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Let us visit all the countries of the earth, and wherever we find no 
facilities for travelling from a city to a town, or from a village to a 
hamlet, we may pronounce the people to be barbarians. RaVnaf,. 





The object of the present volume is to lay before the 
general reader some easy details on a subject of first- 
rate importance, whether considered in a national 
point of view, or with reference to the advance in 
civilization of the whole human family. 

The reader may probably imagine that roads and 
rail-roads, bridges, tunnels, and canals, and the various 
contrivances adequate to the wants and demands of 
internal communication, scarcely admit of being 
treated in that easy, amusing, and instructive manner 
which less homely subjects might admit of; but when 
he considers that the progressive improvement of 
mankind is due as much to a diligent cultivation of 
love, peace, and good-will, as to the diffusion of the 
arts and elegancies of life ; and when, at the same 
time, he reflects that this can only be brought about 
by a constant, easy, and safe means of communi^cation 
between distant places, he surely cannot deem it 
unentertaining or uninstructive to trace the paths 
over which civilization has advanced, and is still 
advancing. It has, therefore, been one of our objects 
in the following pages to show that the improvement 
of mankind, and the perfection of the means of inter- 
nal communication, have progressed simultaneously. 


We have bestowed hasty glances on the people of 
many lands — we have seen the ancient Briton moving 
over his narrow trackway — we have traced the loco- 
motive engine proceeding with astonishing speed over 
a smooth and elaborately-constructed line of road — 
and, in filling up the long interval between the states 
of society coeval with these two forms of locomotion, 
we have endeavoured to inculcate the useful lesson, 



Chapter I. 


Of the Nature and Importance of Roads in general . . I 

Chapter II. 

Mixed Facilities and Difficulties of all the Natural Mediums 
of Travel and Conveyance ; either Air, Water, Earth, or 
Land. — Contrast of a Rail-road with a Rope-bridge. — 
Obstacles to Land-travel. — Mountain-passes. — Travelling 
in the Desert . . . . . .9 

Chapter III. 

Ancient Roman Roads. — PrEetorian, or Military Roads. — 
Consular, or Public, or High-roads. — Vicinal, or By-roads. 
— Ancient Roman Roads in Italy, France, Spain, Syria, 
and Great Britain . . . . .24 

Chapter IV. 

Ancient British Roads, and Ancient Roman Roads, in 
Britain. — Degrees of Civilization among the Ancient 
Britons. — British Roads, and sites of British Towns, 
Villages, and Burial-places, in Wiltshire. — Course of the 
Wans Dylie from Andover to the Bristol Channel. — Belgic 
Kingdom of King Divitiacus. — Ancient History of the 
Road now called the Great Western Road. — Dykes ana 
Ditches, Fosses and JSIoats. — Grim's Dyke . . 34 

Chapter V. 

Ancient British Roads, and ancient Roman Roads in Britain 
concluded. — Four ancient British Roads from ancient 
London and its vicinities. — The Foss-way, or the Wans 
Dyke. — Watling-street. — Ancient sanctity of the spot now 
St. Paul's Church-yard. — Ikenild-street. — Ermin-street. — 
Statues of Ermin or Roland. — Differences between British 
and Roman road-making. — Roads, walls, dykes, and ditches. 



— Odin's Dyke. — Grim's Dyke. — Ancient British Towns 
and Villages, and their communications. — Wheel-carriages. 
— War-chariots.— Imagined terraces intended as roads 
upon the British hills. — Natural terraces in North America. 
— Ancient Peruvian and Mexican Roads. — Roads and City 
of Palenca, or the City of the Desert. — Ancient Roman 
and Ancient British Roads contrasted . . .46 

Chapter VI. 

Remarks on modern Roads.— History of modern Turnpike- 
roads.— Origin of the Mail.— Undulations and Lines of 
Roads.— Requisites of Good Roads.— Mac Adam. — Tel- 
ford. — Parliamentary Inquiry. — Gravel-roads.— Macadam- 
izing.— Foundations of Roads.— Telford'i Holyhead Road. 
— Drainage.— Highgate-archway Road. — Repair of Roads. 
— Continental Roads.— Paved Roads.— Asphalte Roads. — 
Road-scraper. — Diiection-posts . . . .65 

Chapter VII. 

Importance of Bridges. — Oberlin's Pont de Charite'.— The 
Arch. — Chinese Bridges. — Roman Bridges. — ilodern 
Bridges. — The Brethren of the Bridge. — Croyland Bridge. 
— History of London Bridge. — Coft'er-dams and Caissons. 
— Other Bridges over the Thames. — Pont y Prydd . 93 

Chapter VIII. 

Iron Bridges, History of. — Southwark Bridge. — Telford's 
Iron Bridges. — Timber Bridges of Germany. — Floating 
Bridges. — Suspension Bridges of America and Asia. — Con- 
ditions of Suspension Bridges. — Telford's ]\Ienai Bridge, 
&c. — Brighton Suspension Pier. — Fribom-g Suspension 
Bridge. — Hammersmith Suspension Bridge . .116 

Chapter IX. 

Importance of Canals. — Canals of the ancient Greeks, 
Romans, and Egyptians. — Canals in China. — Modern 
Canals of Russia, Holland, France, and Great Britain. — 
Duke of Bridgewater's Canal. — Brindley. — Construction 
of Locked Canals. — Caledonian Canal . . . I35 


Chapter X. 


On Tunnels. — Uses of Tunnels. — Natural and artificial. — 
Natural Tunnel in America. — Medway, Edge Hill, and 
Thames Tunnels. ...... 146 

Chapter XI, 

On Military Walls and Roads. — China. — Military and com- 
mon Roads distinguished. — Military Roads of Scotland . 167 

Chapter XII. 

The Scottish Highlands. — Their Roads, Carriages, and 
Horses. — Roads and Travelling in Scotland generally, in 
the eighteenth century. — Old Roman Roads . .176 

r Chapter XIII. 

Glances at the modern Roads of Foreign Lands. — Travelling 
in Lapland. — Roads and Travelling in Norway. — Alpine 
Roads. — Simplon. — Great Saint-Bernard. — The other Al- 
pine Roads. — Moxint Brenner. — Cornice. — Aurelian Road. 
— Gasper Stoeri. — Roads of France . . 188 

Chapter XIV. 

Primitive Modes of Travelling. — Pack-horses, Sledges, Se- 
dans, Palanquins, Litters. — Introduction and Improvement 
of the Wheel. — Two and Four-wheeled Carriages. — 
Springs. — Ancient Chariots. — Fore and Hind-wheels. — Old 
Coaches, &c. — Vehicles of Africa, of Russia, of Sweden 
and Norway, and of Italy. — Irish Jaunting Car. — Vehicles 
of England. — The Dray, the Gig, Tilbury, &c. — State Car- 
riage of England. — The Mail and the Post Office. — Stage 
Coaches, Hackney Coach, and Cab. — The Omnibus.— t 
French Diligence. — Construction of Wheel-carriages . 226 

Chapter XV. 

The Steam-Engine. — As applied to Sea and Land travel. — 
Early Attempts at Steam Locomotion. — Advantages of 
Rail-roads. — Rail-roads in the Collieries. — Wooden and 
Iron RaUs. — Proposed Prime Movers. — Stockton and Dar- 
lington Railway. — Steam-Carriages and Steam-Boats com- 
pared. — Resistances to their Motion. — Skidding of Wheels. 
— Stationary and Locomotive Engines . . . 202 


Chapter XVI. 


On the Steam-Engine in general, and as applied to locomo- 
tion in particular. — Steam ; its elasticity ; how estimated. 
— The Steam-Engine; its general construction. — The At- 
mospheric Steam-Engine. — The high-pressure Steam- 
Engine. — The low-pressure or condensing Steam-Engine. 
— Watt's improvements. — The principal details of a 
Steam-Engine. — A Locomotive Steam-Engine desci'ibed. — 
Steam-Locomotion on Common Roads . . . 279 

Chapter XVIL 

The Liverpool and Manchester RaU-road.— -Necessity for the 
undertaking. — Plan and estimate of the Line. — Edge-hill 
Tunnel. — Sankey Viaduct. — Chat-moss. — Laying the RaUs. 
— Passage of the first Locomotive over pftft of the Line. — 
Prize offered by the Company for the best form of Loco- 
motive Engine. — Adjudication of the Prize. — Opening of 
the Road. — Accident to Mr. Huskisson. — Commencement 
of Traffic . . . . . . .303 

Chapter XVIIL 

The Rail-road system. — Province of the Legislature. — For- 
mation of Railway Companies. — Economy of Railways. — 
Station-houses. — Supply of Water and Fuel, &c. — Loco- 
motive Engine and its Attendants. — Two Engines to one 
Train. — Mile-stones. — Rapidity of Transit. — Signals — Day 
and Night. — Police. — Improved Signals. — Telegraphs. — 
Steam-whistle. — Winds, effects of. — Anemometers. — Tun- 
nels, salubrity of. — Variations in the construction of Rail- 
ways. — Livei-pool and Manchester, — London and Birming- 
ham, — Great Western, — London and Brighton, — London 
and Greenwich Railways. — Railways in Ireland. — Con- 
clusion . . . . . . .318 


P. i8, line 19, for give, read gives. 

48, „ 17, for Ic, read I. 

65, „ J) after remark, insert that. 

71, „ 2, for now here, rend no where. 
' 9^, ,» **» /**** tightness, read lightness. 
lOlf i» 9, fo^ Bican^on, read Besant^on. 

P. 152, line 13, for are, read is. 
175» », 9» ^0*' s^^f Tead side. 
197» ,» 1, for are, read is. 
^97i »» 36, for is, read are. 
324, „ 24, for pass, read passes. 



Of the Nature and Lnportance of Roads in general. 

"What admirable things are roads ! Admirable for their 
beauty, admirable for their utility; admirable, often, for 
the grandeur, either of their extent, or of their conception; 
admirable for their testimony to the civilization of the 
countries through which they pass, and for their influences 
upon the advance of that civilization. Admirable, too, for 
the industry, and often for the skill, displayed in their 
execution ; — for the performance finished, and for the dif- 
ficulties overcome! 

Those, -who, like ourselves, have had the happiness to 
be born and bred in the bosom of countries teeming w^ith 
wealth, with arts, and with civilization, are in great danger 
of never being called upon to think how much they owe 
to those countries, (that is, to the past and present genera- 
tions of their inhabitants,) for a thousand local advantages 
and aids, as well to their bodies as to their minds. How 
much, too, amid every blessing of the natural world, are 



they still indebted for to human genius, human ingenuity, 
and, more than all, to human industry and labour! Hoat 
much, also, do they owe to the industry which has accu- 
mulated wealth, and to the genius, the judgment, the 
taste, the wisdom, the liberal outlay, the bold adventure, 
and the pious or the charitable purpose, — of their prede- 
cessors, or of their contemporaries ! 

It has been well observed that roads, canals, and 
navigable rivers, may justly be considered as the veins and 
arteries through which all improvements flow. To internal 
commerce and agriculture, they are as the veins and ar- 
teries to the human body. Through these the blood circu- 
lates in every direction, preserving life, health, and vigour 
to the animal system ; but, if this circulation be by any 
means checked or obstructed, even in the remotest part, 
that part soon becomes useless, and sinks into decay, and 
this evil is in some degree felt throughout the Avhole body. 
So it is with respect to the commercial and agricultural 
systems. "Without a free and uninterrupted intercourse, 
it is impossible they can exist, or, at least, produce to the 
community at large so many important benefits as they 
otherwise might do. How many, for example, are the 
places in almost every country, that might be rendered 
doubly valuable, if possessed of good roads! What 
immense quantities of the finest timber are now grow- 
ing in forests inaccessible for want of roads ! What 
valuable strata of metals and coals now lie in undisturbed 
repose in inaccessible districts, and what vast quantities 
of valuable land are now lying waste for want of means of 
communication Avith them ! Indeed, the riches and strength 
of a country so much depend upon an easy and uninter- 
rupted communication by good roads, that we generally 
find the state of the public thoroughfares to be a pretty 
sure test of the state of the country itself. "Let us 
travel," says Raynal, " over all the countries of the earth, 
and wherever Ave find no facilities for travelling from a 
city to a town, or from a village to a hamlet, Ave may pro- 
nounce the people to be barbarians." A modern writer 
also observes that the making of roads is fundamentally 
essential to bringing about the first change that every rude 


country must undergo, in emerging from a condition of 
poverty and barbarism. 

It is difficult for us to conceive the state of a country, 
Avhicli is destitute of the conveniences of roads : yet there 
■was a time in England, Avhen, from the absence of high- 
Avays, the north of our island was to the south as a foreign 
land, requiring, not merely days, but weeks, for the pas- 
sage of a single conveyance ; when, in many parts, wheel- 
carriages could not travel at all ; when passengers, and 
goods, and even coal, manure, and grain, were carried on 
horses' backs ; and a wagon, with a single load, travelling 
only a few miles a day, required eight or ten horses to 
draw it over the soft and unequal ground which served the 
purpose of a road or track-way. Even at the present 
time, in some parts of the world, portions of crops are left 
to rot upon the ground, because there are no roads 
Avhereby to remove them ; and in Spain, sheep are, (or re- 
cently were,) killed for the fleece only, and the carcass 
abandoned, because the expense of removing it to any dis- 
tance would be more than its worth ; so miserable there 
are the ways which are dignified by the name of roads. 

The value of roads is thus happily expressed by Dr. 
Anderson. "Around every market-place you may sup- 
pose a number of concentric circles to be drawn, within 
each of which certain articles become marketable, which 
were not so before, and thus become the sources of wealth 
and prosperity to many individuals. Diminish the expense 
of carriage but one farthing, and you widen the circles, 
you form as it were a new creation, not only of stones and 
earth, and trees and plants, but of men also, and wlat is 
more, of industry and happiness." 

The roads chiefly to be spoken of in these pages are 
great or considerable roads ; roads of vast length, and of 
ample breadth ; roads of ingenious and toilsome construc- 
tion ; roads of which the courses affect the interests, the 
prosperity, and even the virtues of communities; and, 
sometimes, not of communities alone, but of regions, and 
all the quarters of the globe. 

The purposes of roads are commercial, military, neigh- 
bourly. They concern the traffic of towns, of nations, and 



of the world ; they concern the inward peace and outward 
safety of states ; they concern the intercourse of kindred 
and friends, and of mankind. The tendency of their ex- 
tension and perfection is to make friends of all the species ; 
to communicate from man to man all human henefits ; to 
diffuse arts, sciences, and learning ; to spread from dis- 
trict to district, and from land to land, all human dis- 
coveries and improvements ; to obliterate prejudices ; to 
extinguish enmities ; to promote and recompense industry ; 
to banish poverty ; to make, of provinces, and kingdoms, 
and even of the entire globe, so many thriving and har- 
monious cantons. 

These are some of the public claims of roads ; but how 
many are not their private benefactions? It has been 
said of painting, that it gives us, to enliven, and even to 
perpetuate our affections, the faces of our parents, of our 
children, and of our friends; and of writing, that it ena- 
bles each of these, at whatever distance, to interchange 
their thoughts : but how well do roads also contribute to 
all these tender, all these moral aims; — roads, which 
either facilitate, or at least enable parents, and children, 
and friends, personally to meet each other ; or, stopping 
short of that chiefest good, facilitate, or permit, the travel 
of mail-carriages and postmen, and the interchange of 

How much happiness, how much virtue, to say nothing 
of how much knowledge, and how much wealth, through 
every thread of private life, depend upon these meetings, 
and upon these distant communications and memorials; and 
how much do these meetings, these communications, and 
this imparting and possession of memorials, depend upon 
the multiplication, the extension, and the perfection of 
roads ! 

Paintings are good things, but meetings are still better ; 
and roads minister to all conveyance, Avhether of ourselves, 
or of our letters, or of our pictures. It is a pretty thought, 
nevertheless, which has been put into the mouth of a little 
boy, when writing to his mother, that he Avould not have 
contented himself with writing to her, if he could have 
come to her ; — if Love, which had lent him one quill of 


his Aving, Avitli which to write, had, kinder still, lent him 
his whole wing, and both his wings, to fly into her arms. 

And, then, for public news ; for matters which regard 
business, pleasure, or information. How small, either is 
or can ever be, the interchange of intelligence where roads 
are wholly wanting, or at best but insufficient, for the 
bringing of it to our doors ! Be it the minstrel, the tra- 
velling merchant, the pilgrim, or the friend ; or, simply 
the newsman or the postman (where these offices are 
separate), Avhom roads enable to reach our dwelling, how 
much do we not owe to those 7-oads, the mediums of the 
welcome visits ! AVell does the poet describe the service 
of the country-postman ! 

Hark ! 'tis the twanging horn ! o'er yonder bridge, 

That with its wearisome but needful length, 

Bestrides the wintry flood, iu which the moon 

Sees her unwrinkled face reflected bright. 

He comes, the herald of a noisy world. 

With spattered boots, strapped waist, and frozen locks ; 

News from all nations lumbering at his back. 

But oh, the important budget, ushered in 
"With such heart-stirring music ! who can say 
What are its tidings? 

But, besides post-?Hf«, we are not yet wholly without post- 
women, and nev/s-n'07nen. Those coiiriers of the remoter 
villages, who, though not quite so industrious, are, as 
might well be hoped, more expeditious than the same class 
of functionaries in the south of Italy ; though, as roads 
are improved and multiplied, and as traffic and wealth in- 
crease with us, their number is doubtless decreasing. 

In the South of Italy, from the absence of cross-country 
posts, and of other means of communication, women are 
very generally employed to carry letters, small parcels, and 
similar little burdens, from one place to another, like our 
post-women. These female couriers {corrieri, as it 
sounds grandly to hear them called, though the name 
implies nothing but rtaniers), always perform these 
journeys on foot, and often with hare feet ^ and in spite 
of the incumbrance of their bags and parcels, they almost 
uniformly carry with them their distatts, and spin as they 


go, — yet Avalking, upon an average, at tlie speed of three 
iryles in an hour. A modern traveller gives us reason to 
believe, that this practice of spinning as they -walk, 
either on the roads or in the fields, is general from 
Italy into Greece, and thence to Asia Minor. At the foot 
of Mount Parnassus, to this day, >vhen the women and 
girls in the evening, as the shadow of the mountain lies 
outstretched upon the plain below, are seen driving the 
eows to their steadings for the night ; — or when on a 
journey from one town or village to another ; — or when 
(which is less remarkable) they are keeping their flocks 
upon the hills, — the primitive distaff is still in their hands, 
and they move about, still spinning their cotton or their 
linen thread. 

Here, too, we have left aside all mention of the benefits 
conferred upon us by roads, where travel or change of 
place in our own persons has for its object only health, or 
pleasure, or instruction ; and yet, are these but trifles ? 
Travel for instruction is happily combined with the pro- 
motion of health and pleasure ; and it advances always, 
at the same time, in lower or in higher degree, all those 
benefits of communication of man with man, in arts, in 
sciences, in learning, in peace, in safety, in personal 
prosperity, and in reciprocal good feeling, which I have 
described as the general tendency of the existence and 
formation of roads. Man separated from man, and family 
from family ; neighbourhood cut off from neighbourhood; 
town separated from country; kingdom from kingdom ; and 
region from region ; — all are comparatively poor, ignorant, 
vicious, and unhappy. But, joined in easy and in frequent 
intercourse, the possessions, the knowledge, and the hearts 
of all are enlarged ; and each becomes the happier, while 
seeking and promoting the happiness of others ! 

" Happy," says a writer somewhat eloquent, but also 
somewhat superficial, "happy the man to whom the 
horizon of his birth-place is the limit of the earth, and 
the next village a foreign country!" Doubtless it may 
occur, that much virtue and happiness, much peace and 
comfort, fills the lot of particular individuals so circum- 
stanced; but the general rule will be far otherwise. For 


the most part, persons thus cut off from the world, and 
from their feUow-creatures, will pass^ lives of comparative 
indolence, and consequently, of comparative suffering. 
Such Avill be uninformed, and therefyre narrow-minded; 
strange to all men, and counting all men strangers, and 
therefore enemies to all, and dreading all as enemies ; and 
denied, at the very least, that happiness which is derived 
from making others happy, and which seems like one of 
the wants of human nature. 

If the writer quoted above were right, in what he 
advances, roads Avould be among the inflictions of our 
lives; but the reverse is so much the truth, that (espe- 
cially in anticipation of a little further inquiry into the 
value of roads,) we may rather avail ourselves of another 
thought of the same pen, and apply it safely to the eulogy 
of road-makers and road-menders. 

" He," says the same cynical philosopher, " that causes 
two ears of wheat, or two blades of grass, to grow, where 
only one of either grew before, is a greater benefactor to 
mankind than any other that can be named; and thus the 
spades of slaves have done more good than all the swords 
of conquerors." Now, without disputing what we owe to 
the husbandman, or stopping to inquire what may or may 
not have been achieved by the swords of conquerors, it is 
certain that the pickaxe and spade of the road-maker and 
road-mender, and even the hammer of the stone-breaker, 
as aiding in those tasks, have done, and are daily doing, 
immeasurable services to mankind; and not the least of 
them, services to the growers and gatherers, as well as to 
the consumers, of wheat and grass! 

Roads are benefits, of whicli, directly, or indirectly, all 
the Avorld partakes; the native and the foreigner, the 
country and the town, the palace and the cottage, the 
farm-yard and the warehouse. Abundance of truths, to 
be displayed in the succeeding chapters, Avilt contribute, 
therefore, to an acknowledgment of the value of the road- 
maker. The philosopher, it has been said, follows the 
sword; and it is the same as to the merchant and the 
artisan. But how slowly and uncertainly the whole, 
Avithout the help of roads! Honour to the road-maker! 



It is, then, this view, among numerous others, — moral 
and intellectual, — that, "while ve shall relate the histories, 
and describe the structure, appearances, and uses of so 
many vast, magnificent, and beneficial contrivances and 
works of art, connected immediately with the purposes of 
travel and conveyance, and mediately with so great a 
multitude of the very highest human interests; — it is this 
view that we are anxious should by no means escape 
attention; for, by exciting an interest upon that point, 
this book will have a value yet wider and more high than 
it can otherwise attain to. 

While relating the story of human labour, while re- 
cording the triumphs of human genius, while describing 
the origin, the operation, and the products of even the 
most ordinary accommodations of human life; while talk- 
ing of works, machines, and inventions, which relate to 
the immediate purpose of this book, we shall be carried to 
the recollection of that immense debt of gratitude and 
respect, which is due from us to such portions of mankind 
as, by any means whatever (by wealth and enterprise; by 
genius, by patience, by zeal, or by toilsome labour and 
sweat of the brow), have severally contributed to our 
possession of so many monuments of use and beauty, in 
our own country, and in other parts of the world. Honour 
to the road-maker! 

Rope-Bridge in the Himalaya Mountains. 


Mixed Facilities and Difficulties of all the Natural Mediums of 
Travel and Conveyance ; either Air, Water, Earth, or Land. — 
Contrast of a Rail-road with a Rope-bridge. — Obstacles to Land- 
travel. — Mountain-passes. — Travelling in the Desert. 

The moving creatures of the globe enjoy, distributively, 
for the respective theatres of their movements, the air, the 
water, and the land. Birds fly in the air; fishes swim in 
the waters; and beasts walk, and run, and lea}) upon the 
earth. Insects and reptiles, in the variety of their kinds, 
and in the changes of form which attend the lives of many 
of their species, may be spoken of as dispersed and mixed 
in and throughout the Avhole of the three regions: as 
flying in the air, swimming and creeping in the waters; and 
creeping, walking, running, leaping, and even burrowing, 
in and upon the earth. Among the several features, by 
the partial exhibition of which all created things whatever 
are seen somewhere to approach and meet each other, 
exceptions and qualifications, in addition even to these, 
may be demanded. There are birds which scarcely fly, or 
make their movements in the air; there are fishes that 
scarcely swim, or make their movements in the water; 

B 3 



and there are beasts Avhich scarcely walk, or run, or leap 
upon the earth, or which absolutely do neither. 

-Again: there are birds which not only swim upon the 
water, but swim and pursue their prey under its surface, 
and which, while themselves fishing, are sometimes caught, 
at considerable depths, in fishermen's nets. There are 
other birds which descend into the waters to walk alono: 
their bottoms; as also those which, as I have already inti- 
mated, instead of flying in the air, live upon the earth, 
walking, running, and leaping upon it, like the beasts, its 
proper denizens. Add to this, that there are fishes which 
jiy, or at least leap or dart into the air; and beasts also, that 
is 7nammaiia, (as bats and flying squirrels,) which, more 
or less, like birds, make their movements in the air; 
and others, (as seals and otters, and beavers and musk- 
rats,) which, more or less, like fishes, make theii' move- 
ments, and seek their sustenance, in the bosoms, or on the 
beds, of the seas, or of the rivers. Still, the special 
destination of the three superior classes of moving crea- 
tures, to the three regions of air, and Avater, and earth 
respectively, remains uncontradicted. 

A medium, or a surface, in or upon which to move, 
was a needful provision, in the way of outward counter- 
parts to the inward powers of locomotion. The creatures 
upon which they have been bestowed, possessing from within 
the power of locomotion, it was required that they should 
find facilities without, either in the medium or element 
to be moved through, or in the surface to be moved upon. 
The air and the water present, respectively, mediums 
or elements in or upon which birds and fishes are seve- 
rally able to exert their inward or inherent locomotive 
powers; and the earth presents to men, and to the four- 
footed creation, a surface similarly adapted to their 
peculiar wants, or similarly fitted to their peculiar 

But neither the earth, the air, nor the water, present 
facilities for locomotion, unattended by those occasional 
difficulties which occur in every other department of crea- 
tion. The yielding element of water, which has been 
described as so unresisting to the bodies and the motions 


of the finny tribes, has assuredly its local and occasional 
contrarieties ; its swells, its whirlpools, its tumultuous 
hearings, and its opposing currents, which obstruct and 
counteract the motive efforts of the -fishes beneath its 
surface, as well as those of our ships and boats upon its 
surface; in one case, impeding their progress ; in another, 
driving them in unwished-for directions; and, not unfre- 
quently, casting them upon rocks and sands, exhausted, 
"wounded, helpless, dead, or dying. 

AV'hen the waters^ at or near their surfaces, are ruffled 
by the winds, the fishes swim at greater depths than 
those which, species by species, they usually frequent; 
endeavouring thereby to avoid the danger attendant upon 
the commotion. But the refuge does not always avail 
them. Great storms upon the leeward coasts of con- 
tinents and islands rarely, if ever, happen without causing 
the seas, and even the rivers, to cast upon the land large 
shoals of the smaller fishes, and to leave them there to 
perish; while, though in less numbers, the larger species 
similarly suffer. 

The air, though another yielding and commodious 
element for giving passage to moving bodies, if not by 
variation of places, is, at least by variation of seasons or 
times, as partially uncertain as the water, and perhaps 
more so. We are better acquainted, indeed, with the 
vicissitudes of the atmosphere above us, than with those 
of the depths of the seas, and of waters that are beneath 
us ; and can add our testimony, upon this latter subject, 
to the testimony of the birds which wing their flight in 
it ! If we do not, like birds, (and in spite of our bal- 
loons,) very often ascend into its higher regions, we know 
Avhat it is to stem its opposing currents, as they sweep 
over both the water and the earth, as they drive the 
waters at the same time with our ships ; as we resist with 
difiiculty, even if always with success, the blast that 
would lift us from our feet, which shakes the temple 
and the tower, bends to the earth the lofty trees of the 
forest, and threatens to bring all upon our heads ! The 
birds, to which the air is the natural element of loco- 
motion, often troubled, often discomfited, not unfrequently 


destroyed, by the contrarieties of the air, have ample 
experience of the partial difficulties of this second 
medium of transport. It -would be easy to adduce 

The difficulties of laiid-trayel, so often interposed by 
the simply natural circumstances of the earth, are largely 
experienced by all creatures that move by the aid of feet, 
and, therefore, among the rest, by all the human race ; 
and by all creatures, too, they are often removed or miti- 
gated through the help of art ; and by man, as may well 
be expected, with more extensive art than by any others. 
The atmosphere, the seasons, the hours of the day and 
night, are sometimes hostile, for shorter or longer periods ; 
but, besides these, there are difficulties of the surface 
only, which last the entire year. These are interruptions 
by seas and lakes, by rivers and torrents, by hills and 
mountains, by forests and morasses, by the rocks, and by 
drifting sands, all of Avhich have exercised human skill 
and industry, to lighten or remove, and all with more or 
less success. Seas and lakes have been crossed in boats 
and ships ; rivers and torrents have been crossed on 
bridges, or passed beneath their beds ; hills and moun- 
tains have been levelled, or roads carried over their rugged 
faces, or pierced through their centres : trees have been 
felled, entangling underwood has been cleared away, 
morasses have been drained, or else intersected with long 
and lofty causeways ; roads have been cleft through 
rocks, Avhose stony fragments have been made to harden 
and perpetuate the passages Avhich by nature they had 
appeared to interdict : and if the drifting sands, in them- 
selves, defy all efforts of improvement, upon a great 
scale, they yet admit of diminishing their obstacles, 
through the aid of beasts of burden, and by the choice of 
hours and seasons. Finally, all distance, and intempe- 
rance of climate, of season, and of weather, have been pro- 
vided for by the invention or structure of countless sorts 
of land-carriages, and by the subjugation of so many of 
the animal species to the tasks of draught and carriage. 
This last resource might seem to belong to man alone, 
were it not that in the instance of that interesting little 


animal, the marmot, we are assured, that among its 
hay-making parties, one or more of the troop, laying 
himself upon his back, submits to be the hay-cart, 
■while the others, that so pull him, «ubmit to be the 
hay-team to carry home the stores for their long winter's 

What a contrast between a scene upon the Liverpool 
and Manchester Rail-road, and the rope-bridge over a 
torrent in the Indian mountains, placed at the head of 
this chapter ! In the former, enterprise and toil have 
united to cut a level passage through the hearts of rocks. 
It is here, perhaps, that we have an example — what with 
the rocks through which the passage is cut — the level to 
which the passage is reduced — the invention and work- 
manship of the iron rails which are laid upon it — the 
adaptation of carriages to move upon those rails, — the 
movement of those carriages by the power of steam- 
engines, themselves in locomotion ; and finally, the ease 
and swiftness of travel attained through so much com- 
bined intelligence and industry, so far surpassing every 
thing within the power of foot of man or beast ; it is 
here, perhaps, that we see what may be cited as the per- 
fection of the artificial means of land-travel, and of the 
triumphs of civilized humanity over the impediments of 
nature ! 

Upon the other hand, the view of the rope-bridge 
over a torrent, presents, as a suitable contrast, the first 
dawnings of human art, in the conquest of the traveller's 
difficulties ; dawnings which, however imperfect, are, in 
themselves, invaluable ; for, as to the crossing of torrents 
and rivers where bridges of no kind are to be found, such 
impediments to human attempts will hereafter engage our 
attention ! 

But rivers, under many views, and canals in all, are 
helps to what still may be called land-ixayeX. If rivers 
obstruct by their width, Avhen we would cross them, they 
carry us forward, by their length, when we would either 
ascend or descend their streams. Rivers and canals and 
lakes, are the means of inland navigation, — the watery 
ways or roads, — of the countries in which they are 


found ; in the same manner that the great ocean is the 
great highwoy of nations. " Canals," it has been observed, 
" are properly roads, to all intents and purposes." 

The importance of roads, like that of other helps to 
land -travel of which we are about to speak, depends upon 
the number and magnitude of the natural obstacles which 
may happen to beset the travellei*, and either wholly stop 
him, or add to his fatigues, his dangers, or delays. It 
must be earnestly impressed upon the minds of our 
readers, how greatly we are indebted to art, and to our 
fellow-creatures, for the ease, and even for the possibility 
of our ordinary means of travelling. We are, therefore, 
about to point out more particularly the varieties of coun- 
try in which travel is to be performed. 

Rivers and marshy grounds offer the natural obstacles 
to land-travel, of Avhich, perhaps, our youthful readers 
■will the most readily form ideas. Most of them, we ima- 
gine, know very well what it is, either to be stopped by 
the water of a simple brook, or to sink and be distressed 
in wet and miry situations. In such cases they have only 
to fancy the small brook expanded into a large river, and 
the wet grass and mud into a wide morass, in order to 
become sensible of the value of bridges and causeways, 
by means of Avhich they so often cross rivers, and proceed 
comfortably through morasses, without thinking for a 
moment of what would otherwise have been their difficul- 
ties, or of the great works of art from which they derive 
such advantages. 

Of bridges and causeways we shall treat hereafter ; 
but let us think, for a moment, of the natural difficulties 
of travel over the tops and sides of lofty mountains, in 
the hot or cold climates, in the midst of summer, or in 
the depth of Avinter. What heights to climb, what rocks 
to be passed by, what precipices to be avoided ; and, 
when the snow is upon the ground, what depths and pit- 
falls of this snow, accompanied M-ith a freezing air, and, 
perhaps, Avith raging winds ! Of travel among the rocks 
and hills of Norway, of the west of Scotland, and of 
S'.vitzerland, we shall presently see more; but even the 
plains and valleys, when covered with snow, have diffi- 


culties of travel -which are to be overcome or lessened 
only by contrivances of art, of Avhich the sledges of the 
Laplanders are a well-known example. 

The mountains, still more difficult to traverse when 
covered with snow, which distinguish Switzerland, Nor- 
way, the Scottish Highlands, and many other countries, 
of which the names are less familiar ; these will claim 
several of the future pages. At present, we mention 
only one or two mountain-passes, from which even a sum- 
mer's sunshine, if unaided by the work of ai't, cannot 
take away the terrors. 

There are few places, even among the passes of the 
Alps, more wild and romantic than the Via Mala, where 
a deep hollow is formed between tlie bitses of mountains, 
rising to the height of six, and even of eight thousand 
feet into the heavens, on either side of the torrent of the 
Hinter Rhin. The entire length of the valley is nearly 
four miles ; and the contrast of its general repose with 
the sudden terror of the Via Mala, or Bad Road, give it 
a character of beauty which it would not otherwise 

The Via Mala is part of a road now- earned across 
Mount Bernardin, and executed by the canton of the 
Grisons, with the assistance of the king of Sardinia; 
both Sai-dinia and the Grisons, as well as other districts, 
expecting to profit by it, through the transit of merchan- 
dise by this means, from the ports of the Mediterranean 
into Switzerland, Germany, and Holland ; and the canton 
of the Grisons comprising a great part of the ground to 
be traversed upon both sides of the Alps. 

From Coire to the summit of the Bernardin, a dis- 
tance of fifteen leagues, the road rises five thousand one 
liundred and thirteen English feet ; and from the summit 
to Bellinzona, a distance of eleven leagues and a half, 
it descends six thousand two hundred and eighty-nine 

At Richenau, on the road of which we are speaking, 
the two streams called Vorder Rhin* and Hiiiler lihinf, 

* Foremost, or Further Rhine. -|- Hinder, or Hither Rliino. 



unite ; and here is a bridge of a single arch, two hun- 
dred and thirty-seven feet in span, and eighty feet, at its 
centre, above the Avater, The bridge is covered, and, 
built entirely of wood ; and is one of the most celebrated 
and remarkable of this description of bridge at present 

The Via IJala. 

After passing, by another covered bridge, the stream 
of the Hinter Rhin, we enter the beautiful valley of 
Doraleschg, through which an excellent road carries us to 
Tusis, a town at its southern extremit}', and close to the 
Verlohren-loch, the entrance to the Via Mala. Before the 
year 1470, there began, at this point, only a pass for 
mules, which avoided the gorge of the Via Mala ; but 
now a shorter communication was opened, descending six 
hundred and eighteen feet into the gorge, and continued 


by means of hollowing out a path upon the eastern side. 
In 1738, the road Avas improved by altering part of its 
course to the tvestern side, and by building two bridges, 
"which were boldly throAvn across the gulf below. It was 
the part constructed in 1 470 which first took the name of 
Via Mala ; that of the whole ravine being Verlohren loch. 

When the establishment of a carriage-road by the 
Bernardin was resolved, Pocobelli, the engineer, directed 
his particular attention to the entrance of the Yerlohren- 
loch, by the side of Tusis, and determined to carry the 
road through the tremendous obstacles which opposed 
him there. The success of his enterprise was complete. 
A well-made road is now extended across the NoUa by a 
new bridge ; thence it is carried round the eastern side of 
the ravine ; and, where the projecting and perpendicular 
rock overhung the torrent three hundred feet, a gallery 
or tunnel has been cut through it, two hundred and 
sixteen feet long, fourteen feet high, and eighteen feet 

The scene immediately around this spot is exceedingly 
grand. In many places, where the road is carried three 
or four hundred feet above the river, the sides of the 
ravine are not fifty feet apart ; and the width of the gulf 
never exceeds a hundred and fifty. The rocks, in the 
mean time, which tow^er a vast height above the road, 
and overhang the mighty depths beneath it, oppress the 
mind of the spectator, through his difficulty, in the nar- 
row passage, to discern the end, either of the height or of 
the depth ! The narrowest spots have naturally been 
chosen for the sites of the bridges ; but here, too, from the 
narrowness, the rush of the water is the most fieix'e; 
and, from the bridges, it requires a firm head to look 
down upon the latter steadily. The roar of the waters 
diminished as it ascends from their deep -sunk sur- 
face, reaches the ear only in murmurs : and, when dis- 
cerned in their dark abyss, they appear to send up a 
white foam along the ravine, produced by its boiling 

Our next example comes from the Alpine scenery 
upon the sea-coast of Italy. 


" A Genoese," says a writer, " will tell you, you have 
a lovely road from Diana to Saint-Remo: the postboy 
rides in the night very often, and falls asleep. Now what 
would you imagine this road to be? A million sterling 
could not render it tolerable. Indeed, none but the 
natives are obliged to pass it, except the postboy, now and 
then, and the sea-sick. It serpentines on the side of a 
ridge of rocks, which, every ten minutes, hangs over the 
sea, as high, perhaps, sometimes, as the cupola of St. 
Paul's is from the ground. You have a wall of rock 
above you, and a stony track for the mule, about twelve or 
fifteen inches wide. If you turn your head a little back, 
Avhen you clear any angle, you may see the sea under your 
beast's crupper: — on your right hand, a perpendicular wall 
of rock; on your left, waves roaring and dazzling beneath 
you. To mend the matter, the mule always chooses the 
edge of the precipice; because, when she carries bales of 
goods, if she strike against the side-wall, it might overset 
her in an instant. If the guide sees you timorous, he 
denies you a bridle, for the least check, through fear, 
would send beast and rider both down the precipice!" 

But, though the mule is a beast of burden Avhich, in 
almost every instance, is the surest-footed of travellers 
upon these difficult roads, there are situations in their 
course, where men may better trust their own feet than 
those of their mules. 

Above Hendec, in the Pass of the Grimsel, in the 
Alps, the road, half a league from the Chalets, rises high 
above the torrent of the Aar; and on the brink of a pre- 
cipice, crosses curved and inclined surfaces of granite, of 
great extent, and worn to extreme smoothness by the 
descent of avalanches, which, from time to time, have also 
swept away the barriers raised to guard the traveller in 
this fearful part of the passage. Here, too, the danger is 
further increased, when wet has fallen, and a frost has 
followed the Avet; and it is usual, therefore, to dismount 
at this place, because a man can walk over the masses of 
rock with greater security than a mule ; and a single slip 
of the foot of the latter must be destruction to the rider, 
no less than to the beast. Upon one occasion, however, a 


Tisiter insisted upon riding, in spite of every remonstrance 
of his guide; but the mule (less able to take care of itself 
upon account of its burden) slipped, as the guide had too 
truly expected; and though the guide, by seizing the 
obstinate man's clothes, saved the latter, yet the mule fell 
over the precipice into the gulf below, and was killed and 
shattered to pieces by the fall. The traveller's feet were 
out of the stirrups, or he must have perished also. The 
largest of the masses of smooth rock is a hundred and 
twenty feet across, and is called Hollen-Platte, or the 
Devil's Platter. 

An accident somewhat similar befell Napoleon Buo- 
naparte, during his extraordinary passage of Mount St. 
Bernard, in the year 1800. In a dangerous part of the 
Avay, near the termination of the Forest of Saint-Pierre, 
he slipped from off his mule, but was saved from falling 
over by his guide, who, as in the former instance, caught 
hold of him by his coat. The guide was rewarded with a 
present of a thousand francs. 

To change the scene, and to show how pleasant, com- 
paratively, the travelling upon the Arabian deserts, at the 
favourable season, may sometimes be found, we will make 
a few quotations from the excellent account of a late 
journey from Damascus to Bagdad, across the Desert, in 
company Avith a numerous and Avell-armed caravan. In 
the experience of our present traveller, the route is made 
to appear a very passable, even if not a very amusing ride, 
of about twenty days' duration. 

" I must give a description of our equipage, now that 
we are fairly launched on the great Avaste. I ride a white 
camel, AA'ith my saddle-bags under me, and a pair of 
Avater-skins, quite full, beneath them : over the saddle is 
my bed. A thick cherry-stick, Avith a cross at the end of 
it, serves to guide the animal; a gentle tap on the side of 
his neck, sends him to the left, and one on the opposite 
makes him turn back ajjain to the ri";ht: a knock on the 
back of his head stops him, and a few bloAvs betAveen the 
ears bring him to his knees, if accompanied by a guttural 
sound, resembling, as the Arabs say, the pronunciation of 
their letter sche. To make him move quickly, it is ne- 


cessary to prick him, with the point of the stick, on the 

" To the north there is a range of bare hills, and at 
their bases are patches of green; the rude tents of a tribe 
of Bedouins are pitched, and their cattle enliven the 
scene. We passed over a perfect level this morning, 
strewed with flowers, and thick with pasture for the 
camels, where we are now resting. It is not usual here, 
as in many parts of the east, for the camels to wind in 
long strings, one after the other. Our numbers, amount- 
ing to fifteen hundred, are scattered over the surface in 
all directions, as far as the eye can trace. 

" In travelling, the sheikhs or chiefs of the caravan, 
attended by the military part of their equipage, mounted 
on dromedaries, move in advance, Avhile the loaded camels 
follow at some distance, in parallel masses, opening out, or 
changing the form, as the grass renders it necessary. They 
fall so naturally into military figures, that it is difhcult 
to conceive their doing it without direction. 

" We have several tents in the caravan. They are 
pitched so as to permit the camels belonging to each to 
lie in the intervals, where they are placed in squads for 
the night. They are by no means agreeable neighbours: 
for, although they are not able to move from their place, 
they make a most unpleasant gurgling noise*; the bales of 
the merchants always form the windward defence, for the 
tents have no sides to them, and but flutter over the goods 
to keep the sun from their owners. 

"At the usual hours of prayer, a loud call is heard 
throughout the camp, and parties flock to Avhere the 
Muezzin takes his stand. At sunset, as the camels draw 
in from the pasture, all the Arabs are on their knees, in a 
line of two or three hundred, in two ranks. The priest, 
like a fugelman, in front, gives the time for bowing their 
heads, and performing the rest of the enjoined cere- 
monies. As they rise on the signal, they sink again 
to their knees, and press their foreheads to the earth 

" Is this in chewing the cud ; that is, (with camels,) in digesting 
and changing the situations of the food, in their five stomachs 2 


with the utmost devotion; the scene is singularly im- 

" The rate at which a loaded camel travels is estimated 
at two miles and a half an hour by almost every traveller. 
Our caravan has not, I think, exceeded this; but the 
variety of its movements has been very^ tiresome. The 
Arab "drivers, who walk in front of the animals, never miss 
an opportunity of a piece of pasture, but, however distant 
it may be from the proper course, lead them towards it, 
and, with the short sticks they carry, beat them into the 
thickest part of it. The camels are anxious enough for 
the matter themselves, and huddle so together that their 
riders' legs are in tolerable danger of being crushed in the 

" There is so strong a resemblance to a voyage at sea, 
in a passage across the Desert *, that I cannot divest my- 
self of the belief that the moving mass is but a collection 
of small vessels, carried into a heap by the tide. Every 
man is ready with his stick to fend off the animal that 
approaches him; one push separates the camels as it 
would separate a couple of boats, and the camels move 
away quite unconscious of the circumstance, till another 
movement swings them together again." 

" Very little," says IMajor Skinner, upon another occa- 
sion, " serves to give interest in the Desert." The two 
small incidents, however, Avhich follow, serve not only to 
illustrate the general manners of the Arabs, but also some 
of the features of a journey with a caravan. 

"April 8th, We are obliged to halt this day, and 
have learned the cause of the short march of yesterday. 
A very fine gray mare, belonging to the Sheikh, foaled 
during the night. He gave a feast, in celebration of the 

" One of the well-known figurative names of the Arabs for 
the camel, is that of *' Ship of the Desert." 

It is a verbal coincidence, but nothing more, and yet striking 
for a sort of reversal of the image, that in Europe we have a 
machine called a " camel." But the allusion, in this latter in- 
stance, is only to the machine's lifting a ship upon its back, by 
rising with it toward the surface of the water; as a camel rise 
from his knees after he has received his load. 


"birth, to the principal people of the great tribe of Anazie, 
now in our neighbourhood. The festival has created some 
merriment in the camp. Fires are blazing all aVound, and 
knots are seated in diflferent quarters, smoking, cookinf', 
or eating. 

" The drivers are the poorest and lowest of the tribe, 
and exercise the sticks they carry with very little cere- 
mony. For example, I was in the act of drinking water, 
with the flask applied to my lips, when my camel, re- 
ceiving a blow for going where he should not, turned 
suddenly round, and I came in a sitting posture to the 
ground, amid the laughter of the whole of my part of the 
caravan. I contrived to meet the fall; and, without hav- 
ing moved my flask, continued to drink. I received an 
Arab cheer for this feat; and, when I remounted, several 
came to congratulate me on the ingenious manner of my 
fall. One Arab, who had travelled a great deal in Syria, 
and had seen many Franks *, assured me that I was more 
fit to be an Arab than any other Frank he had met with; 
for Franks, he said, were all excessively awkward and dis- 
concerted Avhen they fell. I do not mean to take much 
merit to myself for this act of agility, or to recommend it 
to the practice of travellers; but it has positively gained 
me more good will from my wild companions, than the 
most sedate demeanour could have donet." 

The following will mitigate any ideas of uniform 
horror which we may entertain concerning the Arabian 
wildernesses, and the situation of those who have journeys 
to make upon them. 

"April 12th. I am so pleased," says Major Skinner, 
" with the independence of the Arab life, that I think I 
could submit with good grace to such a lot for a few 
months. When the Desert ceased to be, as it now seems, 
a garden, I should probably change my mind; but at this 

* Frnngi, Fringi, or Europeans; so called by the Eastern 
nations, from the word Fratik, or French ; their earliest acquaint- 
ance with Europeans having been vvith the Franks, or ancient 
Frenchmen, who, coming from Europe, were considered as Euro- 
peans in the total. 

•f Skinner's Journey Overland to India. 



moment the mildness of the climate, the immense extent, 
the richness and fragrance of the plain, render the life I 
lead most delightful. I was obliged this evening to pluck 
up a large bed of mint, before I was able to spread my 
carpet, the odour being too strong when pressed bj my 
weight; it is iike the most powerful essence of pepper- 
mint, and is in very great quantity around." 

We have thus glanced at the facilities offered to man 
and animals in moving over the surface of the earth. We 
have seen that many obstacles are opposed, and many 
difficulties to be overcome, and that the modes of travel 
are as various as the nature of the soil upon Avhich man 
travels. Let us now proceed in a more methodical order : 
let us trace the progress of roads and bridges; canals and 
tunnels ; carriages and vehicles of every description, from 
ancient times to our own day, until Ave arrive at the last 
grand improvement in locomotion, in which animal power 
is superseded by the new and wonderful adaptation of 
steam. We must visit many lands in our progress, and 
become acquainted with many nations; but our course 
will not be uninstructive, nor devoid of entertainment : it 
will teach us to prize the blessings of civilization, to ad- 
mire the progressive ingenuity of man ; and the moral 
will be, that, in virtuous industry and enterprise, nations 
as well as individuals find their happiness and general 

FvOad. of Antoninus. 


Ancient Roman Roads. — Praetorian, or ]\Iilitary Roads. — Con- 
sular, or Public, or High-roads. — Vicinal, or By-roads. — 
Ancient Roman Roads in Italy, France, Spain, Syria, and 
Great Britain. 

The beo-inning of roads is as ancient as the first move- 
ment of animal life upon dry ground ; for all animals, by 
the treading of their feet, make roads spontaneously. 
Hence, the first roads that were made by men. were pro- 
perly paths, or foot-ways ; and they afterwards grew in 
len<Tth and breadth, in hardness, smoothness, and all other 
perfections, in proportion as cities, towns, and other places 
of human dwelling and resort, were multiplied and fre- 
quented. The Indian paths of America, Avhich are only 
broad enough to admit of one person following another, 
are examples of the primitive roads; and the tracks with 
which we are so well acquainted, across our fields and 
commons, and through our woods and coppices, are similar 
examples still nearer home. 

But the practice of road-making, usually so called, 
began only when men first added to the spontaneous tread- 
in^r of their feet the skilful labour of their hands, in the 
formation of these important instruments of human inter- 


course and motion. Tliis besrinnin'x avc must date from 
the commencement of civilization ; and as to the further 
progress of the art, and its achievements, this, in all 
countries, must have kept pace Avith the advances of that 
civilization ; or, in other words, of their populousness, in- 
dustry, ingenuity, and wealth. It follows, then, that in 
all countries, hov.'ever ancient, where these means have 
Leen possessed, there have been roads adapted to their 
several purposes. 

Of the roads of ancient Greece, historical notices re- 
main sufficient to show that they were proportional, upon 
one side to the state of civilization, and upon the other to 
the narrowness of the territory of the busy and enlightened 
countries composing it. In ancient Egypt, the frequent 
historical references to its horses and chariots, no less than 
to its great cities, its general luxurj^ and even to its roads, 
leave us no doubt concerning its advancement in this 
branch of civilization ; though it seems that in the times 
of its later and highest prosperity, it sacrificed its roads, 
its chariots, and its horses, to canals, conjoined with the 
navigation of its river. Phoenicia, so renowned in arts, 
and likewise in commerce, both by land and sea; the 
whole of all that was fertile in Syria; the pompous em- 
pires of Assyria and Babylon ; the active populations of 
Persia, and of the countries bordering on it, and from thence 
to the soil of India, have all of them their antique attestations 
of important and well-frequented roads, for the conve- 
nience of the soldier, the pilgrim, and the merchant. 
Such is, for the most part, found to be the case, wherever 
the sandy surfaces of trackless deserts did not interfere 
with their structure and maintenance, obliging those that 
travelled to rely only upon the heavenly bodies, or upon 
the compass, as guides to the places which they desired 
to reach. 

It would be easy to enlarge upon the history of ancient 
roads by referring not only to those in the Old World, 
but even to those of Peru and Mexico in the New World. 
In arriving, however, at Carthage, from which the Romans 
ai-e said to have derived the knowledge and practice of 
that stupendous system of road-making, with the history 



of which we are so well acquainted, and of which we have 
still so many opportunities of examining the remains ; we 
may here contract our view, and content ourselves with a 
few chapters on the roads of antiquity, and then pass on 
to the more modern roads of our own country, as well as 
to those of foreign lands. 

The Romans had roads exclusively military, as well as 
all those which are known among ourselves. Their mili- 
tary roads were called PrcEtoriari roads, as being under 
the immediate government of the Prastors, or military 
superiors ; Avhile tlieir public or high-roads were called 
Cons^ular, because made and maintained by the authority 
of the Consuls : and to each of these respectively was 
usually given the name of the particular Consul under 
whom it was first made ; as in the examples of the Via 
Aurclia, or Aurelian road, made under the Consul Aure- 
lius; and the Via Appia, or Appian road, made under 
the Consul Appius. Their by-roads, or roads leading from 
the Consular roads only to small places, or vicinities, or 
neighbourhoods out of the great lines, were called Vicinal 
roads, or Via; Viciiiales. 

What was peculiar consisted in the usage of keeping 
the Praetorian, or military roads, or roads designed for the 
marching of soldiery and armies, entirely distinct from the 
Consular, or public, or high-roads — roads designed for 
traific and for general purposes. The objects of the first 
were military dominion, and the immediate affairs of state, 
while the objects of the second concerned commerce and 
the general intercourse of Romans and strangers ; and the 
separation was so strict, that where roads for all these 
purposes were wanted to and from the same places, still 
the two difierent descriptions of road were formed and 
carried more or less by the side of each other ; as in the 
modern world Ave may now sometimes see our roads and 
canals, common roads and rail-roads, running side by side. 

But the manner of making the Praetorian and Consu- 
lar roads differed as much as the purposes for Avlilch they 
were made. The Consular roads Avere often more remark- 
able for their magnitude and breadth, for the persevering 
boldness Avith Avhich they Avere carried in straight lines 


over surfaces of every kind, and for the variety of accom- 
modation they afforded to passengers, than for smoothness 
or for general ease of travel. The centres wei'e raised and 
paved -with stones or otherwise provided Avith hard mate- 
rials, while the sides Avere more or less of unmade earth. 
These raised and hardened centres were of the same eene- 
ral kind as the modern chaussees of France and causeways 
of England. In their general figure, too, they must have 
agreed Avith that of the many broad openings still to be 
seen in several parts of England, wliere a narrow cause- 
Avay in the centre has Avide spaces, or Avater, or mire, upon 
each side, serving for the traveller's use, Avhen and where 
convenient ; and in a more general manner for the pas- 
turage of a cottager's cow, ass, pig, or goose. But the 
causeway in these Consular roads Avas sometimes twelve 
feet in breadth. For the making and repair of these 
public roads, the needful expenditure Avas levied upon the 
OAvners of the lands through Avhich they passed ; and Avhile 
to the entire road Avas usually given the name of some 
particular Consul, or Pro-consul, as stated above, the par- 
ticular parts Avere called after the names of these land- 
holders respectively. From these statements it must 
appear that no tolls Avere collected, but that the cost and 
labour of these roads Avere provided for in Roman Europe, 
as till lately in all modern Europe, under a system more 
or less resembling that of the corvee in France, and of 
statutable labour in England, and wdiich is the same Avith 
the system to Avhich Ave shall hereafter refer in an account 
of the roads in NorAvay. There Avere no turnpike gates 
(those objects so long and so angrily decried upon their 
first introduction into England) ; but in order to enforce 
the Roman law, Avhich required the land-holders to main- 
tain the roads, inscriptions Avere established along the 
road-side, shoAving upon Avhom the responsibility rested. 
These inscriptions stated the divisions of the road, the 
names of the land-holders, the extent of their possessions, 
and the consequent duty to be levied upon them. 

Of these Consular, or public, or high-roads of the 
ancient Romans, many considerable remains are still to be 
seen in every part of that Avhich once constituted the 

c 2 


Roman empire. The Yia Appia, which departing from 
Rome extended to the distance of 350 miles, and then 
terminated at Naples, had a causeway or pavement twelve 
feet broad, composed of square blocks of freestone, each 
for the most part a foot and a half in measure ; and this 
road, now 1800 years old, is still, for several miles to- 
gether, in many parts of its line, as sound as when 
first made. It is not everywhere, indeed, the smoothest 
of roiids, but this Ave may believe it never Avas. Horace* 
himself Avas of opinion that it AA'as best to go slowly over 
it ; and this was at all times, doubtless, the case Avith the 
Consular roads in general. However superior they Avere 
in solidity, they probably resembled, in the article of 
smoothness, the modern roads or causcAvays of France, 
and required strong carriages as Avell as patience under 
jolting in order to be travelled. The modern road in the 
same direction as the Appian, though less adapted for 
great durability, is excellent in every particular that can 
recommend it to those Avho have to pass over its surface. 

In the vicinity of Lyons, in France, exist the remains 
of Roman road-making, composed of beds or masses of 
flint-stones not bigger than eggs, laid in mortar, and from 
tAvelve to fifteen feet in depth, and as hard and compact 
as marble. After a period of 1 600 years from their for- 
mation; it is still scarcely possible to penetrate or disjoin 
the masses by any force of hammers, mattocks, or other 
tools. The Romans ahAays laboured at establishing the 
solidity of their roads, first by ramming or beating the 
natiA'C soil, and next by spreading upon it layers of flints, 
pebbles, or sand; and sometimes by adding masonry com- 
posed of hard rubbish, or of bricks, all bound together AvIth 

As to the public roads in general, their remains are 
regarded as monuments of the good sense of the ancient 
Romans, and of their care to provide for the accommoda- 
tion of travellers. On each side Avas an elevation about 

• " Miuiis est gravis Appia tardis." 

Sat. Book i. 5. \. 6. 
'■ The Appian road is less fatiguing to people Avho traA'el 


sixteen inches in heiglit, and nine inches in breadth, called 
crepidiiies, or parapets; and at the distance of little more 
than five yards were regularly placed on this parapet, 
large stones, each of the size of nineteen inches square, 
and twenty-seven high, for tlie convenience of passengers 
as resting places, or to assist them in mounting their 
horses. The road Avas higher in the middle than on the 
sides, and there were channels Avith small arches, as at 
present on our roads, for carrj^ing off the water Avhich 
drained from it into the adjacent fields. 

In the streets of Pompeii, holes are to be seen in the 
parapet, made for tying horses or beasts of burden; and 
possibly the same practice Avas adopted on the high-roads; 
but Caius Gracchus, about 130 B. c, is said to have been 
the first to join the roads together by bridges, where such 
valuable accommodations Avere needed, and also to drain 
them by subterranean channels; and to him also is due 
the introduction of mile-stones, Avhich everyAvhere indi- 
cated the distance from Rome. On the road to Naples, 
all these mile-stones Avere placed on the left of the tra- 
veller Avho Avas on his Avay thither. The inscriptions on 
the bridges Avere engraved on each side. A military 
column or standard mile-stone, denominated 7mliarium 
aureum, or golden standard, or mile-stone, AA'as erected in 
the Forum, at Rome; as the centre Avhence proceeded the 
roads v.-hich spread from it. Most of the consular roads 
led to sea-ports. 

But many of these roads Avere double; that is, they 
had a carriage-AA'ay upon each side paved Avith stones, for 
the use of carriages moving in opposite directions; and 
each separated from the other by a raised foot-Avay, paved 
with bricks. Add to this, that their Avhole line was 
studded Avith mounting-stones or horse-blocks, and Avith 
miliary or j/nYe-stones. 

The consular roads Avere also sometimes double in a 
more extended sense ; that is, there Avere tAvo roads to 
and from the same places. The intention appears to have 
been the safety of commerce and of travellers; as Avhen, 
in the direction of sea-ports, one road Avas carried inland, 
and the other along the coast. Of these double roads 


between the same places, we may cite, as an example, the 
Via Appia and Via Domitia; the first leading from Rome 
to Puteoli through Capua; and the second through Cum£e 
and Baife. A poem of Statius is extant, which describes 
fully this latter. 

Another species of Roman road was the suhterranean ; 
or road carried like our modern galleries or tunnels, 
2mclergrouncl; but for the sole purpose of shelter from the 
sun. These, of which the invention has been referred to 
the Egyptians, grew up among the Romans in times of 
luxury, and numerous vestiges of them are still found in 
different parts of Italy. 

The Praetorian or military roads, upon the formation 
and good repair of which depended, in so great a degree, 
the acquisition and maintenance of conquests abroad, as 
well as the enjoyment of security and peace at home, were 
still moi-e decidedly the care of the Roman government. 
For the most part, they were, at least, sixty feet wide; 
of which space the elevated centre occupied tAventy feet, 
and each of the slopes twenty more. But of this it 
would seem that only a part was paved; that is, imbedded 
with great stones in the centre, while footways upon each 
side had silso their stone-pavements. Stirrups not having 
been yet invented, the stones for mounting horses were 
always an important part of the accommodations of the 
Roman roads; and alons the Prfetorian roads these stones 
were placed (we are told) at intervals of only ten feet. 
But did not these mounting-stones supply the further 
purpose of our ordinary posts, protecting the foot-ways 
against the horse and carriage-ways? The materials em- 
ployed in making and repairing the roads, were such as 
the country through which they passed, afforded. 

The Vicinal*, or countr}^, or cross-roads, crossed the 
military roads at right angles; and at such places where 
four roads were thus made to meet each other, square 
gate-houses Avith arches opening upon each side, were 

Roman streets or roads, as to their construction, have 

* The VicB Vicinales, — Vicinal or neighbouriug roads, — were 
sometimes called Via3 Patrice or Country roads. 


been divided, into tliree kinds: — the first, or simple stratce 
vice, paved roads, Avere formed only of pebbles and gravel; 
the second, or vice silice stratoe paved with flint-stones, of 
large but unequal sizes; and the third, or vice saxo et 
lapide quadrato stratce, paved with square flat stones, laid 
down with regularity. 

In some of the remains of Roman roads four strata or 
beds of materials are discovered: — in the first place, the 
foundation, which is quite sound, all soft or unstable 
earth having been carefully removed ; in the second, a 
bed of broken earthenware, tiles, and similar materials, 
joined together with cement ; in the third, a bed of mor- 
tar; on which, fourthly and for a completion, w^as laid 
the uppermost stratum, consisting of bricks, tiles, stones, 
or other convenient substances. 

It is worthy of remark that, after the lapse of many 
centuries, during which most of our modern roads have 
been formed, the imperfections of which, had long been 
felt as a serious evil to the whole kingdom, good i^aved 
roads have been at length formed, by adopting the plan 
of the ancient Romans. Many of the new pavements of 
London are now based upon broken granite, instead of 
loose earth, which constantly works through the inter- 
stices, and interferes with the solid bearing of the stones 
upon each other; — to say nothing of the vast quantities of 
mud thus produced. 

In other instances, the Romans paved their roads with 
stones, which they joined by means of a cement of sand 
and clay. A mixture of this kind is what is now used 
for many purposes in England, under the name of " Roman 

Roads of the former kind Avere raised in the middle 
and laid with flags, or flat stones, for the convenience of 
foot-passengers; while the two sides were formed of sand 
and loamy earth, that they might be soft for the feet of 
horses; though horses Avere not anciently without shoes, 
as some antiquaries have imagined. The second kind of 
roads, made Avholly of sand and clay, were convex in their 
form, to keep them dry. 

The Foss-Avay, discovered in Wiltshire, is regarded as 


one of the many Roman roads in Great Britain; upon 
being cut through at a part of its line, it was found to 
have been constructed thus: — first, a foundation of flat 
stones; then eighteen inches of earth and rubble; and 
above this a course of small stones, ■with large fixed stones 
upon the surface. 

On another ancient road in the same part of England, 
a layer of small stones was found at the top, then a layer 
of stone grouted or pounded; and, beneath the latter, a 
foundation which the soil concealed. These layers com- 
posed a mass which was cut through, to the depth of six 
feet and a-half, by four paces wide. 

In low and marshy grounds the Romans took great 
care to secure their roads against injury by floods ; and 
raised them, where the level required it, five, ten, and 
sometimes twenty feet high, that the waters might never 
rise above them. 

The remains of Roman roads are still very numerous in. 
our island. I shall speak of them again, in conjunction 
with the ancient British roads, or roads constructed by 
the Britons, either before or after the establishment of 
the Romans among them. 

The north as well as the south of Great Britain has 
its share of the remnants of Roman roads. In the east of 
Scotland they have been traced as far as the county of 
Angus, where they are regarded as affording traces of the 
Roman province of Vespasian. 

The Roman wall with its military road, (similar to the 
Chinese Avail,) which separated Roman Britain from the 
Picts and Scots, and which is called the Avail of Antonine, 
is well knoAvn. But if, leaving all further consideration 
of Roman roads in Britain, Germany, SAvitzerland, Gaul, 
Spain, and Italy, and other countries of the Avest, Ave direct 
our attention for a moment to the Roman Empire in the 
east, Ave find there, too, food for historical recollections of 
Roman roads, and even actual remains of those great 
Avorks. One of these latter, the road of Antoninus Pius, 
before alluded to, affords the vieAv at the head of this 
chapter, as it is seen along the sea-coast near Baireuth, in 



In modern Syria, no less than in modern Egypt, the 
spirit of enterprise and improvement promises the speedy 
construction of new and important roads; such as may 
furnish extensive means of communication, even if their 
quality should be less durable than tiiat of the ancient 
roads. In Egypt, as has been long known, an excellent 
road between Caii-o and Alexandria is at this day travelled 
by public coaches, built in England, drawn by English 
horses, wearing English harness, and driven by English 
coachmen; and in Syria, according to a traveller whose 
agreeable volume has already afforded us some descriptions 
of travel in that part of the world, " Ibrahim Pacha has a 
very fine scheme in his head. Should he secure the pos- 
session of Syria, Tour (the ancient Tyre), is to be the port; 
and a grand road from every part of the east is to be made 
to it*." The writer means that roads from every part of 
the east, are to be made to meet at that ])lace. 

* Skinner's Journey to India. 

Cleopatra's Needle. 

C 3 

Course of the Wans Dyke over St. Anne's Hill. 


Ancient Britisli Roads, and Ancient Roman Roads, in Britain. — 
Degrees of Civilization among the Ancient Britons. — British 
Roads, and sites of British Towns, Villages, and Burial-places, 
in Wiltshire. — Course of the Wans Dyke from Andover to tlie 
Bristol Cliannel. — Belgic Kingdom of King Divitiacus. — 
Ancient History of the Road now called the Great Western 
Road. — Dykes and Ditches, Fosses and JNIoats. — Grim's Dyke. 

When we glide over tlie smooth and spacious roads of 
modern Britain and Ireland, our thoughts are but seldom 
carried back to the narrow, rugged, and uneven roads 
upon both islands, which we shall have to advert to in 
the present and succeeding chapter: or to the contrast of 
the objects that lined them, or were visible from them 
anciently and now. In the aspect of nature, with regard 
to these objects, how striking is the difference between 
the castles and the cabins of times past, and the palaces, 
the villas, and the cottages of times present! between the 
wild moors of old, "immeasurably spread," and the swell- 
ino- lawns of parks, witli their beautiful drives, and taste- 
ful entrance-lodges, which so often embellish at once the 
private and the public road! 

We are not to think too meanl}', however, of our native 
roads in Britain; roads begun and completed in times 


■vvhicli probably go back to tbe higbest antiquity. There 
"were no Roman roads upon the island until the time of 
the Emperor Claudius, about 45 a.d.; but there were 
manjr British roads before the Julian invasion. We are 
accustomed to hear so much of the very rude state of the 
Britons two thousand years ago, — of their painted bodies, 
"wicker coracles, and woodland huts, — that we often fail 
to remember that these descriptions, in all their rigour, 
apply only to parts of the people and to parts of the 
island, and afford no just representation of the "vvhole of 
either. Caesar states the condition of the Britons, in 
Kent, to have been found by him very similar to that of 
the Gauls upon the opposite side of the Channel ; and 
from what we know of the civilization of ancient Gaul, 
Britain, no doubt, as seen by Cassar, was sufficiently 
barbarous ; but it was not savage: and in the estimate 
made of its advancement, there must be allowances for 
mountainous and other poor and thinly-inhabited situa- 
tions, for remoteness from the sea, and for the very ab- 
sence of roads, — where they were really absent, — and for 
the differences between kingdom and kingdom, or region 
and region, upon our soil; as also for the differences of 
rank and property in society, — for Britain, or parts of 
Britain, possessed, at the era in question, kings and 
hierarchies, nobility and land-owners, and, doubtless, 
merchants, slaves and a commonalty, in greater or less de- 
gree, the property of men of wealth and station. A Avide 
distinction, indeed. Is to be drawn between the Britons 
whom Caasar found, and the Roman Britons, such as those 
afterwards became during the few centuries of Roman in- 
tercourse and domination : but Britain, before it was 
known to Rome, had its cities, towns, villages, and roads, 
and also its sea-going ships and foreign commerce. 

" AVhat the Britons," says Caesar, " call a town is 
nothing more than a thick wood surrounded by a ditch 
and bank;" but Strabo gives us a better understanding of 
these dwelling-places when he observes: "Their towns 
are woods of a broad circuit, in the midst of which they 
clear away a part of the trees, and build huts, in which 
they and their cattle live together." Even here, we are 


to remember, nevertheless, that loivns hearing this gene- 
ral description, might yet vary most considerably in ex- 
tent, populousness, wealth, and the pursuits of civilized 
and even commercial life; from the rudest hamlet to 
ancient London, and other ancient cities of Britain, — cities 
which had their great roads before the first arrival of the 
Romans, and by the sides of which the Romans, where 
they did not adopt and improve tiiem, we^'c often content 
• to make their own roads for tlieir military purposes. 

A town is properly an enclosure, or place defended 
against unwelcome intrusion, either by the simplest fence, 
or the strongest fortification; and thus it is that in Devon- 
shire and Cornwall, where so much of what was anciently 
British, is still preserved, as well as in other parts of the 
kingdom, a farm-yard is still denominated a town and a 
town-place; and that by barton, byre-town, or barn-town, 
we are to understand a byre-yard or barn-yard. Now 
the towns of the Britons (like the towns of all other 
Celtic nations from Gaul and Italy to Britain and Ire- 
land,) Avere circular*, and their fort if cations (in defect of 
walls commonly so called,) consisted of circuits of thick, 
or, as it were, impenetrable trees, (called silva; impeditce, 
or thick woods, by Ctesar,) behind the outer circles of a 
bank and ditch, like so many of our rural defences to this 
■day. But this very scheme of fortification is even now to 
be witnessed in central Africa, as that of very large towns 
,(not to speak of them as cities) ; and it is always obvious, 
that these woody circuits, the cleared spaces, the number 
and condition of their inhabitants, and the number, size, 
and solidity of the dwelling-houses, and other buildings, 
sacred and profane, contained in them, might vary greatly. 
An enlightened and indefatigable English antiquaiy, 
whose fortune and personal assiduity were long devoted 
(spade in hand) to exploring the earthen remains and 
monuments of British civilization and customs as still 

* It is agreed that from the circular form of the ancient 
Latian towns, the Romans had their name of urbs (orbis), a town 
or city. The reader will see further, in the Latin word urbs, and 
its aiiplication, the origin of the English words urban, urbane, and 


extant in tlie south-west of England, speaks thus of the 
ancient British roads, with the villages and towns in that 
part of the island : — 

"These ridse-jvays." he observes, "Avere the roads made 
use of by the earliest inhabitants of Britain, as lines of 
communication between their different towns and vil- 
lages. They generally followed the highest ridges of land, 
on which also we find their habitations. They Avere not 
paved Avith stone and gravel, as in later times by the 
Romans, but their basis Avas the firm and verdant turf. 
It is somcAvhat singular that, even to this day, this ori- 
ginal track-Avay* of the Britons may be traced over our 
Wiltshire hills for a very great extent, and throughout the 
Avhole of the adjoining county of Berks. 

