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ASHBURTON ART SOCIETY, Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 1982, 29 October 1888
ASHBURTON ART SOCIETY
» Following ib a condqnßedreport of tbe •ddren delivered by the President, Mr J. B. Buohansn, at the recent meeting of the Ark Boolety. After a few introductory rem.rki th. spaaker said that he could not proceed to traoe the history of science and art m our mldit, for the reason that oh development! hate been, for the meet part, tboM of necessity, leaving bat little opportunity for the creation or exposition of the highest prinolplea of Art. Y.t, looking back to the time, abont fifteen years ago, when n little wooden library and tho Road Boaid iffioe Id Mooib ■treet, were tbe only public buildngs m existence here, he could not but be astonlßhed at tha prosrress which has been achieved. The sadden stop which was pat to our glgantlo vUlom of extentlon about ieT6B or eight years ago, seemed to bare pretexted for some time advacoa ment, and be therefore hailed tbe establishment of their Society a* an effort In the right direction, and truated that a little self-denial on the part of qualified IndiTldoali would be productive of real bentfit to the community. The neoesslty of associating for purposes of mental eultore might be explained to oindld minds by the axiom that all gifts, whether material or spirituai, with which man is Invested are not for lelf-lndolgence, but as a condition of retention are for general distribution. His remarks that evening would be of a general kind, pointing out, perhaps, the scope of their Society, and emphasizing one or two oommon faota noticeable to any observer. The oonditions under which science was studied today were not ldentlo*l with the alms c f the old philosophers. The scientist today In very many Cel«s is goaded on by the hope foi reward, of money, or personal reputation. The new synthetic method has given an impetui to lrqulry which the deductive philosophy could ntver have originated: We find, therefore, that solen- * tJflc method makes itself felt m Almsat every branoh of Investigation. Notably m the p 1 ya'fti eolences has this development been marvellous. Eieotrloity has boen tracked, tamed and harnessed. Theligh<& ! ng has been made to speak and oarry bnrdens. Sound, till recently reokonod impalpable, has be»n limited and registered Tbe Invention of the phonograph has added another brilliant decora 1 lon to the lustrous name of Kdfson. Literature is being invaded by the scientific method. The great grammarian Grimm, not confining himself to a grammar of ens or several tongues, essays an universal grammar, applicable to every spoken language History is to be brought under the law of necessity, and a philosophy ef history is to enable *ise men to be prophetic sb to the future of the race as well as explanatory of the past. Tbe ic'ences themselves are under the same law. Oomte says the five fundamental science* to be learnt In their order are astronomy, physics, obemistry, physiology, and sociology. By knowing them all other kuowledge will be safely acquired and practised. He "quoted tbe same writes on "Psychology " to show that tbe reasoning that it was only the uninformed mind whioh was religious was fallaoUm. He Instanced a number of subjects the discussion of which would resoit m muoh plehsure and profit to members and he took ocaaelon to remind the yuuoger portion of his audience cf tbe wondara wh oh have been revealed by the mloroecope,eometimes called "man's sixth sense." 'iho province of the Sjole'y was to encourage Art, whioh had been called the practice— as ■oience is the theory — of knowledge. He dwelt at length on the ndvantsgoa which might reasonably be expected to follow the Society's work, and pointed out that tbe art and te'enoe classes which were held In most of the large towns lnEng'aad and m some of tho colonial capitals were already raising the tone and quality of certain mechanical work. In literature Vhete would feo ». Tut fi.lol Co* «olbutiuu and effort. The nnmeruna public itlono of t^e day might well bewilder the inexperienced. To Illustrate the best authors and form a. correct as well as elegant style of dlotion would be one of man; advantages whioh might follow some literary studies The matter not the style was what people team to look for ; but th? charms of s'yle were potent though barely acknowledged. Hitherto his remarks bad been directed to the aesthetical side of their proposed course. But there was also a practloal aide. The Committee bad determined to make provision for a Debating gaiety, with a wide range of topics to be discussed. In this connection they would doubtless have something to say on politics. On this eubject there were none of them who could afford to have no opinion. He said "afford," for the politics of this time would be benrfiolaloroiherwlsf jast In proportion as the people of New Zealand are active or supine m the expression of their opinions. In the republlo of Greece men were called " idiotal " who took no part m public affairs. From this abstinence from politics the term " idiot " has come to mean forced abstinence from all operation of tbe mind. It would not be bo strong a term to say that colonists here have almost been politioal idiots through the neglect which has been shewn In political matters generally. We do not want theoretical politicians We want men wbo are m touch with the hopes, fears, wants and benefits of tbe people. A country led by mere doctrinaires might develop again the horrorsjjof a French Revolution. "The lorerelgnty of tbe people " is a form of speech which does not now nnhinge society as it did m the days when "Le coot rat Booial " was first promulgated. But there are thoughtful minds who see dangers threatening thesefree couotriei not so apparent m times of prosperity, but which loom up In stormy times and might yet m periods of national distress exhibit come appalling forms of lawtaesneis and tyranny. The speaker closed bis address by a few earnest remarks on tbe subject of education. He said that In our country there were splendid facilitios for the ordinary colonist, but there was muoh error m arrangement aad dietribution. It was Tery easy to attempt too much m the way of free, seoular and compulsory eduoatlon. He remembered the public ferment m England soon after the Act of 1871 became law. In his heating Lord Falmerston, one of England's most sagacious and practical statesmen, made iome very wise and pertinent remarks. Tb» noble lord said he was pretty certain that too much might be expected from the State. Be considered the State was fconnd to provide the three "Bs" for avary child at the public expense, but for the higher acquirements, a very large portion of the expense necessary for their acquisition should be borne by them who participated m tbe bent file. In our own country a reduction and simplification of elementary education coupled with a corresponding txteDslon aud popularisation of all higher knowledge, would he (the speaker) was sure relieve the publio purse and encourage t?oe learning- As a moral critic he must refer to a recent report published m Australia which showed that 'juvenile criminals woie largely m the majority. Thlff prevalence of. crime In colonial youtb Is not at all to be wondered at. Ganlcs and character have long been aeparated Morality and Intellectual ability are almost supposed to be antlpath etieal. This unnatural divorce produces m our youth no reverenae, no humility, no patience. ThdfPcst Laureate wisely said. " 'Tis only noble to bfrtfood "Kind hearts are mot'sthau Coronets "And ilsaple faith " Than Norman blood." The speaker, m thanking his audience for tbe patient 1 oaring they bid accorded him, stated that for the success of their «oo!ety aotblpg more was needed than what the colony was now sadly wanting, and it WH mrjtqil flonfidaooe tad hopeful toll,
ASHBURTON ART SOCIETY, Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 1982, 29 October 1888
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