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Scotland's Influence on Civilization
Scottish Art and History


THE civilization of a nation is accurately measured by its advancement in the useful arts and economic industries of life. Upon these largely depend the production and diffusion of wealth among its people, their trade and commerce with other nations, and much of that needful comfort and that higher refinement which make life at once enjoyable and desirable. It is also through this channel—this attainment and advance in useful art and industry—that a nation sends its creative influences far away to other nations and contributes powerfully to the general progress and civilization of the race. Of this potential influence of art and industry, both at home and abroad, no better illustration can be found in modern history than that furnished by the working and industrial classes of Scotland. During the present century at least, and for a large part of the preceding one. Scotland has been a busy working-hive of industry, and of useful invention in many of the most important arts. Vast coal-fields have been discovered and the mineral resources of the country developed to an extent unknown to former ages.

The growth of these great industries to their present immense proportions has been very gradual from their small beginnings nearly two centuries ago. They have, however, afforded scope for the practical and inventive genius of the Scottish people, and at the same time a wide field of employment for large numbers of the laboring classes. While thousands of Scotsmen during these centuries, finding their native land too narrow, have been going abroad to seek useful occupation, other thousands have found new doors for remunerative toil constantly opening before them at home in coal- and iron-mining, in the manufacture of iron and steel, and that vast development of steamship building which has made Scotland to a good degree the builder of the navies of Great Britain and the world. It is an interesting history that traces this development from its early inception on the banks of the Forth and the Clyde and among the rugged Highland hills. It is one which strongly suggests that those picturesque scenes of beauty or of wild grandeur were not created alone for the pencil of the artist and the pen of poet and novelist, but with a deeper design, as being the inexhaustible deposition of a material wealth that should give employment to millions and send its richness around the globe.

In a valuable volume published by Mr. Samuel Smiles in 1864, entitled Industrial Biography; or, Iron- Workers and Tool-Makers, we have a sketch of the prominent men, both English and Scottish, to whose genius and energy our present civilization is largely indebted for the development of these great sources of wealth and power. Many of them became from necessity inventors of improved instruments of mining, manufacture and shipbuilding. As such they are among the world's benefactors. Their implements and improved machinery were no sooner tested by experiment than they became the property of other nations, and became the factors of useful industry in other lands. "The true epic of our time," says Carlyle, "is not Arms and the Man, but Tools and the Man.---an infinitely wider kind of epic."

In the manufacture of Scottish iron John Roebuck may be placed first on the list of pioneers and discoverers. He was not a native of Scotland, but of Sheffield, England, where his father preceded him as a manufacturer of cutlery. He was, however, educated in part at the University of Edinburgh, where he applied himself to the study of medicine, and especially of chemistry; and after graduating as a physician at Leyden, on the Continent, he determined to devote his life to industrial pursuits and to make Scotland the field of his operations. He first settled at Birmingham, England, where for a while he pursued his medical profession and also made some important inventions in the methods of smelting iron and refining gold and silver, and then removed to the neighborhood of Edinburgh, near which place he established works for the preparation of vitriol on a large scale. There he also struck out new branches of industry with much success. Having determined to engage in the manufacture of iron, he formed a company for that purpose, in which he was joined by a number of his friends, and made choice of a suitable site for his works on the banks of the river Carron, in Stirlingshire, where there was an abundant supply of water and an inexhaustible supply of iron, coal and limestone in the immediate neighborhood. There Dr. Roebuck planted the first iron-works in Scotland. He brought from England a large number of skilled workmen, who formed a nucleus of industry at Carron, where their example and improved methods of working served to train the native laborers in their art; and thus the business has been handed down to the present day.

"The first furnace," says Mr. Smiles, "was blown at Carron on the first day of January, 1760, and in the course of the same year the Carron Iron-Works turned out fifteen hundred tons of iron, then the whole annual produce of Scotland. Other furnaces shortly after were erected on improved plans, and the production steadily increased." Out of this successful enterprise of the Carron works, Mr. Smiles tells us, "sprang, in a great measure, the Forth and Clyde Canal, the first artificial navigation in Scotland."

