« ПретходнаНастави »
Few wants, pure hopes, and noble ends,
And you, old Gray!
That's what I've learned by going away."
5. And a happy man is Farmer John,—
The large kind oxen look their thanks
As he rubs their forehead and strokes their flanks;
And you, old Bay,
And you, old Gray,
The next time I travel so far away!"
J. T. TROWBRIDGE.
1. The history of railroads is truly marvelous. George Stephenson,* the inventor (if it can be said that railroads were invented), when eighteen years old had never been to school. He could not write nor even read. His father was very poor, and he was compelled to work incessantly to aid in supporting a large family.
2. At that age he was fired with an ambition to learn, and for this purpose secured admission to an evening school, working during the day. He was indefatigable in his efforts to learn, and soon developed a passion for
*An Englishman, born June 9, 1781; died August 12, 1848.
mathematics, the acquisition of which proved of great use to him in after-life.
3. When twenty years old he was made brakeman on a colliery engine, and soon after began to think about improving it himself. He kept on working and thinking and reading until, at thirty-two years of age, he made an engine, which he named "My Lord," in honor of Lord Ravensworth, who had furnished the money with which to build it. This was in 1813, and it was the first locomotive engine ever built. It was used to draw coal-cars on a tramway.
4. The construction of this engine was a great achievement, but Mr. Stephenson was not satisfied. He was sure that one could be built that would run much faster, and he ventured to predict that a speed of twelve miles an hour would be attained, and that passengers would yet travel by steam.
5. He was laughed at for his folly; and one gravelooking gentleman, thinking to put him down by ridicule, said, "Suppose one of these engines to be going at the rate of nine or ten miles an hour, and that a cow were to stray upon the line, would not that be a very awkward circumstance?" "Yes," replied Mr. Stephenson, "very awkward, indeed-for the cow."
6. A few quaker gentlemen, influenced by one Edward Pease, himself a quaker, who, it was said, could see a hundred years ahead, and who had become interested in what George Stephenson was doing, formed a railroad company, and their first line of rail was laid from Wilton colliery (near Darlington, England,) to Stockton, in September, 1825. This line was called in derision "the Quaker-Line." Five years afterwards it was extended to Middlesborough, a distance of four or five miles. This extension was opened on the 27th of December, 1830. 7. There was, of course, plenty of laughter in con
nection with the idea of railroads, and a good deal of opposition to them. People used the word "ridiculous” very freely. Some noblemen would not have their foxcovers disturbed; others ordered their people to drive off any person making surveys, as trespassers, or to sunmarily duck them in a neighboring horse pond; and pamphlets were written to alarm the public.
8. It was gravely stated that if railroads were laid it would prevent the cows from grazing, hens from laying, and that the poisoned air from the locomotives would kill the birds as they flew, and render the preserving of game impossible; while householders near the line were told that their houses would be burned, vegetation destroyed, innkeepers ruined, and passengers massacred. And when it was known that Mr. Stephenson had said travelers could journey at a speed of twelve miles an hour, there was one general expression of derision.
9. The first railroad in the United States was built in 1827, for the purpose of transporting granite for the Bunker Hill monument, from the quarry at Quincy, Massachusetts, to the river Neponset, which flows into Boston harbor. The distance was three miles, and the cars were drawn by horses.
10. The engine which drew its first train over “the Quaker Line" in England, in September, 1825, opened a new era to the world. In the half-century just completed, greater progress and improvements in the arts generally have been made than in any corresponding period before in the world's history.
11. The few miles of track between the out-of-the-way little English towns have grown and ramified until their iron net-work, already pushing its way into the wildernesses of Siberia and the burning sands of the African deserts, will soon have encompassed the world.
12. For the old stage-coach bodies, deprived of their
wheels and mounted on trucks, which constituted the first railroad cars, there have been substituted elegant saloons, where one may eat and sleep in luxury over journeys from ocean to ocean; instead of the slow, wheezing machine, typical of childhood in its fragility and incapacity, now exists the magnificent engine, equally typical of the strength and might of manhood.
13. At first the locomotive crawled along at the rate of four miles an hour, over wooden tracks. Now it vies with the wind and seems like a bird in its swiftest flights, scarcely visible in its wild rushing over the country, on steel rails, at a speed often of more than a mile a minute.
14. The opening of communication between New York and Chicago by means of a "fast mail line," on the 15th of September, 1875, bringing those two cities, though a thousand miles apart, within twenty-six hours of each other, is a fit closing of the half-century's progress in railroading. Well may we, whose memories cover the whole period, look with wonder on the achievements of the past, and turn toward the future hoping all things, and believing all things with the faith that removes mountains.
It is not so much what you say,
As the manner in which you say it;
The words may be mild and fair,
And the tones may pierce like a dart;
Men of the noblest dispositions think themselves happiest when others share their happiness with them.
THE BRIGHT SIDE.
1. There is many a rest in the road of life
And whose beautiful trust ne'er faileth,
2. Better to hope, though the clouds hang low, And to keep the eyes still lifted,
For the sweet blue sky will still peep through
3. There is many a gem in the path of life,
4. Better to weave in the web of life
And to do God's will with a ready heart,
And then blame heaven for the tangled ends,