History of the Conflict
Religion and Science


Chapter XI.

Science in Relation to Modern Civilization.

Illustration of the general influences of Science from the history of America.

The Introduction of Science Into Europe. -- It passed from Moorish Spain to Upper Italy, and was favored by the absence of the popes at Avignon. -- The effects of printing, of maritime adventure, and of the Reformation -- Establishment of the Italian scientific societies.

The Intellectual Influence of Science. -- It changed the mode and the direction of thought in Europe. -- The transactions of the Royal Society of London, and other scientific societies, furnish an illustration of this.

The Economical Influence of Science is illustrated by the numerous mechanical and physical inventions, made since the fourteenth century. -- Their influence on health and domestic life, on the arts of peace and of war.

Answer to the question, What has Science done for humanity?


Europe, at the epoch of the Reformation, furnishes us with the result of the influences of Roman Christianity in the promotion of civilization. America, examined in like manner at the present time, furnishes us with an illustration of the influences of science.

In the course of the seventeenth century a sparse European population bad settled along the western Atlantic coast. Attracted by the cod-fishery of Newfoundland, the French had a little colony north of the St. Lawrence; the English, Dutch, and Swedes, occupied the shore of New England and the Middle States; some Huguenots were living in the Carolinas. Rumors of a spring that could confer perpetual youth -- a fountain of life -- had brought a few Spaniards into Florida. Behind the fringe of villages which these adventurers had built, lay a vast and unknown country, inhabited by wandering Indians, whose numbers from the Gulf of Mexico to the St. Lawrence did not exceed one hundred and eighty thousand. From them the European strangers had learned that in those solitary regions there were fresh-water seas, and a great river which they called the Mississippi. Some said that it flowed through Virginia into the Atlantic, some that it passed through Florida, some that it emptied into the Pacific, and some that it reached the Gulf of Mexico. Parted from their native countries by the stormy Atlantic, to cross which implied a voyage of many months, these refugees seemed lost to the world.

But before the close of the nineteenth century the descendants of this feeble people had become one of the great powers of the earth. They had established a republic whose sway extended from the Atlantic to the Pacific. With an army of more than a million men, not on paper, but actually in the field, they had overthrown a domestic assailant. They had maintained at sea a war-fleet of nearly seven hundred ships, carrying five thousand guns, some of them the heaviest in the world. The tonnage of this navy amounted to half a million. In the defense of their national life they had expended in less than five years more than four thousand million dollars. Their census, periodically taken, showed that the population was doubling itself every twenty-five years; it justified the expectation that at the close of that century it would number nearly one hundred million souls.

Science and Civilization.

A silent continent had been changed into a scene of industry; it was full of the din of machinery and the restless moving of men. Where there had been an unbroken forest, there were hundreds of cities and towns. To commerce were furnished in profusion some of the most important staples, as cotton, tobacco, breadstuffs. The mines yielded incredible quantities of gold, iron, coal. Countless churches, colleges, and public schools, testified that a moral influence vivified this material activity. Locomotion was effectually provided for. The railways exceeded in aggregate length those of all Europe combined. In 1873 the aggregate length of the European railways was sixty-three thousand three hundred and sixty miles, that of the American was seventy thousand six hundred and fifty miles. One of them, built across the continent, connected the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

But not alone are these material results worthy of notice. Others of a moral and social kind force themselves on our attention. Four million negro slaves had been set free. Legislation, if it inclined to the advantage of any class, inclined to that of the poor. Its intention was to raise them from poverty, and better their lot. A career was open to talent, and that without any restraint. Every thing was possible to intelligence and industry. Many of the most important public offices were filled by men who had risen from the humblest walks of life. If there was not social equality, as there never can be in rich and prosperous communities, there was civil equality, rigorously maintained.

It may perhaps be said that much of this material prosperity arose from special conditions, such as had never occurred in the case of any people before, There was a vast, an open theatre of action, a whole continent ready for any who chose to take possession of it. Nothing more than courage and industry was needed to overcome Nature, and to seize the abounding advantages she offered.

Knowledge Is Power.

But must not men be animated by a great principle who successfully transform the primeval solitudes into an abode of civilization, who are not dismayed by gloomy forests, or rivers, mountains, or frightful deserts, who push their conquering way in the course of a century across a continent, and hold it in subjection? Let us contrast with this the results of the invasion of Mexico and Peru by the Spaniards, who in those countries overthrew a wonderful civilization, in many respects superior to their own -- a civilization that had been accomplished without iron and gunpowder -- a civilization resting on an agriculture that had neither horse, nor ox, nor plough. The Spaniards had a clear base to start from, and no obstruction whatever in their advance. They ruined all that the aboriginal children of America had accomplished. Millions of those unfortunates were destroyed by their cruelty. Nations that for many centuries had been living in contentment and prosperity, under institutions shown by their history to be suitable to them, were plunged into anarchy; the people fell into a baneful superstition, and a greater part of their landed and other property found its way into the possession of the Roman Church.

I have selected the foregoing illustration, drawn from American history, in preference to many others that might have been taken from European, because it furnishes an instance of the operation of the acting principle least interfered with by extraneous conditions. European political progress is less simple than American.

Illustrations from American History.

Before considering its manner of action, and its results, I will briefly relate how the scientific principle found an introduction into Europe.

Introduction of Science into Europe.

Not only had the Crusades, for many years, brought vast sums to Rome, extorted from the fears or the piety of every Christian nation; they had also increased the papal power to a most dangerous extent. In the dual governments everywhere prevailing in Europe, the spiritual had obtained the mastery; the temporal was little better than its servant.

From all quarters, and under all kinds of pretenses, streams of money were steadily flowing into Italy. The temporal princes found that there were left for them inadequate and impoverished revenues. Philip the Fair, King of France (A. D. 1300), not only determined to check this drain from his dominions, by prohibiting the export of gold and silver without his license; he also resolved that the clergy and the ecclesiastical estates should pay their share of taxes to him. This brought on a mortal contest with the papacy. The king was excommunicated, and, in retaliation, he accused the pope, Boniface VIII., of atheism; demanding that he should be tried by a general council. He sent some trusty persons into Italy, who seized Boniface in his palace at Anagni, and treated him with so much severity, that in a few days he died. The succeeding pontiff, Benedict XI., was poisoned.

The French king was determined that the papacy should be purified and reformed; that it should no longer be the appanage of a few Italian families, who were dexterously transmuting the credulity of Europe into coin -- that French influence should prevail in it. He Therefore came to an understanding with the cardinals; a French archbishop was elevated to the pontificate; he took the name of Clement V. The papal court was removed to Avignon, in France, and Rome was abandoned as the metropolis of Christianity.

Quarrel Between France and the Papacy.

