Imatges de pÓgina

long considered barely practicable. Although those mountain inclines are serious undertakings, it is compulsory for the good of the country to make and to maintain them, and, in spite of all difficulties, Mr. Berkley has, after six years of laborious research, succeeded in designing a series of lines, which I have no doubt will be amongst the most successful in the world. I trust, however, that greater wisdom will be displayed by the Indian Government than by our home legislature in that respect. That they will be watched over with something more like parental care, for here they have been deserted like prodigal sons. India demands accommodation for an enormous traffic and population, and if the railways are permitted to be extended with discretion and wisdom, there cannot be a question that they will be both beneficial to those who have invested capital in the enterprise, and of incalculable advantage to that important country. My friend at my side has also the honour, whether accidental or not, of being the engineer who constructed and opened the first railway in India. This is no small credit to him, and in all that he has done I feel proud of him, and that he has reflected honour upon my recommendation." Notwithstanding the extent and the laborious nature of his

professional duties, Mr. Berkley took an active part in many of the useful and scientific institutions of Bombay. In the Mechanics' Institution especially he took a lively interest, and by his personal exertions and active measures, as President, he greatly increased its sphere of public utility, and gave an interest to its proceedings which had before been wanting.

The Council of the Mechanics Institution has accorded a “ Berkley Gold Medal” as an annual prize for competition among its members in commemoration of his valuable services, and the first gold medal was sent to his widow with a resolution expressing sympathy and condolence.

Constant demands were made upon his services, but he was obliged to decline everything except the nomination to such position as indirectly bore upon the chief events of his life. In 1855 he became a magistrate. In 1857 he was appointed one of the commissioners of the Municipal Board, and in 1858 he was elected a member of the Senate of the Bombay University.

Mr. Berkley's energy of mind far exceeded his physical strength, which was suffering severely from the effects of the Indian climate, so that in April, 1861, the state of his health compelled him to return to England. At that time he had the satisfaction of seeing his plans and designs of the Bhore Ghât, his most cherished work, fully developed, and the works being carried on with extraordinary activity under a very efficient management. He eagerly desired to return to India to witness the accomplishment of the great work he had designed and almost carried out to completion, but it was otherwise ordered ; and after a lingering illness he closed his short but useful career, at Sydenham, on the 25th August, 1862.

From early boyhood, James John Berkley showed signs of great activity of mind and love of knowledge. He was a great reader, and was ever ready with his pen as a contributor to general literature, or as a clear and able writer on professional subjects. In after years, when his position in India called forth the particular talent, he proved himself both as President of the Bombay Mechanics' Institution, at the meetings, and on public occasions, a fluent and indeed an eloquent speaker.

By his devoted attention to the important duties of his office as Chief Engineer, in Bombay, of the Great Indian Peninsula Railway, by his high sense of honour, by his gentlemanly bearing and liberal sentiments, as well as by the kindness and consideration which he ever displayed towards all those who were connected with him in business, he deservedly obtained the esteem and affectionate regard of all who knew him.

The high estimation in which he was held is proved by the following extracts, which have been selected from numerous voluntary testimonials.

The Directors of the Great Indian Peninsula Railway in reporting his death to the shareholders stated :

“The Directors have the melancholy duty of announcing to the Proprietors the death, on the 25th August last, of Mr. James J. Berkley, M. Inst. C. E., the Company's Chief Resident Engineer in India. Mr. Berkley from the commencement of operations in January, 1850. down to the beginning of last year, when his failing health compelled his return to England, conducted the whole of the engineering operations with remarkable devotion, energy, and engineering skill, to the entire satisfaction of the Directors. In order to record more permanently their sense of the valuable services which Mr. Berkley rendered to the Company, the Board have directed a tablet to be erected to his memory in some favourably conspicuous position at the Bhore Ghât Incline.”

Sir James Outram, whose large experience of Englishmen in India, rendered him no mean judge of his fellow-countrymen, and who has established a world-wide character for truthfulness and talent, wrote to him on his leaving Bombay in 1857 : “ MY DEAR BERKLEY,

Parell, 9th July, 1857. “I am loth to leave Bombay without seeing and bidding you good. bye, for which purpose I called at your old house in Mazagon, which I found shut up, and there was no one at the premises to tell me where you

I am informed, however, that you are travelling in Candeish, I hope out of harm's way in these troublesome times.

“When your line meets our line (from Calcutta) I trust we may have personal communication, if not before ; but in the meantime I hope you will not scruple to command me, wherever I may be, for there is no one for whom I have a greater esteem, or to whom this Presidency is more indebted, than yourself.

“ Believe me to be, my dear Berkley,
Very sincerely yours,

(Signed) " J. OUTRAM." In addition to the above, the Engineers on the staff of the


Great Indian Peninsula Railway, and a few other gentlemen in Bombay, united soon after the death of Mr. Berkley to prove their high appreciation of his talent, as well as their great esteem and affection for their late friend and companion, by a substantial testimonial.

In a few days a sum of nearly £3,000 was raised, and it was determined to erect a monument over the grave of their late friend, at a considerable cost, and to expend the remainder of the fund, amounting to about £2,000, in the establishment of a fellowship, to be called the “ Berkley” fellowship, at the Bombay University

. They well knew that the high value he attributed to education and the proper development of the powers of the mind, and the great interest he always evinced in this excellent university, would, were he living, render this

, in his eyes, one of the most valuable testimonials of their regard which could be offered to him.

Mr. Berkley was elected a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers in the year 1855, and his paper on “ Indian Railways," in 1860, obtained for him a Telford Medal and a Council Premium of Books.

He was one of the men who, if his mission had not been to become one of the engineering pioneers in the East, would have risen to a very eminent position in the profession, for which he possessed the highest qualifications.

MR. JAMES COOPER was born at Highgate, in the year 1817. Soon after leaving school he entered the factory of Messrs. Cooper, of Old Street, where he only remained a short time, but where he acquired useful practical knowledge, which was of service to him in his future career.

After studying for some time under Mr. Hale, land surveyor at Colchester, he entered the office of Messrs. Walker and Burges, as a pupil, in the year 1835, and he rendered himself so useful that he subsequently continued with them as an Assistant, and finally was admitted into partnership with the firm in 1851.

Under the direction of, and in connection with, Messrs. Walker and Burges, he enjoyed rare opportunities of observing, and of being actively engaged in, many of the great engineering works of the period, such as the Caledonian Canal, the Middle Level Drainage, the Admiralty Works at Dover, Jersey, Alderney, Plymouth, &c., the Birmingham Canal, and the Lighthouses for the Corporation of the Trinity House, with many other important undertakings.

Whilst he was in charge of the works at the Edystone Lighthouse, in 1839, when it was decided to carry out Smeaton's inten

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]
« AnteriorContinua »