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HUTTON ESTATE.




,". OG-RAPH B






THE LIFE



OF



JOSEPH LOCKE,



CIVIL ENGINEER, M. P. F.R.S. ETC. ETC.



BY

JOSEPH DEVEY.



"The name of LOCKE will be associated with the triumphs of the
locomotive and the marvels of the Steam revolution for all coming
time." Provost of Greenock.



LONDON:
RICHARD BENTLEY,

in Ortftnarp t0 fet
NEW BURLINGTON STREET.

1862.



TAW



CONTENTS.



PAGE

CHAP. I FAMILY MATTERS 1

CHAP. II.-YOUTHEUL DAYS .. .. 19

CHAP. III.-CLOUDS DISPERSE .. .. .. '..31

CHAP. IV. ROADS AND ROAD-MAKERS 42

CHAP. V. PROMETHEUS .. ..54

CHAP. VI. THE GOAL 75

CHAP. VII. - GRAND JUNCTION RAILWAY - GEORGE

STEPHENSON AND JOSEPH LOCKE .. .. 90

CHAP. VIII.-MARRIAGE 112

CHAP. IX.-ENGLISH RAILWAYS 117

CEAP. X.-SCOTCH RAILWAYS .. 132

CHAP. XL-RAILWAY CONTRACTOR 145

CHAP. XII.-PARIS AND ROUEN, ROUEN AND HAVRE

RAILWAYS 155

285



IV CONTENTS.

PAGE

CHAP. XIII FIRST SPANISH AND DUTCH RAILWAYS .. 175
CHAP. XIV. BATTLE OF THE GAUGES . . . . 185

CHAP. XV. THE FRENCH CONTRASTED WITH THE

ENGLISH SYSTEM OF RAILROADS .. 209

CHAP. XVI.-NANTES AND CHERBOURG RAILWAY .. .. 233

CHAP. XVII HONITON .... . . . . 247

CHAP. XVIII.-SUNDAY VERSUS SABBATH . . . . 257

CHAP. XIX. PARLIAMENTARY COUP D'ETAT . . . . 278

CHAP. XX.-RAIL WAY AUDIT BILLS 287

CHAP. XXI.-EST1MATES 301

CHAP. XXII.-PUBLIC WORKS .. .. ..313

CHAP. XXIII CLOSING YEARS . . . . . . 327

CHAP. XXIV.-LAST DAYS 341



THE LIFE OF JOSEPH LOCKE.



CHAPTER I.

FAMILY MATTERS.

THE pride of ancestry is cherished as a pious senti-
ment by those who can legitimately boast its
possession : by those who find themselves without
this intangible heirloom, it is regarded as at worst a
very pardonable conceit. But all agree in treating as
the fit subjects for ridicule those who falsely affect
to have what they are just as well without. Still,
every man has a pedigree, a pedigree which can
be traced to a more or less remote period, if the
investigation be considered worth the labour. Where
it exemplifies the law of hereditary transmission, and
so throws light on the character of him who suggests
the search, it is of value. When it but parades the
greatness of predecessors as a cloak for the smallness
of their latest representative, it is not only valueless,
but unwise.

In recounting the career of Joseph Locke, the
above distinction requires that the career of his im-
mediate parent, at least, should meet with a notice
which the hardworking, unconscious coal-surveyor
never, we may be sure, anticipated for it. Joseph

13



2 LIFE OF JOSEPH LOCKE.

Locke was, indeed, William Locke's son. Of the
father of the latter we know no more than that,
whilst himself manager of a coal-mine at White-lane,
in the neighbourhood of Sheffield, he was sufficiently
esteemed and possessed sufficient interest to be able
to procure for one of his sons, John Locke, the
appointment of manager of a colliery at Kippax, a
village situated some six or seven miles from Leeds.
In this colliery John Locke ultimately became a
partner. That his reputation and influence remained
unimpaired, we are enabled to gather from the fact
that a few years later he obtained for his other son,
William, the father of Joseph Locke, a similar
situation at Attercliffe, in the neighbourhood of
Sheffield.

