Count Rumford

BENJAMIN THOMPSON, better known by the name of Count Rumford, which he afterwards acquired, was born at Woburn in Massachusetts on the 26th of March 1753. His ancestors appear to have been among the earliest of the colonists of Massachusetts, and in all probability came originally from England. They seem to have held a respectable rank among their neighbors, and to have been for one or two generations moderately wealthy.

Ebenezer Thompson, the grandfather of Count Rumford, held a captain's commission in the militia of the province, and was therefore a man of some repute in the place where he resided. Count Rumford's father, whose name was also Benjamin, dying while his son was a mere infant, the mother and child continued in the grandfather's house, which had been their home even while the husband was alive. In October 1755, however, the old man died, leaving a small provision for his grandson, barely sufficient, it would appear, to maintain him till he should arrive at an age to be able to do something for himself. In the following year Mrs. Thompson, whose maiden name was Ruth Simonds, married a second husband, Josiah Pierce, also a resident in Woburn; and the boy accompanied his mother to the house of his stepfather, who stipulated, however, that he should receive the weekly sum of two shillings and five pence for the child's maintenance till he attained his eighth year. His grandfather's little legacy seems to have furnished the means of meeting this demand.

As soon as young Thompson was able to learn his letters, he was sent to the school of his native town taught by a Mr. John Fowle, who is said to have been 'a gentleman of liberal education, and an excellent teacher;' and here in company with all the children of the place, he was taught reading, writing, arithmetic, and a little Latin, having the reputation, it is said, of being a quick boy. At the age of eleven he left the school of Woburn, and joined one taught by a Mr. Hill at Medford, under whose care he made greater advances in mathematics than he had attempted under Mr. Fowle. The only circumstances from which we can form an idea of the progress he made, is the statement that his knowledge of mathematics and astronomy was sufficient to enable him to calculate eclipses.

At thirteen years of age Thompson was bound apprentice to Mr. John Appleby, a respectable merchant in Salem, the second town in point of size in Massachusetts, although at that time it must have been little more than a village. His occupations with Mr. Appleby were principally those of a clerk in the counting-house; and he appears to have had sufficient leisure, while attending to his duties, to extend his reading and his acquaintance with scientific subjects. At this time also he began to exibit a taste for designing and engraving, as well as for mechanical . invention. Among other contrivances upon which he exercised his ingenuity, was one for solving the famous problem of the Perpetual Motion; a chimera upon which young men of a turn of mind similar to his often try their untaught powers. One evening, we are informed, the young speculator was so sure that he had at length found out the Perpetual Motion, that he set out with the secret in his head to Woburn, intending to communicate it to a friend and old schoolfellow, Loammi Baldwin, in whose knowledge in such matters he placed great confidence. Loammi spent the night discussing the project with him, and so sensibly, that we are told young Thompson became convinced of the mechanical impossibility of his or any other Perpetual Motion, and returned to his counting-house in Salem next morning, resolved to attempt something less magnificent and more practicable.

About this time the differences between the mother country and the American colonies were beginning to assume a serious aspect. The imposition of the famous stamp tax in 1765 had excited great indignation among the colonists, and its repeal in the following year was celebrated with proportionate rejoicings. At Salem, where the commercial interest predominated, it was determined that there should be a great display of fireworks on the occasion; and as the town did not possess a professional pyrotechnist, Mr. Appleby's clerk contrived to get his services in that capacity accepted. Unluckily, while preparing some detonating mixture, he handled the pestle so as to cause an explosion, by which he was so severely burnt that his life was despaired of. At length he was able to remove from his mother's house at Woburn, to which he had been carried after the accident, and resume his employment at Salem. The renewed attempts of the mother country, however, to impose taxes on the colonies, followed as they were by the resolution of the merchants in the colonies not to import any of the products of the mother country, produced such a stagnation of trade in Salem, as at other towns, that Mr. Appleby, having no occasion for the further services of a clerk, was glad to give young Thompson up his indentures, and allow him to return to Woburn.

This happened apparently in 1767 or 1768; and for a year or two afterwards, Thompson 's course of life seems to have been wavering and undecided. In the winter of 1769 he taught a school at Wilmington; and some time in the same year he seems to have thoughts of pursuing the medical profession, for which purpose he placed himself under Dr. Hay, a physician in Woburn, and entered zealously upon the study of anatomy and physiology. While with Dr. Hay, he is said to have exhibited greater fondness for the mechanical than for other parts of the profession, and to have amused himself by making surgical instruments. How long Thompson pursued his medical studies is uncertain; in 1770, however, we find him resuming his mercantile avocations, in the capacity of a clerk in a dry-goods store at Boston, kept by a Mr. Capen. He was in Boston during the famous riots which took place on the attempt to land a cargo of tea from a British vessel contrary to the resolution of the colonists against admitting British goods. Mr. Capen's business seems to have declined in the critical circumstances of the colony, as Mr. Appleby's had formerly done; and Thompson was again obliged to return to Woburn. During the summer of 1770, he attended, in company with his friend Baldwin, a course of lectures on experimental philosophy delivered in Harvard College and at no time of his life does he seem to have been so busily intent upon the acquisition of knowledge. Besides attending the lectures of the professor, he instituted experiments of his own of various kinds, some of which were the germs of valuable conclusions which he published in after-life. In particular, we may mention a course of experiments which he began for ascertaining and measuring the projectile force of gunpowder.

Thompson, though still only in his seventeenth year, had acquired that degree and kind of reputation which it is usual for youths of his stamp to obtain among intelligent acquaintances; and late in 1770, he was invited by Colonel Timothy Walker, one of the most important residents in the thriving village of Rumford, now Concord, in New Hampshire, to take charge of an academy in that place. Accepting the invitation, Thompson, says his American biographer, Dr. Renwick, found himself caressed and welcomed by a society not wanting in refinement or pretensions to fashion. His grace and personal advantages, which afterwards gained him access to the proudest circles of Europe, were already developed. His stature of nearly six feet, his erect figure, his finely-formed limbs, his bright blue eyes, his features chiseled in the Roman mould, and his dark auburn hair, rendered him a model of manly beauty. He acquired an address in the highest degree prepossessing; and at the counter of the Boston retailer, had learnt, from its fashionable customers, the polish of manner and dialect which obliterates all peculiarities that are provincial, and many of those that are national. He possessed solid acquirements far beyond the standard of the day, and had attained already the last and highest requisite for society - that of conversing with ease, and in a pure language, upon all the subjects with a knowledge of which his mind was stored. In addition, he possessed the most fascinating of all accomplishments, for he had a fine voice; and although far from a proficient in music as a science, sang with taste, and performed on several instruments.' With such advantages the young schoolmaster appears to have made an impression on not a few female hearts in the country village where he shone; on none, however, so decidedly as on that of Mrs. Rolfe, a colonel's widow, possessed of what was then considered a large fortune, and although considerably older than himself, still young and handsome enough, according to his biographer, to render it probable that a feeling more creditable than one arising from interested motives led him to seek her hand.' However this may be, the affair was soon brought to a happy conclusion. On giving out his vacation, for the year 1772, the young schoolmaster stepped into the widow's carriage and then drove together to Boston, where he fitted himself with a dress in the extreme of fashion of the day, scarlet being then a favorite color. Clad anew from top to toe, he reentered the equipage, which whirled away towards Woburn. The astonishment of the villagers at seeing their young townsman in such a guise, and in such company, was past description. 6 Why, Ben, my child,' said his mother, gazing at his splendid outfit as he dismounted at the door, how could you spend your whole winter's earnings in this way?' In the presence of his fair companion the youth could hardly explain, and he was obliged to employ a friend to break the subject of his intended marriage to his mother. No objections were offered on her part, although she took twenty-four hours to deliberate on the matter; and the happy Pair drove back to Rumford, where the wedding was forthwith celebrated, the bridegroom being then in his twentieth year.

