The great West has become a vast empire within itself, and among the varied items that go to make up its commerce, that of the "Seed Business" is deserving of notice. And yet, when we turn to the pages exhibiting our statistics of trade, how deficient is everything on this important head. For this omission, there was excuse, in the days of big wagons and four-horse teams, but in these times, when our receipts are mostly by railroads, canals, and rivers, the apology is fallacious and inexcusable.

The great West, from a position absolutely beneath the dignity of statistical research in the "Seed Business," say twenty years ago, has advanced in the commercial scale, to operations, amounting annually to over two millions of dollars!

Our rapid growth and prosperity offtimes quite make us forget our former selves, and hence I propose briefly to notice the things and men that have gone before, and also the present, pertaining to the "Seed Business" of the West.

There are many readers of the Horticulturist, no doubt, both east and west, who still remember the name of Mr. Parsons Gorham, who kept a small grocery store on the comer of Lower Market and Sycamore Streets, Cincinnati, and whose death occurred some eighteen years since. Some will doubtless recollect in this city, when that gentleman was almost the only person of whom a little clover and timothy-seed could be purchased after looking the town over. From the year 1827 to that of 1831, Mr. Gorham may be considered the pioneer in the Grass-Seed business. The amount of stock in trade, that is, of grass-seeds, at any one time, during Mr. Gorham's engagement in business, was, perhaps, fifty bushels!

* See Frontispiece.

Since that day, I have known, in the different varieties of grass-seeds, twenty thousand bushels to be the stock of one single house, besides a heavy distribution among numerous commission houses all over the city. Such is the contrast in twenty-five years I In those days the Kentucky farmer would sow his bushel of clover-seed, costing five dollars. Now he often sows fifty bushels, costing two hundred and fifty dollars. For the three years preceding that of 1831, from one to two thousand dollars was about the annual investment in grass-seeds, in Cincinnati. For the last three years to 1855 inclusive, as near as can be estimated, the annual investments are over half a million of dollars! The contrast is striking, but true.

In January, 1831, a new era dawned upon the "seed business of the west." Mr. S. C. Parkhurst, a clerk in the Seed and Agricultural Establishment of John B. Russell, Boston, without the prestige of a name or fortune, with a pocket more full of letters than money, entered the "Queen City," and essayed at once to open a seed store, in all its various branches, on this same Lower Market Street, and upon the same block with Mr. Parsons Gorham! Mr. Parkhurst originally contemplated only a moderate business in garden-seeds, Ac. But the field looked inviting, and, in true Yankee style, he commenced the issue of handbills, containing upon them the emblems of agriculture, such as the "Plough, the Shovel, and the Hoe." These were assiduously distributed among the market people. The whole country round about soon became acquainted with the fact, that there was a man in town, ready to buy and sell all the grass-seeds saved in this region. Besides, was also prepared to supply the same with garden-seeds and various kinds of implements. The New Haven courage of Mr. Gorham had to give way to the Boston enterprise of Mr. Parkhurst. In short, Mr. Gorham fell back dismayed - and for ten years Mr. Parkhurst had the entire field, and ran the race alone.

In 1832, Mr. Parkhurst's sale of clover and timothy-seeds was about 600 bushels. The graduating scale to 1841 we omit; but this year (1841) his sales amounted to 6,000 bushels.

At this period also, he had become a man of wealth, but his health declining he sold out the establishment to a couple of young men named Wooley and Dal-rymple. His mantle did not fall on the right shoulders, for their career was brief. They were clever men - but, from a want of knowledge in the business, their failure was inevitable. After eighteen months' possession, they relinquished again to Mr. Parkhurst.

In the interim, John F. Dair & Co., successors to Mr. Gorham, commenced dealing in grass-seeds quite extensively, in connection with the grocery business. The two houses were only half a block apart, and prosecuted operations on a grand scale. Competition soon sharpened up to the highest pitch. The strife was warm and exciting - but lasted little over a year, when Mr. Parkhurst concluded that profits had narrowed down rather close for him; in 1845, he made another sale to Ely & Campbell, and took leave of the "seed business," perhaps forever. His fortune had become ample, and it was not necessary that he should attend to details any longer! Still, he is not idle, which I will presently show. When Mr. Parkhurst left Boston, his circumstances were circumscribed to very 6mall means, but his employer, J. B. Russell, was rich. Mr. Parkhurst came out west, and Mr. Russell entered upon the publishing business, as Russell & Odiorne, in Boston, after making a handsome fortune in the seed business. Since then, in the capricious evolutions of fortune's wheel, Mr. Parkhurst has drawn the prizes, and Mr. Russell the blanks. One went down, the other up.