Seventy years elapsed before the papacy was restored to the Eternal City (A. D. 1376). The diminution of its influence in the peninsula, that had thus occurred, gave opportunity for the memorable intellectual movement which soon manifested itself in the great commercial cities of Upper Italy. Contemporaneously, also, there were other propitious events. The result of the Crusades had shaken the faith of all Christendom. In an age when the test of the ordeal of battle was universally accepted, those wars had ended in leaving the Holy Land in the hands of the Saracens; the many thousand Christian warriors who had returned from them did not hesitate to declare that they had found their antagonists not such as had been pictured by the Church, but valiant, courteous, just. Through the gay cities of the South of France a love of romantic literature had been spreading; the wandering troubadours had been singing their songs -- songs far from being restricted to ladye-love and feats of war; often their burden was the awful atrocities that had been perpetrated by papal authority -- the religious massacres of Languedoc; often their burden was the illicit amours of the clergy. From Moorish Spain the gentle and gallant idea of chivalry had been brought, and with it the noble sentiment of "personal honor," destined in the course of time to give a code of its own to Europe.

Moorish Science Introduced Through France.

The return of the papacy to Rome was far from restoring the influence of the popes over the Italian Peninsula. More than two generations had passed away since their departure, and, had they come back even in their original strength, they could not have resisted the intellectual progress that had been made during their absence. The papacy, however, came back not to rule, but to be divided against itself, to encounter the Great Schism. Out of its dissensions emerged two rival popes; eventually there were three, each pressing his claims upon the religious, each cursing his rival. A sentiment of indignation soon spread all over Europe, a determination that the shameful scenes which were then enacting should be ended. How could the dogma of a Vicar of God upon earth, the dogma of an infallible pope, be sustained in presence of such scandals? Herein lay the cause of that resolution of the ablest ecclesiastics of those times (which, alas for Europe! could not be carried into effect), that a general council should be made the permanent religious parliament of the whole continent, with the pope as its chief executive officer. Had that intention been accomplished, there would have been at this day no conflict between science and religion; the convulsion of the Reformation would have been avoided; there would have been no jarring Protestant sects. But the Councils of Constance and Basle failed to shake off the Italian yoke, failed to attain that noble result.

Catholicism was thus weakening; as its leaden pressure lifted, the intellect of man expanded. The Saracens had invented the method of making paper from linen rags and from cotton. The Venetians had brought from China to Europe the art of printing. The former of these inventions was essential to the latter. Henceforth, without the possibility of a check, there was intellectual intercommunication among all men.

Effect of the Great Schism.

The invention of printing was a severe blow to Catholicism, which had, previously, enjoyed the inappreciable advantage of a monopoly of intercommunication. From its central seat, orders could be disseminated through all the ecclesiastical ranks, and fulminated through the pulpits. This monopoly and the amazing power it conferred were destroyed by the press. In modern times, the influence of the pulpit has become insignificant. The pulpit has been thoroughly supplanted by the newspaper.

Yet, Catholicism did not yield its ancient advantage without a struggle. As soon as the inevitable tendency of the new art was detected, a restraint upon it, under the form of a censorship, was attempted. It was made necessary to have a permit, in order to print a book. For this, it was needful that the work should have been read, examined, and approved by the clergy. There must be a certificate that it was a godly and orthodox book. A bull of excommunication was issued in 1501, by Alexander VI., against printers who should publish pernicious doctrines. In 1515 the Lateran Council ordered that no books should be printed but such as had been inspected by the ecclesiastical censors, under pain of excommunication and fine; the censors being directed "to take the utmost care that nothing should be printed contrary to the orthodox faith." There was thus a dread of religious discussion; a terror lest truth should emerge.

But these frantic struggles of the powers of ignorance were unavailing. Intellectual intercommunication among men was secured. It culminated in the modern newspaper, which daily gives its contemporaneous intelligence from all parts of the world. Reading became a common occupation. In ancient society that art was possessed by comparatively few persons. Modern society owes some of its most striking characteristics to this change.

Invention of Printing.

Such was the result of bringing into Europe the manufacture of paper and the printing-press. In like manner the introduction of the mariner's compass was followed by imposing material and moral effects. These were -- the discovery of America in consequence of the rivalry of the Venetians and Genoese about the India trade; the doubling of Africa by De Gama; and the circumnavigation of the earth by Magellan. With respect to the last, the grandest of all human undertakings, it is to be remembered that Catholicism had irrevocably committed itself to the dogma of a flat earth, with the sky as the floor of heaven, and hell in the under-world. Some of the Fathers, whose authority was held to be paramount, had, as we have previously said, furnished philosophical and religious arguments against the globular form. The controversy had now suddenly come to an end -- the Church was found to be in error.

The correction of that geographical error was by no means the only important result that followed the three great voyages. The spirit of Columbus, De Gama, Magellan, diffused itself among all the enterprising men of Western Europe. Society had been hitherto living under the dogma of "loyalty to the king, obedience to the Church." It had therefore been living for others, not for itself. The political effect of that dogma had culminated in the Crusades. Countless thousands had perished in wars that could bring them no reward, and of which the result had been conspicuous failure. Experience had revealed the fact that the only gainers were the pontiffs, cardinals, and other ecclesiastics in Rome, and the shipmasters of Venice. But, when it became known that the wealth of Mexico, Peru, and India, might be shared by any one who had enterprise and courage, the motives that had animated the restless populations of Europe suddenly changed. The story of Cortez and Pizarro found enthusiastic listeners everywhere. Maritime adventure supplanted religious enthusiasm.

If we attempt to isolate the principle that lay at the basis of the wonderful social changes that now took place, we may recognize it without difficulty. Heretofore each man had dedicated his services to his superior -- feudal or ecclesiastical; now he had resolved to gather the fruits of his exertions himself. Individualism was becoming predominant, loyalty was declining into a sentiment. We shall now see how it was with the Church.

Effects of Maritime Enterprise.

Individualism rests on the principle that a man shall be his own master, that he shall have liberty to form his own opinions, freedom to carry into effect his resolves. He is, therefore, ever brought into competition with his fellow-men. His life is a display of energy.

To remove the stagnation of centuries from European life, to vivify suddenly what had hitherto been an inert mass, to impart to it individualism, was to bring it into conflict with the influences that had been oppressing it. All through the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries uneasy strugglings gave a premonition of what was coming. In the early part of the sixteenth (1517), the battle was joined. Individualism found its embodiment in a sturdy German monk, and therefore, perhaps necessarily, asserted its rights under theological forms. There were some preliminary skirmishes about indulgences and other minor matters, but very soon the real cause of dispute came plainly into view. Martin Luther refused to think as he was ordered to do by his ecclesiastical superiors at Rome; he asserted that he had an inalienable right to interpret the Bible for himself.

At her first glance, Rome saw nothing in Martin Luther but a vulgar, insubordinate, quarrelsome monk. Could the Inquisition have laid hold of him, it would have speedily disposed of his affair; but, as the conflict went on, it was discovered that Martin was not standing alone. Many thousands of men, as resolute as himself, were coming up to his support; and, while he carried on the combat with writings and words, they made good his propositions with the sword.


