« PreviousContinue »
wandered from the immediate question without a purpose, and I will endeavor to respond to the inquiry. First, I answer, as the education contemplated for farmers' sons is manifestly collegiate, it is entirely proper that we should understand the true meaning-the practical import-of the law of Congress. Second, when said law is rightfully construed, I believe that it prefigures, indicates, prescribes, and provides for, just such a course of instruction as is requisite for farmers' sons. For reasons which are abundant and controlling, I believe that such sons of farmers as can find it convenient or possible to do so, and indicate the possession of adequate intellectual ability, should be taught not only the branches of learning specially relating to agriculture, but other branches of a liberal education, even to the acquisition of the "higher graces of classical studies,” as they are now taught in the better institutions established under our Congressional law.
And just here it may be pertinent to inquire how many farmers' sons, for instance in Ohio, can be reasonably expected to enjoy the great boon of a collegiate education? This is an interesting and important question, and has much to do with the subject under discussion. There are many who have ascribed a most marvelous talismanic power to agricultural teaching in the colleges established under the new dispensation. They seem to have taken it for granted that every farmers' boy is to go to these agricultural colleges, and after a brief season devoted to elementary instruction in agriculture and kindred literature, that he is to come speedily forth profoundly taught in all the occult mysteries connected with the heavens above, the earth beneath, and the waters under the earth, and that without the aid of collateral teachings or experience, he is not only to know every thing pertaining to vegetable life and animal life, but he will be able to make ten blades of grass grow luxuriantly where only one starve.ing existed before.
Let us see what warrant men have for indulging in such extravagant anticipations, either as to the number of farmers' sons to be taught, or the usefulness of the teachings. In Ohio there are to-day not more than 30,000 young men between the ages of 15 and 21 engaged in agriculture. In 1870 there were 28,069 between the ages of 10 and 15. As our agricultural population has increased but little, if any, the probabilities are that we now have only about that number between 15 and 21. To be abundantly safe, let the number be put down at 30,000.
How many of these 30,000 will be permitted to enjoy the advantages of collegiate instruction? In the United States in 1876 there were of all classes of students only 56,481; and in Ohio there were only 2,220, males and females, and 1,271 of our sons, old and young, farmers and others, receiving a superior education in all the colleges of Ohio.
From this data the conclusion is fairly deducible that there is not more than the onetwelfth or at least the one-tenth of the above 1,271 students who were the sons of farmersboys from the country-pursuing collegiate studies with the view of engaging in any of the reputable and lucrative and inviting employments that may offer.
And from these facts you can make your own estimate of the probable number of farmers' sons in Ohio who will seek a collegiate education, that they may be the better prepared to prosecute their farming operations. Put it at any number from fifty to one hundred and twenty-five, as these figures and your personal knowledge and observation may suggest, and I will not dispute with you upon the estimate.
These facts give us an insight into the present demand for collegiate agricultural education in Ohio, and thereby we can approximately estimate its condition in all the States. Now, I confess that a very careful consideration of the foregoing facts does not
afford much ground for congratulation to those who desire and are willing to labor for the elevation of our farmer population in everything that will augment their power, give them greater influence, and make them more efficient and useful in private and public life.
The opinions we may entertain as to the most suitable or appropriate education for farmers' sons, and our estimate of its value, will be greatly controlled by the peculiar ideas we may entertain as to the position the farmer should occupy, not only as a farmer, but as a citizen, as a parent, and as a member of the body politic. If he is to be nothing but a hewer of wood and a drawer of water, we need give ourselves but little concern as to the quality or completeness of his education.
Highly as I esteem the farmer of knowledge, of practical experience, and general intelligence in his profession, I esteem him infinitely more highly for his attainments, his sterling good qualities, and his accomplishments as a man. While it is greatly to be desired in agricultural life that the farmer should have a competent and practical understanding of the business of his calling, and that by his intelligence and worth that he should be able to magnify his vocation and to make it not only profitable but honorable, yet it is a matter of equal moment to him personally, to his family, to the community in which he lives, and to his State, that he should be an upright, cultivated, conscientious man, and that in all things in social life and in business life he should employ all his capabilities, so as to elevate himself, and all those within the reach of his personal influence, to a more honorable and a more elevated position.
While in the farmer's life, as a mere farmer, profitable results are greatly to be desired, yet men do not live by bread alone. The chief end of man's creation is not to be found in husbandry. While it is the duty of the farmer to make himself intelligent and useful in his vocation, yet I apprehend that he may rightfully entertain even higher aspirations, and is entitled to countenance and assistance in his efforts to accomplish whatever he can for the increase of public and private virtue, and the promotion of the public good.
