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it, dissected it, and cut it into such bits that | patent office. Yet sometimes, in pity to lost it has become an undiscernible evaporation; expectations, in the earrying out one great and they have come away disappointed, and idea to-shall we say its final incompletion, denied its existence altogether. Thus, mes- to its last residuum of insanity ?—some little merism is the bewildered expression of this scarcely noticeable matter in the machinery disappointment, their previous misapprehen- has been by some kind suggesting spirit held sion. They will not believe that the wand up to the eye of the philosopher, which has of Hermes represents two serpents inter- proved to be the magnum bonum of the whole twined-they see but one, though the two scheme. look each other in the face before them, and they are purblind to the wand and the hand that holds it. Even the Exact Sciences," as they are called, are not complete; they lead to precipices, down which to look is a giddiness. The fact is, the action of the mind is as that of the body: mind and body have their daily outward work, and their times of sleep and of dreaming, and the dreaming of the one is not unfrequently the life of the other. The dream of the philosopher, be he waking or sleeping, is his refreshment, and at times suggestive of the to come. How know we but that "such stuff as dreams are made of" may serve for the fabrication of noble thoughts, and be inwoven into the habit of life, and become useful wear?
Perhaps magic was the first and needful life of philosophy-needful as a covering while it grew, and which it shook off as its swaddling-clothes, and became a truth. How few can trace invention to its germ, or know where the germ lies, and how that it fed upon reached it! The suggestion of a dream begetting a reality! They are no fools who think that good and bad angels are the authors of inventions. It is ingenious to suppose that we are rather the receivers and encouragers of our original thoughts than the authors of them. We may use the magnifying glasses of our reason or our passions, and do but a little distort them, or advance them to use and beauty, as we are good or bad in ourselves. And thus, from suggestions given, the imaginative genius, inventing, magnifies and multiplies by these his glasses and his instruments; and the thing invented requires much of this brilliant finery of our own to be removed before it be fitted for demand and use. Like wrought iron, the sparks must be beaten out of it while it is forming into shape. It must be off its red heat or white heat-be dipped in the cold stream of doubt, and look ugly enough to the eye of common opinion, and be long in the hand of experiment to try the patience of the inventor. And, after all, will the benefited be thankful? History has many a sad tale to tell on this subject. The "Sic vos non vobis" should be inscribed over the portals of the
We once knew a tradesman who had spent the best years of his life, as well as his substance, to discover "perpetual motion." He sold off his goods when he fancied he had discovered it, and left his provincial town for the great metropolis and a philosopher's fame. As he travelled by the coach, going over in his mind the processes of his machinery, a portion of it struck him as appli cable to a manufacture of common use, but of no very high pretensions. His perpetual motion failed. There was a good angel that whispered to him, "Descend from the ladder of your ambition-do not lose sight of it; but try the little interloping suggestion, and raise the means for prosecuting more favorably your perpetual motion." He did so. The action saved him from lunacy--the undignified and by-sport, as it were, of his invention answered-from a ruined man he became rich, and his new business required of him so much perpetual motion bodily, that the idea of it, wonderful to say, was driven out of his speculative mind.
A sudden thought-a happy hit-we are too apt to call a lucky one. Will it be the worse if we give it a better name, and it say is a gift? The thankfulness implied in gift may make it a blessing. It was no deep study that brought the great improvements into our manufacturing machinery.
The poor boy Arkwright, in a moment of idleness or weariness, thought happily of a cog in the wheel; and that little cog was to him and his posterity a philosopher's stone: realizing the alchemist's hopes, by far more sure experiment than the dealings with
green" and "red lions" and "dragons," for a result never to be reached. How wonderful has been the result, even to the whole world, of that momentary thought-that simple invention !
We have often heard it remarked that this is an age of inventions, It is true: not that the inventive mind was ever wanting. It is a practical age; the necessities of multiplied life make it so. The well-known 'century of inventions" of the Marquis of Worcester is a stock not yet exhausted. But to speak of this our age, how can
it be otherwise?
inated, and who had contracted the lying propensities of people in the upper air.
