AGRICULTURAL COLLEGES.BY HENRY F. FRENCH, PRESIDENT OF THE MASSACHUSETTS AGRICULTURAL COLLEGE
Until the close of the past century we find no account of any school or college of agriculture. In 1799 Thaer, the celebrated German writer upon agriculture, founded at Celle, in Hanover, an agricultural school, and in 1806 the king of Prussia granted him a large tract of land, which he exchanged for another at Moglin, where, in 1807, he founded a practical school of agriculture, which, in 1810, was constituted the royal school of agriculture.
This school is especially interesting, not only because it was the earliest on record, but also because it furnishes an excellent model, in many respects, for similar institutions. It is thus described by an English traveller who visited it in 1820: It comprised a model farm of 1,200 acres, and a college for instruction. The education was partly theoretical and partly of a practical description. The former was provided with three professors, who lived upon the premises: one for mathematics, chemistry, and geology; one for the veterinary art, and the third for botany and the use of the various vegetable productions of the materra medica as well as for entomology. The practical instruction was communicated by an experienced agriculturist, who pointed out the method of applying the principles of the several sciences to the daily routine of husbandry. The course commenced in September. During the winter months the time of the pupil was occupied in the study of mathematics, and the six books of Euclid were mastered by him, whilst in the summer the knowledge thus obtained was applied to the measurement of land, timber, buildings, and other practical purposes. The first principles of chemistry were also unfolded. By means of a good but economical apparatus various experiments, either on a large or small scale were performed. For the larger ones, the brew-house and still-house, with their appendages, were found to be highly useful.
Much attention was directed to the analysis of the soils, and the different sorts met with, distinguished according to the relative proportion of their component parts, were arranged on the shelves with great order and regularity. There was an extensive botanic garden arranged according to the system of Linnzus, an*** herbarium containing a large collection of dried plants, a series of skeletons of different animals connected with husbandry, and models of agricultural implements—all open to the examination of students. The various implements used upon the farm.were all made by smiths, wheelwrights, &c., residing around about the institution, and the pupils were allowed access to the workshops, and encouraged to make themselves masters by minutely inspecting the implements and the niceties of their construction.
This school is set down in Dr. Hitch¢ock’s report in 1851 as still flourishing, with four professors, twenty students, and 2,480 acres of land.
In the same year, 1799, Fellenberg established upon his estate of Hofwyl, near Berne, Switzerland, his celebrated institution, where, in addition to a school for the poor, was also one for the sons of gentlemen of wealth who wished to study agricultural science and practice. This institution survived its founder about three years, and was discontinued about 1847. In the same year, 1799, the Prince Schwartzenberg founded a similar institution at Kruman, in Bohemia, on a domain of 300,000 acres. This school is still in successful operation, although we find no recent account of it. It is set down in Dr. Hitchcock’s list, with its immense territory, its number of professors and pupils being blank. It is described in the new American Cyclopedia as having large collections, comprising models of agricultural implements, insects, fruits, plants, minerals, and a_herbarium, with a botanic garden, conservatory, and astronomical observatory. The instruction is gratuitous, and the object of the institution is to render the sciences taught as practical as possible.
Next to these were established the institutions in Germany, to be mentioned in their place.
Both in Europe and this country there is a growing impression that our colleges and schools give too much of their time to the classics and to abstract knowledge, and too little to what is practical. There was good sense in the ancient philosopher who, when asked what is most proper for boys to learn, answered “that which they will want to practice when they are men.”
If all men could learn everything, or if the major part of our youth, even,
were training for a life of study and not of work; or, again, if we were not, in
general, compelled to give up study at twenty or twenty-five, and attend to
earning a living, we might well enough devote all our school and college days
to mere discipline of the mind. The following statement by one of the visiting
committee of Harvard University will help to illustrate our views:
"To be admitted into the freshman class, the candidate must pass an examination in Greek, Latin and mathematies, in which he must show himself to be well acquainted with all Virgil, Caesar, Cicero’s Select Orations, &c., with the Anabasis of Xenophon, three books of the Iliad, &c. But he is not required to be acquainted with any modern language, not even his own. He must be able to write Latin and Greek, but he need not be able to write English,” &c. Again: “For the two ancient languages, Greek and Latin, the University provides six instructors. For the four modern languages, French, German, Spanish, Italian, it provides three instructors. The compensation paid to those teachers is so small that one of them has been compelled to resign his situation during the last year, and another very valuable teacher of German is scarcely retained.” He says further, “Hitherto the study of modern languages in the University has been systematically discouraged by a lower scale of rank for good scholarship in this department than in the others. The best recitation in French and German only gave a mark of 6, while in Latin, Greek, and mathematics the highest mark was 8. Scholars, therefore, who studied for rank, and desired a part in commencement, could not afford to take modern languages as an elective in the senior year.”
We are happy to learn that French is hereafter to be required, and not taken as an elective in the freshman and part of the sophomore years, though German is still an elective.
Here we find that in a republic, where German and French are the only languages spoken by a large proportion of the inhabitants of some of the States—in a country where the citizens of each State enjoy equal rights of citizenship in every other State—where the whole people are restless, and are drawn by self-interest to try their fortunes far away from their native homes, and so are constantly finding occasion and almost necessity to use both French and German—we find in this republic the leading university completing the education of her students without requiring them to understand a word of either language. And the same, substantially, is true of our other colleges, and of the great universities of England.
We can hardly find among political men competent ministers to foreign courts, who can speak the court languages. Now, while, in the language of the act of Congress, we would not exclude classical studies, but would allow all who please to pursue them, we would insist that no young man should be pronounced educated at any college until he could speak and write readily the French and German languages.
The advocates for the classics claim that, in addition to these studies being best for the discipline of the intellect, taste, memory, and imagination, their students are enabled to study in the original Greek and Latin the works of the great master minds of antiquity. “Nor,” says one of these advocates, “can translations avail anything for this purpose. The essential spirit and etherial beauty of the original vanish entirely with the version.’ If, however, it be true, as the report of her Majesty’s commissioners upon the great schools and colleges of England, made to Parliament in 1864, seems to show, that graduates of the universities, after all their training, cannot read these originals, it would seem to be wise to resort to translations before, rather than after, some ten years’ study of the dead languages. Mr. Neate, M. P. for Oxford, gives the following ag his estimate of the grand result of education at Oxford: “1 do not hesitate to say that the great majority of those who take a degree in Oxford, after having spent ten or twelve years of their life in the all but exclusive study of Latin and Greek, are unable to construe, off-hand, the easiest passages in either language if they have never seen them before.” The commissioners themselves say, “Of the young men who go to the universities, a great number never acquire so much Latin and Greek as would enable them to read the best classical authors intelligently and with pleasure.”
A careful investigation would no doubt lead to the same conclusion in reference to the graduates of American colleges.
While we do not undervalue the classics, and should hope that every boy would, if possible, possess some knowledge at least of Latin, as being the basis of modern languages, and while we would give to abstract mathematics all the time that the student can spare from such knowledge as we include among “the necessaries of life,” we do believe that, for a large class of our people, a system of education should be framed which may combine more of the practical with the theoretical. Borrowing from the heathen mythology some reverence for that Titanic power with which all its deities and heroes are endowed, we would foster a more rigorous manhood, that shall not undervalue muscle and energy to perform the actual labors of life. he goddess of wisdom (as Pallas-Athene) was also the goddess of arts and of scientific war; and knowledge is always consistent with power to execute some practical work.
The establishment of scientific schools in connexion with most of our colleges, and the existence of such institutions as commercial colleges and institutes of technology in various States, indicate that there is a public sentiment demanding something different, at the present time, from the facilities for education given by our literary colleges. Even the old universities of Oxford and Cambridge, in England, have so far yielded to this popular sentiment that they have, within a few years past, established what are termed “middle class examinations” for the promotion of education outside of their regular classes. Examinations of youth of the middle classes are held at stated times, by committees, and certificates given them, which may secure.them situations to which their education may entitle them. The objects of the examinations are to encourage the middle classes in the pursuit of learning, and to guide them in their progress in their preparations for business in trade, manufactures, the arts, or agriculture. The foundation stones of republicanism are equality, progress, and the dignity of labor. We who are charged with the establishment of educational institutions should see to it that every clement that savors of caste, of aristocracy, of distinctions against labor as such, should be carefully excluded. Labor is degrading only as it is associated with ignorance and vice. The skilful surgeon, the hospital physician, the great captains by sea and land, perform labors disagreeable, disgusting, arduous to the extreme of human endurance, and yet we reverence and applaud the laborers for the skill, the intellect, the high and noble motives which actuate them. By combining with all labor, intellect and skill, or, in other words, by educating the man who performs the labor, we may abolish these distinctions, and place the farmer and mechanic on the same plane with the learned professions.
Congress by an act entitled “An act donating public lands to the several States and Territories which may provide colleges for the benefit of agriculture and the mechanic arts,” approved July 2, 1862, granted to each State, for such purposes, an amount of public land equal to thirty thousand acres for each senator and representative in Congress, to which the States are respectively entitled by the apportionment under the census of 1860.
The subject of agricultural schools and colleges has long attracted the attention both of our people and legislators, and many attempts, most of which have proved failures, have been made to establish such institutions. The disposition to expend money in large and expensive buildings, and to indulge the American propensity to own all the lands that join us, induced Congress, in the act referred to, to fix judicious restraints upon the States accepting its grant. To the careless observer, a college is, chiefly, a group of magnificent buildings, with pleasant surroundings of lawns and trees, where students are expected some how to gain an education, however starved and pinched may be the internal organization, including the corps of professors and teachers.
Seeing how many institutions have been ruined or contracted in their usefulness by extravagance in the external management of their affairs, and especially by indulgence in architectural display, Congress wisely provides “that all the expenses of management, superintendence, and taxes, from the date of the selection of said lands previous to their sales, and all expenses incurred in the management and disbursement of the moneys which may be received therefrom, shall be paid by the States to which they may belong, out of the treasury of said States,so that the entire proceeds of the sale of said lands shall be applied, without any diminution whatever, to the purposes hereinafter mentioned;” and that “no portion of said fund, nor the interest thereon, shall be applied directly or indirectly, under any pretence whatever, to the purchase, erection, preservation or repair of any building or buildings.”
To guard against loss of the fund by improvident investment, the act provides that all moneys derived from the lands granted shall be invested in stocks of the United States, or of the States, or some other safe stocks yielding not less than five per cent.; and that if any portion of the fund, or of the interest thereon, shall be lost or diminished, it shall be replaced by the State, so that the capital shall remain forever undiminished, except that a sum not exceeding ten per cent. upon the amount received by any State under the act may be applied to the purchase of lands for sites or experimental farms, whenever authorized by the legislature.
The general object and character of the colleges thus to be established is briefly stated in the fourth section of the act, which provides that the interest of the fund shall be inviolably appropriated by each State which may take and claim the benefit of the act,. *** “to the endowment, support, and maintenance of at least one college, where the leading object shall be without excluding other scientific and classical studies, and including military tactics, to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and the mechanic arts, in such manner as the legislatures of the States may respectively prescribe, in order to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes in the several pursuits and professions of life.”
Our object being to discuss the subject in such a way as to aid those who are engaged in organizing colleges under the grant of Congress, it is important to ascertain at the outset what limitations are prescribed by the act. The grant was made by Congress to all the States, and it was then, and still is, impossible to devise a defined plan to be adopted by all. The New England States, with their thoroughly organized system of common schools, require different colleges from the southern States, where no such system is known, or the new States of the west, where society has hardly begun to crystallize into towns or villages. Great latitude was therefore left to the several States in establishing their respective institutions under the act.
Certain marked features, however, remain prescribed by the act of Congress, which good faith, if not the power of the law, requires each State to incorporate into every institution benefited by its grant. “The leading object” of the college shall be, says the act, “ to teach such branches of learning as are related to agricultural and mechanic arts;” and the title of the act expresses the same general object—to “provide colleges for the benefit of agriculture and the mechanic arts.”
These fundamental provisions call for the establishment of institutions different from our ordinary colleges, which can in no fair sense be said to be maintained for the benefit of agriculture and the mechanic arts, or to teach especially such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and the mechanic arts. In a loose and general sense, all learning may be said to benefit agriculture and the mechanic arts, and to be related to them; but the colleges maintained by the grant of Congress are required to be distinctively and essentially of this character. It is therefore a fraud on the act for a State to transfer the bounty of Congress to existing literary institutions without requiring them, at least, to establish a regular course of study in such branches of learning as are distinctively related to agriculture and mechanic arts.
We find nothing in the act to limit the colleges established under it to the mere practical teachings of agriculture and mechanics; but, on the contrary, the idea, so far as developed, is of colleges of the grandest scope, where, “without excluding other scientific and classical studies,” the branches of learning related to agriculture and the mechanic arts are to be taught “in such manner as the legislatures of the States may respectively require, in order to prosecute the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes, in the several pursuits and professions of life.” Several points should be noted in the language of the act just quoted. ae Liberal ” as well as “ practical’? education is provided for, and education in the several pursuits and “professions” of life.
The grand idea which seems to underlie the whole act, and which, no doubt, was prominent in the minds of the framers of it, is the elevation of the laboring classes. This is clearly expressed in the language already cited, giving the grand object, which is “to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes,” &c. The “ industrial classes” are ordinarily those engaged in agriculture and the mechanic arts. To raise them to equality in education with the classes more favored by fortune, is the first care of a republican government. The rich may educate their own children, but the government should take care that the poor are not neglected. Already colleges exist in most of the States, where youth, a majority of whom are from the wealthier families, are educated for the professions, Colleges to teach the branches of learning relating to agriculture and the mechanic arts offer peculiar attractions to the industrial classes, and it is desirable to bear in mind, in their organization, the fact that these classes have not, usually, large means at their command, and that institutions for their benefit must furnish the means of education at moderate expense.
Again, it is clear that, although the primary object is the education of the industrial classes, it is not intended so to conduct their education as to confine them to any class, in their after life. The object is rather to offer to the industrial classes such facilities for education a8 they are most likely to use, to give them instruction in the branches relating to agriculture and mechanics, to offer them instruction in “scientific and classical studies,” and finally to prepare them, by a “liberal and practical education,” not only for farmers and mechanics, but for success “in the several pursuits and professions of life.”
Whether the college, to be established under the grant of Congress, shall be an institution independent, or whether it shall be, to greater or less extent, connected with existing colleges, is a question raised in every State where the subject has been discussed.
Assuming that a union with an existing institution is consistent with the act
of Congress, let us consider the expediency of such a union. The question is
attracting much attention in Europe, particularly in Germany, where, as in this
country, scholars, and especially officers of universities and colleges, generally
advocate such a connexion. The principal arguments in favor of a union, so
far as relates to this country, may be arranged under a few heads:
1. The great cost of buildings for lecture and recitation rooms, halls, libraries, laboratories, and many other accommodations, may, for the most part, be saved, . since in all our colleges there is accommodation for many more students than now attend.
2. Existing institutions, too, are already supplied with museums of natural history, geology, comparative anatomy, and the like, and with libraries for general reading and scientific works, all of which may be available to a larger number of students. It requires a long period of time as well as a large amount of money to form such collections, and without them an agricultural college could not be expected to maintain a position of dignity or usefulness.
3. Existing institutions have organized corps of professors, many of them (as of chemistry; physics, botany, physiology, mathematics, ethics) the same that would be necessary in the agricultural college, and those, with slight addition to their labors or numbers, could give instruction to the students in agriculture and mathematics.
4. The great leading minds of the country are already engaged and attached to existing institutions, and it will be found impossible to organize new colleges with competent professors.
5; The union of the highest education in the sciences, and in their application, is impracticable; and true education consists in the apprehension of principles and in general discipline, rather than in practical arts. which may be readily learned afterwards.
6. That knowledge is advanced by the devotion of thoroughly trained minds to special branches of science, whereby discoveries are made and actual additions to the sum of human knowledge are published to the world. The Smithsonian Institution at Washington and the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Cambridge, Massachusetts, are illustrations of this special mode of study, and all the higher universities and colleges, incidentally at least, to some extent, adopt the same method.
The reasons in favor of independent agricultural colleges, and the answers to
the foregoing arguments in favor of a connexion, may be thus stated:
1. Admitting the great value of libraries and museums already formed, as well as the economy of using buildings already built, it is fair to suggest that funds for the erection of new buildings, and for libraries and collections, can usually be raised by local subscriptions or by contributions, in aid of an agricultural college, from persons who would give no aid to an existing institution. AGRICULTURAL COLLEGES. 143 There is a deep interest among farmers and mechanics in the success of colleges adapted to their practical wants, which is of more value than all that the older colleges can offer.
2. It is no disrespect to,existing institutions to maintain that no one of them has within itself a corps of instructors competent to manage an agricultural college. Wedded to their own approved and time-honored theories, almost unanimously distrusting the possibility of a union of manual labor and study, accustomed to instruct mainly in theory, unfamiliar with practical agriculture, believing that Latin and Greek furnish the best discipline for the youthful mind, the regular professors in existing colleges are peculiarly unfit to develop or execute a new and peculiar plan of education. The agricultural college, thus controlled, would of necessity sink into a subordinate branch of the university, and fail of all its purposes. In an independent institution, under a government devoted to its peculiar objects, the professors of the other colleges might be procured to deliver courses of lectures in their several departments, and thus their learning may be made available to the new college. Nearly all college professors have periods of leisure which they devote to lectures abroad, and such interchange would be mutually beneficial.
