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Proper Circumstances For The Application Of Machinery
329. The first object of machinery, the chief cause of its e...

On The Method Of Observing Manufacturies
160. Having now reviewed the mechanical principles which reg...

Registering Operations
65. One great advantage which we may derive from machinery is...

Exerting Forces Too Great For Human Power And Executing Operations Too Delicate For Human Touch
56. It requires some skill and a considerable apparatus to e...

Saving Time In Natural Operations
47. The process of tanning will furnish us with a striking i...

Of Price As Measured By Money
201. The money price at which an article sells furnishes us ...

On A New System Of Manufacturing
305. A most erroneous and unfortunate opinion prevails among...

Distinction Between Making And Manufacturing
163. The economical principles which regulate the application...

Economy Of The Materials Employed
77. The precision with which all operations by machinery are ...

Copying With Elongation
140. In this species of copying there exists but little rese...

On The Division Of Labour
217. Perhaps the most important principle on which the econo...

On The Effect Of Taxes And Of Legal Restrictions Upon Manufactures
414. As soon as a tax is put upon any article, the ingenuity ...

Of Raw Materials
210. Although the cost of any article may be reduced in its ...

Of Copying With Altered Dimensions
147. Of the pentagraph. This mode of copying is chiefly used ...

Sources Of The Advantages Arising From Machinery And Manufactures
1. There exists, perhaps, no single circumstance which disti...

On The Effect Of Machinery In Reducing The Demand For Labour
404. One of the objections most frequently urged against mac...

Of Copying By Stamping
128. This mode of copying is extensively employed in the art...

Regulating Power
27. Uniformity and steadiness in the rate at which machinery ...

Enquiries Previous To Commencing Any Manufactory
298. There are many enquiries which ought always to be made ...

On Contriving Machinery
318. The power of inventing mechanical contrivances, and of ...

On The Future Prospects Of Manufactures As Connected With Science

Category: On the domestic and political economy of manufactures

453. In reviewing the various processes offered as
illustrations of those general principles which it has been the
main object of the present volume to support and establish, it is
impossible not to perceive that the arts and manufactures of the
country are intimately connected with the progress of the severer
sciences; and that, as we advance in the career of improvement,
every step requires, for its success, that this connection should
be rendered more intimate.

The applied sciences derive their facts from experiment; but
the reasonings, on which their chief utility depends, are the
province of what is called abstract science. It has been shown,
that the division of labour is no less applicable to mental
productions than to those in which material bodies are concerned;
and it follows, that the efforts for the improvement of its
manufactures which any country can make with the greatest
probability of success, must arise from the combined exertions of
all those most skilled in the theory, as well as in the practice
of the arts; each labouring in that department for which his
natural capacity and acquired habits have rendered him most fit.

454. The profit arising from the successful application to
practice of theoretical principles, will, in most cases, amply
reward, in a pecuniary sense, those by whom they are first
employed; yet even here, what has been stated with respect to
patents, will prove that there is room for considerable amendment
in our legislative enactments: but the discovery of the great
principles of nature demands a mind almost exclusively devoted to
such investigations; and these, in the present state of science,
frequently require costly apparatus, and exact an expense of time
quite incompatible with professional avocations. It becomes,
therefore, a fit subject for consideration, whether it would not
be politic in the State to compensate for some of those
privations, to which the cultivators of the higher departments of
science are exposed; and the best mode of effecting this
compensation, is a question which interests both the philosopher
and the statesman. Such considerations appear to have had their
just influence in other countries, where the pursuit of science
is regarded as a profession, and where those who are successful
in its cultivation are not shut out from almost every object of
honourable ambition to which their fellow countrymen may aspire.
Having, however, already expressed some opinion upon these
subjects in another publication,(1*) I shall here content myself
with referring to that work.

455. There was, indeed, in our own country, one single
position to which science, when concurring with independent
fortune, might aspire, as conferring rank and station, an office
deriving, in the estimation of the public, more than half its
value from the commanding knowledge of its possessor; and it is
extraordinary, that even that solitary dignity--that barony by
tenure in the world of British science--the chair of the Royal
Society, should have been coveted for adventitious rank. It is
more extraordinary, that a Prince, distinguished by the liberal
views he has invariably taken of public affairs--and eminent for
his patronage of every institution calculated to alleviate those
miseries from which, by his rank, he is himself exempted--who is
stated by his friends to be the warm admirer of knowledge, and
most anxious for its advancement, should have been so imperfectly
informed by those friends, as to have wrested from the head of
science, the only civic wreath which could adorn its brow.(2*)

In the meanwhile the President may learn, through the only
medium by which his elevated station admits approach, that those
evils which were anticipated from his election, have not proved
to be imaginary, and that the advantages by some expected to
result from it, have not yet become apparent. It may be right
also to state, that whilst many of the inconveniences, which have
been experienced by the President of the Royal Society, have
resulted from the conduct of his own supporters, those who were
compelled to differ from him, have subsequently offered no
vexatious opposition: they wait in patience, convinced that the
force of truth must ultimately work its certain, though silent
course; not doubting that when His Royal Highness is correctly
informed, he will himself be amongst the first to be influenced
by its power.

