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That when some proud usurper Heaven provides,
Deeply smitten with the charms of one of two sisters famous for their beauty, he had sued and been accepted; and the prelimina ries of the marriage were in progress when an obstacle occurred. The reputation of the other sister, more renowned for beauty of the two-though hardly with justice, if the engravings of the day be faithful-but undoubt edly more fair than wise, had suffered from evil reports. The duke, who had heard and (as men of the word usually do where female reputation is concerned) believed, announced to his intended bride his resolution against a continuance of intimacy we know not whether the prohibition extended to intercourse. Sisterly affection revolted at this condition, but he persevered to the extent of breaking off the marriage. Such scruples in an age not remarkable for rigid aristocratic morality, and on the part of a pupil of Wood, might be suspected to indicate want of ardor in the attachment. The circumstances, however, refute this suspicion. The charms of the lady alone had attracted the suitor-charms which had, previously to the duke's suit, placed one ducal coronet on her brow, and speedily replaced the one she now sacrificed to sisterly affection, by another.
If men occasionally rise from obscurity to such perilous elevation, it fortunately also sometimes occurs that others born to coronets on their cradles, and scutcheons on their coffins, will descend from the dignity of doing nothing to the office of thinking and acting for the benefit of their fellow-creatures. As England is not a country of Spanish grandees, and the blood of her aristocracy is, in sporting phrase, continually crossed, there are no physical reasons why the higher faculties of the mind should not be pretty equally distributed among all her classes. With reference, however, to that portion of her aristocracy which had been compared to the Trinity House, in that it is composed of elder brethren, it may be said that political ambition is the incentive which most usually calls its powers into conspicuous action. The fact is, that politics are the most social of serious pursuits; and though real distinction in this sphere, as in others, is only to be gained by great sacrifices of ease and pleasure, it is still compatible with a large indulgence in the social excitements which Their impression was in this instansce so wealth and inherited station hold out for ac- deep, and the sacrifice so painful, that he who ceptance, and which even, to some extent, made it to a great extent abandoned society, and form part of the business of a political lead-is said never to have spoken to another woman er, and become agents of his influence. If in the language of gallantry. A Roman CaSir Isaac Newton had been born to an earl- tholic might have built a monastery, tenanted dom and a rent-roll, his parents or guardians a cell, and died a saint. The duke, at the might have warned him that Euclid was very age of twenty-two, betook himself to his Lanwell, but that fluxions did not become a gen-cashire estates, made Brindley his confessor, tleman; and the sacred fire within him might and died a benefactor to commerce, manuhave burnt out in the calculations of political factures, and mankind. finance, or, more unprofitably, on the course of Newmarket or at the gaming-table. The self-exile from the circle we are ticketed from birth to enter, the brooding over one design, the indomitable perseverance which can alone master success in such objects as those of the Duke of Bridgewater's manhood, can, in the nature of things, seldom be exhibited by the 'You and Mr. de Bareil may give yourselves nobles by inheritance of any country. It is what airs you please of settling cartels with exwell known that they were conspicuously ex-pedition. You do not exchange prisoners with hibited by the Duke of Bridgewater. Perseverance was in his nature, but we believe that accident had a share in its development that a disappointment in love first alienated him from what is called the world-and that this affair of the heart was the cardinal passage of his existence. We mention it not merely as having influenced his destiny, but also as having afforded a signal illustration of that determination of character and resolute will which afterwards carried him through
all his difficulties.
While upon this subject it may be worth while to remark that our account of this episode in the duke's life may serve to supply the readers of Horace Walpole with the explanation of a passage in one of his letters to Marshal Conway. He writes, Jan. 28, 1759,—
hall so much alacrity as Jack Campbell and the Duchess of Hamilton have exchanged hearts. since yours, and everybody likes it but the Duke It is the prettiest match in the world of Bridgewater and Lord Coventry. What an ex traordinary fate is attached to these two women! Who could have believed that a Gunning would unite the two great houses of Campbell and Hamilton? For my part I expect to see my Lady Coventry Queen of Prussia. I would not venfor fear of being shuffled out of the world prema ture to marry either of them these thirty years, turely to make room for the rest of their adven
We do not profess to know why Lord Coventry should have objected to his sister-inlaw's second marriage. We have explained why the Duke of Bridgewater may have done so, Was it to conceal his chagrin, and carry off his disappointment with a good grace, that he performed a feat very inconsistent with his after habits, alluded to in the subsequent letter of March 9th to Sir Horace Mann :
'Colonel Campbell and the Duchess of Hamilton are married. My sister, who was at the Opera last Tuesday, and went from thence to a great ball at the Duke of Bridgewater's, where she staid till three in the morning, was brought to bed in less than four hours afterwards.'
