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The Scot in America
Scientists and Inventors


IT would be singular if a country whose genius gave to the world the art of logarithms, the steam engine, the knowledge of chloroform, illuminating gas, and a host of other universally renowned inventions, discoveries, and appliances would not be represented in scientific pursuits and the higher mechanical sciences in America. We specify higher mechanical because what might be termed actual mechanical work can have no share in our inquiries. Scotch mechanics are found all over the country, and are generally held in the highest regard for their thorough mastery over their work, their intelligent manipulation of details, their readiness to grasp new ideas, even when they do not evolve them, and their conscientious devotion to whatever matter may be in hand. There is not a railway machine shop in America, or iron shipbuilding establishment, where Scotch mechanics may not be found. The same, in fact, might be said of every extensive mechanical establishment on the continent. Into the story of this great army of toilers, hard at work, every (lay doing something that is to aid in the further development of the country's resources or comforts, we cannot enter. We must perforce confine ourselves to the higher departments of science—to examples selected from among what may be called professional workers.

Without at all attempting to take away from any one the credit of being the first to make the science of telegraphy a success, we must claim that the first publicly to express the idea that electricity could be so utilized was a Scotsman who ended his days in Virginia. This was Charles Morrison, a native of Greenock. Very little is known about his life history beyond the fact that he was a surgeon by profession, a man of extreme modesty, and that, unable to make a living in Scotland, he crossed over to Virginia and died there. Many efforts have been made in America and Scotland to discover some additional information about his life and death, but without avail. His claim to have demonstrated that electricity could be utilized for conveying intelligence is based upon a letter which he sent from Renfrew to the Scots Magazine, and which appeared in that once famous periodical in 1753. The essential portion of the letter is as follows:

"It is well known to all who are conversant with electrical experiments that the electric power may be propagated along a small wire, from one place to another, without being sensibly abated by the length of its progress. Let, then, a set of wires, equal in number to the letters of the alphabet, be extended horizontally between two given places parallel to one another, and each of them about an inch distant from that next to it. At every twenty yards end let them be fixed in glass, or jeweler's cement, to some firm body, both to prevent them from touching the earth or any other non-electric, and from breaking by their own gravity. Let the electric gun barrel be placed at right angles with the extremities of the wires, and about an inch below them. Also let the wires be fixed on a solid piece of glass, at six inches from the end, and let that part of them which reaches from the glass to the machine have sufficient spring and stiffness to recover its situation after having been brought in contact with the barrel. Close by the supporting glass let a ball be suspended from every wire; and about a sixth or an eighth of an inch below the balls place the letters of the alphabet, marked on bits of paper or any other substance that may be light enough to rise to the electrified ball, and at the same time let it be so contrived that each of them may reassume its proper place when dropped.

"All things constructed as above, and the minute previously fixed, I begin the conversation with my distant friend in this manner. Having set the electrical machine a-going as in ordinary experiments, suppose I am to pronounce the word Sir; with a piece of glass or any other electric per se, I strike the wire S, so as to bring it in contact with the barrel, then i, then r, all in the same way; and my correspondent, almost in the same instant, observes these several characters rise in order to the electrified balls at his end of the wires."

Any one can see that there is a big difference between the electric telegraph of to-day and that outlined in this letter, but the essential principle is the same, and surely this unfortunate Scot should receive credit for thus promulgating an idea which others took up and perfected until it has become one of the wonders of the modern world.

So, too, with the question of steam navigation. Years before Taylor or Miller on Dalswinton, or Bell on the Clyde, or Fulton on the Hudson, demonstrated its feasibility it was fully shown on the Potomac in the presence of George Washington by James Rumsey, who was born in Virginia of Scotch parents in 1754. His first really public experiment was made in 1786, and two years later he exhibited another model. One writer, Mr. James Weir, Jr., says: "He had all the native shrewdness and astuteness generally ascribed to the Scotchman. He was a man of fine presence, tall and powerfully built. While, strictly speaking, not an educated man, he was an omnivorous reader and well versed in matters pertaining to his profession—civil engineering. He was a good talker, but a better listener, and his neighbors regarded him with respect, and looked upon him as a man of undoubted genius.

"Testimony adduced before the House of Representatives in 1839 shows that Rumsey had conceived the idea of steam navigation as early as August, 1783. Laboring under very adverse circumstances, he succeeded in the Autumn of 1784 in making a test of some of the principles of his engine and propelling apparatus. In January, 1785, Rumsey obtained a patent from the General Assembly of Maryland for navigating the waters of that State. During the whole of that year he was busy in the construction of a steamboat, and in 1786 he successfully navigated this boat on the Potomac at Shepherds-town in the presence of hundreds of spectators."

We have quoted American testimony in connection with this case, as Scotsmen have often been accused of national prejudice in connection with the subject of early steam navigation.

The first Scotch scientist of any consequence, so far as we have been able to trace, to settle in America was William Douglas, a native of Linlithgowshire. He was born in 1691, and left Scotland for the American Colonies in 1716, settling in Boston two years later as a physician, a profession he had studied at Glasgow. He quickly established a large and profitable practice, but he had the knack of making enemies, and soon could number them by the score. He appears to have been a man of strong prejudices, quick in temper, and possessed of a degree of blunt outspokenness which often led him into awkward positions. He was considerable of a busybody, too, and had opinions on almost any subject, and these opinions he never concealed, even when personal policy would have inculcated silence as his best and most profitable course. He was a bitter opponent of the idea of vaccination as a preventive of smallpox, and he advocated additional stamp duties at a time when the trend of public sentiment in the Colonies was in favor of their abolition. But in spite of his marked peculiarities he was a man of the warmest heart, and had, after all, more friends than enemies. He was scrupulously honest in everything he did, and as a medical practitioner his reputation was second to none in New England. He published an "almanack" in 1744 which is yet highly valued by the curious, and his many medical publications show him to have been a fearless thinker and a diligent student. He died at Boston in 1750.

