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creased 100 per cent within ten years past, and the value is still increasing; a result in part, if not principally of the recent opening of railroad communication with Boston, and other Atlantic cities. In the southern part of the county, which is more largely interested in the manufacture of iron, the great and unprecedented depression in the iron business; consequent upon the operation of the tariff of 1846, has had the effect to diminish the value of farms in the neighborhood, within the last two years, at least 10 per cent., and in some localities even more. The average value of farms throughout the county, however, may be set down as stationary, or slightly on the increase.
The Annual Exhibition of the society was held at Hudson, and was creditable to the society, and gives evidence of the increased interest which is being given to the subject of improved agricul ture in the county.
The committee on discretionary articles, which were of a high order of excellence in general, and in extent and variety equal to any preceding exhibition, remark, that very many articles, for the production of which, the mechanics of the county enjoy no mean fame, were not sent to our exhibition. No boots or shoes, no millinery, no ornamental signs, no cabinet ware, no cotton or woolen goods, the products of our manufactories, no domestic linens or woolens, no hosiery, none of the very many productions which exist in profusion in our stores and sales room were presented, to attest the skill of our artists, mechanics and household manufacturers.
We regret that there was only one specimen of seed potatoes, raised from the ball, only two specimens of seed wheat, and two of oats, when there ought to have been an hundred of each. These things ought not so to be. Pride, patriotism, and self-interest ought to induce our farmers, artizans, and mechanics to bring forth all their treasures, on the annual festival of our farmers, and it is
believed that no more profitable mode of advertising their wares can be adopted by mechanics and other producers of articles used by farmers, than their exhibition here.
Officers, 1852.- James McGiffert, Hudson, President. Norton S. Collins, Hillsdale; Peter F. Mesick, Ghent; Isaac P. Van Allen, Kinderhook; Charles Esselstyne, Livingston, Vice-Presidents. Christopher Garner, H. Van Alstyne, John Pierce, E. G. Studley, Elisha Bushnell, D. D. Barnes, Wm. Phelps, Dr. Prine, Seymour Foster, Wm. D. McGiffert, Henry Poucher, Elisha Sweet, Executive Committee. Frederick A. Gifford, Secretary. Henry C. Miller, Treasurer.
Amount received from members, .
The address delivered by Charles Esselstyne, Esq., was a very interesting one, and coutained much valuable instruction which we trust will be remembered by the farmers of Columbia, and put in practice. It is gratifying to learn, that Columbia, once famed for its wheat crops, which for years past have not been seen, now can say, " that this season our crop of wheat is as fine as any at the west, both as to quality and quantity per acre.' reason given for the discontinuance of this crop, “ that much of our lands have been cultivated through several generations without having received that amount of nutriment necessary to restore them to their original fertility, and are unsuited to this crop,” is undoubtedly true; but it is one of the encouraging signs of the times, that the farmers of Columbia have begun to bring back their exhausted lands to their former fertility, and the result is,“ wheat in quality and quantity per acre equal to the wheat lands of the west.” We trust this satisfactory commencement will increase in extent, until the soil of Columbia shall, throughout the entire county rank among the very first in the State for its farming and its products.
We give, from the address of Mr. Esselstyne, some remarks on The American Farmer:
The opinion has been too long prevalent among our people, that a son intended for the pursuit of farming, required a very limited education. If he could read his bible, write his name and cypher through the four ground rules of arithmetic, he was sufficiently learned for his future calling; and this large stock of learning must generally be acquired before the lad had passed into his teens. This opinion we conceive to be erroneous, and shall attempt to present an imperfect sketch of the kind of education that every farmer should possess.
