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roads in the most important lines of communication, and in other directions took what track they chose, as a Calmuck over his steppe, or a La Platan over his savanna; while the labour and money appropriated to such purposes were applied entirely to the more favoured routes. When, however, in lieu of these common tracks, the high powers of an Inclosure act substituted regularly constructed highways, the road-revenue of the district, as well as the attention of the surveyor, was divided between several lines of road, instead of being concentrated upon one or two. Of inclosures indeed we would speak respectfully, not only as an improvement in other points of view, but as usually facilitating the intercourse between place and place. Canals are an improvement (if we may be guilty of the solecism) of a more questionable nature. One of the advantages which we were taught to expect from them, was the preservation of the roads, by the substitution of water-carriage for all heavy commodities. That this has in some degree been the case, we by no means deny. In particular districts however the effect has been the reverse, as the carriage of corn to the several wharfs, and of coal, stone, and slate from them, has contributed much to destroy the roads in their neighbourhood. In the case of turnpike-roads indeed, the increase of toll may nearly compensate the increase of wear; but to individual parishes, the expense arising from this wharf-traffic has in some instances that have come to our knowledge been enormous.
After all, we would not be understood as contending that the roads of the kingdom are worse than they were ten or twenty years ago; on the whole, perhaps, they are better. It admits of no dispute, however, that they are, generally speaking, bad, and infinitely worse than they would be if the laws for their maintenance were carried into effectual execution; or if the reparations of them were conducted by men of skill and activity: we congratulate, therefore, all the advocates for safe and expeditious travelling,' on the increasing influence of the system of Mr. M'Adam. Mr. M'Adamı indeed appears to us to be the very Dr. Bell of road-makers. In both gentlemen we see the same zeal for the promotion of a useful object, the same activity of mind and body, the same disregard of personal inconvenience and fatigue. We may add, as another feature of resemblance, that many of the practices of each of these gentlemen had been previously adopted in a variety of instances, but that it required zeal and perseverance like theirs to recommend the entire system to the attention of the public. Increased experience has, with both of them, had the effect of strengthening their conviction of the excellence of their respective systems in general; while it has rendered them more diffident upon some of the minor
details. Mr. M'Adam, in his memorial to the Board of Agricul
"Of that part of the system which relates to the construction of the roads and the appointment of general-surveyors of districts, the memorialist speaks with that confidence which is the result of experience ;' but he adds, that, having now felt the difficulties of a profession, requiring much statistical information and practical knowledge of country work, with the regular habits of business, the estimation of his own abilities as a road-maker has been much lowered.'—' Many things,' he says, which appeared proper in theory, were found unprofitable in practice; and others of obvious utility have been rendered difficult of execution from the obstacles of prejudice and ignorance.'
Dr. Bell has not, so far as we know, made a similar avowal in words, but he has in fact;-by the many changes, which, to the no small discomfiture of distant country schoolmasters, he has so rapidly introduced in his rules and instructions, which were once supposed to be as unalterable as those of the Medes and Persians.
It is a fortunate coincidence that Mr. M'Adam's system has attracted so much notice, at a time when employment for the labouring classes is become an object of most anxious inquiry; as it is to be executed by the labour of men, rather than by that of horses; and its operations are to be carried on principally in the winter, when the deficiency of work for the agricultural poor is most pressing. We certainly are desirous of contributing our humble assistance to the promotion of such desirable objects. The treatises of Mr. M'Adam, (whom we must be permitted to consider as an adopted Englishman,) Mr. Edgeworth, and Mr. Paterson enable us to lay each part of the united kingdom under contribution for materials; while the Report of the Committee of the House of Commons gives us something like the collective wisdom of the empire.
We have before us two publications by Mr. M'Adam. first, which was pretty widely circulated last summer by the Board of Agriculture, consists principally of Instructions for the repair of old roads; the second contains remarks on the mode of making roads; on commissioners and their officers, and on the care of the finances.
Mr. Paterson's is a neatly printed little volume, written in a style which the nature of the subject and the modest pretensions of the author preclude us from criticizing. Mr. Edgeworth's treatise has been long before the public. It is the work of a man of science, combined with much practical knowledge of his subject. The greater part of this volume consists of remarks on wheel carriages, accompanied with an account of some very ingenious and accurate experiments for ascertaining their relative faci
lities of draught. The remarks on road-making, which were, we believe, first published eleven or twelve years ago, are sensible and judicious.
The Report of the Committee of the House of Commons (which confessedly originated in the improvements effected by Mr. M'Adam) is drawn up with much care, and attention to the interesting body of evidence on which it is grounded. From this evidence we shall make a few extracts; and then, from the mass of materials before us, endeavour to digest into one view some of the leading principles in the art of road-making.
The first witness examined is Charles Johnson, Esq., superintendent of mail-coaches under the Postmaster-General. He states that there is great want of skill in forming the road and keeping it in repair, particularly near London;—that 'the whole town of Egham had been covered with gravel unsifted, eight or nine inches deep from side to side; of which the consequence was, that the Exeter mail lost ten, fifteen, or twenty minutes every night.'-He adds, 'we were given afterwards to understand, that the commissioners had put this particular road under the care of Mr. M'Adam, and at this time I have no sort of occasion whatever to complain of it.'
He is followed by four of the principal coach proprietors in and near London. These gentlemen all concur in their opinion of the badness of the roads near the metropolis,-in complaining of their too great convexity, and of the unskilful manner in which the materials are applied. They all concur, too, in praising Mr. M'Adam. It may be interesting to that portion of our readers, who avail themselves occasionally of the facilities of locomotion furnished by these useful members of society, to give some of the facts detailed in their evidence.
