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THE WORLD'S FAIR; OR, THE GREAT EXHIBITION OF THE INDUSTRY OF ALL NATIONS, IN 1851, IN LONDON.*
"Blessed of the Lord be his land,
"For the precious things of Heaven,
"For the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath,
"And for the precious things of the earth, and the fulness thereof,
I propose, on this occasion, my brethren, to trace out and read to you some lessons from late events, especially from the great historical act of the year-the Crystal Palace in London, as the exponent of the state of the world up to 1851.
Suggestion is one of the most active principles of the human mind. It ministers greatly to the pleasures of existence, and gives to men of enlarged intelligence the means of various and extensive gratifications. I trust, therefore, that some thoughts on the great event of the year will not be found unappropriate or uninteresting, nor fail to call forth your gratitude to the Creator for his manifold blessings. Associations retrospective and prospective, commercial, national, romantic, and religious, cluster around the Palace of Glass. The first of May last ushered in an event unparalleled in the history of the world, and long
* Delivered in the Church on Lafayette Square, New Orleans, Nov. 27, 1851.
will it be remembered, and for centuries to come it will inspire the pen of the advocate of commerce, and of peace. The day has passed away like other days, but the consequences still live. It was an appropriate time for the opening of the great scene. Every people, from the cold North to the glowing South, has regarded May-day with peculiar interest. It was a festival in olden, as it has been in modern times, and it was the fittest day to inaugurate the triumph of Art. The bright flowers, and the light breeze, and the sweet perfumes; the splendors of earth and sky; the "power, the beauty, and the majesty" which were seen on sea and shore; the songs of the birds, the spring in the heavens and the spring in the heart-everything was in unison with the occasion. Winter would not have been appropriate, for the arts are not withered and dead; Autumn would not have been more so, for they are not declining or falling into the weakness of age; Summer would scarcely be suitable, as they have not yet attained the full development and ripeness of maturity; but Spring, sweet Spring, was the time to celebrate their beauties, for they, too, are in the era of bud and blossom. In the Spring we see the resurrection and the awakening; the dead things of earth arise and live; and it was the time for the multitudinous peoples of the earth to awake from dreams of selfish gain, and progress into a new and higher existence-the life of Art. Nature in this sweet season is like a musician performing some delightful prelude. "Now the bright morning star, day's harbinger, comes dancing from the East, and leads with her the flowery May." It was then a proper season for the nations to go a Muying. In treating this subject, I remark,
I. The Great Exhibition was the net result of what man has done; it was the complement of his progress in the industrial The Crystal Palace, as it stood in its glory, was a palpable proof of man's progress in winning a world from the wilderness, and himself from ignorance and barbarism. It was not a mere statesman's trick, or a mercantile necessity; but the exponent of what the world, in a time of general peace, by the use of its awakened wits, and the employment of its skilful hands, could accomplish.
Time was when man stood in the great workshop of this earth, the Heaven appointed lord of all, and yet miserably poor; for as yet he had not discovered the character of the materials about him, nor invented instruments by which those materials could be appropriated. The useful arts were born of human capacity. They are the children of human want. And as they are a birth, so are they a growth. They are not like Adam, perfect in their creation, but, like all Adam's children, they have passed through infancy and childhood-varied stages of progress and conditions of life. Man's mission on earth is to subdue it. "The Lord God sent him forth from the Garden of Eden to till the
ground from whence he was taken." Such is the human constitution both of body and mind, that among the very first sensibilities of our race there must have arisen occasions and causes for the useful arts. The nature of the world we inhabit, and of our social habits and religious capacities, calls for such supplies as the useful arts only can furnish. As it is possible for whole tribes of men to live on the estuary of a great river, witness the ebb and flow of the tide, employ the current for the transportation of merchandize, and use the water for quenching their thirst, and for the supply of their food, and yet never ask whence it comes, and whither it goes; so it may be that multitudes are engaged in industrial labor, and enjoying the fruits of human skill and toil, who have never inquired whence the varied arts of civilized life have arisen, nor whither they should send their aims and affections. The ineffable Creator who endowed man with genius and talents and taught him to get wealth, and gives him corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplies his silver and gold, is forgotten. Divine Providence is not more intimately connected with the creatures that work by instinct, as many seem to think, than with those that labor under the guidance of reason. The highest art is seen in the Supreme Architect's great works, the human constitution and the universe. Human arts are but imitations of the Divine, and if there be human arts to which nothing Divine is found to correspond, it is because man's ingenuity has become depraved, or because we do not as yet know all the patterns or models that are in the heavens. There are real sympathies and correspondences that are yet unknown. The links or means of the correspondence are not yet discovered. From the endowment of our creation, and from our circumstances, it is palpable that God intended man to invent, to discover, to apply, to manufacture, to produce, and to exchange products, until he has exhausted the resources of the planet in which the Creator has given him a temporary home. The fruits of the earth by man's toil, and his manufacture, and their exchange, are by the appointment of the Author of nature, and in conformity to his work. The earth, being diversified in soil and climate, produces in one country an abundance, while another is in want of the comforts of life. Rivers and seas, winds, steam, and electricity, are given to facilitate human intercourse, and man's wants, and his love of society, his desire of gain, and love of knowledge, urge him to the diligent use of all the means within his grasp to increase articles of consumption and luxury, and the result is arts and commerce. The arts, then, are not antagonistic to the Bible. On the contrary, religion teaches us to recognize God as present in the mill, in the waving harvest, in the factory, in the workshop, in the counting-house, and in the Great Exhibition. The principles of Christ's holy Gospel are applicable to the spheres, and to the toils of industry. No narrow limits were prescribed by the Creator to the abilities and exertions of man. THE WHOLE
UNIVERSE IS BUT A HAND PUT FORTH INTO SPACE, ALL OF WHOSE FIN
gers point to GOD; or, as the immortal Plato has expressed it"The world is God's epistle to mankind." The progress of the arts resembles that of a river, whose waters arise and increase from a large confluence of streams.
