« iepriekšējāTurpināt »
go inferences. The mind of the farmer is as much better fitted to gain useful practical knowledge by cultivation and discipline as his arm is to Labor by having a strong muscle and bone.
It is a matter of congratulation that those who cultivate the soil in New England enjoy such advantages for early education. It was once 2 common complaint in England that the farmers were men of dull and
sluggish minds. Wesley said that he could do nothing with farmers—an observation of course to be understood with reasonable limitations. While the colliers, and manufacturers, and the degraded populace of Loncon could give a quick response to the tones of his stirring eloquence, the mind of the farmer was comparatively unsusceptible and impenetrable. Our free-schools and other public institutions have made a differeuce in favor of this class of persons anong us. And through the extension of the same influences, particularly those of school education, which diave produced this diversity, every farmer can be made a wise observer, skilful to compare results, sagacious in deducing conclusions, and able to be a useful contributor to the common stock of information and improvement. But this is not all we need.
2. Agricultural schools on the plan of those in Europe, taught by men Tersed in all sciences connected with the cultivation of the soil, and to which lands are attached for the purpose of experimental and practical farming. The attention which this subject can receive in the common school must be of quite an elementary and general character.
Whilst the knowledge gained in this way is useful as far as it goes, it does not meet the present demand. The common school is already so crowded with studies which are thought to be indispensably important branches of education, that there is a strong tendency to want of thoroughness in the manner of teaching those which are of the first necessity and lie at the foundation of all knowledge and mental discipline. Besides, among the thousands of teachers who resort to school-keeping, as a mere temporary employment in the younger period of life, with minds comparatively immature and unfurnished, and upon whom our common schools must depend for an indefinite period, how znany are qualified to teach any more than the mere rudimental and general parts of the science, from meagre text-books prepared for the purnose, without the aids of experiment and practice which will be furnished by the proposed schools, and are of such vast importance to complete the preparation of those who are destined to the employment of husbandry ? The system of common schools must undergo a complete revolution, and become very different from what it is now, or will probably become with- in any period of reasonable computation, before it will meet the exigency
of the case and satisfy the demands of agricultural education. There can scarcely be conceived anything more impracticable and visionary than the projects of some who propose to employ our present system of tree-schools as an instrument to diffuse the necessary degree of agriculmural science among the people. They might as well be metamorphosed trato colleges and universities, into schools of law, medicine, or theology, to teach the whole circle of the sciences and prepare young men for the three professions, as to take the place of those agricultural seminaries, for which there is such an imperative call in the community.
The proposed schools offer the following advantages: i. The teachius will be inen exclusively devoted to investigations connected with
an improved state of cultivation. We have few or none of this description among us. We have learned professors of chemistry, mineralogy: and botany, whose profound researches into sciences which it is theis business to illustrate have been of inestimable advantage to the con. cerns of agriculture; but if we could have gentlemen of equal intellec. tual character and attainment placed in situations whose duties require them to pursue the study of these sciences with reference to the cultivation of the soil, they would contribute in a much greater degree to the improvement to which the present occasion is devoted. There is, it is true, great complaint that the recommendations and theories of scientific men are frequently of no value to the farmer, because they will not stand the test of experiment; and so practical agriculture, as it is called, is set infinitely above the speculations of learned theorists. Now the proposition is to establish schools in which the theoretical and practical are combined. Every new deduction of scientific research will be subjected to actual experiment, and tested by successful results, before it is patented for the public use and benefit. It is also fair to put the question within the recommendations of learned men, who oftener fail in experiment, than the suggestions of merely practical men. A person has only to read an agricultural paper containing the opinions of those who are fresh from the field—he has only to attend a meeting for dicussion in which he hears modes of tillage advocated by gentlemen who confidently lay claim to have put them to the proof of successive trial, and see how common it is for them to be in direct conflict with each other, and for one to overthrow what another asserts to have been established on the firmest foundations of experience, to be convinced that practice has its uncertainties as well as science. A hundred practical men will earnestly advocate a mode of agriculture which they have proved, by the demonstration of experiment, to be the best mode in the world, which a hundred other men, as experienced and wise as they, will in the same manner make it clear is of no value at all. If science and practice often disagree, neither does practice agree with practice. Practical men have no right to throw this imputation on science until they have wiped the reproach from themselves. If all the theologians of the United States were convened in one place to discuss their points of faith, and all the agriculturists to discuss their points of practice, I doubt whether it would not come out that there was nearly as much disagreement in the one assembly as in the other. This I confess to be a strong assertion. How much do practical men differ about the disease of the potato ? There have been as many theories about the source of that extensive malady as have been broached respecting original sin; and what one recommends as an infallible specific, another declares, on the faith and knowledge of a practical man, to be inert and powerless. One objection to agricultural schools, which some assert with much confidence, is, that they will afford their advantages to but a portion of the people they will not be democratic and diffusive enough in their influence, and while a few will be gathered within their walls to reap their fruits, the great mass of the people will be left unprovided for and unbenefited. In reply to this, it may be said that the number of schools of this description will be limited only by the patronage which the public are will. ing to afford them. They may be multiplied to as great a number as the demands of the people require, and if all the agricultural class choose te
modes of cultivation, conferred immense benefit on a large region. The spot which they have selected as the subject of their operations, and upon which they have bestowed their successful skill, has been a school a instruction to a whole community. In proportion as farming assumes of higher lank, and becomes invested with new attractions, such instances 'will be multiplied; and we shall see those splendid monuments of wealth and intelligence adorning the surface of the country.
