J. A. (John Adolphus) Etzler.

The paradise within the reach of all men, without labour, by powers of nature and machinery : an address to all intelligent men online

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Online LibraryJ. A. (John Adolphus) EtzlerThe paradise within the reach of all men, without labour, by powers of nature and machinery : an address to all intelligent men → online text (page 5 of 14)
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thinking and acting. He cannot claim even, with
any pretence, indulgence, when he is so infatuated as
to pride himself in this despicahle mental sloth. This
evil is not only to be found among the lower untutored
classes, where it is more pardonable, but also among
high-bred and high-standing gentlemen, whom I pray
to be assured, that I wish not to add any thing to the
grievous affliction under which they labour without
their suspecting it; I wish merely to diminish its
effects upon themselves and others, as a physician
will do with the sick of contagious diseases ; I will
point out the symptoms of this affliction, as a warning
that may be very useful to many ; the symptoms are
generally: the patient is very arrogant and very ready
in his judgment without giving or taking any reason,
he surmises instead of rcas'Miing, he judges before he
examines, and with all this insanity he self-pleasingly
ridicules what he does not understand — beware of
such a brute, you cannot reason with him.

If man ever forfeited the paradise by his sin, as we
are told, it must have bfe^cn the sin of neglecting the
most precious gift of his Maker, that reasoning fa-
culty, that only gives him the dominion over the
brutes, and may give him also the dominion over the
inanimate creation, and niake thereby of the earth a

Man needs not to cat his bread in tlic sweat of his
brow, and to pass his life in drudgery and misery,
except he perseveres iiihis mental sloth, and foregoes
the use of his reason.

We are trained up in the notion, that industry is a
virtue and a necessity to man, and so it is truly— I do

not mean to apologise for, or to commend idleness
and slolli — but it is so only relative to our -present
state of knowledges ; for it is the only means to lead
a decent life in society, lo preserve us from suffering
and want, to procure us comforts, and even respect
among our neighbours. With the same reason the
savage counts it for his two most exalted virtues, to
slay many enemies and kill many beasts in his forest;
they only tend t6 his self-preservation and to that of
his family. The better cultivated man wants to have
other virtues. Useless or needless drudgery and toil
ceases to be a virtue ; more exalted qualities step into
their place, in a more relined and happier state of
men. \\ hat virtue can there be in passing one's life
like a prisoner in a treadmill ? The occupations of men
in our present state of advancement are yet not much
better: they are cither a monotonous drudgery, or
some insipid occupation, which nothing but custom
and necessity may vender tolerable in some degree,
but which are the very means to keep the mind in
inactivity, and low, trivial pursuits. 1 will not expa-
tiate on this disgusting subject, for fear of being too
prolix ; but look at the labourer of the field, at the
mechanic in the shop, at any common occupation.
How dull and tedious to pass the best part of one's
life in the same ever- repeating mechanical motions
or labours, and after they are ten thousand times re-
peated, they are ten thousand times again and again
to be done over. What is the mighty object of lead-
ing such a life? — To get money, in order to buy
what one wants. Is this the most exalted virtue, the
highest destination of man's life that can be thought


of in tills world? — Tt. may he a virtue or a necessary
evil in a state of general ignorance and prejudices,
but it is no virtue founded in nature.

Where did sciences end mental culture and the
refinements of human life flourish the most ? — Not
among people who passed their lives in drudgery.
The Greeks deemed mechanical work a disgrace to a
free citizen, and employed their slaves for that pur-
pose. Hence their lofty sentiments, their high state
of mental culture and refinements, superior to all
their neighbours, even to the Romans. It is to these
ancient Greeks that we owe chiefly our sciences of
reason. Look at the same country now, at the de-
scendants of the same Greeks, an ignorant, oppressed
race of men ! The sciences of their ancestors would
have been lost also for us, if not classes, devoted to
religion and dominion, who thought mechanical occu-
pation below their dignity, had preserved, by their
literary pursuits, the wrecks of those ancient superior
acquirements ; for the labouring classes, even of civi-
lised Europe, never harboured sciences, philosophy,
and refinements of human life ; they had other pur-
suits, the bare necessaries of life, which left them
neither time nor thought of higher pursuits ; happy
enough, when money could exempt them in part
from labour, physical wants, and fear of want.

