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Triumphs of Invention and Discovery in Art and Science   By:

Triumphs of Invention and Discovery in Art and Science by J. Hamilton Fyfe

First Page:

TRIUMPHS OF INVENTION AND DISCOVERY IN ART AND SCIENCE.

[Illustration: GEORGE STEPHENSON'S HOME. Page 120.]

TRIUMPHS OF INVENTION AND DISCOVERY IN ART AND SCIENCE.

BY J. HAMILTON FYFE.

"PEACE HATH HER VICTORIES NO LESS THAN WAR."

LONDON: T. NELSON AND SONS, PATERNOSTER ROW; EDINBURGH; AND NEW YORK.

1871.

Preface.

" Peace hath her victories, no less renowned than war. " MILTON.

It is not difficult to account for the pre eminence, generally assigned to the victories of war over the victories of peace in popular history. The noise and ostentation which attend the former, the air of romance which surrounds them, lay firm hold of the imagination, while the directness and rapidity with which, in such transactions, the effect follows the cause, invest them with a peculiar charm for simple and superficial observers. As Schiller says,

"Straight forward goes The lightning's path, and straight the fearful path Of the cannon ball. Direct it flies, and rapid, Shattering that it may reach, and shattering what it reaches. My son! the road the human being travels, That on which blessing comes and goes, doth follow The river's course, the valley's playful windings: Curves round the corn field and the hill of vines, Honouring the holy bounds of property! And thus secure, though late, leads to its end."

The path of peace is long and devious, now dwindling into a mere foot track, now lost to sight in some dense thicket; and the heroes who pursue it are often mocked at by the crowd as poor, half witted souls, wandering either aimlessly or in foolish chase of some Jack o' lantern that ever recedes before them. The goal they aim at seems to the common eye so visionary, and their progress towards it so imperceptible, and even when reached, it takes so long before the benefits of their achievement are generally recognised, that it is perhaps no wonder we should be more attracted by the stirring narratives of war, than by the sad, simple histories of the great pioneers of industry and science.

Picturesque and imposing as deeds of arms appear, the victories of peace the development of great discoveries and inventions, the performance of serene acts of beneficence, the achievements of social reform possess a deeper interest and a truer romance for the seeing eye and the understanding heart. Wounds and death have to be encountered in the struggles of peace as well as in the contests of war; and peace has her martyrs as well as her heroes. The story of the cotton spinning invention is at once as tragic and romantic as the story of the Peninsular war. There were "forlorn hopes" of brave men in both; but in the one case they were cheered by sympathy and association, in the other the desperate pioneers had to face a world of foes, "alone, unfriended, solitary, slow."

The following pages contain sketches of some of the more momentous victories of peace, and the heroes who took part in them. The reader need hardly be reminded that this brief list does not exhaust the catalogue either of such events or persons, and that only a few of a representative character are here selected.

In the present edition the different sections have been carefully revised, and the details brought down to the latest possible date.

J. H. F.

Contents.

THE ART OF PRINTING 1. John Gutenberg, 13 2. William Caxton, 28 3. The Printing Machine, 32

THE STEAM ENGINE 1. The Marquis of Worcester, and his Successors, 53 2. James Watt, 63

THE MANUFACTURE OF COTTON 1. Kay and Hargreaves, 77 2... Continue reading book >>




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