« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
for, by the professed interpreter, if by no others, it ought to be kept in mind, that no little portion of the New Testament is poetry. It bears at least all the characteristic marks of the poetry of the Old Testament, if we except the versification, or, if it be preferred, the parallelisms. Among the specimens of poetry in the New Testament are to be reckoned the thanksgiving song of Mary in the second chapter of Luke, also the song of Zachariah, the father of John the baptist, in the same chapter, the Savior's description of the destruction of the city of Jerusalem, nearly the whole of the apocalypse, and many other scattered fragments. The parallelism occurs very frequently in the epistles.
The foregoing considerations will, we trust, convince our readers that a judicious work on the interpretation of the New Testament was a great desideratum. The history of interpretation furnishes other arguments not less satisfactory. The work of Ernesti before us, in some respects indeed imperfect, for it was never intended to embrace the subject in the full extent of all its parts, is one of the most useful with which we are acquainted; and those students of theology, to whom the Latin is not familiar, of which we trust the number is very small, will be under especial obligations to professor Stuart for his labors. Whoever wishes to pursue the subject further than it is pushed by Ernesti, or the translator in his notes, will find, we apprehend, his fullest desires satisfied, by an examination of the commentary of Morus.
While we are pleased to see this work on the interpretation of the New Testament, we lament that there is no other of equal merit on the Old Testament, neither in our own, nor, that we are aware of, in any other tongue. The work of Meyer is mentioned with high commendation by Rosenmüller; but there is yet wanting on the Old Testament a work like those of Ernesti and Morus on the New, concise, learned, full of weighty and rational thought. To this moreover might be added, with great advantage, a history of interpretation from the earliest ages down to the present time; and we hope that the translator of the treatise before us will not forget the pledge which he has partially given, to supply this chasm in our sacred literature.
Art. XXV.-1. Transactions of the Society, instituted at Lon
don, for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and
Commerce. Vol. xxxviii. London, 1821. 2. Transactions of the Society for the Promotion of Useful
Arts in the State of New-York. Vol. iv, part ü. Albany. Websters & Skinners. 1819. 8vo. We have placed at the head of this article the last volume of the transactions of two very respectable societies, instituted for the object of promoting the useful arts. The English society, for this purpose, is one of the most ancient associations of Great Britain ; and besides the numerous premiums which it distributes for discoveries, it publishes yearly a volume of transactions. The volume published by the New-York society is certainly not inferior to the foreign work, in the amount of useful maiter which it contains, and is calculated for wider circulation by the absence of costly engravings. The publication of the collections of such societies is one of the most efficient means of promoting the object of their institution. As books, however, of this kind are uninteresting to general readers, instead of giving an analysis of their contents, we shall devote this article to the purpose of laying before our readers some account of the rapid improvements of the useful arts, and of the great number of mechanical inventions which have been made within the last fifty or sixty years. So numerous have these improvements been, that a total reform has been produced in the practice of most of these arts, and the common comforts and conveniences peculiar to civilized life are now for the most part supplied to us, by the action of the elements, rather than by the toil of man.
It is true that some of our most useful machines are of early origin. But these are generally of simple construction, and such as would naturally result from a very few easy experiments. Some contrivance having a nether and upper stone, and which answered the purpose of a corn-mill, was known in the time of Moses; but neither the action of water nor wind was applied as a moving force until the time of Cæsar. It was not until the twelfth, and, according to other writers, the sixteenth century, that water or wind-mills were known in Europe, north of the Alps. Even the common spinning-wheel is quite a modern invention; and the art of kpitting was unNew Series, No. 10.
known in England before the reign of Henry VIJI. But most of those wonderful pieces of mechanism, which surpass even the experienced hand, in the delicacy of their operations and excellence of their products, are of very recent invention.
No longer ago than the middle of the eighteenth century, there was hardly a species of manufacture which did not depend principally on manual labor for the performance of most of its operations. Cloths of every description were made almost wholly by human force. The fibre was taken from the animal or plant by hand, and the tedious operations of carding, spinning, weaving, and shearing were all performed by hand. The finer kinds of chain or mesh-work were made without any machinery. Coining was divided into many laborious operations. Rolling and slitting mills, although known, were hardly used, from the imperfection of the machinery by which they were driven. Nails were drawn out under the handhammer. The art of pottery, in Europe at least, furnished no wares, which, in their texture or ornaments, exhibited either strength or beauty, but at prices which would now be considered enormous. The quadrant, it is true, was invented before the period above alluded to, but practical mechanics had furnished no machine for dividing its arc, so that great skill and much time were required to arrive at any tolerable approximation to accuracy in this part of the instrument. The necessary *consequence was, that the cost of a good instrument placed it beyond the reach of the common mariner, whose life was constantly depending on observations made with it.