A year later than Dr. Douglas there came to America a much more lovable personage, who was destined to leave a deeper mark in the country's annals. This was Dr. Thomas Graeme, who, as one of the founders, in 1749, and the first President of the St. Andrew's Society of Philadelphia. raised a better and more enduring monument to his own worth and patriotism than could have been constructed in marble or granite. Indeed, he seems to have been very popular among his countrymen in the Quaker City, for, after leaving the chair of the society which he had helped to found he was recalled to that honorable office, and served from 1764 until his death in 1771. Dr. Graeme was born at Balgowan in 1688 and settled in Philadelphia in 1717, at the instance of Sir William Keith, Lieutenant Governor, whom he accompanied across the ocean, and remained there until the end of his career. During most of his life he practiced his profession as a physician, and as such he attained considerable eminence, but his practice was more or less interrupted by several appointments which he held. In 1726 Dr. Graeme became a member of the Provincial Council, in 1727 he was appointed Naval Officer at Philadelphia, in 1731 he was chosen a Justice of the Supreme Court, and in 1741 became again Naval Officer, and continued in that position for twenty years. He had a marked influence on Philadelphia during his career, and his charitable disposition was shown in many ways. Besides helping, at least, to organize the St. Andrew's Society, which from its beginning has been an exponent of practical, sensible, and timely charity, Dr. Graeme took an active part in founding the Pennsylvania hospital, of which institution he acted (from 1751) during several years as physician. Scotsmen of this stamp, and there were and are an army of them, exert a wonderful amount of good in the world, and, indeed, it may be said that the influences of their lives are not lost even in the mass of good influences which preserve the moral vitality of the world, but stand out in bold relief as instances of what may be accomplished by well thought out and kindly efforts even when not backed up by vast individual wealth.

Dr. John Linning, who, according to the records of the St.. Andrew's Society of Charleston, became a member of that organization in 1731, arrived in America a year before, and soon built up a prosperous practice in South Carolina's historical city. He was born in Dundee in 1708 and studied medicine at Edinburgh. Early in his professional career he took a special interest in natural science, was fond of experimenting in physics—or natural philosophy—and when the subject of electricity first began to be broached lie carried on an extensive and learned correspondence with Benjamin Franklin concerning it. Dr. Linning was the first to introduce an electrical apparatus in Charleston. his interest in his profession, however, was not lessened by such experiments or studies, and he was ever striving to keep fully abreast with the medical progress of his time, either by observation in his own practice or by reading. One evidence of this still remains, although the work is now obsolete, in his "history of Yellow Fever," the first American 1book on the subject. Dr. Linning died at Charleston in 1760.

The family physician of George Washington and his firm and attached friend from the (lay they first met, at Fort Necessity, in 1754, until the nation's hero passed away at Mount Vernon, in 1799, was Dr. James Craik, a native of Scotland, who had settled in early life in Virginia. He was born in 1731. In 1754, when he met Washington at Fort Necessity, he was Surgeon in a provincial corps, and stood by that officer's side when the body of the commander of the provincial forces, Gen. Braddock, was being committed to the grave. When the Revolutionary War broke out, Craik adopted the cause of the Colonies and saw a good deal of active service. At the siege of Yorktown he was director general of the hospital, and the skill and the devotion he showed won the admiration of all who were brought into contact with him. After the struggle was over, Dr. Craik settled near the home of Gen. Washington, and the two melt enjoyed the pleasantest intimacy. When Washington was seized with his last illness, the old family physician was summoned, and held the hand of the warrior-statesman as he passed out through the veil. Dr. Craik spent his closing years quietly in his Virginia home, and he died there in 1814, when the country was in the midst of its second, and it is to be hoped its last, armed contest with Britain.

Dr. Craik was one of those quiet, useful men who do much good on their journey through the world, but who, it must be confessed, acquire eminence not so much by their own talents as by those of their friends. He was recognized as a skilful, conservative physician, but without any of those, brilliant qualities which would have of themselves given him prominence in his profession or would have preserved his name and memory till the present day. His faire was not to be compared to that of his contemporary, Dr. Peter Middleton, one of the original members of the St. Andrew's Society of New York and its President for three terms, 1767-8-9. He was a native of Edinburgh, and graduated in medicine in that city. He settled in New York about 1730, and soon was regarded as the most eminent physician and surgeon in the Colony. In 1750, in company with another medical man, he made the first dissection in America of a body before a number of students, and in the matter of the education for his own profession Dr. Middleton seemed to have always taken a deep interest. In 1767 he established a medical school in New York, a school which was subsequently merged into King's [Columbia] College, of which institution he was one of the Governors from 1770 till his death, in 1781.

Equally prominent as a physician, and entitled to special remembrance as the first of the great scientific American weather prophets who have made the name of "American weather" so famous or notorious over the world, was Dr. Lionel Chalmers. He crossed the Atlantic in 1736, settled soon afterward in Charleston, S. C., and practiced his profession there for some forty years, or until his death, in 1771. Dr. Chalmers was born at Campbellton, Argyllshire, in 1715, and left Scotland for America immediately upon graduating from Edinburgh University. He published several medical books and essays, but his weather researches, notably as expressed in his now scarce "Treatise on Weather and Diseases of South Carolina," are his best claims to distinction. He made careful observations, ventured even on prophesying, and saw that study on scientific lines was only needed to reduce the weather problem to an exact science.

