Mr. Maudslay was a man of a wide range of mechanical abilities. He was always ready to enter upon any new work requiring the exercise of special skill. It did not matter whether it was machine tools, engraving dies, block machinery, or astronomical instruments. While at Berlin he went to see the Royal Observatory. He was naturally much interested by the fine instruments there -- the works of Repsoldt and Hertz, the pioneers of improved astronomical workmanship. The continental instrument makers were then far in advance of those of England. Mr. Maudslay was greatly impressed with the sight of the fine instruments in the Berlin Observatory. He was permitted to observe some of the most striking and remarkable of the heavenly bodies -- Jupiter, Saturn, and the Moon. It was almost a new revelation to him; for the subject was entirely novel. To be able to make such instruments seemed to him to be a glorious achievement of refined mechanism and manipulative skill. He returned home full of the wonderful sights he had seen. It was a constant source of pleasure to him to dwell upon the splendour and magnificence of the heavenly bodies.

He became anxious to possess a powerful telescope of his own. His principal difficulty was in procuring a lens of considerable diameter, possessed of high perfection of defining power. I suggested to him the employment of a reflecting telescope, by means of which the difficulties connected with the employment of glass could be avoided. This suggestion was based upon some knowledge I had acquired respecting this department of refined mechanical art. I knew that the elder Herschel had by this means vastly advanced our knowledge of the heavenly bodies, indeed to an extent far beyond what had been achieved by the most perfect of glass lens instruments. Mr. Maudslay was interested in the idea I suggested; and he requested me to show him what I knew of the art of compounding the alloy called speculum metal. He wished to know how so brittle a material could be cast and ground and polished, and kept free from flaws or defects of every kind.

I accordingly cast for him a speculum of 8 inches diameter. I ground and polished it, and had it fitted up in a temporary manner to exhibit its optical capabilities, which were really of no mean order. But, as his ambition was to have a grand and powerful instrument of not less than 24 inches diameter, the preparation for such a speculum became a subject to him of the highest interest. He began to look out for a proper position for his projected observatory. He made inquiry about a residence at Norwood, where he thought his instrument might have fair play. It would there be free from the smoke and disturbing elements of such a place as Lambeth. His mind was full of this idea when he was called away by the claims of affection to visit a dear old friend at Boulogne. He remained there for more than a week, until assured of his friend's convalescence. But on his return voyage across the Channel he caught a severe cold. On reaching London he took to his bed and never left it alive. After three or four weeks' suffering he died on the 14th of February 1831.

It was a very sad thing for me to lose my dear old master. He was so good and so kind to me in all ways. He treated me like a friend and companion. He was always generous, manly, and upright in his dealings with everybody. How his workmen loved him; how his friends lamented him! He directed, before his death, that he should be buried in Woolwich Churchyard, where a cast iron tomb, made to his own design, was erected over his remains. He had ever a warm heart for Woolwich, where he had been born and brought up. He began his life as a mechanic there, and worked his way steadily upwards until he reached the highest point of his profession. He often returned to Woolwich after he had left it; sometimes to pay a share of his week's wages to his mother, while she lived; sometimes to revisit the scenery of his youth. He liked the green common, with the soldiers about it; Shooter's Hill, with its wide look-out over Kent and down the valley of the Thames; the river busy with shipping; the Dockyard wharf, with the royal craft loading and unloading their armaments. He liked the clangour of the arsenal smithy, where he had first learned his art; and all the busy industry of the place. It was natural, therefore, that being so proud of his early connection with Woolwich he should wish his remains to be laid there; and Woolwich, on its part, has equal reason to be proud of Henry Maudslay.

After the death of my master I passed over to the service of his worthy partner, Joshua Field. I had an equal pleasure in working under him. His kindness in some degree mitigated the sad loss I had sustained by the death of my lamented friend and employer. The first work I had to perform for Mr. Field was to

  By PanEris using Melati.

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