Mr. Webster might have expended the funds which he has devoted to his farm of fifteen hundred acres at Marshfield to the erection of a splendid mansion in Boston. But the farm is a nobler monument to his republican and old Roman taste than would be a palace in the metropolis whose architecture should surpass all Grecian fame.
Lastly. As a necessary consequence, farming would become more productive and profitable, particularly in the old parts of the country.
I have alluded to the influence of slavery in this country in producing a constant deterioration of the soil. But land has become much exhausted in the free States also. If, as it is confidently asserted, a thou. sand millions of dollars are required to repair the effect of injudicious and wasting culture, and to restore the lands to their original fertility, it is high time that an improved system should be introduced. Be it remembered that this deterioration has arrived at its present point under the labors of practical farmers, so called—those men of whom it has been said that they possess all the knowledge which is of any value to field culture. If the only valuable knowledge which we possess on this subject produces no better effects than these, then may we expect that the older regions of the country will cease to remunerate the cultivators, the rural districts of New England will become a wilderness and be abandoned to perpetual sterility, and the plodding labor which has drawn out the fine gold from her bald hills will be exchanged for a search after the dross of the California mountains. But the evil admits of a remedy. The downward process can be arrested and stopped at the point which it has reached. It is only for the community to awake to the nature and responsibilities of the crisis, and comprehend the right source of relief. It is only for the national and State governments to extend, in suitable ways, their fostering and efficient care to this great interest of the country, and aid in bringing the lights of profound research to the guidance of agricultural labor, and the same science which directs the track of the mariner in remote seas, and almost communicates the power of thought to the ponderous and ingenious machinery that executes the labors of millions of human hands, which has brought the poles of the earth together by rapidity of motion, and transmits ideas on the wires of lightning along nerves of steel, will cause vegetation to spring from arid sand, and convert the wilderness into a fruitful field, and that field into the garden of the Lord. Massachusetts has always been distinguished for that wise and liberal care which she has taken to develop the internal resources of the State and promote her prosperity. It is most earnestly to be hoped that she will not overlook that interest which consti. tutes the source and strength of all others—that contributes to the support and comfort of her citizens, and that the next legislature will give the crowning grace to all former splendid achievements, and respond to the loud voice which resounds from her remote borders, by sending its mighty aid to system of agricultural education. You are assembled,
gentlemen, on another anniversary, with no signs of abatement in the interest which has attended foriner occasions. On this beautiful autumnal day, at the close of a favorable agricultural season, amidst the crowds which have come from all quarters of old Essex to exhibit their interest in your objects and proceedings, surrounded with the noblest specimens of industry and skill, you are prepared to render thanks to Him who has given the earth its fertility, rewards the labor of the husbandman, and has declared that seed time and harvest shall never fail. It is fit that, amidst these scenes of interest and congratulation, we should remember the dead. You miss one
You miss one * from your assembly and counsels, who has long been a zealous and able coadjutor in your worthy object, and has given his most earnest thoughts and devotion to secure its highest prosperity. His wise and useful labors have been withdrawn from the in. terest which he loved so well, and whose magnitude he appreciated in its just light. You can show no higher honor to the dead than to promote, with undiminished zeal, that most noble enterprise to which he consecrated so much of his living energies. May all public and private duties be performed with such pure motives and faithful assiduity as to secure the gracious approbation of the Lord of the harvest and the Judge of the world!
