They have wrestled with nature till they have prevailed against her, and compelled her reluctantly to reverse her own laws. The sterile soil has become productive under their sagacious culture, and the barren rock, astonished, finds itself covered with luxuriant and unaccustomed verdure.
Upon the banks of every river they build temples to industry, and stop the squanderings of the spendthrift waters. They bind the naiads of the brawling stream. They drive the dryads from their accustomed haunts, and force them to desert each favorite grove; for upon river, creek, and bay they are busy transforming the crude forest into stanch and gallant vessels. From every inlet or indenture along the rocky shore swim forth these ocean birdsborn in the wild wood, fledged upon the wave. Behold how they spread their white pinions to the favoring breeze, and wing their flight to every quarter of the globethe carrier-pigeons of the world! It is upon the unstable element the sons of New England have achieved their greatest triumphs. Their adventurous prows vex the waters of every sea. Bold and restless as the old northern Vikings, they go forth to seek their fortunes in the mighty deep. The ocean is their pasture, and over its wide prairies they follow the monstrous herds that feed upon its azure fields. As the hunter casts his lasso upon the wild horse, so they throw their lines upon the tumbling whale. They draw out Leviathan with a hook. They fill his skin with barbed irons, and in spite of his terrible strength they part him among the merchants. To them there are no pillars of Hercules. They seek with avidity new regions, and fear not to be the first that ever burst into unknown seas. Had they been the companions of Columbus, the great mariner would not have been urged to return, though he had sailed westward to his dying day.