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man's candle with your own, which loses none of its brilliancy by what the other gains.
So, too, the shrewd man with few or no dollars in his pocket, should watch the advertising columns of every newspaper he can lay hands on.
Wise men resort to them to let the world know what they have to sell, and other wise ones—the buyers—drink daily at the same fountains of intelligence. It is notorious that vast fortunes have been made by those who have freely advertised their wares. Is it not reasonable to presume that those who read and purchased have had their share of profit? There are more bargains to be found in the newspapers than at the auctions.
He should also consult the thick registry books, kept by the numerous dealers in real estate, in all the large cities. These books contain descriptions of thousands of properties on sale. Many of the latter will be found to be desirable bargains. He must be hard indeed to please, if unable to find among them some one to exactly suit his wants. Having thus pleased himself, the chances are that he will find little difficulty in being able to please the owner.
It may be urged that farmers, especially young and inexperienced ones, are not business men enough to undertake a pilgrimage of this kind to strange places, among strange men. But bargains do not come to you ready made. The gold of California did not come to those who remained at home, but to those who went after it. They must break away from the old routine of their lives, remembering that our customs and habits are
like ruts in the roads. The wheels of life settle into them, and we jog along through the mire, because it is too much trouble to get out of them.
I could point to one farm thus taken from an owner so disheartened that at one time it was seriously contemplated to abandon it. The soil seemed hopelessly sterile, was chiefly yellow dirt with gravel, and had apparently as little capacity for retaining manure as a sieve for holding water. But deep ploughing and heavy manuring with fertilizers, manufactured on the premises by hogs and cattle, have brought it up to yielding thirty bushels of wheat per acre. Patience and perseverance, with very moderate capital to begin with, overcame every thing. As may be supposed, it was purchased for a small sum, but in ten years could have been sold for a large one. Instances of recuperation are too numerous to be recited.
The design and object of this volume cannot be better promoted than by quoting from the Country Gentleman the following inquiry, made by one of the large class of persons who are constantly looking for a country home, with the editor's answer. His ripe experience of agricultural subjects gives the highest value to his remarks. The inquirer describes himself as a young lawyer
“Making about $400 per year by my profession, and with almost no hope of increase, as the market is overstocked; and I am sensible that I am neither a Kent, an Emmet, nor a Story. Having a wife and child to support, I am anxious to try some other business, that will better enable me to do so than at present. Would farming be better?
"I possess a thorough theoretical knowledge of agriculture, having at college made chemistry and botany my par ticular studies, and have, for years, been a constant reader of the best agricultural books and periodicals, the Cultivator included. I have had considerable experience in gardening, and have been very successful. There my qualifications end. I have never worked a whole day in the field, and am too feeble in body to do much labor of any kind.
“ About five minutes walk from my house and from the town of B. there is a piece of land containing sixteen acres of good clayey loam, sloping toward the south about one hundred feet down to the seashore, where marine weeds are abundant for manure. It is well fenced, but the buildings are worth nothing. It has been badly cultivated, without any kind of manuring. It rents for $50 a year, and may be bought for $1,000, on easy terms, say $100 cash, and the rest in eight years. My whole available funds are about $200. Would it be prudent, then, to buy it? I can hire a good man for $80 a year and board. Produce brings fair prices, and is readily bought up: barley, at $1 per bushel; oats, 60 cents; potatoes, 60 cents; Swede turnips, about 40 cents; and hay $15 a ton, this year, and about $9, in other years. Indian corn we rarely grow, being liable to early frosts. Will you give me your advice! It would not be necessary to relinquish the law altogether; I could probably make $200 by it, and still work the land.”
The case is stated with lawyer-like precision, whereupon the editor replies in the following language:
“In giving advice, in such a case as this, it should be borne in mind that more depends on THE MAN than on the nature of the business, provided the latter is such as to give an opportunity for the exercise of the energies. We have known of more than one instance where two men, with similar opportunities and means, have succeeded very differently at the same business—one failing, and the other accumulating wealth. Hence we cannot advise, in a general way, the purchase of a farm, by running almost wholly in debt for it. A few would easily work out; but to most, the debt would be likely to prove a long-continued and oppressive load. It must depend upon the management, tact, and economy in every sense of the word, possessed by the purchaser in question.
“ If we were to give one rule in business for beginners, which we should place at the head of all others, it would be-FEEL YOUR WAY. Do not undertake any thing untried, on a large scale, no matter how promising the results may appear. The most uniformly successful men in business have nearly always pursued this course; and we could, on the other hand, name many instances where large and bad failures have resulted from a different practice.
“Our correspondent should not give up his practice of law immediately. He must depend on that mainly for two or three years at least, until he gets under way in farming. If he could rent the land for two years, with the privilege of purchasing, it would undoubtedly be best. But this, probably, cannot be accomplished. He must therefore take into consideration the probable cost, in addition to the land, of animals to stock it (for even the smallest farm should have some animals), the expense of a horse or of a yoke of oxen, of the various necessary implements to work it to the best advantage, and of proper buildings. A man must be also hired to do most of the labor in the present instance. All these will be found to consume more than the proceeds of the land for the first year or two. If, after all these calculations, he can be sure of meeting his interest and other payments, allowing for disasters and contingencies, a purchase may be made.
“Great judgment and skill should be exercised in selecting first, those improvements which promise the greatest returns with the least outlay. On this branch of the subject a large book might be written. We can only say here, make a list of proposed improvements--examine from all the practical knowledge that can be collected, and to some extent from limited experiment on the spot, the probable cost on the one hand, and the probable advantages on the other, and then select first, those showing the largest percentage of profits. These may be some kinds of manuring, or some cheap and efficient underdraining, or deep plowing of the tillage land, or heavy seeding of the grass land, or the cultivation of certain crops, or the introduction of certain animals, remembering the rule in all cases, FEEL YOUR WÁY.
“Sixteen acres constitute but a small farm, but such a farm, skilfully managed, may after a while be made to produce a considerable amount. Ordinary field crops alone will not be likely to produce even one-half of the $400 now made by law practice; but these, with fruit raising, rearing fine animals, producing marketable garden crops, and perhaps the more salable fruit trees, may, with skilful hands, be made to increase the product to an almost indefinite extent.
“We have heard wealthy farmers assert, that not over two per cent. on the cost of their farms and the capital to stock them, could be fairly relied on as an average for all
. But this estimate is made for ordinary superficial farming. We have found, by experience, that a better mode of practice, economically pursued, would, without any special trouble, double the products, and triple or quadruple the net profits. For instance, where a ton and