I have known in my life a good many farmers of enlarged means, whose sons, after receiving what is commonly called a liberal education, invariably deserted the farm and betook themselves to some other occupation, where they were furnished with constant exercise for the mental faculties. It was not always - not often, perhaps - ambitious views, or even the expectation of larger gains that induced them to desert the farm, but what it was may, perhaps, be best illustrated by drawing a picture of another former I once knew.

This man lived upon a small farm in the State of New York, by the industrious working of which he managed not only to earn a support, but also to lay aside a little as well for an unfortunate day, as to supply his family with intellectual enjoyment. His two sons had received some benefit from schools, but as a collegiate education was expensive, the father resolved to do what he could towards educating them in another mode. As his desire was that they should follow the same occupation with himself, it struck him as of primary importance that he should first interest them in that employment, and then fit them for it. Though it might be very well for them to spend years in acquiring a knowledge of the dead languages, he thought it still more important that they should become intimately acquainted with the various soils, and with the conditions necessary to the healthy growth of trees and crops; and as life is limited, and knowledge infinite, he thought it good policy that they should first devote their time to that which was of greatest practical value.

It would have done you good to witness the interest which his two boys took in the various phenomena of nature to which he directed their attention. No professional student was ever so much delighted with his books, and for the sufficient reason that no other volume ever presented such intellectual feasts as the great book of Nature unfolds. The unchangable laws of animal and vegetable life upon which every operation in agriculture is based, were daily exhibiting to them new and beautiful illustrations; and whether it was seed-time or harvest, summer or winter, any labor to which their time was devoted, had for them its peculiar interest.

To their surprise they found many things in an occupation six thousand years old, which were still the subject of experiment. The best time for planting trees, the soil, and conditions of soil suited to the different varieties, the best season for cutting timber with its durability in view, the best mode of preserving timber in the ground or out, and a thousand like things appeared still to be subjects of dispute, and though of prime importance, to be receiving little or no attention among their neighbors. The habits of the various insect enemies that destroyed their fruits and ravaged their fields, seemed little understood, and, in fact, these young men were frequently astonished at meeting with owners of large orchards who, though they could see their apples, peaches, and plums being daily destroyed by insects, were utterly unable to tell whether one or forty different species were the cause, and had never given a moment's attention to the habits of those insects, and to means for their destruction.

Even the various birds that filled the neighboring woods with their music seemed little known, and some among the most useful of them all, who divided their time between singing and the destruction of noxious insects, were subjects of baseless and ridiculous suspicions in the neighborhood, and were slaughtered without mercy on charges the falsity of which might, with a little investigation, have been demonstrated.

The study of these and of kindred subjects made their labors a constant recreation to them. The daily care of the farm was no longer a task to be performed with machine-like stolidity, while the mind was constantly wandering to other avocations, and indulging in longings for something of a more engrossing nature. The care of trees, of crops, and of domestic animals was a perpetual study, full of interest, and lacking the dullness that pervades the task of the "professional" student, because every day's growth was presenting to their view new phases for contemplation and thought. For the application of the sciences, of the rudiments of which they had made themselves masters, they had frequent occasion, and as their minds expanded with the multiform nature of their practical studies, a taste of general literature crept in to add to the pleasures of their home.

And thus these daily laborers became more thoroughly educated than they would have been by spending years at our higher institutions for public instruction. As that education was of a sound and practical nature, it made them respected everywhere, and their sentiments and opinions won attention in whatever circle they chanced to be. They never had occasion to blush for a want of information on subjects with which men in their calling should be familiar, and they never desired to change their occupation, because they could imagine no other so pleasant as that which made them familiar with the green fields and the graceful trees. I indeed believe that either of them took more pleasure in planting some choice tree, and seeing it grow, and blos-som, and bear fruit, than they would have taken in all the various "entertainments" which offer their attractions to the public in large cities.

I can not say that these young men were ambitious; yet, in this calling, they won for they selves credit, and accomplished more good than they would have been likely to at the bar or elsewhere. They were the means, in a great measure, of reforming the system of farming in their vicinity, and of impacting such information as added greatly to the productiveness of agricultural labor. They rooted out many old worthless fruits, and introduced in their stead such valuable varieties as their neighbors had never dreamed of before. They beautified their own home with trees, and flowers, and tasteful arrangement, and by so doing became the occasion of beautifying the homes of farmers all around them. By acquainting themselves with the habits of destructive insects, and devising means to prevent their ravages, by originating new and valuable fruits, and by improvements in agricultural implements, they became public benefactors in a wider sphere, and had the satisfaction of seeing the whole country in some degree the better for their labors. Though they never became rich, they were the masters of a competence, and their hospitable home and intelligent conversation attracted the most intellectual society for a large region about them.

And although such a thing as an agricultural publication had rarely been heard of in their vicinity when they were boys, scarcely a family is now without one, and I doubt not that the Horticulturist is at this time well appreciated and extensively taken in their neighborhood.

I have sometimes thought that if some other farmers I know were to bestow a little attention upon the career of these two young men, they might perceive at once the reason why so many among the most bright and enterprising of farmers' sons seek some other occupation, so soon as they are at liberty to do so. Where the mind is not interested, the hand disdains to labor. He who teaches his sons to work as he would teach the unreasoning ox to bear the yoke, must expect the restless mind to long for that activity elsewhere, which he neglects to incite in his own employment.