William Locke was born in the parish of Lan-
chester, in the county of Durham. At the time that
he was sent for by his father to take charge of
the colliery at AtterclifFe, 1802, he was working at
the Water-row pit in the village of Newburn, made
for ever famous by having once had for its engine-
brakesman no less a man than George Stephenson.
At this pit William Locke acted in the capacity of
banksman, not brakesman, as is inadvertently stated
in Mr. Smiles's popular Life of that illustrious
engineer. His duties as banksman were to await
the arrival of the coal at the pit-mouth, enter it, and
apportion the wages of the various workers in the
mine according to the amount of coal sent by them to
the surface. For this nothing was required but an



FAMILY MATTERS. 3

intimate acquaintance with the three rudiments of
education, and a reputation for impartial and judicial
integrity, the former not being so common a posses-
sion in those days as we will trust that the latter is
still in these. He brought with him from the Water-
row pit to Attercliffe the highest testimonials. The
proprietors of the mine, finding that his services
were in no degree overrated by his recent employer,
promised that, in case a change of partners took
place, he should have a share in the profits of the
undertaking. A change did take place. The fulfil-
ment of the promise was urged, but excused, and
finally denied. It would seem as though he were
in this almost anticipating his son's career. But he
acted with more resolution and in a more uncom-
promising spirit than his son was inclined to act
when placed in a like situation. Himself a man strict
of word, he was utterly intolerant of those who
were not ; and annoyed more with the infidelity of
his employer even than with the detriment to his
prospects, he quitted his service and went to Hud-
dersfield.

Here he undertook the management of some mines
of which Sir John Ramsden was proprietor, and
which he himself worked. For three years all went
well. But at the end of that period the men turned
out, as the phrase goes, for higher wages. Strikes
w r ere then in their infancy. Is it to be won-
dered at, that the means devised for meeting them
should have been equally immatured ? Adam Smith

B 2



I LIFE OF JOSEPH LOCTvE.

had, it is true, devoted a chapter to their consider-
ation ; but he had summed up too hastily, and utterly
condemns them. No Mill had as yet appeared to
temper the severity of the scientific deductions by
considerations which, without violating fixed laws,
take some cognizance of shifting wants ; and even
now that he has appeared, and educated a race of
younger men who strive to spread the doctrines of
their master, the employed still seem to recognize
no cure for their state but demands urged in the
rude shape of a refusal to work, the employers no
security to their capital and authority but an answer
in the shape of a refusal to listen, and social polity
no duty but a stupid indifference to the entire con-
flict. Matters could scarcely be much worse in 1807
than they are now. They certainly were no better.
Eor, when Sir John Kamsden's colliers struck for
higher wages, he quietly resisted them. His manager
was not a man to be quiet, if quiet could be avoided.
To him a friendly feeling was intelligible ; a feeling
of hostility, when he could persuade himself that
right was on his side, little less congenial ; but a
truce was ridiculous. Some of the colliers gave him
an opportunity of action, and he seized it. They
transgressed the law. William Locke prosecuted,
and got one of them sent to Wakefield. At last the
strike came to a close, but not the feeling engendered
by this unhappy prosecution. The men declared that,
though the strike should cease, they would never
work at the pit so long as William Locke remained



FAMILY MATTERS. O

agent. They stuck so firmly to their word, and so
displayed the measure of their resolve, that Sir John
Ramsden was forced to yield. Yet, so exasperated
was he by their behaviour, and the compulsory loss
of a faithful and valued servant, that he shortly after-
wards gave up the workings and let the pit.

To those who were personally acquainted with
Joseph Locke it will at once be evident, and to
those who may come to be acquainted with his
character through this Life, it will we trust be
made so, how thoroughly the father conducted him-
self, as the son would have conducted himself if
placed in an analogous situation. The sense of per-
sonal duty was all-powerful in each. Humanity was
all very well. Toleration or pity and forgiveness and
long-suffering were all very well. But the fealty
of personal service, promised, must be performed.
These men declared themselves Sir John Ramsden's
antagonists. William Locke was Sir John Ramsden's
agent. And Sir John Ramsden's agent would resist
Sir John Ramsden's antagonists to the last. It was
his duty, and he would do it. It was a disagreeable
duty, but he would do it. So he acted towards his
individual employer, and against his employer's de-
clared antagonists, just as Joseph Locke over and
over again acted towards his aggregate employer the
Public against the Public's opponent, vacillating
chairmen, incapable Boards, and scamping contractors.
Both might suffer the same fate : both would pursue
the same unflinching policy. Colliers might refuse



(5 LIFE OF JOSEPH LOCKE.

to work under the father, and so the father might
lose his post. Directors might refuse to preside at a
table where the son would be able to denounce them,
and so more compliant engineers might be preferred.
But the father, for all that, would put the one upon
their trial, and the son, for all that, do his best to
put the other to shame.

