On the Evening of the 14th inst. the Rev. S. Osgood delivered a most interesting lecture before the Mechanic's Society, the subject of which was. “The Poetry of Mechanism, or the Future of Useful arts :—" When Franklin, said the lecturer, upon seeing some flies restored to life that had for some months been immersed in wine declared that he would gladly be drowned in the same manner, if after the lapse of a hundred years he could be resuscitated, and be allowed to see the state of things in this country at that time, he little thought how far the reality would surpass his most sanguine expectations. So varied and startling have been the events of the last century, that its sober history, if stated befoehand, as prophecy, wonld have been deemed about as probable as some Oriental legend or narcotic dream. Before the gateway of that palace of historical wonders into which Christodom for three centuries has been passing, and where as we press on each year is adding some new marvel, and prompting the question, “ What next 1 what next 1"— as the veil before an unexplored recess is beginning to quiver, before that gateway stand three forms who have given the chief impulses to all modern history. Central stands a stout figure that cannot easily be mistaken ; in his hands he holds an open Bible, and at his feet, among a pile of controversial folios, may be seen a scroll bearing the title, “Address to the Magistrates of Germany in behalf of Public Schools.” On one side of him stands a manly form, with a face blending the refinement of the gentleman with the daring ofthe sailor, and you hardly need to look upon the compass and the helm before him to connect him with the sea. On the other side stands one with far less imposing air, yet with the inbred dignity ever characteristic of earnest intelligent industry, he leans upon a rude printing press, as seeking rest after anxious thought and severe toil.— rhese are the three, you know them at once, Luther, Colombus, Guttenberg; three heroes, arbiters of modern history. The open Bible, the New World, the printing press; with these powers what vast revolutions associate themselves. Let us select any master piece of mechanism, and consider, not merely the beauty of its workmanship, but the I!xquisite adjustment of its various parts and movements. Let it. be a printing press or a spinning frame, 'a po wer loom or a steam engine, an organ or a telescope. Consider the number of materials alld forces harmoniously combined-,-recaU the. history of each material and the origin of each force, and straightway every law ot nature, faculty of man, gift of Providence, associated itself in some way with the construction. Nay, every piece of wrought iron was, to a thoughtful mind, a heroic poem, for it told the story of an art identical with the progress of civilization. The telescope! what power of mind, what skill of the hand, what use of life, what attribute of God, was not illustrated by its structure and application 1 The most common mechanism, would tell, if we listened, a chapter of 'romance. Enter the realm ot the beautiful arts, and did we not see the mechanic as virtually translating its master pieces into general language, and by correct copies bringing the most beautiful forms of art within the means of many. In music, when hearing the compositions of Thalberg, or an oratorio of Haydn, we should not forget that Shoedek invented the piano, and Forner gave the organ its compass and swell. Our enjoyments of scenery, too, were in a great part o wing to the iron-horse and iron. oarsman. The beauty of mechanical art interpreted the beauty of natural mechanism, and here a realm opened into which we could not even glance. When we look back to the invention of printing by Guttenberg, and see what has been accomplished since; “ what are the next four centuries to do 1” The facts of history gave romance to the pages opening in the future. The common-places of our day would have startled our Puritan fathers. Old Merlin would be found a tame plodder, when compared with the philosophic Morse. Mysteries opened all around, in iron, air, water, fire.— The modern Aladdin had rubbed the magical ring, and a Titan power knelt at his feet and waited his word; he had lighted his wonderful lamp, and lo! from its flame a power arose that reared palaces, cast mountains into the sea, and mocked at winds and waves. Who would* dare to predict the future—to speak what things should be done in the air, or on sea or land, or under the earth—to conjecture how far mechanism would borrow mind from man. The futufe ot mechanism was intimately connected with the physical, mental, and moral destiny of man. All history showed that man had progress in proportion to the po wer of the implements within his reach. That a great work was to be done for the welfare of man, was evident from what had been done. The wealth 01 Engl and came from her manufactures, and Watt and Arkwright, more than Wellington and Blu- cher, gave her the palm in the strife with the enemy. Our Fulton gave this nation a greater source of wealth than all the mines of California. The lecturer proceeded. to show that the mind ot man would share in the power destined to mechanic art. That it would ameliorate his condition—our men would toil and feel no pain. Politicians were in the habit of speaking a great deal about maintaining the Union; but he would say a word tor the mechanic. He believed the mechanic had so wired and clamped it to gether, that politicians would find hard to dissever it. In conclusion, Mr. Osgood said that the different lines of disco veries and inventi ons had been converging towarda a common cen tre. In a thousand ways, the movements started by Luther, Columbus, and Guttenberg combined in new' adaptations. Arkwright, Watt, and Fulton, met and combined as they never dreamt ot; Franklin and Galileo united their discoveries in the telegraph years after their decease. When the arts and scien ces, with their strong arms and sage heads, met in a true order, central among the vast hosts would stand the symbols of religion— chief among the waving pennons should float the spotless banner of Him who was the power of peace and king of men. The invention of Watt, the analyses of Davy, the construc. tive genius of Angelo, all should be represented in concert with the faith of Luther and the humanity of Penn.Thus. guided, mechanism would follow a Divine mandate ; it would build the walls that are salvation, and the gates that are praise. The strong hand outstretched in power should be uplifted in devotion and opened in charity. The speaker sat down amid loud applause, and well he deserved it. He takes true and noble views of the benefits conferred upon man by inventors and discoverers.
This article was originally published with the title "The Poetry of Mechanism"