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communications that now exist between Europe and our country. Although American genius has doubtless contributed her full share to the common stock, how often do we find ourselves outstripped by the use in foreign countries of our own inventions. Sometimes they scarcely allow us to whisper them, before we find them spread upon our tables in the pages of an European periodical, and claimed as of foreign origin; and there is scarcely an American mechanic, or philosopher, who has not experienced this mortifying occurrence. The correction of the evil may be difficult, but it ought to be undertaken; the method of accomplishing it is undoubtedly that which, to some extent, prevails abroad, in the intimate union of the philosopher with the artizan; not so much the existence of the two in the same individual, as that spirit of confidential intercourse between the man of science, and the man of art, as will lead the former to communicate freely what he himself discovers, or what has been discovered by others, and the latter willingly to test the application of these discoveries in the workshop; frankly to acknowledge their advantages, if such be realized, or with equal frankness to state when and how they fail. That such an unison of effort is practicable, we have proof already in numerous instances in our own country, and if we look abroad we find them existing in great numbers in those countries from which we have sprung. Our illustrious countryman, Franklin, whose philosophic mind seems to have had a special mission for the improvement of his race, in his early efforts wrought upon this principle. The foundation of the Junto, the establishment of the American Philosophical Society, and the Philadelphia Library, were the instrumenis by which he formed the union of science and art in our city, and the honored survivors of these associations still flourish, and attest the wonderful workings of that mind, which, ennobled by the acquisition of knowledge, rose step by step from the shop of the soap boiler to the level of statesmen, and nobles, and kings. The influence exerted upon the society of our metropolis by these institutions, and the general character of Benjamin Franklin, has never passed away; its spirit has caused the city to be renowned for her establishments for education and charity, and here the great work of knitting the boundaries of the nation together by turnpike roads, canals, and railroads, has been early and steadily prosecuted. We may have gone on too rapidly for those who desire to see the usury of their monies annually poured into their coffers, but to those who take in the untold millions of posterity with a present glance, we seem hardly to have done enough. What constitutes now the boast of civilized Europe, -the bloody trophies of unblessed wars, or the soul-satisfying fruits of honorable peace?
Behold the mighty changes that have come over that land since the final overthrow of Napoleon. It may well be doubted whether if the productive industry of those nations had not been doubled and quadrupled within the last thirty years, they would not have fallen into anarchy and ruin by the weight of their war debts. But as the products of the industry of each member of society is increased, the ability of a nation to sustain the pressure of taxation is wonderfully
Vol. IX, 3RD SERIES-No. 1 - Jantary, 1845.
enlarged, and a national expenditure, which in times of unsettlement and confusion, is almost intolerable, weighs but as a feather in the balance, when the hand of industry is full of work. This consideration naturally leads us to a contemplation of the condition of our own state, and of the institutions that have been established among us for advancing the common welfare. If we survey Pennsylvania according to the physical aspect presented on the map, we are struck with peculiarities not to be found so broadly exhibited in any other state of the Union. This configuration gives to her citizens the choice of a very wide range of pursuits; even should they be confined to the more elementary and pastoral occupations of man. The noble forest inviting the visit of the hunter, or the woodman; the beautiful valley watered by most noble rivers, calling the agriculturist and the shepherd to make it his dwelling place; the broad and even plain looking towards the sea, where a city would rise almost at the first footfall of the white man. But when we add to these the rich treasures that lie beneath the surface, who shall say that our lines have not been cast in pleasant places, and that we have not a fruitful land to dwell in? Our fathers have not left themselves without witnesses, that they understood and valued all these good gifts. Separating themselves from the narrow and sectarian views which at that time, in Europe, were chaining the intellectual and physical energies of man, they gave the widest range for improvement, and it is only necessary to refer you to our colonial history, to prove that here the superstructure was, with few exceptions, in perfect harmony with the foundations, laid with so much wisdom by the mind of William Penn. While a truly watchful and paternal spirit overlooked the people, the interference of government with these pursuits was of rare occurrence; and so watchful have the colonial and state authorities been on the subject of corporations, that until within a few years the creation of any, having for their object the prosecution of branches of manufacturing and mechanical pursuits, have been steadily refused, while those for charitable, literary, or scientific, purposes have been freely established, and liberally endowed out of the common stock. This policy has given us a peculiar character. Our citizens have become successful agriculturists, miners, builders, and mechanics, but they have not been manufacturers in the modern acceptation of that term.
