Imágenes de páginas

inclined to graphic methods of stating and solving engineering problems; and his eye, thus trained, became an intuitive judge and calculator.

Then comes, in natural succession, the habit of instant, rapid, accurate, methodical recording of observations. It was Holley's practice to do this constantly; to make every record so clear and complete that it could be comprehended and used after years had passed ; and to index his note-books and scrap-books so that they became thoroughly available at any moment. This is no trifling matter. When the officers of our Corps of Engineers are examined as to their fitness for promotion, they are obliged not only to answer questions and prepare “projects,” but also to exhibit the notebooks they have kept during their terms of service. No other revelation of character is more significant, no test more severe.

The work that a man does in a hurry, and unobserved, and for himself, not the public, tells the story of his method and temperament. Holley's note-books are models of fullness and order.

But neither observing, nor recording, nor studying, nor the combination of all these with practical training, completely furnish the engineer for the highest place. For he has to deal, not merely with matter and mathematics, but also with men. They must be made to recognize his skill, to back his enterprise, to coöperate in his achievements. Influence, influence—that is the secret of power. Genius may seize opportunities; influence brings them. And the chief vehicle of influence is language. The mastery of language, therefore, is no superfluous accomplishment to the engineer. The young man who deliberately and of choice says, “I mean to be scientific, but not ' literary;'” or the parent who says, “My boy is not going to need a liberal culture; he is going to be an engineer,” is ignorant of the most potent principle of modern life—the solidarity of the race, the dependence of each upon all, the necessity of wide foundation for a high fame, the universal law that every occupation deals ultimately with men even more than with things, and that the ability to shape things is almost barren without the power to move men.

But language, as the means of this power, is effective in proportion as it is filled with appeals to the responsive associations of human minds. A host of things in fancy, poetry, history, and gen

. eral literature, concerning which people are interested, may be trivial in themselves: it is nevertheless worth while to know them and to use them, as a means of commanding the interest and assent of men.


[ocr errors]

In other words, a wide culture, in sympathy with the age in which we live, is an element of power. It is true that all this, belonging to the art of expression, is wasted in the hands of him who has nothing to express. Men may be arrested to listen, but they will soon find out that behind the skillful utterance there is neither character nor knowledge. They may be fascinated by the instrument, until they find out there is nothing in the tune. But when real genius and noble ambition utter themselves through the channels of art in language, how gladly hears the world!

Holley's versatility and intellectual sympathy with many lines of thought prevented him from sinking to the level of drudgery, though he worked harder than many a drudge; they made him, not merely a bricklayer, but an architect for his generation. Controlled and reinforced by a mighty perseverance, softened and brightened by an unfailing gentleness of soul, they added to his genius that which made him great. For what we call greatness in any sphere is simply recognized excellence. The excellence may be spurious, the recognition may be factitious and ephemeral—then the greatness is false, and the great of to-day are forgotten to-morrow. But when a noble character has been nobly exhibited; when genuine power has won genuine praise; when fame soars not for a brief flight into the windy air, but stands firm-footed on the solid pyramid of achievement, to sound through her silver trump the name of her victorious son—conqueror of nature, leader of men—this greatness will endure.

Build him a monument that shall testify our love and his renown. Let the world understand that not alone the plots of politics or the luck of wat may give title to such public memorials. This witness,

. addressing as it does the imagination, the ambition, the worthy pride of the greatest number of men, is conspicuously appropriate to a life so many-sided and complete, so simple and sincere, yet so popular and influential.

He did not, as once he feared he might, go down poor and unknown, carrying with him thoughts of which the world was not worthy. He was heard, believed, accepted, rewarded—with no greater delay or difficulty than sufficed to bring out to their full extent his own best powers. It was given to him to do grand things in the sight of all men. And beneath all our words and pictures and statues of him—lies forever, a sure foundation, the work that he did for his time.

