Railway Adventures and Anecdotes - extending over more than fifty years
Author: Various
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"The whole of the procession remained at least another hour uncertain what course to adopt. A consultation was held on the open part of the road, and the Duke of Wellington was soon surrounded by the Directors, and a mournful group of gentlemen. At first it was thought advisable to return to Liverpool, merely despatching one engine and a set of carriages, to convey home Lady Wilton, and others who did not wish to return to Liverpool. The Duke of Wellington and Sir Robert Peel seemed to favour this course; others thought it best to proceed as originally intended: but no decision was made till the Boroughreeve of Manchester stated, that if the procession did not reach Manchester, where an unprecedented concourse of people would be assembled, and would wait for it, he should be fearful of the consequences to the peace of the town. This turned the scale, and his Grace then proposed that the whole party should proceed, and return as soon as possible, all festivity at Manchester being avoided. The Phoenix, with its train, was then attached to the North Star and its train, and from the two united a long chain was affixed to his Grace's car, and although it was on the other line of rail, it was found to draw the whole along exceedingly well. About half-past one, we resumed our journey; and we should here mention that the Wigan Branch Railway Company had erected near Parkside bridge a grand stand, which they and their friends occupied, and from which they enthusiastically cheered the procession. On reaching the twentieth mile post we had a beautiful view of Rivington Pike and Blackstone Edge, and at the twenty-first the smoke of Manchester appeared to be directly at the termination of our view. Groups of people continued to cheer us, but we could not reply; our enjoyment was over. Tyldesley Church, and a vast region of smiling fields here met the eye, as we traversed the flat surface of Chat Moss, in the midst of which a vast crowd was assembled to greet us with their plaudits; and from the twenty-fourth mile post we began to find ourselves flanked on both sides by spectators extending in a continuous and thickening body all the way to Manchester. At the twenty-fifth mile post we met Mr. Stephenson returning with the Northumbrian engine. In answer to innumerable and eager inquiries, Mr. Stephenson said he had left Mr. Huskisson at the house of the Rev. Mr. Blackburne, Vicar of Eccles, and had then proceeded to Manchester, whence he brought back medical assistance, and that the surgeons, after seeing Mr. Huskisson, had expressed a hope that there was no danger. Mr. Stephenson's speed had been at the rate of thirty-four miles an hour during this painful errand. The engine being then again attached to the Duke's car, the procession dashed forward, passing countless thousands of people upon house tops, booths, high ground, bridges, etc., and our readers must imagine, for we cannot describe, such a movement through an avenue of living beings, and extending six miles in length. Upon one bridge a tri-colored flag was displayed; near another the motto of "Vote by ballot" was seen; in a field near Eccles, a poor and wretchedly dressed man had his loom close to the roadside, and was weaving with all his might; cries of "No Corn Laws," were occasionally heard, and for about two miles the cheerings of the crowd were interspersed with a continual hissing and hooting from the minority. On approaching the bridge which crosses the Irwell, the 59th regiment was drawn up, flanking the road on each side, and presenting arms as his Grace passed along. We reached the warehouses at a quarter before three, and those who alighted were shown into the large upper rooms where a most elegant cold collation had been prepared by Mr. Lynn, for more than one thousand persons. The greater portion of the company, as the carriages continued to arrive, visited the rooms and partook in silence of some refreshment. They then returned to their carriages which had been properly placed for returning. His Grace and the principal party did not alight; but he went through a most fatiguing office for more than an hour and a half, in shaking hands with thousands of people, to whom he stooped over the hand rail of the carriage, and who seemed insatiable in their desire to join hands with him. Many women brought their children to him, lifting them up that he might bless them, which he did, and during the whole time he had scarcely a minute's respite. At half-past four the Duke's car began to move away for Liverpool.

"They would have been detained a little longer, in order that three of the engines, which had been to Eccles for water, might have dropped into the rear to take their places; but Mr. Lavender represented that the crowd was so thickening in upon all sides, and becoming so clamorous for admission into the area, that he would not answer for the peace of the town, if further delay took place. The three engines were on the same line of rail as the Duke, and they could not cross to the other line without getting to a turning place, and as the Duke could not be delayed on account of his keeping the crowd together, there was no alternative but to send the engines forward. One of the other engines was then attached to our train, and we followed the Duke rapidly, while the six trains behind had only three engines left to bring them back. Of course, we kept pace with the Duke, who stopped at Eccles to inquire after Mr. Huskisson. The answer received was that there was now no hope of his life being saved; and this intelligence plunged the whole party into still deeper distress. We proceeded without meeting any fresh incident until we passed Prescot, where we found two of the three engines at the 6.5 mile post, where a turning had been effected, but the third had gone on to Liverpool; we then detached the one we had borrowed, and the three set out to meet the six remaining trains of carriages. Our carriages were then connected with the grand cars, the engine of which now drew the whole number of nine carriages, containing nearly three hundred persons, at a very smart rate. We were now getting into vast crowds of people, most of them ignorant of the dreadful event which had taken place, and all of them giving us enthusiastic cheers which we could not return.

"At Roby, his Grace and the Childwalls alighted and proceeded home; our carriages then moved forward to Liverpool, where we arrived about seven o'clock, and went down the great tunnel, under the town, a part of the work which, more than any other, astonished the numerous strangers present. It is, indeed, a wonderful work, and makes an impression never to be effaced from the memory. The Company's yard, from St. James's Street to Wapping, was filled with carriages waiting for the returning parties, who separated with feelings of mingled gratification and distress, to which we shall not attempt to give utterance. We afterwards learnt that the parties we left at Manchester placed the three remaining engines together, and all the carriages together, so as to form one grand procession, including twenty-four carriages, and were coming home at a steady pace, when they were met near Newton, by the other three engines, which were then attached to the rest, and they arrived in Liverpool about ten o'clock.

"Thus ended a pageant which, for importance as to its object and grandeur in its details, is admitted to have exceeded anything ever witnessed. We conversed with many gentlemen of great experience in public life, who spoke of the scene as surpassing anything they had ever beheld, and who computed, upon data which they considered to be satisfactory, that not fewer than 500,000 persons must have been spectators of the procession."

So far from being a success, the occasion was, after the accident to Mr. Huskisson, such a series of mortifying disappointments and the Duke of Wellington's experience at Manchester had been so very far removed from gratifying that the directors of the company felt moved to exonerate themselves from the load of censure by an official explanation. This they did in the following language:—

"On the subject of delay which took place in the starting from Manchester, and consequently in the arrival at Liverpool, of the last three engines, with twenty-four carriages and six hundred passengers, being the train allotted to six of the engines, we are authorized to state that the directors think it due to the proprietors and others constituting the large assemblage of company in the above trains to make known the following particulars:

"Three out of the six locomotive engines which belonged to the above trains had proceeded on the south road from Manchester to Eccles, to take in water, with the intention of returning to Manchester, and so getting out of that line of road before any of the trains should start on their return home. Before this, however, was accomplished, the following circumstances seemed to render it imperative for the train of carriages containing the Duke of Wellington and a great many of the distinguished visitors to leave Manchester. The eagerness on the part of the crowd to see the Duke, and to shake hands with him, was very great, so much so that his Grace held out both his hands to the pressing multitude at the same time; the assembling crowd becoming more dense every minute, closely surrounded the carriages, as the principal attraction was this particular train. The difficulty of proceeding at all increased every moment and consequently the danger of accident upon the attempt being made to force a way through the throng also increased. At this juncture Mr. Lavender, the head of the police establishment of Manchester, interfered, and entreated that the Duke's train should move on, or he could not answer for the consequences. Under these circumstances, and the day being well advanced, it was thought expedient at all events to move forward while it was still practicable to do so. The order was accordingly given, and the train passed along out of the immediate neighbourhood of Manchester without accident to anyone. When they had proceeded a few miles they fell in with the engines belonging to the trains left at Manchester, and these engines being on the same line as the carriages of the procession, there was no alternative but bringing the Duke's train back through the dense multitude to Manchester, or proceeding with three extra engines to the neighbourhood of Liverpool (all passing places from one road to the other being removed, with a view to safety, on the occasion), and afterwards sending them back to the assistance of the trains unfortunately left behind. It was determined to proceed towards Liverpool, as being decidedly the most advisable course under the circumstances of the case; and it may be mentioned for the satisfaction of any party who may have considered that he was in some measure left in the lurch, that Mr. Moss, the Deputy Chairman, had left Mrs. Moss and several of his family to come with the trains which had been so left behind. Three engines having to draw a load calculated for six, their progress was of course much retarded, besides a considerable delay which took place before the starting of the last trains, owing to the uncertainty which existed as to what had become of the three missing engines. These engines, after proceeding to within a few miles of Liverpool, were enabled to return to Park-side, in the neighbourhood of Newton, where they were attached to the other three and the whole proceeding safely to Liverpool, where they arrived at ten in the evening."

