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the 4th of January. On that day, the water having risen sufficiently to float the packed ice on the shoals, and the jamb below having given way, a general movement took place. Nos. 1 and 2 dams were carried away in the same manner as the abutment scows. This movement of the ice took place at noon on the 4th of January, and presented a sight never to be forgotten. The whole of the river and La Prairie Basin was one mass of packed ice, which, being held up by the jamb below, had been accumulating and rising for four days. At last some slight symptoms of motion were visible. The universal stillness which prevailed was interrupted by an occasional creaking, and every one breathlessly awaited the result, straining every nerve to ascertain if the movement was general. The uncertainty lasted
. but a short period; for in a few minutes the uproar arising from the rushing waters, the cracking, grinding, and shoving of the fields of ice, burst on our ears. The sight of twenty square miles (over 124,000,000 tons) of packed ice (which but a few minutes before seemed as a lake of solid rock) all in motion, presented a scene grand beyond description.
The traveller-frames and No. 2 dam glided for a distance of some hundred yards without having a joint of their framework broken. But as the movement of the ice became more rapid, and the fearful noises increased, these tall frameworks appeared to become animate; and, after performing some three or four evolutions like huge giants in a waltz, they were swallowed up, and reduced to a shapeless mass of crushed fragments.
‘After gazing at this marvellous scene in silence, till it was evident that the heaviest of the shoving was over, all those in the transit tower from which it had been witnessed began to inquire how the solitary pier No. 1, which had been battling alone amid this chaos, had escaped. Although some affected to entertain no fear, the author confesses for his own part to have felt infinitely relieved when, upon looking through the transit instrument, he discovered that the pier had not been disturbed.' (P. 29.)
It would be tedious to attempt to trace the gradual, but steady progress of the work.
Slow it necessarily was, for it was not till the month of August that the dams could be replaced, and the actual laying of stone commenced — before the end of November in each year the work of the season was brought to a close. The whole working season for pier masonry was therefore limited to about sixteen weeks; yet such was the astonishing energy with which the work was carried on, that in September 1856, eight thousand cubic yards, or 216,000 cubic feet, of masonry were set, being at the rate of thirteen cubic feet per working minute during the whole of the month. In 1854, one solitary pier close to the north shore began to rear its crest above the water; in 1855, two were completed, and two more begun; in 1856, seven rose above the river on the one shore, and two on the other ; in 1857, thirteen piers were almost
completed, and the abutments of the bridge on either side finished ; in 1858, all the piers had advanced far enough to allow the grand operation of laying the central tube to commence as soon as the ice bridge formed in the following winter :
• The whole of the iron work for the tubes was prepared at the Canada Works, Birkenhead, where a plan or map of each tube was made, upon which was shown every plate, T bar, angle iron, keelson, and cover plate in the tube, the position of each being stamped and marked upon it by a distinctive figure, letter, or character. As the work progressed at Birkenhead, every piece of iron, as it was punched and finished for shipment, was stamped with the identical mark corresponding with that on the plan ; so that when being erected in Canada, although each tube was composed of 4926 pieces, or 9852 for a pair, the workmen, being provided with a plan of the work, were enabled to lay down piece by piece with unerring certainty till the tube was complete. To an uninitiated spectator this proceeding would appear as complicated and hopeless a task as the putting together of a Chinese puzzle ; but to such perfection did they arrive at Birkenhead in making the plans, in preparing and punching the iron, and in shipping it, that when it arrived in Canada (where the iron for each tube was, as it arrived, sorted and stacked separately for use), the workman being provided with the plan would proceed with his work throughout, and never put a piece in the wrong place, nor have to alter a single plate. It was not uninteresting to watch the gradual diminution in the pile of iron on the platform as the work progressed, and eventually to see the last piece taken to fill up some out-of-the-way hole or corner, and then to hear for certain that the tube was completed.' (P. 55.)
As the short interval of a Canadian summer was the time to which the construction of pier masonry was limited, so the months of January, February, and March, during which the surface of the St. Lawrence is absolutely congealed, formed the fixed period within which the scaffolding for the erection of the ponderous tubes could alone be reared in safety. The question was, when it came to the grand central tube, whether the work could be accomplished in the time. The 10th, 11th, and 12th January, 1859, were the coldest days which had been experienced in Canada for many years. The thermometers at the bridge fell to 36° below zero Fahrenheit. In this cold the work commenced. The staging of the works and steam hoist were soon completed, and on the 31st January the bottom of the great tube was begun. By the 9th February it was considerably advanced, forty gangs of rimmers working night and day preparing the holes for the riveters. Large fires in braziers shed an unearthly light over this strange contest of man with the icebound river. If there were any wind at all at this low temperature, the men were driven from their work, covered though they were with heavy coats, thick gloves, and fur caps. At times they were frosted over with icicles, from the mist of the St. Lawrence; scores of them were frostbitten, yet by timely attention and judicious treatment, not a finger or a limb was lost by cold. Thus the work went on, every man working with an enthusiasm which neither the rigour of the season, nor the labour of the undertaking could check; for the general opinion was, that unless the centre tube could be completed before the break up of the ice, it would fall into the river and be destroyed. Hence the last weeks of this great enterprise acquired the interest of a crisis everything depended on the prosecution of the work and its termination before the thaw let loose the ice floor of the river, and swept away the frames on which the work still rested, by the huge drift of the subsiding waters. On the 28th February, the bottom was completed and riveted, 180 feet of the sides were in place, and 100 feet of the top plated. A fortnight later, on the 15th March, a fearful storm swept away a portion of the scaffolding, and gave signs of a break up of the ice. The thermometer had risen to 50°. On the 21st March, the whole of the plating was finished, and only 18,000 rivets were needed to perfect the work; in three days 12,000 of them were made fast: 5,600 still remained to be done, when on Friday, the 25th March, the first movement of the ice was felt - dark ridges became visible above the bridge - and it became apparent that the whole field of ice of the Prairie Basin was slowly driving on the Middle Shoal. A panic seized all hands, but as the tube was a mile from the shore escape was impossible, and fortunately in a few minutes the movement of the ice ceased for that day. A return of frost on the following night made the ice safe again for a few hours, and enabled the men to place the last rivets. Measures were then taken to cut away the wedges and remove the artificial stages; as they were cut away, the tube remained firm and unsupported across the centre of the river, with a slight deflection of three inches in the bottom. On the following day the ice came down with tremendous force, crushing and driving before it the temporary piers and staging.