Not only are material | means enlarged by geographical and other discoveries, but the inventive mind is multiplied because mankind are multiplied, whose nature it is to invent. A population-to speak of England, for it is of England we are thinking-of five millions, as it was in the time of Queen Elizabeth, cannot bear comparison with ours of nearer twenty millions. Then, if we enlarge our view, and take in England's transplanted progeny, whose activity and whose advancement in knowledge and science we share under every facility for the transmission of knowledge, we may fairly speculate upon a very wonderful futurity. The glory of the German dramatist, with his watch, and perhaps, but we forget, his print-quate the description ! ing-press, (for it ought to be in the play,) is annihilated: the author himself would now stand in the place of his Cæsar or Cicero.
We know not if the wonder in us be not the greater that we have not the slightest pretensions to mechanical knowledge. But we confess that, when we suddenly came upon the mechanical department, and saw the various machinery at work, the world's life and all its business came out vividly upon the canvas of our thought, as the great poetry of nature. Yes, nature rather than art, for art is but the capability of nature in practice. We thought of Sophocles and his chorus of laudation of man-the inventor and the ovToTopos-and how impoverished did the Greek seem, how tame and inade
Shakspeare is more to the mark. The whole world is scarcely large enough for the exhibition of man's thought and deed, as Shakspeare sees him. There is no small talk of his little doings-how he passes over the seas and bridles the winds. Inimitable Shakspeare omits the doing to show the capacity; makes, for a moment of comparison only, the earth a sterile promontory, and man that is on it himself, and in his own bosom, som, the ample region of all fertility, in undefined thought and action. "What a piece of work is man!-how noble in reason!—— how infinite in faculties! In form and mo
It would be a dream worth dreaming to bring back from his Elysian Fields Agricola, the Roman governor of Britain-he who first discovered that it was an island-to show him his semi-barbarians, whom he so equitably governed, (passing by, however, how far we are, any of us, their descendants.) We will imagine but an hour or two passed with him at the Polytechnic Rooms, to show him enormous iron cables twisted into knots, as if they were pieces of tape-to see vast pon-ving how express and admirable !--in action derous masses suspended by magnetism only how like an angel!-in apprehension how -to let him look into the wonders of the like a god! The beauty of the world, the telescope and the microscope, besides a thou- paragon of animals!" Behold man the insand marvellous things, too numerous and ventor! too often enumerated to mention. Nor would it be unamusing to dream that we return with him, and on his way accompany him, summoned to the court of Pluto and Proserpine, to narrate the incidents of his sojourn above. We could believe the line of Homer verified, and that we see the grim and skeptical Pluto leap up from his throne in astonishment, and perhaps, as the poet would have it, fear lest our subterranean speculators should break in upon his dominions, and let in the light of our day We have taken the humblest walk for the "surprise." What if we had accompanied the ex-governor of Britain to the Crystal Palace? That we will not venture upon. But had he continued his narrative of all he saw there, Pluto would have given a look-at which Cerberus would have growled from his triple throats-and that the unlucky narrator might escape the castigation of Rhadamanthus, he would have been ordered a fresh dip in Lethe, as one contam
We have said that the increase of population must necessarily enlarge the stock of inventions, both by new and multiplied demands, and by the added number of invent
But there is another cause in operation, that is seldom taken into the account-there are not only more millions of human hands to do the work, but there is an artificial working population, if we may call horsepower of steam a population as equivalent to hands.
In this view the working population, or working power, so far exceeds our actual population, that they can scarcely be named together. If it be said, this is not a power of mind, and therefore cannot be said to be inventive; it may be answered that every instrument is a kind of mind to him who takes it up, improves, and works upon it, and with it: for, after all, it is mind that is operating in it. The man is not to be envied who in heart and understanding is dead to the man
ifold evolutions of this great workshop of the human brain, who cannot feel the poetry of mechanics. Is it not a creative power ?— and is it not at once subjecting and civilizing the world? Is not this poetry of mechanics showing also that man has dominion given him over the inert materials, as over other living creatures of the earth? We hail it in all its marvellous doings, as subject for creative dreams, scarcely untrue. Let those who will (and many there be who profess this blindness to the poetry of art and science) see nothing but the tall chimneys and the black smoke. To the imaginative, even the smoke itself becomes an embodied genie, at whose feet the earth opens at command; and they who yield themselves to the spell are conducted, through subterranean ways, to the secret chambers of the treasures of nature; and, by a transition to a more palpable reality, find themselves in a garden covered with crystal, to behold all beauteous things and precious stones for fruit, such as Aladdin and fountains throwing out liquid gems, and fair company, as if brought together by enchantment and this is the romance of reality. If we write rhapsodically, let the subject be the excuse, for the secrets of nature throw conjecture into the depths of wonder, and thought far out of the conveyance of language.
