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no bigger than a man or two could carry. But the largest ship in Cæsar's fleet was not more superior to these, than the Indiaman you have been seeing is to what that was. Our savage ancestors ventured only to paddle along the rivers and coasts, or cross small arms of the sea in calm weather; and Cæsar himself would have been alarmed to be a few days out of sight of land. But the ship we have just left is going by itself to the opposite side of the globe, prepared to encounter the tempestuous winds and mountainous waves of the vast southern ocean, and to find its way to its destined port, though many weeks must pass with nothing in view but sea and sky. Now what do you think can be the cause of this
prodigious difference in the powers of man at one period and another ?
Charles was silent.
Is it not (said his father) that there is a great deal more knowledge in one than in the other?
To be sure it is, said Charles.
be as impossible for any number of men untaught, by their utmost efforts, to build and navigate such a ship as we have seen, as to fly through the air?
Charles. I suppose it would.
Fa. That we may be the more sensible of this, let us consider how many arts and professions are necessary for this
purpose. Come-you to name them, and if you forget any, I will put you in mind. What is the first ?
Ch. The ship-carpenter, I think.
Ch. By fastening the planks and beams together.
Fa. But do you suppose he can do this as a common carpenter makes a box or set of shelves ?
Ch. I do not know. Fa. Do you not think that such a vast bulk requires a good deal of contrivance to bring it into shape, and fit it for all its purposes ?
Fa. Some ships, you have heard, sail quicker than others-some bear storms better-some carry more lading--some draw less water--and so on. You do not suppose all these things are left to chance ?
Fa. In order with certainty to produce these effects, it is necessary to study proportions very exactly, and to lay down an accurate scale by mathematical lines and figures after which to build the ship. Much has been written upon this subject, and nice calcula
tions have been made of the resistance a ship meets with in making way through the water, and the best means of overcoming it; also of the action of the wind on the sails, and their action in pushing on the ship by means of the masts. All these must be understood by a perfect master of ship-building.
Ch. But I think I know ship-builders who have never had an education to fit them for understandir.g these things.
Fa. Very likely; but they have followed by rote the rules laid down by others; and as they work merely by imitation, they cannot alter or improve as occasion may require. Then, though common merchant-ships are trusted to such builders, yet in constructing men of war and Indiamen, persons of science are always employed. The French, however, attend to this matter more than we do, and in conse
quence, their ships generally sail better than ours.
Ch. But need a captain of a ship know all these things ?
Fa. It may not be absolutely necessary; yet occasions may frequently arise in which it would be of great advantage for him to be able to judge and give direction in these matters. But suppose the ship built-what comes next?
Ch. I think she must be rigged.
Fa. Well--who are employed for this purpose ?
Ch. Mast-makers, rope-makers, sailmakers, and I know not how many other people.
Fa. These are all mechanical trades; and though in carrying them on much ingenuity has been applied in the invention of machines and tools, yet we will not stop to consider them. Suppose her, then, rigged-what next?