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primary object they established Common Schools, which, like the stars of heaven, are studding our country's surface with precious gems, planting the root of prosperity, whose branches will spread till they cover the land. These schools, however, are chiefly elementary; they shed a general light, while greater lights are needed for the more perfect training of man's intellect. Academies, colleges, and universities are these greater lights, attracting all who love and honor knowledge ; they are the hallowed spirits watching our destinies, guiding us on the road to eternal life, driving far from us the ill omened birds of sadness which soar above our heads, and preventing a resting place for them or for their dark nestlings.
None will deny-no American will deny—that ignorance is degrading; all feel and admit that our public safety depends on the intelligence of the people; hence it is we have adopted systems for the wide diffusion of knowledge, made readily applicable to various positions and duties of life. All may see that, in proportion as this diffusion has pervaded the people, so have they prospered. So evident and satisfactory has been the result of our system, that we must view the mind of any man as insignificant which does not esteem education as the best means to preserve us from the deadly mischiefs of ignorance, and lead us in the way we should go. Look at England, as she stands high amid the nations of the earth, rightfully proud of many of the best scholars of the present day as well as the past; yet, with her masses of people untaught and uneducated, they are dependent upon foreign nations for sustenance,* and a powerful military array is too often needed to check the errors of ignorance. Look at Scotland, once degraded in ignorance; now educated, or possessing and offering the means of education to all her people. Where do we find a poor Scotsman? What nation is more proverbial for thrift? The contrast is strong, but true as regards the possession or absence • The Live Stock imported into England from the Continent, in 1851, consisted of: Oxen, Cows and Calves,
77,700 head. Sheep, ..
12,801 The importation of Wheat, in 1851, exceeded 30 millions of bushels, and was an increase on the previous year.
The import of Indian Corn amounted to 13 million of bushels. The import of Flour was 6,516,004 sacks, equal to over 44 millions of bushels, or ncar 8 millions of barrels.
of instruction or education. Stronger contrasts might be produced by naming continental nations of Europe; but where despots and tyrants reign, the people have no share in the blessings of knowledge; they have but one short lesson for life, quickly expressed in the words “Submission, Obedience "_blind and uncomplaining. How happy, how content ought we to be, that Tyrranny and corruption cannot inhabit the land where Freedom flourishes! We forbear comparison with our own country; each may do so for himself without self-reproach.
The legislators of this Empire State, who have occupied these halls, aware that their chief duty was to give strength and stability to our institutions, have, with commendable zeal and care, provided for the general instruction of the people, and by so doing have inculcated an imperishable sympathy-a mutual interest—a personal interest—in all the affairs of the State. Who can examine into the expenditure of more than ten millions of dollars, devoted by them to our educational system since its establishment, without a thrill of joy at the wide-spread benefits, to which each one of us has contributed in proportion to our means. What a noble, munificent offering to mind and its cultivation! yet how insignificant the offering, compared with the gigantic, immeasurable results of mind derived, by its means, to benevolence, virtue, and science! Look back once more ; compare the past and present. In 1638 a small, glimmering light was seen in the East (in the village of Cambridge ;) there was seen the first light of its kind in this Western hemisphere; the first printing press owed its existence and erection to Cambridge, in Massachusetts; the next sprang into life in the city of New-York, in 1693; and the first newspaper printed in America was in 1704. In 1800 we had 300 printing presses in our Union, printing and publishing a hundred books and pamphlets annually; in 1825, six hundred presses were similarly employed; which, in 1830, had increased in number to 1200 improved machines; and, at this day, may be estimated at 2800, sending forth five million impressions daily! sending forth every work in literature, science, and the arts as rapidly as authors can supply ideas. This power of the press produces reaction, and
stimulates the mind to greater efforts, exhibiting effects and results which almost defy expression.
Again : in 1793, nineteen colleges existed in the States; now we have one hundred and twenty, or more. In this State, we had two colleges until 1812; but four in 1825; at this time we have eleven colleges, with an aggregate endowment of more than $1,000,000. We have also 204 academies, enjoying a fixed capital of $1,700,000. The colleges give instruction to the average number of 852* literary students annually, while the academies instruct about 18,000 pupils annually. These facts are presented to you in detail, purposely, that we may the more distinctly understand the position which is presently to be offered.
