Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Life of Richard Trevithick by F. Trevithick: Volume 2: Chapter 23

From Graces Guide

CHAPTER XXIII. COSTA RICA.

Plate XIV. Trevithick's Route Across the Isthmus of Costa-Rica

MY DEAR SIR,
In the month of June, 1822, I disembarked in the port of Punta de Arenas, in the Gulf of Nicoya, the only one corresponding to that province at present in use on the Pacific side. My object was to dispose of a cargo of cotton which I had brought from Realejo, and to purchase sugar in return. Circumstances, not necessary to mention, and the loss of the small vessel with which I was trading on the coast, caused me to remain in Costa Rica. Its name implies a very early conviction of its natural opulence; it is certain that gold and silver abounded among the Indians at the period of its conquest by the Spaniards. It was at one time a favoured and flourishing agricultural colony, but from various causes sank into neglect. Such was the apathy, both of the Government and of individuals, that the very existence of the precious metals in the country had been almost entirely forgotten. In the end of 1821, a poor man, Nicolas Castro by name, opened the first gold mine known in Costa Rica since the conquest, and his success soon induced others to try their fortunes; with fortunate results, in a few months a mining district sprang into being.

A gentleman of the name of Alverado constructed at a very considerable expense what is called an Ingenio, consisting of various edifices for depositing the ore, machinery driven by water for grinding it and afterwards blending it with quicksilver for amalgamation.

When I landed in June, 1822, only five or six mines had been discovered, but in January 1823, when I left the country, I cannot pretend to enumerate those in a state of progress and of promise. It is not only in the mining part of the business that the want of skill is prejudicial to the result. It is imperfectly ground, for instance, and consequently cannot be brought into that intimate contact with the quicksilver which is necessary to perfect amalgamation. The machine for grinding is very simple: a large flat stone, like a mill-stone, is made to revolve upon its fellow by an ox or mule power. The poorest people reduce it to powder by manual labour, in the same way as they grind corn preparatory to baking it into cakes. Alverado's machine promised to be a great acquisition. The grinding facilitated by a little water; when the ore is judged to be sufficiently well ground; a portion of quicksilver is thrown in by guess, and the motion of the machine continued until the union of the metals is supposed to be complete; the whole is then removed into large wide-mouthed conical-shaped wooden vessels. In these receptacles it undergoes repeated washings, by stirring occasionally round, and afterwards communicating to the vessel a swinging or half-rotary motion, by which a quantity of the water, having the earthy particles suspended, is driven over the edges; the amalgamated mass naturally sinks to the bottom, and at last remains tolerably clean.

The next step is the recovery of the quicksilver by distillation, after which the gold is melted in a crucible and run into ingots. The coasts are hot, and from the luxuriant vegetation that everywhere abounds, emit, as in all situations of the kind, febrile miasma in abundance when acted on by heat and moisture; but black vomit is unknown, and all the fever cases I have seen have been of the remitting and intermitting, free from character of malignancy; As the ground begins immediately to spring from the coast, and does so indeed very rapidly, a few miles takes us beyond the region of even these slight fevers, and as we continue ascending to the central table-land, a climate is encountered that may vie with any in the world for benignancy and beauty. We there meet with the fruits of the torrid zone, and near them the apple and the peach of Europe. The orange tree is in bearing the whole year. As in all situations within the tropics, it has a proper rainy season, but it is less inconvenient and disagreeable than might be expected, for it seldom rains two days in succession, and when it does, is in variably succeeded by an interval of fine weather; for the most part every day presents a few dry hours. The mines are situated on the ridges of the Cordillera, which without presenting snow-covered peaks, attain, nevertheless, considerable elevation. The clouds, constantly attracted by those high summits, render the rainy season more severe in the mining district than in the plains. The greatest inconvenience was from the snakes, which in those solitary jungles, now first invaded by man, are very numerous and many of them venomous. Provisions are cheap and excellent. In short, there is but one fault I find with the country, and it is a great one, I mean the frequency of earth-quakes.

J. M. GERARD.


MEM. IN MR. GERARD'S WRITING.

Illustrations of the Map.

Though the plans and sections explain themselves, a few observations will not be misplaced. The deep adit for the Coralillo would be 600 yards, that for Quebrada-honda 400 yards, and besides serving as drains would form admirable roads for conveying the ores into the vale where the stamps must be erected.