An amiable man, of high scientific attainments, and whose life was one of usefulness, was Dr. William Wilson, who was contented to practice his profession as a physician in a very limited circle—that of the family and friends of Chancellor Livingston—but who filled several offices with marked ability and was one of the early promoters of scientific agriculture in America. He arrived in New York in 1784, bringing with him from Scotland his newly received medical graduation papers, from Glasgow University, and letters of introduction to Chancellor Livingston. That great and good man was delighted with the new-comer, and invited him to take up his quarters at the family mansion of Clermont, which remained his home until his death, in 1828, at the age of seventy-three years, long after his patron and friend had passed away. In 1804 Dr. Wilson was appointed Judge of Columbia County, and held that office for several years. His interest in agricultural matters was increased and developed by his residence in that section of the State, and produced many useful results. One of these was the organization, by his efforts, of the Farmers' Club of Dutchess and Columbia Counties—the pioneer of the purely agricultural societies in New York.

Another scientific physician was Dr. John Spence of Philadelphia, who was born at Edinburgh in 1766 and educated at the. university in that city. His first purpose when entering the classes at Edinburgh was to get enrolled in the ranks of the ministry, but his views in that respect were not realized, and he turned his attention to the study of medicine. When he took up his residence in America his first employment was as a family tutor at Dumfries, Va. He was one of the stanchest advocates in America of vaccination, and was active in spreading abroad a knowledge of its practice and its beneficent influence. He contributed largely to the medical and scientific journals of his time, and a spirited controversy which he had with the famous Benjamin Rush, and which was published in i8o6 in the "Medical Museum" of Philadelphia, gave him a considerable degree of prominence. Mr. Spence died at Dumfries, Va., in 1829.

Few physicians inn New York State were more honored during life than was Dr. James McNaughton, who was born at Kenmore, Perthshire, in 1809, and died in Paris, France, while on a visit, in 1814. His life from 1817 until a few months before his death was spent in Albany, N. Y., and from 1840 on he honored the office of Professor of the Theory and Practice of Medicine in Albany Medical College, while for many years he was regularly elected President of the Albany County Medical College. His birthplace is remembered in Albany by the Kenmore Hotel, named in its honor by a company in which his sons were prominent. Dr. Lawrence Turnbull (a native of Shotts) and his son, Dr. Charles Smith Turnbull, fill a large and prominent place in the medical annals of Philadelphia, while around New York such men as Prof. A. J. C. Skene, and in Boston practitioners like Dr. A. D. Sinclair are worthily upholding the fame of the motherland in the art of healing.

But we have dwelt long enough among medical men, and must now cull some examples in other walks of science.

One of the most noted of the scientific soldiers of the Revolutionary War was Robert Erskine, son of the Rev. Ralph Erskine, author of "Gospel Sonnets" and one of the founders of the Secession Church in Scotland. Erskine was born at Dunfermline in 1735. His first employment was at Falkirk, and there and in England he seems to have become thoroughly posted in the making of cannon and cannon balls. After settling in America in 1771 to become the manager of an iron works in New Jersey, he threw off, when opportunity offered, his allegiance to the British Crown and became Chief of Engineers on the staff of Gen. Washington. He died in 1780, when the conflict was at its height, and his leader honored his memory by ordering a stone placed over his grave at Ringwood, N. J.—a memorial that can yet be seen by visitors to that region.

Among the many scientific institutions of which Philadelphia is so justly proud a prominent place is held by the Academy of National Science, which is now housed in a massive Gothic building on Logan Square. It was established in 1812 by a few enthusiasts in scientific matters, one of the foremost being William Maclure, a native of Ayr. He was born in "the auld toon" in 1763. He first visited America in 1780, but his stay was short, and lie returned to Britain and engaged in business in London. In 1X96, having meantime acquired a competence, lie crossed the Atlantic again, acquired citizenship in the young republic, and once more engaged in business, increasing his fortune. In 1803 he went to France as a Commissioner from the United States to settle the French spoliation claims, and it was while thus engaged that he became deeply interested in the then new subject of geology. He made a comprehensive study of the science, collected a large number of specimens, and determined on his return to America to devote himself solely to the study of its geology. This lie did so effectively and thoroughly and with such important results that the title of "Father of American Geology" has been bestowed upon him. The first fruits of his researches were contained in an exhaustive paper which he read before the American Philosophical Society in 1809, and in 1817 lie published the first geological map of the United States.

In his latter years Maclure was elected President of the Academy of Natural Science, and retained that honor until his death, although his frequent absences from Philadelphia, and even from the country, might have warranted his replacement by some other scientist. His social ideas were in many respects peculiar, and he tried in various ways to put them into practice. Thus, in 1819, he went to Spain, bought a tract of land from the revolutionary Government then in power, and endeavored to found an agricultural colony and school—mainly with the view of advancing the interests and increasing the comforts of the poorer farmers and other tillers of the soil, but the deposition of the Government vitiated the title to the lands he had secured, and he was compelled to abandon the work. Then he essayed a similar scheme at New Harmony, Ind., and it also turned out a failure, although for very different reasons.