The case was, however, here stated, to say the least, in the mildest possible manner. The fact was that the authorities at Manchester had, and not without reason, passed a very panic-stricken hour on account of the Duke of Wellington. That personage had been in a position of no inconsiderable peril. Though the reporter preserved a decorous silence on that point, the ministerial car had on the way been pelted, as well as hooted; and at Manchester a vast mass of not particularly well disposed persons had fairly overwhelmed both police and soldiery, and had taken complete possession of the tracks. They were not riotous but they were very rough; and they insisted on climbing upon the carriages and pressing their attentions on the distinguished inmates in a manner somewhat at variance with English ideas of propriety. The Duke's efforts at conciliatory manners, as evinced through much hand-shaking, were not without significance. It was small matter for wonder, therefore, that the terrified authorities, before they got him out of their town, heartily regretted that they had not allowed him to have his own way after the accident to Mr. Huskisson, when he proposed to turn back without coming to it. Having once got him safely started back to Liverpool, therefore, they preferred to leave the other guests to take care of themselves, rather than have the Duke face the crowd again. As there were no sidings on that early road, and the connections between the tracks had, as a measure of safety, been temporarily removed, the ministerial train in moving towards Liverpool had necessarily pushed before it the engines belonging to the other trains. The unfortunate guests on those other trains, thus left to their fate, had for the rest of the day a very dreary time of it. To avoid accidents, the six trains abandoned at Manchester were united into one, to which were attached the three locomotives remaining. In this form they started. Presently the strain broke the couplings. Pieces of rope were then put in requisition, and again they got in motion. In due time the three other engines came along, but they could only be used by putting them on in front of the three already attached to the train. Two of them were used in that way, and the eleven cars thus drawn by five locomotives, and preceded at a short distance by one other, went on towards Liverpool. It was dark, and to meet the exigencies of the occasion the first germ of the present elaborate system of railroad night signals was improvised on the spot. From the foremost and pioneer locomotive obstacles were signalled to the train locomotives by the very primitive expedient of swinging the lighted end of a tar-rope. At Rainhill the weight of the train proved too much for the combined motive-power, and the thoroughly wearied passengers had to leave their carriages and walk up the incline. When they got to the summit and, resuming their seats, were again in motion, fresh delay was occasioned by the leading locomotive running into a wheel-barrow, maliciously placed on the track to obstruct it. Not until ten o'clock did they enter the tunnel at Liverpool. Meanwhile all sorts of rumours of general disaster had for hours been circulating among the vast concourse of spectators who were assembled waiting for their friends, and whose relief expressed itself in hearty cheers as the train at last rolled safely into the station.

We have also Miss Kemble's story of this day, to which in her letter of August 25th she had looked forward with such eager interest. With her father and mother she had been staying at a country place in Lancashire, and in her account of the affair, written in 1876, she says:—

"The whole gay party assembled at Heaton, my mother and myself included, went to Liverpool for the opening of the railroad. The throng of strangers gathered there for the same purpose made it almost impossible to obtain a night's lodging for love or money; and glad and thankful were we to put up with and be put up in a tiny garret by an old friend, Mr. Radley, of the Adelphi, which many would have given twice what we paid to obtain. The day opened gloriously, and never was an innumerable concourse of sight-seers in better humour than the surging, swaying crowd that lined the railroad with living faces. . . After this disastrous event [the accident to Mr. Huskisson] the day became overcast, and as we neared Manchester the sky grew cloudy and dark, and it began to rain. The vast concourse of people who had assembled to witness the triumphant arrival of the successful travellers was of the lowest order of mechanics and artisans, among whom great distress and a dangerous spirit of discontent with the government at that time prevailed. Groans and hisses greeted the carriage, full of influential personages, in which the Duke of Wellington sat. High above the grim and grimy crowd of scowling faces a loom had been erected, at which sat a tattered, starved-looking weaver, evidently set there as a representative man, to protest against this triumph of machinery, and the gain and glory which the wealthy Liverpool and Manchester men were likely to derive from it. The contrast between our departure from Liverpool and our arrival at Manchester was one of the most striking things I ever witnessed.

MANCHESTER, September 20th, 1830.


* * * * *

"You probably have by this time heard and read accounts of the opening of the railroad, and the fearful accident which occurred at it, for the papers are full of nothing else. The accident you mention did occur, but though the unfortunate man who was killed bore Mr. Stephenson's name, he was not related to him. [Besides Mr. Huskisson, another man named Stephenson had about this time been killed on the railroad]. I will tell you something of the events on the fifteenth, as though you may be acquainted with the circumstances of poor Mr. Huskisson's death, none but an eye-witness of the whole scene can form a conception of it. I told you that we had had places given to us, and it was the main purpose of our returning from Birmingham to Manchester to be present at what promised to be one of the most striking events in the scientific annals of our country. We started on Wednesday last, to the number of about eight hundred people, in carriages constructed as I before described to you. The most intense curiosity and excitement prevailed, and though the weather was uncertain, enormous masses of densely packed people lined the road, shouting and waving hats and handkerchiefs as we flew by them. What with the sight and sound of these cheering multitudes and the tremendous velocity with which we were borne past them, my spirits rose to the true champagne height, and I never enjoyed anything so much as the first hour of our progress. I had been unluckily separated from my mother in the first distribution of places, but by an exchange of seats which she was enabled to make she rejoined me, when I was at the height of my ecstasy, which was considerably damped by finding that she was frightened to death, and intent upon nothing but devising means of escaping from a situation which appeared to her to threaten with instant annihilation herself and all her travelling companions. While I was chewing the cud of this disappointment, which was rather bitter, as I expected her to be as delighted as myself with our excursion, a man flew by us, calling out through a speaking trumpet to stop the engine, for that somebody in the directors' car had sustained an injury. We were all stopped accordingly and presently a hundred voices were heard exclaiming that Mr. Huskisson was killed. The confusion that ensued is indescribable; the calling out from carriage to carriage to ascertain the truth, the contrary reports which were sent back to us, the hundred questions eagerly uttered at once, and the repeated and urgent demands for surgical assistance, created a sudden turmoil that was quite sickening. At last we distinctly ascertained that the unfortunate man's thigh was broken.

"From Lady W—, who was in the duke's carriage, and within three yards of the spot where the accident happened, I had the following details, the horror of witnessing which we were spared through our situation behind the great carriage. The engine had stopped to take in a supply of water, and several of the gentlemen in the directors' carriage had jumped out to look about them. Lord W—, Count Batthyany, Count Matuscenitz, and Mr. Huskisson among the rest were standing talking in the middle of the road, when an engine on the other line, which was parading up and down merely to show its speed, was seen coming down upon them like lightning. The most active of those in peril sprang back into their seats; Lord W— saved his life only by rushing behind the duke's carriage, Count Matuscenitz had but just leaped into it, with the engine all but touching his heels as he did so; while poor Mr. Huskisson, less active from the effects of age and ill health, bewildered too by the frantic cries of 'Stop the engine: Clear the track!' that resounded on all sides, completely lost his head, looked helplessly to the right and left, and was instantaneously prostrated by the fatal machine, which dashed down like a thunderbolt upon him, and passed over his leg, smashing and mangling it in the most horrible way. (Lady W— said she distinctly heard the crushing of the bone). So terrible was the effect of the appalling accident that except that ghastly 'crushing' and poor Mrs. Huskisson's piercing shriek, not a sound was heard or a word uttered among the immediate spectators of the catastrophe. Lord W— was the first to raise the poor sufferer, and calling to his aid his surgical skill, which is considerable, he tied up the severed artery, and for a time at least, prevented death by a loss of blood. Mr. Huskisson was then placed in a carriage with his wife and Lord W—, and the engine having been detached from the directors' carriage, conveyed them to Manchester. So great was the shock produced on the whole party by this event that the Duke of Wellington declared his intention not to proceed, but to return immediately to Liverpool. However, upon its being represented to him that the whole population of Manchester had turned out to witness the procession, and that a disappointment might give rise to riots and disturbances, he consented to go on, and gloomily enough the rest of the journey was accomplished. We had intended returning to Liverpool by the railroad, but Lady W—, who seized upon me in the midst of the crowd, persuaded us to accompany her home, which we gladly did. Lord W— did not return till past ten o'clock, at which hour he brought the intelligence of Mr. Huskisson's death. I need not tell you of the sort of whispering awe which this event threw over our circle; and yet great as was the horror excited by it, I could not help feeling how evanescent the effect of it was, after all. The shuddering terror of seeing our fellow-creature thus struck down by our side, and the breathless thankfulness for our own preservation, rendered the first evening of our party at Heaton almost solemn; but the next day the occurrence became a subject of earnest, it is true, but free discussion; and after that was alluded to with almost as little apparent feeling as if it had not passed under our eyes, and within the space of a few hours."


Miss Kemble was mistaken in stating Mr. Huskisson after his accident was removed to Manchester. He was conveyed to the vicarage, at Eccles, near Manchester. Of the vicar's wife, Dean Stanley's mother thus writes, (January 17, 1832,):—"There is one person who interests me very much, Mrs. Tom Blackburne, the Vicaress of Eccles, who received poor Mr. Huskisson, and immortalised herself by her activity, sense, and conduct throughout." A writer in the Cornhill Magazine, for March, 1884, referring to the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, remarks:—"In celebration of this experiment, for even then most people only looked upon it as a doubtful thing, the houses of the adjacent parts of Lancashire were filled with guests. Mr. John Blackburne, M.P., asked his brother and sister-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Blackburne, to stay at Hale Hall, near Liverpool, (which his ancestors in the direct line had possessed since 1199,) and to go with his party to the ceremony and fetes of the day.

The invitation was accepted, and Mr. and Mrs. Blackburne went to Hale. Now, however, occurred one of those strange circumstances utterly condemned by critics of fiction as 'unreal,' 'unnatural,' or 'impossible;' only in this case it happened to be true, in spite of all these epithets. Mrs. Blackburne, rather strong-minded than otherwise, at all events one of the last women in the world to be affected by imagination, became possessed by an unmistakable presentiment, which made her feel quite sure that her presence was required at home; and she went home at once. There were difficulties in her way; every carriage was required, but she would go. She drove to Warrington, and from thence 'took boat' up the Irwell to Eccles. Canal boats were then regular conveyances, divided into first and second classes. There were no mobs or excitement anywhere on the 14th, and Mrs. Blackburne got quickly to Eccles without any adventures. When there, except that one of her children was unwell, she could find nothing wrong, or in the least likely to account for the presentiment which had driven her home in spite of all the natural enough, ridicule of her husband and friends at Hale.