Foresters tell us that a tree once marked will retain the mark,


though a hundred years of growth may have overlaid it with later coverings. What may be the future spread and stature of the stately oak of American engineering we cannot presume to foretell. But there will come no time when the historian, stripping off the bark, and cutting through the rings of many generations, will not find at the heart that name which with keen blade and skillful hand was carved by Alexander Lyman Holley.




I. Books.

THE PERMANENT WAY AND COAL-BURNING LOCOMOTIVES OF EUROPEAN RAILWAYS ; with a Comparison of the Working Economy of European and American Lines, and the Principles upon which Improvement must Proceed. By Zerah Colburn and Alexander. L. Holley. With fifty-one plates by J. Bien. New York : Holley and Colburn, 1858. Folio, 168 pp. of text.

AMERICAN AND EUROPEAN RAILWAY PRACTICE in the Economical Generation of Steam, including the Materials and Construction of Coal-burning Boilers, Combustion, the Variable Blast, Vaporization, Circulation, Superheating, Supplying and Heating Feed-water, etc., and the Adaptation of Wood and Coke-burning Engines to Coal-burning; and in Permanent Way, including Road-bed, Sleepers, Rails, Joint-fastenings, Street Railways, etc. By Alexander L. Holley, B.P. With seventy-seven plates, engraved by J. Bien. New York : D. Van Nostrand; London: Sampson Low, Son & Co., 1860. (Second Edition 1867.) Folio, 192 pp. of text.

A TREATISE ON ORDNANCE AND ARMOR: Embracing Descriptions, Discussions and Professional Opinions concerning the Material, Fabrication, Requirements, Capabilities and Endurance of European and American Guns for Naval, Sea-coast and Ironclad Warfare, and their Rifling, Projectiles and Breech-loading. Also, Results of Experiments against Armor, from Official Records. With an Appendix,

* Mr. Holley's articles in the Railway Advocate, the American Engineer, and the American Railway Review, and his editorial paragraphs in Van Nostrand's Eclectic Engineering Magazine are not included in this list. Their number, and the diffculty of identifying them with certainty, forbids the attempt to catalogue them. But the files of the Railway Advocate for 1855, 1856 and 1857, the American Engineer for a brief period in 1857, and the mechanical department of the American Railway Review for 1860 and the first half of 1861, abound in his work. He was editor of Van Nostrand's from its foundation in January 1869, for one year.-[R. W. R.]

Referring to Gun-Cotton, Hooped Guns, etc. With 493 Illustrations. New York: D. Van Nostrand; London: Trübner & Company, 1865. Octavo, 900 pp.


An Essay on Pen and Pocket Cutlery, Embracing a Detailed Description of the Mechanical, Chemical and Manual Operations Performed on Certain Raw Materials, to Convert them into the Means, Implements and Materials for Manufacturing Pen and Pocket Knives. By A. L. Holley. Published in Poor's American Railroad Journal, New York, during May, June and July, 1850.

The Natural Motors. Graduating Oration (unpublished), delivered September 7th, 1853, at Brown University, Providence, R. I.

Water Considered as a Carrier : the Properties upon which its Qualification for the Office Depends. By Dr. Hugag. Published in the Litchfield Enquirer, January 26th, 1854.

Corliss's Stationary Steam Engine. Published in the Polytechnic Journal, New York City, 1854. 10 PP.,

with diagrams.

The Dominion of Mind. An Oration, Delivered before the Theta Delta Chi Fraternity at their Annual Convention, by Alexander L. Holley, June 1st, 1855. Providence, B. T. Albro, Printer, 185?. Octavo pamphlet, 18 pp.

Ironclad War Vessels. By A. L. Holley. Published in the National Almanac for 1863. About 6 pp., small octavo.

Ironclad Ships and Heavy Ordnance. Published in the Atlantic Monthly for January 1863. 10 pp., octavo.

Steel, and the Bessemer Process. A paper read before the Polytechnic Association of the American Institute, New York City, October 12th, 1865. Published in the American Artisan.

The Bessemer Process and Works in the United States. (Originally an Article in the Troy Daily Times, July 27th, 1868.) New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1868. Octavo pamphlet, 39 pp.

« AnteriorContinuar »