The veins would be worked upward from the adits, and thus no expense would be incurred for ages to come in lifting either water, ore, or rubbish to the surface. Padre Arias Mine is an exception, requiring a powerful water-wheel, or an hydraulic pressure-engine, for which there is a fine fall of water of 135 feet. The mines in Quebrada-honda are those in which an interest has been procured. Captain Trevithick has an interest in the mine of Coralillo; the great watercourse is also his.

It will be seen by the plan that there are 75 fathoms fall to the point where his present mill is situated, and other 75 fathoms to the junction of the rivers of Quebrada-honda and Machuca. The whole length does not amount to two miles, within which it is estimated that sufficient power may be commanded to stamp 500,000 of quintals annually. To bring it up to that pitch, the waters of Machuca must be brought to join those of Quebrada-honda at Trevithick's mill, and then 40 tons of water per minute could be delivered in the dry season.


Extracts from a report by Trevithick and Gerard in 1827:—

This map consists of several distinct parts. The middle part shows the mining district, the present dimensions of which are small, the length being hardly four miles, breadth from two to three, and the superficial extent from eight to ten miles. The upper part of the plan is a section of the north ridge, called Quebrada-honda, and shows the line of the proposed adits. The lower part in like manner exhibits the south ridge, called Coralillo. The map further shows the inclination or gradual fall of the ground along the valley, and of the streams by which the mills are driven.

The canal is likewise shown 5,000 yards in length, by which the rivers of Machuca would be brought to join that of Quebrada-honda.

Castro's mine is situated on the southern ridge, and was the first mine worked to any extent. There the veins are very large; in fact, from the manner in which a number of horizontal veins are seen falling into the perpendicular or master vein, the great body of the mountain would appear to consist of lodes. This mass of ore is in general rich. It has been worked open to the surface, somewhat like a quarry, so that it is not difficult to calculate in cubic feet the quantity that has been excavated. The mine is supposed to have yielded in the course of the last six years gold to the value of £40,000, and by measuring the excavations it would appear that this amounts to, on an average, one ounce of fine gold to every ten or twelve quintals of ore. In 1821 the existence of silver was only imagined. In 1823 it was fully ascertained. Ever since 1824 it has constituted a small but constant portion of the produce of Quebrada-honda, and in 1827 it was decidedly evinced in Coralillo. The discovery of gold in Coralillo led them to work in Quebrada-honda, where they found both gold and silver, and the discovery of silver in Quebrada-honda, by strengthening the expectation of it in Coralillo, led in its turn to the discovery of silver there. In Quebrada-honda they only work on the ground in the immediate vicinity of the stream, and that in the most imperfect manner; but great light has been thrown on the value of the ores on this spot and in the district generally by the progress made in working what is called Padre Arias Mine, which takes its name from an ecclesiastic who first worked it. This mine is situated in low ground near the verge of the stream, and was at first only worked for gold. There were soon, however, indications of silver, which increased progressively in sinking, till at the depth of only 10 yards the influx of water exceeded the means of draining, and the works under water-level were necessarily abandoned, at a time when ores were yielding upwards of 200 oz. of silver to the ton, a striking proof of the tendency of silver ore to improve in this district as the depth increases.

Mr. Richard Trevithick, that eminent Cornish miner and engineer, so well known for his inventions, and particularly for the high-pressure steam-engine and the drainage of the Pasco Mines in Peru, when unfortunately civil war burst out in Peru, and the Royalists, considering those engines as the main instrument for supplying money to the Independents, rendered them useless by destroying or carrying off some of the most important pieces.

Mr. Trevithick having heard favourable reports of the mining district we are now describing, soon after repaired thither, and was so fully impressed with its value and importance that he made an extensive contract for different properties, and resided in the country for four years.

He is now in England ready to give explicit answers to any inquiries that may be made as to the mineral wealth of Costa Rica, and the extraordinary facilities afforded by its position and natural advantages. An estimate has been made for establishing a complete mining concern in Costa Rica with houses, iron railroads, stamping mills, &c., so as to raise, stamp, and bring into refined gold the produce contained in 230,000 tons of ore per year.

The result of six years' experience shows that the following list of machinery and tools with a few miles of railroad would be sufficient. The communication with the mines being satisfactorily established by the route of the port of San Juan do Nicaragua and the river Serapique, the materials would be sent by the Atlantic at very much less cost than by around Cape Horn.