After his marriage, Thompson took his place as one of the wealthiest inhabitants of the district in which he resided, and mixed in the best society which the colony afforded. It was not long before he made the acquaintance of his Excellency John Wentworth, the governor of the colony, who, anxious, no doubt, in the critical circumstances in which the American dependencies of Great Britain were then placed, to attach to the party which sided with the mother country as many influential colonists as he was able, lost no time in endeavoring to gain over so promising a man as Thompson. A vacancy having occurred in a regiment of the New Hampshire militia, Governor Wentworth gave the commission, which was that of major, to his new friend: an act of attention which, while it seems to have been gratifying to Thompson, did not fail to procure him much ill will from the officers already in the service, over whose heads he had been promoted. From this period Thompson began to be unpopular in his native province. He was represented as a friend of Great Britain, and an enemy to the interests of the colonies; and this charge was the more readily believed, on account of the marked kindness with which he continued to be treated by the governor, and the indifference which he exhibited to those political questions which were agitating all around him. The truth seems to be, that not only was Thompson, as a man in comfortable circumstances, and fond of the consideration and opportunities of enjoyment which they afforded him, averse to any disturbance, such as a war between the colonies and the mother country would cause, but that his constitution and temperament, his liking for calm intellectual pursuits, disqualified him from taking part in political agitation. Many men who have distinguished themselves in literature and science have, as a matter of principle, kept themselves aloof from the controversies and political dissensions of their time, alleging that, however important such questions might be, it was not in discussing them that their powers could be employed to most advantage. In the case of Thompson, however, who as yet had not begun to lay claim to the character of a man devoted to scientific pursuits, his countrymen thought, not altogether unreasonably, that they had grounds of complaint. What employment was he engaged in, that he ought to be exempted from the duty of a citizen - that of taking an interest in public affairs? So, probably, the most candid and considerate of the American patriots reasoned; and as for the great mass of the populace, they condemned him in the usual summary manner in which the public judges. Not a name was more detested in Massachusetts than that of Benjamin Thompson. He was denounced as a sycophant of the British a traitor to the interests of the colonies an enemy of liberty. To such a length did the public hatred of him proceed, that at length, in the month of November 1774, the mob of Concord had resolved to inflict on him the punishment which several other unpopular persons had already experienced - that of being tarred and feathered in the open streets. Receiving intelligence of the design of the mob before it could be carried into execution, Thompson had no alternative but to withdraw from Concord to some other part of the provinces where political excitement did not run so high. Accordingly, he quitted his wife and an infant daughter, who had been born in the previous year, and took refuge first in his native town of Woburn, from which he afterwards removed to Charleston. From Charleston, after a few months residence, he went to Boston, which was then garrisoned by a British army commanded by General Gage.

Thompson was well received by General Gage and the officers of the British army; and his intercourse with them, while it probably gave him a stronger bias towards the side of the mother country than he had yet exhibited, did not contribute to remove the bad opinion his countrymen had formed of his patriotism. Having returned in the spring of 1775, to his native town of Woburn, where he was joined by his wife and daughter, he again ran the risk of being tarred and feathered. The mob surrounded the house where he resided early one morning, armed with guns and sticks, and but for the interference of his old friend Loammi Baldwin, who arrived at the spot in time to use his influence with the crowd, serious consequences might have ensued.

The commencement of open hostilities between the colonists and the British troops in May 1775, made Thompson's position still more critical. As a major in the militia of the province, he would probably have acted on the side of the patriots, obeying the orders of the Provincial Congress, which had superseded the old government; but the odium attached to his name was such, that his very zeal on the patriotic side would have been misrepresented. In order, therefore, to clear himself of all suspicion, and that he might thenceforth live on good terms with his countrymen, he demanded a trial before the Committee of Correspondence established at Woburn by authority of the new power. The trial was granted: he was put under arrest; and an advertisement was inserted in the newspapers for all who had charges to prefer against his patriotism to come forward. Besides the general allegation of his being a Tory, and a friend and correspondent of Governor Wentworth and General Gage, the only charge made against him on his trial was, that he had been instrumental in sending back to their colors two British deserters, having procured their pardon from General Gage during his residence in Boston. This, which ought properly to have been regarded as a mere act of mercy, was construed in a less favorable manner by Thompson's judges; and although, on the conclusion of his trial, the court declared that he had done nothing which could legally be considered as a crime, he was set at liberty without the satisfaction of a full and formal acquittal. Against this treatment he protested in the strongest manner, insisting that he should either be punished as guilty, or declared innocent; but his protests were unheeded.

With a view, apparently, to convince his countrymen of his patriotism by actual service, or possibly because he could enjoy more quiet in the army than the ill-will of his fellow-citizens would allow him in his own house, Thompson, as soon as his trial was over, joined a detachment of the troops of Congress stationed at Chelsea. In the hopes of obtaining a commission,' says his biographer, he paid great attention to tactics, and assisted at the drills of the yet undisciplined forces. He also took up the study of fortification, which he pursued with his usual ardor. Towards the close, however, Of the summer of 1775, his position had become irksome, and even dangerous. Suspicions, which it seemed impossible to allay, shut against him all access to military rank in the continental army. He now could not go from place to place within the lines of the army, without being pointed at as the famous Tory Thompson and though discipline sheltered him from actual violence, he was exposed to insults that a man of spirit could not brook, and which his position prevented. him from resenting. If thus treated within the army, he might infer what awaited him when he should emerge from the out-posts of the camp.' In these circumstances, he came to the desperate resolution of leaving his native country. I cannot any longer,' he writes to his father-in-law on the 14th of August 1775, bear the insults that are daily offered to me. I cannot bear to be looked upon and treated as the Achan of society. I have done nothing that can deserve this cruel usage. And notwithstanding I have the tenderest regard for my wife and family, and really believe I have an equal return of love and affection from them, though I feel the keenest distress at the thoughts of what Mrs. Thompson and my parents and friends will suffer on my account, and though I foresee and realize the distress, poverty, and wretchedness that must attend my pilgrimage in unknown lands, destitute of fortune, friends, and acquaintances, yet all these evils appear to me more tolerable than the treatment which I meet with at the hands of my ungrateful countrymen.'

Two months after writing the above, he carried his resolution into effect. Paying off his debts, and converting some of his property into cash, with the expressed intention of removing to some of the southern states, where he might live in greater security, he set out from Cambridge, the headquarters of the American army, on the 10th of October 1775, accompanied by his half-brother, Josiah Pierce, who took leave of him at the nearest post-town. From that hour,' says his biographer, until the close of the revolutionary struggle, his friends and relatives were without any positive tidings of his fate.' From accounts afterwards received, it appeared that he had reached Newport on the 11th of October, apparently undecided as to his future movements; that there finding a boat belonging to the British frigate Scarborough,he went on board that vessel, and was afterwards landed at Boston, which his friend General Gage, as commander of the British garrison, was at that time maintaining against the American forces. Here he remained under the protection of the British till the evacuation of the town in March 1776, when he again embarked on board the Scarborough, and set sail for England, the bearer of despatches from General Gage to Lord George Germain, the British secretary of state for colonial affairs. Thus had he fairly renounced all connexion with his native country, and gone to push his fortunes in the old world.

Arriving in England, as he did, the bearer of gloomy despatches, and sustaining the equivocal character of a deserter from the American cause, Thompson soon proved that he was a man who could command his fortune anywhere. The capacity in which he had come over introduced him to various public men, who could not fail to be struck by his abilities, as well as charmed by his manner; and the consequence was, that in a short time after his arrival he was offered a post in the colonial office. Probably the minister was of opinion that none of all the American refugees, who then swarmed in London, was able to render Rich assistance as Thomp son in conducting the department over which he presided.

Of whatever nature were the services which Thompson rendered to the public business, they must have been of considerable value; for in 1780, four years after his arrival in England, he was raised by his patron, Lord Germain, to the post of under-secretary of state for the colonies; an instance of promotion which, considering the circumstances in which the subject of it stood, is almost unexampled. The usual accompaniment of such a situation was, and is, a seat in parliament; and according to the practice of those days, when noblemen had seats in the House of Commons at their disposal, Lord Germain, if he had so chosen, might have conferred a seat on his American protégé; but it was probably imagined that the admission into parliament of a man so unpopular in America would be attended with disadvantages, and that, at all events, Thompson's talents were better fitted for the desk than the senate. The income and conse quence, however, which he derived from his office, gave him admission to the highest metropolitan circles; and he had thus opportunities not only of becoming known, but also of exercising his inventive mind in many pursuits not immediately connected with his official duties. Fertility - a disposition to propose improvements in all departments - seems to have been his most striking characteristic; and it was probably this ready genius for practical reforms in everything which came under his notice, that recommended him so much to public men. A man who, in his general intercourse with society, can drop valuable suggestions, allowing others to grasp at them, and enjoy the credit of carrying them into effect, is likely to be a favorite. Thomp son appears to have been such a man a person who, holding no ostensible post but that of under-secretary for the colonies, could yet, out of the richness of an ever-inventive mind, scatter hints which would be thankfully received by men of all professions.