Early on the morning of the 15th, an incident occurred, the narration of which may throw some light on the temper of the times. Mr. Barton, of Swinton, came to say that a mob was expected to come from Oldham to attack the Duke of Wellington, then at the height of his unpopularity among the masses; for just by Eccles three miles of the line was left unguarded, 'Could Mr. Blackburne say what was to be done?'

'My husband is away,' said the Vicaress, 'but I know that about fifty special constables were out last year, the very men for this work, if their licenses have not expired.'

'Never mind licenses,' replied Mr. Barton, with a superb indifference to form, quite natural under the circumstances. 'Where can I find the men?'

'Oh,' replied Mrs. Blackburne, 'I can get the men for you.'

Mr. Barton hesitated, but soon with gratitude accepted the offer, and with the help of the churchwardens and constables 'a guard for the Duke' was soon collected on the bridge of Eccles, armed with staves and clubs to be dispersed along the line.

This done, she had a tent put up for herself and children, with whom were Lord Wilton's little daughters, the Ladies Elizabeth and Katherine Egerton, and their governess. The tent was just above the cutting and looked down on to it, and they would have a good view of the first train, expected to pass about eleven o'clock. The morning wore on, the crowds were increasing, and low murmurs of wonder were heard. It was thought that the experiment had failed. A few of the villagers came into the field, but none troubled the little band of watchers. The bright sunshine had passed away, and it had become dark, with large hot drops of rain, forerunners of a coming thunderstorm. The people lined the whole of the way from Manchester to Liverpool, and, as far as the eye could reach, faces were seen anxiously looking towards Liverpool. Suddenly a strange roar was heard from the crowd, not a cheer of triumph, but a prolonged wail, beginning at the furthest point of travelling along the swarming banks like the incoming swirl of a breaker as it runs upon a gravelled beach.

Like a true woman, her first thought was for her husband, as Mrs. Blackburne heard the words repeated on all sides, 'An accident!' 'The Vicarage!' She flew across the field to the gate and met a sad procession bringing in a sorely-wounded yet quite conscious man. She saw in a moment that he had medals on his coat, and had been very tall, so that it could not be as she feared. The relief of that moment may be imagined. Then the quiet presence of mind, by practice habitual to her, and the ready flow of sympathy left her no time to think of anything but the sufferer, who said to her pathetically, 'I shall not trouble you long!' She had not only the will but the power to help, even to supplying from her own medicine chest and stores, kept for the poor, everything that the surgeons required.

It was Lord Wilton who suggested the removal of Mr. Huskisson to Eccles Vicarage and improvised a tourniquet on the spot, while soon the medical men who were in the train did what they could for him. Mr. Blackburne, as will be remembered, was not with his wife, and only the presentiment which had brought Mrs. Blackburne home had given the means of so readily and quickly obtaining surgical necessaries and rest. Mr. Blackburne, writing to his mother-in-law the day after this accident, referring to Mr. Huskisson, remarks:—"To the last he retained his senses. Lord Granville says when the dying man heard Wilton propose to take him to this house he exclaimed, 'Pray take me there; there I shall indeed be taken care of.'

But fancy my horror! Not one word did I know of his being here till I had passed the place, and was literally eating my luncheon at Manchester! In vain did I try to get a conveyance, till at last the Duke of Wellington sent to me and ordered his car to start, and I came with him back, he intending to come here; but the crowd was so immense that the police dared not let him get out. To be sure, when my people on the bridge saw me standing with him, they did shout, 'That's as it should be—Vicar for us!' He said, 'These people seem to know you well.'

Entre nous, at the door I met my love, and after a good cry (I don't know which was the greatest fool!) set to work. The poor fellow was glad to see me, and never shall I forget the scene, his poor wife holding his head, and the great men weeping, for they all wept! He then received the Sacrament, added some codocils to his will, and seemed perfectly resigned. But his agonies were dreadful! Ransome says they must have been so. He expired at nine. We never left him till he breathed his last. Poor woman! How she lamented his loss; yet her struggles to bear with fortitude are wonderful. I wish you could have heard him exclaim, after my petition 'Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive . . . ' 'I have not the smallest ill-will to any one person in the whole world.' They stay here until Saturday, when they begin the sad journey to convey him to Sussex. They wanted to bury him at Liverpool, but she refused. I forgot to tell you that he told Lawrence before starting that he wished he were safe back."

Mr. Huskisson was not buried at Chichester, for at last Mrs. Huskisson consented to the popular wish that his body might have a public funeral at Liverpool, where a statue of him by Gibson now stands in the cemetery."


Sir J. A. Picton, in his Memorials of Liverpool, relates an amusing incident connected with the opening of the railway at that town. "On the opening of the railway," he remarks, "of course, every point and 'coin of vantage' from whence the procession could be best seen was eagerly availed of. A tolerably high chimney had recently been built upon the railway ground, affording a sufficient platform on the scaffolding at the top for the accommodation of two or three persons. Two gentlemen connected with the engineer's department took advantage of this crowning eminence to obtain a really 'bird's eye view' of the whole proceedings. They were wound up by the tackle used in hoisting the bricks, and enjoyed the perspective from their airy height to their hearts' content. When all was over they, of course, wished to descend, and gave the signal to be let down again, but alas! there was no response. The man in charge, excited by the events of the day, confused by the sorrowful news by which it was closed, and, it may be, oblivious from other causes, had utterly forgotten his engagement and gone home. Here was a prospect! The shades of evening were gathering, the multitudes departing, and every probability of being obliged to act the part of St. Simeon of Stylites very involuntarily. Despair added force and strength to their lungs, and at length—their condition and difficulty having attracted attention—they were relieved from their unpleasant predicament."


A correspondent of the Athenaeum, in 1830, speaking of the carriage prepared for the Duke of Wellington at the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, remarks: "It rather resembled an eastern pavilion than anything our northern idea considers a carriage. The floor is 32 feet long by 8 wide, gilt pillars support a crimson canopy 24 feet long, and it might for magnitude be likened to the car of Juggernaut; yet this huge machine, with the preceding steam engine, moved along at its own fiery will even more swimmingly, a 'thing of heart and mind,' than a ship on the ocean."


At a dinner given at Liverpool in celebration of the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, Lord Brougham thus discourses upon the memorable event and the death of Mr. Huskisson:—"When I saw the difficulties of space, as it were, overcome; when I beheld a kind of miracle exhibited before my astonished eyes; when I saw the rocks excavated and the gigantic power of man penetrating through miles of the solid mass, and gaining a great, a lasting, an almost perennial conquest over the powers of nature by his skill and industry; when I contemplated all this, was it possible for me to avoid the reflections which crowded into my mind, not in praise of man's great success, not in admiration of the genius and perseverance he had displayed, or even of the courage he had shown in setting himself against the obstacles that matter afforded to his course—no! but the melancholy reflection that these prodigious efforts of the human race, so fruitful of praise but so much more fruitful of lasting blessing to mankind, have forced a tear from my eye by that unhappy casualty which deprived me of a friend and you of a representative!"


No account of its first beginnings would, however, be complete for our time, which did not also give an idea of the impressions produced on one travelling over it before yet the novelty of the thing had quite worn away. It was a long time, comparatively, after September, 1830, before the men who had made a trip over the railroad ceased to be objects of deep curiosity. Here is the account of his experience by one of these far-travelled men, with all its freshness still lingering about it:—

"Although the whole passage between Liverpool and Manchester is a series of enchantments, surpassing any in the Arabian Nights, because they are realities, not fictions, yet there are epochs in the transit which are peculiarly exciting. These are the startings, the ascents, the descents, the tunnels, the Chat Moss, the meetings. At the instant of starting, or rather before, the automaton belches forth an explosion of steam, and seems for a second or two quiescent. But quickly the explosions are reiterated, with shorter and shorter intervals, till they become too rapid to be counted, though still distinct. These belchings or explosions more nearly resemble the pantings of a lion or tiger, than any sound that has ever vibrated on my ear. During the ascent they become slower and slower, till the automaton actually labours like an animal out of breath, from the tremendous efforts to gain the highest point of elevation. The progression is proportionate; and before the said point is gained, the train is not moving faster than a horse can pace. With the slow motion of the mighty and animated machine, the breathing becomes more laborious, the growl more distinct, till at length the animal appears exhausted and groans like the tiger, when overpowered in combat by the buffalo.

"The moment that the height is reached and the descent commences, the pantings rapidly increase; the engine with its train starts off with augmenting velocity; and in a few seconds it is flying down the declivity like lightning, and with a uniform growl or roar, like a continuous discharge of distant artillery.

"At this period, the whole train is going at the rate of thirty-five or forty miles an hour! I was on the outside, and in front of the first carriage, just over the engine. The scene was magnificent, I had almost said terrific. Although it was a dead calm the wind appeared to be blowing a hurricane, such was the velocity with which we darted through the air. Yet all was steady; and there was something in the precision of the machinery that inspired a degree of confidence over fear—of safety over danger. A man may travel from the Pole to the Equator, from the Straits of Malacca to the Isthmus of Darien, and he will see nothing so astonishing as this. The pangs of Etna and Vesuvius excite feelings of horror as well as of terror; the convulsion of the elements during a thunderstorm carries with it nothing but pride, much less of pleasure, to counteract the awe inspired by the fearful workings of perturbed nature; but the scene which is here presented, and which I cannot adequately describe, engenders a proud consciousness of superiority in human ingenuity, more intense and convincing than any effort or product of the poet, the painter, the philosopher, or the divine. The projections or transits of the train through the tunnels or arches are very electrifying. The deafening peal of thunder, the sudden immersion in gloom, and the clash of reverberated sounds in confined space combine to produce a momentary shudder or idea of destruction—a thrill of annihilation, which is instantly dispelled on emerging into the cheerful light.

