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dred and fifty, and a third one hundred and seventy, feet span. In all the works to which the Commissioners for the Loan of Exchequer Bills granted aid, he acted as their engineer, which, in the aggregate, amounted to more than twenty instances. By the General Post Office he was also employed in making many extensive surveys in sundry districts of England, Scotland, and Wales.
As engineer to the Parliamentary Commissioners for improving the communication between London and Dublin, all the works on the Holyhead Road, including the Menai and Conway bridges, were performed under Mr. Telford's direction, with the exception of the landing-piers of Holyhead and Howth, for those he only completed.
While the preceding works were being executed, several other branches of inland navigation were carried on under Mr. Telford's direction. Among these may be named the Birmingham and Liverpool, and the Macclesfield Canals ; the unrivalled improvements upon the old Birmingham, and the extension of the Ellesmere and Chester Canals. tunnel also, 3000 yards in length, under the Harecastle Hill, on the summit of the Trent and Mersey Canal, was conducted under his superintendence, as was likewise the improvement of the river Weaver navigation, which is the outlet of the Cheshire salt works.
In the metropolis, the St. Catherine's Docks, at Tower Hill, were constructed under Mr. Telford's direction; and in the Fens, the new outfall of the river Nene, and the drainage of the North Level, stand as memorials of his scientific skill, industry, and perseverance.
Nor has the British empire alone been benefited by Mr. Telford's genius. In the year 1808 he was employed by the Swedish government to survey the ground, and lay out an inland navigation, through the central parts of that kingdom. The design of this undertakiug was to connect the great freshwater lakes, and to form a direct communication by water between the North Sea and the Baltic.
In 1813 Mr. Telford again visited Sweden, taking with
him some experienced British workmen, with such suitable materials as were wanted. Here he inspected the work in its progressive state, and superintended such branches as required practical observation. This gigantic undertaking has been fully accomplished, notwithstanding the numerons obstacles it became necessary to surmount. The communication between the lakes has been in active operation for several years ; and the whole works being completed, the entire intercourse between the Baltic and the North Sea was to be opened in October, 1834.
The honorary distinction of Fellow was awarded to Mr. Telford by the Royal Societies of London and Edinburgh.
In 1818 an institution of Civil Engineers was established, which, being found of practical utility, was incorporated by royal charter in 1828. This useful society consists of men eminent for experience and practical skill, and of young persons desirous of acquiring information on the various subjects connected with the profession of a civil engineer. Although at the meetings theory cannot be excluded, yet the main purpose is to obtain practical facts. Hence, notes are taken of what is verbally communicated; and these, together with what is furnished in writing, are registered for the use of the members. By these means a valuable mass of practical information has already been accumulated ; and every meeting adds something to the general stock. This institution at present consists of two hundred members, resident not only in the British isles, but in Russia, Germany, France, Holland, and India. Of this institution, from its commencement, Mr. Telford was annually elected president, a tribute of respect to his transcendent talents cheerfully paid by its numerous members.
We have already adverted to some of Mr. Telford's undertakings. The following is a more detailed list of the principal works executed by him, and under his direction:
1788. Shrewsbury Castle converted into a dwelling house. New Gaol built for the county of Salop.
Twenty-six bridges in the same county, from 20 to 130 feet span; two of these over the river Severn.
1798. A bridge over the river Severn, at the town of Bewdley, consisting of three arches.
A bridge, 112 feet span, over the river Dee, at Kirkcudbright, in Scotland.
Bridgenorth Church (see the Edinburgh Encyclopædia).
The Ellesmere Canal, commenced in 1790. Length, 103 miles.
Highland roads and bridges, commenced in 1803. Under this commission were built one thousand one hundred and seventeen bridges in the Highlands. Of the roads, that from Inverness to the county of Sutherland, and through Caithness, is superior in point of line and smoothness to any part of the road of equal continuous length between London and Inver
This is a remarkable fact, which, from the great difficulties Mr. Telford had to overcome in passing through a rugged, hilly, and mountainous district, incontrovertibly establishes his extraordinary skill in the engineering department, as well as in the construction of great public communications.