The vilification which was poured on Luther and his doings was so bitter as to be ludicrous. It was declared that his father was not his mother's husband, but an impish incubus, who had deluded her; that, after ten years' struggling with his conscience, he had become an atheist; that he denied the immortality of the soul; that he had composed hymns in honor of drunkenness, a vice to which he was unceasingly addicted; that he blasphemed the Holy Scriptures, and particularly Moses; that he did not believe a word of what he preached; that he had called the Epistle of St. James a thing of straw; and, above all, that the Reformation was no work of his, but, in reality, was due to a certain astrological position of the stars. It was, however, a vulgar saying among the Roman ecclesiastics that Erasmus laid the egg of the Reformation, and Luther hatched it.

Rome at first made the mistake of supposing that this was nothing more than a casual outbreak; she failed to discern that it was, in fact, the culmination of an internal movement which for two centuries had been going on in Europe, and which had been hourly gathering force; that, had there been nothing else, the existence of three popes -- three obediences -- would have compelled men to think, to deliberate, to conclude for themselves. The Councils of Constance and Basle taught them that there was a higher power than the popes. The long and bloody wars that ensued were closed by the Peace of Westphalia; and then it was found that Central and Northern Europe had cast off the intellectual tyranny of Rome, that individualism had carried its point, and had established the right of every man to think for himself.

The Reformation.

But it was impossible that the establishment of this right of private judgment should end with the rejection of Catholicism. Early in the movement some of the most distinguished men, such as Erasmus, who had been among its first promoters, abandoned it. They perceived that many of the Reformers entertained a bitter dislike of learning, and they were afraid of being brought under bigoted caprice. The Protestant party, having thus established its existence by dissent and separation, must, in its turn, submit to the operation of the same principles. A decomposition into many subordinate sects was inevitable. And these, now that they had no longer any thing to fear from their great Italian adversary, commenced partisan warfares on each other. As, in different countries, first one and then another sect rose to power, it stained itself with cruelties perpetrated upon its competitors. The mortal retaliations that had ensued, when, in the chances of the times, the oppressed got the better of their oppressors, convinced the contending sectarians that they must concede to their competitors what they claimed for themselves; and thus, from their broils and their crimes, the great principle of toleration extricated itself. But toleration is only an intermediate stage; and, as the intellectual decomposition of Protestantism keeps going on, that transitional condition will lead to a higher and nobler state -- the hope of philosophy in all past ages of the world -- a social state in which there shall be unfettered freedom for thought. Toleration, except when extorted by fear, can only come from those who are capable of entertaining and respecting other opinions than their own. It can therefore only come from philosophy. History teaches us only too plainly that fanaticism is stimulated by religion, and neutralized or eradicated by philosophy.

Decomposition of Protestantism.

The avowed object of the Reformation was, to remove from Christianity the pagan ideas and pagan rites engrafted upon it by Constantine and his successors, in their attempt to reconcile the Roman Empire to it. The Protestants designed to bring it back to its primitive purity; and hence, while restoring the ancient doctrines, they cast out of it all such practices as the adoration of the Virgin Mary and the invocation of saints. The Virgin Mary, we are assured by the Evangelists, had accepted the duties of married life, and borne to her husband several children. In the prevailing idolatry, she had ceased to be regarded as the carpenter's wife; she had become the queen of heaven, and the mother of God.


The science of the Arabians followed the invading track of their literature, which had come into Christendom by two routes -- the south of France, and Sicily. Favored by the exile of the popes to Avignon, and by the Great Schism, it made good its foothold in Upper Italy. The Aristotelian or Inductive philosophy, clad in the Saracenic costume that Averroes had given it, made many secret and not a few open friends. It found many minds eager to receive and able to appreciate it. Among these were Leonardo da Vinci, who proclaimed the fundamental principle that experiment and observation are the only reliable foundations of reasoning in science, that experiment is the only trustworthy interpreter of Nature, and is essential to the ascertainment of laws. He showed that the action of two perpendicular forces upon a point is the same as that denoted by the diagonal of a rectangle, of which they represent the sides. From this the passage to the proposition of oblique forces was very easy. This proposition was rediscovered by Stevinus, a century later, and applied by him to the explanation of the mechanical powers. Da Vinci gave a clear exposition of the theory of forces applied obliquely on a lever, discovered the laws of friction subsequently demonstrated by Amontons, and understood the principle of virtual velocities. He treated of the conditions of descent of bodies along inclined planes and circular arcs, invented the camera-obscura, discussed correctly several physiological problems, and foreshadowed some of the great conclusions of modern geology, such as the nature of fossil remains, and the elevation of continents. He explained the earth-light reflected by the moon. With surprising versatility of genius he excelled as a sculptor, architect, engineer; was thoroughly versed in the astronomy, anatomy, and chemistry of his times. In painting, he was the rival of Michel Angelo; in a competition between them, he was considered to have established his superiority. His "Last Supper," on the wall of the refectory of the Dominican convent of Sta. Maria delle Grazie, is well known, from the numerous engravings and copies that have been made of it.

Da Vinci.

Once firmly established in the north of Italy, Science soon extended her sway over the entire peninsula. The increasing number of her devotees is indicated by the rise and rapid multiplication of learned societies. These were reproductions of the Moorish ones that had formerly existed in Granada and Cordova. As if to mark by a monument the track through which civilizing influences had come, the Academy of Toulouse, founded in 1345, has survived to our own times. It represented, however, the gay literature of the south of France, and was known under the fanciful title of "the Academy of Floral Games." The first society for the promotion of physical science, the Academia Secretorum Naturæ, was founded at Naples, by Baptista Porta. It was, as Tiraboschi relates, dissolved by the ecclesiastical authorities. The Lyncean was founded by Prince Frederic Cesi at Rome; its device plainly indicated its intention: a lynx, with its eyes turned upward toward heaven, tearing a triple-headed Cerberus with its claws. The Accademia del Cimento, established at Florence, 1657, held its meetings in the ducal palace. It lasted ten years, and was then suppressed at the instance of the papal government; as an equivalent, the brother of the grand-duke was made a cardinal. It numbered many great men, such as Torricelli and Castelli, among its members. The condition of admission into it was an abjuration of all faith, and a resolution to inquire into the truth. These societies extricated the cultivators of science from the isolation in which they had hitherto lived, and, by promoting their intercommunication and union, imparted activity and strength to them all.

Italian Scientific Societies.

Intellectual Influence of Science.

Returning now from this digression, this historical sketch of the circumstances under which science was introduced into Europe, I pass to the consideration of its manner of action and its results.

The influence of science on modern civilization has been twofold: 1. Intellectual; 2. Economical. Under these titles we may conveniently consider it.

Intellectually it overthrew the authority of tradition. It refused to accept, unless accompanied by proof, the dicta of any master, no matter how eminent or honored his name. The conditions of admission into the Italian Accademia del Cimento, and the motto adopted by the Royal Society of London, illustrate the position it took in this respect.

