« AnteriorContinuar »
machinery has been set aside in less than three years to make room for another.
7. The whole science of chemistry has been remodeled. The discovery of the Voltaic battery is to chemistry what a strong man is to a great law-giver, in executing his mandates. . In 1808, Sir Humphrey Davy, by the aid of the battery, commenced his great discoveries; and since his day, the science has made the most astonishing advances. New metals have been discovered, and the most valuable contributions have been made to the arts.
8. Agricultural chemistry is but a few years old, and bromine, iodine, palladium, rhodium,* &c, are discoveries of very late years. The animal chemistry of Liebig has been but recently given to-the world. Cotton and sawdust are now made to propel cannon balls,t and rend rocks by a spark from the battery. Chloroform has come to the aid of surgery, and arms and limbs are amputated without pain, every day.
9. Gas light was unknown until 1802, when Murdoch made his first public exhibition at Soho; since that time his discovery has encircled the earth. All the principal cities of* Europe, and of America, and even the villages of New Zealand, where no white man had built his residence, in 1800, are now illuminated by the same subtle agent.
10. We have heard it asserted, also, that in a New England city i water is made to afford both light and heat, and that, too, at a meTely nominal expense.
11. The advance of astronomical science has also been rapid and wonderful. Mechanics have come to the aid of mathematics; new and powerful telescopes have been constructed, by which new worlds have been discovered; and so accurate have been the calculations of the astronomer, based on the laws of planetary motion, that a new member of the solar system (the planet Neptune) has been discovered,?
* Names of metals, and other supposed mineral substances, t This refers to the invention of gun-cotton, so called, as a substitute for gunpowder.
t Allusion is here made to the discovery of Mr. Pa%e, of Worcester, by which, as he asserts, he is enabled to convert water into an inflammable gas, by a very simple apparatus. The success of Mr. Paine has been attested by some, and doubted by others. It yet remains to be fully substantiated.
§ The discovery of this new planet is one of the greatest triumphs of science that has ever been achieved. From calculations based on certain irregularities in the motiOus' of the exterior planets, it was inferred that another planet must necessarily exist; and the position of the new planet having been calculated from the same laws, on the day predicted,
before a ray of its light was noticed by human eye. A law of the solar system has also been suggested by an unpretending American (Mr. Daniel Kirkwood),* who, like Kepler, had studied the arithmetical relations, by which the magnitude of a planet can be ascertained, long after it has been shivered to atoms.
12. There is not a single department in science or in art that has not been greatly enriched by splfendid discoveries, during the last fifty years; and those discoveries, although many are blind to their value, have been the means of conferring great benefits upon all classes. Twenty years ago, the flint and the steel poorly supplied the place of Lucifer matches; and, fifteen years ago, a box of these convenient articles, which now sells for one cent, Cquu not be purchased for less than twelve.
13. During the last war between America and England, cotton cloth, which now can be purchased for eight cents, could not be purchased for forty. A machine has also been invented by Blanchard,t by which a block of marble placed
• upon a spindle can be turned into the bust of a Clay or a Webster.
14. Bogardus has also given to the world his engraving machine, which can engrave on metal the finest numbers, and the most beautiful flowers, with a facility and accuracy which baffle all manual workmanship. In planing machines, in spike machines, in machinery for making shoes for men, and shoes for horses, — in machines for making all instruments, from a needle to an anchor, — what part of the whole world's history can equal the last half century?
15. Nasmyth's steam-hammer, which was invented but a few years ago, can be managed with the docility of a lamb. We have now gold and steel pens, instead of goose-quills. This is certainly an age of mention. The triumphs of warriors are naught, compared with the triumphs of inventors.
16. The iron bridge spanning the river, the iron ship sailing on the sea, are greater evidences of mental power than Austerlitz or Waterloo. And if the last half century has given birth to so ma^ grand discoveries and inventions, is there
the planet was actually discovered, at the time and in the place predicted.
* Mr. Kirkwood has deduced a law with regard to the revolution of the planets around their axes, showing the relation of the revolutions to the distance of the central point of attraction.
t The machine of Blanchard resembles, in its principle, the lathes constructed fbY the riurp'dsfe of turning lasts for Wots and shrje*"'
any reason to doubt that the future may more than outstrip the past? We can see none. Hope is pointing her finger to the year 1900.
