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Mr. JOHN HARTNUP, as representatives to deliberate with the representatives of the Polytechnic, Architectural and Archæological, and Historic Societies, on the subject of the proposed union of the Societies, and report thereon.”
An Amendment was moved by Mr. C. F. SALT, and seconded by Dr. INMAN: "That this Society has reason to be satisfied with its present condition and future prospects, and therefore respectfully declines the application to appoint five delegates to meet others to report on a proposed union."
The Amendment having been put and negatived, the original motion was carried.
It was moved by the Rev. Dr. HUME, seconded by Dr. INMAN, and carried unanimously: "That it be a recommendation to the Council to publish annually, and not at longer intervals, such account of the proceedings, and such papers, or abstracts of them, as the Council may think right, and the funds warrant."
Mr. HENRY GREENWOOD, and W. H. PEARSE, M.D., were ballotted for, and duly elected Ordinary Members.
The Rev. Dr. HUME exhibited some curious manuscripts, denominated the Ireland Manuscripts, relating to the Liverpool Election of 1670.
Mr. Towson, in the absence of Mr. HARTNUP, mentioned some interesting facts relating to the planet recently discovered by Mr. HIND. This was the ninth discovered by him since he had adopted his systematic method of examining the heavens; and the total number of planets known to exist between Mars and Jupiter is now increased to twentyseven. It is a most extraordinary fact, that the last discovered is the brightest of the small planets, and could be observed in the finder of the Liverpool telescope. It was observed by Mr. HARTNUP, on the 10th, 11th, and 12th, of the present month, and its character fully established.
Mr. T. P. MARRAT exhibited a new mineral, called Cornistanite. Its appearance under the blow-pipe was similar to that of Borax, as was also its smell. It did not melt, but was very luminous, like lime or magnesia.
Mr. HENRY COX exhibited an earth worm, which was phosphorescent. He was requested to make further observations on the subject, and endeavour to furnish such information to the Society as would enable them to determine the origin and character of the animal.
Mr. JOSEPH BOULT read a paper, of which the following is an abstract
THE MOST MARKED DEVELOPMENT OF THE ARTS PROMOTED BY WAR.
The alternations of public opinion are aptly compared to the oscillations of a pendulum; usually more or less in extremes, it seldom passes through, and never abides in, that juste milieu known to mechanics as the centre of motion. Therefore, as each subject is brought under notice, it must be seen from many positions ere that is attained from which only the correct view can be taken. Whatever be the subject, a more or less extreme opinion is formed of its merits; and, according to the bias of the observer, every fact, or apparent fact, is eagerly enlisted in support of the opinion he upholds.
In all states of society the majority will be dissatisfied with things as they are, and desirous of change, in the hope of obtaining more success in the several pursuits. Many reconcile themselves to the want of success, as far as that reconciliation may be effected, by assuming that in different circumstances they would have that scope which is now denied them. In times of peace such persons are ready to welcome war, as giving an entire change to the routine of operations; in war time they clamour for peace, from a similar motive.
It was, therefore, extremely natural, during the lengthened continuance of the late European war, that public opinion should incline to peace; an inclination which was no doubt strengthened by the heavy taxation and debt which now form part of its monumental record in this country. At the commencement of that war, and for many years of its progress, public opinion was decidedly in its favour, and prepared to uphold it at any cost; but the cost reached an almost fabulous amount, and a reaction ensued. The centre of motion was approached, and it was passed; though, happily, not before that war was honourably concluded. Since the peace, the pacific oscillation has gradually ascended higher and higher, until the utmost extreme of literal nonintervention is almost attained. The experience of school-life is ignored, and men who, when boys, withstood the tyrant of the play-ground, and protected his feeble victim from oppression, have now outgrown such weak generosity, and wish their country to look on, a dispassionate witness of similar cowardly aggression. Meanwhile, the most extreme statements, in favour of what are called the peace doctrines, are frequently hazarded, and ad captandum addresses upon the blessings of peace published.
Amongst the most favoured and frequently reiterated opinions, are de intimate and mutually advantageous relations subsisting between
peace and commerce; and the exclusively favourable influence which peace and commerce exercise, not only upon the arts of industry, but also upon literature and the fine arts.
This opinion appears premature. It is high in favour with the advocates of peace at all times, and by all means; but I do not think that history affords any record when peace and commerce, in conjunction, and exclusively of war, have exercised the beneficial influence ascribed to them. When commerce has been a party to the patronage of literature, and of the fine arts and sciences, she has generally done so in conjunction with, or under the influence of war. Drawing conclusions from the data furnished by past experience, it is more correct to say that most of the progress effected in those departments of study has been promoted, directly or indirectly, by war. This may appear a broad and startling assertion in the present state of public opinion in this country; but it may be not the less true, as there seems to be an unduly pacific bias in the received opinion.
