All the steamships of the Cunard Line were built on the River Clyde, in Scotland, and re ceived their engines at the City of Glasgow, at the extremity of navigation on that river. The Atlantic screw steamships, which run from Philadelphia to Liverpool,and the " Glas gow," which runs between New York and Glasgow, were built and received their en gines at the same place. The river is a very insignificant one at Glasgow, so far as it res pects the quantity of water discharged into it, end is no more to be compared with the Hud son, than is the Mohawk. It is not insignifi cant, however, in the lesson which it might teach the people of Albany, regarding the deepening of the Hudson, to promote its navi gation for vessels of heavy tonnage. As pro mised by us in the Scientific American of last week, we will proceed to present an outline of what has been done on this river, which will be found, to sustain the views of Mr. Battell, with respect to improving the navi gation of the Hudson. In 1750 there were only three feet of water in the channel of the river Clyde; in 1850 there were 17ifeet of water. In 1758 an act of Parliament was ob tained to make a lock to secure 44 feet of wa ter up to Glasgow, but it never was made, for a plan of systematic improvement was laid out; by the celebrated James Watt, which was soon acted upon, and from that day to this the improvement in the channel oi the river has steadily progressed. There were at that time a number of fords or sand, banks in the river, and at Glasgow there was one, on which there were but 15 inches water, and about 3 feet spring tides. The lowest tord was at Dum-buck, 12 miles below Glasgow. It was deep ened in the autumn of 1770 from 2 feet at low water to a depth of six ieet, at an expense of 2,300 ($11,300). The great object of this deep cut was to allow a larger body of tidal water up the river—the next step being by a jetty of stones run out from the shore to secure the ebbing of the waters through the new cut. The largest vessels now sail where once was this ford, which formed the outermost link of the old Roman Empire. " The improvements were commenced by deepening afothe fords and running jetties of loose stones out from the shore to low-water mark; these guided the water into the chan nel, which was thereby deepened. Continu ous dykes, parallel with the current, were then formed, by which a uniform depth was maintained; and in 1807 a tracking path was formed along the south dyke from Redrew up to Glasgow, 24J miles of these were dykes formed, and cost from 25s. to 30s. per lineal yard of dyke. In 1824 the tides and freshets had scoured away about two million cubic yards, and gained a depth of 13 feet. In 1824 the steam dredging machine was introduced, being its first application to a river in Scot land, and since then about three million cubic yards of ituff have been lifted, besides many tots of stones by means of diving bells. In 1842-5 channels were cut through Port-Glasgow and other banks, and 420,000 cubic yards removed. * The water above Glasgow has, in suspen sion about 22,000 cubic yards of line stuff' an nually. In the harbor alone about 80.000 cu bic yards of silt accumulate annually, and about 90,000 in the river, including an annual accumulation at Bowling of 60,000 cubic yards, which costs the trustees about . 1200 per annum to remove. The whole cost of maintaining the depth is upwards of 8000 a-year; the average price being, lifting, 8d ; depositing, 4d—equal to Is. per cubic yard." The foregoing extracts marked as quoted, are from a paper on the subject by W. Campbell, C. E. The facts prominently set forth are, that by removing the fords or- sand banks, and dyking or walling up, as proposed by Mr.Battel, a river which at one time, only admitted sloops and coal boats of about 100 and 200 tons, now allows ships of 2000 tons burden to sail up twelve miles above the place (Dumbuck) where there were only 2 feet of water 100 years ago. The price of dredging and keeping the river clear, is given in Ster ling currency, which is still taught (whether it be wise or not) in our schools, and will be understood, but we could not afford to do the same work here at the same price. But even allowing the people oi Albany to put up the figures one half more, they would find them all against the building of a new and expen sive ship canal. Let them get powerful dredg ing boats and build walls to narrow the chan nel, and then not fear, but a most wonderful change for the better will be effected in the Hudson River.
This article was originally published with the title "Deepening the Rivers Clyde and Hudson" in Scientific American 8, 29, 232 (April 1853)