456. But younger institutions have arisen to supply the
deficiencies of the old; and very recently a new combination,
differing entirely from the older societies, promises to give
additional steadiness to the future march of science. The British
Association for the Advancement of Science, which held its first
meeting at York(3*) in the year 1831, would have acted as a
powerful ally, even if the Royal Society were all that it might
be: but in the present state of that body such an association is
almost necessary for the purposes of science. The periodical
assemblage of persons, pursuing the same or different branches of
knowledge, always produces an excitement which is favourable to
the development of new ideas; whilst the long period of repose
which succeeds, is advantageous for the prosecution of the
reasonings or the experiments then suggested; and the recurrence
of the meeting in the succeeding year, will stimulate the
activity of the enquirer, by the hope of being then enabled to
produce the successful result of his labours. Another advantage
is, that such meetings bring together a much larger number of
persons actively engaged in science, or placed in positions in
which they can contribute to it, than can ever be found at the
ordinary meetings of other institutions, even in the most
populous capitals; and combined effort towards any particular
object can thus be more easily arranged.

457. But perhaps the greatest benefit which will accrue from
these assemblies, is the intercourse which they cannot fail to
promote between the different classes of society. The man of
science will derive practical information from the great
manufacturers the chemist will be indebted to the same source for
substances which exist in such minute quantity, as only to become
visible in most extensive operations--and persons of wealth and
property, resident in each neighbourhood visited by these
migratory assemblies, will derive greater advantages than either
of those classes, from the real instruction they may procure
respecting the produce and manufactures of their country, and the
enlightened gratification which is ever attendant on the
acquisition of knowledge.(4*)

458. Thus it may be hoped that public opinion shall be
brought to bear upon the world of science; and that by this
intercourse light will be thrown upon the characters of men, and
the pretender and the charlatan be driven into merited obscurity.
Without the action of public opinion, any administration, however
anxious to countenance the pursuits of science, and however ready
toreward, by wealth or honours, those whom they might think most
eminent, would run the risk of acting like the blind man recently
couched, who, having no mode of estimating degrees of distance,
mistook the nearest and most insignificant for the largest
objects in nature: it becomes, therefore, doubly important, that
the man of science should mix with the world.

459. It is highly probable that in the next generation, the
race of scientific men in England will spring from a class of
persons altogether different from that which has hitherto
scantily supplied them. Requiring, for the success of their
pursuits, previous education, leisure, and fortune, few are so
likely to unite these essentials as the sons of our wealthy
manufacturers, who, having been enriched by their own exertions,
in a field connected with science, will be ambitious of having
their children distinguished in its ranks. It must, however, be
admitted, that this desire in the parents would acquire great
additional intensity, if worldly honours occasionally followed
successful efforts; and that the country would thus gain for
science, talents which are frequently rendered useless by the
unsuitable situations in which they are placed.

460. The discoverers of iodine and bromine, two substances
hitherto undecompounded, were both amongst the class of
manufacturers, one being a maker of saltpetre at Paris, the other
a manufacturing chemist at Marseilles; and the inventor of
balloons filled with rarefied air, was a paper manufacturer near
Lyons. The descendants of Mongolfier, the first aerial traveller,
still carry onthe establishment of their progenitor, and combine
great scientific knowledge with skill in various departments of
the arts, to which the different branches of the family have
applied themselves.

461. Chemical science may, in many instances, be of great
importance to the manufacturer, as well as to the merchant. The
quantity of Peruvian bark which is imported into Europe is very
considerable; but chemistry has recently proved that a large
portion of the bark itself is useless. The alkali Quinia which
has been extracted from it, possesses all the properties for
which the bark is valuable, and only forty ounces of this
substance, when in combination with sulphuric acid, can be
extracted from a hundred pounds of the bark. In this instance
then, with every ton of useful matter, thirty-nine tons of
rubbish are transported across the Atlantic.

