so scrupulous that, resolving not in any way to be concerned in so unnatural a business, he resigned his situation at the Ordnance Office.
To the last he held to the great object of his life—the abolition of slavery. To carry on this work, and organize the efforts of the growing friends of the cause, the Society for the Abolition of Slavery was founded, and new men, inspired by Sharp's example and zeal, sprang forward to help him. His energy became theirs, and the self-sacrificing zeal in which he had so long laboured single-handed, became at length transfused into the nation itself. His mantle fell upon Clarkson, upon Wilberforce, upon Brougham, and upon Buxton, who laboured as he had done, with like energy and steadfastness of purpose, until at length slavery was abolished throughout the British dominions. From Smiles's 'Self-Help.'
JAMES BRINDLEY, the celebrated engineer, appears to have bee entirely self-taught in even the rudiments of mechanical science, although, unfortunately, we are not in possession of any very minute details of the manner in which his powerful genius first found its way to the knowledge of those laws of nature of which it afterwards made so many admirable applications. He was born at Tunsted, in the parish of Wormhill, Derbyshire, in the year 1716; and all we know of the first seventeen years of his life is, that his father having reduced himself to extreme poverty by his drunken habits, the son was allowed to grow up almost totally uneducated, and from the time he was able to do anything, he was employed in the ordinary descriptions of country labour. To the end of his life this great genius was barely able to read on any very pressing occasion; for, generally speaking, he would no more have thought of looking into a book for any information he wanted than of seeking for it in the heart of a millstone: and his knowledge of the art of writing hardly extended farther than the accomplishment of signing his name. It is probable, that as he grew towards manhood he began to feel himself created for higher things than driving a cart or following a plough; and we may even venture to conjecture that the particular bias of his genius towards mechanical invention had already disclosed itself, when, at the age of seventeen, he bound himself apprentice to a person of the name of Bennet, a millwright, residing at Macclesfield, which was but a few miles from his native place. At all events, it is certain that he almost immediately displayed a wonderful natural aptitude for the profession he had chosen. “In the early part of his apprenticeship,” says the writer of his life in the 'Biographia Britannica, who was supplied with the materials of his article by Mr. Henshall, Brindley's brother-in-law," he was frequently left by himself for whole weeks together, to execute works.concerning which his master had given him no previous instructions. These works, therefore, he finished in his own way; and Mr. Bennet was often astonished at the improvements his apprentice from time to time introduced into the millwright business, and earnestly questioned him from whom he had gained his knowledge. He had not been long at the trade, before the millers, wherever he had been employed, always chose him again in preference to the master, or any other workman; and before the expiration of his servitude, at which time Mr. Bennet, who was advanced in years, grew unable to work, Mr. Brindley, by his ingenuity and application, kept up the business with credit, and even supported the old man and his family in a comfortable manner.”
appear to have been very capable of teaching him much of anything; and Brindley seems to have been left to pick up his knowledge of the business in the best way he could, by his own observation and sagacity. Bennet, having been employed on one occasion, we are told, to build a paper-mill, a machine which he had never seen in his life, took a journey to a distant part of the country, expressly for the purpose of inspecting one which might serve him for a model. However, he had made his observations, it would seem, to very little purpose; for, having returned home and fallen to work, he could make nothing of the business at all, and was only bewildering himself, when a stranger, who understood something of such matters, happening one day to see what he was about, felt no scruple in remarking in the neighbourhood that the man was only throwing away his employer's money. The reports which in consequence got abroad soon reached the ears of Brindley, who had been employed on the machinery under the directions of his master. Having probably already begun ere this to suspect that all was not right, his suspicions were only confirmed by what he heard; but, aware how unlikely it was that his ' master would be able to explain matters, or even assist him in getting out of his difficulties, he did not apply to him. On the contrary, he said nothing to any one; but, waiting till the work of the week was over, set out by himself one Saturday evening to see the same mill which his master had already visited. He accomplished his object, and was back to his work by Monday morning, having travelled the whole journey of fifty miles on foot. Perfectly master now of the construction of the mill, he found no difficulty in going on with his undertaking, and completed the machine, indeed, not only so as perfectly to satisfy the proprietor, but with several improvements on the model of his own contrivance.
