When the very paper you are now perusing, gentle reader, has traveled tens or hundreds of miles upon the iron roa.d drawn by the locomotive engine at the rate of thirty miles an hour, without creating one emotion of surprise, or exciting in you an exclamation of astonishment, you can scarcely be expected to believe that thirty years ago, the man whose name heads this article was called a fool, a madman, and a dreamer, because he undertook to make a locomotive travel ten ! Yet such was the case, and all the facilities of land locomotion that we now possess, all the good that railways as social revolutionizers have done, the increase of commerce, and the strengthening of friendly relations between city and city, State and State, that iron roads have effected, we owe to the indomitable courage, heroism, perseverance, and energy of the self-taught, self-made George Stephenson. Not only this, but to him are we also indebted for the " Geordy" safety lamp, for the invention of which he has had the heartfelt blessing of many a poor miner who had nothing else to give. Let us know the history of this man's struggles, said the world, let us know the secret of his success, and give us an opportunity to compare him with the mighty dead whose lives are to us as household words. This has been done. We have before us the " Life of George Stephenson, Railway Engineer," by Samuel Smiles, published by Ticknor & Fields, Boston ; a modest, unpretending volume, just in fact what it should be, quiet and strong. Of the work of the biographer, we cannot say too much. There is not one page of dry reading in the book, from the moment you take it in hand to the close. You are engrossed, absorbed ; it is a story, not a life, full of incidents, each pregnant with results that have changed the aspect of the world. The reader follows, as through an enchanted grove, the career of this noble man. It is a book that should be on every shelf, and children should j have it read to them that they may learn lessons of self-reliance. For the personal gratification that the author has afforded us, we are grateftu, ana we know that each reader will be laid under the same debt. Heartily do we wish the book success, sincerely can we recommend it to all, for it is a worthy monument to a great man, to a high priest of the nineteenth century civilization, George ! Stephenson !
This article was originally published with the title "George Stephenson"