Hints for a Joint-Stock Horse-Manufactory Company
Invention, Human Species, Progress, Steam-power, Transport, Accidents, Aerostatics, Agriculture, Adulteration, Cruelty
The narrator reports having come into possession of the papers of a recently deceased friend, who left behind a 'digest of wonderful discoveries, phenomena, and projects [...] in order to establish, beyond dispute, his favourite theory of the Perfectibility of Man'. One of his 'most sanguine speculations' was based on 'the indefinite application of steam': he proposed the use of steam-power to propel all wheeled vehicles (394). The narrator reflects on the consequences of such a scheme. He considers the possibility of making steam-driven horses. Among the advantages would be the reduction in demand for oats, and the consequent cheapening of wheat and barley, which would lead to a reduction in adulteration. Cruelty to animals would be reduced with the 'invention of steam jack-asses, which may be thumped and bruised ad libitum' (396).
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