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the memory of the men of brain and brawn who hewed out of the forests of the New World room for Civilization, and to the men of today who are making the American Lumber Industry an agent of commercial progress at home and abroad, this work is dedicated.
Industry and commerce have received in the past but incidental recognition from the historian. He has sought to trace the history of peoples in the political movements in which they have been involved. The successful prosecution of war has appeared to him more notable than the continued preservation of peace. The achievements of diplomats and warriors have appeared more vital than the successes of men of business. The growing respect engendered abroad by a nation's army and navy has seemed a more attractive theme for discourse than the increase of its trade in the markets of the world.
Despite this neglect, commerce always has been a controlling factor in making the world's history. It always has been more important that men should live than that they should live under any particular government or at any particular place. The search for livelihood has guided the migrations of races and been the inciting cause of discov. ery, settlement and conquest. Encouragement, protection and control of trade have been the most frequent subjects of legislation.
It has been within recent years only that the world at large has accorded the manufacturer and the merchant a position coördinate with that of the warrior and the statesman. Out of this new appreciation have come histories of particular industrial movements and of numerous branches of industry; but, notwithstanding the influence of the forests on New World development and the importance of the present lumber industry of the United States, Canada and the Latin countries to the south, no comprehensive history of the lumber industry of America. ever has been compiled.
The early explorers were in search of gold, but they found trees; and the earliest exports from the New World to the Old World were products of the forest. Such products have continued for more than four hundred years to be of conspicuous importance. In even the Twentieth Century the value of forest manufactures exported from British America is exceeded only by the value of the combined products of agriculture, grazing and allied pursuits. Some of the Central American countries derive the larger share of their incomes from their forest products.