+ ~ -
 
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
 
Report an Error
Go!
 
Go!
 
TOC
 

come too numerously on a sudden. We did
not come to oblige the colonists; but to
reach the gold fields, and therefore we
should not expect any marked hospitality.
Still we ought not to be made to feel that
we have landed on the most inhospitable shore
on the face of the civilised globe. Yet such
is Melbourne, colonised by people speaking
our own language, and professing our own
religionin fact, our own countrymen; and
many hundreds, nay thousands, will say the
same besides the unfortunate denizens of
Canvass Town.

A CENTURY OF INVENTIONS.

WHICH century? The eighteenth, with its
busy array of cotton-spinning Arkwrights,
pottery-making Wedgwoods, canal-digging
Brindleys, lighthouse Smeatons, and steam-
engine Wattses? Or the nineteenth, with
its gas, railways, electric telegraphs, screw
steamers, sun-pictures, electro-metallurgy and
electro-engraving, Crystal Palaces, automatic
machinery, and chemistry of cheapness? Or
the twentieth, which the "coming man" is
to seewhen all towns are to be well drained;
all refuse to be made productive as manure
instead of poisoning the water we drink; all
workmen's houses to exhibit cheap cleanliness
instead of costly dirt; all men scorn to get
drunk or to beat their wives or to starve
their children; all people to learn that
the worship of the Golden Calf is not the
noblest exercise of man's powers? No, none
of these.

Quaint old writers were wont to apply the
term century, not merely to a hundred
years, but to a hundred facts or a hundred
things: as the centurion of Roman days was a
captain over a century or a hundred men. It
is of one of these quaint old writers of whom
we would now speak; and for this reason
that it is useful, in a busy age, to look back
occasionally, and to see what were the ideas
formerly entertained on subjects which are now
familiar to us. Many a time we should find
that our forefathers lacked nothing but
opportunity for shewing themselves as mechanically
ingenious as ourselves. The seed was good,
but the soil was not prepared; and thus many
a great idea was lost to them and their generation,
to fructify in a later. In matters of
science, Kepler made many guesses, the
boldness of which, considering the age in which
he lived, is quite marvellous; and although his
guesses may not have been entirely right,
they furnished clues which were valuable to
later explorers. In matters of the practical
application of science to useful purposes,
Robert Hooke, in the time of Charles II,
was repeatedly throwing out suggestions,
building up theories, and imagining
contrivances which were much ridiculed at the
time, but which have since been shewn to
have been based on a good foundation. In
1737 Jonathan Hulls published the plan of a
steam-boat not widely differing from the
paddle-boats now in use; but in 1737 his
invention was scoffed at. It is wholesome to
apply these correctives to our own age: it
takes a little of the conceit out of us.

The "Century of Inventions," by the
Marquis of Worcester, presents an admirable
corrective of this sort. The marquis, belonging
to the family of the "proud Somersets", was a
distinguished member of the court of Charles
the First, and entertained that monarch right
royally at Ragland Castle; then the patrimony
of the Somersets, and now the nameplace
of a new peerage, well bestowed on one
of the marquis's descendants. The marquis
supported the King with his purse, his
hospitality, and his personal bravery.

The marquis, in the exercise of that skilful
mechanical genius of which we shall
presently have to speak, had constructed at
Ragland Castle some hydraulic engines and
wheels by which water was conveyed to the
top of the great tower. During the troubles
of the civil war his castle was visited by some
unwelcome guests of the Roundhead party;
and, desirous to get rid of them, he gave
private orders to set the waterworks in full
play. "There was such a roaring, that the
poor silly men stood so amazed as if they had
been half dead: and yet they saw nothing.
At last, as the plot was laid, up comes a
man staring and running, crying out before
he came at them, 'Look to yourselves, my
masters, for the lions are got loose'. Whereupon
the searchers gave us such a loose, that
they tumbled so over one another down the
stairs, that it was thought one half of them
had broken their necks: never looking behind
them till they were sure they had got out of
sight of the castle."

