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render them extensively useful in other departments. To the house-carpenter, they are invaluable, as in all his operations, from the roof of the house to its doors, windows, and finishings, he finds its lightness, its softness, its strength, its durability, and its ready polish, every thing that he could desire. It wants, indeed, the great tenacity, flexibility, and elasticity of the ash; but these are qualities which would have diminished its usefulness for its peculiar purpose; so that both in what it possesses, and in that of which it is destitute, it demonstrates Creative wisdom and paternal intention.*
But the pine species are not less strikingly adapted to another purpose, bearing deeply on the moral and political condition of man,-I mean the masting of ships. Straightness, longitudinal tenacity, and levity, with a limited elasticity, added to a small flexibility, was the combination required; and we have seen that this is the very combination which exists. Here is a case, somewhat analogous, as Dr. Macculloch observes, to that of the feathers of birds. Nor is this analogy to be found merely in the exterior and obvious arrangement; since, in the interior anatomical structure, the contrivance is similar, and this structure is confined to the trees of that peculiar family. The strong and hard portion of the annular cylinder resembles the quill part of the feather, and the spongy lamina serves to extend the diameter of the total mass, without adding proportionally to the weight, thus producing the greatest transverse strength with the least quantity of materials, under the same mathematical principle. It is further remarkable, that this combination of properties should have been united to an erect simple form of great length; while we also perceive that a provision has been made for this, not only in the anatomical structure, but in a crowded growth, and in the decay of the lateral branches. Many other trees include one or more of these properties; but none unite the whole. The poplar is tall and straight, but it wastes itself in branches, and wants longitudinal tenacity. The lime
* [The wood most used in the United States for building purposes, is, as is well known, the white pine, Pinus strobus.-Aм. ED.]
possesses levity, but it is deficient in all else; and so with regard to all the other trees with which we are acquainted; all of them fail in some essential property. Is there not then a specific design in combining so many useful qualities in one tree—and that tree one of the most prolific and easily procured in temperate climates, and especially adapted to those localities where, on account of the high latitude, other vegetation becomes comparatively scanty?
For another purpose in ship-building, the oak is adapted with an intention not less obvious. In this tree, lateral and longitudinal strength are singularly united, and are combined with other wellknown qualities, which render it the special timber for ships. If straightness was required for the mast, a crooked growth was no less useful for the formation of the hull; and we find the oak more twisted and gnarled than almost any other tree, thus affording all necessary forms for the use of the ship-builder, united with a rigidity which precludes the danger of change of shape. There is but one other tree, the teak, which rivals the oak in fitness for the construction of ships; and it is worthy of notice, that the teak is allotted to hot climates, as the oak finds its native place in the temperate zone, the one ceasing to grow where the other
There is yet another property of some kinds of wood with which I shall close this enumeration, namely, their almost endless durability when buried in moist earth; a property so opposite to others which vegetable substances possess, that it is altogether unexpected. It is, however, of the greatest utility; for without it, man could not have erected permanent structures on those wet and loose soils, which, from their peculiar fertility, are every where, and have ever been, the chosen seats of population; without this, we could but seldom have constructed highroads which cross rivers; without it, we could not have founded piers and made harbors; and without it, even Holland itself might still have been the bottom of the sea.
*See Macculloch's Attributes of God, vol. iii. On the uses of vegetable substances to man.'
All these are important ends in the plans of Providence ; and that man's skepticism must be incurable, who does not perceive and acknowledge that the means I have detailed were created for the express accomplishment of these ends. It would be easy to pursue this subject further, and to show more in detail the adaptation and contrivances in question; but a mere specimen is all that the nature of this work admits of.
ORIGIN OF THE ARTS.
CONSIDERING autumn as the storing season, when the fruits of the earth are reaped and laid up for use, we are naturally led to look forward, and inquire to what particular purposes these fruits are to be applied. This presents to us a very wide field, in which the adaptation of the gifts bestowed by the Creator, to the wants of man, and the adaptation, also, of the human powers and faculties, to the appropriation and employment of these gifts, are wonderfully and most edifyingly displayed.
