CHAPTER XIII

FIRST ENGLISH LOCOMOTIVE

THE competition in England for the 500 prize attracted many distinguished engineers, scientific men, and enterprising gentlemen, from all parts of the world, to witness the contest. Among the engineers from America was Horatio Allen, Esq., late assistant engineer upon the Delaware and Hudson Canal and Railroad, who was on a trip to England to examine into the improvements in the new mode of intercommunication. Another enterprising gentleman from America, who vent out expressly to witness these experiments, was Mr. E. L. Miller, of Charleston, South Carolina. Of this gentleman we shall hereafter have occasion to speak more fully. While in Europe, Mr. Horatio Allen was appointed by John B. Jervis, Esq., the chief engineer of the Delaware and Hudson Canal and Railroad Company, to contract for the iron for the road just graded, and also for three locomotives. Mr. Allen was an excellent person for this important duty, as Mr. Fervis well knew, having been associated with him in the construction of the road; he was an engineer of distinction and experience. We shall have to speak of him hereafter, in connection with the running of the first locomotive imported and put upon a railroad in America.

In this work the author has promised to substantiate every position he may assume, by giving to the readers all the evidence upon which his statements are based, and thereby enable them to judge for themselves as to the correctness of his history.

On this visit of Mr. Allen to England, he purchased for the Delaware and Hudson Canal and Railroad Company three locomotives. The " Stourbridge Lion " was one of these, and the first, which soon after arrived in New York. Its performances in the yard of the works where it was landed (the West Point Foundery Works, foot of Beach Street) were witnessed by thousands, attracted by the novelty of the machine. In a letter addressed to the author by David Matthew, Esq., late of Philadelphia, who resided in New York in 1829, and had charge of the men while fitting up the machinery in the shops of the West Point Foundery Association, to whom the author had addressed a letter malting some inquiries, he writes:

PHILADELPHIA December 6, 1859.

Mr. WM. H. BROWN-

DEAR SIR: Yours of the 20th November is received, inquiring about the first locomotive imported into this country; the first built here, and on what date and railroad it was run. In compliance with your request, I herewith with pleasure send you the following history, partly from memory and partly from records and memoranda upon the subject in some documents I have preserved among a file of old papers and documents.

"Some time about the middle of May, 1829, the locomotive called the Stourbridge Lion arrived from England, on the ship John Jay. It was landed at the wharf of the West Point Foundry Works, foot of Beach Street, New-York City. This engine was in charge of Horatio Allen, Esq., assistant engineer of the Delaware and Hudson Canal and Railroad Company. The locomotive was blocked up in our yard, and steam put to it from our works, and it became the object of curiosity to thousands who visited the works from day to day, to see the curious fretter " go through the motions only, as there was no road for it about the premises. After a short stay in New York, about the 1st of July, it was shipped up the North River to Rondout, for the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company, and thence by canal to Carbondale, where it was tried upon their railroad at Honesdale, run a few miles out upon the road, then taken off the track, the road not being sufficiently strong to carry it. It was housed and held for sale for many years."

So much, at present, for Mr. Matthew's letter upon the first English locomotive in America. To this letter, however, we will hereafter again refer. Meantime, for the information of such of our readers as may not be acquainted with the character and reputation of Or. Matthew, we will refer to the following certificates from prominent and well-known citizens:

NEW YORK, March, 1831

Mr. David Matthew has served an apprenticeship of four years and eleven months in the steam-engine factory of the Chest Point Association, as a tinner and fitter-up, in course of which time he has conducted himself to the entire satisfaction of his employers, and I recommend him as a trusty and good workman.

WM. KEMBLE,

"Agent for the West Point Association."

ALBANY, December 1,1831.

The bearer, Mr. David Matthew, has been employed to run the locomotive De Witt Clinton on the Mohawk and Hudson Railroad, since the opening of the work. I have often been on the engine with him, and seen much of his management and conduct in reference to his business, and believe him to be a sober, industrious man, and well qualified for such work. I think him very prudent in managing an engine.

JOHN B. JERVIS,

Chief Engineer Hudson and Mohawk Railroad.

SCENECTADY, September 24, 1836.

By a resolution of the Board of Directors of the Utica and Schenectady Railroad Company, passed September 23, 1835, David Matthew is employed as chief locomotive engineer, at a salary of one thousand one hundred dollars per year.