"The meetings or crossings of the steam trains flying in opposite directions are scarcely less agitating to the nerves than their transits through the tunnels. The velocity of their course, the propinquity or apparent identity of the iron orbits along which these meteors move, call forth the involuntary but fearful thought of a possible collision, with all its horrible consequences. The period of suspense, however, though exquisitely painful, is but momentary; and in a few seconds the object of terror is far out of sight behind.

"Nor is the rapid passage across Chat Moss unworthy of notice. The ingenuity with which two narrow rods of iron are made to bear whole trains of wagons, laden with many hundred tons of commerce, and bounding across a wide, semi-fluid morass, previously impassable by man or beast, is beyond all praise and deserving of eternal record. Only conceive a slender bridge of two minute iron rails, several miles in length, level as Waterloo, elastic as whalebone, yet firm as adamant! Along this splendid triumph of human genius—this veritable via triumphalis—the train of carriages bounds with the velocity of the stricken deer; the vibrations of the resilient moss causing the ponderous engine and its enormous suite to glide along the surface of an extensive quagmire as safely as a practiced skater skims the icy mirror of a frozen lake.

"The first class or train is the most fashionable, but the second or third are the most amusing. I travelled one day from Liverpool to Manchester in the lumber train. Many of the carriages were occupied by the swinish multitude, and others by a multitude of swine. These last were naturally vociferous if not eloquent. It is evident that the other passengers would have been considerably annoyed by the orators of this last group, had there not been stationed in each carriage an officer somewhat analogous to the Usher of the Black Rod, but whose designation on the railroad I found to be 'Comptroller of the Gammon.' No sooner did one of the long-faced gentlemen raise his note too high, or wag his jaw too long, than the 'Comptroller of the Gammon' gave him a whack over the snout with the butt end of his shillelagh; a snubber which never failed to stop his oratory for the remainder of the journey."

To one familiar with the history of railroad legislation the last paragraph is peculiarly significant. For years after the railroad system was inaugurated, and until legislation was invoked to compel something better, the companies persisted in carrying passengers of the third class in uncovered carriages, exposed to all weather, and with no more decencies or comforts than were accorded to swine.


A writer in Notes and Queries remarks:—"On looking over a diary kept by my father during two journeys northward in 1830-31, I thought the readers might be amused with his account of what he saw of railway travelling, then in its infancy:—

"Monday, Oct. 11, 1830, Darlington.—Walked to the railroad, which comes within half-a-mile of the town. Saw a steam engine drawing about twenty-five wagons, each containing about two tons and a half of coals. A single horse draws four such wagons. I went to Stockton at four o'clock by coach on the railroad; one horse draws about twenty-four passengers. I did not like it at all, for the road is very ugly in appearance, and, being only one line with occasional turns for passing, we were sometimes obliged to wait, and at other times to be drawn back, so that we were full two hours going eleven miles, and they are often more than three hours. There is no other conveyance, as the cheapness has driven the stage-coaches off the road. I only paid 1s. for eleven miles. The motion was very unpleasant—a continual jolting and disagreeable noise."

On Sept. 1, 1831, he remarks:—"The railroad to Stockton has been improved since I was here, as they are now laying down a second line."

"Wednesday, Oct. 27, 1830.—Left Manchester at ten o'clock by the railroad for Liverpool. We enter upon it by a staircase through the office from the street at present, but there will, I suppose, be an open entrance, by-and-bye; they have built extensive warehouses adjoining. We were two hours and a half going to Liverpool (about thirty-two miles), and I must think the advantages have been a good deal overrated, for, prejudice apart, I think most people will allow that expedition is the only real advantage gained; the road itself is ugly, though curious and wonderful as a work of art. Near Liverpool it is cut very deeply through rock, and there is a long tunnel which leads into a yard where omnibusses wait to convey passengers to the inns. The tunnel is too low for the engines at present in use, and the carriages are drawn through it by donkeys. The engines are calculated to draw fifty tons. . . I cannot say that I at all liked it; the speed was too great to be pleasant, and makes you rather giddy, and certainly it is not smoother and easier than a good turnpike road. When the carriages stop or go on, a very violent jolting takes place, from the ends of the carriages jostling together. I have heard many say they prefer a horse-coach, but the majority are in favour of the railroad, and they will, no doubt, knock up the coaches."

"Monday, Sept. 12, 1831.—Left Manchester by coach at ten o'clock, and arrived in Liverpool at half-past two. . . The railroad is not supposed to answer vastly well, but they are making a branch to Warrington, which will hurt the Sankey Navigation, and throw 1,500 men out of employment; these people are said to be loud in their execrations of it, and to threaten revenge. It is certain the proprietors do not all feel easy about it, as one living at Warrington has determined never to go by it, and was coming to Liverpool by our coach if there had been room. He would gladly sell his shares. A dividend of 4 per cent. had been paid for six months, but money had been borrowed. . . . Charge for tonnage of goods, 10s. for thirty-two miles, which appears very dear to me."


"June 9th, 1833.—(Liverpool). At twelve o'clock I got upon an omnibus, and was driven up a steep hill to the place where the steam carriages start. We travelled in the second class of carriages. There were five carriages linked together, in each of which were placed open seats for the travellers, four or five facing each other; but not all were full; and, besides, there was a close carriage, and also a machine for luggage. The fare was four shillings for the thirty-one miles. Everything went on so rapidly that I had scarcely the power of observation. The road begins at an excavation through a rock, and is to a certain extent insulated from the adjacent country. It is occasionally placed on bridges, and frequently intersected by ordinary roads. Not quite a perfect level is preserved. On setting off there is a slight jolt, arising from the chain catching each carriage, but, once in motion, we proceeded as smoothly as possible. For a minute or two the pace is gentle, and is constantly varying. The machine produces little smoke or steam. First in order is the tall chimney; then the boiler, a barrel-like vessel; then an oblong reservoir of water; then a vehicle for coals; and then comes, of a length infinitely extendible, the train of carriages. If all the seats had been filled, our train would have carried about 150 passengers; but a gentleman assured me at Chester that he went with a thousand persons to Newton fair. There must have been two engines then. I have heard since that two thousand persons or more went to and from the fair that day. But two thousand only, at three shillings each way, would have produced 600 pounds! But, after all, the expense is so great that it is considered uncertain whether the establishment will ultimately remunerate the proprietors. Yet I have heard that it already yields the shareholders a dividend of nine per cent. And Bills have passed for making railroads between London and Birmingham, and Birmingham and Liverpool. What a change it will produce in the intercourse! One conveyance will take between 100 and 200 passengers, and the journey will be made in a forenoon! Of the rapidity of the journey I had better experience on my return; but I may say now that, stoppages included, it may certainly be made at the rate of twenty miles an hour.

"I should have observed before that the most remarkable movements of the journey are those in which trains pass one another. The rapidity is such that there is no recognizing the features of a traveller. On several occasions, the noise of the passing engine was like the whizzing of a rocket. Guards are stationed in the road, holding flags, to give notice to the drivers when to stop. Near Newton I noticed an inscription recording the memorable death of Huskisson."

Crabb Robinson's Diary.


Mr. C. F. Adams, in his work on Railroads: Their Origin and Problems, remarks:—"There is, indeed, some reason for believing that the South Carolina Railroad was the first ever constructed in any country with a definite plan of operating it exclusively by locomotive steam power. But in America there was not—indeed, from the very circumstances of the case, there could not have been—any such dramatic occasions and surprises as those witnessed at Liverpool in 1829 and 1830. Nevertheless, the people of Charleston were pressing close on the heels of those at Liverpool, for on the 15th of January, 1831—exactly four months after the formal opening of the Manchester and Liverpool road—the first anniversary of the South Carolina Railroad was celebrated with due honor. A queer-looking machine, the outline of which was sufficient in itself to prove that the inventor owed nothing to Stephenson, had been constructed at the West Point Foundry Works in New York during the summer of 1830—a first attempt to supply that locomotive power which the Board had, with sublime confidence in possibilities, unanimously voted on the 14th of the preceding January should alone be used on the road. The name of Best Friend was given to this very simple product of native genius. The idea of the multitubular boiler had not yet suggested itself in America. The Best Friend, therefore, was supplied with a common vertical boiler, 'in form of an old-fashioned porter-bottle, the furnace at the bottom surrounded with water, and all filled inside of what we call teats running out from the sides and tops.' By means of the projections or 'teats' a portion at least of the necessary heating surface was provided. The cylinder was at the front of the platform, the rear end of which was occupied by the boiler, and it was fed by means of a connecting pipe. Thanks to the indefatigable researches of an enthusiast on railroad construction, we have an account of the performances of this and all the other pioneers among American locomotives, and the pictures with which Mr. W. H. Brown has enriched his book would alone render it both curious and valuable. Prior to the stockholders' anniversary of January 15th, 1831, it seems that the Best Friend had made several trips 'running at the rate of sixteen to twenty-one miles an hour, with forty or fifty passengers in some four or five cars, and without the cars, thirty to thirty-five miles an hour.' The stockholders' day was, however, a special occasion, and the papers of the following Monday, for it happened on a Saturday, gave the following account of it:—

"Notice having been previously given, inviting the stockholders, about one hundred and fifty assembled in the course of the morning at the company's buildings in Line Street, together with a number of invited guests. The weather the day and night previous had been stormy, and the morning was cold and cloudy. Anticipating a postponement of the ceremonies, the locomotive engine had been taken to pieces for cleaning, but upon the assembling of the company she was put in order, the cylinders new packed and at the word the apparatus was ready for movement. The first trip was performed with two pleasure cars attached, and a small carriage, fitted for the occasion, upon which was a detachment of United States troops and a field-piece which had been politely granted by Major Belton for the occasion. . . The number of passengers brought down, which was performed in two trips, was estimated at upward of two hundred. A band of music enlivened the scene, and great hilarity and good humour prevailed throughout the day."

