LECTURE; CONTAINING A SHORT HISTORY OF MECHANICS, AND OF USEFUL ARTS AND MANUFACTURES, Reverently DEDICATED to the respectable supporters of LIBERTY and PROPERTY, THE MECHANICS OF THE UNITED STATES, But particularly addressed and delivered to the Mechanics of Philadelphia, By their faithful servant and fellow labourer, ABSALOM AIMWELL, ESQUIRE.

By these we support our families, and enrich our country.



Mechanics' Lecture.


WE find recorded in the sacred Scripture, that he who had but one talent, went and hid it in the earth. But I, though I have but half a talent, am de­termined to use it to the best advantage.

Much of your time and money has been already spent in hearing LECTURES.—Lectures on philosophy—Lectures on grammar—Lectures on languages, both dead and living, have been delivered. Lectures on heads, and hearts, have been heard with great applause. Lectures on politics, from New-Hampshire to Georgia—yea, from beyond Babylon, from China to Chippawa, have sounded in our ears. Long lectures on law are daily delivered, to the great perplexity of all jurymen. Lectures on physic, or, more learnedly, upon materia medica, some of you may have heard; and our churches echo and re-echo with lectures on divinity.—But no lecture, to my knowledge, has been delivered to ME­CHANICS worthy to engage their attention:—I, there­fore, who had the good fortune to be born the son of a mechanic, have taken on me the important task of lec­turing to that respectable part of the community.

Taking it for granted, gentlemen MECHANICS, that you possess those sentiments of candor, and generosity, which are more ready to excuse faults than to impute them, even where they really are, I do the more chear­fully speak.

[Page 4] I shall attempt to treat of your different professions separately; though it cannot be expected that every profession will be fully treated of. My abilities are un­equal, abilities superior to mine would be unequal, to such a task.—I shall therefore dwell, only on those branches which appear most important, and necessary to the good of society.

Were I addressing an audience of country gentlemen, on the pleasing subject of agriculture, I should probably begin with our first parents, Adam and Eve, in their primogenial state:—But, when I have the honor of addressing MECHANICS, and treating of ARCHITECTURE, the sublime subject requires that I begin long before the days of Adam:—for who but an all-wise and omnipo­tent ARCHITECT, could plan the heavens, and bring into existence an universe of worlds! In the language of the poet,

All nature is but ART unknown to thee,
All chance, DIRECTION! which thou canst not see.

Cast your thoughts back into eternity! There, before creation began, the philosophic eye discovers an infinite maze, which the wisdom of man is unable to compre­hend. All then was one continued ocean of chaes, without a bottom, and without a share; the centre of which was every where, and the circumference no where. God, the great Architect of worlds was the centre: He, by infinite wisdom, called that glorious luminary the sun into existence; then, with his almighty compasses, swept the circling path of every world. He was the first MECHANIC. He laid the foundation of the earth, that it should never be removed; and it was HE who spread the beautiful curtains of heaven, bespangled with brilliant stars.—"When we consider the hea­vens, the work of his fingers, the sun and the stars, which he hath ordained," we are filled with the same [Page 5] sentiments of adoration which impelled good old David to cry cut—Lord! what is man that thou art mindful of him, or the son of man that thou visitest him! By one all sublime ARCHITECT, the heavens were framed—worlds, mountains, rivers, beasts, and birds, were made; and by the same Almighty MECHANIC man was formed—and to crown the whole, woman being taken from man, came forth double refined, the most perfect work of all creation. Here we observe, that, the Almighty did, not only plan his own work, but did execute it Himself. This may serve to us as a perpetual example of industry:—for if the Deity Himself, did not think it degrading his character to labour, how despicable must that man appear who despises labour, or a labourer!

I now proceed to consider mortal man as a MECHAN­IC. The first man and woman were at the beginning gardeners; for we read, that they were put into the gar­den of Eden, to keep it and to dress it. But when the cu­riosity of Eve, prompted by the devil, had ruined for ever her peace of mind; honest Adam, like every fond husband, grieved at the pensive tears of his beloved rib, could not endure to see her unhappy alone; and know­ing that misery loves company, he also tasted the deli­cious morsel. Then, and not till then, they discovered their want of clothes. Necessity, the mother of cun­ning ARTS, soon put it into their heads to few fig-leaves together, by which they furnished themselves with a­prons. Thus we see that the first man was a MECHAN­IC. And what was his trade?—A TAYLOR!—and his wise a tayloress; for they both sewed.—I know it has been a common saying, that it takes nine taylors to make one man; but we find the truth is, that one taylor was the father of all men. Kings and queens, princes and princesses, emperors and nabobs, lords and beggars, are all the descendants of one TAYLOR!!—If we could [Page 6] be brought to realise this truth, with what reverence should we bow to that ancient and venerable order of the needle and thread! I know it will be argued by needle­makers, that before Adam could sew he must have had a needle. But we may suppose that a thorn, with a piece of tough bark answered for the first needle and thread.

