Page:Men of the Time, eleventh edition.djvu/1106

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WATSON.

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again returned at the head of the poll in 1865. He was defeated, however, by a narrow majority in 1868, and contested East Cheshire unsuccessfully in 1869. Whilst in Parliament, in 1866-67, he obtained, as the Chairman of two Select Committees, important alterations in the laws affecting railways, and especially the change in the law of limited liability, which enabled companies to reduce their capital by mere resolution, and without winding up. It was estimated at the time that this change in the law liberated a capital, then locked up in unsaleable securities of nearly sixteen millions sterling, at a critical period in our commercial history. SirE. Watkin was again returned to Parliament at the general election of ¥e\>,, 187 1, for the united boroughs of Hythe and Folkestone, and again was returned unopposed, for the same borough, at the general election of 1880. In that year he was created a baronet. He was High Sheriff of Cheshire, 1874. The proposed tunnel under the Channel to connect England and France is an enterprise with which he has been connected in conjunction with the late Michel Cheviulier, M. Leon Say, and other eminent French and English public men. His work, as described by himself, has been to show (1) that the work could be done ; (2) how it could be done ; and (3), approximately, at what cost and in what time. In this he has succeeded, as the experimental tunnels under the CJ^^nel, passing from both sides for a total distance of nearly three miles together, have tended to show. He contends that under the whole width of the Chan- nel there lies a thickness of 300 or 400 feet of the *' old grey chalk " or " craie de Eouen," which will stand excavation without timbering or other support, and is impervious to water. This wonderful medium consists of a homogeneous mixture of about 65 per cent, of chalk and 35 per cent, of clay. It hardens by

exposure, and can be cut easily and rapidly by machinery, a rate of a yaid, forward, an hour, with 7 feet diameter, having been attained by the use of a single machine. Thus, at a rate of about five miles a year on each side, two years would ap- pear to sulfice to connect the two countries, and probably five years for a complete tunnel. Assuming the experiment to succeed. Sir E. Watkin has recommended Mr. Gladstone to approach the Euro- pean and American powers with a view to the complete neutralisation of the work, which would, probably, do away with the military alarms raised on the question in the last two years. At present the works near Shakspeare Cliff, Dover, are kept in repair and ventilation — butprogpress is ^stopped on the requisition of the President of the Board of Trade, Mr. Chamberlain, with the sanction of the Government.

WATSON, John Dawson, R.W.S., was born May 20, 1832, at Sedbergh, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, was educated at the Edward VI. Grammar School at Sedbergh, entered the School of Design at Manchester in 1847, came to London in 1861, and be- came a pupil of Alexander Davis Cooper and a student of the Eoyal Academy. He exhibited his first picture, " The Wounded Cavalier,** at the Royal Institution, Manches- ter, in 1851. He exhibited at the Royal Academy for the first time in 1853, " An Artist's Studio," and has continued to exhibit to the present time, his principal works being— " Thinking it Out;*' "The Poisoned Cup," which obtained a medal at the Vienna Exhibition, 1873 ; " The Student ; " " The Part- ing ; " " Saved j " " Black to Move ; " and "Women's Work." In 1860 he illustrated for Messrs. Routledge their Christmas edition of ** The Pilgrim's Progress," followed by " Robinson Crusoe," in 1873, and contributed wood-drawings to most of the illustrated books, papers, and 4 A