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union—whose mutual attractions are satisfied. Granite,
for instance, is a widely-diffused substance, but granite
consists, in great part, of silicon, oxygen, potassium, cal-
cium, and aluminum, the atoms of which substances met
long ago in chemical combination, and are therefore dead.
Limestone is also a widely-diffused substance. It is com-
posed of carbon, oxygen, and a metal called calcium. But
the atoms of those substances closed long ago in chemical
union, and are therefore dead. And'in this way we might
go over the whole of the materials of the earth’s crust, and
satisfy ourselves that though they were sources of power in
ages past, and long before any being appeared. on the
surface of the earth capable of turning their power to
account, they are sources of power no longer. And here
we might halt for a moment to remark on that tendency,
so prevalent in the world, to regard every thing as made for
human use. Those who entertain this notion hold, I think,
an overweening opinion of their own importance in the
system of Nature. Flowers bloomed before men saw them,
and the quantity of power wasted before man could utilize
it is all but infinite compared with what now remains to be
applied. The healthy attitude of mind with reference to
this subject is that of the poet, who, when asked whence
came the rhodora, replied:

“ Why thou wert there, 0 rival of the rose !
I never thought to ask, I never knew,
But in my simple ignorance supposed
The self-same power that brought me there brought you.” 1

A few exceptions to this general state of union of the
particles of the earth’s crust—all-important to us, but trivial
in comparison to the total store of which they are the resi-
due—still remain. They constitute our main sources of
motive power. By far the most important of these are our

1 Emerson.

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