It was our purpose to speak of the Submarine Telegraph, and it is not surprising if we have in some degree been transported to great distances by its power.
The inventors, Messrs. Brett, under every difficulty and discouragement, have at length succeeded. Our greatest engineers for a long while withheld their countenance; practical philosophers denied the probability. The possibility was tested by the first experiment. Fortunately no accident occurred in laying down the wire across the Channel, until communication by means of it had been made between France and England; and even the subsequent accident--the cutting the wire by the fishermen-has only served the good purpose of making more sure the permanent setting up of this extraordinary telegraph. The protection of the wires by the gutta-percha covering is considered perfect; but should it turn out otherwise, it will not affect the certainty of the invention; it must be permanent. A narrative of all the difficulties which beset the inventors, and which have delayed the experiment for years, would be curious. The discouragements and the expenses would have crushed men of less energy. Even at last, in making the cable,
there was a disappointment and a hitch, arising from rival companies. We extract from the Times:
"On the 19th of July last, Mr. Crampton undertook to construct and lay down a cable containing four electric wires, each insulated in two coatings of gutta percha, and the whole protected by ten strands of galvanized iron wire, on or before the 30th of September. The electric wires covered with gutta percha, in length a hundred works of the Gutta Percha Company, and nothing miles, were turned out by Mr. Statham, at the can be more perfect than the manner in which that order was executed. The wire covering was ordered from Messrs. Wilkins and Weatherly; but unfortunately, a dispute respecting the patent for making wire ropes occurred between that firm and Messrs. Newall, which seriously delayed the progress of the work, as an injunction was served by the latter to prevent Messrs. Wilkins and Co. from proceeding with the order.
"This was eventually compromised, and the rope was made conjointly by the workmen of the two firms on the premises of Messrs. Wilkins and Weatherly, at Wapping.
"The very hurried manner in which (from this unforeseen delay) the work had to be accomplished, prevented that close attention that ought to have been given to any fracture, however small, of the wire; and in consequence, the outer casing, though of great strength and solidity, was not made with the same exquisite nicety and care that had been bestowed on the core of the cable."
The weather was unpropitious, and was probably the cause, from the circumstance of the Blazer being driven somewhat out of her course, that the length of the wire cable was not sufficient. This defect was, however, only of a temporary kind, and was supplied by that which was intended for another purpose. We extract the interesting account of the proceedings from the Times :—
end of the cable at the Foreland were completed, "Shortly after 7 o'clock the fastenings at the and the Fearless started to point out the exact course to be followed by the Blazer, which was towed by two tugs, one alongside, and the other ahead of her.
"A third tug belonging to the Government was also in attendance.
"The arrangements for paying out the cable consisted simply of a bar fixed transversely above the hold, over which the rope was drawn as it
was uncoiled from below, and a series of breaks acting by levers fitted to the deck, in order to ar rest the passage of the rope in the case of too rapid a delivery. On reaching the stem the cable passed overboard through a 'chock' of a semicirsteam-tugs proceeded at much too rapid a pace, cular shape, lined with iron. On starting, the (from four to five knots an hour,) and consequent ly one of the fractured wires (before alluded to) caught in the friction-blocks, and, before the way
of the vessel could be checked, one strand of the iron wire was, for a length of about eighteen yards, stripped from the cable. The steam-tug towing ahead was then ordered alongside, when the speed could be better regulated, and the rate was reduced to about one and a half to two knots an hour. About six miles from shore it was determined to test the wire; but, from a misapprehension of instructions, the telegraph instruments at the South Foreland were not joined up with those on board the Blazer. A steam-tug, with one of the engineers and directors on board, immediately returned to the Foreland, when communication was made by telegraph and fusees fired from the vessel to the shore, and from the shore to the Blazer.