After remaining some years with Bennet, Brindley set up in business for himself; and with the reputation he had already acquired, his entire devotion to his profession, and the wonderful talent for mechanical invention, of which almost every piece of machinery he constructed gave evidence, he could not fail to succeed. But for some time, of course, he was known only in the neighbourhood of the place where he lived. His connections, however, gradually became more and more extensive; and at length he began to undertake engineering in all its branches. A performance by which he particularly distinguished himself was the erection, in 1752, of a water-engine for draining a coal-mine at Clifton, in Lancashire. The great difficulty in this case was to obtain a supply of water for working the engine; Brindley brought the water through a tunnel 600 yards in length, cut in the solid rock. It would appear, however, that his genius was not yet quite appreciated as it deserved to be, even by those who employed him. He was in some sort an intruder into his present profession, for which he had not been regularly educated; and it was natural enough that, before his great powers had an opportunity of showing themselves, and commanding the universal admiration. of those best qualified to judge of them, he should have been conceived by many to be rather a merely clever workman in a few particular departments, than one who could be safely entrusted with the entire management and superintendence of a complicated design. In 1755 it was determined to erect a new silk-mill at Congleton, in Cheshire; and another person having been appointed to preside over the execution of the work, and to arrange the more intricate combinations, Brindley was engaged to make the larger wheels and other coarser parts of the apparatus. It soon became manifest, however, that the superintendent was unfit for his office; and the proprietors were obliged to apply to Brindley to remedy several blunders into which he had fallen, and give his advice as to how the work should be proceeded with. Still they did not deem it proper to dismiss their incapable projector; but, the pressing difficulty overcome, they would have had him by whose ingenuity they had been enabled to get over it to return to his subordinate place, and work under the directions of the same superior. This Brindley positively refused to do. He told them he was ready, if they would merely let him know what they wished the machine to perform, to apply his best endeavours to make it answer that purpose, and that he had no doubt he should succeed; but he would not submit to be superintended by a person whom he had discovered to be quite ignorant of the business he professed. This at once brought about a proper arrangement of matters. Brindley's services could not be dispensed with; those of the pretender who had been set over him might be so, without much disadvantage. The entire management of the work, therefore, was forthwith confided to the former, who completed it with his usual' ability, in a superior manner. He not only made important improvements, indeed, in many parts of the machine itself, but even in the mode of preparing the separate pieces of which it was to be composed. His ever-active genius was constantly displaying itself by the invention of the most beautiful and economical simplifications. One of these was a method which he contrived for cutting all his tooth and pinion wheels by machinery, instead of having them done by the hand, as they always till then had been. This invention enabled him to finish as much of that sort of work in one day as had formerly been accomplished in fourteen.
But the character of this man's mind was comprehensiveness and grandeur of conception; and he had not yet found any adequate field for the display of his vast ideas and almost inexhaustible powers of execution. Happily this was at last afforded by the commencement of a series of undertakings in his native country, which hold a very high rank among the achievements of modern enterprise and mechanical skill; and which were destined, within no long period, to change the whole aspect of the internal commerce of the island.
Artificial water-roads, or canals, were well known to the ancients. Without transcribing all the learning that has been collected upon the subject, and may be found in any of the common treatises, we may merely state that the Egyptians had early effected a junction by this means between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean; that, nearly five centuries before the commencement of our era, Xerxes, when about to invade Greece, cut a ship canal a mile and a half long, across the Isthmus of Mount Athos; and that both the Greeks and the Romans attempted to cut one across the Isthmus of Corinth. It has been supposed by some that one was actually cut by the Romans in Britain from the neighbourhood of Peterborough to that of Lincoln, some traces of which have been asserted to be still discernible. Canal navigation is also of considerable antiquity in China. The greatest work of this description in the world is the Imperial Canal of that country, which is 200 feet broad, and, commencing at Pekin, extends southward, to the distance of about goo miles. It is supposed to have been constructed about eight centuries ago; but there are a great many smaller works of the same kind in the country, many of which are undoubtedly much older. The Chinese are unacquainted, as were also the ancients, with the contrivance called a lock, by means of which different levels are connected in many of our modern European canals, and which, as probably all our readers know, is merely a small intermediate space, into which the boat is admitted by the opening of one floodgate, and from which it is let out by the opening of another after the former has been shut; -the purpose being thus attained of floating it onwards, without