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burdens. The General Assembly of Connecticut, Session of 1889, passed an act designed to reach this personal property held in the form of bonds and notes, and secure a small tax therefrom. Any person is allowed to take or send any bond to the State treasurer, and pay a tax of one per cent for five years, or for a longer or shorter period at the same rate. These bonds are registered by the treasurer, and notice attached of the time for which the tax is paid, with amount of the same; and all bonds so endorsed are free from all taxation for the time specified.
How has the law worked ? The towns where a greater amount was collected for the town treasuries on these bonds than is now collected by the State on the same class of property, are very few indeed. These exceptional cases were mostly where bonds were held in trust, and could not be concealed. The tax collected on these bonds by the State has so replenished the treasury that no State tax was required last year, with the prospect that the same happy immunity will continue in the future. Now, most of these bonds are held in the richest towns in the State, very few in the poorest. Hence, here personal property is made to pay a share of tax, to the relief of those less able to pay, and whose property cannot be concealed.
In accordance with the provisions of this law, there were registered bonds from Aug. 1, 1889, to July, 1890, $33,654,335, paying a tax of $129,452.06. From July 1, 1890, to Oct. 15, 1890, $21,673,725.76; tax paid, $71,360.12. Now, by means of this tax, and others of a general nature, the towns have been relieved of the State tax; and thus, besides securing some tax from hitherto concealed property, there has resulted some equalization of the State burthens; and the efforts of rich men to live together in certain townships and thus secure low rates of taxation, have to this extent failed of their object.
There is one other feature of taxation which now appears unequal and unjust. The farmer, with a net income of one
. or two thousand dollars, pays taxes on a capital of ten or twenty thousand dollars; while the salaried clerk or agent receives the same amount, and pays little or nothing. He enjoys the same protection of government, free schools, and every privilege as a citizen, but carries but little of the burden. How can this difficulty be reached but by a tax on all incomes above a specified sum, say $600 or $1,000, not derived from capital which is of itself taxed ?
Then why should not women who are taxed have the right of voting, at least where taxation and expenditure are concerned? A man, a clerk at a salary of $1,000 per annum, may pay no other tax except poll tax; and a woman with a farm yielding an equal annual revenue pays a tax on $20,000, and educates this man's children, and supports him and his family if they become paupers, and still has no voice in controlling expenditures for these purposes, or preventing those causes that produce pauperism and crime, the great burdens upon the public exchequer. If men will not right these wrongs, will they not at least allow the women to do it? Though not a female suffragist, I see the point to which I am led by my own admissions and arguments. My hope and argument is that there is honor and magnanimity enough among the men, love for their mothers, wives and sisters, to zealously defend their rights and regard their wishes, even when not forced to do it by their action at the polls.
The endowment of railroads with large tracts of the public domain, and the homestead acts, causing the rapid settlement of new sections, to the depletion of the old, and the schemes for irrigation by the national government, to fit barren land for cultivation, are all in the interest of speculators; and it is time to call a halt, and see if we are not thus wasting natural resources that belong to posterity, as well as endangering the healthy development of the settled portions of the country.
None of this legislation, as we progress in the enumeration, is for farmers, but for agriculture. The dog law for the protection of sheep is another illustration, and should be so effective in its requirements by reaching all dogs, with a tax upon this luxury so high, as to accomplish the object of protecting sheep, so that the dog nuisance should no longer interfere with the success of this industry.
The farm dog, to keep in check the various vermin that destroy lambs, poultry or crops, and serve as protection to the family against tramps and burglars, is a useful animal All others are luxuries, and those who keep them should pay for the privilege, for the protection afforded by the law to these animals when they are outside the premises, and beyond the care of the owner. The apathy of the farmers alone prevents the enactment and execution of laws to abate this nuisance.