Mr. Maclure all this time steadily prosecuted his geological studies, visiting nearly every section of the country in pursuit of data and specimens, and these he generously distributed among various societies, but his own collections, stored in Philadelphia, became wonderfully varied, and, for the time, complete. In 1827 he first visited .Mexico, and was so attracted by its opportunities for study that he returned there the following year and continued traveling in its territory till his death, in 1840. By his will he bequeathed his library and the bulk of his collections to the Academy of Natural Sciences, together with $25,000, which enabled that society to erect the building it so long occupied at the corner of Broad and Sansom Streets, Philadelphia. any of his geological specimens were given also to the American Geological Society, at New Haven, Conn.

An equally interesting and useful career was that of David Douglas, botanist, who was born at Scone, Perthshire, in 1798, and was murdered in the Hawaiian Islands in 1834. His first employment as a botanist was in the service of the University of Glasgow, and afterward, as a botanical collector for the Horticultural Society of London, he traveled over a large hart of the world. He journeyed in the northern and western regions of Canada with Sir John Franklin, and was one of the early explorers of the Columbia River. In California he collected no fewer than 8,000 specimens of its flora, and wherever he went his industry and knowledge were fruitful of results. In botanical circles he is still remembered by his name being given to a species of pine Pinus Douglassi—which he discovered, and many of the imported favorites which are now to be seen in English gardens were first carried to that country by him after sonic of his wanderings. Another Scot who is remembered botanically by having plants named after him was George Lire Skinner, who died at Aspinwall in 1867. While actively engaged as a member of the mercantile firm of Klee, Skinner & Co., Guatemala, he zealously pursued botanical researches in Western Mexico, Guatemala, and in the Southern United States.

In this connection we are reminded how numerous and important have been the Scotch florists who have settled in America. From the days of Grant Thorburn until the present time Scotch practical gardeners—men trained in Scotland—have always been in demand in America, and as seedsmen, florists, or overseers, working gardeners have had more to do with inspiring the American people with the love of flowers now so characteristic of the nation, than any other race. The late Peter Henderson, for instance, as a practical gardener, a vendor of seeds and plants, and as an author was better known in American country homes than any man in his business, and he did more to make gardening of all sorts—practical and ornamental—really popular than any other gardener of his clay and generation. The late Isaac Buchanan, who died in 1893 at a patriarchal age, long stood at the head of New York's florists. The public park system of Buffalo owes much—if not all—of its comprehensiveness and beauty to the labors and ability of Mr. William Macmillan, a native of Nairnshire, and his assistant, Mr. James Braik; and the Botanical Gardens of Washington owe their perfection in great measure to the loving care of Mr. W. R. Smith, (a native of Athelstane, Haddingtonshire,) who has been their Superintendent for many years. Mention of Mr. Smith reminds us that gardeners—mostly, as might he expected, men of refined taste—find time to cultivate other things than flowers. Mr. Smith, for instance, proud as he is of his plants and shrubs, is also proud of his library of editions of Burns and Burnsiana, said to be the most extensive and complete in America.

The story of a life which might have grasped the highest earthly honors, which at times almost slid grasp them, but failed, from some inscrutable reason, is always a sad one to read, and as we reflect on the career of David Boswell Reid it seems as if there lay in him the ability to have won for himself a famous name, but every line along which it ran seemed doomed to end in disappointment, and the whole story is a painful one. He was born in Edinburgh in 1805 and educated in the university there. His student career was a brilliant one, and four years after graduating he taught chemistry in the university laboratory. In 1833 he became one of those "Extra-Mural " lecturers whose ability and popularity did so much to preserve the fame of Edinburgh scientific education at a time when the university itself was by no means in a progressive condition. Reid built a classroom and laboratory, and for several years he had over 300 pupils at each of his sessions, a larger number than attended the chemical lectures at the university. He paid close attention to the principles of ventilation and drainage, and in 1836, at the request of the Government, he suggested many changes in the internal structure of the old houses of Parliament in London, and superintended their execution. his work was so highly appreciated that from 1840 to 1845 he was engaged mainly in London, superintending the drainage and ventilation of the present Palace of Parliament, and succeeded in perfecting these matters as fully as the plans of the architects and the nature of the site permitted. He also lectured about this time in many of the larger cities in Great Britain, and was recognized as the leading authority on ventilation and sewerage.

In 1856 Reid left Britain, and, after lecturing in many of the principal American cities, became Professor of Applied Chemistry in the University of Wisconsin, and afterward one of the Medical Inspectors of the United States Sanitary Commission. He was a man of considerable energy, a clear and fluent speaker, and an interesting writer, while his various published works and contributions to "transactions" and periodicals were valuable and widely read. He died at Washington in 1863, in what ought to have been the very meridian of his life.

In another chapter mention is made of Alexander Wilson, the ornithologist and poet, who would have been referred to at more length here did not his prominence as a writer induce the insertion of his name among those who have done something to further America's literary progress. His services to the ornithology of the United States, however, have been more generally valued and recognized than his ability as a writer, and it is with the view of recalling his earned honors in the world of books that we prefer to discuss his career among the men of letters than in this place. But his labors as an ornithologist not only had grand results in themselves, but included in others an enthusiasm for study along the same lines. There is no doubt that Wilson's example inspired Audubon and led to the magnificent career of that genius as a naturalist.

Among others who followed in Wilson's footsteps as an ornithologist mention should be made of William Paterson Turnbull, whose work on the "Birds of Last Pennsylvania and New Jersey," published in 1869, is a model of patient and accurate research and thoughtful study. Turnbull was born at Fala, Midlothian, in 1830, and was educated at the Edinburgh High School. He took up the study of ornithology at an early age, and a volume on the birds of East Lothian, which was published in Glasgow, showed that he was an observer of the closest and most painstaking type. After crossing the Atlantic, in 1851, he made his home in Philadelphia and began a thorough study of the ornithology of the country. Iie gradually acquired a complete library of the published works on the subject and succeeded in collecting many letters, manuscripts, and drawings of his great hero—Alexander Wilson. Mr. Turnbull was a member of the Academy of Natural Sciences, and others of Philadelphia's scientific societies, a genial, amiable man, and his death, in 1871, was mourned by a wide circle of friends.

