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HOW TO GET A FARM,
WHERE TO FIND ONE.
Poverty no Hindrance-Government Lands-Free Farms—The
Homestead Law-Its Friends and Enemies-Settlers in Wis. consin--Germans in the Union--Immigration-A Southern Homestead Law-Continued Grants of Public Land.
The buyer of a commodity seeks to purchase it at the lowest price; the seller, to dispose of it at the highest. This is the unvarying law of trade. The wealthy merchant acts up to it as closely as the poor man whose whole capital is the shilling on which he expects to dine and sup. It may be said, indeed, that it is the successful practice of this rule that constitutes the difference between the rich and the poor. It breaks down the barrier between the two, and elevates the latter to the condition of the former; for it is an accepted dogma of trade, that a thing cheaply purchased is already half sold.
Apply it to the acquisition of land. The man desirous of obtaining a farm seeks to obtain the greatest number of acres for the smallest amount of money. It is as much the governing principle of the rich as of the poor. Common sense, sharpened by long habit, teaches it to the former, but necessity teaches it to the latter. But it happens that the poor of this country cannot allege poverty as a bar to the acquisition of as much land as one man ought to possess. The vast public domain of the Union has been thrown open for them to enter in upon it as a gift. No such munificence has been displayed by any other government, either ancient or modern. When the Norman overran and conquered England, the land was partitioned off among those who assisted in the subjugation; but the mere poor man received no share because of his poverty. In our own day, the boundless fields of Australia and New Zealand are sold, not given away. This government alone has enunciated the principle that the poor man who desires to acquire land is entitled to it without price. It seeks no money compensation, but looks for remuneration to the growth and prosperity of the nation consequent on the settlement and cultivation of its vast unoccupied domain. The stranger from a foreign country, though he neither fought for it nor has been taxed for it, comes in an equal sharer with the native-born citizen.