Imagini ale paginilor

suits, interests, and wants of our nature, that the philosopher, whose home seems less on earth than among the stars, requires, for the prosecution of his studies, the aid of numerous artificers in various branches of mechanical industry, and in return furnishes the most important facilities to the humblest branches of manual labour. Let us take, as a single instance, that of astronomical science. It may be safely said, that the wonderful discoveries of modern astronomy, and the philosophical system depending upon them, could not have existed but for the telescope. The want of the telescope kept astronomical science in its infancy among the ancients. Although Pythagoras, one of the earliest Greek philosophers, by a fortunate exercise of sagacity, conceived the elements of the Copernican system, yet we find no general and practical improvement resulting from it. It was only from the period of the discoveries made by the telescope that the science advanced with sure and rapid progress. Now, the astronomer does not make telescopes. I presume it would be impossible for a person who is employed in the abstract study of astronomical science to find time enough to comprehend its profound investigations, and to learn and practise the trade of making glass. It is mentioned as a remarkable versatility of talent in one or two eminent observers, that they have superintended the cutting and polishing of the glasses of their own telescopes. But I presume, if there never had been a telescope till some scientific astronomer had learned to mix, melt, and mould glass, such a thing would never have been heard of. It is not less true that those employed in making the glass could not, in the nature of things, be expected to acquire the scientific knowledge requisite for carrying on those arduous calculations, applied to bring into a system the discoveries made by the magnifying power of the telescope. I might extend the same remark to the other materials of which a telescope consists. It cannot be used to any purpose of nice observation without being very carefully mounted on a frame of strong metal, which demands the united labours of the mathematical instrument maker and the brass-founder. Here, then, in taking but one single step out of the philosopher's observatory, we find he needs an instrument to be produced by the united labours of the mathematical instrument maker, the brass-founder, the glass-polisher, and the maker of glass,—four trades. He must also have an astronomical clock, and it would be easy to count up half a dozen trades, which directly or in

the sea.

directly are connected in making a clock. But let us go back to the object-glass of the telescope. A glass-factory requires a building and furnaces. The man who makes the glass does not make the building. But the stone and brick mason, the carpenter and the blacksmith, must furnish the greater part of the labour and skill required to construct the building. When it is built, a large quantity of fuel, wood and wood-coal, or mineral coal of various kinds, or all together, must be provided; and then the materials of which the glass is made, and with which it is coloured, some of which are furnished by commerce from different and distant regions, and must be brought in ships across

We cannot take up any one of these trades without immediately finding that it connects itself with numerous others. Take, for instance, the mason who builds the furnace. He does not make his own bricks, nor burn his own lime ; in common cases, the bricks come from one place, the lime from another, the sand from another. The brickmaker does not cut down his own wood. It is carted or brought in boats to his yard. The man who carts it does not make his own waggon; nor does the person who brings it in boats build his own boat. The man who makes the waggon does not make the tire. The blacksmith who makes the tire does not smelt the ore; and the forgeman who smelts the ore does not build his own furnace, (and there we get back to the point whence we started,) nor dig his own mine. The man who digs the mine does not make the pickaxe with which he digs it, nor the pump with which he keeps out the water. The man who makes the pump did not discover the principle of atmospheric pressure, which led to pump-making: that was done by a mathematician at Florence, experimenting in his chamber on a glass tube. And here we come back again to our glass, and to an instance of the close connection of scientific research with practical art. It is plain that this enumeration might be pursued till every art and every science were shown to run into every other. No one can doubt this who will go over the subject in his own mind, beginning with any one of the processes of mining and working metals, of ship-building, and navigation, and the other branches of art and industry pursued in civilized communities.

If, then, on the one hand, the astronomer depends for his telescope on the ultimate product of so many arts; in return, his observations are the basis of an astronomical system, and of calculations of the movements of the heavenly bodies, which furnish the mariner with his best guide across the ocean. The prudent ship-master would no more think of sailing for India without his Bowditch's Practical Navigator than he would without his compass; and this Navigator contains tables drawn from the highest walks of astronomical science. Every first mate of a vessel, who works a lunar observation to ascertain the ship’s longitude, employs tables in which the most wonderful discoveries and calculations of La Place, and Newton, and Bowditch, are interwoven.

I mention this as but one of the cases in which astronomical science promotes the service and convenience of common life; and perhaps, when we consider the degree to which the modern extension of navigation connects itself with industry in all its branches, this may be thought sufficient. I will only add, that the cheap convenience of an almanac, which enters into the comforts of every fireside in the country, could not be enjoyed but for the labours and studies of the profoundest philosophers. Not that great learning or talent is now required to execute the astronomical calculations of an almanac, although no inconsiderable share of each is needed for this purpose ; but because even to perform these calculations requires the aid of tables which have been gradually formed on the basis of the profoundest investigations of the long line of philosophers, who have devoted themselves to this branch of science. For, as we observed on the mechanical side of the illustration, it was not one trade alone which was required to furnish the philosopher with his instrument, but a great variety; 80, on the other hand, it is not the philosopher in one department who creates a science out of nothing. The observing astronomer furnishes materials to the calculating astronomer, and the calculator derives methods from the pure mathematician; and a long succession of each for

ages must unite their labours in a great result. Without the geometry of the Greeks, and the algebra of the Arabs, the infinitesimal analyses of Newton and Leibnitz would never have been invented.