The straightforward north-countryman began to
suspect that honesty and loval dealing were commodi-
ties that became rarer as folks travelled south. He
was surrounded by a family of seven children, five of
whom were still young enough to be dependent on
his labours. He feared he had done sadly wrong in
leaving the neighbourhood where he had been brought
into life, and where he had learned the means by which
life is made both profitable and pleasant. He would
go back north and try his fortune in the coal- districts
of Durham. He heard, at distant intervals, of his old
friend and fellow-workman, George Stephenson, who,
though not yet before the general public, was already
a local celebrity by reason of his strange contrivances
and obstinate ingenuity. He imagined, no doubt,
that a fairer field for manly intelligence, such as he
understood it, lay open in the land which he had
quitted. He would turn his back on those ungrate-
ful, churlish Yorkshiremen, and carry his family and
energies where the one would be appreciated and the
other decently supported.

On the eve of his departure, the agent of a col-
liery at Barnsley was accidentally killed by the ma-



FAMILY MATTERS. 7

cliinery at a calender. One of the partners in this
colliery, a Mr. Clayton, was a partner in the Kippax
Colliery, in which, as has been already told, his brother
John had by this time obtained a share. The post,
vacant by the death of the unfortunate agent, was
offered by Mr. Clayton to William Locke. Not with-
out grave doubts, we may be sure, as to whether he
ought longer to have his abode among these Egyp-
tians, these hard, ungracious taskmasters, not without
serious misgivings and strong yearnings for a sight
of the coal-fields beyond the Dee, was the offer ac-
cepted. But it was accepted, and he was forthwith
installed in the management.

It was the very post for him. He found every-
thing wrong. The workings were in the most
lamentable condition. The ledgers showed most
miserable returns. Poor returns at the top of the
pit had induced false parsimony at the bottom;
and the unsatisfactory state of each was going on
continually aggravating the unsatisfactory state of
the other. By his vigilance and economy, William
Locke soon managed to mend the receipts sufficiently
to enable him to descend and mend the workings.
Improvement in them communicated fresh improve-
ment in the weekly returns. And it was not long
before the books, which had previously shown a
balance of one or two hundred pounds, and some-
times a deficiency of even more, showed a healthy
surplus of twelve hundred a year. About this period
his father died. He had held the appointment of



8 LIFE OE JOSEPH LOCKE.

coal-viewer to the Duke of Norfolk. This appoint-
ment William Locke inherited, and held for the re-
mainder of his life.

It came just in time, for more troubles were ahead.
He had made bricks out of straw, and now these
rascally Egyptians were going to turn round and
complain of their quality. The resident partner,
either in a fit of spleen or from less excusable motive,
cast some imputation upon the agent's management.
William Locke no sooner caught the sound of the
imputation than he made his resolve. But before
carrying it into effect, or even announcing its nature,
he insisted that the absent partner should come over
to Barnsley and inspect both books and pit. The
inspection proved but too clearly that he had made
whatever was profitable in the second and whatever
was agreeable in the first. The resident partner was
silenced; but their manager was not. Then it was
that he spoke out his resolve, which simply was, that
the sooner they found another agent the better, for
he would never more be officer of theirs. No more
than Caesar's wife, must his entire capacity even be
suspected. He took high ground. But with the
sense of insult w^as mingled also the sense of their
thanklessness. Instead of deeming him incapable
who had made the concern, they ought long ago to
have offered him a share. Were they to offer it to
him now, he would not accept it. When he had
finally left Barnsley, and was living at Sandal Magna,
he had the satisfaction of being periodically consulted



FAMILY MATTERS.

by the very partner who had caused him such deep
offence.

It is probable that the man, who was right -hearted
enough, employed this as the most delicate means
of healing a wound and repairing an injury which
he had only by inadvertence inflicted. An ordi-
nary, and perhaps what most people would call a
sensible man, would have suffered no w^ound by, and
made no injury of the occurrence. But consciousness
of power, joined to loyalty of purpose, is invariably
sensitive. A man may be capable, but unscrupulous ;
a man may be scrupulous, but incapable. The former
has no care, the latter no right, to resent the challenge
of powers that are avowedly open to question. But
the man who knows that he both can and will do the
very best for everybody about him, is sure to take
uncommon quick care that nobody about him shall
impugn his capacity or willingness twice. It is very
well for Napoleon to write to his brother Joseph :
" Avec de petites vanites et de vaines considera-
tions, on n'a jamais fait rien de grand," since with
him no means, however sordid, could be too small,
provided the end were what he thought sufficiently
great. A brigand in purple may prefer his crown
to his conscience, and consider loud " applause
and aves vehement" everything, and moral sense
nothing. But the world has long suspected, and
is rapidly coming to avow, that real grandeur is
made up not of stage heroism, but of unobtrusive
sacrifices ; and that the man who has not been extolled