Hence while I believe that even a meager, limited, special education will accomplish some good results, which, I fear, are greatly over-estimated, yet to develop their higher powers, their superior qualities and capabilities, it is a matter of the highest importance that the sons of farmers should be afforded the best opportunities possible for the acquisition of a thorough, comprehensive education, precisely such an education as the congressional law prescribes and provides the means for establishing, and which education has been fully recognized and approved as the best by the most practical, the most experienced and successful educators of the country.
But why do I, as a farmer, insist so earnestly upon a superior higher euducation for the sons of toil who make their homes in the country? I answer, Because I wish to exalt their position; I wish to magnify their power, their influence among men, in every department of life. For I hold that the broader, the more full and complete, and the more versatile the education of the farmer's son shall be, the more useful and efficient, other things being equal, he will be in his sphere and in his labors as a farmer. This is so in every other pursuit of life.
It is not enough for the physician to understand anatomy, materia medica, the pathology of diseases, but he should acquire, besides, a knowledge of chemistry, of botany, and other kindred subjects that would make him better prepared to understand not only the nature of all diseases that human flesh is heir tu, but that he should be thoroughly familiar with the active qualities of the remedial agents he may employ.
So, too, the study of Blackstone, Story on the Constitution, Chitty on Bills, and Swan's
Statutes does not make a lawyer. He must be well-grounded in more things than mere legal lore, if he hopes to rise to a higher position than that of the most pestiferous nuisance of the country-a pettifogger. The more thorough, the more extended and varied his knowledge may be in every department of learning connected with the administration of public justice and the enforcement of private rights, the more efficient and conspicuous he would become in the work of his noble profession. Superadded to these qualifications, he should be familiar with the history of jurisprudence, and welltrained in logic, rhetoric, and every classical accomplishment that would augment his power and give him influence in the performance of his professional duties.
The young farmer, however, is to have no such corresponding aids in procuring an appropriate education. The popular clamorous idea of a collegiate agricultural education, with those that cry aloud and spare not, is that it is to be acquired in a brief period, without sufficient primary preparation, without instruction in collateral branches of learning, and even without any general culture, so necessary in the successful prosecution of studies in any department of learning. Such a course of instruction will never make well developed representative farmers. This special, pinchbecked, agricultural education wi'l avail but little.
While I concede that the young farmer, possessing more than ordinary intelligence, may sometimes be benefited by even a limited, a special education, in matters pertaining to the business of the farmer, yet the more important principles connected with agricultural science can only be thoroughly understood by those who have devoted their lives to the professional investigation of every branch of scientific learning, mediately or immediately, connected with agriculture.
It is with the well ascertained and well settled results of scientific investigation that farmers, as a class, will be called upon to accept and to put into practical use. They cannot conduct chemical analyses either profitably or reliably. Professors who have devoted their lives to scientific investigations in their thoroughly equipped laboratories, with ample time, means, and facilities at their command, must be relied upon for the development and illustration of scientific principles, and the circumstances under which they are to be applied in the practical operations of the farmer.
Hence, we want men of general culture, of a "liberal and practical education," or, if you prefer it, men with a general purpose education, in preference to those who possess only a limited special education-a mere smattering of scientific learning-and who are deficent in other indispensible attainments.
But there are weightier, more controlling considerations than those referable to mere success, why farmers' sons should receive a superior education. They need it for its intrinsic positive worth, for the personal comfort it imparts, for the strength of character it bestows, for the promotion of their prosperty in business affairs, for their advancement in social culture, and the protection of their rights and privileges as citizens.
The signs of the times are ominous, giving unmistakable indication of the existence of disturbing elements of a most inflammable character. The peace and safety of society have already been assailed. The rights of citizens, as assured to all in our State Constitution, which provides that our people "have certain inalienable rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property," have been defiantly violated by infuriated mobs. This hitherto regarded inalienable right, is impudently denied. The combined power of disturbing elements found in Trade Unions, in Socialistic, Communistic, and Nihilistic brotherhoods, of foreign importation and of domestic growth, not only assail the rights of property, the
family relation, the sanctity of the Sabbath day, but the sacredness of every institution which has heretofore been regarded as of priceless value to a Christian people.
The fierce and infidel results which are impending must be vigorously resisted. But by whom? Not by the law-abiding, virtuous citizens of the cities in which all these atrocious schemes and combinations for the violation of public and private rights are concocted and organized. They are powerless to subdue these evil doers who are continually warring against right and justice and the welfare of society. To the farming population of the State we must look for the resisting, the protecting power, against all the dangers which threaten us. That population is the great conservative power of the land. It, in cö-operation with good men everywhere, can conserve the right to acquire and enjoy property; it can preserve the family relation, the Sabbath, and all the religious and educational institutions of the land. So, too, in politics; the purifying, conservative power is to be found among the law-abiding citizens of the country. This population is entitled to a largely increased, if not to a preponderating influence, in all public affairs. It shoudl occupy no subordinate position in the civil, in the political, in the educational, and in the religious enterprises of the day. We need this power in the halls of legislature. We need it everywhere. And how shall it be made most efficacious, and how shall we attain power and influence commensurate with its numbers, its productive ability, and its wealth? I answer by the full development of the intellectual vigor and strength of the youthful manhood of the country, so that it may be prepared to maintain, by word and deed, the rights and interests of all classes of our people, and repel and utterly defeat the wicked purposes of those who would disrupt the very foundations of society and destroy all the cherished institutions of the land.
