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in use, and the highest cultivated, is not likely to be meliorated in tone or facility of execution by what this author is pleased to call an Invention ;-and though the whole tract, a few Scotticisms excepted, is well-written in point of style, we find nothing very profound or practicable in the author's ideas; which, in general, seem to fiow from inexperience and a superficial acquaintance with the art of music, and its powers on the feelings of mankind.
Art. X. Reports of the late Mr. John Smeaton, F. R. $. made on · various Occasions in the Course of his Employment of an En
gineer. Printed for a Select Committee of Civil-Engineers,
Vol. I. 4to. pp. 450. 18s. Boards. Faden. 1797. In the preface to this volume, the order of civil engineers is
stated to have commenced about the year 1960, at which time the advancement of the arts and sciences was remarkably rapid. Of the abilities of the artists of the above denomination, the canals, harbours, lighthouses, &c. vf the kingdom are a permanent and honourable testimony. In 1771, Mr. Smeaton projected and established an association, or in its formal name) a Society of Engineers. During a period of twenty years, the members of this society increased in number to sixty-five, of whom fifteen only were real engineers; the remainder being composed either of amateurs, or of ingenious workmen and artificers. In May 1792, this society was dissolved in consequence of an unpleasant circumstance, which had interrupted its harmony : but a renewal of it, under a better form, was soon intended, though not carried into effect during the lifetime of Mr. Smeaton ; his death happened in October 1792, and the first meeting of the new institution entitled The Society of Civil Engineers was held on April 15, 1793, by Mr. Jessop, Mr. Myine, Mr. Rennie, and Mr. Whitworth. According to the new constitution of the society, it is divided into three classes. The first class, as ordinary members, consists of real Engineers. The second class, as honorary members, is composed of men of science, and gentlemen of rank and fortune, who have attended to the subject of civil engineering. The third class, as honorary members also, consists of artists, whose professions and employments are connected with what is called civil engineering.
The meetings are held at the Crown and Anchor in the Strand, every other Friday, during the session of Parliameilt. We shall copy the list of the members:
• First CLASS.-Ordinary Members. William Jessop,
Sir Tho. H. Page, Knt. F. R.S. Robert Whitworth,
John Duncombe, John Rennie, F. R. S. Ed. Capt. Joseph Huddart, F.R.S, Robert Mylne, F. R. S.
Henry Eastburne, James Watt, F.R.S.-L. & Ed. William Chapman, M. R.I.A. James Golborne,
- Second CLASS. The Right Hon. Sir Joseph Banks, Doctor Charles Hutton, F.R.S,
Bart. P.R.S. Knight of the Henry Oxendon, Esq;
Order of the Bath, &c. The Right Hon. the Earl of Mora Sir George A. Shuckburgh Eve. ton, F.R.S. lyn, Bart. F.R.S.
John Lloydd, Esq; F.R.S. Mathew Bolton, Esq; F.R.S. Right Hon. Charles Greville, Esq; General Bentham,
F.R.S. Joseph Priestly, Esq;
"THIRD CLASS. . William Faden, Geographer, John Foulds, Mill. Wright, &c. Jesse Ramsden, F.R.S. Instru. Samuel Phillips, Engine-Maker, ment-Maker, &c.
Samuel Brooke, Printer. John Troughton, Instrument. John Watté, Land-Surveyor, &c.'
Maker, &c. The manuscripts, designs, drawings, &c. of Mr. Smeatou having been purchased by Sir Joseph Banks, application was made to hini by the society, who proposed to publish those memorials in his possession which might be denominated Reports. In consequence of this request, the present volume, which contains nearly one half of the reports, is published under the care of the following committee : Sir Joseph Banks, Captain Joseph Huddart, William Jessop, Robert Mylne, and John Rennie, Esqrs.