It was not long, however, before the Best Friend came to serious grief. Naturally, and even necessarily, inasmuch as it was a South Carolina institution, it was provided with a negro fireman. It so happened that this functionary while in the discharge of his duties was much annoyed by the escape of steam from the safety valve, and, not having made himself complete master of the principles underlying the use of steam as a source of power, he took advantage of a temporary absence of the engineer in charge to effect a radical remedy of this cause of annoyance. He not only fastened down the valve lever, but further made the thing perfectly sure by sitting upon it. The consequences were hardly less disastrous to the Best Friend than to the chattel fireman. Neither were of much further practical use. Before this mishap chanced, however in June, 1831, a second locomotive, called the West Point, had arrived in Charleston, and this last was constructed on the principle of Stephenson's Rocket. In its general aspect, indeed, it greatly resembled that already famous prototype. There is a very characteristic and suggestive cut representing a trial trip made with this locomotive on March 5th, 1831. The nerves of the Charleston people had been a good deal disturbed and their confidence in steam as a safe motor shaken by the disaster which had befallen the Best Friend. Mindful of this fact, and very properly solicitous for the safety of their guests, the directors now had recourse to a very simple and ingenious expedient. They put what they called a 'barrier car' between the locomotive and passenger coaches of the train. This barrier car consisted of a platform on wheels upon which were piled six bales of cotton. A fortification was thus provided between the passengers and any future negro sitting on the safety valve. We are also assured that 'the safety valve being out of the reach of any person but the engineer, will contribute to the prevention of accidents in the future, such as befel the Best Friend.' Judging by the cut which represents the train, this occasion must have been even more marked for its 'hilarity' than the earlier one which has already been described. Besides the locomotive and the barrier car there are four passenger coaches. In the first of these was a negro band, in general appearance very closely resembling the minstrels of a later day, the members of which are energetically performing on musical instruments of various familiar descriptions. Then follow three cars full of the saddest looking white passengers, who were present as we were informed to the number of one hundred and seventeen. The excursion was, however, highly successful, and two-and-a-quarter miles of road were passed over in the short space of eight minutes—about the speed at which a good horse would trot for the same distance.

This was in March, 1831. About six months before, however, there had actually been a trial of speed between a horse and one of the pioneer locomotives, which had not resulted in favour of the locomotive. It took place on the present Baltimore and Ohio road upon the 28th of August, 1830. The engine in this case was contrived by no other than Mr. Peter Cooper. And it affords a striking illustration of how recent those events which now seem so remote really were, that here is a man until very recently living, and amongst the most familiar to the eyes of the present generation, who was a contemporary of Stephenson, and himself invented a locomotive during the Rainhill year, being then nearly forty years of age. The Cooper engine, however, was scarcely more than a working model. Its active-minded inventor hardly seems to have aimed at anything more than a demonstration of possibilities. The whole thing weighed only a ton, and was of one horse power; in fact it was not larger than those handcars now in common use with railroad section-men. The boiler, about the size of a modern kitchen boiler, stood upright and was fitted above the furnace—which occupied the lower section—with vertical tubes. The cylinder was but three-and-a-half inches in diameter, and the wheels were moved by gearing. In order to secure the requisite pressure of steam in so small a boiler, a sort of bellows was provided which was kept in action by means of a drum attached to one of the car-wheels over which passed a cord which worked a pulley, which in turn worked the bellows. Thus, of Stephenson's two great devices, without either of which his success at Rainhill would have been impossible—the waste steam blast and the multitubular boiler—Peter Cooper had only got hold of the last. He owed his defeat in the race between his engine and a horse to the fact that he had not got hold of the first. It happened in this wise. Several experimental trips had been made with the little engine on the Baltimore and Ohio road, the first sections of which had recently been completed and were then operated upon by means of horses. The success of these trips was such that at last, just seventeen days before the formal opening of the Manchester and Liverpool road on the other side of the Atlantic, a small open car was attached to the engine—the name of which, by the way, was Tom Thumb—and upon this a party of directors and their friends were carried from Baltimore to Ellicott's Mills and back, a distance of some twenty-six miles.

The trip out was made in an hour, and was very successful. The return was less so, and for the following reason:—

"The great stage proprietors of the day were Stockton and Stokes; and on that occasion a gallant grey, of great beauty and power, was driven by them from town, attached to another car on the second track—for the company had begun by making two tracks to the Mills—and met the engine at the Relay House on its way back. From this point it was determined to have a race home, and the start being even, away went horse and engine, the snort of the one and the puff of the other keeping tune and time.

"At first the grey had the best of it, for his steam would be applied to the greatest advantage on the instant, while the engine had to wait until the rotation of the wheels set the blower to work. The horse was perhaps a quarter of a mile ahead when the safety valve of the engine lifted, and the thin blue vapour issuing from it showed an excess of steam. The blower whistled, the steam blew off in vapoury clouds, the pace increased, the passengers shouted, the engine gained on the horse, soon it lapped him—the silk was plied—the race was neck and neck, nose and nose—then the engine passed the horse, and a great hurrah hailed the victory. But it was not repeated, for, just at this time, when the grey's master was about giving up, the band which draws the pulley which moved the blower slipped from the drum, the safety valve ceased to scream, and the engine—for want of breath—began to wheeze and pant. In vain Mr. Cooper, who was his own engineer and fireman, lacerated his hands in attempting to replace the band upon the wheel; the horse gained upon the machine and passed it, and although the band was presently replaced, and the steam again did its best, the horse was too far ahead to be overtaken, and came in the winner of the race."


What wonder that such an innovation as railways was strenuously opposed, threatening, as it did, the coaching interest, and the posting interest, the canal interest, and the sporting interest, and private interests of every variety. "Gentlemen, as an individual," said a sporting M.P. for Cheltenham, "I hate your railways; I detest them altogether; I wish the concoctors of the Cheltenham and Oxford, and the concoctors of every other scheme, including the solicitors and engineers, were at rest in Paradise. Gentlemen, I detest railroads; nothing is more distasteful to me than to hear the echo of our hills reverberating with the noise of hissing railroad engines, running through the heart of our hunting country, and destroying that noble sport to which I have been accustomed from my childhood." And at Tewkesbury, one speaker contended that "any railway would be injurious;" compared engines to "war-horses and fiery meteors;" and affirmed that "the evils contained in Pandora's box were but trifles compared with those that would be consequent on railways." Even in go-aheadative America, some steady jog trotting opponents raised their voices against the nascent system; one of whom (a canal stockholder, by the way) chronicled the following objective arguments. "He saw what would be the effect of it; that it would set the whole world a-gadding. Twenty miles an hour, sir! Why you will not be able to keep an apprentice-boy at his work; every Saturday evening he must take a trip to Ohio, to spend the Sabbath with his sweetheart. Grave plodding citizens will be flying about like comets. All local attachments must be at an end. It will encourage flightiness of intellect. Veracious people will turn into the most immeasurable liars; all their conceptions will be exaggerated by their magnificent notions of distance. 'Only a hundred miles off! Tut, nonsense, I'll step across, madam, and bring your fan!' 'Pray, sir, will you dine with me to-day at my little box at Alleghany?' 'Why, indeed, I don't know. I shall be in town until twelve. Well, I shall be there; but you must let me off in time for the theatre.' And then, sir, there will be barrels of pork, and cargoes of flour, and chaldrons of coals, and even lead and whiskey, and such-like sober things that have always been used to sober travelling, whisking away like a set of sky-rockets. It will upset all the gravity of the nation. If two gentlemen have an affair of honour, they have only to steal off to the Rocky Mountains, and there no jurisdiction can touch them. And then, sir, think of flying for debt! A set of bailiffs, mounted on bomb-shells, would not overtake an absconded debtor, only give him a fair start. Upon the whole, sir, it is a pestilential, topsy-turvy, harum-scarum whirligig. Give me the old, solemn, straightforward, regular Dutch canal—three miles an hour for expresses, and two for ordinary journeys, with a yoke of oxen for a heavy load! I go for beasts of burthen: it is more primitive and scriptural, and suits a moral and religious people better. None of your hop-skip-and-jump whimsies for me."

Sharpe's London Journal.


Mr. O. F. Adams remarks:—"A famous trial trip with a new locomotive engine was that made on the 9th of August, 1831, on the new line from Albany to Schenectady over the Mohawk Valley road. The train was made up of a locomotive, the De Witt Clinton, its tender, and five or six passenger coaches—which were, indeed, nothing but the bodies of stage coaches placed upon trucks. The first two of these coaches were set aside for distinguished visitors; the others were surmounted with seats of plank to accommodate as many as possible of the great throng of persons who were anxious to participate in the trip. Inside and out the coaches were crowded; every seat was full. What followed the starting of the train has thus been described by one who took part in the affair:—

"'The trucks were coupled together with chains or chain-links, leaving from two to three feet slack, and when the locomotive started it took up the slack by jerks, with sufficient force to jerk the passengers who sat on seats across the tops of the coaches, out from under their hats, and in stopping they came together with such force as to send them flying from their seats.

