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ried on in the Indian and Red Seas, cut the roots of Mahommedan power, and unhappily of Mahommedan civilization. You have such merchants now.
MONTESINOS. Many such. The evil in that profession is, that men are tempted by the hope of great prizes to undue risks; the spirit of enterprize is allowed to pass the bounds of prudence and of principle, and then the merchant becomes in fact a gameșter. Examples of this become more frequent as the habits of life become more emulously expensive. But the ordinary and natural consequences of commerce are every way beneficial; they are humanizing, civilizing, liberalizing; if it be for the purpose of gain that it compasses sea and land, it carries with it industry, activity, and improvement: these are its effects abroad, while it brings wealth to us at home. Whereas the immediate and home effect of the manufacturing system, carried on as it now is upon the great scale, is to produce physical and moral evil, in proportion to the wealth which it creates. Here is our danger, our sore and spreading evil... here, I had almost said, is
the harm That never shall recover healthfulness !"*
* Lord Surrey.
At such a price national prosperity would be dearly purchased, even if any prosperity which is. so purchased were, or could be, stable. Alas! wherefore is it that communities and individuals so seldom keep the even line, though it appears to be plain and straight before them!
SIR THOMAS MORE. Because they walk sometimes in mist and darkness, and sometimes giddily and precipitately when the way is clear. But the way is not always plain, nor, when plain, is it always easy. Both men and nations are liable to evils which are the consequence, not of their own errors, but of their position,..of circumstances in which they find themselves, and over which they have had no control. .
MONTESINOS. “ For he that once hath missed the right way, The further he doth go, the further he doth stray.
SIR THOMAS MORE. Society has its critical periods, and its climacterics; no change, no developement can take place at such seasons without inducing some peculiar and accompanying danger; and at all seasons it is liable to its influenzas and its plagues. This is one of its grand climacterics.
A new principle, ..a novum organum has been introduced,.. the most powerful that has ever yet been wielded by man. If it was first Mitrum that governed the world, and then Nitrum, both have had their day,.. gunpowder as well as the triple crown. Steam will govern the world next, .. and shake it too before its empire is established.
STEAM-WAR-PROSPECTS OF EUROPE.
“ The ancients,” says* Dr. Arbuthnot, “ had more occasion for mechanics in the art of war, than we have; gunpowder readily producing a force far exceeding all the engines they had contrived for battery. And this, I reckon, has lost us a good occasion of improving our mechanics; the cunning of mankind never exerting itself so much as in their arts of destroying one another.” Since Arbuthnot's age the desire of gain has produced greater improvements in mechanics than were ever called forth by the desire of conquest. And yet the great inventions of the world have arisen from a worthier origin than either; they have generally been the work of quiet, unambitious, unworldly men, pursuing some favourite branch of science, patiently, for its own sake.
Steam, said I to Sir Thomas when he visited me next, has fearfully accelerated a process which was going on already but too fast. Could I contemplate the subject without reference to that Providence which brings about all things in its own good time, I should be tempted to think that the discovery of this mighty power had come to us, like the possession of great and dangerous wealth to a giddy youth, before we knew how to employ it rightly.
* Essay on the Usefulness of Mathematical Learning.
SIR THOMAS MORE.
It is, however, a power which had long been known before it was brought into use for general purposes. In Justinian's reign, the philosopher, Anthemius, employed it in his extraordinary devices for annoying a next-door neighbour, and Pope Silvester made an organ which was worked by it.
Even at a much later period, extraordinary experiments excited little attention at the time they were made, though they are now looked back upon
with wonder, as having anticipated some of the most remarkable discoveries of the present age. A Portugueze ascended in some kind of balloon at Lisbon, more than an hundred years ago.
In cases of public display like this, or of public notoriety such as those earlier and more remarkable ones which you have in