SIR HENRY BESSEMER.
TO THE EDITOR Of "THE PRESS." Sir, —In this morning's topics mention is made of the Jimglish Government coolly appropriating Sir Henry Bessemer's suggestion of the perforation of stamps without giving him any regard. As a matter of fact the subject of .separating the stamps was discussed bet ore Mrs Bessemer. Then she and her husband at once suggested perforation which was adopted by tho Government without the slightest recognition of the inventor. True, it was simple, but then the idea bad not occurred to anyone else. Many years afterwards at a public dinner when Sir Henry had attained wealth, rank and celobrity lie spoke of the stamp episode, at the same time paying a very gi-nct* ful tribute to his wile whose devotion, caro and self-sacrifice bad been the means of the great success he bad attained. At that time he was wealthy beyond the dreams of avarice. His home at Heme Hill was a veritable fairy palace, and the grounds were most beautifully and expensively laid out, one avenue of Belgium shrubs costing fifteen guineas each. Tho conservatory had too much marble about it to please the gardener, whose opinion was that the plants did not flourish as well as in the ordinary conservatory. It was very beautiful, however, and so cunningly fitted up with plate glass that the really large conservatory was magnified tenfold. The bouse furniture, too, was very costly. One bedroom was striking. It represented night, and the papering, I suppose I should say, hangings cost £400. A velvet—the colour of the sky in its dark blue shade—was used, and silver stars gleamed so naturally that for the first moment it startled one. Another thing that interested me greatly was an experiment that failed. Had it succeeded it would havo had worldwide fame, and many people to whom the sea is anothor namo for a hopeless misery would havo blossed him most fervently. But here Sir Henry failed though neither time, labour or expense was considered. He had a large boat built, and his idea as far as I remember was a cabin that would swing in some manner to counterbalance the motion of the boat. However, it was not a success although the inventor devoted much time and attention to the scheme.
His house was a veritable collection of modern treasures. I use the word modern advisedly as they were the pick of all the exhibitions. Naturally, his place was a mark for burglars. Ho took his losses with great equanimity except on one occasion when all the valuable gold medals he had received in honour of his inventions were stolen. Then he broke the law by compounding a felony by offering a large reward, and stating that no questions would be asked if they were restored. However, they had probably gone straight Into the smelting pot as they were never recovered. • He had two sons, but neither of them inherited their father's gonitis. He, himself was a farmer's son and had to fight his way against what seemed unsurmountablo obstacles which, perhaps, after all is the best if not the only way for genius to develop.—Yours, etc., COSMOPOLITE.
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