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saved the nation from destruction, so the still cheaper ones may be relied on to insure its preservation.
A recent anonymous writer on this subject furnishes the following appropriate suggestions :
“ The lands given away will be worth far more to the country, peopled with an industrious population, than lying waste as they now do. They will soon yield up their treasures of grain or of cotton and tobacco to be exported, and to buy goods that will pay a duty to the Government. Peopled, they will furnish soldiers for the army, and taxes
expenses, should the country need them. Before this law was passed, lands were so cheap that every man of real energy and industry could obtain a homestead if he tried, provided he could raise the means to get on to the land. This will be the chief difficulty now. Hundreds and thousands of families, to whom the land would be a priceless boon, will never be able to reach it. They have little forecast, are poor and in debt, and pretty much discouraged. They cannot find constant employment, and do not know how to employ themselves profitably. If associations could be formed for settling these lands in part by such families, it would meet the difficulty. It would help them without damaging the success of the new settlement. It would secure to them at once homesteads and full employment, which they so much need.
• Many questions are asked concerning this new law by those who desire to avail themselves of its advantages. A careful reading of the law will answer many of them. The lands are to be found in Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Texas, and on the Pacific, in large extent, and some still in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, though they are probably not of a very inviting character. The lands lying along railroads are of double price, and, on
account of the proximity to market, are perhaps cheaper at that rate. Only eighty acres of these can be taken by one individual.
“ The old pre-emption laws are still in force, and a man may locate his land, holding by these laws until the 1st of January, when he can hold by the new law. There are land-offices in the vicinity of all these public lands, where the applicant can make known his wants and secure his homestead. It will be seen that the matter involves either the expense of a personal visit, or that of a delegate, which is a serious obstacle to the poor. The best thing that can be done, probably, in all cases by those who wish to avail themselves of this law, will be to form an association for the settlement of a township, say a hundred families or more, and send out an agent to examine and locate the lands in a body. The advantages of planting a whole Christian community in the wilderness at once, over private emigration, are too apparent to need mention here.
“A farm for ten dollars is only the raw material of a home. Houses, barns, fences, roads, bridges, churches, school-houses, and other public buildings, are to be provided after the colony is located, and these things bring heavy taxes upon every individual for a dozen years or more. A man getting a living at the East should think twice before he goes into the wilderness. It is young men just married, or about to be, men with large families and scanty means of living, and professional men with small fields of labor, that can take this step with the best prospects.”
What makes Land valuable - Prices balancing each other
How poor Men pay for high-priced Farms--A practical Illustration--A Farm for the Right Man.
While it is thus seen that there are millions of families who desire no better homestead than such as can be secured by settlement on the public domain, it is well known that there are other millions who prefer remaining in the neighborhood in which they were born. They prefer hard work there to hard work in the West. That region is new, and large portions of it are comparatively unsettled. The other is old, and possesses all the conveniences and comforts of a long-established civilization. Relations and friends are there concentrated, and among them they prefer remaining. It furnishes a quick market for all productions of the earth, and at better prices. Fruits and vegetables, which, on a thousand prairie farms, would find no purchaser, are here salable in every town or city. Here the consumers are collected in great crowded marts, while there they have not yet had time to congregate in equal masses.
Land within the seaboard region is consequently more valuable, and, as a general rule, is unattainable by small capitalists in proportion to its value. But
its ability to yield quick and certain returns makes its possession extremely desirable. Its money-producing power is enormous, because of its nearness to a dense population of consumers. As to this fact it owes its chief value, so, from the same fact, the small capitalist who becomes possessed of it is enabled to pay for it by the ready and profitable market he finds for all that it may produce.
Thus price has its compensations. If the cost of land be high, the value which its productions command in the market is generally in exact proportion. High price for land, and low price for products, would be ruinous to the farmer. But let the latter maintain a just relation to the former, and if the land be skilfully worked with distinct reference to the most profitable crops it can be made to yield, the lapse of a few years will enable the industrious owner to make full payment. Wheat may be grown with profit on a prairie farm which the owner obtained as a gift, because for that grain there is a cash market at the nearest railroad station. But asparagus and cabbages would perish on the grower's hands. Wheat can be shipped to Europe, and hence its universal salability; but the vegetables must find purchasers within short distances of the spot where they were grown. So, on the other hand, the man who cultivates high-priced land within the suburbs of a great city, will lose money by raising wheat, while by cultivating asparagus and cabbages he will be certain to .grow rich. The West can undersell him in wheat, but cannot compete with him in vegetables. Hence the proper
adaptation of crop to location is absolutely indispensable to success.
It has been shown how the poor man can gratuitously obtain a farm where he may not happen to be desirous of locating. It remains to be shown how he can get one where he does desire to settle. To promote this laudable ambition of those whose whole capital is industry and labor, much has been already written by ingenious and generous men. Their views and plans have been different, as well as numberless. It is remarkable, however, that while some of them propose methods which would require a lifetime to make successful, none of them present difficulties too great to be in some way over
I refer now, as well as throughout these pages, to the man who is sober, industrious, ambitious of success, saving, and possessed of ordinary intelligence. The poverty of such may be an inconvenience, but it is no insuperable bar to progress. The men whose characters are the reverse, I do not write for. It is they who, instead of acquiring farms, invariably lose them. It will also be seen that feeble health need be no fatal discouragement, and that some men have succeeded even when comparatively disabled by incurable bodily infirmity.
A practical farmer, writing in the Albany Coun. try Gentleman, in 1862, gives the following as his method of getting a farm with no cash capital to begin with. His article is in reply to a writer in the same paper, who wishes to know how to get a farm without money or capital at the outset, and who says that there are no doubt. many men in our