While this Carron foundry was pursuing its career of safe prosperity Dr. Roebuck's enterprise led him to embark in coal-mining with the object of securing an improved supply of fuel for his iron-works. Finding all existing machinery inadequate for his purposes, Dr. Roebuck in 1768 became associated with James Watt, a young mathematical-instrument maker of Glasgow, who had just invented a steam-engine of great power. The latter at Dr. Roebuck's request, joined him at the extensive coal-mines at Boroughstones and set about the construction of the engines. Dr. Roebuck, however, having sunk his whole fortune and that of his wife in these public-spirited ventures, was compelled to abandon all further schemes of improvement. "He lived, however," says Mr. Smiles, "to witness the success of the steam-engine, the opening of the Boroughstones coal, and the rapid extension of the Scotch iron trade, though he shared in the prosperity of neither of those branches of industry. He had been working ahead of his age, and he suffered for it. He fell in the breach at the critical moment, and more fortunate men marched over his body into the fortress which his enterprise and valor had mainly contributed to win. Before his great undertaking of the Carron works, Scotland was entirely dependent upon other countries for its supply of iron; in 1760, the first year of its operations, the whole produce was fifteen hundred tons. In course of time other iron-works were erected at Clyde, Cleugh-Muirkirk and Devon, the managers and overseers of which, as well as the workmen, had mostly received their training and experience at Carron, until at length the iron trade of Scotland has assumed such a magnitude that its manufacturers are enabled to export to England and other countries upward of five hundred thousand tons a year. How different this state of things from the time when raids were made across the Border for the purpose of obtaining a store of iron plunder to be carried back into Scotland!"

These great mining and manufacturing enterprises, which had been so nobly undertaken and developed by this indefatigable man during the last century, were carried to still greater perfection by the inventive and mechanical genius of three worthy successors, all Scotsmen, who rose to eminence in their respective spheres during the present century. These were David Mushet, born at Dalkeith, near Edinburgh, in 1772; James Beaumont Neilson, born at Shettlestone, near Glasgow, in 1792; and James Nasmyth, born in Edinburgh in 1808. To these, indeed, may be added a fourth name equally distinguished for inventive genius and important contributions not only to the manufacture of iron, but to bridge and railway structures and to the building of iron-clad steamships. This is William Fairbairn, who was born at Kelso in 1787.

Mr. Smiles says, "The extraordinary expansion of the Scotch iron trade of late years has been mainly due to the discovery by David Mushet of the black-band iron-stone in 1801, and the invention of the hot blast by James Beaumont Neilson in 1828." Mr. Mushet commenced his investigations and experiments at an early age, while connected with the Clyde Iron-Works, near Glasgow. It was while engaged in erecting for himself and partners the Calder Iron-Works, in the same vicinity, that he made the discovery (unsuspected before him) that the black-band stone was rich in mineral, containing more than fifty per cent. of protoxide of iron. "Yet that discovery," says Mr. Mushet, "has elevated Scotland to a considerable rank among the iron-making nations of Europe, with revenues still in store that may be considered inexhaustible." He made many useful discoveries in connection with the hot-blast furnace, the smelting of iron and manufacture of steel, and while he lived was regarded as a leading authority on these subjects.

It was during his connection with the Glasgow gas-works that Mr. Neilson made his first experiments in the smelting of iron, and in 1828 he brought his wonderful discovery of the hot-air process to perfection. Its success was extraordinary. Mr. Mushet regarded it as one of the "most novel and beautiful improvements of the age." Others spoke of it as being "of as great advantage in the iron trade as Arkwright's machinery was in the cotton-spinning trade." Mr. Fairbairn, in his article "Iron" in the Encyclopcedia Britanica, says, "It has effected an entire revolution in the iron industry of Great Britain, and forms the last era in the history of this material." "The first trials of the process," says Mr. Smiles, "were made at the blast-furnaces of Clyde and Calder, from whence the use of the hot blast gradually extended to other iron mining districts. In the course of a few years every furnace in Scotland, with one exception (that of Carron), had adopted the improvement ; while it was also employed in half the furnaces of England and Wales, and in many of the furnaces on the Continent and in America."