3. The arguments in favor of a union, based upon the incompatibility of the study of abstract and applied science, and upon the idea that the advancement of knowledge rather than its diffusion is the chief object in view, are founded in a misapprehension of the intention of Congress as shown in the act.
The manifest object of the act is, as has been already shown, to furnish a more practical education for the industrial classes than other colleges afford; and if such education is incompatible with the theories of existing institutions; there can be no union between the two systems. Again, the new colleges are designed to educate boys, and not to advance the knowledge of learned professors. Their first object is to diffuse knowledge already existing, to teach their pupils what is already known to the best farmers, the best mechanics, and to the professors of the various sciences—boys between the ages of sixteen and twenty-one, incapable of receiving education beyond this. It is not expected of them that they should make discoveries in science, or enlarge the boundaries of human knowledge., Let us train them in body, in mind, in taste, in morals, developing each capacity harmoniously, to make them perfect men, robust and manly, with knowledge of men, of business, of practical affairs—observers and lovers of nature as well as students of books—and so prepare them for contact with the world “in the several pursuits and professions of life.”
4, The essence of republicanism is equality and freedom from caste. They who advocate union do not, in general, propose to annex farms to the existing colleges, and so do not intend to make manual labor a part of their system. “They thus avoid the division of their students into classes of scholars and laborers, by sacrificing the advantages which, in another place, we claim for manual labor. So far, they doubtless do well; for the harmonious operation of any system in which a part of the pupils should be required to perform farm labor, in the costume adapted to it, and another part should be exempt from labor, would be impossible; and the case would be even more manifestly hopeless were the attempt made to introduce a class of laboring boys into the ranks of an established institution, where the older classes had, by the natural course of their education, imbibed the common prejudice against manual labor.
The customs of students in old institutions seem fully as strong as the authority of the faculty. The attempts to abolish fugging in England, and hazing in America, in the universities, has taxed the utmost power of the authorities, with only partial success. This love of power and assumption of superiority seems to be one of the innate depravities of students, and the experiment of introducing a new class, to be known distinctly as agricultural or mechanical, even without the requirement of labor would not be found without its embarassment.
If, again, the agricultural students.are not distinguished from the rest, we have remaining only our old colleges, and, our whole plan of agricultural colleges is, destroyed.
The opinion of Dr. Hitchcock himself, president, of Amherst. College, was decidedly in favor of an independent institution, His reasons why mere agricultural professorships are insufficient, and in favor of independent, agricultural colleges, are briefly as follows: 1. Because lectures upon such subjects attract but few of the students of colleges, most of whom are looking forward to professional life; 2. Because the two classes of students who would thus be brought together would have too little sympathy to act in concert and as equals in the same university; 3. Because, without such concert and sympathy, one or other of the classes of students, would feel no pride in the institution, and without such esprit de corps it could not prosper; 4. Because the field is wide enough to require such establishments... The principles of agriculture are based upon a large part of the physical sciences. No man can understand the principles of farming who is not more or less acquainted with chemistry, anatomy, physiology, botany, mineralogy, geology, meteorology, and zoology; and then the practical part requires an extensive acquaintance with various branches of mathematics and natural philosophy, 5. Because it demands extensive collections of various kinds in order to elucidate the principles of husbandry; enough, indeed, to belong to any scientific institution, and too many to form a mere subordinate branch of some institution with a different object in view. 6. Because the number of instructors must be so large that they could not conveniently form an adjunct to some other institution.
Whether students in agricultural colleges shall be required to perform manual labor, is a question which everywhere excites discussion, and which deserves most careful consideration. Learned professors, and indeed nearly all who have been engaged in education in our academies and colleges conducted on the ordinary principles, doubt the success of combining labor with study.
Manual labor schools were a few years ago much advocated, The idea upon which they were based was, that students by laboring a part of their time might defray the expenses of their own education. It was supposed that four or six hours' labor daily, well applied on the farm or in the workshop, might not only pay the board but the tuition of the pupil, and all his incidental expenses. The difficulty, however, was not in the theory, but in its development. A single faithful industrious young man in a farmer’s family might, no doubt, by even four hours’ daily labor, pay for move than his board; and perhaps a practical farmer might take into his family a small class of such youths, and teach them practical agriculture, and receive fair compensation for their support and his assistance to them, by their labor for a third or half the time. The farmer would invest in the enterprise only the supplies tor his table and some additional house-room. His teachings would be given without loss of time from his business, and he would make no expenditures for apparatus, or for buildings for lecture and recitation rooms.
Suppose now that this same farmer undertakes to enlarge his plan of usefulness, and; instead of his small class, to educate two hundred boys in agriculture, not only practical but scientific; to teach them not only manual labor and commence farming by example, but to give them a regular course of education in chemistry, physics and engineering, natural history, comparative anatomy and physiology, including veterinary surgery; to instruct them in French and German, and, generally, to give them, in the language of the act of Congress, a “liberal and practical education in the several pursuits and professions of life.” How can he do it? He must erect large and expensive buildings, with halls and lecture-rooms, and museums and laboratories; he must employ professors learned in the several departments, who must be paid enough at least to support them; he must provide his students with rooms for lodgings and for study, and make provision for their board; he must expect only the average amount of intelligence, industry, and fidelity in his pupils; and he must provide for the profitable employment of his two hundred boys, in all seasons—summer and winter, rain and sunshine. If he finds his own time occupied on the farm, he must employ some discreet educated person to take general charge of his establishment, to organize classes, conduct correspondence, listen to the complaints and requests of the students—in short, to preside over the enterprise, which it may be perceived has grown from a farmer’s family into an agricultural college, with a president, professors, the usual expensive buildings, and our farmer him- self as farm superintendent. The main object now being to educate two hundred boys, and not merely to farm profitably for the farmer’s benefit, incidentally teaching a half dozen young men, the result of the scheme pecuniarily is entirely changed.
Thoughtful men might have foreseen what experiment proved, that manual labor schools as such—schools where the pupil’s labor was to pay all his expenses and those of the school—must fail. It is difficult enough for the average of men to succeed in life when they devote themselves to one object, and give to it all their energies; but when they undertake a grand project like education, and expect that an incidental adjunct like a system of half-time labor shall maintain it, their disappointment is sure.
When we consider, further, that the men who have undertaken to establish manual labor schools have not been usually of the class called practical, but rather of the enthusiastic and philanthropic order—educated rather in theory than otherwise, it would seem strange, indeed, if they should be able even to conduct fairly experiments involving farms and workshops, buying and selling, and all the complicated machinery of education and self-support combined.
The failure of manual labor schools furnishes no argument against manual labor in agricultural colleges, but tends to prove only that such labor cannot be expected to be very profitable as a matter of dollars and cents, however profitable it may be as a part of a system of education.
It should be distinctly understood by the public, by legislators, and by all connected with these institutions, that the principal object is the education of the pupil, and that this object is kept in view in his hours of labor as well as in his hours of study. Profit and education may be quite inconsistent in many instances. The young man will earn more for the institution if placed in the employment which he best understands, and kept there regularly through his course. His education will be best promoted, on the other hand, by allowing him to engage in those branches of labor of which he has no knowledge.
It is frequently said by advocates for manual labor that three or four hours’ labor a day ought to support the pupil. The same persons, if you ask them, will say that the pupils should be taught to perform with their own hands every process of farm labor. Let the farmer test this matter by applying the question to his own case. How much would it profit him, if he has a fine dairy stock of twenty cows, to have them milked for a fortnight by twenty boys who never had milked a cow before? How much richer would he be to set twenty boys, who never mowed a swath before, into grass fields to mow for him a week, and furnish them scythes? Ask similar questions as to all farm operations, fencing, cutting timber, planing, sawing, tending stock—as to gardening, pruning, grafting, budding, transplanting, and we shall see that unskilled labor of boys can be of little value; especially when they are employed in large numbers, so that they cannot be constantly superintended and watched as a farmer would do with his own family.
It is important to organize our colleges with the right idea upon this point. If legislators and trustees assume that student labor must be profitable and productive, and insist that it shall be made so, they compel their officers to sacrifice the prime object of their instructions, or to disappoint the expectations of the public. The writer visited the agricultural colleges of Pennsylvania and Michigan in June, 1865, and carefully investigated this subject at both institutions. He believes that the views already expressed will be fully. confirmed by the testimony of the officers of those colleges. In another place we shall have occasion more particularly to refer to the systems there in operation. Manual labor should be required of every student, because in no other way than by actual practice can a man learn the proper use of implements. The processes of husbandry can no more be learned by study, than one can learn by study how to ride, or skate, or swim. A four years’ course of lectures without practice would never teach a youth to mow or plough, orto plant trees, or graft or bud , them. No man can safely go into the market to buy or sell live stock, seeds, manures, or any product of the farm, without practical and daily familiarity with such kinds of property.
Again: no person without a thorough knowledge of the processes of husbandry is fit to direct labor. The relations between proprietor and laborer are very delicate in this country. The laborer is intelligent, and knows when he is fairly treated, and will soon learn whether his employer is entitled to respect. Many gentlemen purchase farms, and entirely fail in their hopes of enjoyment of rural life because they do not know what a fair day’s work is. They are unreasonable in their demands, and find fault with the poor fellow who has done a hard day’s work, and the laborer feels that his best efforts are unappreciated, and ceases from his honest endeavors.
To encourage men of wealth of all pursuits and professions to create and occupy tasteful homes in the country is a legitimate object of agricultural education, and this can only be done by teaching the proprietors themselves the practical details of the farm, or by educating a class who shall correspond to the land stewards of England, who are competent to take full charge, for a fair salary, of large estates.
Almost every merchant, shipmaster, and manufacturer looks anxiously forward to the time when, bidding adieu to the peculiar cares of his own occupation, he may retire with a competence, perhaps to his paternal acres in the interior, perhaps to some elegant suburban residence, and devote his declining years to the peaceful pursuits of agriculture. The long-expected day arrives, and “with sweet dreams of peace” the rural home is secured. Field is added to field, and costly barns and stables are erected. Extravagant prices are paid for Short-horns, and Jersey’s, and Devons, as caprice or the casual suggestion of friends may dictate; magnificent operations in draining and subsoiling, in planting orchards and vineyards, are commenced. Guano and phosphates, bone- dust and poudrette, are purchased and applied to hasten nature’s tardy operations. Heneries and duck ponds are constructed, and stocked with fowls of wonderful names and pedigree. The dairy, with its never-failing spring, with the thousand appliances recommended in modern treatises, is elaborately furnished. Oxen and horses, ploughs and harrows, carts, harnesses, hay-cutters, root-cutters, mowers and reapers, with an endless variety of small tools, all of the most costly description, are added to the working capital, and cheerfully paid for, with the certainty that by and by the harvests will bring a rich return, and the proprietor will rejoice in his successful experiment in scientific farming.
A very few years, however, are sufficient to reverse this pleasing picture. The “hired men” are unfaithful and indolent; the fancy cows break into the cornfields or young clover, and are ruined; the drains are obstructed by the frosts of the first winter; the apple and peach orchards and vines yield no fruit; the poultry cannot keep enough feathers to cover their nakedness, and much less can they afford any eggs; the potatoes rot; the horses fall lame unaccountably, and, to cap the climax of misery, the kitchen help goes suddenly off, and the “angel in the house” either takes refuge in a fit of illness or finds relief in tears, with an occasional reminder of “I told you so.” Scientific farming is pronounced a humbug, and our disappointed but worthy citizen suddenly sells out at a sacrifice, and returns to his city home “a sadder and a wiser man.” Such cases are constantly occurring, and they not only bring disappointment to the parties themselves, but discouragement to all who would fain believe that agriculture may be made, at the same time, a rational amusement and a safe and profitable business. These men fail because they know nothing of practical agriculture themselves, and because we have no class competent to take charge for them of their agricultural affairs. Manual labor should be required in agricultural colleges, because the cultivators of the soil are usually the owners of it, and because convenience, as well as the theory of our government, requires that the head and the hand shall be united in the same person; and a great proportion of students will have occasion to labor on their own farms. A course of study of several years without labor would unfit them for actual work, both physically and mentally. We deem it important, too, that labor at these colleges be compulsatory upon all. The idea has been suggested of leaving the matter optional with the student, and allowing those who work compensation. The objection to this is obvious. We desire, as a prominent object, to do away with caste, and especially with all distinctions founded upon an exemption from labor. Interest in the work of the farm can only be maintained by constant association of work and study, by constantly testing in the field the theories of the school-room. The idea that labor is degrading is already (though not designedly) fostered by setting apart, in our ordinary colleges, an educated class, who are not workers, and who from superior education occupy high positions. If we would dignify labor, we must combine and associate it with intellect and culture of the mind and taste, and in our agricultural colleges allow no divorce between what God has joined together—the mind and the body. In the agricultural colleges of Michigan and Pennsylvania three hours’ daily labor is required of each student. In the Michigan college, after detailing a sufficient number to take care of the stock and to attend to minor affairs, the students are divided into three equal classes, one of which works in the gardens, under the charge of the professor of botany and horticulture; while the other two work in the field, under the professor of physiology and practical agriculture. At the end of a certain term the class from the garden is put into the field, and one of the other classes is put into the gardens, new details being made for the care of stock.
At the agricultural college of Pennsylvania the time allotted to labor is the same. The students labor, however, under the farm superintendent, and not, as in Michigan, under the professors. It seems to us that this is the true system, It is objected that the professors cannot have time to spend with their pupils in the field; that they need their whole time in their studies and laboratories. This is the old reason urged in a new form against combining manual labor and study. The professors of practical. agriculture and horticulture, and of botany, surely should be able to find useful topics of instruction in the field, and in our battles for the dignity of labor we cannot afford to yield the point so far as to set apart an aristocracy of intellect in our own professors, by position and education above manual labor. We need the eye ot the master in the field. We should hardly expect young men to submit patiently to the direction and supervision of such a man as we are at present likely to employ as farm superintendent, and there are manifest advantages in having the labor of the oo directed by their professors—illustrating in the field the lessons of the lecture-room, and, with the students, conducting to definite results experiments in the many vexed questions of practical agriculture. The only objection to manual labor by students is in the supposed incompatibility of physical and mental labor. We admit that severe long-continued daily labor in the field is inconsistent with the close and absorbing pursuits of science and art, but we maintain that two or three hours of the light labor in which students of a college would participate may be healthful for body and mind.
Mr. Colman, in his reports upon the agriculture of Europe, in speaking of manual labor in such schools, says: “There can be no doubt that a man will perform more intellectual labor who devotes a portion,.and not a small portion, of every day to healthful physical exertion, than the man who, neglecting such exertion, abandons himself in his study exclusively to his books. I am quite aware that many occupations of a mechanical or a commercial nature may so occupy the mind as to unfit it for scientific pursuits; but agricultural. labors, quiet in their nature and carried on in the open air, when pursued with moderation, so far from fatiguing, refresh and invigorate the mind and prepare it for the more successful application to pursuits exclusively intellectual.”
Whether a farm is a necessary adjunct of an agricultural college, depends very much upon whether manual labor by the students is an essential element of their education, and whether the college is to be connected with another institution or be independent. If we adopt the theory that practice and study cannot profitably be pursued at the same time, we have no occasion for a farm. Connecticut has granted her land script fund to Yale College, which has established a “course in agriculture” in the Sheffield scientific school, which will be given at large in this paper.
It is proposed in this place to call attention to two or three points, having a bearing upon the topic under consideration.
The circular says: “The details of farming cannot be learned advantageously in an agricultural school. They are only to be acquired during a long apprenticeship on the farm. No young man is well prepared to attend an agricultural school who is not practically familiar with most of the ordinary operations of farming.”
To this it may be fairly objected, that it practically excludes from the course all but the sons of farmers, for “the comparatively high standard of admission” prescribed is such as would not be often attained by boys who should be sent from home into farmers’ families to learn practical agriculture. More than one- half of all the pupils who have thus far attended the agricultural college of Pennsylvania are other than farmers’ sons—the most of them from the cities and large towns. We apprehend that such will be the case in most of these colleges in the old States, and it is desirable that it should be so. The circulation from city to country, from merchandise and the professions to agriculture, and in the next generation back to the city, so in accordance with the spirit of our institutions, and healthful to the community, promotes harmony and equality, and checks all tendency to caste.
Each position in life seems hardest and least desirable to him who fills it. The city boy sees in agriculture only visions of bliss in the country such as he has enjoyed there in his holidays, while the farmer’s son regards the farm only as a place for hard work, and envies the position of the merchant and the lawyer. The parents sympathize with these views, and the sons as often as otherwise seek a different business from that of the fathers. It will not be contended that these colleges are designed exclusively for the benefit of the sons of farmers, although this is sometimes thoughtlessly assumed.