The coal, and iron, and wool, of Pennsylvania have been largely exported to other states, and have been returned here in various manufactured forms, to be sold and distributed by our citizens to our own, and to the people of the neighboring, or distant, states, Far be it from me to desire the existence of a sectional feeling that should prevent our raw materials from filling the workshops and factories of other states; but what I desire is, that our own people should not shut their eyes to the advantages they enjoy, and be willing to profit by them. This profit can only be obtained by confidence: the capitalist who allows his money to lie idle, either in his own chest, or places it upon the uncertain tenure of his fears in the vaults of a bank, can scarcely realize the public injury he is thus inflicting. His wealth has been given him for no such purpose; and the retribution will come,
even at the third, or fourth, generation, for his non-application of the means of doing good.
Wealth thus withheld from the uses of society will assuredly perish in the hands that hold it with so close a grasp; but if it be liberally and well directed to the hands that labor, and the heads that teach, it will flow back to the giver abundantly increased, and bring with it the blessings of those whose homes and families it has built up and sustained. Referring here again to the illustrious Franklin, and the broad and liberal forecast of his mind, we are struck with the truth of the maxim of inspiration, “ that the liberal man deviseth liberal things.” Although he was far from possessing millions, his will bears a nobie testimony to his ever active and useful mind. In the legacies he bequeathed to the cities of Philadelphia and Boston respectively, he proposed a scheme for the advancement of young mechanics that is not paralleled in our own times. That it has not succeeded according to his calculations, and his hopes, is rather to be attributed to the channels through which the bounty was to pass, than to any error in his theory. There are too many duties pressing upon the time of a public functionary to permit him to attend to a matter of so much detail as the Franklin legacy, and we are to look rather to this cause than to any other, that both in Boston and this city, his objects have not yet been attained. But such failures ought not to deter the hand of liberality from contributions to those institutions, whose organization peculiarly fits them for the advancement of knowledge and industry. . And of this class, mechanics' institutions, and apprentices' libraries occupy a prominent place. They take the various industrial arts out of the routine of the mere workshop, and give the artizan the possession of a new and almost infinite power; the power of useful knowledge. The traditions of the shop may, up to a certain point, make a good workman, but how vastly superior is the mechanician whose art is the combined production of well trained practice, and well directed knowledge of the properties and affinities of the substances on which he manipulates. Take, for example, one of the chaste and rich lamps, or candelabra, of our skilful townsman, Cornelius, silvered by the economic application of the new galvanic process, and compare it with the wasteful processes, and clumsy joints made in the best fabrics from European shops less than ten years ago, and our auditors will form some faint notion of what modern science has done for one of the elegant arts. Or compare the beautiful designs and perfection of colors with which our fine woolen and cotton fabrics are covered by the use of the modern printing machine, with those elaborate but grotesque and heavy productions of the old methods of block printing, and you will acknowledge another important benefit conferred by the scientific skill that has the faculty of readily and simply impressing by unerring machinery the types of so much beauty on the copper roller. Or if we turn our attention to those arts in which heat is the great acting agent, how completely has even that subtle fluid been chained by the hand of science to the economical production of many of the necessaries and luxuries of civilized life,
Let me refer to a single instance of this, in the refining of sugar; fifteen, or twenty, years ago, it was a tedious and uncertain process, only regulated by the supposed skill of the master boiler, and if he were so unfortunate as 10 fail in bringing out a good article, every other cause than the right one was his apology. Now the application of steam of known tension under the evaporating vessels—the use of a partial vacuum for facilitating the evaporative process, and the conduct of the whole business under the recording of permanent instruments for measuring heat and pressure, in lieu of the eye and hand of the workmen-give a certainty and regularity to the business that enable the manufacturer to sell a better article at a greatly reduced price. I recollect, distinctly, an aged friend of mine telling an anecdote of a celebrated brewer in this city, who believed that his beer would not be good unless it had been stirred with a sassafras stick; and another of a cutler, who supposed he could not produce a good cutting instrument unless his fire had been kindled with the parings of leather from the currier's shop. These, it is true, are exireme cases; but in tracing the history of the arts, we find the sassafras stick, or the leather parings, showing their heads in some form or other, in all of them. Our purpose in these illustrations is to prove not only the advantages conferred by science on the arts, but also the necessity of men of various pursuits combining to establish institutions, in which the sciences, connected with the useful arts, may be taught, and the recorded discoveries made abroad be constantly accessible. Such an institution we have in the Franklin Institute, and such, by the influence of its example, have been rapidly multiplying in the various sections of our country. Its great object is instruction ; and for the accomplishment of this, it has established schools, lectures, cabinets of minerals, models, and productions of the arts, a library, a journal, a reading rovm; and, finally, exhibitions, and committees of science.