It rejected the supernatural and miraculous as evidence in physical discussions. It abandoned sign-proof such as the Jews in old days required, and denied that a demonstration can be given through an illustration of something else, thus casting aside the logic that had been in vogue for many centuries.

In physical inquiries, its mode of procedure was, to test the value of any proposed hypothesis, by executing computations in any special case on the basis or principle of that hypothesis, and then, by performing an experiment or making an observation, to ascertain whether the result of these agreed with the result of the computation. If it did not, the hypothesis was to be rejected.

We may here introduce an illustration or two of this mode of procedure:

Intellectual Influence of Science.

Newton, suspecting that the influence of the earth's attraction, gravity, may extend as far as the moon, and be the force that causes her to revolve in her orbit round the earth, calculated that, by her motion in her orbit, she was deflected from the tangent thirteen feet every minute; but, by ascertaining the space through which bodies would fall in one minute at the earth's surface, and supposing it to be diminished in the ratio of the inverse square, it appeared that the attraction at the moon's orbit would draw a body through more than fifteen feet. He, therefore, for the time, considered his hypothesis as unsustained. But it so happened that Picard shortly afterward executed more correctly a new measurement of a degree; this changed the estimated magnitude of the earth, and the distance of the moon, which was measured in earth-semidiameters. Newton now renewed his computation, and, as I have related on a previous page, as it drew to a close, foreseeing that a coincidence was about to be established, was so much agitated that he was obliged to ask a friend to complete it. The hypothesis was sustained.

A second instance will sufficiently illustrate the method under consideration. It is presented by the chemical theory of phlogiston. Stahl, the author of this theory, asserted that there is a principle of inflammability, to which he gave the name phlogiston, having the quality of uniting with substances. Thus, when what we now term a metallic oxide was united to it, a metal was produced; and, if the phlogiston were withdrawn, the metal passed back into its earthy or oxidized state. On this principle, then, the metals were compound bodies, earths combined with phlogiston.

Theories of Gravitation and Phlogiston.

But during the eighteenth century the balance was introduced as an instrument of chemical research. Now, if the phlogistic hypothesis be true, it would follow that a metal should be the heavier, its oxide the lighter body, for the former contains something -- phlogiston -- that has been added to the latter. But, on weighing a portion of any metal, and also the oxide producible from it, the latter proves to be the heavier, and here the phlogistic hypothesis fails. Still further, on continuing the investigation, it may be shown that the oxide or calx, as it used to be called, has become heavier by combining with one of the ingredients of the air.

To Lavoisier is usually attributed this test experiment; but the fact that the weight of a metal increases by calcination was established by earlier European experimenters, and, indeed, was well known to the Arabian chemists. Lavoisier, however, was the first to recognize its great importance. In his hands it produced a revolution in chemistry.

The abandonment of the phlogistic theory is an illustration of the readiness with which scientific hypotheses are surrendered, when found to be wanting in accordance with facts. Authority and tradition pass for nothing. Every thing is settled by an appeal to Nature. It is assumed that the answers she gives to a practical interrogation will ever be true.

Comparing now the philosophical principles on which science was proceeding, with the principles on which ecclesiasticism rested, we see that, while the former repudiated tradition, to the latter it was the main support; while the former insisted on the agreement of calculation and observation, or the correspondence of reasoning and fact, the latter leaned upon mysteries; while the former summarily rejected its own theories, if it saw that they could not be coördinated with Nature, the latter found merit in a faith that blindly accepted the inexplicable, a satisfied contemplation of "things above reason." The alienation between the two continually increased. On one side there was a sentiment of disdain, on the other a sentiment of hatred. Impartial witnesses on all hands perceived that science was rapidly undermining ecclesiasticism.

Science and Ecclesiasticism.

Mathematics had thus become the great instrument of scientific research, it had become the instrument of scientific reasoning. In one respect it may be said that it reduced the operations of the mind to a mechanical process, for its symbols often saved the labor of thinking. The habit of mental exactness it encouraged extended to other branches of thought, and produced an intellectual revolution. No longer was it possible to be satisfied with miracle-proof, or the logic that had been relied upon throughout the middle ages. Not only did it thus influence the manner of thinking, it also changed the direction of thought. Of this we may be satisfied by comparing the subjects considered in the transactions of the various learned societies with the discussions that had occupied the attention of the middle ages.

But the use of mathematics was not limited to the verification of theories; as above indicated, it also furnished a means of predicting what had hitherto been unobserved. In this it offered a counterpart to the prophecies of ecclesiasticism. The discovery of Neptune is an instance of the kind furnished by astronomy, and that of conical refraction by the optical theory of undulations.

But, while this great instrument led to such a wonderful development in natural science, it was itself undergoing development -- improvement. Let us in a few lines recall its progress.

The germ of algebra may be discerned in the works of Diophantus of Alexandria, who is supposed to have lived in the second century of our era. In that Egyptian school Euclid had formerly collected the great truths of geometry, and arranged them in logical sequence. Archimedes, in Syracuse, had attempted the solution of the higher problems by the method of exhaustions. Such was the tendency of things that, had the patronage of science been continued, algebra would inevitably have been invented.

To the Arabians we owe our knowledge of the rudiments of algebra; we owe to them the very name under which this branch of mathematics passes. They had carefully added, to the remains of the Alexandrian School, improvements obtained in India, and had communicated to the subject a certain consistency and form. The knowledge of algebra, as they possessed it, was first brought into Italy about the beginning of the thirteenth century. It attracted so little attention, that nearly three hundred years elapsed before any European work on the subject appeared. In 1496 Paccioli published his book entitled "Arte Maggiore," or "Alghebra." In 1501, Cardan, of Milan, gave a method for the solution of cubic equations; other improvements were contributed by Scipio Ferreo, 1508, by Tartalea, by Vieta. The Germans now took up the subject. At this time the notation was in an imperfect state.

The publication of the Geometry of Descartes, which contains the application of algebra to the definition and investigation of curve lines (1637), constitutes an epoch in the history of the mathematical sciences. Two years previously, Cavalieri's work on Indivisibles had appeared. This method was improved by Torricelli and others. The way was now open, for the development of the Infinitesimal Calculus, the method of Fluxions of Newton, and the Differential and Integral Calculus of Leibnitz. Though in his possession many years previously, Newton published nothing on Fluxions until 1704; the imperfect notation he employed retarded very much the application of his method. Meantime, on the Continent, very largely through the brilliant solutions of some of the higher problems, accomplished by the Bernouillis, the Calculus of Leibnitz was universally accepted, and improved by many mathematicians. An extraordinary development of the science now took place, and continued throughout the century. To the Binomial theorem, previously discovered by Newton, Taylor now added, in his "Method of Increments," the celebrated theorem that bears his name. This was in 1715. The Calculus of Partial Differences was introduced by Euler in 1734. It was extended by D'Alembert, and was followed by that of Variations, by Euler and Lagrange, and by the method of Derivative Functions, by Lagrange, in 1772.

