It is pleasing to listen to the conversation, not merely the attempt to show off, by some conceited, half-instructed disciple of a Mechanics' Institute, with his smattering of everything aad knowledge of nothing, volubly and eagerly explaning what he does not understand—one whose accent and language bespeak him" North o' the Tweed." [The above is an extract from the K New York Daily Times " of the 17th inst. It is taken from the Dublin correspondent's letter ? that paper, who makes the above slurring remark in his description of the " Dublin Ex. hibition." It is very evident that he looks upon a mechanic as an ignorant egotist, and this egotism he attributes to the teachings of Mechanics' Institutes. Education has no doubt a refining influence, but neither an education at Oxford, in England, Trinity in Dublin, or Yale in America, can make a man of sound judgment, and extensive information. There are many men who leave college complete ignoramuses respecting knowledge,— which is Jfacts well-arranged. This is no doubt owing to the kind ot professors, under whom they were educated. Every man ought to be estimated by his real worth, and not by the cut of his coat, or the tone of his voice. The men who have been taught in Mechanics Institutes have done more for Ireland than those who have been taught in her Universities ; the very Crystal Palace in Dublin exists only because a" working man of limited education—a self-made one—willed it. The great men of the world have neither been made by colleges nor mechanics' institutes. These institutions are mere aids to form the man. Shakspeare nor Burns were college bred, but Milton and Pope were.— The best artists ot America and England were not raised in college halls. It is a positive fact that nearly every one of our American painters and sculptors, dead and living, cannot be called tducated men, but well ??-formedjmen, which many college-educated men are not. The greatest engineering works inlreland were carried out by your Mechanics' Institutes' men, such as Thos. Telford, and instead of sneering at the graduate of a mechanics institute, the person who wrote the above would greatly benefit his head and heart if he would place himself for some time under such instruction as he might find in some Mechanics' Institutes that we could name.
This article was originally published with the title "Mechanics' Institutes, and Mechanics Calumniated" in Scientific American 8, 50, 397 (August 1853)