10 LIFE OF JOSEPH LOCKE.

during life is the man most likely to be worth holding
up as an example after death. In such an age William
Locke has haply the chance of being considered a
hero.

He stood in need to be at least of that sterner stuff
of which Shakspere assures us that ambition should
be made. Despite the large family which he had to
rear, and the smallness of the means (never certainly
exceeding, if ever reaching, 300 a year), he and his
frugal, ever co-operating wife had contrived to put by
a purse ; and with its contents he was determined to
have and work coal of his own. He opened a pit in
Cockrarn Lane, in Barnsley. No sooner was the
work fairly started than arose a dispute about a
watercourse with which the colliery was alleged to
interfere. His opponent was an attorney ; so York
was the natural ground on which the difference could
be settled. William Locke was beaten; he was a
poor man. The man who opposed him was a lawyer,
Locke thought an unscrupulous one. Whether from
disgust or want of means, or both combined, he
resolved to have no more law, so parted with the
coal. It has since been all worked, and the pit
closed.

But, however much it is necessary just at present
to insist upon the natural march of human affairs,
Providence does eventually interfere in behalf of
him who trusts long and is not cast down. Even
the gods are compelled at last to look with some
little complacency on the losing side. And if it be,



FAMILY MATTERS. 11

as it undoubtedly is, true that Heaven helps those
who help themselves, it was certainly high time for
Heaven to help William Locke. He had succeeded
in getting the w r hole of his family settled, Joseph,
the youngest son, having just been placed, as will
hereafter be described, under George Stephenson at
Newcastle. He was rapidly approaching that age
pronounced by Scriptural authority to be the limit of
human life. It was his destiny considerably to
exceed it. Is it not consoling to know that it was
exceeded under the condition of uninterrupted
peace ?

In 1832, Mr. Stobart, whose name will re-appear
in this history, left vacant by his death the post of
coal- viewer to Lord Stourton. It was bestowed upon
William Locke. He removed first to Sandal Magna,
thence to Hothwell Haigh, a large house surrounded
by an extensive garden, the property of Lord Stourton,
situated nearly half-way between Leeds and Wakefield.
Here his compulsory labours were light, and such as
became his years. Two or three times a year he
had to descend Lord Stourton's pits and measure the
amount of coal that had been won. But his spon-
taneous toil was never relaxed to the last. The
grounds attached to the house, both kitchen-garden
and pleasure-garden, were kept in order exclusively
by himself. Rising frequently at five, and never
later than six, he worked in it for a couple of hours
before breakfast. He returned immediately after,
and, save his frugal dinner at half- past twelve, allowed



12 LIFE OF JOSEPH LOCKE.

nothing but the visits of friends, and not always these,
to suspend the operation of his steady energy till
dusk.

In summer he might have been seen with spade,
rake, or hoe in hand till nine o'clock in the
evening, and even later ; his wife, as venerable in age
and appearance as himself, frequently reproving him
in north-country accent with the never-varying
formula, "Ma dear, you have noo moderation."
But moderation would have necessitated either some
falling off in the absolute perfection to which he had
brought his garden, or the admission of some one
else's assistance, and William Locke was as little
likely to tolerate the one as the other. Nobody
besides himself should have such a garden ; and
nobody besides himself should have anything to do
with making it incomparable. He was as jealous of
the superiority of his potatoes, his red currants, or
his roses, as was ever beauty of the pre-eminence of
her charms, or poet of the supremacy of his verse.
And when on one occasion a son-in-law, who lived
some little distance away, conscious of the old man's
foible, had playfully boasted that he could show him
gooseberries almost twice as large as any that
Eothwell Haigh could produce, he was indignantly
incredulous, and proved the honesty of his incre-
dulity by going over, a few days after, to judge for
himself. At first " he did nae think so : any way, it
was doobtful; though he wad nae deny that the
gooseberries were fine." And when, to carry the joke



