The lost arts (1838).
No lecture in the American
lyceum ever met with a wider or more (enthusiastic welcome than this.
It was first delivered in the winter of 1838-39. Mr. Phillips
had spoken before this upon subjects taken :from chemistry and physics, and on discoveries and inventions in the field of mechanics.
Called suddenly to address a certain audience, --he thought there might be a charm in a familiar resume
of those arts which the ancients carried to a perfection still unrivalled.
Hastily outlined in a series of notes, it was an almost impromptu delivery.
But so great was the interest which it excited, that Mr. Phillips
was --called to repeat it over two thousand times.
About twenty years ago Mr. Phillips
was engaged to deliver the lecture in the “Redpath
A stenographer was employed to make a verbatim report; it was carefully written out in full, was elegantly bound, and then presented to its author.
expressed himself exceedingly grateful to his friends, but was much overcome by the reply: “We have not done it for your sake, Mr. Phillips
, but for posterity.”
Ladies and Gentlemen: I am to talk to you to-night about “The lost arts,” -- a lecture which has grown under my hand year after year, and which belongs to that first phase of the lyceum system, before it undertook to meddle with political duties or dangerous and angry questions of ethics; when it was merely an academic institution, trying to win busy men back to books, teaching a little science, or repeating some tale of foreign travel, or painting some great representative character, the symbol of his age. I think I can claim a purpose beyond a moment's amusement in this glance at early civilization.