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W. B. MCCLUNG then offered the following resolution:
Resolved, That the interests of the State Fair will be better served by locating the same permanently atthe city of Columbus.
MR. TENNEY moved to amend the resolution by striking out the word "Columbus," and inserting the word "Zanesville."
MR. HILL, of Hamilton county, moved to amend the amendment by inserting "Cincinnati" instead of "Zanesville."
MR. MCCLUNG: I would say this for my friend Major Millikin, that when he was discussing the College question, and I referred to his learning, as his being a graduate of Oxford, it was not for any buncombe.
MAJOR MILLIKIN: That is a good commencement.
MR. MCCLUNG: But when I had done with that congratulation, I didn't want to see him strike out in this way. You gentlemen well know that this last fall our State Fair, as well as the State fairs of other States, found themselves swamped by a week's wet weather, after much preparation and spending the substance of the people in preparation, and that destroyed the State Fair. I would like my friend Major Millikin to look back to the time when he was connected with the State Board of Agriculture, and he can remember a number of times when they had put four, five, six, seven, eight, ten, twelve thousand dollars into preparation, for what purpose? For a State Fair; and right on the heels of it came along a bad spell of weather, and destroyed your State Fair. We are following the wrong policy, and if we propose to do the same every year we shall likely bankrupt the State Fair of Ohio. Now, if there is some plan by which we can do something to avoid that, it seems to me to be very desirable. In certain States they are getting up expositions, so that in this way they need not jeopardize the expenditure of money they have made in preparation for it, nor the industries there on exhibition, nor the interest the people have taken in it, in one week when the weather may be bad and destroy the whole enterprise. Now, it seems to me that it is well worthy very careful consideration whether or not it is not a good thing to do. We cannot well afford to undergo so much expenditure as we do annually, with a great probability of its being destroyed, especially when we find other States having their choice fairs. You have to-day a debt on your shoulders; you have a State Fair that is to-day wading through trouble because the weather has destroyed your prospects; and the gentleman here says, "Let us go on upon the migratory system." Would he have us go on in this manner when this has almost destroyed our fair?
MAJOR MILLIKIN: How? How?
MR. MCCLUNG. Why, sir, it is exactly like before when we started up at Dayton. The floods came and flooded the town almost, and we had to adjourn it into so late a season that it would have been a most unwise thing to have done, ordinarily, but we were fortunate and happened to have good weather at that time. If we hadn't, there would have been another failure; and so when we were at Toledo the first time, was it not a fact that it was almost a failure on account of the rain? We had only got the State Fair into active operation, and the people had come there, the rain came on, and they all had to go home without seeing the exhibits at all. The people have sɔme rights in this matter, as well as others. The next year we were fortunate at Toledo, and had good weather and made a success of it. But suppose we had been overtaken with bad weather then, would it not have destroyed the State Fair? The gentlemen
says "migrate." How shall we migrate in the face of the elements, over which we have no control?
MAJOR MILLIKIN. Have you any protection from the elements so far as Columbus is concerned.
MR. MCCLUNG. No, sir, no more than any other place, but there are questions that come up intimately connected with the question of location, and one of them is the making of an exposition, and not crowding it into a week's time. This needs to be discussed in order to determine upon the permanent location, and until you do determine upon the permanent location, you are not in a position to discuss these matters. Now take it, if you please, and let it be permanently located in Columbus, and say that it shall be turned into a permanent exposition, and instead of one week you can have two or three weeks, and excursion parties will come in from different parts of the State, and you will make a good thing of it, and the State Board will not be likely to become bankrupt. Take the Cincinnati folks, now, in their exposition. They don't propose to cram themselves into a week; and if Cincinnati, with her interests, will not, is it not about time that the State Ohio, with her vast interests, with her capital, with her agricultural and industrial interests of every kind, should have foresight enough not to concentrate them into one or two days, when, if the weather be favorable, there is a perfect jam for them and for you and your committees, and if it prove unfavorable you must pull up stakes and throw away five or ten thousand dollars?
There was true policy in the migratory system at one time. It was well enough in the first place to do missionary work between the different parts of the State; but who wants the State of Ohio, now, to do work for missionary purposes? It is too late in the day for gentlemen to talk about taking the State Fair to the different portions of the State for such purposes. Are you going to promote the interests of stock in North-western Ohio by taking it there now? They bring better stock to our fairs, now, than any other part of the State. Need you take it to Springfield, Akron, Dayton, and other towns ? Not a bit of it. They go to any part of the State. Wherever the State Fair is held, their stock and manufactures go and are exhibited to the people of the State of Ohio. I tell you there has been to much of a disposition on the part of the different portions of the State that they must have the State Fair a part of the time any how. What difference does it make if you shall squander five, ten, fifteen, or twenty thousand dollars in so doing? Throw it way and start another migratory exposition the next year! That has been the disposition in regard to the fair in the past.