After alluding to the stormy times which preceded the age of Pericles, and prevailed during the earlier portion of his career, when he was a successful general, the author gave the following quotation: "From the age of Pericles to the time of Alexander the Great, Athens, though almost constantly engaged in wars, had not neglected those arts which have associated her name with civilization. Her public buildings were continually increasing in number and magnificence, which was mainly due to Lycurgus the orator, who built the l'anathenaic stadium, and provided for the security of the city by the magazines in the Acropolis, and by the dockyards in the Peiræus." He then remarked— Look now to the glorious galaxy of illustrious names with which this period of history is gemmed; a period, be it remembered, of intestine feuds foreign invasions, "thirty tyrants," and sparse breathing times of peace. There are Anaxagoras, Socrates, and Plato, in philosophy; Xenophon the historian; Eschines and Nicias in the fine arts. Where these more abstract pursuits, which are unnecessary to the ordinary routine of material existence, were so studied and adorned, we may be sure that the useful arts were not neglected; and that in the magazines on the Acropolis, the dockyards of the Peiræus, and the wooden walls of Athens was evidence of the practical ability of the Athenian mechanic. The buildings that remain testify to this-the works that are gone have no doubt carried away much testimony to the same effect; but it will be observed that with the exception of the thirty years' truce, in the time of Pericles, the normal condition of Athens, during its most civilized period, was that of war in one shape or another; and that
it was success in war that ministered to the triumph of the peaceful
The author enforced his views by reference to the Augustan age in Rome; to the Italian republics; to the eras of Elizabeth and Anne, in this country; and to the period of the American and Napoleonic wars; observing of the latter-Notwithstanding their alleged crippling influence on the commerce of this country, see that commerce diffusing itself all over the globe, and bringing the more important products of every clime to our island home. See, while strife raged abroad, the gigantic improvements introduced into the arts and manufactures; all the improvements in the machinery for spinning which have given fame or wealth to Arkwright, Strutt, Cartwright, and Peel; the adap tation of steam to mining and manufacturing purposes by Watt; the application of coal gas to artificial illumination, by Murdoch, Winsor, and Clegg; the formation of canals by Brindley and the Duke of Bridgewater; the foundation of the Royal Academy of Arts; the extension and improvement of periodical literature; this is all so recent, you do not require to have your memory refreshed with particulars, nor need I enumerate more of the names of those who participated in these great works.
After referring to the corroborative evidence afforded by the Egyptian and Assyrian remains, and commenting upon the general deductions to be drawn from the examples quoted by history, he observed-Nor let it be hastily supposed that the rapid advance recorded as having been made during the peaceful rule of Pericles or Augustus, was due entirely to that peace. What is called the peace of Europe has subsisted beyond the duration of that of Pericles; yet, in commercial England, with all the superior advantages we boast, we may look in vain for any adequate rivalry of Athens or of Rome. The attainment of excellence in any human pursuit of value is not to be compared to Minerva's birth; it is the slow growth of years, sometimes of generations. The consummate skill and grace, therefore, displayed by Phidias and his contemporaries, had been gradually matured through all the distractions of the Persian invasions and the preceding wars with Sparta and other states. The siege and ruin of the older Athens prepared a stage on which the excellence attained might be displayed. The inferior productions of the period of pupilage were swept away, and there was no impediment to the free scope of the master mind; just as the prairie-fire destroys the withered remnants of an exhausted season, from whose ashes spring fresher and more luxuriant manifes tations of productive energy.
The muleteer's path may, indeed, rudely sketch the general outline of the invader's course; but who can deny that after Hannibal or Napoleon had constructed the broad military road for the passage of his troops, the intercourse, commercial and otherwise, along that route was greatly increased? So in the Highlands of Scotland, the rude and warlike people who inhabited those glens and fastnesses were inaccessible to the softening influence of civilization and of commerce, until Marshal Wade constructed his military roads through all their strongholds, and freed them from the contracting and jealous influence of isolation. "Had you seen these roads before they were made, you would hold up your hand, and bless General Wade." It is well known that the Romans also consolidated their conquests by the construction of magnificent military roads.
The muleteer-usually a contrabandiste, waging petty and personal warfare against the fiscal regulations of nations-pioneers the course of some great and successful warrior, in whose train the peaceful arts follow in triumphant security, ministering to his glory who prepared so spacious and safe a channel for the flow of their civilizing influence; and commerce herself eagerly treads the same path, doing homage to the grandeur of the warrior's achievement.
He then proceeded to review the opposite or commercial view of the question, observing-That commerce is essentially narrow-minded and soul-contracting in its influence; its vital principle is the love of gain; its rule of conduct self interest, not always "enlightened." It has been said of its devotees, that they are so engrossed in making friends of the mammon of unrighteousness, they have no leisure to attend to the other precepts of the gospel. It is manifest, then, that it is not accordant with the genius of commerce to encourage any arts or pursuits but those that minister to the love of gain. Essentially utilitarian in its nature, commerce has no imagination to gratify; inherently selfish, it has no noble deeds to record, no sympathy to crave or give; its most extended range of thought begins and ends in self.
If we search for the immediately exciting cause of national excellence in the fine arts, it is found to be religion or war, two of the most powerful agents to which men can be exposed, and both influencing the affections: the one swaying the mind through fear or love, the other through the love of glory, which, unlike the love of gain, requires sympathy for its perfect gratification. Hence the attachment of warlike nations to the fine arts, which are essentially dependent on sympathy for their perfect appreciation. Religion, particularly as theology, has not unfrequently incited nations to war, either from a sincere belief that the war was