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in a preparatory course, may finish his education by obtaining a scientific knowledge of agriculture previous to entering up the great business of life.
We would not establish institutions for the mere study of agriculture, but would connect it with an extended course of English education. We are no advocates of a superficial course of training. We would discountenance the idea that a competent knowledge of this subject, sufficient to answer the ends designed, can be obtained in a single term, or a single year; nor do we believe that every young man, whose duty it may be to till the soil, is capable of gaining a scientific knowledge of the subject; but we would propose the course to those young men who are to become the leading minds in society, (and there are many such in every county, in every town throughout the state,) we would make them scientific farmers, and, scattered as they would be among the farming community, their example and influence would soon give character and permanency to the profession, and bring all under the power of its beneficial effects.
There is not, to my knowledge, a single institution in the country where agriculture is actually taught in any of its departments. There are institutions where men may be instructed in almost every other art but this. There should be at least one place where the subject may receive that attention which its importance demands; one ray of light to show, if nothing more, the darkness which really exists. It is impossible for me to understand the reason why farmers have not ere this established schools* for the study of scientific agriculture. They have given their money to educate ministers,
*“ Every American farmer,” says Dr. C. T. Jackson, (whose opinion is entir tled to special consideration,)“ who prides himself on his freedom and intelligence,should exert himself to rescue agriculture from a mere routine of mechanical drudgery,and should endeavor to instruct his children in the scientific princi. ples of the art. Besides increasing the agricultural produce of the country, such means will surely aid in the advancement of civilization, and will afford a constant source of rational enjoyment to the intelligent, educated farmer. I do not understand why the agricultural community have been so long willing to forego the benefits of a scientific education, nor why they have not established colleges or schools for instruction in the principles of this, the first and most important of the arts.”
lawyers, physicians, merchants, mechanics, and sailors. They have, as it were, gone out of their appropriate fields, to cultivate those of their neighbors; they have been ready to aid every other profession but their own; they have sent their sons to learn to be gentlemen, and to pass well in the world; but have not made provision for teaching them that profession in which they are to spend their life and gain their support.
Attempts have been made in several places to introduce agriculture as a branch of study, but have generally failed, either because it was a plan to raise up a sink. ing institution that had no foundation to it, or because the institution was established for the mere study of agriculture, as if no preparatory course were required, no discipline of mind requisite, to obtain a scientific knowledge of the subject. Efforts are now in progress to introduce the subject into the Teachers' Seminary at Andover ; lectures are given upon the subject the present term, and it remains to be seen whether the farming community will sustain the effort, and make it a thorough and permanent means of advancing the art, or whether they will permit it to add another unsuccessful attempt to raise the employment to the dignity of a profession, and rescue it from merited contempt.
A better day, I trust is dawning upon us. lic mind is awakening to the subject. Scientific men are turning their attention to it. The friends of education are anxiously inquiring for something to remedy the defects which exist in this respect in our system of popular instruction; and it is now for the farmers themselves to put forth their efforts, and we shall soon have institutions of a high character, where young men may obtain a thorough and practical English education; where they may study agriculture as a science, and become
* I am now able to state that arrangements have been completed for instruction in scientific agriculture, and that in addition an extensive garden will be laid out in the spring, and all the branches of horticulture attended to by a practical and scientific horticulturist. One of the principal objects will be to cultivate fruit trees and fruit; of course all the processes of cultivating fruit and vegetables may be studied practically by those who may wish to patronize the effort.
qualified to take their proper stand among the learned of other professions. If the farmers, mechanics, and merchants willed it, we should soon havo seminaries sustaining the same relation to the various departments of business, that our colleges and professional schools do to the learned professions. It would be easy to quote the opinions of many experienced farmers and men of practical wisdom, in confirmation of the views here suggested.* It would be interesting to point out examples of the success of similar institutions in other countries.t It would be profitable to sketch the plan of such an institution here, I but our limits forbid.
