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poison during the winter months, when none of our insectivorous birds would be in danger of being destroyed by it. It is feasible to expose poison for sparrows in winter time in such ways as to be without danger to other birds or to animals. The Massachusetts State Board of Agriculture does not approve of the offering of bounty for killing the sparrow; but, if a bounty for dead sparrows should be proposed, the Board believes that it should be limited to such sparrows only as are killed in the winter. It is found in Michigan, where a bounty is paid for the heads of dead sparrows, that many valuable insect-eating birds that are similar to the English sparrow in appearance are killed, and their heads palmed off upon unobserving officials. If the bounty was paid only for sparrows killed in winter, the insectivorous birds would be safe from the net of the bird-catchers.
The following preamble and resolution was unanimously accepted and adopted at the public winter meeting of the Board in Worcester in December last :
Whereas, It has been clearly demonstrated, by post-mortem dissection and field observation, that most of the hawks and owls are highly beneficial to the farmer and fruit grower, we, members of the Massachusetts State Board of Agriculture and farmers assembled at Worcester, Dec. 2, 1890, –
Resolve, That, in our opinion, the birds of prey, or the hawks and owls, with rare exceptions, are of great benefit to the farmer and fruit grower, and should be protected. We respectfully urge our legislators to refrain from the passage of any law which will have for its object the destruction of these birds.
THE PROMOTION OF AGRICULTURE.
BY FRANCIS H. APPLETON OF PEABODY.
It may prove interesting to briefly consider our subject in two directions, which at once suggest themselves, both retrospectively and as to some possibilities for the future. Let us first consider the former, and in so doing it will be interesting for us to view some of the advances brought about in organized agriculture within our own country, in connection with a few facts in regard to agricultural associations in other lands.
The first European agricultural society appears to be that founded in the north of Italy about 1705. We are told that its life was short.
Southern Europe was also early in establishing systematic education at a farm school in 1706, but the knowledge and methods there promulgated were undoubtedly crude and unsatisfactory; although we are told that, covering a period of about thirty years, three thousand peasants were instructed in the “higher systems of farming,” which would seem, at least, to indicate the need and desire of those people for really higher agricultural knowledge, and probably some attractive method of offering what appeared to be something choice in that direction was adopted to attract so large a number of persons. In this case ignorance probably proved itself to be bliss, as advancement is reported to have been slight.
The year 1723 gave birth to the Society of Improvers in the Knowledge of Agriculture for Scotland, which was short lived, but revived in 1735 only for a second brief period.
The year 1731 saw the Dublin Society for the Improvement of Husbandry established ; and in 1737 the Yorkshire Agricultural Society was organized, at whose exhibition in 1873 it was my pleasure to see a show of those superb animals, whose careful and successful breeding must always delight a lover of good live stock, although he may not use the saddle for business or pleasure. The hunters there shown were an exponent of the kind of horse that has made a world-wide name for England in this class of animal; and whose pluck and spirit in its purity, or by judicious cross breeding, has carried British troopers, many a time, to victory.
In 1779 the Bath and West of England Society, which is now among their few societies of prominent value in agricultural progress, was founded.
In 1780 the oldest horticultural society in Europe is said to have been established. Probably it was the first in the world, but I can only quote this statement.
The year 1784 saw the birth of the Horticultural Society of London, whose methods and reputation are so high, and whose financial standing so liberal and strong, that the whole world must feel indebted to its founders for the horticultural advancement that it has spread abroad.
Also in 1784 was established the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland, the nucleus for which was the Highland Society, established the previous year. This society received from the government upon its organization ten thousand pounds (fifty thousand dollars). The publication of its well-known “ Transactions” commenced in 1799. Its membership now exceeds five thousand persons. The broad and practical views and objects of its founders are well expressed in words as follows:
First. — Agricultural meetings, with a general show of stock, implements, farm and dairy produce, to be held in the principal towns of Scotland.
Second. - Encouraging a system of district shows, for the improvements of breeds of stock most suitable for the different parts of the country.
Third. — The encouragement and promotion of a proper system of agriculture and forestry education.
Fourth. - For the advancement of the veterinary art, by conferring the society's certificate upon students qualified to practice.
Fifth. - The appointment of chemists in the science of agriculture.
Sixth. — The establishment of an agricultural museum. Seventh. — The publication of reports and essays.
In 1785 the “ Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture” was formed, whose energy and usefulness has been great, and whose record will remain most honorable. The society appears to have lately transferred its library to the University of Pennsylvania, for the benefit of her agricultural department, and has transferred its work to other organized associations, after celebrating its centennial anniversary
In 1790 a professorship of agriculture was established at Edinburgh, marking an important step in the advance in this line of knowledge.
In 1791 the Society for the Promotion of Agriculture, Arts and Manufactures was founded in New York State, and it, or its successor, appears to have been continued until 1819, when such was dissolved, and a State Board of Agriculture formed. In 1832 the present New York State Agricultural Society was formed, whose record for efficiency and usefulness is remarkably good. It is backed by an annual appropriation from the State, which enables it to devote its work to purely agricultural encouragement. In 1792 the Massachusetts Society for Promoting Agricultwas established, and has been active in its work
to the present time, through nearly a century of existence; and it is to-day quietly but actively occupied.
Their early work was by spreading abroad the best information as to better methods of cultivation, of raising and securing seed, of breeding and purchase of live stock, of housing live stock, and of the feeding and care of same; stimulating the improvement of implements, live stock, etc., by invention and importation; and in as many ways as were suggested to advance the State's agriculture, by personal appeals, by lectures and writings, as their own and other publications of that day bear testimony.
They set the example to Massachusetts for the establishment of the county agricultural society system, which has more
recently developed so extensively; and withdrew from the field of holding fairs, when that work was no longer a necessity, but later gave material assistance in that direction to other societies, as such seemed advisable.
They have introduced into the State almost every kind of farm stock, encouraged its introduction from abroad, and promoted, by other means, the manufacture in the country of improved styles of commercial fertilizers.
More recently the trustees have been entrusted with the care and use of funds for special agricultural and health purposes, which have been used to promote the objects intended in as wise a manner as their judgment could suggest.
In 1792 was established in England that most useful, and, to this day, advanced and leading foundation, the London Veterinary College, whose course of study has been frequently sought by students from our United States. Veterinary science in this country should hold an advanced position in public estimation, and its promotion should receive all possible encouragement for the benefit of State and Nation. The appointment of veterinarians on battalion staffs in both regular army and militia would be a useful help in this direction, and lectures upon the breeding, care and feeding of horses in armory or at camp would be most useful. Veterinary science is found recognized in foreign armies. A veterinarian might be useful in connection with the work of the State Board of Health.
At the end of the Revolutionary war, when arms had been laid aside, we find Washington turning his attention to the study of such peaceful pursuits as would be valuable to his country. While studying methods of organization for the promotion and advancement of agriculture, he was led into considerable correspondence with Sir John Sinclair, which resulted in benefit to both England and her independent child in America. In 1805, coming recently from the presidential office, and having had acquaintance with Washington's agricultural experience, to add to his own discrimination and keen judgment, Hon. John Adams, but lately returned to Massachusetts, accepted the presidency of the Massachusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture ;