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and he was appointed by the President the first Secretary of Agriculture. On his retirement from the office Mr. Colman received from the President of the Republic of France, through its minister of agriculture, the Cross of “Officier du Merite Agricole,” accompanied by a gold medal and the decoration of the order.
Office of Experiment Stations.—Mr. Colman took a deep interest in the plan being pushed at this time by Representative Hatch for the establishment of agricultural experiment stations in all the States. He called a meeting of the leading men of the agricultural colleges and existing experiment stations, at which the need of Federal aid for experiments and a central office in the Department with advisory duties was made prominent. In accordance with the opinions expressed at this convention the Hatch bill, which became a law in 1887, made it a part of the duty of the Commissioner of Agriculture "to furnish forms for the tabulation of results of investigations or experiments; to indicate, from time to time, such lines of inquiry as to him shall seem most important; and, in general, to furnish such advice and assistance as will best promote the purposes of this act.” For this purpose an office was established, known in the Department as the Office of Experiment Stations, under a chief who is styled director. The publication of a periodical, such as the present Experiment Station Record, was recommended.
New divisions established.—The Division of Pomology and the Division of Ornithology and Mammalogy were established under Commissioner Colman. The latter was in response to a demand for an investigation of the damage done to crops and fruits by birds, especially the English sparrow and bobolink, or rice bird.
The section of vegetable pathology was formed in the Division of Botany. A station was established at Aurora, Ill., for the study of apiculture. The irrigation inquiries were continued and a report was made on what had already been done. The study of public highways was begun.
The question of reeling silk from the cocoons at a cost sufficiently low to permit competition with cheap foreign labor was taken up, and reeling rooms were established at New Orleans, La., Philadelphia, Pa., and Piedmont, Cal. These were discontinued after a year, and the work was carried on at Washington, D. C.
Commissioner Colman, in his reports, suggested the commercial cultivation of medicinal and similar plants, naming rhubarb, licorice, arnica, belladona, digitalis, poppy, ginger, cinchona, vanilla, jalap, and sarsaparilla. He called attention to the possibilities of agriculture in Alaska, the rapid inroad upon the forests for supplying railroad ties, and the planting of trees in the plains.
Scientific discoveries.—The sale of counterfeit butter was arousing the interest of farmers, and prosecutions under the law forbidding it were in progress. Doctor Taylor, the Department microscopist, reported the discovery of characteristic differences between the crystals of lard, beef fat, and butter, as seen under the glass. This discovery was recognized in a report of the American Association of Microscopists as a valuable factor in the determination of the genuineness of butter offered for sale. The application of scientific methods to sugar mak
ing was successfully carried out, the diffusion process was tried in · making sugar from cane, and a resultant increase in the yield of 40 pounds of sugar to the ton of cane was reported.
War on contagious diseases.—The Bureau of Animal Industry lacked State cooperation in exterminating contagious diseases, because the whole burden of destroying infected animals was thrown upon the State. In 1887 legislation was secured remedying this defect in the law and appropriating $500,000 for the Bureau, with a provision that any part of the money might be used to pay for animals it was found necessary to kill. Good progress was at once made in stamping out pleuro-pneumonia. Within the first year 35,451 herds, over 300,000 head, were inspected, and 8,139 animals were slaughtered and paid for. The total expenditures of the Bureau for 1888 were $499,975.32, against $99,985.56 in 1887.
THE DEPARTMENT RAISED TO THE FIRST RANK. On February 9, 1889, the Department was raised to the first rank in the executive branch of the Government. This was largely due to the efforts of the National Grange, an organization founded in 1868 by gentlemen connected with or specially interested in the Department.
At the meeting of the National Grange in Chicago, in 1876, resolutions were passed asking the recognition of the work as of equal importance with any branch of the service. In part these resolutions were as follows:
Whereas the agricultural masses compose one-half of the population of the free States of America upon whom ultimately rest the taxes which sustain the Government. * * *
Resolved, That American agriculturists demand that they shall be recognized as a real factor in the Government by the establishment of a bureau of agriculture, to be presided over by a Cabinet officer, who shall organize the same upon a plan to be devised by the wisdom of Congress, which shall embrace to the fullest the agricultural interests of 20,000,000 of people. * * *
The resolutions were passed on November 25, when the result of the Presidential election of that year was still in doubt. All members of the organization pledged themselves in support of the movement, irrespective of political affiliations.
The work of the Department was at this time treated slightingly by many Congressmen, and was considered merely as a means to reach
a See page 58 for text of law.
many constituents with small favors by the distribution of seeds and books. The clerkships and other positions in the Department were regarded as patronage to be given to political adherents, with little regard for fitness. So notorious was this condition that the Grange leaders at one time serioụsly discussed the propriety of asking that the Department be abolished entirely.
But Commissioner Le Duc, when appointed by President Hayes, took up the duties with such earnestness and vigor that the Grange rallied to his support. Congressmen were impressed with the seriousness of the work for which the Commissioner asked appropriations, and at the close of his term the supply of money was made more liberal.
The demand that the head of the Department be given a place at the President's council table was pressed persistently by the National Grange, and was finally taken up by the Farmers' Congress and other influential bodies and by so many persons interested in public affairs that public opinion became fixed in favor of the change, and it was made.
The office of Commissioner having been abolished, Mr. Colman was appointed Secretary, and held the position a little less than a month.