A college in this country which should not open its doors as readily to the sons of the poorest mechanic, the wealthiest merchant, the lawyer, the doctor, and the minister, as to the sons of the farmer, would occupy a position at variance with our common school system and our fundamental principles of government.
Whether the details of farming can be advantageously learned in an agricultural school depends upon the appointments of the school, the capacity of the teachers, and the apparatus provided. With an extensive farm, stocked and furnished with specimens of the various breeds of cattle, horses, sheep, and swine, and with such other animals as may be newly introduced, and with the best variety of farm implements—a farm where the ordinary as well as experimental processes of husbandry were conducted, would certainly furnish every facility for learning the details of farming. Whether, as at Yale, the agricultural warehouses and neighboring gardens and farms can, to some extent, supply the place of a farm, must depend much on location. In Michigan and Pennsylvania the agricultural colleges are too far away from any such collections or examples of good husbandry to be aided by them, and we suppose this may be the case in other States. As was said of the labor of students, so it may be said of the farm—it should be regarded as part of the apparatus of the college, and not as a source of profit. The farm that should be chiefly for experiment and educational farming is never pecuniarily profitable, however profitable it may be for education. "Experiments which fail, so far as money is concerned, may be as valuable as those which succeed. A beacon or a buoy is often as valuable to the mariner as a compass, and it is as important to the farmer to know what to avoid as what to pursue. A “model farm” is connected with most of the agricultural schools abroad, and the director is required to farm it to a profit; and this is for example to the surrounding farmers, to convince them, by actual observation, that good farming is profitable. This is more important in Ireland or France, where the occupants of land are less intelligent than with us, where each farmer knows pretty well the capacity of his own farm. The objections to it are, that by farming for profit merely we lay aside experiments and pursue the established course of the neighborhood, and we must employ the students in what they already best understand, instead of teaching them what they need learn. The idea of a model farm is such a farm as may serve for a model for surrounding farmers in its extent, its arrangement of buildings, its live stock, and its course and processes of husbandry. Inasmuch as in most of our States there is so great a variety of soil— wet and dry, clay, sand, and loam—it would be difficult to make any one farm a model for others. But an experimental farm should be of sufficient extent to embrace a variety of soils, and in its various products illustrate something for the benefit of all the farms of the State.
We have carefully examined the authorities upon the question of the expediency of having land connected with an agricultural college, and this question is closely connected, practically, as we have seen, with that of the independent organization of the college, or its connexion with a university.
Mr. Flint, in his report already cited, refers to the latter question, and says that volumes have been written upon it, and that in Germany it is still warmly discussed, the larger party taking ground in favor of a union, and he cites Liebig among the number.
This controversy is also referred to by Mr. Klippart, in his excellent address before the agricultural convention of Ohio, and he gives a conversation between himself and Baron Liebig, in which the baron says: "You want to teach agricultural science in the same manner that medical science is taught—that is, by series of lectures delivered by competent professors. You must not trouble yourself about teaching practical agriculture. The several lecturers on the several branches of agriculture can make excursions of one or two days every week, into different parts of the State, and can see and examine the operations on the best farms in the State, In this way they will learn what the present system and practice is with the best farmers; many improvements in the manual part of farming will thus suggest themselves to the students, which they can put into practice themselves. But you must teach the science of agriculture as purely, that is, with ‘as little reference to application, as the science of geometry or trigonometry is taught. * * * But you do want ‘experimental stations.’ Let the object of these experiments be to obtain the greatest crops at the least expense, without impairing the fertility of the soil. * * One centrally located insti- tution, to teach pure agricultural science, is as much ‘as you need (in Ohio) until your population has at least doubled; but if you can afford it, you should have an experimental station in each county. * *. You will not require a great amount of land—a few hundred acres is all-sufficient for all manner of experiments.”
The argument of Liebig is evidently not against having experimental farms, but against a system of mere model farms, with schools of mere practical agriculture, where science is not taught, but where the processes of culture are learned by rote. Further on he is quoted thus: «The agricultural department to a college, without an experimental station, is simply nonsense. * *. The object of an agricultural college is not simply to teach what is already known, but to teach a better system of farming. How will you do this? Certainly not by employing a practical farmer to manage’ a model farm for you; for he knows enly what is practical generally, and his superior ability will consist simply in his better management over other ordinary farmers. This will be teaching financiering and not agriculture. The only method by which you can possibly advance and develop agriculture, is by experiments; that is the only plan, for there is no branch of industry so completely built up by experiments as agriculture. * * So far as cattle-breeding is concerned, ad/ of that can be taught at the college proper. A few of each kind of cattle, horses, sheep, and swine will be sufficient. You must not calculate that the experimental farm will, in any sense, be a source of revenue to the finances of the institution, for while some experiments may show considerable net profit, others will show a corresponding loss.”
It seems quite unnecessary that Americans should enter into the controversies which have grown up in Europe. However it may be abroad, there is no obstacle to establishing a college in each of the larger States in America, which shall, in due time, combine all the advantages claimed for both high and low schools in Europe. We assume that, in this country, our college is to be established for the admission, not of ignorant laborers or illiterate boys, but of youth who have had the early advantages of good schools, and who are advanced enough in common branches to enter intelligently upon courses of scientific study.
Although literary colleges already exist, they are not generally so rich in libraries, museums, buildings and funds, nor do they so engross the talent and time of scientific teachers that they may not soon be rivalled by our new agricultural colleges. To these new colleges may be attached experimental farms, where science may be illustrated and tested by practice, and where that familiar acquaintance with soils, implements and processes, and with animals, their habits, laws of breeding and uses, and that manual dexterity with tools may be attained, which cannot otherwise be acquired by those not bred upon a farm.
Nearly every agricultural institution in Europe, high or low, has connected with it, in some way, an experimental farm. Hohenheim, the most celebrated agricultural school in the world, has nearly 800 acres in a farm and about 5,000 acres in forest. Its three independent schools are on the same estate and under the same roof, but the different classes cannot meet in the same room or field. The institute is for “young gentlemen,” and the school of practical farming for the sons of peasants. The latter work nearly all the time, while the former are not obliged to labor, though they are instructed (it is said) partly “by actual practice.”
In France and Ireland, as will be seen, farms are attached to all the schools of agriculture, and so it is with nearly all those in the Germanic states.
Dr. Hitchcock gives a list of 352 agricultural schools existing in Europe in 1850, and he remarks with very few exceptions, (I do not recollect any save the University of Edinburg,) a farm of at least a few acres of land is connected with. the school.” And it may be added, in conclusion, that the opinion of this eminent friend of agricultural education is, decidedly in favor, not only of independent colleges, but of having connected with them farms of at least 100 or 200 acres.
The grant of Congress being proportioned to the number of senators and representatives from the respective States, gives to the smaller States but a small fund for the maintenance of a college, and such States may prudently inquire whether some modification of a plan adapted to the larger States may not, in their own case, be expedient. The annual expense of maintaining an institution of high rank as a college in this country is probably not well understood. To enable those who are considering the matter of establishing colleges to count the cost more accurately, we give a table by the late lamented president of the agricultural college of Pennsylvania, Dr. Pugh, which, although imperfect; is of great interest.
|Colleges||No. of professors||No. of students||Amount paid professors and teachers||Amount of endowment||Annual expenses||No. of volumes in library|
|University, city of New York||36||488|
|New York Free Academy||25||916||42,000|
|Vassar Female College|
|University of Pennsylvania||43||642|
|Philadelphia High School||19||502||23,430|
|University of Michigan||27||286|
|University of Illinois||38|
|St. Louis University||26||350|
Georgetown College has around it 200 acres of ground in a high state of cultivation, this too, independently of a large vegetable and botanical garden, a greenhouse, and observatory containing many valuable astronomical instruments.
The grant to New Hampshire is but 150,000 acres, which, at the price at which the scrip has been sold during the last year in the market, (about eighty cents per acre,) would give but $120,000, the interest of which, at six per cent., would be $7,200, a sum entirely inadequate to pay a corps of professors, even if the farm, buildings, library, museums, apparatus and furniture were supplied by private subscription.
New Hampshire has in Dartmouth College, at Hanover, in a strictly rural district, an excellent literary college, with a scientific school. The amount of about $18,000 is now annually paid for expenses of all kinds in that institution, as appears in the above table. The idea has been suggested, and certainly deserves consideration, whether in that State, where a large majority of the people are engaged in agriculture, and where farmers’ sons must form the greater part of the students, a half-year system of study for agricultural students may not be expedient and best. A majority of the literary students of the college are usually away; engaged in teaching the district schools in winter, leaving the professors in comparative leisure.
By connecting the agricultural college with Dartmouth, a few professors in the requisite agricultural departments might be added, and agricultural pupils night, during the winter months, attend to lectures and recitations, and in summer return to their homes, or find employment wherever they could best practice the theories learned in winter. "Study,” (says an officer of Dartmouth; a letter now before-us discussing this plan,) “say, from November 1 to May 1; then send home the boys, each with half a dozen practical problems about soils, fertilizers, crops, &c., to be wrought out experimentally, and results noted and reported at the beginning of the next term. This would turn the whole State into an agricultural farm, and make all the farmers who had boys-here, or whose neighbors were thus favored, both teachers and pupils. In the warm months our leading professors could lecture in different parts of the State, thus diffusing knowledge and awakening interest.”
Verily, there is no new thing under the sun, and we find that the plan of half-year instruction is already in operation in Europe, although with what prospects of success we are unable to learn. From the report of Mr. Flint, already cited, we select the following account of a school upon this system.
The agricultural institute at Geisberg, near Wiesbaden, is the principal if not the only one of the kind in the Duchy of Nassau. This school differs from most others, in giving instruction only in winter, It is on the isolated and independent plan, and is designed for the instruction of practical farmers, without teaching practice on the place. Applicants must be sixteen years old, possess a good elementary education and a good character, and it is expected that they shall have spent one or more summers in work on the farm before they enter. "Each pupil is required to attend all the lectures; but they have a class of pupils who take only a partial course. The theoretical instruction is given in a regular course of two winters, the term beginning on the 15th of October of each year, and ending on the 31st of March. During the intervening summer the pupils are either at home, at work on the farm, or, if they desire it, the director of the institute procures them suitable places with skilful practical farmers.
The instruction is by lectures and written and verbal questions on the studies. After the return of the students from their summer’s work on the farm, they are required, within six weeks, to present a full written detail of operations, which, after suitable corrections, is returned to the writer. The institute possesses a library, which appeared to be tolerably well stocked, very good collections, and five lecture and study rooms. It was founded in 1835, and as may be inferred, from what has been said above, on the principle that it is of no use to try to teach theory and practice at the same school. There is a small farm connected with the school, but judging from the helter-skelter, or generally mixed up condition of everything about the premises, I should think they were quite right in not attempting to teach practice there. Old ploughs, drags, carts, harrows, and everything else lay around the building in no small confusion, The farm buildings are irregular and crowded, not large or imposing, but rather ordinary in every respect, though the building used by the students, and for the collections, was better. These collections consist of minerals, birds quadrupeds, seeds, grains and grasses, and a fine collection of wax fruits. "The instruction embraces in the first or winter term the German language, arithmetic, botany,” mineralogy, physics, general agriculture, cultivation of meadows, rural architecture, and veterinary science. In the second winter the boys take up zoology, physics, farm accounts, special agriculture, special zootechny, horticulture, technology, veterinary medicine, and composition. The director had left for Hamburg, so that I was obliged to find my way about without much assistance.”
These colleges are, of course, to be organized to suit the great variety of climate and soil, and the different habits and systems of education prevailing in an extensive and diversified country.
In Michigan and Pennsylvania colleges, which have extensive farms attached, it is found convenient to have a vacation of about three months in winter, that being a leisure season on the farm, and practical agriculture being deemed the most essential element of the system.
Where no farm is attached, but pupils are expected to have resided on a farm before admission, and to return and labor on the farm in summer, there seems to be no objection to reversing this order, and devoting the winter half year entirely to study, and the summer to practice. And, again, it may be found convenient to combine the two systems to greater or less extent; to have a small experimental farm attached to the college, and to devote the winter chiefly to study in the practical science, and allow pupils the choice to remain and devote themselves mainly to practical pursuits in summer upon the farm, or to go home or elsewhere, and earn by their labor the means of paying for their college education.
In the northern and eastern colleges many, perhaps the majority, of the students are in moderate circumstances, and are compelled to use strict economy to acquire education at all; many of them teach in winter, and some of them find labor to perform nights and mornings. We know one worthy young man who was a conductor of a street car between Cambridge and Boston certain hours of the day, during a year or more of his course in Harvard University, and lost no position with his class-mates by so doing; and many are glad of any employment to aid them to obtain a college degree.
This spirit is to be encouraged by every possible means, and if by the half- year system, or by furnishing compensated labor on the farm to students of small means, we can help them to acquire a good education, we shall do a substantial good to the country.
To make labor honorable, and to enable the industrial classes to gain by education the equality which is the birthright of Americans, is the special mission of those entrusted with the organization of agricultural colleges under the grant of Congress.
When we consider the differences between a republican and an aristocratic government, we should hardly expect to find in any European state a model for an agricultural college suited to our wants. We propose to organize colleges open to all classes alike, where the children of rich and poor, of laborers, mechanics, farmers, lawyers, doctors, merchants, and ministers, shall come up from our common schools, enter the same classes, labor side by side in the field, enjoy equal privileges, and know no distinctions on account of birth, or wealth, or rank in society, Such an institution could not exist in any aristocratic country. The very fundamental principle of their government is that of inequality or caste—that a few are born of higher rank, of better blood than the mass of the people, and that to these belong the powers of government, the wealth, the honors, the luxuries; while to the middle class belong trade and manufacture, the care of land as tenant farmers, with some restricted right of suffrage; and to the vastly more numerous third class of laborers is assigned hard work, ignorance and poverty, with no participation in the government, and no hope of rising above the humble position to which they were horn. These divisions into classes are by no means merely theoretical; indeed, they exist more distinctly, if possible, in fact than in theory.
Not only is society in nearly all countries in Europe divided into grades or classes, ranged in the social scale one above another; but strict laws, or customs having the force of law, generally prevail, which limit and confine all citizens and mechanics to their own particular trades. Before being allowed to pursue a trade the youth must serve a five or seven years’ apprenticeship; and having learned it, he is limited strictly to his labor in it, and. must starve if he entice find employment in his own special department, although another, in which his skill would enable him to work successfully, may offer abundant opportunity. With us, a man may be a farmer in summer, a shoemaker or blacksmith in winter, and change his trade as often as he pleases. A glance at our Congress and list of Presidents will show, indeed, that no employment, however humble, is too low for a stepping-stone for honest ambition, with persistent industry, to attain the loftiest positions of honor and power.
In England society may, so far as relates to agriculture, be divided into three classes: the landlord, who is usually a nobleman and owner of some thousands of acres of land, occupying himself but a small portion of it; the farmer, who is his tenant, hiring the land for a money rent; and the laborer, who is employed by the day or year, or by piece-work, and who performs all the actual hard work.
The nobleman, or land-owner, is a gentleman of fortune, living on his magnificent estate, a man of culture, of refined taste, of political position, born to his condition as a member of the aristocratic, governing class. The tenant farmer is usually much such a man as a substantial New England farmer. He has a good education for his business, which is to manage his farm of 500 or 1,000 acres in a regular system of rotation, with very little change; to buy the seeds, manure, cattle, sheep and implements for his farm, and sell his wheat, barley, wool and other products; keep regular and careful accounts, and pay his rent promptly. He lives well, labors but little with his own hands, oversees his laborers sharply, and pays them their small wages fairly, and is, on the whole, a tolerably comfortable, independent man. He manages to educate his children at private schools with others of his class, and his daughters are often teachers or governesses in the families of the nobility. The laborer is usually poor and uneducated. He lives in a mean cottage. His children generally hardly learn to read or write. His wages are from $2.25 to $3.50 a week, and on this amount he boards himself, and often goes two or three miles, and back, daily to his labor. His children are compelled to labor at a very early age. He has no hope of improving his condition, and the almshouse in the distance is the refuge of his old age.
The nobleman and the farmer never, in public or in private, associate on equal terms. They do not visit each other's families. They never sit at the same table. Their children do not attend the same schools. Between the farmer and laborer the chasm is still wider—almost, if not quite, as wide as between master and slave. Their children do not associate, and of course they have no schools where they are educated together; for, as has been said, the children of the laborer are without education.
We have taken England as an example, because England: is the foremost nation in Europe in her agriculture, and the nation to which we naturally look for examples. It will be seen at once that such a college as we demand can have no place in England. A college there must be for one class or another, for the classes cannot and do not mingle. Indeed, so long as the different classes are maintained, they require different education, and of course different schools, An English nobleman has no occasion to learn to plough and sow, and mow and reap, with his own hands; because he will never have occasion to perform or even direct such labor. He has always a steward or bailiff, who superintends the estate, and personally directs its improvements and cultivation. The poor laborer, as we have seen, has no occasion fora college of any kind. He has no education to admit him to its classes, no time to attend, no money to maintain him there.
