The following is from the History of the Royal Society by J. Sprat which Charles Bennett says predates the time in which a sharp line was drawn between natural science and the manual arts:
"It would not be amiss, if before young Scholars be far ingag'd in the beaten tracks of the Scholes, the Mysteries of Manual Arts, the names of their Instruments, the secrets of the Operations, the effects of Natural causes... were propos'd to be the subjects of their first thoughts and observations."In another place the author states:
"I will venture to propose to the consideration of wise men, whether this way of Teaching by Practice and Experiments, would not at least be as beneficial as the other by Universal Rules? Whether it were not as profitable to apply the eyes, and the hands of Children, to see and to touch all the several kinds of sensible things, as to oblige them to learn and remember the difficult Doctrines of general Arts? In a word, Whether a Mechanical Education would not excel the Methodical?"And this is from Joseph Moxon:
I see no more reason why the sordidness of some workmen should be the cause of contempt upon Manual Operations than that the excellent Invention of a Mill should be dspis'd because a blind Horse Draws in it. And though the Mechanicks be by some accounted ignoble and scandalous; yet it is a very well known, that many Gentlemen in this Nation of good Rank and high Quality are conversant in Handy-Works: And other Nations exceed us in numbers of such. How pleasant and healthy this their Divertion is, their Minds and Bodyes find; and how harmless and Honest all sober men may judge?