FAMILY MATTERS. 13

to its extent, his son-in-law produced from his coat-
pocket the very gooseberries which had been given to
him at Rothwell Haigh as specimens of its productive
powers, and they proved to be little more than half
the size of those now examined, and he was obliged
to confess, with anything but a good grace that
" might-be it was nae so doobtful," he consoled himself
by tasting the latter and remarking tbat, in growing to
a size that was " oot of all character," the berries had
altogether lost their flavour. And though the best
was forthwith done to mollify him by taking him to
the flower-garden and confessing against all evidence
that it could show no such roses as Rothwell, he was
not quite himself for the rest of that day, but rather
avoided for many another a place where he was a
most frequent, welcome, and delightful guest. When-
ever he did come in future, everybody knew that
gooseberries were a forbidden topic.

The extreme affection for his garden had one
result which is perhaps incident to all affection. His
garden, in consequence, gave him far more trouble
than if he had loved it with discretion. Such was
his fond tenderness that he either could not see or
would not chastise its faults. In it was a good deal
of timber that ought undoubtedly to have come
down. But not a tree no, not a branch should be
touched. You might just as well have asked him to
lop off one of the Ten Commandments. It was very
old, and deplorably in the way of younger growth ;
but it should hold its ground for all that. It had



14 LIFE OF JOSEPH LOCKE.

been there for many a year. It was there still.
It was, like himself, very venerable, and like him-
self, dear old man, perhaps a little obstructive. But
he was not going to remove it, and he would take
good care that no other should remove it. He has
gone now, and it has followed.

For the birds he had an equal affection. The
stupid destruction of them, such as wise no less than
humane men have at present to deprecate, would
have filled him with immeasureable anger. He
thought with Pope that not man's alone

" the harvest of the plain :

The birds of heaven shall vindicate their grain."

Doubtless he was observant enough to know their
use. But it was a more familiar feeling than the
consciousness of their services which rendered them
the objects of his gentle regard. They were his kind
companions. They were pecking at his feet as he
turned up the soil with his spade ; they were singing
over his head as he trained the feelers of his plants.
It used to please him to have, as much as it used to
please his young grandchildren to see, the robins
feeding from his wrinkled hand. And probably he
was never so happy as when he had some of these
little ones to talk to, collecting all the while the
dead leaves from his flower-beds, or earthing up his
matchless celery. One of his grandsons well remem-
bers how on one of these many occasions, when he
went to pay his first visit at the beginning of the



FAMILY MATTERS. 15

half-yearly holidays, the grandfather was curious to
know what were the subjects of his study. The boy
answered with the usual roll of Latin, Greek, Erench,
algebra, history, &c. When he had got to the end
of his catalogue, William Locke asked if he was not
taught land-surveying. When answered in the nega-
tive, he plunged his spade deeper than usual into
the soil, rested his foot upon it and looked blank
astonishment. Not teach land-surveying ! It must
be a very queer sort of school where they did not
teach land-surveying. It seemed to him more
" monstrous " even than EalstafFs bill at the Tabard
seemed to Prince Hal : since here was equally
" such a quantity of sack/' and positively no bread
at all !

The simplicity of his occupations and the frugality
of his diet made him intolerant of pastimes less
simple and fare more sumptuous. He used often to
say of one of his daughters whose married life was
as moderate in its pleasures as it was complete in
its happiness, that he " really wondered where she
intended to go to." And, though probably no rich
man's table in England was at the same time so
thoroughly hospitable and so little prodigal as his
son Joseph's, he could not refrain from expressing to
his son's wife, that he thought her dinners "posi-
tively sinful." Anxious as that son was that his
father should enjoy all the comforts which his own
fortune enabled him to confer, he never succeeded
in carrying out his intention. William Locke had



16 LIFE OF JOSEPH LOCKE.

worked hard and lived simply all his life, and he
could work hard and live simply still, without the
assistance even of a son whom he loved and admired.
He liked work for work's sake ; that work, together
with money which he had withal contrived to save,
bringing, in his advanced years, every comfort for
him and for his devoted wife, who spent the few
years during which she survived, in regretting and
longing to rejoin him. His death was a quiet going
out : not a conflict, not an agony.

For his life had been thoroughly consistent
throughout. Qimlis ab incepto might appropriately
have been his motto. He had no occasion to ex-
claim that at least he would die with harness
on his back. The winds had blown hard enough
all along, and he had never been out of harness
for a day. There was no need in his case for a


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