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eager vanity and his insatiate love of fame by this turn' among the Syracusan tombs. He was then only just at the threshold of his proud career, and he went back to pursue it to its bloody end, with unabated zeal, and with an ambition only extinguishable with his life.

And after all, how richly, how surpassingly, was this local ingratitude and neglect made up to the memory of Archimedes himself, by the opportunity which it afforded to the greatest orator of the greatest Empire of antiquity, to signalize his appreciation and his admiration of that wonderful genius, by going out personally into the ancient graveyards of Syracuse, and with the robes of office in their newest gloss around him, to search for his tomb and to do honor to his ashes! The greatest orator of Imperial Rome anticipating the part of Old Mortality upon the gravestone of the great mathematician and mechanic of antiquity! This, surely, is a picture for mechanics in all ages to contemplate, with a proud satisfaction and delight.

In opening a Course of Lectures on the application of Science to Art, under the auspices of the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association, I have thought that, instead of any vague generalities upon matters and things which they understand already as well and better than I do, a brief notice of that great mathematical and mechanical Genius, at whose grave Cicero thought it no scorn to do homage, and who may be taken, in some sort, as the very personification of the idea of Science applied to Art, would not be uninteresting or unwel


You have adopted Archimedes, Mr. President, as your Patron Saint. You have emblazoned his form on your certificate of honorary membership, as I have had the most agreeable opportunity of knowing. Yet it would not be surprising if, to some of those before me at this

moment, the details of his story were hardly more familiar than they seem to have been to the people of Syracuse, when Cicero visited them nineteen hundred and twenty-nine years ago,—and as they certainly were to myself, I may add, before I entered on the preparation of this Lecture.

Let me then inquire, for a moment, who this Archimedes was, and what was his title to be thus remembered and reverenced, not merely by the illustrious orator of the Augustan era, but by the American mechanics of the nineteenth century. And in doing this, I may perhaps find occasion to compare his character and his services with those of some one or more of the great inventors and mechanics of our own day and of our own land.

Archimedes was born in the year 287 before the Christian era, in the island of Sicily and city of Syracuse. Of his childhood and early education we know absolutely nothing, and nothing of his family, save that he is stated to have been one of the poor relations of King Hiero, who came to the throne when Archimedes was quite a young man, and of whose royal patronage he more than repaid whatever measure he may have enjoyed. He is stated, also, to have traveled into Egypt in his youth, and to have been a pupil of Conon, a celebrated Samian astronomer, whose compliment to Berenice, the Queen of Ptolemy Euergetes, will not be in danger of being forgotten, as long as the sparkling constellation to which he gave the name of Coma Berenices, in honor of her golden locks, shall still be seen glittering in our evening sky. I know not what other lady has secured so lofty a renown, until, indeed, the accomplished Maria Mitchell, of Nantucket, wrote her own name upon the golden locks of a comet, discovered by her in 1847.

Neither royal patronage, however, nor the most learned and accomplished tutors of Egypt or of Greece, could have made Archimedes what he was. His was undoubtedly one of those great original minds, which seem to owe little to anybody but their Creator ; which come into existence ready trained and furnished for some mighty manifestation, and to which the accidents of life and of condition supply nothing but occasions and opportunities. Pallas springing full-armed from the brain of Jove, is the fabulous and familiar prototype of a class of persons, whose powers and whose productions can be attributed to nothing but a divine genius, and of whom Homer, and Socrates, and Shakspeare, and Sir Isaac Newton,-upon whose statue at Cambridge, in Old England, may be seen the proud inscription, that he surpassed the human race in intellectual power, -will everywhere suggest themselves as examples.

To this order of minds, Archimedes unquestionably belonged. He has been well called, by a French philosopher,

“ The Homer of Geometry.” It has been said of him by those entitled to pronounce such a judgment, that his theory of the lever was the foundation of statics till the discovery of the composition of forces in the time of Sir Isaac Newton; that no essential addition was made to the principles of the equilibrium of Auids and floating bodies, established by him, in his treatise “ De Insidentibus," till the publication of Stevins's researches on the pressure of fluids in 1608;* and again, that he is one of the few men whose writings form a standard epoch in the history of the progress of knowledge,” and that no further advance was made in the theory of mechanics after his death, until the days of Galileo, who lived eighteen hundred years later.

You will all agree with me, I doubt not, that the man over whose theories and calculations eighteen centuries may fairly be said to have rolled, without obliterating their record, or even impairing their value and their

* Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography.

importance, may well be numbered among the fixed stars of Science.

It is a striking fact, that Galileo himself, who may well-nigh be included in the same order of intellects, and who was the first to make any advance or improvement in the condition of science after this long interval,prepared himself for pursuing his own great discoveries by perusing the writings of Archimedes. It was while studying the hydrostatical treatise of the old Syracusan philosopher, that he first conceived the idea of writing an essay on a kindred topic. It was that essay, in illustration of some of the discoveries of Archimedes, which gained for Galileo the favor of a patron, (Guido Ubaldi, the brother-in-law of Cardinal del Monte,) to whom he afterwards owed most of his worldly success.

Would that this high priest of the stars, as he has well been denominated, could have caught a little more seasonably something of the noble courage of the brave old Syracusan ! Would that, when summoned before the Inquisition "for thinking in astronomy otherwise than the Franciscan and Dominican licensers thought,". instead of making an ignominious and humiliating abjuration, he might have been seen boldly asserting to their teeth, those eternal truths which had been revealed to him; and accepting, if so it must have been, that crown of martyrdom, which would have come to him “plaited with immortal laurels !”* I know of no scene in history more derogatory to the character of poor human nature, or more derogatory to the dignity of science, than that of Galileo on his knees before the Inquisitors, recanting that great doctrine of the motion of the earth around the sun which it was his glory to have established; and the sublime exclamation which he is related to have made in a whisper, to a friend at his elbow, as he rose from his

* Sir David Brewster's Martyrs of Science.


knees, “ It does move, notwithstanding,”-only adds a deeper shade to our sense of his humiliation.

We shall have abundant evidence, that he did not derive this unworthy spirit of submission from a study of the life of Archimedes. He might rather be supposed to have caught the idea, that such a stooping to arbitrary power was not inconsistent with the beauty and nobleness of his general character,—from the example of that leaning tower of Pisa, upon whose summit Galileo is known to have stood, in performing some of his experiments and in taking not a few of his observations, and whose unaccountable deflection from a plumb-line seems to have attracted more admiration in some quarters even than the beauty of its proportions or the purity of its material.

It would be tedious and unprofitable to attempt any detailed account, on such an occasion as this, of the writings of Archimedes. He left many works of a scientific character,-treatises on the quadrature of the parabola, on equilibrium and the centres of gravity, on spirals and spheroids and conoids, on the possibility of numbering even the sands on the seashore,-a treatise in which he is said to have anticipated the modern method of logarithms, -and particularly on the sphere and cylinder, his discovery of the precise ratios of which to each other, he evidently regarded as the master-work of his life when he selected these emblems for that forgotten tombstone which Cicero searched for and found.

All these writings, however, were in the cause of pure, abstract, unapplied science; and had his labors ended here, his name would have had little claim to the reverence of a Mechanic Association, and his character and career would have had still less interest for a general audience. It was by the application of science to art, it was by the conversion of the results of his profound investigations and marvelous inventions to the direct

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