In many respects the most extraordinary of the Scotch inventors whose ingenuity has helped to swell the business of the Patent Office was Hugh Orr, a Renfrewshire man. He was born at Lochwinnoch in 1717, and trained, probably in Glasgow, as a gun and lock smith. He settled at Bridgewater, Mass., in 1737, and started at once in business as a maker of scythes and axes, erecting in connection with his little establishment the first trip hammer ever seen near Boston. his business prospered, and his manufactures were soon found all over the New England States. In fact, for many years he was the only maker of edged tools in that section of the country, and from his employ, as time went on, men went out to various parts of the Colonies and so built up a new industry, supplanting imported goods. In 1753 Mr. Orr invented a machine for dressing flax, and in the cultivation of that plan he took a deep interest, and succeeded, in the long run, in making it a profitable agricultural industry around his home town. The subject of flax raising indeed, seems to have been his hobby, and in it he found health and change from the harassing labors of his foundrv. Almost every man, philosophers tell us, requires to have a hobby of some sort, and it is well when it takes the form of something practical, something that may be of use to himself and to his fellow-creatures. But the hobby, whatever development it may take, should be encouraged so long as it is innocent and Healthful. Some men take to photography, others to athletics, a lawyer may coquette with literature, a literary man may make a plaything of the law, a preacher may try gardening and a business man yachting but, though the lawyer may make a poor litterateur and the litterateur be a tyro in law to the end of his days; though the preacher be an expensive gardener, raising potatoes at a cost of a dollar apiece, and the business man's heart may sink to his boots in a gale, such changes from the routine of men's daily lives are beneficial both to soul and body. It is rarely, indeed, that a man's hobby directs him to study out some matter that is at all likely to add to the general wealth of his fellow-citizens, and it is in this respect that Hugh Orr's flax-raising experiments deserve the highest commendation.

In 1748 Orr made some five hundred stands of arms for the Province of Massachusetts Bay, which were deposited in Castle William, in Boston Harbor. There they were in clue time seized by the British, and it is said that some of the weapons are still stored in the museum in the Tower of London. When the disputes with the mother country culminated in the Revolution, Orr threw himself into the ranks of the Commonwealth and erected a foundry for the casting of brass and iron ordnance and the making of cannon balls. He was also busily employed manufacturing small arms, and the energy he threw into all his work astonished his contemporaries. After peace had been restored Orr returned to more useful pursuits than manufacturing life-destroying weapons. In company with two Scotch mechanics, Robert and Alexander Parr, he constructed some carding, roping, and spinning machines, and he had become so thorough a Yankee as to ask for an appropriation from the Legislature to complete them, and got it. The machines were the first of their kind ever seen in America, so that On may be called the introducer into the United States of the "spinning jenny." He was much honored by his fellow-citizens, and served as a State Senator from Plymouth County for several years before his death, in 1798. Orr's son, Robert, was the first to make iron shovels in New England, and for a long time was Master Armorer in the United States Arsenal at Springfield.

Scotsmen are still "beating their brains" to supply the American forces with arms, and a very recent example of this is Mr. James P. Lee, the inventor of the Lee magazine gun, which in 1895 was adopted by the United States Navy. Mr. Lee was born in Roxburghshire in 1837. On leaping school he learned his father's trade of watchmaker, and in his twentieth year went to Janesville, Wis. From there he removed to Stevens Point, in the heart of the lumber region, and it was while in that place that he first began the series of experiments which culminated in the most wonderful gun that the American Navy now possesses. His first weapon was a breech-loading rifle, which was submitted to the Government during the civil war and adopted. Secretary Stanton gave Lee a contract to manufacture the weapon, and he organized the Lee Firearms Company, with a factory in Milwaukee. The company did not prosper, mainly on account of the high cost of labor, and in 1870 Mr. Lee connected himself with the Remington Company. With them he remained until the organization of the Lee Arms Company of Connecticut, with headquarters at Hartford. Despite his long residence in America, Mr. Lee is an enthusiastic Scot, and as proud of the Borderland as though lie had never been fifty miles from the Tweed all his life.

Hugh Orr, as we have seen, was one of the first to start the American agricultural implement industry on its progress to become the best-known of all the manufactures of the country, and the first product of American mechanical skill to occupy a pre-eminent place in the markets of the world. One of the most noted of his successors and the first to bring about that perfection which has won general admiration was Henry Burden, a native of Dunblane, who came to America in 1819, in the twenty-eighth year of his age. He had received a good technical education, and was a thorough mechanic before lie crossed the Atlantic, but his ingenuity—his genius, it might be called—was developed by the requirements of the new country, and, settling at Troy, he began the manufacture of agricultural implements. His first venture was an improved plough, which was very successful, and he sold as many as he could produce. Iie also introduced the first cultivator ever seen in this country, and was continually inventing new implements or improving those already in use. A machine for making horseshoes was not only regarded as his greatest triumph, but made him wealthy, and gradually his establishment at Trov became famous as one of the most extensive in the world. Mr. Burden took a deep interest in the science of steam navigation, watched its progress closely, and himself invented a "cigar boat," with which he foresaw great possibilities, but was forced for various reasons to lay aside. The invention was regarded simply as a curiosity, but Mr. Burden had no conception of concocting merely what might be regarded as a sight to astonish visitors; he was thoroughly practical in all his ideas, and, although he did not live to see his cigar boat a commercial success, its principle was not lost, and is to be found in the "whaleback" steamers now in use on the great lakes and in many of the modern models of torpedo boats. He owned patents by the hundred, and even these only represented a part of the fruits of his ingenuity. At his death, in 1871, he was beyond question the most successful inventor in the country, and he had the satisfaction of knowing that the products of his great establishment were as highly appreciated in Europe as in the markets of his adopted country.

