Page images

than they had made or could make by hand ; that, indeed, the American watches had justly gained such a reputation for excellence, that they must arouse themselves at once, and exercise all their skill and ingenuity to the utmost, or America would supply Europe with watches. He went even further than this, and told his astonished listeners that even if they did arouse themselves, the American market was closed to them, and that they would meet with a sharp competition from the American manufacturers upon their own soil.

To substantiate his statements, he gave his audience some facts respecting the running of an American watch of no higher quality than the medium grade, and which he took at random from a “heap," as he said, and upon which he had permitted no special work to be done, that he might observe the running of the average watch. Upon arriving home, he handed the watch to an adjuster, who, upon returning it, said, “I am completely overwhelmed; the result is incredible; one would not find one such watch among fifty thousand of our manufacture.” This is the testimony of honorable men holding the highest position in the business of watch-making, who saw that a great manufacturing interest of their nation was in imminent peril.

From twenty to thirty thousand of these watches are sold annually in England. The agency for them in London is located in a building called the “ Waltham Building.” There are agencies in Moscow and St. Petersburg. And they have long been sold in the East Indies and Australia.

The system of watch-making adopted by the American Watch Company is completely revolutionizing the watchmaking of the world. It has already given rise to an establishment in our midst, the first of its kind, in which are made every kind of watch, clock, and case manufacturer's tools. And it is now making these tools for foreign as well as home manufacturers.

And we are not sure but an enterprise just started here will displace the old style of clocks; for a company has just been formed for the manufacture of clocks, in which electricity is substituted for the old weights and springs; and that mysterious fluid, that seemed utterly regardless of time, is made to stop, and patiently and accurately mark the passing moments and hours.

We have other and more usual manufacturing interests of which I might speak. We have a large hoisery-mill and dye-works. We have iron-founders whose enterprise and ability enable them to secure large contracts for work outside the country. We have machinists whose productions have a high reputation.

But, gentlemen, do not think, because I have occupied so much time in speaking of the manufactures of Waltham, that I have forgotten the object of this meeting; forgotten the great interests of which you stand officially at the head in the State, and forgotten the character of the club and the business of a large portion of the citizens whom it is my privilege to represent. The tiller of the soil came here before the manufacturer. The manufacturer could not have come unless the farmer had come before him. This is the order in which all lands have been settled, and it will continue to be the order of their settlement in all time to come. In the condensed and brief history of the first steps in civilization contained in that old book that we hold sacred, we are told that after the moral sense of our first parents was awakened, they clothed themselves with leaves. They next made coats of skins, showing that they had mastered the wild beasts. Then Abel became a herdsman, showing that the wild beasts had been tamed. Then we are told that Cain was a tiller of the earth, and was the first that “ builded a city.” The agriculturist built the first house erected in our world. That he should do so, was the natural consequence of his business. However rude, whether made of branches of trees or rough stones, the tiller of the soil built the first house and established the first home. The tiller of the soil built the first house in Waltham. And the towns throughout our country were first settled by men and women who struck into the wilderness, made a clearing, built a house, and put seed into the soil. To-day it is the farmer that pushes westward upon the prairies, makes a settlement, establishes a home, and so extends the area of civilization. The mechanic and manufacturer follow after. This is the original order. For turning to that brief history of the first steps of our race in civilization again, we find that the mechanic and the manufacturer did not appear until the sixth generation after the farmer had built the "city,” in Tubal-Cain, the worker in metals.

And when the manufacturer comes to meet demands that the agriculturist creates, and puts new and desirable life into the town, we must not forget in the rapid growth and thrift and quickened life he produces, that the agriculturist first planted the settlement.

Fortunately for Waltham, all classes of its citizens are interested in agriculture. There have been no walls of separation between its farmers and its mechanics, manufacturers, and merchants. Some of the men who were leaders in establishing manufacturing here owned large farms, and were practical agriculturists, and were influential in securing the formation of the Farmers' Club. Many of our citizens whose business calls them to Boston daily seek pleasure and relaxation from business upon their farms and among their stock. Our Club gives evidence of the appreciation of our citizens of all callings, of the farmer's business; for it is composed of mechanics, manufacturers, tradesmen, and members of the different professions, as well as farmers. It has been in existence more than twenty years, and in a quiet way has accomplished an amount of good that can hardly be estimated. Besides giving to each member the results of the observation, the experience, and the experiments of all the other members, it has created and kept alive a true spirit in the community, and contributed to a fine social life.

