Men of the Time, eleventh edition/Cadell, Francis

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CADELL, Francis, the explorer of the river Murray, son of H. F. Cadell, Esq., of Cockenzie, near Preston Pans, Haddingtonshire, was born in 1822, and educated at Edinburgh and in Germany. While very young he showed a taste for adventure, and entered as a midshipman on board an East Indiaman. The vessel having been chartered by Government, the lad, as a volunteer, took part in the first Chinese war, was present at the siege of Canton, the capture of Amoy, Ningpo, &c., and received an officer's share of prize-money. At twenty-two he was in command of a vessel, and in the intervals between his voyages he spent much time in the shipbuilding yards of the Tyne and Clyde, where he gained a thorough knowledge of naval architecture and the construction of the steam-engine. A visit to the Amazons first led him to study the subject of river navigation; and when in Australia, in 1848, his attention was drawn to the practicability of navigating the Murray and its tributaries, which had only served for watering the flocks belonging to the scattered stations on their banks. Three years later, encouraged by the Governor of Australia, Sir H. F. Young, he put his project into execution. In a frail boat, with canvas sides and ribs of barrel hoops, he embarked at Swanhill on the Upper Murray, and descended the stream to Lake Victoria at its mouth, a distance of 1300 miles. Having thus proved that the Murray was navigable, he succeeded in crossing the dangerous bar at its mouth in a steamer planned and constructed under his supervision. This vessel accomplished a first voyage of 1500 miles. Other steamers were procured, and the Murrunbidgee, the Edward, and the Darling were in like manner opened to traffic. A gold candelabrum was presented to Mr. Cadell by the settlers, the value of whose property has been greatly increased by his efforts, and the Legislature directed a gold medal in his honour to be struck in England by Mr. Wyon. As is the case with most first adventurers, others are reaping the abundant fruits of his labour; and on account of intercolonial jealousies he has received no substantial return for a fortune expended, and years of danger, anxiety, and toil.