[Noisebridge-discuss] Charles Babbage

Jake jake at spaz.org
Sun Apr 8 08:50:35 UTC 2012

I have sacrificed time, health, and fortune, in the desire to complete 
these Calculating Engines.  I have also declined several offers of great 
personal advantage to myself.  But, notwithstanding the sacrifice of these 
advantages for the purpose of maturing an engine of almost intellectual 
power, and after expending from my own private fortune a larger sum than 
the government of England has spent on that machine, the execution of 
which it only commenced, I have received neither an acknowledgment of my 
labors, nor even the offer of those honors or rewards which are allowed to 
fall within the reach of men who devote themselves to purely scientific 
         If the work upon which I have bestowed so much time and thought 
were a mere triumph over mechanical difficulties, or simply curious, or if 
the execution of such engines were of doubtful practicability or utility, 
some justification might be found for the course which has been taken; but 
I venture to assert that no mathematician who has a reputation to lose 
will ever publicly express an opinion that such a machine would be useless 
if made, and that no man distinguished as a civil engineer will venture to 
declare the construction of such machinery impracticable...
         And at a period when the progress of physical science is 
obstructed by that exhausting intellectual and manual labor, indispensable 
for its advancement, which it is the object of the Analytical Engine to 
relieve, I think the application of machinery in aid of the most 
complicated and abstruse calculations can no longer be deemed unworthy of 
the attention of the country. In fact, there is no reason why mental as 
well as bodily labor should not be economized by the aid of machinery.
                 -- Charles Babbage, "The Life of a Philosopher"

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