Obrázky na stránke



a, which has previously been filled with water, it presses upon its surface, and forces it through the pipe, m, and up the eduction pipe, i, by which it is conveyed to the required height and distance. When all the water has been expelled, the attendant turns the cock, e, and the steam flows-into the opposite receiver, b, and at the same time he also turns the cock, z, and water flows from the cis. tern into the receiver, a; the steam from the boiler now pressing on the surface of the water in b, forces it up the pipe, i; and when it has expelled all that it contains, the cock, e, again shuts off the communication with the boiler and the receiver, b, and the vapour rushes again into a, and forces the water which has fiowed into it up the pipe as before, and so on, alternately, as long as vapour rises from the water.

This mechanism must be considered as purely imaginary; it is probable that Lord Worcester's apparatus was as simple in arrangement and construction, as it must have been rude in workmanship. In fact, this mode of applying steam, which although considered as producing the engine in its simplest form, requires a greater degree of ingenuity to adapt the parts to practice, than those of a high-pressure piston engine, besides its principle being much less obvious; and on this account therefore, an engine, in which the steam moves a piston, is much more likely from its simplicity, and the manageable nature of its parts, to have heen that whose properties and uses were enume. rated by Lord Worcester.

Steam generated in the boiler, x, is admitted by a pipe, a, to press on the upper side of a piston, c; this depresses it, and raises the other end of the lever, to which may be attached a pumprod. When the piston has reached the bottom


[ocr errors]


PATENT FOR INVENTION.' of the cylinder, a cock, c, admits the communi. cation with the atmosphere and the upper side of the cylinder, and another cock opens a passage for the steam from the boiler to the under side of the piston, which raises it, and reverses the motion of the pump-rod.

In 1663, he succeeded in procuring an act of parliament to be passed, enabling himself and heirs, for ninety years thereafter, to receive the sole benefit, profit, and advantage resulting from the use of this invention. One-tenth part of all the profit which might be realized was to be appropriated, without abatement, to his majesty Charles II. and his successors; and so exclusive was the patent privilege, and so sanguine were its patrons, that those who counterfeited this watercommanding engine were to forfeit five pounds an hour, for every hour they should be found to have used the simulated mechanism without the consent and license of the Marquess of Worcester, or his assigns. *

The fact, however, of the marquess ever having given to the water-commanding engine any, except a descriptive, existence, is debateable ground with authors in mechanics; and on that account it may be considered to require some higher authority than mere inference, to decide the point of his having actually constructed an engine.

The references, it is admitted, are all drawn from the marquess's oun account of his own invention, and which were addressed to the public in order to induce them to listen to his schemes, and to patronise them. As his pretensions were as high as his imagination was prolific and sanguine, some shade of suspicion may attach to

* Walpole's Royal Authors, vol. iii. p. 104.

[blocks in formation]

them as being highly coloured, from a less unworthy motive than deception---the gratification of personal vanity. Yet, surely, even this will not be urged, when he is followed into his closet. In his address to the Deity, the phantoms of an overweening conceit could find no place; after his death, the following manuscript prayer was found among his lordship’s papers :

“ The Lord Marquess of Worcester's ejaculatory and extemporary thanksgiving prayer, when first with his corporal eyes he did see finished a perfect trial of his water-commanding engine, delightful and useful to whomsoever hath in recommendation, either knowledge, profit, or pleasure.

“Oh! infinitely omnipotent God, whose mercies are fathomless, and whose knowledge is immense and inexhaustible, next to my creation and redemption, I render thee most humble thanks, from the very bottom of my heart and bowels, for thy vouchsafing me (the meanest in understanding) an insight in so great a secret of nature, beneficial to all mankind, as this my water-commanding engine. Suffer me not to be puffed up, O Lord, by the knowing of it and many more rare and unheard of, yea, unparalleled inventions, trials, and experiments'; but humble my haughty heart, by the true knowledge of mine own ignorant, weak, and unworthy nature, prone to allevil. O most merciful Father, my creator, most compassionating Son, my redeemer,and holiest of Spirits, the sanctifier, three divine persons and one God, grant me a further concurring grace, with fortitude to take hold of thy goodness, to the end, that whatever I do, unanimously and courageously to serve my king and country, to disabuse, rectify, and convert my undeserved, yet wilfully incredulous enemies, to reimburse thankfully my creditors, to reimmune



rate my benefactors, to reinhearten my distressed family, and with complacence to gratify ny suffering and confiding friends, may, void of vanity and self-ends, be only directed to thy honour and glory everlasting.'

Although at every period of his life he seems to have been deeply impressed with the feeling, that progress never was made in any thing by supine wishes and dilatory efforts, unremitting perseverance and assiduous industry were, in his case, to be of no avail in stemming the tide of adverse fortune ; his wishes were written in sand; and in the prosecution of his philanthropic projects he was fated to experience not only the negIect of the public but the ingratitude of friends, without being convinced of the hopelessness of the attempt at introducing improvements beyond the comprehension and spirit of the age. As long as hope survived, and that ceased not until

was summoned by the angel of death,” he continued to prefer with vigour his claims to public attention and patronage.

After his death,* the marchioness, who seems to have been of a congenial spirit, and to have been actuated by no small share of her husband's enthusiasm, continued her exertions to introduce the water-commanding engine. The zeal with which she prosecuted her scheme, being considered unbecoming her sex, and derogatory to her quality, a Romish priest, who had some influence with


* The marquess died at London on the 4th of April, 1667, and his remains were carried in much state to Ragland church, and interred in the family cemetry. Heath examined the vault in 1795, and found there a plate which had been placed on the coffin, with the following inscription :

Illustrissime Principis Edwardi Marchionis ct Comitis Wigomiæ Comitis de Glamorgan, Baronis Herbert de' Ragland. et qui obit apud Londini tertio die Aprilis A Dni. MDCLXVII.




her ladyship, was selected to expostulate on the impropriety of her conduct, and to convey to her the wishes and opinions of her friends. those,” says the confessor, with no small boldness, “ who wish you well, are grieved to see your ladyship to be already so much disturbed and weakened in your judgment, and in danger to lose the right use of your reason, if you do not timely endeavour to prevent it, by ceasing to go on with such high designs as you are upon, which I declare, on the faith of a priest, to be true. The cause of your present distemper, and of the afore. said danger, is, doubtless, that your thoughts and imaginations are very much fixed on your title of Plantagenet, and of disposing of yourself for that great dignity by getting of great sums of money from the king to pay your deceased lord's debts, and enriching yourself by the great machine, and the like. Now, madam, how improper such undertakings are for your ladyship, and how impossible for you to effect them, or any of them, all your friends can tell you, if they please to discover the truth to you."

“ The effects,” continues the confessor, “ that flow from hence are many; as the danger of losing your health and judgment, by such violent application of your fancies in such high designs and ambitious desires ; the probability of offending Almighty God, and prejudicing your own soul thereby; the , advantage you may thereby give to those who desire to make a prey of your fortune, and to raise themselves by ruining of you. I confess that the devil, to make his suggestions the more prevalent, doth make use of some motives that seem plausible, as of paying your lord's debts, of founding monasteries, and the like ; and

[ocr errors]
« PredošláPokračovať »