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.
Island, and carrying it through its first season in such a brilliant manner; may their successors emulate their spirit, though for the success of the Society, we trust that no change will take place in the management, until their excellent plans are accomplished.- Staten Islander
The Trustees of the University or Albany, convinced of the vast importance which they should attach to the subject of improvement in Agriculture, have made this an object of special attention in their first steps toward the organization of a complete Scientific School.
Nearly all of our more intelligent farmers are now sensible that their profession is one which should be studied; that it is a profession in which the specially educated man occupies the same position of advantage that he does in every other pursuit of life. The old cries of opposition to all theories, and of condemnation against all books, are now fast yielding to an eager desire for instruction, and to at least a partial belief in the efficacy of science. Indeed some formers go much farther than this, in expecting results that are at present certainly not within the range of possibility, and that there is little reason to suppose will ever be realized.
Instruction then is needed to supply what is called for by one class, to confirm the still doubtful minds of another, and to sweep away the too extravagant expectations of a third. It is also needed to enlighten the minds of a class, still it is to be feared exceedingly numerous, who look upon all progress with incredulity and suspicion, and who frown indignantly upon the idea that any one can impart new light to them in the way of their own business. Under the in-fluence and the practice of such men as these, a great portion of our land is now deteriorating under cultivation, and will continue to deteriorate, until it reaches at last the condition of certain tracts in some of our older States, where the crop does little more than return the seed sown. Every year of the system now pursued by vast numbers of our farmers, increases by an immense amount, the labor and the expense that will be necessary in restoring the land again to a proper state of fertility.
That this evil is felt, that it is endured with impatience, is attested by the great numbers of active and influential societies for the improvement of Agriculture, in so many parts of the country; by the increasing patronage extended to agricultural books and periodicals: by agricultural surveys past or in progress; ana by the numerous efforts toward the establishment of schools where scientific agriculture shall be the end and aim of study.
The reasons which operate so strongly in recommending Albany as the proper place for the location of a great Scientific School, tell with redoubled force when the organization of the Agricultural department is considered. The capital of the greatest, most wealthy, and most powerful State of the Union; a State, too, more fully alive than any other to the cause of Agricultural improvement; the nucleus of the most powerful and influential Agricultural Society Of the Union, a society whose annual shows bring together a greater concourse than those of any similar society in the world; the most desirable and accessible position with regard to the New England States, and on the great lines of communication north, south, and west, it presents a combination of advantages that may be properly called unequalled.
In view of such arguments as these, in view of the often expressed desire of the people of this State for at least the commencement of an institution which should have some special reference to the wants of its farming population, the Trustees have decided to go as far during the present season, as their means and the short time available for organization will allow.
They, therefore, announce a course of lectures by Prof. John P. Norton, now for some years in charge of the Department of Scientific Agriculture in Tale College. Prof. Norton will commence his course in the first week of January, and continue it during the ensuing three months. This course is designed especially for the practical man, and the subjects are intended to be presented in such a manner as to be perfectly intelligible to those who have never before attended to such studies. A complete and detailed outline of the general connections between science and practice will be given, and will be fully illustrated by experiments.
The substances of which the soil, the plant, and the animal consist, will be shown and their properties described. The soil will call attention first, with regard to its composition in different localities, its resulting fertility or barrenness, the means of improving by drainage, the composition and effect of manures applied, and the most economical methods of fertilization.
To this will succeed the plant, with an account of its structure in various parts, its composition so far as our crops, common trees, and fruits, are concerned, with the various theories of rotation; in this part of the course the nutritive value of the different crops is dwelt upon at considerable length, and illustrated by very full tables.
To such statements a notice of the animal economy will naturally succeed, prefaced, how-ever, by two or three lectures on butter and cheese, giving the most authentic theoretical and practical information on all points connected upon the mind of the hearer. Recitations and conversational meetings will be held in connection with the lectures, for such as choose to attend them.
