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James Watt, engraving by Edward Finden after a bust by
Sir Francis Leggatt Chantrey

From: James Patrick Muirhead, The Life of James Watt (London: John Muray, 1858)

In the preface to The Monastery, Scott saluted the engineer and inventor James Watt as 'the man whose genius discovered the means of multiplying our national resources to a degree perhaps even beyond his own stupendous powers of calculation and combination; bringing the treasures of the abyss to the summit of the earth -- giving the feeble arm of man the momentum of an Afrite -- commanding manufactures to arise, as the rod of the prophet produced water in the desert -- affording the means of dispensing with that time and tide which wait for no man, and of sailing without that wind which defied the commands and threats of Xerxes himself'. He was, moreover, 'one of the best and kindest of human beings'.