It is often questioned, whether the life of a savage
in his wilderness may not be preferable to civilised
life with its appending labours and comforts?— But
it is obvious, that one savage cannot live on an area
where 100 laborious civilised men may live in plenty.
Therefore, the life of a savage ought by no means be


preferred. Man ought certainly be progressing, not
retrograding, in improvements; and he will naturally
be so, if not violently retarded or stopped in his course.
We are actually in a progressing state, but only since
a few centuries: men were fallen back into a state
of greater barbarity before that period, as history
proves. Ancient nations, several thousand years ago,
in Asia and Africa, were further advanced in many
knowledges than we are now ; their ruins and monu-
ments, left to us, show this. We have made improve-
ments in an increasing progression in the latter time.
This is quite natural ; for knowledge begets know-
ledge, just as wealth begets wealth. There is, how-
ever, one fault in our system of education and public
instruction up to the universities, which is an essen-
tial impediment in our mental and physical progress ;
this is, that the sciences of reason are less cultivated
than those of memory and imagination. It is owing
to this fault, handed down to us from an ancient state
of barbarity, that people generally judge so very in-
sane of any thing that appears new to them, they are
not used to reflect much, to reason closely: the most
useful knowledges of our days are cither not at all, or
but faintly come to their notice. There are but few
individuals who are versed in the knowledges of use-
ful things of our days. The science of mechanics is
but in a state of infancy. It is true, improvements
are made upon improvements, instigated by patents
of the government ; but they are made accidentally,
or at haphazard. There is no general system of this
science, mathematical as it is, which developcs its
principles in their full extent, and the outlines of


their application to uhicb they lead. There is no
idea of comparison between what is explored and
what is vet to be explored in this science ; no inves-
tigation of powers, and their applications for the be-
nefit of man, in all their ramifications and extents;
Nve are in a manner groping along in the dark, and
wonder at every new invention and improvement in
mcchunics. People donbt, reject, and reason at ran-
dom, with posilivcness on every thing that is new to
them, without understanding, without even troubling
themselves with examining the matter. It is thus a
liard task to inform and convince them of any thing
that may not suit their superficial or erroneous no-
tions. The ancient Greeks placed mathematics at the
head of their education, and deemed it indispensably
to a liberal education, more for teaching and accus-
toming the mind to good, sound, close reasoning, than
even for the matter itself. But we are glad to have
filled our memory with notions, without troubling
ourselves much with reasoning about them ; if we do
it at all, we may do it in secret. Hence this con-
trariety of opinions, which prove but the state of
errors we live in.

Did I assert too much? If I did, there would be
no chance left to me for making such discoveries as I
have related already, nor would the annunciation of
them be gazed at as something out of all reason. Ar-
chimedes knew and used burning mirrors for destroy-
ing vessels of the enemy, 2000 years ago. The history
of Greece has been taught in our school since cen-
turies, and with it the story of burning mirrors, too,
again and again ; but the schoolmasters thought this

story fabulous, and their scholars helieved it so, he-
cause they saw no such a thing practised before their
eyes, while the first elements of optics taught it to
them with mathematical demonstration.

The discovery of the mathematical law of the lever
made the discoverer exclaim — "Give me but a point
of support, and I can unhinge the world." And I
say with no less exultation, and I wish I could speak
with a voice of thunder, and electrify the dull to sen-
sibility at the greatest and most joyful news that ever
could sound into the human ear : — '* Let me but find
a union of a few inteUigent men who do not judge
before they examine^ and grant me their attention, and 1
can change the world into a most delightful paradise /"

The law of the lever is known to be the fundament
of mechanics, of which the effects may often, to the
untutored, seem no less marvellous than my promised
paradise. The fundament of ray assertion are the im-
mense powers of nature that I have shown to be at
our disposal, and the simple system of their applica-
tion that I am prepared to show. Both are mathe-
matical truths, and both are no subjects of opinion,
dispute, or uncertainty, as soon as they are understood:
none but an ignorant or an idiot would dote against
the former, and will dote against the latter mathema-
tical truth.