Examples and illustrations equally instructive might be found in every other branch of industry. The man who will go into a cottonmill, and contemplate it from the great water-wheel that gives the first movement (and still more from the steam-engine, should that be the moving power), who will observe the parts of the machinery, and the various processes of the fabric, till he reaches the hydraulic press

with which it is made into a bale, and the canal or railroad by which it is sent to market, may find every branch of trade, and every department of science, literally crossed, intertwined, interwoven, with every other, like the woof and the warp of the article manufactured. Not a little of the spinning machinery is constructed on principles drawn from the demonstrations of transcendental mathematics; and the processes of bleaching and dyeing now practised are the results of the most profound researches of modern chemistry. And, if this does not satisfy the inquirer, let him trace the cotton to the plantation where it grew, in Georgia or Alabama; the indigo to Bengal; the oil to the olive-gardens of Italy, or the fishing-grounds of the Pacific Ocean; let. him consider the cotton-gin, the carding machine, the power-loom, and the spinning apparatus, and all the arts, trades, and sciences directly or indirectly connected with these, and I believe he will soon agree that one might start from a yard of coarse printed cotton, which costs ten cents, and out of it, as out of a text, that every art and science under heaven had been concerned in its fabric.

141.-Conversion of King Ethelbert.

BEDE, [BEDE or Beda, distinguished by the name of the Venerable, was one of the most learned churchmen of the eighth century. He was educated in the monastery of St. Peter, one of the two united abbeys of Wearmouth and Jarrow, in the bishopric of Durham, and subsequently became a monk of Jarrow. His most important work is the Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation, which is brought up to the year 731. This most interesting record was originally written in Latin, was translated by King Alfred into Saxon, and was first translated into English in 1565. Our extract is given from a more careful translation, published in 1723. Bede died in his monastery, according to the best accounts, in the year 735. He has left the following account of himself at the end of the Ecclesiastical History. “ Thus much of the Ecclesiastical History of the Britons, and more especially of the English Nation, as far as I could learn either from the writings of the ancients, or the tradition of our ancestors, or of my own knowledge, has, with the help of God, been digested by me, Bede, the servant of God, and priest of the monastery of the blessed Apostles, Peter and Paul, which is at Wiremuth and Gyrwum ; who



being born in the territory of that same monastery, at seven years of age was given to be educated by the most Reverend Abbot Benedict, and afterwards by Ceolfrid, and spending all the remaining time of my life in that monastery, wholly applied myself to the meditation of Scripture, and amidst the observance of regular discipline, and the daily care of singing in the church, always took delight in either learning, or teaching, or writing. In the nineteenth year of my age I received the degree of a deacon, in the thirtieth that of priesthood, both of them by the ministry of the most Reverend Bishop John, and by order of the Abbot Ceolfrid. From the which time of my being made priest till the fifty-ninth year of my age, I have made it my business, for the se of me and mine, briefly to note down out of the works of the venerable Fathers, or to add according to their sense and interpretation, these following pieces.” Bede then gives a list of forty-three works upon which he had thus laboured. They were published in 1693 from MSS., at Lambeth. But there is a larger collection, which first appeared in three volumes, folio, in 1544.]

In the year from the incarnation of our Lord 582, Maurice, the 34th from Augustus, taking the empire upon him, held it twenty-one years. In the tenth year of his reign, Gregory, a man renowned for learning and behaviour, was promoted to the bishopric of the Roman and Apostolical See, and presided thirteen years, six months, and ten days. He being moved by Divine inspiration, in the fourteenth year of the same emperor, sent the servant of God, Augustin, and with him several other monks fearing the Lord, to preach the word of God to the English nation. They, having in obedience to the Pope's commands undertaken that work, and gone some part of their way, being seized with a slothful fear, began to think of returning home rather than to proceed to a barbarous, fierce, and unbelieving nation, to whose very language they were strangers ; and this they unanimously agreed was the safest course. In short, they sent back Augustin, whom he had appointed to be consecrated bishop, in case they were received by the English, that he might by humble entreaty obtain of the holy Gregory that they should not be compelled to undertake so dangerous, so toilsome, and so uncertain a journey. He, sending them an exhortatory epistle, persuaded them to proceed in the work of the Divine Word, relying on the heavenly assistance, the purport of which letter was as follows:

Gregory, the servant of the servants of God, to the servants of our Lord. Forasmuch as it had been better not to begin a good work, than

« ÎnapoiContinuați »