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mentary principles of the arts. He would have the constant benefit of refreshing his recollection by the practical application of them, and receive the demonstration, at the same time that he was taught the truth. He would find, that the acquisitions of every day added a new facility for future improvement; and that his own mind, quickened and fertilized by various stores of thought, would soon turn that into the truest source of enjoyment, which at first was the minister of toil and anxiety. Consider for a moment what must be the immediate effects of the general adoption of a system of mutual instruction. How powerfully would it work by way of encouragement to laudable ambition. How irresistibly to an increase of skill, and sagacity in the most common employments of life. Ask yourselves what would be the result of one hundred thousand minds engaged at the same moment in the study of mechanical science, and urged on by the daily motives of interest, to acquire new skill, or invent new improvements. It seems to me utterly beyond the reach of human imagination to embody the results, to which such a constant discipline of the intellect, strengthened by the daily experience of the work-shop, would conduct us. The slightest spark of intelligence, (if I may borrow a figure from the arts) would be blown into a steady flame, and the raw material of genius be kindled by a spontaneous combustion into the most intense light.
Gentlemen, I will detain you no longer. The remarks, which I have addressed to you, have been unavoidably of a loose and desultory nature. They have been thrown together, not in the abundance of my leisure, but of my labours; in the midst of private cares, and many pressing public duties. Such as they are, I trust they may receive your indulgence, if not for their intrinsic value, at least as my small tribute to the merit of this Institution. If I had possessed more leisure, I should have preferred to have given you, as a more suitable topic for an introductory discourse, some account of the rise and progress of the more important arts and inventions in modern times. A close survey of the difficulties overcome, and the triumphs achieved by mechanical genius, would, after all, constitute the most valuable commentary upon the powers of the human mind, and the most encouraging lesson in the study of science.
I conclude with the reflection naturally arising from the subject, that as the true end of philosophy is to render us wiser and happier, so its tendency is to warm our hearts, and elevate our affections, and make us in the highest sense religious beings. When we contemplate the physical creation, and observe, from the minutest atom up to the highest intelligence, continual displays of infinite wisdom, power, and goodness; when we trace out by the light of science the laws, which govern the material world, and observe the order and harmony, and wonderful adaptation of all, from those, which form the sparkling diamond in the mine, or prepare the vollied lightning, or generate the terrific earthquake, or direct the motions of the ocean, up to those, which hold the planets in their spheres; when we turn our thoughts within us, and endeavour to learn what we ourselves are; and consider the nature and capacities of our minds, and feel the divinity, as it were, stir within - us; when we look abroad at the curious displays of human invention in the arts and arrangements of life; and see how man has acquired dominion over the earth and the sea, and the air and the water; how is it possible, I say, when we contemplate such things, not to look up with awe, and admiration, and gratitude, to the First Great Cause of all these blessings. How is it possible not to feel, that we are an emanation of that eternal Spirit, which formed and fashioned us, and breathed into us a rational soul. How is it possible not to read for ourselves a higher destiny, where our powers shall be permitted to expand in endless progression, and continually witness new wonders of the divine perfection. Surely, in the contemplation of such things, we may well exclaim,
I appear before you, gentlemen, for the performance of a duty, which is, in so great a degree, foreign to my habitual studies and pursuits, that it may be presumptuous in me to hope for a creditable execution of the task. But I have not allowed considerations of this kind to weigh against a strong and ardent desire to signify my approbation of the objects, and my conviction of the utility, of this institution; and to manifest my prompt attention to whatever others may suppose to be in my power, to promote its respectability, and to further its designs.
The Constitution of the Association declares its precise object to be, “ Mutual Instruction in the Sciences, as connected with the Mechanic Arts."
The distinct purpose is to connect science, more and more, with art; to teach the established, and invent new, modes of combining skill with strength; to bring the power of the human understanding in aid of the physical powers of the human frame; to facilitate the co-operation of the mind with the hand; to augment convenience, lighten labour, and mitigate toil, by stretching the dominion of mind, farther and farther, over the elements of nature, and by making those elements, themselves, submit to human rule, follow human bidding, and work together for human happiness.
The visible and tangible creation, into which we are introduced at our birth, is not, in all its parts, fixed and stationary. Motion, or change of place, regular or occasional, belongs to all or most of the things, which are around us.
Animal life every where moves; the earth itself has its motion, and its complexities of motion; the ocean heaves and subsides; rivers run lingering or rushing, to the sea; and the air which we breathe moves and acts with mighty power. Motion, thus pertaining to the physical objects which surround us, is the exhaustless fountain, whence philosophy draws the means, by which, in various degrees, and endless forms, natural agencies and the tendencies of inert matter, are brought to the succour and assistance of human strength. It is the object of mechanical contrivance to modify motion, to produce it in 'new forms, to direct it to new purposes, to multiply its uses,—by means of it to do better, that which human strength could do without its aid,—and to perform that, also, which such strength, unassisted by art, could not perform. 1 Motion itself is but the result of force; or, in other words, force is defined to be whatever tends to produce motion. The operation of forces, therefore, on bodies, is the broad field which is open for that philosophical examination, the results of which it is the business of mechanical contrivance to apply. The leading forces or sources