Our manufacturing establishments are all situated near the southern boundary of the town, upon the poorer portion of the land; while the rich soils of the eastern, northern, central, and western portions of the town are used for agriculture. The needs of a large city like Boston, and of an increasing population nearer home, determined the kind of farming to be followed. The production and marketing of milk have long been a prominent business of our farmers. Therefore grass and milk are their principal productions. Large quantities of fruit have been raised. And now garden-farming has become a prominent business.

Nature was lavish in giving charms to Waltham, for we have mountain and plain and hill and river combined in one beautiful landscape. Its natural beauty has long made Waltham an attractive place of residence to men of fortune. They purchased large tracts of land, brought it into a high state of cultivation, procured the best stock, improved the

roads and planted shade-trees beside them, and utilized the brooks to adorn their estates, without changing the agricultural character or appearance of the town, and added new beauty to the natural attractions of the place.

Good roads are necessary to the prosperity of any place. And the excellence of our roads, and the mode of caring for them, have been commended in town, State, and national reports.

We welcome you to this town, for we know your presence will be profitable to us. And we will endeavor to make your visit pleasant to you. If you can find time from the duties of the meetings to visit some of our farms and manufactories, we shall esteem it a pleasure to afford you every facility for gratifying the wish.

AFTERNOON SESSION. The meeting was called to order at two o'clock, by Capt. MOORE, who stated that the subject for consideration was Market-Gardening and Vegetable Culture, and introduced, as the essayist of the afternoon, WILLIAM D. PHILBRICK, Esq., of Newton Centre, who read the following paper:



The essential things for a good market-garden are nearness to a good market, a good soil, and sufficient capital. A good gardener should have a natural tact for the business, which will include habits of industry and a keen, observing eye, and should have some years experience ; for it is a trade that cannot be learned wholly from books and papers, but needs practical acquaintance with the many details of the work for success. Many of the failures in attempting this trade are due to want of capital, but perhaps more to want of the necessary experience or of natural tact.

The distance from market will control, in great measure, the nature of the crops that can be profitably grown. Within six miles of a large city, the manure-wagon and market-wagon can make two trips in a day if needful; and this nearness gives a very great advantage where a large amount of manure

must be applied to a small amount of land, and balances the greater value of land, and higher taxes and rent, or interest, which encumber the garden near town. Many of the gardens near Boston are worth over one thousand dollars per acre; it is within six miles of Boston market that we find the best vegetable gardens devoted to the culture of the bulky but valuable crops, such as lettuce, cucumbers, garden greens, early beets and cabbages, early onions, melons, celery, cauliflowers, horse-radish, winter spinach, and some others.

The amount of manure used on these gardens is from twenty to thirty cords per acre every year. It keeps a twohorse team going every day to draw the manure used on some gardens of not over twelve acres; and the produce on some of these gardens will average one thousand dollars per acre per year, for the whole garden, for a term of five years. The market-wagon upon such a garden makes daily trips to market, and at certain busy seasons three or four loads daily will be sent. When the distance from market is more than seven and less than fifteen miles, the nature of the business is changed. Land is cheaper, being worth from fifty to two hundred dollars per acre; the hauling of manure and of produce costs double or more what it does nearer market; and here it is that we find the gardeners (or farmers as they are more properly called) devote their energies with greater profit to such vegetables as require less manure, and are less bulky, such as early potatoes, pease, beans, asparagus, strawberries, and other small and large fruits, squashes, late cabbages and turnips, and other roots. On these more remote gardens, the marketwagon will make only three or four trips per week, in general, in summer, and two in winter. The value of the crops raised will, in general, range from two hundred to five hundred dollars per acre. The amount of manure required for the good management of these farms will be from six to ten cords per acre.

The nature of the soil has much to do with a good garden. The best for general purposes is a deep black loam, well drained by a subsoil of fine sand; but it is desirable to have some variety of soil, as no one soil is adapted to produce all the vegetables in perfection. A rather stiff soil suits late cabbages, celery, and cauliflowers, while early lettuce, radishes, beets, and roots in general, as well as greens and most

« PreviousContinue »