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natural death, unless effectual measures are at once commenced for the reproduction of timber. In those States and in our own, the disforested regions are turned into grazing or tillage farms, or divided into house-lots, and are rapidly changing into busy manufacturing villages.
It is not probable that individual land-owners will make a simultaneous effort to save our forests, however convincing the statement of its necessity and its gainfulness which is found in Mr. Emerson's Report. The capital required must lie too long dormant, in such an enterprise, to suit a people who are in so great a hurry to be rich, and so busy with other profitable undertakings. The task of fostering, enlarging, and improving the forests of the State is one whose importance to the common weal makes it a proper object for the action of government. Any outlay from the public pocket for this purpose will produce a large and sure return; and if it be also a slow one, our children, at least, will reap the benefit of it, so many of them, at any rate, as shall not prefer clearing away pines and firs in Oregon to waiting for acorns to become oaks at home.
“But why should it be thought important to reclaim or render valuable the waste or worthless lands of Massachusetts ? There are millions of acres of land in the Western States far richer than any in our State, which may be purchased for much less than it will cost to render barren land productive. Why not go thither and occupy the rich wild lands ? For many rea
This is our native land. It is painful to break the chain of affection which connects us with it. It is painful to separate members of the same family. Every improvement in agriculture, in the management of the forests, and in the use of the other natural resources of our State, makes it capable of sustaining a larger population, and thus enables more of our young men and young women to remain with us, rendering home dearer to those who would otherwise be left behind. The advantages of our life, in the long-settled parts of the Bay State, are greater than can be expected, for more than a single generation to come, in the newly settled regions of the valley of the Mississippi, or in any other new region. There are still higher reasons.
We live in a climate, and on a soil, best adapted, from their very severity and sterility, to bring out the energies of mind and body, and to form a race of hardy and resolute men. We have our churches, our schools, our libraries, our intelligent and virtuous neighbours, — dearer to us than any strangers can be. These we
are not willing to leave. We wish that our children should grow up under the influence of the institutions which our forefathers have formed and left to us, and which we have been endeavouring to improve. Here we wish to live and to die; and when we die, we wish to be surrounded by those who are most dear to
- p. 36.
There is a strong migratory instinct in the Yankee constitution, it should be remembered, and he moves, that is, seeks a new home, with gypsy-like facility, whenever he thinks he can better his condition by it. Having succeeded in elbowing and shouldering the Indian from the soil, he seems hardly to feel that he has acquired a right to fix himself permanently upon it. He will take root anywhere, and continue to flourish greenly under any circumstances, like a certain species of grass which is famous among gardeners for not being discouraged by any thing short of complete annihilation. It does him no manner of injury to be transplanted a dozen times, provided he thinks each move is to a more favorable locality. During the constant immigration of masses of bone and sinew without intelligence, which excites so much selfish alarm and discontent among us, children of Pilgrim fathers as we are, it might be as well to give some attention to the silent departure of active and valuable citizens. Let it be watched and prevented, if possible, by the paternal aid and care of government. The manufacturer in wood, when he has exhausted the supply of large trees ready for his purpose in one neighbourhood, “pulls up stakes,” and “takes the raw material, but to multiply its value by their productive skill. Give them the means of being useful and busy among us, and they will be content to remain.
for an older forest, his wife, perhaps, shedding a few tears over the grave of a child or parent and in parting with the old neighbours, but himself and his enterprising boys full of animation, and feeling little more sentimental regret, if prospects are good in removing, than a Bedouin would under similar circumstances. “What takes place in individual cases," remarks Mr. Emerson, " indicates the necessary but silent movement of great masses. One by one, the workers in wood will have left the State, when the old forests shall have been all cut down." We may thus, through a culpable indifference and want of foresight, dismiss from our borders many of our most industrious and ingenious citizens, more numerous than one not attentive to the variety and importance of manufactures in wood could imagine. They cannot be blamed for leaving us, since it is not their business to grow
Mr. Emerson pays a hearty tribute to the worth of this class of our people.
" In the ship-yards in Boston, New Bedford, and other towns in the State, and the numerous saw-mills, machine-shops, and manufactories of furniture, of agricultural implements, and of all other articles of wood, and on the farms and wood-lots in all parts of the Commonwealth, whither I went, in almost all instances, a stranger, to make inquiries, - everywhere, with one solitary exception, I was very civilly received, and had my questions answered with the greatest kindness and intelligence; and everywhere I found a readiness to furnish me, or let me furnish myself, with specimens of the flowers, leaves, fruit, and wood of the trees I was examining. To all persons from whom I have received these acts of kindness I would here make my
cordial acknowledgments. I shall always esteem it one of the best fruits of my labors in this Survey, that they have brought me better acquainted than I otherwise could have been with the intelligence, hospitality, and good and kind manners of the common people in every part of the State. If there are better manners and a higher intelligence among the people in other countries, I should like to travel amongst them; but I very much doubt whether, in any country on which the sun
ines, there are, amongst the people in common life, more of those qualities which are always pleasant to meet with, delightful to remember, and most honorable to our common humanity to record, than are found among the independent mechanics and yeomanry of Massachusetts.'
