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absolute perfection: every accident leads to some new improvement which will prevent a recurrence of the same sort of accident in future. Now the old Stage-Coach and Sailing-Vessel system had reached its perfection, and in the nature of things could be no better than it was. This charge, therefore, fails.
Besides, the Printing Press is chargeable with a much greater evil : it often destroys that which is more precious than life by far, I mean reputation and character. The gross libels, the evil slanders, the wicked falsehoods to which the Press has given birth, prove that it is capable of the very worst effects. Many a man has been so falsely condemned and atrociously maligned by it, that he has thereby been driven to despair, to madness, and to self-destruction. Wherein is the loss of life by a Steam Engine worse than this?
And now let me say a word or two respecting the second charge that the last speaker made against the Steam Engine, namely, that it has supplanted human labour. Sir, I deny the fact. The Steam Engine provides more labour than it supplants. It diverts labour from old channels, it is true; but it opens new channels, both larger and better. The making of Railways, Engines, Carriages, Telegraphs, Rails, Steam Vessels, and Roads, requires an amount of human labour far
exceeding all that the Steam Engine could possibly supplant. Moreover, by putting us into near communication with countries which once were hopelessly distant, the demand for our manufactures is increased; and it is supposed by those best able to judge, that more men are now required to superintend our manufactures than were formerly employed in producing them.
So much then for these mighty evils !
TENTH SPEAKER. — Sir, In the Steam Engine I see the greatest civilizer (Christianity of course excepted) that has yet been introduced into the world.
It is the greatest actual power yet known; and is employed in such an infinite variety of ways, minute and stupendous, that it is impossible to say what may not hereafter be done by its agency. There is no department of production, manufacture, or personal comfort, which it has not extended and improved.
It is a moraliser in many ways; but chiefly, I think, in this: it brings the various members of the human family into contact and relationship. By its agency we go to lands hitherto almost unknown: we find there ignorant and barbarous savages: we associate with them: we teach them: we civilise them: we take them our Bible: we tell them of our Holy Father in Heaven; and at
length we find in the ignorant savage a brother and a friend.
The facilities for travelling which the Steam Engine affords induce men to emigrate to other countries; and thus the world is becoming more equally covered. Countries over-crowded are relieved, and countries uninhabited are populated. Civilisation is thus carried into savage lands, barbarism is supplanted, heathenism destroyed, and peace, comfort, morality, and religion are led into the remotest regions of the world.
ELEVENTH SPEAKER. — Sir, In spite of all that has been said, I still believe that the Press does more for us than the Steam Engine.
Doubtless a man can now go more easily into foreign climes than he used to do: but as the majority of men cannot be travellers, the book which records the description of other countries must certainly be more generally useful than the machine which enables a man to go to those countries. For every man that can go to another country, a thousand men can only have an opportunity to read about it: the book, therefore, does good to thousands, whilst the voyage only does good to individuals.
It is quite true that the Press publishes error, and not a little of it: but the evil causes the
Attention is drawn to the error put forth;
thought is roused, the falsehood is detected, and never can appear again.
When I call to mind the mighty service that the Printing Press performed at the time of its mvention in extending religious knowledge, defying bigotry, and bringing about our glorious Re formation, I feel that our debt to it is incalculable, and must not be forgotten when another claimant of merit appears. Excuse me if I quote the language of an eminent man who lived at the time of the invention; I mean John Fox. Speaking of the art of Printing, he says—“Here“ by tongues are known, knowledge groweth, “ judgment increaseth, books are dispersed, the “ Scripture is seen, the doctors are read, stories 6 are opened, times compared, truth discerned, “ falsehood detected, and with finger pointed out, “ and all (as I said) through the benefit of Print“ ing. Wherefore, I suppose that either the Pope “ must abolish Printing, or he must seek a new “ world to reign over: for else, as the world stand6 eth, Printing doubtless will abolish him. But the “ Pope and all his college of Cardinals must this “ understand, that through the light of Printing, “ the world beginneth now to have eyes to see, " and heads to judge. He cannot walk so invisi“ ble in a net, but he will be spied. And although " through might he stopped the mouth of John “ Huss before, and of Jerome, that they might not “ preach, thinking to make his kingdom sure: yet,
“ instead of John Huss and others, God hath “ opened the Press to preach, whose voice the “ Pope is never able to stop, with all the power “ of his triple crown. By this Printing, as by “ the gift of tongues, the doctrine of the Gospel “ soundeth to all nations and countries under “ heaven; and what God revealeth to one man, is “ dispersed to many; and what is known in one “ nation is opened to all.”
These fine thoughts, from one of the ancients, may not perhaps be thought unworthy of the attention of us moderns.
OPENER (in reply). — The conclusion to which we seem to come is that Printing originated many of the great elements of modern intellectual and moral cultivation, and that the Steam Engine has diffused and extended them. It seems invidious to judge between the two; and it appears ungrateful to choose the last, and pass the first : but yet, I think, we must do so.
Where the Press alone has benefited one, the Steam Engine is shown to have benefited multitudes. The Press, too, only benefits the mind (at least directly): the Steam Engine benefits the mind and body too.
The Press, again, has existed for some centuries, and its full powers are known: the Steam Engine, on the other hand, is but just invented, and doubtless will be carried to a perfection we can scarcely