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mouth spake." Yet there is no thrusting of the subject forward. It is not only presented in all its importance, but with the grace and modesty which could not fail to command respect and attention.
Not satisfied with his labors in the several classes which he attended, he took an active part in a Literary Society, consisting of the young men attending the University; and at one of its meetings held on the 11th of December, he read an Essay, or delivered a speech on the following subject:
THAT KNOWLEDGE GIVES ITS POSSESSOR MORE POWER THAN WEALTH DOES.
It has been said by Lord Bacon, that "knowledge is power," and the same thing has been asserted of wealth by Mr. Hobbes. And with both these statements we perfectly agree. The very nature of our present debate presupposes the truth of both. The question this evening is, "Whether does wealth or knowledge give its possessor more power?" Now we do think that there is a great deal of vagueness in the terms of the question; and we do anticipate, from this, a good deal of misapprehension, and a good deal of wrangling about words and definitions, when, after all, the disputants may be as one in sentiment. There are various views that may be taken of the question; and we shall first consider it in its strict
and literary interpretation; and in this view, we think, there can be little or no debate at all. The very fiercest of our opponents, we should think, will allow, that wealth, altogether apart from knowledge, can accomplish nothing at all; for a certain degree of knowledge is necessary to the right application of wealth. An idiot might lavish the most boundless fortune, and after all be farther from his point than he was before. On the other hand, we frankly confess, that knowledge, altogether apart from wealth, can accomplish but little, since a certain portion of wealth is necessary to carry our plans into execution. The fact is, that, to accomplish any thing of importance, they must go hand in hand,-knowledge must devise the plan, and wealth, in general, must furnish the means to carry that plan into execution. To knowledge and wealth may we justly apply the language of Sallust when speaking of the mind and the body: "Utrumque per se indigens, alterum alterius, auxilio eget."
But even in this view of the subject there are some things which knowledge can do altogether independent of wealth, though we know of none that wealth can do altogether independent of knowledge. Thus, with a mere knowledge of the power of the lever, (a machine so simple that it may be had for nothing,) I can raise a very great weight, a thing to accomplish which, wealth might have been lavished in vain.
But there is another view of the subject, and we think the most correct of all, in which wealth itself may be said to be the result of knowledge, and, consequently, all the power which is attributed to wealth may be referred to knowledge as its ultimate cause. And, that this is a correct
view, a very slight attention to the subject will convince us. Let us look to that country which is sunk lowest in the depths of ignorance, and we shall invariably find that that country too is sunk lowest in the depths of poverty and wretchedness; and that, on the other hand, that country which stands highest in the scale of knowledge, stands highest also in scale of wealth. And if we just consider how much commerce is indebted to the invention of the compass, and the discoveries of astronomy, and how much manufactures owe to the invention of machinery, and how much their productive powers are thus increased, we shall come to the conclusion, that almost, if not altogether, all our wealth is the result of our knowledge. Most justly then, viewing the subject in this light, might we turn the weapons of our opponents against themselves, and make their every argument, for their side of the question, to tell most powerfully against them on our
But this, though the most just and philosophical view of the question, is evidently not the view that was intended to be taken of it: for it is a view that resolves the question itself into an absurdity, -A view, which, if the framers of the question had taken, they would never have framed it all. And though we could thus take the advantage of our adversaries by disarming them, and then by those very arms, compelling them to surrender, we are not reduced to such a shift, we can meet them upon more honorable terms.
We shall therefore attempt to show, that, even in the more loose and ordinary interpretation of the question, knowledge gives its possessor more power than wealth does. And, as the word power
is very general and undefined, we shall take two modifications of it; viz. mechanical power, and political power. By the mechanical power of knowledge, we mean that power which it gives us over inanimate nature; and, by its political power, that power which it gives us over our fellow-men; -and from both these acceptations of the term, we shall try to show, that knowledge gives us more power than wealth. First, with regard to its mechanical power. We would remark here, that two agents may both be capable of performing the same thing, and yet the power of the one may very much exceed that of the other; and in such a case we must estimate their relative power by the effort which it costs each to perform the thing in view, and we shall find that the power is inversely as the effort. Thus I may be able to lift a weight with my little finger which a child can do only by exerting his whole strength, and in this case I am said to have more power than the child because the effort it costs me to do the same thing is not so great. Now, we shall take a case analogous to this where something is to be done, and where knowledge and wealth may be said to be the agents, where we have a distinct view of the way in which each performs it.* Wealth performs the task, but it is with such an effort as almost drained the coffers of even Roman resources. She builds a gigantic bridge across the valley, while knowledge accomplishes the same object by simply laying a pipe along the ground. When we compare the vast and imposing fabric of an ancient aqueduct with the simple, and withal, undignified apparatus of a modern waterpipe, we cannot fail to be struck with the ease and
* The problem is to carry water across a valley.
simplicity with which knowledge can perform that which it costs wealth such an effort to accomplish. And one would think, that, in viewing these proud remains of Roman wealth and Roman ignorance, a feeling of the painfully ludicrous would stifle our rising admiration of their sublimity, and that the very grandeur of their structure, when compared with their design, would remind us of
-"an ocean into tempest wrought To waft a feather, or to drown a fly."
But though, in the present instance, wealth, by the mightiness of the effort, may seem to rival knowledge in solving the problem, there are many instances were she is left far behind, and cannot, by the very mightiest efforts, come up with knowledge.
By the assistance of knowledge, we are enabled almost by a touch of our finger, to raise the most immense weights, and may almost be said to weigh the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance. By her assistance can we scour the unknown regions of ether, and penetrate the still more secret caverns of the deep. By her assistance too, can we guide a floating city over the main, and turn it at our will by a little helm. By her assistance, too, can we impress the very elements into our service, and make the winds our messengers, and the water and the fire our slaves. And by her assistance, too, can we give to inanimate objects all the vigor of animal life; thus creating for ourselves a Behemoth, whose bones are brass, and sinews bars of iron, thus making him our slave, and forcing him to prepare for us those necessaries and conveniences which formerly we obtained by the sweat of our brow. Such is