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few, is now the slave of the many; before the toy of the scholar, it is now the servant of the people; no longer hidden in colleges, it is at work in the field, on the highway, upon the railroad-track, on the great deep, in the mine, in the factory, in the kitchen. No longer is Philosophy a thing that lives aloof from the world, with gloved hand and slippered foot, too dainty to soil itself with the head-work and hand-work of life; it is now a hard-fisted fellow, with sleeves rolled up, and sweaty brow, tugging and toiling to bless and benefit mankind.
Go to the great cities of the world, and you will find that Philosophy, Science, by application to art, lights them up with gas, and for every inhabitant the poor as well as the rich-banishes the gloom of night. Go to the machineshop, and you will find Philosophy there at work, constructing an engine that enables man to fly upon his journey with the speed of the bird. Go to another shop, and you will find Philosophy there, constructing a machine that shall bear you across the Atlantic in a single fortnight. Go to the cotton factory, and you will find Philosophy there at work, and producing a yard of cotton for ten cents, which, forty years ago, had cost you five times that sum.
Thus it is that Science, by its application to the arts of life, by being put into the possession of thousands of ingenious heads and hands, is conquering the great obstacles of nature. It is triumphing over the very shadows of night; it is cutting away mountains; annihilating distance; dragging continents, before separated by the barriers of the deep, into proximity; enabling remote nations to shake hands, and inhabitants of distant cities to breakfast, dine, and sup together.
The Study of Natural History - Audubon and his Works. T. M. BREWER.
THE study of natural history is admirably adapted to impress the mind with the truths which religion teaches. The book of nature expounds the works of Omnipotence. What study can be grander or more ennobling? One of the best English poets has said,
"An undevout astronomer is mad ""
If this be true of the astronomer, who is obliged to content himself with very limited knowledge and distant admiration, what should we think of him who contemplates without wonder and awe the displays of divine power in the profusion of objects which natural history presents, inviting the most minute examination of their structure and properties?
The good effects of the study of natural history in a moral point of view entitle it to a very favorable regard. A trite proverb, but trite only because it is so true, tells us that ❝idleness is the root of all evil." Much of the immorality that pervades society originates in the want of agreeable and innocent occupation. Such occupation may be found in the study of the natural sciences. If any one should doubt the attractiveness of this study, let him read the poetic and animated pages of Wilson, Audubon, and other kindred spirits, and he cannot fail of being inspired with a love for their pursuits. It has been well remarked by Swainson, that "the tediousness of a country life is proverbial; but did we ever hear this complaint from a naturalist? Never. To him every season of the year is interesting. With each succeeding month, new races of animals and plants rise into existence, and become new objects for his research, until autumn fades
into winter, and both the animal and the vegetable world sink into repose."
"Thus may our lives, exempt from public toil,
Find tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
A very visible and decided change in the public mind, in favor of the study of natural history, has recently taken place in this country. We hail it as a harbinger of good. The study of natural history will afford profitable occupation for those leisure hours which our young men are too prone to spend in vicious indulgences.
No one has probably contributed more towards creating and fostering a taste for nature in this country, than the justly-celebrated naturalist John James Audubon. His magnificent paintings excited great interest, and his adventurous and enthusiastic pursuit of his darling study made him the object of general admiration. His undertaking was unrivalled for the boldness with which it was commenced, and the perseverance and zeal with which it was executed. It will be an enduring monument of his enterprise and acquirements. It is impossible to know the man without the highest respect for his fortitude, self-denial, and courage. We see in him the splendid painter of Nature, her eloquent historian, and the accomplished gentleman, all united in the same person, who appeared a few years since in the capital of Scotland, an unknown and friendless stranger, of humble means, and astonished the scientific world by his proposal to publish a work on ornithology upon a scale so magnificent as would have deterred many a wealthier devotee of science. We follow the same individual, his object in Edinburgh accomplished, in the prosecution of his Herculean task. We find him now buffeting the waves on the shores of Labrador, now treading the unhealthy swamps of Florida, and again exploring the rivers and lagoons of Texas. We behold him returning, with the spoils of patient assiduity, to meet
with an unexpected obstacle, thrown in his path by the commercial crisis of the country—the loss of nearly one half of the subscribers upon whom he had depended to repay his expenditures. But we see him superior to all disasters, surmounting all obstacles, and completing, in spite of them, the most magnificent work on natural history which the world has ever seen. Such a man would be an honor to any country and any age. His life and labors excite an interest amounting to enthusiasm, and have unquestionably contributed much to the rapid progress which natural history has lately made in the public estimation.
George Washington. CHARLES W. UPHAM.
LONG before the war of the American revolution broke out, a leader was raised up and perfectly fitted for the great office. Among the mountain passes of the Blue Ridge and the Alleghanies, a youth is seen employed in the manly and invigorating occupations of a surveyor, and awakening the admiration of the hardy backwoodsmen and savage chieftains by the strength and endurance of his frame, and the resolution and energy of his character. In his stature and conformation, he is a noble specimen of a man. In the various exercises of muscular power, on foot and in the saddle, he excels all competitors. His admirable physical traits are in perfect accordance with the properties of his mind and heart; and over all, crowning all, is a beautiful, and, in one so young, a strange dignity of manners and of mien, a calm seriousness, a sublime self-control, which at once compels the veneration, attracts the confidence, and secures the favor, of all who behold him. That youth is the
leader whom Heaven is preparing to conduct America through her approaching trial.
As we see him voluntarily relinquishing the enjoyments, and luxuries, and ease, of the opulent refinement in which he was born and bred, and choosing the perils and hardships of the wilderness; as we follow him, fording swollen streams, climbing rugged mountains, breasting the forest storms, wading through snow-drifts, sleeping in the open air, living upon the coarse food of hunters and of Indians, we trace, with devout admiration, the divinely-appointed education he was receiving to enable him to meet and endure the fatigues, exposures, and privations, of the war of independence. Soon he is called to a more public sphere of action, on the same theatre; and we again follow him in his romantic adventures, as he traversed the far-off western wilderness, a special messenger to the French commander on the Ohio, and afterwards when he led forth the troops of Virginia in the same direction, or accompanied the ill-starred Braddock to the blood-stained banks of the Monongahela. Every where we see the hand of God conducting him into danger, that he might extract from it the wisdom of an experience not otherwise to be attained, and develop those heroic qualities by which alone danger and difficulty can be surmounted, all the while covering him, as with a shield.
When we think of him, at midnight and in midwinter, thrown from a frail raft into the deep and angry waters of a wide and rushing western river, thus separated from his only companion through the wilderness, with no human aid for miles and leagues around him, buffeting its rapid current, and struggling through driving cakes of ice; when we behold the stealthy savage, whose aim as against all other marks is unerring, pointing his rifle deliberately at him, and firing over and over again; when we see him riding through showers of bullets on Braddock's fatal field, and reflect that never, during his whole life, was he wounded or even touched by a hostile force, do we not feel that he was