The utility of this valuable invention, both to Scotland and to the world, is well illustrated by the following paragraph from Mr. Smiles's volume: "The invention of the hot blast in conjunction with the discovery of the black-band ironstone has had an extraordinary effect upon the development of the iron manufacture of Scotland. The coals of that country are generally unfit for coking, and lose as much as fifty per cent. in the process. But by using the hot blast the coal could be sent to the blast-furnace in its raw state, by which a large saving of fuel is effected. Even coals of an inferior quality were by its means available for the manufacture of iron. But one of the peculiar qualities of the black-band ironstone is that in many cases it contains sufficient coaly matter for purposes of calcination without any admixture of coal whatever. Before its discovery all the iron manufactured in Scotland was made from clay-band, but the use of the latter has in a great measure been discontinued wherever a sufficient supply of black-band can be obtained. And it is found to exist very extensively in most of the midland Scotch counties, the coal and iron measures stretching in a broad belt from the Firth of Forth to the Irish Channel at the Firth of Clyde. At the time when the hot blast was invented the fortunes of many of the older works were at a low ebb, and several of them had been discontinued; but they were speedily brought to life again wherever black-band could be found. In 1829, the year Neilson's patent was taken out, the total make of Scotland was twenty-nine thousand tons. As fresh discoveries of the mineral were made in Ayrshire and Lanarkshire new works were erected, until in 1845 the production of Scottish pig-iron had increased to four hundred and seventy-five thousand tons. It has since increased to upward of a million of tons, nineteen-twentieths of which are made from band ironstone. An immense additional value has been given to all land in which it is found. Employment has thus been given to vast numbers of our industrial population, and the wealth and resources of the Scotch iron districts have been increased to an extraordinary extent. During the last year (1862) there were one hundred and twenty-five furnaces in blast throughout Scotland, each employing about four hundred men in making an average of two hundred tons a week; and the money distributed amongst the workmen may readily be computed from the fact that under the most favorable circumstances the cost of making iron in wages alone amounts to thirty-six shillings a ton."

The third of these successful workers in iron, James Nasmyth, belonged to a Scottish family several of whose members were highly distinguished as artists. His father, Alexander Nasmyth of Edinburgh, was a landscape-painter of great eminence. His elder brother was an admirable portrait-painter. His sisters, following the line of the father's genius, became highly distinguished as landscape-painters, and their works were much prized. James Nasmyth was himself an excellent painter. He had received a sound and liberal education at the Edinburgh high school. His taste for the mechanic arts was so strong, however, even from early boyhood, that he determined to give himself to that line of industry. By the time he was fifteen he could work and turn out respectable jobs in wood, brass, iron and steel. At that age he made a real working steam-engine, one three-fourths inch diameter and eight-inch stroke, which not only could act, but did some useful work, for he made it grind the oil-colors which his father required for his painting. He found it both delightful and profitable at that early age to make model steam-engines, which he sold at a good price, and thus purchased tickets of admission to the course of lectures on philosophy and chemistry at the university of his native city.

Mr. Nasmyth was a man of profound intellect, and his useful inventions in the iron manufacture were all suggested to his original inquiring mind by the practical necessities of the business. When an obstacle hitherto insurmountable met him, he at once set himself to overcome it by creating a more powerful instrument. Such was the history of his great steam-hammer.

Mr. Smiles says: "If Mr. Nasmyth had accomplished nothing more than the invention of the steam-hammer, it would have been enough to found a reputation. This invention is described by Professor Tomlinson, in the Cyclopedia of Useful Arts, as 'one of the most perfect of artificial machines, and one of the noblest triumphs of mind over matter that modern English engineers have yet developed.' When the use of iron extended and larger iron-work came to be forged, for cannon, tools and machinery, the ordinary hand hammer was found insufficient, and the helve or forge hammer was invented. This was usually driven by a waterwheel or by oxen or horses. The tilt-hammer was another form in which it was used, the smaller kinds being worked by the foot. Among Watt's various inventions was a tilt-hammer of considerable power, which he at first worked by means of a waterwheel and afterward by a steam-engine regulated by a fly-wheel. His first hammer of this kind was a hundred and twenty pounds in weight; it was raised eight inches before making each blow. Watt afterward made a tilt-hammer for Mr. Wilkinson of Bradley Forge of seven and a half hundredweight, and it made three hundred blows a minute. Other improvements were made in the hammer from time to time, but no material alteration was made in the power by which it was worked until Mr. Nasmyth took it in hand, and, applying to it the force of steam, at once provided the worker in iron with one of the most formidable of machine tools."

