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their arts, and ultimately adopt their manners ;-so that in reality the origin, as well as the progress and improvement of civil society is founded in mechanical and chemical inventions. No people have ever arrived at any degree of perfection in their institutions who have not possessed in a high degree the useful and refined arts.
The comparison of savage and civilized man, in fact, demonstrates the triumph of chemical and mechanical philosophy as the causes not only of the physical, but ultimately even of moral improvement. Look at the condition of man in the lowest state in which we are acquainted with him. Take the native of New Holland, advanced only a few steps above the animal creation, and that principally by the use of fire; naked, defending himself against wild beasts, or killing them for food only by weapons made of wood hardened in the fire, or pointed with stones or fish-bones , living only in holes dug out of the earth, or in huts rudely constructed of a few branches of trees covered with grass : having no approach to the enjoyment of luxuries or even comforts ; unable to provide for his most pressing wants ; having a language scarcely articulate, relating only to the great objects of nature, or to his most pressing necessities or desires, and living solitary or in single families; unacquainted with religion, government or laws, submitted to the mercy of nature or the elements. How different is man in his highest state of cultivation! every part of his body covered with the products of different chemical and mechanical arts made not only useful in protecting him from the inclemency of the seasons, but combined in forms of beauty and variety ; creating out of the dust of the earth, from the clay under his feet, instruments of use and ornament; extracting metals from the rude ore, and giving to them a hundred different shapes for a thousand different purposes; selecting and improving the vegetable productions with which he covers the earth ; not only subduing but taming and domesticating the wildest, the fleetest, and the strongest inhabitants of the wood, the mountain, and the air; making the winds carry him on every part of the immense ocean ; and compelling the elements of air, water, and even fire as it were to labour for him ; concentrating in small space materials which act as the thunderbolt, and directing their energies so as to destroy at immense distances; blasting the rock, removing the mountain, carrying water from the valley to the hill; perpetuating thought in imperishable words, rendering immortal the exertions of genius and presenting them as common property to all awakening
minds—becoming as it were the image of divine intelligence, receiving and bestowing the breath of life in the influence of civilization.
Eubathes.—Really you are in the poetical, not the chemical chair, or rather on the tripod. We claim from you some accuracy of detail, some minute information, some proofs of what you assert. attribute to the chemical and mechanical arts, we might with the same propriety attribute to the fine arts, to letters, to political improvement, and to those inventions of which Minerva and Apollo, not Vulcan, are the patrons.
The Unknown. I will be more minute. You will allow that the rendering skins insoluble in water by combining with them the astringent principle of certain vegetables is a chemical invention, and that without leather our shoes, our carriages, our equipages would be very ill-made; you will permit me to say, that the bleaching and dyeing of wool and silk, cotton and flax, are chemical processes, and that the conversion of them into cloth of different kinds is a mechanical invention; that the working of iron, copper, tin and lead and the other metals, and the combining them in different alloys by which almost all the instruments necessary for the turner, the joiner, the stone-mason, the ship-builder and the smith are made, are chemical inventions; even the press, to the influence of which I am disposed to attribute as much as you can do, could not have existed in any state of perfection without a metallic alloy; the combining of alkali and sand, and certain clays and flints together to form glass and porcelain is a chemical process; the colours which the artist employs to frame resemblances of natural objects, or to create combinations more beautiful than ever existed in nature are derived from chemistry; in short, in every branch of the common and fine arts, in every department of human industry, the influence of this science is felt, and we may find in the fable of Prometheus taking the flame from heaven to animate his man of clay, an emblem of the effects of fire, in its application to chemical purposes, in creating the activity and almost the life of civil society.
Philalethes.-It appears to me that you attribute to science what in many cases has been the result of accident. The processes of most of the useful arts, which you call chemical, have been invented and improved without any refined views, without any general system of knowledge. Lucretius attributes to accident the discovery of the fusion of the metals; a person in touching a shell-fish observes that it emits a purple liquid as a dye, hence the Tyrian purple; clay is observed to harden in the fire, and hence the invention of bricks, which could hardly fail ultimately to lead to the discovery of porcelain ; even glass, the most perfect and beautiful of those manufactures you call chemical, is said to have been discovered by accident; Theophrastus states, that some merchants who were cooking on some lumps of soda or natron, near the mouth of the river Belus, observed that a hard and vitreous substance was formed where the fused natron ran into the sand.