One of the most characteristically Scotch inventors the writer of this volume ever had the good fortune to meet was the . Rev. Robert Dick of Buffalo, "brother Dick," as he was most generally called. He was at once preacher, lecturer, newspaper editor and writer, teacher and inventor, a man of the highest character, always aiming upward, and taking a deep interest in the moral elevation of the people. Mr. Dick was born at Bathgate in 1814. His parents, with eleven bairns, determined to emigrate when Robert was very young, and settled in Canada, where they died before any of the children had attained manhood. The lot of the bairns was, as might he supposed, a hard one. Robert managed to study for the ministry, and in spite of many disadvantages and hindrances—the result of poverty—managed to graduate at Hamilton College, Clinton, in 1841. Then he taught school for several years, held several pastorates, and in 1854 established at Toronto a religious paper called "The Gospel Tribune." All this time he found his relaxation in his workshop. He was always inventing, always trying to put his mechanical ideas into practice, and to devise something that would meet a popular demand. His newspaper experience finally gave him a clue, and his mailing machine not only met a pressing demand, but won for him comparative wealth. His business henceforth was devoted to these machines, their perfection, and introduction, and they became part of the indispensable outfit of nearly every large newspaper office on the continent. But he never abandoned his vocation of a minister of the Gospel, and even in the midst of his business journeys was always ready to " preach the Word " or to do something by speech, purse, or presence to advance the cause of total abstinence, of which he was a devoted advocate. His life was a useful and lovable one, he triumphed over great obstacles, he was outspoken in denouncing wrong, and even while immersed in business was ever ready to turn aside from temporal cares to talk of things celestial and say a word in season. Mr. Dick (lied at Buffalo, a city that had been his home for many years, in 1893.

Alexander Morton, the perfector, if not the inventor, of gold pens, (for his claims to the latter distinction have been challenged,) was born at Darvel, Ayrshire, in 1820, and became a resident of New York in 1845. In 1851, after many experiments, he began making gold pens, and after awhile, with his improvements in pointing, tempering, and grinding, his manufacture became famous. Throughout his business career he was always improving these useful articles, and his efforts were so well appreciated that he acquired considerable wealth long before his untimely death, in 1860. Another noted inventor was William Chisholm, long head of the Union Steel Company of Cleveland, Ohio. He was born at Lochgelly, Fifeshire, in 1825, and, along with his brother Henry started the Cleveland Rolling Mill. He was constantly inventing new methods in machinery and mechanical implements, and particularly hoisting and pumping engines, and was the first to demonstrate the practicability of manufacturing screws from Bessemer steel.

Early in 1895 there died at Pawtucket, R. I., an inventor of an intensely practical turn of mind—practical, inasmuch as his ambition was to produce inventions that would save both labor and material, and because when he once got into a groove that brought him success, he continued to develop and deepen that groove all through his career. This was Duncan H. Campbell, who was born at Greenock in 1827 and settled, with his parents, in Perton, Mass., while yet a lad. When he finished his public school course he was sent to work at the shoe business, and conceived the idea of having machines do a great part of the work which he saw done by hand. Bit by bit, his inventions revolutionized the entire business and made it become the important factor it is to-day in the industries of New England. He invented pegging machines, stitching machines, a lock-stitch machine for sewing uppers, a machine for using waxed threads, a machine for covering buttons with cloth—and it is hard to recall all what, but all were in connection with the manufacture of shoes.

An equally inventive genius, and a more fortunate one, so far as financial returns was concerned, was Thomas Dickson, who died at Scranton in 1884, and whose name was for years the most prominent in that thriving Pennsylvania town, and is yet held in kind remembrance. Mr. Dickson was born at Lauder in 1822. He left Scotland when comparatively young, and his first employment was as a boy in charge of a couple of mules on the towpath of a canal at Carbondale, Penn. From that he gradually rose in life, until he was known all over Pennsylvania as the head of the Dickson Manufacturing Company at Scranton, and then he acquired a national reputation as President of the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company and as a Director in a score or more of other corporations. He also established an iron plant on Lake Champlain, and was ever ready to engage in any enterprise that promised to aid in the development of the country. Mr. Dickson's ingenuity and inventive genius kept the Dickson Manufacturing Company's products at the front all over the country, and these products covered a great variety of manufactures, from locomotives to stoves. He was a man of considerable refinement, and his elegant home at Scranton, with its magnificent library and large and well-selected gallery of paintings, was one of the show places of the city. He was an omnivorous reader, and nothing pleased him better than to spend a few hours each day in the quiet of his library, while his Pictures were a constant source of delight to him and others.

For many years one of the most popular teachers of elocution in Edinburgh was Alexander Melville Bell, whose "readings" were regarded as among the most successful of each season's round of entertainments. Mr. Bell, who was born in Auld Reekie in 1819, was more than a mere elocutionist. He possessed the qualities of the poet and actor, and never gave a reading on any theme if he did not thoroughly appreciate and understand the full meaning of the author. He wrote much on elocution, and always from a scientific standpoint. He invented a method for removing impediments in speech, and as author of "Visible Speech" was the first to show how words might be framed and meanings conveyed in the absence of sound. Somewhat late in life he removed, with his family, to Canada, and became instructor in elocution at Queen's University, Kingston. His great work was his investigations among deaf-mutes, and to the end of his long life he was constantly engaged in Problems calculated to break down the harriers of their isolation—to bring them into active sympathy with the rest of the world.

