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Bessemer process of making steel, than in the philosophies of Hamilton or Mill. And the blessed thing to the world is that while a philosophy may be false, and go on for ages deceiving mankind, a machine that is untrue- that is, has mistaken the action of God's law-shows it at once, before even the dullest eye, by refusing to go at all; and must be thrust aside with loss only to its owner.
So with those qualities of soul, higher than all genius, which constitute manhood, and, in no small degree, religion itself. If there is any advantage, it is most decidedly with the mechanic. Look at the face of inventors. Even as displayed at an ordinary gathering, they are a study as full of profound interest as any of their works: a cut of features, and light in the eye, you look in vain for among the common crowd. It is notorious that nearly all poets and philosophers, nearly all theologians, too, have something mean and little about them, all inventors something heroic and grand. Every great machine is born out of the profoundest pain and struggle, born of a real soul. The most pathetic and thrilling reading in all biography is the lives of inventors. It is not only the choicest thought, but the choicest manhood, that has gone into the world's mechanics. A cross towered in their workshops; and, like the gospel, they went out on their mission over the earth from a scene of crucifixion.
Born thus from the higher side of man's nature, and with the baptism of suffering and sacrifice upon it, it is not strange to find this machinery doing afterwards something of the gospel's work.
It is one of the world's great democratic forces, a leveller, levelling, however, like religion, always upwards. Its mission, first of all, the same as that of the Saviour, is to the poor, the weak, the lame, the blind, the despised and downtrodden of men. Every great machine which has ever been invented, every new one that is brought into use from year to year, is a mighty lever placed under the lowest classes of society to raise them up. And though it is powerful corporations and wealthy capitalists alone who may own it, and though they may have designed it only for their own aggran
dizement; yet by a law mightier than any will of theirs, it is made infallibly to work for the interests of the common people. Look at the railroad and its locomotive engine. Before its invention there was a wide distinction as to modes of travel between the rich and the poor. The man of wealth had his own carriage and sleek horses, and rode in state from place to place; the poor man was obliged to plod along on foot, or go at an expense which was almost ruinous in some crazy public stage. Now, elegant and spacious cars are fitted up alike for both. The millionnaire and the day laborer sit down side by side. The poorest market woman goes to the city with a speed and elegance of surroundings that no king or queen enjoyed of old; and the expense is hardly more than it would have cost her for shoe-leather a hundred years ago. Look at the spinning-jenny and the power-loom. They have absolutely abolished all distinctions of dress between the different classes of society. Bridget wears a gown that outshines that of her mistress. Broadcloth is the badge now only of our common humanity. There is hardly a cabin of our land so mean that one of its rooms is not covered with a carpet which would have seemed luxurious in a palace of other days. Look at the arrangements for supplying our cities with light and water. They give precisely the same thing to the stately mansion and the cottage, to the grandest square and the narrowest court; and they give them with a convenience and lessening of trouble to all that no amount of wealth otherwise could procure. Look at the printing-press. It has enabled works that were once almost unattainable with a fortune, to be sold for a dollar. Learning and culture are no longer the privileges of wealth and ease. Philosophy lays all her treasures at the humblest feet. Science comes and sits with the poorest apprentice boy to teach him her profoundest truths; and the kitchen maid can own all the choicest poetry that was ever written. Take one of the last examples, the machinery for the chromo-lithograph, just brought to perfection it is sending the great masterpieces of the painter's genius, which only one man of ten thousand before could own, all over the land, lighting up countless homes
with their splendor, and pouring their refining influence, undeniable, into unnumbered souls; all, too, at a price even to the poorest hod-carrier of only a day's labor.
