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any greater waste of water than the quantity required to alter the level of the enclosed space. When locks are not employed, the canal must be either of uniform level throughout, or it must consist of a succession of completely separated portions of waterway, from one to the other of which the boat is carried on an inclined plane, or by some other mechanical contrivance.

Canals have likewise been long in use in several of the countries of modern Europe, particularly in the Netherlands and in France. In the former, indeed, they used to constitute the principal means of communication between one place and another, whether for commercial or other purposes. In France, the canals of Burgundy, of Briare, of Orleans, and of Languedoc, all contribute important facilities to the commerce of the

country. That of Languedoc, which unites the Mediterranean • to the Atlantic, is sixty feet broad, and 150 miles in length. It was finished in 1681; having employed 12,000 men for fifteen years, and cost 1,200,000l. sterling.

It is remarkable that, with these examples before her, England was so late in availing herself of the advantages of canal navigation. The subject, however, had not been altogether unthought of. As early as the reign of Charles II. a scheme was in agitation for cutting a canal (which has since been made) between the Forth and the Clyde, in the northern part of the kingdom; but the idea was abandoned, from the difficulty of procuring the requisite funds. A very general impression, too, seems to have been felt, in the earlier part of the last century, as to the desirableness of effecting a canal navigation between the central English counties and either the metropolis or the eastern coast.


JAMES BRINDLEY. (Continued.)

The first modern canal actually executed 'in England was not begun till the year 1755, and was the result of a sudden thought on the part of its undertakers, nothing of the kind having been contemplated by them when they first engaged in the operations which led to it. They had obtained an Act of Parliament for rendering navigable the Sankey Brook, in Lancashire, which flows into the river Mersey, from the neighbourhood of the now flourishing town of St. Helen's, through a district abounding in valuable beds of coal. Upon surveying the ground, however, with more care, it was considered better to leave the natural course of the stream altogether, and to carry the intended navigation along a new line; in other words, to cut a canal. The work was accordingly commenced; and, the powers of the projectors having been enlarged by a second Act of Parliament, the canal was eventually extended to the length of about twelve miles. It turned out both a highly successful speculation for the proprietors and a valuable public accommodation.

It is probable that the Sankey Canal, although it did not give birth to the first idea of the great work we are now about to describe, had at least the honour of prompting the first decided step towards its execution. Francis, Duke of Bridgewater, who, while yet much under age, had succeeded, in the year 1745, by the death of his elder brother to the family estates, and the title, which had been first borne by his father, had a property at Worsley, about seven miles west from Manchester, extremely rich in coal mines, which, however, had hitherto been unproductive, owing to the want of any sufficiently economical means of transport. The object of supplying this defect had for some time strongly engaged the attention of the young duke, as it had indeed done that of his father; who, in the year 1732, had obtained an Act of Parliament enabling him to cut a canal to Manchester, but had been deterred from commencing the work, both by the immense pecuniary outlay which it would have demanded, and the formidable natural difficulties against which at that time there was probably no engineer in the country able to contend. When the idea, however, was now revived, the extraordinary mechanical genius of Brindley had already acquired for him an extensive reputation, and he was applied to by the duke to survey the ground through which the proposed canal would have to be carried, and to make his report upon the practicability of the scheme. New as he was to this species of engineering, Brindley, confident in his own powers, at once undertook to make the desired examination, and, having finished it, expressed his conviction that the ground presented no difficulties which might not be surmounted. On receiving this assurance, the duke at once determined upon the undertaking; and, an Act of Parliament having been obtained in 1758, the powers of which were considerably extended by succeeding Acts, the formation of the canal was begun that year.

From the first the duke resolved that, without regard to expense, every part of the work should be executed in the most perfect manner. One of the chief difficulties to be surmounted was that of procuring a sufficient supply of water; and, there

fore, that there might be as little of it as possible wasted, it was determined that the canal should be of uniform level throughout, and of course without locks. It had consequently to be carried in various parts of its course both under hills and over wide and deep valleys. The point, indeed, from which it took its commencement was the heart of the coal mountain at Worsley. Here a large basin was formed, in the first place, from which a tunnel of three-quarters of a mile in length had to be cut through the hill. We may just mention, in passing, that the subterraneous course of the water beyond this basin was 'subsequently extended in various directions for about thirty miles. After emerging from underground, the line of the canal was carried forward, as we have stated, by the intrepid engineer, on the same undeviating level; every obstacle that presented itself being triumphed over by his admirable ingenuity, which the difficulties he had to encounter seemed only to render more fertile in happy inventions. Nor did his comprehensive mind ever neglect even the most subordinate departments of the enterprise. The operations of the workmen were everywhere facilitated by new machines of his contrivance : and whatever could contribute to the economy with which the work was carried on was attended to only less anxiously than what was deemed essential to its completeness. Thus, for example, the materials excavated from one place were employed to form the necessary embankments at another, to which they were conveyed in boats, having bottoms which opened and at once deposited the load in the place where it was wanted. No part of his task, indeed, seemed to meet this great engineer unprepared. He made no blunders, and never had either to undo anything or to wish it undone; on the contrary, when any new difficulty occurred, it appeared almost as if he had been all along providing for it—as if his other operations had been directed from the first by his anticipation of the one now about to be undertaken.