" In my description of the IMarlborough station," he 
continues, "I mentioned the course of this ridge-AA'ay 
through it, and have supposed it to proceed from the 
southern ridge of hills, by a very ancient earthen-Avork, 
bearing the name of Broad-bury, across the valley tOAA'ards 
Marden, betAveen which place and "Wilsford Ave have 
found pottery, and other marks of ancient residence. 
This line of the ridge-Avay is afterwards indicated by the 
names of Broad-street and Honey-street, and nature has 
formed an opening for its passage betAveen two hills, each 
croAvned Avith British remains. The one on the right, 
called Knap-hill-|-, has an earthen Avork on its summit, 

* These track-ways, or traceable roads of the ancient Britons, 
fire called ridge-u'ays, (as to those parts of them Avhich followed,) as 
described in the text, the elevated ridges of land ; but the author 
quoted, frequently calls the same pieces of road alternately track- 
ways and ridge-ivuys. 

-f- It does not appear to have struck the writer, that this name 
of Knap-lull is obviously derived from the natural " opening for 
the passage of the British road between two hills," whicli is 
spoken of in the text. To knaj) is to break, or to cleave asunder ; 
and is also the same Avord (though differently modified) with our 
modern word snap, and likewise gap. The Germans, also, have 
the verb knappen, to snap asunder with a noise. We find this 
AVord having a similar signification Avith the Flemish or Belgic port 
or poort used in the same sense in this sort of topogi-aphy. Nape 
or knap, in the sense of an opening, hollow, or indentation, is the 
true origin of the term, the " nape of the neck ;" for the nape 


and two barrows within it; the other on the left, called 
TValker's-hill, has a long barrow* on its apex. Anti- 
quities and barrows occur in the next valley, from which 
Ave re-ascend, and cross the celebrated Belgic boundary 
named Wans Dyke"|*. Hence the ridge- way descends into 
the vale of the river Kennet, Avhich it crosses near the 
A'illage of East Kennet, and pursues a northern course to 
the Hackpen-hill. Having traversed the turnpike-road 
between Bath and Marlborough, a little to the Avest of 
mile-stone lxxix., it steers its course towards the Hack- 
pen-hill, AA-hich is rendered conspicuous by numerous 
barrows of large dimensions AA'hich cross its summit; it 
continues on the ridfje of hill overlookinfj the A'ale of 
Abury on the left, to the place before-mentioned, called 
Glory- Ann; then skirting Elcombe and Uscot DoAvns, it 
descends from them at the base of a hill on which Bar- 
er knap, in this case, is the hollow cutting or indentation between 
the shoulders and the head ; in the same manner that insecta or 
insect gives name to the class in zoology called insects, because 
of the knap or nape between the thorax and the abdomen, in so 
many of its species. 

* Barrows, m Latin tumuli, are momids of earth which distin- 
guish ancient burial-places or tombs. 

-f There is believed to have been a Belgic invasion and settle- 
ment in this part of Enghind about four or five hundred years 
before the invasion of Julius Cajsar ; and the boundary between 
the invaders and the invaded is thought to have consisted in a 
line of defence composed of a bank and ditch, or Avhat is still 
called in this part of the country, a dyke or ditch only. The 
numerous Belgic or Flemish words and proper names, both of 
persons and places, still preserved in the vicinity, seem to be 
monuments of the south of this pait of British history; but 
our author is perhaps wrong in supposing Wans Dyke to be the 
British and Belgic boundary, at least, as far as its name may 
seem to import. Wans Dyke, or Woden's Dyke or ditch, is so 
named from Woden or Odin, the object of the worship of the 
Teutonic Anglo-Saxons, and not of the Celtic British and Belgse 
British ; Belgic and Anglo-Saxon names being intermixed through- 
out the country in question : and as to the compounds which 
include the Saxon and Scandinav-ian name of Odin or Woden, 
they are met with at intervals throughout the island ; as Wed- 
nesbury, Wensley, Wenlock, Wanborough, Wantage, and Wan- 
stead. Near Matlock in Derbyshire, there is a mine still denomi- 
nated Odin's Mine. 


bury Castle is placed, and beneath whicli, towards the 
north, there are the traces of some slight earthen-works. 
Though the track-way has been in some places destroyed 
by the plough, its course is well known, and again visible 
at the eastern extremity of a fine plain of verdant turf 
appropriated to the race-ground at Barderop. It con- 
tinues its track through the dirty lanes, and an open 
arable country, to a place called Cross Bush, where it is 
again traversed by the Roman road leading from the 
station of Cunetio to that at Wanborough Nytli. From 
hence the ridge- way skirts the base of the hill on which 
Liddington, or more properly Brodbury Castle is situated, 
and is joined by another ancient track-way, which I have 
before mentioned as coming from Marlborough to this 
earthen- work. The old thorn-tree, as designated by the 
title of Ridge- way Bush is still in existence on the left 
side of the track- way, which shortly afterwards is crossed 
near a cottage called Totterdown, by another Roman road, 
coming from the station of Spinse, near Spene, to the next 
station at Wanborough Nyth. The ridge-way now 
ascends Shelbarrow-hill, and having travelled through an 
enclosed corn-country, we leave the county of Wilts and 
enter that of Berks, a little beyond the village of Bishop- 
stone *." 

Wans Dyke, Avhich, agreeing with Dr. Stukeley, this 
author supposes to have been the great Belgic boundary 
is spoken of by others only as an ancient sheltered or 
covered road. It consists of a vast dyke or ditch, by the 
side of which is a lofty bank or wall, or vallum, and is 
conjectured to have commenced eastward near Andover, 
in Hampshire. It terminated in the Severn Sea, or 
Bristol Channel, after a course of upwards of eighty miles 
through Hampshire, Berkshire, Wiltshire, and Somerset- 
shire ; for more than three parts of which distance it is 
still discoverable by the eye, while in many it is almost in 
perfect preservation. According to Dr. Stukeley, it skirted 
inland the Belgic kingdom established in Britain, of 
which the king, Divitiacus, finds a place in the Commen- 

* Su- EiCHARB Colt Hoare's South Wiltshire p. 46. 



taries of Ccesar; whose name also, Divitiacus, is thought 
to be also still preserved in that of Devizes, at present l)ut 
a market-town, though anciently (say the antiquarians) 
the capital of Divitiacus. 

In the state in which Wans Dyke still subsists, and 
whatever people were its original constructors, it is sup- 
posed to have shared the labour of the Belga3, Romans, 
and Anglo-Saxons, from -which latter workmen it probably 
received its present name. Our author believes, indeed, 
that a considerable part of the present remains is to be 
ascribed to the Anglo-Saxons; and also that what was 
done by the Romans, had for its object the conversion of 
the dyke into a road. 

"In the year 1817," he observes, "a very satisfactory 
discovery was made on the line of the Wans Dyke, which 
evidently proved that this agger (bank, wall, or vallum), 
was at first raised to a certain height, and subsequently 
increased in altitude. This important discovery was 
made by digging through the Wans Dyke, to make a 
sheep-drove, when the evident marks of the first and sub- 
sequent agger were clearly visible, with the difi^"erent 
strata of mould, chalk, and turf. The first probably raised 
by the Belgaj, the last by the Saxons." 

The view at the head of this chapter represents the 
course of the Wans Dyke over Saint Anne's Hill, better 
known among the country-people by the name of Tan 
Hill, of which the other name is probably a corruption. 
Upon this hill, upon the sixth day of August annually', 
there is held a large fair called Tan-hill fair. The view 
is taken from the two barns upon the hill, which are the 
immediate site of the fair. They stand upon the very 
line of the dyke, and the spot affords " a most perfect and 
comprehensive view," says Sir Richard, " of this noble 
agger, which still preserves its winding, and irregular 
course over the elevated ridge of hill." At the end of the 
present chapter is another view of an adjacent part of the 
AYans Dyke, where it joins a Roman road. 

There seems reason to believe that all the " Saint 
Anne's Hills," (of which there are many,) throughout our 
island are so called, from some dialectic corruption, instead 



of Tan Hills, or Tan's Hills ; in -wliicli latter form, how- 
ever, the sound approaches so nearly to that of Saint 
Anne's Hill, that the change may have heen quite unin- 
tentional. TaJi is described as the great object of Belgic 
worship ; and the fair held annually upon this spot in 
Wiltshire is doubtless, (like our fairs in all parts,) a rem- 
nant of some religious festival ; and a festival it may be 
believed of Tan or Tamarus, or Taranus, (Jupiter, or the 
Thunderer,) a name of the first sanctity in ancient 
Belgica*. By some, Wans Dyke is regarded as the real 
Foss-way, already spoken of as one of the four principal 
British roads ; by the side of which, at a later epoch, ran 
the Roman road, (Via Badonica,) from London to Bath; 
both, in a general view, in the line of what is now the 
Great Western Road. 

In order not to interrupt the course of our statements, 
and not wishing to overload these pages with notes, we 
have reserved for the conclusion of the present chapter, 
some curious information on the subject of dykes or 

* Tan-fan, or Tanfanca, (Tanarus Fanus,) is spoken of by 
Tacitus as a celebrated temple of the Belgaj. The practice of 
dedicating liills, either natural or artificial, to the service of the 
Divinity, and of celebrating the worship of the gods upon their 
summits, has been universal among mankind, and to tliese prac- 
tices are probably due the name of Barbury-hill, as also Tan-hill. 
Barbury is a corruption of Badbury ; and Badbury implies the 
hill of Bad, Bod, Budh, or God ; in which sense we have Gads- 
hiU, Gaddesden, and Gadsbury, in England ; and Godesberg in 


ditches generally, arising out of -wliat lias been already 
said respecting Wans Dyke in particular. 

AVans Dyke, otlierwise "Wondes Ditch, as it has been 
already intimated, may be called Woden's or Odin's Ditch 
or Dyke. It is observable that the -words ditch and dyke, 
(which are only the same word differently pronounced,) 
have tAvo A'ery different senses, as well as different pronun- 
ciations in different parts of the islands. In some parts, 
as in the south of England, a ditch or a dyke is understood 
to be a hollow, cut lengthwise in the earth, of various 
dimensions, either dry or wet, and intended either for 
drainage, demarcation, or defence; thus we speak both of 
wet and of dry ditches; and thus also in the military art, 
ditch and fosse are synonymous terms. In other parts of 
the island, however, a dyke is understood of a wall, or at 
least of an embankment ; and thus the term stone-dykes, 
meaning commonly uncemented parapet-walls of unhewn 
stone, such as, upon rocky soils, are used for fences, and 
partitions of fields, instead of hedges, or other different 
materials. But in both senses, whether of a ditch, or of a 
bank, or wall, the words dyke and ditch have a common 
origin in the verb to dig, and imply a digging; the diver- 
sities of their senses and sounds depending as to the first 
upon the particular result of the digging to which the 
mind refers ; and as to the second, upon the circumstance 
whether a dyke or a ditch shall signify something which is 
sunk, or something Avhich is raised ; but it is to be re- 
membered that either has the proper signification of the 
whole of the Avork performed ; or of that entire line of 
drainage, demarcation, or defence, which avc sometimes 
(and accurately) call a bank and ditch together; after 
•which it is left to different speakers, or to difference of 
local variations, to settle the term, and to choose a sound 
between that of the letter^, and of the letter k; between the 
hard and the soft sounds of both; and between the various 
alphabetical representations of these sounds, as tch, and 
sh ; as, for instance, the word dish (a hollow vessel) is but 
a third form of the word ditch or dyke. 
!'' Then, as to the custom of applying the term dyke, or 
the term ditch, exclusively to the ditch, or hollow, or 


exclusively to tlie bank, or wall, we have to notice that 
botli of these are dug, and both are dykes, ditches, or dig- 
gings, the one being the sjiace whence earth has been 
dug out ; and the other the space upon which is raised up 
the earth which has been dug out. The established appli- 
cation of numerous words to the exact counterparts of 
their literal and primitive meanings, is exceedingly com- 
mon ; and we have an example in one which is closely 
allied to that of the dyke or ditch. In England, most per- 
sons understand by the word moat, a sort of ditch sur- 
rounding a house and gardens ; such house, (or moat- 
house,) being usually ancient, and of some ancient dignity. 
In truth, the moat, which at least anciently belonged to it, 
and whence it had its designation, was one of its means of 
military defence in ages when private persons had the 
misfortune to be obliged to live in " strong houses," or 
small fortresses. But was the ancient moat, i\\e fosse or 
ditch, as at present understood? No; but the mount 
which had the fosse or ditch (now called moat) at its foot; 
and from which the enemy could be overlooked and as- 
sailed, while the fosse or ditch (now moat) obstructed his 
approach. Hence it is that in Ireland, and, in many 
instances, in England, a moat still signifies a mount, in- 
stead of a ditch, comformably with the real meaning of 
its orifrinal, which is the French word motte ; for which 
both in England and Ireland, we are doubtless indebted 
to the Norman part of our ancient population. Wans 
Ditch, then, and "Wans Dyke are names of the same signifi- 
cation ; and may equally apply to the embankment above, 
or to the covered (that is protected) way below; and 
hence it is either a wall, or a way, or road ; or, in other 
terms, a dyke, ditch, or foss-wai/, or a dyke, or ditch- 

An interesting point connected with the supposed 
boundary between the Belgas and Britons remains to be 
noticed. If it were necessary to find a Celtic name at- 
taching itself to a dyke or ditch, Avhich formed the sup- 
posed boundary between these people, this may probably 
oflFer itself in Grim's Dyke before referred to, which the 
country people of Wiltshire are frequently heard to speak 

44 grim's dyke. 

of as The Devil's Dyke. Grim may be only another form 
of Gri7i, or of Gnjn, {Gryan in the Irish, whence comes 
the Irish proper name of Ryan,) signifying the sun'% and 
here used for the sun as a divinity, or as the object or 
symbol referred to in divine -worship. What suggests the 
probability of such an etymology is the name of Devil's 
Dyke, otherwise borne by the same dyke or ditch : for if 
the Pagan inhabitants of the country called this ditch or 
dyke, the Dyke or Ditch of the Sun, as a title of 
sanctity, their Christian successors would assuredlv call 
it the Dyke or Ditch of the Idol, or of^the Devilt; and if 
this origin of both Avords g?7'?« ^vAgrin be admitted, several 
other corroborative explanations will follow, especially of 
English proper names, alike of persons, and of places, — all 
connected with that solar worship which once stood so high 
in Britain, and not the lowest at the city of Bath, which 
place is in the part of England of which we are now speak- 
ing. Thus of " Grimshaw," {shaiv signifying a wood or 
grove,) we shall make " The Wood or Grove of the 
Sux. But what Grim, or Gryn, or Grynreus may have 
been to the Celtic races, the same was Woden or Odin 
to the Saxon ; that is. Sun of the symbolical worship ; so 
that with all the truth of poetry they could call a gleam 
of sunshine the " smile of Odin." 

It must be my apology for making these references to 
the religious antiquities of our islands Avhile directly 
concerned only with their roads, that the history of roads, 
Avhether ancient or modern, involves us deeply in the 
general history of the countries in which the}' are found ; 
and that the history of all Pagan countries, and of all 
Pagan antiquities, also involves us deeply in all that 
belongs to the peculiarities of their religion. We must 
not, however, lengthen our chapter so far as to state 
the history of the reasons why the roads, ditches, walls, 
and boundary lines of Pagan kingdoms, have so many 
religious connexions. For the rest, we may venture to 
hope that these incidental contributions to the general 

* The same with the Apollo Gryn.T3us of classical mythology, 
t Frequent allusions occur in the Scriptures to the heathen 
gods, as being devils. 


ancient history of the British Islands, arising out of that of 
their ancient roads, will not be wholly unacceptable even 
in the midst of the immediate history of such ancient 
roads, which Ave will conclude in the next chapter. We 
shall, of course, be troubled with no such associations, 
when we come to speak of modern performances in 

Junction cf the Wans Dyke, and a Roman Road 
in North Wiltshire. 

Ancient Britisli Track\ray. 


Ancient British Roads, and ancient Roman Roads in Britain con- 
cluded. — Four ancient British Roads from ancient London and 
its vicinities. — The Foss-way, or the Wans Dyke. — Watling- 
street. — Ancient sanctity of the spot now St. Paul's Church- 
yard. — Ikenild-street.-^Ermm-street. — Statues of Ermin or 
Roland. — Differences hetween British and Roman road-making. 
— Roads, walls, dykes, and ditches. — Odin's Dyke. — Grim's Dyke. 
— Ancient British Towns and Villages, and their communica- 
tions. — Wheel-carriages..-^ War-chariots. — Imagined teiTaces 
intended as roads upon the British hills. — Natural teri'aces in 
North America. — Ancient Peruvian and INIexican Roads. — 
Roads and City of Palenca, or the City of the Desert. — Ancient 
Roman and Ancient Bi-itish Roads contrasted. 

The Foss-way or Foss-road, or dyke or ditch-road, or the 
Wans Dyke, so frequently referred to under these various 
names in the last chapter, is one of the four great roads 
■which departed from London before the time of the 
Romans in Britain; which roads constituted the southern, 
the south-western, the eastern, and the north-eastern, as 
at present. Their names, as transmitted to us, are Wat- 
ling-street, Ikenild-street, the Foss-way, and Ermin or 
Herming-street. Yerulam-street, which is less spoken of 
by antiquaries, was part of the present Great North-road, 
or which we sometimes call the Barnet-road, and Saint 


Alban's-road; and had its ancient name from the ancient 
city of Yerulam, nearly upon the site of which stands the 
modem toAvn of Saint Alban's. Saint Alban's itself is 
sometimes still called Verulam; as in the case of the 
title of the illustrious Lord Bacon, which is sometimes 
spoken of as Verulam, and at others as Saint Alban's. 

Of the four roads, tliat which is now called AVatlinff- 
street is the one best known to modern Englishmen, or at 
least to modern Londoners; for there is still, Avithin the 
limits of the ancient city, a street called Watling-street, 
a certain remnant of the ancient road or street, and situate 
near London Stone, the antiquity of which monument is 
not disputed; and which was probably the ancient standard, 
or point of departure, for the four several British roads. 
Watling-street has been so familiar to English ears, as a 
road of considerable extent, and, as it were, running 
through all the kingdom, that a poetical, and perhaps 
cockney astronomer of the last century, has ventured to 
call the milky-way, or thin starry band, or road, which 
encircles all our visible heaven, — " the Watling-street of 
the sky!" 

That Watling-street had its origin before the Romans, 
or that it was what that people called a via patrice^ or 
country, or native road, at the time of their arrival, has 
never been controverted. In the Latin, Watling-street has 
the ancient name of Via Vitelliani, given, according to a 
French writer (who is a decided advocate of the British 
origin and denomination of the road), by the modern 
English antiquaries, through an eagerness to find that 
everything in Britain is Roman. But, if the word wailing 
is really British, what can be more probable, than that 
the Romans themselves so corrupted, or, at least, so latin- 
ized that British word, as to make of Watling-street, " Via 
Vitelliani ?" As to the rest, a wattle is held to be the 
same thing as a hurdle^ and always a species o^ fence, 
whether made with the small ozier, in the manner of 
basket-work, or with stronger pieces of Avood, such as we 
see in the hurdles of sheep-folds, and even in fences still 
larger and stronger. Hurdles, therefore, or Avattles, are 
the fences of enclosures; and according to the French 


(that is, tlie Breton) investigator already alluded to, Wat- 
ling-streQt Avas so named by the Britons, because it was a 
jiaved road, leading to a sacred c?t closure^'. He means, 
then, that it led to a ivaltlcd or enclosed space ; or, more 
strictl}', to the wattles or to the enclosure. But Avith 
respect to the sanctity of the supposed enclosure, were 
these wattles, or Avas the sacred enclosure our present St. 
Paul's church-yard, upon which Watling-street actually 
abuts; and Avhich in the time of the Romans contained a 
temple of Diana, as, before the Romans, it had contained 
(we need not doubt) a temple of the Druidical worship ? 

Ikenild-street appears to be literally "the Essex road." 
It left London in an eastward direction, and penetrated 
into the country of the Iceni, or modern county of Essex, 
The name Iceni, upon the principle already adverted to of 
a variable and dialectical hard and soft sound, and conver- 
tibility of the letters Ic and c, may be written and pro- 
nounced Ileni. M. Cambry, already quoted, thinks that, 
in the syllable ild, in IkenzVrf, we are to find the modern 
English Avord old, (French, ancic?i); but does not add 
whether by the name Ikenild-street, ho therefore under- 
stands " the road of the ancient Iceni," or " the old Iceni 
roadt." This syllable, ild, is to be met with in various 
orthographies, as ild, ilde, eild, icld; as is also the entire 
name. Thus, for the same street or road, authorities give 
us Ikenild-street, Ikenield-street, Ickenield-street, Iken- 
ning-street, Hikenllde-street, Rykenield-street, and even 
Thenield-street % . In the passage of this ancient way or 
road through Berkshire, it is called " Ickleton-way." 

* " Chemin pav^ de I'enceinte sacree ; de Wattling, substan- 
tive et participle present de Wattle, " claie," " fermer de dales :" 
d'ou le plurier Wattles, "pare fait de claies." — Camu'o.y, Monu- 
mens Celtiques. 

t How is it that in the eastern part of London we liave still 
our " Old-street," and also its derivative, the " Old-street-road ? " 

:}: This last, however, appears to be no more than an error of 
the press. It is found in Bre wst eh's Encyclopedia, a Avork abound- 
ing in the most extraordinary manner Avith eiTors of that descrip- 
tion. If " Rykenield," or " Rikenield-street," which is more 
frequent, could be supposed to originate in a clerical mistake of 
R for //, then " Hykenield-strect," or " Hikenilde-street," would 
only be " Ikenield-street," Avith an aspkated iuitiak 


Ermin-street, or Herming -street, is described as an 
ancient road of considerable circuit. Departing from some 
point near London, it is supposed to have run, first, to 
Colchester, in Essex, (anciently a city of high rank, as 
■well British as Roman); and thence to Carlisle, or, 
according to others, to Chester. The name Ermin, Her- 
ming, or Herminge, appears to be Saxon, and is derived 
from Errain, the subject of the celebrated monument of 
stone, the Erminseul, and written in Latin, Arminius; 
called, sometimes, a Saxon hero, but at others, and with 
greater probability, a Saxon divinity; and the same it 
may be strongly suspected, with the equally equivocal 
Saxon, or generally German personage, " Roland," Avhose 
statue is so frequent in the market-places of Germany and 
Switzerland, and whose name is not unknown in France. 

It will not be uninstructive to the general reader, if I 
here interrupt the prescribed order of my chapter, to 
introduce a few remarks on the subject of these famous 
Roland statues. 

There is a Tour* Roland at Aries, on the Rhone, in 
France, called by another name, La Dominante. At 
Bremen, and in numerous other cities and towns in Ger- 
many and Switzerland, and particularly in Saxony, there 
are statues of Roland in the market-places. 

" Who is this famous Roland," says the English tra- 
veller, Holcroft, " a figure of whom one meets at almost 
every town ?" According to the popular account, " Roland " 
was a great champion, and one of the twelve paladins or 
peers of Charlemagne; and the same, we may perceive, 
with the Italian Orlando; but according to accounts that 
are preferable to this, these " Rolands " of the German 
cities represent no historical person Avhatever, but are 
merely the symbols of municipal authority, or of terri- 
torial jurisdiction or police. Riige, in the old German, 
signifies a court of justice or of pleas; and Riigeland 
( Rugeland, Ri'ihaid, or Roland,) is a land, territory, or 
district, endowed with the privilege of holding such a 
court within itself, or of dispensing, within its own limits, 

* Tour is the French for a tower or spire, and here implies a 



justice, both civil and criminal. Now this privilege or 
authority, and the determination to exercise it, v^as repre- 
sented by a totvn-sfafue, a weich-bild, or statue of the 
highways and market-places; and these statues, or simple 
symbols of the privileged or incorporated cities or districts, 
are the Riilands or Rolands, or properly the Riigelands- 
saiilen, or stones, or pillars, or columns of the several 
riigelands, communes or municipalities. Roland, or Rii- 
land's statues, says a German writer, are statues of a man 
in armour, foun^ in twenty-eight German cities, Der 
Roland, or Riiland, ist em riesen bild, (is a gigantic statue,) 
erected in old times, (says a German lexicographer,) in the 
market-places of certain cities of Germany. 

It would be easy to carry these explanations and this 
history much further; but we must conclude with the 
propositions, that a Riiland, or Roeland-saul, is the same 
with the well known Ermin-saul, so zealously destroyed 
by Charlemagne himself; and the same with a statue of 
Mercury or Hermes, the accompaniment (and for similar 
reasons) of Greek and Roman market-places and high- 
ways; and that, probably, tAVo of these Rolands, or Rii- 
lands, or Ermins, (the apparent sources of the name of 
Ermin-street, or Herming-street,) are the originals of the 
famous giants of the Guildhall of our English capital : one 
representing the municipal authority of the city of London, 
and the other that of the county of Middlesex. Let us 
now return to our more immediate subject of ancient 
British roads. 

In numerous other parts of Britain, besides those al- 
ready mentioned, remains of ancient British roads are still 
subsisting, as well as of Roman and others which are 
proved to have had existence by their record in ancient 
writings; and they are found, as already suggested, some- 
times accompanying, sometimes crossing each other; and 
sometimes the successive labour of British and of Roman 
hands. Their structure, their materials, the lines they 
follow, and sometimes their names, or the names of the 
places through which they pass, point out to the antiquary 
a portion, at least, of the history of their origin and later 


The Roman roads never deviated from a straight line; 
but where the surfaces opposed an impediment, the highest 
points of land, one after another, were chosen for surveying 
posts, whence another post at a considerable distance 
could be seen, and thus the direct line, was, as much as 
possible, preserved. "Sometimes," says the Wiltshire 
antiquary before quoted, "while speaking of the Foss- 
way, you are in danger of losing it through the many in- 
tersections of cross-roads; and sometimes it is enclosed 
with pastures, or passes under the side of a wood. There- 
fore, upon every hill-top, I made an observation of some 
remarkable object on the opposite high ground, which 
continued the right line, so that, by going straight forwards, 
I never failed of meeting it again." 

The natural soil, (a gravel, where it was attainable,) 
and the verdant turf, were often the only surfaces over 
which the British roads proceeded, and the sides of hills 
or ridges of land, for the sake of their dryness*: and 
the natural openings between hills, for the facilities of 
passage, and all for the abridgment of labour and cost, 
and for the smaller demand upon science and skill, were 
usually the characteristics of British roads, while, in the 
Eoman roads, we see the skill of the engineer, the rigour 
of a fixed system, a prodigality of labour and materials, 
a costly transport of the most serviceable kinds of the 
latter, a disregard of obstacles, a readiness to level heights, 
to run cause-ways through low grounds, and to open pas- 
sages refused by nature; all which contributed to make 
these latter straight in their course, and solid in their 
substance. Many Roman roads in Britain bore the 
proudest Roman names, the Julia Strata, for example, 
" the Julicm paved way." 

In the east of Scotland we have, in addition to Roman 
roads, the wall of Antoninus Pius; a wall which, like that 
of China (though upon a scale so little comparable), was 
at once a wall and a road; nor will the numerous remains 
of Roman palaces, and of other works of strength and 

* It is in situations like these that we find the British roads 
or trackways of the soiith-west of England, with the local denomi- 
nation of ridge-ways, 



grandeur, and the historical records of the residence of at 
least two Roman emperors in England (Claudius at Col- 
chester, and Constantine at York), permit us to doubt, for 
an instant, anything that has been written, or anything which 
remains in substance, to attest the care of the Romans to 
supply this island with roads, as well as with so many 
other products of civilization, during at least the latter 
part of their continuance here, which exceeded altogether 
four hundred years. IIow many topographical names 
among us still conceal the testimonies of Roman labour, 
may be guessed from an example in North Wiltshire, 
where the name "Runway Hill" has received the scarcely 
disputable interpretation of Roman- Avay Hill. 

In the mean time, while thus acknowledging our debts 
to our Roman benefactors, and specifically in the article 
of roads, it must not be omitted, once again, to take credit 
for the early British civilization as shown by their roads, 
to an extent not absurdly and visionarily extravagant, 
hut such as may be well warranted by evidence and by 
reason. The evidence of names, supposed to be Roman, 
is not always to be trusted ; and as an opposite example 
to that of Runway Hill, may be cited a road in Lincoln- 
•shire, called " Sarnelin" and '' Sarn Helen" in English, 
and Strata Helence in Latin, and set down for a Roman 
road, named after the Empress Helen. But, if the con- 
jecture of a living Gallic antiquary may be admitted, 
neither the Roman empress Helen, nor any other Helen 
whatever is concerned with this Lincolnshire road, and 
the name "Sarnelin" is a purely British compound. The 
British or Breton sar?i, according to this writer, signifies 
the same with the Latin stratum, that is pavimentum, or 
a paved road or street; and eltn, the Latin cubitus and 
conversio, in English an elbow, or turning, or winding: 
and thus " Sarnelin" becomes a curved or elbowed paved 
road or street*. It may be added to this, that many 
names of places throughout Britain have been thought to 
be of Roman origin, only because of a certain radical 
similitude of the Roman and British languages. The 
Latians or Latins, if not the Romans, were essentially as 
* Cambry, Monumens Celtiques. 


much Celts or Gauls as the Gauls in Gaul, or in the 
several Gauls, and as the British Gauls in Britain *; and 
of the Latians, or the Latins, the Romans received, 
among many other things, at least, a great part of their 
language f. With respect, however, to the single word 
street, employed in the sense of road, and occurring in its 
derivatives and compounds, in frequent examples, in our 
topography, and upon which such stress has often been 
laid, as inferring a Roman origin %, there seems reason to 
think from the wide diffusion, either of the root of the 
word or of the Roman form of it, into both Celtic and 
Teutonic vocabularies, that its use may be as well attri- 
buted to many other people as to the Romans; and that 
perhaps our English term way, (from the Latin via,) 
as occurring in ^osB-way, and in general application, is 
of more probable bequest to us, than the term street §. 
But the term street, as in the names of our Watling- 
street, Ikenilde-street, and Erming-street, may be as 
likely to be Anglo-Saxon as Roman, and as likely to be 
British, too, as either. Ystridx, or " the street," is the 

* CjEsar, in his Commentaries, appears to speak of BritaLa as 
part of Gaul ; that is, as a Gallic region, divided from continental 
Gaul only by the sea. 

f The liomans, it is tnie, carefully distinguished their race 
from the races both of Latians and Italians ; Avith both of -which, 
again, either in ancient or in modem times, foreigners might be 
apt to confound them. But the history of the Konians is so far 
this, that they were by origin a small people seated in a large 
and populous Celtic or Gallic region, and always more or less 
commingled in language, as well as in sentiment and usage, with 
the elder possessors of the soil. 

+ Thus, Stratford is Street-ford; Stratton, Stretton, and 
Streatham, are Street- towns; Streatley is a tey, tea, or meadoiv, 
traversed, or by the side of a street, or paved or high or public 
road; and Bolton-le-street and Chester-le-street are towns in 
shnilar situations, and abbreviated from " Bolton-ou-tlie-street," 
or Sur-le-street in our Norman phraseology. "The very term 
' on the street,' " says a zealous topographical anticpiary, " implies 
Eomanity ;" and again, " here are two villages of the name of 
Stretton, winch carry with them evident Roman etymology. 

^ Yet way, is perhaps as likely to have come immediately to 
ourselves from the Saxon weicli, a "road" or " way," as from the 
Latin via ; or weich may be the Germanized via ; or both words may 
perhaps have a common origin. 


modem Welsli; struct, tlie Dutcli; straete, the Saxon; 
strasse, the German; and all these may either be derived 
from the Latin strata, paved, or, with the Latin itself, 
from one Celtic root. Our lanes, which are properly of 
rural topography, are so called from the Anglo-Saxon, 
German, or Teutonic; while the courts and alleys of our 
to^vns boast of a French or a Norman original, — a dis- 
tinction as to town and country objects being always 
observable in our mixed JSTorman and Anelo-Saxon voca- 
bulary; but it is not readily to be seen Avhat else the 
Anglo-Saxons could have called our paved roads but 
streets. In our Norman-French we have called them 
chaussees (now corrupted into causeways, though more 
early into causeys), but in the Anglo-Saxon there seems 
to be no other term than street. But of streets, lanes, 
and the rest, more hereafter. 

That the Britons had passable roads, is directly to be 
inferred from their possession of wheel-carriages. That 
they had chariots or cars for war, is indubitable, and it is 
very likely that they had other wheel- carriages for pur- 
poses of peace. Their acquaintance with that great 
mechanical power, the wheel, and its application to loco- 
motion, not to speak, also, of the horse, which they had 
tamed, and knew how to harness to their chariots, leads 
us to infer that the Britons had good roads in greater or 
less number, and through a greater or smaller part of the 
country; and, with good roads, we may suppose, that 
many other appendages of a respectable civilization 
existed. Sir liichard Hoare, already quoted several 
times, believes, from tracing several of their towns and 
villages, in the risings and sinkings of the turf now grow- 
ing, that these, besides the dwellings of their inhabitants, 
had always one or more places of Druidical worship, 
regularly appropriated to each, like our present town and 
village churches; and he shows us, as disinterred by himself, 
numerous works of exquisite though singular skill in art, 
together Avith costliness in luxury; and from barrows, or 
burial-places, adjacent to the towns and villages which 
have seemed to him exclusively devoted to the burial of 
females, he has produced feminine ornaments so elegant 


and so rich, as to testify strongly to the gallantry, and 
therefore to the refinement of the opposite sex, by ■whom 
they must have been made and bestowed ; and to make it 
incontrovertible that they had a foreign commerce to en- 
rich them, especially with gold, — so that they either im- 
ported expensive works of art from foreign shores, or they 
paid for the production of them at home. 

The Britons, in short, were by race and origin, by 
language, by manners and customs, by arts and by 
continued eastern intercourse, an eastern people, — a 
people connected directly and indirectly with the shores of 
the Mediterranean Sea, and with all the seats of ancient 
civilization situate inland from those shores : with Egypt, 
with Syria, and with Carthage, — and all this, ages before 
the arrival of the Romans. 

The early voyages of the Phoenicians from Syria, and of 
the Carthaginians from Africa, to the south-western parts 
of Britain, are subjects of well- attested history, especially so 
far as relates to the ancient exportation of our tin. There 
is no reason, however, to doubt that this commercial inter- 
course had its influence in Britain beyond the simple 
limits of the coasts, and that it introduced (if they needed 
it) Phoenician, Carthaginian, Egyptian, and other oriental 
tendencies of language, customs, and manners. It may be 
questioned, nevertheless, whether the term sarsen, to be 
heard in Somersetshire, is necessarily so purely, or so ex- 
clusively Carthaginian, as described by Dr. Stukeley. It 
may have been a term used in Carthage, and yet native in 
Britain also, and derived by both from a common eastern 
source. By the term sarsen is understood, in Somerset- 
shire and the south-west of England, what are otherwise 
called boulder-stones, and in some places by a similitude, 
greij-w ethers, from looking upon the downs like sheep. 
In Somersetshire, and other places, these rounded masses 
of rock overlay the turf, which itself often covers nothing 
but a chalk stratum, which is still the constant wonder of 
geology ! But the term applied to these masses is, accord- 
ing to Stukeley, Carthaginian. But for objects so rude, 
and so strictly native, the Britons had surely a native 
term ; and may there not be some relation between the 


British term " sarsen," a rock or stone, and the Brilish 
term " sarn," a pavement, or paved road, attributed to the 
British list of terms in the case of "Sarnelin," or "Sarn 
Helen?" But to return: — 

The British war-chariots, almost identical with those of 
ancient Egypt, of ancient Greece, and of all the ancient 
countries of the Mediterranean, which by themselves 
speak so much for the general civilization which they 
must have accompanied, will be described when we 
treat expressly of wheel-carriages, but are referred to at 
present only as they assist our right estimation of the con- 
temporary British roads. In adverting, however, with due 
respect to those roads, it is not to be understood that we 
are quite prepared to agree with those who believe the 
ancient Britons to have carried the road-making for their 
war-chariots to such an extent of industry and enterprise 
as to have cut successions of terraces, or of roads, as it 
were, in steps upon the sides of the hills and mountains, 
with reference to the contingent movements of their 
warriors, and scenes of possible affray and battle. These 
terraces are remarked in England and in Scotland ; but 
in avowed deficiency of actual inspection on a large scale, 
it may yet be pardoned us if we say that Ave fancy them 
to pertain rather to geological science than to the history 
of either roads or warfare. That the Britons did cut ter- 
races, we are quite willing to allow, since we have in- 
spected a series of them now existing, in a fine state of 
preservation, at Downton, in Wiltshire ; but these are so 
arranged as to remind one of the raised seats of an amphi- 
theatre, with a stage of verdant turf in the centre, pro- 
bably for the exhibition of gladiatorial feats, than of ways 
or roads for the passages of chariots and horses. Terraces 
on a large scale yet exist in the wilds of North America, 
where, as we repeat, whatever may have been the state of 
ancient Mexican civilization, wheel-carriages seem never 
to have been known ; yet these American terraces are 
probably of natural origin, (small, it is true, if the work 
of nature, and stupendous, if the work of man.) and mark 
the successive levels of the subsiding ocean, which once 
covered, perhaps, the entire continent. But, Avhatever the 


origin of these American terraces, we may also be per- 
mitted to add that reguLirity and equal heights, as well as 
the horizontal levels of these terraces, make them objects 
of continual interest to the traveller, as likewise the uni- 
formity of their numbers, according to the heights of the 
several hills or mountains. Each terrace is always an 
embankment of uniform equal height from its own base ; 
but the terraces rise one above another, according to the 
height of the hill or mountain in question ; such that the 
present level of the waters will allow of the appearance of 
the given number of terraces (always of equal height 
among each other), and no more, upon its side. The 
most general number is three, and this number is seldom 
exceeded; but upon the higher mountains five may be 
counted, and upon those of a lower elevation only two, or 
even only one. The level of the waters and of the base- 
ment of the mountains was the same, and the only dif- 
ference was in the height of the circumjacent mountains, 
exposed, in consequence, to more or fewer markings from 
the waters. Thus, if in the sketch below, a mountain rose 
to the height shown by fig. 1, or to that in fig. 2, it had 
one or two terraces accordingly ; while if it rose to the 

Fi-. 1. Fife'- 2. 

height shown in fig. 3, or to that of fig. 4, it had three 
terraces, or four, according to the height. Of this kind, 

Fig. 3. Fig. 4. 

for example, is the beautiful basin in which stands Lake 
Ontario, in Upper Canada ; the lake is surrounded by an 

D 3 


amphitlieatre of lofty and terraced land (the terraces rising, 
three in number), each terrace retires further and further 
from the borders of the lake, and each is as much at a 
level Avith the horizon as the calmest part of the waters of 
the lake. It is from viewing these spectacles, as well as 
from other considerations, that, with all our esteem for 
ancient British roads, and for other ancient British works 
of art, we are led to doubt the origin of the terraced hills 
in England and Scotland, when this origin is referred to 
the road-making of the ancient Britons, or to any prepa- 
ration for the passage of their Avar-chariots. 

That the countries of the eastern hemisphere, enjoying 
temperate climates, and therefore adapted to the growth 
of cities and commerce, had roads more or less consi- 
derable, and that they improved them from very early 
dates, is what those Avho have been properly instructed in 
general ancient history will have little difficulty in believ- 
ing. That India, therefore, and even Tartary, China, and 
Japan, had good and useful roads, and that the same may 
be said of Persia, Assyria, Syria, Egypt, Greece, Italj-, 
and the countries reaching from the shores of the Medi- 
terranean, to the heart of our own island, will scarcely 
afford to any reader occasion for surprise ; but as to the 
western hemisphere, which contains America, or the New 
World, all are so much accustomed to think that region 
new, not only as to European discovery, but as to all 
human discovery, even to its own population, that to 
speak of ancient roads, and those of the most elaborate 
and most perfect workmanship, in any part of the world 
of Columbus, will startle, at least, some of those who may 
make acquaintance with them for the first time in these 

The roads, and even the establishments for regular 
posts, in ancient Peru, are topics somewhat familiarized 
to European knowledge by means of a variety of writings 
long since given to the world ; but the subject of the 
roads, along with many other works of art and monu- 
ments of industry and civilization, in ancient Mexico, has 
lain in comparative and extraordinary neglect, almost to 
the day before us. Yet the roads of ancient Mexico are 


now described to us, from the view of existing remains, 
in terms which leave behind them all that has ever been 
said of the roads of ancient Peru, and absolutely allow no 
claim to superiority even for the stupendous roads of 
ancient Rome : terms which Ave may readily credit, if we 
compare these roads with the remains of Mexican cities, 
which are now, in like manner, described to us ; and Avith 
respect to which our single ground of astonishment must 
arise from the consideration, that, numerous as the popu- 
lation is presumed to have been, numerous and massive 
as were the edifices of the cities, these roads should have 
been constructed to resist the Avear of the heaviest bur- 
dens and traffic in a country, and at a time, when, for all that 
has yet appeared, there was not the smallest acquaintance 
Avith AA'heel-carriages. 

Excepting for the absence of every shadow of CAddence 
that the inhabitants of the mighty city of Paleuca, or 
'of Otulum, or Colucan, had, at any time, the convenience 
of the humblest description of Avheel-carriage, the accounts 
noAv given us of the ruins, still to be Adsited, of that city, 
laight Avell prepare us for the accompanying accounts of 
its adjacent roads. Seated upon the banks of the river 
Otulum, though upon an elevation of five thousand feet 
above the level of the sea, and overgrown Avith almost 
impenetrable forests, in Avhich many of the existing gene- 
ration of trees are estimated by woodmen at the age of 
nine hundred years, buildings of hewn stone, more or less 
uninjured at this time, but surrounded with broken and 
crumbling stones, columns, and sculptures, cover a space 
exceeding twenty-four miles in length, and two miles in 
breadth, at the extremity Avhich was first entered by the 
explorers, and sixty miles in circumference. An ancient 
population of three millions of souls, some Avi-iters venture 
to assign to it. We repeat, then, that if the facts just 
stated were all that remain to be considered, Ave could 
easily understand from them hoAV it is that remains or 
roads, more or less perfect, and more or less extensive, 
are found in Mexico, and the countries southward ; and 
not only in the immediate vicinity of such ancient cities, 
but at considerable distances, elaborately constructed, like 


the Roman Prsetorian or military roads, of large squared 
blocks of stone, and with other distinctions, in the highest 
degree demonstrative of wealth, industry, and skill. Like 
our modern rail-roads, and to a degree beyond what was 
observed by the Romans, these ancient American roads 
were carried along continued levels ; and it is added, that 
those western artificers constructed — besides these level 
roads, and besides galleries, tunnels, or subterranean 
passes, and besides aquaducts — lines of what are called 
viaducts^ traversing uneven surfaces, and parapetted 
along the edges of acclivities, all having marks of division 
into distances, answering to our mile-stones, and all 
having here, as in Peru, regular stations for the public posts. 
It will be interesting to the reader, if we state the 
sources of this information. The ruins of the city, called 
by its Spanish discoverer El Cittdad del Paleiique, or 
Palenca, or the City of the Desert, or of the wilderness or 
forest, were discovered in the year 17 i')6, but left wholly 
unexplored till after a lapse of thirty years ; and even 
from 1786, when it was minutely examined, and described, 
"with the assistance of drawings, by Captain Don Antonio 
del Rio, under the orders of the Crown of Spain, the 
■whole narrative, and the concomitant drawings, remained 
buried in the library of the Escurial till within a very 
recent date. The ruins in question are situated in the 
province of Ciudad real Chiapa, in the late kingdom of 
Guatemala, upon the north-eastern coast of that country, 
and to the south of the port and city of Vera Cruz, and 
distant 240 miles from Tobasco, and a thousand miles 
from Mexico, though joined under a general view with 
our notions of the JMexican empire and history. The city 
has been called the capital of the kingdom of the Tyen- 
dales, the whole of Avhich is said to have been highly 
populous so lately as the first arrival of the Spaniards in 
America, and is described by Don Domingo Juarros under 
the name of Colhuccm; while by Professor Raffinesque it 
is called Otulum, from the name of its river, at the dis- 
tance of a mile and a-half from which the ruins begin to 
appear. A writer now living in New York, compiling an 
account of the city from the Spanish authorities, observes 


that it Avas ten times the size of -what New York -was, 
even in the last year, 1838. It may be added in England, 
that if a population of three millions can really be as- 
signed Avith safety to this ancient capital of the Tyendales, 
the amount surpasses, by considerably more than twice, 
that of the whole population of modern London and its 
environs. Ancient cities, however, always covered so 
much more ground than the modern, or, at least, than the 
modern European cities, in proportion to the population, 
that to hazard a statement of the population of this 
ancient city of America from the mere measurement of its 
area, or even from the number and size of its buildings, 
may be thought rash ; and what other guides remain to 
us, in this instance of the city of the Tyendales, it does 
not appear to be known. 

But the ancient roads which in various degrees of pre- 
servation arc still found, and even ordinarily frequented in 
various parts of the British Islands, are many of them of 
a far earlier origin than anything for which we are 
indebted to the Romans. That roads, in proportion to 
their workmanship and extent, are testimonials, in all 
countries, of the civilization of the agent to which they 
can be referred, is a proposition assumed in these pages ; 
and the question of the real amoimt of ante-Roman civi- 
lization at any time subsisting in, at least, the more 
favoured parts of our islands, is one, perhaps, not entirely 
obscure, nor yet entirely without interest in its solution ; 
but we must content ourselves with adverting to the two 
simple facts ; the one that the Britons had roads in greater 
or less number, and in greater or less perfection be- 
fore the arrival of the Romans; and that, as to many 
of those roads, they remain, and are frequented to this day. 
But as to the Romans, it is said that, in the roads 
constructed in Britain by themselves, they usually ran 
them very much in a line with the ancient British roads, 
though there Avas one essential difference between the two 
systems of road-making, sufficient to ensure frequent se- 
parations of their several parts. The Britons, as might 
be expected of a poor and comparatively artless and 
unskilful people, Avound their roads almost as the country 


permitted, seeking, for the sake of dryness, and perhaps 
for greater safety of travel, high and commanding surfaces 
over which to pass, though lengthening thereby the 
journey ; while the Romans, at ease as to labour and 
money, and provided with competent artificers, rarely de- 
viated, in submission to natural diificulties, from a straight 
line, in proceeding from place to place. They raised 
causeways, as we have seen, through marshes ; threw 
bridges over rivers ; removed rocks ; lowered hills, or 
hewed their way through them. Consequently, the British 
and Roman roads, though they often began and terminated 
at the same place with each other ; yet they incessantly 
parted and met again through all the interval. But fur- 
ther, as I have before remarked, even when they were 
the ori"-inal makers of the roads, either of their earlier 
territory itself, or of its later increase, it was a common 
practice with them to carry two roads from the same 
place of beginning, to the same place of ending ; and 
uniformly to run their military roads distinct, and yet by 
the side of their public roads ; and, from one or all of these 
causes, it is easy to imagine that, even when the Romans 
partially adopted the ancient British or native roads*, 
British and Roman roads were continually crossed and 
intermixed, as well as sometimes adopted for each other. 
Nor were the Romans the only masters of the British 
soil who took advantage of the ancient British roads in 
the formation of their own. The eai-ly history of the 
Wans Dyke is, indeed, unsettled ; but that this celebrated 
road affords an example of this practice of adoption, seems 
in a high degree probable. Its name of Wans Dyke, or 
Woden's Dyke, or Odin's Dyke, it seems to owe to the 
Anglo-Saxons ; but " the Wans Dyke," says a topographi- 
cal antiquary, " which has been traced for nearly sixty 
miles, I believe to be truly the Foss-road, one of the four 
greater highways originally formed by the Britons." It 
was by the side also of the Wans Dyke, as we observed 
before, that the Romans carried their great road from 
Bath to London. 

• Such were the vise patrice, or country roads, so called by the 
Romans in Britain, and in their other provinces. 


The ancient British roads, established before the Ho- 
man conquest, are particularly distinguishable, as our 
readers may have been led to expect, from their not fol- 
lowing those straight lines which are the constant charac- 
teristic of the Roman roads. Less, or very little assisted 
by art, the British roads were so made as to include all 
natural circumstances, in order to an easy formation ; and 
were therefore wound along the ridges or high grounds, 
Avhich were afforded by the surface ; Avhence they are often 
denominated ridge-ways. They pass along the tops or 
sides of the chains of hills, or lesser eminences, which lie 
in the required direction. Along their course they fre- 
quently throw out branches, which, after running parallel 
with the original stem for miles, are again united to it. 
The track of an ancient British road is distinguished to 
this day by the mounds which are seen along its sides, 
and by various banks and hollows which are the marks 
where villages, towns, and the cultivation and divisions 
of land into small parcels, have once been. These are 
often seen at the crossing of two roads, and always upon 
high ground ; for the Britons were intent, or at least more 
habituated, to dwell in commanding situations, for security 
against enemies, than to seek the shelter of the valleys 
against the injuries of weather ; and they did not build, 
it is said, in lower situations, until after the arrival of the 

If the towns and roads of the Britons, as they were 
found by the Romans, appeared to the latter convenient 
for themselves, they adopted either or both; but with 
the addition of their own works of art, and civil and 
military arrangements. In other cases, they ran new 
roads in lines parallel with those of the Britons. 

The Anglo-Saxons made roads of stone, and cement 
or mortar, and of stone and wood ; and roads for carriages 
distinct from bridle-roads, or roads for horses. They 
called the Roman roads by the name of military roads, 
and the British by that of country roads. 

One of the marks, in the eyes of the antiquary, of the 
Roman origin of roads is the peculiar mode of their con- 
struction. Their military or praetorian roads were some- 



times paved ^vitll deep beds of pebbles, and at otber 
times -vvith blocks of free-stone, usually a foot and a-half 
in thickness. Deep beds of pebbles, found as the ancient 
foundations of roads, generally indicate their Roman origin. 
In England, there is a Roman road distinguished in this 
manner, near Scarborough, and Bridlington, or Burlington 

Another mark in England of the Roman origin of roads 
is their retention of the Roman name of street; a term upon 
■which remarks have been already made in this chapter: 
in which Roman " streets" in England are of course in- 
cluded the four principal remains of the kind, each de- 
parting from London, as from a centre, and in general 
■vvell-known, as was said, by their respective names of 
Watling-street, Ikenild-street, Erminage-street, and the 
Foss-way. In England, however, and in other parts of 
Britain, as also in many other countries, which were at one 
time provinces of the Roman empire, there still remain 
native roads, called by the Romans, viwferw; which roads 
were found by the conquerors in the country ; and even at 
this moment, the merits and characteristics of many of 
them are open to our personal inspection. 

Thus far have we discussed the subject of ancient Ro- 
man roads in Britain, and of ancient native British roads. 
From this two-fold subject the transition Avill be easy to 
modern British roads, and thence to modern roads in 

An ancient War-Chariot. 


Eemai-ks on modern Roads. — History of modern Turnpike- 
roads. — Oriffin of the Mail. — Undulations and Lines of Roads. 
Requisites of Good Roads. — Mac Adam. — Telford. — Parlia- 
mentary Inquiry. — Gravel-roads. — Macadamizing. — Founda- 
tions of Roads. — Telford's Holyhead Road. — Drainage. — 
Highgate-archway Road. — Repair of Roads. — Continental 
Roads. — Paved Roads. — Asphalte Roads. — Road-scraper. — 

In coming to tlie subject of modern roads, we remark all 
the excellencies Avhich appertain to a garden-walk, and 
the path of a park, Avhich latter is usually entered at the 
site of an elegant lodge, are now brought to bear both 
ujjon the high and bye-roads of these kingdoms. They 
are used and enjoyed, not only by royalty and nobility, 
but even by the humblest of our race. 

We have seen in former chapters how sensible the 
Romans were of the value of roads ; so much so, that 
the government itself took them under its especial pro- 
tection. That great people spared neither labour nor 
expense to carry their roads from the centre of their 
empire to its remotest dependencies. The readier march 
of their armies was undoubtedly an impelling motive to 
this ; but the easier intercourse of the several parts of 


this great empire was another advantage, whicli their 
wisdom and prudence foresaw. We find, also, on the 
authority of the Roman historians, that Semiramis, Queen 
of Assja-ia, being so fully convinced of the importance of 
an easy and general intercourse, applied herself to render 
the roads available throughout the whole extent of her 

The transition from ancient Roman and British roads 
to the roads of the moderns is exceedingly abrupt. On 
the decline of the Roman empire the roads gradually 
became neglected ; and, during the dark ages, they came 
to be reckoned among the ruins of a great and mighty 
people which had passed away. It is now difficult to 
ascertain what the state of the roads was at different 
times, from the revival of learning to the end of the last 
century. The improvement of roads was of necessity 
slow, because the arts of constructing and directing them 
were not well understood until very recently. Sweden 
seems to have been the first kinjrdom in which the con- 
dition of the high-roads at all approached their present 
state of excellence. 

In our own country, from the time of the departure of 
the Romans to the revolution of 1688, foreign invasions 
and intestine commotions occupied our ancestors so much, 
as to make them incapable of improving their means of 
internal communication. The roads, over which mer- 
chandise was carried on horses' backs, seem to have been 
little better than foot paths, or well-beaten sheep tracts. 

In the year 1285, the first act of parliament was 
passed relating to roads. In 1346 a toll was levied on 
carts or carriages travellinc: from Saint Giles'-in-the- 
Fields to Temple-Bar. In the reign of Henry the Eighth, 
the first important attempt at improvement was made, by 
an act, allotting to parishes the care of the roads passing 
through them, and appointing road-surveyors. The funds 
were to be obtained from a pound-rate, levied on the land- 
holders, and assistance in labour was enforced. 

One of the most notable circumstances in the history 
of English roads, is the establishment of a toll, to be 
paid by the passers along the road, in order to defray a 



portion or the whole of the expense incurred in keeping 
the road in repair. This plan "was first adopted, Ave 
believe, in the year 1663, in the fifteenth year of the 
reign of Charles II. It did not apply, in the first instance, 
to England generally, but its operation was confined to 
the counties of Hertford, Cambridge, and Huntingdon. 

The act ordained, that the justices of the peace were 
to appoint persons to take " sumes of money in the name 
of Toll or Custome, to bee paid for all such horses, carts, 
coaches, waggons, droves, and gangs of cattell as shall 
passe that waye." The tolls were, for a horse one penny, 
a coach sis-pence, a wagon one shilling, a cart eight-pence, 
a score of sheep or lambs one half-penny, a score of oxen 
five-pence, a score of hogs two-pence. 

It was naturally anticipated that a new law such as 
this, however much it might conduce to keep the public 
roads in good ordei", might meet with some opposition ; 
and severe penalties were incurred by those who slighted 
the law. If any person refused to pay the toll, the horse, 
coach, or whatever it might be that was passing along the 
road, was detained and distrained until the toll was paid. 

It would appear that this act was not much relished; 
for seven years afterwards, in another act relating to 


liigliways, a clause was introduced, relative to the inter- 
ference or obstruction to the taking of toll. It was 
enacted, that if any person forcibly opposed the detection 
of cattle, &c., for non-payment of toll, he should be fined 
forty shillings, and confined in prison until the fine was 

At a subsequent period, mobs used to collect, and 
pull down or destroy the turnpike-gates; the military 
were often called out to quell the disturbances occasioned 
by these disagreements ; and, at the same time, a penalty 
of seven years' imprisonment was awarded against those 
who should continue these unlawful proceedings. 

But, notwithstanding, the progress of improvement 
was very slow. We read of a journey from Glasgow to 
London, in the year 1 739, performed by two persons on 
horseback ; there being no turnpike road till they arrived 
at Grantham, within 110 miles of London. Up to that 
point they travelled on a narrow causeway with an un- 
made soft road on each side of it. They occasionally met 
with strings of pack-horses, from thirty to forty in a gang. 

carrying goods. The leading horse of the troop carried a 
bell, to warn passengers coming in an opposite direction ; 
and the travellers were then compelled to make Avay for 
them, and pass into the road-side, since the causeway did 
not afford room for both. In 17o4 improved turnpike- 
roads were made; but the opposition attending their 
first introduction was renewed, and so difficult was it to 
reconcile the people to such a change, that in the reign of 


George the Second, an act was passed, making it felony 
to destroy a toll-bar. 

So inveterate is custom, that the in4;roduction of an 
improvement which tends to destroy old usages, incon- 
venient though they be, generally raises a host of alarmists 
who regard the novelty as a sure proof of the degenera- 
tion of our species, and a sign of the decline of the 
nation. At the introduction of turnpikes, the counties 
round London petitioned parliament against the extension 
of turnpike-roads into the more distant counties, lest 
these latter, having better facility for communicating with 
the metropolis, might undersell the former, in respect of 
hay, corn, &c., in the London market ; whereby the culti- 
vation of the ground round London would be ruined. The 
contrary of this has fallen out to be the case : for, although 
turnpike-roads have ramified throughout the kingdom, the 
prices of all kinds of meal-produce, and the rents of land 
have rise7i in the neighbourhood of the metropolis. Again, 
a Avriter in the beginning of the seventeenth century speaks 
of the establishment of stage-coaches " as one of the 
greatest mischiefs that have happened of late years to the 
kingdom — mischievous to the public, destructive to trade, 
and prejudicial to lands." In our chapter on wheel-car- 
riages we will say more on this subject; but we may here 
mention, that with the improvement of the roads came the 
improvement of the vehicles which travel over them — espe- 
cially of mail-coaches and carts engaged in carrying the . 
correspondence of the nation. It will excite surprise at 
the present day, when we state, that in the middle of the 
last century the mail-bags were conveyed in small carts, 
or on horses, and that the post was one of the slowest and 
most easily robbed conveyances in the country. Previous 
to 1784, the letter-bags were conveyed by post-boys, who 
were badly paid, and whose characters for integrity were 
of a very doubtful description. They travelled on bad 
horses, and were in no way able to defend themselves 
from the attacks of robbers: indeed, the way-laying of 
these post-boys for the purpose of robbery was of frequent 
occurrence, and strong suspicion was often entertained 
that the boys and the robbers were in league. 


About this time a plan was proposed by Mr. Palmer, 
of tbe Bath Post-office, for the conveyance of letters with 
greater speed and safety, as well as economy. He pro- 
posed the discontinuance of the horse-post, and the em- 
ployment of coaches furnished with a well-armed guard 
to prevent robbery. That the times of the mail-coaches 
for leaving the country towns should be so regulated as to 
secure, as far as possible, their simultaneous arrival in 
London at an early hour every morning : and that all of 
them should leave London every evening at the same 
hour. These suggestions met with considerable opposi- 
tion; but they were eventually adopted, and the first 
mail-coach on the new plan left London for Bristol on 
the 2nd of August, 1 784. Mail-coaches soon extended to 
every part of the empire ; and while the letters were con- 
veyed more rapidly and safely than under the old system, 
the coaches themselves offered a more desirable mode of 
travelling than on horseback. 

On the first establishment of roads, the narrow paths 
made by horses and foot-travellers were adopted and 
enlarged; and gravel and other materials obtained from 
the neighbourhood were laid down. This origin is suffi- 
cient to account for the windings and rapid slopes, which 
even the present roads frequently present. We know 
that the road preferred by the foot-passenger is not 
always that Avhich is preferable for carriages and horses: 
the limit of the slopes beyond which it would not be 
desirable to proceed, is less restricted for foot- travellers 
than for horses ; and less for these again than for loaded 

The primitive foot-roads or horse-tracks were neces- 
sarily tortuous; every obstacle which the ground pre- 
sented being sufficient to turn the traveller out of his 
natural direction. Many of these roads were carried over 
hills, to avoid marshes which are perhaps now drained off 
or dried up ; others deviated from their direct course, in 
order to be able to communicate with the fords of rivers, 
which are now passable by means of bridges. 

As trade, manufactures, and the wants of the commu- 
nity increased, the roads were gradually made more straight. 


and the abrupt-ness of their turns and slopes diminished : 
but as our country now here presents those immense plains 
whose level admits of perfectly horizontal roads to any con- 
siderable extent, we still find with all our improvements in 
levelling, that the roads are varied by gentle slopes and 
constant undulations. Indeed, perfectly horizontal roads 
would not in England be preferred ; for it is stated by 
experienced horsemen, that such roads are more fatiguing 
both to horses and foot-travellers than a road interspersed 
with gentle undulations : because, say they, the alterna- 
tions of ascent, descent, and level ground requiring, in turn, 
the exercise of difi'erent muscles, aiford rest to those 
which are for the time least exerted; and thus all the 
muscles are in succession brought into action*. 

Our island is diversified with such an agreeable con- 
trast of hill and dale, as gives a charm to its landscapes; 
but this feature has not always been favourable to the 
construction of good roads. At the time of their forma- 
tion, care has not always been taken, in carrying them over 
hilly countries, to select the least elevated sites, so as to 
render the highest point of ascent conveniently low. In 
many cases this might easily have been done, by leading 
the line of road through valleys, or along the brows of hills. 
But, for some years past, our engineers have been engaged 
in diminishing the too rapid slopes of the old roads, and 
in endeavouring to preserve the same degree of slope along 
the whole length of ascent, so that the summits of eleva- 
tions are frequently reduced by cutting, and the materials 
thus removed are usually employed in raising the lower 
part of the road. It has been calculated that very few of 
these slopes should exceed two degrees of inclination; 
and Mr. Telford has adopted this proportion as the basis 
of his improvements on the road which passes" through 

* Mr. Stephenson, however, does not agree in the opinion 
that an undulating road is easier for the horses than a level one. 
He asked the opinion of Dr. John Barclay, a comparative ana- 
tomist, on the subject of the anatomy of the horse, with reference 
to this question. His opinion was hostile to the idea ; and he 
said that, if the horse were allowed to consult his own ease, he 
would quite disregard Hogarth's " Line of Beauty." 


Wales and the Isle of Anglesea. The ascents of this road 
were, at one time so great as to vary from X2" to A per 
unit of hoi-izontal length or distance. In proportion as 
these ascents were fatiguing, the descents were dangerous, 
particularly for SAvift travelling vehicles. 

We have stated that in this country perfectly horizontal 
roads are not practicable, and that they would not be pre- 
ferred; so that the perfectly straight roads of the old 
Romans would not suit the English taste. But so long as 
the windings of a road do not form any very considerable 
angles with its direct course, the straight road is very 
little shorter than the winding road; and the latter costs 
but little more for its construction and support ; and the 
transports Avhich are made upon it require only a little 
addition of time and strensrth. '"These little turninjrs," 
says Dupin, (whose agreeable and valuable work on our 
country has greatly assisted us in the present chapter,) 
"these little turnings produce an agreeable effect with 
reference to the surrounding scenery; so that the road 
becomes an ornament to the country, and the country 
itself is exhibited to the best advantage to the eye of the 
traveller, Avho, by the course of the road, is led to those 
points which command the most pleasing prospects. 
Why should we neglect this mode of enhancing the en- 
joyment of the beauties of nature, when in our cities we 
expend such considerable sums in futile amusements, and 
in pleasures less pure and positive?" It may also be 
added that by giving a gentle winding direction to the 
roads, the traveller is relieved from the fatiguing and 
tiresome., prospect of a course which seems intermin- ■ 
able. JkoA'f. It-^ <? 'ffif Jt- ^^^/vc/i {'''> 

The principle's upon which roads ought to be constructed, 
have been recently, and to a certain extent, developed 
throu2;h the skill and attention of modern enjrineers. 
The fine roads which have been formed within the last 
twenty years, and which continue, with only slight occa- 
sional repairs, to fulfil the conditions required of a perfect 
road, ouijht to be taken as models; and no variations 
alloAved, except on strictly scientific grounds. The con- 
ditions of a good road are thus plainly defined by Mr. 


Mac Adam: "A road ought to be considered as an arti- 
ficial flooring, forming a strong, smooth, solid surface, at 
once capable of carrying great Aveights, and over which 
carriages may pass without meeting any impediment." 

Hardness and smoothness, then, are the great requisites 
of a good road. One of the greatest impediments to 
travelling on a soft road is this: when a wheel presses 
down soft soil, a ridge is formed, not only at the sides, 
but in front of the wheel, and this front ridge exercises 
an enormous eftect. " If a coach or wagon, Aveighing 
60 cwt.," says a practical raoderu writer, " supported by 
wheels four feet in diameter, formed a new rut an inch 
deep in a smooth road, the length of the part immersed 
being about fourteen inches, the horizontal resistance from 
the raised ridge in front would be about ^x^^ of the 
weight, upon the lovA'est supposition that is at all admis- 
sible, and more probably about ^th, or from 6 to 7 cwt. at 
least; and if the rut Avere two inches deep, the resistance 
would be half as much more. An increase in the dia- 
meter of the wheel obviously reduces this horizontal re- 
sistance." In the formation of roads the variations are 
principally Avith respect to their Avidth. 

The limits of by-roads have been prescribed by laAv as 
follows: — foot-paths, six feet and a-half Avide ; horse-roads, 
eight feet; carriage-roads, tAA'enty feet. For turnpike- 
roads, at the approach to populous toAA^ns, the prescribed 
width is sixty feet; but this Avidth is by no means ahvays 
obtained. Before the grand improvements in road-making, 
Avhich Avere introduced chiefly by Telford and Mac Adam, 
the Avidth of the roads, at a short distance from many of 
our principal towns, Avas only eighteen feet, and some- 
times not more than thirteen feet; so that the meeting of 
rapidly-moving vehicles, and the passage of numerous 
flocks and herds, occasioned great delay, and frequently 
gave rise to serious accidents. To the remedy of these 
inconveniences, the attention of the road-trustees, as also 
of Parliament, was for a long time earnestly directed ; 
and the public roads are uoaa-, probably in every part of 
the kingdom, sufficiently spacious to aff"ord facility to con- 
veyances pertaining to the most extensive trade. 



On the subject of the width of roads, M. Dupln intro- 
duces an elegant remark: "It is absurd," says he, "to 
allow roads in the least-frequented districts, to preserve 
the same dimensions as those which lead to the capital 
and great towns. Many persons, however, regard this 
excessive width of the public roads as a' sign, and almost 
as an emblem, of moral and political greatness. They 
judo-e of empires according to the amplitude of these 
superb and expensive zones, as the vulgar judge of great 
noblemen, according to the breadth and glitter of the 
lace which adorns the liveries of their servants. Let us 
hope that in due time the progress of reason will banish 
these absurd opinions." 

A oreat deal of discussion has taken place on the extent 
to Avhich roads should be elevated in the centre, or de- 
pressed towards the sides, in order to allow water to drain 
off. One great fault of badly-made roads is the forma- 
tion of ruts, one by each wheel, and another by the 
horses' feet. These ruts retain much water, keep the 
road in a constant state of ruin, and allow no dry path for 
foot-passengers. To remedy this, some roads have been 
made to slope at one of their sides only, so as to leave the 
higher side dry, and passable to foot-passengers. Ditches 
also are dug along the road, which allow the water to drain 
off. The great convexity of the old roads caused many 
serious accidents from the upsetting of carriages, and, 
-taking advantage of the lessons of experience, our modern 
road-makers have considerably diminished the convexity 
of their structures. Indeed, Mr. Mac Adam says, " I 
consider a road should be as flat as possible with regard to 
allowing the water to run off at all, because a carriage 
ought to stand upright in travelling. I have generally- 
made roads three inches higher in the centre than at the 
sides, when they are eighteen feet wide; if the road be 
smooth and well made, the water will run off very easily 
in such a slope." And again, he says: " When a road is 
made flat, people will not follow the middle of it, as they 
do, when it is made extremely convex. In very convex 
roads, travellers generally follow the track in the middle, 
which is the only place where a carriage can stand upright, 


by ^vhich. means three furrows are made by tlie horses 
and the wheels, and the water continually stands there; 
and I think that more water actually stands upon a very 
convex road than on one which is reasonably flat." And 
in Mr. Telford's celebrated road, he has given for the 
transversal inclination no more than that which is pro- 
duced by a rise of eight inches in a width of thirty-three 

One great cause of the superiority of British roads over 
the roads of other countries, consists in the abundance of 
road-making materials which this country produces. The 
ground, too, over which the roads are traced, is, in most 
parts, naturally very firm, from being composed of a mix- 
ture of sand, gravel, and flint, which enables the water to 
filter easily through it, and thus leaves the road dry almost 
directly after rain. " The climate of England, too, though 
habitually damp, is not subject to those heavy torrents of 
rain which occasion such a rapid destruction of the roads 
in more southern countries. These causes, however, are 
not sufficient to account for the excellence of the roads in 
Great Britain; for in many parts of the north of England, 
and in Wales, where heavy rains are frequent, and where 
the waters run in rapid torrents, public roads have been 
constructed of a perfectly good quality. Indeed, even 
on marshy and clayey soils, roads have been formed re- 
markable for their solidity, durability, and dryness." — 


The materials employed in road-making diff'er according 
to the mineral productions of the counties through which 
the roads pass. For example, in Essex, Sussex, Shrop- 
shire, and Staffordshire, flints mixed with sand are em- 
ployed. In Somersetshire, Gloucestershire, and Wilt- 
shire, limestone is commonly used. This latter substance 
offers but little resistance, and its durability is therefore 
small; but when properly prepared and laid down, it 
forms a compact road, and binds more readily than any 
other road-making material. 