But it was not only in Italy, in Germany, in England, in France, that this great movement in mathematics was witnessed; Scotland had added a new gem to the intellectual diadem with which her brow is encircled, by the grand invention of Logarithms, by Napier of Merchiston. It is impossible to give any adequate conception of the scientific importance of this incomparable invention. The modern physicist and astronomer will most cordially agree with Briggs, the Professor of Mathematics in Gresham College, in his exclamation: "I never saw a book that pleased me better, and that made me more wonder!" Not without reason did the immortal Kepler regard Napier "to be the greatest man of his age, in the department to which he had applied his abilities." Napier died in 1617. It is no exaggeration to say that this invention, by shortening the labors, doubled the life of the astronomer.

But here I must check myself. I must remember that my present purpose is not to give the history of mathematics, but to consider what science has done for the advancement of human civilization. And now, at once, recurs the question, How is it that the Church produced no geometer in her autocratic reign of twelve hundred years?

With respect to pure mathematics this remark may be made: Its cultivation does not demand appliances that are beyond the reach of most individuals. Astronomy must have its observatory, chemistry its laboratory; but mathematics asks only personal disposition and a few books. No great expenditures are called for, nor the services of assistants. One would think that nothing could be more congenial, nothing more delightful, even in the retirement of monastic life.

Shall we answer with Eusebius, "It is through contempt of such useless labor that we think so little of these matters; we turn our souls to the exercise of better things?" Better things! What can be better than absolute truth? Are mysteries, miracles, lying impostures, better? It was these that stood in the way!


The ecclesiastical authorities had recognized, from the outset of this scientific invasion, that the principles it was disseminating were absolutely irreconcilable with the current theology. Directly and indirectly, they struggled against it. So great was their detestation of experimental science, that they thought they had gained a great advantage when the Accademia del Cimento was suppressed. Nor was the sentiment restricted to Catholicism. When the Royal Society of London was founded, theological odium was directed against it with so much rancor that, doubtless, it would have been extinguished, had not King Charles II. given it his open and avowed support. It was accused of an intention of "destroying the established religion, of injuring the universities, and of upsetting ancient and solid learning."

We have only to turn over the pages of its Transactions to discern how much this society has done for the p rogress of humanity. It was incorporated in 1662, and has interested itself in all the great scientific movements and discoveries that have since been made. It published Newton's "Principia;" it promoted Halley's voyage, the first scientific expedition undertaken by any government; it made experiments on the transfusion of blood, and accepted Harvey's discovery of the circulation. The encouragement it gave to inoculation led Queen Caroline to beg six condemned criminals for experiment, and then to submit her own children to that operation. Through its encouragement Bradley accomplished his great discovery, the aberration of the fixed stars, and that of the nutation of the earth's axis; to these two discoveries, Delambre says, we owe the exactness of modern astronomy. It promoted the improvement of the thermometer, the measure of temperature, and in Harrison's watch, the chronometer, the measure of time. Through it the Gregorian Calendar was introduced into England, in 1752, against a violent religious opposition. Some of its Fellows were pursued through the streets by an ignorant and infuriated mob, who believed it had robbed them of eleven days of their lives; it was found necessary to conceal the name of Father Walmesley, a learned Jesuit, who had taken deep interest in the matter; and, Bradley happening to die during the commotion, it was declared that he had suffered a judgment from Heaven for his crime!

If I were to attempt to do justice to the merits of this great society, I should have to devote many pages, to such subjects as the achromatic telescope of Dollond; the dividing engine of Ramsden, which first gave precision to astronomical observations, the measurement of a degree on the earth's surface by Mason and Dixon; the expeditions of Cook in connection with the transit of Venus; his circumnavigation of the earth; his proof that scurvy, the curse of long sea-voyages, may be avoided by the use of vegetable substances; the polar expeditions; the determination of the density of the earth by Maskelyne's experiments at Scheliallion, and by those of Cavendish; the discovery of the planet Uranus by Herschel; the composition of water by Cavendish and Watt; the determination of the difference of longitude between London and Paris; the invention of the voltaic pile; the surveys of the heavens by the Herschels; the development of the principle of interference by Young, and his establishment of the undulatory theory of light; the ventilation of jails and other buildings; the introduction of gas for city illumination; the ascertainment of the length of the seconds-pendulum; the measurement of the variations of gravity in different latitudes; the operations to ascertain the curvature of the earth; the polar expedition of Ross; the invention of the safety-lamp by Davy, and his decomposition of the alkalies and earths; the electro-magnetic discoveries of Oersted and Faraday; the calculating-engines of Babbage; the measures taken at the instance of Humboldt for the establishment of many magnetic observatories; the verification of contemporaneous magnetic disturbances over the earth's surface. But it is impossible, in the limited space at my disposal, to give even so little as a catalogue of its Transactions. Its spirit was identical with that which animated the Accademia del Cimento, and its motto accordingly was "Nullius in Verba." It proscribed superstition, and permitted only calculation, observation, and experiment.

Not for a moment must it be supposed that in these great attempts, these great Successes, the Royal Society stood alone. In all the capitals of Europe there were Academies, Institutes, or Societies, equal in distinction, and equally successful in promoting human knowledge and modern civilization.

The Royal Society of London.

The Economical Influences of Science.

The scientific study of Nature tends not only to correct and ennoble the intellectual conceptions of man; it serves also to ameliorate his physical condition. It perpetually suggests to him the inquiry, how he may make, by their economical application, ascertained facts subservient to his use.

The investigation of principles is quickly followed by practical inventions. This, indeed, is the characteristic feature of our times. It has produced a great revolution in national policy.

In former ages wars were made for the procuring of slaves. A conqueror transported entire populations, and extorted from them forced labor, for it was only by human labor that human labor could be relieved. But when it was discovered that physical agents and mechanical combinations could be employed to incomparably greater advantage, public policy underwent a change; when it was recognized that the application of a new principle, or the invention of a new machine, was better than the acquisition of an additional slave, peace became preferable to war. And not only so, but nations possessing great slave or serf populations, as was the case in America and Russia, found that considerations of humanity were supported by considerations of interest, and set their bondmen free.

Influence of Science.

Thus we live in a period of which a characteristic is the supplanting of human and animal labor by machines. Its mechanical inventions have wrought a social revolution. We appeal to the natural, not to the supernatural, for the accomplishment of our ends. It is with the "modern civilization" thus arising that Catholicism refuses to be reconciled. The papacy loudly proclaims its inflexible repudiation of this state of affairs, and insists on a restoration of the medieval condition of things.

That a piece of amber, when rubbed, will attract and then repel light bodies, was a fact known six hundred years before Christ. It remained an isolated, uncultivated fact, a mere trifle, until sixteen hundred years after Christ. Then dealt with by the scientific methods of mathematical discussion and experiment, and practical application made of the result, it has permitted men to communicate instantaneously with each other across continents and under oceans. It has centralized the world. By enabling the sovereign authority to transmit its mandates without regard to distance or to time, it has revolutionized statesmanship and condensed political power.