The greatest part of the sulphate of quinia now used in this
country is imported from France, where the low price of the
alcohol, by which it is extracted from the bark, renders the
process cheap; but it cannot be doubted, that when more settled
forms of government shall have given security to capital, and
when advancing civilization shall have spread itself over the
states of Southern America, the alkaline medicine will be
extracted from the woody matter by which its efficacy is
impaired, and that it will be exported in its most condensed

462. The aid of chemistry, in extracting and in concentrating
substances used for human food, is of great use in distant
voyages, where the space occupied by the stores must be
economized with the greatest care. Thus the essential oils supply
the voyager with flavour; the concentrated and crystallized
vegetable acids preserve his health; and alcohol, when
sufficiently diluted, supplies the spirit necessary for his daily

463. When we reflect on the very small number of species of
plants, compared with the multitude that are known to exist,
which have hitherto been cultivated, and rendered useful to man;
and when we apply the same observation to the animal world, and
even to the mineral kingdom, the field that natural science opens
to our view seems to be indeed unlimited. These productions of
nature, varied and innumerable as they are, may each, in some
future day, become the basis of extensive manufactures, and give
life, employment, and wealth, to millions of human beings. But
the crude treasures perpetually exposed before our eyes, contain
within them other and more valuable principles. All these,
likewise, in their numberless combinations, which ages of labour
and research can never exhaust, may be destined to furnish, in
perpetual succession, new sources of our wealth and of our
happiness. Science and knowledge are subject, in their extension
and increase, to laws quite opposite to those which regulate the
material world. Unlike the forces of molecular attraction, which
cease at sensible distances; or that of gravity, which decreases
rapidly with the increasing distance from the point of its
origin; the further we advance from the origin of our knowledge,
the larger it becomes, and the greater power it bestows upon its
cultivators, to add new fields to its dominions. Yet, does this
continually and rapidly increasing power, instead of giving us
any reason to anticipate the exhaustion of so fertile a field,
place us at each advance, on some higher eminence, from which the
mind contemplates the past, and feels irresistibly convinced,
that the whole, already gained, bears a constantly diminishing
ratio to that which is contained within the still more rapidly
expanding horizon of our knowledge.

464. But, if the knowledge of the chemical and physical
properties of the bodies which surround us, as well as our
imperfect acquaintance with the less tangible elements, light,
electricity, and heat, which mysteriously modify or change their
combinations, concur to convince us of the same fact; we must
remember that another and a higher science, itself still more
boundless, is also advancing with a giant's stride, and having
grasped the mightier masses of the universe, and reduced their
wanderings to laws, has given to us in its own condensed
language, expressions, which are to the past as history, to the
future as prophecy. It is the same science which is now preparing
its fetters for the minutest atoms that nature has created:
already it has nearly chained the ethereal fluid, and bound in
one harmonious system all the intricate and splendid phenomena of
light. It is the science of calculation--which becomes
continually more necessary at each step of our progress, and
which must ultimately govern the whole of the applications of
science to the arts of life.

465. But perhaps a doubt may arise in the mind, whilst
contemplating the continually increasing field of human
knowledge, that the weak arm of man may want the physical force
required to render that knowledge available. The experience of
the past, has stamped with the indelible character of truth, the
maxim, that knowledge is power. It not merely gives to its
votaries control over the mental faculties of their species, but
is itself the generator of physical force. The discovery of the
expansive power of steam, its condensation, and the doctrine of
latent heat, has already added to the population of this small
island, millions of hands. But the source of this power is not
without limit, and the coal-mines of the world may ultimately be
exhausted. Without adverting to the theory, that new deposits of
that mineral are not accumulating under the sea, at the estuaries
of some of our larger rivers; without anticipating the
application of other fluids requiring a less supply of caloric
than water--we may remark that the sea itself offers a perennial
source of power hitherto almost unapplied. The tides, twice in
each day, raise a vast mass of water, which might be made
available for driving machinery. But supposing heat still to
remain necessary, when the exhausted state of our coal fields
renders it expensive: long before that period arrives, other
methods will probably have been invented for producing it. In
some districts, there are springs of hot water, which have flowed
for centuries unchanged in temperature. In many parts of the
island of Ischia, by deepening the sources of the hot springs
only a few feet, the water boils; and there can be little doubt
that, by boring a short distance, steam of high pressure would
issue from the orifice.(5*)

In Iceland, the sources of heat are still more plentiful; and
their proximity to large masses of ice, seems almost to point out
the future destiny of that island. The ice of its glaciers may
enable its inhabitants to liquefy the gases with the least
expenditure of mechanical force; and the heat of its volcanoes
may supply the power necessary for their condensation. Thus, in a
future age, power may become the staple commodity of the
Icelanders, and of the inhabitants of other volcanic
districts;(6*) and possibly the very process by which they will
procure this article of exchange for the luxuries of happier
climates may, in some measure, tame the tremendous element which
occasionally devastates their provinces.