The establishment of such institutions will furnish the best means of diffusing a correct knowledge of agriculture through the farming community. The sons of farmers, educated into the principles of the art, would carry them home and teach them to their fathers, who would thus be induced to apply them to practical use, or as they left these institutions, and engaged in the practice of their profession, they would be the means of awakening an interest in the communities where they may chance to be placed, which would soon be manifestby a demand for more general attention to the subject in all our literary institutions. By thus multiplying examples, the utility of the subject will be felt, and the most prejudiced farmers among us will send their sons to the institutions to learn the secret of that art whose magic touch converts their barren wastes into fruitful fields; to become possessed with the knowledge of those natural powers which like
* See Buel's Cultivator, vol. 1, p. 12:
+ See an Account of the agricultural school at Howfyl, Switzerland, in the Penny Magazine, October number, 1834.
# Such an institution, or college, should not be devoted wholly to the study and practice of agriculture, but should be equivalent in all the departments of English literature, to our colleges, and superior to them in the natural sciences. Hence it would require at least three years, (four would be better,) of close study. It should be furnished with a farm, and the operations of horticulture and agriculture should be taught practically to some extent. At least, the pupils should witness the processes under the direction of a teacher. It should also be furnished with extensive philosophical apparatus, a cabinet of minerals, a chemical laboratory, for elementary instruction in chemistry and for the analysis of soils, and a library of agricultural books, to which may be added, teachers of the highest qualifications in their respective departments.
the rains and the dews of heaven, cause their paths to drop with fatness, and their storehouses to overflow with abundance.
Suppose an institution of the kind established in this county, furnished with the best facilities which money can procure, and suppose ten young men from each town were to receive there a thorough education in all the common and higher branches of English literature and the sciences, with a professional knowledge of agriculture. How long would it be, after they had engaged in their profession, before their influence would be felt in the deliberations of these annual gatherings? how long would it be before they would present so many living examples of the utility of the plan, as to revolutionize the whole subject, and lead all to adopt more scientific and profitable modes of culture.
Suppose one of your sons, having acquired the elements of an agricultural education, should go out into the west, and settle on the fertile prairies of Illinois. The application of his knowledge to that almost inexhaustible soil
, would soon produce so great a difference between his own farm and that of his less scientific neighbors, that an interest would be excited there, and efforts would be made by all around to found their system of culture on more productive principles. And not only so, but he would possess an immense advantage over others in the selection of his farm. How many men, within the last few years, have invested funds in western lands, without any further knowledge of the location and character of the soil, than what is obtained by the paper cities which the ingenuity of speculators has created; and now, all over that country are to be seen the remains of halfbuilt towns, on which thousands have been squandered, deserted for more favorable locations. But especially, if he settles down in New-England, and expects to gain his bread from granite rocks, and sterile sand hills, will he need the aids which such an education will afford, that he may have something to lighten his labors; something to reward his toils. Your sons will many of them soon take the place which you now hold, soothing and
sustaining you in your passage to the tomb, as you have sustained your parents, assuming your responsibilities, tilling the same soil on which you have spent the vigor and manhood of life. This subject will then be to them one of vital importance. The green forests are gone, the soil has become exhausted, and something must be done to bring it back to its ancient fertility. They must compete with the western farmer by the superiority of their knowledge, by the skill which they can bring to their aid, or in a few years they must either become miserably poor, or leave the home of their childhood to settle on more fertile lands in the far west.
Hence, the introduction of agriculture into our seminaries of learning, will render the business more profitable. It is not expected that sudden affluence can be obtained by cultivating the soil, whatever improvements, or system of culture may be introduced; but the history of agriculture in England, Scotland, and on the continent of Europe, conclusively proves, that the productions of the soil may be doubled, trebled and quadrupled by the application of scientific principles and the adoption of correct modes of culture. Its history in our own country shows, that the resources already developed are but just beginning to be understood and applied. The productions of our soil have been doubled within the last twenty years, and yet, when we compare our own fields with those of older countries, * we need not hesitate to believe that by the application of science and proper skill the productions of our rocky soil may be easily doubled, with no greater amount of labor and capital than are now employed. From what little examination I have been able to make, we have lands in this county and throughout other parts of the state, which are now entirely unreclaimed, in the forrn of peat swamps and meadows, capable, I verily believe, of yielding a greater amount of productions than are now obtained from that which is
* The average quantity of wheat per acre in England, is twenty-six bushels ; that of the United States not over twenty bushels per acre; of Massachusetts, only fifteen bushels per acre. In Flanders, the difference is still greater, with regard to all kinds of crops.