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race, and therefore should feel, in view of the sum total of good wrought out, that a conscious Goodness is omnipresent in all things, — not a blind Force. The delightful harmony of the productions of a nation with its time, place, and constitutional peculiarities, even to the minutest details, is quite beyond any individual purpose; and these productions are a record so much more eloquent than written history, that, language being admitted to be of divine origin, there can be no doubt that the specific impulses to other human arts are equally so. A glance at the relics of ancient Egypt is more instructive than Herodotus. The elaborate puerilities, grotesque ornaments, and absurd perspective of the Chinese, were they otherwise than they are, would not be Chinese. Each fresh item of national feature, in art as in act, is received with fresh relish; it is "just what we would have expected.” It can hardly be conceived that the metropolis of the United States should have been other than it is; the imposing public buildings of Grecian model, the “magnificent distances” and meagre filling up, the Smithsonian Institute, the statues and the monuments, affect us as matters of course, the most natural creations possible, all things considered.
More evidently do human works appear in some sort divine, when it is recollected that many individual impulses conspire, often, to a grand result. If a malevolent genius be thought to gather up the little threads of selfish human purpose and weave them into great cables and networks of wrong, certainly a sleepless superintendence is still more manifest in mighty and good issues. The London Exhibition was not due to Prince Albert or to Paxton; ages of private ingenuity tended to that public consummation; it was the splendid Niagara of myriad confluent streams of art and wealth, flowing through all time. All the world, including burglars, invented Hobbes's lock; all the world perfected the winning yacht and the prize reaping-machine. Michael Angelo but directed the hose-pipe of a huge reservoir of treasure, power, national genius and culture, when he played into the air that vast, petrified fountain, - curving down in domes, streaming down in columns, rain. bowed with mosaic, - St. Peter's. Such an enterprise as the Western Central or the Pacific Railroad has its roots in a long series of events and influences. Every man and every hour that contribute to a sublime end, for the most part look only to some immediate, trivial object. None but an Allwise Power brings forth the surpassing grandeurs of civilization.
How is the conclusion, in its most definite applications, hindered by the fact that a created intelligence intervenes ? Many things which we regard as operations of nature are ascribed by revelation to angelic instrumentality. It is a charming thought of poetry, that spirits superintend the growth of flowers. And who shall say that unseen beings are not employed in many processes of creation, so that all which we esteem purely natural may not be so strictly? But we already consider some things as quite other than artificial, where mediate intelligence — a degree of reason, in fact, is present visibly. The animal often exhibits wisdom, power of various adaptation, as well as uniform instinct; yet we recognize the honey-comb, spider's web, beaver's structure, as natural, although some difficulty, so rare as to transcend the limits of ordinary instinct, has been overcome in their construction. And because a human, a higher intelligence is added, in any case, — because God has thus exerted more creative power, is more manifestly present, in securing the result, — shall we therefore see less of him? Flowers have been called thoughts of God; so are the good utensil, vehicle, structure, and artificial symbol.
There is danger of running to an extreme on this subject, as on all others. It needs a wary eye not to step off into the slough of modern German and New England pagans, who sink God and nature in man, or God and man in nature, who have found out that “everything is everything, and everything else is everything, and everything is everything else." Nevertheless, within the limits now drawn, or implied, we may sink art in nature, may at least bathe it in nature. A temple is another form of vegetation or cavern. The white houses on distant hills — their angles sharp in the sunlight--are scattered crystals, left by the onward wave of improvement The engine is a new beast of draught; proverbially, it is an iron horse. The optical instrument is a new eye; the gar
ment, an added epidermis; the lamp and household fire, other stars and suns; the watch, a new dial-flower; the statue, another recognized individual; picture and poem, the expressed juice of life and nature; the telegraph, a more powerful ear and tongue; steam-paddles, mightier arms to swim with; and cities, forests of tropical luxuriance, - alas! still of tropical poison and decay.