Farther on in his interesting volume Mr. Smiles describes the inauguration of this wonder-working instrument whose mighty tread has now been heard in all iron-producing countries: "The first hammer of thirty hundredweight was made for Patricott Works with the consent of the partners, and in the course of a few weeks it was in full work. The precision and beauty of its action, the perfect ease with which it was managed and the untiring force of its percussive blows were the admiration of all who saw it, and from that moment the steam-hammer became a recognized power in modern mechanics. The variety and gradation of its blows were such that it was found practicable to manipulate a hammer of ten tons as easily as if it had only been of ten ounces weight. It was under such complete control that while descending with its greatest momentum it could be arrested at any point with even greater ease than any instrument used by hand. While capable of forging an Armstrong hundred pounder or the sheet anchor for a ship-of-the-line, it could hammer a nail, or crack a nut without bruising the kernel. Its advantages were so obvious that its adoption soon became general, and in the course of a few years Nasmyth steam-hammers were to be found in every well-appointed workshop, both at home and abroad."

Mr. Nasmyth, after making an adequate fortune by his industry and inventions in the iron manufacture, retired from active business in i86, and devoted his later years to the study of astronomy and other branches of science. He was a practical discoverer in this new field, and became almost as much distinguished as an astronomer as he had been as an engineer and inventor. By new telescopes of great power, constructed by himself, he instituted a series of observations on the crater of the moon, and also on the surface and spots of the sun, which resulted in some remarkable discoveries. These, when first published in the scientific journals of the time, seemed almost incredible, but they were afterward confirmed by the observations of other scientists and fully recognized by Sir John Herschel and other eminent astronomers.

An interesting story is related by the author from whom most of these facts are taken as to the origin of the unusual name of this Scottish family. It goes back to the time of the old feuds between the kings of Scotland and their powerful subjects the earls of Douglas. On one occasion a rencounter took place near a border village, in which the king': adherents were worsted. Taking refuge in the village smithy, one of them hastily disguised himself and, donning a spare leathern apron, pretended to be engaged in assisting the smith at his work. A party of the Douglas men soon rushed in, and, glancing at the pretended workman at the anvil, they saw him strike a blow so unskillfully that the hammer-shaft broke in his hand. On this one of the Douglas followers rushed at him, calling out, "Ye're nae smyth." The assailed man, seizing his sword, which lay conveniently near, defended himself so vigorously that he soon killed his assailant, while the smith brained another with his hammer. A party of the king's men having come to their help, the rest were speedily overpowered. The royal forces then rallied, and their temporary defeat was converted into a victory. The king bestowed a grant of land on his follower "naesmyth," who assumed for his arms a sword between two hammers with broken shafts, and the motto, "Non Arte sed Marte," as if to disclaim the art of the smith, in which he had failed, and to emphasize the superiority of the warrior, in which capacity he had excelled.

"Such," adds Mr. Smiles,'"is said to be the traditional origin of the family of Naesmyth of Posso, in Peeblesshire, who continue to bear the same name and arms. It is remarkable that the inventor of the steam-hammer should have so effectually contradicted the name he bears and reversed the motto of his family; for, so far from being `nae smyth,' he may not inappropriately be designated the very Vulcan of the nineteenth century. His hammer is a tool of immense power and pliancy but for which we must have stopped short in many of those gigantic engineering works which are among the marvels of the age we live in. It possesses so much precision and delicacy that it will clip the end of an egg resting in a glass on the anvil without breaking it, while it delivers a blow of ten tons with such a force as to be felt shaking the parish. It is therefore with a high degree of appropriateness that Mr. Nasmyth has discarded the feckless hammer with the broken shaft, and assumed for his emblem his own magnificent steam-hammer, at the same time reversing the family motto, which he has converted into `Non Marte sed Arte.'"

The author closes his fine sketch of this gifted man and truly representative North Briton of our period by telling us that some two hundred years ago a member of the Nasmyth family, Jean Nasmyth of Hamilton, was burnt for a witch—one of the last martyrs to ignorance and superstition in Scotland—because she read her Bible with two pairs of spectacles. "Had Mr. Nasmyth himself lived then, he might with his two telescopes of his own making, which bring the sun and the moon into his chamber for him to examine and paint, have been taken for a sorcerer; but, fortunately for him, and still more so for us, Mr. Nasmyth stands before the public of this age as not only one of its ablest mechanics, but as one of the most accomplished and original of scientific observers."