While concerning himself generally, however, in a variety of matters, Thompson was at the same time following out certain specific lines of sci entific investigation. 'As early as 1777,' says his biographer, 'he made some curious and interesting experiments on the strength of solid bodies. These were never published, and would probably have been superseded by more full investigations made by subsequent experiments. In 1778, he employed himself in experiments on the strength of gunpowder, and the velocity of military projectiles, and these were followed by a cruise of some months in the channel fleet, where he proposed to repeat his investi gations on a larger scale.' On this subject Thompson communicated sev eral papers to the 'Philosophical Transactions' of the Royal Society, of which he had become a member. Passing over these scientific lucubrations, we hasten to reach that period of Rumford's life at which he found himself in a situation to give full scope to his genius for improvements.

As the war between great Britain and the colonies proceeded, it became evident that the latter must triumph. The anti-American party in Great Britain lost ground; and on the news of the capitulation of Lord Cornwal lis reaching England, a division took place in the cabinet, and Lord George Germain found it necessary to resign office. As his policy, however, in American affairs, had been agreeable to the wishes of George III, he retired with the honors of a peerage, and was able still to for ward the interests of his friends. Not the least distinguished of these was Under-Secretary Thompson, who, whether he had cooperated with his principal in all his measures and views, or whether, according to his own statement afterwards to Cuvier, he was disgusted at Lord Germain's want of judgment,' had at least done a sufficient amount of work to deserve a parting token of regard. Accordingly, by the influence of the fallen min ister, Thompson was sent out to New York, in the year 1781, with the royal commission of major, which was afterwards changed for that of lieutenant-colonel, charged with the task of organizing an efficient regiment of dra g oons out of the broken and disjointed native cavalry regiments which had been fighting on the royalist side. What were to be the specific uses of this force are now uncertain. The regiment, fortunately, was of no avail.

Peace having been concluded between the United States 'and Great Britain, Colonel Thompson, shortly after his return obtained leave of absence in order that he might travel on the continent.

Passing through France on his way to Vienna he had reached Strasburg on the German frontier, when an incident occurred which changed his prospects and gave a direction to his life different from what he intended, or could have anticipated. A review of the garrison of Strasburg being held, he presented himself on the field as a spectator, 'mounted on a superb English horse, and in the full uniform of his rank as a colonel of dragoons. The French officers were ea g er to make the acquaintance of a conspicuous stranger, the more so that his attendance at a review of French troops in full English uniform was regarded as an act of courtesy which deserved a return. Among those who entered into conversation with him was Prince Maximilian, nephew and presumptive heir of the Elector of Bavaria, and who had served as the commander of a French regiment in the American war. So agreeable was the impression which Thompson made on the prince, that on learning his circumstances and intentions, the later offered him an introduction to his uncle the Bavarian elector, in case he should be inclined to alter his design of proceeding to Vienna, and make trial of the Bavarian service. The proposal pleased Thompson, and, furnished with the prince's letter of introduction, he set out for Munich. Wherever he went he seems to have had the art, almost in spite of himself, of conciliating favor; and on his very first audience with the Elector of Bavaria, he was offered an important situation at court. Still clin g ing, however, to his resolution to visit Vienna, he did not accept the offer; but after spending some time at Munich, during which the elector's esteem for him increased more and more, he set out for the Austrian capital. The elector, however, continued to send him pressing invitations to enter his service; and learning at Vienna that the Turkish war was likely to be brought to a speedy conclusion, Colonel Thompson at length promised that, provided he could obtain the consent of his British majesty, he would take up his residence at Munich. Proceeding to London, in order to obtain the consent which was required, he was received with great kindness by George III, who conferred on him the honor of knighthood, and gave him permission, while resi g ning the command of his regiment, to retain the title of lieutenant-colonel, and the half-pay attached to it.

In the close of the year 1784, Sir Benjamin Thompson took up his residence in Munich, fillin g the posts of aid-de-camp and chamberlain to the elector, thus connected filling with the military and civil service. Charles Theodore, the ruling prince of Bavaria, was a man of enlightened mind, whose ambition was to elevate the state over which he reigned to a high rank among the various members of the German confederacy. The aristocracy of Bavaria itself not furnishing men of sufficient liberality of view to cooperate with him in his designs of improvement, and the prejudices of the court preventing him from employing able men from among the pee pie, even had there been any such qualified for his purpose, he had judiciously resolved to employ foreign talent in the difficult work of reforming his dominions. The capacity, therefore, in which Sir Benjamin Thompson took up his residence in Munich was that of a man who, unconnected by ties of blood or interest with the people of Bavaria, and furnished only with general ideas applicable to all times and places, was to make it his business, under the auspices of the elector, to take a general survey of the condition of Bavaria, with a view to rectify as much as possible of what was wrong in it. A more noble or responsible situation can scarcely be conceived and the dignity and responsibility will appear all the greater, when we reflect that the government of Bavaria, being, in its nature des potic, the powers of a man in Thompson's position - that, namely, of virtual though not ostensible prime minister - were almost unlimited, seeing that there were no constitutional forms, and nothing but the absolute will of the elector, to check or thwart his proceedings.

Another circumstance which rendered the situation of Sir Benjamin Thompson a peculiarly interesting one, was the position of Bavaria at the time. Most of those,' says Cuvier, who are called to power by adven titious circumstances, are led astray by the opinion of the vulgar. They know that they will infallibly be called men of genius, and be celebrated in prose and verse, if they succeed in changing the forms of government, or in extending the territory of their sovereign but a few additional leagues. Happily for Count Rumford, Bavaria at this period had no such temptations for her ministers. Her constitution was fixed by the laws of the empire, and her frontiers defined by the more powerful states who were her neigh bors. She was, in short, reduced to that condition which most states consider so hard a one - namely, to have her whole attention confined to the sole object of ameliorating the fortune of her people. The whole attention of Sir Benjamin Thompson, therefore, was necessarily to be concentrated on the internal condition of Bavaria - a country about the size of Scotland, but considerably more populous.

The first subject which occupied the attention of the American-born prime minister of Bavaria was the condition of the army. There were three reasons for this early consideration of the state of the army. In the first place, the condition of the continent of Europe at the time rendered the state of the defensive force a matter of extreme importance to so critically situated a state as Bavaria; in the second place, Thompson's own tastes inclined him to take an interest in military matters and lastly, in a despotic state, where a little physical force might be necessary to compel the people to adopt good sanitary or other regulations, the army was the natural instrument to be employed in all such reforms, and to render this instrument efficient was but to begin at the right end.

Omitting all the miscellaneous improvements of a minor or mechanical nature which were effected by Thompson in matters connected with milita ry service - as, for instance, in the construction of cannon, in the uniform of the soldiers, their drill, &c. - let us attend to the moral principle which ruled all his proceedings with regard to the organization of the army. I have endeavored,' he says, 'in all my operations, to unite the interest of the soldier with the interest Of civil society, and to render the military force even in time of peace, subservient to the public good. To facilitate and promote these important objects, to establish a respectable standing army, which should do the least possible harm to the population, morals, manufactures, and agriculture of the country, it was necessary to make soldiers citizens, and citizens soldiers.' To this principle, or at least to the precise form in which it is here stated, different persons will make different objections, according as their sympathies are civil or military; but Rumford's general view, that soldiers should be treated as men, cannot be excepted against. The army being essentially the offspring of an age of physical force, it is certainly difficult to organize it conformably to the spirit of an age which repudiates physical force. To do this - in other words, to make the army, as such, a moral agent - is impossible; but it is quite possible to render a large general culture, and much individual freedom, compatible with strict discipline; and at all events, the modern maxim is, that the army is a part of society, employed, it is true, in services of a peculiar nature, which require a peculiar organization, but not on that account cut off from the general mass of the community. Such was the maxim of the Bavarian minister. Besides what he did to increase the physical comfort of the soldier by superior food, clothing and accomodation, he adopted means for the intellectual and moral improvement of all connected with the military service. Schools were established in all the regiments for instructing the soldiers and their children in reading, writing, and arithmetic. Besides these schools of instruction, others, called Schools of Industry, were established in the regiments, where the soldiers and their children were taught various kinds of work, and from whence they were supplied with raw materials to work for their own emolument.

