The Advantages of Education and Science
Education, Societies, Utility, Machinery, Invention, Genius, Class, Endeavour, Nationalism
Royal Navy—Woolwich Dockyard
The article introduces a speech of Olinthus G Gregory, given at 'a meeting of the mechanics of Deptford, held last week for the purpose of establishing a Mechanics' Institute'. Gregory's speech argues for the 'diffusion of knowledge' on grounds of utility, giving instances of the practical application of science both in technical innovation and more widely. He argues that 'improvements' are 'far more likely' to be made by those involved in the practical arts than by 'those whose attention is devoted to [...] theory'. In addition, he gives instances of the 'genius' of low-born scientists 'shaking off the trammels that bound it, and springing into new life and freedom', including William Nicholson, Richard Arkwright, James Ferguson, William Herschel, James Watt, James Brindley, and John Ramage. What is distinctive about these individuals is that they are Englishmen: 'the most free, the most intelligent, the most inquisitive, the most virtuous people on the face of the earth'.
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