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was naturally adopted, and this was fortunate, for on the diseovery of Voltaic electricity, the corrosion of the iron was shown to be due to Galvanic action, by which copper fastenings beneath copper sheathing are not afiected. Experience shows that the copper of a vessel resists the action of the water, for a much less time than sheets of a similar thickness merely immersed in the same fluid; nautical men will tell you it is caused by the friction of the water against the vessel when in motion; but this cannot be true, for the corrosion is almost as rapid if the vessel remain in port. Davy was successful in showing that this corrosion was also a galvanic phenomenon ; not content with pointing out the proximate cause, he immediately proposed the remedy; and this, which consists merely in covering one side of the copper with a film of tin, is so effectual, as to double the duration of copper sheathing. .
Time will not permit me to adduce any other instances; those which have been brought before your view will suffice to show how dependent the discoveries, even of men of the first rate genius, are upon science, to serve as the basis of their inventions. If necessary to the progress of intellects of the first order, how much more so must science be to those of more ordinary character? By the study of science, even ordinary minds may catch a spark of the Promethean fire of genius; and arts, manufactures, and civilization, may be advanced by their instructed industry. The first talents, nay even genius itself, if destitute of scientific education, may not unfrequently labour for years, before attaining the point that serves as the starting place of the instructed mechanic. Even in countries where all the arts are cultivated in a nearly equal degree, and where examples are to be found of almost every valuable invention, much waste of ingenuity occurs; but in our own, where, in consequence of circumstances, we resort from choice to the workshops of Europe, and even of India, for many articles even of prime necessity, we may look in vain for examples of some of the most useful mechanic inventions; they are known only to men of scientific research. Among us, therefore, for the want of a sufficient value being set upon the knowledge to be derived from books, the loss of the time of powerful and ingenious minds is lamentable; vast labour of body and thought, is oftentimes spent in maturing a plan that, when given to the world, is found to have been long before discovered, and brought into successful operation. It is obvious, then, that if any subject of study be of value to us as a nation, or as individuals, it is that of mechanical science, as applied to the useful arts; by its prosecution, we may be placed in all re
spects on a level with the most improved nations of Europe ; by it alone our national industry may be directed to proper ends, and successfully applied to the creation of national wealth; by it enormous and useless expenditures of public money may be avoided, and, what is of still greater importance, much unprofitable waste of industry, talent and genius, prevented.
In order to set the importance of my subject in a still stronger light, I must trespass upon your patience while I take a rapid and cursory view of the comparative state of ancient and modern nations, in relation to the effects produced by applied science upon their civilization, their happiness, and their government.
The arts appear to have had an origin extremely remote in the east; this was the first seat of the new population of the world, after the waters of the flood had subsided, and in this region it is probable that a dense population already existed, while the tribes whose history is better known to us, were spreading themselves in scattered families towards the west. This main body of the new inhabitants, probably derived from tradition a remnant of the arts of the ante-diluvian world, sufficient at least to induce strenuous exertions for their recovery; and thus it is, (as has been well remarked by one of my colleagues,) that the origin of civilization is not a matter of record or tradition among the nations of India and central Asia, but mounts up to a period beyond any history that they possess. Their arts, however, are the result of great labour and minute attention; they are only preserved by the compulsory and unnatural institution of castes ; numerous hands effect what is in Europe produced by labour-saving machinery. They are ignorant of the use of the great natural agents, (water, wind, and steam,) as workers, and of all the other improvements that science has vouchsafed to modern art. The condition of the labouring class is in consequence, even to the present day, extremely debased among these nations; and if the arts exert a favourable influence upon the comforts, the civilization, and the power of the rich, they have no effect in ameliorating the evils of their despotic governments, by giving independent habits and minds to the people at large.
[To be concluded in the next number.]
A PENNSYLVANIAN LEGEND.
Is the world to become altogether philosophical and rational ? Are we to believe nothing that we cannot account for from natural causes ? Are tales of supernatural warnings, of the interposition and visible appearance of disembodied spirits, to be laughed out of countenance and forgotten? There are people who have found out that to imagine any other modes of being than those of which our experience tells us, is extremely ridiculous. Alas! we shall soon learn to believe that the material world is the only world, and that the things which are the objects of our external senses are the only things which have an existence. Recollect, gentlemen, that you may carry your philosophy too far. You forget how the human mind delights in superstition. You are welcome to explode such of its delusions as are hurtful, but leave us, I pray you, a few of such as are harmless; leave us, at least, those which are interesting to our hearts, without making us forget our love and duty to our fellow creatures.