In the report of the Parliamentary Committee on the 
highvrays of the kingdom, we find, in the minutes of the 
evidence taken, some curious and valuable information 



offered by engineers, coacli-proprletors, and persons con- 
cerned in the making and using of roads. Althougli 
several years have elapsed since the date of this inquiry, 
yet the subject is still new and applicable. The " ex- 
perimental pavements" in Oxford-street, Avhich, at the 
time we write, are being tested, — the state of our roads in 
inclement weather, and the slowness and difficulty of the 
passage of vehicles over them, — the conflicting opinions 
which still exist among the best road-makers, — all this 
proves that we have hitherto by no means arrived at per- 
fection in the art of road-making. The following informa- 
tion will, therefore, be acceptable to such of our readers 
as desire to know the qualifications of a good road, and 
the tests whereby to distinguish a bad one; what materials 
are good and what are worthless; how good materials 
may be made bad, and bad materials be converted to use- 
ful purposes. These, and many other connecting subjects, 
will usefully employ our time and attention in the present 
chapter, since one of the very best modes of ensuring im- 
provement, is to convince every member of the community 
of its necessity and advantage. 

A few years ago, it was stated on good authority, as a 
remarkable fact, that the great high roads leading into 
London, and which from their beauty were the admiration 
of foreigners, were formed of the worst materials: viz., a 
kind of argillaceous gravel and small flinty nodules, which, 
from their spherical form, were prevented from uniting 
like broken stones, whose flat surfaces come in contact, 
and produce, by the pressure of the wheels, a compact 
mass, which becomes daily more solid. But there are 
some absurd laws and regulations with respect to Avater- 
carriage, detailed by Mr. Mac Adam in his evidence, which 
prevent the transport of good road-materials to London 
by the Thames, and the numerous canals which converge 
to the capital. 

Roads formed Avith gravel mixed with earth are always 
bad. The rain converts the earth into a mass of thick 
heavy mud; but, if care be taken to wasli the gravel tho- 
roughly, and to break the stones, a good road can be 
formed : the Reading road is made of very inferior gravel, 


but by adopting tbese precautions it is perfectly smootb, 
firm, and level. This shows us that bad materials, when 
science and skill are employed in their application, are 
better than good materials in the absence of both; for we 
find that in Scotland, where the materials for road-makino- 
are everywhere abundant and cheap, many of the roads 
are rough, loose, and extremely expensive in their con- 
struction, because the materials are unskilfully used. 

The traveller, inexperienced in road-making, while 
being whirled over the roads in the vicinity of London, 
admiring them for their apparent smoothness, absence of 
ruts and jolting, is sometimes inclined to thank the kind 
fates which made him an Englishman, and furnished his 
country with such superb roads. But what say the coach- 
proprietors and persons who are well entitled to a profes- 
sional opinion ? They say that the much admired metro- 
politan roads are so soft and yielding, and the difficulty of 
transit over them so great, that, in order to proceed as 
rapidly as they are accustomed to do at a greater distance 
from the capital, their coaches must be drawn by horses 
of very superior strength; and that the fatigue endured 
by these poor animals is so excessive, that they are ren- 
dered useless in so short a time as three years ! " The 
foreigner," says Dupin, "justly admires the beauty of the 
horses attached to the public vehicles in the neighbour- 
hood of London; but he is far from suspecting that the 
choice of these animals is occasioned by the very defects 
of the road which is so magnificent in appearance, and so 
pleasant to the traveller." 

Let us now inquire into the plans suggested by Mr. 
Mac Adam, and so extensively adopted for repairing an 
old and defective road, or for making a new one. 

No new materials, he observes, are to be brought upon 
a road, unless in the absence of a quantity of clean stone 
equal to a thickness of ten inches. The old stone ma- 
terial is to be taken up*, carried to the road-side and 
broken, so that no piece may exceed six ounces in weight: 
the road is then to be laid as flat as possible, leaving a fall 

* Mr. Mac Adam calls this operation, " lil'tiug the road." 



of three inclies fi-om the middle to the sides, when the 
■width of the road is thirty feet. 

In order to regulate the size and -weight of the stones, 
the former not exceeding one inch longitudinally, and 
the latter not more than six ounces, the people -stIio 
break the stones are furnished "with sieves made of iron, 
■with circular holes: every piece of stone that will not 
pass through this sieve is laid aside. The overseers of 
the road are furnished with a balance and a Aveight, 
for weighing two or three of the largest fragments of 
each heap of broken stones, to ascertain that none are too 

AVhen all the great stones are thus broken, the surface 
of the intended road is to be smoothed with a rake, and 
the broken stone is to be spread over it carefully: this 
operation requires attention, since the future quality of the 
road will depend on the mode in Avhich it is done. The 
stone must not be laid on in shovels full, but scattered 
over the surface, one shovel-full following another, and 
being spread over a great space. 

The proper mode of breaking stones, both for effect and 
economy, is in a sitting posture. This work can be done 
by Avomen, boys, and old men past hard labour. 

Breaking Stones. 

In some cases it Avould be imprudent to lift the road, 
even if the materials be too abundant ; for example, the 
road betAA'een Bath and Cirencester AA'as made of large 
stones, but so soft, that they Avould have fallen into sand 
if removed. Mr. Mac Adam merely had the higher parts 


cut down, sifted, and replaced ; and thus the surface kept 
smooth, Avhile those materials lasted. They were subse- 
quently replaced by stone of a better quality, properly 
prepared. At Egham it was necessary to remove the whole 
road, in order to separate the small portion of valuable 
material from the mass of soft matter in which it was 
enveloped; and this was removed at a great expense, be- 
fore a good road could be made. A durable road cannot 
be made wdth freestone ; but, if judiciously laid down, it 
forms a good surface while it lasts. 

When new stone is to be placed on a road already 
consolidated, the hardened stone is to be loosened with a 
pick, to enable the new materials to unite with the old. 

A new road requires constant raking until the materials 
are consolidated; so that the tracks made by the wheels 
must be filled up, so long as any loose materials remain on 
the road. 

No " binding" material, as it is called, is ever to be 
employed, such as earth, clay, chalk, or any substance at 
all that will imbibe water. It is necessary that our readers 
should be aware that Avater, in the act of freezing, expands 
with amazing force. Major Williams filled a very stout 
iron bomb-shell with water, and closed it tight, by means 
of an iron screw : on exposing this apparatus to a frosty 
air, the enclosed water froze, and by its expansion burst 
the bomb-shell. Now, when water soaks into a road, and 
becomes frozen, it lifts up and displaces the whole struc- 
ture : this is called, the " breaking up of roads by frost ;" 
and the mischievous eflPect is particularly remarkable in 
the subsequent thaw : the roads then often become im 
passable. This, then, is one great reason why Mr. Mac 
Adam, in the formation of his roads, discarded every sub- 
stance likely to imbibe water : he found that good stone, 
well broken, will combine, by its own roughness and 
angles, into a solid compact body, having a smooth sur- 
face, not affected by the vicissitudes of weather, nor dis- 
figured by the action of Avheels, which, as they pass 
over it without a jolt, (or, as the coachmen say, " the 
road runs true,") Vvill, consequently, do the road little or 
no injury. 


The tools employed by Mr. ]\rac Adam Avere, first, 
strong picks, but short from the handle to the points : 
second, small hammers weighing about a pound, with a 
face the size of a shilling, well steeled, and with a short 
handle: third, rakes, with wooden heads, ten inches in 
length, with long and strong iron teeth, about two inches 
and a-half long, for raking out the large stones when 
the road is being " lifted," and for smoothing it when 
completed and while consolidating : fourth, light broad- 
mouthed shovels, to spread the broken stones. 

The whole expense of preparing and newly foi-ming 
a rough road to the depth of four inches, is about a penny 
or twopence per square yard ; the expense varying with 
the quantity of stones to be broken. A ton of stones may, 
if properly managed, be broken for a shilling, and some- 
times for less ; often including the value of the stone 
itself. A great advantage attending Mr. Mac Adam's 
mode of road-making, is the great diminution of horse- 
labour : human labour being substituted, whereby a valu- 
able source of employment is opened to the poorer classes, 
when, in the absence of agricultural and other pursuits, 
work is otherwise so difficult to be provided for them, 
while the parish is, nevertheless, responsible for their 
support. At one time, in the vicinity of Bristol, for 
example, one-fourth of the whole expense of road-making, 
was incurred for men's labour, and three-fourths for that 
of horses ; but, by the introduction of Mac Adam's S3's- 
tem, the proportions were reversed, one-fourth only being 
incurred for horse-labour, and the rest for the labour of 
men, women, and children. 

Let us now speak of the foundations of roads, about 
which a singular opposition in opinion has been distinctly 
stated by Mr. Mac Adam, and by Mr. Telford. The for- 
mer gentleman says, that in order to construct or repair a 
road, a layer of solid materials, ten inches thick, is suffi- 
cient, and that this will bear all sorts of loads, whether 
the soil below, (which we call the foundation,) be firm or 
not. He even prefers a soil consisting of a mixture of 
hard and soft materials, to one that is quite hard. He 
states, that on the former, the roads are more durable; be- 


cause they rest on an elastic bed, which, yields to very 
heavy pressure, and deadens violent shocks; probably, on 
the same principle, and for the same reason, that an anvil 
mounted on a block of wood, will last longer than if 
mounted on stone. 

As an example of this singular and apparently para- 
doxical statement, the details of two roads, thus con- 
structed, were given to the Committee of the House of 
Commons. The road from Bridgewater to Cross, is partly 
made over a moveable morass; so that, when travelling 
along it in a coach, the water may be seen quivering in 
the ditches on each side. After a slight frost, the qui- 
vering of the water, occasioned by the motion of the 
"wheel-carriages, is such as to break the ice formed on its 
surface. Adjoining this marshy road is another, formed 
on a foundation of calcareous stone. The expense of 
keeping these two roads in repair, is in the proportion of 
five to seven; though that portion of road which is car- 
ried over the hard soil lies higher than the other. 

In making roads on a marshy foundation, Mr. Mac 
Adam did not employ larger fragments of stone than usual. 
He has shown that the stone will not sink into the soft 
soil, because, he says, the elements composing the road 
unite together, and form a large, compact, and solid mass, 
which has no tendency to sink in one part more than in 
another. The thickness of the bed of materials, which 
he would then propose to lay down, would vary only from 
seven to ten inches ; and he states that five tons of broken 
stones laid down in this way, make as good a road as 
seven tons of stones laid on a very hard foundation. 

This theory is plausible, but it is also specious: expe- 
rience has shown it to be erroneous. Let us now see Mr. 
Telford's opinions and practice on this subject, as stated by 
Mr. Provis, who assisted as an engineer under Mr. Telford 
in the great Holyhead road. He says, " the pitching or 
paving the bottom of a road is a subject which has often 
been discussed, and though generally approved of by 
scientific men, has met with some decided opponents. 
On the old part of the Shrewsbury and Holyhead road 
which extends from Gobowen to Oswestry, as well as in 

E 3 

82 telfokd's principles. 

some other places, the foundation of the road had been 
paved, but in an irregular and promiscuous manner, some 
of the stones standing near a foot above others, and in 
some places holes were left -v^-ithout any stones; upon this 
a coat of gravel had been laid, and necessarily of very un- 
equal thickness, some of the points of the stones being 
scarcely covered. This road havinfr afterwards been much 
neglected, the upper gravel, M'here thin, Avas "worn quite 
awa}", or else forced from its bed by being in so thin a 
coat that it could not bind, and the road's surface vras 
thereby made a continued succession of hard lumps and 
hollows, with water standing in every hole after a shower, 
and no means of getting otf, except by soaking through 
the road. Any stranger, on passing over such a road, 
would condemn the principle on which it was made. 
But here seems to be the great error, — that the principle 
is condemned instead of the abuse of it. When the 
paving is put down carefully by hand, of equal or regular 
height, with no large smooth-faced stones for the upper 
stratum to slide upon, and the whole pinned so that no 
stone can move, I have no hesitation in saying that in 
many cases it is highly beneficial, and in none detrimental. 
Whenever the natural soil is clay, or retentive of water, 
the pavement acts as an underdrain to carry off any water 
that may pass through the surface of the road. The com- 
ponent stones of the pavement, having broader bases to 
stand upon than those that are broken small, are not so 
liable to be pressed into the earth below, particularly 
where the soil is soft. The expense of setting this pave- 
ment is less than one-fourth of that of breaking an equal 
depth of stones to the size generally used for upper coat- 
ing ; and therefore in point of economy, it has also a ma- 
terial advantage. Mr. Telford, in all cases, recommends 
this m.cde of paving, and the opinion of a man of such 
experience cannot be treated slightly. He has made more 
miles of road than any engineer in the kingdom ; and 
having myself studied for nearly fifteen years in his 
school, and made a considerable extent of road under his 
direction, I may venture to say that his practice is not un- 
supported by experience. I should not have said so much 


on this subject, but from the circumstance of other road- 
improvers having asserted that paving is useless; and I 
think that assertions on one side, shoukl be met with firm- 
ness on the other, whenever an important principle is at- 
tacked, the correctness of which can be established by 
reasoning and by facts." 

Mr. Telford's celebrated Holyhead road was constructed 
upon a well-digested plan of his own. In his specification, he 
says, " The road is to be 30 feet wide, exclusive of foot- 
paths, with a fall of six inches from the centre to the side 
channels." The foundation, if of a wet or spongy texture, 
is to be well rmnmed with chips of stone ; and in some 
situations it is advisable to have a stratum of hand-laid 
stones of from five to seven inches deep, with their 
broadest ends downwards, and the whole made compact. 
The uniformly broken stones, (technically called vietal,) 
must be laid upon this so as to form a compact solid body- 
To make the stones of uniform size, a ring, two and a half 
inches in diameter, is provided, through which each stone 
will pass. No binding material or gravel is to be used on 
this body of metal ; because the sides of the stones soon 
wedse together, and form an even surface. Green-stone 
is preferred for road-metal, as being less friable even than 
granite, when broken small. In the absence of better 
materials, sand-stone, lime-stone, and chalk, may be used ; 
and where coal is abundant, the sandstone can be reduced 
to a vitreous mass in kilns, erected by the road-side ; but 
all such road-metal is bad, and is not used except in 
necessitous cases. But in some parts of Wales, scoria?, 
procured from the furnaces of iron-foundries, &c., and 
ashes obtained from the stoves of steam-engines, are used 
instead of fragments of stone, and form durable roads. In 
the absence of road-making materials, clay, baked like 
brick, and then broken into fragments has been employed; 
but this practice must altogether depend upon the value 
of fuel in the districts where it is adopted. 

In places remote from quarries of hard stone, Mr. Tel- 
ford introduced a plan, by which gravel may be advanta- 
geously adopted, and populous roads rendered solid and 
durable. In the following table we have a vertical section 



of such a gravel- road, 30 feet wide, sliowing the disposition 
of the layers, and the fractions of the upper layers. 

of the 


of ^ 







3 inches 

3 feet 

4 feet 

8 feet 

8 feet 

4 feet 

3 feet 

3 inches 

Layer of Lime. 

6 inches 

Layer of Graveh 

6 inches 

Layer of Lime. 

Clay, serving as a foundation for the Road. 

One department in the art of road-making, and that 
which requires the exercise of great judgment and skill, is 
drainasie. How often do we see, even at tlie present day, 
many of our high roads so constructed as to form excel- 
lent s;iMers to the adjacent fields! If good roads he at all 
desired, especially in places subject to inundations and 
great moisture, the ground over Avhich the road is laid 
must be raised : deep ditches must be dug on both sides, 
and parallel Avith the road. Into these ditches there must 
branch out, at intervals, subterraneous drains. Tliese 
latter have been formed by digging to the depth of from 
four to eight feet, and placing a layer of fagots of 
brambles, two feet thick, at the bottom of the hollow; 
above this is laid stubble or turf, and the whole is covered 
with a layer of earth. The width of these aqueducts is 
nearly three feet, and they endure for more than twenty 
years. It must also be observed that roads ought to be 
above the level of the adjacent fields ; otherwise they are 
likely to be wet and muddy, always out of repair, and 
difficult of passage both to man and beast. 

It appears then from all that has been said, that a dry 
and solid foundation is necessary to the construction of a 
good road; and so far Mr. Mac Adam's practice seems 

macneill's opinions. 85 

erroneous. "We will therefore conclude the subject of road- 
making with the opinions of Mr. Macneill, as expressed 
by himself. 

" Well-made roads," says he, " formed of clean hard 
broken stone placed on a solid foundation, are very little 
affected by atmospheric changes ; weak roads, or those 
which are imperfectly formed with gravel, flint, or round 
pebbles, without a bottoming, or foundation of stone pave- 
ment or concrete, are, on the contrary, much affected by 
changes of the weather. In the formation of such roads, 
and before they become bound or firm, a considerable 
portion of the sub-soil mixes Avith the stone or gravel, in 
consequence of the necessity of putting the gravel on in 
thin layers : this mixture of earth or clay, in dry warm- 
seasons, expands by the heat, and makes the road 
loose and open ; the consequence is that the stones are 
thrown out, and many of them are crushed, and ground 
into dust, producing considerable Avear and diminution of 
the materials. In wet weather, also, the clay or earth 
mixed with the stones absorbs moisture, becomes soft, and 
allows the stones to move, and rub against each other, 
when acted upon by the feet of horses, or wheels of car- 
riages. This attrition of the stones against each other 
wears them out surprisingly fast, and produces large 
quantities of mud, which tends to keep the road damp, 
and by that means increases the injury." 

In the formation of the Highgate Archway-road, no 
stones could be obtained for making a foundation of pave- 
ment; in consequence of which a composition of Roman 
cement and gravel Avas employed by Mr. Macneill, and suc- 
ceeded admirably. There were four longitudinal drains, 
and also secondary drains running from the former to the 
side channel drains, and those again to drains outside the 
footpaths, covered with brick. On the prepared centre of 
six yards' breadth, after being properly levelled, the cement 
was laid, after mixing it first in a box Avith water, gravel, 
and sand, in certain proportions. In fifteen minutes 
this became hard ; in about four minutes after being laid, 
a triangular piece of wood, sheeted Avith iron, Avas in- 
dented into it, so as to leave a track or channel for the 


stones to lie and fasten in. This indent had an inclina- 
tion or fall from the centre to the side of the road of three 
inches, Avhich allowed the Avater that percolated through 
the broken stones to run off the cemented mass into the 
drains. This road has not been injured hj frost, nor 
by the working of carriages over it. 

It appears that the destruction of a road is due more to 
the feet of horses, than to the wheels of vehicles. Mr. 
Gordon has calculated that a set of tires would run 3000 
miles in good weather, and 2700 miles in average 
weather ; but that a set of horses' shoes would bear only 
200 miles of travel. 

In coming now to speak of the ?'epair of roads, we may 
observe that the same general principles which regulate 
their construction apply also to their preservation. The 
materials of the road, when pulverized by the action of 
carriage-wheels, and converted by wet into mud, are 
scraped from the middle of the road, and heaped up along 
the sides, to be carried away in carts to the neighbouring 
fields, where they act as a useful manure. Ke\v materials 
are not laid down on the road, nor are the ruts which 
may begin to appear filled up, until after the dust and 
mud have been removed. The mending of the road, too, 
should take place immediately after moving the mud, and 
■while the ground is still wet. It is necessary- also to adopt 
special plans for keeping the roads, as far as possible, dry; 
especially in such a climate as ours, where so much damp- 
ness prevails, and the heat of the sun is seldom powerful. 
Trees and shrubs must not be planted within 15 feet of the 
centre of the road. If any such plantation exist, and the 
trees be not cut down Avithin ten days after the surveyor 
has given notice to that effect to the owner of the ground, 
the owner is subject to a penalty ; and, if necessary, he 
can be compelled to clear the public thoroughfare. So also 
with respect to hedges, the law requires them to be cut so 
as not to occasion too much shade, thereby preventing 
the free circulation of air for drying the ground in wet 
weather, and the sweeping off' of the dust in dry weather. 

When a road is formed of good materials, an occasional 
washing by heavy rains, or by artificial means, is consi- 



derecl useful, not only as affording comfort to passengers, 
and facility for driving, but as tending to preserve the road. 
When the road is thoroughly washed, the mud is carried 
off in Avinter, and the dust in summer ; the action of the 
Arheels too is less injurious to the wheels themselves and 
also to the road ; and, at the expiration of a few hours, 
even after a succession of rain, the road may be found 
firm and dry. 

The following cut will remind our readers of the irri- 
gation of roads in summer for the purpose of laying the 

Watering Cart. 

We come now to notice the paved roads of our cities 
and towns, in contradistinction to the turnpike roads, 
which have already occupied our attention. 

" On visiting the squares and streets in the great 
toAvns of England," says the illustrious foreigner whom 
we have already quoted, " the traveller is struck with the 
cleanliness, propriety, and arrangement, which they ex- 
hibit In the best parts of the principal towns 

in England, the fronts of the houses are separated from 
the street by an area, surrounded by an iron railing; and 
this railing is separated from the horse-road by a broad 
foot-pavement. Thus the walls of the houses are not 
disfigured by dirt and splashes, as is the case in the towns 

of France In the most modern parts of 

l.ondon, the extensive proportions of the streets present 
tlie Imposing appearance of a great capital. In Oxford- 
street, which is more than a mile in length, five carriages 



may drive abreast, between two broad foot-pavements. 
These dimensions are indispensable in the most commer- 
cial city in the world." 

We have already stated that gravel roads, though fine 
in appearance, are very fatiguing to the horses. It is 
stated also that, taking the average of every day in the 
year, horses Avill go through more Avork, with the same 
extent of fatigue, on a paved road than on a gravel road, 
if the draught be considerable. This assertion is well 
supported by JMr. Edgeworth, who has examined the 
matter experimentally, and he declares himself decidedly 
in favour of paved roads for all places where there is 
active traffic. 

The horse-roads in London, when paved, are made of 
granite, brought from Scotland and Cornwall ; and the 
flag-stones for foot-pavements are brought from the 
peninsula of Portland, on the coast of Dorsetshire. The 
conveyance of these materials is a considerable branch of 
mercantile navigation. 

^ riaftBv piiOlfUjj « B 11 1- II 


When the system of IMac Adam was brought into 
operation a few years ago, most of the granite pavement 
of the principal thoroughfares of London was taken up 
and broken, and the roads Macadamized ; but experience 
has shown that the alternate dust and mud on these roads 
are excessively noxious in crowded thoroughfares, where 
dust and mud are generated by ceaseless ti-affic, hoAvever 
well Mac Adam's plan may succeed for turnpike-roads. 
A variety of stone paving, and even cast-iron plates, has 
been suggested, and partially adopted. 


Two kinds of pavement are chiefly adopted in the 
capitals of Great Britain and Ireland ; the one is termed 
the ruble causeway, and the other the aisler causeway. 
In the ruble form, the stones are slightly dressed with a 
hammer ; in the aisler form, the stones are nearly of de- 
terminate dimensions, varying from five to seven inches 
in thickness, from eight to twelve in length, and about a 
foot in breadth. A good specimen of the aisler causeway 
is to be seen in the Commercial-road, leading from White- 
chapel to the India Docks, at Blackwall and Poplar. 
This road is seventy feet wide, and two miles long. The 
footpaths are laid with Yorkshire flags, and the roadway 
with granite. The tramway consists of large blocks of 
stone, eighteen inches wide by twelve inches deep, and 
from two-and-a-half to ten feet long ; these are placed in 
rows, four feet apart, on a hard bottom of gravel, or on a 
concrete foundation; their ends are firmly jointed to- 
gether, so as to prevent any kind of movement. As an 
example of the value of this road, it is stated that a 
loaded wagon, weighing ten tons, was drawn by one 
horse from the West India Docks, a distance of two miles, 
with a rise in the road of 1 in 274, at the rate of nearly 
four miles an hour. Mr. James Walker is the engineer 
of this fine work. 

In English towns generally, the carriage-roads, if 
paved, are covered with blocks of stone, more or less 
resembling cubes ; Avhile the footpaths are covered Avith 
broad thin flag-stones. In Florence, the whole breadth 
of the streets is paved with flag-stones, placed diagonally ; 
and in Naples the surfaces are nearly as smooth. In both 
these cases, it is necessary to roughen the stones fre- 
quently with chisels, wherever there is a hill or bridge, in 
order to prevent the horse from slipping ; but in both 
cities the horses, from habit, are sufficiently sure-footed, 
even when running with some rapidity. In Milan, both 
kinds of pavement are mixed together in the same street ; 
the smooth kind in two double lines for the wheels of 
carriages coming and going, and the rougher in the inter- 
mediate parts, for the feet of the horses. 

We fear to add any more descriptions of stone pave- 


ments to our chapter, -which already contains, perhaps, too 
much of Avhat the general reader may designate dry de- 
tail ; hut we cannot omit the mention of an interesting 
substance which has been lately introduced into the me- 
tropolis as a covering to the surface of its populous ways. 
We allude to Asphalle, or Asphaltic Cement, the history 
of which is briefly as follows : — 

About the year 1712, a Greek, named Eirinis, dis- 
covered in the valley of Travers, in Prussian Neufchatel, 
a bed of asphaltic rock, which he describes as being com- 
posed of a mineral substance, gelatinous, and more adhe- 
sive than pitch, solid, and well adapted as a cement for 
buildings, &c., preserving timber from dry rot and from 
worms, and enabling it to resist the action of time and 
the vicissitudes of weather. He tried it experimentally, 
and found that Avhen melted, and mixed with a small 
portion of pitch, and spread on the substance to be pre- 
served, its success was complete- 
No notice, however, seems to have been taken of the 
Greek's proposal till the year 1838, when the Count de 
Sassenay became proprietor of the mines of the valley of 
Travers. The Count established a company for the work- 
ing of asphalte, whence England receives its supply. 

The Count has published an interesting little work on 
the subject of the asphalte cement. He distinguishes 
several varieties of asphalte, and states the real cement to 
consist of bitumen combined Avith calcareous matter. This 
substance is obtained by simple mining operations. Small 
cavities are made in the rock, which are filled with gun- 
powder, and thus large masses are detached by blasting. 
The powder has most effect in cold weather, when the 
rock is harder. The cement is prepared tlius : — Ninety- 
four parts, by weight, of the asphaltic stone are pul- 
verized, mixed with six parts of bitumen, and melted in 
large boilers ; the mass is then poured off and formed into 
large cakes, which constitute the cement. In spreading 
this substance over roads, &c., it is remelted and mixed 
with fine sand, which gives it more stability, and a degree 
of roughness Avhich prevents the feet from slipping. 

This cement is valuable, not only on account of the 


smooth and level surface wlilcli it produces on the road, 
but also on account of its extraordinary durahility. More 
than a hundred years ago, a staircase was coated with the 
cement by Eirinis, and it has not yet given any signs of 
being worn down ; while a stone staircase, constructed at 
the same time, and in the same house, is completely hol- 
lowed out by footsteps. It has been extensively adopted 
in the public buildings of France ; it is easily washed, 
and affords a protection against damp. Rats and mice 
also are said to have disappeared in places where the 
cement is used. It has also been spread over the road of 
a much-frequented bridge at Paris ; and though exposed 
to all the changes of weather, and the tread of thirty 
thousand people daily, it exhibits no signs of decay. It 
has also been adopted in several parts of London, by way 
of experiment, and we believe it to be successful, especi- 
ally on the Ferry-road, Mill-wall, Poplar, and on the 
Vauxhall-road. There are, however, many imitations of 
this cement now being imposed upon the public, but they 
are all unsuccessful, and will not bear comparison with 
the real article, as obtained from Prussia. 

We cannot, of course, verify the statements, which 
we have obtained chiefly from Count de Sassenay's work, 
but it appears, from other sources of information, that 
most of the praise bestowed on the asphaltic cement is 
really its due. 

The English are particularly distinguished for the 
pains they bestow on the cleanliness of their roads. The 
humble but useful occupations of the scavenger and road- 
scraper we need not here describe; but an ingenious in- 
strument, lately introduced by its inventor, Mr. Bourne, 
deserves notice. Tliis machine is formed of a series of 
scrapers fastened to Avooden rods, acting on a common 
axis, 3'et rising or falling singly and independently of 
each other, so as to meet the inequalities of the road's 
surface. They are all inserted into a frame, the lower 
part of which passes on the scrapers, the upper part being 
the handle ; the machine is then fixed on wheels, and the 
mode of using it is by hand. The Avorkman commences 
at a given place by elevating the handle, vrhich sinks the 



scrapers, and he drags the machine across the road at 
right angles to the line of draught ; when he has dragged 
the mud to the opposite side, he depresses the handle, 
and the scrapers rising, deposit their gatherings. The 
independent action of each scraper enables, the whole to 
enter and cleanse out any holes or depressions of the sur- 
face, or to get over any hard projection, and to adapt it- 
self generally to any state of road, or to any kind of surface. 

Before concluding this chapter, we should remark 
that, in England, not only are good roads made for the 
traffic of horses and carriages, which roads are kept dry, 
and also moist, as the season may require, but the foot- 
paths for pedestrians are more numerous and commodious 
than in any other country : yet, for all this, the English 
are said to walk on foot less than the people of any other 
nation. Sign-posts are also numerous, for the ready in- 
formation of every traveller, whether on foot or on horse- 
back, as to his route, and the readiest path whereby to 
arrive at his destination. 

But since road?, admirable and useful as they are, 
would have their usefulness greatly curtailed were they 
confined to land only, especially in a country like our 
own, abounding in rivers and artificial streams of water 
of so many kinds and dimensions, we come now to con- 
sider a more difficult and elaborate description of road, 
which Is carried over the surface of water, and serves the 
useful purpose of connecting ordinary roads together. 
This, however, is an extensive subject, to which ^\e must 
devote the next two chapters. 




Importance of Bridges. — Oberlin's Pont de Charite'. — The 
A,rcli. — Chinese Bridges. — Roman Bridges. — ^lodern Bridges. 
The Brethren of the Bridge. — Croyland Bridge. — History of 
London Bridge. — Coffer-dams and Caissons. — Other Bridges 
over the Thames. — Pont y Prydd. 

In the memoirs of the virtuous Oberlin, the pastor of 
a poor protestant flock, in one of the wiklest parts of 
France, viz. Waklbach, in the Ban de la Roche, Ave find 
this good man in the early part of his career endeavouring 
to civilize a rude and superstitious people. He judged 
rightly in supposing that by bettering their social con- 
dition, he should promote their moral, and thereby pre- 
pare a way for their spiritual improvement. From the 
record that is given of him, we select a specimen, as 
showing not only the value of the arts of life generally, 
but of bridges in particular, in assisting the great cause of 
civilization. As the ship of the ocean brings the mem- 
bers of different nations and of different climes in frequent 
communication, so the bridge enables villages, towns, 
and cities, which are separated by natural obstacles, to 
communicate with, and, consequently, to help each other. 
It appears that all the roads belonging to the Ban de 
la Hoche were impassable during the greater part of the 
year; and the only ready mode of communication be- 
tween this parish and the neighbouring towns, was by 
stepphig-stoncs over the Bruche, a stream which, having 
its sources in the mountains, falls into the 111 before it 


reaches Strasburg, It was thirty feet •wide at the crossing- 
place; and in Avinter, when the stream Avas swollen, it 
became impassable. Being thus confined to their own 
valley, the inhabitants had no means of disposing of their 
produce in other parts, nor of obtaining those comforts or 
conveniences of life Avhich they could not of themselves 
produce. They had been accustomed, in consequence of 
their limited means of communication, to endure a bare 
and wretched subsistence ; and they had not even the 
most necessary agricultural implements to aid them in ob- 
tainincr this. Such was their condition when Oberlin 
assembled them, and proposed to open a communication 
with the high road to Strasburg by blasting the rocks, 
constructing a solid wall to support a road about a mile 
and a-half in length along the banks of the Bruche, and 
buildinc: a bridcfe across that river near Rotham. 

This proposal greatly surprised the peasants ; they 
deemed it utterly impracticable, and shrinking from the 
idea of so vast a work, they one and all declined it. To 
their numerous difl&culties and objections Oberlin replied 
by reminding them of their situation : that they were 
shut up in their own villages three-fourths of the year ; 
that if this road were made and a bridge tlirown across 
the river, they would always have a free intercourse with 
the neighbouring district, they would always have a ready 
market for their produce. They might supply their most 
urgent wants, and bring comforts home to their families 
which their own sterile Galley * did not afford ; and he 
concluded by saying, " Let those who see the importance 
of my proposal come and work with me." "With that, he 
shouldered a pickaxe, and, assisted by a faithful servant, be- 
gan the work. The reasonableness of Oberlin's speech and 
his admirable example produced such an effect on the minds 
of the peasants, that they ran simultaneously for their 
tools and joined their pastor, who appointed each man his 
work, and reserved the most dangerous or difficult part 
of it for himself and his man. A spirit of enthusiasm 

* The German name of the Ban de la Roclie is Steinthal, or 
the Yalley of Stone, indicative of its native barrenness. 


soon diffused itself over the place ; tools were ■wanting for 
a number of volunteers; these were procured from Stras- 
burg, and our good pastor not only expended his own 
little property in the undertaking, but borrowed assistance 
elsewhere. The work proceeded admirably; walls were 
erected to support the earth when necessary, mountain- 
torrents which had hitherto inundated the meadows, were 
diverted into courses, or received into beds sufficient to 
contain them : a neat wooden bridge was thrown over 
the Bruche, which was named, and still retains its original 
appellation, "Le Pont de Charite" (the Bridge of 
Charity) ; and the whole task was completed, and a com- 
munication opeited with Strasburg within two years from 
the commencement of the undertaking. 

Oberlin, perhaps, was not aware that more than one 
good man had obtained immortal honour by works like 
that Avhich he had the ardour to undertake and the hap- 
piness to accomplish. He looked for no reward in earthly 
honours ; but yet he ultimately obtained this reward in 
the success of his endeavours, and the increased influence 
over his parishioners. They noAV experienced the benefit 
of his zealous exertions for their Avelfare, and cheerfully 
engaged in his next project, that of forming roads between 
the four villages of his parish, which were, till his time, 
in a state of savage separation. The spirit of well-directed 
industry that had thus been raised made the Steinthal a 
lively and animating scene. The pastor, who on the 
Sabbath had directed their attention with that earnestness 
and warmth wherewith his own soul Avas filled, to " the 
rest that remaineth for the people of God," was seen on 
the Monday, with a pickaxe on his shoulder, marching at 
the head of two hundred of his flock. 

The reader will probably excuse the length of this 
introduction to the subject of bridge-making. We are so 
accustomed to the thousands of conveniences which pertain 
to civilized life ; we use them and enjoy them so much as 
a matter of course, that it is difficult in the absence of a 
practical application, to conceive the want and misery 
attendant on the absence of any one of them. Yet, there 
was a time when bridges were unknown ; when the 



simple stepping-stones of the brook, or the rude plank 
thrown across it, were the only means of passing narrow 
streams of water, dryshod; while rivers of considerable 
magnitude opposed an insuperable barrier to the inha- 
bitants on either side. 

Priuiitive Briuee. 

The foregoing is a specimen of a rustic bridge of the 
commonest sort beyond the stepping-stones. The annexed 
cut represents a rural bridge, one degree beyond the 
former, in having a wooden railing for the convenience 
and safety of the passengers going over the water. 


Bridge-making is an art M'hich in our own times has 
been brought to the highest pitch of beauty and perfec- 
tion through the skill of modern architects and engineers. 
The Romans were skilful bridge-builders ; but at the 
breaking-up of their vast empire this art was nearly lost. 
The Romans have left us many splendid specimens of 
bridges ; but no record of the rise and progress of the 
art itself Doubtless, in the infancy of every nation, the 


first essays contained the rude germs of the art. A fallen 
tree across a stream would suggest a simple bridge : a 
cavern worn by the waves, might suggest that wonderful 
specimen of human ingenuity, the arch ; but it is pro- 
bable that the earliest bridges were formed of lintels of 
stone or wood of sufficient length to reach from bank to 
bank, or supported by posts fixed in the bed of the river. 

We know so little of the origin of the arch, that the 
early history of bridge-making is very unsatisfactory. The 
Egyptians, with all their skill in architecture, do not seem 
to have been acquainted with the arch. The Chinese 
seem to have known the arch from remote antiquit}^, and 
many of the variations in its structure seem to have been 
familiar to them. A traveller describes the construction 
of the Chinese arch thus — " Each stone, from five to ten 
feet in length, is cut so as to form a segment of the arch ; 
and, in such cases, there is no key-stone ; ribs of wood 
fitted to the convexity of the arch are bolted through the 
stone by iron bars, fixed fast in the solid parts of the 
bridge : sometimes, however, they are without wood, and 
the curved stones are morticed into long transverse blocks 
of stone. There are, however, arches wherein the stones 
are smaller and pointed to a centre, as in ours. I have 
understood that no masonry could be superior to that in 
the great wall, and that all the arched and vaulted work 
in the old towers was exceedingly well turned." — Bar- 
row's China. 

The ancient Greeks do not seem to have been well 
acquainted with the useful application of the arch. In 
their palmy days of luxury, refinement, and splendour, 
when their beautiful style of architecture had reached its 
greatest perfection, v«'hen their buildings were adorned 
with the choicest productions of the pallet, and their 
streets with the noblest results of the chisel, the people of 
Athens were compelled either to wade or to be ferried 
over the river Cephisus for want of a bridge. 

The Romans, however, observed the error of their 
Grecian predecessors in slighting the arch in architecture; 
and they succeeded in rearing the stupendous arch, and 
the imposing cupola. When they had constructed enor- 




mous sewers and aqueducts, together with a cupola over 
the Pantheon of Agrippa, it was easy for them to throw 
a stone bridge over their river. 

Chinese Bridtje. 

The Chinese have for so many ages remained, as it were, 
in a stationary position, following so accurately in the steps 
of their ancestors, that it were hard to say that the Romans 
preceded them in bridge-building, and yet it is undoubted 
that the Romans first communicated to the world the ap- 
plication of the arch to works of public utility. The most 
noted bridges of ancient Rome were not remarkable for 
the size or span of their arches, nor for the tightness of 
their piers, but for their solidity and durability. The 
span of their arches seldom exceeded seventy or eighty 
feet ; and the height was about half the span : the form 
was generally semicircular, or a segment nearly approach- 
ing to it, as shown in the adjoining cut. The semicir- 
cular form of the arch existed universally until within 
the last half century. Prior to this time, it was believed 
that the stones of an arch would not retain their hold, if 
the curve were made elliptical, or only the segment of a 
circle ; and it was only Avhen architects had made bridges 
with but a slight rise in the middle, and these bridges had 
stood the test of time, that all doubt of their durability 
was discarded. 

In the construction of a Roman bridge, all the requi- 
sites were observed which we meet with in a modern 
structure : these consisted of pU(e or piers ; fornices or 
arches ; snblicoe or hutments ; pavlmenla and oggeres ; 
the roads in the middle for carriages, on each side of which 


■were decursoria or elevated bankments for foot passengers, 
separated by a railing and sometimes covered over to 
afford shelter from tlie rain. The Romans at one time 
committed the building and repairing of bridges to the 
priests, (thence named Pontjfices or bridge-makers) ; after- 
wards to the censors and curators of the roads ; and, 
finally, the emperors themselves had the care of the 

The bridges of ancient Rome were eight in number ; 
these, as well as the many bridges also constructed in 
various parts of their empire, it will be scarcely interest- 
ins: to enumerate. We will content ourselves with a brief 
notice of the celebrated bridge built over the Danube, by 
Trajan, for the convenience of sending ready assistance to 
the Roman legion, on the other side of the river, in case 
of a sudden attack from the Daci. Adrian, the successor 
of Trajan, esteemed this bridge a dangerous friend, 
because it was as convenient to their enemies as to them- 
selves ; and fearing that the barbarians might overpower 
the guard placed to defend the bridge, and so gain a ready 
entrance into Moesia, and cut off the garrisons there, he 
caused this fine structure to be demolished. This act of 
pusillanimity may, perhaps, be excused on account of the 
reason assigned for it : but nothing can excuse the wanton 
execution of the architect Apollodorus, who was charged 
by Adrian with facilitating the irruptions of the barba- 
rians into the Roman territory. Just as if the architect 
erected the bridge on his own account, and for his own 
amusement ; but the real cause of the death of Apollo- 
dorus was his high character as an architect, which 
Adrian foolishly attempted to rival ; whereby he incurred 
not only the ridicule of the Romans, but the sneers of 
the architect himself. Some of the piers of this bridge 
are still to be seen in the middle of the river near Warhel, 
in Hungary. Dion Cassius describes this bridge as con- 
sisting of twenty piers of squared stone, each of them 
a hundred and fifty feet high above the foundation ; sixty 
feet in breadth ; and a hundred and seventy feet distant 
from each other ; which was, therefore, the span or width 
of the arches, thus making the whole length of the bridge 

F 2 



about fifteen hundred yards. Doubts have been cast upon 
this account of the bridge by reference to certain delinea- 
tions of it in Trajan's column, Avhich differ from Dion's 
description : but it appears that no attempt is made on 
the column to offer a model of the bridge, but only to 
commemorate its existence. 

Bridge over the Ilissus. 

The annexed figure represents a Roman bridge over 
the river Ilissus, in Greece. 

Passing over the fall of the Roman empire and the 
age of barbarism which succeeded, Ave find the Moors in 
Spain to be the first successful bridge-builders in what is 
called Modern Europe. The bridge of Cordova over the 
Guadalquiver is a fine specimen of their skill. 

One of the most ancient bridges of Modern Europe is 
that on the Rhone at Avignon. It was constructed by a 
religious society called "The Brethren of the Bridge;" 
which was established upon the decline of the second, 
and the beginning of the third, race of the kings of 
France, when the state fell into confusion, and no pro- 
tection was afforded to travellers, especially in passing 


rivers ; where they were subject to be plundered by bands 
of robbers. The aim of this praiseworthy society was to 
aiford the required protection by building bridges, esta- 
blishing ferries and caravansaries on the banks of the 
most frequented rivers. Their first establishment was 
upon the Durance at a dangerous spot named Maupas or 
had jyassage; but afterwards, when it became more 
secure, it was named Bonpas or good passage. Near this 
place at Bicangon is a noble bridge. But the bridge over 
the Rhone, above referred to, seems to have been planned 
and built by Benezet, who was originally a shepherd ; but 
being frequently warned in dreams to quit his flock and 
build this bridge, he did so. His youth and inexperience 
gained him no respect; but by the aid of the Brethren he 
succeeded, and was canonised as a Saint, when he died 
in 1187. The bridge was commenced 1176, and com- 
pleted in 1188. It consisted of eighteen arches — the 
span of the largest arch was one hundred and ten feet 
nine inches; and it was forty -five feet ten inches in 
height. In the same year that witnessed the commence- 
ment of this bridge, was old London Bridge begun by 
Peter of Colechurch who was probably a member of the 
widely dispersed fraternity of the " Brethren of the 
Bridge." Previous to the erection of this structure, 
which was completed in the reign of John, a.d. 1209, a 
bridge of wood existed, built in the reign of Ethelred 11., 
between the years 993 and 1016. In 1163, it was 
rebuilt of timber. 

This society erected many other bridges, such as that 
of St. Esprit, over the Rhone, others at Lyons, &c. 

The remarkable bridge of the Holy Trinity, over the 
Arno, at Florence, was built in 1569. It is a beautiful 
specimen of the arch. A bridge, which is a copy of it, 
has been built at Cambridge, in the walks of Trinity 

The art of brido^e-building seems to have been cuiti- 
vated in Britain, with success, from an early period. The 
oldest structure of this kind, seems to be the Gothic trian- 
gular bridge at Croyland,in Lincolnshire; built, it is said, 
in 860. There are two curious circumstances in the 


construction of this bridge, -wliicli render it an object of 
great interest to the antiquary. First, it is formed by 
three semi-arches, at equal distances from each other. 
These unite at the top; and the triune nature of the 
structure has led some to imagine that it was in- 
tended as an emblem of the Trinity. Secondly, the 
ascent on each of the semi-arches is by steps paved with 
small stones edgeways; and it is so steep, that none but 
foot-passengers can go over the bridge: horsemen and 
carriages frequently pass under it, as the river near the 
bridge is shallow. It is now difficult to determine for 
what purpose this bridge was erected; it is obvious that 
utility was the smallest motive for its erection. To bold- 
ness of design and simplicity of construction it has strong 
claims ; and it is surpassed in these qualities at least, by 
no bridge in Europe. Its durability also is not the least 
of its merits; for although it has been erected so many 
centuries, it exhibits no symptoms of decay. At the foot 
of one of the ascents, is the ruined statue of some Saxon 
monarch, supposed by some to be that of Ethelbert. 

In the year 993, the first bridge over the Thames was 
erected opposite the site of the present St. Botolph's 
wharf. This bridge was of wood, and a statute of Ethelred 
II., fixing the tolls to be paid by the " Bylyngsgate" 
fishing boats, alludes to this bridge. 

Previous to the erection of this bridge, there was a 
ferry, the proprietor of which left it to an only daughter, 
named Mary, who founded a house of sisters, or a con- 
vent near the church of St. IMary Overil, in Southwark, 
(the present St. Saviour's.) and endowed it with the ferry 
and its proceeds. This convent was subsequently trans- 
formed into a college of priests, who built the wooden 
bridge, and kept it in repair; till, finding that the expense 
would be ultimately saved by a greater immediate outlay, 
agreed with the citizens of London to substitute a bridge 
of stone. 

The wooden bridge had been exposed to many vicissi- 
tudes. Soon after its erection it was nearly destroyed by 
the Norwegian prince, Olaf, who attacked the city in be- 
half of his ally, King Ethelred, whom the citizens had 


refused to acknowledge. In 1016, Canute, being pre- 
vented by the bridge from sailing up the river, dug a 
channel at the southern end, and carried his fleet through 
it to the western side of the bridge. In November, 1091, 
a violent flood destroyed the greater part of the bridge, 
and it was repaired by a tax levied on the city by William 
the Second. In 1136, it was damaged by fire, and though 
again restored, it was found, in 1163, to be so dilapidated, 
as to require rebuilding. The college resolved, therefore, 
as we said, to erect a bridge of stone, and applied to Peter 
of Colechurch, w ho conducted the work, and erected an 
edifice Avhich endured 600 years. This bridge was begun 
in 1176, a little to the west of the old wooden one. The 
utility of such a work was so much appreciated, that 
the contributions to it Avere considerable, — the king gave 
to it the proceeds of a tax on wool, and hence arose 
a popular saying, that the foundations of the old London 
bridge were laid on wool-packs ; the Pope's legate contri- 
buted a thousand marks, and the Archbishop of Canter- 
bury, and numerous other persons, Avere donors to this- 
useful undertaking. 

The piers were built on a frame-work of elm piles,, 
driven in as closely as possible, and the intervals w^ere 
filled in with rubble. The coffer-dams, which were made 
round each, Avere never removed, and constituted the 
stei-li?ig.i*', which formed so singular a feature in this 
venerable structure. The loAver courses of the masonry 
exposed to the action of the Avater Avere laid in pitch, 
instead of mortar ; for, at that time, no cement of lime 
Avas knoAvn, Avhich Avas capable of setting under, and re- 
sisting the action of Avater. 

Peter died in 1205; and three merchants of London 
Avere appointed to complete the Avork, Avhich they did in 
four years more. The bridge, Avhen finished, contained 
tAventy arches of unequal magnitude, and of the pointed 
Gothic style; the total length of the bridge was 915 feet, 
and its Avidth, 73 feet. 

• More properly, perhaps, s;eer/m^«,- for theywere supposed to 
have been designed for the preservation of the piei-s, by guiding 
or steering tlie force of the current or other damage from them. 


The master-mason of the work erected a Gothic chapel 
at his own cost, on the east side of the ninth pier from 
the northern end of the bridge. This chapel was dedi- 
cated to St. Thomas. The lower story thereof was a crypt, 
and stood in the sterling of the pier, which was extended 
fifty feet further than the others for the purpose in view: the 
upper part, or chapel, was level with the road- way of the 
bridge, and stood partly on the pier, presenting a front to the 
road, forty feet high, and thirty wide: the length of the whole 
building was sixty feet. The body of Peter, of Colechurch, 
was deposited in a stone tomb, in the crypt of this chapel, 
within the pier of the bridge — a proper burial-place for its 
architect. This chapel was, at successive times, augmented 
by several chantries; so that, in the time of Henry 
VI., there Avere four chaplains belonging to it, whose 
stipends were bequeathed by different persons at their 
deaths. It afterwards became the property of St. Kather- 
ine's hospital ; and, though it was suppressed as a monastic 
institution at the Ileformation, divine service was per- 
formed in it till the beginning of the last century; it was 
then occupied as a shop, and the crypt converted into a 
paper- warehouse ; and such was the solidity of the work, 
that though the floor of this story was nearly ten feet below 
high water-mark, no damp penetrated the walls. In the 
enclosure of the sterling, in front of the end of the edifice, 
a fish-preserve had been made, into which the tide carried 
the fish, and they Avere secured by a wire grating. A 
winding staircase led down to this pond from the chapel. 
This singular and interesting chapel Avas pulled down 
in 1760, during some repairs of the bridge. 

The arches of the bridge were of different Avidths; four 
of the Avidest, Avhich admitted the passage of larger boats, 
Avere called locks; and there was a moveable draw-bridge, 
instead of a stone arch, between the sixth and seventh, 
piers, to admit of larger vessels coming up the river. 

There AA'as also a toAver erected at each end of the 
bridge,forthepurposesof defence; a general practice at such 
a time, Avhen, in case of an attack upon the city, the easiest 
access Avas, of course, over the bridge. In 1426, a third 
toAver Avas erected at the north side of the draAA'-bridge ; 



and, it is probable, that many houses were about this 
time also erected on the bridge; for we find an account of 
the loss of many lives by a fire, about three years after- 
wards, which broke out in Southwark, and communicated 
to some buildings on the opposite side of the bridge ; and 
these unfortunate people neglecting to quit their dwellings 
in time, were enclosed by the flames, and drowned in trying 
to escape by the river; some were crushed by the falling 
ruins, and others were burnt in the flames. It is stated 
that about three thousand lives were lost on this occasion. 

A writer in the reign of Elizabeth appends the fol- 
lowing description, to a curious view of the bridge in 
that reigft. " This famous bridge is adorned with sump- 
tuous buildings, and statelie and beautifull houses on 
either syde inhabited by wealthy citizens, and furnished 
with all manner of trades, comparable in itself to a little 
city, Avhose buildynges are so artifycially contryved and so 
firmly combyned, as it seemeth more than an ordinary street, 
for it is ^s one continuous vaute or roof, except certain 
voyd places reserved from buildings for the retyre of pas- 
sengers from the danger of cars, carts, and droves of cattle, 
usually passing that way. The vaults, cellars, and places 
in the bowels, as it were of the same bridge, are many 
and admirable, which arte cannot discover to the out- 
warde view." 

A number of these " buildynges" were destroyed by 
fire, in 1646, and new ones were erected, " three stories 
high, besides the cellars, which were within and between 
the piers; and over the houses were statelie platforms 
leaded, with rails and balusters, and some had pretty little 
gardens with arbours." 

Nonsuch- house, a curious building of the Elizabethan 
age, made entirely of timber prepared in Holland, was 
erected on the bridge. It stood near the draw-bridge 
over the seventh arch, and overhung the river on each 
side ; it was four stories high, richly carved and gilt. The 
whole frame-work was put together with wooden pegs, no 
iron being allowed in its construction. 

The fire of 1666, destroyed almost entirely this laby- 
rinth of dwellings. Within twenty years they were all 

F .-J 


erected on a more regular plan; the objection to their 
presence on the bridge not being yet confirmed. The 
passage over the bridge was, however, narrow, dark, and 
dangerous : small security was afforded to foot passengers, 
and the appearance, both from the bridge and from the 
river, was unsightly in the extreme. The inconvenience, 
therefore, of the houses, and of the narrow passage pro- 
duced by them, being more and more felt, these were all 
cleared away in 1755, parapets and balustrades were 
erected on each side; two of the middle arches were 
thrown into one, to enlarge the water-way; and an arch- 
way was opened through the tower of St. Magnus church, 
for the accommodation of foot-passengers. In this state 
this venerable structure remained till 1833, when it was 
finally demolished. 

We have been tempted into these details respecting a 
structure, which is still vivid in the recollection of the 
present generation. The magnificent bridge which has 
been substituted for the old one, is so well known, and 
the circumstances of its erection have been so frequently 
and so recently detailed, that we need not repeat them. 
We pass on, therefore, to notice AVestminster bridge; our 
reason for which is to be found in the circumstances 
attending its erection ; which forms an epoch in the art 
of bridge-building, caissons being, for the first time, em- 
ployed in building the piers. In noticing this bridge, 
therefore, we will inform our young readers of the general 
mode of erecting similar structures. 

The increased population of the Surrey side of the 
city of London, requiring more extensive means of com- 
munication than London bridge afforded, an Act of Par- 
liament was obtained, in 1736, for the erection of a bridge 
at Westminster, and John Labelye, a Swiss architect, was 
appointed to the work. 

Up to this time it had been the custom, in the con- 
struction of modern bridges, to form a coffer-dam^ or en- 
closure of strong piles driven into the bed of the river, 
large enough to allow of the pier being built within it; 
this work was made water-tight by means of clay, &c. 
rammed between two rows of piles; and the water being 


then pumijed out, the foundation could be dug, and pre- 
pared -without impediment from the action of the stream. 

But, in the erection of Westminster bridge, a new 
plan was adopted. The mud having been removed by 
dredging, till the firm sand was reached, the surface of 
this was made level by raking, and tried by repeated 
measurements, with a proper instrument. The caisson 
consisted of an enormous chest, formed of timber-beams ; 
the bottom being made capable of separation from the 
sides, and the whole rendered water-tight Avhile in use. 
This chest being floated to the proper spot over the pre- 
pared foundation, it was secured to fender-piles driven 
round the place ; and the lowermost course of masonry 
being laid in it, and cramped, the water Avas admitted 
into the caisson, by a sluice-gate, and so caused it to 
sink. It was then ascertained whether it lay truly level 
on the bed of sand: the sides of the caisson were made 
sufficiently deep to allow of its edge being above the level 
of the water when it was sunk ; so that, by shutting the 
sluice, and pumping the water out, it might float again, if 
need were, with the masonry in it. 

If any defect in the level had been discovered, the bed 
was corrected accordingly; and new courses of masonry 
being built in that already laid, the whole Avas again, 
sunk into the precise spot. By these means the pier 
was raised nearly to the level of low water; so that by 
availing themselves of the ebb, and pumping out the 
watei-, the Avorkmen could soon add ncAV courses of ma- 
sonry, and raise the Avork above the level of the high tide- 
When this Avas done, the sides of the caisson Avere de- 
tached from the bottom, and floated ashore, to be fixed 
to a new one, to serve for another pier. 

The bridge is 1223 feet long, and 44 Avide, betAveen 
the parapets ; there are thirteen semicular arches, besides 
a smaller one, of tAventy feet, at each end, next the abut- 
ments ; the centre arch is seventy-six feet span, the others 
decrease in Avidth regularly, both Avays, by four feet each. 
The piers and arches are of Portland stone, the spandrils* 

* A spanclril, in bridge-building, is the space comprised be- 
tween the upright line of the pier, the road-Avay, aud the outer 
curve of the arch. 


being filled up witli courses of PurLeck stone, laid so as 
to form an arch, and so adjusted, that the whole mass 
shall be in ecjuilibrium ; each arch is, consequently, in- 
dependent of the adjoining ones for support. 

The piers between the arches form semi-octagonal 
projections, which terminate at the parapets, in recesses 
in which are benches for the convenience of passengers: 
six of these, on each side of the bridge, are arched over 
with stone. 

Before the completion of the bridge, one of the piers 
sank considerably, in consequence of a quantity of sand 
for the road-way having been dredged out of the river 
at a spot too near the foundation, and nine feet below it. 
It therefore became necessary to take down the two ad- 
joining arches; and the pier being loaded with cannon 
till all subsidence ceased, was then raised up to a level with 
the others, and the arches rebuilt. The bridge was opened 
on the 17th of November, 1750. 

The next metropolitan bridge, in point of date, was 
Blackfriars. It was begun in 1760, and opened in 1771. 
Mr. Milne was the architect, and, profiting by the example 
in scientific construction set him by Labelye, he surpassed 
the performance of the latter, in boldness and elegance of 
design. The stone, however, which is employed in this 
structure, is of so perishable a nature, that it is already 
much decayed, and requires frequent repairs ; as many of 
oui- readers are probably in the habit of witnessing. 

Waterloo bridge, a representation of which is given in the 
next page, is generally admitted to be the finest in England, 
if not in the world; though its arches are far surpassed iu 
span t by more recent erections, yet no other bridge unites 
such simplicity and grandeur of design, with such magni- 
tude. A bridge at this part of the river had, in 1805, 
been proposed by Mr. George Dodd; but in consequence 
of much interested opposition, an Act of Parliament was 
not obtained for it until June, 1809. Mr. Rennie was 
appointed engineer, who, in June, 1810, offered two de- 

* The span of an arch is the horizontal distance between the 
piers or abutments which support it, measured at the points where 
the arch begins, or springs. 



signs for a bridge, one of seven and the other of nine 
arches, the latter of which was approved. This bridge 
has a perfectly horizontal road-way; its arches are ellipti- 
cal, each having a span of 120 feet, and a rise of 38 feet, 
forming a water-way of 1080 feet. The length of the 
bridge, between the abutments, is 1380 feet, and its width 
forty-two feet four inches. The approaches to each end of 
the pier are seventy feet wide, and are carried over a series 
of semi-circular brick arches. On the Surrey side, the 
approach is formed by thirty-nine of these arches, besides 
an elliptical arch of twenty-six feet span over the narrow- 
wall-road, so that the total length of the bridge and brick 
arches, is 2456 feet. This bridge is not national property. 
It belongs to a company incorporated by the Act of 
Parliament, which authorized its erection and the payment 
of a toll. 


over tha JJee. 

There is a magnificent bridge, called the Dean-bridge 
which has been lately thrown across the opening formed 
by the river, or water of Leith, to the north of the city of 
Edinburgh, which river is called the Dee. It has been 
erected from a design by Mr, Telford. It consists of two 
series of four arches each, the one surmounting the other. 
The latter carries the foot-paths; and from the road-way, 


■\vhlcli is at the enormous height of about 120 feet above 
the level of the river below, there is a most extensive vieAV 
of the Frith of Forth, with the adjacent coast of Fife and 
East Lothian. 

The stone bridges of our own countr}-, as well as of 
France, are numerous and beautiful, but Ave have not 
space to describe them further; our object being rather 
to show their importance as connecting links between 
roads, and their influence in promoting civilisation, than 
than to furnish their history and the details of their erec- 
tion. There is, however, one bridge which, as a memorial 
of the patience, industry, and talent, of its remarkable 
architect, we cannot pass over in silence. 

This bridge is probably the most extraordinary of any 
in our own country. It is thrown over the Taaf, in Gla- 
morganshire, called Pont y Prydd, and was erected by 
William Edwards, an uneducated mason of that county. 
In 1746, he built a new bridge at this place, Avliich was 
universally admired for neatness of workmanship and 
elegance of design : it consisted of three arches, elegantly 
light in their construction. The hewn stones were well 
dressed and closely jointed. But the river flows through 
a very deep vale, that is more than usually woody and 
hemmed in with mountains. It is also to be considered 
that many other rivers, of no mean capacity, besides 
numberless brooks, that run through long, deep, and 
well-wooded vales, or glens, fall into the Taaff. The 
descents into these vales from the mountains being in 
general very steep, the water, during long and heavy 
rains, collects into these rivers with great rapidity and 
force, raising floods such as the inhabitants of open and 
flat countries can scarcely have a notion of, Avhere the 
rivers are neither so precipitate in their courses, nor have 
such hills on each side, to swell them Avith their torrents. 
Such a flood unfortunately occurred about two-and-a-half 
years after the completion of Edwards's first bridge, 
whereby the largest trees were torn up by the roots, and 
borne down the river to the bridge, whose arches were 
not sufliciently wide to admit of their passage ; there, 
therefore, they Avere detained. Brushwood, weeds, hay, 


straw, and whatever lay in the way of the flood, came 
down and collected ahout the branches of the trees, all 
which stuck fast in the arches, and choked the free cur- 
rent of the water. In consequence of this obstruction to 
the flood, a thick and strong dam, as it were, was thus 
formed. The aggregate of so many collected streams 
being unable to get any further, rose here to a great 
height, and with the force of its pressure carried the 
bridge away entirely before it. Edwards had given secu- 
rity for the stability of the bridge during the space of 
seven years, he was therefore obhged to erect another, 
which he proceeded to do as promptly as circumstances 
would allow him. The second bridge was of one arch, 
for the purpose of admitting freely under it Avhatever 
incumbrances the flood might bring down. The span of 
this arch Avas 140 feet, and its altitude 35 feet. The 
arch was finished, but the parapets were not yet erected, 
when such was the pressure of the unavoidably ponderous 
work over the haunches*, that it sprang in the middle, 
and the key-stones were forced out. This was another 
blow to a man who had, as yet, encountered nothing but 
misfortune in an enterprise which was to establish or to 
ruin him in his profession. But his courage did not so 
easily give way as his bridge ; he soon set about a third 
structure, and by means of cylindrical apertures through 
the haunches, so reduced their weight that there was no 
more danger on this account. The third bridge, which 
has stood ever since, was completed in 1755, four years 
after the fall of the second bridge. The arch of the pre- 
sent bridge is 140 feet in span, and 35 feet high. In 
each haunch are three unequal cylindrical openings, 
running through from side to side, of nine, six, and three 
feet in diameter. The width of the bridge is about 
eleven feet. To strengthen it horizontally, it is made 
widest at the abutments, from which it contracts towards 
the centre by seven offsets ; so that the roadway is one 
foot nine inches wider at the extremities than at the 
middle. We have ventured upon these details, partly to 

* The haunches of a bridge which has but a single arch ai"e the 
sides from which tlie arch springs. 



afford our younger readers a cheering example of ■what 
may be done by firmness and Integrity of purpose ; partly 
to express our admiration of the performance of a vigor- 
ous though uneducated mind, and partly to afford a few 
particulars respecting a stone arch, which, at the time of 
its erection, was the largest in the world. The Rialto at 
Venice, which was planned by Michael Angelo, had been 

The Bialto. 

considered a wonderful structure, because the span of its 
arch was ninety-eight feet; whereas, that of Edwards's 
arch was 140 feet span. Edwards's performance gave, as 
it were, a new impulse to bridge-building ; stone arches 
of extraordinary dimensions were constructed, both in our 
country and in France : but no one excelled the bridge of 
our Welsh architect, whose fame now extended far and 
wide. He built many other bridges, and, in point of 
convenience, improved upon his first attempt ; for he 
formed his arches of segments of much larger circles than 
he had ventured to try in the first instance, so that, the 
roads over them being flatter, the draught of carriages was 
less, and general travel much easier than with arches 
formed of segments of smaller circles. All that Edwards 



performed was done by his own reflection and sagacity ; 
he received instruction from no one — the very principles 
of masonr}'' he declares lie acquired by rambling among 
the ruins of an old gothic castle in his native parish. 

We have thus far noticed those superior structures of 
stone which are calculated to endure for centuries. There 
now remain to be noticed several classes of bridges of a 
less durable description, to a brief notice of whicli we pro- 
pose to devote the next chapter. 

Ancient Bridge ever tne Moselle. 

Uii' i4iiiinii 

Norwegian Bridge. 


Iron Bridges, History of. — Soiitliwark Bridge. — Telford's Iron 
Bridges. — Timber Bridges of Germany. — Floating Bridges. — 
Suspension Bridges of America and Asia. — Conditions of Sus- 
pension Bridges. — Telford's Menai Bridge, &c. — Brighton 
Suspension Pier. — Fribourg Suspension Bridge. — Hammer- 
smith Suspension Bridge. 

Among the many remarkable applications of that valuable 
metal iron, its use in the construction of bridges is worthy 
of our notice. It has been asserted of the English, as a 
nation, that Avith all their powers of application and im- 
provement, they are Avanting in invention. It is scarcely 
"worth while to enquire into the truth of this assertion; 
for in the case before us, the merit is due solely to the 
English, of inventing, applying, and improving Iron 
bridofes : and it is not unnatural that, with our eminent 
skill in iron manufactory, that metal should be employed 
in the construction of bridges, in situations Avhere stone 
is not easily obtained, or for purposes of lightness and 
economy. In the iron districts, in particular, bridges 
would naturally be built of iron, that being the most abun- 


dant material, as in well-wooded districts timber would 
most likely be adopted. 

The first iron bridge ever constructed was over the 
Severn, at Colebrook-dale in Shropshire; the metal for it 
was cast at the Colebrook-dale foundries by Abraham 
Darby in 1777, at the great iron- works situate there. 
The chord is 100 feet, and the arch nearly a semicircle, 
composed of five iron ribs, upon Avhich the road-way is 
formed by other pieces of cast iron, and plates which carry 
the road. 

The second iron bridge, cast by Messrs. Walker, in 
Yorkshire, Avas as great an improvement on the first in 
principle, as it was superior to it in size. It was con- 
veyed to London, and exhibited at a bowling-green, near 
the old church Pancras. It was intended to have been 
sent to America, but the speculator failing in his payments, 
the materials were used for the beautiful bridge over the 
Wear, at Bishop's Wearmouth, near Sunderland. The 
span of this arch is 240 feet. It Is elevated 100 feet 
above the water, so that vessels of 300 tons burden can 
sail under it without striking their topsails. 

In the same year, 1795, Mr. Telford erected an iron 
bridge at Buildwas, in Shropshire, which is remarkable as 
consisting of two arches, one partly sustaining and partly 
suspending the other. 

Vauxhall bridge was originally intended to be of stoiie; 
the arches are therefore of less span than was at all neces- 
sary for an iron bridge, aiid although the effect is pleasing, 
it wants the lightness of an iron bridge of great span. 

Perhaps the finest iron bridge in the world is Trafalgar, 
or as it is more commonly called Southwark, bridge. The 
architect is Mr. Rennie, who has had the honour of con- 
structing three fine bridges over the Thames at London. 
Southwark bridge consists of three arches only; the centre 
one being 240 feet in span, with a versed sine ■■' of only 
twenty-four, or one-tenth of the chord. The piers are of 

* The versed sine in an arch is its height, measured from the 
soffite, or highest point of the imderside, to the span-line or chord, 
which is thereby divided into two equal parts. 


The largest iron arch ever proposed, but not executed, 
■was when the plans of the new London bridge were 
being considered. Mr. Telford designed an iron bridge 
whose span should be 600 feet. Mr. Telford's character 
stands too hi";h to admit a doubt of his beino; able to ac- 
complish anything he proposed, and Avere it not that the 
present London bridge is so admirable a structure, we 
should regret that Mr. Telford's plan was not adopted. 

We come now to notice Timbp:r bridges, which is the 
most ready, and probably the most ancient, mode of form- 
ing these useful structures. 

The first recorded timber bridge is by Julius Caesar, de- 
scribed by him in his Commentaries. Palladio has given 
a design of this bridge founded on Cjesar's own descrip- 
tion. Lie has also described other wooden bridges which 
are ingenious, and not inelegant; but these we need not 
stay to describe. At the head of this chapter is a represen- 
tation of a Norwegian bridge, constructed in a very primi- 
tive fashion of logs of wood, and thrown over a torrent. 

Germany has been called the school for wooden bridges, 
as England is for those of iron. The most celebrated 
•wooden bridge is that over the Rhine at Schauifhausen, 
constructed in 17'')8 by a self-taught carpenter named 
Ulric Grubenmann. The strong current of the river 
having undermined the piers of a stone bridge which pre- 
viously existed there, it fell down in 1 754, and it was 
determined to substitute one of timber, which, requiring a 
smaller number of piers was not so much exposed to simi- 
lar accidents. Grubenmann oflPcred a model of a bridge 
without any pier at all, but his project being considered 
too bold, the authorities insisted that one pier of the old 
bridge, which was left standing, should be used as an in- 
termediate support. The design was therefore modified, 
and the bridge was built apparently in one span from 
shore to shore, but addltional'support was afforded by beams 
springing from the stone pier. The length of the bridge 
was 364 feet, and its breadth eighteen feet. This bridge was 
destroyed by the French in 1 799. John, the brother of LTIric 
Grubenmann, has also erected bridges with skill, equal to 
that of his brother. The two brothers in conjunction 


erected a beautiful structure over the river Limmat near 
Baden, and another at Writtenghen. 

Swiss Bridge. 

"Wiebecking, Avho has been called the most skilful car- 
penter of modern times, has erected timber bridges of ex- 
traordinary dimensions. One of these structures is the seg- 
ment of a circle, the chord line of which measures 639 feet, 
its versed sine only twenty-six feet six inches, being the 
portion of a circle whose whole diameter is no less than 
3876 feet. The thickness of the framing of this extra- 
ordinary bridge is only four feet two inches. 

The Americans, having a superabundant supply of 
timber, have been very successful in the construction of 
wooden bridges. Timber also abounds in Norway, but, 
judging from the specimen represented at the head of the 
present chapter, the Norwegians are sometimes con- 
tented with bridges of a rude and most primitive form. 

Over the Schuylkill in Philadelphia is a timber bridge 
named the Colossus, having a span of 340 feet. It was 
built by Wernwag, in 1813. 

Another description of bridges of great antiquity is 
known by the name of floating bridges, which are in 
general only temporary works for the purposes of facilitat- 
ing military operations"; but they are also sometimes 
adopted as permanent bridges over rivers, examples of 
them being found at St. Petersburgh, Presburgh, Coblentz, 

* The famous bridge of boats formed over the Hellespont, by 
Xerxes, will occur to the readers of ancient Iiistory. 



and other towns on the continent of Europe. Others are 
found of a less permanent nature; as on the Black River, 
a branch of the Senegal, in Africa, is seen a floating bridge 
made of trees and bamboos, which is every year carried 
away by the swelling of the stream in the rainy season, 
and rebuilt by the people of one of the neighbouring 

The principal feature of these bridges consists in a 
roadway supported by boats of a peculiar construction, 
Avhich are anchored in a line across the stream. They are 
very useful on rivers with strong currents, which some- 
times bring down large masses of ice, so destructive to the 
piers of an ordinary bridge. On such occasions an open- 
ing is made in the floating bridge by removing the road- 
way, and unmooring a few boats; or the whole bridge is 
made to swing round with the current, and lie along the 
shore till the danger is over. This plan is also available 
in times of war, Avhen a frontier-town is exposed to the 
attacks of an enemy; and the facility with which all com- 
munication by roads or bridges can be cut ofi" without 
injury to the bridge is a great recommendation to this 
contrivance; but still the passage over floating bridges is 
not at all times pleasant or even safe, since the bridges 
partake of all the undulations of the stream, and are also 
greatly afl:ected by strong winds. 