What mechanisms, what machines are to be applied,
■will be the question now, granted that there is power

I shall give here a general outline of ihe system of
machineries and establishments to be pursued.

Wc drudge and toil in agriculture, in architecture,
in uavigatioD, in all workshops, and in manufactories


for mating many useful aqd many useless tilings for
human life, for supplying many various demands of
necessaries, comforts, and luxuries of life, of fancy,
and fashions. We little, care about the real benefit
the produces of our industry m'ay afford to the buyer,
provided we get pay for them, and make money by
their sale. There is an endless variety of artificial
productions of every kind, resulting from competition
of the producers. I tave promised contrivances for
superseding all human labour. To imitate minutely
all the infinite variety of produces of human industry
by machineries, would be an endless, ungrateful, and
foolish undertaking, though it might be possible. It
would nearly require to invent for every little work
of man a particular automaton. This i.5 not my pur-
pose. But the most simple contrivances 1 could thin*k
of, and as few as possible, for producing, not the cus-
tomary articles of human industry; but all things that
mav either substitute or surpass the known necessa-
saries, comforts, and luxuries of men, are my objects
in view.

This problem is not so difficult as" might be ima-
gined at first. There was never any s^-stem in the
productions of human labour, but they came into ex-
istence and fashion as chance directed men. Still less
was there ever a thought exhibited to make a general
science or system of providing for all artificial human
wants. My object is to furnish, by an extremely sim-
ple system, all what may be desirable for human life,
without taking for pattern any of the existing things
of industry. By abstracting from all what is in ex-
istence and Aishion, I am enabled to devise means,
without any artificial machinery, for producing every


thinc^ tliat man may want for his nourishment, dwell-
ing", garment?, furnitures, and articles of fancy and

But we have to relinquish entirely all our customary
, notions of human wants, and substitute them by others
of a superior and more systematic order.

.1 shall begin. with agriculture.
. ■ The first object is here to clear the ground from all
■ spontaneous growth and stones^

1.. A machine of large size is to move along, and
while moving, to tate the trees of all sizes with their
roots out of the ground, to cut them in convenient
pieces, to pile them up, and to take all stones out of
the ground to any required depth.

2. A second machine is to follow, for taking up the
piles of ^vood and atones, and transporting the same to
the places of their destination; this machine may carry
thousands of tons at once.

3. The wood removed to its places for final use, is
then to be formed into planks, boards, beams, rails,
pieces for fuel and for any other purpose, by a simple
contrivance, from when.ce it is to be removed to the
places where it be wanted ; this is done by one ma-
chine, which may also cut stones of any size.

4. The first mentioned machine, with a little alter-
ation, is then to level the ground perfectly, in planin<»'
it, filling the excavations or taking olT the elevations
of ground until all is level. If the hills or valleys are
considerable, the same machine cuts terraces, windinsr
around them up to the top in elegant shapes.

The same machine may make any excavation or
elevation, cut canals, ditches, ponds of any size and



shape, raise dams, artificial level roads, walls and
tainparts \\h\\ ditches around fields as enclosures, with
walks on their top, form walks and paths with elevated

5. The same machine, with some other little alter-
ation, is to give to the ground its final preparation for
receiving the seed; it tills the ground, in tearing the
soil up to any required depth, refining or mouldering
the same, sifting all small roots and stones from it,
and putting the seed into the ground in any way re-

6. The same machine may take good fertile ground
from one place to some other, for covering, at any re-
quired depth, poor soil svith fertile soil of the best

7. The same machine, with a little addition, may
reap any kind of grain or vegetable, thrash the seed
out in the same time, grind it to meal, or press it to oil,
it may also cut or prepare any other vegetable for final
use in the kitchen or bakery.

8. Another small machine may sink wells and
mines to any required depth and in any direction, aud
take the contents of the same up to light, it may be in
earth, rocks, swamps, or water.

Earth may be baked into bricks, or even to vitrified
stone, by heat. Stones may be cemented together, so
as to break to pieces before their cement yields ; a
proof that cement is then harder and more cohesive
than the stones themselves. Sand and stones ground
to dust may be turned into glass or vitrified substance
of the greatest hardness and cohesion, by great hertt.


