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BRILL (MATTHEW), an artist of whom very few particulars are mentioned; the most material are, that he was born at Antwerp, in 1550, and learned the rudiments of his art in that city; that he went to study at Rome, and in a very few years manifested so much merit in landscape and history, that Pope Gregory XIII. employed him to work in the Vatican, and allowed him an honourable pension as long as he lived. He died in 1584, aged thirtyfive.
BRILL (PAUL), an excellent artist, brother to Matthew Brill, was born at Antwerp, in 1554, but bred to the profession of painting under Daniel Voltelmans. From the time of his quitting that master till he went to Italy, his manner was rather stiff, his pictures had a predominant brown and yellow tinge, and his design and colouring were equally indifferent. But when he visited his brother Matthew at Rome, and saw the works of Titian and Caracci, he altered his Flemish manner entirely, and fixed upon a style that was abundantly pleasing, with a charming tone of colour. The pension and employment which his brother possessed at the Vatican were conferred upon Paul; and he so far surpassed him, that he daily rose in his reputation, till he was considered as the first in his profession. Annibal Caracci generally painted the figures in his landscapes, and by that means increased their value to a very high degree. His manner of painting is true, sweet, and tender; the touchings of his trees are firm, and yet delicate; his scenery, his situations, and distances, are admirable, most of them being taken from nature; and the masses of his light and shadow are strong, and very judicious; though, in some of his small easel-pictures, he may be sometimes accounted rather too green, or at least more greenish than could be wished. It is remarked of him, that, in the latter part of his life, his landscapes were always of a small size; but they are beautiful and exquisitely finished, and frequently he painted them on copper. The genuine works of this eminent master are now rarely to be met with, especially those of the larger size, and they afford prices that are extremely high in every part of Europe. Sandrart observes, that in his time the pictures of Paul Brill were eagerly coveted in all countries where the polite arts are encouraged; that abundance of pur
chasers appeared at the public sales, ambitious to possess them; and that very large sums of money were given for them whenever they could be procured. And it seems that their intrinsic value is not diminished, since, a very few years ago, one of the landscapes of this master sold in Holland for 160l. and another, at an auction in London, for 120 guineas or upwards, and yet they were deemed to be cheaply purchased. He died in 1626, aged seventytwo. 1
BRINDLEY (JAMES), a man of a most uncommon genius for mechanical inventions, and who particularly excelled in planning and conducting inland navigations, was born at Tunsted, in the parish of Wormhill, and county of Derby, in 1716. His parents were possessed of a little freehold, the small income of which his father dissipated by a fondness for shooting and other field-diversions, and by keeping company with people above his rank. The consequence of this was, that his son was so totally neglected, that he did not receive the ordinary rudiments of education. The necessities of the family were so pressing, that young Brindley was obliged, as early as possible, to contribute towards its support; and, till he was nearly seventeen years of age, he was employed in those kinds of light labour which are usually assigned, in country places, to the children of the poor. At this period of his life, he bound himself apprentice to one Bennet, a mill-wright, near Macclesfield, in Cheshire, and soon became expert in the business; besides which, he quickly discovered a strong attachment to the mechanic arts in general, and a genius for extending them much farther than they had hitherto been carried. In the early part of his apprenticeship, 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 mill-wright business, and earnestly questioned him from whence 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 supported the old man and his family in a comfortable manner.
It may not be amiss to mention a singular instance of our young mechanic's active and earnest attention to the improvement of mill-work. His master having been employed to build an engine paper-mill, which was the first of the kind that had been attempted in those parts, went to see one of them at work, as a model to copy after. But, notwithstanding this, when he had begun to build the mill, and prepare the wheels, the people of the neighbourhood were informed by a mill-wright, who happened to travel that road, that Mr. Bennet was throwing his employers' money away, and would never be able to complete, to any effectual purpose, the work he had undertaken. Mr. Brindley, hearing of the report, and being sensible that he could not depend upon his master for proper instructions, determined to see, with his own eyes, the mill intended to be copied. Accordingly, without mentioning his design to a single person, he set out, on a Saturday evening, after he had finished the business of the day; travelled fifty miles on foot; took a view of the mill; returned back, in time for his work, on Monday morning; informed Mr. Bennet wherein he had been deficient; and completed the engine, to the entire satisfaction of the proprietors. Besides this, he made a considerable improvement in the press-paper.
Mr. Brindley afterwards engaged in the mill-wright business on his own account, and, by many useful inventions and contrivances, advanced it to a higher degree of perfection than it had formerly attained; so that he rendered himself greatly valued in his neighbourhood, as a most ingenious mechanic. By degrees, his fame began to spread itself wider in the country, and his genius was no longer confined to the particular branch in which he had hitherto been employed. In 1752, he erected a very extraordinary water-engine at Clifton, in Lancashire, for the purpose of draining some coal-mines, which before were worked at an enormous expence. The water for the use of this engine was brought out of the river Irwell, by a subterraneous tunnel, nearly six hundred yards in length, carried through. a rock; and the wheel was fixed thirty feet below the surface of the ground. Mr. Brindley's
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