SECRETARY RUSK'S ADMINISTRATION.
Hon. Jeremiah M, Rusk was selected by President Harrison as his Secretary of Agriculture and took control on March 7, 1889. The sketch of his life in the Congressional Directory of that year says: “General Rusk was born in Morgan County, Ohio, in 1830. He was educated in the common schools of the neighborhood, which he attended winters, working on the farm in summer. He continued to reside on the farm until his removal to Wisconsin in 1853, since which time—with the exception of a short time—he has been engaged in farming. He held several county offices in Wisconsin; was a member of the legislature of that State in 1862; was commissioned major of the Twenty-fifth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry in July, 1862, and was soon after promoted to the colonelcy. He served with General Sherman from the siege of Vicksburg till mustered out at the close of the war, and was brevetted brigadier-general for bravery at the battle of Salkehatchie. He was elected bank comptroller of the State of Wisconsin in the year 1866, and reelected in 1868; was elected to the Forty-second, Forty-third, and Forty-fourth Congresses, and was chairman of the Committee on Invalid Pensions in the Forty-third Congress. He was a member of the Republican Congressional Committee for several years, and was a delegate to the National Republican Convention in 1880. He was appointed by President Garfield and confirmed by the Senate as minister to Paraguay and Uruguay, which appointment he declined and was also tendered by President
Garfield a mission to Denmark and the position of Chief of the Bureau of Printing and Engraving, both of which he declined. He was elected governor of Wisconsin in 1881, reelected in 1884, and reelected for a third term in 1886. He was appointed Secretary of Agriculture on March 4, 1889."
In reorganizing the Department Secretary Rusk divided the work into two main classes: Executive, under the immediate charge of the Secretary; and scientific, under the Assistant Secretary, Mr. Willits, that office having been just then created.
Edwin Willits was born at Otto, Cattaraugus County, N. Y., on April 24, 1830. His family removed to Michigan in 1836, and there he grew up and received his education in the public schools. He graduated from the State university at Ann Arbor in 1855, and returning to his home at Monroe took up the study of law. He was admitted to the bar in 1857 and immediately began practice. While studying law he was editor of the Monroe Commercial, and continued that work till 1861. He was county prosecuting attorney in 1860–62, a member of the State board of education from 1860 to 1872, and postmaster at Monroe from 1863 to 1866. Another important public service was as member of the commission to revise the State constitution in 1873. He was
JEREMIAH M. RUSK, the Representative in Congress
Secretary of Agriculture. from the Monroe district in the Forty-fifth, Forty-sixth, and Forty-seventh Congresses. He became president of the Michigan Agricultural College in 1885, and entered upon the duties of that office upon the close of his third term in Congress. From this work he was called by President Harrison to be the first Assistant Secretary of the Department. After he retired from office in 1893 he was engaged in literary work in Washington till his death in 1896.
First of the Farmers' Bulletins.—Mr. Rusk urged the necessity of placing the information gathered by the Department more generally in the possession of farmers and established the Division of Records and Editing, now the Division of Publications, under Mr. George William Hill, its present chief, to edit and supervise publications and administer the printing fund. He recommended the publication of the Farmers' Bulletins' which have since become so popular. The
work to be done in these he summarized as follows: Frequent public cation of the results of scientific work and the circulation of the information among practical farmers, insuring its direct application to actual farming operations. He insisted that the language employed in the bulletins should be intelligible to farmers generally. In addition he planned the publication by press associations, newspapers, and agricultural periodicals of advance reports of the important conclusions reached by experiment and research. In this way he believed the great majority of the farmers of the country would be promptly reached. The demand for Farmers' Bulletins grew rapidly from the start. Several have run over 700,000 in their distribution, and one has exceeded 1,000,000.
Investigation of foreign markets.—Mr. Rusk began the systematic investigation of foreign markets for American products, procured a special appropriation for the purpose, and for some years a special agent was maintained in Europe. This gentleman, Col. Charles J. Murphy, gave particular attention to the introduction of corn meal for bread among the people of Europe and in the armies of the Continent.
Pleuro-pneumonia eradicated.—The Bureau of Animal Industry grew steadily. Complaints were made by foreign Governments that American meats came very frequently from diseased animals. Restrictions were put upon their importation and in some cases absolute prohibition was enforced. The meat was generally subjected to Government inspection on its arrival in Europe, and as there was no inspection on this side no reply could be made to assertions that it was diseased. Secretary Rusk obtained authority to make inspections and money to pay for them. Soon after this system of inspection was fully in operation the prohibition against American pork in Germany was withdrawn. The number of animals inspected in 1892 was 5,076,929. The total expenses of the bureau were increased from $469,113.35 to $649,980.91. The bureau was reorganized at this time and its work assigned to subdivisions as follows: Animal pathology, field investigations and miscellaneous work, and quarantine. The fight against infectious diseases was energetically pushed, and on September 26, 1892, Secretary Rusk announced that the country was entirely free from contagious pleuro-pneumonia.
Inspection of American cattle in England. In 1890 inspection of American cattle by American inspectors stationed in Great Britain was inaugurated. This was necessary in order to check reports of disease in cattle arriving in that country from the United States. With the aid of Minister Robert Lincoln arrangements were made to have all cases of disease examined by American as well as English veterinarians. This led to animated discussions between the two sets of inspectors as to the nature of the malady discovered. Many cases