« ПретходнаНастави »
mass of men, arms, and ammunition could be defiled along the Manchester railroad in one day, than along the Via Appia in a month, with Julius Cæsar to direct the expedition, and the fate of Rome dependent on the celerity of its movements !
But it is more pleasing to contemplate the effects of the steam-carriage in peace. By increasing the facilities of intercommunication, we multiply the products of human labour, mental as well as corporeal, and reduce their price. The steamcarriage lessens the distance (or the time, which is tantamount) between the inhabitants of a state, and thereby converts, as it were, a country into a city. By this kind of artificial approximation, we secure all the good effects of combination, without the detrimental consequences of a concentrated population. By it, Liverpool and Manchester are constituted one city, as regards all kinds of communication and commerce, while a fertile tract of thirty miles is placed between them.
The intercommunication by steam, will enable us to change many millions of meadow into fields of wheat--and the provender of horses will be converted into food for man.
Having passed and repassed between Liverpool and Manchester several times, and in the different classes of conveyance, I marked accurately the phenomena of this most astonishing effort of human ingenuity to abridge labour and save time. When the train is at full speed—-say thirty or more miles in an hour—the sensations and the noise produced by the vibrations of the machinery and the rotation of so many wheels, resemble a good deal those which would result from a troop of horse at full gallop, but all the animals in the most perfect unison of action and motion. Neither the vibrations, the sounds, nor the sight of surrounding objects, convey any unpleasant feelings to the passenger :-on the contrary, to me, they communicated an exceedingly pleasurable sensation, but of a nature that cannot be described in words.
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 certain 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 a 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 the elevation. The progression is proportionate; and before the said point is gained, the train is not moving faster than a horse could 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 nearly 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 thirtyfive 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 Ætna and Vesuvius excite feelings of horror as well as of terror—the convulsion of the elements, during a thunder storm, carries with it nothing of 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 and arches are very electrifying. The deafening peal of thunder, the sudden im
Those who have witnessed a pitched battle between the tiger and the buffalo, in Bengal, will understand what I mean.
mersion 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 the Chat-moss unworthy of notice. The ingenuity with which two narrow rods of iron are made to bear whole trains of waggons, laden with many hundred tons of commerce, and bounding across a wide semifluid 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 practised skater skims the icy mirror of a frozen lake !
To conclude. Even in its present infancy of improvement, the steam-carriage, on the rail-road, appears to me to be a safer vehicle than the stage-coach. The rapid rate of driving, occasioned by competition, renders the outside of a coach dangerous, while the inside is disagreeable and fatiguing. The spirit of the horse can never be tempered to the precision of machinery and steam.
With ey'es that hardly se'rved at mo'st/ To guard their ma'ster/ 'gainst a po'st ; Yet round the wo`rld/ the blade had b'een, To s'ee whatever cou'ld-be-seen. Returning from his finished tou'r, (Grown ten times per'ter than befor'e,) Whatever wo'rd/ you chance to drʼop, The travelled fo'ol/ your mouth will sto'p; “Si'r, if my judg‘ment/ you'll all'ow“ I've se’en—and sure I ought to kn'ow”– So begs you'd pa'y/ a du'e submi’ssion, And acqui'esce/ in his'-decision. Two trav'ellers/ of such a caʼst, As o'er Arabia's wilds/ they pa'ss'd, An'd, on their wa'y/, in friendly ch'at Now talked of this, and then of th'at ; Discoursed awh'ile/ 'mongst other m'atter, Of the chameleon's foʻrm/ and nature. “ A stranger a'nimal,” (cries o'ne,) “Sure never live'd/ beneath the s'un ! “A liz'ard's body, le'an and lo'ng, “ A fi'sh's he’ad, a ser pent's tong'ue; " Its fo'ot/ with triple cla'w disjo'ined; “ And what a length of ta'il/ behi’nd ! “ How slow its pa'ce! and the'n/ its hu°e! 6 Who ever saw so fin'e a blu^e ?” “ Hoʻld there!" (the other quick rep'lies) “ 'Tis greîen—I sa'w-it/ with these eye's,“As la’te/ with open mouth it la'y, “ And warm’ed it/ in the sunny ray; “ Stretch'd at its ea'se/ the beast I vi’ew'd, “ And saw it eat the a'ir/ for food.” “ I've seen it, Sir, as well as yoou, “ And must again affi'rm-it/ blue; “At leisure I the beast surv'ey'd, “ Exten'ded in/ the cooling sha'de.” “ 'Tis gre'en !' 'tis green? Sir/, I assure-ye"-“ Gr een!” (cries the other in a fu'ry) “Why, Sir, d'ye thin'k/ I've lost my eyes ?" " 'Twere no great lo'ss,” (the friend repli'es ;) “ Fo'r/ if they always served you thu's ! “ You'll find-em/ but of little use.”
S'o hi’gh at la'st/ the contest roʻse,
you don't find him blaîck, I'll e’at-him.”
You a'll are right, and all are wroʻng :
talk of what
HOW D'YE DO, AND GOOD BYE.
Too close to shun saluting ; * Of the Author of “The Chameleon" we hardly know any thing, except that he was an English Clergyman, and a respectable Poet; and that to him, it is said, we are indebted for the best poetical version of The Psalms.—He belonged, we believe, to Reading, in Berkshire, and died about 1770.