The last form of bridges that we shall notice, is Pex- 
DENT bridges, or bridges of Suspension, which seem to be 
derived from the rope bridges of South America and the 
East Indies, which are well adapted to mountainous 
countries, where the depth of the valleys is so great as to 
preclude the erection of piers, and consequently of bridges 
of stone, iron, or timber; they are also extremely useful, 
for a similar reason, over very rapid streams. 

By referring to the cut at page 9, the reader will under- 
stand at a glance the rude and simple mode of crossing 
torrents and other rapid streams in India, as well as in 
South America. When Europeans first visited the latter 
country, they found the tarabiia, as it is called, used by 
the natives in crossing the valleys and torrents of the Cor- 









A cable made of strips of hide, or fibres of plants, is 
stretched across from a post, or tree, on one side, to a 
■wheel on the other ; this wheel, or some such contrivance, 
being necessary to keep the rope tight. A basket is then 
suspended by loops from the cable, and the basket, Avith 
the traveller in it, is pulled across by means of a smaller 
rope to the opposite shore. 

Humboldt describes a bridge, called the Penipe, over 
the river Chambo, in Quito, of a superior construction to 
the Tarabita. The main ropes are four inches in dia- 
meter, and are laid over frames of timber on each bank, 
and secured by posts driven into the ground. Over these 
ropes is laid the road-way, which consequently partakes of 
the curvature of the ropes, and their instability increases 
the difficulty of Avalking ovex it ; there are, however, side 
parapets, to prevent a person from falling. The span of 
this bridge is 131 feet. 

In the mountainous districts of India and Central 
Asia, suspension bridges of ropes, or chains, have been in 
use from the earliest times. The simplest form closely 
resembles the Tarabita, above described, and is called a 
I'hoola; but we often find descriptions of suspension- 
bridges of a far superior construction. Over the river 
Tchin-tchien is a bridge, called Chuka-chazMra. The 
river flows between precipitous and rugged banks, in one 
of the steepest , of which is a pyramidal pier of masonry, 
through the top of Avhich is the road-way ; in this open- 
ing is fixed a strong frame, like a door-way. On the 
opposite bank is a second pier, in which a room is con- 
structed, from the front of Avhich projects a covered gal- 
lery of timber to the edge of the river, a distance of about 
thirty-five feet. The floor of the bridge is made by five 
main-chains of iron, secured to the front wall of the 
building containing the room ; which chains, after passing 
over the lower beams of the gallery, are attached to the 
bottom of the frame of the opposite pier. On each side 
of the bridge is fixed another chain, nine feet above the 
former, to the top beam of this frame, and, being carried 
through the Avail of the room, they pass doAvn to the 
ground, Avhere they are secured. Vertical suspending-rods 


hang from these two upper chalus to the outer ones of 
the floor-chains, to the support of which they contribute, 
while they form a parapet to the bridge ; the road- way is 
covered with strips of bamboo. This bridge is very 
ancient, and a superhuman origin is assigned to it by the 

It is remarkable that suspension-bridges were not 
introduced into Europe until about the close of the last 
century, although they seem to have been kno^ATi for at 
least 2000 years ; but the grand discovery of the arch was 
probably the cause of their exclusion, till, engineers having 
carried arched bridges to a high degree of perfection, a 
desire arose for the construction of bridges on a more 
economical plan, and in situations where the arch, for 
reasons before stated, was impracticable. 

In the Peruvian and Indian bridges, the employment 
of several ropes was considered necessary to their security, 
in order that if one Avere broken, the others might sustain 
the road till the injury were repaired; also because several 
short ropes are stronger in proportion than one long one. 
Similar precautions are necessary when iron chains are 
employed, whose weight, independently of the road-way 
which they sustain, requires not only an increase in their 
number, but an equal degree of strength in every part of 
them. This latter condition is attained by making each 
link to consist of several parts united together, because it 
is easier to make a small bar sound than a large one, and 
if one such bar in the link should break, it can be replaced; 
besides, these small rods can be made of forged iron, the 
tenacity of which is greater than that of cast iron. The 
links too are frequently made of iron- wire, bound together 
in numerous coils, the tenacity of which is improved by 
drawing, so that it thus becomes superior even to wrought 

It is, of course, well known to the reader that a very 
long cord, or chain, cannot be stretched into a perfectly 
horizontal line, in consequence of the attraction of gravi- 
tation ; it will break long before it approaches a horizon- 
tal line. Now it has been found, by calculation and 
experiment, that there is a certain degree of curvature in 


a chain, or rope, when employed in a suspension bridge, 
Avhich is best adapted to stability ; and since the lowest 
part of that curve, or the level of the road, must be suihci- 
ently elevated above the river or valley beneath, the 
chains must be suspended from some solid fixed object, 
such as a pier, at each end of the bridge, in order to aftbrd 
the necessary curvature of the chains. But as no upright 
structure would be capable of resisting the tension of the 
chains, simply fastened thereto, it is necessary, after carry- 
ing the chains through or over these piers, to bring them 
down to the ground, and attach them to some other mas- 
sive and immoveable object. 

Since, also, the length of the chains is subject to vari- 
ation by change of temperature, as well as by vibration, the 
chains are laid on friction-rollers, which allow motion to 
them without disturbing the piers to which they are 
attached. So also, in order to avoid any lateral pressure, 
which would tend to overthroAv the piers, it is necessary 
that the weight of the suspended mass should exert a per- 
pendicular pressure on them. This is effected by making 
the chains descend from the piers each way at an equal 
angle; but this precaution is often sacrificed to other 
considerations, and the stability of the piers secured by an 
increase of size or strength, and by their pyramidal form. 

A chain-bridge Avas erected across the Tees, near 
Middleton, in Yorkshire, about the year 1 741 ; but very 
little science or skill seems to have been employed in its 
construction. In 17^65 a suspension- bridge was erected 
over Jacob's Creek, near Greenburgh, in North America ; 
and this seems to be the first important bridge of this 
nature in modern times. 

It was not till about the year 1814, that the attention 
of English engineers was directed to the subject of suspen- 
sion bridges. A projected road from Runcorn to Liver- 
pool included a bridge over the Mersey at Runcorn Gap, 
instead of the existing ferry. Since the navigation of the 
river could not be disturbed, and three spans only being 
allowed for the bridge, the centre one of a thousand feet, 
and seventy feet high ; an arched bridge was, of course, 
impracticable. Mr. Telford proposed a suspension-bridge, 



and thus reminded English engineers of a practice which 
has since been extensively adopted. 

Our limits do not allow us to trace the rise and pro- 
gress of suspension-bridges in this country, but it will 
be enough for our purpose to instance two of these 
remarkable structures, and describe them somewhat in 

The Menai suspension-bridge is justly celebrated, as 
well for the skill of its design and execution, as for its 
utility. This noble Avork, of which the accompanying 
figure will convey an accurate idea, is due to Mr. Telford. 
It was commenced in July, 1819, and opened in January, 

The passage of the Menai Straits, between the Isle of 
Anglesea and the Caeraarvonshire coast, had always ope- 
rated as a great impediment to communication ; and the 
advantages were likewise lost of proceeding at once to 
Holyhead as the nearest point of embarkation for Dublin. 

The accompanying view will not only convey a just 
idea of suspension-bridges generally, but will render a 
minute account of the work itself unnecessary. The dis- 
tance between the piers at the level of the road is 551 
feet; the road-way is 102 feet above high-water level, 
and is 28 feet wide, divided into two carriage-ways of 
12 feet each, with a foot-way between them of 4 feet. 

There are sixteen main chains, the links of which con- 
sist of five wrought-iron bars, 10 feet long, 3^ inches 
broad, and 1 inch thick ; so that there are in all eighty 
such bars. The links are connected by means of coupling 
links, 16 inches long, 8 broad, and 1 inch thick, as shown 
in the annexed figure, which shows the junction of two 

contiguous links ; each bolt-pin is 3 inches in diameter, 
and weighs 56 pounds. The chains are arranged in sets 






G 3 


of four, one under the other ; one set on each side of the 
central foot-path, and one set on each of the outer sides 
of the bridge. The chains, after passing over the piers, 
descend to the earth, and are conveyed through three 
tunnels cut in the solid rock on each shore, and are held 
in chambers at the end of the tunnels by means of twelve 
bolts, each 9 feet long, and 6 inches in diameter, resting 
in sockets in cast-iron plates. The chains are provided 
■with suspending-rods, cross-ties, &c., to prevent vibration 
and lateral motion from the effects of wind, &c. The 
chains lie on cast-iron saddles on the top of the piers, 
these saddles resting on friction-rollers, carried by a fixed 
iron bed; the saddles, therefore, move Avith the chains 
■when these undergo any variation from temperature. 

In setting up the chains, the parts within the tunnels 
were put together link by link, from the holding-bolts at 
the bottom ; a scaffolding was erected from the mouths of 
the tunnels on the masonry, supporting a platform of the 
requisite slope, reaching to the tops of the piers; the 
chains were put together on this platform till they reached 
over the saddles. A cradle capable of holding two work- 
men was suspended by tackle from the top of the pier on 
the Caernarvon side, in such a manner that the men could 
raise or lower it themselves as they required. The links 
■were brought to the face of the pier next the sea through, 
the archway; from thence each link was raised to the 
required height : it was then attached to the last link by 
the men in the cradle. In this way the chain was length- 
ened downwards to the level of the water. The other 
portion of the chain, which was to unite the two ends, 
was laid on a raft 400 feet long and 6 feet wdde : one end 
of the chain on the raft being fixed to the end of the chain 
hanging from one pier, the raft was floated across, and 
the other end of the chain lying on it was attached by the 
second link to a powerful tackle, which was raised by two 
capstans on shore, till the chain was elevated to the height 
necessary to admit of a union between the two ends. In 
this way all the chains were got up. 

The road-way suspended from these chains consists of 


two thicknesses of planks, forming a thickness of five 
inches; the under planks are l)olted. to the wood that 
fills in the intervals between the road-way bars. This 
planking was covered with felt saturated with boiled tar, 
and the upper thickness was placed over this felt and 
spiked down to the lower one. In the middle of each 
carriage-way there is a third layer of plank, placed on 
felt as before ; the road-way is also stiffened by means of 
an oak plank bolted to the underside, between each cross- 

We shall not justly estimate this noble structure un- 
less we remind the reader that there had not been as yet 
any performance on such a scale of magnitude and diffi- 
culty ; whereby to assist and guide the engineer as a pat- 
tern. When a great work is once established, and in action, 
it is comparatively easy to take it as a model, whereby to 
follow out, and extend its principle, to avoid its defects, 
and to institute such useful variations and improvements 
as experience may suggest. Few men are so gifted by 
nature, by education, and by co-operating circumstances, 
as to discover an unknown principle, or law of nature ; 
but when this is revealed, how simple becomes the appli- 
cation of crowds of illustrative facts, and how rapidly are 
old facts varied, and new facts discovered ! We, there- 
fore, regard Mr. Telford as one of the gifted few whose 
genius led him to invent a model which places him on a 
level with such benefactors of our species as an Arkwright, 
a AVatt, or a Brindley. 

Among the useful roads which enable men to commu- 
nicate with each other, we must not forget Piers, or roads 
stretching out into the sea from sea-coast towns which 
have not the advantage of a natural harbour, or port, 
whereby in such a case all approach to the town by sea is 
inconvenient, and in rough weather impracticable. Such 
a town was Brighton, previous to the erection of a suspen- 

The skilful Captain Brown is the engineer of the 
Brighton suspension-pier. It was commenced in October, 
1822, and finished in November, 1823. This work ex- 


tends 1014 feet into the sea from the front of the espla- 
nade wall. The entire length is 1136 feet, and is divided 
into four spans of 22.5 feet each. The platform is 13 feet 

There are eight main chains carried over pyi-amidal 
cast-iron frames, 25 feet high, resting on piles ; the ex- 
treme pile at the head of the pier is spread out laterally, 
and is covered Avitli granite paving, -weighing upwards of 
200 tons ; the object being to afford a firm base for the 
back-stay chains -which are bolted to diagonal piles con- 
structed in the extreme pile. 

At the land-end the main chains are carried over a 
pier of masonry, and through two tunnels cut in the cliff, 
30 or 40 feet deep ; and secured in a brick chamber to 
massive stones, by means of a ponderous plate of cast-iron. 

This beautiful pier was greatly injured, if not destroyed, 
by a tremendous gale, during the night of the loth of 
October, 1833. The platform between the first and third 
piers was almost entirely destroyed ; all the suspension- 
rods broken, and the main chains much deranged, while 
the weight of the road-way being removed, the chains over 
the first and fourth spans were so much depressed, that 
the platform they supported was also greatly injured. 

Suspension-bridges generally are subject to a vibratory 
motion, which is not only unpleasant to passengers, but is 
injurious to the structure itself. However ponderous a 
body may be, if suspended so as to vibrate, a slight force, 
if repeated at equal intervals, produces that motion which 
is frequently sufficient-to produce a rupture. It is stated 
that a suspension-bridge at Broughton, near Manchester, 
was broken down, in April, 1831, by a party of sixty 
soldiers marching over it to a tune on a fife. The bridge 
would have borne more than double the weight if the 
men had gone over it in an irregular step; but the 
equal timedness of the march produced so great an oscil- 
lation in the main chains, as to break them. It has been 
suggested that the damage done to the Brighton pier 
was by gusts of wind acting probably at equal intervals of 



There is a very fine suspension-bridge at Fribourg, in 
Switzerland, constructed with Avire-cables by M. Chaley, 
the French engineer. We may also remind tlie reader of 
the fine structure at Hammersmith, designed and erected 
by Mr. W. T. Clark, which presents the peculiarity of part 
of the road-Avay being supported on, and not hanging from, 
the main chains. 

This bridge was opened in 1827, after having been 
about three years in erecting. 

ELimmersmith Su-speEsion Bridge. 


Importance of Canals. — Canals of the ancient Greeks, Romans* 
and Egyptians. — Canals in China. — Modern Canals of Russia, 
Holland, France, and Great Britain.— Duke of Bridgewater's 
Canal. — Brindley. — Construction of Locked Canals. — Cale- 
donian Canal. 

The author of the Wealth of Nations, after expatiating on 
the value of good roads to the community, and the mani- 
fold advantages to be derived from them, says : " But how 
much greater must be the advantages of Canals, on -which 
one horse will do the work of twenty or thirty horses in 
the transport of goods, and one boy and a man the work of 
ten men; that is, one man, a boy, and a horse, are suffi- 
cient for transporting, by a canal of the smaller class, 
twenty tons' weight of merchandise, which on the best 
roads would require at least twenty horses and ten men. 
The expense of carriage, therefore, would be at least ten 
times as great, and the wear -and tear proportionably 

The word " canal" is derived from canalis, the Latin 
for a thing hollowed out like a cane or reed. Virgil uses 
the term when speaking of a trough. But, as we generally 
understand the term in reference to inland navigation, it is 
a piece of water whose length is of more importance than 
its breadth. 

Although in this country canals, at their first introduc- 
tion, had to share the fate of most new and useful inven- 
tions, in encountering much opposition, their value seems 
now to be generally admitted, even at the present time, 


■when rail-roads are being so extensively and universally 
adopted. On the first introduction of the latter mode of 
conveyance, it was supposed that canals -would no longer 
he required; and it "was suggested to draw off the water 
from most of them, and convert them into lines for rail- 
roads: but experience has hitherto shown, that the rail- 
road is not a desirable mode of transport for goods whose 
value is small compared with their weight, on account of 
the great expense of carriage ; so that, where expedition is 
not an important object, canals Avill always continue to be 
desirable for the transit of a vast amount of heavy articles, 
such as road-making materials, manure, fuel of various 
kinds, metallic ores, &c. 

We find many accounts of canals among the ancients; 
and even in Greece, which, from its peculiar geographical 
construction, would seem not to require the aid of canals, 
we find traces of them. Some of the Roman Emperors 
attempted to cut through the isthmus which connects the 
Peloponnesus or Morea Avith the rest of Greece. In 
Boeotia traces of canals are found, originally cut for the 
purpose of carrj-ing off the water from the flooded lands. 
The aqueducts of the Romans were a species of canal; and 
they also had many canals for drawing off the water from 
flooded lands. 

From the earliest times canals seem to have been dug 
in Egypt, for receiving and distributing the waters of the 
Nile, at the time of its annual overflow; there Avas also a 
grand project of a canal between the Nile and the Red 
Sea. The works are said to have been commenced by 
Necos, and continued by Darius; but a fear arose that all 
Egypt would be inundated, and thus the plan was aban- 
doned. The second Ptolemy, however, proceeded with 
the undertaking, and completed it. He caused a dam, or 
sluice, to be constructed, which was only opened to allow 
a boat or other vessel to pass. The passage of this canal 
occupied four days. It afforded a means of conveyance for 
the rich commodities of India, Persia, Arabia, and the 
southern coasts of Africa. These were conveyed from the 
Red Sea down the Nile to Alexandria, whence they were 
shipped to different parts of Europe. After the time of 


Ptolemy, this canal fell into neglect, but one of the caliphs, 
A.D. 635, restored it ; it was then suffered to fall into ruin, 
and only a few traces of it now remain to excite the specu- 
lations of the traveller. The canal of Alexandria, called 
by the Arabs the Canal of Faon, was cut from a place 
now named Rhamanie to Alexandria, for the purpose of 
supplying water to this city, whence also proceeded a 
canal to Canopus. 

China has long been celebrated for its canals. Most of 
my young readers will have heard of the Grand or Im- 
perial Canal, extending from north to south more than 
400 miles, cutting in its course several rivers and smaller 
streams, and affording a constant supply of water. The 
skill displayed in many parts of this stupendous work is 
also remarkable. In order to accommodate the general 
level of the canal to the respective levels of the streams 
which supply it, it Avas necessary in some places to cut to 
the depth of sixty or seventy feet below the surface ; and 
in other cases to raise mounds of earth upon lakes, 
swamps, and marshes of large dimensions. Some of these 
enormous embankments are carried through lakes of vast 
extent, and the water between the embankments is main- 
tained at a level considerably above that in the lakes ; 
sometimes, too, the Avater of this canal moves along at the 
rate of three miles an hour, for the bed is level only in a 
few places. Flood-gates are thrown across it in certain 
situations, for the purpose of elevating or depressing the 
height of the water when necessary, so as to maintain a 
general level. Sluices are also constructed in the sides of 
the embankments for draining off the redundant water. 
The construction of the flood-gates is very simple. They 
consist of planks sliding in grooves cut into the sides of 
two stone piers, which, in the places where they are 
situated, contract the canal to the width of thirty feet. 
At each set of flood-gates there is a guard-house, with 
soldiers, to protect the place, and to draw up and let down 
the hatches as occasion requires. From the river Hohang- 
ho to Kian-ku the country abounds in lakes and marshy 
grounds; and in some parts the canal is carried twenty 
feet above the level of the country, and the width is often 


200 feet. This canal has no locks, and with the excep- 
tion of the flood-gates, no interruption to navigation occurs 
throughout its whole extent. It is stated that there is a 
passage by canals almost from one extremity of the 
Chinese empire to the other: that is from Pekin in the 
north, to Canton in the south, tlie distance being estimated 
at 920 miles, along which vessels may pass with only one 
interruption, which is a mountain. 

The canals of China are probably the most ancient in 
the world; those of Russia are perhaps (if we except our 
OAvn country) the most modern. From the generation of 
this vast empire by Peter the Great, it has been alive to 
every species of improvement which civilization affords. 
After founding the city of Petersburgh, Peter formed the 
plan of an inhmd navigation from Persia to his new city. 
Merchandise was to be brought by the Caspian Sea to 
Astracan, and thence by the Wolga; a line of canals was 
then to convey it into the river Mesta and the Novogorod 
lake; then into the lake of Ladoga, and to Petersburgh 
by the river Neva, — a distance of 450 miles. Peter also 
designed a navigation from the Don to the Wolga, and 
another canal to the river Occa, and thus to arrive at 
Moscow; and then a line Avas to communicate with Arch- 
angel. An English engineer, Captain Perry, was ap- 
pointed to superintend the works, and they proceeded 
until the Czar's death, in spite of considerable opposition 
on the part of the nobles or boyars. The successors of 
Peter have, however, completed most of these fine plans, 
which confer so great an advantage on Russia, as may be 
seen when we state that goods may be conveyed nearly 
4500 miles by water, from the frontiers of China to Peters- 
burgh, Avith only one interruption of sixty miles. Another 
completed line of upM'ards of 1400 miles, reaches from 
Astracan to Petersburgh. There are also many other 
smaller canals in Russia. 

The canals of Holland form the principal feature of this 
singular country, which, by the ingenuity and labour of 
man has been withdrawn from the dominion of the sea. 
The provinces of this country are intersected with a vast 
number of canals, which form, in fact, the high roads of 


the Dutch; along which they are constantly travelling and 
conveying goods from one to another, in summer by means 
of boats and barges, and in winter by sledges and skates. 
Their canals also communicate with many parts of France, 
Flanders, and Germany. The profits of this mode of con- 
veyance are also very great. JMr. Philips states that, for 
one distance of forty miles, an annual profit of 250,000/. 
is, or was, commonly obtained. 

The canals of France are very considerable. Perhaps 
the finest is that of Languedoc, or the canal of the two 
seas, forming, as it does, a junction between the ocean and 
the JMediterranean. But our limits do not permit us to 
describe the canals of France and of other nations; nor, 
indeed, is it necessary that we should do so, since the 
general features of all canals being so much alike, a mere 
catalogue of their names, the geographical description of 
their lines, and the dates of their construction, would not 
sufiiciently interest the general reader to warrant the in- 
sertion in this little volume. We pass on, therefore, to a 
brief histoiy of the canals of our own country. 

The English did not adopt the use of canals before the 
year 1755, Avhen the first canal was constructed by the 
proprietors of the Sankey navigation, in order to make the 
Sankey brook navigable from the Mersey to St. Helen's. 
The length of this canal was 12i miles. 

This performance probably suggested the first grand 
work of the kind which was constructed in England, 
namely, the Duke of Bridgewater's canal. Francis, Duke 
of Bridgewater, succeeded to the family estates, while 
yet under age, in the year 1748. Part of his property 
•was at AV^orsley, a few miles to the Avest of Manchester, 
and the coal-mines of this place were very rich, but left 
unproductive, for want of some cheap means of transport. 
The young Duke, therefore, considered earnestly the 
means of supplying this defect. The Duke's father had, 
in 1732, obtained an act of Parliament empowering the 
construction of a canal to Manchester, but feared to begin 
the Avork on account of the natural difficulties thereof, 
and the great cost which it must necessarily entail upon 
him and his family. Besides this, there was probably no 



engineer capable of such an undertaking; and it was not 
until Brindley became known, tliat the idea of the canal 
was resumed, Avhen the young Duke applied to him to sur- 
vey the line and report thereupon. To a mind like that of 
Brindley, a new and difficult undertaking was peculiarly 
adapted. Confident in the strength of his own inventive 
resources, he reported favourably to the Duke, who at 
once resolved to commence it; and in ] 758 he obtained a 
second act of Parliament, enlarging and extending the 
powers granted by the first; so that the works were, that 
year begun. 

One of the difficulties of the undertaking was a due 
supply of water. In order therefore to prevent waste, it 
was determined to maintain a horizontal level throujihout, 
so that no locks would be necessary ; in consequence of 
which, the line extended over Avide valleys, and through 
high hills. A spacious basin was formed near the centre 
of the coal-district at Worsley ; a tunnel, three quarters of V-" 
a mile long, was then cut through a hill, on emerging from ' 
which the line was carried straight-forward on the same 
precise level, until it reached Barton. A stupendous 
aqueduct Avas then to be constructed over the Irwell, in 
such a Avay as not only to preserve the level of the canal, 
but also not to interrupt the navigation of that river ; this 
required a height of 39 feet for the aqueduct above the 
level of the river. As soon as Brindley's intentions to 
construct this aqueduct Avere knoAvn, they Avere universally 
denounced as AA'ild and visionary, and the plan accordingly 
pronounced impracticable. But in order to justify his 
conduct toAvards his noble employer, Brindley desired that 
an eminent engineer might be called in to give his opinion 
respecting the proposed aqueduct. The report of this 
gentleman is memorable': " I have often heard," said he, 
" of castles in the air, but never before Avas shoAvn Avhere 
any one of them Avas to be erected." This sneer did not 
hoAvever, disturb the confidence of the Duke in his own 
engineer; he immediately ordered the plan to be pro- 
ceeded Avith ; and such Avas the rapidity and success Avith 
Avhich the aqueduct Avas effected, that those Avho had pub- 
licly denounced it as chimerical were astonished and con- 


founded. This work Avas begun in September, 1760 ; and, 
within ten months, the first boat sailed over it on the 17th 
July in the following year ; from which time it was not 
uncommon to see a barge loaded with forty tons drawn 
with ease over the aqueduct, while ten or a dozen men 
were often seen below toiling painfully to direct a smaller 
load against the stream of the river. The work was then 
completed as far as Manchester. 

This noble canal reflects infinite credit upon its under- 
taker, as well as upon his engineer. The former devoted 
his fortune to the work, and even limited his own personal 
expenses to d£'400 a-year, in order to extend his means for 
the undertaking. It would be an interesting narrative to 
detail minutely the toils and anxieties which his favourite 
scheme produced to the noble Duke : we find him thus 
voluntarily renouncing the dignities and the enjoyments 
of his station ; often encountering commercial difficulties ; 
unable at times to raise money ; but still never tiring in 
his activity, or abating his zeal for the completion of a 
work which is now associated with the wealth and pro- 
sperity of our country. The duke and his family were, 
however, amply rewarded by the success of the undertak- 
ing, and the public Avas greatly benefited. As an example 
of the latter, Ave may state that goods had been conveyed 
between Manchester and Li^Trpool at the charge of twelve 
shillings per ton by Avater, and forty shillings by land ; 
but by the canal they Avere conveyed for six shillings per 

So justly celebrated did Brindley become by the con- 
struction of this canal, that before its completion he Avas 
applied to, to connect the Trent and the Mersey by a like 
undertaking. Here again the engineer had vast natural 
difficulties to encounter ; in one case, a tunnel Avas carried 
through Harecastle Hill, 2880 yards in length, and some- 
times more than 200 feet beloAV the surface of the earth. 
There Avere five tunnels to this canal, 76 locks, and several 
aqueducts. Indeed Brindley not only excited the astonish- 
ment of the public generally, but that also of contempo- 
rary engineers. His various inventions and fertile re- 
sources Avere perhaps equalled only by the beauty and 

142 BRINDLEr. 

simplicity of the results produced. He seldom or never 
constructed models or plans ; but, when any difficulty oc- 
curred, his custom was to retire to bed, and there meditate 
upon the best means for overcoming it. He has been 
known thus to seclude himself for days together. So 
much attached was he to canal-navigation, that on being 
examined before a Committee of the House of Commons, 
and speaking slightingly of rivers for the purposes of in- 
land navigation, the question was jocosely put, " Of what 
use then are rivers ?" to which Brindley replied, " Un- 
doubtedly, to feed navigable canals." 

From the time of Brindley, the great advantages of 
canals to the commercial and manufacturing interests of 
this country became duly appreciated, and ncAv lines of 
canals were speedily begun and completed, the bare enu- 
meration of which would occupy many pages. The num- 
ber of canals in Great Britain is 1 03 ; the total extent is 
2688 miles, and the capital sunk in their construction is 
computed at upwards of thirty millions of pounds ; nearly 
the whole of them have been completed by the combined 
exertions of private individuals. 

It will be seen from some of the above statements that 
the construction of a canal in a level country is a very 
simple affair. All that is necessary being to dig a bed or 
channel in the earth, and throw up the soil on each side. 
When the soil is loose and porous, the floor and sides of 
the canal must be lined with some substance through 
which water will not pass ; this operation is called pud- 
dling, and need not be described particularly. 

Since a canal is a mass of still water, exposed to cer- 
tain losses by leakage and evaporation, it is necessary to 
construct reservoirs which shall be supplied by streams or 
springs in the vicinity of the line ; and from these reser- 
voirs the canal receives its due supply of water. 

In cases where, from the nature of the ground, a per- 
fect level cannot be produced, systems of locks are adopted. 
A lock may be described as a chamber of masonry, occu- 
pying the whole bed of the canal at the particular spot 
Avhere the level varies. The water in this chamber is 
made to coincide with either the upper or lower level of 


tlie canal ; and this is done by a pair of gates at each end 
of the chamber of the lock ; so that supposing a vessel to 
have to pass from the lower to the upper level, while the 
sates at the end of the chamber where the water is lowest 
are opened, the water in the chamber coincides with the 
upper level ; a boat or barge then enters through the 
opened gates which are closed upon it ; the other gates 
are then opened, and the water in the chamber rises, and 
coincides with the upper level ; the boat is then drawn 
onwards, the gates are again closed, and the whole amount 
of water transferred from the upper to the lower level is 
that contained in the lock betv/een the flood-gates. By a 
reverse process it will easily be seen how a boat may be 
transferred from the upper to the lower level. Since it is 
desirable to lose as small a quantity of water as possible 
in the passage of boats through these locks, they are made 
as narroAv as possible ; and the lock is often made wdth 
two divisions, which communicate by means of a valve or 
hatch ; so that one-half of the water which would other- 
wise be transferred to the lower level, is let into the other 
division of the hatch between the closing of the gates of 
the upper, and opening those of the lower level. 

A locked canal is therefore a series of ascending or 
descending stairs ; and a magnificent staircase of this de- 
scription is exhibited in the Caledonian Canal, which 
passes through a chain of lakes and narrow arms of the 
sea, and affords an inland navigation of 250 miles across 
the central part of Scotland. There are 27 locks ; and the 
lockage up and down is equal to 190 feet. These locks, 
Avith one exception, are L80 feet long, and all of them 40 
feet wide; thus opening a ship-navigation through the midst 
of the country, and rising at the highest level, 94 feet 
above the tide-water of the eastern, and 96^ feet above 
that of the western-coast. At Fort Augustus this canal is 
cut through the glacis of the fortification, which improves 
the military defences as well as the appearance of the fort, 
and presents, with five rising locks of masonry, a splendid 
combination of military and civil engineering. From Loch 
Ness, passing westward, to Loch Oich, the land is 20 feet 
above the Avater-line ; which, with the depth of water 


in the canal, forms an excavation, }^ mile long, and 40 
feet deep. In descending -westward to Loch Lochy from 
Loch Oich, the natural difference of the surfaces of the 
two lakes is 22 feet, and to save cutting through a rock, 
the whole area of Loch Lochy which is It) miles long, and 
one mile broad, is raised 12 feet. In the last two miles 
before the canal enters Loch Eil, there is a descent of 64 
feet, which is passed by eight magnificent locks of the di- 
mensions as stated above. These locks are founded on in- 
verted arches connected together, and forming a solid con- 
tinuous mass of masonry, 500 yards long, and 20 yards 
wide, Avith flood-gates of cast-iron. This system of locks 
has been named Neptune's staircase ; and the appear- 
ance of the large vessels in these enormous locks descend- 
ing from the hill towards Loch Eil is described as majestic 
and imposing in the extreme, and exhibits a striking 
instance of the triumph of art over nature. The total as- 
cent of this canal by locks is 94 feet, and the descent also 
by locks, 96 feet and a-half ; thus showing a difference of 
2^ feet between the levels of the two seas. The Cale- 
donian Canal was opened on the 23rd of October, 1822 ; 
the entire cost of its construction has been estimated at 
CC9 12,500 ; the engineer to whose genius and skill the 
work was intrusted was Mr. Telford. 

This slight sketch of canals will enable the reader to 
estimate their value. Spreading as they do in so many 
directions from coast to coast, and penetrating into our 
most inland districts, a facility is afforded for the convey- 
ance of materials of all kinds; the boat which conveys 
corn to one place may return laden with manure ; it may 
convey besides corn, lime, iron ore, and coals ; and return 
with the iron manufactured into articles of constant use, 
and demand, both at home and abroad ; it may convey the 
raw cotton to the seat of manufacture, and return with 
cotton goods for exportation ; and all this may be done 
with so much ease that a load of more than twenty tons 
may be drawn by a single horse at the rate of two miles 
an hour. It may be objected that this is but a sorry pace ; 
but it must be remembered that at a slow pace, as regards 
tractive force no means of conveyance can come in com- 



petition with canals. With the increase however of 
manufactures and commerce, time is, indeed, a valuable 
element, and the charge of transport often becomes of less 
account than the time employed about it ; the wonderful 
speed which the railway affords is its greatest recom- 
mendation ; and to the details of this subject we shall 
devote much of the remainder of this volume. 

It is not always easy to say Avhether roads engender 
commerce, or whether commerce is the parent of roads ; 
but it is evident that they act upon each other ou the 
same principle as two magnets: that is, each one 
strengthens and improves the other. So long as the in- 
tei'nal traffic of Spain, for instance, is carried on by mule- 
teers instead of by coaches, wagons, canals, steam-boats, 
&c., we may look in vain for the extension of commerce 
in that unfortunate and misgoverned country. Muleteers 
sound very well in songs and romances; but if we had to 
bring our teacups from Staffordshire, our knives and forks 
from Sheffield, our cotton from Manchester, and our woollen 
goods from Leeds, on mules' backs, for want of good roads 
and canals, our commercial progress Avould be marvel- 
lously slow. 


The Thames Tunnel. 


On Tunnels.— 
Tunnel in 

■Uses of Tunnels. — Natural and artificial. — Natural 
America. — ISIedway, Edge Hill, and Thames 

" Tunnel" is a name given to an arclied opening -which 
passes through a hill or an elevated portion of country, 
having a place of exit at each end. If -we adhere to this 
definition, we shall find tunnels of A^arious sorts. A 
natural archway through which water can pass, — a similar 
archAvay, but constructed by art, — a dry cavern, passing 
through the bowels of a mountain, — and a similar cavern, 
but made by the hand of man, — may all be called tunnels. 
We may therefore divide tunnels into three classes ; viz., 
natural and artificial tunnels for the passage of water, 
and artificial tunnels fit for land-travelling. 'A description 
of all the excavations which mifrht belonp; to this classifica- 
tion woidd absorb the whole of this work. We will, there- 
fore, select one instance of each, b}' which the reader can 
judge of the rest. 

In the passage of rivers througli mountainous districts, 
it often happens that they have gradually worn away the 
subsoil beneath a rock, and forced for themselves, in the 
lapse of ages, a passage beneath or through a mountain. 
In other cases, a volcanic eruption, or an earthquake, has 
'disturbed the geological features of a district, — made rents 
and chasms in various parts, and throMn two or more 
rocks out of their original positions, in such a manner as to 
leave a cavernous opening between them, through which 
a river may ultimately flow. 


Many such instances as this have heen met with in 
various parts of the world; and. in which it is not always 
easy to saj'' whether a cavern or a tunnel has been exca- 
vated, or worn away by a river, or has been formed by one 
of those sudden convulsions of nature, which show us how 
fragile is the crust of our earth, when piit in competition 
with the mighty elements working within it. AVe will 
select an instance from the other side of the Atlantic. 

The state of Virginia contains many specimens o 
rocky bridges, naturally formed over a brook or river; bu 
the one to which we now allude could scarcely be called a 
bridge ; it is more properly a tunnel bored by nature's 
own hands through a hill, along which a stream flows. 
The existence of this tunnel Avas long known, but its de- 
tails were so little understood, that Lieutenant-Colonel 
Long, of the United States army, resolved to pay it a visit; 
and communicated the result to the American Journal 
of Geolor/t/ and Natural Science, a few years ago. 

He says, " Saturday, August the 13th, 1831. Having 
ascended Cove Ridge, we turned aside from our route 
to visit the natural bridge, or tunnel, situated on Buck- 
Eye, or Stock-Creek, about a mile below the Sycamore 
Camp, and about one and a-half mile from a place called 
Rye-Cove, which occupies a spacious recess between two 
prominent spurs of Powell's mountain, the site of the 
natural tunnel being included Avithin a spur of Cove 
Ridge, Avhich is one of the mountain-spurs just alluded to. 
Here is presented one of the most remarkable and attract- 
ive curiosities of its kind, to be witnessed in this or any 
other country. The creek, which is about seven yards 
wide, and has a general course about S ] .5 W, here passes 
through a hill elevated from two to three hundred feet 
above the surface of the stream, winding its way through 
a huge subterraneous cavern or grotto, whose roof is 
vaulted in a peculiar manner, and rises from thirty to 
seventy or eighty feet above its floor. The sides of this 
gigantic cavern rise perpendicularly, in some places, to the 
height of fifteen or twenty feet, and in others, are formed 
by the springing of its vaulted roof immediately from its 
floor. The width of the tunnel varies from fifty to one 




hundred and fifty feet. Its course is that of a continuous 
curve, resembling the letter S; first winding to the right 
as we enter on the upper side, then to the left, again to 
the right, and then again to the left, on arriving at the en- 
trance on the lower side. Such is its peculiar form, that an 
observer, standing at a point about midway of its subter- 
ranean course, is completely excluded from a view of either 
entrance, and is left to grope in the dark through a dis- 
tance of about twenty yards, occupying an intermediate 
portion of the tunnel. When the sun is near the meri- 
dian, and his rays fall upon both entrances, the light 
reflected from both extremities of the tunnel, contributes 
to mollify the darkness of the interior portion into a 
dusky twilight. The extent of the tunnel, from its upper 
to its lower extremity, following its meanders, is about 
one hundred and fifty yards; in which distance the stream 
falls about ten feet, emitting, in its passage over a rocky 
bed, an agreeable murmur, which is rendered more grate- 
ful by its reverberation upon the roof and sides of the 
grotto. The discharge of a musket produces a crash-like 
report, succeeded by a roar in the tunnel, which has a 
deafening efi*ect upon the ear." 

As an example of an artificial tunnel excavated for 
the passage of Avater, we may take the tunnel under which 
the water of the Thames and Medway passes, in its 
course from one of these rivers to the other ; such tun- 
nels as these are occasionally constructed for canals, in 
order to avoid the great number of locks which would be 
necessary, were a canal carried over a high tract of country. 
There is a canal running completely under the parish of 
Islington, for instance, through a tunnel three-quarters of 
a mile in length. 

A similar tunnel is the one represented in the annexed 
cut, and which forms part of the Thames and Medway 
canal. This canal was projected about the end of the last 
century, by IMr. Ralph Dodd, the original projector of a 
dry tunnel under the Thames. The passage from Graves- 
end to Chatham, round by way of the Nore, is very cir- 
cuitous, and entails a great loss of time, for barges, &c., 
which have to go from one to the other. It was, there- 



fore, urged by Mr, Dodd, that a canal connecting the two, 
(which are not more than about seven miles from one 
another,) would be of great service to the inhabitants of 
the surrounding parts. 

After some time, and certain changes in the plan, a 
canal was cut in that quarter, Avhich was commenced early 
in the present century. It extends from the Thames at 
Gravesend, to Frindsbury, opposite Chatham. It has a 
basin at each end; and passes, by means of the tunnel 
which we have represented, through the chalk hills which 
skirt Gravesend. This tunnel is about two miles in length. 
There are but few canals in England, which effect a greater 
ratio of saving in the distance leading from one place to 
another, by barge or boat, than that of which we are 
speaking; the distance from Gravesend to Chatham being 
about forty-seven miles, round the extremity of the Isle of 
Grain, and, as we have said, only about seven or eight by 
way of the canal to which we here allude. 

The tunnel is no larger than will conveniently admit 
the barges, and a towing-path for the horses at the side. 
But the main part of the canal is fifty feet in width, and 
is one of the very few in England that are perfectly level. 

We shall make the Thames tunnel our instance of an 
artificial tunnel for land-travelling. But, as this differs 



from most of the kind, in passing under the bed of a 
mighty river, Ave will say a few words respecting those 
which pass under a large tract of country, but only under 
small rivers. 

Our railroads furnish the most notable instances of 
these. AVe shall hereafter have to state, in our Chapter 
on Railroads, the reasons why a. railroad must be as level, 
and as little influenced by the undulations of the surface 
of the country, as possible. But one of the effects of that 
necessity is, that tunnels must, frequently, be excavated 
through elevated tracts of country. 

In order to make the Manchester and Liverpool railway 
as valuable as possible to the merchants of the latter place, 
it is carried down very near to the docks, so as to allow 
goods to be conveyed from the ships to the railway with 
as little intermediate travelling as possible. To effect 
this, the railway is carried, by means of a tunnel, com- 
pletely under the greater portion of the town of Liverpool. 
This tunnel is level for a part of its length, and inclining 
downwards, towards the docks, for the remaining part. 

The subjoined cut represents the upper end of this 
tunnel, at Edge Hill. The first shaft of this tunnel was 
opened in September, 1826. It is twenty-two feet wide, 
and sixteen feet high. The sides shoot up nearly perpen- 


dicular to a distance of about five feet from the ground, 
and this part is surmounted by a semi-circular arch. 
The leno-th of the tunnel, from end to end, is two thousand 
two hundred and fifty yards,— about a mile and a quarter. 
One of the entrances is at the company's yard at Wapping, 
Liverpool; and the other at Edge Hill, as represented in 
the engraving. The former entrance is by an open cut- 
ting, twenty-two feet deep, and forty-six feet -wide, and 
aflPording space for four lines of railway. 

From this opening, the railroad commences along a 
perfect level, which occupies about two hundred and 
eighty yards of the length of the tunnel. After this, the 
inclined plane commences, and extends one thousand nine 
hundred and seventy yards, in a perfectly straight line, 
and with an inclination of one yard in forty-eight, — the 
entire rise of the tunnel being one hundred and twenty- 
three feet. A large portion of this tunnel was excavated 
through a solid rock of fine red sandstone, which in those 
parts furnished the engineer with a natural and secure 
roofing, requiring neither masonry nor brick-AVork. But, 
in other parts, the material through which the excavation 
was carried, was too loose and weak to support itself, 
unless masonry were immediately applied. 

The construction of the tunnel was carried on at seven 
or eight different parts simultaneously, by sinking as many 
shafts, in different parts of its length, and connecting one 
shaft with another, by lateral excavation; the stone and 
earth being removed up the shafts. The depth, or thick- 
ness of the ground, from the open air to the roof of the 
tunnel, varies from five to seventy feet, at difterent parts 
of its length. The tunnel is sufticiently lighted by gas- 
burners, which are placed at distances of twenty-five yards 
asunder, through its whole extent ; the white- washed sides 
and roof serving to reflect and increase the light. The 
tunnel occupied two years in completing, and cost £34,791. 

The tunnels belonging to the London and Birmingham, 
and other railways, either completed, in progress, or in 
contemplation, we need not particularize here; since they 
are sufficiently analogous to the one which we have de- 
scribed, to render distinct and separate description un- 



But we now corae to one which eclipses them all in 
the gigantic power of the difficulties to be contended with. 
However hard a rock, or however soft a soil, excavators 
may have to pass through, in an ordinary tunnel, they are 
free from the embarrassing difficulties inseparable from the 
existence of a large river over the excavation. These 
difficulties, which Mr. Brunei, the engineer, and the work- 
men under his direction, have, for some years, braved with 
an unconquerable spirit, demand a somewhat detailed no- 
tice from us. — "We, of course, are alluding to the " Thames 

The communication between the shores of Middlesex 
and Surrey, are kept up, at London, by means of the nu- 
merous bridges which cross the Thames. The bridges of 
London, Southwark, Blackfriars, Waterloo, Westminster, 
and Vauxhall, serve as media from one shore to another. 
But the great manufacturing and commercial establish- 
nients below London bridge have no medium of commu- 
nication across the river, but bv a circuitous route by way 
of London bridge. A bridge, in those parts, would he too 
gigantic an undertaking; for it would be necessary that 
the arch or arches should be lofty enough to allow regular 
.ships to pass beneath them. It Avas, therefore, many 
years ago, the object of attention, among engineers and 
commercial men, to determine how far it would be prac- 
ticable to construct a road under the Thames, instead of a 
bridge over it, in these parts. The accompanying engrav- 



ing will illustrate the advantages proposed to be attained 
by the construction of some mode of communication be- 
tAveen the opposite shores of the river, at some spot east- 
ward of London bridge, and westward of Greenwich. The 
figure is a slight map of the Thames, at that part. Sup- 
pose a wagon-load of merchandise had to be removed to 
the neighbourhood of the London Docks, from the oppo- 
site side of the river! A glance will show how great 
must be the loss of space by passing over London bridge, 
the most eastern bridge over the Thames. The map re- 
presents the exact position suggested for the excavation of 
a tunnel. 

The first attempt of this kind was so low down the 
river as Gravesend. But this plan was looked upon as too 
chimerical, and was speedily abandoned. In 1804, another 
plan was proposed, for cutting a road-way under the 
Thames, from Rotherhithe to Wapping, nearly on the spot 
occupied by the present tunnel. A shaft was dug on the 
Rotherhithe side, to a great depth; and from thence a 
small channel, called a drifts was cut through the soil 
under the Thames, in a horizontal direction. This was 
continued a great part of the way towards the Middlesex 
side, when the occurrence of land-springs, and other ob- 
stacles, led to the abandonment of the enterprise ; for the 
prevalent opinion seems to have resolved itself into the 
following question, — if we encounter so many difiiculties 
in the construction of a small drift passage, what will be 
the obstacles to the progress of an excavation sufficiently 
capacious for the purposes of traffic ? 

For nineteen years from this period, various plans 
were proposed, and estimates given, for the construction 
of a tunnel under the Thames ; but, until the year 1 823, 
nothing occurred to give a stamp of practicability to any 
of them. But in the last-mentioned year, Mr. Brunei 
issued proposals, plans, and estimates, for a tunnel to be 
made at once ; — that is, the whole of the necessary height 
and width to be excavated at one time, instead of first 
making a drift, and then enlarging to the proper dimen- 
sions. This plan was looked upon as being worthy of 
support ; and a company, supported by joint-stock shares, 




was formed to carry it into execution. Borings were 
made in the bed of the river, in three different lines, in 
order to determine the nature of the soil through which 
the tunnel was proposed to be carried. 

Operations Avere commenced on the Rotherhithe shore, 
at a spot distant about two miles from London Bi'idge. 
As the tunnel would, of necessity, have to be carried far 
beneath the bed of the river, for the sake of safety, it is 
obvious that it would likewise be far below the level of 
the ground. How, then, was that to be made available 
as a road for traffic ? How were wagons and carts to get 
down to the tunnel ? To effect this it was proposed, that 
there should be an inclined road, having a gentle decli- 
vity, leading down from the surface of the ground to the 
level of the tunnel. This line would either be in a 
straight or in a curved direction ; and two reasons in- 
duced the choice of the latter. A straight road, proceed- 
ing from a depth of fifty or sixty feet, and of so gentle 
an acclivity as not to distress horses Avhen drawing a 
vehicle up it, must necessarily extend to a great distance, 
and require the purchase of much land ; and it would, at 
the same time, carry the point of emergence too far away 
from the wharfs and raanufiictories near the water's edge, 
for whose accommodation the tunnel was in a great 
measure projected. 

The carriage-way leading from the ground to the 
tunnel was, therefore, planned in the form of a spiral, 
two hundred and fifty feet in diameter, round which the 
road was to wind. This was to be the carriafje-entrance. 
This spiral road- way may be seen by referring again to the 
map. On the London side, a new road was to be cut 
from Ratclitt-highway, which, passing by the London 
Docks, should communicate with the Thames Tunnel by 
the descending spiral road noticed in the map. At the 
Rotherhithe side, a similar spiral road-Avay connects the 
tunnel with a commodious road, to be cleared and per- 
fected for that purpose. The entrance for foot-passengers 
Avas planned to be a Avinding staircase round the inside 
of a cylinder or shaft, Avliich Avas to be sunk close to the 
end of the tunnel. These shafts are represented by the 


two white circular openings in the map, between either 
end of the tunnel and its adjoining spiral road. 

In order to give an idea of the magnitude and nature 
of the undertaking, we wall proceed to describe it in its 
present state, or at least, as it was when we visited it at 
the commencement of the present year. 

After wading through a chaos of mud and bustle, 
Ave reached the Rotherhithe entrance, and proceeded at 
once to the upper part of the shaft. This shaft, instead 
of displaying an elegant and well- lighted staircase, which 
it will eventually do, contains through its centre, from top 
to bottom, a huge frame-work, holding machinery for 
drawing up the earth, mud, and water, which the exca- 
vators meet with in their progress. At the bottom of the 
shaft is a reservoir fifteen feet deep, into Avhich the water, 
■which flows into the tunnel from the numerous land 
springs while the men are digging, is conveyed, and from 
which it is afterwards pumped up to the surface. 

At the bottom of the shaft we see the outline of an 
arch, which is hereafter to be broken through, and to 
form the commencement of the spiral carriage-road. Op- 
posite to that, we see the entrance to the tunnel, the 
appearance of which we cannot better describe than by 
comparing it with Burlington Arcade ; excepting that the 
Thames Tunnel consists of two archways or roads, and 
Burlington Arcade has but one. 

The shaft Avas introduced into its present position in a 
remarkable manner, considering its great bulk. It is a 
cylinder of substantial brickwork forty-two feet in height, 
fifty feet in diameter, and three feet thick. It was built 
on the surface of the ground, and then the earth beneath 
it was gradually dug away, so as to lower the brick shaft 
into its place. This was done until they had passed 
through a gravelly soil, and had reached a stifi" blue clay, 
favourable to the progress of the miners. 

The operations on the Middlesex side are not yet com- 
menced ; but there Avill be a shaft on that side exactly 
resembling the one on the Rotherhithe side of the river, 
and the distance between the two will be about thirteen 
hundred feet, which is thus divided :— one hundred and 


fifty feet from the Rotherhithe shaft, to low-water mark, 
on that side of the river ; seven hundred and seventy 
feet, width of the river at Ioav water, and three hun- 
dred and eighty feet from the shaft at Wapping to 
the low-water mark, on that side of the river. Of this 
distance there is now done about eight hundred and fifty 
feet, and seventy more will bring it to the level of low- 
water mark, on the Middlesex side. 

The form of each of the two arches into Avhich the 
section of the tunnel is divided, is as nearly as possible 
that of a horse-shoe. The whole height of the opening 
excavated is about twenty-two feet, and the whole breadth 
thirty-eight feet. These dimensions are reduced by seve- 
ral processes : — first, a substantial lining of bricks, of a 
great thickness, covers the surface of the whole excava- 
tion. Secondly, a solid brick wall is built through the 
centre of the channel, as a support and strengthener. 
Tliirdly, part of the curvature at the bottom is filled up 
to afford a flat road-way and pavement for traffic. By 
these means this great excavation is reduced to two road- 
ways, separated from each other by solid brickwork, and 
each one furnishing a road sufficiently broad for any com- 
mon vehicle, and a pavement for foot-passengers. The 
vehicles going from north to south will pass along one 
avenue, and those going from south to north will pass 
along the other. It may, also, hereafter prove convenient 
for foot-passengers to adopt the same plan, by which they 
would not jostle against one another, for the foot-pave- 
ment is rather narrow ; still they have the means of pass- 
ing from the footpath in one avenue to that in the other, 
by means of lateral openings through the central brick 
division, which openings occur at the distance of every few 
feet. Gas-lights are placed in these lateral openings, in 
such situations as to afford a pleasant and sufficient light 
to the Avhole tunnel ; for it need hardly be said, that as it 
is more than sixty feet below ground, the natural light of 
day is wholy shut out. 

The gradual deepening of the bed of the river to- 
wards the middle, rendered it necessary that the tunnel 
should also descend from the shaft towards the centre. 


This obliquity is about tAvo or two and a quarter feet to 
every hundred feet, and is not such as to fatigue horses 
travelling on such a road-way. The Middlesex end will 
probably have a similar declivity, so as to present the 
greatest depression near the middle of the tunnel's length. 
When circumstances, to which we shall presently 
allude more particularly, rendered it desirable that the 
Thames Tunnel, so far as it was then finished, should 
take its stand among the public exhibitions of London, 
one of the two archways was cleared of all working im- 
plements and obstructions; the brick work was nicely 
stuccoed ; the gas-burners were fitted up properly ; and 
the ground, or future carriage and foot-paths, were neatly 
gravelled ; a temporary staircase was made down the 
shaft, separate from that by which the workmen ascended 
and descended ; and all was made as comfortable as could 
be expected for the reception of visiters, without inter- 
rupting the progress of the workmen. From 20,000 to 
40,000 persons have visited it every year since it has 
been thus opened to the public ; and although the funds 
thus produced have not been large in amount, they have 
served to show the interest with which this remarkable 
undertaking has been regarded. It is not always that 
the inhabitants of a country are themselves the best 
judges of the merit or attraction of any public work 
Avhich may be carried on in it. Although the admiration 
which the Thames Tunnel has excited, and we think 
always will excite, among our own countrymen is great, 
this admiration is not so vivid as that which it has excited 
among foreigners. Tiere are many remarkable instances 
of the impression which the sight or the reputation of 
this public work has made. Miss Pardoe, in her City 
of the Sultan^ states, that she was surprised while at 
Constantinople, at being asked by an Albanian chief re- 
specting the progress and the probable success of the 
Thames Tunnel! Such a question must have brought 
" Father-land" back to the memory of one sojourning in a 
foreign country ; and we may imagine the pleasure with 
which that lady answered a question so likely to gratify 
her national feelings. The present enterprising Pasha of 


Egypt, likewise, is known to feel a strong interest in tlie 
success of this undertaking. His possession of the com- 
paratively narrow belt of land which separates the Red Sea 
from the Mediterranean, and through those, the Indian 
Ocean from the Atlantic ; the attempt which he is 
making to raise the commercial importance of Egypt ; 
and his acknowledged sagacity ; make him view with 
interest the progress towards completion of an under- 
taking, which may serve him as a valuable pattern from 
which to copy, when occasion offers. 

We have said that only one out of the avenues was 
opened to visiters ; so it remains up to the present time ; 
and so it is likely to continue until the whole is com- 
pleted. The other avenue is appropriated to the work- 
men who pass and repass to and from their work at the 
blank end ; and likewise to the conveyance of the mate- 
rials employed by the workmen. It also serves as the 
channel for conveying aAvay the earth which the miners 
dig out in their progress. This earth is thrown into 
boxes, or small carts, and drawn along a rail-way to the 
bottom of the Rotherhithe shaft, up which it is lifted, 
and then emptied out at the surface of the ground. The 
water which may ooze through into the tunnel from the 
numerous land-springs Avhich the miners meet with, flows 
through a pipe from one end to the other end of the 
tunnel, falls into the reservoir or tank at the bottom of the 
shaft, and is from thence pumped out by the force of a 

When we speak of miners digging the earth away to 
form the tunnel, let not the reader think that the 
men stand before a blank surface of earth, and cut with 
their pickaxes and shovels as they would do in a gravel 
pit ! Vast, indeed, are the arrangements before a single 
shovel-full of earth is removed from the ground in front 
of the miner. The reason for this may be soon told. 
When a great body of Avater, such as the Thames, flows 
over a cavity, such as the Tunnel, every crevice or chasm 
which may happen to exist in the bed of the river 
becomes a channel whereby water is conveyed into the 
excavation, or into its immediate neighbourhood. Be- 


sides the Thames -water, there are innumerable land- 
springs pervading the soil in every direction, -which not 
only form small streamlets, but moisten, and turn into a 
sort of mud, the soil through which they move. 

Now, if the miners Avere to proceed in excavating a 
cavity, the sectional area of which is upwards of eight 
hundred feet, (thirty-eight feet by twenty-two and a-half,) 
the upper soil in front of such a great opening, subject as 
it is to so great a pressure from above, would burst in, 
and allow a flow of water into the excavated tunnel. 
The aim, therefore, must be, to board up, or otherwise 
secure, the greater part of the face of the soil, while 
small portions, only, of it are being dug away. 

This is effected by means of a most ponderous and 
intricate piece of mechanism called the shield. This is 
-H'holly the invention of Mr. Brunei, the engineer of the 
tunnel, and is a very remarkable piece of mechanism, con- 
sisting of not less than five thousand separate pieces, all 
of which act towards one common object. The vertical 
face of the soil about to be excavated is closely boarded 
up, by means of planks separate from one another, and 
capable of being pressed up against the soil with great 
force. Some of these boards, which are called poling 
boards, are removed in order to let the pickaxes of the 
Avorkmen excavate beyond them to the extent of a few 
inches ; while the remaining boards are left close. These 
latter are then removed, one by one, and the excavation 
made beyond them in the same manner. 

In order to aftbrd room for a number of miners to 
work at once, a large frame is built up, the Avhole height 
and width of the excavation, and about eight feet deep. 
This frame is divided vertically into twelve spaces, every 
one of* which is separate and distinct from the others, but 
placed in close contact to the adjoining ones. Each of 
these spaces is sub-divided horizontally into three cells, 
one above another, the size of the cells being about six 
feet high and three feet wide. There are thus thirty-six 
cells in all, and each cell is a sort of little Avorkshop for a 
miner ; so that thirty-six miners can be Avorking simul- 
taneously. This arrangement is represented at the foot of 


the present chapter, which is a front view of the shield, 
•with its thirty-six compartments, every one of which, 
contains a miner proceeding with the excavation. 

The general mode of working is to excavate about 
nine inches in depth over the whole surface of the vertical 
face of earth, and then to move the shield onwards to 
that extent. Each division is moved separately. It is 
supported on two feet, which, by an ingenious contrivance, 
are thrust onwards, and the cells above them are then 
likewise urged forward. Six alternate divisions are moved 
forwards ; and then the other six. When the whole 
have been advanced as many inches forwards as the exca- 
vation has proceeded, the bricklayers immediately succeed 
the miners, and cover with brickwork the belt of earth 
which has been laid bare by the advance of the shield. 
By this means the tunnel is not left for a single day ex- 
posed to the mercy of earth and soil alone : as soon as 
ever there is room enough — nine inches — to admit ano- 
ther layer or course of bricks, the bricklayers proceed to 
work and give stability to that which the miners have 
left behind them. The brickwork is of the most sub- 
stantial and excellent kind, and immediately forms a coat 
which protects the tunnel from the action of the earth and 
water above it. 

During this period, we are told, the men worked 
night and day, being divided into three parties, which 
relieved each other every eight hours. Good wages were 
paid ; and hence the engineer was enabled to command 
the services of first-rate bricklayers in the process of 
bricking and cementing after the miners. The men were 
not required to perform task-work : all that Avas required 
was, that they should keep steadily at the work, and lay 
the bricks in a careful and workmanlike manner. The 
best cement was used, and such as would harden very 
quickly. AVithin two hours after any bricklaying, the 
work was carefully tested. An overseer went round with 
a hammer of fourteen pounds weight, with which each 
separate brick Avas struck a hard blow. The bricks them- 
selves were always carefully chosen and approved, before 
being brought into the tunnel for use. If at the over- 


seer's blow, the cement yielded, so as to disclose the 
smallest opening between the bricks, the workman was 
immediately called back to repair the defect, and likewise 
fined one shilling to the sick-fund. If the brick shook in 
its place upon being struck, nothing but a special plea in 
excuse could save the workman from instant dismissal. 

We have described briefly what the tunnel is, and what 
it is intended to be ; but we have said nothing of the trials, 
the difficulties, the " hopes deferred," and of the indomi- 
table perseverance which has so far triumphed over them. 
To form great but practicable plans is one of the charac- 
teristics of genius and sagacity ; but a firmness to bear up 
against obstacles and difticulties, and an inventive faculty 
to devise means for their removal, are powers which are 
scarcely, if anything, less important. The whole of these 
powers have been required by the engineer, Mr. Brunei, 
during the progress of the works, and have been mani- 
fested by him. For fifteen years he had to struggle against 
difficulties, such as few of our great public works have 

In 1823 Mr. Brunei first issued his proposals for the 
tunnel. By midsummer of the following year, a company 
had been formed, an Act of Parliament had been obtained, 
borings had been made to ascertain the nature of the soil, 
and the excavation was commenced. First, the enormous 
brick shaft, which was before described, was built, and 
sunk into the earth to the requisite depth. Then the 
horizontal cutting commenced, at a depth of sixty-three 
feet below the level of the ground. 

The erection and' sinking of the shaft, the preparation 
and fixing of the shield, and other labours, occupied the 
whole of the year 1 825. By new year's day of the follow- 
ing year, the shield Avas ready to receive its band of thirty- 
six miners, and the horizontal digging commenced, through 
a stratum of stiff blue clay. All went on well till the 25 th 
of the same month, when, instead of a firm compact clay, 
the miners encountered a loose gravelly soil, full of land- 
springs. This was a serious retardation, owing to the 
quantity of water which thus flowed into the excavation. 
But the work proceeded steadily, although more slowly, 


and by midsummer they had reached the level of low- 
vater mark on the Rotherhithe side. 

For nine months all went on pretty well, and by the 
end of April, 1827, the tunnel had advanced 400 feet 
below low-Avater mark, or 5.50 feet from the shaft at 
Rotherhithe, But the soil now gave evident symptoms of 
being in a loose, crumbly state, and incessant precautions 
were necessary to guard against danger. On the 18th of 
May, several circumstances had occurred to increase the dis- 
turbance of the soil in the immediate neighbourhood of the 
shield, when the water suddenly formed a chasm through the 
bed of the river, and rushed into the tunnel at the small 
earthen space between the brickwork already finished, and 
the shield. The workmen, by a precipitate retreat, were 
enabled to effect their escape. 

Now was a trying moment for the engineer. His 
tunnel was filled with water, and the progress of the work 
stopped. Pumping was of no utility, for the water would 
have flowed into the chasm as fast as it was pumped out 
at the shaft. The first object was, therefore, to fill up 
the chasm which the Avater had made in the bed of the 
river. This was effected by throwing out, from barges 
moored over the spot, enormous quantities of clay, con- 
tained in bags. These bags were precipitated into the 
chasm, Avhich they completely filled up, and were then 
allowed to settle and consolidate into one mass. A kind 
of raft Avas then made, and lowered to the bed of the river. 
The object of this raft was to protect the clay which had 
been just thrown in, from the action of the tide as it 
flowed each way. 

When the chasm, which opened a communication be- 
tween the tunnel and the water in the river was thus 
completely filled up, preparations were made for cleariufif 
the tunnel again, and resuming operations. All the water 
was pumped out; and it was found that the brick-work 
and the shield were so admirably constructed, that neither 
had received any serious injury. After a short time the 
miners resumed their labours, and by the end of the year 
fifty feet more had been completed. 

But now approached the period of a more awful cala- 


mlty than the former. By the beginning of January, 
1828, many symptoms of a disturbed and loose state of 
the soil occurred. The miners had even to cut through a 
number of feet of the bags of clay which had been thrown 
into the river to fill up the former chasm, so much had 
the bed of the river been disturbed by the irruption, which 
had rendered that supply of clay necessary. The raft at 
the bottom of the river became loosened from its place, 
and floated to the surface, leaving the soft soil beneath 
exposed to the action of the tide. These and other cir- 
cumstances rendered the state of the ground in the vicinity 
of the shield so dangerous, that, by the 12th of January, 
it was evident a second irruption would occur. Mr. Brunei 
was ill the tunnel, and ordered every one out of it, except 
three men whom he retained near him. His efforts to 
stem the approaching calamity were in vain; the waters 
burst in and swept him along the whole length of the 
tunnel, and allowed him to escape up the shaft. The 
other three men Avere less fortunate : they became entangled 
in the dark terrors of the tunnel, and met with a watery 
crave, as sudden as it was fearful! 

Again the necessity of ceasing the operations occurred; 
again it became imperative to throw an enormous quan- 
tity of clay into the chasm which the irruptive water had 
made in the bed of the river. When we say that seven 
thousand tons' weight of clay was thrown into the two 
cbasms, occasioned by these irruptions, it will serve to 
convey some idea of the immense size of the breaches made 
in the bed. of the river. 

The water was removed from the tunnel, the brick- 
work Avas uninjured, and engineers and men w^re ready to 
resume their labours. But here, one of those obstacles 
occurred, which is more potent than even the natural dif- 
ficulties of land and water in these matters. The funds 
of the company Avere exhausted. A sum had been raised, 
as the joint stock of the company, in accordance with the 
estimate which the engineer had given of the probable 
outlay. But a large portion of that fund had to be de- 
voted to the reparation of the numerous unforeseen diffi- 
culties which marked the progress of the works, and before 


the tunnel had proceeded to half its required length, the 
funds were exhausted. 

For the long and weary period of six years and a-half, 
the engineer had to suspend the prosecution of an enter- 
prise on which so much of his talent and perseverance had 
been bestowed. The first attempt to raise a fund for the 
completion of the work, was the power granted to the 
company, by Act of Parliament, to raise a loan to the 
amount of 200,000/., which it was' considered would be 
more than sufficient to complete the undertaking. But 
this attempt failed; subscribers to the loan were too few 
and too tardy to meet the inevitable demands consequent 
upon the resumption of the works. The reason for this 
may be easily surmised. Those who invest their money 
in joint-stock undertakings, do so with the hope of gaining 
a larger interest for it than can be obtained in the public 
funds; and if the speculation into which they propose to 
embark, seem to show but doubtful symptoms of success, 
nothing more is wanting to make them hold back. So it 
was with the Thames Tunnel. Repeated disasters had 
occurred, and had engendered doubts and misgivings, the 
result of which was, that the project for a loan failed of 

It was next proposed that a private subscription should 
be raised; but this, although supported in a very credit- 
able manner, naturally failed in producing a sum suffi- 
ciently large for the objects required. 

The only course now was an application to Govern- 
ment for the advance of the necessary supplies from the 
national exchequer. Such proceedings are always slow 
in their progress; and although there was a general feeling 
in favour of the project, it was not till June, 1834, that 
the Government finally agreed to advance 250,000/. in 
portions from time to time. 

Attention was now once more directed to the almost- 
deserted tunnel. The old shield, which had become too 
much injured for further use, was replaced by a new one, 
still more elaborate and ponderous than the former, in 
order that it might be the better able to contend against 
the difficulties which experience had shown it would be 


liable to encounter ; as, for instance, the pressure upon it 
from above was often as much as 300 tons. Many months 
were taken up in these preliminary preparations ; and it 
was the beginning of 1836 before the tunnelling was re- 
sumed in earnest. 

Forty feet were excavated in the next six months, and 
from that time to April, 1837, ninety-six feet more were 
completed, making in the whole 736 feet, the average rate 
of progress since the resumption of the works being about 
two feet and a-half per week. For some time after this 
the rate of progress has not been so much as one foot and 
a-half per week, so much were the engineer and directors 
harassed by the constant occurrence of land-springs, irrup- 
tions of a minor character, and temporary stoppages for 
want of further advances from Government. The progress 
at the time we are writing is more favourable than it has 
been for a long period, being at the rate of three feet per 
week. Sixty feet more will bring the excavators to the 
level of low-water mark on the Middlesex side, after 
which the difficulties will in all probability greatly dimi- 
nish, as they will then have to proceed under the dry 
land, except the small distance due to the high water level. 

When Mr. Walker surveyed the tunnel, by order of 
(Jovernment, in April, 1837, he named two years and a 
half as the shortest time in which it could be completed. 
That would bring the period to the latter end of the pre- 
sent year (1839); but it is evident that the completion, 
from the numerous difficulties which have occurred, will 
be delayed much beyond that period. In August, 1837, 
another, but less formidable, irruption occurred, the effiscts 
of which it took some weeks to get clear of. It seems 
probable that the whole expense, provided no more irrup- 
tions take place, will be somewhere about 400,000/. 

In order to give an idea of the relative distance from 
the surface and from the bed of the river to the tunnel, 
a representation of the vertical section of the tunnel 
through its whole length across the river is given at the 
head of the present chapter. The tunnel, it will be seen, 
is not quite horizontal, but is rather depressed under the 
middle of the river. The row of archways shows the 
lateral openings from one roadway to the other. At each 



end is seen a shaft, continued from a considerable distance 
above ground to several feet below the tunnel. The lower 
part is the reservoir, in which the water flows which may 
enter the tunnel during the progress of the excavation. 
Hound the part of the shaft above the reservoir is seen 
the spiral staircase, by which foot-passengers descend to, 
or ascend from, the tunnel. The extreme ends show the 
commencement of the spiral carriage-Avays, which want of 
room prevents us from introducing in our engravino-. 

We cannot withhold the expression of our earnest de- 
sire "that this most creditable specimen of engineering skill 
may be brought to a satisfactory conclusion. It will tlien 
take its place with the Menai bridge of Telford, the Eddv- 
stone lighthouse of Smeaton, the Waterloo brid"-e of Ren- 
nie, and the Grand Trunk Navigation of Brindley as 
honourable specimens of the skill and enterprise developed 
in this country, and applied to the furtherance of its com- 
mercial transactions. 

It was stated in a Paris paper, a few years ago, that a 
tunnel Avas about to be made under the Vistula, a river run- 
ning through Poland and Prussia, Avhich tunnel should be 
"somcAvhat similar in design and in purpose to the 
Thames tunnel." We are not at present aAA'are Avhether 
it has been put into execution. 

Shield in -w-hich. the Men work in the Thames Tunnel. 

l.Iilitary Road upon the Wall of China 


On Military Walls and Roads. — China. — Military and common 
Roads distinguished. — JNIilitarv Roads of Scotland. 

