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Building a stone bridge, 150 feet, over the Severn, near the city of Gloucester.
Designing a stone bridge of seven arches, 50 feet wide within the parapets, and 500 feet long, about to be built over the Clyde, at Glasgow, on the site of Jamaica Street Bridge.
Opening a navigable communication across Sweden, from Gothenburg, on the North Sea, to Soderking, on the Baltic.
In the year 1817, Parliamentary-loan Commissioners were appointed to apply 1,750,0001. towards carrying on public works. Mr. Telford was employed as their engineer ; and since that time he has examined and reported on the following works, for which aid was requested :
1. The Regent's Canal, from Paddington, by Islington, to Limehouse.
2. A cast-iron bridge across the Thames from Queen Street.
3. A short canal between the Thames and Isis, and the Wilts and Berks Canal.
4. For an extension of Folkstone Harbour, on the coast of Kent.
5. For completing the Thames and Medway Canal, from Gravesend to Rochester.
6. For completing the Gloucester and Berkley Canal, which was done under his direction.
7. For completing the Portsmouth and Arundel Canal.
8. For the Tay Ferry piers, which were constructed under his direction.
9. For rebuilding Folly Bridge, at Oxford, on the site of Friar Bacon's Study.
10. For making a short canal between the river Lea and the Regent's Canal.
11. For rebuilding Windsor and Kingston Bridges upon the river Thames.
12. For making a canal from the city of Exeter to the sea.
13. For constructing a harbour at Shoreham, on the coast of Sussex.
14. For building a timber bridge at Teignmouth, in the county of Devon.
15. For completing the Bridgewater and Taunton Canal.
16. For constructing locks and wears upon the river Thames.
17. For completing the Liverpool and Manchester Railway.
18. For completing Courton Harbour in Ireland.
19. On the proposed railway between Waterford and Limerick.
20. On the Ulster Canal, as proposed, in the north of Ireland.
21. On the Norwich and Lowestoft navigation, previous to the commencement, and while in progress.
Mr. Telford also made the following extensive surveys, by direction of the Post Office :
1. From London, by Ware and Royston, and also by Barnet and Hatfield, to Newark on the Trent.
2. From thence, by York and Newcastle, to Morpeth, also by Doncaster, Boroughbridge, and Durham, to the same place.
3. From Morpeth by Alnwick, Berwick, and Haddington, to Edinburgh ; also by Wooller, Coldstream, and Dalkeith, to Edinburgh.
4. From Boroughbridge, by Hexham, to Carterfell, on the Teviot Ridge; also, from the same place, by Aldstone Moor, down the South Tyne, and across the Irthing river, to Castleton in Liddesdale.
5. From Carlisle, by Langholm, top of Ettrick and Farquhair, to Edinburgh.
6. From Glasgow, across Ayrshire, and along the coast to Stranraer and Portpatrick.
7. From the Holyhead Road, at Dunchurch, by Tamworth and Lichfield, to Newcastle, Staffordshire, and thence in three several directions to Liverpool.
8. From Northleach, in Gloucestershire, by Monmouth, Brecon, Carmarthen, and Haverfordwest, to Milford Haven;
also, from Bristol, by Newport and Cardiff, along the shore to Pembroke.
Many details of Mr. Telford's works are contained in Sir Henry Parnell's “ Treatise on Roads." London, 1833. Pages 33—38. 50, 51. 146. 154–177. 260. 298. 348–361. 366–385. with various other notices. A perusal of those pages will amply repay the reader who delights in tracing the progress of public improvement, and in contemplating the mighty productions of human invention.
The genius of this distinguished engineer was not confined to his profession. At an early period of his life he gave indications of considerable poetical talent. He was the “ Eskdale Tam” of the poetical corner of “ The Scot's Magazine.” In John Mayne's poem of the “ Siller Gun” — a poem that, in the opinion of Walter Scott, comes nearer to the productions of Burns than those of any other Scottish bard - full justice is done to Telford's “ double claim” to renown. After recording with due praise the Malcolms, Fergusons, Pasleys, Lauries, Maxwells, Reids, and other worthies of Dumfriesshire, the poet thus speaks of Telford :
“ To rank amang our men o' fame,
To Eskdale dear!'
In his “Life of Burns,” Dr. Currie says, “ A great number of manuscript poems were found among the papers of Burns, addressed to him by admirers of his genius, from different parts of Britain, as well as from Ireland and America. Among these was a poetical epistle from Shrewsbury *, of superior merit. It is written in the dialect of Scotland (of which country Mr. Telford is a native), and in the versification gerally employed by our poet himself. Its object is to recom
* Where, as we have already stated, Mr. Telford, in the early part of his career, exercised his abilities as an engineer under the patronage of Sir William Pulteney.
mend to him other subjects of a serious nature, similar to that of the Cotters' Saturday Night, and the reader will find that the advice is happily enforced by example. It would have given the editor pleasure to have inserted the whole of this poem, which he hopes will one day see the light; he is happy to have obtained, in the mean time, his friend, Mr. Telford's permission to insert the following extracts.”— Then come the permitted extracts, from which we select the subjoined:
“ Pursue, O Burns, thy happy style,
Recall the days
Blest my young ways.
“ I see my fond companions rise;
I join the happy village joys;
And through the wood
Its roaring flood. *
« No distant Swiss with warmer glow
E'er heard his native music flow,
Than still have mine,
With songs of thine.
“ O happy bard! thy gen'rous flame
Was given to raise thy country's fame;
Thy matchless lays :
To latest days."
But, as has been justly and finely observed, “ Mr. Tel. ford was a poet of the highest order all his lifetime: not a
# The banks of the Esk.
+ A beautiful little mount which stands immediately before, or rather forms a part of, Shrewsbury Castle, a seat of Sir William Pulteney.
mere rhyme-stringer, into which almost any dunce might be drilled: the poetry of his mind was too mighty and lofty to dwell in words and metaphors; it displayed itself by laying the sublime and the beautiful under contribution to the useful, for the service of man. His Caledonian Canal, his Highland Roads, his London and Holyhead Road, are poems of the most exalted character, divided into numerous cantos, of which the Menai Bridge is a most magnificent one. What grand ideas can words raise in the mind to compare with a glance at that stupendous production of human imagination ?”
Mr. Telford had taught himself Latin, French, and German; and could read those languages with facility, and converse freely in French. He understood algebra well, but thought that it led too much to abstraction, and too little to practice. Mathematical investigation he also held rather cheaply; and always, when practicable, resorted to experiment to determine the relative value of any plans on which it was his business to decide. He delighted in employing the vast in nature to contribute to the accommodation of man. When the project of Denocrates, to hew Mount Athos into a statue of Alexander, bearing a city in the one hand and an aqueduct in the other, was one day mentioned in his presence, his eyes glistened with pleasure, and he exclaimed that Denocrates “ was a magnificent fellow !” On the other hand, when a friend was describing a minute process, into which Mr. Telford's mind was too large to enter with interest, after some time he said, in his very good-humoured way, “Come, be off with you ; you are thinking of mites, and I of mountains." Yet he did not despise minutiæ: on the contrary, he liked to see those whom nature fitted for critical investigations of her laws and capabilities sedulously employed in exploring the most minute ramifications of her operations; but he viewed such proceedings only as means to great ends. He valued means only as means, and never dwelt on them, but ran through them, carrying away with him all that would serve to forward his ends.
Nature and practice had so formed his eye for judging of