"They used dry pitch-pine for fuel, and, there being no smoke or spark-catcher to the chimney or smoke stack, a volume of black smoke, strongly impregnated with sparks, coal, and cinders, came pouring back the whole length of the train. Each of the outside passengers who had an umbrella raised it as a protection against the smoke and fire. They were found to be but a momentary protection, for I think in the first mile the last one went overboard, all having their covers burnt off from the frames, when a general melee took place among the deck passengers, each whipping his neighbour to put out the fire. They presented a very motley appearance on arriving at the first station." Here, "a short stop was made, and a successful experiment tried to remedy the unpleasant jerks. A plan was soon hit upon and put into execution. The three links in the couplings of the cars were stretched to their utmost tension, a rail from a fence in the neighbourhood was placed between each pair of cars and made fast by means of the packing yarn from the cylinders. This arrangement improved the order of things, and it was found to answer the purpose when the signal was again given and the engine started.'"


In the year 1831, the writer of a pamphlet, who styled himself Investigator, essayed the task of "proving by facts and arguments" that a railway between London and Birmingham would be a "burden upon the trade of the country and would never pay." The difficulties and dangers of the enterprise he thus sets forth:—

"The causes of greater danger on the railway are several. A velocity of fifteen miles an hour is in itself a great source of danger, as the smallest obstacle might produce the most serious consequences. If, at that rate, the engine or any forward part of the train should suddenly stop, the whole would be cracked by the collision like nutshells. At all turnings there is a danger that the latter part of the train may swing off the rails; and, if that takes place, the most serious consequences must ensue before the whole train can be stopped. The line, too, upon which the train must be steered admits of little lateral deviation, while a stage coach has a choice of the whole roadway. Independently of the velocity, which in coaches is the chief source of danger, there are many perils on the railway, the rails stand up like so many thick knives, and any one alighting on them would have but a slight chance of his life . . . Another consideration which would deter travellers, more especially invalids, ladies, and children, from making use of the railways, would be want of accommodation along the line, unless the directors of the railway choose to build inns as commodious as those on the present line of road. But those inns the directors would have in part to support also, because they would be out of the way of any business except that arising from the railway, and that would be so trifling and so accidental that the landlords could not afford to keep either a cellar or a larder.

"Commercial travellers, who stop and do business in all the towns and by so doing render commerce much cheaper than it otherwise would be, and who give that constant support to the houses of entertainment which makes them able to supply the occasional traveller well and at a cheap rate, would, as a matter of course, never by any chance go by the railroad; and the occasional traveller, who went the same route for pleasure, would go by the coach road also, because of the cheerful company and comfortable dinner. Not one of the nobility, the gentry, or those who travel in their own carriages, would by any chance go by the railway. A nobleman would really not like to be drawn at the tail of a train of wagons, in which some hundreds of bars of iron were jingling with a noise that would drown all the bells of the district, and in the momentary apprehension of having his vehicle broke to pieces, and himself killed or crippled by the collision of those thirty-ton masses."


Robert Stephenson, while engaged in the survey of the above line, encountered much opposition from landed proprietors. Many years after its completion, when recalling the past, he said:—"I remember that we called one day on Sir Astley Cooper, the eminent surgeon, in the hope of overcoming his aversion to the railway. He was one of our most inveterate and influential opponents. His country house at Berkhampstead was situated near the intended line, which passed through part of his property. We found a courtly, fine-looking old gentleman, of very stately manners, who received us kindly and heard all we had to say in favour of the project. But he was quite inflexible in his opposition to it. No deviation or improvement that we could suggest had any effect in conciliating him. He was opposed to railways generally, and to this in particular. 'Your scheme,' said he, 'is preposterous in the extreme. It is of so extravagant a character as to be positively absurd. Then look at the recklessness of your proceedings! You are proposing to cut up our estates in all directions for the purpose of making an unnecessary road. Do you think, for one moment, of the destruction of property involved by it? Why, gentlemen, if this sort of thing be permitted to go on you will in a very few years destroy the nobility!'"


A great deal of opposition was encountered in making the surveys for the London and Birmingham Railway, and although, in every case, as little damage was done as possible, simply because it was the interest of those concerned to conciliate all parties along the line, yet, in several instances, the opposition was of a most violent nature; in one case no skill or ingenuity could evade the watchfulness and determination of the lords of the soil, and the survey was at last accomplished at night by means of dark lanterns.

On another occasion, when Mr. Gooch was taking levels through some of the large tracts of grazing land, a few miles from London, two brothers, occupying the land came to him in a great rage, and insisted on his leaving their property immediately. He contrived to learn from them that the adjoining field was not theirs and he therefore remonstrated but very slightly with them, and then walked quietly through the gap in the hedge into the next field, and planted his level on the highest ground he could find—his assistant remaining at the last level station, distant about a hundred and sixty yards, apparently quite unconscious of what had taken place, although one of the brothers was moving very quickly towards him, for the purpose of sending him off. Now, if the assistant had moved his staff before Mr. Gooch had got his sight at it through the telescope of his level, all his previous work would have been completely lost, and the survey must have been completed in whatever manner it could have been done—the great object, however, was to prevent this serious inconvenience. The moment Mr. Gooch commenced looking through his telescope at the staff held by his assistant, the grazier nearest him, spreading out the tails of his coat, tried to place himself between the staff and the telescope, in order to intercept all vision, and at the same time commenced shouting violently to his comrade, desiring him to make haste and knock down the staff. Fortunately for Mr. Gooch, although nature had made this amiable being's ears longer than usual, yet they performed their office very badly, and as he could not see distinctly what Mr. Gooch was about—the hedge being between them—he very simply asked the man at the staff what his (the enquirer's) brother said. "Oh," replied the man, "he is calling to you to stop that horse there which is galloping out of the fold yard." Away went Clodpole, as fast as he could run, to restrain the unruly energies of Smolensko the Ninth, or whatever other name the unlucky quadruped might be called, and Mr. Gooch in the meanwhile quietly took the sight required—he having, with great judgment, planted his level on ground sufficiently high to enable him to see over the head of any grazier in the land; but his clever assistant, as soon as he perceived that all was right, had to take to his heels and make the shortest cut to the high road.

In another instance, a reverend gentleman of the Church of England made such alarming demonstrations of his opposition that the extraordinary expedient was resorted to of surveying his property during the time he was engaged in the pulpit, preaching to his flock. This was accomplished by having a strong force of surveyors all in readiness to commence their operations, by entering the clergyman's grounds on the one side at the same moment that they saw him fairly off them on the other, and, by a well organised and systematic arrangement, each man coming to a conclusion with his allotted task just as the reverend gentleman came to a conclusion with his sermon; and before he left the church to return to his home, the deed was done.

—Roscoe's London and Birmingham Railway.


Mr. Smiles, in his Life of George Stephenson, remarks:—"Sanitary objections were also urged in opposition to railways, and many wise doctors strongly inveighed against tunnels. Sir Anthony Carlisle insisted that "tunnels would expose healthy people to colds, catarrhs, and consumption." The noise, the darkness, and the dangers of tunnel travelling were depicted in all their horrors. Worst of all, however, was 'the destruction of the atmospheric air,' as Dr. Lardner termed it. Elaborate calculations were made by that gentleman to prove that the provision of ventilating shafts would be altogether insufficient to prevent the dangers arising from the combustion of coke, producing carbonic acid gas, which in large quantities was fatal to life. He showed, for instance, that in the proposed Box tunnel, on the Great Western Railway, the passage of 100 tons would deposit about 3090 lbs. of noxious gases, incapable of supporting life! Here was an uncomfortable prospect of suffocation for passengers between London and Bristol. But steps were adopted to allay these formidable sources of terror. Solemn documents, in the form of certificates, were got up and published, signed by several of the most distinguished physicians of the day, attesting the perfect wholesomeness of tunnels, and the purity of the air in them. Perhaps they went further than was necessary in alleging, what certainly subsequent experience has not verified, that the atmosphere of the tunnel was 'dry, of an agreeable temperature, and free from smell.' Mr. Stephenson declared his conviction that a tunnel twenty miles long could be worked safely and without more danger to life than a railway in the open air; but, at the same time, he admits that tunnels were nuisances, which he endeavoured to avoid wherever practicable."


In the Gentleman's Magazine for June, 1830, it is stated:—"There are at present exhibiting in Edinburgh three large models, accompanied with drawings of railways and their carriages, invented by Mr. Dick, who has a patent. These railways are of a different nature from those hitherto in use, inasmuch as they are not laid along the surface of the ground, but elevated to such a height as, when necessary, to pass over the tops of houses and trees. The principal supports are of stone, and, being placed at considerable distances, have cast-iron pillars between them. The carriages are to be dragged along with a velocity hitherto unparalleled, by means of a rope drawn by a steam engine or other prime mover, a series being placed at intervals along the railway. From the construction of the railway and carriages the friction is very small."


The advantages London derives from railways, in regard to its supply of good meat, may be gathered from the evidence given by Mr. George Rowley in 1834, on behalf of the Great Western Railway Company.

"You have been a general salesman of live and dead stock of all descriptions in Newgate Market 32 years?"—"Yes."

"What is about the annual amount of your sales?"—"I turn over 300,000 pounds in a year."

"Would a railway that facilitated the communication between London and Bristol be an advantage to your business?"—"I think it would be a special advantage to London altogether."

"In what way?"—"The facility of having goods brought in reference to live stock is very important; I have been in the habit of paying Mr. Bowman, of Bristol, 1,000 pounds a-week for many weeks; that has been for sending live hogs to me to be sold, to be slaughtered in London; and I have, out of that 1,000 pounds a-week as many as 40 or 50 pigs die on the road, and they have sold for little or nothing. The exertion of the pigs kills them."

