Encouragement to agriculture.
We have lately remarked that the rapid exhaustion of the soil in some sections of the United States
will soon require the serious and organised action of our agricultural classes, and probably the protection of the government.
Indeed, in the absence of any such course, we think it is the duty of the government to foster the agriculture interests, which are the interests of the mass of the American
The ancient Egyptians
, Assyrians, Persians, Phænicians, Jews, Chinese
and the inhabitants of ancient India
, became great and prosperous by bringing the power of government and religion in aid of individual industry in cultivating the earth.
All the modern governments of Europe
have adopted and are now practicing upon this ancient principle of national improvement.
Is it not astonishing that the National
and State governments of this free, agricultural country, are the only ones in the world that give no direct assistance to agriculture?
This is the more remarkable when we consider the following words from the last message of President Washington
"It will not be doubted 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 which have been 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 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 enterprise and experiment, and by drawing to a common centre 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."
Whilst the laws of Congress for 1789 to 1836 are overflowing with provisions for the protection of manufactures; whilst from 1816 to this time, we have expended for repairs, increase and support of the navy, which is established for the protection of commerce, nearly one hundred and fifty millions of dollars, there has never been one dollar appropriated for the direct encouragement of agriculture, which is the business of nine-tenths of the American