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was clear, and allowed of the instrument being constantly at work.” Their last station was at Tarbatness, where they finished their observations on the 29th of September.
“ The weather was now daily becoming more stormy and wet. The mountains were all covered with snow, and the trigonometrical season was declared to be at an end.”
Such had been Captain Colby's life for many years, and such was now to be Drummond's. One would not readily think of romance in connection with the subject of triangulation. And yet it may now appear not unnatural that the latter should raise expectations of the former. Indeed, to those who have read Mr Connolly's account of the share taken by the Sappers in the great triangulation, “The Romance of the Survey,” as the title of a book of adventure, would no more sound strange than “ The Romance of War.” “The Station Hunters” may yet find a place among works of light literature.
SURVEY OPERATIONS, 1821-1825; DRUMMOND'S INVEN
TIONS ; THE HELIOSTAT AND THE DRUMMOND LIGHT.
DRUMMOND was only in the twenty-third year of his age when he joined the Survey in the summer of 1820. Whether he went out in the trigonometrical operations of that year does not appear; in the following and several succeeding years he was actively employed on the great triangulation, in Scotland and England first, and afterwards in Ireland.
Probably, on arriving in London, he had again to pass through a period of “preliminary practical instructions.” Fitness for the varied duties of the service was, to a large extent, to be acquired at the head-quarters at the Tower. For the discharge of many of these duties he must have been competent from the first.
In the season of 1821 he was in Scotland with Colby, Vetch (afterwards consulting engineer at the Admiralty), and Dawson, continuing the great triangulation northwards from Caithness, over part of which the triangles had been carried in the season of 1819.
In the season of 1821 the triangles were thrown over Orkney and Shetland. The party made observations from eleven stations, including those upon
" the two lone islands” of Faira and Foula, as they are called by Dawson in the letter already cited. The season was one of extraordinary labour. On the island of Foula, Colby, the chief,” as his officers delighted to call him, experienced a sharp inflammatory attack, and had to send to Lerwick, on the east coast of Shetland, for leeches. His sufferings in the interval are described as having been almost beyond endurance. On recovering from this attack, he returned to the south (apparently accompanied by Dawson), to take part in observations arranged to be made in France by himself and Captain Kater, conjointly with MM. Arago and Mathieu. The work in the islands fell to be completed after his departure by Vetch and Drummond.*
How Mr Drummond was occupied in the season of 1822 is somewhat uncertain. Colby, Dawson, and Vetch were out on the west coast. They explored the whole range
of the western islands from the Mull of Kintyre to the Butt of Lewis. Colby had again to return to engage in operations in the south ; he left Vetch and Dawson to finish the Scotch observations in camp at the Mull of Oe. The operations in the south were in continuation of those in which Colby was engaged in the previous year along with Captain Kater. They were repeating the triangulation and measurements, which had previously been executed by General Roy, for the purpose of connecting the Observatories of Greenwich and Paris. In the mean time a party of the Survey officers, to which Drummond was probably attached, were engaged in operations in England. Ten stations were visited by this party, and observations for azimuth made at two of them ; but in what district they were I cannot ascertain.
In 1823 Drummond was engaged along with Colby in carrying a chain of triangles northwards towards Cambridge, for the purpose of fixing upon the position
* Memoir of Colby, p. 63.
for its observatory. On this occasion Wrotham Hill, in Kent, and Leith Hill, in Surrey, were to be observed from Little Berkhampstead in Hertfordshire. There was great difficulty experienced in making these observations; the dense mass of smoke and fog which constantly envelope the metropolis, long defying every effort to pierce it. The observations were at last effected by means of an apparatus contrived by Colby. In the summer, Vetch and Drummond had been out on a station hunt; the fact is mentioned in two letters, belonging to this year, which have been preserved, but in neither of them is it stated what district was explored. The trigonometrical season was cold and wet, and though it lasted till the 14th of November, little work was done.* This was to be the last season, for many years, of the British survey. It was dropped, not to be resumed again till 1838.
The cause of the interruption was the survey of Ireland, which was resolved upon in June 1824. The object of the Legislature, in directing a new survey of Ireland to be made, appears from the Report of the Select Committee appointed in 1824, “to consider the best mode of apportioning more equally the local burthens collected in Ireland.” The object was to obtain a survey sufficiently accurate to enable the valuators, acting under the superintendence of a separate department of the Government, to follow the surveyors, and to apportion correctly the proper amount of the local burthens. These burthens had previously been appor
* His sister had by this time become a great invalid. In a letter, of date 20th November 1823, Drummond expresses joy at good news of her. “I shall look out for a pony chaise for her, and bring it down with me in the spring," a promise which he redeemed. All his letters show affectionate regard and anxiety for her.
tioned by Grand Jury assessments. The assessments had, in some districts of Ireland, been made by the civil division of plough-lands ; in others by the division of town-lands; the divisions, in either case, contributing in proportion to their assumed areas, which bore no defined proportion to their actual contents. The result was great and much-complained-of inequality in levying the assessment, which it was a primary object of the survey to remove by accurately defining the divisions of the country. The Committee reported that it was expedient to give much greater despatch to this work than had occurred in the Trigonometrical Survey of England. They recommended that every facility, in the way of improved instruments, should be given to the Ordnance officers by whom the survey was to be conducted; and concluded with the hope, that the great national work which was projected “will be carried on with energy as well as with skill, and that it will, when completed, be creditable to the nation, and to the scientific acquirements of the age.”
This survey was to task to the full Drummond's powers of invention. When the trial came he was well prepared for it. From the moment when he joined the service he had striven with all his powers to qualify himself for advancing its interests. He had thrown his heart into it, and eagerly cultivated all those branches of knowledge which bore on its necessities. He betook himself with renewed energy to the study of the higher mathematics. He became devoted to chemistry. For years he used to rise at four or five o'clock in the morning, light his own lamp and fire, and, taking a cup of coffee, study without interruption till eight or nine, when official duties claimed his attention. The days thus early begun were utilised