It is situated within 14 leagues of the Pacific Ocean and 30 leagues of the Atlantic, in a mountainous district intersected by deep valleys or ravines. The mountains are covered with wood fit for fuel, mining, architecture, and machinery. There is a population of 50,000 inhabitants within one days journey of the mines. The climate is perfectly salubrious, provisions of all kinds remarkably cheap, labourers' wages from four to five dollars per month. The mines secured are freehold property, and with one exception are unencumbered by tribute or native partners. The attention of Government and of individuals has recently been directed to the discovery of a road from the interior to the river Serapique, which, rising in the high lands of Costa Rica pursues a northerly course and joins the San Juan about 10 leagues above the harbour of that name, being itself navigable for about 12 leagues above the junction. The opening of this road is a matter of much importance to Costa Rica in a general point of view; the port of Matina being always bad and impracticable during the prevalence of northerly winds; that of San Juan being, on the contrary, capacious, easy of access, and at all times perfectly secure. The distance is much the same as by the way of Matina. Several expeditions haw been undertaken with a view of exploring an eligible road to the highest navigable point of Serapique, and although as yet none fit for mules has been discovered, the results of the experiments justify the expectation of success. Individual enterprise is active in the attempt, and Government has wisely offered a reward to successful speculators.

Captain Trevithick and Mr. Gerard, with a particular view to the enterprise now under consideration, and after considerable risk and labour, succeeded in laying down the navigable head of the Serapique and in throwing such light on the intervening tract as will be of great assistance to future adventurers. They ultimately constructed a canoe in which they sailed down to the Port of San Juan.


Plate XIV. shows Trevithick's route across Costa Rica. A memorandum in Trevithick's writing, apparently a diary, says:—

From where we returned our mules to the place where we commenced to make our rafts and boat was eleven days' journey, a distance of 50 or 60 miles. The first and second days after parting with the mules we passed some soft ground, with three or four rivulets of water in narrow vales, about 10 miles on the side of the decline of the high ridge on our left. It could easily be made passable for mules, as the bad places where they could not travel did not exceed two or three miles; and had we kept a little more to the left above the soft ground, probably they could have passed. The next bad place was about a mile after the second pass across the San Jose River, being a very deep and abrupt vale. Had we never passed the San Jose River, but left it on our right hand, the road would have been much shorter, and we should have avoided this deep vale, and also the three other voles, and their three rivers of Montelegre, Juan Mora, and Ajerbi. They were, however, small, not more than half the leg in water, which is a proof that their source was not above 10 miles off and must have originated in the side of the high ridge on our left. None of the vales were impassable to mules, except that between the second passing of the river San Jose and the river Montelegre, which was about a mile, and might be made passable for mules by a diagonal road to be made in the side of the hill a little higher up.

Only five or six miles of road would require to be made for mules on the whole of the way we came, to where the river Serapique is navigable. We observed that we should have avoided those vales by passing a few miles more to the left, where we saw one continued high ridge running from the highest ridge of the continent, commencing at the volcano and terminating in a point near to where the Serapique River is navigable.

On a regular decline for perhaps 7,000 or 8,000 feet in height, down to near sea-level, which would in that distance have given a fall of about half an inch in a yard, four men in ten days would make, I have no doubt, this ridge passable for mules on a regular descent to where the Serapique River navigable. I have no doubt if we could have spent one week more on our journey we might have passed mules the whole distance with us. To carry machinery from where the Serapique is navigable to the mines is about one-third farther than from the port of Arenas on the south, on which the carriage is two dollars per mule load; three dollars might therefore be charged per mule from the Atlantic side, a much less cost than by way of Matina, or by going around Cape Horn. It would give a speedy communication and a great accommodation to the province of Costa Rica, which I doubt not would gladly contribute to its making.

The mining district occupies the mountain of Aquacate, nearly equidistant from the port of Punta de Arenas, in the Gulf of Nicoya, and from San Jose, the capital of the state, about 14 leagues from the former and 12 from the latter. The high road passes through the centre of the district.

The chief outlay after paying for the mines would be for erecting stamping mills and making railroads.