- Preface, p. x. We refer the reader to the Report, for the valuable statistical information on the subject of wooden wealth and its waste in Massachusetts, which the author has been at so much pains to obtain. He shows at some length the uses of the forest in occupying tracts not fit for tillage, and gradually enriching the soil ; in ameliorating the climate by affording protection from scorching heat and wintry blasts ; in affording many substances used in the arts, and furnishing materials for a curious variety of manufactures, from ships, houses, cars, wagons, furniture, and the like, down to tools, wooden ware, brushes, brooms, baskets, and shoe-pegs ; and in supplying fuel for the consumption of railroads, families, and furnaces. He devotes a large portion of the economical part of the work to practical hints on the most approved
methods of planting, thinning, and pruning forest-trees, and the best time and mode of cutting and seasoning timber.
But Mr. Emerson is no mere utilitarian ; a refined taste and an enthusiastic love of the beautiful in nature breathe through all his descriptions of plants and flowers ; and as he avoids technical language as far as possible, these qualities must make the book agreeable to a great variety of readers. For our own private reading, we lament the loss of matter rather poetical than scientific, to which he alludes in the preface as thrown out by want of room. Indeed, we are of opinion that the volume would have been more useful, as well as more interesting, had the author allowed himself more latitude in this respect. In our practical and money-loving community, the culture of a pure and elegant taste, and the development of the innate sense of the beautiful, is a greater benefit than can be gained by urging economical considerations and pecuniary advantages upon minds sufficiently awake and eager in the pursuit of gain, and needing no spur but that of self-interest. We are aware that Mr. Emerson's commission came from a public body, and, as public bodies have no souls collectively, it may be a breach of propriety to take it for granted that they have them individually. The commission being a very jejune and business-like affair, decorum seemed to require the same style in the Report, if the writer could, by any effort of will, become dull and soulless enough for this purpose. Mr. Emerson's serious apology for not further pruning bis work, for not stripping off every leaf of ornament, every green sprig of fancy, till each page was as dry as a dead branch, seems to us a severe satire upon the utilitarian public, which means, we sadly believe, the Yankee public in general. But even our most busy and driving community, which does not go out of its way, nor spend its six days of working time for what doth not profit, do not object to a flower or two by the side of the dusty path. Though they regard matters of taste and poetry as more particularly the concern of people of leisure, they are not without some intelligent appreciation of grace and beauty, when these come in their way. Mighty useless, to be sure, that sort of thing which serves no purpose but to gratify the eye and taste, except so far as it has to do with the circulation of money, the vital blood of trade; still, it is a glorious inutility, as Madame de Staël says of music, and when it involves no waste of time, and costs nothing, it meets with admiration as hearty as that which was once elicited by our execution of an andante of Pleyel's on the organ. 6. Dat 's a beautiful noise as ever I see !” exclaimed an accidental auditor, a native of Madagascar.
There is no natural incompatibility between ideas of beauty and utility ; on the contrary, they are closely and divinely allied. It is education, not neglected in this land of good schoolş, but made too anxiously practical, that has raised a quarrel between them. What farmer thinks of having his boys taught drawing, for instance, except, it may be, a little geometry or mapping? Many a lad, who manifested a natural inclination for it, has been forbidden to use his pencil, lest he should become too fond of it, and be unfitted for less attractive pursuits ; as if it were more to be distrusted than other recreations of a less refined character. The loss of time, too, in acquiring a common degree of manual dexterity in the art, is much insisted on ; since drawings, even of merit, do not sell.
With mingled mirth and sadness, we remember a scene in a close, uncheerful, small apartment, where a large number of children were incarcerated daily, in the name of education. A lady brought in two lovely little girls to be taught to read ; the astonished school-dame was told that she might teach them one hour of the forenoon, and let them run abroad in the fields the other two, to learn to use their eyes and limbs. At the same time, an anxious mother came dragging in a chubby little cherub, regardless of his struggling and kicking; she begged the good dame to see that John made the best use of his advantages, as he had his living to get, and his schooling must be short ; desired that she would be severe upon tardiness, truancy, and all unreasonable play ; hinted, that if holidays could be dispensed with, and school continued through the Saturday afternoon, her continued patronage of the seminary would be secured ; and with a parting shake of the head at the disconsolate infant, left him to writhe six hours upon a hard bench, to be taught by compulsion what he could have learned in one by the willing and eager use of his faculties.
Is it not a flagrant tyranny, this system by which the natural love of nature and free action is thus stifled and trodden down, and mountains of dulness piled upon its head? We