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learning and charity, the graceful dignity and conciliating ease of high life, the countless decencies of the middle ranks, the cheerful industry of the lowest, the general veneration for the Constitution, the general obedience to Law, the general devotion to their Country.--Such is England! If it be enquired by what means she hath attained this height of glory and prosperity, much, it must be answered, is owing to that happy union of Science and Commerce, for which, in every part of her history, she has been eminently distinguished.
Now, Science and Commerce are mutually dependent: Each assists the other, and each receives from the other, a liberal return.
That the commercial successes of a nation tend directly to promote Literature, the Sciences, and the Arts, admits of no doubt. On this part of my subject, I shall do little more than appeal to your own observations.
In the course of last summer, many of you have visited the scene of the most glorious and eventful battle that modern history has to record. I request them to recollect the long line of magnificent towns in Belgium, through which they passed, in their road to that memorable spot, or on their return; the many public edifices of exquisite and costly architecture, which they observed in them, and the
vumberless paintings and works in marble, gold, silver, iron, and bronze, with which these abound. I beg them to recollect, that, during two hundredi years, all these cities have been in a state of decline. They may then judge what they were in the day of their prosperity. Now, every thing which I have mentioned, was raised or collected by the fostering hand of Commerce. For, till the imprudent conduct of the dukes of Burgundy and the House of Austria drove Commerce to Amsterdam, the Netherlands were her favourite seat, and all these monuments of Art and Science owe their existence to the commercial acquisitions and well directed munificence of the Burghers of Bruges, Ghent, Antwerp, Bruxelles, and Louvaine. The Architecture, Painting and Sculpture, which adorn the cities between the Alps and Upper Italy, equally owe their existence to the Burghers of Lombardy. Had it not been for her Commerce, Venice would never have had the School of Painting, for which she is so illustrious. Had not the family of the Medici, afterwards allied to so many royal houses, and the parent of so many Sovereign Princes, been successful merchants, half, perhaps, of the precious remains of antiquity, which we now possess, would not have reached us. A single ship, freighted with spices, brought to Lorenzo di Medici, from the East and Greece, two hundred manuscripts, eighty of them, of works, at that time, unknown in Europe. Nor should we forget the Merchant-Kings, to whom, as the best managers of it for the public, the British Nation confides her East Indian Commerce. It would be difficult to point out a period, during which, more valuable communications have been made to the learned world, than that, which has elapsed since the Institution, for enquiring into the Antiquities of the Arts, Sciences, and Literature of Asia, was established in Bengal.
Bengal. Far be it from us to deny or undervalue the obligations, which Learning and Science owe to the Monarchs of the earth, or to the ranks which immediately approach them. To these, much, very much do Learning and Science owe: but, were they not themselves continually enriched by the commercial part of the community, scanty indeed would be their means of remunerating or encouraging the possessors of either.
On the other hand, Science has ever been ancillary to Commerce. Not a step can Commerce safely take, either in her most simple or her most complex operations, unless the Sciences of Number and Measure attend her. Nor, should it be forgotten, that many even of those rules, “ Which boys can read, and girls can understand,"
POPE. are the result of the most profound and laborious investigation; and that the midnight lamp has, over and over again, been lighted to the scientific men, by whom they were discovered.
To Navigation,-Commerce almost wholly owes her existence. From the felling of the tree to the launch of the ship, and from the launch of the ship to her arrival in port, every thing now appears to be reduced to rule; and the rules appear so simple in their theory, and so easy in their application, that they seem to be carried into effect by a kind of instinctive readiness, and a process, almost mechanical. But, to form these rules, apparently so simple and so easy, the minds of scientific men had been employed for ages, on the most extensive and abstruse researches. It is literally true that, in the circles of Art or Science, there is scarcely one, which has not been pressed into the service of the ship-builder or the mariner. In those lines of Trade or Commerce, which are employed on the metallic productions, or in forming or compounding colours, there scarcely is a process, which the workman does not owe to chemistry; and which, it did not cost the chemist, the toil of years to discover. When the drainer of a marsh uses his Spiral Pump, he avails himself of a process, the discovery of which was thought to do honour to one of the most renowned of the antient Mathematicians. When the land surveyor measures a field, he does it by rules laid down in a small Greek volume, which appeared 240 years before Christ.
To come to our own country, and nearer to our own time, the Steam Engine, now applied to so many useful purposes, and every day discovering new powers, was one of the inventions, which, in the reign of Charles the first, employed the learned leisure of the marquis of Worcester. To the divine mind of sir Isaac Newton, we principally owe the Quadrant, which, with Hadley's name, is now in the hands of every mariner.
But, to prove the general utility of Science to Commerce, it is unnecessary to travel back to the antient history of other countries, or the former history of our own. At the instant I am speaking, Science is advancing towards us with an invention, which, to the latest posterity, will prove incalculably beneficial to humanity in general, and to Commerce in particular. You have frequently read in your newspapers of the horrid effects of the explosion of a mine. A very recent newspaper has given an account of such a disaster. Now,—within these few weeks, one of those men,—the homines centenarii, as they were called by Scaliger, who exist but once in a century, but who, when they do exist, elevate the country in which they are born, and even the age in which they live,---our illustrious countryman, Sir Humphry Davy, has discovered a process, by which this eyil principle of nature is absolutely subdued, and all possibility of danger from it, altogether removed.
A stronger proof of the utility of Science cannot be required :- Perhaps, among those who frequent, or who may soon frequent, your Library, or your Chambers of Experiment, there may be some,