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wife's mother, the Lady Cann, lived at Bristol, he made annually a visit to her; and, when I had the honour to serve as recorder there, I accompanied him. We joined equipages, and sometimes returned across the country to Wroxton, the residence of the late Lord Guilford. We had the care of affairs there, as trustees for the young Lord Guilford, who was sent abroad to travel ; and we thought it no disservice to our trust to reside upon the spot some time in summer; which we did, and had therein our own convenience, and charged ourselves in the accounts to the full value of ourselves, and the diet for our horses. But, our way of living there being somewhat extraordinary, I think it reasonable to give an account of it. In the first place, the lady had a standing quarrel with us; for we had such a constant employ that she could have none of her husband's company; and when she came to call him to dinner she found him as black as a tinker.
There was an old building, which was formerly hawks' mews. There we instituted a laboratory. One apartment was for wood-works, and the other for iron. His business was hewing and framing, and, being permitted to sit, he would labour very hard; and, in that manner, he hewed the frames for our necessary tables. He put them together only with laps and pins ; but so, as served the occasion very well. We got up a table and a bench; but the great difficulty was to get bellows and a forge. He hewed such stones as lay about, and built a hearth with a back, and, by means of water, and an old iron, which he knocked right down, he perforated that stone for the wind to come in at the fire. What common tools we wanted, we sent and bought, and also a leather-skin, with which he made a pair of bellows that wrought over-head, and the wind was conveyed by elder-guns let into one another, and so it got to the fire. Upon finding a piece of an old anvil, we went to work, and wrought all the iron that was used in our manufactory. He delighted most in hewing. He allowed me, being a lawyer, as he said, to be the best forger. We followed this trade so constantly and close, and he coming out sometimes with a red short waist coat, red cap, and black face, the country people began to talk as if we used some unlawful trades there, clipping at least; and it might be, coining of money. Upon this we were forced to call in the blacksmith, and some of the neighbours, that it might be known there was neither damage nor danger to the state by our operations. This was morning's work, before dressing; to which duty we were usually summoned by the lady full of admiration what creatures she had in her family. In the afternoons, too, we had employment which was somewhat more refined ; and that was turning and planing; for which use we sequestered a low closet. We had our engines from London, and many round implements were made.
In our laboratories, it was not a little strange to see with what earnestness and pains we worked, sweating most immoderately, and scarce allowing ourselves time to eat. At the lighter works, in the afternoon, he hath sat, perhaps, scraping a stick, or turning a piece of wood, and this for many afternoons together, all the while singing like a cobbler, incomparably better pleased than he had been in all the stages of his life before. And it is a mortifying speculation, that of the different characters of this man's enjoyments, separated one from the other, and exposed to an indifferent choice, there is scarce any one. but this I have here described, really worth taking up. And yet the slavery of our nature is such, that this must be despised, and all the rest, with the attendant evils of vexation, disappointments, dangers, loss of health, disgraces, envy, and what not of torment, be admitted. It was well said of the philosopher to Pyrrhus: “What follows after all your victories? To sit down and make merry. And cannot you do so now?"
81.–THE CHEMICAL PHILOSOPHER.
SIR H. Davy. The Unknown.-Persons in general look at the magnificent fabric of civilized society as the result of the accumulated labour, ingenuity, and enterprise of man through a long course of ages, without attempting to define what has been owing to the different branches of human industry and science; and usually attribute to politicians, statesmen, and warriors, a much greater share than really belongs to them in the work :what they have done is in reality little. The beginning of civilization is the discovery of some useful arts by which men acquire property, comforts, or luxuries. The necessity or desire of preserving them leads to laws and social institutions. The discovery of peculiar arts gives superiority to particular nations; and the love of power induces them to employ this superiority to subjugate other nations, who learn their arts, and ultimately adopt their manners ;-so that in reality the origin, as well as the progress and improvement of civil society is founded in mechanical and chemical inventions. No people have ever arrived at any degree of perfection in their institutions who have not possessed in a high degree the useful and refined arts. The comparison of savage and civilized man, in fact, demonstrates the triumph of chemical and mechanical philosophy as the causes not only of the physical, but ultimately even of moral improvement. Look at the condition of man in the lowest state in which we are acquainted with him. Take the native of New Holland, advanced only a few steps above the animal creation, and that principally by the use of fire ; naked, defending himself against wild beasts, or killing them for food only by weapons made of wood hardened in the fire, or pointed with stones or fish-bones; living only in holes dug out of the earth, or in huts rudely constructed of a few branches of trees covered with grass : having no approach to the enjoyment of luxuries or even comforts ; unable to provide for his most pressing wants; having a language scarcely articulate, relating only to the great objects of nature, or to his most pressing necessities or desires, and living solitary or in single families; unacquainted with religion, government or laws, submitted to the mercy of nature or the elements. How different is man in his highest state of cultivation ! every part of his body covered with the products of different chemical and mechanical arts made not only useful in protecting him from the inclemency of the seasons, but combined in forms of beauty and variety ; creating out of the dust of the earth, from the clay under his feet, instruments of use and ornament; extracting metals from the rude ore, and giving to them a hundred different shapes for a thousand different purposes ; selecting and improving the vegetable productions with which he covers the earth ; not only subduing but taming and domesticating the wildest, the fleetest, and the strongest inhabitants of the wood, the mountain, and the air; making the winds carry him on every part of the immense ocean; and compelling the elements of air, water, and even fire as it were to labour for him ; concentrating in small space materials which act as the thunderbolt, and directing their energies so as to destroy at immense distances ; blasting the rock, removing the mountain, carrying water from the valley to the hill ; perpetuating thought in imperishable words, rendering immortal the exertions of genius and presenting them as common property to all awakening minds—becoming as it were the image of divine intelligence, receiving and bestowing the breath of life in the influence of civilization.
