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domicile, and migrating to England animo remanendi. Before doing so, however, having found that the burden of domestic affairs and the care of his children interfered seriously with his other pursuits, which had now become vitally important, he, after having remained for some years a widower, married a second time. The lady of his choice on this occasion was Anne, one of the daughters of Mr. Macgregor, a substantial citizen of Glasgow, who, under the instructions of his son-inlaw, was the first to practise in this country the useful improvement of employing chlorine in bleaching, which Berthollet, its celebrated inventor, communicated to Mr. Watt. She was notable for “ thrifty and far-seeing habits of the most “ enlightened Scotch housewifery;" her passion for household cleanliness having even been carried to such an extent, that her “ two little pug-dogs were taught by her never to cross “the unsullied flags of the hall without wiping their feet on “the mats, placed at every door or entrance."* She was the mother of Gregory Watt, as well as of a daughter, Jessy, both of whom she had the misfortune to lose by their premature death ; and she died in 1832, in advanced old age,
, after witnessing the ripeness of the fame of her husband, of whom, M. Arago has justly said, “ her various talent, sound“ness of judgment, and strength of mind, rendered her a “ worthy companion."
Yet possibly, in the long forty-three years of his second wedlock, amid all the prosperity and fame by which they were marked, there may have been moments when his heart throbbed at the retrospect of an earlier time; and of an union, in days that were no more, with one whose loving hopes had sustained him in sorrow, without being permitted to taste of his joy; who had beheld his success and renown only by anticipation, and yet with all the firm faith of undoubting affection; and who had been summoned from his side just as he was about to emerge from the comparative obscurity in which he had long so wearily pined. And, although we dare
of course, assert that the sentiment which it expresses was
* • Autobiography of M. A. SchimmelPenninck,' vol. i. p. 341.
ever familiar to the mind of Watt, there rises, unbidden, to our memory, one of the refrains which Beranger has so musically sung
“ Mais elle avait, pour me charmer,
OFFERS OF EMPLOYMENT IN RUSSIA — PROGRESS AT SOHO PRIVILEGE
GRANTED IN FRANCE - JARY AND PERRIER M, DE PRONY - VISITS TO CORNWALL -INTRODUCTION OF THE NEW STEAM-ENGINES — PATENT OF 1780 FOR COPYING-MACHINE — MACHINE FOR DRYING LINEN BY STEAM — PATENT OF 1781-“SUN AND PLANET WHEELS PATENT OF 1782 EXPANSIVE PRINCIPLE-DOUBLE-ACTING ENGINE
- DOUBLE OR COMPOUND ENGINE.
At this critical turning-point of his life, Mr. Watt had rather a narrow escape from expatriation, and this country from losing all the benefit of his unrivalled career of invention. In 1773 he had received an invitation from his friend Robison to come to Russia, “ where he had recommended him to fill “ some station.” But in the spring of 1775 an offer was made to him of employment in Russia, under the Imperial Government, which, at a somewhat earlier period, might probably have met with his thankful acceptance; for the salary promised was 1000l. per annum, and the duties required would have suited well his own inclinations and acquirements. The offer of the appointment in question, however, seems to have been ensured by, if it did not originate in, Mr. Boulton
having sounded his praises at the Ambassador's;” and he naturally preferred continuing, with him, those endeavours for a parliamentary prolongation of his first patent, on which their future association was to depend. “ Your going to “ Russia,” says Mr. Boulton," staggers me. The precarious
ness of your health, the dangers of so long a journey or
voyage, and my own deprivation of consolation, render me "a little uncomfortable ; but I wish to assist and advise you “ for the best, without regard to self;" and again, “I shall
rejoice at every good that befalls you; yet, nevertheless, I “ find I love myself so well that I should be sorry to have “ you go to Russia, and I begin to repent sounding your
trumpet at the Ambassador's.” “ Lord, how frightened I "was,” writes the genial and hearty Darwin, “ when I heard “ a Russian bear* had laid hold of you with his great paw, " and was dragging you to Russia! Pray don't go if you can “ help it. Russia is like the den of Cacus : you see the foot“ steps of many beasts going thither, but of few returning. I " hope your fire-engines will keep you here."
The case also of a Captain Perry, (who, after having been engaged by Peter the Great as an engineer, and having served for many years in that country, had been obliged to take refuge in the house of the British Ambassador, and to return to England without receiving his pay), as well as representations of other similar instances, alarmed Mr. Watt for the consequences which might possibly again attend such despotic predilections; and recommended to his mind the less dazzling, but more secure destiny, of “a crust of bread and liberty.' The Imperial family of Russia were then much interested in the various manufactures carried on at Soho, and greatly admired their products. In February, 1776, the Empress
. stayed for some time at Mr. Boulton's house ; "and a charm"ing woman she is,” writes her hospitable entertainer.
It is rather a singular circumstance, that when, in 1816, his Imperial Highness the Grand Duke Nicholas of Russia, (the late Czar), applied at the Soho works for permission to view their interior, his application, although supported by a letter from Lord Sidmouth, was rejected. The objection felt, however, was not by any means to the potentate himself or bis immediate friends, but to certain persons who followed in his suite, and whom there were good reasons for not initiating into the various processes of the manufacture.
Mr. Watt's labours at Soho soon began to manifest the great advantages which that establishment afforded in respect of materials, workmanship, and business connections. Fortunately, the completion of the reciprocating or condensing engine was not made to wait for that of the more troublesome
# “ Which made old Ben and surly Dennis swear,
and uncertain wheel-engine; but was at once proceeded with, under “the master's eye” and care. A cast-iron cylinder, over 18 inches in diameter, an inch thick, and weighing half a ton, but which seemed “ tolerably true,"“ not perfect, but “ without any very gross error," was procured from Mr. Wilkinson, and the piston, to diminish friction and the consequent wear of metal, girt with a brasg hoop two inches broad : and although when first tried, “the engine goes marvellously bad; “it made eight strokes per minute; but, upon Joseph's “ endeavouring to mend it, it stood still ;” and that, too, though the piston was helped with all the appliances of
hat,” papier maché, grease, black-lead powder, a bottle of oil “ to drain through the hat and lubricate the sides," and an iron weight above all to prevent the piston leaving the papier behind in its stroke,-yet, after some imperfections of the valves were remedied, “the engine makes 500 strokes “ with about two cwt. of coals ;" and, in another month or two, with better condensation, it “makes 2000 strokes with “one cwt. of coals;" no bad work for such a machine, as yet but in its childhood. “The copper bottom for Bloomfield “engine is come," at the same time writes Mr. Boulton, “ and Mr. Hurst promises to forward the others directly. “ The new forging-shop looks very formidable; the roof is “ nearly put on, and the hearths are both built. The two “small 7-inch pumps for our own condenser are this day “ arrived; but we can't bore them until we have got a block “ cast for fixing the boring-knives in, which I shall hasten.” And, within six months, there comes this order :-“Pray tell “ Mr. Wilkinson to get a dozen of cylinders cast and bored, “from 12 to 50 inches diameter, and as many condensers of “ suitable sizes; the latter must be sent here, as we will keep “ them ready fitted up, and then an engine can be turned out “ of hand in two or three weeks. I have fixed my mind upon
making from twelve to fifteen reciprocating, and fifty rota“tive engines per annum.
It was about this time,-viz. in 1776,--that Boswell, being with Dr. Johnson at Birmingham, paid a visit to Soho, of which he has left the following account :-“ Mr. Hector was