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It is observed of Archimedes, by his philosophical biographer Plutarch, in the Life of Marcellus, that "although we might labour long without success in endeavouring to demonstrate from our own invention, the truth of his propositions; yet so smooth and so direct is the way by which he leads us, that when we have once travelled it, we fancy that we could readily have found it without assistance, since either his natural genius, or his indefatigable application, has given to every thing that he attempted the appearance of having been performed with ease,"

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MECHANICS is the science which inquires into the laws of equilibrium and the motion of bodies, whether solid or fluid. The term originally applied only to the doctrine of EQUILIBRIUM, and in this volume it is used in its primitive signification. The adjunct by which this work has been designated, is meant to convey the idea of a book that is self-instructing, and which, in its details, may furnish those who have not had the benefit of a regular academic education, with expeditious and practical methods of operation, in applying the principles of hydrostatic science to the general and every-day business of mechanics.

The volume is therefore a manual of principles combining the twofold properties of precept and example, and exhibiting in a comprehensive view whatever is generally and particularly applicable to the mechanics of practical men. But the same construction will render it available in any course of public or private tuition, in which it may be desired to illustrate by examples those operations which, in practical science, are governed by the laws of fluid equilibrium, pressure, and support: for it is hoped that these laws have been demonstrated and illustrated with sufficient expansion to suit the progress of modern discoveries, and to remove some part of that uncertainty which has hitherto prevailed in the opinions of scientific men.

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