As nothing is so certainly fatal to morals as habitual idleness, every possible means was adopted that could be devised to introduce a spirit of industry among the troops. Every encouragement was given to the soldiers to employ their leisure time when they were off duty in working for their own emolument; and among other encouragements, the most efficacious of all, that of allowing them full liberty to dispose of the money acquired by their labor in any way they should think proper, without being obliged to give any account of it to anybody.' Besides working at their various trades for such as chose to employ them, the soldiers were employed as laborers 'in all public works, such as making and repairing highways, draining marshes, repairing the banks of rivers, &c.; and in all such cases the greatest care was taken to provide for their comfortable subsistence, and even for their amusement. To preserve good order and harmony among those who were detached upon these working parties, a certain proportion of officers and non-commissioned officers were always sent with them, and these commonly served as overseers of the works, and as such were paid.'

The particular plan, however, which enabled Thompson, while he was improving the personal condition of the soldier, and turning the peace establishment to greater account than before for the general good of the country, at the same time to diminish greatly the expense of its support, was that of permanent garrisons. The whole army was distributed through the various cities of the electorate, each city being garrisoned by troops drawn from the surrounding district. This plan possessed many advantages. A peasant would more readily consent to his son engaging himself to serve as a soldier in a regiment permanently stationed in his neighborhood, than in one at a great distance, or whose destination was uncertain; and when the station of a regiment is permanent, and it receives its recruits from the district of country immediately surrounding its head-quarters, the men who go home on furlough have but a short journey to make, and are easily assembled in case of emergency.' Every encouragement was given to all who could be spared from garrison duty to go home on furlough; an arrangement which was both agreeable to the men - who, during their absence, might be cultivating their little family farms, or otherwise employing themselves at any trade - and economical for the state, because, while the men were on furlough, they received no pay, but only their rations. Thus, while in every garrison town there remained a sufficient nucleus of men to do garrison-duty, and who, while receiving full military pay, were at liberty to earn additional money during their leisure time by extra work, the greater part of the army were distributed through the community, pursuing the ordinary occupations of citizens, but ready to assemble at a few hours' notice, and bound to be in the field at least six weeks every year. The assumed necessity for such a state of military preparation gives one a striking idea of the condition of the continent at this epoch.

Not content with the mere negative achievement of organizing the army, so that t it should do the least possible harm,' Thompson endeavored to make it an instrument of positive good. His plan of permanent garrisons and easy furloughs, by establishing a constant flux of men to and from a centre, suggested the somewhat novel idea of making the army the medium for spreading useful improvements of all kinds through the country. Supposing, for instance, that pains were taken to teach the soldiers in garrison any useful art not then known in Bavaria, but which might be naturalized there, it is obvious that when these men were distributed over the country on furloughs, they would carry with them not only their own superior industrial habits, but the art itself. The improvement of Bavarian agriculture by this means was one of Thompson's most anxious wishes. Very few of the recent improvements in that art, he says, such as the cultivation of clover and turnips, the regular succession of crops, &c., had then found their way into general practice; and, above all, the potato was almost unknown in Bavaria. With a view to introduce a better system of agriculture, and especially with a view to naturalize the potato among the Bavarians, Thompson devised the system of military gardens - that is, 'pieces of ground in or adjoining to the garrison towns, which were regularly laid out, and exclusively appropriated to the use of the non-commissioned officers and private soldiers belonging to the regiments in garrison.' In these gardens every private soldier was assigned a piece of ground, about three hundred and sixty-five square feet in extent. This piece of ground was to remain the sole property of that soldier as long as he served in the regiment: he was to be at liberty to cultivate it in any way, and to dispose of the produce in any way he chose; if, however, he did not choose to work in it, but wished rather to spend his pay in idleness, he might do so but in that case the piece of ground was to be taken from him, and so also if he neglected it. Every means was used to attach the soldiers to their garden labor: seeds and manure were furnished them at a cheap rate whatever instruction was necessary, was given them and little huts or summer-houses were erected in the gardens, to afford them shelter when it rained. 'The effect of the plan,' says Rumford, 'was greater and more important than I could have expected. The soldiers, from being the most indolent of mortals, and from having very little knowledge of gardening, became industrious and skillful cultivators, and grew so fond of vegetables, particularly potatoes, that these useful and wholesome productions began to constitute a very essential part of their daily food. These improvements began also to spread among the farmers and peasants throughout the whole country. There was hardly a soldier that went on furlough that did not carry with him a few potatoes for plantin g , and a little collection of garden seeds; and I have already had the satisfaction to see little gardens here and there making their appearance in different parts of the country.'

After reforming the army, the next subject which occupied the attention of the Bavarian statesman was one of universal and perpetual interest the condition of the poor. In order, however, not to be interrupted in our narrative of his measures for the relief of the poor of Bavaria, we shall note a few of the principal events in his personal history during the period of his residence in that country. In 1784, when he commenced his residence in Bavaria, he was thirty-one years of age. The titles which were then conferred on him were, as we have already informed our readers, those of aid-de-camp and chamberlain. Soon afterwards, however, he received the appointments of member of the council of state, and major-general in the army; the elector at the same time procuring him the decorations of two orders of Polish knighthood, in lieu of the Bavarian order, which the rules of German knighthood prevented him from bestowing. The scientific part of the community also showed their esteem for him by electing him a member of the academies of Munich and Manheina. All this took place not long after Thompson had settled in Munich. Every year of his subsequent stay brought him fresh honors. In 1787, when on a visit to Prussia, he was chosen a member of the Academy of Sciences at Berlin; in Bavaria, to follow the list of dignities given by his American biographer, 'he attained the military rank of lieutenant-general, was commander-in-chief of the general staff, minister of war, and superintendent of the police of the electorate; he was for a short time chief of the regency that exercised soverei g nty during the absence of the elector; and in the interval between the death of the Emperor Joseph and the coronation of his successor Leopold, the elector becoming vicar of the empire availed himself of the prerogatives of that office to make him a Count of the Holy Roman Empire.' When this last dignity was conferred on him, Thompson chose the title of Count of Rumford, in memory of the American village where he had once officiated in the humble capacity of schoolmaster. Although it was not till the year 1790, that this title was bestowed on him and the measures we are about to detail were for the most part matured before that time, we shall consult our convenience by henceforth calling him Count Rumford.

The condition of the poor, and the mode of treating them, are questions which every country on earth must incessantly be occupied with; but in few countries, probably, was the necessity of coming to some decided practical conclusion on the subject more glaring, more imperious, than in Bavaria at the time when Count Rumford undertook the social survey of that state. Beggary had there become an enormous and apparently ineradicable evil weed overgrowing the whole field. The beggars almost ate up the industrious part of the community. The number of itinerant beggars of both sexes and all ages, as well foreigners as natives, who strolled about the country in all directions, levying contributions upon the industri ous inhabitants, stealing and robbing, and leading a life of indolence and the most shameless debauchery, was quite incredible; and so numerous were the swarms of beggars in all the great towns, and particularly in the capital, so great their impudence, and so perserving their importunity, that it was almost impossible to cross the streets without being attacked, and absolutely forced to satisfy their clamorous demands. They not only infested all the streets, public walks, and public places, but they even made a practice of going into private houses; and the churches were so full of them, that people at their devotions were continually interrupted by them, and were frequently obliged to satisfy their demands in order to be permitted to finish their prayers in peace and quiet. In short, these detesta ble vermin swarmed everywhere; and not only their impudence and clamorous importunity were without any bounds, but they had recourse to the most diabolical arts and most horrid crimes in prosecution of their trade. The growing number of the beggars, and their success, gave a kind of eclat to their profession and the habit of begging became so general, that it ceased to be considered as infamous, and was by degrees in a manner in terwoven with the internal regulations of society. Herdsmen and shep herds who attended their flocks by the roadside, were known to derive con siderable advantage from the contributions which their situation enabled them to levy from passengers; and I have been assured that the wages they received from their employers were often regulated accordingly. The children in every country village, and those even of the best farmers, made a constant practice of begging from all strangers who passed; and one hardly ever met a person on foot upon the road, particularly a woman, who did not hold out her hand and ask for charity.'