This broken information barely gives an idea of the importance of the Costa Rica mines, or of what Trevithick did between the time of his landing on the Pacific shore, about 1822, and his leaving the mines on his search for a new route over the Cordillera to the Atlantic shore, about 1826 or 1827. Judging from the rough map on which Trevithick has marked his line of travel across the isthmus, the mines of Machucha, Quebrada-honda, and Coralillo, were inland from the Gulf of Nicoya, on the Pacific, some forty or fifty miles, the latter mine having its water shed into the Rio Grande while the two other mines, not far off, opened into the Quebrada-honda River. The central high ridge of the Cordillera was between the mine and the Atlantic; indeed the mines are on high ground at the foot of volcanic mountains. San Mateo seems to have been the place of importance near the mines, and probably a well-known mule-track was in use through the mountain ridge to San Jose, the capital, once numbering thirty thousand inhabitants; but this line failed to reach a good port on the Atlantic coast. The travellers, therefore, abandoned the known track, and turning to the left, made their way between the volcanic peaks of Potos and Barba, hoping that on the eastern slope of the Cordillera navigable rivers would be found either to the Atlantic or to the San Juan de Nicaragua, which joined the Atlantic at the port of San Juan. It was probably at this volcanic ridge that the precipitous road obliged the mules to be sent back. The track was then due north, towards Buona Vista, below which the river Serapique took its rise, running into the river San Juan. Where they crossed this river was fifty or sixty miles from where the mules had left them. Trevithick marked the river-crossing with a steamboat, indicating its navigability; but the writer infers that it had so much of the mountain torrent about it, that the travellers took a line still through unexplored country towards the port of San Juan, on the Atlantic, for the track and the description show that the river San Juan was crossed, and also another river running to the Atlantic. They probably were stopped by swamps on approaching the San Juan, and retracing their steps to the Serapique, constructed rafts or canoes, and after hairbreadth escapes sailed down it to the junction with the San Juan, and down the latter to its junction with the Atlantic at Port San Juan, or Greytown.

Eleven days were passed from the parting with the mules near the crossing of the highest ground, from whence they saw a continuous ridge, commencing at the volcano and terminating near to where the Serapique is navigable on a regular decline for perhaps seven or eight thousand feet down to near sea-level, giving a fall for the whole distance of about half an inch in a yard, or in railway parlance 1 in 70; for this was what was in Trevithick's head, that his steam-horse should carry where the mule could not, and that miners and machinery should be so taken to his mines from the Atlantic, giving those who chose an opportunity of continuing their railway journey to the Pacific.

The writer has heard Trevithick describe the excursion as lasting three weeks, through woods, swamps, and over rapids their food, monkeys and wild fruit; their clothes, at the end of the journey, shreds and scraps, the larger portion having been torn of in the underwood. Mr. Thomas Edmonds also listened to Trevithick's narrations, some of which he gives in the following:—

In 1830 I frequently saw Trevithick at the house of Mr. Gittins, at Highgate, a schoolmaster, with whom were two boys that had accompanied him from Costa Rica, called Montelegre. Before Captain Trevithick no European had adventured on or explored the passage along the river from the Lake Nicaragua to the sea. In the adventure he was accompanied by Mr. J. M. Gerard, a native of Scotland; two boys of Spanish origin going to England for their education; a half-caste, as servant to Mr. Gerard; and by six working men of the country, of whom three went back, after helping to remove obstructions in the forest through which the first part of the journey was undertaken. The risks to which the party were exposed on their passage were very great: they all had a narrow escape from starvation, one of the labourers was drowned, and Captain Trevithick was saved from drowning by Mr. Gerard. The intended passage was along the banks of the river. To avoid the labour of cutting through the forest, the party determined to construct a raft, on which they placed themselves, their provisions, and utensils; after a passage of no long duration they came to a rapid, which almost overturned their raft, and swept away the principal part of their provisions and utensils. The raft, being unmanageable, was then stopped by a tree lying in the river, with its roots attached to the bank on this tree three of the passengers, including Captain Trevithick, landed, and reached the bank; this was no sooner done than the current drove the raft away from the tree, and carried it, with the remaining passengers, to the opposite bank, where they landed in safety, and abandoned the raft as too dangerous for further use. The next object was to unite the party again into one body. The three left on the other side of the river were called upon to swim over: one of the men swam over in safety, the next made the attempt and was drowned, the third and last remaining was Captain Trevithick, who was either unable to swim or could swim very little. In order to improve his chances of safety, he gathered several sticks, which he tied in a bundle and placed under his arms; with these he plunged into the stream but the contrivance of the bundle of sticks afforded him very doubtful assistance, for the current appeared to seize the sticks and whirl him round and round. He, however, finally reached within two or three yards of the bank in a state of extreme exhaustion. Mr. Gerard going into the water himself and holding the branch of a tree, then threw to his assistance the stem of a water-plant, holding one of the extremities in his own hand. It was not until the fourth time of throwing that Captain Trevithick was able to seize the very extremity of the plant (which was leaf) in his fingers; on the strength of the leaf his life on the occasion was dependent. It was determined to give up any further idea of using a raft on the river, and to continue their journey along the banks of the river. For subsistence for the remainder of their journey they had to depend on the produce of one fowling-piece and a small quantity of gunpowder; after a few days the gunpowder got wet by accident, and in the attempt to dry it, it was lost by explosion. The party finally arrived in a state of great exhaustion at the village, now the considerable port of San Juan de Nicaragua; and shortly after their arrival a small vessel arrived, which conveyed the party to one of the West India islands.