As long, however, as there are aged crones to talk, and chil. dren to listen, the labours of philosophy cannot be crowned with perfect success. A dread of supernatural visitations, awakened in our tender years, keeps possession of the mind like an instinct, and bids defiance to the attempts of reason to dislodge it. For my part, I look upon myself as a debtor to the old nurses and servant maids, who kept me from my sleep with tales of goblins and apparitions, for one of the highest pleasures I enjoy. It is owing to them, I believe, that I read, with a deep sense of delight, narratives which seem to inspire many of my enlightened and reasoning acquaintances with no feeling but that of disgust. Yet I cannot but notice a remarkable scarcity of well attested incidents of this sort in modern years. incredulity of the age has caused the supernatural interpositions, that were once so frequent, to be withdrawn; portents
and prodigies are not shown to mockers, and spectres will not walk abroad to be made the subjects of philosophical analysis. Yet some parts of our country are more favoured in this respect than others. The old beldames among the German settlers of Pennsylvania tell in the greedy ears of their children the marvellous legends of the country from which they had their origin, and to the deep awe and undoubting reverence with which these are related and received, it is probably owing that the day of wonders is not past among that people. Let the European writer gather up the traditions of his country ; I will employ a leisure moment in recording one of the fresher, but not less authentic, legends of ours.
Walter Buckel was a German emigrant, who came over to Pennsylvania about sixty years ago. He was of gentle blood, and used to boast of his relationship to one of the most illustrious houses in his native country. Nor was this an idle boast, for he could trace his pedigree with perfect accuracy through ten generations up to a hunch-backed baron, from whose clandestine amours with a milkmaid, sprung the founder of the family of the Buckels. The offspring of these stolen loves did not disgrace his birth, for he inherited all the pride and deformity of his father. So vain was he of his personal resemblance to his noble parent, that he assumed the surname of Buckel, from the hump on his shoulders, and transmitted the name and the hump to his posterity. The family continued to wear this badge of their descent down to the time of Walter Buckel; and it was observed, that, whenever it waned from its due magnitude in one generation, it was sure to rise with added roundness and prominence in another. As, however, the illustrious extraction, of which it was the symbol, grew more remote, the respect with which the neighbours regarded it diminished, and finally ceased altogether. Walter Buckel, determined to form no connexion unworthy of his birth, had married one of his cousins, a fair, fat, flaxen-haired maiden, the purity of whose blood was attested by a hump like his own. Walter was one of those unfortunate men who are perpetually looking for respect, and perpetually disappointed, by meeting with nothing but ridicule : he had hoped to increase his consideration among his acquaintances by this marriage ; but their jeers came faster and coarser, and so many rustic jokes were cracked on the well-matched couple, that he almost grew weary of life. In his desperation, he sold the patrimonial estate on which he subsisted, and without bidding adieu to any of his neighbours except the curate, who used sometimes, induced by his benevolence, to come and talk to him about the antiquity and dignity of his family, and carry home a pig, or a turkey, or
a shoulder of mutton, he emigrated to America, and settled
four hundred acres. of wild land, in the interior of the state of Pennsylvania.
His first care was to provide a shelter for his family. His new neighbours, most of whom were recent settlers like himself, came together the morning after his arrival, and before the sun had gone down, a comfortable log house, with two rooms, was ready for their reception. It was built at the foot of a small hill, in a little natural opening of the forest, under a fine flourishing tree, of that species commonly called the red oak, which, in favourable soils, and in the open country, grows to a great size, and with a most beautiful symmetry, its long lusty boughs given off in whorls at regular distances, and its smooth bark of a greenish brown colour, looking as if ready to burst with the luxuriance of its juices. The tree was one of the finest of its kind, and stood in the centre of a circle of rich turf, about half an acre in extent, the circumference of which was fenced by a natural hedge of undergrowth, that prevented you from looking into the darkness and solitude of the surrounding woods. A brook came down the hill, and ran noisily through the cheerful spot, over the round stones, among which were seen a few straggling roots of the oak, laid bare by the action of the current.
Walter, who was a thin, bilious, bustling man, went to work in the bitterness and vexation of his heart, thinking sometimes of his genealogy, sometimes of the gibes and jeers of his old acquaintances, and sometimes of his voluntary exile from his native country, until he had cleared the wood from all that part of the farm which lay south of the house, and was judged to include about one third of the whole. The rest he suffered to lie in its wild state, for the purpose of supplying with fuel the fire that roared all winter in the enormous chimney, which occupied a full half of the room called the kitchen. In the mean time, his wife was not idle; before the year came round she presented bim with a son, whom he named Caspar, a name which, according to the family tradition, belonged to their ancestor, the hunch-backed baron.
It has been said, that marriages between relations not only perpetuate, but even aggravate, the physicaland mental deformities of the parents in their offspring. I cannot tell if this be so; I was never willing to believe it; but whenever I think of the case of Caspar Buckel, I am staggered in my unbelief. As he grew to the age of puberty, it was remarked that he inherited the self-conceit and the uneasy temper of his father, along with the sulky taciturnity of his mother. The corpulency of the one