During the course of our investigations in the preceding volumes, we have seen an amazing diversity in the productions of Nature, and some of the ways in which these are made subservient to the subsistence and enjoyment of living beings, have been already pointed out. But there is one department which has as yet been but partially explored; I mean that in which human art has been called forth to prepare the raw material, so as to adapt it to the circumstances and desires of our rational and aspiring race. On this department I now intend to enter. It is full of interest, and will exhibit to us in a very remarkable light, that providential discipline, already so frequently alluded to, by which the powers of the human mind are stimulated, exercised, and improved, and society advances, step by step, in the progress of civilization.
There are three kinds of necessaries which man requires in every state of society, from the rudest stage of savage life, to that of the most polished and civilized community,-food, clothing, and shelter,-and none of these does he possess without the exercise of some labor and ingenuity. In the more genial climate, indeed, where he first arose from the hands of his Creator, and where his progeny, probably during the whole of the antediluvian ages, continued to reside, the two latter necessaries,— clothing and a prepared habitation,-might be dispensed with without absolutely endangering his existence; but yet they are of such essential importance to his comfort, that, next to food, they would undoubtedly be the earliest objects of his attention; and it is worthy of remark, that he might obtain them all without exerting greater skill and labor than a human being without culture may readily be supposed to bestow. His food would be found scattered around him in the fruits, roots, and esculent vegetables, which Nature spontaneously produces; a sufficient supply of such scanty habiliments as Nature demanded might be obtained in the simple form of woven leaves, of the inner bark of trees rudely prepared, and of the skins of dead animals dried in the sun; and for his place of residence he might resort to the shelter of the projecting rock, or natural cave, or, where he was unannoyed by the neighborhood of ferocious wild beasts, he might carelessly throw himself, during his hours of sleep, under the ready shade of some wide-spread tree.
I am not now writing the actual history of man, and am anxious the reader should understand, that I do not believe our original forefathers really emerged from this lowest state of barbarism; for I cannot doubt that, if there are tribes to be found in this degraded condition, it is because they have lost the vantage-ground on which they were at first placed by their Creator. Looking back to Noah, the second progenitor of the human family, we find him already in possession of many of the improvements of civilization, and prepared, with his family, to take advantage of the arts which his ancestors had handed down to him, for procuring not merely the neces
saries, but the conveniences and comforts of life. I wish it to be understood, therefore, that I merely assume a position for the sake of illustrating an important principle.
When mankind have happened to be reduced to the low condition I have supposed, we have uniformly found that they have remained long stationary; and, indeed, it is not very easy to see how, in the ordinary course of things, they should be readily emancipated from it.
It is true, that the country they peopled, however wide its boundaries, would at length become too narrow for the support of the inhabitants, and the misery of want, rendering them desperate, would rouse them from their natural indolence, and force them to exert their dormant faculties; but the first and most obvious resource would be predatory incursions on their neighbors, which would do little more than add ferocity to their rude and brutal characters. From this lowest stage, therefore, I am not aware that the improvement of society ever proceeded as a natural result. In the history of all those nations, now advanced in the scale of society, which date their origin from a savage state, we find traditions, or historical notices, pointing to some particular era, whence their civilization took its rise; and when this is the case, we uniformly hear of some remarkable individual, commonly a stranger from some distant land, who stood forth among them as their leader and enlightened benefactor, and on whom their unenlightened but grateful hearts have conferred the honors of divinity. Or, otherwise, some nation advanced in intelligence, has coerced them by force of arms, and while it bent their minds under the burden of a foreign yoke, presented them with the blessings of foreign civilization. Of the one case, we have an example in the gifts bestowed by the Minerva, the Mercury, and the Ceres of the ancients; of the other, in the arts extended along with the conquering arms of Greece and Rome.
Such is the progress of actual history, but it suits our present purpose better to take the simple view of gradual developement, without very nicely inquiring into the means by which it has been accomplished. The savage has been excited by some stimulus, no matter what, and be