Mr. Waterhouse, whose vehicular head-quarters are at the Swan with Two Necks, keeps 400 horses; those worked within 50 miles. of London (which cost on the average £30 each) last about four years; those at a greater distance (costing £15 each) six years. He says that eight horses on the more distant roads would perform as many miles as ten nearer London; that three horses would draw the mail on Mr. Telford's roads in North Wales with as much ease as four on the road from London to Dunchurch ;—the excellence of Mr. Telford's roads consisting principally in the smallness of their convexity. Mr. Horne of Charing Cross also keeps 400 horses: he buys 150 every year;-those worked near London. last but three years; those at a greater distance double the time, in consequence of their work being lighter, their food better, and their lodging more airy. Mr. Eames (of the White Horse, Fetter Lane) keeps about 300 horses: he finds them last three years in post
coaches, and as long again at a distance from London. He says that his drivers represent the crossing backwards and forwards through the gravel, heaped sometimes in the middle of the roads near London, as tearing the horses' hearts out.' He further states that the Surry Road is so much improved, that he can travel sixteen miles with more facility than he could formerly travel twelve. Mr. Botham, of Speen, (who keeps more than 100 horses,) and Mr. Fromont, both bear testimony to the improvement effected by Mr. M'Adani.
We now come to Mr. M'Adam himself. Of his practical directions we shall speak presently of his qualifications for the task which he has undertaken, our readers may form some judgment from the following extracts from his evidence.
'On my first arriving from America in the year 1783, at the time the roads were making in Scotland, (their turnpike acts being in operation about twenty years at that time,) very many of their roads were made. I was then appointed a commissioner of the roads, and had occasion to see a great deal of road-work. This first led me to inquire into the general method of road-making, and the expense of it. Since that period I have been mostly in Bristol, where I was also appointed a commissioner of the roads; the very defective state of which could not fail to attract my attention. I was induced to offer myself to the commissioners to take charge of the roads as a surveyer; because I found it impossible for any individual commissioner to get the roads put into a situation of being mended with any prospect of success; and no individual could incur the expense of making experiments on a great scale. The roads of Bristol were accordingly put under my direction in the month of January, 1816.
I have travelled various times during the last twenty years, to ascertain which are the best roads, and which the best means of roadmaking, over the whole kingdom, from Inverness in Scotland to Land's End in Cornwall. I have obtained all the information that an unauthorised person could expect to receive. More pains and much more expense have been bestowed on the roads of late years, but without, in my opinion, producing any adequate effect, from want of skill in the executive department. I consider the roads in South Wales, in Monmouthshire, in Cornwall, in Devonshire, in Herefordshire, in part of Hampshire, in part of Oxfordshire, and some part of Gloucestershire, as managed with the least skill, and consequently, at the heaviest expense.' You asked me with respect to the spirit of improvement; I would wish to explain in what way I think that is proceeding. I have been sent for, and consulted by thirty-four different sets of commissioners, and as many different trusts, and thirteen counties to the extent of 637 miles, all of whom have been making improvements, and I have had many subsurveyors instructed and sent to distant parts of the country.
The repairs of 148 miles round Bristol, and many expensive perma
nent improvements and alterations have been made in the last three years, during which a floating debt of upwards 1400l. has been paid off, a considerable reduction of the principal debt has been made, and a balance of 27901. Os. 4d. is remaining in the hands of the treasurer. The Bristol district has been under one trust for twenty years, and in that period the debt has increased to 43,000.'-pp. 18, 19.
In a subsequent part of his evidence, he states that, by improved management, the Epsom trust has been enabled to lower the toll on agricultural carriages; and that the road between Reading and Twyford has been made smooth and solid at an expense, including the Surveyor's salary, not exceeding fifteen pounds per week; while their former expenditure, exclusive of the Surveyor's salary, was twenty-two pounds per week. Mr. M'Adam estimates the yearly toll revenue at a million and a quarter from the circumstance of there being 25,000 miles of turnpike roads in England and Wales; and reminds us that the Committee of 1811 estimated the saving which would be made to the country by putting the roads in a proper state of repair, at five millions annually.
Mr. James M'Adam, who has been instructed by his father, mentions some flagrant instances of abuse in the appointment of surveyors. In one instance he found as surveyor, with 60l. per annum, a person who had been an underwriter at Lloyd's Coffee House; in another a bed-ridden old man, who employed to execute his office a carpenter to whom the commissioners allowed 20/. annum; in another there were three surveyors, one a cripple, another a carpenter, and the third a coal merchant. To shew in how great a degree his father's system is carried into effect by manual labour, he states that at Reading during eight months, 500l. were laid out, 4007. of which were for human labour: at Cheshunt, 8007. in five months, only forty of which went for cartage: at Wadesmill, 6007.; at Royston, 500l.; and at Huntingdon 20l. per week were all spent in labour.
We next have several gentlemen who, from their experience as commissioners, bear testimony to the merits of Mr. M'Adam. Mr. Cripps, after speaking of the improvements effected near Epsom and the consequent diminution of tolls, says
I had an opportunity of observing in Sweden, that the roads were more beautiful than any I ever beheld; they are formed in the same manner as by Mr. M'Adam, the materials broken extremely small. The material is the best in the world, as it is rock of granite; and so well do they understand the necessity of breaking them small, that you never behold throughout Sweden a fragment of granite larger than the size of a walnut, for the purposes of the roads.- -What is the shape of these roads? To the eye they appear perfectly flat; but upon trial