The only agricultural college existing in England at present is that at Cirencester. Professor Hitchcock visited it in 1850, and in his excellent report gives some account of it: “The buildings are substantial, ample and even elegant, the principal front being 190 feet. They include a dining-hall, library, museum, lecture-room, theatre, laboratories, class-rooms, private studies, kitchen and servants’ rooms, and offices, with dormitories, one for each student. An elegant chapel has just been built; a forge, a carpenter’s and wheelwright’s shop are attached, as also a dairy and slaughter-house.” The farm consists of 700 acres, and there are accommodations for 200 students.
The following language of Professor Hitchcock is worthy of special notice in connexion with our idea that aristocratic countries cannot furnish models for this country: “Formerly the school was open for the sons of the smaller farmers, but could not find support on that plan, and it was found that if these attended. the wealthier classes would not send their sons. The price, accordingly, has been raised, and none but the sons of gentlemen, such as clergymen and wealthy laymen, now attend. None of the nobility send their children, although many give their money for its support.”
Mr. Flint, secretary of the Massachusetts board of agriculture, visited the agricultural college of Cirencester in 1863, and his account serves to confirm the impression derived from Professor Hitchcock’s report, that no scheme can be devised to adapt such an institution to the social and political condition of England. This institution, he says, does not appear to hav€ commended itself very strongly to the confidence and good will of the people, and hence it has proved: to be a partial, not to say a complete failure. It has now a debt of £30,000; or $150,000, which is a source of great embarrassment, in addition to the various other causes of ill success, which need not be stated in detail here. When I was in London, in 1862, all the professors resigned their positions, and most of them, believe, left, one or two only having been persuaded to hold on, to save the institution from utter ruin.”
At that time the institution was still in operation, with about sixty students, sons of the rich. Mr. Flint concludes his notice of this institution as follows: “The spirit of caste, so prevalent in England, has probably been the cause of the failure of this college to meet the expectations of the friends of agriculture, or to commend itself to any considerable portion of the people. I could not learn that it was popular with any class. They are waiting for something to ‘turn up,’ but in the mean time an enormous debt hangs like an incubus upon the college. Its future is therefore doubtful.”
We see, then, that England has not, and probably never can have, an agricultural college such as we seek to establish. Yet we know that England is the best cultivated country in the world, unless, on the authority of Liebig, we except China. Her average crop of wheat is estimated at twenty-eight bushels to the acre, while that of France is less than fourteen bushels. Yet France is a better country for wheat, both in soil and climate, than England. So said Arthur Young, the celebrated English agriculturist, in 1789, and so says Lavergne, the highest French authority, in 1855; and wheat is the great staple of both countries, and its cultivation is encouraged by both to the utmost.
How, without agricultural schools, does England so much excel in agriculture? and why may not other nations arrive at the same state of excellence by the same means?
These questions are pertinent and should be fairly met. In the first place, England is an old country, and her system of agriculture is limited (perhaps necessarily, from her cool, moist climate) to a few crops in a regular rotation, established by long experience. Her crops are wheat, turnips, grass, and barley, and her live stock sheep and cattle. Her system of husbandry is simple and well established, and therefore easily managed compared with our own, which is growing up over a continent of new land of the greatest diversity of soil; and great variety of products. The hot, dry, tropical summer of America, even of New England, admits of the culture of several important crops which cannot grow in England, of which Indian corn and tobacco are the chief.
Again—and this is essential—the soil of England is owned by but few persons, and it is leased in farms of from one hundred to one thousand acres to intelligent farmers. Although the laborers are degraded and ignorant, those who direct them are competent and well informed, and employ large capital in their business. Skill and capital are the secrets of British husbandry. A thousand- acre farm in Lincolnshire requires fifty thousand dollars capital to conduct it So The farmer spends nothing for land, but everything to cultivate it. There can be-no doubt that a thousand acres of arable land may be more profitably cultivated under the charge of one intelligent man, with steam engines and all other machinery adapted to his wants, who shall systematically drain, divide, and suitably crop in rotation the various fields—who shall buy his seed, stock, and manures at wholesale, and be able to hold his products for a fair price, than it would be if divided into a hundred ten-acre farms, each managed as a small owner must manage it.
The processes of English husbandry are more perfect than those of other nations. Their ploughing is better, because the same man holds the plough in one long furrow from the cradle to the grave, and knows how to do nothing else. This division of labor, which is possible only on large estates, tends to perfection in mere manual labor.
If the whole object of government were to produce the most food on a given area, perhaps the English system, which makes one man the head and many others the hands, is the best. We have high authority, however, for saying that man cannot “live by bread alone;” and there are higher objects of government than to produce corn, though that is essential. Hence, if an enjoyment of equal rights, under a republican government, makes our crops less per acre than under a monarchy, we should by no means be tempted to sell our birth-right. Let our ambition be to unite head and hand in the same labor; to give education and free scope to all to improve their condition; consign no millions to ignorance and hard work for the production of an abundance which they do not share, and let superior intelligence in the whole people compensate for the doubtful advantages, in aristocratic countries, derived from the concentration of capital and land in the hands of a few.
By way of compensation, perhaps, to Ireland for holding her as a province, and depriving her of her nationality, England has undertaken to provide for that unhappy country a system of education far more complete than has ever been established in England itself. Whether the result of education in Ireland will be an increase of Fenianism, or a more prevailing spirit of humility and acquiescence in its subordinate position, is a question which chiefly concerns Great Britain.
The commissioners of national education have established. in Ireland an excellent system, consisting of four classes of agricultural schools, under the name of model schools, ordinary schools, school-gardens, and work-house schools; the number of which existing at the close of the year 1857, when the writer visited Ireland, was, model, 38; ordinary, 48; school-gardens, 3; work-house, 76; making a total of 165. The number had not increased in 1859, and probably remains about the same.
The Albert National Agricultural Training Institution is situated at Glasnevin, about three miles from Dublin, in Ireland. It was established by the commissioners in 1838, and stands at the head of the agricultural schools of Ireland. It is designed to supply such instruction, both in the science and practice of agriculture, as will qualify young men for becoming farmers, land stewards, and teachers. The buildings, which are plain but substantial, comprise dormitories, dining-hall, lecture and school rooms for seventy-five resident pupils, with a museum, library, and laboratory, a comprehensive range of farm offices, and apartments for the superintendent, matron, land-steward, teachers, and servants.
At our visit in 1857 the library, museum, and apparatus for illustration in all branches of science were inferior to what we find in an ordinary high school in Massachusetts, and we learn that the same is practically true still. The literary instruction of the institution is all conducted by two teachers. Two classes of pupils attend: 1. Externs, or non-residents, board and lodge at their own expense, and are admitted on payment of a fee of two guineas. No regular time is set apart for the. training of this class. They are engaged in all the practical operations of the farm, and their education is chiefly in strictly practical agriculture. The other class, called Interns, consists of two divisions; the first, of those who intend to be farmers and. land stewards;. the second, of those who are qualifying themselves for teachers of agricultural schools. Both divisions of this class are boarded and lodged at the public expense. They must be of sound health, good character, and seventeen years old.
Since 1860 the pupils are admitted on a competitive examination. They must be able to read correctly, write a legible hand with facility, possess such knowledge of grammar as to be able to parse short and easy sentences in prose, be able in geography to give the general outlines of the map of the world, the boundaries, countries, and chief towns and rivers of Ireland. They must know enough of arithmetic to work easy questions in fractions and simple proportion, and understand the first book of Euclid, and enough of book-keeping to know the nature and use of a cash account, and other simple forms. The period of training is two years for the land stewards and farmers, and one year only for the teachers. The institution is organized as follows: 1, a superintendent, Dr. Kirkpatrick, who has general charge; 2, a matron; 3, am agriculturist, who resides on the farm, and carries out the practical working of it, under the superintendent; 4, a gardener, who has charge of the horticultural department; 5, one or two literary teachers. There are, in addition, non-resident lecturers, who lecture on—1, animal physiology and pathology, and the treatment of diseases of domestic animals; 2, botany and vegetable physiology in their relations to agriculture; 3, chemistry and geology; 4, agriculture; 5, horticulture. Each lecturer gives two courses of lectures in the year, which is divided into two sessions. The course of instruction by the literary teachers embraces English grammar and composition, arithmetic, book-keeping, and mathematics, including land surveying, levelling, and mapping. All the students are required to,take part in the performance of every kind of farm labor, including the feeding and: management of live stock. They are made practically acquainted with the most recent application of steam power to agriculture, and with the uses of the best farm implements.
The farm consists of about 180 statute acres, of which about ten are in gardens and pleasure grounds, the rest being under farm cultivation. About fifty acres are set apart for a model farm, which is under the highest cultivation, and pays a profit beyond the rent. The following five-course rotation is carried out on this farm: 1st year, turnips, mangel wurzel, and carrots; 2d, potatoes, winter beans, and cabbages; 3d and 4th, Italian rye-grass; 5th, oats.
The remainder of the estate is in what is called “the large farm,” of about 145 acres. On the large farm wheat and barley came into the rotations, which are arranged for three different courses of three, four, and five years. The order of succession of the crops in the three years’ course is, first year, green crops, manured; second year, grain, with Italian rye, grass, and clover; third year, grass. In the four years’ course, usually called the “ Norfolk shift,” the crops succeed in this order: first year, green crops, manured; second year, grain, with grass seed; third year, grass; fourth year, oats. The five years’ course differs from the last only in leaving the grass unbroken another year, the third and fourth years being grass. All the crops on this estate indicate that practical agriculture is thoroughly understood. Their average crops in 1853, ’54, and ’55, were, of wheat, 323 bushels to the acre; of barley, 394 bushels; of oats, 70 bushels; of potatoes, 373 bushels. Their average product of mangel wurzel has usually been thirty tons (of 2,240 pounds) to the acre.
So remarkable seemed to us the crop of mangels upon the ground, at the time of our visit, that we requested the superintendent to send us a statement of the mode of cultivating it on their farm. A few months after, we were surprised to receive, in America, a printed treatise on the subject, by a pupil of the Albert Institution, with a statement appended, that a prize had been offered for the best treatise by a pupil in the school; that several had been prepared and submitted to competent judges, and the prize awarded to the one which was sent. It was published and largely circulated by the Chemico-Agricultural Society of Ulster, and in this country it was published in the Transactions of The Massachusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture, and also in pamphlet form for distribution. The judges were in doubt which of four competitors was entitled to the prize; and this fact, with the acknowledged value of the essay, speaks highly for the character of the Albert Training Institution.
The model agricultural schools of Ireland have small farms attached, and are usually under the charge of a schoolmaster and an agriculturist, who give the pupils instruction to fit them for farmers, land stewards, or teachers, giving them constantly practical instruction in all the operations of the farm. One pupil at each school is supported by the commission; the others pay a small sum for tuition and for their board. When the course of study in these schools is completed, those who have distinguished themselves are allowed to go to the Albert Training Institution, there to complete their course free of expense. About half these schools are under the exclusive management of the commissioners; the rest under local patrons.
The ordinary agricultural schools are ordinary schools with land attached, where the pupils are taught practical agriculture.
The workhouse schools are for the instruction of paupers; and although no doubt valuable in their way, neither they nor the ordinaries are within the scope of the present paper.
By an act of the national assembly of France, in 1848, a system of agricultural schools was established throughout the kingdom. They were of three
classes, or grades, and are clearly described by Dr. Hitchcock, from whose valuable report is condensed the following account. They are, beginning with
the lowest, the Farm Schools, the Regional Schools, and the National Agronomic Institute.
1. Farm schools —These are schools where children of laborers are received without, charge, performing all the labor on the farm, and receiving, as a remuneration therefor, instruction in agriculture, essentially practical. They are established for two objects: first, to furnish good examples of tillage to the farmers of, the district; secondly, to form agriculturists capable of intelligent cultivation, either upon their own property or that of others, as farmers, tenants, or managers, or to become good assistants, or farm servants, leaders of manual labor, or overseers of cattle and horses. They are established in most of the eighty-six departments of France, near the centre, and where the soil is similar, to the general condition of the region. They have annexed to them gardens, nurseries, and collections of fruit trees. The buildings for the schools are constructed in a plain and substantial manner, conforming. in general, to the character of the buildings in the district. The director is chosen, of preference, from among the farmers or proprietors of the district whose farms are conducted in the best manner. The instruction is, as far as may be, practical, and given even in the field where the pupils labor, in the stables, and in the sheep-fold.
The officers and-their salaries are—a director, salary $442; farmer, $184; overseer of accounts, who teaches the mode of keeping farm accounts, considered in Europe a most important part of agricultural education, $184; a nursery gardener, $184;.a veterinary surgeon, $92; and some other leaders, according to locality, such as shepherds, silk-growers, irrigators, &c.
The school is open to young men from country families, sixteen years of age, who have received education in the primary school, and who have a good constitution. The numbers attending vary from twenty-four to thirty-two pupils. They all work, like laborers, for wages. Three in each school are confined to the gardens and nurseries, so as to become gardeners. The number should be sufficient to carry-on all the operations of the farm, which is an essential feature of this sort of school. They receive board and instruction gratuitously in return. The farms vary in extent from 200 to 2,000 acres. The first year they attend to simple manual labor; the second year they have charge of the animals; the third year they have the oversight of various operations. The hours appropriated to study are devoted—t, to the arrangement of the notes the pupils have taken during the instruction from the different leaders; 2, to reading a manual or book of elementary agriculture; 3, to lessons given by the overseer of accounts on the elements of arithmetic, book-keeping, surveying, &c. The time devoted to study is less in summer than winter.
Besides paying the board of the pupil, the government allows each one $14 a year for clothing. Prizes are awarded for good conduct, and a single prize of about $100 is awarded to the pupil most deserving at the end of the three years’ course. He who leaves the school, or is dismissed, loses all prizes.
The director works the farm at his own risk. He is obliged so to conduct it as to afford the best means of instruction to the pupils; to submit his books and accounts, at any time, to the examination of government; to send annually to the minister a full account of the state of the school, and to publish a full account, each year, of his operations, of his success, or his failure. If it appears that the.farm is not conducted so as to afford a net produce, comparatively equal with other farms of the region, the patronage of the government is withdrawn.
2. Regional schools—These have three objects: 1. To form enlightened
agriculturists, by teaching them the principles of agriculture. 2. To offer an
example or model of practical agriculture of a high and advancing order. 3,
To make experiments for improving the cultivation of the soil. The instruction in these schools is of a much higher grade than in the farm schools, and is adapted, not to prepare laborers on the farm so much as men to direct agricultural affairs.
The farm, containing from 750 to 2,000 acres, connected with the school, is expected to present an enlightened system of culture, and to adapt that culture to the wants and peculiarities of the district in which it is situated. The directory is not, as in the farm. schools, a farmer or proprietor, laboring at his own risk, but an agent employed by, the government, and accountable to it, and subject, to its direction.
The instruction is both theoretical and practical, embracing the following six professorships:
1, Of rural economy and legislation. 2. Of agriculture. 3. Of zootechny, or the economy of animals. 4. Of sylviculture (cultivation of forest trees) and botany 5. Of chemistry, physics, and geology applied to agriculture. 6. Of rural engineering, including irrigation, construction, and surveying.
Each school has its library, its philosuphical and chemical cabinet, adapted especially to agriculture, its museum of geology, zoology, botany, and agricultural technology.
The pupils have an opportunity of witnessing, on the farms connected with those schools, all the important agricultural operations; also, of seeing specimens of the best breeds of animals, and the mode of using and taking care of them; and they engage personally in all the important operations of husbandry. The state furnishes several scholarships to each school. Half of them are given to the most deserving of the pupils from the farm schools, placed at the regional schools, The other half are divided among the scholars who are the most distinguished, after six months, for their labor and conduct. Towards the close of the third year examinations are held, and to those who sustain themselves diplomas are given, and the way is opened for their admittance to the national institute.
In addition to the farm, there is attached to these schools a manufactory of agricultural implements, a silk establishment, a distillery, oil-mill, saw-mill, dairy, and-other departments.
In the report of Mr. Flint, in the Transactions of the Board of Agriculture of Massachusetts for 1863, may be found a very full account of one of these schools, which, the writer says, are now known by the name of imperial schools of agriculture, of which there were in France but three at that time; the one at Grignon, usually. having about seventy-five students, being the most flourishing, and being the one visited and described by him.
3. The National Agronomic Institute—This institution was located at Versailles by the act of 1848, and we find no later description of its organization than that given by Dr. Hitchcock. Three farms, a garden, and a forest, embracing about 3,452 acres, have been devoted to it. It presents itself in a three- fold aspect: first, as having a faculty of the agronomic sciences; secondly, as a superior normal school of agriculture; thirdly, as a higher institute for agricultural education, open to the administrators and proprietors who have turned their attention to agriculture. To meet the wants of this class especially, a large farm is connected with the school. Here will be performed, at the expense of the state, all the experiments necessary to the progress of agronomic science, and. to verify, practically, all the innovations and improvements proposed by others, before they are recommended to the public. This, says Dr. Hitchcock, is an object of great importance, and should enter into any plan for a school in the United States. This institute differs very little in its organization from the regional schools, except that it is on a more extended’ scale, and “the course of study is more elevated.GERMANY.