So everywhere that a machine is at work, you will find it is doing something for our common humanity; something to bring the two extremes of society nearer together. It is the stanchest foe of aristocracy. The complaint goes up every summer from the would-be exclusives of Newport and Saratoga that they cannot maintain their distinction from the common people; that the mechanic may shut up his shop, and the clerk his store, put on their Sunday clothes, take the Saturday night cars, and mingle with them so completely that no person can for a moment recognize the difference. It is the powerful engine of liberty. Governments may claim its monopoly; kings may carry it on to the field of battle: but the moment they try to use it there, it recoils, and strikes for freedom, and the cause of man. The two reasons why liberty had to wait till the nineteenth century before it could find a dwelling-place on earth, were, first, the want of more gospel, and, second, the want of more machinery. Churches and workshops, not forts and legislative halls, are the true citadels of human rights. Feudalism was crushed with a hammer, not bayonet. No edict that was ever printed from it, but the printing-press itself, is what gave the death-blow to slavery. The vanguard of all progress is a long line of mechanics; the Anvil Chorus the song to which the world has made its grandest march, well recognized, therefore, in our great peace jubilee. And, though apparently, with the thousand murderous weapons it has devised, mechanical genius has been the means of increasing the ravages of war, yet, paradoxical as it seems, true to its divine mission, it is destined in the end to be its deadliest foe; the roar of that first gun, fired by a French soldier before the walls of Pavia three hundred and fifty years ago, was the knell of all war; and as nations go on perfecting alike their arms and their armor, making the weak strong, and the strong weak, as every new weapon does, the result, reached only in an opposite direction, is to be the same as that of the gospel, one of universal peace.
It is not only mankind in the mass, however, that are benefited by this power, but the individual man, also, that it helps to ennoble, dignify, and complete all through his nature.
The aim of the gospel in this respect is too well recognized to need discussion. It lays stress, not only on the value of humanity, but of the individual man. Every soul has in it immeasurable capacities. It is to live, not for earth alone, but heaven. The higher part of its nature is to be developed. There is placed before it evermore a grand ideal towards which to strive. It is in realizing this ideal that machinery comes in as the powerful aid of religion. With the use of hands alone in doing his work, man has no time or strength for the satisfaction of his spiritual wants. The provision of food, clothing, shelter, defence, this occupies every moment, every energy. He is a slave to his own body. But, with the invention of machinery, there is something intervenes between him and crude matter. Nature puts her own mighty shoulder to the car of society where he had been tugging, and lifts him up into the seat to be a driver. He has a servant. The winds, waves, fire, the strength of animals, sunshine, and lightning, these are made his ministers. They do for him a thousand-fold more than his own strength. And released from mere drudgery he can listen to the claims of other and diviner wants; can develop mind and taste, and heart and soul, as well as body. That day, far back in the mist of ages, when man put a plough down into the earth to make a furrow, he drew the line which separated him evermore from the brutes, and took his first step up into heaven. "What have you to sell?" was the question of King George the Third, when Boulton, the partner of Watt, stood before him to explain the wonders of the steam-engine, addressing him, as though he had been a mere huckster, with the insolence sovereigns could use then before the common man had set up their great rival. "What kings are all fond of-power," was the majestic reply. He spoke not for the steam-engine alone, but for all machinery. It is power; it makes him who has it king; frees him not from the bondage of tyrants only, but of toil; gives him a realm, too, upward in thought as well as abroad over nature.
How vain, then, the fear felt so often in past ages of the world, and not yet wholly dead, it was only a few weeks ago that I read of a convention of shoemakers who passed resolutions against the introduction of any more pegging machines into their town, how vain the fear that every new invention is going to rob the workman of the labor requisite for his daily bread, and how blind the opposition often expressed in mobs and deeds of violence which every great inventor has had to suffer! The inconvenience to the hand laborer, the disturbance to his means of livelihood, which the new thing makes, is at most only temporary. It may close the old fields of toil, but it is only to open others higher up, those paying better wages and bringing into action grander faculties of mind. A machine with all its powers cannot work alone. It must have intelligent human beings with it, those who can think and are capable of being its masters. The more machinery there is in the world the more demand there is, not indeed for brute force, but for cultivated men and The power-loom threw out of employ ten thousand hands, but it immediately called in a hundred thousand brains. What was hand-copying in olden time as a market for labor in comparison with the energies that are now demanded by the printing-press? And the steam-engine, besides all the wheels it is driving, - how many are the souls high up through all ranks of society that it keeps in motion! It is L notorious that no complicated invention can be used where slavery is. It demands and creates intelligence, freedom, insists as if by a divine instinct on turning slaves into men before it will act under their direction. There is no country of the world which probably has so much machinery in it as Massachusetts, none at least which develops from year to year so many new inventions; and there is none where the mechanics, the laborers, are so numerous, so intelligent, so well paid, and in such active demand. The introduction of agricultural implements during the last twenty years has wrought a most striking change on the whole character of our farming population. Rustic is no longer the synonyme of what is stupid, conservative, unpolished. Farmers are wide