One of the most influential and successful of the mechanical engineers of the present century was William Fairbairn, who from humble beginnings worked his way up to the highest distinction. He was of Scottish birth and training and to a great degree self-educated, but, like many of his countrymen, his life was largely spent in England, where many of his useful experiments and improvements were made. Finding no opening for employment in his native land, he tried in turn to gain a foothold in London, Dublin, Newcastle and other places, and at last established himself at Manchester, where he spent his life. Here he became the head of a business firm for the construction of bridges, mills, iron buildings, and iron machinery in general, which eventually became known all over the civilized world. He was the builder of the first iron house erected in England, and his wonderful improvements in the structure of mills and water-wheels led to an entire revolution in that line of industry. "His improvements formed an era in the history of mill-machinery, and exercised the most important influence on the development of the cotton, flax, silk and other branches of manufacture."

"His labors," says Mr. Smiles, "were not, however, confined to his own particular calling as a mill-engineer, but were shortly directed to other equally important branches of the constructive art. He was among the first to direct his attention to iron-ship building as a special branch of business." Having satisfied himself by experiments, Mr. Fairbairn in 1831 proceeded to construct at his works, at Manchester, an iron vessel, which went to sea the same year. "Its success was such as to induce him to begin iron-ship building on a large scale at the same time as the Messrs. Laird did at Birkenhead, and, in 1835, Mr. Fairbairn established extensive works at Mill-wall, on the Thames—afterward occupied by Mr. Scott Russell, in whose yard the Great Eastern steamship was erected—where, in the course of some fourteen years, he built more than a hundred and twenty iron ships, some of them above two thousand tons burden. It was, in fact, the first great iron-ship building yard in Britain, and led the way in a branch of the business which has since become of first-rate magnitude and importance. Mr. Fairbairn was a most laborious experimenter in iron, and investigated in great detail the subject of its strength, the value of different kinds of riveted joints compared with the solid plates, and the distribution of the material throughout the structure, as well as the form of the vessel itself. It would, indeed, be difficult to overestimate the value of his investigations on these points in the earlier stages of this now highly important branch of the national industry."

Mr. Fairbairn's practical and experimental knowledge of all matters connected with the qualities and strength of iron, and his great authority derived from many successful discoveries and inventions in the manufacture and use of it, led the British government to seek information from his inquiries as to the construction of iron-plated vessels of war. His thorough knowledge of wrought iron in all its applications naturally led to his being called in as a counselor by Robert Stevenson when it was proposed to span the estuary of the Conway and the Straits of Menai by an iron structure. The results were the world-renowned Conway and Britannia tubular bridges. "There is no reason to doubt," says Mr. Smiles, "that by far the largest share of the merit of working out the practical details of those structures, and thus realizing Robert Stevenson's magnificent idea of the tubular bridge, belonged to Mr. Fairbairn."

There can be no question that iron has played an important part in the progress of civilization, and it is easy to see from these and other records that Scotsmen have played no inconsiderable part in that progress, whether it regards the discovery, the manufacture or the application of iron to the great industrial arts. "The mechanical operations of the present day," says Mr. Fairbairn, "could not have been accomplished at any cost thirty years ago, and what was then considered impossible is now performed with an exactitude that never fails to accomplish the end in view." "We are daily producing from the bowels of the earth," says Mr. Stevenson, "a raw material in its crude state apparently of no worth, but which when converted into a locomotive-engine flies over bridges of the same material with a speed exceeding that of the bird, advancing wealth and comfort throughout the country. Such are the powers of that all-civilizing instrument iron." One of the marvels of the age in which we live is this diversified and almost universal application of iron to the industries and the arts of life. Since the advent of these great iron discoverers and inventors the world has assumed a new aspect unknown to former history, unimagined in poetry or fiction. The continents are belted by railroad iron. The surface of every ocean is ploughed by iron-clad steamers, and their silent ocean-beds feel the pressure of electric wires carrying intelligence from shore to shore. "Since then," wrote Mr. Smiles twenty years ago, "iron structures of all kinds have been erected—iron lighthouses, iron-and-crystal palaces, iron churches and iron bridges. Iron roads have long been worked by iron locomotives, and before many years have passed a telegraph of iron wire will probably be found circling the globe. We now use iron roofs, iron bedsteads, iron ropes and iron pavement, and even the famous wooden walls of England are rapidly becoming reconstructed of iron. In short, we are in the midst of what Mr. Worsaae has characterized as the Age of Iron."

