« ForrigeFortsett »
by hiring as many unskilled farmers as he can superintend, and let his light shine. In fact, so few farmers understand their business, it would be better for them generally to hire out to some good farmer until they can learn how better to conduct farming on their own account.
“Now, it requires more skill to conduct a small farm profitably, than a large one. A greater variety of products is required, all of which must be understood; more care is required, greater judgment is necessary, and even the very drudgery must be mostly done by the owner himself. A farmer of less agricultural skill, confining himself to such branches as he best understands, with only ordinary judgment, hiring judiciously, &c., will generally do better on a large farm than a small one. But there are so many contingencies and conditions that may affect the result, it is very difficult to lay down a proposition on the subject sufficiently clear and guarded to be of general application.
" Then this is a day of agricultural machinery; this, indeed, constitutes a new epoch in the annals of agriculture. The mowing and harvesting machines are of yesterday. Can the twenty-acre farmer avail himself of these? Can he even supply himself with all the cheaper and smaller improvements-ditching machines, planters, drills, rollers, horse hoes, clod crushers, potato diggers, horse powers, threshers, &c. ? Nor can he generally avail himself as well as the larger farmer, of those natural resources, often so useful and so neglected, of running streams för irrigation, supplying water for stock, &c., to say nothing of his greatly increased expense for fences.
“The constant reader of the Country Gentleman is aware that successful agriculture requires a wider range of knowledge, more extensive and varied attainments, than almost any other pursuit. Indeed, but few men can succeed well in all its departments. The good dairyman or grazier may be but an indifferent fruit grower; a successful cultivator of the cereals is seldom equally successful at sheep husbandry or horticulture. The man who has been blessed with such varied endowments, and is a genius of so high an order as to succeed well in all these things, should indeed have a large farm, giving employment to as many young men as possible--a model farm--a normal-school farm. Such a man should dispense wisdom and knowledge daily, both by word and action, theory and practice, to great numbers of his dependents, assistants, employés-overlooking, superintending, directing everything--a Columella in wisdom, a Liebig in science, a Mechi in vigor and enterprise. We see him, by the aid of his manager, gardener, nurseryman, and fruit grower, architect and builder, machinist and blacksmith, civil engineer, chaplain, professor of chemistry, schoolmaster, farrier, surgeon, landscape gardener, &c., practically educating his numerous laborers, so that they may in due time be able to carry much of this weight of wisdom into practical effect, and butter their bread upon the countless millions of uncultivated lands now at the West.
“ But this may be called a mere fancy sketch-an extravaganza. I shall be told that, in this country, no man can succeed by thus attempting to carry on farming by employing so many skilled, educated persons, as it would be desirable he should do, at the high salaries they would require, and that it would be necessary to have the wealth of a Nabob. Well, if the farmer, having the requisite amount of land, hasn't the means to hire them, let him take them into partnership. If he has but the land, and is the true country gentleman of education, experience, business talent and tact, he can easily draw around him the landless, skilled, educated, and industrious persons, to take charge of the various industrial departments of his estate for a reasonable share of interest, and divide the profits among the members. They could then, among themselves, have a school good enough to render it entirely unnecessary to send their children abroad to be educated."
Why Land so often changes Owners—Tenures and Estates in
England-Absorption there and here-Results of English Husbandry--The real Value of Land—Stick to the FarmScarecrows—Why Farming is UnprofitableGo where most wanted.
It has been assumed, throughout these pages, that the masses in this country are desirous of becoming owners of land. But among the curiosities of the subject is an extraordinary propensity among a portion of them to get rid of it. This must have its origin in the absorbing passion of Americans to become traders and speculators rather than farmers. Some writer, whose name is unknown to me, pronounces the American a type of a restless, adventurous, onward-going race of people. “He sends his merchandise all over the earth; stocks every market; makes wants that he may supply them ; covers New Zealand with Southern cotton woven in Northern looms; sends clerks of stores to the Sandwich Islands; swaps with the Fejee cannibals; sends his whale-ships among the polar icebergs, or to cruise in other solitary seas, till the log-book tells the tedious sameness of years, during which boys become men; gives to the torrid zone the ice of our Northern winters ; piles up the crystal squares of Fresh Pond on the banks of the Hoogly; gladdens the sultry savannahs of the lazy South, and makes life tolerable in the bungalow of an Indian jungle. The lakes of New England thus awake to life by the rivers of the East, and the antipodes of the earth come in contact at this meeting of the waters. The white canvas of his ships is seen in every nook of the ocean. Scarcely has the slightest information come of some unknown and obscure corner of the sea, when captains are consulting their charts, and cargoes are taken in for speculation." An idea successfully inaugurated here, he reproduces wherever civilization is established. He covers the West India Islands with a net-work of railroads, astonishes England with street conveniences of the same description, raises fleets of sunken frigates in the harbor of Sevastopol, scents out new guano islands, and gluts all Europe with mowers and reapers, Yankee clocks, sewing machines, and baby-jumpers. It is money he is seeking to acquire-anything but houses or lands.
The reverse of all this is witnessed in Europe. “ There,” says another, “but more especially in England, landed property seldom changes hands. This is partly in consequence of entails. But apart from that, if a man owns a house or lot, in a town or village, it will commonly remain in the hands of children and children's children, while here a man will buy and sell the homestead a dozen times, or at his death it passes into the hands of strangers, almost as a matter of course. Why is this? A multitude of causes operate to produce it, such as