I shall attempt to draw some good instruction from each trade as I pass along. The fig-leaves, you know could have answered but little purpose alone; but a number of them joined together, did answer a very good purpose. This teaches us, that man can be of little ser­vice to the world while alone, but being united, nothing is too hard for him to accomplish. Even one man pro­perly united was capable of peopling the whole world!

As it is the business of a taylor to sew many pieces together, in order to make one garment; so in society, let them endeavor to sew every member together in or­der to promote the general good—to unite neighbors together, with the basting threads of love, and sew them fast with the cords of virtue: But, cut off all the frag­ments and tatters of society, with the shears of denial; stab the wicked with the sharp bodkins of conscience, and press down tyranny with an iron goose.

That which was most necessary was first attended to, namely, an apron: and after our first parents had given themselves a tolerable suit of fig-leaves, 'tis probable the next thing that claimed their attention, was a house, to screen them from the inclement storms. A hollow tree might have answered for a short time, but as that could not have been convenient, a house must have been built. Now in building a house, gentlemen, which mechanic is first employed?—Certainly the


The mason lays the foundation, and without a foun­dation you know the building could not stand.— [Page 7] There is a society scattered abroad over the earth, which call themselves free masons—yet some of them are the greatest slaves in the world; and slaves to the worst of masters, passion and vice. Can such be called Free Ma­sons? No: but every MASON in Pennsylvania, who is twenty-one years old, is truly a free mason.

The art of masonry we find to be very ancient; for, to say nothing of the foundations of the earth, laid by the first grand master mason, we shall begin with the mighty tower of Babel.

Men fearing that a flood of waters would again deluge the earth, for their mutual safety, assembled together, and formed one grand congress of the world: at which they agreed to build a tower, whose top should reach hea­ven; that when the waters should come again, they might fly thereto and be safe. And what but the solid work of MASONS could be deemed sufficient to lay the foundation of such a work!—Stones formed by the hand of Nature, being the most permanent of all ma­terials, were probably made use of to lay the foundation of this mighty fabric. But here the ambitious views of man were blasted.—The Almighty King of heaven and earth, who knows best what is good for man, would not suffer him in his mortal state, thus to scale the walls of heaven. HE, being perfect master of all lan­guages, as well as arts and sciences, descended from his lofty throne and confounded the language of man; and introduced new languages which the sons of men could not understand. This alone was sufficient to frustrate their design; for when the masons called for mortar, the attendants brought stone; and when they called for stone, the attendants brought mortar. Their words founded as uncouth to one another, as dead languages found now-a-days to living ears. Mad and perplexed at their own confused jargon, "they left off to build," [Page 8] and separating from each other, spread themselves over the face of the earth, and laid the foundations of cities.

The pyramids of Egypt, those amazing piles, which has been the astonishment of many ages, and which seem to bid defiance, even to time itself, none but Ma­sons could build. That stupenduous wall which sepa­rates China from Tartary, fifteen hundred miles in length, very thick and very high, was built by the ma­sons of China, to prevent the incursions of the Tartarian robbers. It has already borne the storms, of more than eighteen hundred years, and will probably remain the admiration of many ages yet unborn.

The magnificent walls of Babylon, have been much celebrated by historians; but the wild ambition of a ty­rant warrior, levelled them to the ground. Though the plan of this famous city of Philadelphia, so justly ad­mired for its regularity, was drawn from ancient Bab­ylon; yet it was you, gentlemen Masons, and your fa­thers, who laid its foundations.


Much is due to Masons for laying foundations and raising walls; but without CARPENTERS, their work would be incomplete; for a house, without a roof, would be but a poor shelter, and without the inside work would be but a shell. Though you might build a house, yet it would smoke without a chimney; and a smoky house always makes a scolding wife; and two such evils would be intolerable: Therefore you cannot build a house complete, without the assistance of Ma­sons; but a stable perhaps you may. And a stable, we are informed, was the birth-place of the Prince of Car­penters; that divine Mechanic, who taught men that profession alone, was not sufficient to support them, ei­ther in this world, or the world to come. HE broke off the shackles of superstition, which had long been rivet­ted [Page 9] on the minds of men; and taught, that true religion consisted in doing to others those things which we would that others should do unto us. HE, by divine precepts, by his moral life, and virtuous examples, is justly esteemed the Saviour of men. This was the CARPENTER, the son of Joseph. His abilities were too great, and his genius too extensive, to be confined to wood: He there­fore laid by perishable things, and, with divine wisdom, framed a building, wide as the world, deep as its cen­tre, and more durable than pillars of brass. The stars shall fade away, the sun himself grow dim with age, and nature find in years, but this building, founded on truth, shall stand secure amidst the war of elements, the wreck of matter, and the crush of worlds.