able to see any ground whatever for putting the merit of any other person in this respect in competition with that of his grace, who undoubtedly of attaining his majority, a work which reflects deserves the whole credit of planning, at the time immortal honor on his memory, and confers a rank upon him greater, immeasurably greater, than all that which is due to his title and his station. Undoubtedly he had seen and studied the great canal works of Italy, Holland, and other countries, and he deserves undivided credit for having so perseveringly determined to see them imitated in his own country and through his own means.'
We have given elsewhere our reasons for doubting the assumption of Mr. Hughes as to the effect of the duke's continental tour.With his other observations we concur, and, doing so we are inclined to lay the greater stress on the probability that if the duke had become the husband of the most beautiful woman of her day, he might indeed have become the father of a race of Egertons, but not of inland navigation. This title could hardly have been won, unless circumstances had allowed of the complete and continued concentration of the whole energies of the man on the one object. Under the influence of eyes not inferior to those of the duke's ancestress, Churchill's loveliest daughter, immortalized by Pope, when he writes in his epistle to Jervas, how'Beauty waking all her forms supplies An angel's sweetness, or Bridgewater's eyes'
Beyond the allusion quoted above from Horace Walpole we have met with no written notice of this incident in the duke's life; but our oral authority is such as to leave us no doubt on the subject, and we cannot think that we have over estimated its importance. We are aware that the validity of his claim to the title which by general consent has been bestowed upon him, of Father of British Inland Navigation, has been cavilled at on two grounds-first, on that of an act obtained by his father, Scroop, first Duke of Bridgewater, and others in 1737, for rendering Worsley brook navigable; and secondly, on the stronger instance of the Sankey navigation, the act for which was obtained in 1755, and which was opened in 1760, whereas the duke's first act received the royal assent in March, 1759, and the Barton aqueduct was opened in July, 1761. The first he would have been more likely to have proground of impeachment we consider hardly tracted his honey-moon in the myrtle shades worth notice, unless to illustrate the difference of Ashridge than to have adopted the course between a vague and timid conception, the ex- by which alone his canal schemes could have ecution of which was never attempted, and the reached success-namely, fixed his residence brilliant realizations of Brindley. On the se- in the coal-field of Worsley and on the concond Mr. Hughes makes the following re- fines of Chat Moss. In the lady's opinion, at marks, p. 8:least, Brindley and Gilbert might have been unwelcome additions to a connubial tête-à
tête, and uncouth appendages to circles recruited from White's and Almack's. Even
'The credit of the Duke of Bridgewater having been denied by some, who contend that the Sankey Brook Canal in Lancashire was constructed and designed before his, it may be proper to ex-tual Egertons might also have been strong amine the truth of this assertion. In the year prudential checks on speculations which as 1755, an act was obtained for making the San- things turned out could involve no ruin but key Brook navigable from St. Helens to the riv- his own, but which at one time brought him er Mersey, but the proprietors of the navigation so near its verge that almost any one but a afterwards determined to abandon the stream and childless enthusiast would have retreated in to make an entirely new canal, using the water of the stream merely to feed the canal. Accord- dismay. We must take into account that if ingly the canal was dug as close along the side of the duke started on his foreign travel under the stream as practicable, and opened for navi- disadvantage from neglected education, he regation in the year 1760. In the mean time the turned from Paris, in the modern phraseoloDuke of Bridgewater applied to Parliament in 1758 for power to construct a canal, not in the bed gy of Christ Church and Trinity, a fast young of any stream, not near or parallel with the man, on which point we have evidence as satcourse of any stream, but entirely across the dry isfactory as that on which we have relied for land, and quite irrespective of the position of the fact of his intended marriage. The folstreams, except in so far as they might be made lowing communication, furnished by the kindto afford supplies of water to his canal. Upon a ness of a surviving contemporary of his latter consideration of these facts, I confess myself un-years, will show the pitch of slowness to which
he afterwards retrograded. So little is record- [ever, of such an instrument with such a hand ed of his personal habits that we make no apology for minutiæ not strictly relative to our main subject:
to wield it, inland navigation might long have had to struggle with the timidity of capitalists, and for a time at least would perhaps of surface and the sinuosities of natural wahave crept along, obsequious to inequalities ter-courses. When we trace on the map the present artificial arterial system of Britain— some 110 lines of canal, amounting in length to 2400 miles-when we reflect on the rapidity of the creation, how soon the junction of the Worsley coal-field with its Manchester market was followed by that of Liverpool with Hull, and Lancashire with London-we cannot but think that the duke's matrimonial disappointment ranks with other cardinal passages in the lives of eminent men, with the majority of nine which prevented the projected emigration of Cromwell, and the hurricane which scattered Admiral Christian's fleet and drove back to the Downs the vessel freighted with Sir Arthur Wellesley and his fortunes.
