Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 28.djvu/488

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474
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

THE INFLUENCE OF INVENTIONS UPON CIVILIZATION.
By CHAUNCEY SMITH.

IN Westminster Abbey, that place where England honors her great men with burial, and records their names and achievements, there stands a monument bearing this inscription from the pen of Lord Brougham, who esteemed it one of the greatest honors of his life that he was called upon to record the nation's appreciation of the man in whose honor the monument was erected:

"Not to perpetuate a name

Which must endure while the peaceful arts flourish,
But to show
That mankind have learned to honor those
Who best deserve their gratitude.
The King,
His Ministers, and many of the Nobles
And Commoners of the Realm,
Raised this monument to
James Watt,
Who, directing the force of an original Genius
Early exercised in Philosophic research,
To the improvement of
The steam-engine.
Enlarged the Resources of his Country,
Increased the Power of Man,
And rose to an eminent place
Among the most illustrious followers of Science

And the real Benefactors of the World."

The world has always paid homage to its distinguished warriors, statesmen, orators, poets, philanthropists, artists, historians, travelers, and to all who have left the impress of their works upon the history of mankind.

It is not until recently, however, that inventors have received a large share of these honors. As a class, they hardly had an existence till within a hundred years. Within that time they have risen to the highest place among those who, in the language of the eulogy I have just quoted, best deserve the gratitude of mankind, and by their works they have made greater changes in the face of society, and in the relations of civilized man to the physical world, than all the warriors and statesmen who have flourished since the commencement of the Christian era.

I am not unmindful, in making this statement, of the great changes that followed the introduction of the Christian religion, or the advent