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no inconsiderable degree of entertainment and delight. The occasional performance of scientificerperiments, as opportunity offers, and the construction of philosophical instruments, may also be converted into a source of enjoyment. In the one case, the student of nature may derive gratification, in being the means of communicating entertainment and instruction to others; and in the other, he may whet his ingenuity, and increase his mental vigour, and be enabled, at a small expence, to gra ify his curiosity in contemplating the various processes, and the beauties and sublimities of nature. Many of the instruments of science, when elegantly constructed, are beyond the reach of the general mass of mankind, on ..ccount of their expense; but a person of moderate reflection and ingenuity, during his leisure hours, can easily construct at an inconsiderable expense, many of the most useful instruments which illustrate the facts of science. For example, a powerful compound microscope, capable of enabling us to perceive the most interesting minute objects in the animal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms, may be constructed at an expense of little more than a crown, provided the individual constructs the tubes and other apparatus of pasteboard, wood, or other cheap materials; and the occasional exercise of the mental powers in such devices, so far from being irksome or fatiguing, are generally accompanied with satisfaction and pleasure. It is true, indeed, that the study of some of the subjects above mentioned, particularly the first principles of the mathematics, may, in the outset, be attended with some difficulties, and to some minds may wear a dry and uninteresting aspect. But as the mind proceeds onwards in its progress, and acquires clearer conceptions of what at first appeared difficult or obscure— every difficulty it is enabled to surmount gives a new relish to the subject of investigation, and additional vigour to the intellect, to enable it to vanquish the difficulties which still remain-till at length it feels a pleasure and an interest in the pursuit, which no difficulties, nor even the lapse of time can ever effectually destroy. “Let any man,” says Lord Brougham, “pass an evening in vacant idleness, or even in reading some silly tale, and compare the state of his mind when he goes to sleep or gets up next morning, with its state some other day when he has passed a few hours in going through the proofs, by facts and reasonings, of some of the great doctrines in Natural Science, learning truths wholly new to him, and satisfying himself by careful examination of the grounds on which known truths rest, so as to be not only acquainted with the doctrines themselves, but able to show why he believes them, and to prove before others that they are true –he will find as great a difference as can oxist in the same being, the difference be
tween looking back upon time unprofitably wasted, and time spent in self-improvement; he will feel hitnself in the one case listless and dissatisfied, in the other, comfortable and happy; in the one case, if he do not appear to himself humbled, at least he will not have earned any claim to his own respect; in the other case, he will enjoy a proud consciousness of having by his own exertions, become a wise, and therefore a more exalted creature.”
The subjects to which I have now adverted, may be considered not merely in reference to the gratification they afford to the understanding, but likewise in reference to the beneficial influence they would produce on the heart, and on social and domestic enjoyment.
All the truths relative to the Creator's operations in the universe, when properly contemplated, are calculated to produce a powerful and interesting impression upon the affections. Is a person gratified at beholding symmetry and beauty as displayed in the works of art, what a high degree of delightful emotion must be felt in surveying the beautiful arrangements of Infinite Wisdom, in the variety of forms, the nice proportions, the exquisite delicacy of texture, and the diversified hues which adorn the vegetable kingdom,-in the colours of the morning and evening clouds of a summer sky, the plumage of birds, the admirable workmanship on the bodies of insects, the fine polish of sea-shells, the variegated wavings and colouring of jaspers, topazes, and emeralds, and particularly in those specimens of divine mechanism in insects, plants, and flowers, which the unassisted eye cannot discern, and which the microscope alone can unfold to view! Has he a taste for the sublime? How nobly is he gratified by an enlightened view of the nocturnal heavens, where suns unnumbered shine, and mighty worlds run their solemn rounds' Such contemplations have a natural tendency, in combination with Christian principles and motives, to raise the affections to that Almighty Being who is the uncreated source of all that is sublime and beautiful in creation,-to enkindle the fire of devotion,--to excite adoration of his infinite excellences, and to produce profound humility in his presence. Such studies likewise tend to preserve the mind in calmness and serenity under the moral dispensations of Him whose wisdom is displayed in all his arrangements, and whose “tender mercies are over all his works,”—and to inspire it with hope and confidence in relation to the future scenes of eternity, from a consideration of his power, benevolence, and intelligence, as