The German states furnish the oldest, and, no doubt, the best existing systems of agricultural education in Europe. We have already spoken of some of the most ancient of their schools, and are indebted to an excellent address by
Mr. Klippart, secretary of the Ohio board of agriculture, for the following account of late institutions:
“In 1811 a private forestry school was established at Tharandt, in Saxony, which, in 1816, was transferred to the state authorities, and in 1830 was converted into an agricultural college. In 1818 the great agricultural college of Europe was established at Hohenheim, in the neighborhood of Stuttgard, in the kingdom of Wurtemberg. Then, in 1835, an agricultural college was established at Eldena, in Pomerania, in Prussia. * * * Its importance once appreciated, it is somewhat remarkable how rapidly agricultural education has grown into favor with the Germanic tribes. There are at present no less than 144 agricultural stations, institutes, schools and colleges in the Germanic states; and all of them, with the exception of the three already named, were established since Liebig published his first work on agricultural chemistry, in 1844, or during the past twenty years. These are located as follows: In Prussia 61; Wurtemberg 6; Bavaria 12; Saxony 4; Grand Duchy of Baden 6; several duchies 28.”
Many of these are institutions for training laborers or teachers in special departments, as shepherds, foresters, gardeners; many of them specially to teach the culture of flax; some the care of meadows and irrigation; but the greater part are schools of practical agriculture, where the lower classes are educated to labor, and to fill the positions of land stewards or managers of estates for the higher classes.
As it is desirable to give in full a few examples of the best institutions at home and abroad, with the course of study and general scheme of organization, we will give, in the language of Mr. Klippart, with some omissions, an account of the institution at Hohenheim.
Hohenheim being not only the oldest institution of this kind now in existence, but the most famous one, I have deemed it proper to place it first on the list. It was established on the 26th of May, 1818, and had at that time an estate of two hundred and fifty acres of cleared lands, and was placed under the direction of Baron Nepomuk Schwerz, a very celebrated agronomist, and at that time in the 60th year of his age.
The institution was opened on the 20th of November, 1818, with eight students. The buildings were erected on the ruins of an old castle, by Duke Charles, in 1770-80, as a princely residence for himself and body-guard; and these structures were almost in ruins themselves, when King William determined to establish an agricultural college there. A portion of the royal stud and flock of sheep were placed under the direction of the institution in 1822. I have taken some pains to obtain these dates, in order to place upon record the fact, that only during the past fifty years have any steps been taken, whether in a right or wrong direction, to teach the science of agriculture in its various branches, so far as they were known, in the most populous, enlightened, and civilized portion of Europe.
The institution of Hohenheim consists of three separate schools, namely, that which may be termed the higher institution, the agricultural school, and the horticultural school, and to these may be added several special courses of study and instruction which, nevertheless, have an agricultural relation.
The higher institution was changed into an academy in 1847. Students were received in this academy who were not less than 18 years of age, that have made the requisite proficiency in preparatory studies, and who desire to obtain a knowledge of agriculture in all its branches and relations, so that at a future day they may manage their own estates, or undertake the management of large estates for others. Instruction is imparted by lectures and practical demonstrations, and the course embraces two years of time.
The agricultural school is independent of the academy, and was instituted for the purpose of creating a class of thoroughly practical stewards, or overseers of small estates, who will take the plough in their own hands. At present it is devoted more to teach young men, who own small estates, how to perform every necessary agricultural operation with their own hands. As their practical education is the main object, the greater portion of their time is spent in actual labor on the farm. They, however, receive instruction from professors during two hours each day in the lecture room. The number for any one term is limited to twenty-five, and they must be residents’ of Wurtemberg—no foreigners are, under any circumstances, admitted to this school. The course embraces three years; they must be at least sixteen years of age, and must have a preparatory education.
The third school was established in 1844, and is named the horticultural school. Six students are annually admitted for a year’s theoretico-practical course of instruction. The requisites to enter the school are: To be seventeen years of age, to have served a three years’ apprenticeship in gardening or in the vineyard, or, in lieu of that, to have gone through one course in the agricultural school. The object of this school is to complete both the theoretical and practical education of gardening and horticulture, which the students may have attained in the other schools.
In addition to these three schools, there is annually an educational course on fruit-growing, meadow culture and management, shepherding and school-teaching.
The fruit-growers’ course has been held annually since 1850, The students are young men of eighteen (and upwards) years of age, who intend to make fruit-growing their occupation. The course is embraced in four or five weeks’ study in the spring, and a few days in summer, to learn inoculation practically. Of late years, however, so many wish to attend this special course that it has been commenced about the middle of March and terminated at the end of May, thus giving an entire course to three successive classes. The meadow culture course of lectures was commenced in 1844, and suspended in 1852, but again restored in 1855. Itisa five weeks’ course in the spring time, and consists of lectures on practical drainage, surveying, &c., for those who wish to become engineers in agricultural operations, such as drainage, irrigation, &e. The number in attendance has averaged eight since the commencement. The shepherds’ course was established in 1855, and has had a regular annual class of ten or twelve. The requisites to enter this class are: To be twenty years of age, and to have served an apprenticeship of at least four years in the shepherd occupation. This course commences in February and continues four weeks.
The school-teachers’ course is somewhat similar to our normal school system, and the object of it is to introduce elementary agricultural knowledge in the common schools. The course is limited to three weeks, and is held during the autumn; the number of cadets is limited to twenty-five.
The instruction in these extraordinary courses is given either by professors of the institution or by experts in the respective specialties who are engaged by the directory to deliver the special lectures.From 1840 to 1846 a course of lectures was annually delivered on the cultivation and preparation of flax, but was discontinued when an institution was opened in Stuttgard "for the promotion of flax industry.” Since 1852 the various workshops, pattern and model depositories, and the various museums, are open to master mechanics, who are permitted to remain ten days in the institution, to observe, inquire, make notes, drawings, &c., of the models or other improvements there; seventy-seven master blacksmiths and fifty-eight master wagon-makers have given testimonials of the acquirements they made during their ten days’ sojourn. In addition to all these, there are special courses for government officers, or those who will succeed in hereditary offices. A special course has also been adopted for instruction in bee and silk-worm culture and management.
|The Chaussefield rotation||99 morgen|
|The Meierefield rotation||232 morgen|
|The Heidefield rotation||278 morgen|
|Free agriculture||19 morgen|
|Permanent pastures||50 morgen|
|Hop field||3 morgen|
|Forest wood nursery||9 morgen|
The live stock employed and kept upon this farm are: 10 farm horses; 90 cows and heifers; 28 work oxen, and 1,000 sheep The remaining 165 morgen are devoted to experiments, demonstrations, &c., such as a botanical garden, experimental plots, vegetable garden, vineyard, and a nursery for agricultural and horticultural purposes.
The experimental fields are composed of ninety-seven plots of ground, each containing one-fourth of a morgen. On these plots all manner of experiments are made—such as experiments in the different depths of ploughing; the effect of different manures; the effects of different systems of rotation of crops; the effects of a succession, for a series of years, of the same kind of crop, (as wheat, rape or potatoes, &c.;) the effects of excessive manuring, thick and thin seeding, drilling and broadcast sowing. Then, too, in these fields rare and valuable seeds are grown for distribution among the farmers. When I visited there these experimental fields were chiefly occupied with cereals—wheat, rye, barley and oats— although some were occupied with potatoes, rape, lupines, peas, beans, poppies, mangolds, swedes, sugar beets, carrots and sorgho.
The department for applied chemistry consists of a sugar-beet factory, brewery, distillery, starch factory, vinegar factory, a malting and fruit-drying establishment, roof and drain tile manufactory, &c.
The agricultural implement and machine manufactory was established, not only to supply the vicinity with the best implements and machines at the lowest possible rates, but as a school where young men might become practically finished workmen. It employs from thirty to forty workmen, of which, two or three are exclusively engaged in manufacturing models of agricultural machines and implements.
In the silk-worm department everything is taught that is known in this branch of industry, namely, how to rear and manage silk-worms; how to reel the cocoons, and prepare the silk for weaving or sewing.
The flax-preparing department is still continued, but is limited to water-retting the flax, breaking and scutching it during the winter; and its only object now is to introduce the Netherland system of preparing flax into Wurtemberg.
As a sort of addenda to this model farm, is an establishment for the dissemination of seeds to the farmers in the kingdom. There are annually distributed more than a thousand varieties. Then, too, there is an annual sale of bulls and bucks for the improvement of cattle and sheep. I have omitted to mention anything relative to the Forestry department. The forest consists of 6,290 morgens, embracing all the varieties of indigenous trees, shrubs and plants, and a plot of 25.morgens of exotic trees and shrubs.
PLAN OF TEACHING AND BRANCHES TAUGHT.The instruction in the academy is imparted partly by lectures, partly by demonstrations and excursions, and partly by actual practice. The following is the plan and course of lectures:
Encyclopedia of forest science.
Agricultural Encyclopedia for foresters
6. Forest taxation.
7. Wurtemberg forest laws.
8. Practical forest business
20. National economy.
21. Principles of law
22. Economical architecture.
23. Draughting plans.
The above named general subjects may be considered as though each subject named were the title of a good sized volume. The captions or titles of the lectures themselves occupy about twenty-five large pages of finely printed matter. For instance, the subject of general agriculture and plant culture is divided into ten sections, as follows: 1. Introduction; 2. Climate and meteorology; 3. The soil; 4. Agricultural implements and machines; 5. Preparation of the soil; 6. The increase of plants; 7. Manures; 8. Protection of the seed when sown; 9. Harvesting; 10. Preservation of agricultural products.
Each one of these sections is divided into specific subjects, and each of these specific subjects into lectures. As an illustration, the second section (on climate and meteorology) is divided into the following specific subjects, each one of which may be the theme of a lecture, namely: 1. The atmosphere—its composition, height, or pressure; 2. Moisture, dew, fog, clouds, rain, snow, hail; 3. Winds; 4. Electricity and lightning; 6. Heat, or warmth—its horizontal, perpendicular, and curved distributions; 7. Light, and its influence upon vegetation; 8. The heavens, stars, moon, and comets; 9. Local climate; climate as affected. by seas and continents; elevations above the level of the sea; influence of large streams, seas, sandy plains, prairies, forests, mountains, valleys; 10. Inherent warmth of the earth and terrestrial magnetism; 11. Distribution of the vegetable kingdom; 12. Effects of frost; 13, Duration of vegetation, and amount of heat during that period; 14, Acclimatization of plants.
Here there are fourteen lectures on.one special subject. Taking this as a specimen, there would be 140 lectures upon the subject of general agriculture and plant culture, before the subject would be considered exhausted, and, perhaps, before a lecture would be delivered upon special plant culture, or meadow culture. And so on with the others.
The institution has a library of 4,000 standard volumes, and an annual fund of 500 florins ($200) to increase the library. There are cabinets and museums of everything pertaining to the branches taught; a collection of soils, minerals, plants, woods, wools, fibres; a museum of anatomy and physiology; a vast collection of models of implements, machinery, &c. This last collection embraces 1,250 articles; among them are models of 110 ploughs. In the museum of natural history I saw stuffed specimens of 400 different birds, and 100 mammals, besides many reptiles and fishes. In the veterinary department is a very extensive collection of pathological specimens and preparations.
The aggregate number of students inscribed on the books of the academy, from its commencement until the termination of the winter course for 1861-’2, was 2,944; of these 2,322 entered for purely agricultural studies, and 622 for forestry. Thirteen professors are employed.
The State Agricultural College of Michigan was established by an act of the legislature of February 12, 1855, which authorized the president and executive committee of the State Agricultural Society to select, subject to the approval of the board of education, a site for an agricultural school within ten miles of Lansing. During the same year the farm of 676 acres, then covered with heavy forest, was selected, and a boarding-house 43 by 82 feet, three stories, with a basement; a college building 50 by 100 feet, of the same height; four houses for professors, all of brick, and a stable, were erected. On the 13th of May, 1857, the college went into operation, and has continued in operation to the present time.
As this is the oldest institution of the kind now in existence in this country, and possesses every apparent element of prosperity and usefulness, its progress must be watched with interest by all who are engaged in organizing agricultural colleges.
In a visit to this college, in the summer of 1865, we had the opportunity of examining the details of its operations, and we find in its present condition great encouragement for the friends of agricultural education. It seems that all institutions of this kind are ordained to a certain amount of trial and perplexity, before they attain a position of permanent prosperity, and the Michigan Agricultural College is by no means an exception. It has met and overcome the very obstacles with which the organization of such institutions meets in every other State.
The question of uniting the college with the State University was thoroughly discussed, and decided in the negative. The original grant for building purposes, of $56,000, and an additional appropriation of $40,000, were expended. and a debt of more than $13,000 incurred in the first two years. The farm was new and uncleared, and the original idea being that no charge should be made for tuition, and that the labor of the students should contribute largely to their support, only disappointment could result.
The board of education decided in December, 1859, that the course of education should be more purely professional, and cut down the course from four
years to two, and recommended that a board of agriculture be created which
should have charge of the college. The legislature in 1860 created a board of
agriculture, to which the college was intrusted, and by the same act provided
for a four years’ course. We give the following extracts from the act reorganizing
"The design of the institution is to afford thorough instruction in agriculture and the natural sciences connected therewith; to effect that object most completely, the institution shall combine physical with intellectual education, and shall be a high seminary of learning, in which the graduate of the common school can commence, pursue, and finish a course of study, terminating in thorough theoretic and practical instruction in those sciences and arts which bear directly upon agriculture and kindred industrial pursuits.
"The course of instruction shall embrace the English language and literature, mathematics, civil engineering, agricultural chemistry, animal and vegetable anatomy and physiology, the veterinary art, entomology, geology, and such other natural sciences as may be prescribed, technology, political, rural, and household economy, horticulture, moral philosophy, history, book-keeping, and especially the application of science and the mechanic arts to practical agriculture in the field.”
The act requires students to be at least fifteen years of age, and that “three hours of each day shall be devoted by every student of the college to labor upon the farm, and no person shall be exempt except for physical disability. By a vote of the board of agriculture, at such seasons and such exigencies as demand it, the hours of labor may be increased to four hours, or diminished to two and one-half hours.”
The act further provides that the president and professors be appointed by the board of agriculture, and that the president, professors, farm manager and tutors constitute the faculty; and the secretary of the board of agriculture is made the secretary of the faculty. The faculty are required to make an annual report to the board of agriculture, and members of the faculty may make a minority report; “but no communication at any other time from members of the faculty shall be entertained by the board, unless they have been submitted to a meeting of the faculty and sanctioned by a majority.”
The general objects of the institution are briefly stated to be—1. To impart a knowledge of science and its application to the arts of life. 2. To afford its students the privilege of daily manual labor, 3. To prosecute experiments for the promotion of agriculture. 4. Instruction in military tactics, as required by the act of Congress. 5. To afford the means of a general education to the farming class.
The general course of instruction for the preparatory class is in arithmetic, descriptive geography, English grammar, algebra, natural philosophy, and composition. In the college course for freshmen, first half year, algebra, history, geometry; second half year, trigonometry, surveying, practical agriculture, principles of stock-breeding, geology. Sophomore class, first half year, English literature, structural botany, vegetable physiology, elementary chemistry; second half year, entomology, landscape gardening, analytical chemistry, systematic botany, horticulture. Junior class, first half year, physics, agricultural chemistry, inductive logic; second half year, physics, rhetoric, animal physiology. Senior class, first half year, zoology, practical agriculture, mental philosophy, astronomy; second half year, civil engineering, moral philosophy, political economy. Exercises in declamation and composition are also required.
The system of common school education in Michigan is, perhaps, as good as that of any western State, and perhaps not inferior to that of the New England States. In tie new and sparsely settled States, however, whatever the system, it is impossible to impart its advantages to all, as may be done where the population is dense. Accordingly great difficulty has been found in the want of qualification by applicants for admission to the agricultural college, and the preparatory class has been necessary to fit pupils for the proper college course. This is felt by the faculty to be a misfortune, and they will gladly welcome the day when the preparatory class may be dispensed with, and the standard of admission to the college course fixed as high as that for admission to our best universities. It is best, no doubt, to educate all classes in our common schools together to as high a standard as possible, and not to separate them into special schools, until they require instruction of a peculiar character to fit them for their intended pursuits.
The buildings at this college are neither elegant nor commodious. They are crowded by their present number of eighty-eight students, and we are assured that if there were sufficient accommodation the number would at once be nearly doubled. With all these disadvantages, the institution presents every appearance of earnest, healthy vitality. The farm and gardens are models of neatness; the fields are fruitful; the out-buildings, though not expensive, are well arranged; the tools well selected and kept in order, and the live stock in such condition as to give pleasure to an amateur. It is a public benefit to collect and preserve for public inspection so good a variety of animals of pure blood as are shown here. The college already possesses Galloway, Ayrshire, Devon, and Shorthorn cattle of the choicest pedigrees; Essex and Suffolk swine; Southdown, Cotswold, Spanish merino, and Black-faced Heath sheep; and it is intended to extend this department as rapidly as possible, until it includes cattle, sheep, swine, and other domestic animals of all the improved breeds.