The Unknown.-I will readily allow that accident has had much to do with the origin of the arts as with the progress of the sciences. But it has been by scientific processes and experiments that these accidental results have been rendered really applicable to the purposes of common life. Besides, it requires a certain degree of knowledge and scientific combination to understand and seize upon the facts which have originated in accident. It is certain, that in all fires alkaline substances and sand are fused together and clay hardened ; yet for ages after the discovery of fire glass and porcelain were unknown, till some men of genius profited by scientific combination often observed but never applied. It suits the indolence of those minds which never attempt any thing, and which probably, if they did attempt any thing, would not succeed, to refer to accident that which belongs to genius. It is sometimes said by such persons, that the discovery of the law of gravitation was owing to accident; and a ridiculous story is told of the falling of an apple, as the cause of this discovery. As well might the invention of fluxions or the architectural wonders of the dome of St. Peter's, or the miracles of art, the St. John of Raphael, or the Apollo Belvidere, be supposed to be owing to accidental combinations. In the progress of an art, from its rudest to its most perfect state, the whole process depends upon experiments. Science is, in fact, nothing more than the refinement of common sense making use of facts already known to acquire new facts. Clays, which are yellow, are known to burn red; calcareous earth renders flint fusible—the persons who have improved earthenware made their selections accordingly. Iron was discovered at least one thousand years before it was rendered malleable; and from what Herodotus says of this discovery, there can be little doubt that it was developed by a scientific worker in metals. Vitruvius tells us, that the ceruleum, a colour made of copper, which exists in perfection in all the old paintings of the Greeks and Romans and on the mummies of the Egyptians, was discovered by an Egyptian king; there is, therefore, every reason to believe that it was not the result of accidental combination, but of experiments made for producing or improving colours. Amongst the ancient philosophers many discoveries were attributed to Democritus and Anaxagoras; and, connected with chemical arts, the narrative of the inventions of Archimedes alone, by Plutarch, would seem to show how great is the effect of science in creating power. In modern times the refining of sugar, the preparation of nitre, the manufacturing of acids, salts, &c., are all results of pure chemistry. Take gunpowder as a specimen ; no person but a mau infinitely diversifying his processes and guided by analogy could •have made such a discovery. Look into the books of the alchemists, and some idea may be formed of the effects of experiments. It is true, these persons were guided by false views, yet they made most useful researches; and Lord Bacon has justly compared them to the husbandman, who, searching for an imaginary treasure, fertilized the soil. They might likewise be compared to persons who, looking for gold, discover the fragments of beautiful statues, which separately are of no value, and which appear of little value to the persons who found them; but which, when selected and put together by artists and their defective parts supplied, are found to be wonderfully perfect and worthy of conservation. Look to the progress of the arts since they have been enlightened by å system of science, and observe with what rapidity they have advanced. Again, the steam engine in its rudest form was the result of a chi mical experiment; in its refined state, it required the combinations of all the most recondite principles of chemistry and mechanics, and that excellent philosopher who has given this wonderful instrument of power to ! civil society, was led to the great improvements he made, by the discoveries of a kindred genius on the heat absorbed when water becomes steam, and of the heat evolved when the steam becomes water. Even the most superficial observer must allow in this case a triumph of science, for what a wonderful impulse has this invention given to the progress of the arts and manufactures
our country, how much has it diminished labour, how much has it increased the real strength of the country! Acting as it were with a thousand hands, it has multiplied our active population, and receiving its elements of activity from the bowels of the earth, it performs operations which formerly were painful, oppressive, and unhealthy to the labourers, with regularity and con
stancy, and gives security and precision to the efforts of the manufacturer. And the inventions connected with the steam engine, at the same time that they have greatly diminshed labour of body, have tended to increase power of mind and intellectual resources. Adam Smith well observes that manufacturers are always more ingenious than husbandmen; and manufacturers who use machinery will probably always be found more ingenious than handicraft manufacturers. You spoke of porcelain as a result of accident; the improvements invented in this country, as well as those made in Germany and France, have been entirely the result of chemical experiments; the Dresden and the Sèvres manufactories have been the work of men of science, and it was by multiplying his chemical researches that Wedgewood was enabled to produce at so cheap a rate those beautiful imitations, which, while they surpass the ancient vases in solidity and perfection of material, equal them in elegance, variety, and tasteful arrangement of their forms. In another department, the use of the electrical conductor was a pure scientific combination, and the sublimity of the discovery of the American philosopher was only equalled by the happy application he immediately made of it. In our own times it would be easy to point out numerous instances in which great improvements and beneficial results connected with the comforts, the happiness, and even life of our fellow-creatures, have been the results of scientific combinations; but I cannot do this without constituting myself a judge of the works of philosophers who are still alive, whose researches are known, whose labours are respected, and who will receive from posterity praises that their contemporaries hardly dare to bestow upon them. .
But, waving all common utility, all vulgar applications, there is something in knowing and understanding the operation of nature, some pleasure in contemplating the order and harmony of the arrangements belonging to the terrestrial system of things. There is no absolute utility in poetry; but it gives pleasure, refines and exalts the mind. Philosophic pursuits have likewise a noble and independent use of this kind; and there is a double reason offered for pursuing them, for, whilst in their sublime speculations they reach to the heavens, in their application they belong to the earth ; whilst they exalt the intellect, they provide food for our common wants, and likewise minister to the noblest appetites and most exalted views belong