What profession of mechanics can boast of a building capable to outride the tempest of an universal deluge? None but carpenters can share this glory; and Ship­Carpenters only. Noah the great ship-wright of the old world, was the man highly favored of God. He had ability to construct a ship sufficient to buffet the foaming billows of an angry sea, that spread death and destruction all around. While he, with his family, rode unconcerned above the drowning world; and from the antedeluvian shores landed safely on the mountain of Ararat.

'Tis needless to dwell on the many advantages arising to the world from carpenters. Each of us feel our ob­ligations to them, while in our houses we are screened from the wintry blast! Securely we may fit and defy the angry storm driving at our windows. To them the sailer is indebted for his winged dwelling while he plows the ocean. Commerce proclaims your utility to the world, for you are the life of merchants. Yonder HALL* stands a monument of your industry; and we [Page 10] hope it may long stand to perpetuate the memory of its virtuous founders, to their virtuous posterity. In that hall was assembled the first Congress of the American world: that august assembly, who, like good carpen­ters, framed the thirteen states into one united empire.

As it is your business, gentlemen carpenters, of many pieces to form one complete frame; so let it be your care, not only to make the frame of government as perfect as possible, but often to examine it, and see that none of the timbers become defective. You, together with masons, are the proper persons to examine frames and foundations.



Your trades cannot be considered in so fundamental a light as carpenters and masons; yet, they will readily grant, that their work is not complete till the Joiner gives it the finishing stroke. Let it be your care to join brethren, and cement them together like a glue joint.

As cabinet-making is a branch of business more par­ticularly interesting to the Ladies, I shall now address the makers of tables, trunks, drawers, &c. As your work is for the ladies, it is and ought to be the genteel­est of all wooden work. With what pleasure do you finish a chair, knowing who is to sit in it? With what neatness do you finish a case of drawers, knowing what fine things are to rest in them? And with what anxiety does a young journeyman finish the head-board of the most necessary part of a bride's furniture?—As you are employed in the service of the ladies, I think your la­bour must be a continual pleasure.

We have this inference to draw from your trade; that, in all ages of the world, and in all kingdoms, the wisest men have, or ought to have been concerned in the CABINET. Solomon, with all his wisdom, must [Page 11] have been very famous in the cabinet? and we find him to be the greatest favourite of the ladies in all the Bible. So great was his gallantry, that, though he had three hundred wives, his concubines far exceded that num­ber! Who then, would not wish to be a cabinet-maker!

But you, as well as all other mechanics, are greatly indebted to the Smiths: I therefore now turn more im­mediately to you


The conveniences and advantages, arising to all me­chanics from the labour of your hands are very great.—But suffer me to depart a little from the direct chain of my discourse.—Curiosity is natural to the soul of man as well as woman; and perhaps some may be curious to know whether the author of this Lecture sprung from a good family or not. Now I care not a straw whether a man sprung from a lord or a beggar, provided he be a good man: but some people consider a man worthy or unworthy, not according to his vir­tues and vices, but according to his family. If he chance to be from a high family, that makes ample a­mends for all his vices.—To make this digression, gentlemen, I have the example of the great and learned Dr. S—s, president of Yale college. In a sermon* at the close of the late war, which he delivered before the General Assembly of Connecticut, were these words, "O England, I once loved thee with the duty of a son; for I am a descendent of thy nobles, and the fourth from Sir Adam Knapton." In imitation of this polite philos­opher and patriotic sage, I have informed you, that I had the honour to be born the son of a mechanic. I cannot boast nobility of blood from an ancient race of profligate lords; yet I boast of blood more noble—for [Page 12] my father was a BLACKSMITH. And though I am not able to trace back his pedigree, through the dark ages of monkish ignorance; yet I have no doubt but he was a descendant from Pythagoras, that philosoper of philos­ophers, that great Blacksmith, who to his immortal hon­our, by smiting on his anvil, first discovered the har­mony of sounds. He discovered that sounds were grave or acute, in proportion to the weight of his anvil: by which music, that most divine and pleasing of all scien­ces, has been greatly improved. He was probably the son of Tubal Cain, the first man who was cunning e­nough to work in brass and iron: And Tubal Cain must have been a near relation of Jubal, the grandson of A­dam, who was the first, according to Moses, that ever played on the harp and organ. Thus, gentlemen, you see that I am descended from a family as ancient as that of the kings of England, and a race as much more no­ble, as their virtues were superior.