In the Museum of Alexandria there was a machine invented by Hero, the mathematician, a little more than one hundred years before Christ. It revolved by the agency of steam, and was of the form that we should now call a reaction-engine. This, the germ of one of the most important inventions ever made, was remembered as a mere curiosity for seventeen hundred years.

Chance had nothing to do with the invention of the modern steam-engine. It was the product of meditation and experiment. Ia the middle of the seventeenth century several mechanical engineers attempted to utilize the properties of steam; their labors were brought to perfection by Watt in the middle of the eighteenth.

The steam-engine quickly became the drudge of civilization. It performed the work of many millions of men. It gave, to those who would have been condemned to a life of brutal toil, the opportunity of better pursuits. He who formerly labored might now think.

Its earliest application was in such operations as pumping, wherein mere force is required. Soon, however, it vindicated its delicacy of touch in the industrial arts of spinning and weaving. It created vast manufacturing establishments, and supplied clothing for the world. It changed the industry of nations.

In its application, first to the navigation of rivers, and then to the navigation of the ocean, it more than quadrupled the speed that had heretofore been attained. Instead of forty days being requisite for the passage, the Atlantic might now be crossed in eight. But, in land transportation, its power was most strikingly displayed. The admirable invention of the locomotive enabled men to travel farther in less than an hour than they formerly could have done in more than a day.

The locomotive has not only enlarged the field of human activity, but, by diminishing space, it has increased the capabilities of human life. In the swift transportation of manufactured goods and agricultural products, it has become a most efficient incentive to human industry.

The perfection of ocean steam-navigation was greatly promoted by the invention of the chronometer, which rendered it possible to find with accuracy the place of a ship at sea. The great drawback on the advancement of science in the Alexandrian School was the want of an instrument for the measurement of time, and one for the measurement of temperature -- the chronometer and the thermometer; indeed, the invention of the latter is essential to that of the former. Clepsydras, or water-clocks, had been tried, but they were deficient in accuracy. Of one of them, ornamented with the signs of the zodiac, and destroyed by certain primitive Christians, St. Polycarp significantly remarked, "In all these monstrous demons is seen an art hostile to God." Not until about 1680 did the chronometer begin to approach accuracy. Hooke, the contemporary of Newton, gave it the balance-wheel, with the spiral spring, and various escapements in succession were devised, such as the anchor, the dead-beat, the duplex, the remontoir. Provisions for the variation of temperature were introduced. It was brought to perfection eventually by Harrison and Arnold, in their hands becoming an accurate measure of the flight of time. To the invention of the chronometer must be added that of the reflecting sextant by Godfrey. This permitted astronomical observations to be made, notwithstanding the motion of a ship.

Improvements in ocean navigation are exercising a powerful influence on the distribution of mankind. They are increasing the amount and altering the character of colonization.

Scientific Inventions.

But not alone have these great discoveries and inventions, the offspring of scientific investigation, changed the lot of the human race; very many minor ones, perhaps individually insignificant, have in their aggregate accomplished surprising effects. The commencing cultivation of science in the fourteenth century gave a wonderful stimulus to inventive talent, directed mainly to useful practical results; and this, subsequently, was greatly encouraged by the system of patents, which secure to the originator a reasonable portion of the benefits of his skill. It is sufficient to refer in the most cursory manner to a few of these improvements; we appreciate at once how much they have done. The introduction of the saw-mill gave wooden floors to houses, banishing those of gypsum, tile, or stone; improvements cheapening the manufacture of glass gave windows, making possible the warming of apartments. However, it was not until the sixteenth century that glazing could be well done. The cutting of glass by the diamond was then introduced. The addition of chimneys purified the atmosphere of dwellings, smoky and sooty as the huts of savages; it gave that indescribable blessing of northern homes -- a cheerful fireside. Hitherto a hole in the roof for the escape of the smoke, a pit in the midst of the floor to contain the fuel, and to be covered with a lid when the curfew-bell sounded or night came, such had been the cheerless and inadequate means of warming.

Domestic Improvement.

Though not without a bitter resistance on the part of the clergy, men began to think that pestilences are not punishments inflicted by God on society for its religious shortcomings, but the physical consequences of filth and wretchedness; that the proper mode of avoiding them is not by praying to the saints, but by insuring personal and municipal cleanliness. In the twelfth century it was found necessary to pave the streets of Paris, the stench in them was so dreadful. At once dysenteries and spotted fever diminished; a sanitary condition approaching that of the Moorish cities of Spain, which had been paved for centuries, was attained. In that now beautiful metropolis it was forbidden to keep swine, an ordinance resented by the monks of the abbey of St. Anthony, who demanded that the pigs of that saint should go where they chose; the government was obliged to compromise the matter by requiring that bells should be fastened to the animals' necks. King Philip, the son of Louis the Fat, had been killed by his horse stumbling over a sow. Prohibitions were published against throwing slops out of the windows. In 1870 an eye-witness, the author of this book, at the close of the pontifical rule in Rome, found that, in walking the ordure-defiled streets of that city, it was more necessary to inspect the earth than to contemplate the heavens, in order to preserve personal purity. Until the beginning of the seventeenth century, the streets of Berlin were never swept. There was a law that every countryman, who came to market with a cart, should carry back a load of dirt!

Paving was followed by attempts, often of an imperfect kind, at the construction of drains and sewers. It had become obvious to all reflecting men that these were necessary to the preservation of health, not only in towns, but in isolated houses. Then followed the lighting of the public thoroughfares. At first houses facing the streets were compelled to have candles or lamps in their windows; next the system that had been followed with so much advantage in Cordova and Granada -- of having public lamps -- was tried, but this was not brought to perfection until the present century, when lighting by gas was invented. Contemporaneously with public lamps were improved organizations for night-watchmen and police.

By the sixteenth century, mechanical inventions and manufacturing improvements were exercising a conspicuous influence on domestic and social life. There were looking-glasses and clocks on the walls, mantels over the fireplaces. Though in many districts the kitchen-fire was still supplied with turf, the use of coal began to prevail. The table in the dining-room offered new delicacies; commerce was bringing to it foreign products; the coarse drinks of the North were supplanted by the delicate wines of the South. Ice-houses were constructed. The bolting of flour, introduced at the windmills, had given whiter and finer bread. By degrees things that had been rarities became common -- Indian-corn, the potato, the turkey, and, conspicuous in the long list, tobacco. Forks, an Italian invention, displaced the filthy use of the fingers. It may be said that the diet of civilized men now underwent a radical change. Tea came from China, coffee from Arabia, the use of sugar from India, and these to no insignificant degree supplanted fermented liquors. Carpets replaced on the floors the layer of straw; in the chambers there appeared better beds, in the wardrobes cleaner and more frequently-changed clothing. In many towns the aqueduct was substituted for the public fountain and the street-pump. Ceilings which in the old days would have been dingy with soot and dirt, were now decorated with ornamental frescoes. Baths were more commonly resorted to; there was less need to use perfumery for the concealment of personal odors. An increasing taste for the innocent pleasures of horticulture was manifested, by the introduction of many foreign flowers in the gardens -- the tuberose, the auricula, the crown imperial, the Persian lily, the ranunculus, and African marigolds. In the streets there appeared sedans, then close carriages, and at length hackney-coaches.