It has been the fate of practical mechanics, until within a few years, to be considered beneath the attention of those men who were best qualified to improve them. It is true that, mathematicians have now and then demonstrated some truth, or given a useful formula to guide the engineer, yet the advantages, which the arts have received from this source, have not been so considerable as is generally supposed. Rather than abstract mathematical learning, the useful arts have required actual experiments directed by acute and well ordered minds. They have wanted the presence of the philosopher, in the manufactory itself, to supply them with machinery, and direct the labors of the workmen.
It is even not unlikely that general knowledge may have deterred its possessors from attempting mechanical inventions, inasmuch as it made them not only acquainted with the diffi
culties and perplexities to be encountered, but with the small chance of reward awaiting such pursuits. To undertake the production of a considerable machine requires a degree of ardor and enthusiasm rarely found united with much science, or indeed experience; for the history of invention presents us at every page with instances of years of drudgery, ending in the ruin of the adventurer. Unacquainted with what has been done by those who have gone before him, he often goes on making experiments, which have before been found to give no advantageous results; or new methods are tried, and new devices wrought upon, until, with his patience exhausted and his substance consumed, he abandons his designs forever. In those instances, which have been attended with success, it has not been until after years have been passed in anxious labor, and great sums of money been expended. So true is it, that a machine is never the result of a chance hit or a lucky thought. There were expended on Arkwright's cotton machinery twenty thousand pounds, before any return was made by it. The nail machinery in the United States was not perfected under ten years, nor at a less expense than one hundred thousand dollars. One individual in England has expended three thousand pounds merely for letters patent to secure the property of his inventions in the manufacture of lace. But this is not all; the completion of a machine is often far from terminating the labors and difficulties of its inventor. On the contrary, it seldom happens that his invention is not pirated. This opens to him fourteen years of disaster in the law, when his monopoly expires, and he is left with his reputation as the only reward of his labors. Yet here and there a great fortune, bas been acquired, which has drawn on crowds to these pursuits, who have possessed none of the gifts necessary to command success, except enthusiasm and confidence. But discouraging as the circumstances may seem; if the instances have been rare of men of extensive learning laboring in practical mechanics, yet of late years such numbers of judicious as well as ingenious men have been allured, either by a true admiration of the subject, or, as has often no doubt been the case, the hope of reward, that the lights of improvement have been carried into the darkest recesses of the arts, and machines have been contrived no less useful in their products than astonishing in their operations.
The last half of the eighteenth century has been marked by
the great improvements of Mr Watt in the steam-engine; an invention which, if it had only enabled the English to keep possession of their mines, would have been of incalculable ad vantage. But when we see it driving every species of machinery in the vast establishments of England, and its power propelling vessels through the course of every river and bay in our own country, we cannot but exult at the superiority of this age over those which have preceded it.
Mr Watt's improvements are so generally known, as hardly to need a recapitulation. They consist in condensing the steam in a vessel apart from the cylinder, or steam-vessel, as he calls it, the temperature of which could therefore always be kept above the boiling point; in driving the piston both ways through the cylinder with steam, by which the engine could be carried to a force beyond the weight of the atmosphere, to which it was before limited ; in surrounding the cylinder with wood or some slow conductor of heat; and in the invention of the sun and planet wheels, by which the reciprocating motion of the engine was converted into a rotatory one, for the more convenient application of it to various machinery.
Since these early inventions of Mr Watt, several curious improvements have been made, as the laws of the expansive force of steam have become better understood. As these may not be generally known to our readers, the high pressure engine being very much used in this country, we shall be excused for giving an account of one or two of them. The first began with Mr Watt himself. This gentleman had discovered, in the course of his experiments, that steam, which possesses an expansive force but very little superior to the pressure of the atmosphere, when suffered to enlarge itself to several times its former volume still possesses an expansive force equal to that pressure; or, in more general terms, that the force of steam does not diminish in the same ratio that its volume increases. From this fact, Mr Watt drew the conclusion, that there will be a great economy in using steam of a high temperature at a low pressure ; and to apply this principle, he constructed bis engine, so that the communication between the boiler and steam-vessel or cylinder should be cut off, after the piston had passed but part way through the cylinder, and the stroke of the piston be completed simply by the expansion of the steam. Mr Hornblower soon after constructed an engine with two cylinders of different sizes, which he suppos