"The means of conveying pigs on a railway would be a great advantage?"—"Yes, as far as having the pigs come good to market, without being subject to a distemper that creates fever, and they die as red as that bag before you, and when they are killed in good health they die a natural colour."

"Then do I understand you that those who are fortunate enough to survive the journey are the worse for it?"—"Yes, in weight."

"And in quality?"—"Yes! All meat killed in the country, and delivered in the London market dead, in a good state, will make from 6d. to 8d. a stone more than what is slaughtered in London."


"Clanwilliam mentioned this evening an incident which proves the wonderful celerity of the railroads. Mr. Isidore, the Queen's coiffeur, who receives 2,000 pounds a year for dressing Her Majesty's hair twice-a-day, had gone to London in the morning to return to Windsor in time for her toilet; but on arriving at the station he was just five minutes too late, and saw the train depart without him. His horror was great, as he knew that his want of punctuality would deprive him of his place, as no train would start for the next two hours. The only resource was to order a special train, for which he was obliged to pay 18 pounds; but the establishment feeling the importance of his business, ordered extra steam to be put on, and convoyed the anxious hair-dresser 18 miles in 18 minutes, which extricated him from all his difficulties."

Raike's Diary from 1831 to 1847.


Sir Francis Head, Bart., in his Stokers and Pokers, remarks:—"During the construction of the present London and North Western Railway, a landlady at Hillmorton, near Rugby, of very sharp practice, which she had imbibed in dealings for many years with canal boatmen, was constantly remarking aloud that no navvy should ever "do" her; and although the railway was in her immediate neighbourhood, and although the navvies were her principal customers, she took pleasure on every opportunity in repeating the invidious remark.

"It had, however, one fine morning scarcely left her large, full-blown, rosy lips, when a fine-looking young fellow, walking up to her, carrying in both hands a huge stone bottle, commonly called a 'grey-neck,' briefly asked her for 'half a gallon of gin;' which was no sooner measured and poured in than the money was rudely demanded before it could be taken away.

"On the navvy declining to pay the exorbitant price asked, the landlady, with a face like a peony, angrily told him he must either pay for the gin or instantly return it.

"He silently chose the latter, and accordingly, while the eyes of his antagonist were wrathfully fixed upon his, he returned into her measure the half gallon, and then quietly walked off; but having previously put into his grey-neck half a gallon of water, each party eventually found themselves in possession of half a gallon of gin and water; and, however either may have enjoyed the mixture, it is historically recorded at Hillmorton that the landlady was never again heard unnecessarily to boast that no navvy could do her."


A navvy at Kilsby, being asked why he did not go to church? duly answered in geological language—"Why, Soonday hasn't cropped out here yet!" By which he meant that the clergyman appointed to the new village had not yet arrived.


One of the earliest forms of rails used by the Americans consisted of a flat bar half-an-inch thick spiked down to longitudinal timbers. In the process of running the train, the iron was curved, the spikes loosened, and the ends of the bars turned up, and were known by the name of snakes' heads. Occasionally they pierced the bottoms of the carriages and injured passengers, and it was no uncommon thing to hear passengers speculate as to which line they would go by, as showing fewest snakes' heads.


Mr. William Reed, a land agent, was called, in 1834, to give evidence in favour of the Great Western Railway. He was questioned as to the benefits conferred upon the localities passed through by the Manchester and Liverpool Railway. He was asked, "From your knowledge of the property in the neighbourhood, can you say that the houses have not decreased in value?" "Yes; I know an instance of a gentleman who had a house very near, and, though he quarrelled very much with the Company when they came there, and said, 'Very well, if you will come let me have a high wall to keep you out of sight,' and a year-and-a-half ago he petitioned the Company to take down the wall, and he has put up an iron railing, so that he may see them."


The early railway enterprise in America was not regarded by all persons with feelings of unmixed satisfaction. Thus we read of the railway journey taken by a gentleman of the old school, whose experience and sensations—if not very satisfactory to himself—are worth recording:—"July 22, 1835.—This morning at nine o'clock I took passage in a railroad car (from Boston) for Providence. Five or six other cars were attached to the locomotive, and uglier boxes I do not wish to travel in. They were made to stow away some thirty human beings, who sit cheek by jowl as best they can. Two poor fellows who were not much in the habit of making their toilet squeezed me into a corner, while the hot sun drew from their garments a villanous compound of smells made up of salt fish, tar, and molasses. By and bye, just twelve—only twelve—bouncing factory girls were introduced, who were going on a party of pleasure to Newport. 'Make room for the ladies!' bawled out the superintendent, 'Come, gentlemen, jump up on the top; plenty of room there.' 'I'm afraid of the bridge knocking my brains out,' said a passenger. Some made one excuse and some another. For my part, I flatly told him that since I had belonged to the corps of Silver Greys I had lost my gallantry, and did not intend to move. The whole twelve were, however, introduced, and soon made themselves at home, sucking lemons and eating green apples. . . The rich and the poor, the educated and the ignorant, the polite and the vulgar, all herd together in this modern improvement of travelling. The consequence is a complete amalgamation. Master and servant sleep heads and points on the cabin floor of the steamer, feed at the same table, sit in each other's laps, as it were, in the cars; and all this for the sake of doing very uncomfortably in two days what would be done delightfully in eight or ten. Shall we be much longer kept by this toilsome fashion of hurrying, hurrying, from starting (those who can afford it) on a journey with our own horses, and moving slowly, surely, and profitably through the country, with the power of enjoying its beauty, and be the means of creating good inns. Undoubtedly, a line of post-horses and post-chaises would long ago have been established along our great roads had not steam monopolized everything. . . . Talk of ladies on board a steamboat or in a railroad car. There are none! I never feel like a gentleman there, and I cannot perceive a semblance of gentility in any one who makes part of the travelling mob. When I see women whom, in their drawing rooms or elsewhere, I have been accustomed to respect and treat with every suitable deference—when I see them, I say, elbowing their way through a crowd of dirty emigrants or lowbred homespun fellows in petticoats or breeches in our country, in order to reach a table spread for a hundred or more, I lose sight of their pretensions to gentility and view them as belonging to the plebeian herd. To restore herself to her caste, let a lady move in select company at five miles an hour, and take her meals in comfort at a good inn, where she may dine decently. . . . After all, the old-fashioned way of five or six miles, with liberty to dine in a decent inn and be master of one's movements, with the delight of seeing the country and getting along rationally, is the mode to which I cling, and which will be adopted again by the generations of after times."

Recollections of Samuel Breck.


Mr. C. F. Adams remarks:—"During the periods of discouragement which, a few years later, marked certain stages of the construction of the Western road, connecting Worcester with Albany—when both money and courage seemed almost exhausted—Mr. De Grand never for a moment faltered. He might almost be said to have then had Western railroad on the brain. Among other things, he issued a circular which caused much amusement and not improbably some scandal among the more precise. The Rev. S. K. Lothrop, then a young man, had preached a sermon in Brattle Street Church which attracted a good deal of attention, on the subject of the moral and Christianizing influence of railroads. Mr. De Grand thought he saw his occasion, and he certainly availed himself of it. He at once had a circular printed, a copy of which he sent to every clergyman in Massachusetts, suggesting the propriety of a discourse on 'The moral and Christianizing influence of railroads in general and of the Western railroad in particular.'"


In the Mechanics' Magazine for July 22nd, 1837, is to be found the following remarkable suggestion:—"In many parts of the new railroads, where there has been some objection to the locomotive engines, stationary ones are resorted to, as everyone knows to draw the vehicles along. Why might not these vehicles be balloons? Why, instead of being dragged on the surface of the ground, along costly viaducts or under disagreeable tunnels, might they not travel two or three hundred feet high? By balloons, I mean, of course, anything raised in the air by means of a gas lighter than the air. They might be of all shapes and sizes to suit convenience. The practicability of this plan does not seem to be doubtful. Its advantages are obvious. Instead of having to purchase, as for a railway, the whole line of track passed over, the company for a balloon-way would only have to procure those spots of ground on which they proposed to erect stationary engines; and these need in no case be of peculiar value, since their being a hundred yards one way or the other would make little difference. Viaducts of course would never be necessary, cuttings in very few occasions indeed, if at all. The chief expense of balloons is their inflation, which is renewed at every new ascent; but in these balloons the gas once in need never to be let out, and one inflation would be enough."

The same writer a few years later on observes:—"One feature of the air-way to supersede the railway would be, that besides preventing the destruction of the architectural beauties of the metropolis, now menaced by the multitudinous network of viaducts and subways at war with the existing thoroughfares, it would occasion the construction of numerous lofty towers as stations of arrival and departure, which would afford an opportunity of architectural effect hitherto undreamed of."


Rev. F. S. Williams in an article upon "Railway Revolutions," remarks:—"When railways were first established it was never imagined that they would be so far degraded as to carry coals; but George Stephenson and others soon saw how great a service railways might render in developing and distributing the mineral wealth of the country. Prejudice had, however, to be timidly and vigorously overcome. When it was mentioned to a certain eminent railway authority that George Stephenson had spoken of sending coals by railway: 'Coals!' he exclaimed, 'they will want us to carry dung next.' The remark was reported to 'Old George,' who was not behind his critic in the energy of his expression. 'You tell B—,' he said, 'that when he travels by railway, they carry dung now!' The strength of the feeling against the traffic is sufficiently illustrated by the fact that, when the London and Birmingham Railway began to carry coal, the wagons that contained it were sheeted over that their contents might not be seen; and when a coal wharf was first made at Crick station, a screen was built to hide the work from the observation of passengers on the line. Even the possibility of carrying coal at a remunerative price was denied. 'I am very sorry,' said Lord Eldon, referring to this subject, 'to find the intelligent people of the north country gone mad on the subject of railways;' and another eminent authority declared: 'It is all very well to spend money; it will do some good; but I will eat all the coals your railway will carry.'