Count Rumford determined to grapple with this enormous evil, and, if possible, suppress mendicancy in Bavaria. His sagacity and general knowledge of mankind taught him to believe the achievement practicable, and he had already paved the way by his reform of the army. Other preliminaries, however, were necessary; and assisted by the genius of the government of Bavaria, where a sudden stroke of benevolent despotism was more in keeping than it would be elsewhere, he resolved first thor oughly to mature his scheme, and then to pounce upon the beggars when he was prepared to receive them. Although he knew that the people of Bavaria would gladly accept any measure which would relieve them from the dreadful scourge which they had so long borne, yet as so many schemes previously proposed had failed, he resolved to carry his plan into successful execution before he asked a farthing from the people in support of it. The elector's treasury was accordingly drawn upon for the amount of money necessary in advance.

Munich was to be the scene of his first experiment. And first of all, a building was necessary to receive the beggars when they should be appre hended. A suitable edifice was found situated in the Au, one of the su burbs of Munich. 'It had formerly been a manufactory, but for many years had been deserted, and falling to ruins. It was now completely repaired, and in part rebuilt. A large kitchen, with a large eating-room adjoining it, and a commodious bakehouse, were added to the buildings; and workshops for carpenters, smiths, turners, and such other mechanics, were established, and furnished with tools. Large halls were fitted up for spinners of hemp, for spinners of flax, for spinners of cotton, for spinners of wool, and for spinners of worsted; and adjoining to each hall a small room was fitted up for a clerk or inspector of the hall. Halls were likewise fitted up for weavers of woolens, weavers of serges and shal loons, for linen weavers, for weavers of cotton goods, and for stock ing-weavers; and workshops were provided for clothiers, clothshearers, dyers, saddlers; besides rooms for wool-sorters, wool-carders, woolcombers, knitters, seamstresses, etc. Magazines were fitted up, as well for finished manufactures, as for raw materials, and rooms for countinghouses; storerooms for the kitchen and bakehouse; and dwelling-rooms for the inspectors, and other officers. The whole edifice, which was very ex tensive, was fitted up in the neatest manner possible. In doing this, even the external appearance of the building was attended to. It was hand somely painted without as well as within; and pains were taken to give it an air of elegance, as well as of neatness and cleanliness.'

All these preparations having been made apparently without exciting any special degree of public curiosity, New-Year's Day of the year 1790 was chosen for the grand stroke, that being a day when Munich was sure to be unusually full of Beggars. The military was posted through the streets, so as to command the whole town, and the neighboring country was occupied by patrols of cavalry. In the mean time, having assembled at his own residence the ma g istrates of Munich, and a number of military officers and citizens of rank and dignity, Count Rumford expounded to them his scheme, and requested them to accompany him into the streets where the most difficult part of the work, that of arresting the beggars, was to commence. 'We had hardly got into the street,' says Rumford in his narrative of the proceedings, 'when we were accosted by a beggar, who asked us for alms. I went up to him, and laying my hand gently upon his shoulder, told him that from thenceforward begging would not be permitted in Munich; that if he really stood in need of assistance (which would be immediately inquired into), the necessary assistance should certainly be given him; but that begging was forbidden, and if he was detected in it again, he would be severely punished. I then delivered him over to an orderly-sergeant, who was following me, with directions to conduct him to the Town-Hall, and deliver him into the hands of those he should find there to receive him. Then turning to the officers and magistrates who accompanied me, I begged they would take notice that I had myself, with my own hands, arrested the first beggar we had met; and I requested them not only to follow my example themselves, by arresting all the beggars they should meet with, but that they should also endeavor to per suade others, and particularly the officers and soldiers of the garrison, that it was by no means derogatory to their character, or in any way disgrace ful to them, to assist in so useful and laudable an undertaking. These gentlemen having cheerfully and unanimously promised to do their utmost to second me in this business, dispersed into the different parts of the town, and, with the assistance of the military, the town was so thoroughly cleared of beggars in less than an hour, that not one was to be found in the streets.'

The beggars being all taken to the Town-Hall, their names were written down, and they were dismissed to their own homes, with directions to repair next day to the 'Military Workhouse,' as the new establishment was called, in consequence of its being fitted out with money from the military chest, and destined chiefly to supply the army with clothing etc. Here they were told they would find comfortable warm rooms, a good warm dinner every day, and work for such as were able to labor, with good wages, which should be regularly paid. They might, or might not come, just as they chose, but at all events they were not to beg any more; and if they appeared in the streets, they should be apprehended. The circumstances of them all, they were told, were immediately to be inquired into, and relief granted to such as required it.

The plan met with immediate success. On the next day a great number of the beggars attended at the Military Workhouse; the rest hid themselves; and so vigorous and effective were the measures adopted to apprehend mendicants, that after trying in vain to renew their old practices, these too were obliged at length to yield. The experiment having succeeded so far, it was judged advisable to appeal to the public for their support; and a paper was accordingly drawn up by Professor Babo of Munich, urging the citizens to do their utmost to rid themselves of the scourge of mendicancy, by cooperating in the new scheme. In this paper allusion is made to a practice of the beggars, which may be here mentioned, as a proof of the deplorable viciousness of the whole system. The beggars of Munich, it appears, drove a lucrative trade in communion and confessional certificates, which they obtained from the clergy by attending twice or thrice a-day at the holy sacrament, and at confession, and afterwards sold to such of the citizens as were averse to church-going, and yet desirous of avoiding the inconveniences which neglect of religious observ ances entailed in a place where the Roman Catholic clergy had so much power.

Professor Babo's address having been circulated, with an outline of Count Rumford's scheme, the citizens of Munich gladly agreed to contribute, to enable the project to be fairly carried out; and indeed, accustomed as they had been to meet the incessant demands of the beggars by as incessant giving, they saw in the new plan not only an immediate moral relief, but a prospect of pecuniary saving. Rumford's principle was, to depend entirely upon the voluntary contributions of the charitable. The city was divided into sixteen districts; the names of all the inhabi tants of each district who were willing to subscribe were taken down, with a note of the sum each volunteered to contribute. This sum might be altered at the pleasure of the subscriber - increased, diminished, or even altogether retracted. The sums were to be collected regularly on the last Sunday of every month, by an officer who was to go round on purpose among the subscribers of each district. Arrangements were also made for the receipt of miscellaneous donations, both large and small; and every possible means was adopted to beget a public confidence in the administration of the fund collected, by making the publication of all accounts imperative.

Two distinct things had now been accomplished by Count Rumford - he had established a workhouse, and he had secured a fund for the relief of the poor. Although the two objects were mixed up together at the commencement, and are of necessity included under the general descriptive head of the Suppression of Mendicancy,' they ought not to be confounded.

In seizing upon the beggars, Count Rumford had adopted the most practicable means for arriving at a very desirable end - the discrimination of the merely idle from the really necessitous. To classify these two sorts of persons was his first object. When this was done, his work then divided itself into two parts - the reclaiming of the idle to habits of industry, and the relief of the really necessitous. The modes of operation for the one and for the other were expressly kept independent indeed it was one of Rumford's most careful provisions that the workhouse should not wear the aspect of an institution supported by charity. We shall describe first the progress of the workhouse by which Rumford meant to suppress idleness, and then the means which he employed for relieving the distress which still remained.

Before the opening of the Military Workhouse, it had been fitted up with looms, spinning-machines, &c., as well as furnished with raw materi als, especially hemp, the spinning of which is easily learnt. During the first week 2600 mendicants, of both sexes, and various ages, entered the establishment. For the first three or four days,' says Rumford, it was not possible entirely to prevent confusion. There was nothing like mutinous resistance among the poor people; but their situation was so new to them, and they were so very awkward in it, that it was difficult to bring them into any tolerable order. At length, however, by distributing them among the various halls, and assigning to each his particular place, they were brought into such order, as to enable the inspectors and instructors to begin their operations. Those who understood any kind of work were placed in the apartments where the work they understood was carried on; and the others being classed according to their sexes, and as much as possible according to their ages, were placed under the immediate care of the different instructors.'