In the ancient state of the military art, both cities and 
large tracts of territory were often defended by means of 
walls of prodigious length, height, and thickness, upon the 
tops of which were military roads of sufficient breadth 
and solidity for the passage of men, horses, and chariots. 
Of this description of military road, as well as of ancient 
roads in general, the specimen at once the most ancient, 
and the most complete in actual preservation, is perhaps 
that which runs along the top of the Great AVall of China, 
a view of part of which extraordinary structure stands at 
the head of this chapter. The building of that wall is 
dated at two thousand years ago. It is the work of the 
first Emperor of the Chinese dynasty of Tzin. It runs 
along the northern frontier of China, which country it 
separates from Independent Tartary ; and its original pur- 
pose was that of defending the Chinese against all Tartar 
molestation. That purpose it answered for the first four- 
teen hundred years of its existence ; but soon after the 
termination of this period, (in the year 1212,) a Tartar 
leader, with his followers, succeeded in forcing the bar- 


riers of the Avail, in eifecting the conquest which the wall 
was intended to prevent, and in placing Tai'tar conquerors 
upon the Chinese throne, of which they have been mas- 
ters ever since. Still, the wall is a defence of more or 
less strength against all new Tartarian enterprise ; and 
hence the Tartar Emperors of China, now settled upon its 
Chinese side, have been as careful to preserve it as an- 
ciently the Chinese Emperors themselves were industrious 
in building and defending it. The accounts of Parish and 
Staunton enable us to describe this wall somewhat 

This wall commences at the eastern end, at the shore 
of the Gulf of Pechele, 3^° E. of Pekin, and terminates 
at its western end at Syning, 1 5° W. of Pekin, after tra- 
versing the extraordinary distance of fifteen hundred 

Sir George Staunton, alluding to the first view of the 
wall, says, " What the eye could, from a single spot, em- 
brace of those fortified walls, carried along the ridges of 
hills, over the tops of the highest mountains, descending 
into the deepest valleys, crossing upon arches over rivers, 
and doubled and trebled in many parts, to take in im- 
portant passes, and interspersed with towers or massy 
bastions at almost every hundred yards, as far as the sight 
could reach, presented to the mind an undertaking of stu- 
pendous magnitude." In one place the Avail is carried 
over a ridge five thousand tAvo hundred and twenty-five 
feet high. The body of the AA'all is composed chiefly of 
earth, flanked on each side by a Avail of brick, and covered 
by a platform or terrace of square bricks. The Avails, con- 
tinued upAvards to some height, form the parapets. The 
height of brick-Avork averages about twenty-fiAe feet, of 
which the parapet occupies five. The brick flanking 
walls are supported by stone-masonry underneath; and the 
thickness of the brick-work diminishes from five feet at 
the bottom, to one foot six inches at the top. 

The entire thickness of the AAall, including the earth- 
, Avork enclosed betAveen the brick-Avalls, is tAventy-five feet 
at the bottom, and about fifteen at the top, the earth- 
work being of equal thickness throughout. 


To\A'ers are placed at distances of one hundred yards 
from one another along the wall. These towers are not 
all of equal size, but vary according to the strength neces- 
sary for the part where they are placed. One which 
Captain Parish measured Avas thirty-seven feet high from 
the ground, about forty feet square at the base, and thirty 
at the summit ; and it projected eighteen feet beyond the 
wall on the Tartary side. 

Another tower contained two stories, one above 
another, and Avas built with amazing strength. It was 
forty-eight feet high, forty-two square at the base, and 
thirty-six at the top. 

There are loop-holes along both edges of the wall, for 
the use of Aveapons against an approaching enemy. 
Captain Parish observes : " The great Avail does not ap- 
pear to have been intended as a defence against cannon, 
since the parapets are insufficient to resist the force of can- 
non-shot. But the soles of the embrasures of the towers 
AA'ere observed to have been pierced Avith small holes, simi- 
lar to those used in Europe for the reception of the 
SAvivels of Avall-pieces. The holes appear to be part of the 
original construction of the Avail; and it seems difficult to 
assign them any other purpose than that of resistance to 
the recoil of fire-arms. The field-pieces seen in China 
are generally mounted Avith SAvivels, for Avhich these holes 
are Avell calculated; and though the parapets are not 
capable of resisting cannon-shot, they are sufficiently stron"- 
to Avithstand these small pieces. From these considera- 
tions, it does not seem unlikely that the claim of the 
Chinese to a very early knoAvledge of the effects of gun- 
poAvder, is not Avithout foundation." 

The bricks, of Avhich the Avail consists, are about fifteen 
inches long, seven and a half broad, and three and three 
quarters thick. Those Avhich form the flat terrace or plat- 
form are about fifteen inches square. These bricks are of 
a blue colour, a circumstance Avhich has led to a doubt 
Avhether they had ever been exposed to any greater heat 
than that of the sun. But kilns have been discovered 
near the Avail, Avhere it is probable the bricks Avere burned; 
and it has been subsequently proved by Dr. Abel, that the 


clay of AvLiich the bricks are made, Avhicli is red in its 
original state, becomes blue by burning. 

The wall is not absolutely continuous from one end to 
the other, as it is crossed by a ridge of lofty moimtains 
near Suen-hao, and is likewise crossed twice by the great 
river Whang-ho. The former obstruction is too lofty, and 
the latter too broad, to suffer the wall to be continued at 
those parts. The wall is stated to be a mere mound of 
earth at its western end ; and it was, perhaps, never quite 
finished in that quarter. The immense mass of matter 
which the whole Avail contains is such, that a calculation 
has been made, by which it appears that the materials, 
supposing it were a solid mass of masonry, would be suf- 
ficient to surround the earth on two of its great circles, 
with a Avail six feet high, and tAvo thick. 

The Chinese historians say that the wall A\'as begun 
and completed in the short space of five years, every third 
man in the empire being forced to engage upon it. But 
it is supposed by modern Avriters, that it must have been 
the Avork, not of one, but of several successive princes. 

Among the Anglo-Saxons the term 7niliian/-voa.d was 
equivalent to Roman-Yoad ; because the roads constructed 
by the Romans in Britain AAere intended for military pur- 
poses. An old AA'riter on the subject thus draAA'S a distinc- 
tion bet\A'een military and other roads : — " Some AA'ays are 
military ; others not. Those are military AA'here we travel 
with the army and baggage. Therefore, it behoves a mi- 
litary way not to be much more spacious than military 
machines. The ancients laid it doAAn as a rule, that they 
should be never less than eight cubits. By the laAv of the 
tAvelve tables they thus fix the road, that when it is 
straight, it should be twelve feet broad, Avhen crooked, 
sixteen. The non-military roads are those by Avhich we 
go out of a military road into a village, or toAvn, or into 
another military road. It is necessary that the course of 
military ways should not be the same through the country, 
as through the city. Without the city, these things es- 
pecially are to be obserA'ed: — that the road be wide, and 
most open for looking round everyAA'here; that it be free 
and most clear from every incumbrance of Avaters and 


rains; that no lurking-holes, no recesses be left for robbers 
to lie in ambush ; that no adits convenient for devastation 
lie open to it. Some think a country the safest where 
deep roads, like sunk ditches, intersect the country, 
ambiguous in the entrance, uncertain in the progress, and 
by no means safe, with high banks, from which an enemy 
may be easily crushed; more skilful persons prefer the 
safest road, that which is carried along the level ridge of 

During the rebellion in Scotland in 171'^? the expedi- 
ency of rendering accessible the fastnesses of the North 
became apparent to Government as a measure of national 
police. At that time the royal troops wore unable to pene- 
trate beyond Blair in Athol ; but in the year 1 725, General 
Wade was appointed by King George the First, to draw 
up a report of the state of the Highlands of Scotland, from 
personal observation, in order that such measures might 
be taken as mi^ht seem most conducive to the betterinsr 
of the country generally. Among other topics, General 
Wade had occasion to allude to the state of the roads and 
paths in the Highlands. 

He says, " Before I conclude this report, I presume to 
observe to your Majesty the great disadvantage which re- 
gular troops are under, when they engage with those who 
inhabit mountainous situations. The Savennes, in 
France, the Catalons, in Spain, have, in all times, been 
instances of this truth. The Highlands, in Scotland, are 
still more impracticable, from the want of roads and 
bridges, and from the excessive rains that almost con- 
tinually fall in those parts ; which by nature and constant 
use becomes habitual to the natives, but very difficultly 
supported by the regular troops ; they are unacquainted 
with the passages by which the mountains are traversed, 
exposed to frequent ambuscades, and shot from the tops of 
the hills, which they return without effect, as it happened 
at the affair of Glensheal." 

This report received immediate attention, and about 
the year 1732, General Wade was appointed, Avith the 
several regiments under his command in the Highlands, to 
make certain roads, which should in future be sufficient 



for the conveyance of troops and military stores. The 
first line of road Avhich they formed was from Stirling, 
across the Grampians, to Inverness, and from thence along 
the chain of forts, including Fort George, Fort Augustus, 
and Fort "William, between the East and West seas, by 
which troops and artillery were carried with facility into 
into the central Highlands, mainly owing to which the dis- 
turbances of 1745 were speedily suppressed. By the year 
17B5, the military roads, including what has been termed 
the GalloAvay road, from Fortpatrick to the river Sark, on 
the confines of Cumberland, extended to as much as about 
788 miles, including 1011 bridges. 

" These roads," says Anderson, " were narrow, but 
rarely provided Avith parapets or drains ; the bridges were 
high and steep, and the roads Avere carried over every 
inequality of surface, in as rectilineal a direction as pos- 
sible. Many of the old military bridges, however, have 
stood the severest winter-floods in consequence of their 
arches being highly pointed, fcAV, and open, and having 
no breastAvorks of stone at either end. In some instances 
the road has been often SAvept aAA'ay at their extremities, 
and their bare gaunt masses left spanning a Avide stream, 
apparently for no useful purpose. 

" They were formed by small parties of soldiers, who 
durins; the Avorkinjr season received a small increase of 
pay ; each party was under the direction of a master- 
mason and an overseer, aa'Iio had his instructions from an 
officer, called the baggage-master and inspector of roads 
in North Britain, and Avho Avas directly amenable to the 
commander-in-chief of the forces for Scotland (Wade)." 

"These roads Avere begun," says Pennant, "in 1723, 
under the directions of General Wade, Avho, like another 
Hannibal, forced his AA-ay through rocks supposed to have 
been unconquerable. Many of them hang over the 
mighty lakes of the country, and formerly afforded no 
other road to the natives than the paths of sheep or goats, 
Avhere even the Highlander craAvled with difficult}^, and 
kept himself from tumbling into the far subjacent AA'atej: 
by clinging to the plants and bushes of the rock. Many 
of these rocks Avere too hard to yield to the pickaxe, and 


the miner ■was obliged to subdue their obstinacy with 
gunpowder, and often in places where nature had denied 
him footing, and where he was forced to begin his labours 
suspended from above by ropes on the face of the horrible 
precipice. The bogs and moors had likewise their diffi- 
culties to overcome, but all were at length constrained to 
yield to the perseverance of our troops. 

" In some places I observed that, after the manner of 
the Romans, they left engraven on the rocks the names 
of the regiment each party belonged to who were em- 
ployed in these works. 

" These roads begin at Dunkeld, are carried on through 
the noted pass of Killicrankie, by Blair, to Dalnacardoch, 
Dalwhinie, and over the Coryarich, to Fort Augustus. 
A branch extends from thence eastward to Inverness, and 
another westward, over High Bridge, to Fort William. 
From the last, by Kinloch Leven, over the Black Moun- 
tain, by the King's house, to Tyendrum ; and from thence, 
by Glen Urquie, to Inverary, and so along the beautiful 
boundaries of Loch Lomond to its extremity." 

These roads have been so very important in contri- 
buting to the present improvement of the Highlands of 
Scotland, that, although they may be slighted as specimens 
of good road-making, they are entitled to the highest 
praise. In the following extract these roads are spoken 
of too disparagingly, but we nevertheless offer it to our 
readers as containing the opinions of a modern celebrated 

'■• The epigram on Marshal Wade is well known*, but 
we might easily make a Marforio to it, and turn up our 
eyes at the manner in Avhich the roads are made. If 
Fingal was a far greater hero, he Avas unquestionably also 
a much better road-maker; and really it is somewhat 
marvellous how the Marshal could have imagined, how 
he could have adopted, the best of all possible plans, when 
he formed the heroic determination of pursuing straight 
lines, and of defying nature and wheel-carriages both, at 

* The epigram here referred to is as follows : — 
" Oil ! had yoii only seen these roads before they were made, 
You'd lift up your hands and bless ^Marshal Wade ! " 


one valiant effort of courage and science. His orjran 
of quarter-masterireness must have been ■woefully in ar- 
rear, for there is not a highland Donald of them all, nay, 
not even a stot or a quey in the country, that could have 
selected such a line of march. Up and down, up and 
down, as the old catch says, it is like sailing in the Bay 
of Biscay. No sooner up than down, no sooner down 
than up. No sooner has a horse got into his pace again 
than he is called on to stop ; no sooner is he out of wind 
than he must begin to trot or gallop ; and then the trap 
at the bottom which receives the wheels at full speed. 
The traveller, says some sentimental tourist, is penetrated 
with amazement and gratitude, and so forth, at General 
Wade's road — the amazement is probable enough. Pen- 
nant, Avho, if he is not very sentimental, is at least the 
very pink of good-humoured travellers, supposes the 
General had some valid military reasons for his hobby- 
horsical system ; this is very kind." 

After the rebellion in 1745, the government made a 
military road from Dumbarton Castle to Stirling Castle ; 
another from the bridge of Fruin up the west side of 
Loch Lomond ; and a third from Duchlage, on the west 
side of Loch Lomond, across the country to the Frith of 
Clyde. These roads were long kept in repair at the ex- 
pense of the government, but this support was at length 
withdrawn; and l>y degrees the military roads became sup- 
ported partly by government and partly at the expense of 
the various counties. 

We cannot close this chapter Avithout offering the 
reader the character of the brave soldier who effected so 
vast a benefit for the Scottish Highlands. 

" On the 14th of I\Iarch, 1758," says Noble, " died, at 
the age of seventy-five, the once celebrated and still re- 
membered JMarshal Wade, who commanded asfainst the 
forces of the Pretender in 1715, and having finished the 
contest, remained in Scotland as commander-in-chief. 
While holding that office, his soldiers effected the famous 
military road through the Highlands, which tended more 
to the civilization of the country than all that the sove- 
reigns before the reign of Georfte I. ever effected. Its 



inconsiderable expense has caused no less ■wonder tlian a 
just admiration of his incorruptible integrity. He like- 
wise built the noble bridge over the Tay." 

It would seem that in the time of the rebellion, about 
a hundred years ago, the Pretender, with most of his 
Highland soldiers, escaped in consequence of the badness 
of the roads on the coast of the Irish Sea, or St. Georcre's 
Channel, in Lancashire and Cumberland. 

" Had the road on the western sea to Scotland been 
good for the march of an army and artillery, the young 
Pretender had been overtaken, in spite of all his nimljle- 
ness. For the Highlanders, like horses bred in a stony 
country, might have stumbled on plain ground." 

Higliland Euu. 

Roads in the Scottish Highlands. 


The Scottish Highlands. — Their Roads, Carriages, and Horses. — 
Roads and Travelling in Scotland generally, in the eighteenth 
century. — Old Roman Roads. 

If roads, travel, and conveyance, were backward, botli in 
tlie north and south of England, not yet a century ago, — 
that, at the same period, they Avere not much better, or 
that in reality they were still worse, in Scotland, or North 
Britain, and most of all in the Highlands of Scotland, 
may easily be thought. Here, in addition to the severity 
of the climate, and other disadvantages of situation, are 
mountains, rocks, and torrents to be passed, in the attempt 
to reach from one place to another ; here are but small 
and often shallow portions of culturable soil ; here is 
poverty, and almost famine, to prey upon the bulk of the 
population ; and here, up to the date in question, all im- 
provement, to be expected from neighbourhood to the 
perpetual increase of wealth in England, was either pre- 
vented or retarded, by successive troubles and disorders in 
the state of Scottish society. 

Before the union of Scotland and England under a 


single sovereign, the borders of both countries were the 
scenes of mutual and incessant robbery, slaughter, and 
devastation, between the people of both countries. After 
the union of the sovereignties, there were internal troubles 
regarding civil and religious government; and after the 
parliamentary union under Queen Anne, came the rebel- 
lions and discontents which, till the final establishment of 
the authority of the House of Hanover in Scotland, by 
the issue of the rebellion of 1745, still opposed them- 
selves to all Scottish advancement in civilization. 

The history of roads and travel is intimately joined with 
civil history in general, and it is needful to advert to cer- 
tain circumstances of civil history, as well as to the diffi- 
culties of surface and of climate, in order to a right view 
of the sad picture of the Scottish Highlands, some sixty 
years ago. But the author whom Ave shall quote, paints 
the liighlands principally with reference to their winterly 
aspects and necessities ; and produces, therefore, a strong 
effect of contrast, if his description be compared with the 
ruddy and sunny drawings of later tourists; tourists who 
make flying visits ; and who make them, too, but in the 
green season of summer, or to behold the glowing tints of 

We should have been pleased, nevertheless, if Ave 
could have added to this preface, that the Scottish High- 
lands of almost the middle of the nineteenth century are 
no longer the same countries as almost in the middle of 
the eighteenth ! Vast improvements, to some of Avhich, 
and to some of their causes, these pages bear evidence, 
have no doubt marked the inverval , but there still re- 
mains too much to be lamented. Climate and surface 
and situation are still against the natives of the High- 
lands ; and many things remain but as they Avere. 

" An inhabitant of the Highlands of Scotland," says 
a tourist of the last century, " differs so much from an 
inhabitant of the LoAvlands, in his language, customs, 
manners, and dress, that to say of cither of them that he 
is a Scotchman, is as indefinite as to say of a native of 
France, that he is a European. 

" The Highlands take up more than one half of 

I 3 


Scotland, and extend from Dumbarton, near the month of 
the Clyde, to the northernmost extremity of Great Bri- 
tain ; a tract which is more than two hundred miles in 
length, and from fifty to a hundred broad. 

" In the country thus defined, one mountain is rudely 
piled upon another, with vast hollows between them that 
are filled with snow, especially near the summits, Avhicli 
are frequently higher than the clouds. The ridges gene- 
rally run from east to west, and, if they are viewed in that 
direction *, they form the most dreadful prospect that can 
be conceived. The eye then penetrates far among them, 
and sees more particularly their stupendous bulk, frightful 
irregularity, and horrid gloom, which becomes more strik- 
ing by the shades which they project upon each other, and 
the pale glimmering light which a faint reflection throws 
in among them. The summit is generally a naked rock ; 
the surface below is covered Avith heath ; the chasms that 
are filled with snow appear in white spots ; and down the 
declivity are deep and winding holloAvs t, worn by the 
weight and violence of the waters, which frequently 
loosen and bring down, as they descend, craggy fragments 
of a prodigious magnitude. Among these scenes of deso- 
lation, a few firs and small oaks are sometimes discovered, 
the root of one being upon a level Avith the summit of 
another. Upon a nearer view, some spots of grass are 
seen among the hollows, but every enormity increases as 
it is approached ; the gloom becomes deeper, the precipice 
more steep, the bulk of the rude mountains above stu- 
pendous, and the hollows of snow, which from the foot 
appeared no bigger than a table, are found to extend more 
than a mile. The appearance of these rocks varies A^th 
the seasons, and is critically watched by the mountaineers. 

* Hence the roads whicli run north and south follow a surface 
alternately ascending to great heights, with cliasms, and preci- 
pices, and beds of torrents, to distinguish them; and descend 
to great depths, intersected with torrents, streams, cataracts, and 
broken rocks. 

t These winding hollows are the cleughs and doughs of the 
Scotch, and the gills of the men of Cumberland and the adjacent 
northern English counties. Cleiigh and dough are forms of the 
words diff, dift, and deft; and gill, or gull, is gully. 


When the uppermost waters begin to appear with their 
white streaks, they say ' the gray mare's tail begins to 
grow ;' and from this time they never venture far from 
home, lest they should either be swept away by the torrent 
when it bursts forth, or it should at least cut off their 
retreat, and leave them in an inaccessible desert, to perish 
of hunger. One of these mountains, in Lochabar, called 
Ben Nevis, is of a bulk so prodigious, that it is seven 
Scotch miles, not to the summit, but to that part only 
where it begins to be inaccessible ! 

-"Among these mountains there are some flats called 
glens, which their situation renders totally barren ; for the 
hollows in which they lie are sometimes so deep, that the 
sun is not above their horizon more than three hours in 
the longest day. Glen is also the name given in these 
countries to a little spot of corn-country, by the side of 
some small rivulet bounded by hills *. 

" In passing this countr}^, it is necessary for the tra- 
veller to take provisions, not only for himself, but for his 
horse, and to procure a guide. As soon as he begins to 
ascend the fli-st hill, he loses sight of the plain below, 
and creeps slowly along a rocky A^alley surrounded with 
mountains, still hoping that the ridge before him is the 
summit ; and still finding another and another, till he 
almost despairs of returning again to the level of vege- 
table nature, or of again beholding the face of a human 
being. Besides other dangers and inconveniences in this 
journey, there are several rivers, very deep and rapid. Over 
some of them, indeed, there is a ferry, but the boat is often 
so small that the horse is obliged to swim at the stern, and 
so shattered that the passenger is obliged to stand upon 
clods of turf, placed over holes in its bottom to stop out 
the water. "When there is no boat, it is best to let the 

" The Celtic derivative glen, glynne, glin, hjn, or lin, has the 
general sense of " a hollow," either wet or dry, and either per- 
pendicular or horizontal. It is hence a hollow between hills or 
mountains ; a pool or basin containing water, as at the foot of a 
cataract, etc.; or a bay, hollow, or indentation, in the bank of a 
coast, lake, or sea; as m the name of the town, port, and bay of 
Lynu, in Norfollc. 


horse clioose his own steps, and for the rider to keep his 
eye fixed upon some object on the opposite side of the 
river ; for if he looks down into the current he will im- 
mediately become so giddy as to endanger his seat, to 
secure which he should at all events let his legs hang in 
the water wherever the stones at the bottom will permit""'. 
But after all these precautions, the traveller is sometimes 
swept away by the sudden gushing of water from the 
rocks a1)ove, which no sagacity can foresee, nor any 
strength resist. 

" A mile an hour is the ordinary rate of travelling, 
the way being sometimes a rough part of the rock, some- 
times full of loose stones, and sometimes bog more than 
two feet deep, with large crags at the bottom. A wood 
of fir-trees sometimes intervenes, the roots of which, cross- 
ing each other, run a long way on the surface of the rock, 
till they find a cranny, into which they shoot as a hold 
a<]:ainst the force of the winds above. Among these roots 
the horse's feet are so entangled, that the bog is scarcely 
the less eligible of the two. On the summits of the hills, 
indeed, there are bogs so deep as to bury the horse and 
his rider. They look like little plains about a hundred 
and fifty yards square, and the surface is sometimes stiff 
enough to bear the little Highland horses, which, if they 
happen to be bogged, will lie still till they are relieved ; but 
our English horses, by continual struggling, work them- 
selves so far in, that it is sometimes impossible to get 
them out. 

" In many places the rider is obliged to dismount, 
sometimes climbing with the assistance of his hands, and 
sometimes content to slide down the declivity. Some 
part of the way is a path scarcely two feet wide, on the 
brink of a precipice. Here the side of the mountain is 
nearly perpendicular, and at the distance of about a hun- 
dred yards below is a lake, into which vast fragments of 

* To a rider or driver who is crossing a running stream, the 
horse or carriage seems to stand still, and only the water to 
move; and nothing to the inexiierienced appears more incom- 
prehensible, and almost incredible, than that after a period of 
this seeming fixture in the midst of the water, the opposite Lank, 
always growing nearer and nearer, is at length actually reached ! 


the rock have fallen ; and above, the mountain still rises, 
till its summit is lost in the clouds. In these places the 
danger is greatly increased by violent and sudden tem- 
pests, which scoop the snow from the mountains, and 
drive it along Avith incredible force, in such quantities 
that the rider can scarcely see his horse's head, and the 
beast himself is driven from side to side by the first fury 
of the blast ; besides, if the snow, which at a certain 
height falls every day, happens to continue many hours, 
the face of the country is so changed, that till it melts it 
is not possible for the best guide to find his way. After 
such a journey as this, continued, perhaps, for two days, 
the traveller will suddenly discover a little plain, about a 
quarter of a mile square, with perhaps, eight or nine little 
hovels upon it ; and this is a Highland town. 

" If a drift of snow happens from the mountains, 
the confinement of the Plighlanders to their glens and 
their hovels is yet more dreary and close than otherwise j 
for, in this case, the latter are sometimes buried to their 
roofs, and when it is necessary to open a communication 
between them, this is effected only by one man beginnino" 
at the edge of the drift next to his own dwelling; when, 
waving his body from side to side, he presses forward, 
breaking part with his hands, if it is higher than his head. 
When he reaches the next hut, its inhabitant joins him, 
and they proceed together to another; and when many 
have got together, they open, by a similar process, a way 
for the cattle to return to the huts, the latter being noAV 
usually near at hand; because, wben drifts happen, the 
same Avind that fills the glens, clears, at the same time, 
the hills of the snow that is thus drifted, and thus offers 
to the cattle a free passage from the latter to the former. 

" Besides neat cattle, the Highlanders have a breed of 
dwarf horses, which they call garro7is; and Avhich run 
Avild among the mountains, till they are eight or ten years 
old, and are caught in various ways, according to the spots 
in Avhich they are found. Sometimes they are hunted 
into a bog; sometimes driven up a steep hill, on Avhich 
the nearest pursuer endeavours to catch them by the hind 
legs ; and sometimes they are hunted from place to place, 


till tliey lie down through mere ■weariness and Avant of 

" The Highlanders have a tradition that these dimi- 
nutive horses came originally from Spain, and have dwin- 
dled to their present size by degrees. When a bundle is 
to be carried on horseback, the Highlanders use two 
baskets, of the kind that in England we call hampers, but 
which are here called creels, of which one is hung upon 
each side of the little horse; and if the load cannot be 
divided, they put it all into one creel, and fill the other 
"with stones; so that, for the removal of fifty pounds 
weight, it becomes necessary for the horse to carry a hun- 

" Where the Highlanders have sufficient depth of 
ground for ploughing, they plough with four horses 
abreast ; taking hold of the two innermost by their heads, 
and walking backward themselves, watching the way of 
the ploughshare, to prevent its striking against the rocks; 
which, in many places, are to be seen just above the sur- 
face. But the soil, even of the corn-lands, is, in some 
places, so shallow, that, instead of ploughing, they dig it 
with a wooden spade. The horse, however, is ahvays 
employed to drag the harrow, which, without harness, is 
cruelly fastened to the dock of his tail; and, when the 
tail becomes too short, they lengthen it with twisted 

We are all well acquainted with specimens of these 
Highland horses, which Ave knoAv by the name of Shet- 
land ponies; but, hoAv fat, how sleek, and well-fed, and 
Avhat new lives befal these animals, Avhen they arrive in 
our southern counties, from the Scottish wilds, either of 
the mainland, or of the islands still further to the north ! 

" The stature of the Highlanders," continues our 
author, " is rather beloAV the standard; especially that of 
the women, Avho are, in general, very small. But, though 
the common Highlanders," he adds, " are squalid and 
miserable, yet the gentry are a handsome people. 

" In these northern parts of Great Britain, the tra- 
veller Avill always find the cattle and the carts diminish in 
their size, as he leaves the south yet further behind him. 


" In the streets of Inverness, the -women and maid- 
servants, in the severest frosts, are seen without either 
stockings or shoes ; and here and there a man dragging 
along a half-starved horse, scarce bigger than an ass, in 
a cart, about the size of a wheel-barrow. The load is often 
not more than miefht be carried under his arm: but he 
must not degrade himself by bearing a burden ; and per- 
haps his wife is stooping under twice its weight; for the 
women carry heavy loads, as the pedlars carry their packs. 

" Some of these carters have ropes for halters, and 
harness made of the manes and tails of their horses, which 
are shorn in the spring for that purpose; but, in general, 
they make use of birchen twigs twisted and knotted to- 
gether; and it is from these bands, that they have learned 
to call all ropes, woodies. The collar and crupper are of 
plaited straw ; and, to save the horses back, they put a 
few old rags under the cart-saddle. The beasts are never 
either dressed or shod, and it is Avith great dif&culty that 
they keep their footing, Avhen the carter has occasion to 
turn the carriage, which he does by taking it up and tur- 
ning it quite round. 

" The wheels are made of three pieces of plank, pin- 
ned together at the edge, like the head of a butter-firkin. 
The axletree turns round with the wheels, which, Avhen 
they are new, are about a foot and a-half in diameter, but 
are soon worn very small: and as part of the circumfer- 
ence is with the grain, and part against it, they wear un- 
equally; and, in a little time, become rather angular than 

" In summer, Avhen the horse has done his Avork, the 
driver attends him Avhile he grazes by the sides of the 
roads, and the edges of the fields, holding him all the 
while by a halter, lest he should encroach, for there are no 
enclosures; and, in Avinter, many of them are famished to 
death ; and may be seen from day to day craAvling along, 
hanging doAvn their heads, and reeling Avith Aveakness 
till they drop. Hay, indeed, is, even in the LoAvlands, a 
scarce commodity; for, as soon as the grass is cut doAvn, 
they bring it to toAvn, green^ for sale; and, at Edinburgh, 
the place allotted for this traffic, is called the Grass-market." 


Descending from the Highlands to the Lowlands we 
shall find that the roads of the last century, -were bad in 
the extreme. The former modes of communication in 
Scotland have been treated of, in an able volume, by Mr. 
Buchanan, who has shown that, although the progress of im- 
provement in Scotland was rather late in its beginning, it has 
advanced with extraordinary rapidity; and is now keeping 
pace with her richer neighbour. It is scarcely a century 
since there was nothing deserving the name of a " road," 
in any of the great thoroughfares of Scotland; the whole 
inland trade of the kingdom was carried on by means of 
pack-horses ; and " persons," says he, " are still alive, who 
remember, perfectly, the carriers between Edinburgh and 
Glasgow, going regularly with five or six horses in a train; 
and so narrow was the track, that the leading one had a 
bell at his head, to give warning of their approach to the 
party travelling in the opposite direction, that the one 
micrht have time to <fet out of the wav, while the other 
was passing." In this way they jogged along, over all the 
inequalities of an extremely unequal country, through 
which the road passed; and fording the difi^erent rivers 
and streams, on which bridges were, as yet, unknown. 
Carts were then used onl}^ in the principal toAvns, and 
coaches or carriages rarely in the country; travelling 
being, almost universally, performed on horseback. The 
roads, too, were often impassable in low and wet grounds. 
It is stated that, when Lord Hermand Avas sent, in 17^50, 
from Ayrshire to the College at Edinburgh, the road was 
in such a state, that servants were frequently sent for- 
ward with poles to sound the depth of the mosses and 
boQ"S which lav in their way. Mr. Chambers also states 
that, when John Earle, of Londoun, was sent, in his youth, 
to Edinburgh, about the year 1730, he travelled with his 
baggage in a pair of panniers, across a poncy's back ; him- 
self in the one pannier, and his baggage in the other. 

Some of the Scottish roads were formerly kept in re- 
pair by statute-labour, which originated in the early part 
of the last century. In the fifth year of the reign of 
George L, an act was passed, which made the following 
regulations : — 


The justices of peace and commissioners of supply, in 
the several counties, were ordained to assemble at the 
chief towns in the county, on the third Tuesday in May, 
in each year; with power to choose clerks, surveyors, and 
other officers, for the management of the high-roads. 

The justices, or their deputies, were empowered to 
convene the tenants, cotters, and other labouring men, 
■within their district; and to cause them to work on the 
high-ways, three days before the last of June, and three 
days after harvest, in each year: this Avas to continue until 
the roads were sufficiently repaired. 

Any tenant, cotter, or labouring man, Avho failed to 
make his appearance, after due notice, and render his quota 
of the work, was to be fined eighteen pence per day, until 
he fulfilled his duty, or sent some one else to do it for him. 

Up to this time then, and for a good while after, the 
Scottish roads are represented as being so bad, that they 
went in straight lines, up one side of a hill, and down 
another ; crossed bogs, Avhich were impassable during Avin- 
ter, and Avere so badly laid, that that Avhich is noAV a 
journey of a fcAv hours, formerly consumed days. Robert- 
son, in his Rin-al Recollections^ tells us, that the common 
carrier from Selkirk to Edinburgh, thirty- eight miles dis- 
tance, took two Aveeks for his journey between the tAvo 
toAvns, going and returning. The road Avas, originally, 
most perilous and fatiguing, oAving to the AA^ater and the 
hills. The felloAA'-toAvnsmen of this individual, on the 
morning of his going aAvay, took leaA^e of him, as if going 
upon an undertaking of doubt and danger. 

Such alarm did the people of Scotland feel at the first 
idea of making and improving roads in their country, 
that the landed gentry, Avith the farmers and tenants, at 
the starting of a ncAv road, sought to have it carried as far 
away from their premises, as possible: but time soon 
pointed out the error of these foolish \-ieAvs and Avishes. 

But, bad as the internal communications of Scotland 
Avere, they seem to have kept pace Avith the progress of 
trade, and general intercourse throughout the country. 
The mail Avas regularly despatched betAveen Edinburgh and 
London, on horse-back, and Avent in the course of five or 


six days; but so limited was the communication between 
the two capitals, that, during the rebellion of 1745, when 
an order Avas sent from London to open all the letters in 
the post-office, with the view of detecting treasonable cor- 
respondence, there were not, in all, above twenty letters in 
the London bag. — " Such," says Mr. Buchanan, " was the 
low state of trade and business; the true cause of the back- 
ward state of the roads, and of all the other accommoda- 
tions which distinguish a rich and improving country." 

Between 1750 and 17^0, a coach travelled from Lon- 
don to Edinburgh in thirteen days. About the year 1770, 
roads were so much improved, that carts came into general 
use, particularly on farms, and in conveying grain to mar- 
ket. With a cart, one horse could draw five or six 
hundred-weight, while the pack-horse could only carry 
three. In the year 1790, the construction and manage- 
ment of the roads began to excite great public attention, 
and improved lines were formed in all parts of the country; 
which lines Avere made of better materials ; so that, 
generally, the load of a single cart-horse was increased to 
eight or ten hundred-weight, and travelling in carriages 
became very common. Since that period, improvements 
have advanced with accelerated rapidity, and such have 
been their effects on the powers of draught, that on 
almost every public road in Scotland, a single cart-horse 
can easily draw sixteen hundred- weight; and, on many 
roads, a stout horse will draAv as much as twenty-five 
hundred-weight. Such has also been the effect of the 
velocity of motion, that the London mail now performs 
the journey in forty-three hours and a-half. Between 
Edinburgh and Glasgow, nearly twenty coaches run daily, 
and the journey is completed in five hours. The ori- 
ginal coach between these two places, which was com- 
menced in 1765, occupied twelve hours on the road; 
and a swifter vehicle, afterwards introduced, was called 
the Fly, on account of its great velocity, — it went the 
journey, from Edinburgh to Glasgow, in ten hours; a 
shorter time than had been before occupied in the jour- 
ney: — but now our coaches, as we have just said, com- 
plete the distance in half the time ! 


Before we leave tlie subject of Scottish roads, we can- 
not refrain from giving the reader the general information 
regarding tlie roads of Caledonia, at the commencement 
of the Christian era. 

The Roman roads in Scotland exhibit the same inde- 
fatigable spirit, which distinguished that extraordinary- 
people elsewhere. They built a wall from the Clyde to the 
Forth, and another from the Tyne to the Solway; and, 
between these two walls, roads intersected the country in 
various directions. 

The Western-road, as it was called, ^vas the first of 
these which was constructed. It commenced at the 
southern wall, near Carlisle, and, crossing Solway-moss, 
entered, what is now called, Scotland. After proceeding 
towards the Annan, a branch-road turned to the left, to- 
Avards Nithsdale. The principal branch proceeded onward 
to the hilly region, which furnishes the sources of the 
Clyde, the Annan, and the Tweed, and then went through 
Clydesdale, towards the river Calder. It afterwards ended 
at the northern-wall, near the spot now occupied by the 
city of Glasgow. 

The road, called watling-street, which led through 
the eastern portion of Scotland, commenced at the southern 
wall, near Portgate, and entered Scotland near the source 
of the Coquet. After crossing the rivers Jed and Teviot, 
it passed near Melrose, and crossed the Tweed. It then 
passed near Lauder, Oxton, and Bowbridge, at the east 
end of the Pentland-hills. After passing over one or two 
more rivers, it joined the east end of the northern- wall at 

Laplanders on a Journey. 


Glances at the modern Roads of Foreign Lands. — Travelling in 
Lapland. — Roads, and Travelling in Norway — Aljiine Roads. 
— Simplon. — Great Saint-Bernard. — The other Alpine Roads. 
— Mount Brenner. — Cornice. — Aurelian Road. — GasparStoeri. 
— Roads of France. 

The world which Ave inhabit offers on its surface greater 
or less facility for the motions of man. In many cases 
absolute difficulties present themselves to the traveller; 
but these are overcome by the exertion of that distinguish- 
ing faculty of reason, Avhich enables man to understand 
the laws Avhich govern the universe, and to apply them to 
his own purposes. If the waters of the ocean oppose his 
passage, he constructs ships, avails himself of winds and 
tides, and floats with ease and rapidity to the land to 
which business or pleasure calls him ; if wind and tide 
oppose him, he calls to his assistance the wondrous force 
of steam, and defies both wind and tide: if a gulf yawn 
at his feet, and seem to forbid his further advance, he 
throws a bridge over it, and thus continues his road with 
ease and safety; he passes over the mightiest and most 
rapid rivers by similar means; and if this cannot be done, 
he builds a road in spite of danger and difficulty under the 
very bed of the stream; if hills oppose him he cuts through 


them; if marshes and bogs threaten to sink under him, he 
drains them; if his burdens be drawn at too great cost and 
expense, he constructs canals, and thus lessens his outlay 
for draught; and if he himself move too sluggishly for 
his impatient zeal over the rough and uneven ground, he 
smooths it, and by constructing rail-roads, moves along 
with renewed velocity. 

Man has done all this, and can do still more. His en- 
terprise prompts him perpetually to devise new schemes 
for facilitating his itinerant wants and wishes. But his 
power is, to a great extent, limited or modified by the 
nature of the ground over which he purposes to travel: 
thus his roads must partake of the diversity of the soil 
and climate in which they are constructed. Soil and 
climate, too, are for the most part the powerful means of 
deciding, or greatly influencing, the manners and customs, 
the dress, and even the language of nations; hence it 
naturally follows that the roads and patliAvays of foreign 
lands are of a very diverse character: they are made, doubt- 
less, in conformity with the wants of the natives who travel 
over them, whether on foot or in litters, in open carts and 
carriages, in chairs fastened to men's backs, on the camel, 
or on the horse or elephant. The roads are, in short, 
adapted to the nature of the country, and the beasts of 
burden found therein, and the carriages are adapted to the 

But of carriages we shall speak more hereafter; our 
present purpose is to bestow a few hasty glances on the 
roads ofJurelg?i lands, and to extend the objects for which 
the second chapter of this book was written. 

Let the reader accompany us on an imaginary tour 
through several foreign lands. We Avill first take "him to 
Lapland, where we find the ice frequently serving as a 
road of passage, like the canals of the Dutch, which are 
cleaved by the boat in the summer, and by the skate in 
the winter. The beast of draught Avith the Laplanders is 
the rein-deer, which, when they have occasion to make an 
expeditious journey, is yoked to a sledge, which it draws 
up hill and down dale, with amazing rapidity, over the 
snow-bound surface of the country. This, in consequence 


of the frosts, is tolerably level, and furnishes a suitable 
road. The natives are in the habit of travelling from 
place to place, and moving their families at the beginning 
of winter and summer, for the sake of the pasturage, and 
to mitigate the rigour of the climate. The snow covers 
the ground for nine months of the year. 

We will now pass on into Norway. We select this coun- 
try for the continuation of our tour, because in it the first 
Sfood modern roads Avere constructed. We are too much 
in the habit of associating the primitive manners of bar- 
barism with these nations of the north: let not the reader 
fall into this mistake ; for we can assure him that, although 
the proud empire of Rome owed its downfal mainly to 
the people of the north, yet modern civilization has much 
to thank them for. 

The kingdoms of Sweden and Norway cover a space of 
292,700 English square-miles, of which the larger part 
belongs to Sweden. From the eastern extremity of SAveden 
to the Norwegian precipices, which overhang the northern 
ocean, the surface is continually rising ; and Norway upon 
the west of S^veden is, for the most part, to the latter, Avhat 
the Scottish Highlands are to the Scottish Lowlands, ex- 
cept that the NorAvegian heights exceedingly surpass the 
Scotch. Of the space above-named nearly 4000 square- 
miles are above the line of perpetual snoAv; but of these 
more than three fourths belong to NorAA'ay. 

The Norwegians, like the Scottish Highlanders, have a 
small but hardy race of horses, Avhich, heavily laden, go 
up and down the mountain-roads with an ease that often 
astonishes strangers. Upon the steep sides of the moun- 
tains, and AA^hat is Avorse, upon the smooth sides of the 
rocks, and among the large and moveable stones, they 
seem exposed to an incessant danger of falling and break- 
ing their legs. They lead the rude lives of their masters, 
so that, though the latter are usually kind and considerate, 
they strike a stranger as enduring both great and needless 
hardships. They cross, with Avonderful success, SAA'ift 
rivers, over Avhich, perhaps, the simple bridges consist 
onlv of two coarsely hcAvn trees, laid down from bank to 
bank; but Avhere the rider, loosening the bridle freely 


upon the animal's shoulder, the latter bends its nose to the 
surface of the logs, and carries the former safely. In 
other cases (and this may happen at the very end of a 
hard journey, and when the horse is heated and relaxed 
from fatigue,) it reaches a river where it has no bridge at 
all, and the stream of which it must therefore swim; and 
afterwards remain shivering all night in the open air. 

The Norwegian mountains are single, or else in chains 
or ridges extending many miles from north to south. The 
ascent to the top of some of these ridges is often as much 
as thirty-six English miles; and the perpendicular height 
of the summits, or their elevation above the level of the 
sea, is computed to be about three English miles. At 
this height, the air is always as cold as in the depth of 
winter lower down, and all the waters continue frozen, 
though exposed to the summer's sun. 

The tops of these ridges, which are usually fflat and 
even, are always covered with snow; and the public roads 
to many places, but particularly to the city of Kongsberg, 
run over them; yet in travelling them, great caution is 
required for avoiding the chasms of the numerous cliffs, 
many of which, in winter, are often concealed by drifted 
snow, and into which, whoever falls, if he be not killed on 
the spot, must perish of hunger; except he can find his 
way out at the foot of the mountain, by some hole which 
has been made by bird or beast. 

Of the single mountains, the elevation is less; but 
many are from 3000 to 4000 feet in height, with their sides 
covered with fields and woods, and their feet washed mth 
navigable streams; the summits covered with pasture, and 
the centres filled with treasures of silver, copper, iron, and 
other metals. 

On these latter mountains are frequently situated the 
farm-houses and cottages of the peasantry, some of them 
standing so near to the brinks of precipices that the in- 
habitants go up to them by means of ladders; and when 
a clergyman is sent for, he makes his visit at the risk of 
his life; especially so in winter, Avhen the frost has made 
the steps or rounds of the ladders slippery. The corpses 
of the dead, sent forth for burial, are let down by ropes, 

J 92 


and then carried upon men's backs to the spots where 
they can reach their coffins; and at some distance inland 
from the sea-port town of Berghen, the mail itself is drawn 
up with ropes, over the steepest of the mountains. 

Besides the roads on the flat summits of long ridges of 
mountains, there are many which run along the sides of 
the narrow defiles, formed of natural craggy rocks, with 
huge inaccessible cliffs above them, and impassable wastes, 
which lie at amazing distances below. Few of these 
roads, though some of them are the post-roads, are broader 
than a common path or footway; and many project over 
the precipice, and are shored up from beneath, to prevent 
their falling under the weight of the traveller: and in 
places where the rock has already given way, loose planks 
are laid over iron bolts driven into the sides of the rock 
still standing; no part of these fearful passages being 
secured by rails, it being impossible to fix any. 

Norwegian Mountain Road. 


A roacl or passage of tliis rude kind, but nevertheless a 
■o'ork of art, (for nature liad denied any or mucli assistance 
here,) is the narrow pass of Naeroe, leading to the river 
Waas, and constructed by the famous Norwegian king, 
Suerre, in the year 1200, as a military road; that is, as a 
passage for his army. 

Between Scogstadt and Vaug, also, in Yolders, there is 
a road on the side of a lofty and steep mountain, and 
along the border of a fresh- water lake, so narrow, in many 
parts, that if two travellers meet, they must either stop 
short Avithout being able to pass each other, or even to 
alight; their only expedient being that of one of them 
catching hold, from his horse's back, of some crag of the 
mountain, Avhile clinging to which he must push his horse 
headlong into the lake, and thus make way for the other 

Nor are the narrowness and steepness of these roads 
the only sources of danger to those who travel them. The 
clefts and caverns of the rocky mountains are the habita- 
tion of innumerable beasts of prey; and bears, and especi- 
ally wolves, are to be continually expected. 

Along these passes, too, and the sides of the mountains 
over Avhich they lead, it often happens that both goats and 
black cattle fall into places whence they can neither ascend 
nor descend ; but in these cases, the peasants, accustomed 
from their birth to the difficulties of the roads, and of the 
climate, encounter almost any risk for their recovery. A 
stick being fastened by the middle to the end of a rope, 
the man puts his legs over it, on each side of the rope, and 
is let down several hundred fathoms from the top of the 
precipice, swinging himself to and from the face of the 
rocks till he can set his foot on the place Avhere his sheep 
or goat is lodged; when, fastening his rope around it, both 
he and his prize are drawn up together. 

" That men should thus venture," says a native histo- 
rian, " to descend Avith no support but a mere rope and 
stick, from such tremendous heights, and hang over 
abysses, Avhich a stranger could not behold except Avith 
terror, is a strong instance of the force of habit ; but that 
they should aggravate, as is their practice, the dangers 


they incur, by taking with them but one assistant, is a 
still stronger; especially as it sometimes happens, that he 
who holds the end of the rope finds himself unable, not 
only to draw it up again, but to sustain the weight 
attached to it. AVhen such extremities, however, arise, 
this latter has been known, not to quit his hold, but to 
suffer himself to be dragged do-\vn ; choosing rather to 
perish with his friend, than to betray his trust." 

In the same daring spirit, the Norwegian birdmen are 
found climbing precipices propped upon a pole, hanging 
by a cord over cliffs thrice as high as the cross of St. 
Paul's Church, or scrambling at that height from one 
crag to another, holding, by one hand, by some craggy 
prominence, and groping with the other after birds in the 
crevices of the rock. A restraint upon these excesses by 
force of law was once attempted, but to no purpose. 

If a birdman fell from the rock, and was killed, it was 
proposed to his next of kin to climb to the same place, by 
the same way. If he accepted the offer, and succeeded in 
the task, the deceased was acquitted of presumption ; but 
if he refused, the latter was condemned, as having ven- 
tured where it was deemed rashness to repeat the under- 
taking ; and, as a punishment, his body was treated as 
that of a suicide, being denied Christian burial. The law, 
however, which was as rude in its provisions as the prac- 
tices it aimed to remedy, fell early into disuse. 

The horses of Norway, like the horses of the Scottish 
Highlands, are small ; but it is otherwise with the Nor- 
wegian people. Though fed in a manner that must seem 
the most impoverishing to an English observer, the Nor- 
wegian peasantry are tall, well-proportioned, and of hand- 
some features; or, if they have any defect of personal 
symmetry, it is because the muscles of their thighs and 
legs, particularly of the latter, are peculiarly full, a cir- 
cumstance to be accounted for from the incessant and 
great activity of their lives on foot. They are of a race 
quite distinct from the race of Scottish Highlanders. 

One living, but more than ordinary, example of this 
Norwegian strength and stature, as well as of the prevail- 
ing goodness of moral character, and of the general toil 


required for the formation and improvement of the Nor- 
Avegian roads, is to be found in Eystein Hansen, the dis- 
tinguished tenant of the farm of Ingolfsland, in the parish 
of Dal, at a little distance from Lake Tindsjben. 

The roads in Norway are still made and repaired upon 
the system anciently universal ; that is, within a certain 
distance of the towns, the towns are at the needful expen- 
diture ; while, in the country, the inhabitants make and 
maintain them according to customary allotments, both of 
space and time. 

In Hansen's district, a piece of road, of twenty yards 
in length, was divided between two peasants; but (on 
account of the numerous blocks of stone which required 
to be either broken or removed, and, among others, two 
of immense size,) those persons considered it beyond the 
limit of human strength to do the work in less than two 
days, and refused to undertake it with an allowance of 
less time. Sevei-al other peasants were then applied to, 
some of the strongest in the neighbourhood inclusive, but 
all refused the piece of work, liansen, however, declared 
that it was no greater task than he could perform alone, 
and not in two days, but in one ; and then, to prove his 
words, began to work at sun-set, after his neighbours had 
finished their day's toil, and were gone home. In the 
first place, he broke into pieces the largest of the two 
blocks, or " boulder-stones," such as in England are some- 
times called " gray-wethers," and cast the latter over the 
side of the lofty rock, along the ledge of Avhich the road 
was to be carried ; and next, with only the assistance of 
his crow-bar, he removed the other off the line of road. 
Completing the job before him, he then dug the level 
road required, two yards in breadth, one in depth, and 
twenty in length, and all in the short space of six hours 
only; besides working cheerfully and equally with his 
neighbours on the following day. The rock, or " boulder- 
stone," which he removed, and which still remains a monu- 
ment below the road, cannot Aveigh less than two tons. 

It gives the crowning-grace, however, to this story, to 
add that this man, of such extraordinary bodily strength, 
has been just as much remarked through life for the 



modesty, gentleness, and unassuming character of his 
manners ; and, that though like a lion when really irri- 
tated, his consciousness of his superior force has been 
often known to make him overlook insults, particularly 
from strangers, who could not be aware of his powers ; 
and also, as a general principle, to avoid all occasions of 
quarrel. He is at present gro\ving old, and is an object 
of general respect with those Avho know him. 

Often, the Norwegian roads are a thousand feet above 
rivers, lakes, and valleys, which they skirt; but such 
roads, and even paths that are sometimes frequented 
more from curiosity than need, are readily traversed by 
this bold and practised people. To look upon the cata- 
ract called the Rikand, and to reach its top, it is required 
either to go round the mountain Gousta, by a road four 
English miles in length, or else to ascend by a zig-zag 
path along its side, to the height of seven or eight hun- 
dred feet, and in some places so narrow that the visiter 
cannot place his two feet by the side of one another, 
■while one false step would cause him to plunge into the 
gulf beneath. Here, the travellers that are apt to be 
giddy crawl their way upon their hands and feet ; the 
Norwegian guides at the same time going up and down 
with swiftness and entire facility. 

It takes off, perhaps, somewhat from the merit of that 
Norwegian tenderness for their diminutive horses, already 
adverted to, thus to relate the strength, the powers, and 
the general activity of the men themselves. " Norwegian 
carriage-drivers," says a recent tourist, " keep up with 
ease by the side of a carriage at full speed, for ten or 
twelve miles together. Their consideration for their 
horses is such, that I never remember seeing them rest 
themselves behind the carriage, except, perhaps, for a few 
minutes ; and in this way will they continue running to 
the end of the stage." 

A bad posting system prevails in this country, by 
which the farmers of the way-side are compelled to be 
ready with horses to serve the wants of travellers. The 
rate for each horse is only about a penny a mile ; the 
effect of which interference with the rights and property 


of the people are attended, Mr. Laing says, with manifestly 
bad results. 

But it must not be imagined that in Norway there are 
no situations adapted for the formation of good roads, or 
that where good roads are practicable, the Norwegians do 
not make them. Here, as in Sweden, though both are 
mountainous countries, there are man}'- good roads at in- 
tervals, such as may be easily travelled in a four-wheeled 
wagon, like that of the Swedish country-people, as seen 
in the chapter on wheel-carriages. The northern shores 
of the Baltic sea, which include many of those of Norway, 
and.all of those of Sweden, are as rocky and mountainous 
as the southern are flat and sandy : from the Baltic to 
Moscow there is not a single hill. 

It is not in Norway, or in Scotland, that the surface 
of the country gives occasion for the most difficult roads 
of Europe : for these Ave must turn our thoughts to the 
Alps, the most considerable mountains in this division of 
the globe, and which offer the severest obstructions to 
travel between the great and populous countries of France, 
and Germany, and Italy, 

Alps is but another Avord for hills or mountains. The 
Celtic Avord alp^ or alb^ signifies high; and, if applied to 
land, signifies Avhat, through derivatives from other voca- 
bularies than the Celtic, we call a high land, or eminence, 
or hill, or mountain. Alp, therefore, is, first, a general 
name for a mountain; and, secondly, and through the 
accident of ancient local language, traditionally preserved, 
the Alps (at least Avith geographers) are those particular 
mountains in the South of Europe, remarkable alike for 
their elcA^ation, their extensive range, and the great im- 
portance of their position. 

The Alps divide France and Germany from the North 
of Italy, and the North of Italy from the South ; and upon 
the north side of the central and highest part of their 
range, or chain, is the SavIss Alps (noAV commonly so 
called), which comprise the most important places of the 
Alpine passes, and almost confine to their single share 
the European celebrity of the Alps. 

Over the Alps at the present day there are ten com- 


modious carriage-roads. The roads or passes, taken col- 
lectively, and remarkable either for the number of those 
who travel upon them, the skill and labour of their works, 
or the beauty of their features or prospects, are twelve in 
number ; and of these the road or pass of Mount St. Ber- 
nard, and the great road of the Simplon, are the most 
celebrated and conspicuous. 

" Ten carriage-roads," says an indefatigable explorer 
and admirable illustrator of the passes of the Alps, " are 
now completed across the Alps, and others are in the 
course of formation ; and over those barriers, which were 
once considered impassable without danger, some of the 
best roads on the globe are at present carried ! But the 
prejudices of nations occupying the two sides of the Alps, 
as much or more than the difficulties of nature, had re- 
quired to be conquered, before those works could be ac- 
complished ; and that conquest has been achieved only 
within a few years passed by. It is to these prejudices, 
or to those fears of danger from the construction of roads, 
which, overcoming the natural obstacles, opened passes 
alike for friends and foes, that allusion is made in the re- 
cent inscription upon a bridge close to the baths of Pignon, 
about a league from the Via JMala, and in which is re- 
corded the opening of the neAv road, begun in the year 
1818, and completed in six years, and measuring tAventy- 
six leagues and a half: — 






The Alpine road, called " the road of the Simplon," or 
that which crosses the alp or mountain of this name, com- 
mences in Switzerland, and leads out of the Valais, or 

* Brockedon's Passes of the Alps. The translation of this 
inscription is as follows : — 

" The way now lies open to friends and enemies. Beware, ye 
Swiss ! Simplicity of manners and union will preserve your an- 
cestral liberty." 


valley of tlie Rhone, into the plain of Lombardy, in Italy, 
and puts the traveller upon his way to Dome d' Ossola and 

At Martigny, where the valley of the Rhone begins to 
grow narrow and marshy, and lose itself in the ascent of 
the mountains, the roads of the Great Bernard and the 
Simplon take their opposite directions ; the one leading 
westward, to Aosta and Turin, in Piedmont, or the terri- 
tory of the king of Sardinia, upon the Italian side of the 
Alps ; and the other eastward, and therefore, as was inti- 
mated, into Lombardy, or to the cities of Dome d' Ossola 
and Milan. Around the small but very ancient Swiss 
city of Sion, the valley spreads again to the breadth of 
about ten miles, with a fertile soil and beautiful appear- 
ance ; but a little beyond that city, the road of the Sim- 
plon begins to wind up the hill-side. Brig is a small 
town a very little above its foot ; but its important works 
begin but at a little further still ; that is, at the smaller 
village of Glys. 

At this point, a torrent, or rapid mountain- river, called 
the Saltine, descends from the mountain, through a ravine 
more remarkable for its size than for any real terrors. 
Through this broad and retiring vista, the eye is carried 
upward as far as the gate, or to the summit of the pass. 
The road proceeds some distance before it joins the ravine, 
but then skirts its edge for a few miles, and finally turns 
round its upper end. The distance, in a straight line, 
from Brig to the head of the ravine, which is at the greatest 
elevation of the road, cannot much exceed six miles, even 
if it is so much; but the windings give to the traveller 
an ascent of thirteen. 

Above Brig, the valley of the Rhone is rapidly nar- 
rowed; and here the height of the land above the level of 
the sea is about 2400 feet. From this spot, there is a 
fine view of a glacier of the Viescherhorn, one of the peaks 
of the Oberland mountains, nearly opposite to Brig. To 
the distance of thirteen miles, from Brig to the summit of 
the road or pass, is to be added five to the village of Sim- 
peln, (the name Simplon in its German form,) and thence 
to the frontier of Italy, five more. After this, it proceeds 


to Crevola, on the level of the first Italian plain, at ten 
miles from the frontier, and then four miles further, to 
Domo cl' Ossola, which is four more; thus giving to the 
entire route thirty-five miles, of -which the last three or 
four are on a perfect flat. 

" It does very well," sajs the tourist already cited, "to 
talk, hy way of poetical embellishment, about trotting up 
and down this celebrated pass. But even six horses, at- 
tached to the common travelling vehicle, seemed very 
well disposed to take the matter much more leisurely." 
There were level portions of the road, he admits, Avhere 
this trotting was possible, and v.'here, in his own instance, 
it Avas actually performed; "but much the greater part of 
the ascent was made on a walk." 

The same traveller " much doubts," whether there is 
"anything so delightfully horrible" as is usually described, 
as far as regards the Swiss, or northern side of the moun- 
tain. At the head of the ravine called the Ganter, he and 
his companion alighted, in order to lessen the fatigue of 
the horses, and Avalked the rest of the distance to the 
summit, preceding the carriage the whole way, with great 
ease to themselves; "a pretty good proof," he insists, 
" that there was not much trotting I Indeed, the postilions 
soon after dismounted, walking by the side of their horses 
most of the time. I do not think, however," he concludes, 
" it would be necessary to lock the wheels much of the 
way, in descending; or that it would be at all dangerous 
to go do}V7i the whole declivity, on this side of the moun- 
tain, at a reasonable trot." 

Arriving, next, along the edge of a larger and deeper 
ravine, or that in which the Saltine flows, he still thinks 
that the dangers, as well as the recent works, upon the 
route of the Simplon, (and especially as concerning the 
ravines of the Ganter and the Saltine,) a,re described in 
too florid terms: " I\Iany writers," says he, "speak of 
the terrific appearance of these two ravines; of trees 
growing in a line with their sides; of their vast depth, 
and of the nervousness with which one gazes dovrn- 
wards, into the gloomy abysses. All this struck me as 
being singularly exaggerated. From Brig to the sum- 


mit, I did not see a single point ^vllere there could have 
been any great difficulty in constructing a road, or a single 
spot ■where a man of ordinary nerA'^es might not stand 
with great indifference on the extreme edge of the road. 
The mountain was of vast scale; the road was certainly 
laid out Avith great science and method; the ravines, if 
not frightful, were yawning, and of great depth; and 
there can be no doubt that in many places, torrents, land- 
slips, avalanches, and falling rocks, may occasionally do 
much mischief. One of the latter had done material in- 
jury this very summer; but none of these dangers obtrude 
themselves on the eye of the traveller in ascending. 
Here and there a small stone ' Refuge' stands by the road- 
side, a place of shelter in the winter, and during storms. 
At the head of the ravine, the mountain above it rises more 
abruptly to a peak, crowned with a glacier. As the road 
is here necessarily cut into the earth, a roof of stone has 
been built over it, in order to cast the avalanches into the 
ravine. It is a damp and disagreeable gallery*." 

A little below the summit is a toll-house, and at the 
precise summit a cross; and here the elevation is about 
6600 feet above the sea, and four thousand above the 
town of Brig. " Not far from the cross," continues our 
tourist, " an Aoi'p^'cet is constructing, for the purpose of 
giving travellers shelter. An old building of the same 
nature, but of very inferior pretensions, stands in a little 
valley hard by, deserted and dilapidated. The latter, it 
Avould seem, Avas a private charity; but the ncAV edifice 
belongs to the brotherhood of the Augustines of the Great 
Saint Bernard. 

" There is little interest in the summit of the Simplon. 
It has breadth and A'astness; but its aspect is that of a 
rocky mountain-pasturage. The descent to the village of 

* It is necessary to observe liere, that what in England is 
called a tunnel, has, in France and Italy, the name oi gallery. In 
German, and in GeiTuany, it is hohle, or hole ; and such is the 
" Hole of Uri." 

t Literally " an hospital ;" hut understood only as a house for 
the temporary lodging gf travellers meeting Avith misfortune upon 
the road. 



Simpeln * is easy, and the distance is near five miles, the 
ivhole of which may be said to lie virtually on the summit 
of the passage; for, though Simpeln is 600 or 700 feet lower 
than the hospice, it is reached before the main descent 
commences. To sum up the details of the northern side 
of the Simplon, I shall add, that they fell materially short 
of the grand and terrific efi"ects we anticipated from the 
descriptions we had not only heard, but read." 

In descending the Simplon, upon its southern or 
Italian side, the same writer still- complains of extrava- 
gance in the customary descriptions: " We soon reached," 
says he, " the first of the celebrated galleries, which are 
also features of the route which I think exasperated. 
The mere effect of passing through these artificial caverns, 
amid frowning precipices and foaming torrents, and along 
a road that, in reality, is as smooth and as safe as a 
garden- walk, is, beyond doubt, both exciting and strange; 
but as mere public works, these galleries are neither extra- 
ordinary nor unusual. The ' Hole of Uri' is precisely 
the same thing, and much more ancient, though smaller t. 
Were the rock entirely blown away, these passes would 
create much less wonder and conversation, while the 
labour and cost would have been materially increased. 
But you can more easily appreciate the labour, if not the 
effect in a picturesque sense, by learning the dimensions. 
The longest of these galleries is a little more than 600 
feet, the height is about twenty, and the breadth twelve. 
The single cutting on the Erie Canal near Lockport %, as a 

• That is, the village ou the Simpeln, or Simplon. Simpeln 
is the German form of the name, as Simplon is the French, and 
Sempione the Italian. The later Romans were well acquainted 
with this pass, and doubtless they more or less improved it; and 
some are of opinion that its name must be derived from the 
Roman name Semprouius. 

-j- The Hole of Uri, as suggested in a preceding note, is what 
in England would be called a tunnel. It is situated in a gorge of 
the mountains, where the Reuss finds its way out of the valley of 
the Ursern. The tourist describes it as " a dark gallery, about 
two hundred feet long, and of ten or twelve in height and 

+ In the State of New York. 

THE SI3IPL0N. 203 


mere public work, materially surpasses all the cuttings and 
blastings on the Alpine passes put together, although 
there are now two other roads but little inferior, if any, 
to this of the Simplon*. 

But, here, however, the writer does not omit to sub- 
join, that " notwithstanding all the mistakes which have 
arisen from indiscriminating descriptions, poetic feeling, 
or popular error, no passage of the Alps can possibly be 
other than grand, and at certain seasons dangerous. The 
magnificent aspects of nature, among which the Simplon 
road is compelled to pass, coupled with its extent, form its 
principal peculiarities. These is, perhaps, no one insulated 
point on the Avhole route, which, taken by itself, merely 
as a gallery, bridge, or road, is not surpassed, even in its 
own way, by some similar object, in some other part of 
Switzerland. Thus, no bridge is equal in boldness, thread- 
like lightness, and giddy altitude, to that of the Reuss, 
near Ursern-f-, nor do I know that there is any greater 
cutlingX than at that point; but there is so much of this 
labour, and skill, and hardihood, compressed into a single 
route, in descending the Simplon, that while one is pass- 
ing rapidly through such a scene, the mind, without stop- 
ping to analyze the parts, is apt to carry away an impres- 
sion of an entire undivided whole. You are kept for 
hours among some of the grandest objects of the sublimest 
scenery of Europe, if not of the world; and few pause to 
detect the means that conspire to produce the impressions 
that all feel. 

" Soon after quitting the village of Simpeln, we com- 
menced descending, by a road that made a wide sweep, 
and at the end of a mile or two we entered the gallery. 
At this point the descent became more gradual, and we 
trotted on, at a good pace, for some distance further. 
The gorge § , through which the road runs, deepened as 

* " Tljat of the St. Gotliard makes a fourth, and that by Nice 
a fifth." The last is called the Corniche, or Cornice. 

t This is the celebrated Swiss Bridge, called the Devil's 
Bridge, of which more liereafter. 

X Gallery, or tunnel. Tliis " cutting," gallery, hole, or tunnel^ 
is the " Hole of Uri," mentioned already in a former note. 

§ Or hollow between the mountains. 


■\ve proceeded, until tlie clifts impended over it, in places, 
and in the form of walls that were absolutely projecting, I 
should think, fully a thousand feet. Here the scenery 
became wildly, not to say avrfully, grand; and one certainly 
feels a strange sensation of wonder, at finding one's self 
travelling through such savage passes, along a road with a 
surface like a floor! 

" I cannot pretend to give you a very accurate notion 
of distances, for the moments flcAV swiftly, and my atten- 
tion Avas too much attracted to the scenery, to take notice 
of their passage. I should say, however, it w^as at a point 
less than two leagues from the village, that we passed the 
portion of the road with Avhich I Avas most struck, con- 
sidering it merely as a work of art. At this spot, it had 
become necessary to descend from one level of the gorge 
to another that lay at some distance beneath. This object 
the enjrineers had been obliged to achieve witliin a very 
short space, and over a broken and steep surface of ragged 
rocks. It was done by short zig-zags, so admirably cal- 
culated, both as to the inclination and the turns, as to 
enable old Caspar* to Avheel his four grays, on a gentle 
trot, through the Avhole descent, with as much accuracy as 
he, or any one else, could have wheeled a squadron of 
dragoons. The beauty, precision, and judgment Avith 
which the road had been constructed among these diffi- 
culties, drew exclamations of delight from us all. 

" On reaching the bottom of this descent, we crossed 
the stream (a torrent that was raging in a rocky dell, the 
whole of the Avay, at no great distance from us) by an 
admirably bold bridge, and passed beneath beetling cliifs 
that rendered the head dizzy to gaze at. The appearance 
of these cliffs instantly explained the nature of the chief 
dangers that beset the traveller, in crossing the Alps. 
Without adverting to the avalanches in the spring and 
autumn, here was a long bit of the road where, at any 
moment, pieces of the rock, weighing from one pound to 
a dozen, might fall, from a height of several hundred feet, 

"" Caspar, the voiturier, had in charge two carriages, of which 
one was drawn by six liorses, and the other by four. 


on the head of the passenger beneath : I saw a hundred 
fragments, that had been half-detached from their native 
beds by the frosts, suspended in perpendicular lines nearly 
a thousand feet above me ; and little freshly-made piles, 
that had been raked together by the workmen, lined the 
roadside for some distance. Occasionally, a small chip 
was shaken down by the passage of our own carriages ; 
and in one instance a pjiece fell quite near the caleche, 
though it was too small to do any injury, had it even hit 
it. Old Caspar looked up, and shook his head, as we 
went beneath these sublime crags ; intimating that it was 
fortunate for us it was not spring, which is the season of 
danger. Apart from the snow falling, the alternate freez- 
ing and thawing of that period of the year, detaches con- 
siderable masses from the rocks themselves." 

It is to be understood that the Alps, upon the north 
and east of the semicircular, or bow- like figure, which 
they form, slope with more gentleness from their summits 
to the plains upon the outside of their range than upon 
the inside ; that is, toward Germany and France, than 
toward Italy ; while upon the west, they slope the gen- 
tlest inward, or toward Italy, and are the most preci- 
pitous outwardly, or toward France. Thus, in ascending 
the Alps on their Swiss side, we ascend (though Avith all 
its difficulties) the side least difficult ; while toward Italy, 
the same parts of the Alps present an interior compara- 
tively precipitous. But our tourist, having passed the 
summit of the Simplon, on his way to Italy, was now 
descending the steepest side of these northern, or north- 
western Alps, where he found a swift and uninterrupted 
descent accordingly. 

" Every one," he says, "has a tolerably accurate 
notion of what it is to descend a long hill ; but all other 
descents sink into insignificance compared A\ith those of 
the Alps. We were constantly and steadily going down, 
literally, for hours ; nor do I remember, on the Avhole 
route, after quitting Simpeln, a single foot of ascent. 
Perfectly level ground, even, was very unfrequent ; if, 
indeed, strictly speaking, it occurred anywhere." That is, 
there Avere none of those natural terraces, or at least occa- 



sional levels and hollows, wliicli are so often seen to 
diversify the faces of mountains ; and Avhich, upon the 
northern side of the Alps, though too small and too ele- 
vated for the constant residence of men, form those 
alpine or mountain-pastures of summer resort, ■which, 
according to our tourist, usurp, among the Swiss, the very 
name of alps; while in Norway they have that oi sceters. 

" As a matter of course," continues the writer, " the 
glens grew deeper and deeper ; and there were parts of 
the road which resembled yawning and frightful entrances 
into the very 'bowels of the land.' We passed a tall, 
quaint, deserted building of stone, seven stories in height; 
and an hospice, whose roof has been beaten in, most pro- 
bably by snow. These were nearly all the signs of the 
abodes of men that relieved the savage wildness of the 
desert for miles; as, unlike the Jiorihern face of the moun- 
tain, there was neither pasturage nor anything else to 
induce human beings to dwell amid these sterile crags." 

But now Italy itself was entered ; and soon the proper 
Italian landscape and climate, upon this sunny side of the 
Alps, began to be manifest ; and the penury, the humble 
buildings, and the scanty resources of the alpine decli- 
vities, on their northern aspect, to be exchanged for 
Italian fertility, costly edifices, and a gay and abundant 
population. It is easy to understand the cause of this 
vast change as to the two regions ; for we can observe the 
same things in miniature every day, in comparing the 
northern and southern sides of a garden-wall, and the 
beds at their respective feet, with all the attendant difter- 
ences of flowers, and fruits, and herbs, and of the hum- 
ming and busy nations of insects which either inhabit or 
frequent them. 

" "We drew near," proceeds the narrative, " a small 
chapel in a rock, where Caspar flourished his whip, c.iUing 
out the talismanic word ' Italie ! ' I pulled off my cap 
in reverence; nor do I believe one of the party passed 
this frontier without a throbbing of the pulses a little 
quicker tlian common. All this was produced purely by 
the imagination ; for there was nothing yet visible to 
denote a change of country, beyond the little chapel 


already named. At length we reached a hamlet of a few 
houses, called Isella, Avhere there is a custom-house and 
a post station. 