Although this operation completed the most arduous part of the undertaking, many months were required for the removal of the prodigious temporary dams, crib-work, and other materials which had been laid down to protect the masonry. The 17th December, 1859, was the day appointed for the first passage of trains through the bridge. About an hour before the first train Was to pass a tremendous crash was heard. Alarm was felt. But on running to discover the cause of the uproar, it was found that the newly-formed ice in drifting down the river had swept away the last portion of the scaffolding, and left the bridge free, and the river clear of all further obstruction.
It is to be lamented that Mr. Robert Stephenson did not live to witness the completion of this great undertaking — perhaps the
most extraordinary of all the great works of engineering genius which have been constructed in this age. But whilst we do homage to the boldness of conception and accuracy of calculation by which such works are rendered possible, we must reserve, at least, an equal degree of admiration for those resolute, ingenious, and long-suffering men by whom such conceptions are realised. To have worked on the Victoria Bridge from its commencement to its completion, is to have fought six campaigns of as much toil and trial as the contests of war. Night and day, summer and winter, in cold the most rigorous and heat the most intolerable, the work proceeded; and the army of gallant artisans, commanded by men, who, under the humble name of contractors, are in reality officers of inexhaustible skill and resource, triumphed over obstacles and antagonists more formidable than any human resistance. We are indebted to Mr. Hodges for his clear and unpretending narration of this wonderful performance, and in conclusion we shall borrow from his summary the following particulars of the dimensions of the work. The total length of the Victoria Bridge is 9,144 feet, the length of the tubes alone being 6,592 feet. The bottom of the tube rests at a level of 60 feet above the surface of the St. Lawrence. The weight of the iron in the tubes is 9,044 tons, riveted by 1,540,000 rivets; and the surface of the iron work, which has been painted with four coats of paint, is no less than 32 acres, so that 128 acres of paint have been applied to it. The bridge has 24 piers and 25 spans, 24 of these spans being from 242 to 247 feet, and one extending to 330 feet. The masonry in the piers and abutments amounts to 2,713,095 cubic feet, and the quantity of timber used in the temporary works was 2,280,000 cubic feet. By these appliances a railway bridge was laid over one of the greatest and most rapid rivers in the world in the space of five years and five months. Three thousand men, six steamers, seventy-five barges, and four steam engines were constantly employed on this work. Such are the details with which Mr. Hodges concludes his narrative. They are complete, except in
. one material respect. We are left to surmise what may have been the cost of this prodigious work. On that point no information is vouchsafed to us; and as Louis XIV. burnt the bills of the architects of Versailles, we presume the great Companies of our time would fain forget the outlay of the gigantic monuments of their splendour and ambition.
ART. IV. - 1. Political Ballads of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, annotated. By W. WALKER WIL
2 vols. London: 1860. 2. The Jacobite Songs and Ballads of Scotland, from 1688 to
1746 : with an Appendix of Modern Jacobite Songs. Edited
by CHARLES MACKAY, LL.D. London: 1861. 'If I were permitted to make the ballads of a nation, I should
'not care who made its laws.' This phrase has passed into an adage, attributed to one of the most terse of political writers and pregnant of political thinkers, Fletcher of Saltoun. But his it is not. Like most good sayings, it belongs to that comprehensive all the world,' which is proverbially said to have more wit than any one in it. Fletcher does not claim it. "I said,' are his words, 'I knew a very wise man so much of Sir • Christopher's sentiment' (an imaginary interlocutor in his Account of a Conversation concerning a Right Regulation of Government) that he believed, if a man were permitted to make all the ballads, he need not care who should make the laws of a nation.' But the adage, with all its smartness, is a very deceitful one. A curious essay might be written to show how, in politics, wit is generally on the losing side. The successful ballad is very rarely the accompaniment of a successful cause. The exile, the defeated, the persecuted - these are commonly the favourites of the popular muse.
* It is remarkable, though quite natural' (says Dr. Mackay) that the losing cause in politics should always be associated with lovelier music and poetry than have ever been inspired by success. The defeat of Flodden was a nobler theme for the poets of the fifteenth century than the victory of Waterloo was for those of the nineteenth. Béranger could not sing songs about Napoleon robed in his purple and conquering the world ; but when the great Emperor was stripped of his crown, his power, and his liberty, and sent to die brokenhearted on the lonely rock of St. Helena, the heart of the poet was touched, and his harpstrings quivered to the tenderest and most ennobling music of the time.'
What is true of the elegiac ballad is still more true of the satirical. A Government pursued by the choicest and most effective satire, is apt to be a very long-lived one. "Qu'ils cantent, pourvou qu'ils payent,' said Mazarin, who survived a thousand Mazarinades to die in his bed an all-powerful Prime Minister. But ministers and empires perish, while wit is