Every care was taken to promote the comfort of the people while at work, and to render their work agreeable to them. It being winter, the rooms were well warmed by fires kept regularly burnin g the whole establishment was swept twice every day; attention was paid to the ventilation; as far as elegance was possible in halls devoted to work, it was consulted; and the kindest usage was the order of the institution. The people arrived at the establishment at a fixed hour in the morning; they continued at work till the hour of dinner, when they repaired to the dininghall, where they were furnished with a good dinner of white bread and fine rich soup; and after some hours of further work, they were dismissed, as from any other manufactory, and had all the rest of their time at their own disposal. Besides the dinner-hour, which was allowed as relaxation to all in the establishment, two additional hours, one in the morning, the other in the afternoon, were allowed to the children, during which they were assembled in one of the halls, and taught reading, writing, and arithmetic, by a master paid for the purpose; and as the regular hours of labor were not longer than in any other manufactory, neither they nor the adults were overworked. Lastly, every person in the establishment was, regularly paid the wages fixed for the sort of labor he was employed in. The main feature of the scheme was, to impress upon those who attended the establishment that they were not necessarily paupers by their attendance there, but workmen entitled to the wages which they received. The workhouse,' says Rumford, was merely a manufactory, like any other manufactory, supported by its own private capital, which capital has no connexion whatever with any fund destined for the poor.' In order to keep this vividly before the workpeople, an inscription, in letters of gold, was placed over the main entrance of the establishment - ' NO ALMS WILL BE RECEIVED HERE.'

It is evident, however, considering the expenses of setting the establishment agoing, considering all the inducements which were held out at first to allure the people to it, especially that of paying them the ordinary rate of wages while they were yet wretchedly bad workmen, in order to keep up their courage - it is evident, in these circumstances, that the institution must at first have been maintained at a loss. Although hemp was selected at first as the material for learners to begin with, as being cheap, yet such was the awkwardness of the beginners, that even in this material a considerable loss was sustained. By an exact calculation, it was found,' says Rumford, that the manufactory actually lost more than three thousand florins upon the articles of hemp and flax during the first three months. But we were not discouraged by these unfavorable beginnings; and if the establishment was supported at some little expense in the beginning, it afterwards richly repaid the loss.' By constant practice, the workmen became expert, so that not only hemp, but much more expensive materials, could be intrusted to them with safety; and in a short time it was no longer a mere benevolent pretense to treat them as men earning their wages by a fair amount of labor, for such became the fact. The bustle and activity of the establishment increased from year to year. In the sixth year of its existence the demand upon it for goods amounted to half a million of florins; and the net profits of the six years were calculated at one hundred thousand florins.

It will readily suggest itself to persons acquainted with the doctrines of political economy, that an objection might be raised to Count Rumford's experiment, from a consideration of what may have been its effects upon the labor market. As all the articles manufactured in the Military Workhouse for the supply of the Bavarian army had formerly been manufactured by other persons, it is evident that the immediate effect of the establishment of the workhouse was to withdraw so much custom from those other persons, whoever they may have been. A moment's consideration, however, of the state of Bavaria, will rob the consideration of whatever threatening look it may wear in the case which we are now concerned with. These persons, now supporting themselves by the labor of their own hands, had formerly been mendicants, living at the expense of the industrious portion of the community; and viewing the matter, therefore, in its pecuniary aspect alone, the question with the people of Munich was, whether they sustained a greater loss by admitting 2600 persons to be competitors with themselves in the labor market, or by supporting the same 2600 persons as mendicants. Add to this, the moral comfort of living in a town where not a beggar was to be seen, and the still more exquisite satisfaction of reflecting that a number of their fellow-creatures, formerly loathsome, vicious, and wretched, were now living in cleanliness, propriety, and happiness. On the merits of the institution in this point of view, hear the words of count Rumford himself. After alluding to the expertness which the members of the estab lishment acquired in the various manufactures, he proceeds - ' But what was quite surprising, and at the same time interesting in the highest degree, was the apparent and rapid change which was produced in their manners. The kind usage they met with, and the comforts they enjoyed, seemed to have softened their hearts, and awakened in them sentiments as new and surprising to themselves as they were interesting to those about them. The melancholy gloom of misery, the air of uneasiness and embarrassment, disappeared by little and little from their countenances, and were succeeded by a timid dawn of cheerfulness, rendered most exquisitely interesting by a certain mixture of silent gratitude which no language can describe. In the infancy of this establishment, when these poor creatures were first brought together, I used very frequently to visit them, to speak kindly to them, and to encourage them; and I seldom passed through the halls where they were at work without being a witness to the most moving scenes. Objects formerly the most miserable and wretched, whom I had seen for years as beggars in the street; young women, perhaps the unhappy victims of seduction, who, having lost their reputation, and being turned adrift in the world without a friend and without a home, were reduced to the necessity of begging to sustain a miserable existence, now recognized me as their benefactor, and with tears dropping fast from their cheeks, continued their work in the most expressive silence.. If they were asked what the matter was with them, their answer was, Nichts' ['Nothing'], accompanied by a look of affectionate regard and gratitude so touching, as frequently to draw tears from the most insensible of the bystanders. Why should I not mention the marks of affectionate respect which I received from the poor people for whose happiness I interested myself? Will it be reckoned vanity if I mention the concern which the poor of Munich expressed in so affecting a manner when I was dangerously ill? - that they went publicly in a body in procession to the cathedral church, where they had divine service performed, and put up public prayers for my recovery? - that, four years afterwards, on hearing that I was again dangerously ill at Naples, they of their own accord set apart an hour each evening, after they had finished their work in the Military Workhouse, to pray for me; for me - a private person - a stranger - a Protestant!'

Having thus described the procedure at the Military Workhouse - ' which, although it was established with a philanthropic design, and had at first the aspect of a charitable institution, was in fact no such thing, but a mere commercial concern, yielding a profit on the capital invested in it - we shall now briefly narrate Count Rumford's plan of dealing with the pauperism of Munich with the real poverty and destitution which remained after all that could be effected by the Military Workhouse.

The entire management of the poor of Munich was put into the hands of a committee, consisting of four of the principal Bavarian ministers of state - namely, the president of the council of war, the president of the council of regency, the president of the ecclesiastical council, and the president of the chamber of finances; and these four were to choose each a counselor of his own department to assist him. Neither the presidents nor the counselors were to be paid for their labors in this committee; and the secretary, clerks, and inferior officers required, were to be paid, not out of the fund for the poor, but immediately from the treasury. The mode of reaching the poor was as follows: - The whole town, containing about 60,000 inhabitants, was divided into sixteen districts, the houses being all regularly numbered. In each district, a respectable citizen was chosen to be inspector of the poor within its limits. This inspector, whose services were to be purely voluntary, and unpaid, was to have for his assistants a priest, a physician, a surgeon, and an apothecary. The business of the inspector was to receive applications for relief, to inquire into the circumstances of the applicants, to furnish immediate assistance if it was required, and, where assistance might be delayed, to refer to the committee. Relief was granted, as might be required, in clothing, in medical aid, or in weekly sums of money; but in making the allowance, care was taken to find out how much the applicant was in a condition to earn. If he was able to work, work was provided for him, either at the Military Workhouse, or at home, to be delivered at the workhouse. The fact of his having been industrious, was certified by a government stamp affixed by the overseers of the workhouse every week to a slip of paper, on which also was marked the sum he had earned, and whatever was necessary for his support over and above this sum was granted. Those who could not work, were of course provided for. The funds out of which all the provisions were made consisted, as we have already said, of the voluntary contributions of the inhabitants. There were a few legacies for the poor; certain fines, also, went into the poor's fund; but the great mass of the money required was collected statedly from the citizens in the manner described in a previous page, not by assessment, but by purely voluntary subscription. Besides donations in food and clothing, the sum collected in ready money during five years from the inhabitants of Munich was 200,000 florins, which was found amply sufficient for all purposes. It must be remembered, however, that the peculiar circumstances of the people of Munich, in having just been relieved from the scourge of men dicancy, made them more apt to fall into the habit of voluntary subscriptions than probably might be the case with the inhabitants of other towns not so circumstanced. Indeed the citizens of Munich effected a clear pecuniary saving by the change - a saving amounting in all to more than two-thirds. This saving consisted of two items: - First, an actual diminution of the mass of pauperism, numbers of those who formerly subsisted by charity being now able to support themselves either in whole or in part; and secondly, a retrenchment of all that waste which accompanies a private dispensation of charity, as compared with a system of general management, where, in consequence of the wholesale scale of operations, economy can be studied. The value of this second consideration will appear when we come to speak of Count Rumford's devices for economising food and fuel.

It will now be seen how the Military Workhouse, and the system of management for the poor, worked into each other's hands, although in principle totally independent of each other. No part of the Military Workhouse was under the control of the committee for the poor, except only the kitchen and bakehouse, which, as being supported out of the funds for the poor, were placed under their management.

