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Self-reliance and the Working Classes.


other industrial classes place their reliance. And what can be more heartrending than to witness the breaking of banks, and the failure of such institutions, which not only mar the prospects of these unhappy people, and plunge them into sudden destitution, but destroy in others all confidence in the honesty or sagacity of those who preach to them the advantages of providence.

Let them well consider that if they must embark in financial speculations, if they like to have convivial meetings, if they claim the right of governing the concerns of their own body, they must not risk for this, in one stake, their whole future existence, the whole prosperity of their families. Let them always bear in mind, that their savings are capital, that capital will only return a certain interest, and that any advantage offered beyond that interest has to be purchased at a commensurate risk of the capital itself.


The fine arts (as far as they relate to painting, sculpture, and architecture), which are sometimes confounded with art in general, rest on the application of the laws of form and colour, and what may be called the science of the beautiful. They do not rest on any arbitrary theory on the modes of producing pleasurable emotions, but follow fixed laws—more difficult perhaps to seize than those regulating the material world, because belonging partly to the sphere of the ideal, and of our spiritual essence, yet perfectly appreciable and teachable, both abstractedly and historically, from the works of different ages and nations.


This is not the thoughtful direction of one mind over acquired knowledge, but the production of new thought by the contact of many minds, as the spark is produced by the friction of flint and steel ; it is not the action of the monarchy of a paternal government, but the republican activity of the Roman Forum. These meetings draw forth the philosopher from the hidden recesses of his study, call in the wanderer over the field of science to meet his brethren, to lay before them the results of his labours, to set forth the deductions at which he has arrived, to ask for their examination, to maintain in the combat of debate the truth of his positions and the accuracy of his observations. These meetings, unlike those of any other society, throw open the arena to the cultivators of all sciences, to their mutual advantage : the geologist learns from the chemist that there are problems for which he had no clue, but which that science can solve for him ; the geographer receives light from the naturalist, the astronomer from the physicist and engineer, and so on. And all find a field upon which to meet the public at large, invite them to listen to their reports, and even to take part in their discussions-show to them that philosophers are not vain theorists, but essentially men of practice-not conceited pedants, wrapped up in their own mysterious importance, but humble inquirers after truth, proud only of what they may have achieved or won for the general use of man. Neither are they daring and presumptuous unbelievers—a character which ignorance has sometimes affixed to them—who would, like the Titans, storm heaven by placing mountain upon mountain, till hurled down from the height attained by the terrible thunders of outraged Jove; but rather the pious pilgrims to the Holy Land, who toil on in search of the sacred shrine, in search of truthGod's truth-God's laws as manifested in His works, in His creation.


The courage and spirit of enterprise with which an immense amount of capital is embarked in industrial pursuits, and the skill and indefatigable perseverance with which these are carried on in this country, cannot but excite universal admiration; but in all our operations, whether agricultural or manufacturing, it is not we who operate, but the laws of nature, which we have set in operation.

It is, then, of the highest importance that we should know these laws, in order to know what we are about, and the reason why certain things are, which occur daily under our hands, and what course we are to pursue with regard to them.

Without such knowledge, we are condemned to one of three states : either we merely go on to do things just as our fathers did, and for no better reason than because they did them so; or, trusting to some personal authority, we adopt at random the recommendation of some specific, in a specu

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