Another great industry of Scotland, which during the present century has grown into national importance and sent its influences around the globe, is that of shipbuilding and steam-navigation. It may be ranked next to the earlier and more widely ramified industries of coal and iron, with which, in fact, it is closely connected. It has its principal centre of operation on the river Clyde, near and below Glasgow. It has contributed largely to the development of this Western metropolis and made it, along with other influences, one of the chief commercial and industrial centres of Great Britain. "Situated in a district rich in coal and iron, Nature gave to Glasgow splendid opportunities for wealth and power, and its energetic inhabitants have known how to use them. In 1871 the city had reached a population of five hundred and forty-seven thousand five hundred and forty-eight, with two millions of spindles in its great cotton-mills and an annual consumption of a hundred and twenty thousand bales of cotton. In addition to its extensive manufactories for iron, cotton, glass and chemicals, it is the centre of the tobacco trade, the sugar trade and the cotton trade, while its vast industry, expended in the construction of steam- and iron-clad ships for Great Britain and other nations, has raised it to an industrial position surpassed by that of no other city in the world. It has been appropriately styled the metropolis of industry and commerce, whose merchants are princes, whose traffickers are the honorable of the earth."

In 1811 the first steam-vessel was built on the Clyde by Henry Bell, and the next year began to run on that river between Glasgow and Greenock at the rate of five miles an hour against a strong head-wind. Although our own countryman Robert Fulton had antedated this a few years by his successful navigation of the Hudson between New York and Albany in 1807, yet the Clyde may well be regarded as the cradle of steam-navigation. The Clyde, if it did not take the lead in point of time, has unquestionably done more for marine architecture than any other river in the world. This once tortuous little stream, "full of rock-beds, fords and shallows," has been deepened and widened by an outlay of energy, and capital and engineering skill bestowed on no other river, until it has become "one of the noblest highways of commerce in the world, adapted to all the exigences and ends of navigation." Here since 1811 have been completed all those important practical inventions and improvements which have brought the art of shipbuilding to its present vast proportions and its almost perfect facilities. Says SIr. J. S. Jeans, writing for the Practical Magazine of 1874: "No inventions connected with or affecting marine architecture are at all comparable with those of the initial application of steam to navigation, the construction of ships of iron, the use of the screw-propeller, and the substitution of compound for other engines. In each of these leading and essential stages of improvement the Clyde stands out more conspicuously than any other river. The 'Clyde clippers' are known all over the world. The value of the vessels built on the Clyde in the last ten years is the colossal sum of forty millions of pounds sterling. At the present time there are upward of thirty separate ship-building establishments on the Clyde between Rutherglen and Greenock, both inclusive. The largest and oldest of these are the yards of John Elder, Robert Napier, Barcklay & Carle, Tod & Macgregor, Alexander Stephenson & Son."

The time when the first steamship crossed the Atlantic was in 1819. It was the Savannah, built on the Clyde, and took twenty-six days for the voyage. In 1835, Dr. Lardner in a public scientific lecture proclaimed the impossibility of Atlantic navigation by steam in consequence of its too costly consumption of fuel. Yet in 1839 the Great Western—another vessel built on the Clyde—had made the outward and the home voyages so successfully as to time and cost as to demonstrate the feasibility of ocean steam.-navigation by practically inaugurating it. Now great lines of steamers are ploughing every ocean and connecting all the continents. While steam-vessels are now constructed on the Mersey and at other places in Great Britain and Continental Europe, and also in our own country, the Clyde still holds its supremacy in shipbuilding. In 1874 there were nine hundred vessels belonging to the port of Glasgow, with a tonnage of five hundred thousand tons. All the largest steamers of the old Cunard company, ranging from two thousand to four thousand tons burden, are built on the Clyde, and all the leading ship companies in the world have many of their best vessels built here. For many miles the Clyde is a great forest of masts and smokestacks, while both banks of the river form continuous lines of workshops, forges, furnaces, ship-docks and yards, giving employrnent to not less than fifty thousand operatives.