Here I wish to remark that the protection or encouragement of any farm industry, be it sheep, dairy, tobacco or any other, is a protection to every other product. If one thousand sheep are kept in place of one hundred cows, there is so much less competition in the dairy. When properly handled, these thousand sheep are such improvers of the pasturage and productive capacity of the lands, that no less cows may be kept, and whatever income they bring to agriculture is a larger interest on the farm value, and the farmer shares his profits with the manufacturer, who gets more, cheaper and better wool, and with the consumer, in which class he belongs, who gets cheaper and better mutton, and cheaper and better cloth, if adulteration with shoddy or flocks is treated by law with the same stringency as it is proposed to treat oleo and other factitious food products, and why not?
The game laws, with a certain show of learning, a talk about feræ naturæ (“wild nature”), seem designed more to favor hunters than to protect game or to favor agriculture. Why should not the owner of land have with it all the privileges of fish, game, wild fruits, etc., without the necessity of inclosing that land and posting it, to keep off intruders ? Hunters know, or should know, whether they are on their own land or on that where they are permitted to hunt, or on yours, from whom they will not take the trouble to ask permission for the privilege. From the side of agriculture, why should the farmer's boy be excluded from his method of taking game, that the sportsman may overrun his fields, scare his cattle and sheep, and perchance shoot them, or more often allow them to wander from their inclosures by a reckless disregard of his rights by opening bars or destroying fences?
The right to take game should be vested in the owner of
the land, in spite of this old legal fiction. Thus some addi-
broad for treatment in a single half hour, except by suggestion.
Why do we need legislation for agriculture now, more than formerly? Because there are new laws favoring other industries. Other industries, unless controlled, will crowd on the rights of agriculture. Witness flowage laws, etc.
Modern means of transportation, methods of trade and manufactures, need control, that the rights of the whole community may be regarded and sustained. The increasing transportation of live stock favors the spread of contagious diseases; of hay and grain, the spread of weeds. And here let me remark that it is suggested to protect agriculture against these latter by prohibiting the sale of lay or grass seed containing Canada thistle and various other weeds. Our experiment stations are doing a good work to help in that direction. One station (Michigan) has sent out, with its bulletin on the subject, samples of clover seed infected with seeds of the narrow-leaf plantain, a harmless weed, only as it crowds out better growth, and as it seeds abundantly, doubly deteriorates any clover seed of which it forms a part.
But in closing I take up again the illustration of Hercules and the carter. Agriculture must not expect any great revival from any special legislation. Tariff or free trade it can stand and prosper, taxation can be adjusted, transportation privileges for rural districts secured, frauds in food can be prevented, the health of farm stock can be guarded, education for the farm can be encouraged, beginning with the district school; but, after all, these are but feeble
helps to agriculture. We must not rely upon Hercules to help us, but rather hold that position for agriculture that we claim for it, by our physical, intellectual and moral strength, as its living illustration as, in the language of Washington, “ The most healthful, most useful and most noble employment of man."
Mr. APPLETON. I would like to move that a most sincere and hearty vote of thanks be extended to the speaker of this morning and the speaker of this afternoon, for the admirable way in which they have entertained and instructed us.
The motion was seconded, and unanimously carried.
Mr. P. M. HARWOOD of Barre. I have been very much interested in the discourse this afternoon, and was especially struck with that part which alluded to the fact that legislation should be in the interest of agriculture, rather than special class legislation. It was during one of the first meetings of this Board which I ever attended that the matter of inspection of fertilizers was brought up; and I think it was largely due to the influence brought to bear upon the Legislature by this Board that a law was passed requiring State inspection of fertilizers, and that the manufacturers of fertilizers should state what they sell, and sell what they state. Now, this was legislation in the interest of agriculture. At the annual meeting of the Board last spring the Secretary asked me to prepare a paper upon grasses, to be read before some of the institutes; and, in looking up that subject and studying it, my attention was especially called to the fact that we needed an inspection of seeds. I believe that we need an inspector of seeds in Massachusetts just as much as we need an inspector of fertilizers; and I do not know but, as one gentleman says at my right, more. I therefore think it would be perhaps well for this meeting to express an opinion upon that subject; and, as my attention was again called to the matter by this discourse, I have just written a resolution which I will offer:
Resolved, That, in the judgment of this meeting, a law should be passed by our State Legislature, requiring that all seeds sold in this State shall be sold under a guarantee that they possess a certain