466. Perhaps to the sober eye of inductive philosophy, these
anticipations of the future may appear too faintly connected with
the history of the past. When time shall have revealed the future
progress of our race, those laws which are now obscurely
indicated, will then become distinctly apparent; and it may
possibly be found that the dominion of mind over the material
world advances with an everaccelerating force.

Even now, the imprisoned winds which the earliest poet made
the Grecian warrior bear for the protection of his fragile bark;
or those which, in more modern times, the Lapland wizards sold to
the deluded sailors--these, the unreal creations of fancy or of
fraud, called at the command of science, from their shadowy
existence, obey a holier spell: and the unruly masters of the
poet and the seer become the obedient slaves of civilized man.

Nor have the wild imaginings of the satirist been quite
unrivalled by the realities of after years: as if in mockery of
the College of Laputa, light almost solar has been extracted from
the refuse of fish; fire has been sifted by the lamp of Davy, and
machinery has been taught arithmetic instead of poetry.

467. In whatever light we examine the triumphs and
achievements of our species over the creation submitted to its
power, we explore new sources of wonder. But if science has
called into real existence the visions of the poet--if the
accumulating knowledge of ages has blunted the sharpest and
distanced the loftiest of the shafts of the satirist, the
philosopher has conferred on the moralist an obligation of
surpassing weight. In unveiling to him the living miracles which
teem in rich exuberance around the minutest atom, as well as
throughout the largest masses of ever-active matter, he has
placed before him resistless evidence of immeasurable design.
Surrounded by every form of animate and inanimate existence, the
sun of science has yet penetrated but through the outer fold of
nature's majestic robe; but if the philosopher were required to
separate, from amongst those countless evidences of creative
power, one being, the masterpiece of its skill; and from that
being to select one gift, the choicest of all the attributes of
life; turning within his own breast, and conscious of those
powers which have subjugated to his race the external world, and
of those higher powers by which he has subjugated to himself that
creative faculty which aids his faltering conceptions of a deity,
the humble worshipper at the altar of truth would pronounce that
being, man; that endowment, human reason.

But however large the interval that separates the lowest from
the highest of those sentient beings which inhabit our planet,
all the results of observation, enlightened by all the reasonings
of the philosopher, combine to render it probable that, in the
vast extent of creation, the proudest attribute of our race is
but, perchance, the lowest step in the gradation of intellectual
existence. For, since every portion of our own material globe,
and every animated being it supports, afford, on more
scrutinizing enquiry, more perfect evidence of design, it would
indeed be most unphilosophical to believe that those sister
spheres, obedient to the same law, and glowing with light and
heat radiant from the same central source--and that the members
of those kindred systems, almost lost in the remoteness of space,
and perceptible only from the countless multitude of their
congregated globes should each be no more than a floating chaos
of unformed matter; or, being all the work of the same Almighty
Architect, that no living eye should be gladdened by their forms
of beauty, that no intellectual being should expand its faculties
in decyphering their laws.


1. Reflections on the Decline of Science in England, and on some
of its Causes. 8vo. 1830. Fellowes.

2. The Duke of Sussex was proposed as President of the Royal
Society in opposition to the wish of the Council in opposition to
the public declaration of a body of Fellows, comprising the
largest portion of those by whose labours the character of
English science had been maintained The aristocracy of rank and
of power, aided by such allies as it can always command, set
itself in array against the prouder aristocracy of science. Out
of about seven hundred members, only two hundred and thirty
balloted; and the Duke of Sussex had a majority of eight. Under
such circumstances, it was indeed extraordinary, that His Royal
Highness should have condescended to accept the fruits of that
doubtful and inauspicious victory.

The circumstances preceding and attending this singular
contest have been most ably detailed in a pamphlet entitled A
Statement of the Circumstances connected with the late Election
for the, Presidency of the Royal Society, 1831, printed by R.
Taylor, Red Lion Court, Fleet Street. The whole tone of the tract
is strikingly contrasted with that of the productions of some of
those persons by whom it was His Royal Highness's misfortune to
be supported.

3. The second meeting took place at Oxford in June, 1932, and
surpassed even the sanguine anticipations of its friends. The
third annual meeting will take place at Cambridge in June 1833.

4 The advantages likely to arise from such an association, have
been so clearly stated in the address delivered by the Rev. Mr
Vernon Harcourt, at its first meeting, that I would strongly
recommend its perusal by all those who feel interested in the
success of English science. Vide First Report of the British
Association for the Advancement of Science, York. 1832.

5 In 1828, the author of these pages visited Ischia, with a
committee of the Royal Academy of Naples, deputed to examine the
temperature and chrmical constitution of the springs in that
island. During the few first days, several springs which had been
represented in the instructions as under the boiling temperature,
were found, on deepening the excavations, to rise to the boiling

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