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hopeful market, and to whom, I doubt not, they may always look confidently for an occasional demand for some varieties of agricultural produce, it is an admitted fact that she can feed herself, as it is, in all ordinary seasons; and when she shall have brought all her reserve land into cultivation, and reclaimed all her swamps and bogs and marshes, and established a better state of things for poor Ireland, and applied the modern modes of systematic, scientific culture to the whole soil of the United Kingdom, she may defy the farmers of the world. The whole notion of John Bull's submitting to be fed or foddered at our rack, and out of our manger, is as visionary as that of Brother Jonathan's putting his neck back again under the old British yoke.
Nature herself, indeed, presents an obstacle which settles the question for ever. It has been calculated by the late lamented Mr. Porter, in his “ Progress of the British Nation” (a work of standard authority), that “to supply the United Kingdom with the simple article of wheat would call for the employment of more than twice the amount of shipping which now annually enters our ports;" and that “to bring to our shores every article of agricultural produce in the abundance we now enjoy, would probably give constant occupation to the mercantile navy of the whole world."
The sum of the whole matter is this: American agriculture must look at home for its great market. It must look to consumers upon its own soil and at its own doors for its only sufficient and its all-sufficient demand. The natural and rapid increase of population among ourselves, and from the native stock, will do something for it. The thronging multitudes of emigrants, who are landed daily on our shores, will do something for it. If we cannot carry over our corn to the hungry millions of Europe, we can bring the hungry millions of Europe over to take for themselves from our granaries. This is the necessary course of things; and it is to be recognized and provided for,- not resisted, not complained of, but regulated and accepted cheerfully, as our part and lot in the dispensation of Providence. Our colonial fathers and mothers were pilgrims and exiles; and though we may look for no second Mayflower, and no second Plymouth Rock, there are honest and heroic hearts beating beneath many a tattered
frock or weather-beaten jacket from the Emerald Isle or the German Empire, which demand and deserve our sympathy and succor; and it would be a dishonor to the memory of our fathers, if we, their civilized descendants, should be found holding out a less hospitable reception to the homeless exile of the present day, than they themselves received even from the poor untutored Indian, whom they were destined so sadly to displace and exterminate, when he cried to them, “Welcome, Englishmen!”
But something more than the increase of population, whether by multiplication at home or by immigration from abroad, is necessary for the relief and just remuneration of American agriculture. Indeed (as I have already suggested), if these throngs of emigrants, and if so many of the young men and women of our own stock, are to swarm over at once to our Western lands, and enter forthwith upon a life of agricultural production, they will only increase and aggravate the difficulties under which our farmers already labor. Instead of population gaining upon food, food will still go on gaining upon population; instead of mouths waiting for bread, we shall perpetuate the spectacle of bread waiting, and waiting in vain, for mouths.
In one word, there must be a division and distribution of labor in our country, to a much greater extent than exists at present, in order that agricultural industry may receive its just rewards. There must be more, and more numerous, separate classes of consumers, distinct from the producers, in order that food may command a fair price, and afford an adequate compensation and encouragement to the labor which is employed in raising it. Cheap food is a blessing not to be. spoken lightly of; but the laborer is worthy of his hire, and it can never be the policy of any country to have food so cheap that it shall not pay for the raising, that it shall not pay something more than the mere cost of the raising. It can never be the policy of a free republican country like ours, where the most important rights and duties of Government are enjoyed and exercised by all men alike and equally, and where intelligence, education, and individual independence are essential to the maintenance of our liberties, to reduce either the profits of land or the wages of labor to the standard of a bare subsistence.
