John Loudon McAdam (1756-1836), a road maker who invented a procedure to reconstruct the British roads. The procedure, adopted as "macadamize," uses thin layers of broken stones to cover the road, and proper drainage was maintained by raising the surface of the road grounds. With gradual traffic over these paved tracks, the stones become compact and consolidated. In 1815, with the conditions of the roads in great need of repair, McAdam, who became surveyor-general of the Bristol roads, restructured the condition of the nation's highways. His work forwarded the nation's prosperity and prepared the way for the railway system.

Carlyle mentions "Macadam" in the same passage of the description of the Idol of Somnath. The remains of the destruction of the idols are just "a heap of potsherds," and does a little service for MacAdam. Carlyle uses this reference to create an image of the idols remaining as pieces of pottery, shattered and stripped of it wealth and importance only useful as broken stones for road material.


Victorian Overview Thomas Carlyle Hudson's Statue

Last modified 23 October 2002