Mr. Jeans, from whose valuable article in the Practical Magazine most of these facts are taken, gives us the following description of the busy scene which greets the eye of a visitor to the Clyde: "There is no more interesting sight to one impressed with the importance of the industrial arts than a voyage down the Clyde. Strangers, as a rule, are totally unprepared for the wonderful display of industrial activity which they witness on all sides in their course between Glasgow and Greenock. Immediately after leaving the Broomielaw the thud of the ponderous steam-hammer, the clan; of the ship- and boiler-plates under manipulation, the quick and intermittent noise of the riveters, the harsh and grating sound of the sawyers, and many other forms and combinations of the music of labor, strike upon the ear. A little farther down and the Babel of sound becomes still louder, harsher and more confusing. In quick succession the voyageur passes on the one side the works of the London and Glasgow Shipbuilding Company, of R. Napier & Sons, of John Elder & Co. and of Alexander Stephenson & Sons, while on the other are the works of Barclay, Carle & Co., Messrs. A. & J. Inglis, Tod & Macgregor, Thomas Wingate, CharIes Connel & Co. and Messrs. Aitkin & MIansel. After having run the gauntlet of these establishments, there is an interval of green fields and finely-timbered hang/its, in passing through which a grateful repose is enjoyed, although it is still possible to hear, fainter and yet more faint, the cadences of the busy scene through which we have just passed. A little farther on and we reach Renfrew, where Messrs. W. Simons & Co. and Messrs. Henderson & Coulborn carry on large works; and on the opposite shore we next reach Dumbarton, famous in the days of yore for its wooden argosies, but now rivaling any port on the Clyde with the extensive and well-equipped shipbuilding works of Messrs. Denny Brothers and Messrs. A. McMillan & Co. From this point the charming beauties of the Clyde begin to unfold themselves, and serve to fascinate the mind and lead contemplation into other channels, until once again the indulgence of aesthetic taste is diverted by the industrial aspects of Port GIasgow and Greenock, where some of the oldest shipbuilding yards on the Clyde may be seen in active operation. The whole journey is fraught with bewilderment and wonder. Strangers are not always prepared for the fact that the CIyde, which is known far and near as one of the most beautiful of rivers, should at the same time be so distinguished for active and prosperous industry."

The man to whose mechanical genius and public spirit all these vast works on the Clyde are probably more indebted for their present stage of advancement than to any one else was Robert Napier. There were earlier engineers and discoverers, as Watt, Bell and Wilson, who opened the way by their inventive skill for what was to follow. In more recent times no one has done more to develop resources and lead the way to success in new paths than Mr. Napier. He was born at Dumbarton, twelve miles from Glasgow, in 1791. His father was a blacksmith and he served his apprenticeship in the father's shop, showing early such aptness for the trade that it was pithily remarked that the boy was "born with a hammer in his hand." He acquired in early life both a practical and a theoretical knowledge of everything connected with shipbuilding, and his name is intimately associated with all those great improvements which have given to the Clyde its pre-eminence in that line of industry. Besides his mechanical and constructive ability, Mr. Napier showed through his successful career an organizing and administrative capacity which made him the worthy compeer of such eminent architects and builders as Mr. Reed, the chief constructor of the navy, and Mr. John Laird, the greatest constructor of iron vessels in the world. As early as 1818, Mr. Robert Wilson had built a small vessel of iron to run as a passenger-boat in the Forth and Clyde Canal, and this was probably the first iron vessel constructed. In 1829, Mr. John Laird of Birkenhead constructed at his works on the Mersey, near Liverpool, the first iron ship—the precursor of more than four hundred great iron ships which he lived to see finished at those famous works. To Mr. Laird's remarkable genius must be accorded the distinction of introducing that important change from wood to iron in the art of shipbuilding which in our time has turned the wooden walls of Britain into walls of iron and steel, and has remodeled to an indefinite degree the navies of all the great nations of the world.

Mr. Napier's work on the Clyde was different, but certainly not less useful and important in its influence on the arts of peaceful industry and the progress of human civilization. In the year 1840 he projected and built at his works on the Clyde, for Sir Samuel Cunard, the first four steamers of the now famous Cunard line. These were the Britannica, the Arcadia, the Caledonia and the Columbia, all ranging between one and two thousand tons burden. They crossed the Atlantic in a voyage of about two weeks, and thus inaugurated those regular lines of steamers which have since become numerous on all the great seas and oceans. For some years Mr. Napier supplied all the vessels of this Cunard line, though in more recent times the chief contractors of this line have been James & G. Thompson at Dumbarton.

