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quence to the well-being of man, and the healthful development of mind, as the concoction of the final nostrum in medicine, or the ultimate figment in theology and law, or conjectures about the galaxy or the Greek accent; unless, indeed, the pedantic professional trifles of one man in a thousand are of more consequence than the daily vital interests of all the rest of mankind.
But can such an institution be created and endowed? Doubtless it can be done, and done at once, if the industrial classes so decide. The fund given to this State by the general government, expressly for this purpose, is amply sufficient, without a dollar from any other source; and it is a mean, if not an illegal, perversion of this fund to use it for any other purpose. It was given to the people, the whole people of this State-not for a class, a party, or sect, or conglomeration of sects; not for common schools, or family schools, or classical schools; but for "a university," or seminary of a high order, in which should, of course, be taught all those things which every class of citizens most desire to learn-their own duty and business for life. This, and this alone, is a university in the true, original sense of the term. And if an institution which teaches all that is needful only for the three professions of law, divinity, and medicine is, therefore, a university, surely one which teaches all that is needful for all the varied professions of human life is far more deserving of the name and the endowments of a university.
COMMON SCHOOLS IN THE UNITED STATES.
There is no subject in which the American people have a deeper interest than in common schools. Believing that a few pages of this report cannot be better filled than by statistics and the remarks of emi-. nent citizens relating to common-school education, we give place to the following:
Extract of the annual message of Governor George F. Fort to the Legislature of New Jersey, January 14, 1852.
Prompted, therefore, by the highest impulses of duty by our responsibility to our constituents, and to the cause of human improvement, let us heartily co operate to place our common-school system on a basis which cannot be shaken, and thereon enact a superstructure of wisdom, learning, and truth-the admiration of the present and succeeding generations, which shall bid defiance to the assaults of ignorance and superstition, and endure as a monument of our successful devotion to the cultivation of the mind.
The proper training of the human intellect is a momentous work. Too much attention cannot be paid to judicious methods of improving it. One great source of unsuccessful tuition is found in the incompetency of teachers in our public schools. This evil, in some sections of the State, has been suffered to exist to a great extent. In the ordinary business of life we require experience and skill in the workman we em
ploy. How much more do we need such qualifications in him whose duty it is to direct the first operations of the juvenile mind, and fit his responsible charge for an active participation in the great concerns of life!
It is questionable, however, whether the demand for competent teachers is not fully equal to the supply. To remedy the evil, it has been proposed to establish one or more normal schools for the scientific training of teachers to the work of teaching. This plan has been adopted in some States, and has been generally approved. Whether a due regard to our immediate wants, our fiscal ability, and the state of public opinion would justify their institution at this time, are questions worthy of due consideration.
Teachers' institutes are not liable to the same objections. Strongly impressed with their necessity, utility, and effectiveness, I have no hesitation in recommending suitable provisions for their encouragement. They would awaken an increased interest in public instruction, and rapidly and effectually diffuse information among teachers in the theory and practice of teaching, and the government and discipline of schools. The young and inexperienced teacher, and he who has grown old in error, would here receive lessons in relation to their duties, derived from the most correct sources, the result of the accumulated wisdom of numbers and years devoted to the science of teaching.
In November last I had the pleasure of being present at a teacher's institute, held at Somerville, in this State. It originated with the enterprising citizens of Somerset, who take a deep interest in educational progress. Gentlemen of eminent attainments in teaching took charge of the institute, which was composed of some seventy male and female teachers. The proceedings were interesting and instructive, and imparted much valuable information which could not fail to be beneficial to those engaged in them.
There has never been a period so propitious as the present for further legislative measure to promote free schools. I still entertain the views expressed on the occasion of assuming my official duties, in relation to increased distributions from the treasury for that purpose. I would recommend that the revenue annually derived from our public works be wholly appropriated to the cause of education. If to this be added the distribution from the school fund, it would, with the interest accruing from the surplus revenue, be sufficient in amount to establish free schools in every district in the State. To supply any deficiency which might exist in any township or district, a small sum, per capita, might be imposed for tuition.