We seldom indulge a greater curiosity, than in examining the circumstances that relate to a great man. His figure, countenance, teniper, manners, even his foibles and his prejudices, become objects of our concern. We inquire with avidity what books he read or valued, what was the order that he observed in his studies, and what was the time which he allotted to them ? we wish to view him in domestic life, and in his hours of relaxation. Yet, in the estimation of some people, these circumstances of a person's life should be more than objects of mere curiosity. We wonder at the peculiarities of great men: we consider it as something anomalous in human nature, that with transcendent abilities should be joined prejudices the most absurd, or foibles the most strange and unmanly; yet, were our knowlege more full and particular, we might possibly arrive at the solution of these problems in human nature; we might perceive, in circumstances apparently trivial, the adequate causes of these remarkable deviations. Biographers, in general, content themselves with giving the outlines of character; they sketch, but seldom complete the picture. In one particular, however, they have detailed the little circumstances that relate to great men. They have been soli. citous to inform us what they said and did in the days of child. hood, to point out to us the early indications of genius, the first buddings of those qualities which were to be unfolded in maturer years :-but we must here listen with caution, and be scrupulous. We ought to view with suspicion those wonderful tales, which seem to teach that a man, in order to be great must be born great, and which discourage industry by insi. nuating that eminence is not within the reach of its active and persevering efforts. There is no distinguished person of whom some remarkable story is not told. A flight of bees is said to have alighted on the lips of the infant Plato, as a presage of his future eloquence :---the great Newton, at the age of seven, was discovered on a haystack, meditating on a book of arithmetic; and it is related that a modern conqueror neglected the sports of his school-fellows in order to peruse the pages of Plutarch. The biographer of Mr. Smeaton, also, has discovered the engineer in the days of his infancy; his playthings are said to have been not those of children, but the tools of workmen. Before his sixth year, Mr. S. imitated (such is the account in his life) a windmill, and made a working pump that actually raised water. In petticoats, he was continually dividing circles and squares, and his toys were models of machines. At an early age, he could forge iron and steel, could work in wood, jyory, and metals, and was skilful in the use of the lathe.
From the continuation of the memoirs of Mr. S, we learn that
Mr. Smeaton's father was an attorney, and was desirous of bring. ing his son up to the same profession. He was therefore sent up to London in 1742, where for some time he attended the courts in Westminster-Hall; but finding that the profession of the law did not suit the bent of his genius, (as his usual expression was,) he wrote a strong memorial to his father on the subject, whose good sense from that moment left Mr. Smeaton to pursue the bent of his genius in his own way.
- Mr. Smeaton after this continued to reside in London, and about the year 1750 he commenced philosophical instrument maker, which he continued for some time, and became acquainted with most of the ingenious men of that time.
• This same year he made his first communication to the Royal Society ; being an account of Dr. Knight's improvements of the
Mariner's Compass. Continuing his very useful labour3, and making experiments, he communicated to that learned body, the two follow ing years, a number of other ingenious improvements, as will be enumerated in the list of his writings, at the end of this account of him.
In 1751 he began a course of experiments to try a machine of his invention for measuring a ship's way at sea ; and also made two voyages, in company with Dr. Knight, to try it, as well as a compass of his own invention.
In 1753 he was elected a member of the Royal Society; and in 1950 he was honoured with their gold medal, for his paper concerning the natural powers of water and wind to turn mills, and other machines depending on a circular motion. This paper, he says, was the result of experiments made on working models in the years 1752 and 1753, but not communicated to the Society till 1759; having, in the interval, found opportunities of putting the result of these experiments into real practice, in a variety of cases, and for various purposes, so as to assure the Society he had found them to answer.
oln 1754, his great thirst after experimental knowledge led him to undertake a voyage to Holland and the Low Countries, where he made himself acquainted with most of the curious works of art so frequent in those places.
• In December 1755, the Edystone Lighthouse was burnt down, and the proprietors, being desirous of rebuilding it in the most substantial manner, enquired of the Eari of Macclesfield, then President of the Royal Society, who he thought might be the fittest person to rebuild it ; when, he immediately recommended our author. Mr. Smeaton. accordingly undertook the work, which he completed with stone in ** the summer of 1759. Of this work he gives an ample description in a folio volume, with plates, published in 1791; a work which con. tains, in a great measure, the history of four years of his life, in which the originality of his genius is fully displayed, as well as his activity, industry, and perseverance.