Among the dull rustics mechanical improvements forced their way, and gradually attained, in the implements for ploughing, sowing, mowing, reaping, thrashing, the perfection of our own times.

Municipal Improvements.

It began to be recognized, in spite of the preaching of the mendicant orders, that poverty is the source of crime, the obstruction to knowledge; that the pursuit of riches by commerce is far better than the acquisition of power by war. For, though it may be true, as Montesquieu says, that, while commerce unites nations, it antagonizes individuals, and makes a traffic of morality, it alone can give unity to the world; its dream, its hope, is universal peace.

Mercantile Inventions.

Though, instead of a few pages, it would require volumes to record adequately the ameliorations that took place in domestic and social life after science began to exert its beneficent influences, and inventive talent came to the aid of industry, there are some things which cannot be passed in silence. From the port of Barcelona the Spanish khalifs had carried on an enormous commerce, and they with their coadjutors -- Jewish merchants -- had adopted or originated many commercial inventions, which, with matters of pure science, they had transmitted to the trading communities of Europe. The art of book-keeping by double entry was thus brought into Upper Italy. The different kinds of insurance were adopted, though strenuously resisted by the clergy. They opposed fire and marine insurance, on the ground that it is a tempting of Providence. Life insurance was regarded as an act of interference with the consequences of God's will. Houses for lending money on interest and on pledges, that is, banking and pawnbroking establishments, were bitterly denounced, and especially was indignation excited against the taking of high rates of interest, which was stigmatized as usury -- a feeling existing in some backward communities up to the present day. Bills of exchange in the present form and terms were adopted, the office of the public notary established, and protests for dishonored obligations resorted to. Indeed, it may be said, with but little exaggeration, that the commercial machinery now used was thus introduced. I have already remarked that, in consequence of the discovery of America, the front of Europe had been changed. Many rich Italian merchants, and many enterprising Jews, had settled in Holland, England, France, and brought into those countries various mercantile devices. The Jews, who cared nothing about papal maledictions, were enriched by the pontifical action in relation to the lending of money at high interest; but Pius II., perceiving the mistake that had been made, withdrew his opposition. Pawnbroking establishments were finally authorized by Leo X., who threatened excommunication of those who wrote against them. In their turn the Protestants now exhibited a dislike against establishments thus authorized by Rome. As the theological dogma, that the plague, like the earthquake, is an unavoidable visitation from God for the sins of men, began to be doubted, attempts were made to resist its progress by the establishment of quarantines. When the Mohammedan discovery of inoculation was brought from Constantinople in 1721, by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, it was so strenuously resisted by the clergy, that nothing short of its adoption by the royal family of England brought it into use. A similar resistance was exhibited when Jenner introduced his great improvement, vaccination; yet a century ago it was the exception to see a face unpitted by smallpox -- now it is the exception to see one so disfigured. In like manner, when the great American discovery of anæsthetics was applied in obstetrical cases, it was discouraged, not so much for physiological reasons, as under the pretense that it was an impious attempt to escape from the curse denounced against all women in Genesis iii. 16.

Medical Improvements.

Inventive ingenuity did not restrict itself to the production of useful contrivances, it added amusing ones. Soon after the introduction of science into Italy, the houses of the virtuosi began to abound in all kinds of curious mechanical surprises, and, as they were termed, magical effects. In the latter the invention of the magic-lantern greatly assisted. Not without reason did the ecclesiastics detest experimental philosophy, for a result of no little importance ensued -- the juggler became a successful rival to the miracle-worker. The pious frauds enacted in the churches lost their wonder when brought into competition with the tricks of the conjurer in the market-place: he breathed flame, walked on burning coals, held red-hot iron in his teeth, drew basketfuls of eggs out of his mouth, worked miracles by marionettes. Yet the old idea of the supernatural was with difficulty destroyed. A horse, whose master had taught him many tricks, was tried at Lisbon in 1601, found guilty of being possessed by the devil, and was burnt. Still later than that many witches were brought to the stake.

Magic and Miracles.

Once fairly introduced, discovery and invention have unceasingly advanced at an accelerated pace. Each continually reacted on the other, continually they sapped supernaturalism. De Dominis commenced, and Newton completed, the explanation of the rainbow; they showed that it was not the weapon of warfare of God, but the accident of rays of light in drops of water. De Dominis was decoyed to Rome through the promise of an archbishopric, and the hope of a cardinal's hat. He was lodged in a fine residence, but carefully watched. Accused of having suggested a concord between Rome and England, he was imprisoned in the castle of St. Angelo, and there died. He was brought in his coffin before an ecclesiastical tribunal, adjudged guilty of heresy, and his body, with a heap of heretical books, was cast into the flames. Franklin, by demonstrating the identity of lightning and electricity, deprived Jupiter of his thunder-bolt. The marvels of superstition were displaced by the wonders of truth. The two telescopes, the reflector and the achromatic, inventions of the last century, permitted man to penetrate into the infinite grandeurs of the universe, to recognize, as far as such a thing is possible, its illimitable spaces, its measureless times; and a little later the achromatic microscope placed before his eyes the world of the infinitely small. The air-balloon carried him above the clouds, the diving-bell to the bottom of the sea. The thermometer gave him true measures of the variations of heat; the barometer, of the pressure of the air. The introduction of the balance imparted exactness to chemistry, it proved the indestructibility of matter. The discovery of oxygen, hydrogen, and many other gases, the isolation of aluminum, calcium, and other metals, showed that earth and air and water are not elements. With an enterprise that can never be too much commended, advantage was taken of the transits of Venus, and, by sending expeditions to different regions, the distance of the earth from the sun was determined. The step that European intellect had made between 1456 and 1759 was illustrated by Halley's comet. When it appeared in the former year, it was considered as the harbinger of the vengeance of God, the dispenser of the most dreadful of his retributions, war, pestilence, famine. By order of the pope, all the church-bells in Europe were rung to scare it away, the faithful were commanded to add each day another prayer; and, as their prayers had often in so marked a manner been answered in eclipses and droughts and rains, so on this occasion it was declared that a victory over the comet had been vouchsafed to the pope. But, in the mean time, Halley, guided by the revelations of Kepler and Newton, had discovered that its motions, so far from being controlled by the supplications of Christendom, were guided in an elliptic orbit by destiny. Knowing that Nature bad denied to him an opportunity of witnessing the fulfillment of his daring prophecy, he besought the astronomers of the succeeding generation to watch for its return in 1759, and in that year it came.

Discoveries in Astronomy and Chemistry.