PLAN FOR AN INDUSTRIAL UNIVERSITY.
BY PROF. J. B. TURNER, JACKSONVILLE, ILL.
There should be connected with such an institution, in this State, [Illinois,j a sufficient quantity of land, of variable soil and aspect, or alí its needlul annual experiments and processes in the great interests of agriculture and horticulture.
Buildings of appropriate size and construction for all its ordinary and special uses; a complete philosophical, chemical, anatomical, and industrial apparatus; a general cabinet, embracing everything that relates to, illustrates, or facilitates any one of the industrial arts; especially all sorts of animals, birds, reptiles, insects, trees, shrubs, and plants found in this State and the adjacent States.
Instruction should be constantly given in the anatomy and physiology, the nature, instincts, and habits of all animals, insects, trees, and plants; their laws of propagation, primogeniture, growth and decay, disease and health, life and death; on the nature, composition, adaptation, and regeneration of soils; on the nature, strength, durability, preservation, perfection, composition, cost, use, and manufacture of all materials of art and trade; on political, financial, domestic, and manual economy, (or the saving of labor of the hand,) in all industrial processes; on the true principles of national, contitutional, and civil law; on the true theory and art of governing and controlling, or directing the labor of men in the State, the family, shop, and farm; on the laws of vicinage, of the laws
* Hon. Asa T. Newman, of Lynnfield, late a vice president of the Society.
of courtesy and comity between neighbors as such; and on the principles of health and disease in the human subject, so far, at least, as is needful for household safety; on the laws of trade and commerce, ethical, conventional and practical; on book-keeping and accounts; and, in short, in all those studies and sciences, of whatever sort, which tend to throw light upon any art or employment which any student may desire to master; or upon any duty he may be called to perform, or which may tend to secure his moral, civil, social, and industrial perfection, as a man.
No species of knowledge should be excluded, practical or theoretical; unless, indeed, those specimens of “ organized ignorance,” found in the creed of party politicians and sectarian ecclesiastics, should be mistaken by some for a species of knowledge.
Whether a distinct classical department should be added, or not, would depend on expediency. It might be deemed best to leave that department to existing colleges, as their more appropriate work, and to form some practical and economical connexion with them for that purpose; or it might be best to attach a classical department, in due time, to the institution itself.
To facilitate the increase and practical application and diffusion of knowledge, the professors should conduct, each in his own department, a continued series of annual experiments.
For example: let twenty or more acres of each variety of grain (each accurately measured) be annually sown, with some practical variation on each acre as regards the quality and preparation of the soil; the kind and quantity of seed; the time and mode of sowing or planting; the time, and modes, and processes of cultivation and harvesting, and an accurate account kept of all costs, labor, &c., and of the final results. Let analogous experiments be tried on all the varied products of the farm, the fruityard, the nursery, and the garden; on all modes of crossing, rearing, and fattening domestic animals, under various degrees of warmth and of light, with and without shelter; on green, dry, raw, ground, and cooked food, cold and warm; on the nature, causes, and cure of their various diseases, both of those on the premises and of those brought in from abroad; and advice given, and annual reports made on those and all similar topics. Let the professors of physiology and entomology be ever abroad at the proper seasons, with the needful apparatus for seeing all things visi ble and invisible, and scrutinizing the latent causes of all those blights, blasts, rots, rusts, and mildews which so often destroy the choicest products of industry, and thereby impair the health, wealth, and comfort of millions of our fellow-men. Let the professor of chemistry carefully analyze the various soils and products of the State, retain specimens, give instruction, and report on their various qualities, adaptations, and deficiencies.
Let similar experiments be made in all other interests of agriculture, and mechanic or chemical art, mining, merchandise, and transportation by water and by land, and daily practical and experimental instruction given to each student in attendance, in his own chosen sphere of research or labor in life. Especially let the comparative merits of all labor
. saving tools, instruments, machines, engines, and processes be thoroughly and practically tested and explained, so that their benefits might be at once enjoyed, or the expense of their cost avoided by the unskilful and unwary