But to return to you, gentlemen Smiths, I have before observed, that the advantages arising to all mechanics from the labour of your hands are very great:—without you, they could do nothing. You furnish the lords of the soil with plowshares, by which they are enabled to feed the world with bread. You furnish the soldier with weapons to defend his country, and he, when oc­casion requires, stands ready to beat down the foe. If a few Blacksmiths, with red hot nail-rods, could van­quish a legion of British troops*, what army could be able to withstand your force united?

[Page 13] It is said in the heathen theology, that you are the descendents of Vulcan, god of subterranean fires, and that he came from heaven, and set up a smith's shop in the island of Lemnos, where he forged thunder bolts for his father Jupiter. Whether this story be true or not, it matters not;—but certain it is, that you have power to heap live coals of fire on the heads of your en­emies; and you can soften steel, which is harder than a lady's heart. You have the advantage of all other professions; for should the iron hand of poverty bear hard upon you, you can sell even your vises for bread! You can hammer the hardest metals into what shape you please; and none know so well as you do, the ne­cessity of striking while the iron is hot.

As the cinders separate from the pure iron, so let the wicked be separated from all your societies. While you are blowing the bellows for a welding heat, you have this lesson of morality constantly whispering in your ears; that life itself is supported by the puff of a bel­lows, and when that ceaseth to blow, man dieth like the sparks of your fire.

Be it your care to soften the hard hearts of men and women with the gentle fire of love, and blow into their minds the true principles of religion. As you weld to­gether the sinks of a chain, so let every member of your society be welded together in one chain of virtuous frienship.


I have been at a loss whether to consider Bakers as mechanics, or not: But whoever sees them catch their loaves so dextrously, must confess that their trade is an art at least. And if we consider the many kinds of creatures which come from their manufactories, such as sheep, hogs, elephants, birds, women and men on horseback, appearing at the windows of every cake [Page 14] shop, we must conclude that Bakers are Mechanics.

I think 'tis the prophet Malachi who tells us, that "the day of the Lord shall burn as an oven, and all the wicked, yea all the ungodly, shall be burnt to ashes," as you burn your faggots.

We all acknowledge our obligations to the bakers; for bread is the staff of life. You, gentlemen bakers, not only feed the poor with bread, but the rich also. You not only feed the hungry, but you warm the naked, whenever they approach your oven. If ye make your loaves good weight, happy are ye; for the Bible says, that, a just weight and balance are the Lord's.


I have been at a loss whether to consider Barbers in the line of Mechanics, or to class them with the nobility;—but when I see a head come from under their hands, I can no longer doubt of their proceeding by mechanical operations. Though the nature of their profession seems more suitable to the genius of an aristocracy, than to that of a republican government; yet, as a race of no­bility is repugnant to the nature of our constitution, I shall consider that very numerous part of the community among the order of good citizens.

You, gentlemen Barbers, often give the empty head of an empty sop, the white appearance of a wise sage. You [...] upon many a blockhead, some of which can feel [...] hot irons and sharp pins, and some cannot. The beau is not complete till you give him the finishing touch;—then he sallies forth like a butterfly, the gaudy being of a summer's day.

Your ingenuity and usefulness appears most conspic­uous in the carding machine; which is the invention of one of your fraternity in England. Studying out the plan of a machine for craping hair more expeditiously, he had the happiness to hit on the carding machine, greatly to the improvement of cotton manufactories.

[Page 15] I am not well enough acquainted with the history of Barbers to trace out their pedigree, or to enumerate many of their heroic deeds; one alone is sufficient to hand them down in the list of high same, to the latest posterity;—for when the united power of the Philistines was not sufficient to subdue the intrepid Sampson, one Barber could shave his head, and render him weak like another man. Thus, he who had the dexterity to catch three hundred foxes; the strength to tear a lion in pieces; to carry away the gates of Gaza on his shoul­ders, bars and all; to lay three thousand men dead in heaps upon heaps, with the jaw bone of an ass; and to pull down a huge play house at one jerk; he who could do all this, fell by the hand of a Barber!!!


Are a class of men very useful in the world; and we are all under great obligations to them, for our fine clothes, and our warm clothes.

Fig-leaves could answer only for a temporary dress: but as soon as Eve had learnt to spin, the ingenuity of Seth contrived to weave what his mother had spun. No [...] [...] I only conjecture; and why may not I be allowed to make some conjectures, as well as another preacher? Seth then we conclude was the first Weaver. So if this be true, and I have heard no one doubt it, Weavers must be very ancient. Fine linen, we read, was manufactured in Egypt at an early period.

Nothing remarkable has occurred to my memory, respecting WEAVERS in the bloody fields of battle. This indicates their peaceable disposition, which is in­finitely more commendable than the character of those who are full of strange caths, and bearded like the pard, jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel, seeking the bubble reputation even in the cannon's mouth.—Yet I make no doubt but they are as ready as others, to stand [Page 16] forth in defence of their country whenever it becomes necessary.

