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theoretical discoverer of the sources of the Nile, in consequence of having pointed out (after Ptolemy and the Arabian mapmaker) the quarter in which they were to be sought. This claim cannot in any degree detract from the merit of Captain Speke in having arrived by fair and independent reasoning at the convictions which prompted him to undertake his last expedition, and in having actually discovered the great reservoir from which the mighty Nile flows.
It would be unjust, while applauding the great achievement of the now illustrious explorers of the source of the Nile, not to refer to the invaluable labours of the Society to which the world has for many years been chiefly indebted for the extension of geographical knowledge. To the Royal Geographical Society of Great Britain is due that increase in our knowledge of the surface of the globe, which has been one of the most marked characteristics of this century. The variety and importance of the subjects brought forward for discussion in this Society, no less than the great ability which marks the Papers contributed to its Journal, and the number of its members, place it very high indeed among our scientific bodies. It is a remarkable coincidence that the eminent man who presides with so much ability over its councils, and contributes so greatly to the interest of its discussions, should also be the geologist who has revealed to us the ancient history of the earth, while in his untiring geographical labours he evinces that his interest is not by any means confined to the deep foundations of our planet, or to the mysterious changes which in remote ages its surface has undergone. African discovery has more especially occupied the attention of the Society, and the name of its founder * will be connected with the discovery of the mouth of the Niger; the name of its existing President-to whom is mainly due its resuscitation
—will be associated with the discovery of the sources of the Nile. His steady aid, combined with the cordial approbation and support afforded by Her Majesty's Government to the successive expeditions, has greatly contributed to the prosecution of African discovery in the South and in the East, and to the achievements of Livingstone and Speke. The noble river which issues from the Victoria Nyanza is, like Hercules in his cradle, a giant born ; but its remote springs of life remain yet unvisited by civilised man. The modern world may still say with the Roman
“Nec licuit populis parvum te, Nile, videre.'
* The late Sir John Barrow.
Its origin may yet lie hidden among the wilds which have only just emerged from the gloom of unexplored distance; but, tracked by the eager steps of the future explorer, it will reveal more and more of its mysteries; and he will at length slake his thirst in the sparkling rill which is the source of Heaven's blessings to the millions who breathe, and move, and have their habitation along the vast expanse of valley and plain from the long-mythical Mountains of the Moon to the old historic land of Egypt and the sea.
Art. 1.–1. Lives of British Engineers. By Samuel Smiles.
3 vols. 8vo. London, 1862. 2. Proceedings of the Institute of Civil Engineers, 1842 to 1863. 3. Sir W. Armstrong's Address delivered at the Meeting of the
British Association at Newcastle, 1863. A MONG the various definitions which have been proposed, A in order to distinguish man from the lower orders of beings, few are more characteristic than that which describes man as a Toolusing animal. Whatever powers other animals exert, or whatever functions they perform, are due to the strength of their teeth, or claws, or to the adaptability of some member, which they inherited with their birth, and which is an essential part of their being. On the other hand, we nowhere find man so uncultivated, that he cannot use a club or spear, and we very rarely find him unable to twist a fibre into a thread, or unable to use a bow and arrow. The latter, in fact, is a tool of no mean complexity, and requires, on the part of the individual using it, longer practice and more skill than need be developed by the man who tends the most complicated machinery in our modern factories, or who guides the gigantic powers of our largest steam-engines. The essential difference is that the tool of the savage is the product of his own hands, and its successful exercise depends on his own individual skill, whilst the factory of the civilised man is the result of the combination of thousands, who have aggregated their experience in inventing it, and united their energies to work it.
There is still another definition which is as characteristic as that just quoted, though it has not yet found its way into books. This would describe man as a Road-making animal;—understanding by this, not the path which an animal wears with its feet as it goes from its lair to the feeding-ground; but those organised means of communication, by land or sea, by which a man seeks to barter the special results of his own industry for those of other men; and which enable every country to interchange its products with those of every other climate and soil.