Hence we may bake large masses of any size and form
into stone and vitrified substance of the greatest dura-
tion, even for thousands of years, out of clayey earth
or of stones ground to dust, by the application of burn-
ing mirrors. This is to be done in the open air with-
out other preparation, than gathering the substance,
grinding and mixing it with water and cement, mould-
ing or casting it into adapted moulds, and bringing
the focus of the burning mirrors of proper size upon
the same.

Wood, cut and ground to dust, and then cemented
by a liquor, may be also moulded into any shape and
dried, so as to become a solid, consistent wooden sub-
stances that may be dyed with various colours, and

Thus we may mould and bake any form of any size,
entire walls, floors, ceilings, roofs, doors, channels for
canals, ditches, aqueducts, bridges, pavement of walks
and roads, chimneys, hollow cylinders for machineries
and mines and wells, plates for any purpose, vessels
for holding dry and liquid materials, pillars, columns,
balustrades, statues, postaments, and other ornaments,
figures of any description, reliefs, sculptural works,
pipes, furnitures for household, kitchen utensils, pieces
of machineries, and numberless other things, of all
shapes, sizes, colours, fashions, and fancy ; inshort, any
thing of hard material. When once the mould is
made, it may serve for ever for thousands of thousands
of other pieces, no matter how artificially it be shaped,
without ever requiring any further labour of man. The
substance may be polished or glazed, and then serve
for burning mirrors.


Founderies of any <lescription iiic to be heated by
buininsT' minors, and retiuire no labour, except the
niakintr of tlie first moubls, and the superintendence
for gathering the metal and taking the finished articles

Flexible Stuff.

There is one yet great desideratum ; this is the
making of flexible or pliable stufls, and finishing all
the articles out of them fur use, such as for garments,
couches, and all other commodities and ornaments,
without labour. If this can be effected without
labour, then the problem of superseding all human
labours is resolved completely.

This can be done, without spinning, weaving,
sewing, tanning, &c., by a simple proceeding. There
are cohesive substances in superabundance in nature,
in the vegetable and animal kingdom, which need but
be extracted ; they are of various ([ualities : some resist
water, some heat, some both, some arc clastic, some
soft, some hard. They all may be hardened or dis-
solved into fluids, just as required. They are made
use of already for various purposes. In dissolving
them into adapted fluids, and mixing the same with
fibres of vegetables of convenient fineness or other
flexible stuffs fitly prepared, they will glutinate them
together. By a proper contiivance sheets of any size
and form may be formed, in a similar manner as it is
done with manufacturing paper. Thi.5 stuff inuy be
made as fine, and as thin or as thick as it may be
desired. Tt may be made of any degree of stiflness
or softness, which is depending from the mixture of


stuffs, and from the mannerofpreparation and (inisliing.
It may be calendered and polished for the sake of or-
nament, or for mirrors. It may be made of any colour,
or pattern, without any additional trouble, except
admixture of dying stuff. It may then be used for
any purpose, instead of any woven stuff", of leather,
paper, fur, Sec. It may be cast not only in sheets of
any size or form, butalsointo any shape whatever ; thus
ready-made clothes of any fashion, vessels for holding
dry or liquid materials, of any shape or size, any
other article of commodity may be at once cast or
moulded into the appropriated form or mould.

So there will be no sewing or any kind of finishing
by hands. There is no object of pliable stuff' to be
thought of, which could not be made completely in
this way, so as to supersede all articles of that kind
actually in use.

.Such are all the means for the application of the
immense powers of nature for substituting all human
labours that I have in contemplation. They are
simple, of a very small number in kinds, hardly three
or four diff'erent contrivances. So they arc by no
means of such a nature as to scare the imagination
from attempting the practice of them. They resolve
completely the whole riddle of doing away all human
labour, and make extremely easy and simple what was
ever thought to be utter impossibility. But they do
not only substitute all our present articles of human
industry, but may create a great many things, which
were never seen or thought of yet, to the greatest
benefit of mankind. They are sufficient to create a
paradise surpassing in splendour, delight, and enjoy-

G 2


ments all what luiinan fancy ever conceived, a world
altogether new for men, and this in a very short

Let us cast a view upon the things that immediately
may be created by these means.