In spite of his useful labors, however, Mr. Bell's memory would be by this time only a reminiscence to a few personal friends and pupils were it not for the brilliant success accomplished by his son in working out ideas on the same line as his father. This son, Alexander Graham Bell—the inventor of the telephone—was born at Edinburgh in 1847, and accompanied his father to Canada. In 1872 he took up his residence in Boston as a teacher of vocal physiology, and, like his father, took a deep interest in the education of deaf-mutes. It was this that led to the romance and the fortune of his life—the invention of the telephone and his marriage. One account, seemingly by Mr. Bell himself, tells the story as follows:

"The history of the telephone has been so often written that the facts relating to its growth and development, its legal battles and patent complications, are too well known to need repetition. Few people, however, are aware that an interesting romance hides in the background. To go back to the beginning, there lived in the classic shades of Cambridge a Mr. Hubbard, who had four charming daughters. His youngest daughter, when but five years of age, was attacked with scarlet fever, which left her totally deaf. Everything possible was done for the child. She was sent to the best institutions in Europe, but her hearing was entirely gone. The rudiments of lip-reading were taught to her, as well as speaking by means of mechanical training; of the vocal chords. On her return to her home her father decided to continue her education, and she was sent to an institution in Charleston. It was here she first met Mr. Graham Bell, then an instructor in the institution. The sequel was an engagement between the teacher and his pupil.

"It was while endeavoring to contrive some electrical method by which his fiancee could regain her lost sense that Mr. Bell, who was always of an inventive turn of mind, discovered the secret of the transmitter of the telephone. At first he did not realize the importance of his discovery, and it was only after much persuasion that Mr. Hubbard induced him to take out patents. The rest is well known."

The success of the Bell telephone was immediate, and Mr. Bell, with the pertinacity of his race, kept steadily at work improving it, leaving the commercial side of the invention to be managed by others. In 1892, after a long and trying series of experiments, he in a manner perfected his telephone by making it useful for any distance. On October 18 of that year he opened the first telephone connection between Chicago and New York, and its success demonstrated that distance was practically no bar to the use of the instrument. Further than this into the story of the telephone we need not go. Its history—with its triumphs, litigations, and heartburnings—belongs to the scientific story of America. At his home in Washington and his country seat at Baddeck, Cape Breton, Mr. Bell is still busy in what he calls his workshops, but the secrets of these places are carefully guarded. The possessor of immense wealth, he can afford to experiment with whatever he has on hand until perfection is attained. But wondrous stories somehow creep out, and one is to the effect that a flying machine will in time make the name of Mr. Bell as widely associated with a new era in locomotion as it has been with the transmission of recognizable sound.

Among practical mechanics, men who can design as well as themselves handle the tools which fashion their designs, no name is more prominent than that of Henry Eckford. This once famous shipbuilder left Scotland in 1791, when he was sixteen years of age, and tried to establish himself in some way of earning a living at Quebec. The opportunities there, however, were small, and in 1796 he crossed the St. Lawrence, settled in New York, and threw in his future with the United States. But he did not ignore his native land by his change of allegiance, for we find that in 1802 he joined the local St. Andrew's Society. He commenced business as a boat builder and did fairly well, but his great opportunity came with the outbreak of the war of 1812, when he built several vessels for the Government to engage in service on the great lakes. In 1822 he built the steamer "Robert Fulton," which made the first successful steam voyage to New Orleans and Havana, an occurrence that attracted attention all over the country. His greatest American work was done as Naval Constructor at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, an appointment he secured in 1820, for while there he built six ships of the line from his own models, and one of these, the "Ohio," was regarded at the time as the finest vessel of her kind in the world. While in New York, Eckford resided mainly in a pleasant rural cottage on Love Lane, now part of West Twenty-sixth Street, and it was the scene of many joyous and intellectual gatherings. One of his closest friends was the poet Hallock, who was a frequent visitor at the cottage, with many other of the leading literary men and thinkers of the day, as well as Drake and De Kay—two young men afterward celebrated as poets —who became the Scotch shipbuilder's sons-in-law.

Eckford, as a result of a disagreement with the United States Government, left New York and readily found employment in designing war vessels for other countries. His last engagement was in Turkey. He had built a sloop of war for Sultan Mahoud, and, accepting the offer of the position of Chief Naval Constructor of the Ottoman Empire, he proceeded to Constantinople, but died soon after he reached that city, in 1832.

James Ferguson, who between 1817 and 1819 was assistant surveyor of the Erie Canal, was a native of Perthshire, where he was born in 1797. From 1819 till 1822 he was one of the surveyors on the boundary commission acting under the provisions of the treaty of Ghent, and afterward became assistant astronomer of the United States Naval Observatory, an appointment he held till his death, at Washington, in 1867. His career as an astronomical student was a very brilliant one, and he was the discoverer of three asteroids, for which he received two of the astronomical prize medals given by the French Academy of Sciences, he was a quiet, unobtrusive, lovable man, immersed in his studies, and regardless of personal labor in faithfully fulfilling whatever work he had in hand. A shallower man with more pretensions might have cut a greater figure in the world, but he had no regard for mere fame, and was satisfied with his own consciousness of work well done.