These two definitions are worthy of far more attention than they have hitherto received, inasmuch as they practically are the foundation of the modern science of engineering.
Vol. 114.-No. 228.
It may be that we, living in the midst of progress, and being as it were part of the great work, are not aware of the importance of the changes that are taking place through the instrumentality of this, the youngest of the professions; but it is not too much to say, that the invention of the steam-engine, and its application to the various arts and manufactures, are as important to mankind as the invention of the printing-press was some four centuries ago. What printing did for the intercommunication of ideas, and the development of intellectual power, steam is doing in increasing the material well-being of mankind; and in bringing together all the nations of the earth, so that none can now remain much longer strangers to the other—and all may unite for any purpose, good or evil. It is no hyperbole to say that already, within the last hundred years, the engineers have doubled the mechanical power, and more than doubled the productive resources of mankind; and they have reduced the dimensions of the globe, measured by time, to less than one-fourth of what they were in 1763.
India can now be reached in a month ; China and Australia, in six weeks; and if a line of steamers were established, viâ Panama, a man might go round the world with ease in three months. But these are only the beginnings; we all know that, in a very few years from this time, there will not be an important port on the face of the globe which may not be reached from London in the short space of one month,—and very few with which there will not be telegraphic communication. When all this network is once fairly established, it is impossible that any nation can remain segregated from the rest; and when a thousand millions of human beings come to take an interest in each other's affairs, and can combine to influence one another or to effect any given object, the results must be such as have not yet been dreamt of in our philosophies.
There were of course engineers in all ages of the world, but their efforts were sporadic, and the value of their works depended upon the cleverness of the individual more than upon the advanced state of the science ; and it is only within the last one hundred years, that the professors of engineering have attained that organisation without which nothing great can be done. It is only within the same period, and only among the more civilised nations, that people have been prepared to spend the enormous sums of money which have been required to effect the progress that has already been made.
There are still many village communities in not very remote parts of the globe, where the shepherd and husbandman share with the carpenter and blacksmith the produce of the soil, or the
to one greems based oppe from
result of their skill or industry-microcosms, where men live nearly as unprogressive as the Anthropoids, and little raised above them in intellectual development, living and labouring only to supply their immediate material wants, and dying only to be forgotten.
Among these the engineer has no place; but gradually the stagnant pools of intellectual sleep are being drained, and mankind are being formed into larger masses. In former years this was effected by the rude but ready mode of conquest, or of pilgrimage,- Alexander's glorious raid did more to bring the East and West together, than had been effected by the trade of the Egyptians or Assyrians; and it paved the way for the more systematic conquests of the Romans, who nearly united all the known world into one great empire. When that broke down, as sooner or later all systems based on violence must, it was the Crusades that first awakened Europe from the torpor and isolation of the dark ages; and the pilgrimages to the shrine of St. Peter at Rome, or to the Caaba at Mecca, prevented the two great families of mankind from resolving themselves into a multitude of incoherent atoms. During the last three centuries the tendency has been to combine mankind into a certain number of larger empires; but to define these by strictly marked boundaries, and to prevent intercommunication by custom-house and police regulations. Steam and rail are now tending to sweep away these barriers, and to fuse all the families of the earth together.
This is not the place in which to speculate with the sanguine whether war and international jealousies will cease through this better knowledge and greater familiarity of men with one another, or to attempt to prophesy with the desponding, the greater evils that may arise from this gathering together of the nations. Nothing but a frightful catastrophe, of which we have no suspicion, can now stop the progress of road-making or the development of manufacturing industry. But, accepting that progress and that development as facts, it is well to endeavour to trace how and why the impulse was given, in order that we may more clearly see the direction in which the movement is tending.
The mechanical engineer naturally takes precedence of his road-making brother-in point of time at all events—inasmuch as it requires only one man to make or use a tool, and it requires many to make a road or build a ship; and man's progress in all material or useful arts is measured much more by his power of combination, than by his individual intellectual development. There are besides certain accidental aids placed at man's disposal, which he availed himself of at a very early period. We can