Farming is never destined to be a means of fortune-making, and we may all thank Heaven that it is so. If millionnaires and capitalists and speculators could make their cent per cent per annum by growing corn, we should soon see our land bought up for permanent investment for hirelings to till; and our little independent proprietors, cultivating their own acres, would be no longer the stay and staff of our republican institutions and our republican principles. God grant that the day may never come, when this country shall be without an independent rural population, owning no lord or master this side of Heaven; maintaining, in all their purity and freshness, those rural manners and rural habits which are the very salt and saving grace of our social and our political system. God grant that the day may never come, when some American Goldsmith shall paint our rural villages deserted, our rural virtues leaving the land :
"E'en now, methinks, as pondering here I stand,
But the farmer ought to have something more than a mere living price for his products. He ought to be able to lay up something to send a son to college, or to set up a daughter in house-keeping, or to support his wife and himself, and keep the wolf from the door, when sickness or old age shall put a stop to their daily toil. The true protection of agriculture, and the true promotion of the welfare of the individual farmer, are to be found, and can only be found, in building up the manufacturing and mechanic arts of our country, in creating a diversified industry, and in establishing more proportionate relations between the various departments of human labor. When this shall be accomplished, there will be less need of Government intervention for encouraging agricultural science, and diffusing agricultural information. It will then cease to be recorded of our American agriculture, that " its two prominent features are its productiveness of crops, and its destructiveness of soil ;" for it is the one of these features which leads directly to the other. It is the over-production of our agriculture which causes so much of careless and destructive cultivation. It is the superabundance of our aggregate harvests which occasions the meagreness of so many of our individual harvests. Who cares to make his farm yield double its present crop, when there is so precarious a market for what it yields already? Who can style him a benefactor who makes two blades of grass grow where only one grew before, when the result of such a process must be to diminish the chances of remuneration to the laborer, and when doubling the product is so likely to divide an already inadequate price?
And now, my friends, I am not about to violate the political neutrality of this occasion, by inquiring how this diversified industry, which is so necessary to the prosperity of the farmer, and to the promotion of agriculture, is to be brought about; whether by protective tariffs, or judicious tariffs, or moderate specific duties, or reasonable discrimination, or by ad-valorems and free trade. This question, though it never ought to have been permitted to enter into party politics, has practically become so identified with them, that it must be left to other occasions. But the necessity of a greater distribution of labor to the prosperity of all concerned in labor, and the especial need which the American farmer feels, at this moment, of more persons engaged in other pursuits, who may become purchasers and consumers of his produce, and the danger that the American soil will receive serious and permanent detriment from the careless, hand-to-mouth cultivation, which such a state of things induces, these are no party topics. They are great truths, which all must admit, and which all ought to lay to heart.
There is a letter of Dr. Franklin's, written in London on the 22d of April, 1771, to Humphry Marshall, a Pennsylvania farmer, which contains as much practical wisdom as I ever remember to have found in the same compass in relation to the prosperity of the American farmer. It is as applicable now as when it was written ; and it ought to be printed in good legible type, and hung up in a frame in every farmer's house in the Union:
“ The colonies,” says he," that produce provisions, grow very fast. But, of the countries that take off those provisions, some
do not increase at all, as the European nations, and others, as the West-India Colonies, not in the same proportion. So that, though the demand at present may be sufficient, it cannot long continue so. Every manufacturer encouraged in our country makes part of a market for provisions within ourselves, and saves so much money to the country as must otherwise be exported to pay for the manufactures he supplies. Here in England," he adds, “it is well known and understood, that, wherever a manufacture is established which employs a number of hands, it raises the value of lands in the neighboring country all around it, partly by the greater demand near at hand for the produce of the land, and partly from the plenty of money drawn by the manufacturers to their part of the country. It seems, therefore, the interest of all our farmers and owners of lands to encourage our young manufactures in preference to foreign ones, imported among us from distant countries."
If these golden words of Franklin, which could find no better illustration the world over than here, in presence of those to whose lands and to whose crops yonder mills and furnaces and machine-shops have given a value so far beyond any which they could otherwise have commanded, — if these golden words of Franklin, I say, could be impressed upon the heart and mind of every farmer in our land, there would be less complaint that our Government had found time to do every thing for manufactures and the mechanic arts, and had done nothing for agriculture; and it would be seen and understood, that whatever had been done for any one of the great interests of American labor had been done for all; and that all were bound up together for a common weal or a common woe, incapable of separation or opposition. There is nothing indeed more evident, and nothing .more beautiful, than the harmony of all the great industrial interests in our Union. There may be jealousies and rivalries and oppositions between the farmers and the manufacturers and the merchants elsewhere, in the old, closely settled, and crowded populations of Europe; but there can be none reasonably, none rightfully, here. Nothing short of miraculous intervention, like that which watered the fleece of Gideon, while all the other fleeces were dry, can elevate one branch of industry, or one department