Sir Edward Hall Alderson, Counsel for opponents of the
Liverpool and Manchester Railway

On the Monday, 25 April 1825, George Stephenson gave evidence to the House of Commons Committee looking into the proposed Liverpool and Manchester Railway. Sir Edward Hall Alderson, the Counsel employed by opponents the railway, severely criticised the evidence given by Stephenson.

"This railway is the most absurd scheme that ever entered into the head of a man to conceive. Mr. Stephenson never had a plan - I do not believe he is capable of making one. He is either ignorant or something else which I will not mention. His is a mind perpetually fluctuating between opposite difficulties; he neither knows whether he is to make bridges over roads or rivers, or of one size or another; or to make embankments, or cuttings, or inclined planes, or in what way the thing is to be carried into effect. When you put a question to him upon a difficult point, he resorts to two or three hypothesis, and never comes to a decided conclusion. Is Mr. Stephenson to be the person upon whose faith this Committee is to pass this Bill involving property to the extent of £400,000 to £500,000 when he is so ignorant of his profession as to propose to build a bridge not sufficient to carry off the flood water of the river or to permit any of the vessels to pass which of necessity must pass under it."