" "We had a continuation of the same scenery for some 
time after quitting Isella, when suddenly we burst upon 
a little verdant opening, that gave us a foretaste of the 
peculiarities of Italy. The valley widened, and on one 
side the mountain became less abrupt, in a way to admit 
of cultiA'ation, and of the abodes of men. The habitable 
district was very limited, being no more than a sharp 
acclivity of some two or three thousand acres ; but it was 
literally teeming with the objects of a rural civilization. 
The whole cote * was a leafy cloud of lively foliage, above 
which peeped the roofs of cottages, wherever a cottage 
could stand. Tall, gaunt-looking church-towers rose out 
of this grateful forest in such numbers as to bespeak at 
once the affluence of the Romish worship, and the density 
of the population. The glimpse was soon over, but it left 
a lively impression of the principal objects, as well as of 
the crowded character, of ordinary Italian life. 

" The mountains approached each other again, and we 
went rolling down a gentle descent for miles, through 
gorges less wild than those above, but gorges that were 
always imposing and savage. Here the torrent was 
spanned by some beautiful bridges, that were intended to 
receive the foot-passenger, or at the most a pack-horse. 
They were of hewn stone, with pointed arches, and of 
extreme lishtness and boldness. One or two Avere in 
ruins, — a fact that bespoke their antiquity, and contri- 
buted to their interest. 

" At length the mountains terminated, and an open 
space appeared to denote the end. A transverse valley 
spread across the jaws of the gorge, and a massive bridge 
was thrown across the torrent at right angles to our 
course. Old Casper cracked his whip, and soon whirled 
us into an entirely new region. The country was still 
alpine, the valley into which we now entered being com- 
pletely embedded in high mountains ; but the severity of 

* Cote, side (French). In this case, the side of a hill or moun- 


the scenery had disappeared, and Tvas now succeeded by 
softer hues, and a gentler nature, even the naked rocks 
appearing less stern and repulsive than those we had left 
on the banks of the Rhone. The vegetation was naturally 
more exuberant, and it had been less nipped by frosts; 
the fruits were much more generous, and all the appear- 
ances of civilization were more abundant, and, if I may 
so express it, more genial. 

" It was Sunday, and the road was lined with peasants 
in their holiday attire. Fair complexions and blue ejes 
were the common peculiarities. We saw little obvious 
misery ; but, on the other hand, every appearance of gaiety 
and contentment. As we drove into the town of Domo d' 
Ossola, the crowds in the streets were like bees before a 
hive ; and Caspar was compelled literally to walk his 
horses, to prevent an accident *." 

Thus, in a lively and intelligent description, from the 
pen of a transatlantic visiter, we have furnished a view of 
the distinguished alpine route of the Simplon, leading out 
of France, through Switzerland, into Lombardy, and to 
the city of ]\Iilan ; a route so important in, its history, 
with reference to military movements and political revolu- 
tions, and again to the happier, because peaceful, progress 
of commercial traffic, and of the liberal intercourse of 
travel. The Alps, in Italy, in this direction, are at length 
finally lost upon the banks of Lake Maggiore. 

We have been so generally led to connect Avith the 
idea of the roads over the Alps, only impressions of terror, 
of difficulty, and of misfortune, relating to the severities 
of the northern aspects, and of the least favourable sea- 
sons, that we have thus far thought it useful to offer some 
correction of these exclusively darker views. We pass 
on, now, to notice another of the celebrated alpine tracks. 

The road or pass of the Great Saint-Bernard is one of 
those by Avhich travellers enter Italy over what were 
anciently called the Pennine Alps ; and is the next, per- 
haps, in modern celebritj', to the passage of the Simplon. 
It ascends from the valley of the lihone, and descends into 

* Cooper's Excursions in Switzerland. 


the valley of Aosta, through which is the road to Turin? 
the capital of Piedmont, and thence to Rome and Naples- 
From the earliest periods of communication between, 
the inhabitants of the respective sides of these mountains, 
this passage has been constantly frequented, and as con- 
stantly dreaded for its dangers. Here, at the height of 
eisht thousand two hundred English feet above the level 
of the sea, stand the celebrated hospice and conA^ent of 
Saint-Bernard, the express purpose of which is that of 
affording all practical safety and relief to travellers in the 
winter season. All the funds of this establishment are, 
therefore, devoted to its one great work of charity. 

Strangers, (it has been remarked,) upon their arrival 
at the convent, are generally surprised at the youthful 
appearance of the juonks they find there ; for not a single 
member of the community, in number from twelve to 
fourteen, appears to have attained the age of forty. They 
are monks of the order of Saint- Augustine ; but they 
enter upon their duties at the convent of Saint-Bernard 
when only eighteen years of age, after voAving a period of 
fifteen years' duration to this life of active benevolence, 
in a spot where but fcAV of them turn out robust enough 
to endure the severity of the cold Avithout a fatal influence 
upon their health and length of life. In the year 1816 
the ice of the lake Avhich is upon the summit of the 
Great Saint-Bernard, and close to the convent, never 
melted at all ; and not a week passed Avithout a fall of 
snoAV. The greatest heat knoAvn in any simimer is sixty- 
eight degrees of Fahrenheit ; and thoughout the summer 
there is alAA^ays ice at an early hour in the morning. The 
greatest cold recorded is that of tAventy-nine degrees of 
Fahrenheit below zero ; but eighteen or tAventy degrees is 

In every case Avhere it is possible to render the assist- 
ance at AA'hich they aim, the monks of the Great Saint- 
Bernard go abroad, instead of staying at home, Avhen the 
storms rage, usually accompanied by dogs of which the 
sagacity is such ^that they often discover a suffering tra- 
veller under his covering of drifted or fallen snoAv; and 
even the dogs themselves, as if conscious of their powers, 



and intent upon their noLle duty, roam alone, by day and 
night, about these desolate regions ; and if they find a 
man or -svoman not to be roused, and apparently near 
death, or if they find a child which they cannot carry 
away with them to the convent, they will lie down upon 
the body, applying their warm bellies to the heart of the 
sufferer, and bark or howl for better assistance. At the 
convent, in the mean time, in snow-storms, or in other 
seasons of peculiar danger, a bell is kept continually ring- 
ing, for the chance that it may direct to the convent some 
one who is in distress on the road, and who may either 
have lost his way, or be yielding to despair through igno- 
rance that he is so near a human habitation. 

Dog cf Saint-Bernard. 

Sometimes the monks of the convent, the servants, 
or the dogs, are themselves the victims, in their efforts to 
save those in danger or afiliction. On the 17th of De- 
cember, 1825, three servants of the convent, with three 
travellers and two dogs, had descended to the vacheries, 
or cow-pastures, at St. Remy, a league down the Italian 
or Piedmontese side of the mountain ; which place they 
reached in safety, and were returning with a fresh tra- 
veller under their care, when an avalanche overwhelmed 


the party, and all perished except one of the dogs, which 
escaped through its prodigious strength, after being thrown 
over and over several times by the force of the falling 
snow. None of the bodies of the dead were found till 
the melting of the snow of the avalanche, at the ensuing 
midsummer. It has been lately reported, but, as we 
hope, upon no solid foundation, that, through a succession 
of accidents like the foregoing, the whole stock of these 
interesting dogs has perished, and the breed (which has 
been called that of the Alpine spaniel of the Great Saint- 
Bernard) become extinct. 

English readers are so apt to hear of the road and 
convent of the Mountain of the Great Saint-Bernard, 
only as these are visited by tourists in the summer season, 
that they may suppose all other travellers upon the same 
route to be drawn thither only by the love of amusement; 
and may, therefore, ask why, since so many hardships and 
dangers are to be encountered, the monks live at the con- 
vent, or the travellers take this road, and especially when 
it is cold and snowy ? 

But the route of the convent of Saint-Bernard is, in 
reality, a great high-road, or common line of travel, 
leading to and from Valais upon the one side, and Pied- 
mont upon the other; and is passed over like other roads, 
through business and necessity, still more than for plea- 
sure. To cross this part of the Alps, even in the winter 
season, is by no means certainly fatal, or even disastrous. 
Of those that undertake the journey, by much the greater 
number meet with no serious difficulty ; and though acci- 
dents are but too frequent, and sometimes but too serious, 
yet still they are but accidents; and neither numerous 
enough, nor, generally, serious enough, to deter such as 
have strong motives for the journey, from undertaking its 
performance. Some are led to it by the urgency of their 
affairs; but the greater part are either smugglers or ped- 
lars, driven by the pursuit of subsistence and of profit, 
either lawful or unlawful. These persons make the 
traverse of the mountain, in defiance of storms and avalan- 
ches, always promising themselves to fulfil their task with 
safety, though sometimes lost, or thrown into difficulty at 


moments when theyleast expect it. In regions of extreme 
cold, like those of the heights of the Alps, the snow falls 
in minute particles, frozen hard, and formed into micro- 
scopic crystals, and not united into large and soft flakes, 
resembling feathers, as usually happens in countries like 
England. The fallen snow is thus a bed of dust or pow- 
der, instead of a substance consolidating under the feet of 
such as tread upon it; and into this bed of dust or powder, 
where it lies unexpectedly deep, the traveller sometimes 
sinks up to his middle. Yfith nothing firm, too, upon 
any side, or even beneath, of which to avail himself, it 
may then happen that, but for the assistance of others, 
his extrication is impossible, and that all his struggles do 
but increase his danger, or even hasten his destruction. 

At other times, it is to the winds, in addition to the 
snow, that he owes his misfortune. The snow, owing to 
the wind, falls or rises about him in clouds or showers of 
dust. His sight is obscured, he misses his path, and falls, 
the next moment, over a precipice. 

Add to this, the dangers from the avalanches, or masses 
of snow, which frequently slide down the sides of the 
mountains, and are sometimes so vast in their bulk, as to 
sweep before them things much better able to resist them 
than even a whole company of travellers. In the spring, 
avalanches are occasioned by the melting of the snow 
beneath the surface, so that the masses above it lose their 
support. In the winter, accumulations of snow upon the 
steep sides of the mountains, become too heavy for the 
supporting power ; and as, from the intensity of the cold, 
in the manner I have before described, the particles have 
little adhesion to each other, enormous masses slide off 
into the valleys beneath, wdth a noise, suddenness, and 
violence, Avhich have been compared to the discharges of 
cannon. The approach to the hospice^ or convent of 
Saint-Bernard, particularly upon the northern side, or that 
of the ascent from the Valais, is a labour of considerable 
risk, at the seasons I have mentioned. Among the latest 
of the sufferers were a poor travelling woman and her child. 

This pass of the Alps, is one of those most anciently 
used; and its dangers, as we may reasonably believe, have. 


at all times, occasioned it to be the scene of the same 
local marks of charity and piety. The mountain had once 
the name of Jupiter, or Jove, or -Joux. Remains of a 
temple of Jupiter are still extant upon it, close to the 
convent; and the modern building of the convent of 
Saint-Bernard, stands upon the site of an older one, Avhich 
■was called the convent of Mont Joux. There is historical 
mention of a convent here, as early as the year 832 ; and 
it bore, even then, according to some, the name of Ber- 
nard, derived from one or the other of t\vo Bernards, of 
the royal family of France. 

But the actual hospice was founded in the year 962, 
by a Bernard, of a noble family in Savoy, Avho also founded, 
about the same time, a similar establishment upon 
the more westerly pass, called that of the Little Saint- 
Bernard. -It has been conjectured that he was particu- 
larly induced to form establishments at these places, by 
the coincidence of his own name with the names they 
bore. But, this, perhaps, may be doubted, Avhen it is 
known that the name given to them by himself, instead 
of continuing that of "Saint-Bernard," was "Saint-Nicholas 
de MjTe." He died in lOOH, after having presided over 
his convent of the Great Saint-Bernard, forty years; and 
being subsequently canonized himself, he became the 
second " Saint-Bernard" of the place. 

In the time of the pious founder, and for many sub- 
sequent years, the safety of the pass was, at least, as 
important as now, and its dangers almost infinitely 
greater. Besides its value as to aflPairs of traffic, it was 
the route to Rome for the pilgrims from all the north of 
Europe; and besides dangers far greater than at present, 
derived from all its difficulties of nature, it was harassed 
by robbers, and by all the evils of barbarian Avarfare. 
Before the eleventh century was closed, the Saracens, 
penetrating into this part of Europe, carried fire and 
sword into the valleys of the Alps; and, burning the 
edifice raised by Saint-Bernard, left its ruins to be a den 
of marauders, who set a barrier across the passage, and 
who, if they did not plunder the travellers, at least obliged 
them to pay heavy tolls. The Normans, attempting to put 


an end to at least a part of these afflictions, attacked and 
killed the banditti stationed to enforce the tolls, and 
broke down the barrier. The relief, however, was either 
incomplete or only temporary. Outrages were still prac- 
tised; and Canute, king of England and Denmark, Avas 
among the princes of Northern Europe, who made an 
appeal to the Pope, upon the horrors and grievances 
endured by their subjects in their pilgrimages to Rome ; 
and who, from the danger of enemies and robbers, could 
venture to cross the Alps only in companies of four or 
five hundred pei'sons at a time. 

The complaints, thus made, were not unattended with 
success. The court of Rome, after a time, found means 
to put down the robbers, to abolish the tolls, to make 
the country peaceable, and to encourage the monks of 
Saint-Bernard to rebuild their convent; and Canute was 
able to write to the bishops in his two kingdoms, inform- 
ing them that he had ensured the safety of pilgrims 
through all the route of the Pennine Alps. 

The roads, or passes of the Alps, as well as the Alps 
themselves, are frequently peopled with Romish pilgrims 
to this very day. England may now send few, perhaps 
none; but the shrines of Rome and of Loretto are still 
frequented by way of the Alps, especially from the Romish 
parts of Germany; while, for those w'ithout the means 
of long and expensive travel, there are shrines within 
the bosoms of the Alps themselves. One of these is that 
of Einsiedeln; and, by citing two or three traits of the 
travel of its pilgrims, to assist in the solemnities observed 
at it once in every three years, we shall obtain some par- 
tial notion of the scenes of pilgrimage upon the Alpine 
passes, in the time of Canute, and through other ages. 

" Near Rotenthurm," observes the tourist, to whom 
we Avere lately indebted, " Ave overtook a party of pil- 
grims proceeding toAA'ards the shrine of Einsiedeln, where, 
it Arvas supposed, many thousands Avould soon be collected, 
to assist at a solemn triennial ceremony. There Avere 
thirty-tAvo in this company; tAvo-thirds females; and they 
had come from Alsace, or more than a hundred miles, to 
be present on this great occasion. A feAV Avere barefooted; 


and all prayed aloud, without ceasing, one repeating after 
the other. Deeper voices were heard in the rear; and 
another party, of sixteen, mostly men, ascending a knoll 
in the road, advanced toward the shrine in the same 
manner. The effect of these little processions, and the 
beautiful blending of prayers, was singularly touching. 

" Einsiedeln, unlike Loretto, has never been much fre- 
quented by the great. Italy has attractions in these 
matters, which Switzerland can scarcely hope to rival; 
but, at the present day, Einsiedeln has, probably, more 
votaries than Loretto; though they are poorer persons. 

" Pilgrims were arriving throughout the day, in parties 
varying from a-dozen to a-hundred. Their approach was 
always announced by the untiring repetitions of the prayers, 
which, in the distance, especially when male and female 
voices alternated, was poetical and plaintive. Most of the 
pilgrims were Germans. A large portion were from the 
Black Forest, though there were also a good many Alsa- 
cians, and a few Italians, in the different groups," 

Thus pilgrimage is now, as it was more than a thou- 
sand years ago, one of the great features of travel in the 
regions of the Alps. 

We proceed now to point attention to some of the 
other principal roads over the Alps. 

The Romans, who, before the reign of Augustus 
Caesar, were but little acquainted with the Alps, or with 
any part of the region which these mountains enclose, 
reckoned, in the time of the republic, four principal roads 


or passes. The moderns, as was mentioned, take notice 
of at least twelve roads, pursued between the Gulf of 
Genoa upon the west, and the head of the Adriatic upon 
the east. Of the roads of Mount Simplon, and the Great 
Saint-Bernard, we have afforded some description ; and, 
to complete the list of twelve, there should be added, 
those of the Little Saint-Bernard, xilount Saint-Gothard, 
the Grimsel and Gries, the Bernardin and Spliigen, 
Mount Brenner, ]\Iount Stelvio, Mount Cenis, Mount 
Genevre, the Col-de-Tende and the Argentiere, and the 
Cornice; the last carried along the feet of the Maritime 
Alps, and, therefore, coasting the Mediterranean. 

The pass of the Little Saint-Bernard crosses the Alps to 
the southward and westward of the Great Saint -Bernard, 
and between both rise the magnificent and celebrated 
Mont Blanc, and Monte Rosa. 

The Little Saint-Bernard is in comparative neglect, 
both as to the number of travellers frequenting it, and as 
to the labour bestowed upon its improvement. A high 
interest, nevertheless, attaches itself to this particular 
route between France and Italy, or between what were 
once the Transalpine and Cisalpine Gauls ; both for its 
picturesque beauty, and for the historical recollections 
which belong to it, if, with the best modern authorities, 
we believe it to have been the scene of Hannibal's cele- 
brated passage over the Alps. 

The road of the Saint-Gothard is one of the most 
frequented passes of the Alps. A new road, as well as a 
new bridge, less romantic than " the Devil's Bridge," but 
so substantial as to be secure for carriages, have lately 
been completed upon it. The tourist gives the subjoined 
accounts of both, while in their progress : " Travellers, it 
is true," he observes, " do not cross the Saint-Gothard so 
often as they cross by the Simplon and Spliigen, for as a 
carriage-road it is imperfect *. Fifteen thousand persons, 
it is calculated-^, however, go into Italy, or return by that 

* The " Devil's Bridge" having been adapted only for foot- 
passengers, and for pack-horses, or pack-mMte. 

f " Calculated " is the word constantly substituted iu the 
United States, for reckoned, or supposed. 

TUE devil's bridge. 217 

route annuall}'. The distance from Fluelen, on the Lake 
of Luzcnie in Switzerland, to Bellinzone near Lake 
Maggiore, in Italy, is seventy miles; nearly the whole 
distance being either a continual ascent, or a continual 
descent. Three hundred pack-horses or mules, cross the 
mountain "weekly, for a portion of the year. 

liie Duviis Biid|e. 

" The cantons of Uri and Tessino, in which the Avhole 
of this pass lies, have partly (this was in the year 1828,) 


218 THE devil's bridge. 

completed an excellent carriage-road, with the hope of 
attracting some of those who are distributing their money 
so freely in the country, and of making their commercial 
communications more perfect. The plan comprises not 
only a new road, but a new bridge in this gorge ; and 
men, slung in ropes, were then at work blasting rocks 
above the present road and bridge, with this object. 
The new bridge is to be both longer and safer than the 
present." The " present," or old bridge, it may here 
be added, consists, as the figure Avill show, of a single 
arch. Of this arch, the span is eighty feet ; and the 
bridge stands at about seventy-five feet above the bottom 
of that fall of the Reuss over which it is carried. 

Without noticing every track, let us now proceed to 
the Brenner. 

The road which leads from Germany into Italy by the 
pass of Mount Brenner, is the lowest, even at its greatest 
elevation, of any of those which cross over the great chain 
of the Alps ; for it is nowhere more than four thousand 
seven hundred feet above the level of the sea. Before 
the formation of the route of the Tende, this was the only 
pass by means of which travellers could gain the opposite 
side of the mountains without quitting their carriages. 
The route lies directly through the Tyrol, from Innspriick 
upon the German side, to Verona upon the Italian ; that 
is, to the plains of Lombardy. 

The importance of a free communication between the 
German possessions of the House of Austria and its 
Italian states, led, it is probable, to the construction of a 
good road by the Brenner at an earlier period of this por- 
tion of the Austrian sovereignty. 

Inspriick, the chief city of the Tyrol, is situated in the 
valley of the Inn, nearly midway between the source of 
that river, and its confluence with the Danube. At this 
spot, the waters of the Inn are more considerable than 
those of the Danube. 

From the summit of the passage, the road speedily 
carries us by an easy descent, to Stei-zing, where, emerg- 
ing from the high banks of the Elsach, we find the coun- 
try opening widely to our view ; and already the products 


of the soil mark the southern side of the Alps. Soon, 
however, after leaving Sterzing, the road enters a narrow 
valley, deep, and darkened by mountain-pines; and 
scenery of this character continues almost uniformly to 

But we are here upon ground for ever to be celebrated 
in respect of an incident in modern military history, which 
we shall relate in the words of a tourist to Avhom we are 
chiefly indebted for the preceding topographical particulars 
of the Brenner. 

" Every step," says he, " of this passage was disputed 
by the Tyrolese, in their fearful and unequal contest with 
the French and Bavarians in the year 1809; but a spot, 
about two miles below the post-house of Mittenwald, is 
pointed out to the traveller as the scene of a ritse de 
guerre of the famous Andrew Ilofer, when he attacked 
the Bavarians from an ambuscade. 

" The spot is not such as a stranger Avould at first 
suppose was well-chosen for the fearful purpose for which 
it was selected. The mind would picture to itself a situa- 
tion overhung with precipices; but here the narrow valley 
suddenly spreads out on the left of the river into a little 
plain, about a quarter of a mile broad and half a mile 
long, around which the mountain- base sweeps like an 
amphitheatre. A little church, and a village through 
which the road passes, occupy the left bank of the Eisach. 
On the right, the mountain rises abruptly from the bed of 
the river. 

" This was the spot chosen by Hofer for the ambus- 
cade of the Tyrolese. He had caused to be j)repared 
rocks, trunks of trees, and other heavy bodies, on the rise 
of the mountains above the plain, which were so placed, 
that when the props were withdrawn which supported 
them, these masses rolled down the declivity, and across 
the plain, overwhelming and destroying everything in their 

" The French and Bavarians, who had entered the 
Tyrol to suppress the insurrection, proceeded in pursuit of 
a small party, who retreated step by step, fighting as they 
fell back, into the passes of the Brenner, and the forests 

L 2 


of Mittenwald. Circumstances had excited in the in- 
vading army some fears of an ambuscade ; these had been 
reported to the Duke of Dantzic, -who commanded the 
troops, but he ordered the pursuit to continue, though he 
prudently retreated to a place of security. About four 
thousand Bavarians, Avho had been ordered to advance, 
having entered the fatal spot, a cry was suddenly heard in 
the mountain, — ' Hans ! in the name of the Holy Trinity, 
cut all loose ! ' In less than a minute thousands were 
crushed by the falling masses ; the remainder, in their 
terror, attempted to retreat ; but the unerring balls of the 
Tyrolese increased the numbers of the slain. 

" Observing the effect of their ruse upon the terrified 
enemy, the Tyrolese descended from their fastnesses, — • 
even young boys and girls joined in the attack, — and, 
rushing upon their invaders, further thousands of the 
Bavarians and French were killed. They retreated about 
fifteen miles before they could be rallied; but, so great 
■was their terror, that when Hofer again appeared, they 
fled before the Tyrolese, who fell with redoubled fury 
upon their invaders, and completed the victory." 

The modern road of the Cornice, the last of the roads 
before-mentioned, is part of the Aurelian road of the 
ancient Romans. It runs along the feet of the Maritime 
Alps, and along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, 
between Genoa and Nice. 

The Aurelian road was the principal as well as the 
most ancient of the roads which led from liome into 
Gaul in this direction. It was constructed by the Consul 
Aurelius, about the year of Rome 605, and from him 
called Via Aurelia; and at the period of its greatest ex- 
tent, was described as forming the route from Rome to 
Arelate, the modem city of Aries, in Gaul or France. 

" Strictly speaking," says a recent tourist and topo- 
grapher, " the Cornice is not a pass of the Alps, but 
rather a road by which the Alps are avoided. It was one 
of the earliest passes known between France and Italy; 
and, from its recent completion as a carriage-road, is 
likely to become one of frequent use, particularly for 
invalids. Hitherto, from the necessity which existed for 


travellers performing part of the journey on mules or on 
foot, ladies, and persons in delicate health, have been 
generally withheld from the enjoyment of this delightful 
route in their passage into Italy, and have been compelled 
to pass over the High Alps, by the routes of the Simplon 
or the Cenis, "where all that the art of man could accom- 
plish has been effected to render the passes fit for com- 
munication by carriages ; but where barriers of clouds, 
and snow, and storms, often oppose the progress of the 
traveller. By the route of the Cornice, the invalid, Avho 
leaves England even in the depth of winter, may reach 
the w^arm and oenial climate of Italv without encounterinc: 
the Alps in his passage. From Nice to Genoa the tra- 
veller seldom loses sight of the Mediterranean, and then 
only for short intervals. The road is carried along the 
shores, or round the bold and beautiful capes whose pre- 
cipitous fronts sink abruptly into the sea. From these 
capes, the bays, which indent the coast, are successively 
presented to the view of the traveller, as he winds in his 
carriage around the promontories, over a road of admirable 
construction, where, a few years since, a mule's back 
would have been a dangerous station on the narrow paths 
and giddy heights which overhang the sea*. 

The modern improvements of the Cornicet were begun 
by Napoleon Buonaparte, during his sway in Italy ; but it 
■was not till the summers of the years 1826 and 1827, that 
by the care of the Sardinian government it was made 
passable for cai-riages throughout. There is some embar- 
rassment in reconciling the recent difiiculties of the Cor- 
nice, with the ancient character of the Aurelian road; 
but it is a pass of extreme interest, at once for the facili- 
ties which, at this day, it offers to all the west of Europe 
for travelling into Southern Italy ; for its true, and even 

• Bkockedon's Passes of the Alps. 

f The Corniclie of the French, and Cornice of the Italians, is 
so called in the same sense as that of the English architectural 
term cornice, and implies a road which is carried along a ledge 
upon the side of a precipice, so as to have heights above it, as 
well as depths below it; like the Norwegian road, (page 192.) A 
road like this is described by the French as en corniche ; or over- 
hanging, in the manner of a cornice. 


for its fabulous history ; for the Augustan triumphs of 
"which it has been the scene, and of which it bears the 
memorial ; and for its beautiful and healthful features of 
prospect, both by sea and shore, charming to the eye, and 
cheering to the spirits. 

We cannot better close our account of Alpine roads, 
than by laying before the reader the following narration, 
with the substance of which a modern traveller has sup- 
plied us. 

Caspar Stoeri and two of his friends were one day 
chasing chamois on Mount Limmereu. While they Avere 
traversing the snows Avith that confidence which the idea 
of perfect safety inspires, Stoeri sank into a deep abyss of 
dissolving ice. His friends Avere horror-struck ; they con- 
ceived that instant death awaited him, of that he Avould 
survive only to contemplate its slow but inevitable ap- 
proach; pierced as he was by cold; bruised, bleeding, mo- 
tionless. Despairing of success, they yet reflected on the 
means by which they might effect his deliverance ; they 
could not leave him to perish ; their struggles to save him 
■would, for a few minutes, assuage their agony. They 
fled to the nearest cottage, which was three miles distant, 
to procure ropes ; none Avcre to be found ; a wretched 
counterpane was the only thing that could prove useful to 
them ; they cut it into strips, and hurried from the cot- 

Poor Gaspar Avas almost perishing Avhen they returned 
to the brink of the chasm ; he lay Avedged in the bottom 
of this rugged, deep, and narroAv cleft ; nearly one half of 
his body Avas plunged in ice-Avater, and such Avas the depth 
of it, that he could not see its bed ; Avith his arms ex- 
tended on the broken and melted ice, he aAA'aited approach- 
ing death. We might picture his situation; but the 
horrors of his mind must be for ever confined to his oaa'u 

He AA'as yielding to the excess of his sufferings, 
and Avas commending his soul to the Deity, when the 
voices of his companions fell upon his ears ; and as they 
spoke, they lowered the bandages Avhich they had fastened 
together. Although dying a few minutes before, the 


prospect of speedy deliverance, gave him energy and 
courao-e, and lie was enabled to fasten the bandage around 
his body. His friends drew him gently from the chasm, 
he was approaching the verge of the precipice, he had al- 
most embraced his deliverers, when the bandage broke, 
and he again sank. 

If deliverance was almost hopeless before, what was 
now poor Stoeri's situation ! One-half of the bandage had 
fallen with him, his blood was freezing, the second shock 
had almost rendered him insensible, and, to consummate 
the terrors of his situation, and for the extinction of the 
last faint spark of hope, one of his arms was broken by the 
fall. What less than a miracle could save him ! With 
sinkinp; hearts, his friends renewed their endeavours to 
preserve him ; the bandage in their hands was again cut, 
and lowered into the chasm. The pain and distress with 
which poor Gaspar made one last and desperate exertion 
to save himself, may be conceived when it is stated, that 
with one arm he supported himself from sinking, and Avith 
the other, broken as it was, he twisted the bandage round 
his body, and fastened it. He was then drawn to the sum- 
mit of the precipice a second time, and life seemed ebbing 
fast from him as he fainted in the arms of his companions. 
He was conveyed to a cottage, where he slowly recovered 
from the effects of his sufferings. 

If we now visit France, " the land of beautiful sites and 
bad roads," as one of its most talented writers calls it, we 
shall find the roads, bridges, harbours, and light-houses to 
be all under one especial board of engineers. Youths are 
educated at the Polytechnic school in every branch of civil 
engineering, and are then employed by the board. This 
centralization is productive of many valuable results. 

The general declivity of the new road over Mount 
Cenis, one of the Alps, is one inch in fifteen or twenty ; 
and it is never greater in the steepest part, that is, in 
the fourth and fifth turns that wind up over Lansle- 
bourg, than one in twelve. The road over the Simplon 
was likewise executed jointly by the French and Italians, 
under the government of Napoleon, from 1801 to 1805. 
The greatest declivity is one inch in twenty-nine ; so that 


an English stage coachman might trot his horrc up almost 
the whole way. The longest gallery or tunnel is about 
500 feet under ground. 

" The roads in France are generally rough in their 
original formation, and still rougher from Avant of care in 
repairing them, as the traveller feels to his cost in pass- 
ing over the primitive mountains in the south of that 
country, where the roads are certainly very diitcrent from 
those which are made by 3[ac Adam across a bog; although 
some of the more recent French and Flemish pavements, 
as long as they remain unimpaired, are truly excellent. 
The new pavement between Cologne and Brussels, for 
example, is far more perfect than some of the unpaved 
parts of the continuation of the same line of road to Calais, 
although the civil postmasters are in the habit of congra- 
tulating their English guests on the ' fine gravel road' they 
will have to pass over. In Germany they have few pave- 
ments, and the roads, except in sandy countries, are gene- 
rally kept, or keep themselves, in good repair; that is in the 
south and west of Germany. Mr. Cripps informs us that 
the great roads in Sweden are beautiful ; they are very 
slightly convex, and are made of granite broken to the size 
of a walnut." 

There is, perhaps, no more striking instance of the bad 
effect of want of unity of purpose, than is shown in the 
road from Hamburgh to Lubeck. This distance (less than 
thirty miles), is the property of three different states, and 
a consequence is that the road is execrably bad, although 
it serves to connect two populous and important towns. 
Mr. Barrow says, "Nothing can be imagined more 
execrable than the state in which we found the road. 
It lies over a loose sandy soil, through which we were 
dragged at the rate of about three miles an hour; Avhich 
we certainly did not exceed at any one period of the journey, 
although our carriage was of a very light construction, and 
the luggage trifling. Large rough stones lay about in 
every direction ; they might once have helped to form the 
road in the shape of a pavement, but were now loose in 
the sand. The tardiness of the journey was occasioned 
partly, but not wholly, by these stones ; for independent 



of the momentar)'' necessity of turning aside to avoid them, 
the carriage Avas every now and then either jolting against 
them -with consideral)le force, wlien, from the jerk, away 
went the harness as a matter of course ; or else it Avas up 

to the axle-tree in deep-sand In short, 

though a public road between two large cities, it is per- 
haps the very worst in civilized Europe." 

Yet we are told that Avhen England was in a very un- 
favourable condition, as related to j-oads, France, and the 
other principal countries of Europe Avere comparatively so 
well off in this respect, that the English sought foreign 
lands, mainly for the greater facility of travelling. If the 
English were behind the French and other continental 
nations in the art and practice of road-making, one or tAVO 
hundred years ago, they are noAV decidedly superior ; and 
not alone in road-making, but in most of the other arts 
and professions, Avhich conduce to the comfort and conve- 
nience of life. 

r 'I 

Tartar Palanquin, -with Warriors. 


rrimitive oModes of Travelling. — Pack-horses, Sledges, Sedans, 
Palanquins, Litters. — Introduction and Improvement of the 
"Wheel Tavo and Four-wheeled Carriages. — Springs. — An- 
cient Chariots. — Fore and liiud-wheels. — Old Coaches, &c. — 
Vehicles of Africa, of Russia, of Sweden and Norway, and of 

* Italy. — Irish Jaunting Car.— Vehicles of England. — The Dray, 
the Gig, Tilbury, &c. — State Carriage of England.— The Mail 
and the Post Office. — Stage Coaches, Hackney Coach, and Cab. 
—The Omnibus. — French Diligence. — Consti-uction of Wheel- 

We -will not spend time in discussing the question — 
" Which is the most important to a land-traveller, the 
velucle in which he rides, or the road on which the vehi- 
cle moves ?" We shall not be much in error in referring 
to the case of the bellowa-blower and the organ-player, 
and in deciding in the present case, as in that, that the 
one cannot do without the other. We have been attend- 
inf to roads of various kinds, and we must not now 
neo-lect to introduce our readers to some of the various 
species of carriages which assist the land-traveller. 

The most obvious means of locomotion for a land- 
traveller are the two legs which nature has given him ; 
and if he want to carry a burden, his shoulders, his back, 


his head, or his arms, become the depository thereof. 
From this point, then, we set out : the legs were the first 
travelling carriage, and the shoulders, &c., the first bag- 
gage wagon. But this could not long continue ; man is 
prone to avail himself of the assistance of other things 
when opportunity offers, and he could not be long in per- 
ceiving that the form of four-footed animals enables them 
to carry a burden with more ease than man; consequently, 
from early times, animals of various kinds have been used 
as " beasts of burden," such as the horse, ass, mule, ox, 
camel, dromedary, &c. The muleteer of Spain still con- 
tinues to dispense with a wheel-carriage ; indeed a car- 
riage could not possibly pass over the mountains which 
the muleteer traverses. In many other countries, animals, 
instead of drawing vehicles, containing baggage, &:c., carry 
that baggage on their backs, or in hampers, slung on each 
side of them. This is especially the case in Iceland ; Mr. 
Barrow states that there is not such a thing as a Avheel- 
carriage in the island, nor scarcely a road on which a 
carriage could pass. Two oblong boxes are formed, and 
slung across the back of a horse, and into these boxes are 
put provisions, merchandise, clothes, and everything else 
necessary to be transported from one part of the island to 
another. There is, perhaps, no other part of the world 
equal to Iceland in civilization, which is without wheel- 
carriages, except in purely mountain districts. 

But, from a very early period, it must have been held 
desirable to free the animal — the horse, or whatever else it 
might be — from the task of bearing the burden as well as 
drawing it. The first approach to a carriage was made 
with this view. This we observe to be the case with the 
vehicle used by the Poles, which seems to be only an im- 
proved condition of the sledge, a vehicle ordinarily used 
in the earliest stages of society ; but perhaps nothing can 
be more absolutely primitive as a carriage for bearing the 
weight of traveller and baggage, instead of throwing it on 
the animal, than the sledge. This vehicle is seen in the 
streets of London, where a brewer, if he have to send a 
small cask of malt liquor some short distance, does not 
think it necessary to employ a wheel-carriage, but places 



tlie cask on a little sledge, whicli slides merrily over the 
rough stones. But the most important examples of the 
sledge are seen in those northern countries, -^vhere the ground 

Polish Cariole. 

is covered with ice and snow the greater part of the year. 
Wheels would sink in the snow, would be dangerous over 
ice, and would possess other disadvantages likewise ; but 

Lapland Sledge and Reindeer. 

a simple sledge, with smooth surfaces for touching the 
ground, and with reindeer harnessed to it, runs on with 
amazing swiftness. The sledge is extremely slight, and 



covered at the bottom witli the skin of a young deer, the 
hairy side sliding on the snow. The person in the sledge 
guides the reindeer with a cord fastened round the horns, 
and encourages it to proceed with his voice, Avhile he 
drives it with a goad. When urged strongly, the reindeer 
will travel fifty or sixty miles at one stretch; but in such 
a case the poor creature works itself to death, and gene- 
rally dies in a day or two afterwards. As a general rule, 
they can go thirty miles Avithout stopping, and without 
being over- fatigued, and frequently perform 120 English 
miles in a day. The best state for the motion of the 
sledge is on a bed of snow coated with ice. In the northern 
parts of Russia, the sledge is frequently used by the boors 
with a horse, instead of a reindeer. 

jriussian Sledge. 

But in those countries where the irregularities of the 
ground render a sledge useless, travellers must either go 
on foot, or on the back of some animal, or in a vehicle of 
some other kind : and as the back of an animal, hoAvever 
pleasant and convenient it may be for the young and 
healthy, is but ill calculated for the aged or infirm, a 
motive at once exists for devising a vehicle for the use of 
the latter. The most simple, perhaps, is a sledge, lifted 
from the ground, and borne by tAvo or four bearers. This 
principle once established, the modifications of it might be, 
and have been, numerous. The English sedan chair* of 
the last century was one specimen of such a vehicle ; the 
palanquin of the East Indies at the present day, borne by 

* Mr. Hudson tells us that sedan-chairs are very much used 
m China, the ground being " cultiA'ated to such an extent that 
the roads Avere not left Avider tliau a narrow footxjath.'' 



two, four, or eight Hindoos, is another instance ; which 
rehicle, when used for the purposes of war, or state gran- 
deur, is mounted on the hack of one or more elephants, 
as shown in the engraving, p. 225", so that the next advance 
would be to make animals perform the parts of men, and 
bear the sledge, sedan, litter, or whatever else the vehicle 
might be, by means of two poles, one on each side of the 
horses. This mode of conveyance in a litter is much in 
vogue in the south of Europe, the litter being supported 
by two mules, one before and one behind, with the poles 

Litter borne "by Mulea*. 

fastened to their pack-saddles. One advantage of such a 
vehicle is, that it is capable of passing along narrow paths, 
as nothing but the feet of the mules touch the ground. 
A litter borne by horses was used in this country at the 
beginning of the fourteenth century. 

Early English. Horse Litter. 

But still the animal has likewise to hear the weight of 
the vehicle which it draws, and the gradual introduction 


of nlieels was the means by Avhicli this inconTenience was 
ultimately overcome. If a plumber wishes to move a roll 
of lead, or a mason a block of stone, he finds how much 
his labour is lightened by placing a roller under the 
moving body, so as to remove it from contact with the 
ground ; and if a mass of any substance whatever is to be 
moved along the ground, we find how much more easily 
this is accomplished when the body approaches in form to 
the cylinder, or still better to the sphere. Now these 
well-known facts were the circumstances which led to the 
origin of the wheel. If a sledge^ litter, cart, or other 
vehicle, couM be sa plaee<i on a roller that while the 
latter Avas rolling along the ground^ the former would 
maintain its proper position, an important improvemeiit 
would be made. But if the vehicle were actually nailed 
or fastened! to the roller, it would necessarily rotate as 
often and as fast as the roller rotated. Thus sprung up 
the necessity of having an axle distinct from the roller, 
but working in a hole through the middle of it, and of 
attaching the vehicle, not to the roller, but to the axle. 
This is at once exemplified by our garden roller, in which 
the frame-work of the vehicle, be it slight or complex, is 
attached to an axle passing through the middle of the 
roller, and not to the roller itself. 

But a continuous roller is neither necessary nor de- 
sirable ; if the two ends rest on the ground they will sup- 
port the vehicle, which may be attached to a pole or bar, 
or axle connecting those two ends. This is the first germ 
of the roller being superseded by the wheel ; instead of a 
roller, two slices from it would suffice, and these two 
should be connected by an axle, on which the vehicle 
should rest. "What can be a more primitive example of 
such a vehicle than the Highland cart represented in page 
176? But primitive though it be, it possesses the general 
principle that belongs to all our wheel-carriages. In some 
parts of America, and in other places in the old conti- 
nent, the wheels are literally nothing but transverse slices 
cut off from the trunk of a larce tree. Such is the case 
with the common cart, still used by the people of the 
lower part of Italy, for removing the fruits of the ground. 



Calabria ^Yas one of the divisions of ancient Italy, and 
forms now part of the kingdom of Naples. Carts with 
wheels of this nature were observed by Mr. Hudson in 

Calabrian Cart. 

Afterwards came the conviction that wheels might be 
made larger, and in every respect more convenient, by 
having them hollow instead of solid ; that is. having a 
central nave, from which spokes radiate in every direc- 
tion, the remote ends of the spokes being encircled by a 
rim. This was the more desirable, since it soon became 
evident that a large wheel moves with less friction than a 
small one. By degrees, this form of hollow wheel became 
generally approved, and the skill necessary for its con- 
struction was gradually developed. In some parts of the 
world, not only these wheels, but the whole vehicle, is 
made Avithout the aid of a morsel of iron, or any other 
metal. Such are the wagons and carriages of Chili, as 
described by Mrs. Graham. The wheels have a double 
felly, or rim, placed so that the joints in the one are 
covered by the entire parts of the other, and these are 
fastened together by strong wooden pins ; the rest is all 
of firm wooden frame-work, bound with hide, which being 
put on green, contracts and hardens as it dries, and makes 
a very secure band. The flooring of both coach and cart 



consists of hide. The cart is tilted with canes and straw, 
neatly wattled. 


Wagon of Chili. 

The next improvement for a vehicle is a contrivance 
for breaking the violence of the concussion occasioned by 
the motion of vehicles made of so many separate parts. 
One such contrivance is to have a seat for the traveller 
swung by cords, or straps, from the sides of the vehicle, 
instead of being nailed to it ; such is the case in the very 
numerous light carts of the London tradesmen. Another 
and more important means of attaining the same object is 
to allow the whole bodv of the vehicle to swina", or to be 
suspended, by applying springs of various kinds between 
the vehicle and tlie axle. Such springs are extremely 
diversified. First, Ave begin with the heavy wagon, which, 
in consequence of the enormous weights it has to bear, 
must be built with every attention to strength, so that 
elasticity is but little attended to ; this we see exemplified 
in th^ following cut of a rural wagon of Switzerland, which 
may be regarded as a common model of the sort in civi- 
lized life. Then we have the spring van, in which the 
body of the vehicle rests on springs which intervene be- 
tween it and the axle. Of these there are many varieties. 
Lastly, we come to the private carriage, and vehicles of a 
similarly elegant and commodious class, in which the 



body is not only separated from the body by springs, but 
those springs have such curved and variable forms, that 
the body literally swings, and effectually breaks the effect 
of any sudden concussion. 

Swiss Hay-Wagon. 

Before entering further into the forms and uses of 
modern carriages, it will be desirable to cast a glance at 
the structure and purposes of those of ancient date in the 
most civilized nations of the world of antiquity. In these, 
the Egyptian, the Grecian, and the Roman, there is a 
general resemblance, as far as relates to their chariots. 
The Eg3'ptiaii cliariot is, in all probability, such as "was 
used in the days of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, -when he pur- 

Ancient Picture cf an Egyptian Chariot. 



sued the fuizitive Israelites. The chariots of the Jews 
were similar to those of the Egyptians ; for the former 
sent for their chariots from Egypt, the great mart for 
them. Such a chariot as is represented in the foregoing 
cut, was used for the purposes of war or chase. The 
chariot was usually made of wood, though the frame- 
work was often made partly of brass. It was mounted on 
two wheels, which were made sometimes of wood, and 
sometimes of metal. 

The chariots usually carried two Avarriors ; one of 
whom chiefly attended to the management of the horses, 
while the other wielded the weapons of war. In our 
figure, the charioteer is seen pierced with an arrow. The 
ancient chariots were open at the back, and without a 
seat. They were regarded as the most valuable part of an 
army's equipment in very ancient times ; and seem to 
have been most chiefly in use, before that of cavalry or 
mounted horsemen. Their use was confined to the prin- 
cipal men in the army. 

The accompanying figure, which is that of a Grecian 
chariot, shows the manner in which the Greeks frequently 
yoked their horses at a race ; which was one division of 
the Olympic games. 

Ancient Picture of a Grecian Chariot. 

The Roman, contending at the Olympic games with 
five horses yoked abreast to his chariot, is given in the 
annexed cut. 

"With the later Greeks, and with the Romans, chariots 


were chiefly used at the races of the Olympic games in 

Ancient Roman Charioteer. 

Let us now revert to the condition and uses of modern 
vehicles, Avhether having two or more Avheels. 

So long as a vehicle is moved on two Avheels, the task 
of turning round a cornfer, or in other ways altering the 
direction in which the vehicle is moving, is no difl&cult 
matter ; but if four wheels be employed, the vehicle must be 
proportionably lengthened, and the difficulty of moving it 
becomes increased. The necessity of having four wheels 
obviously arises from the great weight which vehicles are 
often required to draw. This weight, if only two Avheels 
Avere used, must be poised nearly over the axle which 
unites tbem, and the horse or other animal drawinc it. 
would have to bear a considerable part of the burden, in 
addition to the labour of drawing it. By having two 
additional wheels, the vehicle is placed in a condition of 
wholly supporting itself on the wheels, and the animal 
has only to drag it along, and not to bear any of the 
burden, except the shaft or shafts to which it is fastened. 

Now, in order to turn a vehicle on four wheels, if they 
were so united as always to maintain the same relative 
positions, the labour of the horses would be tremendous, 
arising from the large amount of friction which would 
necessarily result from the formation of the vehicle. To 
obviate this, attention was turned to the practicability of 


making a kind of hinge or pivot in tlie bar which joins 
the front wheels and their axle to the back. This is the 
plan which Ave see adopted : the axle of the front wheels 
turns upon a pivot, so that when the horse is required to 
take a new direction, and his head is turned accordingly, 
the front wheels move round to the required direction 
very readily, with very little friction, and the hinder 
wheels are allowed time to turn more gradually. 

But to effect this turning of the front wheels, a parti- 
cular arrangement of the parts is necessary. If the front 
wheels were of the same size as the hinder, and the body 
of the vehicle were placed within all of them, the front 
wheels could not turn round on their central pivot without 
striking against the sides of the vehicle, and their range 
of motion Avould be extremely small. On this account, 
therefore, the general rule has been, to make the front 
wheels so small that they can go under the body of the 
vehicle in the act of turning, and thus keep a clear range 
for their motion. This has the good effect of greatly faci- 
litating the power of the vehicle to turn, and the bad 
effect of greatly increasing the amount of friction, for the 
smaller a wheel is, the greater number of times must it 
revolve to pass over a given distance, and the greater is 
the amount of friction at its axle. Whether this defect 
is or is not unavoidable, is a point on which we shall speak 

The foregoing are what Ave may perhaps term the 
natural steps by Avhich man has improved his modes of 
conveyance from place to place. First, the backs of ani- 
mals — the sledges, litters, sedans, &c., slid along the 
ground, or carried by men or by animals — then vehicles 
Avith the semblance of a Avheel under them — then im- 
provements in the Avheel — the adaptation of springs of 
various kinds — tAA'o additional Avheels — facilities for 
turning the vehicle, &c. 

Vehicles of various descriptions have been in use from 
very early ages and are depicted on coins, marbles, fres- 
coes, and other monuments Avhich hand down to us the 
usages of the ancients. The AA-ar-chariot just given Avas a 
form as simple as it Avas Avell knoAvn ; and the practice of 



inserting scythes in the axles, and driving the chariot 
among the enemy, was one means of increasing the 
havoc which marks the progress of war. 

At what time, and by what nation, private carriages 
drawn by horses Avere established is by no means certain, 
nor is it of much importance ; suffice it to say that Eng- 
lish, French, Italians, Spaniards, and Hungarians, lay 
claim to the honour ; so we Avill leave the learned in these 
matters to discuss and settle this point, and proceed to 
speak of the introduction of wheel charriages for pleasure 
into England, which took place in the reign of Queen 
Elizabeth. We are told, however, that a clumsy kind of 
car, upon four wheels, was used by the Saxons to carry 
great personages. The first vehicle, however, which was 
distinctly called a coach, was Queen Elizabeth's. 

Queen Elizateth's Coach.. 

In this coach she went from Somerset-house to Paul's 
Cross, to return thanks for the destruction of the Spanish 

Carriage of Queen Elizateth's Attendants. 



Armada, The subjoined is the carriage of her attendants, 
in Avhich may be noticed two odd-looking seats, called 
hoots, where two of the officers sat, as the Lord Mayor's 
do now, back to back. 

We have heard of a lady, who lived during the civil 
wars of the seventeenth century. Her husband being 
detained a prisoner in London, she set out to effect his 
ransom. All the horses having been taken away by the 
other party, she put eight oxen to her carriage, and got 
from Somersetshire to London in a fortnight ! If she had 
used horses, she might have accomplished the journey in 
a week, which now takes a day. 

Somersetshire Lady on her Journey, 

These coaches were very clumsy and uncomfortable. 
They had no springs ; and the state of the streets and 
roads occasioned sad jolting. As fashion, however, 
brought them into use, the nobility vied with each other 
in the number of their horses, which were often increased 
from two to eight. But, in the early days of coaching, it 
was deemed to be disgraceful to any of the male sex to 
ride in a coach. Coaches and chariots were not introduced 
into Scotland till the early part of the last century^ Before 



that time, we are told, the nobility used to travel in a 
vehicle similar to a Noah's Ark, 

English Phaeton of the Ei.^hteentb Century. 

The annexed cut represents the English Phaeton of 
the early part of the last century. 

The form and convenience of vehicles are dependent 
as much on the nature of the country which they are to 
traverse, as on the intelligence of the nation who use 
them ; and those two circumstances combined, give a great 
diversity to the modes of travelling by different nations. 
The annexed represents an ancient covered carriage, much 
in use at Milan, in the North of Italy. 

Ancient Milanese Carriage. 

The vehicles used in South Africa by the settlers, 
planters, &c,, are nearly always wagons drawn by oxen ; 


clumsy in shape, and capacious, they often serve as a 
complete kitchen, in which the culinary operations of the 
traveller are carried on, and in which he likewise frec^uently 
passes the night. 

In Northern Africa, vehicles are very various, according 
to the rank or intelligence of the people ; but, in general, 
vehicles are not much employed, the camel in the deserts, 
and the horse in other parts, being a much more prevalent 
mode of conveyance. When Captain Lyon was in Africa, 
the Bey of Fezzan consulted him about making a coach, 
and the Captain offered that if the Bey would procure 
wood, his man, who was a handy fellow, should make the 
coach. A rough sort of box was made, six feet long, 
three feet Avide, and four in height. This was covered 
like a higler's cart, with an arched top, having a door 
behind, by which a person could enter ; " but Mukin," 
says the Captain, " finding that he could squeeze himself 
into a smaller compass, had it reduced in such a way as 
to render it necessary for him to be pushed in and shot 
out like a sack of coals." The body was made, and 
mounted on two poles, as shafts, springs being an unat- 
tainable luxury, and the poles were fixed to two wheels 
taken from a piece of artillery. The Bey and numbers 
of his people came to witness the progress of the M^ork, 
and asked whether the king of England and his wives 
rode in such a carriage. " I was frequently puzzled what 
to answer," continues the writer ; " for, to say the truth, 
though Belford, considering his want of materials, had 
done wonders, it very much resembled one of those market- 
carts Avhich are dragged about London by donkeys. It 
soon, however, lost that appearance, being covered Avith a 
splendid hood of scarlet cloth, and having a bed laid 
inside it." The Bey had it painted with verdigris mixed 
with vinegar, and made it quite smart. One consequence 
of the smallness of the wheels was, that when a horse 
was harnessed to the shaft, the Bey's head, Avhile lying 
down, was a foot lower than his feet, but he managed to 
get over this difficulty. The whole affair gave as much 
delight to the Bey as amusement to Captain Lyon, and 




will afford some proof of the scarcity of carriages in that 
part of Africa. 

There is a kind of vehicle much in use in Russia, 
which, as it has a form different from everything of the 
kind in England, we will shortly notice. This is the 
DrosJi-y. This is a four-wheeled carriage, of which the 

Russian Travellin,^ Carriage. 

body is so near the ground, that the lower part of a rider's 
dress is apt to be either smothered Avith dust or covered 
with mud. It consists of very little more than a narrow 
bench, at the hinder part of which is a small back, about 
on a level with the middle of the body, and against which 
the rider leans sitting across the bench as if he were on 
horseback, Avith his legs hanging down on each side. In 
front is the driver, with his legs also across it, and sepa- 
rated from the person next him by a slight bar about six 
inches high. These vehicles, which are hired as public 
conveyances, as well as being the form of private vehicles, 
are described by English travellers as being very unsafe 
and disasrreeable. 

A very different looking vehicle, and one extremely 
light and pleasant is the Car'wle of Sweden and Norway. 
The descriptions of Mr. Laing and Barrow perfectly agree ; 



and from these it appears that the cariole is a little gig 
just large enough for one person, and resting between 

Norwegian Cnriole. 

light wheels upon two cross-bars of wood, morticed in the 
shafts ; they are sometimes with iron springs, but their 
construction is so light and elastic, that wooden springs 
are found very pleasant and convenient. They are made 
in such a simple manner that, if any accident happen on 
the road, the peasants, who have generally some skill in 
carpentry, are enabled to repair it. One of these vehicles 
can be purchased for four or five pounds. The other 
vehicle is also much in use in that part of Europe. 

Swedish Carriage. 

Far infei-ior to the cariole is i\\Q jaunthig-car of the 
. Irishman : it is neither pleasant to look at, nor to ride in. 

M 2 



The car is of two kinds, an outside car and an inside car, 
the former of Avhich is thus described by JMr. Barrow : — 
" A platform or floor of a few boards has two sides which 
are raised up and down on hinges, raised for no other use 
that I can see except it be to grease the Avheels. These 
sides are of canvas stretched on wooden frames, which 
drop from the edge of a seat and have a foot-board at the 
bottom of the frame. The backs of the two seats form 
a narroAv ivelJ^ as it is termed, for the stowage of luggage 
in the centre, a name by no means inappropriate, as it is 
generally full of water when it rains — and when does it 
not rain in Ireland ? The passengers, of course, sit back 
to back. If a single person hires it, the driver asks, 
" which side of the country would your honour like to 
see ? " and quitting his box, perches himself very much 
at his ease, cross-legged, on the opposite side. But my 
objections to them are, that they are positively dangerous, 
inasmuch as the legs of the passenger, being outside the 
wheel and totally unprotected, are liable to be struck, and 
and perhaps broken, through the carelessness of the 
driver, especially when he has posted himself as I have 

Irish Jaunting Cax. 

But the limits of this chapter will not permit us to 
conduct the reader from country to country, and show 
him the wheel carriages of all nations ; having, pre- 
sented our readers, therefore, with a view of the dashing 
style of the Italian vehicle, of a genteel description, 



Italian Ca"briolet. 

■\ve must now confine ourselves principally to " home, 
sweet home," and talk about English vehicles ; of which 
there is so great a variety, from the state-coach of the 
monarch to the donkey-cart of the vender of vegetables, 
that we shall find abundance to occupy our attention. 

The smallest approach to the name of a vehicle is, 
perhaps, shown in the Brewer's dray. Here neither 

£rewer's Dray. 

covering nor sides are required: — nay, the bottom itself 
is composed of mere bars, Avith openings between them. 



These openings are much more fitted for the reception of 
the circular form of casks, than a flat uniform bottom would 
be, as the)' afford two edges against which the cask can 
rest. The same may be said also of the carriage used for 
the removal of timber. 

Carts, vans, and wagons of different kinds, vary so 
much from one another, and are connected by such imper- 
ceptible degrees, that it is scarcely possible to separate 
them one from another; nor is it necessary to do so: all 
we have to consider with respect to them is, that the great 
requisite in their construction, is strength and convenience, 
and that elegance of form, and beauty of colour, are not so 
much required, or attended to. 

Let us take a glance at the lighter kinds of vehicles in 
use, that is, such as are used chiefly for purposes of plea- 
sure. The one-horse chaise, the gig, tlie stanhope, the 
tilbury, the cabriolet, and some others, are different names 
for light vehicles, all having only two wheels. To the 
eye, and the taste of the generality of persons, the differ- 
ence between them is so very gradual and trifling, that 
they attract not much notice; but to those versed in the 
matter, the points of difference are sufficiently marked. 
The true gig is not much used at present. It was very 


little more than a railed chair fixed upon the shafts, and 
supported on two side springs. It was calculated to run 
very easily, and the whole was well adapted for travelling 
purposes; a space being left under the seat to contain a 



The stanhope and the tilbury are forms that diflPer 
yerv slightly from each other. The latter was named 
after its inventor, a coach-builder ; and the former after 
a brother of the Earl of Harrington. The stanhope was 
intended as an improvement upon the tilbury. The tilbury 
is extremely light and airy in its appearance, but is said 
to be uncomfortable to the rider; a fault which does not 
belong, in so great a degree, to the stanhope; there are 
two or three varieties of the stanhopes. 


The cabriolet, of which the name and the vehicle are 
derived from the French, is a one horse-vehicle, that 
possesses the advantage of a covered head, which can be 
let down or opened at pleasure, thus protecting the rider 

^ (\\ — — '"'■ , 


from rain; but not excluding fresh air. It has, generally, 
likewise, a foot-board behind, on which a servant can 
stand ; a convenience which does not belong to the lighter 



forms of the stanhope, &c. The form of the body of the 
cabriolet admits of being very elegant; and the overhanging 
head is likewise susceptible of great variety of form. The 
chief objection to this vehicle seems to be, that its great 
■weight is almost too much for a single horse. 

This latter remark is exemplified by the hackney cab- 
riolets, which ply in the streets of London. One horse is 
harnessed into these vehicles for the whole day, and the 
wear and tear which the poor animal undergoes, is often 
excessive, and soon brings him to a useless state. 

The dennet is a vehicle differing only in some slight 
respects from the cabriolet, and often used instead of it. 

The curricle differs from all of which we have hitherto 
spoken, in being drawn by two horses a-breast, instead of 
by one ; but as it only has two wheels, and, consequently, 
one seat, it is not necessary to describe its form. 

A four-wheeled vehicle, called a phaelon, was very 
much in use some time back, and was chiefly remarkable 
for the great height at which the driver was perched from 
the ground. This excessive height, and the absence of 
any utility resulting from it, has led to the combination of 
the form of the phaeton and the cabriolet, under the name 
of the cabriolet-phaeton. It has four w^heels, like the 
phaeton, but the shape of the body somewhat resembles 
that of the cabriolet. 

A carriage called a pony-phaeion, has been much used 
by ladies. It is built low, on four wheels, and has a seat 
for a servant behind ; and its general construction is such 
as to make it a safe vehicle, and, therefore, well calculated 
for ladies, or inexperienced drivers. 

Within the last dozen years, a form of vehicle called 
a britzschka, has become very prevalent. The great con- 
veniency of this carriage is, that the inmate can enclose 
himself completely from the Aveather, and can recline at 
full length. The head di-aws over to a considerable de- 
gree, and a screen or curtain covers, if desired, the opening 
which is then left; whereas, if the weather be fine, the 
traveller can have the vehicle as open as he pleases. In 
such a case it will hold four, but when closed in, only two 
can sit in it. 




We have described a Russian carriage, under the name 
of the drosJcy. The proper name for this vehicle is 
droitzschka, and the same name has been applied to a 
vehicle recently introduced into England. But it has very- 
little resemblance to the Russian drosky, being much 
more like the Britzchka. The latter vehicle was intro- 
duced into England from Germany, about twelve years ago. 

An open summer carriage, called a Barouche, was much 
in use before the Britzschka became known, and is still 
agreeable and convenient in fine weather. It is, in fact, 
a coach without the upper part, and is provided with a 
folding cover, which can be drawn over part of it in rainy 

All the vehicles latterly described are ope7i carriages, 
of which it will be seen there are a great many varieties. 
The close carriages are much fewer in variety. There is 
the coach, including pleasure, stage, and mail, coaches; 
the chariot, which includes the post-chaise; and the 

What a coach is, every one knows. It is a closed 
vehicle, with two seats opposite each other, each of which 
will hold either two or three persons; two doors, one on 
each side; a box in the front for a coachman; and a foot- 
board, for a servant, behind. These vehicles are not 
made to throw open overhead. A landau resembles a 
coach in form, but the upper part is miide to throw open, 
by wdiicli the whole assumes the form of an open car- 
riage; as is represented at the close of this chapter. The 

M 3 

250 THE LORD mayor's STATE-COACH. 

chariot may be said to be one-half of a coadi, — the 
hinder half. It is a close carriage, with only one seat, 
and has windows in front, toward the horses. A post- 
chaise differs from a private chariot but little in the body; 
but is without a coach-box, the postilion taking his station 
on the back of one of the horses. 

Such vehicles as we have been describing, are the 
usual conveyances of the wealthy in this country. Those 
w^hich are used on state occasions, are more profusely 
decorated, and are as much intended for show, as for use. 
The late coronation, presented some elegant specimens of 
the art of coach-building: indeed " Marshal Soult's car- 
riage," was almost as much talked of as the Marshal him- 
self. It is evident, however, that we cannot dwell on 
these topics : all we can spare room for is, a few remarks 
on the two most splendid vehicles in England, — the 
" Lord Mayor's state-coach," and the " royal state-coach." 

From the time when King John gave permission to 
the citizens of London to choose their own mayor, in 
]215, it was customary for the person chosen to goto 
Westminster for approval ; and he used to travel then on 
horseback: but, in 1452, the mayor, Sir John Norman, 
commenced the water-pageant, which has been continued 
to this day, the distance to the water-side being traversed 
on horseback. But, in J712, a state-coach, drawn by four 
horses, was first used instead of the equestrian part of the 
pageant; and, in 1741, the number of horses was in- 
creased to six. The coach then employed is represented 
in some of Hogarth's pictures; and in 1757, the present 
state-coach was built. The expense was defrayed by a 
subscription among the aldermen; and the lord mayor, for 
every successive year, applied a certain sum to keep it in 
repair. It afterwards became the property of the cor- 
poration; and has had various sums expended on its 
repair and renovation from time to time. The coach is 
richly carved and gilt, the panels being painted with alle- 
gorical subjects, by Cipriani, which are now somewhat 
difficult to decipher. Four figures, representing the quar- 
ters of the globe, are at the four corners, and other alle- 
gorical subjects are represented in carved work. 



The royal state-coacli is represented in the annexed 
cut. This' was built in 1762, five years after the city 
state coach. This carriage is supported by two carved 
cables, fastened to four Tritons at the corners. The frame- 
work of the body consists of eight palm-trees, Avhich ex- 
pand at the top, and support the roof; while the spaces 
between the palm-trees form the panels, which are glazed 
above and painted below. On the centre of the roof are 
three figures, representing England, Scotland, and Ireland, 
supporting the imperial crown, and other insignia of 
royalty. The length of tlie coach is about twenty-four 
feet, and its weight four tons, being al)out four hundred- 
weight more tluin that of the city coach. It was designed 
by Sir William Chambers, and painted by Cipriani; and 
the following has been given as the original expense of its 

Coaehmaker, Wheel- 
wright, &c. . . 16/3 15 
Carver .... 2")04 
Gilder .... 9.33 14 
Painter .... 315 
Laceman . . . 737 10 
Chaser .... 665 





fiercer . . , 
Bit-maker . . 
Milliner . . , 
Sadler . . . , 

£ s. 

385 15 

202 5 

99 6 

30 4 

107 13 

4 3 

3 9 



Total £7,661 17 5 

TheHoyal Stale Coach. 


We must now bid adieu to these costly vehicles of 
pleasure or state, and say a few words about commercial 

We have already had occasion to speak of the intro- 
duction of mail-coaches for the conveyance of letters 


From the date of their invention by Palmer, various im- 
provements have been made from time to time in their 
construction, both for the convenience of passengers, and 
the stoAvage of letters, and for the rapidity of travelling. 
These improvements, and the excellence of the horses 
employed to draw them, together with certain advantages 
which mail-coaches have always had over others on the 
public roads, have had the effect of making them, for a 
long series of years, — indeed, until a very few years past, 
— faster vehicles than any pubUc coaches; as the mails 
travelled at the rate of eight miles an hour, when stages 
were content Avith six. But no av things are changed: ten 
or tAvelve miles an hour is not an uncommon rate of 
travelling by the best stage coaches. This has been 
brought about by superiority of construction, the employ- 
ment of better horses, the improvement of roads, the 
desire of quick travelling on the part of those engaged in 
commercial pursuits, and the emulation of rival stage- 
coach proprietors: all have had some influence on the 
rate of travelling. Before the ncAv order of things conse- 
quent on the establishment of railroads, the mail-coach 
couA'cyance, and that of stage* subordinate to it, Avas car- 
ried in one connected chain, fron one end of Great Britain 
to the other, — from Falmouth in CornAvall, to Thurso iu 


Caithness, the distance betAveen which, taking London in 
the way, is considerably more than one thousand miles, by 
the most direct route. There appears reason to expect, 
however, that the prevalence of stage-coaches, at least for 
long journeys, Avill be much interfered with by the rail- 
roads; but if the latter yield those commercial advantages 
which it is supposed they will, we shall have no reason to 
regret their superseding stage-coaches. 

Whatever may be the wishes of the majority of per- 
sons respecting the rate of the postage of letters, it is in- 
disputable that the regulations of the general post-office, 
are, in many respects, superior to those of any other public 
establishment in the kingdom. The regularity with which 
letters are delivered, and the comparatively few mistakes 
which are made, certainly call for our approbation. The 
general practice has been, so to arrange the horses for the 
arrival of the several mails into London, that they shall 
reach the metropolis nearly at the same time. By this 
arrangement, the clerks and other persons employed at the 
central office in St. Martin's-le-Grand, are enabled to sort 
the letters from all parts of the kingdom at the same time. 
When this sorting is completed, and the letters are to be 
delivered, various contrivances have been, from time to 
time, made to expedite the delivery. The postmen used 
to receive their budget of letters at the central office, 
and then trudge to their several stations on foot. But 
they are now provided with vehicles, which are a kind 
of open omnibus, to convey them to the boundaries of 
their " beat," by which much time is saved. Again, in 
the afternoon, when the postmen have collected the letters 
from the various receiving-houses, they have not, as for- 
merly, to walk to the central-office with them; but mail- 
carts are placed at certain stations to receive them, and 
forward them, Avith great rapidity, to the central office. 
One of the most remarkable changes in metropolitan 
public conveyance, is the substitution of the ovmibus for 
the stage-coach. A few years back, the streets of London 
contained few public conveyances, but hackney-coaches; 
those remnants of the last century, — the last resort of 
worn-out coach -horses. These carriages were usually the 



rejected vehicles of the noble and Avedthy ; — thus en- 
during, like the horses, a second and lower grade of ser- 
vice. Hence it is, that Ave often see the arms of a distin- 
guished family painted on the door-panels of this vehicle. 


After a time, the cabriolet, or, with that clipping of words 
to Avhich the English are so prone, — the "cab," Avas 
established. If one person hired a hackney-coach, he had 
to pay as much as if four persons rode in it; and it Avas 
principally to accommodate parties of one or two persons, 
that the "cab" Avas introduced; its slight make, and the 
employment of one horse instead of two, enabling the 
proprietor to let it at tAvo-thirds of the fare of a Imckney- 
coach. The kind of " cabs" Avhich our cut represents are 


now nearly superseded by more safe and convenient dote 
vehicles, some on two Avheols, and others on four, of Avhich 
the forms are very various. 



But a still greater change was made when vehicles 
performing stated and fixed journeys, were allowed to tra- 
verse the London streets. This was not much the case 
before the introduction of the omnibus'-. Several " short 
stages" used to enter London from the surrounding villages, 
and stop at certain fixed places, leaving the streets of 
London as a bounty to the hackney-coachmen. But the 
omnibuses have worked a great change in these respects. 


These vehicles were first brought over from France by a 
stage-coach proprietor at Paddington, who drew upon him- 
self (as usual in such cases) the vigorous opposition of 
the other stage-masters, and ultimately, we believe, ruined 
himself by the speculation, — no uncommon thing in such 
cases. But it was soon found that these vehicles, clumsy 
as they are, possess great conveniences. The passengers 
can enter and alight with great ease, and without the 
necessity for that unpleasant and dangerous climbmg pro- 
cess, necessary to mount the outside of a stage-coach. 
They were first used on the Paddington-road, — then on 
other roads near the metropolis; and ultimately, they 
commenced running from one end of London to the other, 
through the public streets. Great have been the com- 
plaints against these vehicles : many have been the fines 
imposed upon drivers for furious driving ; and much has 
been said of the impudence of " cads," — or to use a more 

* This word, which is the Latin for " for all,^^ jirobahly de- 
notes the universal accommodation afibrded by this vehicle. 



genteel word, " conductors ;" — but the vast number of 
them now plying, and the use of them by all ranks of 
persons, show that the convenience of traversing London 
from one end to another for so small a sum as sixpence, 
and of entering or leaving the vehicle with so little trouble, 
have been sufl&cient to neutralize all the unfavourable cir- 
cumstances connected with them. 

rrench. Diligence. 

The " diligence" of France is a much heavier and more 
cumbrous vehicle than the stage-coach of England, and 
infinitely • slower in its movements. The same may be 
said of a diligence (the only one) which runs from St. 
Petersburgh to Moscow. A late English traveller speaks 
of it in the most rueful terms ; his aching bones constantly 
reminding- him that he was not on or in an English stage- 
coach ; and for three days and nights he could not allow 
himself to sleep, for fear of either knocking his luckless 
head a<^ainst a suspicious-looking wooden bar that formed 
part of the coach, or of tumbling oft" his seat. No stage- 
coaches in Europe are, taken as a whole, ec^ual in comfort 
to those of England. 