MAJOR MILLIKIN: It is said that circumstances alter cases, and I think we have had an exemplification of it in my friend McClung here to-day. For fifteen years of my life I had my friend McClung at my elbow fighting against the permanent location of the State Fair; but now that he is located in Columbus, he thinks there is no other place on God's earth where that fair can be held but at Columbus. Never until about four years ago did you go back upon us on this subject. he is fighting exclusively for the interests of Columbus. I have no special object i. view. I am in favor of doing the best we can for promoting the agricultural interest of the State, and I believe, as I said fifteen years ago, the only way is to make a permanent arrangement with Dayton, Columbus, Toledo, and Cleveland, for instance, and go around regularly. You will not incur the four or five thousand dollars expenses. These grounds are already fitted up, and you can make judicious, fair, reasonable arrangements with those cities. But what is the whole point here? "You see," he says, "that the elements are in the way, and you must have arrangements by which you can indefinitely protract this exposition." And he manifestly proposes an exposition similar to that they have got over in Indiana
polis, and which swamped them and put them in bankruptcy, just as would be the case here, I believe, were that plan adopted. Out in Indiana they have no other suitable place for holding their exposition except in Indianapolis, but we have plenty of places where we have equal advantages. I have no particular opposition to making Columbus the place for holding this fair, but I do think, after an agitation and discussion of this question for the last twenty-five years, when the people of the State of Ohio have been opposed to it, that it is about time that it should have a rest. And especially do I think that it does not look well for my friend McClung to be so much in favor of its location at Columbus since he has come here to reside as a citizen of the place, in view of his opposition to it in the past.
MR. MCCLUNG: I was not just prepared to see my friend Millikin jump from arguments to rough conclusions as rapidly as he did, but supposed he would give us his reasons for favoring the migratory system. The Butler county fair is a very excellent sort of a fair, and because it is, I would suppose that he would have it migrate between Middleton and Hamilton and Oxford, holding it one year in each place. The argument is just as sound in the case of county fairs as of the State Fair. If the migratory policy is the true one, why not carry it out with the county fairs? Now, the gentleman would refuse to stand to such a proposition. And another thing: in regard to my opposition to the location of the State Fair several years ago, I think my friend Major Millikin is a little short in his memory. I think he has mistaken some other good-looking man for
MAJOR MILLIKIN: No, sir; no, sir. I know whereof I speak.
MR. MCCLUNG: He is mistaken; but now that he mentions it, I do remember when, some years ago, there was a gentleman in the State Board of Agriculture, or in the annual convention, who made this proposition-perhaps he was a little premature—that the State Fair be located permanently at this point; and when it was located, that we would gather around it a fine garden, and have fine orchards, and have forest trees, and have them all together; and there was an illustration made at that time, which Major Millikin will remember. It was about the time the Northern Spy apple was introduced. The statement was made by Dr. Coan that he had planted out twenty acres of the Northern Spy, and he didn't know about what time they would come into bearing, and he would give anything in the world to know; and gave that as an argument why we should have the State Fair located, and have an orchard with all the different kinds of fruit, and then we could test the different varieties of each, and learn just how long it took each to come into bearing. I was along with the doctor at that time, and there was a man who opposed Major Millikin, and I think my friend Millikin mistook that man for me. I had hoped Mr. Millikin would take up this question and produce some good argument in relation to it, and not dismiss it so summarily. But it is just as sure as that we are here to-day, talking about this question, that the argument I make about the migratory operations of the State Fair from one point to another are correct. When the week set for holding the State Fair arrives there is not a single member of the Board but shakes in his boots every morning when a cloud comes up. Talk about the elements! It scared you, sir, and your associates, until you didn't know what you were about. These are matters of fact. You wore long visages at such times. I believe they ought to be stable, for two reasons-first, we ought not to jeopardize the amount of money that we put into the exhibition by the uncertainty as to the weather of the week, and, second, we have no right to jeopardize the people's interest in it by making them liable to be prevented from coming and seeing it. And another thing: I believe that when that is done, we will be better prepared to protect the humblest exhibiter in
the decision of the judges, and give the judges the amplest time for forming their judgment, and the State Fair will do better, three to one, than when running about on wheels. Supposing you start off again, this season, with the migrating system, and you plank down about five thousand dollars in the preparation, and just as you are ready to exhibit, along comes a dash of rain; where are you? But suppose, on the other hand, it was permanently located in the city of Columbus-and I don't want it located there unless its citizens come forward and put the grounds in shape and give you a proper bonus-then you will only have to apply yourselves to carrying it out in detail; and when that is done, the interests of the people in the exhibition can be subserved here as well as anywhere. I don't care anything for those gentlemen running the Tri-State Fair. It is for the good of the State Fair that the mechanical interests of the country and the agricultural products of the country be exhibited in the very best possible shape, in order that they may be exhibited and examined by intelligent men, and the results growing out of that be carried back to the farm and applied in the farming. It is not a show business at all.