Afflicted Job compares the life of man to a weaver's shuttle: and very justly, for life, like the thread from your shuttle, is constantly spinning off. Similar to this were the divine sentiments of Plato, when he said,

"The scepter'd king, the burden'd slave,
The humble and the haughty die;
The rich, the poor, the base, the brave,
In dust, without distinction, lie!
Go search the tombs where monarchs rest,
Who once the greatest titles wore;
Of wealth and honour now berest,
And all their glories are no more!
So through the air the meteor flies,
And spreads along its gilded train;
When shat—'tis gone; its beauty dies—
Dissolves to common air again.
So 'tis with us—"

And since we imitate the meteor, in the shortness of our lives; let us also, like the meteor, while we do live, give light to all around us.

The profession of Weavers, we must conclude, was in high repute in England, at the birth of the British Spectator; for in one of these celebrated volumes we find recorded the following epitaph:

"Here lies Daniel Saul;
Spittalfield's WEAVER—and that's all!"

That is, all that he ought to be. When a great lord a­mong men dies, we often see a long string of epitaph, enumerating a thousand virtues which he never had; and which no body will believe he had. But when the poet speaks of the Weaver, he says, Spittalfield's weaver, [Page 17] and that's all. All that is good, he undoubtedly meant; all that he ought to be.

As your web, gentlemen Weavers, can be of no ser­vice until it is woven; so neither can a number of peo­ple accomplish any thing of consequence until they are united. Be it therefore your care, not only to warp and weave your cloth well together; but also to do your en­deavor to warp men into principles of virtue, justice, and morality.


The Fuller is only improving and finishing what the Weaver began; and notwithstanding the pounding and noise they make, could have no business were it not for the Weavers.

I can give information of nothing remarkable respect­ing Fullers. But a fulling-mill was once known to frighten, not only poor Sancho, who was naturally tim­orous, but struck terror to the courageous heart of Den Quixote de la Mancha. After his bloody engagement with the wind-mill, he was under trembling apprehen­sions from the thumps of a fulling-mill; until his faith­ful squire Sancho informed his worship there was no harm.

A Fuller never returns so many yards of cloth as he receives; but what he loses in length and breadth, he makes up in thickness. "This is as true, as said a preacher, as that logwood will die hats."


The Hatter's trade, is, in nature, much the same as that of the Fuller; only that the Hatter always keeps his apprentices and journeymen in hot water. This can­not be imputed to ill nature, neither; for I once knew a Hatter the best natured man that could be. Coming home late in the night, unexpectedly, he found a British officer in the house: yet he retained his good nature, [Page 18] and told the captain, that "he had mistrusted him a good while; but if ever he catch'd him doing so again, he'd throw his shoes and stockings right out at the window, let it rain as hard as it would."

A Hat is not only serviceable in screening our heads from the soorching sun; but, like charity among good Christians, it often covers a multitude of sins.

From the crown of the head we now direct your at­tention to the soal of the foot, to consider the works of the Shoemaker. But previous to the shoemaker we ought to consider the


The Tanner can take a horny hide, and make it into the most pliable leather, which answers many valuable purposes, besides making soals for men & women's shoes.

TANNERS were some of the first Christians at Joppa; for we read that St. Peter lodged there with one Simon a tanner: and doubtless Simon the Tanner was a very zealous Christian, or else St. Peter would not have asso­ciated with him.

We also read in another history, written, if I mistake not, by the renowned Esop, that Tanners, anciently, were some of the first politicians; for, says that great and crooked backt historian, "when a town was in dan­ger of being besieged, the wise inhabitants held a con­sultation which was the best method to fortify it:

A grave skillful MASON gave in his opinion,
That nothing but stone could secure the dominion:
A CARPENTER said, that, tho' that was well spoke,
Yet, 'twere better by far to defend it with oak:
A TANNER, much wiser than both these together,
Said, try what you will, friends, there's nothing like LEATHER."

Here I must remark, that the word Tanner is by some translators, rendered Currier; but I find it is all one in [Page 19] the original Creek. Yet in this instance I think it ought to be translated Tanner; because, had they agreed to fortify the town with leather, it need not have been curried; and besides, the leather must have first come from the Tanner. In this I have the decided opinion of the famous Vatt Barkooze, first Tanner in the city of Leatherhide; as also of the great Mr. Tanooze, who served a faithful apprenticeship with Barkooze; and he was a very pious and learned man.

But to return to you, gentlemen


Notwithstanding your work is continually trod upon, it is still in very great demand; yea, the more it is trod upon and kick'd about, the better for you, because it then comes to your hands again; and thus the good man's works do follow him.