Eubathes.—Really you are in the poetical, not the chemical chair, or rather on the tripod. We claim from you some accuracy of detail, some minute information, some proofs of what you assert. What you attribute to the chemical and mechanical arts, we might with the same propriety attribute to the fine arts, to letters, to political improvement, and to those inventions of which Minerva and Apollo, not Vulcan, are the patrons.
The Unlenown. I will be more minute. You will allow that the rendering skins insoluble in water by combining with them the astringent principle of certain vegetables is a chemical invention, and that without leather our shoes, our carriages, our equipages would be very ill-made; you will permit me to say, that the bleaching and dyeing of wool and silk, cotton and flax, are chemical processes, and that the conversion of them into cloth of different kinds is a mechanical invention; that the working of iron, copper, tin and lead and the other metals, and the combining them in different alloys by which almost all the instruments necessary for the turner, the joiner, the stone-mason, the ship-builder and the smith are made, are chemical inventions; even the press, to the influence of which I am disposed to attribute as much as you can do, could not have existed in any state of perfection without a metallic alloy; the combining of alkali and sand, and certain clays and flints together to form glass and porcelain is a chemical process; the colours which the artist employs to frame resemblances of natural objects, or to create combinations more beautiful than ever existed in nature are derived from chemistry; in short, in every branch of the common and fine arts, in every department of human industry, the influence of this science is felt, and we may find in the fable of Prometheus taking the flame from heaven to animate his man of clay, an emblem of the effects of fire, in its application to chemical purposes, in creating the activity and almost the life of civil society.
Philalethes.-It appears to me that you attribute to science what in many cases has been the result of accident. The processes of most of the useful arts, which you call chemical, have been invented and improved without any refined views, without any general system of knowledge. Lucretius attributes to accident the discovery of the fusion of the metals; a person in touching a shell-fish observes that it emits a
purple liquid as a dye, hence the Tyrian purple; clay is observed to harden in the fire, and hence the invention of bricks, which could hardly fail ultimately to lead to the discovery of porcelain ; even glass, the most perfect and beautiful of those manufactures you call chemical, is said to have been discovered by accident; Theophrastus states, that some merchants who were cooking on some lumps of soda or natron, near the mouth of the river Belus, observed that a hard and vitreous substance was formed where the fused natron ran into the sand.
The Unknown.--I will readily allow that accident has had much to do with the origin of the arts as with the progress of the sciences. But it has been by scientific processes and experiments that these accidental results have been rendered really applicable to the purposes of common life. Besides, it requires a certain degree of knowledge and scientific combination to understand and seize upon the facts which have originated in accident. It is certain, that in all fires alkaline substances and sand are fused together and clay hardened ; yet for ages after the discovery of fire glass and porcelain were unknown, till some men of genius profited by scientific combination often observed but never applied. It suits the indolence of those minds which never attempt any thing, and which probably, if they did attempt any thing, would not succeed, to refer to accident that which belongs to genius. It is sometimes said by such persons, that the discovery of the law of gravitation was owing to accident; and a ridiculous story is told of the falling of an apple, as the cause of this discovery. As well might the invention of fluxions or the architectural wonders of the dome of St. Peter's, or the miracles of art, the St. John of Raphael, or the Apollo Belvidere, be supposed to be owing to accidental combinations. In the progress of an art, from its rudest to its most perfect state, the whole process depends upon experiments. Science is, in fact, nothing more than the refinement of common sense making use of facts already known to acquire new facts. Clays, which are yellow, are known to burn red ; calcareous earth renders flint fusible—the persons who have improved earthenware made their selections accordingly. Iron was discovered at least one thousand years before it was rendered malleable; and from what Herodotus says of this discovery, there can be little doubt that it was developed by a scientific worker in metals. Vitruvius tells us, that the ceruleum, a colour made of copper, which exists in perfection in all the old paintings of the Greeks and Romans and on the mummies