There is a class of stage-coaches (if the term be pro- 
perly applied to them), which have come much into use 
within a few years; we mean those employed on the 
various railroads. These vehicles have never to make 


any of those sudden turns which are required on common 
roads ; so that it is not necessary to have the front wheels 
smaller than the hinder ones, but all four are of the same 
size. The general form of the vehicle depends upon the 
rank which it holds. Some are shaped nearly like private 
carriages, and are fitted up with nearly as much elegance ; 
but the greater number are a kind of open omnibus, hav- 
ing seats, generally speaking, across the vehicle. On the 
" Great Western Railway," some of the carriages are of 
such an immense length as to require six wheels, and 
taken in conjunction with the unusually wide gauge, or 
width between the rails, of that railway, form perhaps 
the largest vehicles at present in use in England, for land 

We have now enumerated as many different kinds of 
wheel-carriages as our limits will permit, and have offered 
a few remarks on most of them, of a general nature. We 
now proceed to say a few words on the component parts 
of most vehicles. 

The wood of which vehicles are made, depends greatly 
on the purposes to which they are to be applied. Ash, 
beech, elm, and oak, are those of which the greatest use is 
made ; mahogany and other fancy woods being used only 
for the more elegant kinds of pleasure- vehicles. 

The springs form a very important part of most ve- 
hicles ; since their object is to give elasticity, at the same 
time that they must possess considerable strength. What- 
ever possesses elasticity may be made subservient to the 
purposes of a spring, in some way or other ; but the sub- 
stances employed by carriage-makers are, metal, wood, 
whalebone, leathei", and caoutchouc. Leather forms slings 
and braces for suspending the different parts of a carriage; 
wlialebone is sometimes used in shafts. Wood is often 
used as a material for springs, to avoid a certain tax laid 
upon metal-spring carriages. 

But steel springs are the most prevalent, and the most 
valuable ; and the manufacture of them constitutes a dis- 
tinct branch of business. The steel for this purpose is of 
a peculiar quality, and is rolled into sheets, from one and 


a lialf to three inches wide, for different sorts of springs. 
Sometimes a single plate forms a spring ; but generally 
several are riveted together, so as to increase the power. 
When two or more plates have been combined, they are 
bent into various shapes, to suit the several purposes to 
which they may be applied ; there is the straight spring, 
the elliptic-formed spring, the regular-curved spring, the 
reversed-curved spring, the spiral spring, and some others ; 
springs are again distinguished by certain technical names, 
arising principally from the sort of vehicle to which they 
are generally attached, such as tilbury, mail, dennet, 
cabriolet, phaeton, telegraph, nut-cracker, &c. springs. 
Any one who inspects a number of different vehicles, will 
perceive how extremely diversified are the forms into 
which the springs are bent, according to the weight to be 
borne, the velocity to be attained, the shape of the body of 
the carriage, or the taste of the maker. 

The wheel is a very important part of a vehicle, and 
has undergone numerous improvements from time to time. 
Not only have the solid wheels given place to those made 
of spokes springing from a central nave, but the form of 
the wheel, viewed at right angles to the line of the axis, 
has been changed from a flat surface to a conical, or, as it 
is termed, a rfz.y/i-shape. Originally the spokes all lay in 
one plane, springing out at right angles from the nave; but 
increased strength has been obtained by dishing the 
wheels, or, making them concave on one side, and convex 
on the other ; this is especially observable in the wheels of 
heavy wagons. The principal advantage of this shape is, 
that the space between the wheels is enlarged for the re- 
ception of the body of the carriage, and that the mud 
which collects on the rim of the wheel is thrown off away 
from the carriage, when the wheel is at the highest point 
of its revolution. 

Hinder wheels are generally from four to five feet in 
diameter, and have about fourteen spokes ; fore-wheels 
from three to four feet in diameter, with twelve spokes. 
A felly, or connecting piece of wood, joins the outer ends 
of every two contiguous spokes, and keeps them in their 
places. The nave of the wheel is made of elm, and the 


mortice-lioles for tlie reception of the spokes are cut all 
round its circumference. The spokes are made of dry oak; 
and one end of each is fitted to the size of the mortice 
prepared for its reception, and driven in by a mallet. The 
spokes are not all driven in in the order of their position, 
but alternately; and are shaped to their proper form after 
they are fixed in their proper positions. The remote ends 
are then fitted into the felloes, by whicli a circular rim is 
obtained. An iron tire, or hoop, is then Avelded to the 
proper size ; so that when expanded by heating, it is just 
large enough to encompass the Avheel. As it cools, it con- 
tracts, and in the act of so doing, compresses and binds the 
various parts of the wheel with a prodigious force. Iron 
pins are afterwards driven through both tire and felloes, 
by which all is rendered tight and secure. 

There are various causes which render wooden wheels 
extremely liable to get out of order ; and which have led 
to the partial adoption of iron wheels. Wheels have been 
cast in iron in one solid piece. In others, the spokes 
liave consisted of tubes arranged in a circle ; in others, 
again, (and these may frequently be seen in London,) there 
are two sets of iron spokes, fixed at each extremity of the 

The axle-trees and other parts of a vehicle we must be 
content to pass over, as our limits Avill not permit us to 
enter into any details respecting these. But there is one 
point of considerable importance in the construction of a 
vehicle, and which well deserves attention; this is, how 
far it is necessary to have the two front wheels smaller in 
size than the hinder wheels. 

We have said that it is for convenience of turniiig 
a corner that this disparity of size is admitted. If the 
front wlieels could not pass under the carriage, the power 
of the latter to turn, or to "lock," as it is technically 
termed, would be but very limited ; and it is almost wholly 
for this reason that the fore wheels have been made 
smaller than the hinder wheels. But this benefit is not 
unattended Avith great evils ; the noise is increased, and 
the small wheels wear out fast, for the reason before stated; 
and it remains to see whether the wheels cannot be made 
of equal size, and yet allow the vehicle to turn. 


This subject has been fully treated of by Mr. Adams, 
in his excellent Treatise on Pleasure-carriages ; and he 
has come to the decision that it would be perfectly prac- 
ticable to make a pivot or bolt in the centre of the perch 
under a vehicle, round which pivot the whole could turn, 
instead of having the pivot, as at present, at the front axle- 
tree. He first studied the principles which regulate the 
motion of wheel-carriages, and then proceeded to put 
them in action. 

In order to make a vehicle turn on a central pivot, not 
only the perch, but the body itself, must turn on a kind of 
hinge ; and Mr. Adams proceeds to show that that may 
be done with vehicles of nearly all kinds. In an ordinary 
carriage, while the horses are in the act of turning, the 
face of the driver is not directed in the same way as the 
heads of the horses, but obliquely to them. Now, if the 
pivot could be placed further back than the position of the 
driver, it might enable him to be constantly in a line with 
his horses. Mr. Adams made an equi-rotal (or equal- 
wheeled) phaeton, in which the pivot was between the 
driver on the box, and the sitters in the body of the 
vehicle ; it turned with greater ease than common car- 
riages, and had the advantage of distributing the wear and 
tear equally among all four wheels, by having them of 
equal size. 

He applied the same principle to an " equi-rotal 
droitzschka," in which the pivot was just behind the seat 
for the driver, and in front of the principal seat. The next 
application was to a close carriage, a town-chariot. Here 
the pivot was placed immediately in front of the body of 
the carriage; so that the front-wheels, the coach-box, the 
place for luggage, and the lamps, turned with the horses, 
while the hinder >vheels, and the body of the vehicle, 
turned somewhat later. 

After showing its capability of being applied to various 
kinds of vehicles, he proposes to apply it to omnibuses, of 
which he says, " It is jointed in the middle, where the 
circular sides are made flexible like a leathern head or 
hood. It will turn with facility in the narrowest streets, 
without impeding the passage-way along the interior, as 
the flexible sides move in a circle. With this omnibus. 



two horses Avould do the work of three ; there would be 
great fecility of access and egress; perfect command over 
the horses; increased ease to the passengers; greater head- 
room, and more perfect ventilation ; greater general dura- 
bility, and absence of the usual rattling noise, accompanied 
by entire safety against overturning. This design is cal- 
culated for the accommodation of twelve inside passengers, 
but it might easily be lengthened to hold twenty; and 
two horses would draw it Avith the same facility as four- 
teen are draAvn on the present plan, on account of the 
height of the wheels, which so much aids the draught." 

We are not prepared from our own experience to offer 
an opinion on this new mode of building vehicles ; but the 
subject is certainly one of sufficient importance to recpire 
that we should have given an outline of the objection to 
be ovei-come, and the mode which Mr. Adams has pro- 
posed of overcoming it. Having done this, we must quit 
the subject. 

Scene on the Manchester anJ Liverpool 5,ail-ilo3.d.. 


The Steam-Engine. — As applied to Sea and Land travel. — Early 
Attempts at Steam Locomotion. — Advantages of Rail- Roads. — 
Rail-Roads in the Collieries. — Wooden and Iron Rails. — Pro- 
posed Prime Movers. — Stockton and Darlington Rail-way. — 
Steam-Carriages and Steam-Boats compared. — Resistances to 
their Motion. — Skidding of Wheels. — Stationary and Loco- 
motive Enijincs. 

The production of the steam-engine is undoubteclly one of 
the greatest triumphs of modern science; whether we con- 
sider the vastness of its power, so far excelling any mechani- 
cal contrivance which had previous to its invention been 


discovered, or even thought of; or whether we regard this 
versatile agent with respect to its application to the arts, 
manufactures, and sea and land travel. In our own day, 
throuQ;h tiie jjcnius of Watt, and the inventive talents of 
other engineers, the steam-engine has become stupendous 
alike for its force and its flexibility, — for its prodigious 
power, as well as for the ease, precision, and ductility, 
with which such power can be varied, distributed, and 
applied. " The trunk of an elephant," says an eloquent 
writer, " that can pick up a pin, or rend an oak, is as 
nothing to it. It can engrave a seal, and crush masses of 
obdurate metal before it ; draw out, without breaking, a 
thread as fine as gossamer; and lift up a ship of war, like 
a bauble, in the air. It can embroider muslin, and forge 
anchors, cut steel into ribands, and impel loaded vessels 
against the fury of the winds and waves. It would be 
difficult to estimate the value of the benefits which these 
inventions have conferred upon the country. There is 
no branch of industry that has not been indebted to 
them; and, in all the most material, they have not only 
widened most magnificently the field of its exertions, but 
multiplied a thousand-fold the amount of its productions. 
Our improved steam-engine has increased indefinitely the 
mass of human comforts and enjoyments, and rendered 
cheap and accessible, all over the world, the materials of 
wealth and prosperity. It has armed the feeble hand of 
man, in short, with a power to which no limits can be 
assigned, completed the dominion of mind over the most 
refractory qualities of matter, and laid a sure foundation 
for all those miracles of mechanic poAver which are to aid 
and reward the labours of after-generations." 

But not one of the uses to which steam-power has 
been applied exceeds, in extent and importance, its appli- 
cation to locomotion *, connecting, as it does, the most dis- 
tant points of the country, and promoting that facility of 
intercourse which of all improvements is the greatest; 
since, by bringing the different parts of a country together, 
its strength is increased, and that unity of action and in- 

* jMotiou from place to place. 


telligence ensured, which brings all, even the most remote 
and widely scattered districts, into the way of improve- 
ment, both moral and mental. It was an important era 
in the history of civilization, when, about forty years ago, 
steam was first applied to navigation ; the remarkable 
facilities which this application afforded to trade and 
general intercourse, and the great changes it has actually 
effected, and is still effecting, in our commercial and 
social relations Avith other countries, are appreciated by 
all. Previous to this discovery, navigation was impeded, 
and its utility vastly curtailed, by the uncertain and often 
opposing actions of wind and waves, which often made 
a voyage of a few miles a matter of toil, uncertainty, and 
delay. Rivers and other great inlets of the sea were of 
little or no advantage to commerce, and the grand benefits 
which we generally associate with the very name of river 
were then scarcely known, because no craft could ply 
constantly on any of the great streams, when they could 
proceed with certainty in one direction only. As an 
example of the mutilation and imperfection of water- 
communications in all countries before the application of 
steam to navigation, the writer of an able article on this 
subject, in the Quarterly Review, mentions that " on the 
great river Mississippi which flows at the rate of five or 
six miles an hour, it was the practice of a certain class of 
boatmen, who brought down the produce of the interior 
to New Orleans, to break up their boats, sell the timber, 
and then return home slowly by land; and a voyage up 
the river from New Orleans to Pittsburgh, a distance of 
about 2000 miles could hardly be accomplished, Avith the 
most laborious efforts, within a period of four months." 
But now, mark the change: — the influence of wind and 
tide, when opposing, is defied; when influencing, it is 
allowed to co-operate with and assist the new agent, 
whose available power seems limitable only by the strength 
of the material which confines it; yet is it perfectly 
manageable, and acts with equal efficacy against, as well 
as with, the current: so that voyages that once bafiled the 
navigator, and embarrassed commerce, are now performed 
with all the certainty and celerity of land-journeys. The 


rapid rivers, on whose surface a solitary ferry-boat was here- 
tofore only occasionally seen, are now crowded with ships, 
bearing the produce and the intelligence of all climes, to 
distribute among, to benefit, and to enlighten, the inhabi- 
tants of the shores of those rivers, whose opposing waters 
had so long prevented the entrance of those blessings. 
Steam-boats are now plying on all the great rivers of the 
civilized world, and rapidly diminishing that portion of it 
which we call uncivilized. The four months' journey 
above alluded to, from New Orleans to Pittsburgh, is 
now easily performed in about fifteen days. Steam-ves- 
sels have long plied on the Ganges, and other great rivers 
of the east. The rivers, lakes, inlets, and narrow seas of 
Europe have long since made acquaintance with this ad- 
mirable invention. The intercourse between Britain and 
Ireland, between Britain, France, Germany, and even 
America, is now carried on by steam-boats, thus tending 
to make the several people of several climes better ac- 
quainted, and tending to promote that peaceful union of art, 
science, and intellect, with love, good-will, and peace, which, 
more than aught besides, will tend to beat " swords into 
ploughshares and spears into pruning hooks: nation shall 
not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn 
war any more." Is. ii. 4. The promise, " that the Gospel 
shall be preached among all nations," seems to be more 
and more on the point of perfect fulfilment, at the present 
time, when the Almighty seems to have so far favoured 
the inventive talents of man, in enabling him to contrive 
and improve means for international intercourse, and that 
facility of communication among the individual members 
of the whole human family, whereby, we should hope, 
Christianity and civilization would be, hand in hand, every- 
where diffused. 

It is probable that the first successful performance of a 
steam-boat suggested the important problem, how far the 
same power could be employed in impelling carriages by 
land. So early as the year 1 769, Mr. Watt, in his original 
patent for his improved steam-engine, mentions its ap- 
plicability to domestic improvement, — a suggestion made 



to liim by Professor RoLison, although. Watt does not 
seem even to have imparted motion to a carriage by steam. 
Symington, also, who had so much to do with the original 
invention of steam-boats, contrived a steam-arrangement 
for propelling carriages; and is said to have exhibited iu 
1787, in Edinburgh, the first model of a steam-carriage 
that had yet been seen. From this time the attempts 
were numerous, but for many years unsuccessful; not so 
much from want of skill, but from the existence of some 
radical difficulty, which was long insurmountable. 

The cause of these foilures was probably the great 
weight of the engines, and the resistance to the motion of 
the carriages by the inequalities of the roads. In the 
steam-boat this difficulty did not exist, since a large 
amount of weight is buoyed up by the water, without add- 
ing much resistance to the motion of the vessel, but every 
additional weight to a land-carriage produces additional re- 
sistance, arising from inertia, friction, and such like impedi- 
ments, in proportion to"its weight. The undulating nature 
of our roads, too, presented insuperable obstacles; and 
even though the line of road could be exactly levelled, }'et 
the softness of the materials would allow the wheels of the 
ponderous machines to sink; and even if this difficulty 
were obviated, the roughness and irregularity of road- 
making materials present a series of elevations and de- 
pressions, on which the wheels on advancing are con- 
tinually rising and falling. It is the incessant lifting of 
the whole mass of the carriage over these protuberances, 
which occasions that drag which is felt even on the best 
roads. In order, therefore, for steam-carriages to move 
on common roads, it would be necessary, _y?/-i-^, to make 
them level, or nearly so; and secondly, to make them 
harder and smoother than they now are. 

In order, therefore, to apply steam with success to the 
general purposes of land-travel, it Avas necessary to make 
a new and improved species of road, such as would be 
free from all the obstructions of common roads. Thus, it 
is generally supposed, originated the rail-way or rail- 
r:oad, now so extensively adopted in this country; but 


the fact is that railways had been in use, as we shall 
presently see, long before steam-power was applied to 

The rail-road has this grand advantage over the com- 
mon road, that, for the soft and unequal surface of the 
latter, there is substituted a smooth, hard surface of wood, 
or more commonly of metal, fixed in two narrow tracks 
along which wheels of carriages roll with an ease and a 
velocity, as much exceeding the effect of the most perfect 
modern road, as the latter exceeds the Avorst roads of 
olden time. These tracks, or rails, were at one time made 
of Avood, but now iron is the material universally em- 
ployed. They are laid in lengths of from four to sixteen 
feet, united firmly together by joints at their extremities, 
and resting at every two or three feet on a heavy block of 
stone, fixed firmly in the ground. There is, of course, a 
track of these rails for each wheel throughout the line; 
and the two tracks together form what is called a single 
line of railway. But it is most usual to have another line 
running parallel with the first, and placed at a few feet 
distance from it, for the purpose of allowing carriages 
moving in opposite directions to pass each other without 
interference: this is called a double line. In some cases, 
Avhere the traffic is considerable, a third or a fourth line is 
laid down, with communications between them at inter- 
vals, to enable one carriage moving in the same direction, 
but Avith greater velocity than another, to pass it by mov- 
ing on to a separate line, Avithout either of them stopping. 
A third line of rail-Avay is also useful, in case one of the 
others should be undergoing repair. 

Such, then, is a brief, but sufficient introductory 
description of a modern rail-road, Avhich Ave Avill sup- 
pose preserves a horizontal position throughout the 
whole of its line. The inexperienced reader may noAV 
think a rail-road to be a very simple affair, and Avonder 
not only that its construction should be of so modern an 
origin, but that so many men of first-rate science and in- 
genuity should devote their high poAvers to Avhat Avould 
seem so easy and practicable. In answer to this, Ave must 
remind him that simplicity is one of the noblest features 

N 2 


in the results of a great mind : the works of the Almighty, 
"when we thoroughly understand them, are found no less 
simple, than beautiful and eifective; complication always 
bespeaks Aveakness, and a want of that mature knowledge, 
which, with small means, accomplishes great ends. But 
simple as the execution of a rail- way may appear, it is an 
expensive and difficult undertaking, requiring for its full 
effect, an advanced state of knowledge of the arts and 
sciences. Indeed, the difficulties of rail-road travel are 
perhaps known only to the engineer and the practical 
philosopher. What seems so easy to an ordinary observer, 
has been the result of much costly expenditure, of much 
high intelligence, and is yet capable of vast improvement. 
When we regard the ponderous machine Avith carriages 
attached to it, containing hundreds of human beings, and 
thousands of tons of goods, moving with a velocity of 
thirty miles an hour, exciting the wonder and admiration 
of spectators, we are too apt to applaud injudiciously, and 
to think we have attained perfection in locomotion. But 
what is the sober truth? However calculated the per- 
formances of modern locomotive engines may be to excite 
our admiration, yet it cannot be denied that they are still 
awkward and cumbrous, not only in their form and appli- 
cation, but also in their performances. The art of con- 
structing them is still in its very infancy; and on so re- 
cent an occasion as the completion of the Liverpool and 
Manchester rail-road, the Company thought seriously of 
erecting large steam-engines at different points of the line, 
to pull the carriages from station to station, the engines 
themselves being fixed; so great was the want of expe- 
rience nine years ago an the construction of locomotive 
engines! We shall speak more in detail on this subject 
hereafter; but we think it right to warn the reader thus 
early, to refer any disparaging observations he may meet 
with, to the right source ; for the present chapter is written 
with the full feeling and assurance, that great as are and 
have been the benefits of rail-roads and locomotive en- 
gines, they are but as the rippling of the waters of a be- 
calmed sea, waiting for the exertion of those mighty in- 
fluences which shall excite it to action, and produce those 


tidal "vvaves, whose influence the whole world shall feel 
and acknowledge. 

The first railways were of wood, and the earliest ac- 
count of their introduction occurs in the account of the 
life of the Lord Keeper North, wherein it appears that 
about the year 1670, they were employed at Newcastle- 
upon-Tyne, for transporting coals from the mines to the 
barges in the river Tyne ; in which service, even at that 
time, when the demand for coals was so limited, nearly 
five hundred carts Avere constantly employed. It became, 
therefore, an important object to reduce the expense of 
maintaining so many horses, carters, and roads, as these 
conveyances required ; and the plan of wooden rails was 
the best method which at that time could have been 
adopted. The situation too was favourable, since it pre- 
sented, for the most part, an easy descent towards the 
river. These roads soon became generally introduced in 
the coal districts. Strips of ground of the required length 
were laid out between the mouths of the coal-pits and the 
river, and were leased to the coal-owners, or purchased by 
them of the land-owners, through whose property the road 
extended. The line of road was varied in its direction, so 
as to meet the unevenness of the ground, and thereby to 
obtain an easier and more regular descent ; in some cases, 
embankments and cuttings were made, and a regular slope 
obtained. The ground being thus prepared and smoothed, 
large logs of wood, called sleepers, cut in lengths equal to 
the breadth of the road, were fixed across it, and em- 
bedded firmly at short intervals, to which the wooden rails 
were fixed, on which the wheels of the carriages were to 
run. These rails were generally formed of beech, and 
were placed end to end, so as to form two parallel lines, 
one for each wheel ; the ends of these rails being secured 
to the wooden sleepers, which served as foundations. The 
coal-wagons Avere of large size, with small Avheels, the 
smoothness of the road rendering high wheels unnecessary. 
An ordinary horse drew three tons of coal on this road 
without difficulty. When a more than usually steep de- 
scent occurred, it was called a run; and the too rapid 
descent of the wagons was prevented by a species of 


crooked lever, or brake, called a convoy^ attached to the 
Avagon and regulated by the driver. Along the steep 
banks of the Tyne, the railway was continued on a wooden 
stage, raised to the height of the top bank of the river, 
and carried forward until it came over the river side, 
■where a Avooden platform, called a sfailk, was erected for 
the purpose of delivering the coals through shoots or 
spouts directly into the holds of ships moored underneath, 
or into a store below, from which the ships might after- 
wards be conveniently loaded. 

The defect of these rails arose from the decaying 
nature of the substance composing them, and the expense 
of maintaining them in repair greatly detracted from their 
value. They were much improved by fixing flat bars of 
iron to their surfaces ; but the grand improvement of all 
consisted in forming the rails altogether of iron, and sub- 
stituting stone sleepers for those of wood. The first con- 
struction of iron rails is said to have originated in a 
curious circumstance. The proprietors of the Colebrook 
Dale Iron Works first determined to cover their wooden 
rails with cast-iron, not that they thought to improve the 
rails thereby, but they hoped that, if their plan were gene- 
rally adopted, the sale of iron, in which they were so 
much interested, would be promoted. " But it happened 
some time after that the price of pigs'" became very low, 
and their works being of great extent, in order to keep 
the furnaces on, they thought it would be the best means 
of stocking their pigs to lay them on the wooden rail- 
ways, as it Avould help to pa}^ the interest of expenses by 
reducing the repairs of the rails ; and if iron should take 
any sudden rise, there was nothing to do but to take them 
up and send them away as pigs." This is the account of 
the first adoption of iron rails, about the year 1767, as 
given by Hornblower to a committee of the House of 
Commons on the subject of roads and carriages. 

The first substitution of iron for wooden rails was at- 
tended Avith some inconveniences ; the resistance or adhe- 
sion to the surface in descending inclined planes was so much 

* " Pigs of irou " are m.isses of tlie metal, of a certain form 
and weight, as delivered from tlie foundry to the workers in irou. 


reduced, that the ordinary brake ^vas found quite insuffi- 
cient to oppose the descent. This led to a very admirable 
improvement ; double, or self-acting, inclined planes were- 
invented, by Avhich the surplus force of gravity, in the 
case of a load descending one plane, was employed 
to draw up the empty wagons on the ascending plane. 
This plan Avas found efficient, and was soon extensively 
adopted in all the collieries of the North of England. 

The reader is so apt to associate rail-roads with steam, 
that in what is emphatically called the rail-road, he in- 
cludes generally not only a level road laid out with iron 
rails, but also a number of carriages propelled by means 
of a locomotive steam-engine. But a rail-road is not less 
a rail-road, if the prime mover be animal power instead 
of steam. Indeed, we have just seen how i\\Q force of 
gravity is made to act as a prime mover when inclined 
planes are employed, and it has even been proposed that 
an extensive line of road shall be made to consist of a 
series of ascents and descents. In such case, if a carriage 
were started from one of the elevated points, it would 
descend by its own weight alone, and acquire sufficient 
momentum to mount part of the adjoining ascent; if, 
therefore, a small propelling power were added to the 
force of gravity, the acquired momentum would be 
sufficient to bear the carriage to the summit of the 
ascent; and thus, by a series of descents and ascents, 
a journey of any extent is proposed to be made ; such is 
the undulating railway. Another proposal has been to 
employ compressed air as a prime mover, as also carbonic 
acid gas in the act of liberation from a solid carbonate 
(marble, for example) by the action of an acid. Indeed, 
Sir Humphry Davy did not think it beneath him to be- 
stow a portion of his attention on liquid carbonic acid as 
a prime mover. This substance exists in the liquid state 
only under very intense pressure ; as soon as the pressure 
is removed or relieved, the liquid bursts into its gaseous 
form with amazing force; and it was thought that, by 
allowing small portions of the liquid to escape from pres- 
sure, the expansive force might be converted into a prime 
mover. Another projector has directed attention to what 


lie calls a p7ieumatic railway^ where a long cylinder is 
employed containing air rarefied by means of stationary 
steam-engines. The carriages are to move along the upper 
surface of the cylinder; and the front carriage is connected 
with a piston working air-tight within the cylinder, there 
heing rarefied air before it, and air of the common pressure 
behind it, by which it is propelled forward. A combination 
of electro-magnetic actions is also looked forward to as 
a prime mover. 

Some of these proposals, and many more tending to 
the same end, are calculated to excite a smile ; but it is 
necessary to be cautious how we smile, since most of these 
projects proceed from ingenious and thinking men, and 
we have a full tide of experience to assure us that plans 
now in extensive use, whose success is beneficially expe- 
rienced by every one, were subject in their infancy to all 
the derision which startling novelty is calculated to excite. 
As the dominion of mind over the most refractory qua- 
lities of matter becomes more complete, we shall find the 
feeble arm of man furnished with new powers, of which 
we can now scarcely form an idea. Some of the above 
proposals for prime movers are, perhaps, in the present 
state of our knowledge, utterly impracticable; but our 
children, or our children's children, may live to see much 
of our art and science freed from the many imperfections 
which, to a great extent, are inseparable from humanity : 
but, as the grand truth becomes more and more fully im- 
pressed upon us, that the progress of science is not less 
ensured by the search after error than by the search after 
truth, in order to eradicate the one and extend the other, 
it is not too much to say that great and mighty changes, 
bearing with them, we should hope, all the blessings of 
vast improvements, are on the eve of consummation ; and 
it is only the consciousness that this Avorld is but a scene 
of preparation for a better, that checks the rising regret 
of the Christian philosopher, that he has been born too 
soon to participate in that more perfect state of know- 
ledge, which to his ardent fancy appears to be dawning 
upon the world. 

In the year 1825, the Stockton and Darlington rail- 


way Avas opened, at which animal power was the prime 
mover employed for propelling the carriages. This line 
was calculated to show the wonderful superiority of rail- 
roads over the very best common roads. A carriage con- 
taining six passengers inside and from fifteen to twenty 
outside, with a due proportion of luggage, was constantly 
drawn by a single horse at the rate of ten miles per hour, 
without more exertion to the animal than if the draught 
had been that of a small gig on a common road. The 
coach was not mounted on springs, and yet the motion 
was perfectly easy. The coach was not made to turn on 
the railway, but was drawn backwards and forwards, the 
horse being unyoked from one side and yoked to the 
other. Such was the ease with which the loaded vehicle 
moved, that it was not possible for the coachman to " pull 
up," as he calls it, without the assistance of a brake at- 
tached to the wheels. The cheapness of this mode of 
travelling was not its least recommendation; the fare 
outside between Stockton and Darlington, a distance of 
twelve miles, was one shilling, and for shorter distances 
at the rate of one penny for each mile. The inside fares 
were exactly one half more. 

These illustrations are calculated to remind us of the 
advantages of the rail-road over common roads. The 
rail-road enables us, even in its present imperfect state, 
to increase the power of draught more than ten times, 
and even with horses alone to travel with extraordinary 
speed and economy. These effects arise from the supe- 
rior hardness and smoothness of the metallic surface 
compared with the common road, so that the carriage- 
wheels roll without the usual impediments to their mo- 
tion. Even on common roads, the grand desiderata are 
those very two qualities which so much recommend the 
rail-road. A horse will perform one-third more work 
upon a clean road than upon one which is slightly muddy; 
more than four times as much as upon newly-spread 
gravel, and almost seven times as much as upon a heavy 
sandy road. These, then, are the advantages of hard 
smooth common roads compared with such as are soft and 
uneven. The comparison of the best constructed common 



roads wltli rail-roads is yet more instructive. It appears, 
from experiments made by Mr. Wood, "with a well-con- 
structed model, that the whole of the resistance to the 
motion of a carriage on a Avell-constructed railway is 
capable of being reduced to the five hundredih part of the 
weight to be drawn. If, therefore, we estimate the power 
of draught of a common cart-horse through a day's Avork 
at 150 pounds, moving at the rate of two and a-half miles 
an hour,' we shall find the same horse competent to draw 
on a well-constructed rail-road (500 x 150) 75,000 pounds, 
or about 33^ tons, at the same rate. This is supposing a 
perfection of Avorkmanship in the rail-road which in prac- 
tice is not attained ; but, from the great improvements 
which are being yearly effected, it is more than probable 
that a single horse Avill be capable at some future time of 
draAvinjx at least 20 tons. 

The resistance to the motion of a carriage on a well- 
constructed rail-road is exceedingly small compared with 
what a steam-boat has to encounter in moving through its 
fluid support. Many persons are in the habit of express- 
ing surprise that while a steam locomotive engine moves 
at the rate of thirty miles an hour, the utmost speed of a 
steam-boat does not exceed ten or twelve miles an hour. 
Let us consider this question Avith respect to the two 
modes of conveyance, and the reader will see that a com- 
parison between them in point of speed is unfair. 

The resistance to the motion of a heavy body is its 
weighty or, in other words, the action of gravity upon it ; 
to overcome which force, a greater force must be em- 
ployed ; and this, in the cases before us, is the elasticity 
of steam. But the question is not how the body is set in 
motion ; but Avhat are the impediments which retard that 
motion Avhen once begun, supposing the moving force to 
be constant. These are friction and adhesion : also the 
resistance of the air through Avhich the locomotive engine 
moves ; and of air and water through Avhich the steam- 
boat moves. Now, with respect to friction and adhesion, 
we may resolve them into one ; since, generally speaking, 
the first is produced by the second. Friction may be 
defined as the rubbing of the parts of engines or machines 


against eacK other, Avhereby much of their effect is de- 
stroj'ed. A body upon a horizontal pLine would be 
capable of motion by the application of the smallest 
amount of force, Avere it not that the contiguous sur- 
faces are more or less rough, and the points of contact 
always more or less irregular in form. Now, attraction, 
or adhesion, operates Avith a varying amount of force ; and 
extraneous bodies such as dust, moisture, &c., intervene. 
To overcome these impediments, a far greater amount of 
force is necessary, than if a perfectly round and smooth 
body were to be moved over a perfectly smooth and 
horizontal plane. Adhesion is but a modified example of 
the grand and universal principle of gravity, which go- 
verns and regulates all matter. As the planetary bodies 
exert a mutual attraction for each other, so the smaller 
masses of matter upon this earth exhibit effects of the 
same law. Now, it has been proved by scientific men 
that adhesion is greater between the surfaces of bodies of 
the same material, than between those of different mate- 
rials. This adhesive force is greater, for example, be- 
tween two similar metals, than between two of different 
kinds. It is greater between any two metals than be- 
tween metal and Avood, or between metal and stone. 
It follows, therefore, that the metal wheels of locomotive 
engines have a greater adhesion Avith the iron rails, than 
if the wheels moved on a turnpike-road. But the power 
required to set a steam-carriage in motion is first employed 
to overcome the inertia of the Aveight : this being done, 
the friction continues the same throughout ; for it has 
been found by experiment, that this impediment is not 
increased by the motion of the bodies themselves, how- 
ever rapid this motion may be. The next impediment, 
viz., the atmosphere, is, with respect to any velocity 
hitherto attained, of comparatively less import*. But 
hoAv different is the case of the steam-boat ! The Avater, 
it is true, supports upon its surface the most enor- 

* The subject of atmospheric resistance upon railways is, at 
the present time, engaging the attention of eminent engineers,, 
with the vieAv of determining the ratio of the resistance to the. 


mous "weights -with admirable effect ; and seems to 
remove every impediment to their motion, except the 
mere inertia of matter ; so great is the ease Avith which 
they can he moved about with only a slight force. The 
man who descends in the diving-bell to construct sub- 
marine foundations, or to recover the treasures of a 
wrecked ship, appears as if endowed with giant strength ; 
he can lift blocks of stone, or pull up sunken cannon, 
as if they were deprived of their distinguishing pon- 
derosity. Such is the effect of fluid support. We have 
already seen the advantages of canals, when the slow 
pace of two miles an hour is preserved ; but let us 
attempt to accelerate that motion, and we shall soon, 
experience the resistance of the dense medium to such a 
degree, that however great may be the amount of im- 
pelling power, whether a gigantic steam-engine, or the 
most capacious sails swelled by the most favouring breeze, 
a limit of speed is soon attained, beyond which it is im- 
possible to advance. The power of the engines of many 
steam-boats is equal to that of two or three hundred 
horses ; and yet ten or twelve miles an hour is the 
maximum speed ; because the water through which the 
boat moves offers a resistance which constantly increases 
with the velocity of the vessel itself, and soon counter- 
poises any increase of power which may be intended to 
counteract it. But, on a railway, the several resistances 
cannot be said to increase with the velocity : they are for 
the most part diminished ; because, time being an ele- 
ment in all the operations of nature, the more we dimi- 
nish the time, the more we escape the operation of all 
retarding forces. 

The reader must not, however, suppose that the resist- 
ances which tend to diminish the effect of machinery, act 
always with injurious effect. We have seen that when, 
on a railway, the iron tire of the wheel is in contact with 
the iron rail, adhesion is greatest, because there are two 
metals of the same kind in contact : this adhesive force, 
while it tends to oppose any change of mutual contact, 
also retards the horizontal passage of the lowermost point 
of the wheel along the plane of the rail ; and this latter 


retarclatioii is of so great an advantage, that although it 
may appear at first sight as a defect, yet without it the 
railroad would be shorn of much of its value. To under- 
stand this subject, we must request the reader to follow 
us through a few details. When a carriage is drawn in 
the usual way by a horse, the road, upon which the 
wheels move, acts as a fixed point, which offers a certain 
resistance to the circumference of the wheels ; and these 
necessarily revolve on their axle as the carriage advances : 
all that is necessar}^ being that the resistance on the road 
shall exceed that at the axle. But, if the moving powder 
be within the carriage itself, and its effort be to turn the 
■wheel on its axle by means of a pin or handle attached to 
a spoke of the wheel between the centre and the circum- 
ference, then, if the face of the wheel and the surface of 
the rail be quite smooth and free from friction, the 
•wheel will slide round, or slip upon the road during its 
revolutions ; and the carriage must, in consequence, re- 
main perfectly stationary. This is called the .skidding of 
the wheels. If, however, the pressure of the tire of the 
wheel upon the rail be such as to produce adhesion 
between them, to such an extent as to prevent skidding, 
the wheel can then only turn round by causing the car- 
riage to advance : the wheel then rolls upon the rail, and 
the carriage moves through a space equal to the circum- 
ference of the wheel during every one of its revolutions. 
In practice, it is found that sufficient adhesion is pro- 
duced to prevent skidding ; but, in the early attempts at 
locomotion by steam, the inconvenience of this skidding 
was rather anticipated than felt; and hence arose many 
ingenious contrivances and inventions, which a little 
practical experience would have shown were quite unne- 
cessary. A few of these we will briefly detail. 

Two different modes have been proposed for propelling 
carriages on railways by the force of steam. First, to 
draw the carriages along on the rails by ropes or chains 
attached to stationary engines, placed at short distances 
along the road. Secondly, by means of a portable engine 
capable of imparting motion to the wheels which bear it. 
The first of these proposals would be the more difficult, 



or rather the more expensive ; and the second Avas cer- 
tainly the more desirable in every respect, Avhen once 
such an engine was invented, and found to be practicable : 
but this plan had its difficulties : for it was necessary to 
produce an engine on a new construction, essentially 
differing from the stationary engines employed to work 
machinery. The objects to be attained were lightness 
and compactness, Avhich were of secondary consequence 
in fixed engines ; but became matters of first-rate im- 
portance in locomotives. It was necessary to dispense 
with all the cumbrous apparatus of the cold-water cistern, 
the condenser, the vai-ious pumps, and the weighty beam 
and fly-Avheel, Avhose motions in the fixed engine act with 
such tremendous effect. All these were to be rejected ; 
and the light and simple locomotive engine was to depend 
solely for its force and efi'ect upon the elasticity of high- 
pressure steam. Such an engine was made ; and in the 
early engines provision was also made for preventing the 
skidding of the wheels. Teeth or cogs fitting into each 
other, like those of a rack and pinion, were cut both in 
wheels and rails : but this plan was soon abandoned ; for 
the motion was rough, jolting, and noisy ; and the wear and 
tear immense. Propellers were then attempted: these con- 
sisted of jointed poles, projecting from the back of the 
engine, and imitating on a large scale the motions of a 
horse's hinder legs. The engine thus pushed itself along, as 
a person in a boat may do by thrusting a pole or oar against 
the bed of a river. But it w^as ultimately found that all 
these contrivances were unnecessary ; for, after all, as we 
have before stated, the difficulty was imaginary; the friction 
being quite sufficient to prevent skidding, however smooth 
the rails might be. Since this time locomotive engines 
have been the subjects of constant improvement : the 
speed of forty miles an hour is not uncommon ; and the 
consumption of fuel has gone on gradually diminishing. 

But enough of Railroads in general. Let us now 
contemplate the details of that mighty poAver ; that tri- 
umph of ingenuity ; that emblem of peace and national 
prosperity, — the Steam Engine ! 

The Novelty Steara Locomotive. 


On the Steam-Engine in general, and as applied to locomotion in 
particular. — Steam; its elasticity ; how estimated. — TheSteam- 
Engine; its general construction. — The Atmospheric Steam- 
Engine. — The high-pressure Steam-Engine. — The low-pressure 
or condensing Steam-Engine. — Watt's improvements.— The 
principal details of a Steam-Engine. — A Locomotive Steam- 
Enjrine described. — Steam-Locomotion on Common Roads. 

When we are travelling by a stage-coach at the rate of 
eight or ten miles an hour, we can understand the nature 
of the force which sets the vehicle in motion: we under- 
stand in a general way the nature of animal power : we 
see how soon it is exhausted; every successive hour do we 
watch the panting and reeking animals to their stalls, and, 
in the course of a day's journey, we can appreciate the 
enormous succession of efforts required to transport a 
loaded vehicle from London to a distant town. 

But, when proceeding on a journey by the rail-road, 
we are seldom allowed to get a sight of the wondrous 
power which draws us so rapidly along. The scene is 
altogether changed ; there are no animals yoked to the 
car, to excite our pity by their apparently short, but really 
severe labour ; we hear the steam gushing from the 
safety-valve, Avhile the machine is for a short time sta- 
tionary; then we hear a number of rapid beatings : we 
feel that we are moving; the motion soon increases 
rapidly, and the journey which by the stage-coach is so 
tedious, is here, long before we are aware of it, at an end. 
The traveller then wonders, not only at the rapidity of 


his journey, but often -wishes to inspect and comprehend 
the means by which it was eflFected ; he is not allowed to 
go up to the engine to examine it; and if he were, he 
w^ould probably be little the wiser. He has, therefore, 
as yet only obtained hasty glimpses of the locomotive, as 
it whirled rapidly by or under the spot where he has 
stood to gaze upon it ; he knows nothing, but desires to 
know something, of the application of steam-power to 

It is for such a reader as this that the present chapter, 
and indeed the present volume, is written: we propose to 
take a view of the steam-engine in general, and of its 
application to locomotion in particular, sufficient to convey 
to the general reader a clear notion of the power employed 
in rail-road travel. 

The vapour arising from water boiling in an open ves- 
sel is always equal in elasticity or pressure to the atmo- 
spheric air ; that is, it exerts a pressure of about fifteen 
pounds on every square inch of surface exposed to it ; and 
if the column of mercury in a barometer were sustained 
by the pressure of such vapour, instead of the atmosphere, 
it would stand at the same height ; that is, the length 
of the column of mercury would equal about thirty inches. 
But, if water be boiled in a close vessel, such as a steam- 
boiler, the force or elasticity of its vapour will go on con- 
tinually increasing ; because, since there is no outlet 
whereby the vapour can escape, as it is formed, it neces- 
sarily becomes more and more compressed ; and unless the 
pressure of this vapour against the interior sides of the 
boiler be relieved, they Avill eventually burst out with a 
tremendous explosion. This is the cause of the fear- 
ful accidents produced by the bursting of steam-boilers ; 
examples of which are unfortunately too common. Now, 
in order to measure the elastic force of steam in a boiler, 
Ave employ a bent tube called a barometer-gauge. This 
tube is open at both ends, which point upwards ; one end 
communicates with the interior of the boiler, and the other 
end is left exposed to the air ; but all communication be- 
tween the steam in the boiler, and the air without, is pre- 
vented by a quantity of mercury occupying the bend of 


the tube, and rising a short way up its upright branches. 
It follows, therefore, that if the steam in the boiler be 
equal in elasticity to that of the air, the pressure in both 
legs of the tube will be equal, and the mercury will re- 
main at the same level in both. But, if the steam in the 
boiler exceed in elastic force the external air, the mercury 
in the steam-leg will be depressed, while that in the air- 
leg will be elevated. The steam is then called high-pres- 
sure steam. If, on the contrary, the elasticity of the steam 
in the boiler be less than that of the external air, there 
will be a partial vacuum within the boiler, the air without 
will have a tendency to enter it, and will depress the mer- 
cury in the leg exposed to its pressure, and elevate it in 
the steam-leg. The steam is then called loiv-pressure 
steam. High-pressure steam of course exerts a pressure 
of more than fifteen pounds on every square inch of sur- 
face exposed to its action, and supports a barometric 
column of mercury more than thirty inches in height ; but 
low-pressure steam exerts a force of less than fifteen pounds 
on the square inch, and does not support so high a column 
of mercury. The force, elasticity, or pressure of steam is, 
therefore, estimated either by the number of inches of 
mercury which it will support ; or by the number of 
pounds pressure which it exerts on a square inch of sur- 

Sometimes very highly elastic steam (such as is em- 
ployed in the steam-gun of Mr. Perkins) is estimated at a 
certain number of atmospheres : that is to say, the steam 
exerts a pressure so many times as great as that exerted by 
the atmosphere. Thus, steam of five atmospheres sig- 
nifies steam that is capable of supporting a barometric 
column, 5 times 30, or J 50 inches high, and which exerts 
a pressure on every square inch of 5 times 15, or 75 

With these preliminary remarks we proceed to de- 
lineate the principal features of the steam-ejigine. 

The most important part of the steam-engine is the 
cylinder, a round upright case of iron, closed at both ends, 
except a small circular opening in the centre of the top, 
through which an iron rod passes, bearing at its lower end 


a solid plug, or piston, ^vhich fits so accurately as to pre- 
vent all communication between the upper and lower 
parts of the cylinder, but at the same time moves easily 
up and down within it. Now the object of all tlie other 
mechanism of the steam-engine, is to move this piston 
with a forcible, regular, and alternate up-and-down stroke. 
This is effected by causing the spaces above and below the 
piston to be filled Avith fluids of different densities or 
elastic forces ; so that when the elastic force of the upper 
fluid predominates, the piston is forced down, and when 
the lower fluid is the more elastic, the piston is forced up. 
The force of the stroke, which constitutes the power of the 
engine, will of course depend conjointly on the superficial 
area of the piston ; and on the difference of density in the 
two fluids above and below it. 

All the various modes of working the steam-engine 
may probably be resolved into three general principles, 
each of which we will briefly detail. 

I. The Atmospheric Steam-Engine first brought into 
practical operation by Newcomen in 1 705. In this engine 
the cylinder was open at the top, and at the bottom was a 
tube passing to the boiler, which, however, was prevented 
from communicating therewith, unless by the opening of a 
cock or valve. Suppose now that the piston is resting at 
the bottom of the cylinder, and that this cock is opened ; 
the steam will rush up from the boiler, and lift the piston 
up to the top of its stroke ; the steam-cock is then shut by 
an attendant, and another cock called the iyijcction-cock, 
opening into the side of the cylinder, is opened, whereby 
a jet of cold water is admitted from a cistern above, which 
is always kept full by a pump worked by the engine. 
This cold water immediately condenses all the steam in 
the cylinder, and produces a vacuum below the piston. 
The exterior air then acts Avith its full force of fifteen 
pounds per square-inch on the upper surface of the piston, 
and forces it down to the bottom, ready to be again lifted 
up, as soon as the attendant has opened the cock to let up 
the steam from below. The up-and-down motion of the 
piston was communicated by a long rod to one end of a 
large beam, poised in the middle like a see-saw ; and to 


the other end of this beam was appended the rod of a 
pump for draining a mine ; which was the office which 
the steam-engine at that time performed. The atmospheric 
steam-engine has long been out of use. 

The circumstance of this machine requiring an at- 
tendant for the purpose of opening and closing the valves, 
led to a singular, and at the same time, a truly valuable 
invention. A boy named Humphrey Potter was appointed 
to attend the engine, and soon growing weary of the mono- 
tonous task of continually turning the cocks backwards and 
forwards for hours together, he contrived, by a combina- 
tion of rods and strings, to make the engine work its own 
valves. The boy, whose name has been immortalized for 
perhaps the most useful act of his life, is spoken of by se- 
veral writers on the steam-engine as " an idle boy, whose 
invention was one of the resources of idleness ;" but this is 
unjust; this poor and uneducated peasant had evidently a 
mind superior to the mechanical and wearying task 
allotted to it ; and his invention, which has continued to 
the present day, was one of the resources of his genius, 
which education and study would doubtless have made 
valuable both to himself and to his country. Invention is 
never a result of idleness ; but it is the result of an active 
and original mind ; there are hundreds of improvers to 
one inventor ; the former require talent, the latter genius; 
and we think that Humphrey Potter possessed both. 

II. Th£ High-pressure Steam-Engine is now prin- 
cipally employed in the propulsion of locomotive carriages, 
in preference to the low-pressure engine, the arrange- 
ments of which are too numerous and complicated, and 
occupy too much space for carriages. The former kind 
of engine is by far the most simple. A rude approach to 
it was invented by Leupold in 1720, and applied in an 
improved form to locomotion by Trevithick and Vivian in 
] 804. In this form of engine, both ends of the cylinder 
are closed; and one department consists of a steam-tight 
iron box called a valve-box^ from whence branch four pas- 
sages : one leading into the boiler, another into the chim- 
ney, a third to the top, and a fourth to the bottom of the 
cylinder. In this box is a contrivance called a sliding- 



valve, Avhich is moved by the engine. When the piston is 
at the bottom of its stroke, a communication is opened 
between the boiler and the bottom of the cylinder ; and 
also between the top of the cylinder and the chimney. 
The steam, therefore, rushes from the boiler into the lower 
part of the cylinder ; and as it is high-pressure steam, it 
predominates over the pressure of the air, and thrusts up 
the piston : at the same time, the steam or air above the 
piston is driven out through the chimney into the open 
air. But this same upward stroke of the piston alters the 
position of the sliding- valve ; so as to make the bottom of 
the cylinder communicate with the external air, and to al- 
low the steam from the boiler to be admitted at the top of 
the cylinder, whereby the piston is pushed down ready for 
another up-stroke. There are many modes used for pro- 
ducing this alternate passage of the steam to and from 
the top and bottom of the cylinder. We will describe one 
mode, which we prefer on account of its simplicity ; 
although it is by no means the best; it is called ih.Q four- 
nay cock. 

In each figure let A represent the induction-pipe, or 
that by which the steam enters from the boiler ; b the 
eduction-pipe, or that which conducts to the chimney; and 
c and D the passages to the bottom and top of the cylinder 
respectively. During the upward stroke of the piston, 
the cock, which is a round plug having two passages 
bored through it, is in the position of fig. 1, where a com- 
municates with c ; and D with b ; as we have just de- 
scribed ; but, during the down stroke, the cock is placed 


in the position shown in fig. 2, and a reverse action 
ensues. It will readily be seen, by an inspection of the 
figures, that the cock or plug has only to be moved round 
one quarter, that is through an arc of 90° , to effect this 
great change ; and this motion can easily be imparted to 
it by means of a bent lever connected with the piston- 
rod, or with the working-beam of the engine. 

III. In the engine just described high-pressure steam 
only can be employed ; because it has to overcome the 
pressure of the air, before it can move the piston, which 
is forced up and down only by the difference of force 
between the steam on one side and the air on the other. 
But in the Low-pressure, or rather the Condensing 
Engine, steam is on one side of the piston, and a vacuum 
on the other : the steam therefore acts with its full force, 
and it matters not what kind of steam is employed, whe- 
ther high or low pressure. This is the form of engine now 
universally used for propelling machinery, and generally 
for moving ships. It was the offspring of the fine genius 
of "Watt, whose object Avas to retain and combine all the 
advantages of the two engines just described, and yet to 
avoid those disadvantages which to a certain extent seem 
inseparable from them. The first defect of Newcomen"'s 
form of engine, was the necessary cooling of the cylinder 
produced by the injection -water at every down-stroke. 
Unless the cylinder be kept as hot as the steam which 
enters it, a great deal of steam will always be condensed, 
and an immense waste of heat, and, consequently, of fuel, 
will result from this alternate heating and cooling. To 
remedy this defect, "Watt drew off the steam during the 
down-stroke into a separate vessel, where it was con- 
densed. This vessel was kept constantly cold, and the 
cylinder constantly hot : so that by this simple and ele- 
gant invention a vast saving of fuel ' was the immediate 

There was yet another great defect in Newcomen's- 
engine. This was the cooling produced by the great mass 
of cold air, which entered the cylinder from the top at 
every down-stroke. To obviate this, Watt closed the top 
of the cylinder, and forced the piston down, not by air. 



but by hot steam, let in above the piston; and during the 
up-stroke, this steam was drawn off and condensed, as the 
lower steam had been before. The engine now assumed 
a new character : its action was quite independent of 
the atmosphere, and for the first time could it really 
and truly be called a STEAM-engine ; for it was now 
moved solely by the direct force of steam. This form of 
engine is called double-acl'mg, in contradistinction to the 
single-acting engine in which the piston is acted on during 
its down-stroke only ; it being returned to the top by a 
counterweight at the other end of the beam. To under- 
stand the general mechanism of this engine, let us first 
imagine an engine like the high-pressure engine already 
described, except that the last passage conducting from 
the valve-box or fourway-cock, instead of leading to the 
chimney, leads into a cylindrical vessel called the con- 
denser^ represented at u in the following figure. 


This vessel, as well as the rest of the apparatus about 
to be described, is kept cold by immersion in the cistern 
of cold water cc, which is kept always full by a pump 
(not shown in the figure) Avorked by the engine itself. 
During the down-stroke of the piston, the steam below it 
is forced into the condenser ; and during the up-stroke 
the same result is obtained for the steam above the piston. 


At the same time the injection-valve d is opened by a rod 
connected with it, and a jet of cold water is let in to con- 
dense the steam. But the condenser would thus become 
soon full of hot water, by the mixture of the condensed 
steam with the injection-water. The mixed contents of 
the condenser consisting of hot water, uncondensed steam 
and air are, therefore, all drawn off at every stroke, by 
the air-pump E placed by the side of the condenser. This 
pump is constructed in two different modes ; we will 
describe the simpler of the two. It consists of a hollow 
cylinder, having a solid pistoa fitting tight, Avhich derives 
its motion from the great beam by means of an attached 
rod. This cylinder is closed at the top, through which the 
rod Avorks air-tight ; but at the bottom there are two 
passages f and g furnished each with a valve. AVheu the 
air-pump piston is elevated, a partial vacuum is formed in 
the space below it ; and the air, water, and steam, in the 
condenser B, open the valve f and rush into the air-pump 
cylinder, the piston of which then falls and drives them 
out through the valve G. They cannot, of course, escape 
by the way they entered, because the valve f opens in- 
wards : they are, therefore, forced up the tube i into a 
small cistern n, called the hot }veU, from which the hot 
water is pumped up by another pump into a cistern above, 
ready to descend, when wanted, into the boiler by means 
of a self-feeding and self-adjusting apparatus. All these 
three pumps, for hot water, cold water, and air, are 
worked by rods connected with the working-beam. To 
the further end of this beam is hung a long stout rod, the 
lower end of which turns a crank on the main axle, which, 
after passing through a wall from the engine-house into 
the apartments, sets in motion any sort of machinery. 

In contemplating these and other beautiful arrange- 
ments, (with which every Englishman ought to be ac- 
quainted ; since the steam-engine has been a grand 
source of wealth and prosperity to his country,) and 
seeing the tranquil readiness with which this engine sup- 
plies itself, as it were, in its own Avants and necessities, 
we can scarcely reject the idea that it is a creature en- 
dowed with life, sense, and intelligence, exerting its 


gigantic powers for the good of man with untiring per- 
severance ; promptly performing labours which to our- 
selves would be slow and toilsome, and perhaps impossible. 
The subject of the present volume does not allow us to 
linger over the details of this Avondrous machine, beyond 
a sketch of its principal features ; but if what we have 
already Avritten and have yet to Atrite on the subject, 
should excite the interest of any of our readers, they are 
earnestly advised to study the subject in detail : they 
will find the steam-engine of Watt, with its subsequent 
improvements, to contain a vast fund of knowledge of 
the most valuable complexion. 

Another important improvement of Watt is what is 
called working expcmsivelij. In the ordinary mode of 
working the engine, the induction-valve is left open 
during the whole of the piston's stroke, until the cylinder 
is filled with steam equal in density to that in the boiler. 
But, by working expansively, the induction-valve is closed 
after the piston has descended part of its stroke, and it is 
forced through the remaining part simply by the expan- 
sion of the steam in the cylinder, which is quite cut off 
from communication Avitli that in the boiler. Thus the 
required quantity of steam, of heat, and consequently of 
fuel, is greatly diminished ; and this alteration, trivial 
as it may seem, has thus been productive of great benefit. 

A vast number of contrivances have been made by 
Watt and others, for economizing fuel and labour, and for 
rendering the engine more and more independent, and 
self-supplying. This it is which gives the modern steam- 
engine much of its apparent intricacy. We can only find 
space to describe one or two of these arrangements, and 
Tve will, therefore, speak of the means whereby the ma- 
chine is made to regulate the force and rapidity of its 

On the main axle is fixed a large cast-iron wheel, 
sometimes thirty feet in diameter, called a fiy-wheel. Its 
rim is extremely thick, so as to throw the weight thereof 
as much as possible to the circumference. The inertia of 
so large a mass of metal spread over so large a surface, 
renders it difficult either to set it in motion, or to accele- 



rate its motion ; and its momentum, wlien once called 
forth, renders it equally difficult to arrest or retard its 
motion. These properties give it a remarkably equalizing 
power : for, when once fairly set going, it has so great a 
tendency to go on in one uniform state of motion, that all 
the little variations and irregularities in the velocity of 
the machine, are, as it Avere, absorbed and neutralized, so 
as to produce no sensible effect. Even were the forma- 
tion of steam to stop for a short time, the want of this 
prime mover would not be felt, because the momentum of 
the fly-wheel would continue to bear it round with appa- 
rently undiminished velocity. This simple regulator is 
not, hoAvever, found sufficient of itself ; and there is intro- 
duced in all stationary engines another contrivance called 
a gover?io7\ This consists of an upright axle a b con- 
nected with some rapidly revolving part of the machinery. 

In the upper part of this axle is a fixed collar, to Avhich are 
hung by joints the pendulums cc, of which there are two 
and sometimes four. These are furnished with balls of brass 
or iron ; which, when the engine is at rest, hang down and 
touch the upright axle: but when the axle ab revolves. 


they fly out (as represented in the figure) by virtue of their 
centrifugal force ; and the more rapidly they revolve the 
greater becomes this force, and the greater becomes their 
distance from their centre of motion. Each of these arms 
or pendulums has attached to it at p q, a link or bar of 
iron 7K n, and the two or four links all meet in a move- 
able ring, or collar E, which slides up and dowTi the axle. 
Now, when the engine is working too rapidly, the balls • 
c c fly out, and lift up the collar E above its usual posi- 
tion : this elevates one end of a long lever d, the other 
end of which partially closes the throttle- valve, diminishes 
the supply of steam from the boiler to the cylinder, and 
thus retards the speed of the engine. But if, on the 
contrary, the balls and collar, owing to an insufficient 
velocity, sink, the collar depresses the lever, the throttle- 
valve is opened wider, and the supply of steam and con- 
sequent velocity of the engine is increased. 

We stated in the last chapter that lightness and com- 
pactness were the grand desiderata in a locomotive engine, 
and yet that it depended for its power upon the elastic 
force of high-pressure steam. Let us now inquire into 
the arrangements of this form of engine, referring the reader 
to the accompanying figure, which represents an approved 
form of railway locomotive. 

We observe a strong cast-iron frame, A a, supported 
on four Avheels, of which the two hinder and larger are 
are called the drivifig-w/ieels. On this carriage rests the 
boiler, b b, which is cylindrical in form, and is made of 
plates of wrought-iron. The furnace, or stove, is at the 
hinder end, and the chimney in front. The former is a 
cubical iron box, the lower part of which is seen at c ; its 
sides and top are double, enclosing between them a layer 
of water about tlu-ee inches thick, which is constantly 
replenished by water descending from the boiler ; for, as 
the top of the stove is rather below the level of the water 
in the boiler, this layer of Avater is always preserved of 
the same thickness, and the steam as it is generated passes 
up into the boiler. The smoke and hot air from the fire 
escape into a number of small tubes (of which there are 
about ninety) which completely traverse the lower half of 



the boiler on their way to the chimney. So that nearly 
all the heat, smoke, and hot air, from the furnace is turned 
to the useful purpose of assisting to heat the water ; and 
the draught is increased by the waste steam being projected 
up the chimney. Any pieces of ignited fuel, which may 
be carried up with the draught, are prevented from es- 
caping into the air, and doing mischief, by a wire-net 
capping on the top of the chimney. At E is the throttle- 
valve, which is moved by the engineer by means of a long 
rod F F, so as to regulate the supply of steam, and con- 
sequently the speed of the engine. From this valve the 
steam passes by a large tube into the valve-box g, and 
thence into the top or bottom of the cylinder to work the 
piston ; it then escapes by the pipe H, into the chimney. 
The cylinder in this engine preserves its usual upright 
position, but in other engines almost every variety of 
situation and position has been tried for it ; it has been 
placed horizontal, sloping, and vertical, with the piston- 
rod pointing in various directions. Of course, all the 
apparatus shown in our figure on one side only of the 
boiler is repeated on the other side ; so that there are, in 
fact, tAvo engines, one for each driving-wheel. Each 
piston-rod i, bears at the top a cross-piece, from which 
hangs a rod connected by a joint at the lower end to one 
corner of the moveable iron triangle K k', whose centre of 
motion is at l; to the other corner of this triangle is 
joined the rod M, which, by means of a crank, works the 
wheel. The action of the triangular frame k k', is similar 
to that of the brass quadrants used at the corners of rooms 
to alter the direction of the bell- wire; it converts the verti- 
cal motion of the piston-rod at one corner into a hori- 
zontal motion at the other corner. 

The water and fuel are carried behind in the first 
carriage, which is called the tender^ and the water is 
drawn through the feed-pipe by means of the horizontal 
pump p, Avhich is worked by having its rod attached to 
the triangle at k. 

At N are the handles of two levers, by which the 
course of the steam may be so altered as to reverse the 
action of the engines, and consequently of the wheels, 



SO as to move the engine backwards or forwards, at 

The following is the simplest species of sliding-valves, 
and is free from the objections which pertain to the four- 
way cock. Each of these figures represents a section of 

Fig. 6. 


/- 'J 


a i 

the valve-box, consisting of a cylindrical tube, rather 
longer than the cylinder of the engine, and having Avithin 
it a smaller tube c, which slides up and down by a rod 
passing out at the top ; near each end of this tube is a 
projecting rim, or collar, which fits air-tight in the larger 
tube. The passage a is connected with the boiler ; d leads 
to the top, and e to the bottom, of the cylinder : B is the 
eduction-pipe, leading to the condenser in a condensing 
engine, and to the chimney in a locomotive or high-pres- 
sure engine. This last opening may be either at the top 
or bottom of the valve-box, as they communicate through 


the small tube c. Fig. 6, represents the position of this tube 
during the down-stroke. The steam from the boiler passes 
round on either side of the small tube c, and enters the en- 
gine at E, below the piston, to force it up, while the steam 
above it returns to the valve-box by d, descends the tube c, 
and passes out at the chimney. But, during the up-stroke, 
the tube c is in the position shown in fig. 7, whereby the 
steam from the boiler passes through d, above the piston, 
forcing it down, Avhile the steam below it passes out through 
E, and escapes by the eduction-pipe b. As this valve-box 
is usually placed close by the side of the cylinder, and 
sometimes cast in one piece with it, its rod may be moved 
up and down by the piston-rod : — thus the rod of the valve- 
box may be prolonged upwards, and have two flat disks 
attached to it, the distance between them being rather less 
than the stroke of the engine ; the piston-rod has also a 
horizontal arm projecting from it : Avhen it comes to the 
bottom of its stroke, this arm strikes upon the lower disk 
on the rod of the sliding-valve, and thus pushes it down 
into the position of fig. 6 ; and when the piston-rod is at. 
the top of its stroke, the arm strikes against the upper- 
disk and thrusts the valve up again into the position 
shoAvn in fig. 7- 

In our figure of a railway locomotive there are a few 
very useful appendages, which, although we have reserved 
a notice of them for this part of our subject, are by no 
means peculiar to locomotive engines. The barometer- 
gauge has been already described ; but, although this 
contrivance shows exactly the elastic force of the steam, 
it furnishes no means for regulating that force, or protect- 
ing the boiler from explosion. Both these purposes are 
served by that invaluable contrivance the safety-valve, 
whose origin and use bear a much earlier date than the 
steam-engine. It consists of a plug fitting into a small 
hole in the boiler, as at a in the annexed figure, and at- 
tached by an upright stem to a kind of steelyard, which 

FiK. 8. 



moves on a hinge at B, and bears on its arm (whicli is 
graduated into a number of parts) a ■weight made to slide 
backwards and forwards, so as to press the valve do'vvn 
with any required force. When different weights are 
used, they are hung on the hook c. Now if the plug, or 
valve A^ have a superficial area on its under surface of two 
inches, and the engineer wish the steam to attain a force 
of twenty pounds on the sc[uare-inch, he so adjusts the 
weight on the graduated arm c b, as to press down the 
plug with a force of forty pounds, or twenty pounds for 
each inch ; and so long as the elasticity of the steam does 
not exceed that limit it Avill not open the valve. When, 
however, it does attain that degree of elasticity, it will 
force open the valve by lifting up the weight, and a por- 
tion of steam will go on escaping until the density of the 
remaining portion is reduced to a pressure of twenty 
pounds per inch*. The value of this arrangement is, that 
if the valve be not loaded above the pressure which the 
boiler will bear, there is no danger of bursting. Some- 
times, in very low-pressure engines, there is danger of the 
boiler being crushed in by the external pressure of the 
air, owing to the partial vacuum within ; to obviate this, 
internal safety-valves are contrived, so that, should the 
elasticity of the enclosed steam become too low, a portion 
of air is admitted, which increases its density. 

The locomotive engine described above has no internal 
safety-valve, because A ^o■/^ -pressure steam is alone em- 
ployed, but it has two external safety-valves. One has a 
moveable weight, and is enclosed under the case D, and 
can be regulated by the engineer, to enable him, within 
certain limits, to direct the force of the engine and the 
velocity of its motion. But the engineer might occasion- 
ally be ambitious to proceed at a rate far beyond his usual 
speed, and this he can only do by increasing the elasticity 
of his prime mover — the steam in the boiler — and loading 

* This is, in ]\leclianics, a specimen of a lever of the third 
kind, where the power is at a, the fulcrum at b, and the resis- 
tance at c. In this sort of lever, power is most disadvantageously 
employed ; and, in this instance, great must be the power of the 
steam at a, to raise the loaded bar b c. 


tte valve accordingly ; there would then be danger of the 
boiler bursting. To prevent such a catastrophe, another 
valve, with a fixed weight attached, is provided under the 
case Q, the cover of which is firmly bolted down, but con- 
tains holes for the escape of the steam. This valve, 
therefore, being inaccessible to the engineer, will prevent 
danger, however much he may overload the other valve 
at D. 

The two small cocks, represented at o, are called gaitge- 
cochs; their use is to show the height of the water in the 
boiler. They communicate with two small tubes within 
the boiler which turn do-\\Tiwards, and are not quite equal 
to each other in length ; so that one reaches just below, 
and the other just above, what ought to be the level of the 
water. If the water be at its proper level, these cocks, 
on being opened, will discharge, the one water and the 
other steam. But if they both discharge water, the boiler 
is too full; if they both discharge steam, it is not full 
enough ; the engineer, therefore, acts accordingly. 

In the lower part of the same figure is shown the latest 
improvement in the construction of the rails. They are 
supported at short intervals by sleepers, or square blocks, 
of granite, let into the ground. Each rail is made of an 
inverted arch form between the sleepers. 

The application of steam to locomotion on common 
roads, is an art yet in its very infancy. It was practised 
by Trevithick and Vivian at the beginning of the present 
century; but their success was small, and they had re- 
course to a railway. Since that time steam-carriages have 
been made and successfully applied by Messrs. Ogle, 
Hancock, Gurney, and others. Mr. Gurney constructed, 
in 1831, a steam-carriage which plied between Glouces- 
ter and Cheltenham regularly for four months, like a com- 
mon coach. These attempts were soon abandoned on ac- 
count of the excessive tolls demanded by the turnpike- 
trusts, the opposition of interested parties, and the pre- 
judice of the public generally. Mr. Gurney petitioned 
Parliament on the subject, a committee was appointed to 

o ;> 


investigate the matter, and a very favourable report re- 
sulted, Avhich concluded -with the following summary: 

" Sufficient evidence has been adduced to convince your Com- 
mittee, 1. That carriages can he propelled by steam on common 
roads at an average rate of ten miles per hour. 2. That at this 
rate they have conveyed upwards of fourteen passengers. 3. That 
their weight, including engines, fuel, water, and attendants, may 
be under three tons. 4. That they can ascend and descend hills 
of considerable inclination with facility and safety. 5. That they 
are perfectly safe for passengers. C. That they are not (or need 
not be, if properly constructed) nuisances to the public. 7- That 
they will become a speedier and cheaper mode of conveyance 
than carriages drawn by horses. 8. That, as they admit of greater 
width of tire than other carriages, and as the roads are not acted 
on so injuriously as by the feet of horses in common draught, 
such carriages will cause less wear of roads than coaches drawn 
by horses. 9. That rates of toll have been imposed on steam- 
carriages, which would prohibit their being used on several lines 
of road, were such charges permitted to remain unaltered." 

The principal obstacles to the introduction of loco- 
motive carriages, on common roads, were considered to be 
the weight of these carriages themselves, and the mode of 
propulsion, which no common road would be able to bear 
for any length of time without great injury. In the 
above Report, the Committee state that, however strong 
their conviction may be of the comparatively small injury 
which properly-constructed steam-carriages will do to the 
roads, yet this conviction is founded more on theory, and 
perhaps what may be considered as interested evidence, 
than practical experience ; they therefore recommend 
that the House should not make, at that time, any per- 
manent regulations in favour of steam. The experience 
of a few years would enable the legislature to form a more 
correct judgment of the effect of steam-carriages on com- 
mon roads. They therefore recommend that the tolls im- 
posed on steam-carriages by local acts, where they shall 
be unfavourable to steam, be suspended during three years, 
and that in lieu thereof, the trustees shall be permitted to 
charge toll according to a rate agreed on by the committee. 

It was not anticipated by the Committee, that steam 
would be used as a propelling power on common roads for 
heavy wagons. It seemed to be the general opinion of wit- 


nesses that,' in proportion as the velocity of travelling by 
steam on common roads is diminished, the advantages of 
steam over horse-power are lost. The efficiency of horses 
in draught is rapidly diminished as their speed is increased; 
while on the contrary, the weight Avhich could be carried 
or propelled at any great velocity, by steam, could not be 
more cheaply convej^ed were the speed decreased to that 
of the slowest Avagon. Indeed, Mi-. Gurney considers that, 
under four miles per hour, horses can be used in draught 
more economically than steam. 

From other parts of this report it appears that the 
greatest speed attained by Mr. Ogle's carriage amounted 
to between thirty-two and thirty-five miles an hour; that 
it has attained sixteen and a-half miles an hour on a slope 
rising one in six; that thirty-six persons have been in one 
carriage; and that it has drawn five times its own weight 
at from five to six miles an hour. Steam-carriages have 
been lately made by Mr. Hancock and Mr. Gurney, 
exactly resembling in shape an omnibus, a stage-coach, a 
britschka, and even a gig. The chief merits and differ- 
ences in the carriages of these gentlemen consist in their 
boilers and fires. In Guimey's the bars of the grate are 
made hollow and contain water. The construction of his 
boiler is shown in the following side and front views of it. 
It consists of two cylindrical vessels a and b, placed in 
front of the fire, and above them is the vessel c called the 
separator; this latter vessel alone contains steam, the 
others being full of water. These three vessels commuJii- 
cate by means of the passages d d d d, and from the back 
of the lower vessel a proceed twelve tubes which serve as 
a grate for the fire; one of these is seen at e, fig. 10. 
Below them, at r, is the ash-pit. After traversing the 
back of the fire-box, they arrive at the vessel b, as seen in 
the side-view. The flame and smoke play round and be- 
tween these tubes, and vaporize very rapidly the water in 
them. The steam, as it is formed, passes up into the 
separator c, and its place is supplied by cold water de- 
scending through the passages D D. Thus a very quick 
circulation is regularly kept up. The chimney is at G, 
and the opening of the main steam-pipe at h. 