. Though Mr. Smeaton completed the building of the Edystone Lighthouse in 1759, yet it seems he did not soon get into full business as a Civil Engineer; for in 1764, while in Yorkshire, he offered himself a candidate for one of the receivers of the Derwent water estate ; in which he succeeded, though two other persons, strongly recommended and powerfully supported, were candidates for the employment. In this, he had the faithful and friendly support of Sir Francis Gosling, Alderman of London, and one of the Commissioners. That estate was forfeited in the year 1715, and the revenues thereof were applied by Parliament, towards the fund of Greenwich Hospital. It consists of mines of lead, containing much silver, as well as lands. It required better than common management, and above all, that knowledge absolutely necessary to bring mines of lead and coal to the most productive effect. This was the object of the Commissioners, and it has been amply repaid. Machines of all kinds, and better means on a great plan, were devised for a more easy and ample working these mines, by Mr. Smcaton : while, the correct judgment, patient industry, and great abilities and sincerity of Mr. Walton the younger, of Farnacres, near Newcastle, (his partner in the duty of
receiver,) taking upon himself the management and the accounts, left Mr. Smeaton leisure and opportunity, to exert his abilities on these works, as well as to make many improvements in the whole of this estate of Greenwich Hospital.
. By the year 1775 he had so much business, as a Civil Engineer, that he was desirous of resigning the appointment for that Hospital, and would have done it then, had not his friends prevailed upon him, to continue in the office about two years longer.
Mr. Smeaton having thus got into full business as a Civil En. gineer, it would be an endless task to enum rate all the various concerns he was engaged in. A very few of them however may be just mentioned in this place.-He made the river Calder navigable ; a work that required great skill and judgment, owing to the very impetuous floods in that river.-He planned, and attended for some time, the execution of the great, or Forth and Clyde, canal in Scotland, for conveying the trade of the country either to the Atlantic or G:rman Ocean. When this work had been executed from the Forth towards the Clyde, as far as a point intended for the junction of a collateral canal to Glasgow, the work stopped, and was discontinued a consi. derable time, by the funds being exhausted. Before that period, Mr. Smeaton had declined accepting his salary, which was five hun. dred pounds a year, that he might not be prevented from attending to the multiplicity of other business; and conceiving the resident en gineer, Mr. M.Kell, was fully competent to conduct it afterwards. After a lapse of some time, the work was resumed, by public aid, and has been carried on, and lately completed, under the direction of Mr. Whitworth, to the great benefit of trade and that country.
« On opening the great arch at London Bridge, by throwing two arches into one, and the removal of a large pier, the excavation, around and underneath the sterlings of that pier, was so considerable, as to put the adjoining piers, that arch, and eventually the whole bridge, in great danger of falling. The previous opinions of some were positive, and the apprehensions of all the people on this bead were so great, that many persons would not pass over or under it. The surveyors employed were not adequate to such an exigency. Mr. Smeaton was then in Yorkshire, where he was sent for by express, and from whence he arrived in town with the greatest expedition. He applied himself immediately to examine the bridge, and to sound about the dangerous sterlings, as minutely as he could. The Committee of Common Council adopted his advice; which was, to repurchase the stones of all the City Gates, then lately pulled down, and lying in Moor fields, and to throw them pell-mell, (or pierre perdu,) into the water, to guard these sterlings, preserve the bottom from further corrosion, raise the floor under the arch, and restore the head of water necessary for the water-works to its original power; and this was a practice, he had before, and afterwards adopted on other occasions. Nothing shews the apprehensions of the bridge falling, more, than the alacrity with which his advice was pursued: the stones were repurchased that day; horses, carts, and barges were got ready, and the work instantly begun, though it was Sunday morning. Thus