"George Stephenson, however, and other friends of coal, held on their way; and he declared that the time would come when London would be supplied with coal by railway. 'The strength of Britain,' he said, 'is in her coal beds; and the locomotive is destined, above all other agencies, to bring it forth. The Lord Chancellor now sits upon a bag of wool; but wool has long ceased to be emblematical of the staple commodity of England. He ought rather to sit upon a bag of coals, though it might not prove quite so comfortable a seat. Then think of the Lord Chancellor being addressed as the noble and learned lord on the coal-sack? I'm afraid it wouldn't answer, after all.'"


A correspondent writes to the Pall Mall Gazette:—"Our poetic literature, so rich in other respects, is entirely wanting in epitaphs on the victims of railway accidents. A specimen of what may be turned in this line is to be seen on a tombstone in the picturesque churchyard of Harrow-on-the-Hill. It was, I observe, written as long ago as 1838, so that it can be reproduced without much danger of hurting the feelings of those who may have known and loved the subject of this touching elegy. The name of the victim was Port, and the circumstances of his death are thus set forth:—

Bright was the morn, and happy rose poor Port; Gay on the train he used his wonted sport. Ere noon arrived his mangled form they bore With pain distorted and overwhelmed with gore. When evening came and closed the fatal day, A mutilated corpse the sufferer lay."


In the cemetery at Alton, Illinois, there is a tombstone bearing the following inscription:—

"My engine is now cold and still. No water does my boiler fill. My coke affords its flame no more, My days of usefulness are o'er; My wheels deny their noted speed, No more my guiding hand they heed; My whistle—it has lost its tone, Its shrill and thrilling sound is gone; My valves are now thrown open wide, My flanges all refuse to glide; My clacks—alas! though once so strong, Refuse their aid in the busy throng; No more I feel each urging breath, My steam is now condensed in death; Life's railway o'er, each station past, In death I'm stopped, and rest at last."

This epitaph was written by an engineer on the old Chicago and Mississippi Railroad, who was fatally injured by an accident on the road; and while he lay awaiting the death which he knew to be inevitable, he wrote the lines which are engraved upon his tombstone.


Between the years 1836 and 1839, when there were many railway acts applied for, traffic-taking became a lucrative calling. It was necessary that some approximate estimate should be made as to the income which the lines might be expected to yield. Arithmeticians, who calculated traffic receipts, were to be found to prove what promoters of railways required to satisfy shareholders and Parliamentary Committees. The Eastern Counties Railway was estimated to pay a dividend of 23.5 per cent.; the London and Cambridge, 14.5 per cent.; the Sheffield and Manchester, 18.5 per cent. One shareholder of this company was so sanguine as to the success of the line that in a letter to the Railway Magazine he calculated on a dividend of 80 per cent. Bitter indeed must have been the disappointment of those railway shareholders who pinned their faith to the estimates of traffic-takers, when instead of receiving large dividends, little was received, and in some instances the lines paid no dividend at all.


On Friday night, a servant of the Birmingham Railway Company found in one of the first-class carriages, after the passengers had left, a pocket book containing a check on a London Bank for 2,000 and 2,500 pounds in bank notes. He delivered the book and its contents to the principal officer, and it was forwarded to the gentleman to whom it belonged, his address being discovered from some letters in the pocket book. He had gone to bed, and risen and dressed himself next morning without discovering his loss, which was only made known by the restoration of the property. He immediately tendered 20 pounds to the party who had found his money, but this being contrary to the regulations of the directors, the party, though a poor man, could not receive the reward. As the temptation, however, was so great to apply the money to his own use, the matter is to be brought before a meeting of the directors.

Aris's Gazette, 1839.


Mr. Thomas Cook, the celebrated excursionist, in an article in the Leisure Hour remarks:—"As a pioneer in a wide field of thought and action, my course can never be repeated. It has been mine to battle against inaugural difficulties, and to place the system on a basis of consolidated strength. It was mine to lay the foundations of a system on which others, both individuals and companies, have builded, and there is not a phase of the tourist plans of Europe and America that was not embodied in my plans or foreshadowed in my ideas. The whole thing seemed to come to me as by intuition, and my spirit recoiled at the idea of imitation.

"The beginning was very small, and was on this wise. I believe that the Midland Railway from Derby to Rugby via Leicester was opened in 1840. At that time I knew but little of railways, having only travelled over the Leicester and Swannington line from Leicester to Long Lane, a terminus near to the Leicestershire collieries. The reports in the papers of the opening of the new line created astonishment in Leicestershire, and I had read of an interchange of visits between the Leicester and Nottingham Mechanics' Institutes. I was an enthusiastic temperance man, and the secretary of a district association, which embraced parts of the two counties of Leicester and Northampton. A great meeting was to be held at Leicester, over which Lawrence Heyworth, Esq., of Liverpool—a great railway as well as temperance man—was advertised to preside. From my residence at Market Harborough I walked to Leicester (fifteen miles) to attend that meeting. About midway between Harborough and Leicester—my mind's eye has often reverted to the spot—a thought flashed through my brain, what a glorious thing it would be if the newly-developed powers of railways and locomotion could be made subservient to the promotion of temperance. That thought grew upon me as I travelled over the last six or eight miles. I carried it up to the platform, and, strong in the confidence of the sympathy of the chairman, I broached the idea of engaging a special train to carry the friends of temperance from Leicester to Loughborough and back to attend a quarterly delegate meeting appointed to be held there in two or three weeks following. The chairman approved, the meeting roared with excitement, and early next day I proposed my grand scheme to John Fox Bell, the resident secretary of the Midland Counties Railway Company. Mr. Paget, of Loughborough, opened his park for a gala, and on the day appointed about five hundred passengers filled some twenty or twenty-five open carriages—they were called 'tubs' in those days—and the party rode the enormous distance of eleven miles and back for a shilling, children half-price. We carried music with us, and music met us at the Loughborough station. The people crowded the streets, filled windows, covered the house-tops, and cheered us all along the line, with the heartiest welcome. All went off in the best style and in perfect safety we returned to Leicester; and thus was struck the keynote of my excursions, and the social idea grew upon me."


It was a principle of English common law derived from the feudal period, that anything through the instrumentality of which death occurred was forfeited to the crown as a deodand; accordingly down to the year 1840 and even later, we find, in all cases where persons were killed, records of deodands levied by the coroners' juries upon locomotives. These appear to have been arbitrarily imposed and graduated in amount accordingly as circumstances seemed to excite in greater or less degree the sympathies or the indignation of the jury. In November, 1838, for instance, a locomotive exploded upon the Liverpool and Manchester line, killing its engineer and fireman; and for this escapade a deodand of twenty pounds was assessed upon it by the coroner's jury; while upon another occasion, in 1839, when the locomotive struck and killed a man and horse at a street crossing, the deodand was fixed at no less a sum than fourteen hundred pounds, the full value of the engine. Yet in this last case there did not appear to be any circumstances rendering the company liable in civil damages. The deodand seems to have been looked upon as a species of rude penalty imposed on the use of dangerous appliances, a sharp reminder to the companies to look sharply after their locomotives and employes. Thus upon the 24th of December, 1841, on the Great Western Railway, a train, while moving through a thick fog at a high rate of speed, came suddenly in contact with a mass of earth which had slid from the embankment at the side on to the track. Instantly the whole rear of the train was piled up on the top of the first carriage, which happened to be crowded with passengers, eight of whom were killed on the spot, while seventeen others were more or less injured. The coroner's jury returned a verdict of accidental death, and at the same time, as if to give the company a forcible hint to look closer to the condition of its embankment, a deodand of one hundred pounds was levied on the locomotive and tender.


Two gentlemen sitting opposite each other in a railway carriage got into a political argument; one was elderly and a staunch Conservative, the other was young and an ultra-Radical. It may be readily conceived that, as the argument went on, the abuse became fast and furious; all sorts of unpleasant phrases and epithets were bandied about, personalities were freely indulged in, and the other passengers were absolutely compelled to interfere to prevent a fracas. At the end of the journey the disputants parted in mutual disgust, and looking unutterable things. It so happened that the young man had a letter of introduction to an influential person in the neighbourhood respecting a legal appointment which was then vacant, which the young man desired to obtain, and which the elderly gentleman had the power to secure. The young petitioner, first going to his hotel and making himself presentable, sallied forth on his errand. He reached the noble mansion of the person to whom his letter of introduction was addressed, was ushered into an ante-room, and there awaited, with mingled hope and fear, the all-important interview. After a few minutes the door opened and, horrible to relate! he who entered was the young man's travelling opponent, and thus the opponents of an hour since stood face to face. The confusion and humiliation on the one side, and the hauteur and coldness on the other, may be readily imagined. Sir Edward C—, however—for such he was—although he instantly recognized his recent antagonist, was too well-bred to make any allusion to the transaction. He took the letter of introduction in silence, read it, folded it up, and returned it to the presenter with a bitter smile and the following speech: "Sir, I am infinitely obliged to my friend, Mr. —, for recommending to my notice a gentleman whom he conceives to be so well fitted for the vacant post as yourself; but permit me to say that, inasmuch as the office you are desirous to fill exists upon a purely Conservative tenure, and can only be appropriately administered by a person of Conservative tendency, I could not think of doing such violence to your well-known political principles as to recommend you for the post in question." With these words and another smile more grim than before, Sir Edward C— bowed the chapfallen petitioner out, and he quickly took his way to the railway station, secretly vowing never again to enter into political argument with an unknown railway traveller.

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