Wax is a term frequently made use of in scripture, by way of similitude;—The proudest hills like wax did melt, &c. Now it may be disputed what kind of wax is here spoken of: but I am of opinion (and few divines of note will contradict me) that the wax here spoken of, is no other than shoemaker's wax. Wax, we know when it is cold and hard will take no impression, but fly with a small touch; yet after being warmed and mol­lified a little, you may mould it into what shape you please. So it is with man; ask a favour of him when he is out of humour, he will be surly and crabbed; but mollify him a little with civil words, and he will become pliable like wax.

You know, gentlemen, when it is very cold, your thread is apt to break, and your work will rip; but when it is neither too hot nor too cold, your work will be good. This teaches us, that a moderate temper of mind is the best to transact business in; for when we do things with cold indifference, or in the heat of pas­sion, it will seldom bear [...].

[Page 20] You are the most contented people in the world, and consequently the most happy. It seems you have a­dopted this as a principle, that a light heart and a thin pair of shoes, will bear you above the srowns of fortune. We seldom find you aspiring after kingdoms and em­pires, and getting your brains knockt out for your trou­ble. If you only can get sufficient elbow-room, it is all that you require: this is undoubtedly your right, and whoever encroaches thereon, ought to get a sudden blow from the awl hast, when you draw your thread. You not only defend your private interest, but none are more ready to stand forth in defence of their country; for it is well known, that when necessity requires, you are ready to use your awl even to the last, for the public good. And notwithstanding this public spirit of gen­erosity so peculiar to you, we always find you, particu­larly COLLERS, on the mending hand.


Though you are but few in number, yet these few take out more spots from society than all other men. When our garments become fullied, we have only to send them to the DYER, and he purgeth away all stains. He not only purgeth away stains, but maketh his work appear in proper colours. When any thing is held up to view in false colours, whether it be a person's coat or his character, it is the business of every good Dyer to make it appear in the most favourable colour possible. You have the power to change the colour of cloth as you please; excepting, that which is really black you cannot make white. In this the


Has the advantage. He can make that which is black appear white, and that which is white appear black, or any other colour that he chuses. The Painter and the

[Page 21]


Like the Poet, must have the moving principles of their arts planted in them by the hand of nature: for there was never a good sculptor, painter, or poet, to whom nature has not been liberal of her favors. In this respect the painter and sculptor take the right hand of all arts.

The Sculptor may carve an image, and the Painter give it a colour which may externally vie, even with the works of the Deity. But come to examine it, we find a lifeless form; a shape without sense. This cannot fail to impress the mind of the workman with the most exalted ideas of that all-wise Sculptor, who not only made man a perfect image, but had power to animate that image, and endow it with rational faculties.

Dryden tells the story of Pygmalion the Carver, an old batchelor and pretended woman hater; who in the fifty-ninth year of his age, being out-standed in the field of love, was determined to have no farther connection with the sex. But he could not be at peace when he had lost sight of them; yet, possest of more fortitude than Galvon, would not blow out his brains neither.—He determined to have one of his own make; and ac­cordingly set himself to work, and carved the image of a lady—so beautiful, that he fell desperately in love with the work of his own hands. But she, unmoved at his wooing tales, treated him with colder indifference than any one he had before paid his addresses to. He therefore humbly prayed to the gods (who were very numerous in those days) to give life to his beloved idol. The gods, out of pity, granted his request. She open­ed her eyes; Life wondered up and down through all her frame, and lighted every charm.

Swift to her arms the lover flew,
Grown young again the curtain drew:
[Page 22] Nor was she coy nor proud at all,
But with her hand gave heart and all.
Few arguments there needed to prevail,
A storm of kisses pour'd as thick as bail.

I have told this story for the comfort of old Bache­lors; for I feel within me a heart of philanthropy for all mankind: & there may possibly be some old bachelors even among Mechanics. Such I advise not to despair; for, though the sooner the better, 'tis never too late to do good. And Mr. Pope says,

The blest to day are as completely so,
As who began a thousand years ago.


You are constantly employed for the good of man­kind. In every ship, and in every house, we discover the works of the Cooper. Without Coopers we could have neither pipes of wine, hogsheads of sugar, nor barrels of flour; for without them, there would be nei­ther pipes, hogsheads, nor barrels.

We are told in maiden story, that when the intreaties of an honest lover could not prevail over the hard heart of the lady's father, she suffered a Cooper to head her up in one of her father's empty wine pipes. Then the lover purchased the pipe as it was, by which means the lady became his property;—and this produced the famous old ballad of Love in a Tub. So much was he indebted to a Cooper! I mention this, because every trade should have something remarkable.

The Cooper lectures more upon heads than any other man; for every cask must have two heads. When he is setting hoops, and rattling away with his adz and driver, he cannot help marking the difference between a full cask and an empty one. The empty cask makes a great noise, while the full one will only chack; which of course leads him to make this comparision, that a wise [Page 23] man, like a full cask, says but little; while an empty fool is all noise to no purpose.