'It was in the summer of 1797 that I passed a few weeks at Trentham with his grace. He was every day (as who in that eventful period was not?) very anxious for the arrival of the newspapers and intelligence from London, and when there was no London bag, which was then the case on Tuesdays, he called it emphatically a dies non. At table he rejected with a kind of antipathy all poultry, veal, &c., calling them "white meats," ," and wondering that every one, like himself, did not prefer the brown. He rebuked any one who happened to say port-wine, saying, "Do you ever talk of claret-wine, Burgundy-wine? &c." In person he was large and unwieldy, and seemed careless about his dress, which was uniformly a suit of brown, something of the cut of Dr. Johnson's. Mr. of passed some days with us, and during his stay the duke was every evening planted with him on a distant sofa in earnest conversation about canals, to the amusement of some of the party. I can confirm the race with the Duke of Cumberland; it was in allusion to the altered appearance and dress of the Duke of Bridgewater that the Marquis of Stafford mentioned to the late Chief-Baron Macdonald and myself what a change there was in his person and apparel since his grace rode that race in blue silk and silver with a jockey-cap-and I believe the ground on which it took place was the terrace at the back of the wood. Apropos of the Duke of Cumberland's visit to Trentham, the old greenhouse (fuit Ilium, and Mr. Barry has levelled these things) was hastily built just before that visit as a skittle-foreign parts.' Such a paragraph leaves a ground for his royal highness to play in. There wide field for conjecture. was also prison-bars and other games of the villagers for his amusement.'
If we had any reason to suppose that, previously to this affair, the duke differed from other young men in respect of susceptibility to female attraction, the following paragraph from a newspaper of the day would furnish an indication at least to the contrary. Its date is October 11, 1755: ‘A marriage will soon be consummated between his Grace the Duke of Bridgewater and Miss Revel, his Grace being just arrived from his travels in
If, as we have reason to believe, the lady in question was the daughter of Thomas Revel, of Fetcham, in Surrey, who married in If any of the fast young men of the pres- 1753 George Warren, of Pointon in Chesent day are readers of this Review, these pas-hire, afterwards Sir G. Warren, K. B., she sages may serve as a warning to them to re- was a considerable heiress. The newspapers sist the first inroads of business, the seduc- are certainly prone to bestowing young dukes tion of the improba syren occupation, lest and great heiresses on one another upon peradventure they live to build steeples instead slight provocation, and without any consent of chasing them, or to dig ditches instead of or collusion of the parties. Still we may realeaping them, and sink in dress, habits, and sonably hope that the report was at least foundoccupations, to the level of Dr. Johnson or the ed on the solid basis of a flirtation. Duke of Bridgewater. For ourselves we have wish we could ascertain whether it went the dwelt thus long on this passage of the duke's length of dancing. In France we know that life for the same reason and with the same in- his grace resisted an infusion of that accomterest with which travellers trace great rivers plishment with the usual tenacity of a young to their sources, and historians great events Englishman. Like other boys, he was more to their obscure causes. We are far from sup- amenable to the fencing-master. His habits posing that if he had never lived England of riding continued to a late period of his life, could long have remained contented with and a groom and two horses formed part of primitive modes of intercourse inadequate to his reduced establishment at Worsley, when her growing energies. Brindley himself might he is said to have brought his personal exhave found other patrons, or if he had pined penses within 4007. per annum. for want of such, Smeatons, Fultons, and By the members of the circles he thus abanTelfords might have arisen to supply his doned, by those who missed him at the betplace. But for the happy conjunction, how- ting-stand, the club, or the assembly, he was
his influence with the latter to his own advantage, by procuring a slight deviation from the original scheme of the Harecastle Tunnel, and bringing it through his own estate. Gilbert is described to us by a surviving friend
probably considered a lost man. They were [nal, of which Brindley became the engineer, mistaken, but not unreasonable. When cer- and is said to a trifling degree to have turned tain stars shoot thus madly from their spheres, they seldom shine in any other. When a man of birth and wealth, sensible of the effects of a deficient education, shrinks from the toil of self-improvement, which can alone raise him to his proper level, and flies from contact with his equals in rank because they are superior in cultivation, it is terribly probable ed mines and underground works; had like to 'practical, persevering, out-door man. He lov that low company and sensual indulgence will have been killed at Donnington Wood, when he be the substitute for that he quits. To the was down in the work, by holding his candle too co-operation of such causes with his love dis-near the roof. The foul air went off with a loud appointment the duke's abrupt secession was probably attributed; and if so, his friends and relatives must have considered their worst anticipations confirmed when rumors reached them from Lancashire that his two chief associates were a land agent and a millwright.