"At about mid-Channel, in the midst of a heavy sea, and a strong wind from the S.W., an accident occurred, but for which the enterprise would have been carried out with the most perfect success; this was the snapping of the tow-rope (an eightinch cable) and the consequent drifting of the Blazer from her appointed course to the length of a mile and a half. Notwithstanding the delay caused by this untoward incident, the Blazer arrived off Sangatte at about six o'clock. The evening was, however, too far advanced, and the weather too stormy to attempt a landing; and, after embarking most of her passengers on board one of the steamers that ran into Calais, she was anchored for the night about two miles from
"On Friday the wind blew a strong gale from the westward, which rendered all near approach to the shore impracticable; but the Blazer was towed to within a mile of the beach, when, it being considered dangerous to leave her at anchor, the remainder of the rope was made fast to a buoy and hove overborad. The steam-tugs then returned with the Blazer to England.
"On Saturday the weather continued unfavorable, but Captain Bullock proceeded with the Fearless to the buoy off Sangatte, and, having hauled up the end of the rope, he towed it some hundred yards nearer the shore, and then again moored it. "On Sunday the wind shifted more to the south ward and moderated. Accordingly, the engineers and managers of the Gutta Percha Company took on board the Fearless a large coil of gutta percha roping, and, after hauling up the end of the telegraph cables, the first wires were carefully attached, and at half-past five in the afternoon a boat landed them on the beach at Sangatte. The moment chosen for landing was low-water, and the coil of gutta percha ropes was immediately buried in the beach by a gang of men in attendance, up to low-water mark, and even to a short distance beyond it. Thence to where the cable was moored did not much exceed a quarter of a
"The telegraphs were instantly attached to the submarine wires, and all the instruments responded to the batteries from the opposite shore.
At six o'clock messages were printed at Sangatte from the South Foreland, specimens of which Captain Bullock took over to Dover the same evening for the Queen and the Duke of Wellington.
"On Monday morning the wires at Sangatte were joined to those already laid down to Calais, and two of the instruments used by the French Government having been sent to the South Foreland, Paris was placed in immediate communication with the English Court."
We have remarked that very important discoveries are accidentally made in pursuing one of quite a different character from those which come up in the search unexpectedly.
They who remember our towns lighted with the old lamps, that in comparison with our gas-lights made but a "palpable obscure, should also remember how the change was brought about. The gas, which has proved of such vast utility that we can now-a-days scarcely conceive how the world could go on without it, was first a misfortune. It was generated in the coal mines, and, in order to get rid of it, it was conveyed by tubes to the outer air: in doing this it was found there to ignite, and from this simple attempt to effect an escape for a nuisance is almost every town in the civilized world illuminated by gas-besides which, the advantageous use of it in manufactories is beyond calculation. Even of gutta percha, now applied as a coating to these wires, who can determine all the uses to which it may be found applicable? Nature, it should seem, does not fabricate one material for itself, or for one use only, but adapts one thing to many purposes-and thus, as it were, teaches us that there is a chain in the facts of nature, by showing us a few of the connected links; and, at the same time, so far from exhibiting any sudden breaks, offering evidences of a continuous connection reaching beyond our conception. Verily this poor opaque earth of ours is the foundation on which the Jacob's ladder of invention is laid. We know not where it reaches, but there may be suggesting angels passing to and fro, and when their feet touch the ground, it delivers up its secrets, that float into the ears of the dreamer.