Upon one occasion Captain Trevithick wits called upon to act in a novel capacity, that of a surgeon. An accident happened to a native engaged in working an engine erected at a place distant about two hundred miles from Lima, by which accident both of his arms were crushed. There was no medical man within the distance of two hundred miles, and Captain Trevithick, believing that death would ensue if amputation was not immediately performed, offered his services, which were accepted by the patient. The operation, he informed me, was successful; the man rapidly recovered, and showed a pair of stumps which could have hardly been distinguished from the result of an operation by a regular surgeon. It is not improbable that in the warfare in which he had been engaged Captain Trevithick had been present and assisted at amputations of limbs of wounded soldiers. He thus probably acquired sufficient confidence to undertake and perform the operation himself.

From Costa Rica Captain Trevithick came to England, with a design, among others, of forming a company to work a mine which had been granted him (for a term of years) by the Costa Rica Government. Mr. Gerard came to England with a similar object in view. Both failed in their object. Mr. Gerard was extremely unfortunate with regard to his mine, for he spent a considerable fortune of his own in working his mine to a loss.

The eminence of Captain Trevithick as an engineer is well known. The public are indebted to him for the invention of the high-pressure steam-engine and the first railway steam-carriage. The latter being dependent on the former, Captain Trevithick informed me that the idea of the high-pressure engine occurred to him suddenly one day whilst at breakfast, and that before dinner-time he had the drawing complete, on which the first steam-carriage was constructed. Captain Trevithick informed me that in 1830 the original steam railway-engine constructed by him in 1808 [1] at that time was still running in Wales.


STANWIX, CUMBERLAND,
27th November, 1864

SIR, - I read in the public prints that in a speech made by you in Belle Vue Gardens you referred to the meeting of Robert Stephenson with Trevithick at Carthagena, which, if your speech be correctly reported, you attribute to accident. The meeting was not an accident, although an accident led to it and that accident nearly cost Mr. Trevithick his life and he was taken to Carthagena by the gentleman that saved him, that he might be restored. When Mr. Stephenson saw him he was so recovering, and if he looked, as you say, in a sombre and silent mood, it was not surprising, after being, as he said, 'half drowned and half hanged, and the rest devoured by alligators,' which was too near the fact to be pleasant. Mr. Trevithick had been upset at the mouth of the river Magdalena by a black man he had in some way offended, and who capsized the boat in revenge. An officer in the Venezuelan and the Peruvian services was fortunately high the banks of the river, shooting wild pigs. He heard Mr. Trevithick's cries for help, and seeing a large alligator approaching him, shot him in the eye, and then, as he had no boat, lassoed Mr. Trevithick, and by his lasso drew him ashore much exhausted and all but dead. After doing all he could to restore him, he took him on to Carthagena, and thus it was he fell in with Mr. Stephenson, who, like most Englishmen, was reserved, and took no notice of Mr. Trevithick, until the officer said to him, meeting Mr. Stephenson at the door, 'I suppose the old proverb of two of a trade cannot agree is true, by the way you keep aloof from your brother chip'. It is not thus your father would have treated that worthy man, and it is not creditable to your father's son that he and you should be here day after day like two strange cats in a garret it would not sound well at home. 'Who is it?' said Mr. Stephenson. 'The inventor of the locomotive, your father's friend and fellow-worker; his name is Trevithick, you may have heard it,' the officer said and then Mr. Stephenson went up to Trevithick. That Mr. Trevithick felt the previous neglect was clear. He had sat with Robert on his knee many a night while talking to his father, and it was through him Robert was made an engineer. My informant states that there was not that cordiality between them he would have wished to see at Carthagena.