displayed throughout the universe, and of the inexhaustible sources of felicity he has it in his power to distribute among numerous orders of beings throughout an immortal existence. Contemplating the numerous displays of Divine munificence around us —the diversified orders of delighted existence that people the air, the waters, and the earth, the nice adaptation of their organs and faculties to their different situations and modes of life, the ample provision made for their wants and enjoyments, and the boundless dimensions of the divine empire, where similar instances of bene:cence are displayed—the heart is disposed to rest with confidence on Him who made it, convinced that his almighty power qualifies him to make us happy by a variety of means of which we have no adequate conception, and that his faithfulness and benevolence dispose him to withhold no real good “from them that walk uprightly.” Such studies would likewise tend to heighten the delights of social enjoyment. There is nothing more grating to the man of intelligence than the foolish and trifling conversation which prevails in the various intercourses of social life, even among the middling and the higher circles of society, and in convivial associations. The ribaldry and obscenity, the folly and nonsense, and the laughter of fools which too frequently distinguish such associations, are a disgrace to our civilized condition, and to our moral and intellectual nature. Without supposing that it will ever be expedient to lay aside cheerfulness and rational mirth, the lively smile, or even the loud laugh, it is surely conceivable, that a more rational and improving turn might be given to general conversation than what is frequently exemplified in our social intercourses. And what can we suppose better calculated to accomplish this end than the occasional introduction of topics connected with science and general knowledge, when all, or the greater part, are qualified so take a share in the general conversation? It would tend to stimulate the mental faculties, to suggest useful hints, to diffuse general information, to improve science and art, to excite the ignorant to increase in knowledge, to present interesting objects of contemplation, to enliven the spirits, and thus to afford a source of rational enjoyment. It would also have a tendency to prevent those shameful excesses, noisy tumults, and scenes of intemperance which so frequently terminate our festive entertainments. For want of qualifications for such conversation, cards, dice, childish questions and amusements, gossiping chit-chat, and tales of scandal are generally resorted to, in order to consume the hours allotted to social enJoyment. And how melancholy the reflection, that rational beings capable of investigating the laws and phenomena of the universe, and of prosecuting the most exalted range of thought, and who are destined to exist in other worlds, throughout an endless duration—should be impelled to resort to such degrading expedients, to wheel away the social hours! Domestic enjoyment might likewise be heightened and in proved by the studies to which we
have adverted. For want of qualifications for rational conversation, a spirit of listlessness ano indifference frequently insinuates itself into the intercourses of families, and between married individuals, which sometimes degenerates into fretfulness and impatience, and even into jars, contentions, and violent altercations; in which case there can never exist any high degree of affection or domestic enjoyment. It is surely not unreasonable to suppose, that were the minds of persons in the married state possessed of a certain portion of knowledge, and endowed with a relish for rational investigations—not only would such disagreeable effects be prevented, but a variety of positive enjoyments would be introduced. Substantial knowledge, which leads to the proper exercise of the mental powers, has a tendency to meliorate the temper, and to prevent those ebullitions of passion, which are the results of vulgarity and ignorance. By invigorating the mind, it prevents it from sinking into peevishness and inanity. It affords subjects for interesting conversation, and augments affection by the reciprocal interchanges of sentiment and feeling, and the mutual communication of instruction and entertainment. And in cases where malignant passions are ready to burst forth, rational arguments will have a more powerful influence in arresting their progress, in cultivated minds, than in those individuals in whose constitution animal feeling predominates, and reason has lost its ascendancy. As an enlightened mind is generally the seat of noble and liberal sentiments—in those cases where the parties belong to different religious sectaries, there is more probability of harmony and mutual forbearance being displayed, when persons take an enlarged view of the scenes of creation, and the revelations of the Creator, than can be expected in the case of those whose faculties are immersed in the mists of superstition and ignorance. How delightful an enjoyment is it, after the bustle of business and the labours of the day are over, when a married couple can sit down at each corner of the fire, and, with mutual relish and interest, read a volume of history or of popular philosophy, and talk of the moral government of God, the arrangements of his providence, and the wonders of the universe! Such interesting conversations and exercises beget a mutual esteem, enliven the affections, and produce a friendship lasting as our existence, and which no untoward incidents can ever effectually impair. A Christian pastor, in giving an account of the last illness of his beloved partner, in a late periodical work, when alluding to a book she had read along with him about two months before her decease, says, “I shall never forget the pleasure with which she studied the illustrations of the divine perfections in that interesting book. Rising from the contemplation of the variety, beauty, immensity, and order of the creation, she ex
