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THE ENGLISHMAN'S CALENDAR,
1 William Stanley Jevons, economist and logician, b. 1835.
John Howard, philanthropist, b. 1726.
Arthur Young, agricultural economist, b. 1731.
Robert Fairfax, musician, 1514.
Sir William Dugdale, antiquary, b. 1605.
The Duke of Wellington d. 1832.
Walter Savage Landor, poet and prose writer, d. 186+.
Fall of Delhi, 1857.
Richard Bonington, painter, d. 1828.
25 Antarctic Expedition started, Sir James Ross, 1839.
Relief of Lucknow by Havelock, 1857.
First meeting of the British Association, 1831.
Horatio Nelson, admiral, b. 1758.
Bishop Percy, d. 1811.
(5) This ascent, undertaken for scientific purposes, attained the height of over six miles. (9) Gilbert discovered Newfoundland, and, entering the harbour of St. John on August 5, 1583, was the first to plant the English flag in America ; his ship foundered on the homeward voyage. (11) Stubbs describes this treaty as scarcely inferior in practical importance to the Charter itself. (14) The founder of Harvard College, United States, left England at the age of thirty, and died in America little more than a year later, leaving half his fortune to help to endow a college at Cambridge, Massachusetts. This is also the anniversary of the day on which Marlborough received his commission in the Foot Guards, 1667, at the age of seventeen. (19) We commemorate Caxton on the day on which he completed the translation of Le Recueil des Histoires de Troie,' the first book ever printed in the English language. It was printed at Bruges, but the date of publication is not known. The first book printed in England was his translation, The Dictes and Sayings of the Philosophers,' published November 18, 1477. (30) That fructifying collection The Reliques of Ancient English Poetry' was first published in 1765.
J. M, S.
DIED SEPTEMBER 15, 1839.
AN ANNIVERSARY STUDY.
ISAMBARD KINGDOM BRUNEL was born at Portsmouth on April 9, 1803, a few months after the Victory had brought back thither the body of Nelson. Pitt had not been dead many weeks. Pitt's great rival, Fox, was in fact, though not in name, Prime Minister, but with only five months of life before him.
The Brunels were a Norman family of good position. Brunel's father, Marc Isambard, who was made a knight in 1841, and is consequently known to the present generation as Sir Isambard Brunel, was an officer in the French navy from 1786 to 1792, when, being a fervent Royalist, he became perforce an émigré. He escaped to America, where he soon rose to the position of engineer to the New York State Government; but in January 1799, turning his back on America, he came to England to marry an Englishwoman and settle down. Isambard Kingdom-the latter name the surname of the lady's family-was their only son.
Isambard the younger owed to his father not only his natural genius for engineering, but also an education such as few of the early English engineers were fortunate enough to receive. Telford was the son of a shepherd, Brindley of a cottier. George Stephenson, as all the world knows, began life as a collier lad. Nicholas Wood, who in 1838 was called in by the Great Western directors as one of the leading authorities of the day to advise them on Brunel's broad-gauge designs, was a colliery viewer. Nor were the younger men who succeeded Wood and Stephenson much better off in many cases.
Brunel's own life,' written by his son, Isambard the third, a distinguished ecclesiastical lawyer, records the fact that Mr. Lane, who was chief engineer of the Great Western Railway from 1860 to 1868, began his career as foreman bricklayer on the Thames Tunnel.
Brunel, however, enjoyed the advantage of a liberal education, and to the admirable lucidity of mind and facility of expression
· It is impossible for me to give in detail the various points in which I am indebted to this work. Though I have supplemented its perusal by a good deal of reading of my own, the whole of this article is practically based upon it.
which that education developed in him he owed no small share of his professional success. George Stephenson, with his unpolished manners, his slow hesitating utterance, and his harsh Northumbrian burr, was so roughly handled by the opponents of the Liverpool and Manchester Bill on its first introduction that the promoters, when they came forward a second time, did not venture to put him into the witness-box. No counsel was ever rash enough to adopt similar tactics in order to discredit the grandiose and unprecedented designs of Brunel. On the Great Western Bill, Brunel, being then only twenty-eight years old, was under cross-examination for eleven days. He showed,' says an eyewitness, 'a profound acquaintance with the principles of mechanics. He was rapid in thought, clear in language, and never said too much or lost his presence of mind. I do not remember ever having enjoyed so great an intellectual treat.'
Whether from natural precocity, due possibly to his French blood, or owing to the stimulus applied by constant and familiar intercourse with his very active-minded father, Brunel's mental powers developed unusually early. At four years old his talent for drawing was already remarkable, at eight he had mastered Euclid, at fourteen he has ‘passed Sallust some time' and 'likes Horace very much, but not so much as Virgil,' and his spare time is devoted to making a plan of Hove, where he was at school, on a scale which necessitates his writing to London to borrow his father's ‘long 80-foot tape. The next two years were spent at a Paris Lycée, the Collège Henri Quatre, studying mathematics and rubbing up his French. At sixteen he regularly entered his father's office, where work on the plans of the Thames Tunnel was just beginning
For the next five years the lad's life-he almost immediately assumed all the responsibility and performed more than all the work of a grown man—was bound up with the tunnel. On its history there is no need to dwell. After five years' labour, during which a length of about two hundred yards had been completed, the river burst in, drowned a number of workmen, and all but drowned young Brunel, who was very seriously injured in a gallant attempt to guide into a place of safety the men who had been working under his charge at the post of danger. The directors, as soon as the facts were reported, passed a resolution, and ordered it to be advertised in the Times' and other papers, to the effect that having heard with great admiration of the intrepid courage
203 hours per day in the tunnel, and 3 hours to sleep.' And on the deck of a barge and towed out into the middle of the river, in order to direct the operations of the men who, from a diving bell, were endeavouring to locate and to repair the breach.
Brunel's personal connection with the tunnel ceased at this point. The works were for the time abandoned, and when, seven years later, in 1835, a Government loan enabled them to be resumed, Brunel had advanced far beyond the post of a mere resident engineer. Here is how his diary sketches his position at the close of 1835. The railway (the Great Western) now is in progress, I am thus engineer to the finest work in England. A have been engaged in has been successful. Clifton Bridge, my first child, my darling, is actually going on : recommenced work last Monday--glorious.' The diary then gives a pretty list of real sound professional work'in hand, and winds up with : This at the age of twenty-nine. I can hardly believe it.' its first Act, undoubtedly commences the period of Brunel's life
e year 1835, in which the Great Western Railway obtained which is of most public importance. But before passing on to it a word must be said as to his first child, his darling, Clifton Bridge. The bridge owes its origin to a bequest in the year 1753, by a Bristol alderman, of the sum of 1,0001., which he desired to be accumulated till it reached 10,0001., and then devoted to building a
presence of mind displayed by Mr. Isambard Brunel, the company's resident engineer,' they desired 'to give their public testimony to his calm and energetic endeavours, and to that generous principle which induced him to put his own life into more imminent hazard to save the lives of the men under his
Certainly the resident engineer deserved all the testimonials, public or private, that his directors could give him, seeing that for several years he had not only gone in hourly risk of his life, but all the time he had been working like a galley slave. In September 1826, his father's journal notes on a Wednesday that he had not been in bed since the previous Friday ; in the following November he himself records that he had passed seven days out of the last ten in the tunnel. For nine days on an average even when seriously injured in the accident above described, and in such pain that he could hardly speak, he was laid on a mattress
on excellent terms with my directors, and all
And it is not this alone, but everything I
handsome salary, going smoothly. . .