Self-love may induce us very complacently to view these advantages, and to believe that we are a well instructed people. 'Tis true only by comparison, however, with other sections of the world-only by comparing nation with nation. Yet our selfesteem is checked when we reflect that all “which hath been is now, and that which is to be hath already been;" that from birth every human being travels the same road or bye-paths, seeking for information, distinction, and power. The only difference in our favor may be attributed chiefly to the art of printing, by which we have multiplied records or mementos of that which hath been, allowing to us a longer portion of our lives for the accumulation of new facts, and, by their use, to establish new principles leading to experiment. Who, then, can contemplate the three-fold system of education in this state, comprising the common or free schools, our academies, and our colleges, filled with the records of the past,-who can contemplate them without a high satisfaction as regards the general character of our people for virtue and knowledge ?
With these views and facts spread before you, judge of the condition of the farmer of New-York: what participation has he in either branch of our noble system, which does or can offer to him
• The number of children attending the common schools averages 800,000.
instruction necessary for and adapted to the perfect understanding of his vocation or profession ? None: no, not one exists in this State where a young man can be taught the theory and practice of Agriculture, fitting him to perform his duties in a perfect man. ner. 6 Four-fifths of our active population are employed in the cultivation of the soil, and the rapid expansion of our settlements over new territory, is daily adding to the number of those engaged in that vocation. Justice and sound policy, therefore, alike require that the Government should use all means authorized by the Constitution to promote the interests and welfare of this important class of our fellow-citizens. And yet it is a singular fact that, whilst the manufacturing and commercial interests have engaged the attention of Congress and Legislatures during a large portion of every session, and our statutes abound in provisions for their protection and encouragement, little has yet been done directly for the advancement of Agriculture. It is time that this reproach to our legislation should be removed; and I sincerely hope that the present Legislature will not close their labors without adopting efficient means to supply the omissions of those who have preceded them.”
An Agricultural College-charged with the duty of collecting and disseminating correct information as to the best mode of cuitivation, and of the most effectual means of preserving and restoring the fertility of the soil, and of procuring and distributing seeds and plants and other vegetable productions, with instructions in regard to the soil, climate and treatment best adapted to their growth—could not fail to be, in the language of WASHINGTON, in his last annual message to Congress, a “very cheap instrument, of immense national benefit.”
Divinity, Law, Medicine, and Literature have their special col·leges; surely Husbandry, being based on principles of science, should not be an outcast, neglected, abandoned to rise or fall as chance alone may direct. No, no; as cultivators, we need our special institution, to teach us why one system of tillage will succeed and another fail; the reasons for such difference; the princi
ples which cause that difference; and instruct us in the benefits of the one-the loss ever attendant upon the other. We need a College, where we can examine systems, thcoretically and practically, to detect erroneous views—to hold fast on sound practices—to distinguish true from false principles.
Here it may be pertinent to remark that many of us, too often, and without consideration, inveigh against theory in Agriculture; and some men inculcate or urge practice as alone sufficient, or as possessing superior claims to our attention. This is a mistaken view of the farmer's true position. It is erroneous as regards every class of men; it is a contracted view, which must prevent or delay all improvement wherever it is held and maintained. The hour is too short to present proofs of inimical tendencies of such views to our respective farms and occupations; and must be content with the remark that theory is the very starting point of improvement—the conception of some new principle or action. Practice is no more than a repetition of what has been done before, without reference to advance.
But though we often hear men claim to be altogether PRACTICAL, and seem to flout theory as a misty vapor, yet, where is the practical man so dull, so careless of his welfare, so reckless of his duty to his family and his country, as not to be a THEORIST? Permit me to take from this word an evil character, unjustly imposed; to give to it its fair standing among us, that it may not be a stumbling block to those who desire to advance in improvement. Suppose, then, an agriculturist who, for ten years, has closely followed the beaten track of his father; suppose such a man blessed in full measure with a growing family, whose wants necessarily demand a larger outlay as years bring on the child towards adolescence; his farm gives its accustomed yield from his accustomed practice, but not now in a ratio with the demands of his increasing family; prudence or necessity demands a change ; what change? It matters not; his mind is roused to do some act to increase his store, that act is by him an innovation; he has stepped beyond old practice; he becomes, in fact, a theorist, and thus attempts one step