Any wilderness, even the most hideous and the most
sterile, may be converted into the most fertile and de-
lightful gardens. The most dismal swamps may be
cleared of all their spontaneous growth, filled up, and
levelled, intersected with canals, ditches, and aque-
ducts for draining them entirely. The soil, if re-
quired, may be meliorated, by covering or mixing it
with rich soil taken from distant places. The same
is to be mouldered to fine dust, levelled, sifted from
all roots, weeds, and stones, and sowed and planted
in the most beautiful order and symmetry, with fruit
trees and vegetables of every kind that may stand the
climate. The walks and roads are to be paved with
hard, vitrified large plates, so as to be always clean
from all dirt at any weather or season. They may
be bordered with the most beautiful beds of flowers,
fruitful vegetables, bushes, shrubs, and tiees, all
rising gradually in rows behind one another, arranged
so as to afford almost continually delight to the or-
gans of sight, taste, and smell. Canals and aque-
ducts with vitrified channels, and, if required, covered,
filled with the clearest water out of fountains from
the deep subterraneous recesses of water, which may
spout and be led any where. Some canals may serve
for fish-ponds, and for irrigating the gardens ; others
for draining swampy ground. Some aqueducts may
be used to lead water into all parts of the garden,


for irrigating the ground whenever it be required ;
this may be done by sprinkling tlie water in copious
showers through moveable tubes with adapted large
mouths. This water may be mixed with liquid ma-
nure, derived from all the decayed vegetables, and
other materials fit for manure, prepared and liquefied
in proper buildings to that effect. Thus the fertility
of the garden will not depend from weather. When
it rains too much, it may be led off from the ground
in proper channels. The canals may be bordered
with beautiful growth in similar manner as the walks.
The channels being of vitrified substance, the water
being perfectly clear, and filtrated or distilled if re-
quired, they may afford the most beautiful sceneries
imaginable, while a variety of fishes is seen clear
down to the bottom playing about; and while these
canals afford in the same time the chance for gliding
smoothly along and between these various sceneries
of art and nature, upon beautiful gondolas, and
while their surface and borders may be covered with
tine land and aquatic birds. The canals may end
or concentrate in large beautiful ponds, where the
bottom is also of vitrified substance. Thus water,
clear as crystal in beds or channels like crystal, sur-
rounded and covered by enchanting sceneries, ferti-
lises and beautifies the gardens, and gives them the
relief of a paradise. The aqueducts may be sup-
ported by the most splendid colonnades. The walks
may be covered with porticos adorned with magni-
ficent columns, statues, and sculptural works, all of
vitrified substance, lasting for ever, while the beau-
ties of nature around heighten the magnificence and


deliciousness. Tlie ponds may also he sunounded
by porticos. Tlicse porticos, the fountains, the green
arbours and bowers may preserve continually fresh-
ness of air and of growth of the vegetables, and
afford delightful shelter against wet weather and

The crops are gathered and prepared for use without
any labour. There is nothing then but enjoyment
and delight. Pastures may be out of such gardens,
with establishments for milking and butchering, so
that one or two men may do this wort in less than
an hour every day for thousands of consumers.

The hills and mountains may be surrounded by the
most beautiful terraces imaginable, which may wind
in spiral form up to their tops, affording the grandest
and most beautiful prospects, as well from below in
the valleys, as from above down into the same.

This is what concerns agriculture, when I have
supposed the most unfavourable spot to be found
upon eiirth.

The dwellings ought to be also very different from-
what is know n in that kind, if the full benefit of our
means is to be enjoyed. They are to be of a structure
for which we have no names yet. Tliey are to be
neither palaces, nor temples, nor cities, l)ut a com-
bination of all, superior to whatever is known.

It will be easily conceived, that the superintendence
cf machineries and establishments requires no more
men, when operating for, and supplying a whole com-
munity of thousands of families with every thing they
may want, than it would for each single family sepa-
rately. It would be as improper to apply such mighty


means for every family in particular, as it would be
to provide every spinster, instead of lier spinning-

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Online LibraryJ. A. (John Adolphus) EtzlerThe paradise within the reach of all men, without labour, by powers of nature and machinery : an address to all intelligent men → online text (page 5 of 14)