During the last ten years great advances have been made in the construction of these floating palaces of the ocean, some of them reaching a capacity of six thousand tons and a velocity that impels them across the Atlantic in seven or eight days. But the influence of Mr. Napier's successful pioneering on the first great line is well illustrated by the following paragraph from a sketch of his life in the Practical Magazine of 1874: "It is now conceded on all hands that the Cunard steam fleet is the finest in the world, and the operations of the company have been successful beyond all precedent. The company possesses at the present time between forty and fifty vessels afloat or in process of construction. Some of their ships are over four thousand tons burden, and the aggregate of the whole is about ninety thousand tons. Some idea of the capital invested in this magnificent fleet may be gathered from the fact that the average cost of the construction and equipment of a Cunard liner is one hundred thousand pounds sterling. The exemption of this line from misadventure is not only beyond all precedent, but is also among the greatest phenomena of the shipping trade. For upward of thirty years a Cunard liner has sailed from Liverpool to New York, at first once a week, then twice a week, and more recently three times a week, while the same number have been run from New York to Liverpool. But the Cunard captains appear to have mastered the domain of old Neptune, for during all that long period they have never lost either a life or a letter."

Mr. Napier received from time to time high honors, from both Great Britain and other countries, in recognition of the eminent services he had rendered to steam-navigation. He had won them fairly, and no man of our day deserves them better. At the Paris Exhibition of 1855 he received the prize of a great gold medal and was made "chevalier of the Legion of Honor." In 1862 and 1865 similar prizes were awarded him in London and Paris. In 1869 he received from the king of Denmark the honor of a "commander of the Most Ancient Order of the Danneborg." In 1874, Mr. Napier had retired from active business and was living in comfort and elegance in his noble residence on the banks of the Garelock.

The facts brought to view in this chapter are sufficient to illustrate what part Scotland has borne in the development of some of the most important arts and industries in the world. The Scottish people have been no laggards in the chase for wealth and fortune, no mere spectators in the race of improvement and distinction. Their lot has been cast in a small and comparatively rugged land, where nothing less than hard work and untiring industry could win the prizes of affluence and honor. But such as it was they have accepted it and made the most of the situation. They have made many a forbidding nook and corner to yield its hidden riches and to blossom as the rose. When hard work and industry could make those talents productive, they have never been content to lay up in a napkin the one talent or the five talents that - God has given. Nor have they been content with simply improving their own country and increasing their own stores: much that they have done has contributed largely to the increase of other lands and to the general advancement of our highest civilization. They have not been slow to follow others when others have first found a better way, but, as we have seen in these pages, they have themselves oftentimes been the earliest pioneers of progress. In the great industries of coal-mining, iron-manufacture, shipbuilding and steam-navigation, from the days of Watt and Roebuck to those of Bell, Wilson, Nasmyth and Napier, they have been the a wat couriers that led the march of the whole world's progress. The sound of their great hammers of industry has gone out through all the nations, and their globe-encircling lines of ocean-steamers are helping to fulfill the ancient prophecy—that "many shall run to and fro and knowledge shall be increased."

In working out the problem of national greatness, and the wider problem of Christian civilization, art and industry are factors not to be despised. They have always held an essential place, and they hold it still. Every great improvement achieved by art and industry, wherever made, is a gain for the gospel of truth and a step in advance toward the final triumph of Christianity. By these labor becomes power and wages become productive capital. Skilled labor in the hands of thrifty, competent, industrious artisans is one of the unfailing sources of national prosperity and one of the surest indications of an advancing civilization. "Our strength, wealth and commerce," said Mr. Cobden, " grow out of the skilled labor of the men working in metals." Estimated by the standard of this eminent statesman, it is easy to see that the fifty thousand skilled laborers on the Clyde, and the uncounted thousands of equally skilled artisans in all other departments of Scottish industry in every part of the land, are not laboring in vain, but contributing their full share of influence toward the complete and final consummation. As we speed the plough and speed the hammer, speed the steam-car and speed the steamship, in every clime, beneath every sky, by night and by day, we are but speeding the gospel with the sun and preparing for that long-expected time when the tabernacle of God shall be with men and the whole world be filled with the glory of the Lord even as the waters cover the great deep. No true service is in vain, no productive energy is wasted, no step of progress is lost. All great and true work everywhere is so much gained for God and man, and goes to form the coming time and the coming world—that "new heavens and new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness."


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