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PREFACE.

iii ously rise in numerous forms to a reflecting mind; but the means of encompassing this end have hitherto been unattainable. It is also intended, if possi. ble, to establish a library, to be composed of publications relating exclusively to the arts ; this would be the means of bringing home to us the improvements that have been made, and which are daily making in other parts of the world. Besides the fund of useful information which this would produce, and which would otherwise be lost to us, it would enable those who are in pursuit of any un.' discovered good to avoid the track of useless research, and take that which would most probably lead to a successful issue; it would also, in many instances, save them from the toil and expense of inventions which others have achieved before them, and it might give an impulse and a direction to some-genius that would eventually be productive of some inestimable good. But this likewise is almost a hopeless object, unless public aid appear in its favor.

DISTRIBUTING premiums for useful discoveries and for executions in the arts of extraordinary excellence, has ever been considered among the most powerful stimulants, and much good has been pro. duced by the energies thus excited. The little that has been done by the society in this way it is believed has not been without effect; but it is to be lamented that but a little is all that could be done. The patriotic wish of doing more was

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cramped by a poverty of means, and not permitted to expand into action.

ALTHOUGH the title of the society points at The USEFUL ARTS generally, it is intended to consider agriculture the chief, and to make improvement in it always a principal aim. Possessing a soil and cliniate different from those of the countries to which we are accustomed to look for precedents; finding labor more difficult to be obtained than, lands, and being in a variety of other respects situated under circumstances dissimilar from those of other nations, we have a field for improvement before us, absolutely boundless, and no pains should be spared to make advances in it; but the means competent to this end can be expected only from the government. Here to be lavish would be true. national economy. The future usefulness of the society will therefore, in a great measure, depend, on an extension as well as a continuance of the patronage of the state.

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TRANSACTIONS, &c.

A Letter from ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON, Esq.

President of the Society, and Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States in France, to Ben. JAMIN De Witt, M. D. of Albany.

Paris, 24th Nov. 1802. DEAR SIR, THERE

are many obstacles to a stranger's learning the arts or agriculture of a foreign country, in a short period—the prejudice of the peasantry, the want of faculty in their language, and the mistakes. that this naturally leads him into, both in putting his questions and receiving their answers; yet these may be overcome by a man who makes it his object and devotes his time to the acquisition of this knowledge, but never by one who only travels post, and is compelled to con. fine his observations to what he sees, or to the has. ty information he can pick up at the post houses. This must be my apology for the imperfect re. marks I now propose to submit to the society.

I LANDED at L'Orient, the 16th November. This season of the year is extremely unpleasant in

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France, and more particularly on the eastern sea coasts, where it rains continually ; while in the interior, though they have less rain, they have thick and heavy fogs, during which, as far as I

may judge from the autumns I have seen, weeks pass away without a clear view of the sun.

The extreme bad weather we had upon our voyage, and the necessity of having our baggage unpacked, washed and dried, our trunks having been several times flooded in the cabbin, compelled us to remain eight days at L'Orient. We did not reach Paris. till the 3d of December: I mention this, to shew how unfavorable the season was for the acquisitions of agricultural knowledge on our journey.

L'ORIENT is an extremely pretty town, and like most of those in France, is built of white stone and paved with the same. It was formerly the emporio um of the East-India trade, by favor of which it flourished—the magazines of the company were spacious, elegant, and well arranged; but at present they are only melancholy monuments of their former splendor, and contain nothing but a few cargoes of American tobacco. I could not find that there was any manufacture introduced there to supply the vacuum made by the diminution of its commerce, except a small fabric of China, which I visited. It is made with the same materials as are used here for making the Seves.

These are brought from Paris ready mixed for the use of the manufacturer, and as far as I can judge, neither

[7] the forms nor quality of painting were inferior to those of the Seves, except that having no vent for, they did not employ themselves in those expensive works of ornament which occupy the artists of Paris; to give you some idea of which, I will just mention a set of China now here, and made for Lord Oxford, each plate of which cost 17.guineas the first hand. This fabric of L’Orient is worthy of mention, because as we indulge ourselves in the luxury of French China, on account of the beauty of its forms, we may obtain the sort we use from thence cheaper, and at much less risk of breakage, and not inferior in quality to that exported from hence. I have sent to Dr. Mitchill samples of the earth made use of in this manufacture. Could it be found in our state, it would be very easy to send you artists who would gladly go over to work it. The market of L’Orient is one of the best I have seen in France. It abounds in sea and river fish, poultry and game. The carcases of beef and mutton are small but fat, and the last, of the finest iavor of any I have met with either here or in America, where, by the bye, the mutton is incomparably better than at Paris. Fruit is also very plentiful and very fine. Perhaps the adoption of the form of their markets might contribute to the health of our cities. It does not at L'Orient, nor at any other place which I have seen in France, consist as with us in a building appropriated to that purpose. The market women (for no men engage in this employment) assemble in a square, in the

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