1. It was a dreary place. The shallow brook, That ran throughout the wood, there took a turn, And widened: all its music died away,
And in the place a silent eddy told
2. There dark trees
Funereal (cypress, yew, and shadowy pine,
And spicy cedar) clustered, and at night
Shook from their melancholy branches sounds
And sighs like death: 't was strange, for through the day
They stood quite motionless, and looked, methought,
Like monumental things, which the sad earth
From its green bosom had cast out in pity,
To mark a young girl's grave.
3. The very leaves
Disowned their natural green, and took a black
4. Never may net _
Of venturous fisher be cast in with hope,
5. And yet I love"
To loiter there: and when the rising moon
* Better known by the name of Barry Cornwall.
Red and dilated through the evening mists,
And checkered, as the heavy branches sway
To and fro with the wind, I stay to listen,
And fancy to myself that a sad voice,
Praying, comes moaning through the leaves, as't were
For some misdeed.
6. The story goes — that some * -
1. At the present time, the greater poets of the age have passed either beyond the bourn of life, or into the honored leisure befitting an advanced period of life. For twenty years, there have arisen no lights* of such fresh and original luster as Southey, Scott, Wordsworth, Campbell, and Byron; nor do we readily detect, in those which exist, any aspirant likely to take the high ground occupied by these names.
2. This is a phenomenon in literary history by no means unexampled; for, after the age of. Pope and his associates, there likewise followed one in which no stars of primary magnitude appeared. It must, hSwever, be admitted, that the present time, if not marked by any greatly original poet in the bloom of his reputation, is remarkable for the wide diffusion of a taste for elegant verse-writing; insomuch that the most ordinary periodical works now daily present poetry which, fifty years ago, would have formed the basis of a high reputation.
3. It is only unfortunate, of these compositions, that they are so uniform in their style of sentiment, and even in their diction, that a long series of them may be read with scarcely any impression at the end, beyond that of an abundance of pleasing images and thoughts, and fine phraseology.
LESSON LXX. Overstrained Politeness, or Vulgar Hospitality. — Swift.
1. Those inferior duties of life, which the French call the smaller morals, are with us distinguished by the name of good manners or breeding. This I look upon, in the general notion of it, to be a sort of artificial good sense, adapted to the meanest capacities, and introduced to make mankind easy in their commerce with each other. Low and little understandings, without some rules of this kind, would be perpetually wandering into a thousand indecencies and irregularities in behavior; and in' their ordinary conversation, fall into the same boisterous familiarities that one observeth amongst them, when a debauch hath quite taken away the use of their reason.
2. In other instances, it is odd to consider, that, for want of common discretion, the very end of good breeding is wholly perverted; and civility, intended to make us easy, is employed in laying chains and fetters upon us, in debarring us of our wishes, and in crossing our most reasonable desires and inclinations. This abuse reigneth chiefly in the country, as I found, to my vexation, when I was last there, in a visit I made to a neighbor about two miles from my cousin.
3. As soon as I entered 4he parlor, they put me into the great chair that stood close by a huge fire, and kept me there by force, until I was almost stifled. Then a boy came in great hurry to pull off my boots, which I in vain opposed, urging that I must return soon after dinner. In the mean time, the good lady whispered her eldest daughter, and slipped a key into her hand. The girl returned instantly with a beer-glass half full of aqua mirabilis and syrup of gilly-flowers.
4. I took as much as I had a mind for; but madam vowed I should drink it off (for she was sure it would do me good, after coming out of the cold air), and I was forced to obey; which absolutely took away my stomach. When dinner came in, I had a mind to sit at a distance from the- fire; but they told me it was as much as my life was worth, and set me with my back just against it.
5. Although my appetite were quite gone, I resolved to force down as much as I could; and desired the leg of a pullet. Indeed, Mr. Bickerstaff, says the lady, you must eat a wing, to oblige me; and so put a couple upon my plate. I was persecuted at this rate during the whole meaL As often