The officer that rescued Mr. Trevithick is now living. I am sure he will confirm what I say, if needful. A letter will find him if addressed to No. 4, Earl Street, Carlisle, Cumberland.

There are more details, but I cannot state them in a letter, and you might not wish to hear them if I could.

I am, Sir,
Your very obedient servant,

JAMES FAIRBAIRN,

who writes as well as rheumatic gout will let him.

P.S.— I forgot to say the name of the officer is Hall.

To — WATKIN, Esq.


4, EARL STREET, CARLISLE,
16th December, 1864

DEAR SIR,
On my return from Liverpool this day I find your letter of the 9th.

In reply I have the honour to say that if you will be pleased to state upon what points you require information, I shall be but too happy to furnish it if I can.

I have barely time to add that Mr. Fairbairn has left for America, which is his home, and has been for many years. He must have been at Birkenhead or Liverpool at the date of your letter to me. I was not aware that he had written to you. He brought me a paper with your remarks about the meeting of Mr. Robert Stephenson and Mr. Trevithick, and asked me if it were true that they met at Carthagena as stated, as he (Mr. Fairbairn) thought it was at Angostura, and that Mr. Trevithick was in danger of being drowned at the Bocasses, i.e. the mouths of the Orinoco, the Apure, &c., &c. I explained that it was near the mouth of the Magdalena.

I will just say that it was quite possible Mr. R. Stephenson had forgotten Mr. Trevithick, but they must have seen, each other many times. This was shown by Mr. Trevithick s exclamation, 'Is that Bobby?' and after a pause he added, 'I've nursed him many a time.'

I know not the cause, but they were not so cordial as I could have wished. It might have been their difference of opinion about the construction of the proposed engine, or it might have been from another cause, which I should not like to refer to at present indeed, there is not time.

Pray address me as before. I hold no rank in the British service, and in England never assume any.

I have the honour to be, dear Sir,
Faithfully yours,

BRUCE NAPIER HALL.

EDWARD W. WATK1N, Esq., M.P., &c.,

Currente Calamo.


These notes from Mr. Hall and Mr. Fairbairn to Mr. (now Sir Edward) Watkin [2] arose from the latter repeating what Mr. Robert Stephenson had related of his meeting with Trevithick and Gerard at the inn at Carthagena. Stephenson said, on his way home from Colombo, and in the public room at the inn, he was much struck by the appearance and manner of two tall persons speaking English; the taller of them, wearing a large-brimmed straw or whitish hat, paced restlessly from end to end of the room.

Gerard and Stephenson entered into conversation, and Trevithick joined them. Stephenson said that he had a hundred pounds in his pocket, of which he gave fifty to Trevithick to enable him to reach England. It seems that had it not been for Mr. Hall's quick eye and steady hand rescuing Trevithick from the jaws of the blind alligator, he never would have returned to his native country.

Here was the inventor of the locomotive a beggar in a strange land, helped by the man whom he had nursed in baby-boyhood, then returning to England to become a great railway engineer in making known the use of the locomotive on the level road of the Liverpool and Manchester, while the real inventor, who looked upon railways and locomotives as things of a quarter of a century before, was about to recommend them as the means of passing across the isthmus of Costa Rica from the Atlantic to the Pacific, over the heights of the Cordillera, by the river San Juan from Greytown, and by its tributary the Serapique, then by railway towards the high ground of San Jose, the capital, and down the western slope, passing, somewhere not far from the mines, forward to the Gulf of Nicoya in the Pacific.

The approximate distance would be fifty miles of river navigation, and eighty or a hundred of railway, with perhaps stiffish but still manageable inclines, and no avalanches. A loan by the Costa Rica Government of 1872 states, [3] "for the completion of the railway from the port of Limon, in the Atlantic Ocean, to San Jose de Costa Rica, and on to Heredia and Alajuela," near to Trevithick's mines, as if to carry out his design of forty-six years ago to connect the Atlantic and Pacific by railway.

See Also

Foot Notes

  1. Probably referring to the Welsh locomotive of 1804.
  2. Sir Edward Watkin contemplated writing a life of Trevithick.
  3. See 'The Times,' 7th May, 1872.