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holds the balance of political power, and by its strong arm repels the foe, or by its electoral voice annihilates the unjust hopes of the aspiring ambition of profligate politicians.
It may be said by your committee, (without the imputation of a State vanity,) that New-York holds a high rank by her munificent endowments of colleges, academies and common schools. We, knowing their extent, need not elaborate on them in this report. Still it is but just to say, that she is already cited in Europe as a signal instance of what may be done for the education of every class of society, under the soft and benign influence of a free government, and that her motto is, “ Knowledge is wealth."
In her enterprize, by facilitating intercourse between the different sections of her State and the waters of the Atlantic, she is as unrivalled in conception as she has been successful in execution. Not content with this, it is an admitted fact, and worthy of all honor, that she has carried into effect the most perfect prison discipline in the world; and we have already witnessed the wise and the humane of Europe resorting to her shores to ascertain the art of subduing the rebellious passions of the worst of our race, without the aid of those sanguinary punishments which have so long disgraced the old world.
Thus has she expended millions of her money, and already has she erected a monumeut to the wisdom of her statesmen, more durable than any ever dedicated to the victor of a thousand fields.
Who are they who have contributed so freely, so generously to expenditures calculated to immortalize the State, and to establish its glory on so pure a foundation ? Mainly the farmers of your country, the yeomen of the land, the tillers of the soil. Freely have they given, and joyfully have they paid, and most rich results have been the consequence of their enlightened liberality.
Is it then unfair to ask, what has been done by the Legislature for a class of its citizens so numerous, virtuous and meritorious ? The stranger, when he sojourns in our land, and views all that has been done for the cause of science, for education in the higher branches of literature, for your common schools, for the reforma. tion and punishment of crimes on a scale superior to any State in Europe, naturally inquires: Show me your agricultural school. You are essentially an agricultural people; a class of society who
have aided so liberally to the institutions of your State, must have received the constant and peculiar care of legislative protection and patronage, by forming their minds, their habits and their tempers to become the patrons of the noble monuments already erected, and which, while they shed lustre on your State, have placed her first among her sisters in the Union.
Shall we any longer be compelled to answer: We have no such institution; we have provided an ample revenue for all, but a complete course of practical instruction in agriculture. In almost every State in Europe, the attention of despotic governments has been called—nay, seriously and sedulously directed to the formation and endowment of schools of this description. There it is admitted the motive to a certain extent may be mercenary-to provide food tor taxation. Here it is a debt due from the State to a class which, before they asked for themselves, have contributed to all others.
It is conceded by your committee, that to a certain extent farmers are not fond of innovations. If experiments are tried, they are too often limited to one or two. If they fail, it is condemned. That prejudices of this description are fast wearing away, we admit: but that they still exist, to a considerable extent, there can be no doubt. And a gentleman farmer is generally at hand, as an instance of a poor farmer. But it is not the intention of the committee to endow an institution to rear up and educate persons in the mere theory of husbandry. It is to combine practice with science; and if it should be said that this would be a school only for the children of the more opulent, the unanswerable argument is, that it is the same in regard to your colleges, and must be so of necessity. Still the results of such an education, practised upon in all parts of the State, must and will lead to the most beneficial results. A good example is worth a world of mere speculation.
In a school of this kind, ander competent managers, there may be concentrated the best models of practice, in rural labor, known at home or abroad. The various breeds of domestic animals, the varieties of garden and orchard fruit, and the implements of husbandry, may be here satisfactorily compared, and their relative merits and advantages determined. Diversified experiments may be made in the various departments of husbandry, calculated to instruct and improve us in practice. Mechanical science, particularly what is
denominated The Mechanics of Agriculture, may be illustrated and taught in the best manner, in the shops, and on the farm. The application of science to the mechanic and manufacturing arts, has, in a wonderful degree, simplified their manipulations, abridged their labor, and rendered their results more certain. From what has already been done, we are not permitted to hesitate or doubt, but science will prove equally beneficial to agriculture. There is no business which embraces a wider range in natural science than this.
The laws which govern organic and inorganic matter, which influence the economy of the animal and vegetable kingdoms, it cannot be denied, have a controlling influence in the operations of the soil, and in the business of raising animals and plants. Education (practical education) is no where calculated to diffuse a more benign influence in society, than when bestowed on the farmer. He neither claims nor can exercise a monopoly. His improvements and his knowledge diffuse light around him, and are beneficial to all within the sphere of their influence.
Your committee feel assured, that if put into operation, this school will become, not only popular, but highly useful. To the pupil it will afford the most important advantages, besides instruction in the principles and practice of rural·labor; which, of itself, confers the power of creating wealth. It will afford him the advantages of a literary school, qualify him for the higher duties of civil life, and give him withal, what is seldom acquired but in youth, habits of labor and application to business; calculated alike to promote his individual happiness, and the good of the State.
With such an education, combining personal labor for a practical knowledge of all the instruments of husbandry, and the mode and manner in which it is to be prosecuted, those scientific pursuits will be prosecuted with a certainty that the foot of labor is guided by the unerring results of experience, founded in and regulated by the laws of nature.
This school is intended to be purely agricultural. But in saying this, it will be necessary to open a course of instruction, combined with labor, which your committee venture to say, will be as interesting, and to the State, as valuable, as that which may
be acquired in any other seminary. • The different qualities of soil, as fitted for the various products of the earth; the use of compost and manures, as applicable to soils; the seasons for planting the ro
tation of crops, and the vast mass of practical information which enables man to transform a wilderness into a paradise, is worthy the pursuit of the richest as well as the humblest of the land. .
Again, the importance of procuring, at all times and at fair prices, prime stock, of the best breeds of cattle, ought not to be omitted, either as an inducement to the Legislature, or as of the first importance to the people.
The question is, shall we endow a school, to which many would desire to send their children for the purpose of preparing them to depend in future life, on one of the most certain, and therefore the most happy of human pursuits; combining in itself, all the elements of constant, regular, and sagacious employment; and freed from the cares and corroding recollections, present or past, of the pursuits of a political life.
It is evident that law, divinity, and physic, are overstocked. The pursuits of commerce are laborious, and do not very often yield a return to persons of a moderate fortune and liberal education: as now educated, they are not fitted for farmers; so tenaciously do those early habits adhere to them, that the attempt at agriculture, is generally a failure. Your committee propose to give them a school, to which resort may be had for the cultivation of the mind, and the improvement of the person: Laying the foundation for future toils and pleasures, (for toils in agriculture are pleasures, when conducted to a successful result,) for future health and happiness, and preparing them to rear up a race, fit to transmit to posterity, the liberties we so highly cherish.
Your committee do not, in this report, enter into a detail of the expenditure necessary for this school. That is so fully treated of in the annexed report, to the Agricultural Society, that they could only repeat what is there stated. But they cannot close without remarking what must be obvious to all, how much skill and science may effect in agricultural pursuits.
Is there one of our body who has not seen, and remarked, the difference in adjoining farms, where nature had made no difference in the soil. It is this practical skill, this science, combined with labor, that they desire, (most anxiously desire,) to bestow on a rising generation; and they deem it their duty, most earnestly, to press it on the consideration of the Legislature, as called for by
every consideration due to the public welfare, to the true and lasting interests of the State: and as the last, but most substantial pillar in the varied edifice of her public institutions.
Impressed with this belief, and that the school recommended will, in many ways prove highly beneficial to the community, and persuaded that the State will ultimately be fully indemnified for her advances, your committee have prepared a bill in conformity with the prayer of the petitioners, which they have directed their chairman to ask leave to present.