ulted in the assurance of having the Creator for her father, an icipated with great joy the vision of him in the next world, and calculated with unhesitating confidence on the sufficiency of his boundless nature to engage her most intense interest, and to render her unspeakably happy for ever.” It is well known that the late lamented Princess Charlotte, and her consort Prince Leopold, lived together in the greatest harmony and affection; and from what her biographers have stated respecting her education and pursuits, it appears that the mutual friendship of these illustrious individuals was heightened and cemented by the rational conversation in which they indulged, and the elevated studies to which they were devoted. Her course of education embraced the English, classical, French, German, and Italian languages; arithmetic, geography, astronomy, the first six books of Euclid, algebra, mechanics, and the principles of optics and perspective, along with history, the policy of governments, and particularly the principles of the Christian religion. She was a skilful musician, had a fine perception of the picturesque in nature, and was fond of drawing. She took great pleasure in strolling on the beach, in marine excursions, in walking in the country, in rural scenery, in conversing freely with the rustic inhabitants, and in investigating every object that seemed worthy of her attention. She was an enthusiastic admirer of the grand and beautiful in nature, and the ocean was to her an object of peculiar interest. After her union with the prince, as their tastes were similar, they engaged in the same studies. Gardening, drawing, music, and rational conversation, diversified their leisure hours. They took great pleasure in the culture of flowers—in the classification of them —and in the formation, with scientific skill, of a hortus siccus. But the library, which was furnished with the best books in our language, was their favourite place of resort; and their chief daily pleasure, mutual instruction. They were seldom apart either in their occupations or in their amusements; nor were they separated in their religious duties. “They took sweet counsel together, and walked to the house of God in company;” and it is also stated, on good authority, that they had established the worship of God in their family, which was regularly attended by every branch of their household. No wonder, then, that they exhibited an auspicious and a delightful example of private and domestic virtue, of conjugal attachment, and of unobtrusive charity and benevolence. In the higher circles of society, as well as in the lower, it would be of immense importance to the interests of domestic happiness, that the taste of the Princess Charlotte was more closely imitated, and that the fashionable frivolity and dissipation which so generally prevail were exchanged for the pursuits of knowledge, and the delights of rational and
improving conversation. Then those family feuds, contentions, and separations, and those prosecutions for matrimonial infidelity which are now so common, would be less frequently obtruded on public view, and examples of virtue, affection, and rational conduct, would be set before the subordinate ranks of the community, which might be attended with the most beneficial and permanent results, not only to the present, but to future generations.
In short, the possession of a large store ot intellectual wealth would fortify the soul in the prospect of every evil to which humanity is subjected, and would afford consolation and solace when fortune is diminished, and the greater portion of external comforts is withdrawn. Under the frowns of adversity, those worldly losses and calamities which drive unthinking men to desperation and despair, would be borne with a becoming magnanimity; the mind having within itself the chief resources of its happiness, and becoming almost independent of the world around it. For to the individual whose happiness chiefly depends on intellectual pleasures, retirement from general society, and the bustle of the world, is often the state of his highest enjoyment.
Thus I have endeavoured briefly to illustrate the enjoyments which a general diffusion of knowledge would produce—from a consideration of the limited conceptions of the untutored mind contrasted with the ample and diversified range of view presented to the enlightened understanding—from the delightful tendency of scientific pursuits, in enabling us to trace, from a single principle, an immense variety of effects, and surprising and unexpected resemblances where we least expected to find them,-from the grand and sublime objects it presents before us—from the variety of novel and interesting scenes which the different departments of physical science unfold—from the exercise of tracing the steps by which scientific discoveries have been made—and from the influence of such studies on the affections and on social and domestic enjoyment.