WM. C. YOUNG,

"Chief Engineer."

OFFICE OF THE UTICA AND SCHENECTADY RAILROAD COMPANY.

ALBANY, AUGUST 29, 1842.

To whom it may concern:

The bearer, Mr. David Matthew, has been employed by the company during the past six and a half years, as chief locomotive engineer and machinist, and in all respects has shown himself honest, industrious, and intelligent, and is worthy of patronage and confidence.

" ERASTUS CORNING."

These and many other evidences of Mr. Matthew's character and reliability could be produced, but the foregoing will no doubt be sufficient. From a mass of useful information received by the author in several letters Mom John B. Jervis, Esq., who was in 1829 chief engineer of the Delaware and Hud- son Canal Company, we make the following extracts is in reference to the arrival of the first locomotive in America:

ROME, NEW YORK, JULY 17, 1870.

DEAR SIR: Yours of the 1st inst. was duly received; absence from home and special duties have delayed my answer. As it required the overhauling of papers forty years old, it could not be done promptly. The name of the first locomotive ordered from England, and the first in America, was the Stourbridge Lion, and to your questions when and where it was landed, I will refer you to the following letters addressed to me at the time, by Horatio Allen, Esq., who was in New York City waiting its arrival, and had contracted for it when in England. On referring to my papers, I find that the engine arrived at Rondout on the way to Honesdale from New York, on the 4th of July, 1829. My recollections are that it was put in motion on the Carbondale Railroad, at Honesdale, in August, same year, most probably the early part of August. This locomotive anal two or three others were obtained from England for the said road, but only the Lion was set up. It worked very well, and no doubt would have done good service, had the trestle-work (of which there was a large portion on the road) been sufficient to sustain the weight of the engine in working. It was the intention of having engines of one and a quarter ton on a wheel as the heaviest; but the builders of the engine at that time had little experience, and when the machine was constructed it was found to have nearly two tons on a wheel, and this the road was not designed for. Subsequently the road has been made a gravity railroad, all the power in both directions being stationary; which is no doubt the best economy for the circumstances and nature of the traffic.

Mr. Allen's letters, which follow, will give you all necessary facts relative to the arrival of the first locomotive in America. In regard to the present officers of the Delaware and Hadson Canal Company, I have little acquaintance with them; all the old ones are gone, excepting, perhaps, Isaac N. Seymour, who was for many years treasurer (now retired), and living in New York. He could give you much information, by referring to the file of letters for 1829, in the office of the company in New York, including those of August; they would give the time of the running of the engine at Honesdale, in letters from Mr. Horatio Allen to myself In your last letter to me, you make some inquiries concerning my invention of the principle of using the truck under the front part of the engine, to support and to govern the machine in running curves. I believe I sent you, some time since, a copy of my work upon railway property, etc. In that work, commencing at page 153, you will find all the information upon that subject you may desire. I shall only say here that I was the inventor, and put in successful operation, the locomotive-truck.

I notice that they are giving more attention to it in England, where they heretofore had strong prejudices against it, and now they attribute it, as a new thing, to Farlie, who introduced it in some new and small machinery in England. All that Farlie has done is simply to adopt my truck. Wishing you great success in your undertaking, I am very truly yours,

JOHN B. JERVIS.

We will hereafter notice the improvement alluded to by Mr. Jervis, in the last paragraph of his highly interesting letter, viz., the introduction of the truck under the front part of the engine. Of this improvement he is, no doubt, the inventor, having put it in successful operation in this country, nearly forty years ago, as we are prepared to show, England's claim to the contrary notwithstanding.

JOHN B. JERVIS, Esq.

NEW YORK, May 12, 1829.

We at length have something definite on the subject of our locomotive. The Canada, that sailed from Liverpool April 18th, arrived this afternoon, and brings us news of the shipment of our locomotive, on April 8th, on the John Jay, which has not yet got in, though it sailed one week before the Canada.

Yours,

HORATIO ALLEN.

JOHN B. JERVIS, ESQ.

NEW YORK, May 17, 1829.

The John Jay has arrived, as I informed you. On Monday the engine is to be landed, and sent to Kimball's establishment. I hope to have it all together and in operation by Saturday next.

Yours,

HORATIO ALLEN.


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