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Dr. Small having by that time otherwise engaged all of his available funds. The 1000l. paid were to be the first 10001. of profit, (without repayment of any already sunk), that might arise after the commencement of the partnership of Boulton and Watt. And in 1773 Mr. Watt and Dr. Roebuck executed a mutual discharge, which, as an interesting document in the history of the modern steam-engine, we shall here give entire :

“ In the year 1767, Doctor John Roebuck at Kinneil “ entered into partnership with James Watt at Glasgow, to

verify and carry into practice an improved fire-engine “ invented by the said James Watt. Doctor Roebuck was to

pay a debt of 10001. incurred by the said James Watt in making the experiments tending to the invention of the

engine, and also to pay the expense of the patent and “ further experiments.

“ James Watt was to attend and conduct the experiments, " and assigned to the Doctor two-thirds of the property of the “ said invention, retaining one-third for his own use.

“ Dr. Roebuck has paid the thousand pounds, but the expense of the other things has been principally paid by “ James Watt.

“ In consideration of the mutual friendship subsisting “ between Dr. Roebuck and myself, and because I think the “ thousand pounds he has paid more than the value of the “ property of the two-thirds of the inventions, I hereby take “upon myself all other sums I have laid out or paid upon it, “ also all other debts I have contracted upon that head,

relieving the Doctor from the same, and meaning this as “ an absolute discharge for all sums he may have been owing

before this date. Kinneil, May. 17th, 1773."

« JAMES WATT. Having examined the above narration of facts, I acknowledge the same to be just, and hereby discharge the “ account. “ Kinneil, May 17th, 1773."

« JOHN ROEBUCK, Thus, in the summer of 1773, Mr. Watt found himself at


liberty to remove from Kinneil, where they had long been lying useless, and perishing from long exposure to the injuries of the weather, the iron works, cylinder, and pump, of the condensing engine partly erected there three years before. They were then packed up and sent off to Soho, where a boiler was awaiting them, destined to inspire them with new life and movement; but it was not till after another year that they were followed by Mr. Watt, who had in the interval made his survey for the Caledonian Canal, and had suffered the loss, in which it so dismally terminated, of his much-loved wife.

Early in April, 1774, he writes to Dr. Small, “I begin now to see daylight through the affairs that have detained “ me so long, and think of setting out for you in a fortnight "at furthest;"-and, early in May, “I have persuaded my “ friend Dr. Hutton, the famous fossil philosopher, to make “ the jaunt with me, and there are some hopes of Dr. Black's

coming also.” The next four or five months were passed in continuous though still partially futile attempts to construct a satisfactory wheel-engine, and in more successful ones to make the condensing engine do some good work. By the end of October, Mr. Watt was able to send his friend Roebuck such a report of the latter, that Dr. R. replied,* “You have “ now effectually established the justness of the principles on “which your machine is constructed, and the generous and “spirited gentleman you are connected with will never suffer “ it to fail for want of exertion to carry it into execution.” He was also able to cheer the heart of his aged father, in his lonely home at Greenock, by writing to him, from Birmingham,t “ the business I am here about has turned out rather “successful, that is to say, that the fire-engine I have invented “is now going, and answers much better than


other that “ has yet been made; and I expect that the invention will be “ very beneficial to me."

The comfortable results which led to these improved hopes, had been obtained, it must be recollected, with a cylinder made at Carron so far back as 1766, and not very truly bored, although the best which that manufactory could turn out at that time; and Carron had the best boring-mill, for cannon and the cylinders of the old sort of steam-engine, then known. " It was only intended,” says Mr. Farey, “ for “ boring cannon; but they bored barrels [of pumps) and “ cylinders (for atmospheric engines] by it occasionally. In “ the course of a few years this mill proved too small to

* 12 November, 1774.

+ 11 December, 1774.

execute the work which their trade required, and in 1769 “ Mr. Smeaton made them an entire new boring-mill for guns, “ and another for cylinders.'