Electricity, it would appear, is the great agent in this connecting chain-nay, is it not, whatever it be in its essence, the chain itself, and the universal power equally in inert matter and in life? It has neither boundary on the earth nor in space. Its home is ubiquity; like the sphere of Hermes, its centre is every where, its circumference "nowhere. That this astonishing power is yet under restraint that it is not only kept from the evil it would do, but rendered to us serviceable is a proof of the great beneficence of Him who made it and us. When the
admiring child touches that gem, the dewdrop on the rose-leaf, it knows not that the little hand is on that which has lightning in it enough to cause instant death. It is scarcely the lover's poetical dream that he may be killed by the lightning of an eyedone dead by the tear that only moves his pity, on his mistress's eye-lid. In that little drop is the power of death-and by what miracle (truly all Nature is miraculous) is the execution stayed-the power forbidden to act? Nay, even the pity that we speak of, love itself, strange in its suddenness as we see it, how know we what of electricity be in it, instantly conveying from person to person natural but unknown sympathy?
to whether the gutta percha would so far protect the wires as to preserve the current of electricity under the most disadvantageous circumstances. Another experiment was successfully tried by passing the electric current to its destination through the human body. Mr. C. J. Wollaston, civil engineer, volunteered to form part of the circuit by holding the ends of 35 miles of the wire in each hand. The wire from the battery was brought to one end of the entire length of 70 miles, and instant explosion of the cartridge took place at the other end. The experiments were yond all question that the properties of gutta altogether perfectly successful, as showing bepercha and electricity combined are yet to be devoted to other purposes than that of establishing a submarine telegraph. The blasting of a rock, the destruction of a fortification, and other operations which require the agency of gunpowder, have often been attended with considerable danger and trouble, besides involving large outlays of money; but it may be truly said that the employment of electricity in the manner described is calculated to render such operations comparatively free from difficulty. Amongst the company "NEW MODE OF DISCHARGING GUNPOWDER.- present on this occasion was Major-General Sir On Monday, August 18, some interesting experi- Charles Pasley, who took a warm interest in the ments were tried at the Gutta Percha Company's proceedings, and expressed himself much gratified Works, Wharf Road, City Road, for the purposes at the result. It is impossible to foretell the value of demonstrating the means by which this extraof this discovery, particularly in engineering and ordinary production may be applied to the opera-mining operations. It forms a valuable addition
Let us not get out of our depths,-but emerge from "the submarine," to land; and for this purpose, and to complete our argument of unexpected and collateral uses, we offer an extract from the Army and Navy Register:
tion of discharging gunpowder. A galvanic battery was connected with upwards of 50 miles of copper wire, covered with gutta percha to the thickness of an ordinary black lead pencil. The wire, which was formed into coils, and which has been prepared for the projected submarine telegraph, was attached to a barge moored in the canal alongside the manufactory, the coils being so fixed together (although the greater portion of them were under water) as to present an uninterrupted communication with the battery to a distance limited at first to 57 miles, but afterwards extended to 70. A cartridge' formed with a small hollow roof of gutta percha, charged with gunpowder, and having an intercommunicating wire attached, was then brought into contact with the electric current. The result was, that a spark was produced, which, igniting the gunpowder, caused an immediate explosion similar to that which would arise from the discharge of a small cannon. The same process was carried out in various ways, with a view of testing the efficient manner in which the gutta percha had been rendered impervious to wet, and in one instance the fusee or cartridge was placed under the water. In this case the efficiency of the insulation was equally well demonstrated by the explosion of the gunpowder at the moment the necessary contact was produced; and by way of showing the perfect insulation of the wire, an experiment was tried which resulted in the explosion! of the fusee from the charge of electricity retained in the coils of wire, three seconds after contact with the battery had been broken. This feature in the experiment was especially interesting from the fact of its removing all difficulty and doubt as
to the benefits already conferred upon the public by the enterprise of the Gutta Percha Company."
This extract may lead the reader to conclude that there are double and opposite purposes in the secrets of nature. chain which was intended to connect all nations in a bond of peace, has, it should seem, also (incidental to the first discovery) its apparatus for war.
When his Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury was blessing the Crystal Palace, and all within it, as emblems of a religious bond of peace, and of amity of all nations, and it pleased the admiring masses to proclaim it little thought that, among the machinery the Temple of Peace and of Love, there was and instruments it contained, those of murderous purpose would be the first required for use, which was actually the case, when permission was asked and given for the removal of revolving firearms from the American department, to be sent out to the Cape. Thus, good and evil are not unmixed. Either may be extracted, and leave the remainder, in appearance to us, a kind of caput mor
It is far more pleasant to look to the peaceful results of inventions—to hear the spirit that is in the electric fluid say— "I will be correspondent to command, And do my spiriting gently."