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important an influence upon the development of the mind and feeling of a people, and which are so generally taken as the type of the degree and character of that development, that it is on the fragments of works of art, come down to us from bygone nations, that we are wont to form our estimate of the state of their civilisation, manners, customs, and religion..
'It must be an additional source of gratification to me to find that part of the funds rendered available for the support of this undertaking should be the ancient grant which, at the union of the two kingdoms, was secured towards the encouragement of the fisheries and manufactures of Scotland, as it affords a most pleasing proof that those important branches of industry have arrived at that stage of manhood and prosperity, when, no longer requiring the aid of a fostering Government, they can maintain themselves independent, relying upon their own vigour and activity, and can now in their turn lend assistance and support to their younger and weaker sisters, the Fine Arts.
"Gentlemen, the history of this grant exhibits to us the picture of a most healthy national progress; the ruder arts connected with the necessaries of life, first gaining strength; then education and science supervening and directing further exertions; and, lastly, the arts which only adorn life, becoming longed for by a prosperous and educated people.'
The subject of the Fine Arts was further illustrated on the occasion of his honouring the Royal Academy with his presence at their annual dinner, which took place May 3, 1851. Here we have very remarkable words, proving the complete correspondence of the intelligent and sympathising powers. Here no longer an exposition of the general relations of Art to a nationas on laying the first stone for a building to be dedicated to the fine arts—but the expression of a close sympathy with the artist mind, more appropriate in an apartment surrounded with the fruits of their labour. That he was never in any respect behind his audience, whatever that might be, appears here in his allusions to the objects, difficulties, and peculiar experience of the Institution—a chord which he touches with characteristic sense and discretion.
Gentlemen, the production of all works in art or poetry requires in their conception and execution not only an exercise of the intellect
, skill, and patience, but particularly a concurrent warmth of feeling and a free flow of imagination. This renders them most tender plants, which will thrive only in an atmosphere calculated to maintain that warmth, and that atmosphere is one of kindness; kindness towards the artist personally as well as towards his production. An unkind word of criticism passes like a cold blast over their tender shoots, and shrivels them up, checking the flow of the sap, which was rising to produce, perhaps, multitudes of flowers and fruit. But still
eriticism is absolutely necessary to the development of art, and the injudicious praise of an inferior work becomes an insult to superior genius.
* In this i espect our times are peculiarly unfavourable when compared with those when Madonnas were painted in the seclusion of convents; for we have now on the one hand the eager competition of a vast array of artists of every degree of talent and skill, and on the other as judge, a great public, for the greater part wholly uneducated in art, and thus led by professional writers, who often strive to impress the public with a great idea of their own artistic knowledge by the merciless manner in which they treat works which cost those who produced them the highest efforts of mind or feeling.
• Works of art, by being publicly exhibited and offered for sale, are becoming articles of trade, following as such the unreasoning laws of markets and fashion; and public and even private patronage is swayed by their tyrannical influence.
It is, then, to an institution like this, Gentlemen, that we must look for a counterpoise to these evils. Here young artists are educated and taught the mysteries of their profession; those who have distinguished themselves and given proof of their talent and power receive a badge of acknowledgment from their professional brethren by being elected Associates of the Academy, and are at last, after long toil and continued exertion, received into a select aristocracy of a limited number, and shielded in any further struggle by their wellestablished reputation, of which the letters R.A. attached to their names give a pledge to the public.
*If this body is often assailed from without, it shares only the fate of every aristocracy; if more than another, this only proves that it is even more difficult to sustain an aristocracy of merit than one of birth or of wealth, and may serve as a useful check upon yourselves when tempted at your elections to let personal predilection compete with real merit.'
We must pass on more quickly through this deeply interesting ground, meeting this good and able man from year to year associated with various already established or just commencing works of mercy and intelligence:-at the anniversary of the third Jubilee for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, in June, 1851 ; at another Royal Agricultural Show, held at Windsor, in the Home Park, in the same year; at the Bicentenary Festival of the Corporation of the Sons of the Clergy, in May 10, 1854; at the opening of the New Cattle Market, in Copenhagen Fields, Islington; at the Banquet in the Birmingham Town Hall, on the occasion of laying the first stone of the Birmingham Midland Institute, November 22, 1855; at the opening of the Golden Lane Schools, March 19, 1857, attended by the Prince of Wales,—an occasion which went deep into the hearts of
the people, who now say, as we have reason to know from several quarters, that they have lost their best friend ;' and at the opening of the Exhibition of Art Treasures at Manchester, May 5, 1857, in the Introduction to which, in the volume of the Speeches, a letter addressed by His Royal Highness to Lord Ellesmere will be admiringly read.
But we must go back to one, the meeting at Birmingham, where the Prince uttered sentiments at considerable length, which, more than all which have gone before, showed the scope and clearness of his mind, his aptitude for defining great normal principles, his opinions on the deficiencies he conceived to exist in the scheme of education carried out in our public schools and seats of learning, and his foresight as to the results he anticipated from such Institutions—results which future thinkers, following his example in the study of their own times, may compare with the words of this little book, and wonder at the wisdom that fell from these too early silenced lips.
It has been a great pleasure to me to have been able to participate, in however trifling a degree, in a work which I do not look upon as a simple act of worldly wisdom on the part of this great town and locality, but as one of the first public acknowledgments of a principle which is daily forcing its way amongst us, and is destined to play a great and important part in the future development of this nation, and of the world in general : I mean the introduction of science and art as the unconscious regulators of productive industry.