To those who are not familiar with its history, the enumeration of these objects may seem rather to savor of vain boasting than of sober and unadorned truth; but to many of my hearers this enumeration conveys but an imperfect outline of the workings of our society.
The establishment of our system of public instruction in the more elementary branches of knowledge, has relieved the Institute from any care on those subjects, and the High School, founded by it, has been discontinued for some years.
The Drawing School, is, however, regularly opened every autumn, and its pupils, in addition to the instruction given therein, are allowed without additional expense, to attend the regular courses of general chemistry, natural philosophy and mechanics, and technology; and when occasional courses are delivered on other subjects, these too are open to them free of charge. The competency of the several gentlemen who fill the professorships is so well attested by the social position they hold among iis, that eulogy from me would be entirely superfluous. It is due to them, however, to remark, that independently of the labors of these several chairs, they are also among the most industrious and zealous workmen in the committees that have
charge of the Journal, and of the scientific investigations, and that the pecuniary compensation which the Institute has hitherto been able to allow them, is far below what such services would command as private teachers, or examiners.
The library is now very extensive in books and periodicals connected with the history and progress of the arts and sciences, and a sufficient quantity of belles lettres literature is to be found in this department, for mental relaxation, when the more technical subjects become oppressive. The cabinet of minerals, models, and specimens of arts and manufactures, are steadily increasing, and they would, doubtless, improve more rapidly had the institution the means of more suitably providing for the display of such objects. The Journal has been, for almost twenty years, regularly recording the great discoveries of the day, whether made in this country, or in Europe; and is believed to be the only work now extant containing a list of all the American patents. The investigations in practical science that have been made originally by the Committee on Inventions, and more recently by the Committee on Science and the Arts, are only equalled by the works of commissions which have from time to time been instituted in Europe, and paid for out of the public treasury; while, in our case, the personal services have been entirely gratuitous, and in several matters of great importance in a national point of view, the only aid furnished, either by individuals interested, or the public authorities, has been the necessary outlay for materials, or apparatus. Whenever the Institute has been called upon for information by the municipal, state, or national, governments, the task has been cheerfully undertaken, and faithfully fulfilled; and although the recommendations thus made have been sometimes postponed for a season, they have, in the sequel, generally been put in practice when the routine of old methods had failed to satisfy the demands of the public voice. We forbear, for the present, speaking of the results of our exhibitions, for we desire to pause for a moment to ask at what cost has all this been accomplished.
We cannot, of course, measure the value of the time thus given by any pecuniary standard, but we mean to speak now merely of the amount of money that has been received from members, and in ordinary donations.
The conductors of the richly endowed establishments of Europe, will, no doubt, smile when we tell them that it is less than an average of six thousand dollars a year, or, in other words, that for six cents a week every man in our community may have access to a library and reading room well filled with newspapers from all parts of the Union, with the literary and scientific periodicals of the American and European press; may attend at least sixty lectures annually on the most important branches of physical science; may enrol himself either as a learner, or laborer, on any, or all, of the committees having charge of the cabinets, or of scientific examinations, and if he be willing to pay two cents a week more, he can enable his son, or apprentice, to participate in the principal of these advantages. It is not my province now to ask for aid to keep up our courses of instruction, cabinets,