I ask you to look at this splendid tool, the American ax, not more an implement of labor than an instrument of civilization. If you can not use it, you are not American. If you do not understand it, you can not understand America. This tool is so simple and so perfect that it has scarcely seen change in the course of a hundred years. It lacks decoration, as do the tools and the weapons of all strong peoples. It has no fantastic lines, no deviations from simplicity of outline, no ornamentations, no irregularities. It is simple, severe, perfect. Its beauty is the beauty of utility. In the shaft of the ax there is a curve. This curve is there for a reason, a reason of usefulness. The simple swelling head is made thus not for motives of beauty, but for the purpose of effectiveness. The shaft, an even yard in length, polished, curved, of a formation that shall give the greatest strength to a downright blow in combination with the greatest security to the hand-grasp, has been made thus for a century of American life. This shaft is made of hickory, the sternest of American woods, the one most capable of withstanding the hardest use. It has always been made thus and of this material. The metal head or blade of the American ax is to-day as it has always been. The makers of axes will tell you that they scarcely know of any other model. The face of the blade is of the most highly tempered steel for a third or half of its extent. The blade or bitt is about eight inches in length, the cutting edge four and seven-eighths to five inches in width. The curve of this edge could not, by the highest science, be made more perfect for the purpose of biting deepest at the least outlay of human strength. The poll or back of the ax is about four inches in width, square or roughly rounded into such form that it is capable of delivering a pounding, crushing or directing blow. The weight of the ax-head is about four pounds, that is to say from three and one-half to five pounds. With the ax one can do many things. With it the early American blazed his way through the trackless forests. With it he felled the wood whereby was fed the home fire, or the blaze by which he kept his distant and solitary bivouac. With it he built his home, framing a fortress capable of withstanding all the weaponry of his time. With it he not only made the walls, but fabricated the floors and roof for his little castle. He built chairs, tables, beds, therewith. By its means he hewed out his homestead from the heart of the primeval forest, and fenced it round about. Without it he had been lost.