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power as exhibited in the propelling of the steamship, you are filled with admiration, not so much because of the majestic and rapid motion which it produces, as because you see in it the proudest monument of the triumphs of science over the most formidable element in nature. Steamboats and locomotives did not spring up in a night without any attention to natural laws or the application of scientific principles.
The whole circle of the mechanic and manufacturing arts, from the building of a seventy-four gun ship to the manufacturing of a pin, have attained their wonderful perfection because they are based upon the principles of science, and their history conclusively proves that their progress has been constant and permanent only so far as these principles have been properly applied. If a mechanic may not construct a log cabin without some scientific knowledge of architecture, shall we expect to attain perfection in agriculture without any attention to the peculiar principles upon which the art should be founded? If the less difficult, the less important arts require the aid of science to secure progress and success, is it possible to attain permanent advancement in the more difficult as well as the most important of all arts without any such guide to point out the way?
What a vast amount of labor has been saved by the introduction of machinery in the mechanical arts. Is it of no importance to the progress of agriculture that its labors may be abridged by similar means? It would seem that as this art is the most laborious of any other, an art which the great majority of men in every age and country must practice, it would seem I say that it should be the first to which the principles of science would be applied, the first to reap the benefits of scientific discoveries and new inventions. The history of Agriculture itself proves that permanent improvement has been secured only so far as the art has been based on the principles of science, and all that is valuable to be retained may be traced either directly to scientific discovery, or found to correspond to the principles which science has disclosed.
The time has come, we believe, when something must be done to place the business of farming on a better foundation, and now is the time when it can be done with effect; society is yet in the forming state; our institutions are receiving their character, and now, before they become rigid by age, is emphatically the time to lay the deep and broad foundation of future and permanent prosperity.
The spirit of the age demands that agriculture should be raised from its fallen condition and placed on a similar basis with other professions. The sterility of our New England soil, and our increasing population, require it especially of us. The interests of our widely extended country, now receiving its character, call for it. Morality and religion command it.
The responsibility devolves upon those who are the instructors and guides of the rising generation ; those who shape the character and direct the energies of the coming age. It is for us to say whether the intellectual and moral powers which are now developing around us shall be directed to those permanent and useful pursuits which lay at the foundation of civil and religious institutions, that furnish the means of national wealth, and exert a favorable influence upon man in all the conditions of his being here; or whether they shall be turned into the chanels of vice and fiction, to be consumed by the fires which should have quickened them into life and strength.
This leads me to remark in the second place, that in order to secure constant progress and permanent improvement in Agricullure, its principles must be made a regular branch of study in an extended course of an English educa.tion.* It must be introduced into our system of popular instruction. How else can it become a science, unless it is made a special subject of study? It must be studied as every other art is. It must be made a prominent and indispensable part of an education. It will then
* See Farmer's Companion; p. 279; or the Address of Mr. Buel before the Agricultural and Horticultural Societies of New Haven County, Sept. 1839
create a motive for scientific men to turn their attention to it, and to produce in this as in all other professions, a union of theory and practice; the theory must be taught in the schools, the practice in the fields. Its principles will then be sought out, its experiments carefully compared and classified ; its apparently discordant facts reconciled and wrought into one perfect system of light and truth.
It is only in this way that perfection* can be attained. Why is it that the mechanic arts have arrived to such a high state of perfection, while agriculture is so manifestly imperfect? It is simply because these arts have been made the subjects of patient and persevering study. The lights of science have shone upon them until we ore astonished and almost confounded at the magnitude af the results, no less than delighted with the beauty, simplicity and cheapness which characterize their productions. Every scientific man has his telescope out, that nothing may pass in heaven or earth but that it may be known; but alas for the farmer, very few but empyrics have consulted his interests. He could do well enough without the aid of science; so the farmer has said, and so he believed, and settled down in his self complacency, repelling all attempts to arouse him from his comfortable, and as he verily believes, consoling position. But scientific men and practical farmers are turning their attention to this subject. New discoveries are being made, new resources are being developed ; the importance of the subject begins to be seen, and unless I mistake the signs of the times, a necessity felt by many of the best men that in order to secure perfection in agriculture it must be made a branch of an English education.