For want of the knowledge to which I have alluded, it happens that few persons who have been engaged in commercial or agricultural pursuits feel much enjoyment, when, in the decline of life, they retire from the active labours in which they had been previously engaged. Retirement and respite from the cares of business afford them little gratification, and they feel a vacuity within which nothing around them or within the range of their conceptions can fill up. Being destitute of a taste for intellectual pursuits, and devoid of that subs: "tum of thought which is the ground-work of mental activity and of rational contemplation, they enjoy nothing of that mental liberty and expansion of soul which
the retreats of solitude afford to the contemplative mind; and, when not engaged in festive associations, are apt to sink into a species of listiessness and ennui. They stalk about from one place to another without any definite object in view—look at every thing around with a kind of unconscious gaze—are glad to indulge in trifling talk and gossip with every one they meet—and, feeling how little enjoyment they derive from their own reflections, not unfequently slide into habits of sensuality and intemperance.
From what we have stated on this topic, it evidently appears that the pursuits of science are fitted to yield a positive gratification to every rational mind. It presents to view, processes, combinations, metamorphoses, motions, and objects of various descriptions calculated to arrest the attention and to astonish the mind, far more than all the romances and tales of wonder that were ever invented by the human imagination. When the pleasures arising from such studies are rendered accessible to all, human happiness will be nearly on a level, and the different ranks of mankind will enjoy it nearly in an equal de
e. As true enjoyment depends chiefly on the state of the mind, and the train of thought, that passes through it, it follows, that when a man prosecutes a rational train of thought, and finds a pleasure in the contemplation of intellectual objects, his happiness is less dependent on mere sensitive enjoyments, and a smaller portion of external comforts will be productive of enjoyment than in the case of those whose chief pleasure consists in sensual gratifications. When intellectual pursuits, therefore, shall ocrupy the chief attention of mankind, we may indulge the hope, that those restless and insatiable desires which avarice and ambition never cease to create, will seldom torment the soul, and that a noble generosity of mind in relation to riches will distinguish persons of every rank, and be the means of producing enjoyment wherever its influence extends. *
on THE PRACTICAL INFLUENCE OF SCIENT1F1c kNow LEDGE, AND ITs TENDENCY To PROMOTE THE ExtekNAL COMFORTS OF GENERAL SOCIETY.
In the preceding section I have considered the beneficial tendency of knowledge and the pleasures it affords, chiefly in reference to the understanding and the affections. In the present section I shall consider it more particularly, in regard to its practical effects on the active employments and the externa' comforts of the middling 2.1d lower orders of the community.— Every art, being founded on scientific principles,
and directed in its operations by the experimental deductions of philosophy, it follows, that a knowledge of the principles of science inust be conducive to a skilful practice of the arts, and must have a tendency to direct the genius of the artist to carry them to their highest pitch of improvement. In illustrating this topic, I shall endeavour to show that an acquaintance with science would render mechanics, manufacturers, and labourers more expert and skilful in their different departments—would pave the way for future discoveries and improvements—and that the knowledge and spirit which produced such improvements would promote the external comforts of mankind. I. A knowledge of the principles of scienco would render manufacturers, mechanics, and common labourers of all descriptions more skilful in their respective professions and employments. In the arts of dyeing and calico-printing, every process is conducted on the principles of chymistry. Not a colour can be imparted but in consequence of the affinity which subsists between the cloth and the dye-or the dye and the mordant employed as a bond of union between them; and the colours will be liable to vary, unless the artist take into account the changes which take place in them by the absorption of oxygen;–a knowledge of which and of the different degrees of oxidizement which the several dyes undergo, requires a considerable portion of chymical skill; and such knowledge is absolutely necessary to enable either the dyer or the calico printer to produce in all cases permanent colours of the shade he intends. To chymistry, too, they must be indebted for the knowledge they may acquire of the nature of the articles they use in their several processes— for the artificial production of their most valuable mordants—and for some of their most beautiful and brilliant colours. As an evidence of this, it is sufficient to state, that, to produce such colours as an olive ground and yellow figures, a scarlet pattern on a black ground, or a brown ground with orange figures, formerly required a period of many weeks; but by means of chymical preparations the whole of this work may now be done in a few days, and patterns more delicate than ever produced, with a degree of certainty of which former manufacturers could have no idea; and all this is effected by dyeing the cloth a self-colour in the first instance, and afterwards merely printing the pattern with a chymical preparation, which discharges a part of the original dye, and leaves a new colour in its stead. The art of bleaching has likewise received so many important improvements from chymical science, that no one is now capable of conducting its processes to advantage who is ignorant of the scientific principles on which “he present practice of that art is founded. Till about "he close
DTILITY OF CHYMICAL KNowLEDGE.
