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superiority to the mechanics in that part of the kingdom where he resided, being now well ascertained, and his reputation having reached the metropolis, he was employed by N. Pattison, esq. of London, and some other gentlemen, in 1755, to execute the larger wheels for a new silk-mill, at Congleton, in Cheshire. The execution of the smaller wheels, and of the more complex part of the machinery, was committed to another person, and that person had the superintendancy of the whole. He was not, however, equal to the undertaking; for he was obliged, after various efforts, to confess his inability to complete it. The proprietors, upon this, being greatly alarmed, thought fit to call in the assistance of Mr. Brindley; but still left the general management of the construction of the silk-mill to the former engineer, who refused to let him see the whole model, and, by giving him his work to perform in detached pieces, without acquainting him with the result which was wanted, affected to treat him as a common mechanic. Mr. Brindley, who, in the consciousness of genius, felt his own superiority to the man who thus assumed an ascendancy over him, would not submit to such unworthy treatment. He told the proprietors, that if they would let him know what was the effect they wished to have produced, and would permit him to perform the business in his own way, he would finish the mill to their satisfaction. This assurance, joined with the knowledge they had of his ability and integrity, induced them to trust the completion of the mill solely to his care; and he accomplished that very curious and complex piece of machinery in a manner far superior to the expectations of his employers. They had not solely the pleasure of seeing it established, with a most masterly skill, according to the plan originally proposed, but of having it constructed with the addition of many new and useful improvements. There was one contrivance in particular, for winding the silk upon the bobbins equally, and not in wreaths; and another for stopping, in an instant, not only the whole of this extensive system throughout its various and numerous apartments, but any part of it individually. He invented, likewise, machines for making all the tooth and pinion wheels of the different engines. These wheels had hitherto been cut by hand, with great labour, but by means of Mr. Brindley's machines, as much work could be performed in one day as had heretofore required fourteen. The pot

teries of Staffordshire were also, about this time, indebted to him for several valuable additions in the mills used by them for grinding flint stones, by which that process was greatly facilitated.

In the year 1756, Mr. Brindley undertook to erect a steam-engine, near Newcastle-under- Line, upon a new plan. The boiler of it was made with brick and stone, instead of iron plates; and the water was heated by fire-flues of a peculiar construction; by which contrivances the consumption of fuel, necessary for working a steam-engine, was reduced one half. He introduced, likewise, in this engine, cylinders of wood, made in the manner of coopers ware, instead of iron ones; the former being not only cheaper, but more easily managed in the shafts; and he substituted wood too for iron in the chains which worked at the end of the beam. His inventive genius displayed itself in various other useful contrivances, which would probably have brought the steam-engine to a great degree of perfection, if a number of obstacles had not been thrown in his way by some interested engineers, who strenuously opposed any improvements which they could not call their


The disappointment of Mr. Brindley's good designs in this respect must have made the less impression upon him, as his attention was soon after called off to another object, which, in its consequences, hath proved to be of the highest national importance; namely, the projecting and executing of Inland Navigations, from whence the greatest benefits arise to trade and commerce. By these navigations the expence of carriage is lessened; a communication is opened from one part of the kingdom to another, and from each of those parts to the sea; and hence the products and manufactures of the country are afforded at a moderate price. In this period of our great mechanic's life, we shall see the powers given him by the God of Nature, displayed in the production of events, which, in any age less pregnant with admirable works of ingenuity than the present, would have constituted a national æra. We shall see him triumphing over all the suggestions of envy or prejudice, though aided by the weight of established customs; and giving full scope to the operations of a strong and comprehensive mind, which was equal to the most arduous undertakings. This he did under the protection of a noble duke, who had the discernment to single

him out, and the steadiness and generosity to support him, against the opinions of those who treated Mr. Brindley's plans as chimeras, and laughed at his patron as an idle projector.

His grace the late duke of Bridgewater had, at Worsley, about seven miles from Manchester, a large estate, rich with mines of coal, which had hitherto lain useless in the bowels of the earth, because the expence of carriage by land was too great to find a market for consumption. The duke, wishing to work these mines, perceived the necessity of a canal from Worsley to Manchester; upon which occasion, Mr. Brindley, who was now become famous in the country, was consulted. Having surveyed the ground, he declared the scheme to be practicable. In consequence of this, an act was obtained, in 1758 and 1759, for enabling his grace to cut a canal from Worsley to Salford, near Manchester, and to carry the same to or near Hollin Ferry, in the county of Lancaster. It being, however, afterwards discovered, that the navigation would be more beneficial, both to the duke of Bridgewater and the public, if carried oyer the river Irwell, near Barton bridge, to Manchester, his grace applied again to parliament, and procured an act, which enabled him to vary the course of his canal agreeably to this new plan, and likewise to extend a side branch to Longford bridge in Stretford. Mr. Brindley, in the mean time, had begun these great undertakings, being the first of the kind ever attempted, in England, with navigable subterraneous tunnels and elevated aqueducts. The principle laid down at the commencement of this business reflects much honour on the noble undertaker, as well as upon his engineer. It was resolved that the canal should be perfect in its kind, and that, in order to preserve the level of the water, it should be free from the usual obstructions of locks. But, in accomplishing this end, many difficulties occurred, which were deemed unsurmountable. It was necessary that the canal should be carried over rivers, and many large and deep vallies, where it was evident that such stupendous mounds of earth must be raised, as could scarcely, it was thought, be completed by the labour of ages: and, above all, it was not known from what source so large a supply of water could be drawn, as, even upon this improved plan, would be requisite for the navigation. But Mr. Brindley, with a strength of mind peculiar to himself, and

