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" the pocket, and a staff for the hand, of the ordinary size. “By help of this machine I can draw from an eminence a draught of level grounds that shall be a true projection of

them, and shall measure by a scale of equal parts. It also “ draws all kinds of perspective draughts, reduces maps, &c., the board being always horizontal, whether the objects be “ vertical or not.”

Within a fortnight, however, came this reversal of the verdict thus pronounced :-"I caused to be made a part of “the machine I mentioned in my last ; it has only one fault, “ which is, that it will not do, because it describes conic "sections instead of right lines ;'* and although there can be no doubt that by a little further labour on the part of the inventor this difficulty would have been overcome, yet events of more importance soon occurred, which seem to have put a stop to the career of "gimcracks,” in which he and his friend Small had so long and cheerfully been running a race together, and which led the latter to remark to his friend, —“You might live by inventing only an hour in a “ week for mathematical-instrument-makers.'

The termination of Mr. Watt's labours as a civil engineer was an abrupt one, accompanied—and indeed in some measure caused—by a melancholy event. Having been suddenly recalled from his survey of the Caledonian Canal in the autumn of 1773 by the intelligence of the dangerous illness of his wife, he had the deep grief of finding on his return home that she had died, after having given birth to a still-born child. Mrs. Mrs. Watt

Tatt is described as having been a very amiable person, whose gentle counsels and uniform good temper had often sustained her husband's hopes and animated his exertions, under the depressing circumstances of indifferent health, narrow means, and variable and often desponding spirits; from all of which he then suffered in no ordinary degree. By relieving his mind as far as possible of other care, and thus affording it the undisturbed leisure required for study and exertion in his various pursuits, she might even be said to have been of material, though, of course, subsidiary service to him in the progress of his great invention. She earnestly encouraged the hopes which he founded upon it; and even when these seemed for a time to be quite overthrown, her buoyant spirits did not sink, nor did her cheerful faith fail; but she wrote to him with truly feminine fortitude,

* 24 December, 1773.

“I beg you would not make yourself uneasy, though things “ should not succeed to your wish. If it" (the new steamengine] “will not do, something else will. Never despair." *

The few years,” says Miss Campbell, “ of his union with “ Miss Miller passed in uninterrupted domestic happiness. “ Of her untimely death, and the beautiful composure of “mind, and affecting tenderness for her husband and children, “ that she displayed in her last moments, my mother never “ could speak without tears.”

The agony of grief which he suffered on losing so judicious, so beloved, and so faithful a friend, sufficiently appears from those of his letters of that date which have been preserved ; although some others, it is to be regretted, appear to have been lost or destroyed, probably in consequence of containing no allusion to anything but his private sorrow. Of one, which survives only in the form of an undated fragment, addressed to Dr. Small, but evidently belonging to the period in question, the expressions are gloomy indeed ;-—more so, happily, than the habitual resignation of its writer to the will of the Supreme Disposer of all events seems ever to have permitted him to repeat. “Let us,” he writes, “rejoice in our youth,

for age is dark and unlovely, and in the silent grave there “ is no joy, at least that we know of ;-vive, et vale.” And again :-_“You are happy, Small, that have no such con“nection. Yet this misfortune might have fallen upon me “ when I had less ability to bear it, and my poor children "might have been left suppliants to the mercy of the wide “ world. I know that grief has its period; but I have much " to suffer first. I grieve for myself, not for my friend; for “ if probity, charity, and duty to her family can entitle her

* August 9, 1768.

to a better state, she enjoys it. I am left to mourn. “ Let me leave this tale of woe.

“Would that I might here transcribe,” said Arago, “in all “ their simple beauty, some lines of the journal in which he

daily recorded his inmost thoughts, his fears, his hopes ! “ Would that you could see him, after this heavy affliction,

pausing on the threshold of that home, where 'HIS KIND “"WELCOMER' awaited him no more; unable to summon

courage to enter those rooms, where he was never more to “ meet 'THE COMFORT OF HIS LIFE!'»

Of the four children who were the issue of Mr. Watt's marriage with Miss Miller, two died in infancy; one daughter married a Mr. Miller of Glasgow, but died early, leaving issue a son and two daughters, (now all dead, the daughters having left issue); and the only son of that family who attained manhood was the late Mr. James Watt, of Aston Hall, who long survived his father as his respected representative, and died, unmarried, in 1848.





The death of his wife put the finishing stroke to a long series of adverse circumstances by which Watt had been oppressed. For years previously he had complained of frequent violent headaches, and almost constant bad health ; of what he called laziness, stupefaction, and confusion of ideas, which no doubt meant the mental weariness arising from severe and anxious over-exertion; of the hatefulness of the employment of land-surveying, to which he had then become a slave; of his detestation of making bargains, or settling accounts, or forcing workmen to do their duty; so that "I greatly doubt,” he says in 1770, " whether the silent mansions of the grave “ be not the happiest abodes.” “I am heart-sick of this “ country," he writes, after the loss of his wife, to his sympathising friend Dr. Small, “I am indolent to excess, and, what “ alarms me most, I grow the longer the stupider. My memory fails me so as often totally to forget occurrences of

ancient dates. I see myself condemned to a life of “ business; nothing can be more disagreeable to me; I “ tremble when I hear the name of a man I have any trans" actions to settle with. The engineering business is not a

vigorous plant here; we are in general very poorly paid. “ This last year my whole gains do not exceed 2001., though “ some people have paid me very genteelly. There are also

many disagreeable circumstances I cannot write; in short “I must, as far as I see, change my abode. There are two “ things which occur to me, either to try England, or

no very

“ endeavour to get some lucrative place abroad; but I doubt “ my interest for the latter. What I am fittest for is a sur“ veying engineer. Is there any business in that way?” And, about the same time, it appears that Dr. Roebuck had mentioned Mr. Watt having had an intention of passing the winter in France; to escape, doubtless, from the sorrowful associations that now pressed upon him in his own country.

These circumstances all concurred with the disastrous state of affairs at Borrowstoness and Kinneil, to hasten the final settlement of the agreement with Mr. Boulton and Dr. Small. But it was now evident, since Roebuck had become insolvent, and therefore unable to be any longer a partner in the proposed manufacture, that instead of one-half of his two-thirds of the patent of the engine, or one-third of the whole patent, as originally intended when that agreement was entered into in 1769, the whole of his interest would have to be purchased from him or his creditors. We have already seen that Boulton and Small were not more desirous of benefiting Watt, than Watt was of benefiting Roebuck; and also, that although all four were anxious to see the engine prosecuted to completion, and its merits tested by actual performance on a great scale, none of them, (and, least of all, the inventor), estimated the invention, as then attempted to be carried out, as of any very high pecuniary value. In this view, it fortunately happened, that Roebuck's creditors most fully concurred; “none of his creditors," writes Watt to Small,* “ value the engine at a farthing;” and this uncomplimentary estimate,-at which we now so well may marvel, and the creditors might soon afterwards have mourned,—was really of the greatest service in hastening the progress of the transference of the property.

On terms satisfactory at the time to Dr. Roebuck, and which consisted in part at least of Mr. Boulton releasing him from a debt of 6301. due to him by the Doctor, and of the payment by Mr. Boulton of a further sum of 10001., this transference at last took place, to Mr. Boulton alone ;

* 25 July, 1773.

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