The Caledonian Canal, begun in 1804. Locks, each 180 feet long, 40 wide, depth of water, 20 feet. One of Mr. Telford's most splendid works; in constructing every part of which he surmounted prodigious difficulties.
Dunkeld Bridge, finished in 1809. Nine arches, centre one 90 feet span.
The Glasgow, Paisley, and Ardrossan Canal.
Aberdeen Harbour. Extension and improvements commenced in 1810.
Dundee Harbour. Extension and improvements, commenced in 1815.
Dundee Ferry Piers on both sides of the river, in 1822.
The Glasgow and Carlisle Road, commenced in 1816, upon which were built 23 bridges of 150, 90, 80, 60, 50 feet span and under.
The Lanarkshire Roads, including bridge at Cartland Craigs, 123 feet high; and four other large bridges.
Increasing the width of the roadway over Glasgow old bridge with cast-iron.
The Dean Bridge over Leith Water, at Edinburgh, four arches, each 90 feet span. Roadway above the river 108 feet.
Pathhead Bridge, 11 miles from Edinburgh, on the Dalkeith road, five arches, 70 feet high.
Morpeth Bridge, Northumberland, consisting of three arches.
The Holyhead Road from London to Dublin, including the Menai and Conway bridges. It has been said, and no doubt truly, that Mr. Telford was inclined to set a higher value on the success which attended his exertions for improving the great communication from London to Holyhead, the alterations of the line of road, its smoothness, and the excellence of the bridges, than on that of any other work he executed. The Menai Bridge will unquestionably be the most imperishable monument of Mr. Telford's fame. This bridge over the Bangor Ferry, connecting the counties of Carnarvon and Anglesea, partly of stone and partly of iron, on the suspension principle, consists of seven stone arches, exceeding in magnitude every work of the kind in the world. They connect the land with the two main piers, which rise 53 feet above the level of the road, over the top of which the chains are suspended, each chain being 1714 feet from the fastenings in the rock. The first three-masted vessel passed under the bridge in 1826. Her topmasts were nearly as high as a frigate; but they cleared 12 feet and a half below the centre of the roadway. The suspending power of the chains was calculated at 2016 tons; the total weight of each chain, 121 tons. This stupendous undertaking occasioned Mr. Telford more intense thought than any other of his works: he told a friend (Dr. James Cleland), that his state of anxiety for a short time previous to the opening of the bridge was so extreme, that he had but little sound sleep; and that a much longer continuance of that condition of mind must have undermined his health. Not that he had any
reason to doubt the stength and stability of every part of the structure, for he had employed all the precautions that he could imagine useful, as suggested by his own experience and consideration, or by the zeal and talents of his very able and faithful assistants, yet the bare possibility that some weak point might have escaped his and their vigilance in a work so new kept the whole structure constantly passing in review before his mind's eye, to examine if he could discover a point that did not contribute its share to the perfection of the whole. In this, as in all his great works, he employed, as subengineers, men capable of appreciating and acting on his ideas; but he was no rigid stickler for his own plans, for he most readily acquiesced in the suggestions of his assistants when reasonable, and thus identified them with the success of the work. In ascertaining the strength of the materials for the Menai bridge, he employed men of the highest rank for scientific character and attainments.
Improving the river Weever navigation, between the Cheshire salt works and sea entrance.
Constructing a tunnel 3000 yards in length, through Harecastle hill, upon the Trent and Mersey navigation, near the great Staffordshire potteries.
Making a canal from ditto, 29 miles in length, by Macclesfield, to the Peak forest and Huddersfield Canals.
Improving the Birmingham old canal, formerly laid out by Mr. Brindley.
Making a canal 39 miles in length, with a branch 11 miles, to connect the Birmingham Canal with the Shropshire and Cheshire Canals, and open a new communication with Liverpool and Manchester, and thence to London.
Improving the outfalls of the river Ouse, in Norfolk, and the Nene in Lincolnshire, including the drainage of the North Bedford Level, between the Nene and the Welland.
Constructing the St. Katherine Docks, adjoining Tower Hill, London.
Constructing a cast-iron bridge, 170 feet span, over the river Severn, at Tewksbury, in Gloucestershire.