Having thus described, at considerable length, Count Rumford's measures for the suppression of mendicancy in Munich, it only remains to be added that our description is to be taken rather as a historical account of an interesting and apparently successful experiment, than as a thorough appreciation of its merits as a social scheme. To criticise all the details of Count Rumford's plan, especially as a plan of universal application, would require much space, and would lead to controversy. It may be safely said, however, that while some parts of the scheme may be theoretically objectionable, and others may not be adapted for circumstances different from those in which they had their origin, the general features of the scheme are as sound as the spirit which prompted it was philanthropic.


As one of Count Rumford's reasons for preferring a general system for the administration of charity was the superior economy which it admitted, especially in the articles of food and fuel, it is not to be wondered at that he turned his attention to a consideration of the subject of food and fuel itself. In doing so, he opened up a new field for the exercise of his prac tical genius. What is the cheapest way of feeding large bodies of men? and what is the most economical way of applying heat for the purposes of warmth, of cooking, and of manufactures? These are questions upon which Count Rumford occupied himself more zealously and more successfully than any one had done before him, or, probably, than any one has done since his time. With the former question he was engaged while yet resident in Bavaria - one of his subsidiary schemes for the benefit of the poor there, and in other large towns, being the establishment of public kitchens and dining-rooms, where the poor, or indeed the laboring classes generally, might be supplied with better food at a cheaper rate than in their own houses. As the subject of cookery of the improvements which are possible in the mode of preparing food for the use of man, whether with respect to economy, or to the gratification of the palate, or to both is one to which scientific men have not yet applied themselves with sufficient zeal, we will note down such of Rumford's conclusions on it as do not appear to be antiquated. The importance which Count Rumford himself attached to the subject will appear from his extraordinary saying, that the number of inhabitants who may be supported in any country upon its internal produce, depends almost as much upon the state of its art of cookery as upon that of its agriculture.'

With regard to the materials of food, it needs only to be mentioned that Rumford, besides recommending in Bavaria a larger use of vegetables generally, advocated in a special manner the introduction of the potato, and of Indian corn - the former by cultivation, the latter by importation. In recommendin g Indian corn, he says, The common people in the northern parts of Italy live almost entirely upon it, and throughout the whole continent of America it makes a principal article of food. In Italy it is called polenta and it is there prepared in a variety of ways, and forms the basis of a number of very nourishing dishes. The most common way of using it in that country is to grind it into meal, and, with water, to make it into a thick kind of pudding, like what in England is called hastypudding, which is eaten with various kinds of sauce, and sometimes without sauce.' In America, besides being used , for puddings, it forms an ingredient of bread. In testimony to its pleasantness and wholesomeness as an article of food, he mentions the circumstance of the universal fond ness of the Americans for it; and that the negroes, in countries where both rice and Indian corn are grown, invariably prefer it to rice, alleging that rice turns to water in their bellies,' but Indian corn stays with them, and makes them strong to work.'

As to the best mode of preparing food for the purposes of economy, Rumford's grand recipe was - soup. At the time when Rumford entered the service of the elector,' says his biographer, Dr. Renwick, the pay of the private soldier was no more than about three cents a day; under his administration it was raised to about four cents. Out of this he was compelled to purchase every article of food, except bread, of which a ration of little more than two pounds was issued to him. When we compare this scanty allowance with the rations of our own army and navy, we should fancy that the condition of the Bavarian soldiers must have been miserable in the extreme; but so far from this being the case, they are described as the finest, stoutest, and strongest men in the world, whose countenances show the most evident marks of health and perfect contentment.' Such was the skill in cookery possessed by the Bavarian soldier, that he was enabled to subsist on two-thirds of his scanty pay, and, in addition, to save five-sixths of his ration of bread, which he sold.' By inquiries and experiments, Rumford became convinced that the cause of the mystery lay in the fact, that the Bavarian soldier used his food almost universally in the form of soup. What surprised me not a little,' he says, was the discovery of the very small quantiy of solid food which, when properly prepared, will suffice to satisfy hunger, and support life and health; and the very trifling expense at which the stoutest and most laborious man may in any country be fed. After an experience of nearly five years in feeding the poor at Munich, it was found that the cheapest, most savory, and most nourishing food that could be prepared was a soup composed of pearl barley, pease, potatoes, cuttings of fine wheaten bread, vinegar, salt, and water, in certain proportions. I constantly found that the richness or quality of a soup depended more upon a proper choice of the ingredients, and a proper management of the fire, than upon the quantity of solid nutritious matter employed much more upon the art and skill of the cook, than upon the amount of the sums laid out in the market. I found also that the nutritiousness of a soup, or its power of satisfying hunger, and affording nourishment, seemed always to be in proportion to its apparent richness or palatableness.'

Struck with these remarkable results, Rumford endeavoring to explain them, by supposing that the water used in converting solid nutritious matter into soup became of itself nutritious, serving not merely as the vehicle for food, but really constituting a part of the food itself. This supposition of Rumford is now ascertained to be a mistake. Physiologists, however,' says Dr. Renwick, have reached the true explanation. The quantity of matter required to supply the waste of the body at all ages, and furnish the material for the growth of the young, is small compared with the actual capacity of the digestive organ, while the latter is not satiated, nor the appetite satisfied, unless it receive a certain degree of distention. A quantity of warm liquid, holding so much nutritious matter in solution as to render digestion necessary, will fulfill the latter object as well as an equal bulk of solid food; while the necessity of expelling the excess above the actual wants of the system many in the latter case be productive of evil.'

With such a decided preference for the soup form of food as Count Rumford had been led to entertain, it is not to be wondered at that soup was an essential feature in all his schemes for the benefit of the poor. Soup was the great article of food employed in his experiments in Munich; and in his contemplated project of public kitchens and dining-rooms for large towns, the necessary condition of success was, that soup should be the staple diet. He even went into the,, details of the composition of soup; and his essays contain receipts for making various kinds of soup, with and without butcher-meat. The following judicious observations of Rumford's American biographer seem to sum up both the merits and the demerits of these experiments and speculations The only question which admits of doubt is, how the description of food preferred by Rumford is adapted to the circumstances of all countries. Now, to the greater part of the Anglo-Saxon race, soup, if not an abomination, will never be received as the staple of more than one daily meal; while tea and coffee, whose use Rumford reprobates, with their accompaniment of sugar, have become necessaries of life. In Paris, soup, which became for a while the fashionable mode of administering charity, was well adapted to the habits of the people; but in England and America it was received with grumbling, or rejected by all who could in any other mode obtain food. One reason no doubt was, that it was considered sufficient to make the food nutritious, without attempting to make it pleasing to the palate. This defeat is far from inherent; for the soups of Rumford, whether containing none but vegetable matter, or a mixture of animal substance, may be easily rendered as delicious as the most costly preparations of the French kitchen.'

Besides the general schemes which we have mentioned, Count Rumford was engaged, during his residence in Bavaria, in many minor plans of social improvement; indeed, as we have already said, he acted the part of surveyor-general of the abuses of the electorate. It was not in the nature of things that he should be able to proceed in his various innovations and reforms without provoking some jealousy and opposition among the Bavarian nobles: the support and favor, however, of the elector never failed him, and with the people at large he was exceedingly popular. In the year 1794, finding his health greatly impaired by his close attention to business, he obtained leave of absence from the elector, and employed sixteen months in traveling through various parts of the continent, especially Italy. During his absence, two very gratifying testimonies of respect and gratitude were borne to him by the Bavarians. The first was, the erection of a monument to commemorate his public services. The other was still more honorable to him: it was the resolution, already referred to, of the inmates of the Military Workhouse, when they heard that he was dangerously ill at Naples, to set apart an hour every evening to pray for his recovery. In 1795 Rumford returned to Bavaria, but left it almost immediately, to proceed on a visit to England. Here he was received with all distinction, and his opinion and advice were asked by all engaged in philanthropic schemes. To save himself the labor thus entailed upon him, he resolved to publish an account of his doings and experiments in Bavaria, and accordingly prepared for the press the two volumes of essays which go by his name. The only subject of general interest in these essays, apart from the purely scientific disquisitions, which remains to be mentioned by us, is that of fuel.