being possessed of the confidence of his great patron, who spared no expence to accomplish his favourite design, conquered all the embarrassments thrown in his way, not only from the nature of the undertaking itself, but by the pas sions and prejudices of interested individuals: and the admirable machines he contrived, and the methods he took, to facilitate the progress of the work, brought on such a rapid execution of it, that the world began to wonder how it could have been esteemed so difficult. Thus ready are men to find out pretences for lessening the merit of others, and for hiding, if possible, from themselves, the unpleasant idea of their own inferiority.

When the canal was completed as far as Barton, where the Irwell is navigable for large vessels, Mr. Brindley proposed to carry it over that river, by an aqueduct of thirty-nine feet above the surface of the water. This, however, being generally considered as a wild and extravagant project, he desired, in order to justify his conduct towards his noble employer, that the opinion of another engineer might be taken; believing that he could easily convince an intelligent person of the practicability of his design. A gentleman of eminence was accordingly called in; who, being conducted to the place where it was intended that the aqueduct should be made, ridiculed the attempt; and when the height and dimensions were communicated to him, he exclaimed, "I have often heard of castles in the air, but never before was shewn where any of them were to be erected." This unfavourable verdict did not deter the duke of Bridgewater from following the opinion of his own engineer. The aqueduct was immediately begun; and it was carried on with such rapidity and success, as astonished all those who but a little before condemned it as a chimerical scheme. This work commenced in September, 1760, and the first boat sailed over it on the 17th of July, 1761. From that time, it was not uncommon to see a boat loaded with forty tons drawn over the aqueduct, with great ease, by one or two mules; while below, against the stream of the Irwell, persons had the pain of beholding ten or twelve men tugging at an equal draught a striking instance of the superiority of a canalnavigation over that of a river not in the tideway. The works were then extended to Manchester, at which place the curious machine for landing coals upon the top of the hill, gives a pleasing idea of Mr. Brindley's address in dimi

nishing labour by mechanical contrivances. It may here be observed, that the bason, in particular, for conveying the superfluous water into the Irwell, below the canal, is an instance of what an attentive survey of this ingenious man's works will abundantly evince, that, where occasion offered, he well knew how to unite elegance with utility.

The duke of Bridgewater perceiving, more and more, the importance of these inland navigations, extended his ideas to Liverpool; and though he had every difficulty to encounter, that could arise from the novelty of his undertakings, or the fears and prejudices of those whose interests were likely to be effected by them, his grace happily overcame all opposition, and obtained, in 1762, an act of parliament for branching his canal to the tideway in the Mersey. This part of the canal is carried over the rivers Mersey and Bollan, and over many wide and deep vallies. Over the vallies it is conducted without the assistance of a single lock; the level of the water being preserved by raising a mound of earth, and forming therein a mould, as it may be called, for the water. Across the valley at Stretford, through which the Mersey runs, this kind of work extends nearly a mile. A person might naturally have been led to conclude, that the conveyance of such a mass of earth must have employed all the horses and carriages in the country, and that the completion of it would be the business of an age. But our excellent mechanic made his canal subservient to this part of his design, and brought the soil in boats of a peculiar construction, which were conducted into caissoons or cisterns. On opening the bottoms of the boats, the earth was deposited where it was wanted; and thus, in the easiest and simplest manner, the valley was elevated to a proper level for continuing the canal. The ground across the Bollan was raised by temporary locks, which were formed of the timber used in the caissoons just mentioned. In the execution of every part of the navigation, Mr. Brindley displayed singular skill and ingenuity; and, in order to facilitate his purpose, he produced many valuable machines, which ought never to be forgotten in this kingdom. Neither ought the economy and forecast which are apparent through the whole work to be omitted. His economy and forecast are peculiarly discernible in the stops, or floodgates, fixed in the canal, where it is above the level of the land. These stops are so constructed, that, should any of the banks give way, and

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