But Mr. Boulton, encouraged by the favourable results already obtained, applied, early in 1775, for a better cylinder, to Mr. John Wilkinson, an eminent iron-founder at Bersham near Chester, who at that very time, probably in consequence of the great demand he saw reason to believe would arise for cylinders bored with exact truth throughout, introduced a new boring-machine which was an infinite improvement on the old one. “In the old method," says the same accurate author whom we have last quoted, “ the borer for cutting the “ metal was not guided in its progress, and therefore followed “ the incorrect form given to the cylinder in casting it; it “ was scarcely insured that every part of the cylinder should “ be circular; and there was no certainty that the cylinder “ would be straight. This method was thought sufficient “ for old engines, but Mr. Watt's engines required greater “ precision.

“ Mr. Wilkinson's machine, which is now the common “ boring-machine, has a straight central bar of great strength, “ which occupies the central axis of the cylinder, during the

operation of boring; and the borer, or cutting instrument, “ is accurately fitted to slide along this bar, which, being “ made perfectly straight, serves as a sort of ruler, to give a “ rectilinear direction to the borer in its progress, so as to

produce a cylinder equally straight in the length, and cir“ cular in the circumference. This method insures all the

Farey, • Treatise on the Steam-engine,' 1827, p. 291.

accuracy the subject is capable of; for, if the cylinder is “ cast ever so crooked, the machines will bore it straight and "true, provided there is metal enough to form the required “ cylinder, by cutting away the superfluities."*

But, notwithstanding the improved cylinder, and those other aids of mechanism which could then be derived from the workshops of Soho and Birmingham, it was very evident, that a long series of experimental trials was still requisite, before the engine could be brought to such perfection as to render it universally available to the public, and, therefore, profitable to its manufacturers. In January, 1775, six years of the period named in the Letters Patent had already expired; and there seemed every probability of the eight that remained proving only sufficient to admit of a great outlay of labour, talent, and money, for the benefit of others who had exerted no ingenuity, incurred no risk, and displayed no perseverance.

The eminent counsel whom Mr. Watt consulted, suggested the surrendering up of the patent, and did not doubt that a new one would then be issued, granting the exclusive privilege anew from its date. Other friends recommended that an application should be made for an Act of Parliament extending the time allowed by the first patent, and this was the course which it was finally determined should be taken. The application met, rather unexpectedly, with very strong opposition, to which the great oratorical powers of “ the “immortal Burke" gave a dangerous importance. He, it is believed, was influenced by what he conceived to be, or what were represented to him to be, the claims of a constituent, and not by any more unworthy feeling of hostility to either Mr. Watt or his patent; but nevertheless he was led to support with all the power of his great name what he probably would afterwards have confessed to be a measure of gross injustice. Happily, the eloquence of himself, and the influence of his associates, failed of their intended effect; and, on the 8th of May, 1775, Mr. Watt had the pleasure of

* Farey, p. 326.


being able to write to his father, from London, the following letter:

“Dear Father, -After a series of various and violent opposition, I have at last got an Act of Parliament vesting the property of my new fire-engines in me and my assigns,

throughout Great Britain and the Plantations, for twenty“ five years to come, which I hope will be very beneficial to me, as there is already considerable demand for them.

“ This affair has been attended with great expense and “ anxiety, and without many friends of great interest I should

never have been able to carry it through, as many of the “ most powerful people in the House of Commons opposed it. “ It has been in Parliament ever since the 22nd of February, “ which is a very long time to be kept in suspense.

“I shall be obliged to stay here a few days longer, after “ which I return to Birmingham to set about making some

engines that are ordered; after which I intend to give “ myself the happiness of seeing you and the dear children.

My warmest wishes and affection ever attend you ; may

God render your age comfortable is the prayer of your “ ever affectionate and dutiful son, JAMES WATT."

But while this affair was pending, and Mr. Watt was absent in London attending to it, another heavy blow had fallen upon him. This was, the death of Dr. Small; the faithful and affectionate friend who had so long encouraged him in despondency, consoled him in misfortune, and aided him in attaining to the comparative prosperity which was now at last begin. ning to dawn upon him. “ The last scene," feelingly writes Mr. Boulton to him in London,* " is just closed; the curtain " is fallen, and I have this evening bid adieu to our once

good and virtuous friend, for ever and for ever. If there “ were not a few other objects yet remaining for me to “settle my affections upon, I should wish also to take up my lodgings in the mansions of the dead.”

“ To pretend “ to offer you consolation,” is Mr. Watt's reply, “ under the


* [25 February, 1775.]

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