Should the judgment of the legislature accord with mine in regard to this matter, it will become necessary to raise an annual tax for the support of the State government. With our increased population, wealth, and resources, an ample revenue for all ordinary purposes might be raised, without producing any sensible increase of the burdens of the people. This mode of meeting the wants of the government would produce greater economy in expenditure, and prevent the squandering of public money in enterprises of doubtful expediency.
CULTIVATION OF SPECIAL CROPS.
CULTIVATION OF BASKET WILLOW IN THE UNITED
[From Hunt's Merchants' Magazine, Jan., 1852.]
Putnam county, N. Y., Dec. 4, 1851.
SIR: Knowing something of your knowledge of the commercial affairs of the world, and of your desire to lay before your readers information calculated to benefit them, I have taken the liberty of addressing to you a few remarks touching the growth and cultivation of the ozier or basket willow.
From the best information I can obtain, there are from four to five millions of dollars' worth of willow annually imported into this country from France and Germany.
The price ranges from $1 to $1 30 per ton weight. The quantity imported may appear large, yet it is not sufficient for consumption. In view of this importation, and the large sums expended for willow, would it not be well for some of your wealthy readers and landholders to give a little attention to this subject. Loudon, in his Arboretum, (vol. 3,) gives an account and description of one hundred and eighty-three varieties of this plant.
Knowing nothing of botany, I will confine myself exclusively to the three kinds best adapted for basket-making, farming, tanning, and fencing.
The Salix viminalis is that specimen of all others best calculated for basket makers. An acre of this, properly planted and cultivated upon suitable soil, will yield at least two tons weight per year, costing about thirty-five dollars per ton for cultivating and preparing for market.
The importers discountenance the idea of cultivating it in this country, alleging as a reason that the flies will seriously damage the crop, and that labor is so high it will never pay.
To this I have to say that I have growing as good a quality of willow as is grown in any part of the world; that, from two acres cut last year, the proceeds, clear of expense, was the snug little sum of $333 75; and if any person requires stronger proof than this of the feasibility of growing willow profitably in this country, I can refer him to John Bevridge, esq., of Newburg, N. Y., and Dr. Charles W. Grant, M. D., of the same place, a practical botanist and thorough-going horticulturist, who has given much time and attention to this subject, and has the best and greatest variety of willow, and the largest quantity planted of any one in the United States. All his stock is imported, and in fine condition for propagating.
The people of England, like us at present, until the year 1808, relied entirely for their supply upon continental Europe. Their supply was cut off by the breaking out of the war between Great Britain and France, so that after that date they were compelled to rely upon their own crops, and
many associations in England offered large premiums on the best productions of willow.
The late Duke of Bedford, one of the best farmers and horticulturists of that day, gave much attention to the subject, which is rigorously prosecuted by his son, the present Duke, and brother of Lord John Russell. His grace had one specimen which is extensively planted in and about the Park at Wooburn Abbey, Wooburn, Bedfordshire. In England this plant is highly prized for its beauty, rapidity of growth, outgrowing all other trees, and giving a fine shade in two or three years. This is the Salix alba, or Bedford willow. The bark is held in high estimation for tanning; the wood for shoemakers' lasts, boot-trees, cutting-boards, gun and pistol stocks, and house timber; the wood being fine-grained, and susceptible of as fine a polish as rose-wood or mahogany. An acre of this kind of wood ten years old, has sold in England for 155 pounds.
The next species is the Huntington willow, or Salix capua, which is also a good basket willow, and is used extensively in England for hoop poles and fencing by the farmers. Their manner of planting, when for fencing, is by placing the ends of the cuttings in the ground, and then working them into a kind of trellis-work, and passing a willow withe around the tops or ends, so as to keep in shape for the first two years. They cut the tops off yearly and sell them to the basket-makers, thus having a fence and crop from the same ground.
Another description of fence is also made from the Salix capua, known in England by the name of hurdle fences, which may be removed at the pleasure or discretion of the proprietor.