THE PRESIDENT. The next thing in order is the topic, "The Relations of Science to Agriculture." Prof. Orton was appointed to speak on this, but I am informed that he is not present; therefore, it is open for general discussion.
M. B. BATEHAM. I am asked if I will respond to this. My objection to doing so is that it is a question that certainly ought to be carefully written out. One cannot speak upon it and do it any justice without preparation. And, besides, our time is precious and short, and this can be written out and published in the annual report, where we shall all read it. Therefore, I would suggest that it be passed, and other topics taken up in its place.
MR. LAWRENCE. Gentlemen of the Convention, as Secretary of the Ohio Wool Growers' Association, which held its annual meeting last night, by an almost unanimous vote I was instructed to lay the following resolution before this body, to-day, simply acting as their agent:
Resolved, That the Ohio State Board of Agriculture be petitioned to revise their premium list for the coming year so as to offer no premiums on live stock owned wholly or in part outside the State of Ohio.
MAJOR MILLIKIN. I move that it be so amended as to read that the State Board be requested to consider the propriety of so doing.
W. B. MCCLUNG. If I understand you, if we pass this resolution now, with that amendment, it will go to the State Board of Agriculture for their adoption from the Convention.
For their consideration.
MR. MCCLUNG. I should be very loath, so far as I am concerned, to have it go to the State Board, if it would indicate that Ohio would put herself in that sort of a position.
As an Ohioan I am of the opinion that we can well allow any competition to come that exists or that can be found. And the adoption of this resolution would be placing ourselves in a position that would not only be objectionable to ourselves as citizens of the State, but destructive to the interests of the fair itself.
Now, there may be something back of this that I know nothing of, and I was in hopes that the gentlemen would have explained this so that we can know what is intended. I believe that there are animals outside of the State that are more perfect than ours, and that it is an advantage to have them come into the State in competition with ours, so that we can profit by it. I am only in favor of doing that which will bring about an improvement in our stock. So far, I am not able to see any good result in it, and must vote against the resolution and amendment.
MR. LAWRENCE. I would like to state, as a matter of explanation, that I was simply acting as agent for the Ohio Wool Growers' Association-acting under their instructions, and there are members of that Association present whose duty it is, I think, to explain this matter before the Convention. It does not belong to me.
J. O'B. RENICK. I would like somebody to explain this matter.
W. B. MCCLUNG. We have quite a number of questions of interest here that will consume much time, and, to test the sense of the Convention, I move that the resolution be laid upon the table.
J. C. STEVENS. Mr. President, I would like to offer a few remarks before the vote is taken. I think I know the object of that resolution. I know-I think-that the intention was simply to bring the matter to the attention of the State Board of Agriculture. The injuries arising from this foreign competition applies equally to other stock in Ohio. My impression has been, and is now, that it might be well enough when the State Board is revising its premium list to allow foreign stock to come into competition for sweepstakes, but not to come into competition with the classes. I have thought for years, and it is my experience, that the present arrangement is bad. Now, many of us know, and quite a number know quite seriously, too, that they cannot afford to put their herds of cattle or their flocks of sheep in condition to be successful competitors. They cannot put them in a condition that will enable them successfully to compete with parties who exhibit from outside the State at our fairs. Last year, at our State Fair here, there was a herd of cattle, if you remember, that took the first premium, and there are hundreds of cattle in Ohio far superior in point of merit. There are hundreds of cattle, I say, that we would pay more money for. Now, there has been, also, the same objection as to over-feeding and over-pampering on the part of Ohio breeders that there has been with foreign men who come in and compete for the premiums, but not to the same extent. You know that in 1876 there was a herd of cattle that started from Kentucky and stopped at several of the local fairs before they arrived at the Ohio State Fair, all fixed up for premiums, fattened, groomed, oiled, horns filed down and smoothed up in nice fix for show. They came here and took the premiums at our fair, went to the Centennial, to the Northern Ohio Fair, the Southern Ohio Fair, and all over the country; and when these cattle were put upon sale there were but very few that realized as little money as those seven head that were exhibited and took the premiums all over the country. There was only one that brought over the average, of twenty of the lower that were upon sale where there were one hundred and twenty odd head.
Now, we ought to encourage home breeders, and we ought to encourage honesty, and