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governs His creation, and, by making these laws his standard of action, to conquer nature to his use ; himself a divine instrument.
Science discovers these laws of power, motion, and transformation; industry applies them to the raw matter, which the earth yields us in abundance, but which becomes valuable only by knowledge. Art teaches us the immutable laws of beauty and symmetry, and gives to our productions forms in accordance to them.
Gentlemen—the Exhibition of 1851 is to give us a true test and a living picture of the point of development at which the whole of mankind has arrived in this great task, and a new startingpoint from which all nations will be able to direct their further exertions.
I confidently hope that the first impression which the view of this vast collection will produce upon the spectator will be that of deep thankfulness to the Almighty for the blessings which He has bestowed upon us already here below; and the second, the conviction that they can only be realized in proportion to the help which we are prepared to render each other ; therefore, only by peace, love, and ready assistance, not only between individuals, but between the nations of the earth.
This being my conviction, I must be highly gratified to see here assembled the magistrates of all the important towns of this realm, sinking all their local and possibly political differences, the representatives of the different political opinions of the country, and the representatives of the different Foreign Nations—to-day representing only one interest !
Gentlemen—my original plan had been to carry out this undertaking with the help of the Society of Arts of London, which had long and usefully laboured in this direction, and by the means of private capital and enterprise. You have wished it otherwise, and declared that it was a work which the British people as a whole ought to undertake. I at once yielded to your wishes, feeling that it proceeded from a patriotic, noble, and generous spirit. On your courage, perseverance, and liberality, the undertaking now entirely depends. I feel the strongest confidence in these qualities of the British people, and I am sure that they will repose confidence in themselves confidence that they will honourably sustain the contest of emulation, and that they will nobly carry out their proffered hospitality to their foreign competitors.
We, Her Majesty's Commissioners, are quite alive to the innumerable difficulties which we shall have to overcome in carrying out the scheme; but, having confidence in you and in our own zeal and perseverance, at least, we require only your confidence in us to make us contemplate the result without any apprehension.
AT THE LAYING OF THE FOUNDATION STONE
NATIONAL GALLERY AT EDINBURGH.
[AUGUST 30TH, 1850.]
GENTLEMEN, NOW that this ceremony is concluded, you
must allow me to express to you how much satisfaction it has given me to have had it in my power to comply with your invitation, and to lay the foundation stone of this important National institution, and that this should have coincided with the moment when Her Majesty the Queen has come among you, and has given you a further proof of her attachment to this country, by taking up her abode, if for a short time only, in the ancient palace of her ancestors in this capital, where she has been received with such unequivocal demonstrations of loyalty and affection,
The building, of which we have just begun the foundation, is a temple to be erected to the Fine Arts; the Fine Arts which have so important an influence upon the development of the mind and feeling of a people, and which are so generally taken as the type of the degree and character of that development, that it is on the fragments of works of art, come down to us from bygone nations, that we are wont to form our estimate of the state of their civilization, manners, customs, and religion.
Let us hope that the impulse given to the culture of the Fine Arts in this country, and the daily increasing attention bestowed upon it by the people at large, will not only tend to refine and elevate the national tastes, but will also lead to the production of works which, if left behind us as memorials of our age, will give to after generations an adequate idea of our advanced state of civilization.
It must be an additional source of gratification to me to find, that part of the funds rendered available for the support of this undertaking should be the ancient grant which, at the union of the two kingdoms, was secured towards the encouragement of the fisheries and manufactures of Scotland, as it affords a most pleasing proof that those important branches of industry have arrived at that stage of manhood and prosperity when, no longer requiring the aid of a fostering