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and the surgeon,
it makes one's blood run cold to think of it, cuts upon the living and quivering flesh of his patient within a hair line of the seat of life, by a confident reliance on the perfection of his knife. It comes feelingly to the bosom of every man, who now, more fortunate than the luxurious Roman, enjoys the comfort of a linen shirt ; and to every woman, whose wardrobe, richer than that of the voluptuous Queen of Egypt, supplies her with a pair of stockings. But although it is not possible to speak in detail of this magnificent exhibition, there is one quarter of the spacious hall, which it would be unpardonable not to notice ; that is, the room allotted to the contributions of the mechanic apprentices. It serves to shew, that the ingenuity and the industry of the fathers, are to be preserved and extended by their sons.
When it is considered that knowledge is not transmissible like property; that there is neither entail, nor legacy, nor statute of distribution that will convey genius, or learning, or skill, to the coming generation, and that the fabricators of all these wonderful specimens of ingenuity must soon die, we might feel some apprehensions for the future, did we not find our young men panting to take their start in the business of life, rivalling their fathers in skill and industry, and giving promise, that in their day, they will carry to yet greater perfeațion, the grand machinery of civilization and improve
In reference, however, to this interesting class, it may be permitted to me respectfully to suggest, whether, while so much is done for their instruction, something should not be added for their amusement. Do we forget the homely adage of the nursery, which in humble phraseology conveys a deep practical truth, that "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Are we getting to be too stern, rigid, and cold in our feelings ; too formal, precise, and severe, in the harder requisitions of duty, without reflecting that to promote cheerfulness, good humor, and rational hilarity is a necessary part of every wise system of human government ?
One half the intemperance, and more than half the riots of the day, are the ebullitions of youth forcibly restrained from lawful indulgence. Young men without regular means of gratifying the inclinations of their age, which it is absurd to think can be extinguished, in sports, games, exhibitions, or exercises suited to their age and time of life, finding it necessary to skulk from the public eye, whenever the mill-horse path of life is to be quitted for an hour, are almost driven into illicit indulgences.
A more liberal system and a better tone of public sentiment, would advance the morals, improve the minds, and nerve the bodies of the rising generations.
I do not recollect, that in your splendid exhibition, two articles make any considerable figure, which a southern senator, on a recent visit among us, considered to be the chief product of New England, Granite and Ice. But the real staple of our hard soil is everywhere visible; viz; - free labor and mechanic skill. These powers convert our granite into palaces, and make the isicles, which nature elaborates in our cold country, melt into streams of gold in the coffers of our enterprising citizens.
Let him rejoice in his orange groves, and his sunny sky. There is a dark spot there which chills the heart. We love New England.
“ Land of the forest and the rock
Of dark blue lake and mighty river
Our own green land forever!
The nursery of giant men,
By a beautiful economy of Providence, all the useful arts, like the virtues of life, are united in a close connection ; * so that the advance of one necessarily carries the others with it, and a common benefit accrues to all, by an impulse that promotes the advantage of either. The account of debt and credit is kept very nearly balanced in the ledger page of mutual exchanges. If the mechanic is indebted to agriculture for producing the means of subsistence, he repays the obligation, by providing better implements of husbandry. The plough, the axe and the spade, in their present state of perfection, are among the donatives of the mechanic to the yeoman ; gifts of the artificer of nature's productions to the lord of the soil. The mechanic is, no doubt, largely indebted to the merchant, in whose magnificent enterprises he finds materials, often for his industry, and always for his reward; but he repays this obligation, by presenting him with that noblest production of ingenuity and mechanic skill, that wonderful creation of intellect and strength, of more endurance than the fabled giants, of more speed than a racehorse, and of more beauty than anything of earthly creation, almost up to the present time, unrivalled in majesty and power, — a sailing ship, a contrivance of mechanic art, which broke down the barriers of nature to the enterprise of man, harnessed her elements for his coursers, and bade him, in imitation of the divine spirit,
“ Upon the wings of mighty winds,
Come flying all abroad.”
And when this imitative world of mechanic construction, freighted treasure, and crowded with human life, is launched upon the trackless ocean,
“ In shade and storm and frequent night,”
* Habent quodam commune vinculum et quasi, cognatione quadam inster se continentur. — Cic pro Archias.
with no star for its direction, and no voice to guide it over the wilderness of waves, the mechanic's art gives to the confiding mariner a little piece of iron, no bigger than an agate stone, that with unerring fidelity points but speaks not, yet touched with such exquisite sensibility that it trembles while it turns, as if it was a young heart whose affection hardly dared trust itself to the expression of its love ; and by its side, places another little imitation of life, that sleeps not, tires not, but counts every knot of his progress, and with a prophet's miraculous foresight, tells his distance from the unseen shore.
For the compass and the chronometer, in their primitive state, the world is indebted partly to science and partly to fortune; but for the perfection of these delicate instruments, which are almost endowed with reason by the extreme precision, exactness, and beauty of their workmanship, the obligation is transferred to mechanic ingenuity and skill,
But this magnificent offering of mechanic art to the enterprise of commerce, fades before the more astonishing gift it has made, not to commerce merely, but to arts, arms, learning, morals, manners, and, indeed, to all the great interests of life, in its complicated and wonderful machinery for the operation of steam.
The power of steam is affecting the civilized world to a degree much beyond that which resulted from the compass, the printing press, or the use of gunpowder, because, to the original potency of these great agents, it has superadded a force that cannot be expressed by any formula of arithmetic; but it is by the mechanism through which it is made to work, that it is operating to this prodigious extent,
Give to science and philosophy, if you please, the glory of discovering that there was a power like an earthquake or volcano, and that it might be directed by human art. Where was the mighty magician, who could seize its elastic spirit, and confine it like the fairy of Eastern fable, sometimes in a bottle, and again to the limits
of the globe ? What modern Æolius could imprison it in its walls, stronger than the cavern of the winds ? Where was the mighty Jupiter of the elements,
“ To confine its fury to its dark abodes,
And weigh it down, oppressed with mountain loads,
This is the prerogative of mechanic art.
The steam-engine, in its present most admirable and exact adjustment, in the nice adaptation of its parts, and the curious facility of its contrivance, brings into practical use this tremendous agent of nature, and compels it to become the willing slave of man. Philosophy could direct, but mechanic skill only could perform.
It is among the inventions of German literature, that an ingenious investigator of the mystery of causality was enabled to form a gigantic human being, and endow him with life; but being wholly incapable of bestowing upon him a moral perception, he created a monster whose first movements were to destroy his creator.
Such was steam in the hands of the philosophers; and some tricks of this kind were played off by this modern Frankiestiern, until the mechanic took him in hand, when a physical, if not a moral restraint was imposed upon him by the ingenious enginery in which he is confined ; and although now he would be a terrible master, he is humble and obedient in his chains.
It is therefore not so much steam, as the steam-engine that is working miracles ; for steam was no available agent so long as it
* Sed Pater omnipotens speluncis abdidit atris,
Molemque et montes insuper altos,