If agriculture is made a science however, its principles cannot be understood, disseminated and applied unless it is made a branch of study in our literary insti
* Perfect Agriculture, says Professor Liebig, of Giessen, is the true foundation of all trade and industry,-it is the foundation of the riches of States. But a rational system of Agriculture cannot be formed without the application of scientific principles
tutions. It may be known as a science by the initiated, but there must be a power to receive and apply, as well as to communicate, before permanent improvement can be secured.
It is one of the most glaring defects in our system of popular instruction, that no provision is made for the study of those branches which are intimately connected with agriculture, and a knowledge of which is necessary in order that the science itself may be understood; we are therefore met with an obstacle which it is not easy to surmount, whenever we attempt to instruct the community into the principles of the art. There is wanting not light on agriculture, but a recipient power in the general mind to collect the light which actually exists. There is knowledge enough in the world to save it, if it could be brought to bear upon the popular mind; hence what we need is such an elementary knowledge of mineralogy, botany, chemistry and natural philosophy, with their application to the arts, that the science of agriculture may be understood, and such a discipline of the popular intellect that this knowledge may be practically applied.
For want of this recipient power, the press, that great engine of popular instruction, is deprived of the greater part of its efficacy. Popular lectures, the efforts, the discoveries of scientific men exert but a feeble influence. The fostering care of the Legislature, and the indefatigable labors of agricultural societies scarcely reach the general mass of farmers. The consequence is that no preparation is considered desirable to become a farmer, * as if men were endowed for this employment with an instinct like the bee or beaver, which is perfect in itself and could not be improved by education.
While some degree of preparation is deemed necessary to practice the rudest trade, that of a cobler or common pedlar, the most difficult and important of all trades may be carried on, it is supposed, without any prepara
* See Dr. C. T. Jackson's third Annual Report of the Geology of Maine, p. 123, sequel.
tory or professional knowledge. What should we think of the wisdom or the sense of that community which should encourage all its physicians, lawyers, ministers, merchants and politicians to engage in their respective professions without any professional knowledge whatever ? And yet there is as much propriety for a young man to engage in the profession of law, medicine, or theology, without professional knowledge, as in that of farming without a knowledge of its fundamental principles. True, he might do more injury to society in the former case, but he would have an equal title to the character of a quack in both; an: quackery in farming has many striking analogies to quackery in medicine, and were it not so common would meet with similar ridicule and rebuke by all intelligent men.
But how can this recipient power be supplied, and how can this professional knowledge be acquired, unless agriculture be made a subject of study? As our common school system excludes those kindred branches of natural science which are necessary to a professional knowledge of agriculture, the commencement of improvement must be made in our academies* and higher seminaries. Our colleges have a different object, their course of study has become too rigidly fixed to be altered, and it is doubtful whether any success could crown the effort if tried. But this is not the case with our academies, and scientific agriculture may be introduced into some of them and taught successfully to those who are to be the future cultivators of the soil. With an institution liberally endowed, with proper aids, text books, lectures, apparatus, and experiments conducted in the field, the young farmer, after having received a thorough discipline
* After the subject has been introduced into a few of our higher seminaries, for the purpose of preparing the teachers of our common schools to instruct in the various departments of Natural History, the subject may then be introduced into them; but until we have teachers qualified for such instructions, we must confine our efforts to higher seminaries, where those facilities may be furnished which are required for teaching the first principles of Chemistry and Natural History. The great difficulty now is that we have neither qualified teachers, nor books, nor cabinets, nor apparatus, which are requisite to prepare men in our common schools for the theoretical and practical parts of agriculture and the various other arts and trades.