In order to bring the canal to Manchester it was necessary to carry it across the Irwell. That river is, and was then, navigable for a considerable way above the place at which the canal comes up to it; and this circumstance interposed an additional difficulty, aš, of course, in establishing the one navigation, it was indispensable that the other should not be destroyed or interfered with. But nothing could dismay the daring genius of Brindley. Thinking it, however, due to his noble employer to give him the most satisfying evidence in his power of the practicability of his design, he requested that another engineer might be called in to give his opinion before its execution should be determined on. This person Brindley took with him to the spot where he proposed to rear his aqueduct, and endeavoured to explain to him how he meant to carry on the work. But the other shook his head, and remarked that “he had often heard of castles in the air, but never before was shown where any of them were to be erected.” The duke, nevertheless, retained his confidence in his own engineer, and it was resolved that the work should proceed. The erection of the aqueduct, accordingly, was begun in September, 1760, and on the 17th of July following the first boat passed over it, the whole structure forming a bridge of above 200 yards in length, supported upon three arches, of which the centre one rose nearly forty feet above the surface of the river; along which might be frequently seen a vessel passing, while another, with all its masts and sails standing, was holding its undisturbed way directly under its keel.

In 1762 an Act of Parliament was, after much opposition, obtained by the duke, for extending a branch of his canal to Liverpool, and so uniting that town, by this method of communication, to Manchester. This portion of the canal, which is more than twenty-nine miles in length, is, like the former, without locks, and is carried by an aqueduct over the Mersey, the arch of which, however, is less lofty than that of the one over the Irwell, as the river is not navigable at the place where it crosses. It passes also over several valleys of considerable width and depth. Before this, the usual price of the carriage of goods between Liverpool and Manchester had been twelve shillings per ton by water, and forty shillings by land; they were now conveyed by the canal, at a charge of six shillings per ton, and with all the regularity of land carriage.

In noticing this great work, we ought not to overlook the admirable manner in which the enterprising nobleman, at whose expense it was undertaken, performed his part in carrying it on. It was his determination, as we have already stated, from the first, to spare no expense on its completion. Accordingly, he devoted to it during the time of its progress nearly the whole of his revenues, denying himself, all the while, even the ordinary accommodations of his rank, and living on an income of four hundred a year. He had even great commercial difficulties to contend with in the prosecution of his schemes, being at one time unable to raise sool. on his bond on the Royal Exchange; and it was a chief business of his agent, Mr. Gilbert, to ride up and down the country to raise money on his Grace's promissory notes. It is true that he was afterwards amply repaid for this outlay and temporary sacrifice; but the compensation that eventually accrued to him he never might have lived to enjoy ; and at all events he acted as none but extraordinary men do, in thus voluntarily relinquishing the present for the future, and preferring to any dissipation of his wealth on passing and merely personal objects, the creation of this magnificent monument of lasting public usefulness. * Nor was it only in the liberality of his expenditure that the duke approved himself a patron worthy of Brindley. He supported his engineer throughout the undertaking with unflinching spirit, in the face of no little outcry and ridicule, to which the imagined extravagance or impracticability of many of his plans exposed him—and that even from those who were generally accounted the most scientific judges of such matters. The success with which these plans were carried into execution is probably in no slight degree to be attributed to the perfect confidence with which their author was thus enabled to proceed.

JAMES BRINDLEY. (Continued.)

We have entered at greater length into the history of this undertaking, both because it was the first of a succession of works of the same description, in which the great engineer of whom we are speaking displayed the unrivalled daringness, originality, and fertility of his genius, and because from it is also to be dated the commencement of that extended canal navigation which came to form so important a part of our means of internal communication in this country. While the Bridgewater Canal was yet in progress, Mr. Brindley was engaged by Lord Gower, and the other principal landed proprietors of Staffordshire, to survey a line for another canal, which it was proposed should pass through that country, and, by uniting the Trent and the Mersey, open for it a communication by water with both the east and west coast. Having reported favourably of the practicability of this design, and an Act of Parliament having been obtained in 1765 for carrying it into effect, he was appointed to conduct the work. The scheme was one which had been often

* Francis Duke of Bridgewater died in 1803, at the age of 67, when the ducal title became extinct, and the earldom passed to his cousin, General Egerton. The income arising from his canal property alone was understood to be, at the time of his death, between 50,000l. and 80,000l. per annum.

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