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The object of the State Reform School was the reformation of juvenile offenders. For the double purpose of supplying milk, vegetables, and other needful agricultural products, and also affording useful and healthful employment to the inmates, a farm was connected with the school ; with some recent purchases, it now contains about 285 acres.
Its location is beautiful, and it embraces great variety of soil and surface, is well adapted for the usual modes of cultivation and for agricultural experiments, and may be made both very attractive to the eye, and very productive. By the Act establishing the State Reform School, the farm is placed under the charge of the Trustees. Much money has been expended upon it, very considerable improvements have been made, and its products have been as great as could, under all circumstances, be reasonably anticipated. But excellent qualifications for the oversight of the school do not necessarily imply either taste or skill in agriculture, and, in point of fact, it is believed that the appointments of Trustees have generally been made without any reference to experience or skill in agriculture, or ability to direct the conduct of the farm. The Trustees have found the charge of the farm a hinderance to them in the performance of their duties more immediately concerning the school. It would be a relief to them to be permitted to transfer to others that portion of their responsibilities. The buildings have been enlarged during the past year, and now furnish accommodations for 550 or 600 inmates, and that number will probably soon be reached. The faithful and judicious oversight and management of such an institution demand as much time and care as the Commonwealth ought to expect any unpaid Board of Trustees to devote to a public duty.
Since the establishment of the State Reform School, the State Board of Agriculture has been created. It is composed of men of science and men of practical skill in agriculture, and all deeply interested in that most important subject. The Board has also been fortunate in securing the services of a competent, faithful and zealous Secretary, well skilled both in the theory and practice of agriculture. If that Board had existed when the Reform School was established, the convenience and propriety of placing the farm under its charge could not have failed to attract attention.
The Board of Agriculture would be gratified to secure land upon which various modes of cultivation may be thoroughly tried, and a series of experiments instituted to test the value of the various concentrated and other manures which are so constantly urged upon the
attention of farmers. Your committee are of opinion that the interest and the wishes of farmers, as a body, require that such experiments should be made, and reliable results ascertained. The farm at Westborough is admirably adapted for the purpose.
The Trustees of the State Reform School and the State Board of Agriculture are both children and agents of the State ; both Boards were instituted and both labor for the same end—the good of the State. The only question is, Which Board can most conveniently and profitably have charge of a particular portion of State property?
Heretofore the farm has been improved and cultivated at the expense of the State, and the State has furnished consumers of all its products, with the exception of small quantities of fruit, &c., which have been sent to market. A much larger amount of agricultural products will be required for the establishment, and it is believed that, under the best management, a much larger amount may be produced without proportionate increase of expense. Further permanent improvements are required, and ought to be made, under either Board. As the State consumes all the products of the farm, no money can be realized from their sale, and consequently the State must furnish funds to make necessary permanent improvements and pay current expenses,
The members of the two Boards are unanimous in their views, and an arrangement is contemplated by which the Trustees of the Reform School will, at a stipulated price, furnish boys to work upon the farm, and to a much greater extent than it has been heretofore found expedient or profitable to employ them in agricultural labor; and the Board of Agriculture will supply the institution with milk, vegetables and other needed products of the farm, do the cartage of coal, &c. Thus the labor of the boys and the products of the farm will be applied for the benefit of the State, substantially as heretofore, only under different directions.
The bulk of the farm will undoubtedly continue to be carried on under the usual improved modes of cultivation, while a small portion will be devoted to the experiments of which we have spoken.
GEORGE W. HUBBARD, Chairman.
The Legislature, never slow to encourage the interests of agriculture whenever the means are shown to be judicious and practicable, passed the following
Sect. 1. The Trustees of the State Reform School are hereby authorized to place under the charge of the State Board of Agriculture the whole or any part of the lands at Westborough, owned by the Commonwealth, except such portion thereof as may be required for the use of the school, for any term not exceeding ten years, and upon such conditions as may be agreed upon by the two Boards; and the State Board of Agriculture is hereby authorized to take charge of and manage said lands as fully as the said Trustees are now authorized by law to do.
SECT. 2. For the purpose of permanent improvements upon said lands and of agricultural experiments thereon, and to defray the ordinary expenses of the same for the current year, said Board may, by its Secretary, and as the same may be required, draw upon the Treasurer of the Commonwealth for a sum not exceeding in the aggregate six thousand dollars, to be paid from such funds as may be in the treasury; and the Governor is hereby authorized to draw his warrant upon the Treasurer for the sum of six thousand dollars, to remain in the treasury, subject to the drafts above provided for.
Sect. 3. The Board of Agriculture shall, in the annual report report required by law, make a full report of all sums expended upon said farm each year that it may be under their charge, and of all their doings in relation to said premises, and the results thereof.
SECT. 4. This act shall take effect from and after its passage.
