Page images
PDF
EPUB

** Thus, too, the whole State, and eventually the whole Union, will become one Fast agricultural, esperimental farm; and while producing one crop for our present vealth and support, evolving, as it should do, year by year, scientific knowledge, at doce diffused through the annual reports over all classes of society, increasing the intelligence of the workmen, and the fertility and capacity of the soil, year by year and enhancing the products and wealth of the State, in a geometrical ratio, to the latest generations to come. This would be intelligently using the soil, and using the cootidest as it ought to be used, for the good of mankind-in body and in spiritin intelligence and in art-in wealth and in power, and not simply living on the wil, meh as the pigs do, and rooting a bare living out of it, without social co-openation, or plan, or forecast.

"Ttes we should evolve a real agricultural science-evolve wealth, and capacity, and power for all other needful sciences and arts whatever. I know of no sane man who diebts that such an organization of our Industrial Universities, all over the lead rould increase our wealth by millions, and increase our intellectual and social Kurity and power in a still greater proportion. The sun never shone on such a Wite, and each a power, as this would soon be, with such facilities of public struacement and improvement, put into full and vigorous operation. Set all the slots of eges in this great Republic to watching, and intelligently observing and tăioking, and there is no secret of nature or art we cannot find out; no disease of Dk3 or beast we cannot understand; no evil we cannot remedy; no obstacle we Cannci surmount; notbing that lies in the power of man to do or to understand, that cannot be understood and done."

It will be seen from this that large results were expected by the framers of the bill, from the official labors of the Corresponding Secretary; and it is to be hoped that, as the income of the Institation increases, and more means can be spared for the purpose, that this expectation may not be disappointed; as the office can be made, in the hands of the authorities of the University, a most efficient channel of commnnicating the results of scientific re. search to practical mea, and receiving in turn the isolated facts of Experience, whose combination and comparison furnish the best basis of agricultural and mechanical science.

Under the difficulties springing from recent organization, limited means and immature plans, but little could be done or reasonably expected from the efforts of the Corresponding Secretary for the first year after the organization of the University nnder its charter; and the little that has here been attempted and accomlished may be regarded rather as an indication of the kind of facts wanted, than as any important collection of them.

The large part of the report necessarily occupied by the record of the preliminary labors of the Board of Trustees, has excluded a good deal of matter of a statisticai and scientific character, col lected for insertion in this report, but now laid over for the next.

[ocr errors]

In this report, however, will be found a tolerably good presentation of the current practices of our Illinois farmers, and a documentary history compiled from the early writers of our State, on the industrial condition and progress of our people up to a period removed by not much more than one generation from the present time. These two pictures may be regarded as the panorama of the past, giving a general view of the Illinois farmer from the days of the old French settlements to the present time, and in some sort are a summing up of what has been done thus far by our farmers in getting hold of correct theories of agricultural science, and in putting them into practice.

Turning from this presentation of the past to the future, it may not be amiss to indicate what should be done, in part, by this department of the Industrial University in the future.

I. Under the head of Economical Science, a vast work remains to be done in which this department may render efficient service in collecting and collating facts and specimens.

1. The Soils and Subsoils of our State, in all their variety, should be collected and subjected to critical analyses and tests to determine their chemical and mechanical constitution, their peculiar merits or defects, the crops they can most profitably grow, and the manures they can receive with the greatest advantage. Col. lections siunilar to those already made by the Illinois Central Railway, and by Mr. Engelmann, late of our State Geological Survey, but much larger, and embracing samples from every county in the State, should, as soon as possible, be made and placed in the cabi net of the University. Our building and lime rocks, coals, clays, ect., should be also collected and tested; but it is presumed that for a considerable part of this work we may depend upon the labors of our Geological Survey.

2. The Meteorology of our State should have a careful study, with the hope of attaining to ultimate practical results. The meteorological data, of which we already have a considerable collection, should be carefully collected and compared, and arrangements made for additional and continued observations in all parts of the State. It is now believed that some of the most destructive vegetable diseases such as rust in wheat, rot in the potato, mildew and rot of the grape, and blight in the pear tree, are, in part at least, the result of climatological extremes. These conditions should be determined if possible. Numerous stations and

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

communication with the telegraphic wires would enable us to predict the approach of storms, and to cantion the farmer in time of harvest and baying, and the fruit grower at the time of frosts, of the impending danger. Thus the magnetic telegraph and the daily newspaper should be engaged in the immediate service of the American farmer.

3. The Botany of Minois, both as of interest in itself and as an indication of the character of soils and climates, should be carefully examined in the interest of Industrial science. The economical talne of our timber trees and the districts best suited to their growth, and to the growth of trees not native, could thus be measorabls determined.

4. The Zoology of our State—especially its Entomology and animals injurious and useful to the farmer and fruit grower--also clairs a thorough examination, although the State Entomologist will, in bis department, no doubt do all that need be done in that beball. But the habits of birds as insect and fruit eaters, for instance, need farther examination to determine the facts and the policy to be pursued by the grower of grapes and cherries.