Prof. James Hall, of the N. Y. State Geological Survey, will lecture at the same time on Geology, and so much of Mineralogy as is necessary to the comprehension of his subject. This course will have especial reference to the bearings of Geology and Mineralogy upon agriculture, and other economical interests. The practical advantages of the connection of geological with agricultural science, will be briefly pointed out in the course by Prof. Norton; in this course these subjects will be more fully elucidated, and the student, aided by the State collection, and the very fine private one of Prof. Hall, will have an opportunity of obtaining such knowledge as will be of much value in after life, whatever may be his profession, and will besides be productive of infinite pleasure, as he may have occasion to visit various sections of of our country. Geological and mineralogical information, when possessed, is always called into frequent action, and gives its possessor weight and influence in any community.
A course on Entomology, with special reference to the injurious or beneficial action of insects on vegetation, may also be expected. This course will be by Dr. Henry Goadey, formerly of the Royal College of Surgeons, London. This gentleman will be able to illustrate his course by a collection of specimens altogether unrivalled, and exhibited to the class by means of the oxyhydrogen and the compound microscope. The advantages to be derived from such a course are entirely obvious, and have, moreover, been hitherto quite unattainable in this country.
Arrangements are in progress which will enable students to attend a course on Engineering and Surveying, a knowledge of which subjects would prove highly valuable and also remunerative to every practical fanner.
Prof. Cook,Principal of the Albany Academy, will deliver a course of lectures on Elementary Chemistry, to such students of this department as may desire it; the course to be both experimental and practical.
It would seem that any practical man must see the advantage of attendance upon such a course as has been dwelt upon in the foregoing portion of this circular. Science is brought forward and inculcated, not to supersede practice, but in its aid The information given is upon points which are really of vital importance, a knowledge of which ought to be looked upon as absolutelv essential to every farmer. These also bent on improvement, and has also unlimited access to books; he learns to think for himself - to see that a practice is not necessarily right because it is old; he becomes favorably disposed to the adoption of every useful improvement, and the whole circle of his ideas and intelligence is permanently enlarged; he makes his profession an interesting study, not a mere routine of hard work, and while better paid for exertion, as superior well directed knowledge always is, he takes a higher rank in society as a man understanding his own business better than those who have not enjoyed like opportunities.
It is intended to offer free tickets to the courses on Scientific and Practical Agriculture, on Geology and Mineralogy, on Entomology, and probably on Engineering, Anatomy ana Physiology, to two young men in each senatorial district of the State, the tickets to be at the disposal of the several Senators. The same privilege will be extended to each of the colleges in the State, the students to be selected by the faculty of each college from the graduating class of the previous year. It is hoped that this liberality may be continued in subsequent years, that in this way sixty-four young men may be annually aided and sent out to all parts of the State, to disseminate the valuable information which they have obtained. The tickets for the Agricultural lectures will be $10; for the Geological $10: for the Entomological course $6. All are payable in advance, but the student only attends such as he may select.
The price of board in respectable families varies from $2 to $2.50 per week, exclusive of washing. Two or more young men, by clubbing together, can hire a room respectably furnished, for the purpose of lodging and study, for fifty cents each per week, and can furnish themselves with food, fuel, light, and everything except washing, at a total expense of from $1,874 to $1.60 per week in winter.
For farther information apply either to Prof. James Hall, Albany, or to B. P. Johnson, Esq., Secretary of the N. Y. State Ag. Society, Albany.
Another circular, in pamphlet form, stating the general objects and plan of this University at length, will soon be issued, and can be had on application as above.
The first Flornl Exhibition of this Society took place at Burlington, Vt.. on the 20th of June. The exhibition room was worthy of a visit, for its great beauty. The fine arch at the entrance, covered with evergreens, interspersed with roses and other beautiful flowers; - the festoons suspended from pillar to pillar,and also along the walls of the room, with wreaths containing flowers; the beautiful devise ox Flora, at the farthest end, with her green flowing mantle, whit her skirt of variegated pinks, and the wreath of roses swinging from her hands, together with the initial letters of the name of the Society and the date of the day, all in beautiful form and in "sweetestgreen," mode a room dressed and decorated, such as we are certain is not often seen in New England.
The display of fruits and flowers, more than realized the anticipations of all.
Prof. Thompson exhibited some interesting specimens in Entomology in order to show "the enemies as well as the products of Horticulture." Among these specimens, were the Curculio, the Apple, Peach, and Locust Borer, in their various stages of existence, from the larva state to the perfect insect.