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himself into his own business without being educated above it. I am not speaking of that perfunctory, outside knowledge, which is all that a majority of men ever get of their trade; just sufficient for a decent performance and an earning of bread; because it is between comparatively few men and their work, that a cordial intimacy, such as comes of interior knowledge, ever grows up. To extend that inquisitive class, is the ministry of all such associations as this to make scientific Paul Prys, intense Yankee question-askers, bent on worming out all the domestic secrets of that cunning housekeeper, Nature. You will find, for instance, that a mason cannot thoroughly know masonry, without knowing the laws of architecture, the composition of the atmosphere and the effect of climatic changes on structures, the meteorology that subjects to science the draught of a chimney, the history of building, the principles of drawing, the significance of the orders. A really well-educated merchant will need to know political economy, to know statute-books, to know navigation and manufactures, to know physical and statistical geography, to know the principles as well as the current. rates of exchange, to know the wants of many markets, and the languages of many countries, as well as to know men, and the manners that breed civility and conciliate success, in all countries, at the common court of honor.
Take a more minute department. If a silversmith will make a complete study of his work, travelling up, step by step, on the line of that single business, and not leaving the train of connected suggestions it opens, he will go first to the mine where the science of metallurgy confronts him; where also stands the mining art, with its engines, and water-wheels, and shafts, its blasting, and draining and extraction, with pulley, inclined plane, and hydraulics; the history of mining, too, running back into savage epochs, beyond Phænicia and Tyre; the distribu
tion of mines, and their implication in social problems, and their legal relations to surface-ownership, freehold and lease and rents. Then the science of mineralogy sets in, with its properties and classifications, its doctrines of form and composition, its branchings out into crystallography and optics, its acid, alkaline and neutral bases. This hands him over to geology, which will take him, if he will be taken, back through the dim beginnings of creation, among pre-Adamic periods and antediluvian formations, setting him against the rocky questions of cosmogony and interpretations of Genesis. Then, if he will turn back to the silver in his hand, he sees in that a white, malleable, tenacious substance, of which he has to learn before he understands it - its specific gravity, the vitreous and black varieties of its ore, what metals it combines with, how it absorbs and gives out oxygen, is tarnished by sulphuretted hydrogen, takes on the appearance of granular crystallization, and may be alloyed with copper. Then, its manifold uses : how nitric acid gains from it lunar caustic for the surgeon to assuage pain, how simple mixtures with it produce indelible ink, how it is wrought into a thousand shapes of artistic beauty, to be ornaments for taste and gifts for friendship, and implements for use, to lie on bridal tables and glitter in the equipage of wealth; how it is cast into bullion, how it goes stamped as coin into all the circulations of commerce — takes the impress of character, gets pinched in the miser's grip, slips readily through the spendthrift's fingers, bribes guilt, and blesses poverty, runs into the contests of politics, affects currency, makes tedious speeches in Congress, and goes through all the channels of traffic and the pockets of men — and of women, too, they say, sometimes — mixing with and modifying all the deep tragedies and comedies of life, as they act their dramatic realities over the globe.
I give this, of course, only as an instance how the Brain, put in contact with only a special and limited department of work, stretches it up and down the ages, through the whole circle of the sciences, and even into the moral mysteries of the soul. Does the silversmith, sitting at his workbench, consider his calling ?
You see how easy it would be to multiply these examples. The mind is an infinite and tireless traveller, out-voyaging Columbus or Cook, out-marching Audubon and Humboldt, outwatching Laplace, Herschel, telescopes, the stars themselves. Begin where you will, study will lead you out towards an everwidening circumference. All truth is one. The sciences interlace their fibres. The smallest arc joins into a full majestic circle. Strike down where you stand, right under your feet, to investigate the commonest topic or fact, and, if you only keep on, the vein you hit will lead you to the end of the world, and over all the galleries of the centuries.
The practical point for us all is to escape contracted notions of our calling; to enliven and illuminate it by evoking its intellectual nobility; to be waked from the poor delusion that we understand our calling, only because we can respectably do some of its outside offices. The Brain asks more than this. It asks what has been done in it, and by whom; what is possible to be done in it, and by what means. So your standard of action is elevated by your knowledge, and, in turn, your expanding ideal stretches the actual performance. No housekeeper is fit to carry the keys who can be satisfied so long as there is better housekeeping done on the planet than between her four walls. So of the shoemaker, the railroad contractor, the blacksmith, the tailor. The mind's energy brings the whole average up, and equalizes every art to the possibilities of things. Thought and study grade the whole of life by the Alpine heights of its grander achievements.
Every solid human interest has successive stages in its progress, and every stage its wants. Mechanic art seems to me to have now reached that point where its chiefs and masters should look beyond the mere personal and financial result to the intellectual dignity and beauty involved; prized for their own sake.
The true mechanician will ask not only how he may attain his mechanical object, at the least expense, and for the largest profit; he will have a sacred veneration for his art that will prompt him to give every piece of workmanship he finishes the highest perfection its nature suffers, regardless of any coarser recompense. There is an idea of thoroughness - an appetite for the best — a love of a perfect thing: the finish of the fabric, the polish of the blade, the grace of the machine like what was seen in Jesse Ramsden's instruments. It is not the low lust of pay that crowds your exhibition-room with models. It is the passion for excellence, in itself - one of the noblest things in any man. It is the parent of intellectual enthusiasm. Just as there is a certain scientific ardor and an artist's delight in the higher examples of every learned profession, so in these popular avocations where science lends itself to the building of machines, and roads, and factories, there is a self-forgetful devotion to the completeness of the enterprise, which is the glory of the business. Some of the most thrilling passages in the annals of science and the arts - an honor to your profession and a light to us all are records of such self-oblivious enthusiasm — the mortal body and its life quite bent under by the mighty ecstasy of the Brain; Pliny, pursuing his volcanic investigations to the crater's edge, and so the lover of Nature perishing in his eager watch for her Titanic throes; Anaxagoras, the astronomer, when rebuked for neglecting civic offices, replying, “ My first care is for my country in yonder sky;" Eudoxus praying that he might approach the
splendor of the sun, though he should melt in its fervent heat; the youthful Malebranche taking up a volume of Descartes casually in a bookstore, and so excited as he read on that a palpitation of the heart obliged him to lay it aside; Sir John Franklin quite offering up the fleshly comfort to the all-commanding thought; Dante, going out to see a pageant in the city, but plunging into an abyss of contemplation in the street, profound as his own Inferno, where he saw no passing procession save the airy one of things invisible to mortal sight; Richardson, a printer's apprentice, stealing hours from sleep for read. ing, but scrupulously paying his employer for the candle by which he perpetrated that sinless theft; Rousseau, literally delirious with the first conception of the Treatise on Arts and Sciences; and Rittenhouse, the mathematical instrument-maker, and successor to Doctor Franklin as the President of the Philo. sophical Society, actually fainting with the intellectual agitation of observing, after long expectation, the transit of Venus across the disc of the sun.
Consecrations to the spirit of knowledge so disinterested and heroic as these exalt any vocation - none more than yours. They create a genuine nobility, independent of college diplomas or the patronage of wealth. They form a brotherhood of thinking Heads and working Hands, fit to be the reformers of mankind. Yet, that they may ascend to that purer eminence, another element of the threefold man must assert its place, superior still. And so we enter yet further and deeper into him, and find, at last, his Heart.
III. By the Heart I mean that central organ in man which unites him with his fellow-men, and so makes the best object of his acts and thoughts the welfare of his race. No mechanic, however ingenious the articles he fashions, is symmetrically developed, or educated, till he recognizes that bond. No work