Measures were immediately taken to effect a transfer of the farm by a committee appointed for that purpose, to act with a committee of the Trustees of the State Reform School; and at a meeting of the Board of Agriculture, held at the State House on the 11th of April, that committee submitted the following
The committee to whom was referred the subject of the transfer of the farm at Westborough, met a committee from the Trustees of the State Reform School at the farm on the 24th of March, at which time the writings were signed and the transfer was duly made, and on the 29th of the same month the same committees appraised the property delivered into the hands of the Board of Agriculture. The committee of the Board of Agriculture have contracted with the farmer employed the last year by the Board of Trustees to continue in charge of the same. The Act of the Legislature authorizing the transfer, the agreement of the committees of the two Boards, and the details of the appraisal of the property, are respectfully submitted.
SIMON Brown. Boston, April 10, 1854.
The Act of the Legislature was formally accepted at this meeting, and the agreement between the Trustees of the State Reform School and the Board of Agriculture was approved. The following is the
CONTRACT. By authority of an Act of the Legislature of Massachusetts, entitled “ An Act relating to the State Reform School and the State Board of Agriculture," approved by the Governor February 27, 1854, a certified copy of which is prefixed to this instrument, the Trustees of the State Reform School do hereby transfer to and place under the charge of the State Board of Agriculture all the lands and tenements at Westborough, owned by the Commonwealth, excepting and reserving the premises bounded, southerly by the lower edge of the embankment in front of the main building of the State Reform School, as the said embankment now is or may be made; westerly by the fence near the grove, and the line of said fence extended to the highway; northerly and easterly by the highway; and also excepting and reserving the store-house east of the main building, the Peters House, so called, and the shop on the easterly side of the highway, together with the land under, and suitable land around said buildings, for the convenient use of the same; said Trustees also reserving to themselves and their successors the right to have such portion of said premises as they may see fit for the site and accommodation of such dwelling-houses or other buildings as they may hereafter find it expedient to erect; and said Trustees also do hereby transfer to said Board of Agriculture all the neat cattle, swine, implements of husbandry, horses, carriages, and other personal property belonging to the Commonwealth, and now upon said premises, excepting such horses, carriages, and harnesses as said Trustees may elect to reserve for the immediate use of said State Reform School; a schedule and valuation of all which real and personal property so transferred shall be made by a committee of two members of said Board of Trustees and two members of said Board of Agriculture annexed to this instrument, and taken as part thereof.* And the State Board of Agriculture hereby assumes the charge of the said real and personal property as fully as said Board is authorized to do by the Act above referred to. The purpose of this arrangement is to relieve the Trustees of the State Reform School of the care and management of the agricultural portion of the establishment at Westborough, to provide an experimental farm for the Board of Agricul
* See Appendix A.
ture, and to furnish greater facilities for the employment and instruction of the inmates of the Reform School in agriculture and horticulture, in accordance with what are believed to have been the views and wishes of General Theodore Lyman, the founder of the institution, while the products of the farm shall continue to be applied for the use of the school substantially as they were while the farm was under the immediate control of said Board of Trustees.
In order to carry that purpose into effect, it is agreed by and between the Trustees of the State Reform School and the State Board of Agriculture as follows: The State Board of Agriculture shall cause to be done all the teaming and transportation, except of persons, and all other necessary out-door work for the Reform School; shall furnish for the school all milk, vegetables, and other products of the farm, which may be desired by the Trustees, and not required for the use of the agricultural department, for consumption on the premises ; shall cause the water for the use of the institution to be furnished by the engine in sufficient quantities; shall do for the school all such necessary grinding and sawing as the mill may be capable of performing, and shall provide competent and suitable men to oversee and instruct the inmates of the school when at work on the farm, or otherwise, under the direction of the Board of Agriculture. The Trustees of the State Reform School shall furnish to the Board of Agriculture boys from the school to work upon the farm, or to do other work, under the direction of said Board, in such numbers as may be required by said Board, to such extent as the condition of the school will admit; reasonable notice to be given from time to time of the numbers to be required. The Trustees of the State Reform School shall furnish to the Board of Agriculture all the offal from the institution, to be removed at reasonable and stated times by said Board.
Each of said Boards shall cause to be kept accurate accounts with the other, with a debt and credit side, and the mutual accounts shall be examined and adjusted, and the balance paid in cash, in the month of November in each year, and also at the expiration of the term herein-after limited.
The Trustees of the State Reform School shall charge the Board of Agriculture three hundred and fifty dollars a year for said offal, ten cents for each boy furnished to work for the Board of Agriculture for each day of six hours, and an agreed price or the fair value for any other thing that may be furnished by said Trustees to said Board of Agriculture. The State Board of Agriculture shall charge the Trustees of the State Reform School eight hundred dollars a year for pumping water, and keeping apparatus and pipe in order up to said embankment; and an agreed price, or, in the absence of any agreement,