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L E T T ER
COMMISSIONER OF PATENTS,
The Agricultural portion of the Report of that Office for the year 1851.
Mar 3, 1852.–Laid upon the table and ordered to be printed.
August 30, 1852.-Ordered that 100,000 extra copies be printed. August 31, 1852.—Ordered that 10,000 copies extra be printed for the use of the Patent Office.
April 23, 1852. Sir: I have the honor to submit, herewith, the Agricultural portion of the Report of this Office for the year 1851, and respectfully request you to lay it before the Senate.
In view of the rapid destruction and threatened extermination of the principal indigenous ruminants of the continent, a paper has been prepared, at my request, by Professor S. F. Baird, of the Smithsonian Institution, to show their susceptibility of domestication, and that duty requires us, instead of wantonly destroying, to preserve and multiply these noble denizens of our forests and plains, both because of the great interest attached to thern by the naturalist, and of the value of some of them as laborers, and all of them as furnishing materials for manufac tures and for food. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
THOMAS EWBANK. Hon. LINN BOYD,
Speaker of the House of Representatives.
In submitting this portion of the annual Report, it is gratifying to note that the interest in agriculture, and the improvements in this most vital of the arts, keep pace with the progress of the age in other respects. In our widely-extended country, embracing a range of climate and diversity of soil which enable us to produce almost every article of consump: tion, it seems to be peculiarly the province of the governinent to contribute all the aid in its power for the advancement of agriculture by the collection and diffusion of useful information on the subject. Those who are engaged in the culture of the earth are proverbially cautious of innovation; but where new and better paths have been long explored by science, and found to be safe by experience, they are never neglected.
Chemistry, the handmaid of all the sciences, has within a few years past contributed largely to the development of agricultural resources; and in most of the agricultural schools which have been established a competent knowledge of this subject is made the basis of education. In this conjunction of science with what was once supposed to require little beyond mere physical labor are pre-eminently involved the present prosperity and future advancement of nations.
If the government continue to collect the varied information comprised in the statistics of the recent Census, it will be highly instructive to note the increase of agricultural products to the acre in those sections of the country where the fostering rays of science have lent their aid to the culture of the soil. In this respect it must be admitted that we are far behind some portions of the old World; nor is it remarkable that this should be so. Men crowded together upon a small area of land are compelled by stern necessity to make the most of their limited means; and where hunger is the schoolmaster, the lessons taught are not apt to be soon forgotten. With us a condition of things precisely the reverse exists. The possession of too much land has hitherto induced a careless and slovenly system of husbandry, from the effects of which in many of the earliest settled parts of our country we are but now beginning to recover. Some of the new practices introduced abroad are not applicable to the same extent, on account of the difference in soil and climate, and also in the price of labor. The great feature of modern