The construction of the human hand is most admirably fitted for mechanic arts-from the wrist, which is its base, to the nails -complicated as is its mechanism, every part is adapted to ensure the utmost efficiency in its use; and so of the arm and bones of the shoulder, and the position of the hand in its relation to the body, legs and feet, and the obedience of the whole body to the mind, on the due exercise of which our elevation is instrumentally and entirely dependent. Inferior creatures possess astonishing powers of instinct. But that power is at once perfected. With them there have been no inventions, no discoveries, and consequently no Great Industrial Exhibition.
"The winged inhabitants of Paradise
Wove their first nests as curiously and well
The comb of the bee, the dwelling of the beaver, and the web of the spider, were as perfect in the days of Noah and Methuselah as in the days of Washington. The dog and the elephant in the days of Nimrod as sagacious as they are now. But man's destiny is progression, through a career of indefinite advancement. The motto of humanity's coat of arms is onward, onward." Man has a hand to write and a mind to direct it, and his mind is moved and developed by circumstances, and the result is art and manufacture. The history of the arts, therefore, is the history of man's physical and intellectual progress. One art rises after another before our view, as the successive memorials of a triumphant course. No instinct, animal or superanimal, or even angelic, could have produced the Crystal Palace ; it is the aggregate of many influences, rising in such developments as educatable mind, gradually increasing and unfolding powers of genius, only could produce. It was a victory of the highest order of intellectual effort over matter--the shrine of mind's loftiest aspirations. Expositions of art have taken place for the last fifty years in the French metropolis, and in the larger towns and cities of the Continent and of Great Britain. As early as 1723 an exhibition of National arts and manufactures was established in Ireland. The Industrial Exhibition in Hyde Park is not then like its own Crystal Palace, the design of one mind and the work of a few weeks. On the contrary, it was like those cairns which are memorial mounds that every passer-by helps to build. Art-unions and trade sales, and fairs in the large cities of Europe awakened and prepared the public mind--sowed the seed and this is the harvest. The Great Industrial Exhibition is like the aloe, which, in the most favorable
circumstances, requires the culture of half a century to bring it to perfection. Never, unless in Milton's Eden, and certainly not there, was there ever seen such a gathering into one place of earth's products, as in the Hyde Park Bazaar. It was a citylike mart, an immense assemblage of shops beneath one crystal roof; such as Bagdad, Cairo, Damascus, Constantinople-nay, the globe itself never contained before. Embosoming in its midst a pleasure garden with great trees, and fresh flowers, and gushing fountains; more like the work of an Eastern magician than of veritable human hands. The Glass Palace, covering 18 acres of ground, consists of a transept and nave. The transept is 408 feet long, surrounded by a semi-cylindrical vault of 72 feet in diameter. The nave is 1,848 feet long, 64 feet high, and 72 feet wide. The total area of the ground floor is 772,784 square feet, and that of the galleries, which extend nearly a mile in length, is 217,100 square feet. The cubic contents of the building are 33 millions of feet. Thirty miles of gutters for carrying off the water, 200 miles of sash bars, upwards of 4,000 tons of iron, 896,000 superficial feet of glass, weighing 400 tons, were used in its erection. But no general description in words and figures can convey a just idea of its external magnificence or of its internal splendor. "Within its precincts," says a late reviewer, "are displayed the productions of a planet; its diamonds and its gems; its gold and its metals; its coal and its minerals; the ancient and the recent productions of its soil; the rich spoils of its animal and vegetable life. Around them stand in proud array the noblest efforts of human genius; the lifeless portraiture of forms divine; the brilliant fabrics, and the wondrous mechanisms which science and art have combined their powers to create."* Here were the precious things of Heaven; the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and the precious things put forth by the moon, and the chief things of the ancient mountains, and the precious things of the lasting hills. The gigantic edifice and its innumerable and everchanging pictures which from above and from below met the eye of the hundreds of thousands that wandered in astonishment through its crystal labyrinths--the splendor of its decorations -the magnitude, number, and variety and value of its contents, altogether made it the most wonderful exhibition ever put forth by the human race. I remark:
II. THE GREAT INDUSTRIAL EXHIBITION will have a favorable influence on mankind in several ways.
1. This exposition of the industry of all nations exerts a most beneficial influence on the taste, knowledge, commerce, and
North British Review. And here, once for all, the author wishes to say that he has availed himself of whatever suggestions he has found appropriate in the various publications about the World's Fair that have fallen into his hands.