The latter gentleman came out west in 1844, in fortune quite broken down - and has, for many years since, been an attache of the Gazette office in this city, in which situation he has been subject to a good deal of intellectual drudgery. The former is a dealer in stocks "on the Ricdto," a director in two or three railroads, and one or two banks. Both adhere to the advice of Ulysses to Achilles. For, with both these gentlemen -

"--------to have done, is to hang

Quite out of fashion, like a rusty mail, In monumental mockery".

While it is breathing time of day, neither of them intends to die, or rust out.

Many persons of Mr. Russell's reverses of fortune would have put on the habiliments of heavy-laden care, or drowned their sorrows in dissipation. Not so with him. There always appeared to be a bountiful supply of sunshine about the heart that never failed to show itself in a genial glow, through his ever-beaming and benignant countenance. And of all the vices that ofttimes beset the path of both the fortunate and unfortunate, Mr. Russell has happily steered clear! But please excuse the digression, Mr. Editor, and you, Messieurs Parkhurst and Russell, excuse the too free use that I may have made of your names. I wished to trace the picture, for such is life!

The great bulk of receipts and sales of grass-seeds for Western consumption and Eastern export, are made at Cincinnati, Louisville, St. Louis, Chicago, Lafayette, etc. Of the Southern States, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and Maryland, are the principal consumers of clover-seed, for the fertilization of hard worked lands in hemp, tobacco, and cotton-growing districts. Of the Western States, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa are now the main producers of timothy-seed. Up to 1850, Cincinnati supplied nearly the entire West and Southwest with their grass-seeds, grown altogether in Ohio. Since that period, Illinois and Iowa have produced at least half the timothy-seed that has been consumed in this country. The productions of those States have annually increased in this article, and the time is not far distant when nearly all the timothy-seed saved in this region will be on the Western prairies. The surplus finds its way to New York or Eastern markets from, or through Chicago and Cincinnati. Of clover-teed it is quite different; nine-tenths of Western growth is saved in Ohio and Indiana; Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois consuming more than they produce.

As an item in this last-named commodity, Cincinnati has never ceased to be the great mart, and must continue to be for a long time to come.

A few years since, the sight of an agricultural implement here was a rarity - and the sales of such articles as straw-cutters, patent churns, horse-rakes, horsepowers and threshers, mowing and reaping-machines, Ac, were a meagre nothing. Now, it is not an uncommon thing to see a broad acre of ground, on our wharf, or at some of our depots, covered with them. Manufactures have sprung up all around us, and the whole country teems with implements. In Cincinnati there are four houses devoted entirely to the sale of grass-seeds, garden-seeds, and agricultural implements.

In Louisville, about the first attempt to open up a regular seed business was in 1844, by our very enterprising friend, A. G. Munn. About $20,000 worth of seeds- and agricultural tools were as much as could be sold that year. For the last three years his average sales are $100,000 per annum. There are now three large establishments for the sale of seeds and implements, and one factory, employing forty hands, and turning out a vast quantity of work every week. A safe estimate of the amounts sold annually, by all, would reach $350,000, exclusive of engine work, wagons, etc, or machinery for plantations.

In St. Louis, the revolution has been more complete than elsewhere - but want of space will prevent our giving the fact any notice of a statistical nature. Well do I remember when a few barrels of seed and a few implements served for the year's supply. Now, St. Louis sells more implements than any city west of the Alleghany Mountains. And soon, Chicago, perhaps, may be pressing hard upon her heels in the great strife of emulation. It is hard to predict where we shall land, for everything, since the introduction of railroads and telegraphs, seems to be transitory and fleeting. A city or town rises and falls, as it were, almost in a day. Trade from a certain source, which may have been the main prop and support of quite a commercial metropolis, passes off like dew under the potent influence of improvements. For the past three years, Cincinnati has been made to stagger under the influence of these diversions, and whether, when all things are completed, she is to be straightened up, or straightened out, time alone can determine.

The shifting scenes of trade, in consequence of railroad and other public improvements, is not so visible any where else as in the West. Trade is withdrawn from one place and attracted to another, with so much mysterious facility as not to be realized until the actual facts are staring us in the face. It is but a few years since, when the eye of prophecy saw the great destiny of New Orleans. As a commercial emporium, it was to have no rival on this continent. Already it had become the immediate outlet and inlet in transitu of one of the grandest trades in the world. Nobody thought, a few years since, of shipping to, or of receiving goods from New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore, etc, by any other route than by the way of New Orleans.

Now, how is the mighty fallen! Railroads have so changed the scene that New Orleans has become almost an obsolete phase in many commercial atmospheres!

The Seed Business Of The West #1

Illustrative, quite, of the very progress of which I Have just spoken. Out of their rapid distribution of seeds and tools, we shall, in time, see many good things.