PETER HITCHCOCK. Unfortunately there are two amendments to the proposition, and I therefore can not move that the State Fair be located, for the coming year, at the town in which I live, therefore I have no personal feeling in the question now pending, no personal interest to advocate. But it is a little interesting, Mr. President, to watch the course of this discussion, and notice that it has all occurred between two gentlemen formerly members of the Board of Agriculture. If it be true that circumstances alter cases, is it not also true that cases sometimes alter circumstances? I think that we have seen an exhibition of that thing here.
Now, here, a moment or two since, there was introduced to this Convention a proposttion-I don't say whether it would better be adopted or not-which presented to this Convention as grave a question, I dare say, as was ever presented for its consideration. How was it treated? It was not a single proposition, but a number of propositions embodied in one, and any one of which might be considered without the others, neither being dependent upon the other, at all, for its operation. Well, my friend over there, from Butler [Major Millikin], having strong lungs, and having had no opportunity to air those lungs this afternoon, (!) made summary work of it by a motion to lay on the table; and very speedily along came my friend, w ho does not live in Miami county now [Mr. McClung], but lives in Columbus, and offers another, very much modified, but very nearly the same as one of the others, and providing for the location of the Fair at Columbus, but not for the cultivation of orchards around about it, where they might have experiments in regard to agricultural and horticultural products. He, himself, was in favor of that question lying on the table.
Now, this is the aspect of the case which presents itself, as I understand it. I don't keep very close track of this thing, but I understand the five years to be up now that was experimented upon. What was the result of that experiment of its permanent location at Columbus? Both these members of the Board, I presume, will bear me witness that until about the time that the State Fair was located for five years at Columbus, not one of these other large fairs in the State that are now in operation existed. Two years since the Northern Ohio Fair, the most successful of any of these fairs, I believe, was abandoned for the time being. Why? The experiment was being tried of the State Fair at Columbus, and so they abandoned it. What was the result? The people of that part of the State were not satisfied with the Board. They wanted an exhibition nearer home, and last year they revived the Northern Ohio Fair, and held a fair which, if not pecuniarily a success, as an exhibition was a success, as much so as the State Fair was.
That instance furnishes a complete illustration of the effect of the permanent location of the State Fair at Columbus-I may not, perhaps, say a complete illustration, but furnishes a good illustration, in the one instance, at all events.
Now, it seems to me, Mr. President, that it is very well worth while considering carefully and calmly this matter. We had embraced in the first resolution offered three different propositions, not one of which is dependent upon the other. One is that the State Fair be permanently located in Columbus, upon the grounds of the Ohio State University. That is one proposition, and does not depend upon the others at all. What was the next? That the State University and the State Argicultural Society--although, I believe, it does not bear that name at all-be both controlled by one Board of Trustees. Now, that is not dependent upon the former proposition at all. What was the other proposition? It was that this Board, who should control both the fairs and the college, should be elected, as now, by the members of this Convention. These are independent propositions which might be passed upon together or separately, and, it seems to me, present the question in better form than the present resolution, which is, I believe, in favor of locating the Fair at Columbus, with two amendments pending, one to change it to Zanesville, and the second one to locate it in Cincinnati. Now, I think the first State Fair was holden in Cincinnati, and, if I am not mistaken, there was one holden there since.
That was the last.
MAJOR MILLIKIN. One since-in 1857. MR. HITCHCOCK. Twenty years since. Well, now, my friend over there [Major Millikin], living down there, don't like the first resolution, and moved that it lie on the table, and yet he represents one of the wealthiest agricultural counties of the State; no doubt about that, I presume.
MAJOR MILLIKIN. No, sir; no doubt of it at all.
MR. HITCHCOCK. Well, now, they desire to bring their products and compete in the Fair, without being compelled to go away to the center of the State. Well, I live away up in a county in the opposite part of the State.
MAJOR MILLIKIN. I am willing to divide.
MR. HITCHCOCK. I live up in that corner of the State, and represent one of the smallest counties in the State, which is represented by the smallest man in the State, and I am perfectly willing to go down to Cincinnati and try it there, and am more willing to go over to Zanesville, if it would accommodate that section, which my friend didn't treat very well when he made his speech, just now. The question is not really whether the Fair goes to Cincinnati this year, or goes to Zanesville this year, or stays in Columbus this year. The question really is as to the experience of the five years just past; shall the policy of holding the Fair permanently in one place be adopted? That is the real question to be decided at this time; and there are, we are aware, many arguments in favor of it and against it. I only bring up now just this one thing, that as a whole, so long as the fairs were holden in succession in different localities of the State, there was no failure on the part of the Board to pay all its expenses-that is, as a whole. There was one instance of failure at Toledo; but so long as they were thus holden, however there may have been failure here and there, there was no such failure as that the Board was compelled to call for an appropriation from the State Treasury to liquidate its debt, as has been done since this location of the State Fair.
I say what the experience of the Board was during that time. I don't say what it will be hereafter, because I don't pretend to know so much of the great hereafter as some do. But the experience was, that while these fairs were holden in succession, they were a success. The experience since its permanent location has been a failure, in two instances at least.