In Hancock's boilers the water is contained between 
a number of upright plates of iron, as in the following 
lateral view. The water is thus distributed into thin 

Fig. 11. 

sheets, between which the flame and smoke pass up from 
the fire below to the chimney. The plates are connected 
together by tubes at the bottom and top, the former for 
the water and the latter for the steam. 

In all steam-carriages, either for rail-roads or common 
roads, and in almost all steam-packets there are two dis- 
tinct engines working two cranks on the main axles, 
which bear the driving-wheels in carriages, and the paddle- 
wheels in vessels. The chief object of this is to obviate a 
defect in the crank, which we will explain. Let the fol- 
lowing figure represent a crank with its rod in difl^erent 
parts of its revolution. When the crank is at b, suppos- 
ing it to revolve in the direction indicated by the arrow, 
the rod is exerting its full force to pull it round; and 
when it is at the opposite point the rod will be acting on 



it in a similar manner. But it is obvious that there are 
two parts of its revolution, where neither direct pulling 
nor pushing will tend to make it revolve; these are the 

Fig. 12. 

points c and D, called the dead poiiils, at which, when 
the crank has arrived, it is carried past them simply by 
its momentum, for the rod has as much tendency to pull 
in one Avay as the other. When irvo cranks, therefore, are 
placed on the same axle, they are set at right angles to 
each other, so that the fveak or dead jmnls of the one may 
correspond Avith the strongest points of the other. There 
is, of course, a difference of half a stroke between the two 
engines, to accommodate them to this arrangement ; one 
engine is always half a stroke later than the other: so 
that there is no danger of both the cranks arriving at 
once at the dead points. If this were to happen, the 
motion w'ould not only be uneven, but the cranks would 
probably be broken oft" short. 

Locoiaotive Carriage. 

Openiag of the Liverpool and Mancliester Rail-road. 


The Liverpool and Jlancliester Rail-road. — Necessity for the 
undertaking. — Plan and estimate of the Line. — Edge-hill Tun- 
nel. — Sankey Viaduct. — Chat-moss. — Laying the Rails. — Pas- 
sage of the first Locomotive over part of the Line. — Prize 
offered by the Company for the best form of Locomotive Engine. 
— Adjudication of the Prize. — Opening of the Road. — Accident 
to Mr. Huskisson. — Commencement of Traffic. 

To the reader who is interested in the subject of rail-roads 
generally, we cannot offer a more instructive and admira- 
ble specimen of this mode of conveyance, than that Avhich 
connects the two great towns of Liverpool and Manchester. 
Whether we regard the perseverance of the spirited indi- 
viduals, who projected, and after much opposition obtained 
parliamentary permission for, the undertaking; or whether 
we consider the gigantic nature of the work, and the na- 
tural difficulties, the removal of which would have appeared 
to require more than human skill and power ; the final 
triumph over all of them ; and the success of this grand 
experiment, which for the first time excited the Avonder 
and admiration of a whole nation at the marvellous power 
of steam thus applied ; in whatever light we consider the 
Manchester and Liverpool railway, admiration and grati- 


tude must be the most prominent emotions whicli it is cal- 
culated to excite. 

The necessity for an easy and prompt means of com- 
munication between Lirerpool and Manchester, had long 
been desirable, not only as a local, but as a national bene- 
fit. Liverpool is the port from which Manchester procures 
all her raw materials, and to which she returns vast quan- 
tities of manufactured goods for exportation. Before the 
construction of the railway, heavy goods had to be first 
sent up the Mersey to Runcorn, a distance of about 
twenty miles ; and thence by one of the two canals to 
Manchester ; thus making the distance between the two 
towns fifty miles. In warm weather there was frequently 
a deficiency of water, in consequence of evaporation, and 
boats could only go half-loaded ; and in cold weather the 
navigation was often impeded, or suspended, for weeks to- 
gether by ice ; to say nothing of the efi*ects arising from tem- 
pestuous and contrary winds, which often arrested the pro- 
gress of the vessels in the Mersey. The average length of 
time for the passage was thirty-six hours ; but, from the 
operation of impediments such as those just cited, goods 
have been known to be longer on the Avay by water from 
Liverpool to Manchester, than from New York to Liverpool! 

It will serve as a useful antithesis to these examples, 
to state that the transit of goods is now effected in about 
two hours, Avhich is about one- eighteenth j)art of the ave- 
rage time previously occupied by the water-conveyance, 
besides a saving of fifty per cent, in the cost per ton of 
carriage ; producing an annual saving in carriage to the 
cotton manufacturers of dP20,000, and rendering it unne- 
cessary for them to keep a large stock in hand to supply 
sudden orders. 

In 1824, the following plain statement of the incon- 
veniences of these delays and difficulties was made by Mr. 
James. " Notwithstanding all the accommodation canals 
can offer, the delays are such, that the spinners and dealers 
are frequently obliged to cart cotton on the public high- 
road, a distance of thirty-six miles, for w^hich they pay 
four times the price which would be charged by a rail- 
road, and they are three times as long in getting it to 


hand. The same observation apjilies to manufactured 
goods, which are sent by land-carriage daily, and for 
■which the rate paid is five times that Avhich they >yould 
be subject to by the rail-road. This enormous sacrifice is 
made for two reasons : — sometimes because conveyance 
by water cannot be promptly obtained, but more fre- 
quently because speed and certainty, as to delivery, are of 
the very first importance." 

About the same time, a declaration, embodying the 
sentiments of the above passage, was signed by more 
than one hundred and fifty of the most respectable mer- 
chants of Liverpool, who expressed the general feeling, 
" that a new line of conveyance has become absolutely 
necessary, to conduct the increasing trade of the country 
with speed, certainty, and economy." 

It was, therefore, determined to form a company for 
the construction of a double railway between the two 
towns. This was done, and a prospectus issued in 
October 1824. In the following February, parliament 
was petitioned for leave to bring in a bill, which, how- 
ever, was soon lost, chiefly through the powerful oppo- 
sition of the proprietors of the canals in the vicinity of the 
proposed line. Early in 1826 a second bill was introduced, 
and passed into a law. 

So gigantic and dif&cult did this work appear to be, 
that it was declared, in evidence given before parliament, 
to be impossible ; and some of the opponents of the first 
bill stated that, from considerations of kindness to the 
promoters of so wild and impracticable a scheme, the bill 
ought to be rejected. Let us now consider the nature of 
the difficulties Avhich v/ere to be overcome, and trace 
briefly the progress of the works which were begun in the 
year 1827. _ ^ 

The turnpike-road between Manchester and Liverpool 
measured thirty-four miles ; but, proceeding in nearly a 
straight direction, the proposed line of railway would 
measure only thirty-one miles. At Liverpool the docks are 
sixty-six feet below the level of Manchester ; but in the 
vicinity of the former place the land rises one hundred 
and sixty- nine feet above the docks : and the surface of 


the land between the two towns alternates considerably ; 
the highest point being two hundred and five feet above 
the docks, and the lowest twenty-six feet. Now the 
whole line, passing through this ground, was to be made 
as level as possible ; and to avoid interfering with the 
town of Liverpool, it was determined to cut a tunnel 
under it. The length of this tunnel is 1970 yards; and 
in some places it had to be carried through solid rock. 
In several parts of the line a perfect level could not be 
obtained ; so that manv ascendinir and descending incli- 
nations occur ; the particulars of which may be seen in 
the following statement : — 

The Tunnel, from Wapping 
to Edge-hill, being an inclined 

plane whose length is - - - - 1970 yards with a rise of 55 

Level by cutting - - - - looO — 

Edge-hill to Wavertree to 

Ilayton 5| miles with a fall of jg'aa 

Wiston inclined plane - - \\ — rise „'„ 

Kain-liill level ----- l| — 

Sutton inclined plane ^ - - \\ — fall j'^ 

Parr-Moss to Saukey canal 

and viaduct 2^ — — 20*40 

Sankey Viaduct to Bury-Iane Gi 


Chat-Moss 51 — rise 7200 

Baston, Eccles, Munches 
levels -- 4i — 

Tliese inclinations were, of course, only allowed to 
exist in order to save expense and labour : but much of 
both was required ; as, indeed, may be supposed, when 
we state that among other works sixty-three bridges were 
to be constructed ; cuttings to the extent of nearly twenty- 
seven millions of cubic yards; and embankments to the 
amount of two hundred and seventy-seven thousand cubic 
yards to be made ; which, with tunnelling and other 
works, " presented a charge," as a modern writer remarks, 
" which none but British merchants could have ventured 
to have undertaken, and perhaps only British engineers 
could have executed." 

The tunnel under Liverpool, Avhich we have already 
noticed briefly in our chapter on Tunnels, was constructed 
in about eight separate lengths, each communicating with 



the surface above by means of perpendicular shafts. During 
the year 1827, this work was carried on with untiring in- 
dustry. The excavation proceeded night and day ; and 
the difficulties, Avhich constantly arose, Avere very great : 
sometimes a soft blue slate with quantities of water ap- 
peared ; and at other times wet sand, which required to 
be supported with much masonic skill. In one part a 
large mass of moist earth and sand fell in, and choked 
up the tunnel. Sometimes these formidable obstacles 
alarmed the miners, and they refused to work; and it 
required much personal encouragement, on the part of the 
engineer, to keep them to their posts. However, diffi- 
culties did not always occur : they sometimes met with 
a fine red sandstone easily cut through, and so substantial 
as to require no props, and no arching of masonry for 
support. In June 1828, it was reported to the directors 
that the tunnel was nearly completed. The appearance of 
this tunnel is singular and picturesque : it being white- 
washed throughout, and lighted with gas. The roof and 
sides, near each gas-burner, are so strongly illuminated, 
that the whole vista appears like a succession of superb 
arches formed through massive parallel w^alls, the inter- 
vening spaces being left in comparative obscurity. 

Sankey Viaduct. 


In 1828 preparations were made for the erection of 
the great viaduct over the Sankey valley. About two 
hundred piles, from twenty to thirty feet long, were 
driven firmly into the foundation-site of each of the 
ten piers. The Sankey viaduct is shown in the last 
figure. It is a massive, but handsome structure, consist- 
ing of nine arches, each having a span of fifty feet : the 
height of the viaduct is seventy feet above the Sankey 
canal ; a lock of which is shown in the figure. The 
structure is chiefly of brick, with stone facings : the 
breadth of the railway between the parapets is twenty-five 

One of the most difficult parts of this line was that 
over Chat-Moss, a huge bog, comprising an area of twelve 
square-miles, so soft as to yield to the foot of man or 
beast ; and in many parts so fluid, that an iron rod laid 
upon the surface would sink to the bottom by its own 
weight. It varies from ten to thirty-five feet in depth, 
and the bottom is composed of sand and clay. On the 
eastern border, for about a mile and a-half, the greatest 
difficulty in the construction of the road occurred. Here 
an embankment of about twenty feet above the natural 
level was formed, the weight of which restins: on a soft 
base pressed down the original surface : many thousand 
cubic yards gradually and silently disappeared, before the 
desired level was attained : but, by degrees, the whole 
mass beneath, and on either side of this embankment, 
became consolidated by the superincumbent and lateral 
pressure, and the work was finally completed. Hurdles of 
brushwood and heath are placed under the wooden 
sleepers, which support the rails over the greater part of 
this moss ; so that the road may be said to float on the 

So impracticable had it been deemed to carry the road 
over this bog, that even a civil-engineer denounced the 
project in his evidence before parliament ; and afforded 
an instance of incautious pre-judgment, as the folloAving 
amusing extract from the parliamentary proceedings will 
show : — 

Questiofi. Tell us whether, in your judgment, a rail- 


road can be safely made over Chat-Moss, without going to 
the bottom of the bog ? 

Answer. I say, certainly not. 

Q. Will it be necessary, therefore, in making a per- 
manent rail-road, to take out the whole of the moss to the 
bottom, along the whole line of road ? 

A. Undoubtedly. 

Q. Will that make it necessary to cut down the 
thirty-three or thirty-four feet of which you have been 
speaking ? 

A. Yes. 

Q. And afterwards to fill it up with other soil ? 

A. To such a height as the railway is to be carried; 
other soil mixed with a portion of the moss. 

Q. But suppose they were to work upon this stuff, 
could they get their carriages to the place ? 

A. No carriage can stand on the moss short of the 

Q. What would they do to make it stand, — laying 
planks or something of that sort ? 

A. Nothing would support it. 

Q. So that if you could carry a rail-road over this 
fluid stuff, — if you could do it, it would still take a great 
number of men, and a great sum of money. Could it be 
done, in your opinion, for 6000/. ? 

A. I should say 200,000/. would not get through it. 

Q. My learned friend wishes to know what it would 
cost to lay it with diamonds ? 

With this jeering query we may well conclude our 
extract from such evidence, given by such a witness, who 
must, indeed, have been surprised, if not mortified, at 
seeing, a few years afterwards, a fine line of rail-road 
thrown over the very bog which he declared to be impass- 
able; to see carriages going over it without going to the 
bottom; — carriages laden with tons of merchandise : and, 
instead of common diamonds forming the pavement, to 
see " black diamonds" whirling over it, to feed the furnaces 
of thousands of factories, which this fine road benefits; 
and to reflect that the road, which this witness declared 


■would cost more than two hundred thousand pounds, 
actually cost, from the first draining of the bog, to the 
subsequent completion of the line over its surface, no 
more than thirty thousand jiounds. 

In the spring of 1829, another set of labourers were 
taken on, in order to accelerate the completion of the 
"whole line, by -working night and day. The effect of this 
plan was soon apparent; and had it not been for the 
extremely wet summer and autumn of that year, the whole 
road would have been completed by the beginning of 1830. 
The long and heavy rains greatly impeded the work, and 
pumps were often in constant action, to clear the cuttings, 
which frequently assumed the appearance of a canal, in- 
stead of a railroad. 

Let us now say a few words respecting the rails, and 
the mode of fixing them. So little experience had been 
obtained with regard to this novel mode of conveyance, 
that it was long a matter of doubt, whether the rails 
should be made of cast or of wrought iron. The former 
was cheaper, but the latter more durable. After much 
consideration, wrought iron rails were adopted, 3847 tons 
of which were required: and the cast iron pedestals, to 
which they were to be fastened, amounted to 1428 tons 
more. The rails Avere made in lengths of five feet each. 
The blocks, or sleepers, were sometimes of stone, at other 
times of wood; as circumstances required. Those of 
stone, extend about eighteen miles, and contain about four 
cubic feet each : those of wood, are laid chiefly across the 
embankments, where it was expected the road would 
subside to a small extent. The stone sleepers are let 
firmly into the permanent road, at intervals of three feet. 
In each block two holes are drilled, for the reception of 
oaken plugs. At every three feet the rails are supported 
on, and securely fastened to, cast iron chairs or pedestals, 
which latter are spiked down to the plugs. The rails are 
about two inches broad, and rise about an inch above the 
surface. There are tivo lines of road throughout; but, at 
Liverpool, under the warehouses, there are four lines, on 
account of the greater traffic at that particular spot. 

On the 1st of May, 1830, the Rocket steam-engine, 


with a carriage full of company, passed over the road- way, 
along the whole extent of Chat- Moss, thus affording the 
first triumphant proof of the possibility of forming this 
much-contested road. 

We stated in the last chapter, that the company, even 
up to the time of the completion of the line, had not 
decided upon the means of transporting the carriages, 
whether by horses, by stationary steam-engines, or by loco- 
motive engines. Numerous schemes were proposed to 
the directors, recommending imjjroved powers or improved 
carriages; and these schemes came from persons of all 
classes; from professors of philosophy, down to the hum- 
blest mechanic; all were zealous in proffering assistance. 
A writer in one of the periodicals of the time, thus" 
amusingly suras up these schemes: — "Every element, and 
nearly every substance, were brought into requisition, and 
made subservient to the great work. The friction of the 
carriages Avould be reduced so low, that a silk thread would 
draw them ; and the poAver to be applied was to be so vast, 
as to rend a cable asunder. Hydrogen gas and high- 
pressure steam, — columns of water, and columns of mer- 
cury, — a hundred atmospheres, and a perfect vacuum, — 
machines working in a circle, without fire or steam, 
generating power at one end of the process, and giving it 
out at the other, — carriages that conveyed every one its 
own railway, — wheels Avithin wheels, to multiply speed, 
without diminishing power, — with every complication of 
balancing and countervailing forces, to the 7ie plus ultra 
of perpetual motion. Every scheme, Avhich the restless 
ingenuity or prolific imagination of man could devise, was 
liberally offered to the company; the difiiculty was to 
choose and to decide." 

Previous to this time, the theatre of practical experi- 
ence on railways, was the Stockton and Darlington line, 
spoken of in the last chapter; and the railways in the 
Newcastle collieries. All the modes, heretofore in use, of 
propelling carriages on railways; viz. by animal power, 
by fixed engines, and by locomotives, had been there 
exemplified. Facts, then, were Avanting to lead to a 
correct decision; and the personal inspection of some of 


the company's engineers seemed necessary to produce a 
satisfactory result. Accordingly, the directors empowered 
four experienced engineers to visit the different railways, 
and observe the comparative values of stationary and 
locomotive engines, and then to report on the relative 
merits of the two methods. This was done ; and the 
decision of the directors, guided by the reports of the 
engineers, was in favour of locomotives. Their next ob- 
ject was to stimulate the inventive genius of the country, 
to supply them with the best form of engine for the pur- 
pose. They, therefore offered, in the spring of 1829, a 
prize of five hundred pounds for the best locomotive 
engine, and appointed the following October, for a public 
trial of the claims of the competitors. The conditions 
of the prize were, that the engine should produce no smoke, 
that the pressure of the steam should be limited to fifty 
pounds on the square-inch ; that the engine should draw at 
least three times its OAvn weight, at the rate of not less than 
three miles an hour; that it should be supported on 
springs, and not exceed the height of fifteen feet. 

In the following October three engines competed for 
the prize: — the Rocket, constructed by Mr. Stephenson; 
the Sanspareil, by Mr. Hackworth; and the Novelty, by 
Messrs. BraithAvaite and Ericson. Of these engines, the 
KocKET gained the prize. A line of raUway was chosen 
for the trial, on a level piece of road, about two miles in 
length, near Rain-hill: the distance between the two sta- 
tions Avas a mile and a-half; and the engine had to travel 
this distance backwards and forwards ten times, thus 
making the journey thirty miles. The Rocket performed 
this journey tAvice ; the first time within tAvo hours and 
a-quarter, and the second time Avithin two hours and 
seven minutes. Its speed varied at different parts of the 
journey: its swiftest motion being rather above tAventy- 
nine miles an hour; and its sloAA'est pace about eleven 
miles and a-half an hour. This AA'as the only engine 
which performed, in complete style, the proposed journey; 
the others having become disabled from accidents, Avhich 
occurred during the contest. • 

We come noAV to the time, when the rail-road ap- 


proachecl its completion. Little more than three years 
had been occupied in this work; in which more than 
ordinary difficulties had been met and overcome. The 
total cost, from the commencement, to the time when 
warehouses, machinery, and carriages were completed, and 
the railroad ready for active operations, is estimated at 

Previous to the 15th of September, 1830, extensive 
arrangements had been made for the important ceremonial 
of opening the railway on that day. All the loose stones 
and rubbish, Avhich obstructed the tunnels in different 
parts of the line, were removed; the rails Avere well swept; 
and strong fences were erected along the high ground, on 
each side of the deep cuttings, for several miles, to prevent 
the spectators from intrusion, and to protect them from 
danger in their eagerness to witness the procession. There 
were also many constables and soldiers to assist in keeping 
the railroad clear; and places were assigned to a large 
number of persons, who had previously been so fortunate 
as to procure tickets. Each engine, and its train of car- 
riages, had distinguishing flags; and the number of these 
locomotives was eight: the Northumbrian, the Phoenix, 
the North Star, the Rocket, the Dart, the Comet, the 
Arrow, and the Meteor. All these engines were built by 
Messrs. Stephenson, of Newcastle. It was expected that 
three patent engines, built by Messrs. Braithwaite and 
Ericson, would have been also in readiness; but not having 
arrived from London early enough to be subjected to a 
preliminary trial, the directors thought it would not be 
prudent to alloAV them to make part of a procession, which 
it was of the utmost consequence, should be exposed to 
as few risks of failure as possible. Messrs. Stephenson's 
engines had been repeatedly and successfully tried several 
weeks before. 

The ceremony was honoured with the presence of the 
Duke of Wellington, Sir Robert Peel, and many other 
distinguished individuals. The Northumbrian was ap- 
pointed to take the lead of the procession, drawing a 
splendid carriage appropriated to the Duke and Sir Robert, 
and about thirty other eminent men. Each of the other 



locomotives drew four carriages, containing between eighty 
and ninety persons; thus making the total number of in- 
dividuals, accommodated with seats in the procession, to 
be about six hundred. 

At twenty minutes to eleven o'clock, the procession 
commenced its progress towards Manchester, the North- 
umbrian taking exclusively one of the two lines of rail, 
and the rest of the engines the other. A periodical writer 
of the day, who was present, states that the brilliancy 
of the procession, — -the novelty of the sight, — and con- 
siderations of the almost boundless advantages of the 
stupendous power about to be put in motion, — gave to the 
spectacle an unparalleled interest. On every side the tumul- 
tuous voice of praise was heard; and countless thousands 
waved their hats, to cheer on the sons of enterprise in this 
their crowning effort. The engines proceeded at a mode- 
rate speed toward Wavertree-lane ; when, increased power 
having been added, they went forward with great swift- 
ness, and thousands of people then fell back, whom all the 
previous efforts of a formidable police could not move 
from the road. Numerous booths and vehicles lined the 
various roads; and were densely crowded. After passing 
"Wavertree-lane, the procession entered the deep ravine at 
Olive Mount, and the eye of the passenger could scarcely 
find time to rest on the multitudes that lined the roads, 
or admire the various bridges thrown across this great 
monument of human labour. Shortly afterwards, Eain- 
hill-bridge was neared, and the inclined plane of Sutton 
began to be ascended, at a more slackened pace. The 
summit was soon gained, and twenty-four miles an hour 
became the maximum of the speed. About noon the pro- 
cession passed over the Sankey- viaduct. The scene at 
this part was particularly striking. The fields below were 
occupied by thousands, who cheered the procession, in 
passing over this stupendous edifice: carriages filled the 
narrow lanes; and vessels, on the water, had been detained, 
in order that their crews might gaze up at the gorgeous 
pageant, passing far above their mast-heads. At Park- 
side, seventeen miles from Liverpool, the engines stopped 
to take in a supply of water and fuel; and many of the 
company having alighted in the interval, were walking 


a"bout, congratulating each other on the truly delightful 
treat they were enjoying, all hearts hounding with joyous 
excitement, and every tongue eloquent in the praise of 
the gigantic work now completed, and the advantages and 
pleasures it afforded. 

At this point of the proceedings occurred the sad acci- 
dent which we are ahout to relate, and which threw a dark 
cloud over a day, devoted to honourable triumph and well- 
earned festivity. 

The Phcenix and North Star, having taken in their 
supplies of water and fuel, had resumed their journey, and 
passed the Northumbrian, which remained stationary on 
the other line, in order that the whole train of carriages 
might here pass in review before the Duke of Wellington, 
and his party. Several gentlemen had embraced the 
opportunity of alighting from the state- carriage, and were 
walking about on the road; among which number was 
Mr. Huskisson, who caught the eye of the Duke of Wel- 
lington. A recognition immediately followed, when the 
Duke extended his hand, which Mr. Huskisson advanced 
to take. At this moment the Rocket came rapidly for- 
ward upon the other line, and a cry of danger was raised. 
Sevefal gentlemen succeeded in regaining the state-car- 
riage ; but Mr. Huskisson, who was in a weak state of 
health, became flurried; and after making two attempts 
to cross the road upon which the Rocket was moving, ran 
back, in great agitation, to the side of the Duke's carriage. 
White, the engineer, saw the unfortunate gentleman, as 
the engine approached, in a position of imminent danger, 
and immediately endeavoured to arrest its progress, but 
without success. Mr. Holmes, M. P., who had not been 
able to get into the carriage, stood next to Mr. Huskis- 
son, and perceiving that he had altogether lost his pre- 
sence of mind, called upon him "to be firm!" The space 
between the two lines of rails is just four feet; but the 
state-car, being eight feet wide, extended two feet beyond 
the rail on which it moved, thus diminishing the space to 
two feet between its side and the rail on which the Rocket 
was moving. This engine, also, projected somewhat over 
the rail on which it ran; thus still further diminishin"- 


the standing room to not more than a foot and a-half. 
when the vehicles were side by side on the opposite rails. 
In addition to this, the door of the state-car happened to 
be wide open; so that it was impossible for the Rocket 
to pass without striking it. Mr. Huskisson had just 
o-rasped hold of this door, when he was warned of the 
approach of the Rocket. INIr. Littleton, M. P., had sprung 
into the state-car, and had just pulled in Prince Esterhazy, 
when he saAV Mr. Huskisson alarmed and agitated, grasp- 
ing the door with a trembling convulsive hold. At this 
moment the Rocket struck the door, and Mr. Huskisson 
was thrown to the ground across one of the rails of the 
line, on which the engine was advancing, the wheels of 
which went over his leg and thigh, and fractured them 
in so dreadful a manner, as to produce death before the 
lapse of many hours. 

After this melancholy accident, the Duke of Welling- 
ton and Sir Robert Peel desired to terminate all festivity 
and return to Liverpool, instead of going on Avith the 
procession to Manchester. A magistrate, however, stated 
that, if the procession did not reach Slanchester, where an 
unprecedented concourse of people was assembled to Avit- 
ness it, he should be fearful of the consequences to the 
peace of the town. The directors likewise stated that 
they were but trustees for property to an immense amount; 
that the value of that property might be affected if the 
procession did not go on, and thus demonstrate the prac- 
ticability of locomotive travelling on an extensive scale; 
and that, though the illustrious Duke and his cortege 
mi"ht not deem it advisable, as a matter of delicacy, to 
proceed, yet it was the duty of themselves, the directors, 
to complete the ceremony of opening the road. This 
reasonin"- being just, the Duke consented to proceed, but 
expressed his wish to return as soon as possible, and re- 
frain from all festivity at Manchester. 

The procession accordingly resumed its onward pro- 
cress, and arrived at Manchester at a quarter before three. 
The Duke and his party did not alight, but the greater 
portion of the company in the other carriages descended, 
and were shown into the large upper rooms of the Com- 
pany's warehouses, where they partook of refreshments. 



The Company returned in detached parties, after con- 
siderable delays on the road, to Liverpool. The melan- 
choly accident, which deprived an estimable man of his 
life, and the country of a talented statesman, broke up the 
union of the party, and made the termination of the day 
as melancholy as its dawn had been propitious. 

However, as far as the rail-road was concerned, the 
triumph Avas complete. On the following Thursday 
morning public traffic on the line commenced; the Nor- 
thumbrian left Liverpool with 130 passengers, and arrived 
at Manchester in one hour and fifty minutes. In the 
evening it returned with 120 passengers, and three tons 
of luggage, in one hour and forty-eight minutes. This 
was the first journey performed for hire. The fare 
charged was ^s. for each passenger. 

On Friday the 17th, six carriages commenced running 
regularly between the two toAvns. 

Such, then, is a brief account of the rise, progress, and 
completion of probably one of the grandest efforts at 
social impro\^ement, Avhich has been witnessed in modern 
times. The business of the Liverpool and Manchester 
railroad has continued up to the present time in success- 
ful operation; its commercial value to the two towns 
and indirectly to the country at large, has long been ad- 
mitted; its success, too, has been such as to remunerate 
the spirited individuals who contributed their means to 
the undertaking; and it has been undoubtedly the source 
of a spirit of emulation which has led to the construction 
of many other lines of rail-road which, in various parts of 
the country, are now completed or are advancing rapidly 
to completion. 

Tka Rocket, with a tram of Carriages attached. 

Railway Scene. 


The Rail-road system. — Province of the Legislature. — Formation 
of Railway Companies. — Economy of Railways. — Station- 
houses. — Supply of water and fuel, &c. — Locomotive Engine 
and its attendants. — Two Engines to one train. — Mile-stones. — 
Rapidity of transit. — Signals — day and night. — Police. — Im- 
proved Signals. — Telegi-aphs. — Steam-whistle. — Winds, effects 
of. — Anemometers. — Tunnels, salubrity of. — Variations in the 
construction of Railways. — Liverpool and Manchester, — London 
and Birmingham, — Great Western, — London and Brighton, — 
Loudon and Greenwich Railways. — Railways in Ireland. — 

In continuing the subject of rail-roads from the esta- 
blishment of the line which connects the two great toAvns 
of Liverpool and Manchester, the natural course of our 
inquiry would lead us to trace the origin and progress, not 
only of the principal rail-roads of our own country, but 
those also of other lands; and to conclude our volume 
with a comparative view of rail-roads, their statistics, 
their political influence, and the probable effect they will 
have on social Improvement: but the subject of rail-roads 
is a vast one, into which much speculation must neces- 
sarily enter, on account of its novelty ; and setting aside 
the fact, that such an inquiry is above the j)urposes of the 


present volunie, we ■would rather wait until the import- 
ance and influence of rail-roads have been more fully appre- 
ciated. We propose, therefore, to occupy the remainder 
of our space Avith a few details on the general manage- 
ment and economy of rail-roads — details which form con- 
stant subjects of conversation with rail-road travellers, 
among whom information is not always of the most accu- 
rate or precise description. 

Many persons are at a loss to knoAv why an Act of 
Parliament is necessary before a railway can be con- 
structed; Avhy the enormous sums of 70,000/, with respect 
to the London and Birmingham, and 80,000/ with respect 
to the Great Western railways, should have been spent 
in obtaining the Acts of Parliament. We shall soon 
perceive a reason for this, when we consider the enormous 
powers with which the railway directors are invested ; 
that proprietors of land are compelled to sell their property 
to the railway companies, so much of it as may be required. 
The proprietor may ask a large price for his land, 
and, generally speaking, the price paid is very liberal ; 
but still this circumstance does not remove the somewhat 
startling fact, that the sale must take place, whether the 
proprietor desires it or not. Now so much respect do the 
laws of England pay to private property, that a special 
Act of Parliament is required before a company can thus 
have a command over the property of other persons. 
The proprietors of land have an opportunity of stating 
their opinions, either for or against a railway, which is 
proposed to pass through their estates: and the Houses 
of Parliament weigh well the proportion between those 
who do, and those who do not, object. The legislature is 
also bound to see that the natural resources of the country, 
such as rivers, mineral treasures, &c., are not unduly in- 
terfered Avlth. Again, as the constitution of a raihvay 
has a strong tendency to drive other vehicles off the old 
turnpike-road, which it is intended to supersede, it is 
necessary to take such precautions as shall prevent the 
raihvay company from possessing the ohnoxious tendency 
of a monopoly. There are many minor points which it is 
necessary to make binding on a railway company ; and 


these can only be placed on a right footing by a special Act 
of Parliament. 

But this being granted, it cannot but be lamented that 
the cost of obtaining an act is so enormous. It is not our 
business to point out what reforms would produce economy 
in this respect ; we will only allude to the unfavourable 
light in which the legislature is placed, by a system which 
requires such a vast dead loss to the shareholders of a 
company ; for it must be remembered that the purchase- 
money for the land is altogether distinct from, and in 
addition to, the parliamentary expenses. Another evil 
arises from the same source : — when a company have ob- 
tained an Act of Parliament, they seem disposed to adopt 
a higher scale of charges to the public, as a kind of retalia- 
tion for the annoyance and expense incurred before the 
railway can be commenced. It has been stated, that in the 
year 1836, the passengers on the Liverpool and Manchester 
railway Avere 522,991 ; and that those on the Brussels 
and Antwerp railway amounted, in the same year, to 
872,893. Now, in order to obtain data for a comparison 
of these numbers, we must take the population of the 
principal towns on the line: — it is found that the popu- 
lation of Liverpool, Manchester, and Warrington, amounts 
to 486,812; and that of Brussels, Antwerp, and JMechlin, 
to 209,200. If, then, we compare in each case, the num- 
ber of passengers with the number of inhabitants, and 
bring them to the same ratio, there will be 2,025,100 
passengers on the Liverpool and Manchester railway, in- 
stead of 522,910. A very large portion of this difference 
has been attributed, by a recent writer, to the far higher 
rate of charge on the English than on the Belgian rail- 

The mode of obtainincf an Act of Parliament for a rail- 
way, is sufficiently evident to those who pay the slightest 
attention to the proceedings of the Houses of Parliament, 
and need not be detailed here. A railway company con- 
sists of a number of shareholders, who embark their capital 
into one common stock ; and the inducement to do so is 
very simple and palpable : — those who have spare capital, 
put it out to interest, in some way or other, and are always 


on the look-out for a mode of investment which will yield 
more than the government interest of about 3^ per cent : 
if, therefore, there be reason to believe that the receipts 
on a railway Avili, after defraying all expenses, yield more 
than the above per centage of profit, nothing further is 
required to induce capitalists to embark in such a specula- 
tion : M'hen, therefore, we look at the " prices of railway 
shares" in the daily journals, they Avill always afford us 
indications of the state of hope or of fear in which the 
shareholders are at that time, respecting the ultimate profit 
of the various undertakings. The high price which a 
capitalist is willing to give for a share in the Stockton and 
Darlington, the Liverpool and Manchester, the London 
and Birmingham, and a few other railways, shows the 
opinion which he entertains of the high rate of profit to 
be derived from them : — while, in many other instances, 
which we do not wish to name, the slender hope of profit 
renders the sum offered for a share very small. This is 
the key which opens to us the motives of monied men, 
and which enables us to understand the astounding fact 
that icfi miUions sterling Avill be spent on two only out of 
the large number of railways: i.e.: — the London and 
Birmingham, and the Great Western. 

A company, then, being formed, and funds supplied, 
the future operations, — and indeed, all those from the very 
commencement, — are placed in the hands of a managing 
committee or directory; — a principle of government which 
we find to prevail in every age, in every country, and in every 
grade of life. The management of a company is, for many 
reasons, not placed in the hands of one individual; the prin- 
ciple that " two heads are better than one," is felt and 
acted on. A board of directors is generally appointed, 
who superintend the whole management of the under- 
taking, and present periodical reports to the shareholders 
at general half-yearly meetings. These directors are 
chosen by the shareholders, and act, in some cases with, 
and in others without, salary. 

But we have abundant evidence in common life, that 
to determine that a thing shall be done, and to see that it 
is done, are two difltrent things, and often require dif- 



ferent powers of mind. This is felt in the management 
of a railway, in which, although the directors, if well 
chosen, are ahle to lay down excellent rules, they are too 
many in number, and perhaps not well fitted by talent, to 
see those rules strictly acted on : they, therefore, usually 
appoint an experienced, responsible executive officer, who 
has nothing to do with making laws and rules; but who 
sees that those which are made are put in execution: — to 
do this, the stations, the engines, the police, the ware- 
houses, must all be under his supervision, and the re- 
spective managers of them must act under his orders. If 
the reader were to devote five minutes' thought to this 
subject, he would see how strongly the principle of a con- 
stitutional government is acted on in these matters ; there 
is an elective body, a legislative body, an executive, or 
ministry', and an extensive train of paid servants, who 
receive their salaries out of the funds of the elective body; 
and in the commercial as well as in the political body, the 
principle of ultimate responsibility to the elective body is 
strongly marked, although its operation may not always 
be visible at the surface. 

This, then, is the corporate machinery by which the 
shareholders of a company proceed to attain their object ; 
and in all the details which we have hitherto given re- 
specting railways, the reader will understand that the 
directors of a company, having received general instruc- 
tions on the more important points at the half-yearly 
general meeting, act on their own responsibility in every- 
thing else, — select the persons who shall construct the 
rail-way, — consult with and direct the engineer in his 
progress, — call for money from the shareholders, Avhen re- 
quired, — disburse it Avhen and where they may deem it to 
be most necessary, — and invest the unemployed portion 
in bankers' hands ; — being accountable for all this to the 
shareholders, at the next half-yearly meeting. 

Let us suppose, then, that under the orders of such a 
board of directors, a railway has been constructed, — loco- 
motive engines, adapted to the width, or gauge of the rails, 
tuilt^ — strong vehicles for the conveyance of luggage and 
merchandise, and lighter ones for passengers, more or 


less commodious according to the fare charged, con- 
structed and fitted to the raihvaj^, — and all prepared for 
running the vehicles on the rails. It Avill be obvious that 
much will be required before business can commence, — not 
only a disciplined corps of men, but other arrangements 
which merit our notice. 

In the first place we may mention statio?is, and the 
object for which they are required. We must remember 
that the two great towns at the ends of a line arc not the 
only ones which are to derive benefit from the railway. 
The line, in most cases, passes between several large 
towns, some of Avhich are a few miles to the left and 
others to the right of it. Now, such is the advantage of 
quick transit, that even if a town were twenty miles from 
the nearest point of a railway, it might be desirable to 
travel those twenty miles in a stage coach, and then pro- 
ceed via railway, in preference to performing the journey 
by the old coach road, which is, in such case, very likely 
to be the shorter distance of the two. Now, no person 
can go on a railway at an intermediate point in its length, 
with that facility which a passing traveller can mount a 
stage-coach, — and this for several reasons : — if a steam- 
carriage stopped every few minutes, in order to take up a 
passenger, a most serious loss of locomotive power Avould 
result, not only from loss of steam, but also from loss of 
momentum : — if a casual passenger could mount at any 
part of the line, it is manifest that the railway would not 
be sufficiently railed off:' and guarded, for the prevention 
of accidents : — lastly, if a passenger entered and left the 
train at any points indiscriminately, the passage-money 
must be paid to the engine-man, or to some person ac- 
companying the train, a mode, the inconvenience of which 
requires no comment. The same remarks apply, and even iu 
a still greater degree, to the carriage of heavy merchandise. 

For these reasons, therefore, stations are erected at 
various distances along the line of road, at each of which 
regular officers attend, bavins: well-defined duties to 
perform. These stations are arranged with reference, 
as much as possible, to the convenience of populous 
towns lying on the right or left of the railway. It is 


believed, that if these stations were very numerous, not 
only Avould the existing rate of traffic from neighbouring 
towns greatly increase, hut traffic would even spring up 
from places Avhich were, from their seclusion, deprived 
of traffic with other towns. The limit to the number of 
stations is found Avhen the expense of maintaining them 
equals the profit derived from them. 

But the advantages of a station at which a train can 
stop to take up passengers and goods are not confined to 
those we li;ive just mentioned. The consumption of fuel 
and water by the locomotive engines is very great; and it 
is necessary to liave depots where a supply of these neces- 
saries, — this provender for steam-horses, — can be taken 
in. The passenger-station may therefore consistently act 
as these depots, especially as the supplying of water and 
fuel to the engine, and the admission of passengers and 
goods to the carriages, may be carried on at the same 
moment, and thus time may be economized. 

The stations actually in use in our various railways 
are of different characters. In some instances, the station 
is merely a room, which serves both for office and waiting- 
room, from which the passengers and parcels from a small 
town or village can be taken upon the railway, Avhen one 
of the trains pass. But generally speaking, the stations 
are of gi-eater extent : they contain an office for transact- 
ing the business of the stations, and one or more "waiting- 
rooms. A useful suggestion has lately been made in an 
article in the Encyclopcedia Britannica ; viz., that there 
should be a separate waiting-room for ladies, with a 
respectable female to attend them, and to provide them 
with refreshments at a moderate price. Such stations also 
generally contain rooms for the inspector of police, and 
for clerks and porters ; and also an office for merchandise. 
Where the station is an important one, there is often an 
engine-house, — a steam-engine to pump Avater, — an en- 
gineer's room, — a supply of spare carriages, &c., kept in a 
place properly secured and protected from the weather. 

The arrangement of these stations is generally, and 
ought always to be, if practicable, such that passengers 
can step from a platform into the carriages without either 


ascending or descending ; and during the stoppage of the 
train, the whole of the passengers, while entering or leav- 
ing the carriages, should be protected over head by a 
roof thrown across the railway. If the station be well 
ordered, a great deal may be done in a very few minutes. 
The time at which the train begins its journey, together 
with the general rate of travelling, being known, the time 
of the arrival at the station can be pretty accurately pre- 
dicted, and everything should be in readiness just before 
the train arrives. In the first place, if the station be a 
depot for fuel and water, the engineer is prepared to supply 
the tender of the engine with those materials the moment 
it arrives : — if any slight repairs are required, tools, &c. 
should be at hand . — horses and private vehicles should be 
drawn up in readiness to be placed on the trucks or skeleton 
carriages : — heavy goods should be so warehoused as to 
be hoisted into the train wagons with expedition ; — and 
the passengers should be at hand to take their places in 
the carriages. On the other hand, there are likely to be 
passengers, merchandise, horses, carriages, &c., which quit 
the railway at that station ; in such a case it has been re- 
commended that all v/hich leaves the train should be landed, 
on the opposite side of the railway from that at which 
passengers, &c. are taken in, by which means much con- 
fusion and loss of time will be avoided. It is recom- 
mended that the Avater-tank and crane, and the coke store, 
for supplying the engine, should be somewhat in advance 
of the passengers' waiting-room, while the conveniences 
for attaching or detaching horses, private carriages, Sec, 
should be in arrear of it : by these means, all the various 
duties which we have mentioned may be attended to 
simultaneously. Two clerks, an inspector, four policemen, 
and a few porters, are the principal persons required at 
such a station. 

Such, then, are the purposes for Avhich stations are 
necessary, and such is a brief outline of the proceedings 
which occur when a train stops at a station. 

TVe are so much in the habit of regarding locomotive 
engines as self-moving machines, that we are apt to forget 
that, like a clever but impetuous child, such an engine 
requires more vigilant watching in proportion as it be- 


comes more powerful. If, on the one hand, we feel the 
advantages, in a commercial point of view, derived from a 
rate of transit equal to thirty miles an hour, we must, on 
the other hand, admit that any accident, resulting from 
carelessness and inattention, is likely to be much more 
disastrous : — for instance, on one of the embankments of 
the Liverpool and Manchester railway, a locomotive engine 
on one occasion got oif the rails, and was stopped only 
just in time to prevent it from being precipitated down 
the embankment, and perhaps dragging the carriages after 
it ; and the more rapidly the engine might have been going 
at that moment, the more ruinous Avould have been the 
effects which followed. 

For these reasons a large share of responsibility rests 
with the engine-man, not only in taking care of the 
management of the engine, considered as such, but in 
directing its progress along the road, in its capacity of a 
travelling vehicle. Before a train of carriages starts on a 
journey, the engine-man examines the engine carefullj^ 
to see that every part of it is in Avorking order and fit for 
immediate use. He also sees that the tender has its 
proper complement of coke and water, and that the oil 
for lubricating the joints of the engine is properly sup- 
plied. It is frequently arranged, that the engine shall be 
driven to and fro for a short distance on the rails previous 
to being attached to the train, in order to see that every- 
thing is in readiness. 

When the " steam is up," and the engine ready for 
starting, (during which time the carriages are taking their 
load of passengers and merchandise,) it is broiight down, 
or backwards, to the head of the train, and hooked to the 
foremost carriage. The steam is then applied to the pro- 
pulsion of the engine, and with it, of all the carriages 
Avhich follow it. The engine-man has now to keep a 
vigilant look-out, to keep the engine in its right course, 
and to watch the various valves, &c. on Avhich his poAver 
over the engine depends. He has a gauge, already described, 
by which he can tell how much water is in the boiler, and 
from time to time he pumps an additional supply into it 
from the tank in the tender. He has to see that the fur- 


nace is properly supplied -with coke, and to regulate the 
quantity added according to tlie power of the steam at the 

Whatever may be the rate of travelling, it is consi- 
dered desirable to lessen that rate while passing another 
train which is standing still, asthe stoppage may indicate that 
all is not right. The rapidity of progress, when approaching 
towards a station, must also be slackened with much 
judgment, in order to bring the train to a stop at the pro- 
per place. Besides this, the engine-man has a means of 
communicating with the guard at the back of the train, so 
that he is prepared to stop the engine whenever the guard 
conveys a signal to him so to do. 

The journey completed, the engine-man has not ful- 
filled all his duties until the engine is laid up in its place : 
he sees the fire raked out, and any remaining steam blown 
oft". Even when the water in the boiler has become quite 
cold, the engine is not yet reduced to a quiescent state ; 
for, instances are stated to have occurred in which the 
" man-hole" of the engine has been opened when the 
water has become cold, and a man has entered ; and upon 
introducing a lighted candle, an explosion has taken place, 
and the man has been killed : this shoAvs that we do not 
yet understand all the phenomena connected with the 
generation of steam in a close boiler. 

The engine-man, on giving up the charge of his engine, 
makes a report of anything which may have occurred on 
the road, such as the breaking or displacing of rails, in- 
jury happening to engines, carriages, &c., and any other 
circumstances which, irom his situation in the train, he 
may be supposed to be the best qualified to speak upon. 

We may here mention, that when a train is too heavy 
to be drawn with sufficient rapidity by one engine, two 
are employed. This has given rise to a dift'erence of 
opinion, as to whether it would, in such case, be more de- 
sirable to have two half-trains, each with an engine, than 
one long one with two engines. It has been asserted, that 
no two engines work with precisely the same effective 
power ; so that it is likely to happen that one of the two 
engines attached to a train would tend to move faster than 


the other, by which the latter would he dragged along, in 
some degree. It is, on the other hand, stated that the two 
engines soon equalize their rates of motion, perhaps on a 
somewhat similar principle to the known fact that two 
clock pendulums hanging on the same wall will soon 
oscillate isochronously, or in equal times. 

The rate of travelling along the railway may be known 
by mile-stones set up at the sides, and which may be seen 
from the carriages ; by the aid of these, and of a common 
watch, the rate of travelling may be easily noted. The 
author of the treatise before referred to, after alluding to 
the indistinctness of the mile-posts commonly used, recom- 
mends the employment of posts made of iron, with a box at 
the top. This box is triangular, with two of its faces pre- 
sented obliquely to the road. Inside this box is a small 
la,mp ; and the faces of the box are opaque, with the ex- 
ception of the openings which constitute the figures or 
letters. These figures would sufficiently show themselves 
during the day, and at night, the policemen could light the 
lamps, and thus make the figures visible then likewise. 

A convenient mode has also been pointed out by the 
same writer, by means of which the engine may be made 
to tell its own rate of progress, provided we have a good 
seconds' watch at hand. There are four puffs from the 
blast pipe at every revolution of the driving wheels, so that 
at every fourth puflF the wheels have made one revolution. 
A little common arithmetic would enable a person to con- 
struct a table of velocities, according to the diameter of the 
wheels, arising from the well-known ratio of 1 to 3.141(3 
between the diameter and the circumference. The foUow- 
insr table would serve where the Avheels are five feet in 
diameter : 

Number of fourth 

Velocity in miles 

Number of fourth 

Velocity in miles 

puffs in 10 seconds. 

per hour. 

puffs in 10 seconds. 

per hour. 


- - 






- 24.63 


- - 






- 25.70 


- - 






- 26.77 


- - 






- 27.85 


- - 






- 28.92 








- 29.99 


- - 






- 31.06 


- - 






- 32.13 



It is very essential that a system of well-understood 
sWals be adopted on railways; for if any accident happen 
a lihort time before the arrival of a train, it is of the first 
importance that the engine-man should have notice of it 
at 1 considerable distance from the spot where it has oc- 
curied. For instance, a rail may be displaced by the pass- 
ing \)f the last preceding train, or the train itself may 
haveheen prevented from continuing its journey, either 
from \ome accident having happened to the engine, or from 
some kher cause. Important as it is to have timely no- 
tice ofWy such accident by day, it becomes doubly neces- 
sary bynight, when it is so much less in our power to 
know, hr the assistance of the eye alone, what is doing, or 
what haabeen done, at some distance in front of us. We 
need har\ly dwell on the dreadful nature of an accident 
occurring <;it night through any unforeseen obstacle to the 
progress oia train. 

For thfte reasons there have been devised many ar- 
rangementsWhich act as alarms, signals, telegraphs, &c. 
In the first nace, there is a police force employed along 
the line of riilway, whose duty it is to keep a watch at 
everything ocoirring, or likely to occur, along the line ; 
to prevent intWlers from climbing over the palisades, and 
entering uponVhe railway; to see that no stones are 
thrown, or sulfeed to fall, on the rails, by which the trains 
would be placedVi imminent danger; to render assistance 
to passing trainsW case of any accident happening ; to 
assist in Avorkinaa system of signals ; and to perform 
many other dutiesVf a similar nature. The policemen for 
each railway haveV regular uniform, and are under a 
systematic code of rft-ulations. 

One of the dutiespf the policemen, as we have just 
observed, is to assist making signals to approaching 
trains. On some of Vq railways it has been customary, 
when a train is appr^ching a spot where a policeman 
stands, for him to place JUnself in a conspicuous situation, 
with one or both arms exVnded, in a certain or understood 
manner ; one position of Ve arms is to signify " all right," 
and that the train may prAged without fear of interrup- 
tion ; while another positio\ implies that, for some reason 


or Other, matters are going wrong, and that the trail 
must stop when it approaches the policemen. In otter 
instances the policemen are provided with little flag? of 
different colours ; and, on the approach of a train, he holds 
up one or other of the flags, according to the intiniftion 
which he wishes to convey ; for instance, a red flfg to 
intimate danger, and a green one as a signal that iiU is 

But such modes as these can obviously onl; serve 
during the continuance of daylight, and can no loiger be 
available when night comes on. As a night-sip^al, the 
foUoAving plan is sometimes adopted : — lamps are em- 
ployed, which are capable, either of being froited with 
stained glass, or by some other contrivance, of shedding 
coloured light along the line of the railway, anf by caus- 
ing the light thus shed to be red under so^e circum- 
stances, and green or blue under others, a syitem of sig- 
nals is at once obtained, available for night-ti-ie. 

It has been suggested that all railways slould malce a 
red light at night, and a red flag by day, t^e symbols of 
danger. A green light should be placed at-'ach station at 
the spot where the engine-man should sli-ken his speed, 
and a red light at the point where he i' to stop. The 
police should have hand-lanterns, Avitl a, white glass 
and a red one, which latter can be turnd round in an in- 
stant, whenever anything obstructs the tissage of the rail- 
way; and the light held up at any tran approaching, on 
seeing which the train is immediatel; to stop. A green 
glass may also be added, the significaion of which would 
be, " proceed with caution ;" the trau should then come 
slowly on, and ascertain the reason ^i' the signal. 

There are other circumstances n which it is requisite 
to have signals. It is sometimes lecessary for a train, or 
for the engine belonging to it, to "iss from one line of rails 
to the other, by means of a diagfial sliding-rail. A little 
consideration will show that thi'Sliding rail must be capa- 
ble of moving Avithin certain Uiits, so as to present itself 
in a certain position when a engine is proceeding from 
one line of rails to the other, nfl in another position when 
the engine maintains its stnglit course. Now it has been 


Contrived that the sliding rail shall cany a vertical rod 
<\nd a square sign-board, on which a lamp may be placed ; 
atid that the motion of the rail shall also give motion to 
tllp rod. If, then, the lamp be made to shed a red light 
on\one side, and a green one on the other, the red light 
woVld be visible along the line Avhen the sliding rail is in 
one\ position, and the green light when it is in another; 
and,\by a previous arrangement of signals, an approaching 
traim could tell, by the colour of the light presented, 
■\vhetfter the sliding rail were in the proper position to 
enable the engine to pass straight onward, or to go on to 
the otlter rail, as the case may be. 

Another kind of signal is one that shall act as an alarum, 
by whidi the officers at the various stations may know 
that a tr\in is appi'oaching. A man is stationed at a spot 
from wheVce he can see the approach of a train; and when 
the train las arrived to within two minutes' distance from 
him, he sefe an alarum in motion, by which the people iu 
the station-Vouse may know that the train is at hand. A 
form of alar\m employed is the following: — On pulling a 
sort of triggeV a weight, which had been previously wound 
up, begins toVlescend. By descending it turns a wheel, 
which in its \arn works a pinion, and by some interme- 
diate mechanish a clapper is set in motion, and is made 
to strike agains\a gong-shaped bell. The ringing of this 
bell, therefore, cVitinues until the weight has descended, 
and thus acts as \ signal to those in the station-house. 

It has been siirgested to institute a kind of telegraph- 
system upon raihWs, which would not only be advan- 
tageous for the opei^tions of the company, but might also 
be made the means Vf communicating messages, &c., for 
private individuals, a\so much per word, or on any other 
agreed terms. It is Roposed to construct a telegraph at 
each station, and adopUuch a system of telegraphic lan- 
guage as shall be visilDp at the next adjoining station. 
It has been calculated tKt a communication consisting of 
one single signal might bVconveyed 100 miles in a minute 
and a quarter; and a meshge of some length, requiring 
several distinct signals, mrjit be conveyed the same dis- 
tance in half an hour. Theutility of this to private per- 


sons, in a commercial point of view, is obvious at once; 
and tlie service rendered to the Company may be equally 
important. The suggester of the plan makes the foUoT^- 
ing suppositive case : — " For instance, an accident happens 
to an engine ten miles from an engine station. The tele- 
graph Avould send out another engine in a minute, vith 
any commonly good look-out; whereas to send on foot 
would require two hours; thus deranging the time «f all 
the succeeding trains. As another instance : a train start- 
ing from one end to the other of the line, perhaps leaves 
fifty passengers at some intermediate town; the tele- 
graph might immediately make this known to tie clerk 
of that station, who, if he had few passengers jeady for 
the train, could prepare goods' wagons to pit on, so 
that the engine should not go with half a load,— a matter 
of great importance, for the power absorbed byan engine 
before it can put itself in motion being one-tdrd of its 
whole power, it follows that the relative exjenditure of 
power per ton, is nearly six times greater wlh a load of 
ten tons than it would be Avith a load of one hundred 

Medical assistance, in case of accident? to passengers, 
might be procured in a very much shorter time if a tele- 
graphic system of communication were enployed, than if 
an advice-carriage were sent, even at ife highest speed. 
If this system were put into operation, t Avould of course 
involve increased expense in several w.ys; but if it were 
afterwards made available for the con eyance of private 
messages, in the way above stated, -t seems extremely 
probable that the cost of the telegrapi would be repaid. 

There is also an ingenious kinc'of alarum or signal 
adopted, under the name of the 'Steam Whistle," by 
which the ear is brought into requisition, as a means of 
obtaining warnings in case of darker. The instrument is 
a whistle sounded by the gushin, of the steam from the 
boiler through a simple piece (f mechanism, and can be 
cut off or put in action as ?eed may require. These 
whistles are sometimes hearr at a distance of several 
miles, on a calm day. It hasJeen suggested that it Avould 
be desirable to have two of tiese whistles with totally dis- 


tinct sounds, one to be used on the arrival line, and the 
other on the departure line of rails ; each would then serve 
as an alarum, and Avould also serve as a fog and night 
signal, -which would at all times and in the densest 
fog give perfect notice whenever two engines approached 
each other, on which line they were respectively tra- 
velling, and thus go far to prevent the probability of a 

The last contrivance which we shall mention, that 
can consistently come under the subject of signals, 
is a mode of estimating the probable effects of a high, 
wind, or the rate of progress of a train. That a high 
wind directly in the teeth of the travellers would retard 
the velocity, is evident from the slightest consideration of 
the effect of a similar power on the sails of a windmill or 
of a ship. But this is not all : it is found that a strong 
side-wind presses the flanges (or overhanging ledges) of 
the wheels against the rails, and gives rise thereby to a 
very considerable amount of friction. From these circum- 
stances it follows that a certain force of locomotive power 
in the engine, Avhich should enable it to draw a train at 
the required velocity under ordinary circumstances, would 
be unequal to the task when a high contrary or lateral 
wind is blowing; and it Avould be desirable at such a time 
to obtain the assistance of a second engine. 

Now not only ought the engine-man to be aware of the 
changes which the wind is calculated to make in the rate 
of the engine's progress, but the engineer, or some other 
officer at the engine station, should likewise have the 
means of correctly estimating its power, so as to provide 
a second engine when necessary. The reader is probably 
aware that instruments called anemometers, (from two 
Greek words signifying wind measurers^ are sometimes 
employed to give indications of the force of the wind at 
any particular period. We will not here enter into a 
description of the various instruments which have been 
employed in scientific institutions, and other places, for 
this purpose, but we Avill describe a mode which has been 
suggested by the writer to whom we lately alluded, 
by which both the direction and the force of the wind 


could be oLserved by a person in one of the i-ooms 
of the station: — "If a vane with a long tail, high above 
the top of the engine-house, and having at its pointing 
end a board one foot square, be fitted up in the following 
manner, it will be sufficient for all the Avants of the loco- 
motive department. The vane should be fixed in a hollow 
pole, which should turn with it, and descend through a 
tube down to (within) about five feet of the floor of the 
engine-house, Avhere there should be a horizontal dial- 
plate, on Avhich should traverse a pointer fixed to the 
vanc-pole. This pointer Avould ahvays indicate the direc- 
tion of the Avind; and in order to ascertain its force, the 
board, one foot square, on the pointing end of the vane, 
should act on a sj^iral spring and Avork a drum by a wheel 
and pinion, communicating by a cord Avith a similar drum 
at the bottom of the vane-pole, AA'here a vertical dial-plate 
should be fixed on the outside, and opposite to the loAver 
drum, on Avhich a hand traversing round the vertical dial- 
plate Avould show the force of the Avind. According to 
the power of the engine, and the nature of the usual 
traffic, experience Avill soon point out Avhen a second 
engine ought to be despatched; and a table being formed 
for each point of the compass for this, should then be in- 
variably acted on at all times, imless other local circum- 
stances occasioned any alterations in the general average 
of the loads." 

Our readers may remember the AA-arm discussions 
carried on both in and out of parliament, a foAV years ago, 
on the subject of lu7uiels, and the healthy or unhealthy 
state of the air in them. When an eleA'ated tract of 
country has to be traversed by a railway, one of tAvo plans 
must be adopted, viz., there must be a deep excaA'ation 
from the surface of the ground to the level of the raihvay, 
or there must be a tunnel cut through the elevated 
ground. The former plan is ahvays adopted when the 
elevation is not too great; but beyond a certain limit, 
varying according to circumstances, it is no longer aA'ail- 
able, and the plan then adopted is to cut a tunnel. 

The tunnel itself is not the only object of labour in 
such case; for there are shafts, or vertical openings, cut 
from the surface of the ground to the raihvay. The 


object of these shafts is two-fold; 1st. To afford convenient 
openings for the excavators while forming the tunnel. 
2nd. For the purpose of ventilation, when the tunnel is 
finished. But notwithstanding these ventilating shafts, 
strono- opinions were expressed as to the insalubrity of the 
air in such long underground tunnels. In order to set 
this matter at rest, five gentlemen inspected the Primrose 
Hill tunnel (London and Birmingham Railway), in order 
to ascertain the truth on this point. The gentlemen were, 
two physiceans, Drs. Paris and Watson; two surgeons, 
Messrs. Lucas and Lawrence; and a professor of chemistry, 
Mr. Phillips. Their report, which may, perhaps, be con- 
sidered as too unreservedly favourable, is as follows: — 

" We, the undersigned, visited together, on the 20th 
February, 1837, the tunnel now in progress under Prim- 
rose Hill, with the view of ascertaining the probable effect 
of such tunnels upon the health and feelings of those who 
may traverse them. The tunnel is carried through clay, 
and is laid with brickwork. Its dimensions, as described 
to us, are as follows: height, 22 feet; length 3750 feet; 
width 22 feet. It is ventilated by five shafts, from six to 
eight feet in diameter, their depth being 35 to 55 feet. 

" The experiment was made under unfavourable cir- 
cumstances; the western extremity being only partially 
open, the ventilation is less perfect than it will be Avhen 
the work is completed; the steam of the locomotive engine 
Avas also suffered to escape for twenty minutes, while the 
carriages were stationary near the end of the tunnel. 
Even during our stay near the unfinished end of the tun- 
nel, where the engine remained stationary, although the 
cloud formed by the steam was visible near the roof, the 
air for many feet above our heads remained clear, and 
apparently unaffected by steam or effluvia of any kind; 
neither Avas there any damp or cold perceptible. 

" We found the atmosphere of the tunnel dry, and of 
agreeable temperature, and free from smell; the lamps of 
the carriages were lighted, and in our transit inwards and 
back again to the mouth of the tunnel, the sensation ex- 
perienced was precisely that of travelling in a coach by 
night between the walls of a narrow street; the noise did 


not prevent easy conversation, nor appear to be mucli 
greater in the tunnel than in the open air. 

"Judging from this experiment, and knowing the 
ease and certainty Avith which thorough ventilation may 
be effected, we are decidedly of opinion that the dangers 
incurred in passing through well-constructed tunnels are 
no greater than those incurred in ordinary travelling upon 
an open railway, or upon a turnpike-road, and that the 
apprehensions which have been expressed, that such tun- 
nels are likely to prove detrimental to the health, or in- 
convenient to the feelings of those who may go through 
them, are perfectly futile and groundless." 

Were we to proceed wdth the subject of raihvays into 
the minutiae of working details, the limits of this small 
volume would be wholly inadequate. As we intend it for 
the general reader, and not for the man of science, we 
have throughout presented only the leading features con- 
nected with " roads and rail-roads," in order to show the 
links by which a successive chain of improvement has been 
carried on — by which a wagon pace of three miles an 
hour has become a wagon pace of thirty miles an hour — 
by which a journey of several days has become one of the 
same number of hours — and by which distances bid fair 
to be measured, in familiar conversation, by hours instead 
of by miles. 

Great as has been the progress in railway construction 
within the last ten years, we are still only in the infancy 
of the subject. The form and weight of the rails — the 
chairs in which they are fixed — the mode of fixing — the 
supports, whether stone blocks or continuous timber bear- 
ings, on which the chairs are placed — the " gauge," or 
width of the rails, by which the width of the carriages 
must also be regulated — the best manner of passing a hill, 
whether by gradients, or cuttings, or tunnels, and the 
proportion in which all three may be combined — the de- 
gree of curvature in the direction of the railAvay which 
will cause a serious amount of friction — the ratio in which 
the air retards the velocity of a train in motion — and 
numerous other important elements of the railway system, 
are still the subject of serious and earnest inc[uiry among 


the eminent engineers whose powers have been called into 
requisition within the last fifteen years. 

The reader will understand that, in giving a tolerably 
full account of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, 
we intended it as a general type of all the great works 
which have succeeded it. This is the only way in which 
we could attain the object we had in view, since to de- 
scribe in a similar manner the various parts of all the 
other railways, would have been utterly inconsistent with 
our brief space, and would, at the same time, have in- 
volved the repetition of the same kind of details, varied 
slightly according to circumstances. The construction of 
the Liverpool and Manchester railway comprised instances 
of almost every kind of engineering difficulties which 
have been presented by the other railways ; it has served 
as a model for subsequent construction, and will ever 
remain a splendid example of the triumph of perseverance 
and science over natural obstacles. 

A mere list of the other railways, now constructing, 
or lately constructed, would occupy a considerable space, 
and would be of but little interest to the general reader. 
The most noble one yet opened is the London and Bir- 
mingham, which, from the difficulties to be encountered, 
and the masterly way in which everything has been con- 
ducted, has cost 49,000/. per mile, and by the time every- 
thing is completed, will have absorbed a capital of five 
millions and a-half sterling — a circumstance to Avhich 
there is no parallel in private enterprises of a similar kind. 

The Great Western railway, which will probably cost 
five millions, and Avhich will extend from London to 
Bristol, is distinguished by two deviations from the usual 
course pursued in these matters — viz., that the rails and 
chairs are laid on continuous timber bearings, instead of on 
isolated stone blocks; and that the width of the rails, instead 
of being four feet eight inches, as in most other railways, 
amounts to the large distance of seven feet. So much 
difi'erence of opinion, and, indeed, we may say, so much 
ill feeling, has been manifested on the question of the 
necessity for these changes from the ordinary course pur- 
sued, that we are unwilling to enter into any details on 


the subject, especially as it is at present a speculative 
question which, cannot be set at rest by anything short of 
practical disinterested inquiry. 

The London and Brighton line has been distinguished, 
unfortunately distinguished, from all others, by the ruinous 
expense incurred without the slightest progress having 
been made in the actual construction of the railway. The 
source of this is obvious enough — four or five competing 
companies besieged the legislature all at once for acts of 
parliament ; and as not more than one act can be granted, 
it is plain that most, if not all, the competitors must be 
worsted. As it will be several years before a railway will 
exist between London and Brighton, we will not enter into 
details respecting the parliamentary decision on the sub- 
ject of that line. 

The London and Greenwich railway is remarkable as 
being one of the finest specimens of brick-work in Eng- 
land. It is wholly constructed on brick arches, running 
through the heart of Southwark, and through a tolerably 
open country towards Deptford, and from thence onward 
to Greenwich. This railway must be classed among those 
which have not hitherto yielded an adequate rate of profit. 

The subject of railways in Ireland has occupied a large 
share of attention, principally with reference to the ques- 
tion how far Government would be justified in taking 
into its own hands the arrangement and construction of 
Irish railways. Nothing of that kind has occurred in 
England, because where capital exists abundantly among 
the commercial and manufacturing classes, the less Govern- 
ment interferes with mercantile transactions the better; 
but in Ireland the same circumstances do not present 
themselves. This country, for reasons which we need not 
here discuss, is in an unfortunate condition, and its natu- 
ral resources being not yet brought into requisition, the 
question of Government interference assumes a different 
character. Some able reports have been prepared by 
commissioners, but as no legislation has yet taken place 
on the subject, we need not consider it at greater length. 


In concluding the subject of Roads and Rail- roads, the 
reader may probably expect to find a comparative view of 
the dangers attending the two modes of locomotion. A 
few observations will, we think, be sufficient to remove 
the common prejudice, that steam is a more uncontrollable, 
and consequently less safe, prime-mover than animal 
power. This subject has been considered* under four 
distinct heads; viz., 1. The dangers of the road. 2. The 
dangers of the carriage. 3. The dangers of the locomotive 
power. 4. The dangers arising from momentum, or from 
the weight of the burden, multiplied by the velocity at 
which it is conveyed. 

1. It certainly appears that a rail-Avay must be less dan- 
gerous than a high-road: because it is flat instead of hilly; 
because a surface of iron is smoother than a surface of 
broken stones; because the lip of therail which confines 
the wbeels is an extra security not obtained on the com- 
mon road; and because wagons, vans, carts, private car- 
riages, and all other vehicles, as well as horses and cattle 
belonging to the public, are rigorously excluded. 

2. A railway car is less dangerous than a stage or mail- 
coach, because its centre of gravity, when empty, is low 
instead of high; because its passengers sit low instead of 
high; inside and not outside; because its axles, receiving 
no jerks, are less liable to break; and consequently be- 
cause, altogether, it is less liable to overset. 

3. A locomotive engine must be less dangerous than 
four horses, because it is not liable to run aAvay, tumble 
down, or shy at strange objects or noises; because it has 
no vice in it; because it is not, like a horse, retained and 
guided by numberless straps and buckles, the breaking of 
any one of which would make it take fright; and, lastly, 
because by the opening of a valve, its restless, enterpris- 
ing spirit can at any moment be turned adrift, leaving 
nothing behind it but a dull, harmless, empty copper 

4. If a railway train at full speed were to run against 
the solid brickwork of a tunnel, or to go over one of the 
steep embankments, the effect would, mechanically, be 

* See Quarterly Review, vol. Lxiii., p. 14. 


infinitely greater, but perhaps not more fatal, to the pas- 
sengers than if the mail at its common pace were to do 
the same. Besides, a coach is exposed to numberless 
chances of accident, from which the railway train is alto- 
gether free. We learn, too, from the official reports of 
ten railways, that out of more than forty four millions of 
travellers not more than about ten have been killed ; 
whereas the records of stage-coach travelling are, as the 
reader knows, abundantly supplied with accidents of the 
most disastrous kind. 

The efi"ect of roads, bridges, and canals, &c., upon 
civilization can be estimated with suflScient accuracy, be- 
cause, in treating of them, we are fortified by centuries 
of past experience: but it is not so with rail-roads; they 
are yet infants, — gigantic infants it is true, — and we can 
scarcely tell what tremendous consequences may not result 
from their vigorous growth. " Supposing," says an accom- 
plished writer, " that rail-roads, even at our present sim- 
mering rate of travelling, were to be suddenly established 
all over England, the whole population of the country 
would, speaking metaphorically, at once advance en masse^ 
and place their chairs nearer to the fireside of their metro- 
polis by two-thirds of the time which now separates them 
from it; they would also sit nearer to one another by two- 
thirds of the time which now respectively alienates them. 
If the rate were to be again sufficiently accelerated, this 
process would be repeated; our harbours, our dock-yards, 
our towns, the whole of our rural population, would again 
not only draw nearer to each other by two-thirds, but all 
would proportionally approach the national hearth. As 
distances were thus annihilated, the surface of our country 
would, as it were, shrivel in size until it became not much 
bigger than one immense city, and yet by a sort of miracle 
every man's field would be found not only where it always 
was, but as large as ever it was." 







Manchester. Handsomely bound, gilt edges, 2 s, 6<^. 

In the present age, when so much is done for the henefit of the rising generation, 
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seek," and " puss in the corner;" that so wide and important a field of instruction 
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My own often and deeply-felt want of such a work, has induced me to make the 
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COUSIN KATE ; or, the Punishment of Pride. 
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LOUISA SEYMOUR; or, Hasty Impressions. 
ALICIA GREY ; or. To be Useful is to be Happy. 
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* A FAMILIAR HISTORY of BIRDS; their Nature, 

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