Dr. Strong, in that remarkable book, "Our Country," says: "One man, by the aid of steam, is able to do the work which required two hundred and fifty men at the beginning of the century. The machinery of Massachusetts alone represents the labor of more than 100,000,000 men, as if one-half of all the workmen of the globe had engaged in her service." And again: "Some thirty years ago, the power of machinery in the mills of Great Britain was estimated to be equal to 600,000,000 men, or more than all the adults, male and female, of all mankind." Mr. Gladstone estimated that the aggregation of wealth on the globe during the whole period from the birth of Christ to that of Watt was equaled by the production in twenty years, at the middle of this century, with the aid of machinery driven by the fruit of the brain of the inventors of the steam engine. We may probably now safely estimate the former quantity as rivaled in less than five years, while, since the birth of Watt and his engine, and the production of the spinning mule, the power loom, the cotton gin and our own patent system and its marvelous mechanism, all events of a century ago, we may estimate that they have, together, accomplished more in this period which we now celebrate than could have been done in a millenium of milleniums without these now subjected genii.

But the power behind all these curious inventions and their work is that of steam. The steam engine even supplies power to the telegraph and transports words and thought as well as cotton bales and coal.

And now what has this combination of legislation for private protection and public good, of a genius producing great inventions, and of the accumulated capital of earlier years, brought about?

It has given us the best fruits of science in permanent possession. The study of science invariably aids, in a thousand ways, the progress of mankind. It gives us new conceptions of nature and of the possibilities of art; it promotes right ways of work and of study; it teaches the inventor and the discoverer how most surely and promptly to gain their several ends, it gives the world the results of all acquired knowledge in concrete form. This one instance which we are now especially interested in contemplating has performed more wonderful miracles than ever Aladdin's genii attempted. One man, with a steam engine at his hand, turns the wheels of a great mill, drives forty thousand spindles, applies a thousand horse power to daily work in the spinning of threads, the weaving of cloth, the impulsion of a steamboat, or the drawing of great masses of hot iron into finest wire. This puny creature, his mind in his finger tips, exerts the power of ten thousand men, working with muscle alone, and, aided by a handful of women, boys and girls, clothes a city.

A half dozen men in the engine room of an ocean steamer, with a hundred strong laborers in the boiler room and on deck, transports colonies and makes new nations, brings separated peoples together, unites countries on opposite sides of the globe, brings about easy exchanges between pole and equator. One man on the footboard of the locomotive, one man shoveling into the furnaces the black powder that incloses the energy stored in early geological ages, a half dozen men mounted on the long train of following vehicles, combine to bring to the mill girl in Massachusetts, the miner in Pennsylvania, the sewing woman, and the wealthy merchant, her neighbor in New York, the flour made in Minnesota from the grain harvested a few weeks earlier in Dakota. All the world is served faithfully and efficiently by this unimaginable power, this product of the brain of the inventor, protected by the law, stimulated and aided by the capital that it has itself almost alone produced.

And thus have the inventors of the steam engine set in motion and placed at the disposal of mankind for every form of useful work all the great forces of nature; thus Hero of Alexandria touched the then concealed spring which called all the genii of earth, fire, water and air to do the bidding of the race. Thus Papin, Worcester, Newcomen, Watt, and Corliss and others of our own contemporaries, have applied the genii to their task of leveling mountains, traversing seas, continents, and the depths of the earth, building ships, locomotives, hamlets and cities, cottages and palaces, turning the spindle, operating the loom, and setting motion and giving energy to every machine, doing the work of thousands of millions of men, converting barbarism into civilization, giving necessaries of life in profusion, comforts in plenty, and luxuries in superabundance.

Aiding and working hand in hand with those other genii of progress, the inventors of the printing press and of the telegraph, the telephone, and the electric railway, of the modern system of textile manufactures, of iron and steel making, of the mowing machine and the harvester, they have compressed into two centuries the progress of a millennium, destitute of their aid. Every step taken under their stimulus, and with their help, is a step toward a higher life for all, intellectually and morally as well as physically; every advance in the improvement of their work is a gain to every man, woman, and child; every improvement of the steam engine is a help to the whole world. This progress makes the day of the extinction of the system now grinding the populations of the earth into the ground, the day of the abolition of armies and the restoration to the people of that freedom which characterized the times of the patriarchs, and of the restoration of the rights of the citizen to his own time and strength and producing power, perceptibly nearer.

When this final revolution shall have been accomplished, and when all the world has settled down to the steady and undisturbed work of production by daily and regular labor, aided by the genii of steam, of electricity, of all nature, combined for good, the results of the intellectual activity of the inventors of the steam engine will be fully seen. Then no monument will be required to keep green the memory of Watt, Corliss, or any other of these great men, but it will be said of them, as of Sir Christopher Wren in the epitaph in St. Paul's: "Seek you a monument, look about you!" Every wreath of steam rising to the heavens from factory, mill or workshop will be a reminder of Hero of Alexandria, every mine will possess a memorial to Papin, Worcester and Savery; every steamship will bring into grateful memory Fitch and Stevens, and Bell and Fulton; thousands of locomotives, crossing the continents, will perpetuate the thought of the Stephensons and their colleagues in the introduction of the railway; the hum of millions of spindles and the music of the electric wire will tell of the work of Corliss and his contemporaries and successors who made these things possible, and all kingdoms and races, all nations, will revere the name of James Watt, the genius to whom the world is most indebted for the beginnings of all this later and grander civilization which has converted the slow progress of earlier centuries into the meteor-like advance of to-day toward a future as grand and as mighty and as noble as humanity shall choose to make it.

[1] An address delivered at the Centennial Celebration of the American Patent System, Washington, April, 1891.