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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

A Prophecy for North America

By Nathaniel Ames (1708–1764)

[Almanac for 1758.]

THIRDLY, of the future state of North America.—Here we find a vast stock of proper materials for the art and ingenuity of man to work upon:—Treasures of immense worth; concealed from the poor ignorant aboriginal natives! The curious have observed that the progress of human literature (like the sun) is from the east to the west; thus has it travelled through Asia and Europe, and now is arrived at the eastern shore of America.

As the celestial light of the Gospel was directed here by the finger of God, it will doubtless finally drive the long, long night of heathenish darkness from America. So arts and sciences will change the face of nature in their tour from hence over the Appalachian Mountains to the western ocean; and as they march through the vast desert, the residence of wild beasts will be broken up, and the obscene howl cease forever; instead of which the stones and trees will dance together in the music of Orpheus,—the rocks will disclose their hidden gems,—and the inestimable treasures of gold and silver be broken up. Huge mountains of iron ore are already discovered; and vast stores are reserved for future generations.

This metal, more useful than gold and silver, will employ millions of hands, not only to form the martial sword and peaceful share alternately, but an infinity of utensils improved in the exercise of art and handicraft among men. Nature through all her works has stamped authority on this law, namely, “That all fit matter shall be improved to its best purpose.” Shall not then those vast quarries that teem with mechanic stone,—those for structure be piled into great cities,—and those for sculpture into statues to perpetuate the honor of renowned heroes; even those who shall now save their country? O! ye unborn inhabitants of America! should this page escape its destined conflagration at the year’s end, and these alphabetical letters remain legible,—when your eyes behold the sun after he has rolled the seasons round for two or three centuries more, you will know that in Anno Domini 1758, we dreamed of your times.