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A Treatise on the Mulberry Tree and Silkworm

A Treatise on the Mulberry Tree and Silkworm

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Excerpt from A Treatise on the Mulberry Tree and Silkworm: And on the Production and Manufacture of Silk

Not to know what occurred before one was born, is to be, said an ancient writer, always a child. Knowledge, indeed, is that to which, as a means, we owe our all. And whatever we shall, or shall not, be or possess hereafter, will be measured by knowledge, or the want of it; or by our diligent use or neglect of it. Knowledge, in short, should be hailed, invited, as our best friend; whilst its reverse, ignorance, our worst, if not our only enemy, should be scouted, were it possible, from the very face of an earth tenanted by man, by all that aspire to the dignity of the intel lectual character. On knowledge, or on the want of it, how often has depended whether whole nations shall be civilized or uncivilized, as well as learned or unlearned; whether whole kingdoms shall slumber for centuries in comparative barbarism, as well as whether the myriads of individuals composing them shall spend their existence in prosperity and peace, or be immured in wretchedness, to bequeath it, as an entail, to their posterity after them.

A Providence, kind and paternal, however, deserts not man, unless he neglect himself. The inventive faculty is given to him. Necessity, it is commonly said, is the mother of invention but with all deference to her maternal powers, it may be added, that they would be unproductive, were it not for the astonishing and yet undeveloped powers of mind. The history of mind, could it be well composed - and of its inventions and discoveries, for five thousand years, in the arts, in science, in manu factures, in implements, in machinery, and in productions of every kind, sweeping in its universe of evolutions, the two empires of material and immaterial being - would present at once the most interesting and im portant detail of the great and mystic movements of what the same Pro vidence has placed here, on this earth, to be the sovereign of ma/ter. We repeat it, Mind is the sovereign of matter Matter, it is true, in all forms, is created from age to age, ready to our hands, by the same Paternal energy; but it is left to the empire of instinct and reason, or of mind, through all its divisions of power, to move, change, transform, metamorphose it into other forms, substances, shapes, and modifications, so dissimilar, that the crude ore of the mountain becomes the spangling specie of the bank; the ?eece of an animal, the clothing of man; the cotton of a vegetable, the calico, the muslin of the store and the leaf of the mulberry tree, the velvet cushion of the throne, or the robes that embellish the persons of emperors and of queens.

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