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awakened interest in agriculture was marked first by the formation of agricultural societies. George Washington was one of the best technically educated men in America in his day, and was especially interested in everything pertaining to agriculture. His various state papers show that he not only knew the needs of the country, but that he fully realized that schools for the education of the people and societies for the distribution of knowledge were necessary for the safety of the republic. A few extracts will recall his strong opinions on this subject. In his first annual message to congress (Jan. 8, 1790) he expressed the hope that the “advancement of agriculture, commerce, and manufactures, by all proper means, will not, I trust, need recommendation,” and adds, “Nor am I less persuaded that you will agree with me in the opinion that there is nothing which can better deserve your patronage than the promotion of science and literature. * * * Whether this desirable object will be best promoted by affording aids to seminaries already established, or by the institution of a national university, or by any other expedients, will be well worthy of a place in the deliberations of the legislature.” Notice how agriculture and a national university for the promotion of science and arts were always associated in Washington's mind. He mentions the advancement of agriculture and the establishment of a national university in the same connection in his first message. He discusses them together in many of his writings during eight years, and finally in his eighth annual message he says, “It will not be doubted that with reference either to individual or national welfare agriculture is of primary importance. In proportion as nations advance in population and other circumstances of maturity, this truth becomes more apparent, and renders the cultivation of the soil more and more an object of public patronage. Institutions for promoting it grow up, supported by the public purse; and to what object can it be dedicated with greater propriety? Among the means whic' n employed to this end,
none have been attended with greater success than the establishment of boards (composed of proper characters) charged with collecting and diffusing information, and enabled by premiums and small pecuniary aids to encourage and assist a spirit of discovery and improvement. This species of establishment contributes doubly to the increase of improvement by stimulating to enterprise and experiment, and by drawing to a common center the results everywhere of individual skill and observation, and spreading them thence over the whole nation. Experience accordingly has shown that they are very cheap instruments of immense national benefits.” “ * : * “I have heretofore proposed to the consideration of congress the expediency of establishing a national university and also a military academy. The desirableness of both these institutions has so constantly increased with every new view I have taken of the subject that I cannot omit the opportunity of once for all calling your attention to them.” With marvelous foresight Washington urged the necessity for scientific research and education in America, and he planned at the same time for institutions to discover and collect knowledge, and societies to disseminate it. He saw also that agriculture was to be the chief industry in the country, and that it would need the assistance of science. Thus he appears to have associated plans for the advancement of agriculture with those for a national university. Congress promptly established the military academy, and some years later the naval academy and the department of agriculture. But it has not yet established the national university, which was the chief agency in Washington's mind for the development of all the sciences and arts of peace.
THE FIRST AGRICULTURAL SOCIETIES AND FAIRS
Where did Washington get this conception of the work of boards of agriculture? The first society for the promotion of agriculture in the United States was organized at Philadelphia on March 1, 1785; and on the 4th of July following George Washington and Benjamin Franklin were elected members. A similar society was incorporated in South Carolina in the same year, which proposed, among other things, to establish an experimental farm—the first suggestion of the kind in our history. The New York society for the promotion of agriculture, arts and manufactures, which had been organized on the 26th of February, 1791, published its first small volume of transactions in 1792. The Massachusetts society for the promotion of agriculture was established March 7, 1792, and commenced, in 1797, the publication of bulletins. The Society for promoting agriculture in the state of Connecticut was organized in 1794, and published its first volume of proceedings in 1802. Washington was evidently familiar with the work of these agricultural societies; but his knowledge of such agencies was not limited to his own country. In Great Britain, the Bath and the West of England agricultural societies had been established. Sir John Sinclair, the “inventor of statistics” and president of the Highland society, had established, in 1791, the British wool society and the sheep fair at Newhalls Inn. After agitating the subject for a number of years, Sinclair secured the establishment of the Royal board of agriculture, and was appointed its first president in 1793. Washington's correspondence with Sir John Sinclair shows that he had the benefit of all the information to be obtained from the father of the British board of agriculture. Agricultural societies naturally led to the establishment of fairs and exhibitions. A member of the Massachusetts society suggested first in 1801 that agricultural fairs should be held regularly at Cambridge spring and fall, and premiums be given for farm products. No action appears, however, to have been taken with regard to this suggestion. Dr. Thornton, the first commissioner of patents at Washington, suggested in 1804 that the sale of agricultural products and of cattle would be promoted by the holding of fairs on market days, as in England. As a result of this suggestion we learn from the “National Intelligencer” of that year that fairs were held “in the mall on the south side of the Tiber.” The first fair proved such a success that the citizens raised an appropriation of $50 for premiums for the next one, which was held in April, 1805. The third fair, held in November, 1805, appears to have been the last. Governor Edward Winslow, of Massachusetts, is said to have brought to Plymouth, in the ship Charity, in 1694, “the first neat cattle that came into New England.” It was appropriate that his descendant, Elkanah Watson, of Plymouth, should import the first pair of Spanish Merino sheep into Massachusetts, and should then give notice of an exhibition of them at Pittsfield. This small exhibit led to a larger enterprise and the establishment of stock shows in America. An invitation was published by Watson and some twenty other persons calling an exhibition of stock at the same place on the first of October. This cattle show was so successful that it became a permanent institution in Massachusetts. A number of public spirited citizens of Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia had in the meantime formed, in 1809, the Columbian agricultural society, which was for many years actively engaged in the work of educating the farmer through the agency of fairs. From these beginnings agricultural societies have spread all over our country, and agricultural fairs have become a potent agency for the dissemination of valuable information with regard to new crops, implements, stock and improvement in agriculture generally. Nearly all of the states now have either boards of agriculture or commissioners or secretaries of agriculture in charge of the farming interests. Their work varies, but usually includes the collection of agricultural statistics, the preparation of weather and crop reports and the oversight of the stock interests, and frequently also the inspection and analysis of fertilizers and mixed cattle feeds, the testing and examination of dairy and other food products. Some of the state boards conduct the agricultural colleges, hold fairs, give premiums for fine stock and hold farmers' institutes. The boards, commissioners and societies all publish reports and bulletins and many of them accomplish a great deal of admirable educational work. The Patrons of husbandry (Grange) and National farmers' alliance are organizations with many subordinate branches and local societies and have exerted great influence especially in educating the farmers and their families. The Farmers' national congress meets once a year for the discussion of questions of general interest. For the stock interests, we have in this country a national live stock association, five national dairy unions, and fifty-six state dairy associations. There are fourteen cattle breeders associations representing the interests of as many different important breeds, eighteen horse breeders associations, twenty-nine sheep breeders associations, seventeen associations of swine breeders, etc. Nearly all of the states protect their stock from diseases through the agency of sanitary boards or veterinarians under the direction of the state boards or commissioners. There is a national league for good roads that is doing much to educate public opinion. Ten states have forestry commissions or provide for forest protection and improvement in some way. There are besides eighteen forestry associations which are doing much educational work. Eleven national or interstate, and fifty-four state horticultural and kindred societies are at work. (For the names of these societies and the addresses of their officers, see the Yearbook of the United States department of agriculture for 1898.) THE RISE OF AGRICULTURAL SCHOOLS The origin and development of agricultural schools in America was a part of a general educational movement against the old classical college and in favor of scientific and technical education. Perhaps the demand for agricultural education was the first one to be heard; but it had its origin in the same causes which gave rise to the demand for the application of science to all the arts and professions in life. As the great universities of Europe grew out of monastic