A botanical garden, fruit garden, and orchards of apples and pears are already established, and a propagating house and conservatory are to be built immediately. An extensive herbarium has recently been added, and the museums contain valuable collections in the various departments of natural history. The laboratory is sufficient for present purposes, and so is the apparatus for illustration in physics. The library contains about 1,200 volumes, and a reading-room is open daily to students, where most of the agricultural publications of the day are found. There seems to exist a kind and friendly relation between teachers and pupils at this institution, quite different from that state of hostility which seems the normal condition at ordinary colleges. It is due mainly, no doubt, to the good judgment of the officers, and their kind, familiar intercourse with the students, and, perhaps, something may be claimed for their peculiar system of conducting the labor of thestudents under the charge of the professors, who thus are enabled to, maintain a kindly sympathy with the young men, both in the study and the field.
Regret was expressed that the isolated position of the college compelled the officers to provide board and dormitories for the pupils, and deprived them of the advantages of female society to so great an extent during their college course. This is one of the evils of college education as usually conducted. The blessed influences of home, and the softening, civilizing effect of association with the pure and gentle of the other sex, are lost just at the period when. the passionate, inconsiderate nature of youth most needs such restraints, and society, as expressed by the poet—
As the only example which we shall be able to present of the special rules for the conduct of such an institution in its details of farm operations, we give nearly entire the system here adopted:
Rule 1. At least one week before the commencement of the term in each
year the superintendent of the farm shall present to the president of the college,
in writing, a plan of the system of cultivation and management of the farm pro-
posed for the season, giving in detail the contemplated operations for each ficld
and division, This plan shall embrace—
1. Proposed permanent improvements,
2. The crops to which each field is to be devoted, together with the variety and quantity of seed proposed.
3. The mode of culture, and the kind and quantity of fertilizers proposed for each crop; and
4. A detailed and accurate description of any new seed or mode of culture, if any such is proposed, together with a full account of the advantages likely to be derived therefrom.
Rule 2. The superintendent of the horticultural department shall, in like manner, present a plan of operations for his department, giving the details as minutely as possible for each section and subdivision of the gardens and grounds.
Rule 3. The faculty shall carefully consider the plans presented by the superintendents, and discuss as fully as possible the principles involved in the proposed methods, and offer such suggestions and amendments as may seem desirable for perfecting and maturing the same. The plans as perfected and adopted by the faculty shall be carried out in practice on the farm and in the gardens, unless modified by the board of agriculture when referred to them.
Rule 4. The plans for condueting the farm and gardens, as soon as determined, shall be recorded in full by the secretary in books kept in his office for that purpose.
Rule 5. The professor of agricultural chemistry shall present to tne faculty a detailed statement of a proposed system for the management, manufacture, and proper preservation of manures, having reference to the best and most economical disposition of the same, and the adaptation of special manures for particular crops.
Rule 6. The faculty, after a full examination and discussion of the proposed system for the management of manures, shall determine the plan to be pursued, and make suitable provisions for putting into practical operation the plan adopted.
Rule 7. The superintendents of the farm and gardens shall keep a journal of
all the work done in each field of their respective departments, and of all transactions connected with the same This journal shall be transcribed by the secretary once a month into books kept in his office for that purpose. The journal shall embrace—
1. A general statement of the weather at the time of preparing the soil, of putting in the crop, of cultivating the same, during its growth and at the time of harvesting.
2. A detailed account of the crops raised in each field and in the garden, in- eluding a statement of the condition of the soil before cultivation, and during its preparation for the crop; the method of seeding, with variety and quantity of seed used, and its preparation for sowing or planting.
3. Details of the growth of the crops and any circumstances that may have influenced the development or maturing of it.
4. The time of harvesting the crop, the condition in which it is secured, the disposition made of the same, as, where stored, whether sold or not, with the yield and general results.
5. Purpose for which the crop has been cultivated—whether for profit, or to test some new variety of plant or method of cultivation.
Rule 8. A committee shall be appointed by the faculty at the commencement of the term in each year, to prepare and report a series of experiments for the next season, which report shall be presented to the faculty at its first meeting in October following.
Rule 9. The faculty shall decide upon the experiments to be made, and the manner of conducting the same, and shall appoint some one of their number to superintend such experiments. Each officer having in charge any experiment shall keep a full record of his proceedings in conducting the same.
Rule 10. Students, who have attained a suitable proficiency in their studies, may be appointed to assist in conducting experiments, and they shall, for that purpose, be under the direction of the officer having charge of the same.
Rule 11. The superintendent of the farm shall present to the faculty, at their
first meeting in February, a report on the stock belonging to the college, giving
a detailed account of its condition, mode of management, increase and results of
the system of breeding, together with such suggestions as he may think fit to
make. This report shall embrace—
1. The number and kind of horses, their management and condition.
2. The number and condition of each of the different breeds of neat cattle; the number of grade animals, and the breeds from which they have been derived and proposed disposition of the same.
3. The number and condition of each distinct breed of sheep, and the grades of the same, with a statement of the amount and quality of wool produced, their management, increase, &c.
Rule 12. Each breed of domestic animals shall be so kept as to avoid any danger of crossing or mixing with any other breed. Cross-breeding shall not be permitted, except to accomplish a definite object, or for the purpose of experiment, and then only in accordance with a plan setting forth the object to be accomplished and adopted by the faculty, who shall prescribe such regulations as may be necessary for putting the same into practical operation.
Rule 13. An accurate record of the stock belonging to the college shall be kept in a book provided for that purpose. The details of the breeding and management of each breed shall be carefully and distinctly stated, together with the purpose for which each animal is kept, and the disposition made of the same.
Rule 14. For the purpose of imparting to the student an accurate knowledge of agriculture as an art, the instructors in the several departments of the college, in their class exercises, shall illustrate the sciences taught, as far as possible, by a thorough discussion of the principles involved in the details of the practical operations on the farm and in the garden.
Rule 15. The superintendents of the farm and gardens shall make an annual report on the implements used in their respective departments, giving the results of their experience in the use of each implement, and its adaptedness to the purpose for which it was designed, and its comparative value. Any new implement that has been tried during the year shall be particularly described and an accurate estimate of its merits given.
Rule 16. A committee on buildings shall be appointed each year, who shall report to the faculty the condition of the buildings, and recommend such additions and improvements as may seem desirable. The faculty shall carefully examine the report when presented, and shall make such recommendations to the board of agriculture as they may deem for the interest of the college.
Rule 17. The state board of agriculture shall determine what proportion of the whole number of students on the farm and in the garden shall be assigned to each. The list of students shall be examined each week to see that the proper proportion is employed in each department.
Rule 18. Students shall labor both on the farm and in the garden, and the
alternations from the farm to the garden and from the garden to the farm shall
be as frequent as the proportion of farm and garden labor, as determined by the
State board of agriculture will permit, provided that such changes shall not occur oftener than once a week.
(April 6th, 1863. Rule 18 was amended by an addition that one class shall work an entire year on the garden, and another on the farm, for the same period.)
Rule 19. Students shall be employed with a view to their attaining the greatest proficiency in the art of farming, without reference to the greatest pecuniary gain to the college.
Rule 20. Work at the college shall be classified as follows: 1. Care of stock; 2. Care of tools, and repairing the same; 3. Care of grounds and shrubbery; 4, Preparation of ground for crops, ploughing, &c.; 5. Sowing or planting different kinds of seeds; 6. Weeding and hoeing; harvesting and securing crops; 8. [You're not imagining things, they really forgot #7. -ASC] Preparation of manures; 9. Gathering and preserving seeds; 10. Secretary duties, care of books, &c.
Rule 21. The faculty shall make such arrangements that each student shall perform a proper proportion of labor of the several kinds, as classified in rule 20.
Rule 22. The superintendents of the farm and gardens shall, once a month, deliver to the students lectures on topics connected with practical arrangement and management of farms and gardens.
Rule 23. The professor of agricultural chemistry, shall cause a daily meteorological journal to be kept, according to the system adopted by the Smithsonian Institution.
Rule 24. Any officer having in charge the development of any of these plans, who shall deem any change or modification of them advisable, shall submit to the faculty a written statement, setting forth in full the reasons for the desired change. Changes or modifications adopted by the Faculty shall be recorded by the secretary.
The legislature granted to the college at the outset, salt spring lands which sold for $56,320, and prior to 1865 had made various appropriations amounting to $112,500. It has also given to the college certain swamp lands, valued at $30,000, and the 240,000 acres of scrip granted by Congress, which has been located in the State, on lands valued at $600,000, thus giving this institution a magnificent endowment.
“The Farmers’ High School of Pennsylvania” was opened in Centre county, on the 16th of February, 1859, and its first catalogue gives the names of 119 students. It was opened under very unfavorable circumstances, the buildings being unfinished and with no suitable accommodations. It has struggled along under a load of difficulties, (among which a large debt, contracted in part in constructing a huge and ill-arranged building of stone, six stories high and 334 feet front, is not the least,) until the present time, when it is hoped the grant of Congress may place it on a sure foundation.
In 1862 the institution took the name of "The Agricultural College of Pennsylvania.”
Besides the common error of over-building, the officers of this college fell into another, which has much increased its embarrassments. They fixed the charge for board and tuition of students for the year at $100, probably expecting from the labor of the students and the increase of the farm a much larger contribution to their funds than experience justifies. The amount of this charge has recently doubled, and will probably now be found low enough.
We visited the institution in June, 1865, unfortunately in the absence of Dr. Allen, the president, who had then recently been inaugurated as the successor of the lamented Dr. Pugh, under whom the college course had been reconstructed. A farm of 400 acres of excellent land is attached to the college. The soil, though not so diversified as could be wished, is productive. They had on the ground 65 acres of wheat, 25 of oats and barley, 60 of corn, with a large amount of hay, some acres in a garden and nurseries. Their working stock consisted of five mules and two horses, and no attempt had yet been made to introduce blood stock of any kind. All the labor is performed by the superintendent, with one man and the students, who labor three hours a day, in four detachments, under the direction of the superintendent. All agree that much more labor is required on the estate to bring it up to a proper standard. The college is remote from any town or village, and is therefore compelled to provide board and rooms for all its students.
The fact is worth knowing that this college has had constantly a large number of students, and usually more applicants than could be received. We trust that the people and legislature of Pennsylvania will give this institution all necessary support, and that a career of prosperity and usefulness may be permanently secured.
The course of study, with such extracts from their programme as are deemed of interest, will be found below. The preparatory course, in many States, may be pursued in the common schools. The faculty and board of instruction consist of a president, who is professor of political economy and constitutional law; a vice-president, who is professor of botany, physiology and horticulture; a professor of surveying, mechanics, and engineering; a professor of chemistry and scientific agriculture; a professor of mathematics and astronomy, and lecturer on tactics; a professor of philosophy and English literature; a lecturer on veterinary surgery and medicine; a teacher of book-keeping, and a farm superintendent, with two teachers in the preparatory department.
Preparatory department.—Certificates of good character and fair acquaintance with the rudiments of English grammar, geography, and arithmetic. Applicants for admission to the first preparatory class will be examined in the studies of the second class.
Collegiate department—Candidates for admission to the fourth class will be examined on the studies of the preparatory course, or their equivalents. For admission to any of the higher classes, candidates will be examined on the studies which shall have been pursued by the classes they propose to enter, or their equivalents. In all cases, certificates of good character must be presented before an examination will be granted.
Second preparatory class—Arithmetic, English grammar, geography, reading, writing, and orthography.
First preparatory class—Elementary algebra, history of the United States, elementary physiology, book-keeping, English grammar and composition, reading and orthography.
Fourth class, first term—Physiology, algebra, English grammar, and composition.
Second term.—Natural philosophy, plane geometry, universal history, grammar, and composition.
Third class, first term—Structural botany, solid geometry, chemistry, universal history, elocution.
Second term—Hortieulture, entomology, trigonometry, surveying, navigation, chemistry, logic, elocution.
Second class, first term —Political economy, systematic botany, analytical geometry, laboratory practice, rhetoric, selected exercises in speaking.
Second term.—Constitution of the United States, zoology, calculus, physical chemistry, and mineralogy (lectures,) laboratory practice, mental philosophy, selected exercises in speaking,
First class, first term.—Agricultural law (lectures,) geology, analytical mechanics, chemistry (lectures,) laboratory practice, moral philosophy, original exercises in speaking,
Second term.—History (lectures,) astronomy, agricultural chemistry (lectures,) scientific agriculture (lectures,) tactics (lectures,) evidences of Christianity, original exercises in speaking. Equivalent studies may be substituted for calculus and analytical mechanics; also for chemistry and laboratory practice in the first class.
Latin and Greek are not included in the regular course; but instruction in them is given to students who desire it.
To students who are not able to take so high a course in mathematics, permission will be given to substitute, in place of this study, a more extensive prosecution of the study of any of the natural sciences than is required in the full course. To those completing such a course of study suitable diplomas will be awarded.
For the benefit of any who wish to acquire general scientific knowledge, and special practical information, preparatory to the prosecution of farming, a practical course may be selected from the regular college studies, This course is designed for such as wish to remain for a limited period only, in order to become familiar with the various operations of the farm, garden and nursery, and at the same time attend some of the classes in the college. This course is not recommended to any but those who are unable, on account of ill-health or age, or for any other good reason, to take either the full or scientific courses; and no one under twenty-one years of age will be permitted to take it, without a written request to that effect, addressed to the faculty, by his parent or guardian. Practical instruction in tactics is given weekly during the whole course.
I give the following history of the enterprise in this State, in the words of its secretary, Peter Melendy, esq., and refer the reader to the frontispiece for a view of the college building, and to the statement of the architect for a description of the same:
At the session of the legislature of 1858 an act was passed providing for the establishment of a State agricultural college and farm, with a board of trustees, which shall be connected with the entire agricultural interests of the State. M. W. Robinson, Timothy Day, John Wright, G. W. F. Sherwin, William Duane Wilson, Richard Gaines, Suel Foster, J. W. Henderson, Clement Coffin, E. N. Williams and E. H. Day, were appointed the first trustees. Clement Coffin and E. H. Williams would not serve. Peter Melendy and John Pattee were appointed to fill their seats.
The institution is managed by a board of trustees, who are appointed by the legislature, one being taken from each judicial district in the State, and embracing the governor and president of the State Agricultural Society, being in all fourteen members. The board serves without pay for their services. Its officers are a president pro tem., a secretary and treasurer, and an executive committee of three to act during the interim of the meetings of the board.
In 1858 the legislature passed an act appropriating ten thousand dollars for the purchase of a farm on which to locate an agricultural college. A farm was purchased in 1859, in Story county, situated about midway between Nevada and Boonsboro, and about thirty miles directly north of Des Moines. The Cedar Rapids and Missouri railroad is now running directly through the farm, dividing it so as to leave about one hundred and sixty acres on the north side and about four hundred and eighty-eight acres on the south side of the railroad. The farm contains six hundred and forty-eight acres, and is admirably adapted to the purposes of the institution, embracing all the leading varieties of soil in the State. It is well watered by Squaw and Clear creeks running through the farm—Squaw creek on the cast, Clear creek on the west sides, affording an inexhaustible supply of pure stock water.
Near the centre of the farm there are several fine springs, affording a good supply of water. The timber is principally black walnut, oak, elm, white maple, linn [basswood], cotton-wood, ash, hickory, and numerous other valuable varieties, covering about one hundred and fifty acres. The farm is about four hundred rods long from east to west, and about two hundred and fifty-nine rods wide from north to south. After deducting the one hundred and fifty acres above described, there remain four hundred and ninety-eight acres of prairie land suitable for grass and grain. There is probably not far from one hundred and eighty acres of low bottom land, about one hundred of which is covered with timber; the remainder is equally divided between wet and dry bottom.
The low land in the timber is a rich, deep, black, sandy loam, with clay subsoil, but not inclined to hold water on the surface. Next west adjoining the timber is a fine, smooth, level tract of low land, remarkably well adapted for grass, but could by a judicious system of drainage be converted into a most productive corn land, not excelled in the west. Beyond this to the northwest is a large tract, known in this State as second bottom land, being level, dry and very rich, and remarkably productive for almost every crop grown in this latitude. The soil is a mixture of black sand, fine gravel, and rich black alluvium and prairie soil proper, comprising perhaps the most desirable soil known to the agriculturist. West of this is a large tract of level prairie, the soil being dry, slightly intermixed with fine gravel in places, with clay subsoil, being a fair representative of the prevailing prairie soil of the State. On the northwest corner of the farm is a tract of perhaps forty acres of clay soil, most of which is covered with a heavy growth of oak, walnut, and hickory timber. Though called clay soil, this land is a fair specimen of what is known in this State as “barrens” and “timber land.” The soil is a mixture of prairie and clay, with heavy clay subsoil, and is considered the best wheat and fruit land in the western States. On the south side of the farm is about ninety acres of high rolling prairie, intermixed with gravel, and well adapted for almost any grain crops, being warm and dry, the ravines which intersect it carrying off all surplus water in the wettest seasons. The gravel contained in the soil is mostly on the surface, and is turned under by the first ploughing, nearly disappearing after cultivation. here are five sand and gravel banks on the farm, furnishing an inexhaustible supply for building purposes, and for grading roads, walks and yards.