We contend that the American farmer should be a good gologist. A knowledge of this science will enable him to determine when he examines his soil, of what it is composed, whether it contains silex, feldspar, quartz, greywack, granite, limestone, or gypsum; and which of his lots is best adapted to the raising of wheat, or rye, corn or oats, roots or grass. He should be a good chemist. A knowledge of this branch of science will enable him to select with judgment his manures from the animal, the vegetable and the mineral kingdoms. He should know in what state his compost or manure contains the most food for his plants, and what is the desired food for the different kinds of grain and grasses he wishes to cultivate; thus by combining a knowledge of chemistry with that of geology, he will be able to analyze the different kinds of soil in his farnı, and to know what crops he can grow to the greatest perfection. This knowledge, aided by an ordinary propitious season, will enable him to reap a rich and abundant harvest to compensate him for his labor and his toil.
The farmer should be a clever botanist, that he may be able to analyze Flora's kingdom of plants and flowers. No study is so pleasing to the lover of nature and of her works as the study of botany. A knowledge of botany will enable him to distinguish 'the poisonous from the harmless plants, and he will guard his flocks from the poisonous laurel whose rich and luxuriant foliage is so apt to tempt that inoffensive animal, the sheep, to crop its leaves while death is the sure result of such indulgence.
With a knowledge of geology, chemistry and botany the farmer becomes a man of science, and of sciences which are easily acquired, and of the greatest importance to him in his agricultural pursuits. With due deference to the opinion of others, I would ask, should not the branches of science, viz: geology, chemistry and botany be universally taught in all of our common schools ? The time necessary to acquire a general knowledge of each, sufficient for all practical purposes, is short, in comparison with more abstruse subjects. The apparatus necessary to illustrate and elucidate, may be very simple, and of small expense. Thus all our sons, destined to become farmers, would be properly educated for their profession.
But this is is not all we would have our farmers to learn preparatory to entering upon their calling or occupation. The farmer should also understand something of mechanics; with a knowledge of the use and power of the lever he can determine the weight or power necessary to raise a stone or other weighty substance he wishes removed—he will know where to place his fulcrum, and how long his hand spike or lever should be to raise the weight he desires removed. This knowledge will not only save time and labor, but often prevent us from overtaxing our muscular power beyond what it can sustain. Medical men often trace many a fatal injury to imprudence in lifting beyond our strength, which a knowledge of the lever would have prevented. I mention this branch of science because it is so often necessary to apply the crowbar and hand spike to remove huge stones, which not only impede the plow and the harrow, but take up land that should be covered with the golden grain.
The American farmer should have a thorough knowledge of the common rudiments of an English education. This will enable him at his leisure, to communicate his ideas and his experiments in language plain, chaste and correct; and he may, through some of the many agricultural journals, scatter far and wide the results of his experiments, for the benefit of others. A farmer thus educated would rank at the head of his profession; and among this
class of farmers you would behold nothing of that mode of farming commonly called the “skinning system,” which reduces the land to that state of poverty and sterility, that it no longer will pay the expense of cultivation. Should it then remain a matter of surprise to the occupants of such lands, with no knowledge of science which would enable them to reclaim them, removing to the rich and boundless prairies of the far west?
Let our sons then be properly educated for their profession as farmers, as we would educate those destined for the bar, the medical department, or the pulpit; and I venture to assert that they would rank in usefulness, respectability, intelligence and wealth, with those of the more learned professions.
I would refer to one case to show how the farmer educated for his profession can succeed where ignorance would starve. I refer to our own lamented Jesse Buel. He was a practical farmer and commenced farming with moderate means upon the barren sands west of the city of Albany. The results of his farming operations were truly astonishing to all. He soon converted, by mixing soils and applying the proper manures, those barren sands into one of the most productive farms in the county of Albany-he increased in wealth, in knowledge, and usefulness, and with a liberal hand he scattered far and wide through our land the lights of his experience, and the benefits of his scientific experiments in agriculture
Finally, I would say to the young men who are destined to become farmers,--set your aims high, strive to become master work. men in your profession, learn the nature of soils, the benefits, the proper application of manures, and become well qualified for your honorable profession. And though you may never become a Washington, a Clay, a Van Buren, a Webster or a Buel, yet you may become intelligent and prosperous farmers, an honor to your country and ornaments to society.