explosion, and blew the gearing at the pit eye into atoms. He was saved by a collier throwing him flat down and lying on him in the drift, the crown of his head scorched. The collier was but had his stock burnt partly off his neck, and badly burned, but Mr. Gilbert provided for him and his family.'
There was, however, a work to be done. We may mention that the elder brother The hour was at hand when the latent manu- Thomas was the author of those parochial facturing and commercial energies of Eng-unions which bear his name, and which, havland were to be set loose by the inventions ing been unquestionable improvements on the of Watt, and Arkwright, and Crompton. To old system of poor-law, have been much used their development the improvement of inter- as engines of resistance to the introduction nal intercourse was an essential preliminary. of the new. The instruments for this great work were It is certain that in J. Gilbert's energy, selected by Providence from the highest, the perseverance, and firmness, the duke found a middle, and the humblest classes of society, spirit kindred to his own. It has been said and Bridgewater, Gilbert, and Brindley, form- that, when the moment arrived for admitting ed the remarkable trio to whom the task was the water into the Barton aqueduct, Brinddelegated. Of these, Gilbert, whose func-ley's nerve was unequal to the interest of the tions as a coadjutator were the least distinct, has attracted least notice, but if his share in the transaction could be certified, we doubt whether it would be found that he contributed much less to its success than the other
crisis, that he ran away and hid himself in Stretford, while Gilbert remained cool and collected to superintend the operation which was to confirm or to confute the clamor with which the project had been assailed. On some important points of engineering connected We are unable to trace with positive cer- with this aqueduct he successfully maintainty the circumstances which introduced tained his opinions against those of Brindley. John Gilbert to the notice of the duke; but One anecdote connected with Gilbert illusas the elder brother Thomas was agent to trates the extent of the pecuniary difficulties the duke's brother-in-law, Lord Gower, by which the duke experienced in the progress whose influence he sat for the borough of of his undertaking, by the nature of the exLichfield, there can be little doubt that this pedients to which he was compelled to rewas the channel of the introduction. John sort. It is well known that at one period the Gilbert was much engaged in mining specu- duke's credit was so low that his bill for 5007. lations. In some of these it is probable that could scarcely be cashed in Liverpool. Under he became cognizant of the merits of Brind-such difficulties Gilbert was employed to ride ley, who so far back as 1753 had engaged in round the neighboring districts of Cheshire, the draining of some mines at Clifton, near and borrow from farmers such small sums as Manchester. We have no doubt that it was could be collected from such a source. On Gilbert who introduced Brindley to the duke, one of these occasions he was joined by a but we have no positive evidence of intima- horseman, and after some conversation the cy between Gilbert and Brindley earlier than meeting ended with an exchange of their re1760, when the brothers Brindley, and Hen-spective horses. On alighting afterwards at shall, the brother-in-law of James, purchased a lonely inn, which he had not before frethe Golden Hill estate, full of minerals, in quented, Gilbert was surprised to be greeted partnership with Gilbert. Gilbert was also an with evident and mysterious marks of recogactive promoter of the Trent and Mersey ca-nition by the landlord, and still more so when
the latter expressed a hope that his journey | steam engine. It is said, however, that in all had been successful, and that his saddle bags or most of these matters he had been thwarted were well filled. He was unable to account and restricted by the jealousy of rivals and for the apparent acquaintance of a total stran- the stupidity of employers. It is probable ger with the business and object of his expe- enough that disgust with his late patrons, symdition. The mystery was solved by the dis-pathy with the new, the nature of the task covery that he had exchanged horses with a before him, and consciousness of power to highwayman who had infested the paved lanes accomplish it, may have combined to make of Cheshire till his horse had become so well him court the duke's service on the lowest known that its owner had found it conveni- terms. For his own interest the speculation, ent to take the first opportunity of procuring perhaps, was not a bad one; for it appears that one less notorious. very speedily after the commencement of the Bridgewater Canal, Brindley was employed by Earl Gower and Lord Anson to survey a line for a projected canal between the Trent and the Mersey. There can be little doubt, as Earl Gower was the duke's brother-in-law, that the selection of Brindley was at the duke's recommendation.