There is also on the farm good clay for making brick convenient to where the college is now being built.
The improvements consist of a good, substantial, brick farm-house, with a basement of stone, making a cellar under the whole building. The house is completed except painting, and when furnished will cost about four thousand dollars. The brick were manufactured on the farm. There is also a good barn on the place, well finished and painted, of good height, and is forty-two by sixty feet in size, capable of providing storage room for grain, and shelter for the necessary teams and stock connected with the farm. There is a good stone basement under the barn, and a large yard enclosed by a substantial fence; also a fine smoke and ash house, fourteen feet square, built of brick.
A great portion of the work and material used in the erection of these buildings was furnished in payment of voluntary subscriptions by citizens in the vicinity.
There is about four hundred acres of the farm, enclosed by a substantial fence, a part of which is built by boards and posts, five boards high, and the remainder of rails staked and ridered, eight rails high. The fences are built of good materials, and are put up ina very substantial manner. Of the land enclosed, about one hundred and fifty-one acres are under cultivation.
There is a fine young orchard of about four hundred thrifty trees near the house, enclosed by a good fence. This experiment has satisfied the people in the vicinity that the prevalent opinion that fruit cannot be raised upon our open prairies is entirely erroneous. Fine apples have been grown upon many of these trees, which had been planted out but four years on level open prairie. To be successful it only requires ordinary care, such as one would bestow upon a corn crop, and the farmers are profiting by this demonstration placed before their eyes. About seventy-five grape vines have been planted near the orchard, of several different varieties, among which are the Concord, Clinton, Isabella, and Catawba. They are doing well, making a fine growth, and producing some fruit.
Building material can be found in abundance on the farm and in the immediate vicinity. The necessary wood to burn the brick can be procured from down timber, which is fast going to waste, and the best kind of clay and sand for the manufacture of the brick is found in abundance on the farm. Stone can be had within three and a half miles, and lime within six miles of the farm.
The farm, which has been fully described, was purchased at a cost of $5,379.12. In consideration of having the college building located at that place, the citizens of Story and Boone counties made liberal donations of land, money, labor, and materials, to the amount of about, seven thousand dollars, to assist in improving the farm and erecting the necessary farm buildings.
Donations.—Story county donated ten thousand dollars in the bonds of the county, bearing seven per cent. interest. There is also appropriated the proceeds of the sale of five sections of land in Jasper county, known as the Capitol lands. The value of the lands is about $17,000.
It was expected that the legislature of 1860 would have made an appropriation sufficient to commence the erection of suitable college buildings, but as the financial condition of the State would not justify it, an appropriation was not asked. At the session of 1863 an appropriation was not expected, as the whole finances of the State were needed to meet the extraordinary expenditures incident to the suppression of the rebellion. Hence nothing had been done to add to its prospective revenue since the institution was organized, until the last session. We have done what we deemed prudent in opening a farm and erecting thereon buildings suitable for a dwelling for a farmer, and also shelter for the crops and animals.
Beyond the expenditures necessary to place the farm under a fair state of cultivation, the trustees did not feel justified in making appropriations from the limited amount in their hands, but preferred reserving the best of the assets for an endowment to meet the expenses of the institution when in operation, hoping that when it had the ability, the State would make the needed appropriation for college buildings. “But during this time the people of the State generally supposed that the buildings were erected, and that the college would soon be open to the public, and many applications have been made to receive students. Had it not been for the extraordinary condition of the financial matters of the State, such would doubtless have been the condition of the institution on the opening of the present year. It is now about seven years since the purchase of the college farm. If all this could not have been done, a general expectation, or hope at least, was felt by its friends generally, that the farm would be open for experimental husbandry. Even this could not be accomplished, under the circumstances, without involving an expenditure which it was thought would not be justified by the people of the State, unless the college institution was fully provided for.
In July, 1862, Congress appropriated to the several loyal States in the Union, for agricultural colleges, 30,000 acres of land for each senator and representative in Congress. The amount under this grant to the State of Iowa was 240,000 acres. The State of lowa, at the special session in September, 1862, accepted the grant with the conditions imposed therein. The lands have been selected by an agent every way competent, appointed by: the governor and approved by the board of trustees of the college, as required by the acceptance law of the State; and they have been approved and certified to the State.
They embrace some of the best unentered lands in the State, and when prepared for sale, will command the attention of immigrants. As the interest on the proceeds of the sales of these lands is exclusively devoted to meet the annual expenditures of the institution, there will bea fund soon created to sustain the institution. This munificent grant having relieved the board from any anxiety in regard to the future endowment of the institution, they felt that a portion of the reserved assets might safely be used to place the farm in a condition to experiment upon crops, the purchase of several of the leading races of improved animals of all kinds, and testing their value by crossing on native breeds, best mode of feeding, shelter, &c., and in beautifying the farm with useful trees and shrubbery, and preparing fully for the work contemplated in the establishment of the institution.
Such is a brief history of the institution under the management of the board of trustees, which is almost exclusively confined, to the farm and the operations thereon. The next point is the college proper, and the course of studies to be pursued therein, which are specified in the organic law as follows, with some other provisions in regard to students, &c.
The course of instruction shall include the following branches, to wit: natural philosophy, chemistry, botany, horticulture, fruit-growing, forestry, animal and vegetable anatomy, geology, minerology, meteorology, entomology, zoology, veterinary art, plane mensuration, levelling, surveying, book-keeping and such mechanical arts as are directly connected with agriculture. Also, such other studies as the trustees may from time to time prescribe, not inconsistent with the purposes of this act.
The board of trustees shall establish such professorships as they may deem best to carry into effect the provisions of this act. Tuition in the college herein established shall be forever free to pupils from this State over fourteen years of age, and who have been residents of the State six months previous to their admission. Applicants for admission must be of good moral character, able to read and write the English language with ease and correctness, and also pass a satisfactory examination in the fundamental rules of arithmetic.
The trustees, upon consultation with the professors and teachers, shall from time to time establish rules regulating the number of hours, to be not less than two in winter and three in summer, which shall be devoted to manual labor and the compensation therefor; and no student shall be exempt from such labor except in case of sickness or other infirmity.
OBJECTS OF THE INSTITUTION.—The Iowa State Agricultural College has for its object, to associate a high state of intelligence with the practice of agriculture and the industrial or mechanic arts, and to seek to make use of this intelligence in developing the agricultural resources of the country and protecting its interests. It proposes to do this by several means:
1. As a purely educational institution, its course of instruction is to include the entire range of natural sciences, but will embrace more especially a practical bearing upon the every day duties of life, in order to make the student familiar with the things immediately around him, and with the powers of nature he employs, and with the material through the instrumentality of which, under the blessing of Providence, he lives and moves and has his being; and since agriculture does this, more than any other of the industrial arts, it follows that this should receive by far the highest degree of attention. The course of instruction is to be thorough, so that it will not only afford the student the facts of science, but will discipline his mind to habits of thought and enable him fully to comprehend the abstract principles involved in the practical operations of life. In doing this, it is not deemed possible to educate every agriculturist, artisan, mechanic, and business man in the State, but to send out a few students educated in the college course, that they, by the influence of precept and example, may infuse new life and intelligence into the several communities they may enter. A single individual who is thoroughly educated in the principles and practice of an art followed by a community, will often exert a more salutary influence upon the practice of this art by the community, than would result from sending the whole community to a school of lower order than that which he attended. A single practical school of the highest order in Paris, (the Ecole Polytechnique) during the last generation, made France a nation celebrated alike for profound philosophers, great statesmen, able generals and military men, and civil engineers. If one high school of practical character is established, subordinate schools affording the elementary education of the latter will follow in due time.
2. As a practical education, the trustees of the Iowa Agricultural College
have adopted the fundamental principle, that whatever is necessary for man to
have done, it is honorable for man to do, and that the grades of honor attached
to all labor are dependent upon the talent and fidelity exhibited in performing
it. It is further considered essential as a part of the student’s education that he
be taught the practical application, in the field and laboratory, of the principles
of his studies in the class-room; and manual labor is also necessary for the preservation of health, and the maintenance of the habits of industry. An incidental but not unimportant result of the operations of these principles is a reduction of the cost of tuition by the value of the labor, so that the college can
take students at very low rates of admission.
All students, without regard to pecuniary circumstances, are, therefore, obliged to perform manual labor as an essential part of the college education, and discipline and training. In these respects consists a most essential difference between the idea associated with manual labor and that of all other attempts made heretofore to combine manual labor with study. Instead of the idea of poverty and want being associated with those who labor, that of laziness and worthlessness is associated with those who refuse to work efficiently, and the experience of established institutions has already, most assuredly, shown that no young man of whom there is any hope for future usefulness in life is insensible to the disgrace which thus attaches to the lazy, who will work only as they are watched, and cheat their fellow students by refusing to do their share of the labor assigned them; and nothing is more conclusively settled than that those students who are most studious and industrious in class, work the most efficiently, and are the most trustworthy, in the performance of their daily work.
3. As an experimental institution, our college has an unbounded field for labor, The principles of agricultural science, which shall ultimately constitute the subject of instruction in its class-rooms, will be a prominent and important branch of it. The development of no other department will yield richer and more lasting results, or confer more substantial benefit upon agricultural practice than this. Much time, however, is required to make thorough and reliable experiments—they will not pay at once. As well might the farmer expect to reap his crop the day he sows his grain. They will, however, ultimately pay a thousand-fold, as have the practical application of the sciences of electricity, heat and optics, in the present day, paid for the half century of apparently impractical, purely scientific investigations that led to the results now obtained through them.
The design of this institution is different from all other educational institutions in the country, excepting one in Pennsylvania and one in Michigan, now in successful operation. By the union of labor and study they are both placed in their proper position, and thus only are exhibited in their true dignity. Here they are taught to walk together, and that separation is degrading to both. The student’s mind and hands-are first prepared to promote skill and success in the important and honorable occupation of cultivating the soil, but he will be almost equally fitted to fill with honor any other position in life. There is thus supplied a practical and equal education, so much needed by the great body of our farmers, and cheap enough to be embraced by all. “The farmer who claims such an equal education for his son, feels an imperative necessity for an institution such as this. He sees that the son of a farmer who has been a four years' course at our old colleges returns with his eyes and his thoughts and the best of his mind directed away from the objects which worthily and usefully occupy his father and his brothers. He is useless and inferior in the sphere of his home; he cannot labor; he must go from home; he is driven from it; he can do nothing but enter a profession, and in any profession he may enter, if he cannot make a conspicuous mark, he is a miserable thing at best, and almost certain to fall into ruinous habits and to become their victim. And the unhappy and disappointed father loses not only the cost of his education, his own struggles and expended energy, but in three cases out of four the son himself. How different the case in circumstances which such an institution as ours is destined to establish! The boy, in great part, aids to work out his own education. Instead of dragging on his father, he aids him; instead of wasting his physical abilities, through want of exercise, he labors and develops them; while his mind is being stored with both practical and refining knowledge, his hands are educated to expertness in a thousand operations, and his body to grace and strength. How delightful will be the meeting between the palpate of our agricultural school and his father and brothers! He has stores of information for them, and there is a mutual interest and subjects of conversation in everything around. The proud and gratified father will bless the means by which his highest wishes have been-accomplished.” So plain is the need of this course of training even to the dullest mind, and so plain is the method of establishing it, it is wonderful up to this day that such schools are only commencing in this country.
The inquiry will naturally be made in regard to the cost of educating and sustaining a scholar in the college for one year. In the Farmers’ High School of Pennsylvania the price for board, lodging, washing, fuel and lights is fixed at $200 per annum. The cost in our institution would not exceed this sum, from which would be deducted the amount credited for labor on the farm. The tuition is made free by law.
The financial condition of the institution is in a healthy state. The State has given to the farm proper $10,000, and she has property for this small outlay amounting to $59,834 39. The land is worth $10,000 more than the State gave for it, thus making the farm proper worth to-day $69,834 39, and with the munificent grant from the government, valued at $480,000, makes a grand total value of $567,834 39. At the last session of the legislature a sufficient amount was appropriated to complete the college building. At the last meeting of the board the contract was let to responsible parties to complete the building by September, 1867. The following is a description of the building, by the architect, Mr. O. A. Dunham, of Burlington, Iowa.
Description of the Iowa State Agricultural College building.—The outline of the ground plan is that of the letter E, one hundred and fifty-six feet in length by seventy feet in width, through wings which are so arranged that they can be extended at any future time as may be desired. The building is five stories in height—first story nine feet, second story fourteen feet, third and fourth stories twelve feet, attic story ten feet six inches. Forty-two feet of the central portion of principal front projects seven feet, with a veranda ten feet in width, At the ends of the principal front there are two towers twenty-one feet square, projecting four feet from face of main walls. The principal tower rises to the height of one hundred and thirty-six feet, and at the elevation of one hundred feet there is a bell-turret, with projecting balconies on the four sides, to accommodate those who wish to view one of the most beautiful prairie landscapes in the west. The principal story is gained by ascending a flight of stone steps of ample dimensions, landing upon the veranda heretofore mentioned. After passing through the entrance doors, which open into a hall eight feet in width, to the right is the reception room, sixteen feet by twenty-four feet; opposite is the president's suite of rooms—parlor, sixteen by twenty-four feet; chamber, sixteen by sixteen feet, with ample closet room. Opposite these rooms is the library, eighteen feet by forty, located in the central part of the building. There is a corridor of ample width running through the centre of the building and wings in each story. After leaving the library room, turning to the left, on the right side of the corridor, is located the museum, eighteen by fifty-two feet, which is fitted with cases and shelves for specimens. Returning back to the hall, to the right is the entrance to the lecture-room, which is in the north wing of the building, thirty-four by fifty feet, with seats around on the arcs of circles, radiating from the lecturer’s stand. In the rear of the lecturer’s stand is a doorway communicating with the museum, for the more ready introduction of anatomical and other specimens upon the lecturer’s desk and stand. It is the design to have around the walls of this room a series of pictures, painted in oil, representing scenes in the life of the agriculturist and the arts and sciences. Retracing our steps, we return to the corridor, and approaching the library, to the right and on each end of the library room there will be found the two principal staircases, eight feet in width, circular in form, incased in two octagon towers leading from the basement to the attic story. Further on down the corridor is to be found the recitation rooms. At the ends of the veranda, on the principal front, stepping down four steps into an area of nearly the width of the veranda, the principal entrance to the basement story, is found halls and corridors running the same as those described in the principal story. After passing through the doorway to the left is the steward’s room; to the right is the laboratory, and adjoining is the bath-room. At the end of the long corridor, entrance is to be had to the dining-room, which is thirty-three feet by forty feet. Passing on through the dining-room, to the left is to be found the kitchen. twenty by twenty-four feet, fitted with range. sink. pump, and boiler. Opening out of the kitchen is x doorway leading to cellar below, and another door leads to a pantry for dishes, with communication with dining-room. Further along is to be found a scullery and store room of ample size. There is a door from the kitchen communicating with steps in the area to exterior. Returning to the long corridor, and passing by one flight of principal stairs, and opening the door on the right hand, can be found the laboratory, a room eighteen by thirty-six, with closets and other fixtures. This is but a temporary location for the laboratory, as it is the intention to put up a building somewhat isolated from the main building for that purpose. Further along, passing the other staircase and turning to the right, are to be found the wash-rooms, sixteen by twenty-two feet. Opposite is the laundry, sixteen feet by twenty-two, and at one end of the laundry is the dry-room, fourteen by sixteen feet. In front of these rooms, and running parallel with the front, is to be fond four large servants’ rooms and one large room for the housekeeper. There are five external doors in this story, four leading out of the corridors, and one out of the kitchen.
Ascending either of the flights of stairs, and landing in the principal corridor of the third story, can be found in the rear of the central portion of the building and over the library room the armory, sixteen by eighteen feet, opposite the cabinet room, sixteen by eighteen feet.” Returning and passing down the corridor either way can be found professors’ and recitation rooms, fifteen by eighteen feet, and twenty-one students’ rooms, fourteen by sixteen feet each.
The fourth and fifth stories are nearly the same as the third, each story containing thirty rooms, each ten feet by fourteen feet, and two recitation rooms, each fourteen feet by twenty. There is a cellar seven feet high under the dining- room, kitchen, laboratory, and corridors. Also fuel vaults in rear of cellar under laboratory. The building is heated with eight hot-air furnaces. Opposite to where the warm air is admitted into the rooms there is a register of the same capacity as that of the warm air register, to draw off the vitiated air downwards, by flues built in the hollow core of the walls. There is also a small register near the ceiling line, for summer ventilation, opening into flues which will conduct it to the summit of the roofs. The basement story is faced up with cut-stone seven feet above the ground. The walls above are built of brick. Cut-stone dressings to the doors and windows, with string and belt courses of the same. The roof is of the Mansard style, covered with slates in two patterns. The roof of the centre portion of the building is made to rise at a more acute angle, to give the principal entrance more prominence, and to give a more pleasing sky outline. All the openings have circular heads. he east, north, and south sides stand upon a terrace extending out 100 feet from the walls of the building. The outer edge of the terrace is some five feet above the natural formation of the earth. The terrace will have two fountains and other appropriate decorations.
