This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
Communications, Letters, Catalogues, Periodicals, etc, etc, intended for the perusal of the Editor, should be uniformly directed to the Horticulturist, Germantown, (Philadelphia,) Pa. Packages by Express, etc, should be directed to the Editor, as above, by name; they will thus reach him almost beyond a doubt.
The Annual Fairs are now over, and we may fairly assume that an amount of information has been disseminated, a knowledge of real things acquired, which will tell favorably on the future. These useful fairs take the place in this country occupied by the celebration of Saints' days and holy-days abroad, where there is little actually .learned and much time lost. The farmers' sous and daughters here go on very different kinds of expeditions for their amusement from those of any other country; they go to learn, to acquire something useful, and to prepare themselves to be help-mates to their families; how eminently they are so, let those travellers say who have seen the women of the old countries and those of the United States; the one reading about everything, and knowing everything; the other scarcely aware that there is any country or any novelty beyond the ken of her own vision.
These fairs, more conspicuously than any other event in our midst, are the surest signs of our progress as a people; the enormous attendance of all classes, young and old, and their decorous conduct there, their intelligent countenances, their comfortable appearance, dress, deportment, their inquiries and suggestions, are truly a marvel when we contrast it with the ignorance and imbecility of the continental laborer, and his uneducated family. It will no longer do to call the farmer a clown; he has been to the best practical school, and is fully prepared to appreciate every improvement in mechanics, in machinery, in ploughing, or in domestic economy; he soon finds out which is best among the sewing, as well as the harvesting machines; he has, too, an eye to the ornamental, and is just ready to decide on the best form of the piano for his daughters. The Fine Arts' tent is one of the most frequented spots of even the farthest western fair, and here are laid the precious seeds of an appreciation of the true forms of beauty, to be employed in judging the best books, the best furniture and the best fabrics. Progress is the word everywhere, and the American advances with comet speed.
Long may the Annual Fairs form a feature of American life, as contrasted with other European gala-days. We ask no Pope to bless our horses and mules; we feed them and set them to work. No painted and bedizened saint or madonna is paraded to avert a drought - we underdrain and stir the ground; the silks of the wax statues abroad we place upon our daughters; we dig and delve not as slaves to old opinions and routine, but as intelligent learners; our youth come from school full of hope, each one aiming to make his mark; and what do we see everywhere, but industry leading, intelligence teaching, mind predominating, and thousands upon thousands preparing or prepared to give laws to the old world, to beat them at mowing, ploughing, sailing, and even at chess! Where, but at the Annual Fair is all this spirit of advance so forcibly exhibited?