« AnteriorContinuar »
the time. For thus gallantly adding a second large frigate to the Royal Navy, the Captain was, in the ensuing month, rewarded with a baronetcy.
Sir Michael was next employed with the grand expedition against Walcheren ; and afterwards appointed successively to the command of his prize, the Niemen, and the Hannibal, of 74 guns, in which last ship he was so fortunate as to take another 40-gun French frigate, the Sultane. In January, 1815, he was nominated a Knight Commander of the Bath, and was subsequently appointed to a royal yacht. He afterwards became the Commissioner of Portsmouth Dock-yard; but on the abolition of that office by the late Administration assumed his place on the Rear-Admirals’ list, and was appointed Commander-in-Chief on the South American station, taking one of his sons as his Flag Lieutenant. He was in a bad state of health when he left this country, and his lady took her farewell of him at Portsmouth, with forebodings which were too fatally verified.
The death of Sir Michael occasioned a great sensation at Rio. He was interred in the cemetery of Gamboa, on the 15th of July, in the evening, with military honours, attended by all the English, French, American, and Portuguese officers, the public functionaries, and detachments of seamen and marines. The ships of each nation lowered their colours half-mast, minute guns were fired, and a vast concourse of people testified every possible respect for the lamented Admiral.
Sir Michael Seymour married, in 1797, Jane, third daughter of Captain James Hawker, R.N. and sister to Dorothea, wife of Sir William Knighton, Bart. and G.C.H. by whom he had issue five sons and three daughters : 1. Jane Ward; 2. the Rev. Sir John Hobart Seymour, who has succeeded to the baronetcy, - he is a Chaplain in Ordinary to his Majesty, a Prebendary of Gloucester and Lincoln, and Vicar of Horley with Hornton, Oxfordshire ; 3. James; 4. Michael, a PostCaptain R.N. and in command of the Challenger, on his father's station, he married, June 22. 1829, his cousin
german Dorothea, daughter of Sir William Knighton, M.D.; 5. Edward, late Flag Lieutenant to his father, and since his death appointed to the rank of Commander; 6. Richard ; 7. Frances Anne; and, 8. Dorothea.
Principally from “ The United Service Journal.”
If rank and fortune were the criterions of genius, talent would be monopolised by wealth and title, and the aristocracy of power would extend its influence over the dominions of science. Happily, however, neither an extensive domain nor hereditary descent is the standard by which to measure mental energy. The castes of India have not yet established their thrones in the regions of thought. The human mind still expatiates in all the glory of unbounded freedom, and the sparklings of its emanations are equally brilliant, whether they arise from the poor man's cottage, or from the palace of a prince. It is to the energies of genius in humble life that science is chiefly indebted for its most valuable discoveries, and the extension of its empire. The names of Brindley, Watt, and Rennie will never be forgotten; and with them will henceforward rank that of Telford, - a civil engineer unequalled in this, or, probably, in any other country, for the number and importance of his public works, for the estimation in which he was held, both at home and abroad, and for the length of time during which he successfully laboured in his profession. His various undertakings will stand as a proud memorial to future generations of what sterling genius and persevering industry can accomplish.
Mr. Telford was a native of Scotland, where he was born in the year 1757. The place of his nativity was in the pastoral valley of Eskdale, a district in the county of Dumfries. His parents occupied a station in the humble walks of life, which, however, they filled with becoming respectability,
His education was limited, in both duration and extent. The parochial school of Westerkirk was his only seminary, and here nothing beyond the simple elements of learning was to be acquired.
At the age of fourteen, Mr. Telford was bound apprentice to an eminent builder, in the county that gave him birth ; and, having obtained a competent knowledge of his business, on the expiration of his term he for some years practised the same profession in his native district. The southern counties of Scotland, however, at that time furnished but little encouragement for talent; and, as a natural consequence, industry found but a scanty reward. Convinced of these facts, he resolved to leave his native abode, and, accordingly, he repaired to Edinburgh, where he continued, with unremitting application, to study the principles of architecture, agreeably to the rules of science. Here he remained until the year 1782, when, having made a considerable proficiency, he left the Scottish for the British metropolis, and came to London under the patronage of the late Sir William Pulteney (originally Johnstone) and the family of Pasley, who were natives of the parish of Westerkirk.
The talents and industry of Mr. Telford, fostered by this patronage, on his arrival in England did not long remain unnoticed or unemployed. His progress was not rapid, but it was steady and always advancing; and every opportunity of displaying his taste, science, and genius, extended his fame, and paved the way to new enterprises and acquisitions.
The first public employment in which we find Mr. Telford engaged was that of superintending some works belonging to government in Portsmouth Dock-yard. The duties of this undertaking were discharged with so much fidelity and care as to give complete satisfaction to the commissioners, and to insure the future exercise of his talents and services. Hence, in 1787, he was appointed surveyor of the public works in the rich and extensive county of Salop; and this situation he retained to his death.
In 1790 Mr. Telford was employed by the British Fishery
Society to inspect the harbours at their several stations, and to devise a plan for an extensive establishment at Wick in the county of Caithness. This work was satisfactorily accomplished, and it has been the chief centre of the herring fishery on that coast, under the name of Pulteney Town.
During the same year, 1790, an extensive inland navigation, in length about one hundred miles, called the Ellesmere Canal, was confided to Mr. Telford's general management. This, in its track along the base of the Welsh hills, passes over the aqueducts of Pont y Cysylte and Chirk. The former, one thousand feet long, and one hundred and twentyeight feet high, and the latter, six hundred feet long, and seventy feet high, were constructed according to his plans, and under his direction.
In the years 1803 and 1804 the Parliamentary Commissioners for making roads and building bridges in the Highlands of Scotland, and also for making the Caledonian Canal, appointed Mr. Telford their engineer. Under the former board, eleven hundred bridges, two of one hundred and fifty feet span, were built, and eight hundred and sixty miles of new road were made; and under the latter board the Caledonian Canal, of unusually large dimensions, was constructed.
Under the Road Commissioners, on the Glasgow, Carlisle, and Lanarkshire roads, thirty bridges, one of one hundred and fifty feet span, and another one hundred and twentytwo feet high, were constructed. Under the same commissioners, and local trustees, above thirty harbours were built ; some of which, as at Aberdeen and Dundee, are upon an extensive scale. At and adjoining to Edinburgh, two very lofty and expensive bridges were built from his design, and under his direction. He was also occasionally employed by the city of Glasgow.
Nor were Mr. Telford's labours and talents exclusively devoted to Scotland and Wales. In England his professional employment became very extensive.
Five large bridges over the river Severn were executed after his plans. One of these was one hundred and thirty, another one hun