Coder all these heads of Economical Science much can be done by merely gathering op facts and observations now isolated, and putting them into new relations, whilst many new facts can be obtained by calling the attention of persons of scientific tastes to the class of facts that we desire to know. There will remain more or less deficiences to be supplied by our own observations, at the University and elsewhere.

II. This brings up the subject of Experimental Stations or points in different parts of the State, where meteorological observations, chemical analyses, and experiments of more or less practical character, can be carried on simultaneously and in unison with similar experiments and observations at the Industrial University. The advantage of these Statione in Germany was noticed and commented upon by President Pugh, of the Pennsylvania Agricultural College, and latterly by Prof. Johnson, of Yale, in bis valuable hand-book entitled “How Crops Grow.” Prof. Johnson cites the efforts of Scotch and English agriculturists in this direction, adds: “It is, however, in Germany, that the most expensive and well organized efforts have been made by associations of agriculturists, to help their practices by developing theory. In 1851 the Agricultural Society of Leipsic (Leipziger Oeconomische

Vol. 11–2

Societaet) established an Agricultural Experiment Station on its farm at Maeckern, near that city. This example was soon imitated in other parts of Germany and the neighboring countries; and at the present writing, 1867, there are of similar Experiment Sta- * tions in operation—in Prussia, 10; in Saxony, 4; in Bavaria, 3; 12 in Austria, 3; in Brunswick, Hesse, Thuringia, Anhalt, Wirtemberg, Baden and Sweden, 1 each; making a total of 26, chiefly sustained by, and operating in, the interest of the agriculturists of 7 those countries. These Stations give constant employment to 60 chemists and vegetable physiologists, of whom a large number are occupied largely or exclusively with theoretical investigations; while the work of others is devoted to more practical matters, as testing the value of commercial fertilizers. Since 1859 a journal (Die Landwirthschaftlichen Versuchs Stationen—. Agricultural Experiment Stations) has been published £8 the organ of these establishments, and the nine volumes now completed, together with the numerous reports of the Stations themselves, bave largely contributed the facts that are made use of in the foliowing pages."

“Such a Station,” according to Dr. Pugli, “should embrace a farm for experiments in the growth of crops, a chemical laboratory for examining them, and stalls, stables, etc., adapted to feeding animals, with a view of estimating the value of different kinds of food for cattle.” Perhaps the least expensive method of establishing such Stations in thinois, is to seek out our most intelligent and ivquiring farmers, in different parts of the State, who in their own farms have already most of the means of experiment. Supply these men with meteorological instruments, and they can easily furnish meteorological reports. Supply them with seed and instructions as to the character of an experiment, and they can carry

it out in a practical way. The same would be true with experiments in feeding, etc. As practical chemists, they would not often be * competent; but, with this exception, our more intelligent farmers can be used as experimenters Such men should be paid for their services an amount suficient to insure the thorough performance of the duties wherewith they are charged, withont detriment to their private interests. If practicable, as it may be in some cases, to bring into jux‘aposition wiih such an experimental farmer, a college or high school, with its chemical apparatus and professor, and a meteorological observer, we could thus ensure a better quality of work in the division of labor. Probably such inay, 60ouer

or later, be the case at Chicago, Galesburg, Bloomington, Jacksonville, Alton, Irvington, and other points. These Stations, howerer, should at first go to the men and the communities who can appreciate their advantages; where enthusiasts will labor from their love of the subject, and where farmers will be willing to contribute something to support in their midst an attempt to throw the lights of science upon their arts of agriculture.

III. In accordance with the Congressional and Legislative acts the collection of State Industrial and Economical Statistics, is made a part of the duty of the Board of Trustees, and devolved upon the Corresponding Secretary. This can hardly be efficiently done without some grant of power under State law, or better, some Siate provision for a Statistical Bureau, from which the kind of statistics needed can be drawn. And in view of the strongly expressed opinions of our State Agricultural Society, and of our State Board of Equalization of Taxes, it may be hoped that the Dext Legislature will make provision for an annual collection of statistics, embracing the progress of Agriculture, Manufactures, Co nmerce, and other industrial pursuits, as well as vital and social statistics.

IV. The holding of Annual Conventions—either general, as of Farmers, or special, as of Fruit Growers, Wool Growers and Cattle Breeders—is an important aid in gathering facts and disseminating scientific knowledge, and may, perhaps, be regarded as within the province of ths Corresponding Secretary. The importance of these “ Farmers' Institutes," as they have been aptly termed, I have already insisted npon in a communication addressed to the Committee on Course of Study and Faculty of the University, and published in the Prairie Farmer of December 21st, 1567. I will ask leave to repeat my reasons in favor of such a course.

* 1. It breaks ground' at the best point. The people of this State look to this Institution for something of more practical value in its immediate application to every-day affairs, than other lostitutions have been in the habit of furnishing. A course of lectures and discussions of this kind will show that we are endeavoring to sapply that want, and gain their good will to educational schemes of less obvious, ibough not less real, utility.

** 2. Such a course will give a start in self education to a large class who cannot or will not attend the longer courses. The young, or the middle aged man who can spend a week or two in the discussion of topics relating to his every-day business, will go home with material for thought, and theories for better practice, that will last bim for years. It will have a tendency also to draw persons into the longer

« PreviousContinue »