of the eighteenth century, the old tedious process of bleaching continued in practice. But, about that period the introduction of the orymuriatic acid, combined with alkalis, lime and other ingredients, in bleaching cottons and linens, has given an entirely new turn to every part of the process, so that the process which formerly required several months for its completion can now be accomplished in a few days, and with a degree of persection which could not previously be attained. Even in a few hours, that which formerly required nearly a whole summer, can now be effected, and that, too, merely by the action of an almost invisible fluid. As the whole process of bleaching, as now practised, consists almost entirely of chymical agents and operations, every person employed in this art, ought to possess a certain portion of chymical knowledge, otherwise many of its processes would run the risk of being deranged, and the texture of the materials undergoing the process of being either materially injured or completely destroyed. The operation of brewing fermented liquors is likewise a chymical process. The student of chymistry will learn how the barley in the first instance is converted into a saccharine substance by malting ; how the fermentative process converts the saccharine to a spirituous substance, and how the latter, by continuing the process, becomes changed into vinegar. He will also learn the means of promoting and encouraging this process, and how to retard and check it, when it is likely to be carried too far, so as to be sure of uniformly obtaining satisfactory results. In this and in every other process, it must therefore be of importance to acquire some knowledge of the principles of natural substances, and of the nature of those changes
which take place in the materials on which we
operate. In the manufacture of soap, it is reckoned by those intimately acquainted with the process, that many thousands per annum, now lost to the community, might be saved, were the trade carried on upon scientific principles. When a soap boiler is an accomplished chymist, he knows how to analyze barilla, kelp, potass, and other materials, so as to ascertain the proportion of alkali in each; and when these articles are at an exorbitant price, he will have recourse to various residuums, which he will decompose by chymical means, and use as substitutes. He will know how to oxydize the common oils and oil-dregs, so as to give them consistence, and render them good substitutes for tallow—and how to apportion his lime so as to make his alkali perfectly caustic, without using an unnecessary quantity of that article. The manufacture of candles might also derive advantage from chymical science. It is found that foreign tallows frequently contain a large portion of acid rendering them inferior to the
English, which, by chymical means may be purified at a very small expense, and by the proper application of chymical agents, other brown tallows may be rendered beautifully white, and fit for the best purposes." The tanning of hides is now ascertained to consist in impregnating the animal matter with that peculiar principle taken from the vegetablo kingdom, called tan, the effect of which is explained entirely on chymical principles. It is now known that many substances besides oakbark, contains tan, and to chymistry we are indebted for the means of discovering with accuracy the quantity of tan which the several astringent vegetables contain. It is supposed not to be improbable, when the manufacturers shall have paid proper attention to chymical science, that the article in question may be pre- . pared in chymical laboratories, so as entirely to supersede the use of oak bark, since the principle of tanning has already been formed artisicially by a modern chymist.f—It is also well known, that to chymical research, the manufactures of earthen-ware and porcelain are indebted for the improved state in which they are now found. For, the successful management of all their branches, from the mixture of the materials which form the body of the ware, to the production of those brilliant colours with which such articles are adorned—is dependent on the principles of chymical science, The celebrated Wedgewood, to whom this branch of manufacture is so highly indebted, devoted his whole attention to the improvement of his art by the application of his chymical knowledge, of which few men possessed a larger share; and he has been heard to declare, “that nearly all the diversified colours applied to his pottery were produced only by the oxides of iron.” There are few persons to whom a knowledge of chymistry is of more importance than to the Agriculturist. It will teach him to analyse the soils on the different parts of his farm, and to subject to experiment the peat, the marle, the lime and other manures, in order to ascertain the advantages to be derived from them, and the propriety of applying them in particular instances. It will teach him when to use lime hot from the kiln, and when slacked, how to promote the putrefactive process in his composts, and at what period to check it, so as to prevent the fertilizing particles becoming unprolific and of little value. It will also teach hun the difference in the properties of marle, lime, dung, mud, ashes, alkaline salt, soapwaste, sea-water and other manures, and, consequently, which to prefer in all varieties of soil. It is said that the celebrated Lavoisier
* For most of the above hints the author is hdebted to Mr. Parkes. i. * Segerin. See Nicolson's Phil. Journal, 4to vol. p.271.