The Massachusetts Agricultural College was incorporated in 1863, and, by subsequent acts, one-tenth of the land scrip granted by Congress to the State was assigned to the college as a fund with which to buy a farm. Two-thirds of the income of the remainder of the scrip was granted to the college for its maintenance, the other third being given to the Institute of Technology, situated in Boston. With the avails of the tenth, and some private aid, an excellent farm of nearly 400 acres has beer purchased in Amherst, about 100 miles west of Boston, in the valley of the Connecticut. The cost of the farm was about $40,000. The sum of $75,000 has also been raised by the town of Amherst and private subscribers, for the purpose of erecting buildings. The legislature has appropriated $10,000 for contingent expenses, and advanced the like amount, tobe refunded out of the income from the land scrip. A president has been elected, and plans for a college building have been procured, and preparations are made for its immediate erection. No definite course of study has yet been established, but the following extract from the annual report of the trustees indicates the general system in contemplation:
The estate, which comprises nearly four hundred acres of excellent land, affording great variety of surface and soil, is to be furnished with model farm buildings, to be erected from time to time, as the increasing productiveness of the farm shall require; to be supplied with farm implements of the most approved kinds, and stocked with a variety of the best thoroughbred and other animals that we may be able to procure; the farm go be conducted, primarily, for the education of the pupils, by way of illustration in agriculture, horticulture, botany, stock-growing and other rural affairs.
A college building, to be immediately erected for lecture and recitation rooms, library, museums of natural history and of farm implements and products, chemical laboratories, halls for exhibition and military drill, armory and chapel, and rooms for the president, librarian and other officers.
A president, who shall reside at the farm, and have general charge of its affairs under the trustees; a faculty, composed of the president and resident professors, who shall administer the government and execute the prescribed regulations; and a farm superintendent, who shall direct the ordinary labor, and manage the details of business on the farm.
The following departments, under such professors and assistants as may be necessary: A department of agriculture and horticulture; a department of physics, mathematics, and engineering; a department of natural history; a department of chemistry; a department of political economy, intellectual philosophy, and Christian morals; a department of comparative anatomy and animal physiology, including veterinary surgery and medicine; a department of modern languages and literature; and a department of physical education, including military tactics. The general course of study to be four years, with provisions for shorter elective courses.
For admission, students to be sixteen years of age, and to pass such examination as is required for admission to our normal schools, and such further examination as shall be prescribed. Manual labor to be required daily of every student, as may be arranged by the faculty, who may allow compensation for extra work. Tuition to be fixed by the trustees, with such free scholarships as may be established by public and private bounty.
In this State the avails of the grant of Congress have been given in charge to Yale College, and the school of agriculture has been connected with the Sheffield Scientific School.
From the high character of this ancient and well-endowed college, we may safely conclude that it will furnish the best possible illustration of the expediency of uniting an agricultural college with other institutions. In another place, some objections to such an arrangement are suggested. These objections are, in substance, discussed by the authorities of Yale in the paper which follows, and we gladly avail ourselves of their statement of their views on the subject.
We give below the full programme of this institution. The course of study is well considered, and being far more in detail than any other published in this country, will be of great value to those engaged in the work of organizing colleges under the recent act of Congress. The first or preparatory year is not devoted especially to agriculture, and might be omitted or modified.
Course of agriculture—Conditions of admission.—The full course of instruction for students in agriculture occupies three years. Applicants for admission must be sixteen years of age, and must bring satisfactory testimonials of good character. To profit by the instructions of this course, they should be familiar with rural affairs, as acquired by some years’ residence on a farm. They must also sustain an examination in the following books or their equivalents: Arithmetic—Thompson’s Higher Arithmetic; algebra—Day, or Davies; geometry— Davies’s Legendre; plane trigonometry—Loomis, or Davies; the elements of natural philosophy—Loomis, or Olmsted; English grammar, geography, and the history of the United States.
To the shorter course of seven months persons are admitted on the same conditions as above, save that no examination is required.
First or preparatory year, first term.—English language—Rhetoric, exercises in composition. French —Fasquelle’s Course, De Fivas’ Reader. Physics
—Silliman’s Principles. Chemistry—Youman’s. Mathematics—Davies’ Analytical Geometry, spherical trigonometry, surveying.
Second term—English—Rhetoric, exercises in composition, practical exercises in elocution. French—Fasquelle, De Fivas. Physics—Silliman’s Principles, and lectures. Chemistry—Youman’s. Mathematics—Descriptive geometry and geometrical drawing. Botany—Gray’s First Lessons.
Third term.—French—Selections from Classical Authors. Physics —Silliman’s Principles and Academical Lectures. Chemistry. Mathematics—Principles of perspective. Botany—Gray’s Manual. Drawing—Free-hand practice.
Second year, first term.— Agriculture—Chemistry; structure and physiology of the plants; water, atmosphere, and soil, in their relations to vegetable production; improvement of the soil; tillage, drainage, amendments, and fertilizers; lectures. Experimental and analytical chemistry, in their agricultural applications; daily laboratory practice. French—continued. German—Woodbury’s Method. Meteorology—Academical lectures.
Second year, second term.―Agriculture―Chemistry and physiology of domestic animals; digestion, respiration, assimilation, and excretion; composition, preparation, and value of the kinds of fodder, milk, butter, cheese, flesh and wool, as agricultural products; lectures. Experimental Chemistry — Laboratory practice. French and German continued. Physical geography —lectures. Zoology—lectures.
Third term—Horticulture and kitchen gardening—Propagation, training, and culture of fruit trees, the vine, small fruits, and vegetables; lectures. Mineralogy—Lectures and practical exercises. Experimental Chemistry—Laboratory practice. French or German—continued. Drawing—Free-hand practice. Excursions—Botanical, zoological, &c.
Third year, first term—Agriculture—The staple grain, forage, root and fibre crops of the northern States; their varieties; soils adapted for them; preparation of soil, seeding, cultivation, harvesting, and preparation for market; lectures. Agricultural zoology—Origin and natural history of domestic animals; insects useful and injurious to vegetation; lectures. Geology—Dana’s Manual. French or German—selections. Excursions―Agricultural, zoological, geological, &c.
Second term—Agriculture—Raising and care of domestic animals, characteristics and adaptation of breeds; cattle for beef and draught; the dairy; sheep for wool and mutton; horses, swine; -pasturing, soiling, stall-feeding; tobacco, hops, &c.; Lectures. Forestry—Preservation, culture, and uses of forests and forest trees; Lectures. Human anatomy and physiology; Lectures. Agricultural botany—Weeds and noxious plants; Lectures. French or German.
Third term.—Rural economy—History of agriculture and sketches of husbandry in foreign countries. Adaptation of farming to soil, climate, market, and other natural and economical conditions. Systems of husbandry, stock, sheep, grain, and mixed farming; Lectures. Farm accounts—Lectures and practical exercises. Excursions—Agricultural, geological, zoological, and botanical. Examinations in the studies of the course.
The students will be required to make full written reports of the lectures, and will be subjected to annual and final examinations. The instruction of the first year will be chiefly by recitation; that of the second and third years by lecture. The lectures will reflect as faithfully as possible the most recent state of science and the most improved practice. All the courses of lectures, &c., will be fully illustrated by specimens, experiments, and demonstrations. Collections of plants, seeds, woods, and vegetable products; of minerals, rocks, soils, and fertilizers; samples of wool; casts and drawings of improved stock; specimens of birds, and of injurious insects in all stages of development, will be provided in the agricultural museum. Many important topics in agricultural practice, not mentioned in the above brief programme—for example, the selection and care of implements, farm buildings, fencing, plan of work for the year as adapted to the season, e&c., methods of conducting farm experiments, &c., &c— will be suitably discussed. Weekly excursions in the neighborhood, and occasionally to a distance, under direction of the professors, will teach the modes of observing natural objects, especially plants and insects useful and injurious in agriculture, and will furnish illustrations of good stock, of farm buildings, of orchards, market gardens, use of implements, &c. The agricultural warehouses of New Haven are well-stocked museums of implements and machines, accessible to students. Like some of the best agricultural colleges of Europe, the school has at present no connexion with a farm. In considering what disadvantage this may prove to the student, it should be remembered that the details of farming cannot be learned advantageously in an agricultural school. They are only to be acquired during a long apprenticeship on the farm. No young man is well prepared to attend an agricultural school who is not practically familiar with most of the ordinary operations of farming. What he is to learn beyond this is mainly communicable by the teacher, with such aids as the lecture-room and museum can furnish. Their deficiencies may be almost wholly supplied by excursions to neighboring farms and gardens. A few hours’ walk or ride will bring the classes to good illustrations of dairies, of improved stock of many varieties; will exhibit the culture of most kinds of crops under a variety of circumstances which no single farm can imitate, and which will greatly enhance the value of the instruction to be derived. A portion of time corresponding to what would be properly spent upon a college farm, were one connected with the school, will accordingly be devoted to excursions. A library and reading- room supplied with American and foreign agricultural books and periodicals will be provided at an early day. Features of the course to which attention is especially called are the following:
1.The comparatively high standard of admission has the advantage of
securing such an amount of mental discipline as to fit the pupil for rapid
progress, and enables him in three years to go through a course equal to that
occupying four years in most agricultural colleges. The earnest student will
find no difficulty in preparation for admission, as the subjects he is required to
know are taught in all the high schools.
2. Unusual attention is given to French and German. The agricultural literature of these languages is more abundant, and, in its scientific aspects, more advanced than that of English, The educated farmer should be able to read them with ease, in order to keep pace with the rapid progress now making in the theory and practice of his art. It is intended that the student shall read, during the latter part of his course, standard French or German agricultural works, in the place of the usual classics.
3. A feature deemed highly important is experimental chemistry, pursued in the laboratory for several hours daily during the second year. The student, after learning from lecture or text-book the characters which belong to sugar, starch, phosphoric acid, casein, gypsum, guano, and other substances of agricultural significance, takes them into his own hands, prepares, examines, or analyzes them under the teacher’s guidance. He thus fixes and makes definite his knowledge, and, what is of the greatest value, he learns how to observe, exercises his vision to accuracy and delicacy, and trains his judgment to rely on proof, and to discover the fallacies and sources of mistake which embarrass the unaccustomed observer. He learns the precautions needful in planning and executing an experiment, acquires confidence in truth, and arrives at a just estimate of his powers of perceiving and appreciating facts. The discipline and culture: attainable in this way repay a thousand-fold the time and labor expended in the laboratory, though the student might have but little actual use for ys laboratory acquirements in after life. A person of ingenuity would, however, learn much directly beneficial to him; would fall into habits of experimenting that could not fail to make him useful in advancing practical knowledge; would become able, for instance, to study the problems of the manure-shed and feeding- trough with results of high value to himself and the world.
Shorter course—To meet the wants of those who have not time to attend the full course, and especially to accommodate young farmers who cannot leave home occupations during the summer months, the instruction is so arranged that the more important practical topics, viz., practical agriculture, agricultural chemistry and physiology, agricultural zoology, physical geography, forestry, &c., are discussed during the fall and winter terms of each year, (September 13 to April 12, with vacation of two weeks, from December 19 to January 3.) Those who desire can thus attend, during seven months of the year, the shorter course, being such a selection of the most useful exercises from the studies of the full course as will occupy their time profitably.
State students—Arrangements have been made by the State of Connecticut for admitting to the school a certain number of pupils gratuitously. According to the law, all candidates for this bounty must be citizens of the State, and preference will be given to such as are “fitting themselves for agricultural and mechanical or manufacturing occupations, who are or shall become orphans through the death of a parent in the naval or military service of the United States, and next to them to suchas are most in need of pecuniary assistance.” The appointments are to be distributed, as far as practicable, among the several counties of the State, in proportion to their population. The appointing board consists of the governor, lieutenant governor, and three senior senators, with the secretary of the school, Professor Brush, to whom applications may be addressed.
The legislature has established the agricultural and mechanical college as one of the several colleges of Kentucky University, recently removed to Lexington. We learn through private sources that by private enterprise a magnificent estate of about 430 acres, including Ashland, the home of Henry Clay, and an adjoining residence, with finely ornamented grounds, has been already purchased for the agricultural college, and that students will be received in the fall of 1866. The college, though connected with the university, will have a separate government, availing itself, however, of the aid of professors in other departments. Already about $250,000 has been procured for the college, and the State has granted its land scrip for 330,000 acres to the institution, on condition that three students from each of the one hundred representative districts be educated there free of tuition.
Mr. John Delafield and others, Ovid, New York, as early as 1853 procured a charter for an agricultural institution to be established at that place, by the name of the New York State Agricultural College. About 700 acres of land were purchased, and buildings erected sufficient to accommodate 150 students In a report, of January, 1860, it is said that a president had been elected, and earnest calls were made upon the public to subscribe the funds necessary for opening the college for students. It appears that the institution was in operation two terms, when, upon the breaking out of the rebellion, the president was called to the field, and the college was closed.
For some reason not publicly explained, the legislature of New York at first granted the avails of the grant of Congress, not to the State agricultural college, but to the people’s college at Havana; but, by a subsequent act of 1865, granted the same to the Cornell University. to be received upon certain conditions, unless the people’s college should comply with certain other conditions which, it appears, have not been complied with. The principal condition of the grant to the Cornell University was, that Mr. Ezra Cornell should fulfil his offer to give the university $500,000. This he has done, and the institution is to be established at Ithaca, the place of Mr. Cornell’s residence, where 200 acres of land have been secured and preparations are making for building, and where, it is hoped, the agricultural college of New York may find a permanent abiding place.
The legislature of New Jersey has granted to the Rutgers Scientific School, connected with Rutgers College, the income of her land scrip, to be devoted to the uses specified in the act of Congress.
Although the income of the scrip sold was estimated at only $1,200 for the year 1865, eight pupils were received on the 20th of September, suitable rooms and instruction being provided at the college. A farm of 100 acres has been purchased for about $15,000, said to be conveniently located, though at what distance from the college does not appear. Provision is made for forty students, to be received on nomination by the respective counties, free of tuition fees, and an excellent course of study, which want of space compels us to omit, has been established. This experiment, as combining a union with another college and an experimental farm, will be watched with peculiar interest. It has at least the merit of economy and speedy organization.
The legislature of Vermont has decided to unite her agricultural college with the University of Vermont, at Burlington. The plan of organization is substantially the same as that of Massachusetts, already given. It is proposed to have a farm of 150 acres or more, with stock and implements for illustration and experiment.
The Kansas State Agricultural College, formerly the Bluemont College, opened under the auspices of the State in September, 1863,” (says the superintendent of public instruction,) “and has been doing a great and good work in the education of teachers, and in training young men and women for active business life, and also in fitting them to graduate from the highest course of a first-class collegiate institution.” A president and four professors are employed, and the number of students was 113, as shown by the catalogue of 1865. The ages of the students range from 9 to 27 years, there being a large preparatory class. The college is at Manhattan, and has 80 acres of land, a college building, and the foundation of a library. The annual expenses are estimated at only $4,000 a year. A boarding-house is about to be erected, and the institution, now in its infancy, has large prospective means. It is believed to be the only agricultural college where females are instructed. We have not at hand any definite programme of its course of study.
After much discussion, the agricultural college of Maine has been located at Orono, and is to be conducted as an independent institution. No buildings have yet been erected, and no plan of organization has been published.
So far as can be learned, no other agricultural colleges than those above noticed have yet been established. The Maryland Agricultural College, established as early as 1857, and still in operation, has a farm attached, but is rather a school of general education than of agriculture distinctively.
The act of Congress provides that colleges maintained by its provisions shall teach, not only such branches of learning as are related to agriculture, but such as are related to the mechanic arts.
Massachusetts has granted the income of about one-third of her fund to the Institute of Technology, where the mechanic arts receive special attention, and her agricultural college is therefore regarded as released from obligation to teach the mechanic arts, further than they are essential to agriculture.
A good water-power, with shops of various kinds, or steam or caloric power for want of water, are greatly to be desired connected with every agricultural college. The act of Congress calls for earnest attention to the department for instruction in the branches related to the mechanic arts, which seem to have been nearly overlooked. It is hoped that the subject may receive due consideration in the organization and progress of these institutions.
We close our paper with the following conclusions:
1. Public sentiment and the public good require a more practical course of education than our literary colleges afford, with more attention to modern and less to ancient languages.
2. Colleges established under the act of Congress should “teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and the mechanic arts,” both scjentifically and practically, so as to prepare their students to labor and to teach in the highest branches of their respective pursuits.
3. If the means are sufficient, these colleges should be independent, and not united with existing colleges.
4. But one such college in a State should be established. Experimental farms or stations, or subordinate schools, may be organized in counties or districts.
5. Manual labor for practice and education is essential to education in agriculture, and should be required of all students in colleges which have farms attached,
6. Farms for experiment, illustration, and practice, with live stock and farm
implements, are essential to strictly agricultural colleges.
7. Where means for independent institutions are wanting, a half-year system of study in winter, and labor at home or on an experimental farm in summer, is practicable.
8. The promotion of equality, and the dignity of labor, being principal objects in our government, we find no models for our agricultural colleges in the aristocratic communities of Europe.