In undertaking to reform chimneys and fireplaces, Count Rumford had three objects in view - the saving of fuel, the prevention of smoke, and the avoidance of the injury to health arising from drafts. The extent of his services in this unpretending but most important department will be better estimated if we consider the state of fireplaces in most European Countries fifty or sixty years ago. The most polished nations of antiquity,' says Dr. Renwick, had no other means of providing for the issue of the smoke of their fires than by leaving openings in the roof. They indeed appear, in some instances, to have heated apartments by flues circulating beneath the floors, which must have terminated in a vertical funnel, thus forming an approximation to the chimney; but there appears to be no instance of the arrangement of an open hearth and vertical flue until late in the middle ages. Chimneys and fireplaces of the latter date are still to be seen in the kitchens and halls of baronial mansions; but the hearths were of great size, the arched openings wide and lofty, insomuch that they could be entered by persons standing upright, and admitted seats to be placed on each side of the fire. The latter, indeed, were the only places where the warmth of the fire could be enjoyed without exposure to the currents of cold air continually rushing in to join the ascending column in the chimney. Even when an increasing scarcity of fuel com pelled less extravagant modes of applying it to be sought, the arched open ing remained of a large size, the fireplace of a depth equal in extent to its front, and the walls were carried back perpendicularly to the latter. In England, where coal had come into almost universal use as a fuel, the grates in which it was burnt were almost exact cubes, and were lined with cast-iron on the sides and back. The evils of these fire-places may be recollected by all whose age reaches fifty; and they are remembered with feelings in which shuddering and scorching are strangely combined, but which are almost unknown, and scarcely to be imagined, by the present generation. Chimneys which did not smoke were the exception to the general rule; and the exposure of the surface of the body to cold cur rents generated the acute pains of rheumatism, while the frequent alternations of an increased and checked perspiration caused colds, to be fol lowed, in regular course, by pulmonary complaints. In this state of things Rumford undertook to remedy the manifold evils of the open fireplace.'

Observing that the heat of a mass of blazing fuel in a grate consisted of two parts - that which radiated into the room, and served the purposes of warmth; and that which, by heating the column of air in the chimney, caused it to ascend, Rumford saw that an enormous saving could be effected by diminishing the size of the grate. Instead of a cubical mass of fuel, such as was generally used, he proposed to employ a grate of ordinarily broad front, but not deep backward, and with the sides not perpendicular to the front, but inclining. The effect of this was to limit the fire to the single function of warming the room by radiation from its front, while the mass of coal which had formerly been consumed without any benefit to the apartment was saved. In order, however, to prevent the smoking of the chimneys which would have arisen from this diminution of the burning mass, another change was necessary, and this was the narrowing the throat of the chimney, so as to allow no more air to pass through it than the precise quantity required to maintain the combustion. The immoderate size of the throats of chimneys,' says Rumford, is the great fault of their construction. It is this fault which ought always first to be attended to in every attempt which is made to improve them; for however perfect the construction of a fireplace may be in other respects, if the opening left for the passage of the smoke is larger than is necessary for that purpose, nothing can prevent the warm air of the room from escaping through it; and whenever this happens, there is not only an unnecessary toss of heat, but the warm air which leaves the room to go up the chimney being replaced by cold air from without, drafts of cold air cannot fail to be produced in the room, to the great annoyance of those who inhabit it.'

Such is a general description of Count Rumford's alterations in fireplaces. The subject, however, was pursued by him to its minutest details, and illustrated by numerous and specific plans for curing smoky chimneys under all possible circumstances. He likewise invented various forms of stoves and grates, intended to exhibit the model perfection of an apparatus for heating rooms, or for cooking victuals. So thorough and complete was his investigation Of the subject, that little remained afterwards to be added to his conclusions; and it may be said, that any case of the continuance of a smoky chimney after the publication of his essays, arose from a neglect or misapplication of the principles there developed.

After some stay in Great Britain, he returned to Munich in 1796, accompanied by his daughter, who had come over from America at his request, her mother having died in 1792. What were Count Rumford's relations with America, during the long interval of his absence from it, we have no means of ascertaining; as far as can be inferred, however, he seems to have maintained little correspondence with his former friends in the United States till after his wife's death; and one cannot help remark ing the unpleasing circumstance, that while on one side of the Atlantic the husband was enjoying an honorable position, and filling a large space in the public eye, the wife and daughter continued during the life of the former to reside on the other.

Rumford, on his return to Munich, was occupied in very important affairs. The advance of the French republican army under Moreau obliged the elector to quit the capital, leaving a council of regency, with Rumford at its head. Rumford succeeded in the arduous task of freeing Bavaria from invasion, and his conduct on this occasion increased his reputation with the elector and with the people. Among other tokens of the elector's gratitude for his services, he was permitted to settle one-half of the pension which he enjoyed on his daughter, to be paid during her lifetime. In 1798 the elector, partly with a view to gratify him with an honor which he knew he desired, and partly to afford him another opportunity of relaxation for the improvement of his health, appointed him ambassador at the court of Great Britain. On arriving in London, however, Rumford found, that in consequence of the English legal fiction, by which a born subject of the country is declared incapable of ever alienating his allegiance, he could not be received as the Bavarian ambassador. Mortified as he must have been by this circumstance, and still more deeply grieved by the loss of his friend and patron, the Elector Charles Theodore, who died in 1799, Rumford contemplated returning to spend the remainder of his life in the land of his birth. In compliance with a formal invitation which he received from the United States government, he was making preparations for his return, and had written to a friend to secure a cottage in the vicinity of Boston, as a 'quiet little retreat,' when he was led to change his design, and remain in London, in the society of which he occupied a conspicuous place. During several years, a great part of the Count Rumford's time was devoted to the interests of the Royal Institution, of which he may be considered the founder. The objects of this institution, now one of the recognized scientific establishments of the world, and one which can boast of having given employment to such men as Young, Davy, Brande, and Faraday, were 'to diffuse the knowledge and facilitate the general introduction of useful mechanical inventions and improvements, and to teach, by courses of philosophical lectures and experiments, the application of science to the useful purposes of life.' Such an institution was precisely the one which Rumford was qualified to superintend; and in its early history, the influence of his peculiar habits of thought is discernable in the choice of subjects for investigation by the members. Subsequently, the institution assumed the high scientific character which it yet holds.

In 1802, Count Rumford left England, and spent some time in travel. Revisiting Munich, he found the workhouse which he had planned, and which had been instrumental in producing so much good, abolished, and the new elector, Maximilian, friendly indeed but indisposed to follow the footsteps of his predecessor. Accordingly, after assisting in modeling a Bavarian academy of sciences, he took farewell of his adopted country, and went to reside in Paris, retaining an income of about L1200 from the Bavarian court. At the same time his daughter returned to America, her father having abandoned his intention of returning along with her. In Paris, Count Rumford appears at first to have gained the good-will and esteem which had attended him so remarkably during his previous life; and not long after he began his residence there, he contracted a second marriage with the widow of the celebrated Lavoisier, put to death during the French Revolution. From 1804 to 1814 he resided with his wife at Auteuil, a villa at a short distance from Paris, the property of Madame Lavoisier, and the scene of many of her former husband's discoveries. Here Rumford employed himself in scientific pursuits of a miscellaneous nature. The union of the American-born citizen of the world with the widow of the illustrious Frenchman does not appear to have been a happy one; and there is evidence that, towards the end of his life, Rumford had become unpopular in Parisian society. Cuvier attributes this to a certain coarseness and want of urbanity of manner; possibly, however, the fault was less in the person criticised than in the Parisian standard of criticism, for the charge seems inconsistent with the tenor of Rumford's life.

Rumford's death took place at Auteuil on the 21st of August 1814, in the sixty-second year of his age. He left some bequests for the promotion of science in America; the rest of his property, which does not appear to have been great, he left to his relatives. His only daughter inherited the title of Countess of Rumford, with the continuation of her father's Bava rian pension. She is, we believe, still alive, and has long resided in Paris.

Rumford, whose memoirs we have now detailed, was not a faultless char acter, or a person in every respect exemplary but making due allowances for circumstances in which he was at the outset unfortunately placed, and keeping in mind that every man is less or more the creature of the age in which he lives, we arrive at the conclusion, that few individuals occupying a public position have been so thoroughly deserving of esteem. The practical, calm, and comprehensive nature of his mind, his resolute and methodical habits, the benevolence and usefulness of his projects, all excite our admiration. Cuvier speaks of Rumford as 'having been the benefactor of his species without loving or esteeming them, as well as of holding the opinion that the mass of mankind ought to be treated as mere machines.' A remark this which is applicable to not a few men who have been eminent for labors of a humane description, and which naturally gives rise to this other remark - that a good intellectual method, directed to practical ends, is often of more value to mankind than what is called a good heart.