Tubal, one of the grand-sons of Adam, was the first inventor of musical instruments, and father of such as play on the harp and organ.

If David, with his Jews harp alone, could drive the devil out of Saul, and restore his wandering senses;—if too soft breathing flute can soothe us to pleasure; if the chearful violin can wake our spirits up to joy; if the solomn sounds of the church organ can raise our spirits to heavenly meditations, and fit our hearts for sacred devotion,—how much are we indebted to those promo­ters of harmony, and rational delight, the musical in­strument makers?

'Tis said, that Music has charms to soothe the savage breast, to soften rocks, and bend the sturdy oak, &c. Tim­otheous with his music "raised a mortal to the skies;" and Cecilia "drew an angel down;"—and by music Orpheus charm'd his wife from hell. Yet, notwith­standing all these wonderful effects, there are three kinds of animals which hate music;—a hog, an ass, and the devil. This we see in part verified in our churches: for when good music, whether vocal or instrumental, is introduced into a church, there are always a number of people who are possessed of the spirit of one of the a­bove animals, to such a degree, that they immediately, at the sound thereof, go away, just as the evil spirit did from Saul, when David played before him. In short, it will always drive the devil out of them, or drive them out of the church.


The Clock Maker measures time for us in a cloudy day:—and when the sun has gone down in the western sky, and all the stars are dancing about the pole, the clock reminds us of the passing hour.

[Page 24] Dr. Young says, The dock strikes one. We take no note of time, but by its loss. To give it then a tongue is wise in man. As if an angel spoke, I hear the solemn sound; 'tis the knell of my departed hours! Where are they? With the years beyond the stood.

An ingenious piece of clock-work not only tells us the time, but represents the movements of those heaven­ly bodies which mark the varied seasons of the year. For the perfection of this piece of celestial mechanism, the Orrery, the world is indebted to our ingenious countryman.

When the Clock and Watchmakers are regulating their wheels, weights, and springs, they must, (in these times of political enquiry) naturally be led into philo­sophical reflections on the complicated machinery of government. By observing the motions of their wheels within wheels, and the power requisite to keep them all turning;—this must teach them how exceedingly diffi­cult it is to fix the balance of power, so as to keep all the wheels of government in right motion; and to prevent them from interfering, or bearing too hard against each other.


Chariot making is more ancient than the earth itself; for, according to the opinion of Milton (which seems to be the prevailing opinion of modern divines) the trade was carried on in heaven, long before the earth was made.—"Now storming sury rose, and clamor, such as heard in heaven till now was never; arms on armor, clash'd horrible discord; and the madding wheels of brazen chariots raged: dire was the noise of conflict; all heaven refounded, and had earth been then, all earth had to her centre shook."

When Pharaoh was about to pursue the Israelites, he "made ready his chariot—and took with him six [Page 25] hundred chosen chariots; and all the chariots of Egypt." And when they had got into the dry Red sea, "the Lord looked through the pillar of fire, and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians, and took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily."

Elijah the prophet was carried up to heaven in a char­iot of fire; and 'tis probable that Enoch the son of Jared and father of Methuselah, was likewise taken up in a chariot: for we read, that after he had lived three hun­dred and sixty-five years, "he was not, for God took him." And why should not Enoch ride to heaven in a chariot as well as Elijah?

In many places of the Bible we read of chariots; but I do not recollect any mention made of coaches: which leads us to conclude, that coaches are not so ancient as chariots. But the art of making coaches and chariots seem now-a-days to be all one.

All pleasureable carriages are considered as articles of luxury, and entirely unnecessary in a country like ours: but as this city manufactures many of them for other countries, and thereby brings us money, it must be look­ed upon as a very advantageous business both to individ­uals, and to the community at large.

Both in the times of the Old Testament and the New, chariots seem to have been the favorite carriages; for we read, in the eighth chapter of Acts, that when the great African eunuch belonging to Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, came to Jerusalem to worship, he rode in his chariot, and read Esaias the prophet. "Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near and join thyself un­to this chariot. And the eunuch desired Philip to come up and fit with him.—Then Philip opened his mouth, and preached to him JESUS;" By which the eunuch was converted to Christianity as he rode in his chariot. And when they came to a water, "he commanded the [Page 26] chariot to stand still; and they both went down into the water, both Philip and the eunuch, and he was bap­tized by him."

All these old affairs, I have quoted for the same reason that other preachers quote, because I could not myself, think of any thing so well adapted to the purpose.


