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INTRODUCTION.

CHANGE is the soul of nature. Stars appear and disappear, and new ones come in their stead. The day gives its place to the night, and the night to the day. The moon is ever changing her aspect as she moves round the earth. Spring, summer, autumn, and winter follow each other in succession, and with this gradual change of the seasons, the earth is continually changing its plant-covering. Nature is ever moving onward, and mutability marks all these forward movements. The vegetable world is ever adapting itself to the ever-varying conditions of moisture, heat, and light, which mark the days and years of the earth's pilgrimage. One flower, for example, is seen to open as soon as the first rays of morning tremble on the horizon, another in the morning sun, a third at mid-day, a fourth in the evening, and a fifth at midnight. The animal world, too, strikes as it were the hours. Scarcely do the dew-drops glitter in the beams of the advancing sun, than the earth-worms come to the surface to enjoy themselves, the birds commence their song, the sun rises higher and the woods reverberate with their ever-varied melodies. But the sun sinks in the west and night hides from our view the glory and beauty of nature; and the nightingale warbles, the owl screams, the bat flies abroad, and an innumerable variety of beautiful moths sport themselves in the gloom. So appear and dis

appear successive generations of plants, animals, and

men.

We have felt, for many years, interested in the plantworld, that beautiful and ever-variegated carpet with which Nature has overspread the earth, and which is ever changing its character as the seasons roll on. We have also printed several elementary works on Botany, and this time have chosen for our subject, a Tree; because it is a picture of the whole of Nature, and of the way in which Nature works.

It is quite evident that each part of a tree, whether it be leaf-scale, or leaf, sepal or petal, has its place assigned and task allotted in the construction of its organism; and that there is a system of mutual dependency and subordination which pervades all the parts of the tree from the cell upwards. Now this variety, and at the same time unity of organic action, so apparent in all the life-phenomena of a tree, and in all the mutations of its form is exceedingly instructive, for it throws light not only on the natural laws which govern society, but on the whole of organized Nature.

Nature is a mechanism whose parts are intimately associated with each other. The forest leaf, for example, has infinite connections not only with the tree which it helps to build, but with the atmosphere which it oxygenates, and with the raindrop which it absorbs and decomposes. And it is the same with every insect, moss, and mountain floweret. Each has its place assigned in the organism of the universe, and its allotted labors to perform. All take their part in effecting those grand changes now taking place in nature; and which are undoubtedly conducted on a plan devised by infinite intelligence and wisdom, and therefore perfect in all its parts, harmonious in all its arrangements.

In like manner that part of Nature called civilized society, notwithstanding all the evils with which it is necessarily accompanied, is equally a mechanism, and governed by natural law. It is my design in this work to try to

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