James Pugh Kirkwood, who in 1867 and 1868 was President of the American Society of Civil Engineers, had a much more varied career. He was born at Edinburgh in 1807, and learned civil engineering and measuring in that city. On taking up his residence in America in 1832 he became resident consulting engineer on several railroads. His first prominent appointment was as constructing engineer for the docks, warehouses, and other Government structures at Pensacola, and then he secured the position of General Superintendent of the Erie Railroad. From 1850 to 1855 he was chief engineer of the .Missouri Pacific system, and then became its consulting engineer. From 1856 to 1860 he was chief engineer of the Nassau Water Works, Brooklyn, and from the latter date he acted as a general consulting engineer, with water works as his principal specialty. He took charge of laying the water mains on Eighth Avenue, New York, into a rock bed which was cut according to his directions, and the work at the time attracted much attention among engineering experts on account of its difficulty. His latter years were spent mainly in Brooklyn, and he was regarded as one of the leaders in his profession, and enjoyed the respect and affection of a wide circle of friends. His death, in 1877, was the occasion for a host of tributes being paid to his services and worth by societies, newspapers, and individuals.

A career which run on somewhat similar lines was that of James Laurie, who was born in 1811 at Bell's Mills and settled in America in 1832. In fact, he was closely associated with Kirkwood in considerable railroad work, and the two men entertained the warmest friendship for each other, until Laurie's death, at Hartford, Conn., in 1875. His first notable appointment was as chief engineer on the Norwich and Worcester Railroad; then he filled a similar office on the New Jersey Central Road, and later was consulting engineer in Massachusetts in connection with the Housatonic Tunnel. As Mr. Kirkwood made a specialty of water works, so Mr. Laurie, in time, made a particular study of bridge building, and was regarded as the foremost practical authority on that specialty in America, so that his services as consulting engineer on such structures were in constant demand. Among other of his achievements it may be mentioned that he built the wrought-iron bridge over the Connecticut River at Windsor Locks, the first of its kind in the country. Mr. Laurie was honored by his professional friends by being elected the first President of the American Society of Civil Engineers, an organization in the founding of which he took a deep interest.

Donald Craig McCallum was a soldier as well as a civil engineer, and during his career did much good work in both capacities. He was born at Johnstone, Renfrewshire, in 1815, and emigrated with his parents and the rest of his family in 1832. They settled in Rochester, N. Y., and soon after Donald started in the battle of life by learning the tailoring trade. That business did not suit him, and, going to Canada, he became a carpenter and studied architecture. Then he returned to Rochester, engaged in business for himself as a builder, and did fairly well. He took a special interest in railroad and bridge construction, invented what was known as the "inflexible arch truss bridge," and gradually left off his building operations to become a constructor of railroads and bridges. In 1855 he became General Superintendent of the Erie Railroad. During the war he was appointed director of the military railroads in the United States, and in that capacity he not only rendered particularly brilliant services at critical periods by massing troops at certain strategic points, but he maintained the entire service in a state of efficiency that contrasted in a wonderfully favorable manner with the disorganized condition of many of the other administrative departments of the Northern Army. His services with Sherman on that soldier's memorable march to the sea were conspicuously valuable and won the highest encomiums from all in authority. When the war was over, McCallum, who had enjoyed the rank of Colonel in the United States Army, retired from service with the honors of a Major General, and until his death, in Brooklyn, in 1878, confined his attention to civil pursuits. Gen. McCallum was more anxious to be known as a poet than a soldier or engineer, and in 1879 issued a small volume containing specimens of his muse. They are full of fine sentiment, lofty thought, sage reflection, and timely admonition, and, while no one would award their writer a position among the foremost ranks of singers, he deserves a marked place among what Mr. Stedman happily calls the "general choir." One poem, "The Water Mill," is certain to live in literature, but the authorship has been questioned by some writers, and the problem, like most others of the kind, is a vexing one. The poem, however, has generally been attributed to McCallum, although we are not aware that he ever gave personally an information on the subject; but, even if this beautiful bit of sentiment be taken away from him, enough remains of his undoubted compositions to entitle him to a very respectable place among the minor bards of America.

A fair representative of the Scottish working engineer, the men who do their work so well that their services are always in demand, and who are ready to develop into heroes or millionaires as time and chance may offer, might be found in George M. Wait, who died at Brooklyn in 1894. He was a native of Dunse, (Duns they call it now.) Berwickshire, and was born in that staid old-fashioned town in 1825. After serving his apprenticeship in a "machine shop," he developed into a railroad engineer, and then devoted himself to marine engineering. He came to America shortly before the outbreak of the civil war, and when that cloud darkened the country he volunteered his services to the Union Navy. Such offers from such men were then gladly received, and Mr. Wait found himself enrolled as chief engineer of the warship Monticello. One of his most daring acts was the cutting of the chains which the Confederates had placed across the Mississippi River to obstruct the Federal fleet in its purpose to get near enough to New Orleans to bombard it. Mr. Wait had many narrow escapes in the course of his service, but the narrowest of all came from his own side, when Gen. Butler in a moment of haste ordered Commander Braille (afterward Admiral) and Chief Engineer Wait to be hanged for disobeying his orders. The carrying out of these orders was an impossibility, and Butler fortunately recovered his ternper before the sentences were carried out and came round, as gracefully as he could, to Wait's way of thinking on the matter at issue. Wait afterward became chief engineer for the Pacific Mail Steamship Company, and his last employment was on some local boats making daily excursions from New York Harbor, as he did not care about being deprived, as old age began to creep on, of the comforts of his own fireside.


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