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1. But, it is evident, that if by any means we could increase this power ten-fold, there would be a ten-fold increase of production. If we could, by any means, enable a man, with one day's labor, to execute as much change in capital as he could before execute with ten day's labor, there would be just ten times as many changes effected; that is, ten times as much value created, and ten times as much product to be either enjoyed by himself, or to be exchanged for equivalent means of happiness. And, if the power of effecting changes be increased in other men in the same ratio, the product of the whole society will be increased in the same proportion. This is one of the effects produced by the use of natural agents; and hence it is, that, just in proportion as they are used, the condition of man is annually and rapidly improved.
2. But this is not all. There are many values which are necessary to the happiness and even to the existence of man, which he could not create by his unassisted powers. Thus, he needs shelter, cooked food, and clothing. But he could not, with his teeth and nails, cut down a tree and fashion it into a cabin. He cannot, by his hands, either cook his food, or manufacture a fabric suitable for clothing. All these can, however, be done by other agents which he can command and control. Thus, iron can be made to cut down and fashion a tree, fire to cook his food, and a spinning wheel and loom can be made to furnish him with clothing. Thus we discover the second use of natural agents. They enable him to create values necessary to his existence, which, without their aid, could never be produced. In this manner, an additional power for the creation of product is given to human industry.
3. But this is not all. It is found that a man, by devoting himself to one particular pursuit, is able to create a vastly greater amount of product in a given time, than he could create if he devoted himself to several pursuits. Hence, if there are ten products
to be created, by ten men, they will in a given time create a vastly greater amount, if each man labors entirely upon one, than if each man labors upon them all. The product of the whole ten, therefore, by such a division of labor, will be greatly augmented. This is the third method by which the productiveness of human industry may be increased.
We see, then, the modes in which the productive power of man may be exerted. 1. Man may, unassisted, labor to the extent of his physical ability. 2. He may multiply his power, by availing himself of the agents of nature, either to facilitate the creation of products, or to create products which he could not create himself; or, 3d. He may economize his labor, by such arrangements as will enable him, in a given time and with a given amount of fatigue, to accomplish a greater amount of production.
It is, by adopting these means, that the human race advances from the savage to the civilized state. With nothing but his hands and feet, man could not subsist, except in the most temperate climates. His food would be wild fruits, and the animals which he could run down in the chase. This is the lowest point of human wretchedness. It is a laborious and incessant struggle to obtain the bare means of prolonging existence. He invents a bow and arrow; this is a natural agent, or a tool by which he avails himself of the elasticity of wood. By this simple tool, his condition is materially improved. Still, he is destitute of most of the comforts, and frequently, at times, of the necessaries of life. Hence, in cold climates, great numbers of savages every winter perish from cold and famine. He next becomes a shepherd. Here he avails himself of the use of natural agents. The flocks furnish him with wool, and the herds with milk. He now begins to taste the blessings of a regular and sufficient supply of food and clothing. He next becomes an agriculturist. Here, in addition to the agents formerly em
ployed, he makes use of the earth, manures, and implements, and begins rapidly to accumulate capital. His wants increase, and a division of labor is necessary to supply them. He now advances with rapid progress, and at every step employs either new agents, or else old agents more successfully, divides his labor more skilfully, and at length arrives at all the blessings of mature civilization.
If it be asked, how far may this increased productiveness of human industry be carried, we answer, it is impossible to tell, unless we can ascertain how great are the blessings which God has in reserve for
Who can estimate the benefits conferred on man by the magnet, or by steam, or by the printing press? And what reason have we to suppose that the gifts of God are exhausted, or that there are not other and more excellent natural agents to be discovered, or other modes of using those which we are already acquainted with, that shall produce yet more surprising results than any which we have yet witnessed? Before the discovery of the agents now in use, the most vivid imagination could never have conceived of the benefits which they have already conferred upon society. There is no reason to suppose, that we are now more capable of fathoming the goodness of God, than our ancestors were three or four hundred years ago.
And hence we learn the inconceivable importance to a nation, of science, and of the labors of those who are devoted to the discovery of the laws of nature, and to the invention of new modes of applying these laws to the service of man. What would be the condition of the world at the present moment, if the knowledge of navigation and magnetism, and of the laws of chemistry were abolished? Undiscovered knowledge is just as rich in the means of human happiness, as discovered knowledge. And hence, that nation which is cherishing within itself the means for availing itself of the benefit of all the laws of the Creator, will most rapidly provide itself with the comforts and conveniences and luxuries of life, in the greatest abundance and at the least possible cost. Who can tell the benefit which will result to this country, when Geology has revealed to us the riches which at present remain hidden from our view beneath the surface of the soil?
OF THE USE OF NATURAL AGENTS.
We shall now proceed to consider the several means by which the productive power of industry may be increased. This section will treat of the use of natural agents.
A natural agent, is any quality or relation of things which can be used for the purpose of assisting us in production.
Thus, the light and heat of the sun are natural agents, without the aid of which we could not create vegetable products.
Caloric, or artificial heat, is a natural agent, without which we could neither cook our food, prolong our lives in cold climates, give any valuable quality to metals, nor create steam for the purpose chinery. Magnetism is a natural agent, by which we are enabled, in any part of the earth, to know in what direction we are moving.
The various powers and instincts of animals are natural agents, by which we accomplish purposes which could not be accomplished without them. Thus, the farmer avails himself of the muscular power and docility of the ox and the horse; the huntsman, of the fleetness and scent of the hound, &c.
Wind, the gravitating power of water, and steam,
are natural agents, by means of which we create the momentum necessary to various operations in the arts.
A tool, or a machine, is any combination of matter, by means of which we are enabled to avail ourselves of the qualities or relations of a natural agent. Thus, a lens, or burning glass, is a tool, by means of which we concentrate, for useful purposes, the rays of the sun.
A stove or a fire place, is an instrument, or tool, by which we avail ourselves of the calorific properties of fuel.
· A mariner's compass is a tool, by which we avail ourselves of the peculiar quality of the magnetic needle.
A water wheel is a tool, by means of which we avail ourselves of the gravitating power of water.
A steam engine is a tool, by means of which we avail ourselves of the expansive power of steam.
The only difference between a tool and a machine is, that the one is more complicated than the other. A common hammer is a tool, by means of which we avail ourselves of the gravity and density of iron, and of the power of the lever. A trip-hammer, by which large masses of iron are fashioned and wrought, is called a machine, but the principles employed are, in both cases, the same, only the trip-hammer is moved by a natural agent, water or steam, while the common hammer is moved by the hand.
From what has already been said, it will be easily perceived, that the qualities and relations of natural agents are the gift of God, and, being His gift, they cost us nothing. Thus, in order to avail ourselves of the momentum produced by a water-fall, we have only to construct the water-wheel and its necessary appendages, and place them in a proper position. We then have the use of the falling water, without further expense. As, therefore, our