• The courage and spirit of enterprise with which an immense amount of capital is embarked in industrial pursuits, and the skill and indefatigable perseverance with which these are carried on in this country, cannot but excite universal admiration; but in all our operations, whether agricultural or manufacturing, it is not we who operate, but the laws of nature, which we have set in operation.
'It is, then, of the highest importance that we should know these laws, in order to know what we are about, and the reason why certain things are, which occur daily under our hands, and what course we are to pursue with regard to them.
Without such knowledge we are condemned to one of three states : either we merely go on to do things just as our fathers did, and for no better reason than because they did them so; or, trusting to some personal authority, we adopt at random the recommendation of some specific, in a speculative hope that it may answer; or lastly—and this is the most favourable case—we ourselves improve upon certain processes; but this can only be the result of an experience hardly earned and dearly bought, and which, after all, can only embrace a comparatively short space of time and a small number of experiments.
From none of these causes can we hope for much progress ; for the mind, however ingenious, has no materials to work with, and remains in presence of phenomena, the causes of which are hidden from it.
But these laws of nature, these Divine laws, are capable of being discovered, and understood, and being taught, and made our own. This is the task of science : and, whilst science discovers and teaches these laws, art teaches their application. No pursuit is therefore too insignificant to be capable of becoming the subject both of a science and an art.
* The Fine Arts as far as they relate to painting, sculpture, and architecture), which are sometimes confounded with art in general, rest on the application of the laws of form and colour, and what may be called the science of the beautiful. They do not rest on any arbitrary theory on the modes of producing pleasurable emotions, but follow fixed laws ; more difficult, perhaps, to seize than those regulating the material world, because belonging partly to the sphere of the ideal, and of our spiritual essence, yet perfectly appreciable and teachable, both abstractedly and historically, from the works of different ages and nations.
No human pursuits make any material progress until science is brought to bear upon them. We have seen accordingly many of them slumber for centuries upon centuries; but from the moment that Science has touched them with her magic wand, they have sprung
forward and taken strides which amaze, and almost awe, the beholder.
* Look at the transformation which has gone on around us since the laws of gravitation, electricity, magnetism, and the expansive power of heat have become known to us. It has altered our whole state of existence; one might say the whole face of the globe. We owe this to Science, and to Science alone; and she has other treasures in store for us, if we will but call her to our assistance.
"It is sometimes objected by the ignorant that Science is uncertain and changeable, and they point with
a malicious kind of pleasure to the many exploded theories which have been superseded by others as a proof that the present knowledge may be also unsound, and, after all, not worth having. But they are not aware that while they think to cast blame upon Science, they bestow in fact the highest praise upon her.
'For that is precisely the difference between science and prejudice: that the latter keeps stubbornly to its position, whether disproved or not, whilst the former is an unarrestable movement towards the fountain of truth, caring little for cherished authorities or sentiments, but continually progressing; feeling no shame at her shortcomings, but, on the contrary, the highest pleasure when freed from an error at having advanced another step towards the attainment of divine truth-a pleasure not even intelligible to the pride of ignorance.
"We also hear, not unfrequently, science and practice, scientific knowledge and common sense, contrasted as antagonistic. A strange error! for Science is eminently practical, and must be so, as she sees and knows what she is doing : whilst common practice is condemned to work in the dark, applying natural ingenuity to unknown powers to obtain a known result. *Far be it from me to undervalue the creative power of genius, or
to treat shrewd common sense as worthless without knowledge. But nobody will tell me that the same genius would not take an incomparably higher flight if supplied with all the means which knowledge can impart, or that common sense does not become, in fact, only truly powerful when in possession of the materials upon which judgment is to be exercised.
• The study of the laws by which the Almighty governs the universe is therefore our bounden duty. Of these laws our great academies and seats of education have, rather arbitrarily, selected only two spheres or groups (as I may call them) as essential parts of our national education--the laws which regulate quantities and proportions, which form the subject of mathematics; and the laws regulating the expression of our thoughts through the medium of language; that is to say, grammar, which finds its purest expression in the classical languages. These laws are most important branches of knowledge; their study trains and elevates the mind; but they are not the only ones; there are others, which we cannot disregard, which we cannot do without. There are, for instance, the laws governing the human mind and its relation to the Divine Spirit (the subject of logic and metaphysics); there are those which govern our bodily nature and its connection with the soul (the subject of physiology and psychology); those which govern human society and the relation between man and man (the subjects of politics, jurisprudence, and political economy); and many others.
• Whilst of the laws just mentioned some have been recognised as essentials of education in different institutions, and some will by the course of time more fully assert their right of recognition, the laws regulating matter and form are those which will constitute the chief object of your pursuits; and, as the principle of subdivision of labour is the one most congenial to our age, I would advise you to keep to this speciality, and to follow with undivided attention chiefly the sciences of mechanics, physics, and chemistry, and the fine arts of painting, sculpture, and architecture.
• You will thus have conferred an inestimable boon upon your country, and in a short time have the satisfaction of witnessing the beneficial results upon our national powers of production. Other parts of the country will, I doubt not, emulate your example ; and I live in hope that all these institutions will some day find a central point of union, and thus complete their national organization.'
With the meeting at Manchester in 1857, the collection of Speeches and Addresses terminates. One most memorable discourse has been delivered since, which stands as the crown and apex of all. This was the address to the British Association at Aberdeen, in August, 1859, on undertaking the office of President for the ensuing year. We have now learnt by experience that every sentiment that fell from those gracious lips belonged to the things' which, as the Oriental proverb says, are the sons of heaven,' as distinguished from the words which are the