giving a summary of the great works on which Brindley was engaged, which comprises some dozen of the principal lines of navigation in the kingdom, Mr. Hughes proceeds :-
It would be difficult to imagine a greater contrast than the origin and progress of the Bridgewater Canal presented to that of the Canal du Midi No turgid proclamation heralded the former, 'written'-as Andreossi avers of that of Louis XIV.-' in that elevated style, and bearing the impress of that firm and noble character which marks alike the As the materials for Brindley's life in the projects and the productions of the age of Biographia Britannica' were furnished by Louis XIV. There was no Colber to find his brother-in-law, Mr. Henshall, it could the funds, no Riquet to receive the magnifi- hardly be expected that at this distance of cent entailed reward of the profits, no Cor- time his present biographer, Mr. Hughes, neille to furnish the flattery. To these and could add much to the little there recorded such as these, armed with all the parapher- of his personal peculiarities. The following nalia of maps and sections and calculations, remarks on his professional character apLouis gave audience in his sumptuous cham-pear to us in the main well founded. After ber at Versailles. Round the humble hearth of the black and white timbered manor-house of Worsley, or of the still humbler village inn, three hard-headed men, of simple manners and attire, discussed a project unnoticed by governments, and deemed hopeless by the few besides themselves who gave any attention to In taking a hasty retrospect of Brindley's enthe matter. To fill the place of a sovereign, gineering career, it is important to observe that the uncontrolled master of vast revenues, cuted, are comprised within a period of twelve all the works he projected, planned, and exethere was an English nobleman, proprietor years, and by far the greater part of them withof extensive but somewhat encumbered es- in the last seven years of his life. It is amazing to tates; and if to conceive and direct the work reflect that the man who had to struggle, without there was a greater original genius than Ri-precedent or experience to guide him, with all quet or Andreossi, that genius could barely the difficulties which attended the early history of read and write, and was hired in the first placeated so much. There can be no doubt that he canals, should himself have effected and originat two and sixpence a day. Such at least is the statement of one who had enjoyed opportunities of information,-Francis Egerton, the last Earl of Bridgewater, who died at Paris in the odor of eccentricity. He adds that Brindley offered to engage himself exclusively to the duke for a guinea a week,-but a slight increase on the former sum. If this be true, it confirms the French proverb that the vrai is not always the vraisemblable. It is clear that at the time when Brindley entered the duke's service his fame as a mechanician was considerable. He had already introduced inventions of his own for the drainage of mines, the improvement of silk-ma-assertion, and yet I believe it to be one with chinery, and the grinding of flints for the pot teries of Staffordshire, and in 1756 he had begun to apply his vigorous intellect to the
possessed an intellect of the highest order, that his views were most comprehensive, and his inventive faculties extremely fertile. Brindley was wholly without education, and it has even been asserted that he was unable to read and write, the utmost extent of his capacity in the latter accomplishment extending no further than that of signing his name. This, however, has been who stated that he could both read and write, disputed, on the authority of his brother-in-law, though he was a poor scribe. However this may be, it is certain that he was quite ignoraut in the vulgar sense of the word Education, and perfectly unacquainted with the literature of his own or any other country. It may be a bold
want of education was alike fortunate for himstrong presumptions in its favor, that Brindley's self, for the world, and for posterity. There was no lack of scholars in his day more than in our