Who would arrest the inroads of civilization, however imperfect it be? The world will be disfigured at first, but it will be transfigured at last. This beautiful star has been given to that one child made up of all earth's children; let him eat his cake; let him peel and haggle this golden orange of a world ; he will grow wiser and stronger by it, and be more fitted for his eternal manhood. This planetary block of granite has been surrendered to that one man composed of all men; let him chip and hew at his pleasure; he strikes boldly, seemingly at random, and splinters off large fragments, as if he would ruin the block; but the work will be perfected ultimately. It is still granite, and can be thrown down and become a rough mass, if need be. All below heaven is nature, however changed. Egypt and Syria are deserts once more ; and if the human family, in the wiser time to come, shall prefer a primitive earth, there will be time for the column to crumble, the ivy to grow, the wild to resume its reign; the wounds of spade and drill will be healed, if they be wounds, and not rather the surgery of science. Now, however, may we no more lament the mutilation and ransacking of wildernesses; may we hear no more cant about “ desecrating the shrines of Nature.” Man is not man until cultivated; Nature is not herself in him, except through the arts of education. To pine disconsolately for her original forms in woods and crags, is consistent only with a yearning for the habits of savage life. Or if valleys and hills are less natural when changed by created hands, they may be more divine; the eternal purpose may be accomplishing itself. The recent and sublime science of physical geography, as well as geology, brilliantly proves that the earth was made for man, not man for the earth. Utility is a deeper beauty, and will yet be wedded to all beauty. Let the clown fell the forest-trees that
VOL. LXXIX. - No. 164.
should be spared; his children will learn better things, and will plant other trees. Railroads have their unsightly fea, tures, but they open tracts of scenery before inaccessible; all the world can now see Westmoreland as well as could its hermit bard. And railroads themselves begin to appear as natural, right, and beautiful, as if beavers had heaped the embankments, spiders spun the bridges, tornadoes levelled the woods, geologic fires left the veins of iron track, and as if the locomotive were a very behemoth, devouring rivers of distance at a breath, and followed by the many-jointed monster of a train. The small stone tower at Niagara humanizes the shaggy, foaming creature; the bridge to Iris Island is a collar on the lion's neck, attesting the empire of man. All the artificial surroundings help the vastness of the cataract, by needed comparison; and it matters not what are the accessories of such a wonder; it is an immense revolving emerald set in the universe, not merely in its own narrow shores and cliffs. Wherever a tenement is desired, let it be built. Sooner may we upbraid the wasps for hanging their paper nests upon any tree, or denounce the African ants for building their tall mounds, with no eye to the effect of scenery, with no respect to its proprieties. Man has a claim to, and is a creature of, the earth, no less than birds and insects. We are placed here, not in the moon; are workers, not simply spectators of land and sea; are not all eye, but hands also. What if the Old World parks be sold for pence and given to the poor; their beauty will live in song and painting. What though every American solitude be overrun; its glory will remain in the lines of poets, the pages of novelists, the canvas of landscape artists.
A missionary, whose writings evince no tendency to mere speculative refinements, recorded these words concerning the strangely picturesque wildernesses of Oregon, before they had begun to be peopled by the recent immigrations : “ The wild scenery of nature for a while delights, but it is the scenes of civilized culture which give permanent interest. These are the objects which, with their progressive changes, lend additional charms to stereotyped nature.” With this simple utterance of feeling, the most delicate criticism agrees. The summer letters of an “ Howadji” speak of Lake George as a diamond in the rough; it needs to have, like Lake Como, the human impress of art, -"the gleam of marble palaces, or of summer retreats of any genuine beauty, even a margin of grain-goldened shore, or ranges of whispering rushes beneath stately terraces, - indeed, any improvements which Nature has there suggested.” And a critic of the “ Howadji.” is wrong when he thinks that the ideas of confinement and costly exclusiveness are necessarily connected with the artificial, and that we therefore need to escape into the ruggedness and freedom of solitudes. When the present economy of society shall approximate more nearly to an equalization of benefits, we shall not need to flee from suggestions of care and expense. When an innocent freedom shall be realized in speech and intercourse, a childlike individuality in manners, costume, and custom, we will not seek the liberty of rural life. When cities are expanded, instead of condensed, we shall not have to go far to find green trees and grass. When all wheels and pavements are made of gutta-percha, we shall not so much long for rustic quiet. Above all, when we bring the God of nature, of the mountains and the sea, into our cities and dwellings, by recognizing the divinity of art, we shall have less desire to commune with the genius loci of rock and woodland. The time may come when men will somewhat reverse their present habit,- will go to the picture and machine to meditate on the Infinite, and seek out solitary places to learn the lessons of art.
There will be enough of the virgin earth left. The Atlantic will not be filled up, nor Mount Washington cultivated to the summit. The Genesee Falls still roar; the mist has not been wholly changed to meal, nor all the foam to flour, nor every bubble to a barrel. Until time is no more, the sun will shine, the lakes sparkle, and the deep glens remain, with their diamond-dripping cascades, the rippled gold in the depth of transparent pools, the gray walls tufted with soft moss, the towering hemlocks, threads of blue light, twilight shadows, and masses of richly fringed evergreens. There will still be mountain summits, where the eye may lose man and his works in dim distance and universal creation. Flowers will