The Salix alba is extensively used by retired tradesmen who build in the country, for the purpose of securing shade in a short time, and by the nobility around their fish-ponds and mill-dams, and along their water courses and avenues. This is the principal wood used in the man
ufacture of gunpowder in England.
It has also been asserted by several English noblemen that their fish succeeded much better in ponds surrounded by willow (Salix alba) than in waters where other trees were contiguous.
The price of cuttings in England is as follows: one year old, 1; two years old, £2; three years old, £4; four years old, £5 10s; five years old, £6 10s.
For any kind of willow it requires about twelve thousand cuttings to plant one acre. Cuttings three years old will pay an interest the year after planting of about twenty-five per cent.; the second year of at least fifty; and by the fourth year the crop ought to yield about one and a half ton. Capitalists are generally contented with an interest of ten per cent. per annum; while here is a business which will pay at least ten times that amount. There are hundreds of thousands of acres of land at present in this country not paying two and a half per cent. per annum, which might be planted with willow, and would yield an immense profit.
The facts stated by me are open to all who may think proper to investigate. We send clocks, corn, flour, shoes, and broom-corn to England, and I can see no reason why we cannot send willow there.
I am fully convinced that willow may be grown profitably in this country at $50 per ton weight. It may be asked and wondered why I do not go extensively into this business myself. The question is easily answered. I have not the capital, but am getting into it as fast as my lim
ited means will permit. If I had the means, I would purchase lands and plant thousands of acres of willow, and find a ready market for it. In conclusion, I have to say, that I have no cuttings for sale myself, but that I will cheerfully give any reasonable explanation to any inquiries by letter, post-paid.
I am, dear sir, very respectfully, yours, &c..
FREEMAN HUNT, Esq.
WILSON G. HAYNES.
NORTH CAROLINA GRAPES.
[From the Wilmington (N. C.) Herald, Nov. 10, 1851.]
We received a letter very recently from a gentleman of Fayetteville, propounding certain interrogatories respecting the Isabella, Catawba, and Scuppernong grapes, and, in pursuance of a suggestion therein contained, handed the letter above named to Dr. Togno, a gentleman of extensive research and practical knowledge upon the subject of the grape and its varieties, with the request that he would furnish us with an answer for publication. The Doctor has very kindly complied, and we take pleasure in presenting his communication to our readers. It will be found interesting and explanatory on many points. We must confess, however, our disappointment at the result of his convictions with regard to the origin of the Isabella grape. It appears that he has come to the conclusion that this grape is not a native of this State after all, but a European one, possessing all the characters of such, and none of those of an indigenous production.
This, we believe, runs counter to the general impression and belief prevailing for many years in this State and other sections of the country. The Isabella was always classed, unless we are greatly deceived, among the natural products of our soil; and we confess we are loth, at this late date, to yield up a point which robs North Carolina of the maternity of this delightful fruit. So many years have intervened, and authorities lost, that it is almost impossible at this time to arrive at a certain conclusion; it is at best a matter of probabilities and impressions. While, therefore, we do not advance our own opinion in opposi tion to that of scientific gentlemen like Drs. McRee and Togno, we are free to acknowledge that, in the absence of more conclusive proof, we prefer remaining under our original belief. The question has been. narrowed down to two points-the Isabella is either a North Carolina or a foreign production; no other State can lay claim to it. We there. fore trust that northern writers will hereafter remember this fact, and not locate this vine at different points in the Union, as heretofore. As a not unfitting sequence to the above, and while we are discoursing upon grapes, and the purposes to which they are employed, we may state that a bottle of wine made in the adjoining county of Columbus, from the ordinary fox-grape, as it is called, (a small grape in clusters growing in great luxuriance in the woods,) has been sent to our office. On a trial we found it mild and pleasant; it has an agreeable taste, a light body, and is free from intoxicating effect. Our donor designs the experiment of age upon its quality, and to ascertain hereafter if it retains its original taste, it having been intimated that it would