Whoever will in a spirit of impartiality examine what had been done by Catholicism for the intellectual and material advancement of Europe, during her long reign, and what has been done by science in its brief period of action, can, I am persuaded, come to no other conclusion than this, that, in instituting a comparison, he has established a contrast. And yet, how imperfect, how inadequate is the catalogue of facts I have furnished in the foregoing pages! I have said nothing of the spread of instruction by the diffusion of the arts of reading and writing, through public schools, and the consequent creation of a reading community; the modes of manufacturing public opinion by newspapers and reviews, the power of journalism, the diffusion of information public and private by the post-office and cheap mails, the individual and social advantages of newspaper advertisements. I have said nothing of the establishment of hospitals, the first exemplar of which was the Invalides of Paris; nothing of the improved prisons, reformatories, penitentiaries, asylums, the treatment of lunatics, paupers, criminals; nothing of the construction of canals, of sanitary engineering, or of census reports; nothing of the invention of stereotyping, bleaching by chlorine, the cotton-gin, or of the marvelous contrivances with which cotton-mills are filled -- contrivances which have given us cheap clothing, and therefore added to cleanliness, comfort, health; nothing of the grand advancement of medicine and surgery, or of the discoveries in physiology, the cultivation of the fine arts, the improvement of agriculture and rural economy, the introduction of chemical manures and farm-machinery. I have not referred to the manufacture of iron and its vast affiliated industries; to those of textile fabrics; to the collection of museums of natural history, antiquities, curiosities. I have passed unnoticed the great subject of the manufacture of machinery by itself -- the invention of the slide-rest, the planing-machine, and many other contrivances by which engines can be constructed with almost mathematical correctness. I have said nothing adequate about the railway system, or the electric telegraph, nor about the calculus, or lithography, the air-pump, or the voltaic battery; the discovery of Uranus or Neptune, and more than a hundred asteroids; the relation of meteoric streams to comets; nothing of the expeditions by land and sea that have been sent forth by various governments for the determination of important astronomical or geographical questions; nothing of the costly and accurate experiments they have caused to be made for the ascertainment of fundamental physical data. I have been so unjust to our own century that I have made no allusion to some of its greatest scientific triumphs: its grand conceptions in natural history; its discoveries in magnetism and electricity; its invention of the beautiful art of photography; its applications of spectrum analysis; its attempts to bring chemistry under the three laws of Avogadro, of Boyle and Mariotte, and of Charles; its artificial production of organic substances from inorganic material, of which the philosophical consequences are of the utmost importance; its reconstruction of physiology by laying the foundation of that science on chemistry; its improvements and advances in topographical surveying and in the correct representation of the surface of the globe. I have said nothing about rifled-guns and armored ships, nor of the revolution that has been made in the art of war; nothing of that gift to women, the sewing-machine; nothing of the noble contentions and triumphs of the arts of peace -- the industrial exhibitions and world's fairs.

What a catalogue have we here, and yet how imperfect! It gives merely a random glimpse at an ever-increasing intellectual commotion -- a mention of things as they casually present themselves to view. How striking the contrast between this literary, this scientific activity, and the stagnation of the middle ages!

The intellectual enlightenment that surrounds this activity has imparted unnumbered blessings to the human race. In Russia it has emancipated a vast serf-population; in America it has given freedom to four million negro slaves. In place of the sparse dole of the monastery-gate, it has organized charity and directed legislation to the poor. It has shown medicine its true function, to prevent rather than to cure disease. In statesmanship it has introduced scientific methods, displacing random and empirical legislation by a laborious ascertainment of social facts previous to the application of legal remedies. So conspicuous, so impressive is the manner in which it is elevating men, that the hoary nations of Asia seek to participate in the boon. Let us not forget that our action on them must be attended by their reaction on us. If the destruction of paganism was completed when all the gods were brought to Rome and confronted there, now, when by our wonderful facilities of locomotion strange nations and conflicting religions are brought into common presence -- the Mohammedan, the Buddhist, the Brahman-modifications of them all must ensue. In that conflict science alone will stand secure; for it has given us grander views of the universe, more awful views of God.

Inventions and Discoveries.

The spirit that has imparted life to this movement, that has animated these discoveries and inventions, is Individualism; in some minds the hope of gain, in other and nobler ones the expectation of honor. It is, then, not to be wondered at that this principle found a political embodiment, and that, during the last century, on two occasions, it gave rise to social convulsions -- the American and the French Revolutions. The former has ended in the dedication of a continent to Individualism -- there, under republican forms, before the close of the present century, one hundred million people, with no more restraint than their common security requires, will be pursuing an unfettered career. The latter, though it has modified the political aspect of all Europe, and though illustrated by surprising military successes, has, thus far, not consummated its intentions; again and again it has brought upon France fearful disasters. Her dual form of government -- her allegiance to her two sovereigns, the political and the spiritual -- has made her at once the leader and the antagonist of modern progress. With one hand she has enthroned Reason, with the other she has re-established and sustained the pope. Nor will this anomaly in her conduct cease until she bestows a true education on all her children, even on those of the humblest rustic.

American and French Revolutions.

The intellectual attack made on existing opinions by the French Revolution was not of a scientific, but of a literary character; it was critical and aggressive. But Science has never been an aggressor. She has always acted on the defensive, and left to her antagonist the making of wanton attacks. Nevertheless, literary dissent is not of such ominous import as scientific; for literature is, in its nature, local -- science is cosmopolitan.

If, now, we demand, What has science done for the promotion of modern civilization; what has it done for the happiness, the well-being of society? we shall find our answer in the same manner that we reached a just estimate of what Latin Christianity had done. The reader of the foregoing paragraphs would undoubtedly infer that there must have been an amelioration in the lot of our race; but, when we apply the touchstone of statistics, that inference gathers precision. Systems of philosophy and forms of religion find a measure of their influence on humanity in census-returns. Latin Christianity, in a thousand years, could not double the population of Europe; it did not add perceptibly to the term of individual life. But, as Dr. Jarvis, in his report to the Massachusetts Board of Health, has stated, at the epoch of the Reformation "the average longevity in Geneva was 21.21 years, between 1814 and 1833 it was 40.68; as large a number of persons now live to seventy years as lived to forty, three hundred years ago. In 1693 the British Government borrowed money by selling annuities on lives from infancy upward, on the basis of the average longevity. The contract was profitable. Ninety-seven years later another tontine, or scale of annuities, on the basis of the same expectation of life as in the previous century, was issued. These latter annuitants, however, lived so much longer than their predecessors, that it proved to be a very costly loan for the government. It was found that, while ten thousand of each sex in the first tontine died under the age of twenty-eight, only five thousand seven hundred and seventy-two males and six thousand four hundred and sixteen females in the second tontine died at the same age, one hundred years later."

We have been comparing the spiritual with the practical, the imaginary with the real. The maxims that have been followed in the earlier and the later period produced their inevitable result. In the former that maxim was, "Ignorance is the mother of Devotion;" in the latter, "Knowledge is Power."

Science and Civilization.