The Marquis of Worcester thought and
wrote about steam-engines at a time when
steam-engines were not, and threw out hints
about numerous contrivances which look
wonderfully like many that have been realised
in later days. After he had been besieged at
Ragland, and the castle dismantled; after he
had clung to the fortunes of his old master
to the last, and then gone to France with the
young prince Charles; the marquis fell into
extreme indigence. There is an affecting
letter extant, relating to a loan of his for so
small a sum as five pounds. Whether it was
during his troubles that his mind sought to
relieve itself by occupation in scientific and
mechanical pursuits, is not exactly known;
but in 1663, shortly after the Restoration,
appeared his "Century of Inventions," under
the following curious title: "A Century of
the names and scantlings of such Inventions
as at present I can call to mind to have
tried and perfected, which (my former notes
being lost) I have, at the instance of a
powerful friend, endeavoured now, in the
year 1655 to set these down in such a
way as may sufficiently instruct me to put
any of them in practice." The book was

Profile Information

Application afterLoad: 0.000 seconds, 0.28 MB
Application afterInitialise: 0.019 seconds, 1.00 MB
Application afterRoute: 0.025 seconds, 2.05 MB
Application afterDispatch: 0.075 seconds, 3.64 MB
Application afterRender: 0.112 seconds, 3.98 MB

Memory Usage

4203936

21 queries logged

  1. SELECT *
      FROM jos_session
      WHERE session_id = '0dc87f60ceef3c36403165ee40918361'
  2. DELETE
      FROM jos_session
      WHERE ( TIME < '1660674739' )
  3. SELECT *
      FROM jos_session
      WHERE session_id = '0dc87f60ceef3c36403165ee40918361'
  4. INSERT INTO `jos_session` ( `session_id`,`time`,`username`,`gid`,`guest`,`client_id` )
      VALUES ( '0dc87f60ceef3c36403165ee40918361','1660676539','','0','1','0' )
  5. SELECT *
      FROM jos_components
      WHERE parent = 0
  6. SELECT folder AS TYPE, element AS name, params
      FROM jos_plugins
      WHERE published >= 1
      AND access <= 0
      ORDER BY ordering
  7. SELECT id
      FROM jos_toc_pages
      WHERE alias = 'page-367'
  8. SELECT id
      FROM jos_toc_pages
      WHERE alias = 'page-367'
  9. SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_pages
      WHERE id = '428'
  10. UPDATE jos_toc_pages
      SET hits = ( hits + 1 )
      WHERE id='428'
  11. SELECT template
      FROM jos_templates_menu
      WHERE client_id = 0
      AND (menuid = 0 OR menuid = 79)
      ORDER BY menuid DESC
      LIMIT 0, 1
  12. SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_pages
      WHERE alias = 'page-367'
      AND id_volume = 9
  13. SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_volumes
      WHERE id = '9'
  14. SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_magazines
      WHERE id = '177'
  15. SELECT id, title,alias
      FROM jos_toc_pages
      WHERE  id_volume = 9
      ORDER BY ordering ASC
  16. SELECT id, DATE, id_page
      FROM jos_toc_magazines
      WHERE  id_volume = 9
      ORDER BY ordering ASC
  17. SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_parameter
      WHERE `group` = 'voice'
  18. SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_parameter
      WHERE `group` = 'voice'
  19. SELECT id, title,alias
      FROM jos_toc_pages
      WHERE id_volume = 9
      AND ordering > 377
      ORDER BY ordering ASC
      LIMIT 1
  20. SELECT id, title,alias
      FROM jos_toc_pages
      WHERE id_volume = 9
      AND ordering < 377
      ORDER BY ordering DESC
      LIMIT 1
  21. SELECT id, title, module, POSITION, content, showtitle, control, params
      FROM jos_modules AS m
      LEFT JOIN jos_modules_menu AS mm
      ON mm.moduleid = m.id
      WHERE m.published = 1
      AND m.access <= 0
      AND m.client_id = 0
      AND ( mm.menuid = 79 OR mm.menuid = 0 )
      ORDER BY POSITION, ordering

Language Files Loaded

Untranslated Strings Diagnostic

None

Untranslated Strings Designer

None