Every saddler, who is master of his business, must know what kind of a curb is necessary to restrain the rage of an unruly horse; and the strength of a rein re­quisite for that curb. This must lead him into reflec­tions highly favourable to the rulers of a people. He sees the necessity of curbs and reins to restrain the un­ruyl passions of men, so as to prevent their injuring one another. He must also see the absolute necessity of having a skilful man to hold those reins.

If any one should dispute the usefulness of SADDLERS, let him ride a trotting horse then miles, bare-back, and that will reduce him to reason.


Add wings to commerce, while the ROPE MAKER, besides furnishing Justice with balters, gives sinews to these wings; without which our ships would make but a heavy passage through the deep. Saint Paul, that most learned and obstinate of all Christians, was a sail maker; for we read in the eighteenth chapter of the Acts, that "Paul departed from Athens and came to Corinth; and found a Jew named Aquilla, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; and because he was of the same craft he abode with them, and wrought (for by their occupation they were tent makers)"—or sail makers;—which I suppose is all one in the Greek.


To crown all the ARTS and SCIENCES, Printing was [Page 27] invented about three hundred years ago, to the great improvement of literature. Before that time, all books were tediously transcribed with a pen; consequently the knowledge of letters could not be general among man­kind.

'Tis needless to expatiate on the many advantages a­rising to the public from the knowledge which is diffused among the people, by the ART of PAINTING. Liberty of the press, and a favorite volume in sheets, is the prevail­ing sentiment of the enlightened Printers of the present age. Every one must be sensible of its utility, and none but tyrants wish to restrain the liberty of the press, while it is conducted with propriety.

It is needless to have recourse to antiquity for charac­ters eminent in this profession. Poor Richard's Alma­nac alone, would be sufficient to immortalize the whole fraternity,—to say nothing of its enlightened author:—whose genius so animating to the rights of man, has, like the shock of electricity, roused up the spirit of liberty, and struck off the hand of oppression, which was bear­ing hard upon our country. The shock of his electri­cal apparatus has been sensibly felt across the Atlantic, and has made the thrones of tyrants shake to their cen­tres. He yet lives,* blessed be God, justly exalted in that high seat, where he shines the Light of PHILOSO­PHERS, the Glory of PRINTERS, the Pride of MECHAN­ICS, and the brightest Ornament of HUMAN NATURE:—waiting, with philosophic patience, the happy mo­ment when he shall rise above all earthly things, to shine superior, a fixed star of the first magnitude.

[Page 28]


YE merry mechanics come join in my song,
And let the brisk chorus come bounding along
Tho' some may be poor, and some rich there may be,
Yet all are contended and happy and free.
Happy and free, happy and free,
Yet all are contented and happy and free.
Ye TAYLORS! of ancient and noble renown,
Who clothe all the people in country and town;
Remember that Adam your father and head,
Tho' the lord of the world, was a Taylor by trade.
Ye MASONS! who work in stone, mortar and brick,
And lay the foundations, deep, solid and thick;
Tho' hard be your labor, yet lasting your fame,
Both Egypt and China your wonders proclaim.
Ye SMITHS! who forge tools for all trades here below,
You have nothing to fear, while you smite and you blow;
All things you may conquer, so happy your lot;
If you're careful to strike while the iron is hot.
Ye SHOE-MAKERS! nobly from ages long past,
Have defended your rights with your awl to the last;
And COBLERS all merry, not only stop holes,
But work night and day for the good of our soals.
Ye CABINET-MAKERS! brave workers in wood,
As you work for the ladies, your work must be good;
And JOINERS and CARPENTERS far off and near,
Stick close to your trades and you've nothing to fear.
Ye HATTERS! who ost with hands not very fair,
Fix bats on a block, for a blackhead to wear;
[Page 29] Tho' charity cover a sin now and then,
You cover the heads and the sins of all men,
Ye COACH-MAKERS! must not by tax be controul'd,
But ship off your coaches and fetch us home gold;—
The roll of your coach made Copernicus reel,
And fancy the world to turn round like a wheel.
And take the advice of poor Richard your friend;
Stick close to your looms and your wheels and your cards,
And you never need fear of the times being hard.
Ye PRINTERS! who give us our learning and news,
And impartially print for Turks, Christians and Jews;
Let your favorite toast ever found thro' the streets,
The freedom of press, and a volume in sheets.
Ye COOPERS! who rattle with driver and adz,
And lecture each day upon hoops and on heads;
The famous old ballad of Love in a Tub,
You may sing to the tune of your rub a dub dub.
Already the new constitution prevails;
And soon you shall sec o'er the proud swelling tide,
The ships of Columbia triumphantly ride.
Each TRADESMAN turn out with his tool in his hand,
To cherish the ARTS and keep PEACE through the land;
Each 'PRENTICE and JOURNEYMAN join in my song,
And let the brisk CHORUS come bounding along.
Come bounding along, come bounding along.
And let the brisk CHORUS come bounding along.

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