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.
We are glad to see and record such signs of daybreak - in the shape of a recognition of the low social state which we deplore, and a cry for reform - which now and then make themselves heard, here and there, in the country. Major Patrick - a gentleman whom we have not the pleasure of knowing, though we most cordially shake hands with him mentally, has delivered an address before the Jefferson county Agricultural Society, in the state of New-York, in which he has touched with no ordinary skill, upon this very topic. The two pictures which follow are as faithful as those of a Dutch master, and we hang them up here, conspicuously, in our columns, as being more worthy of study by our farmer's families, than any pictures that the Art Union will distribute this year, among all those that will be scattered from Maine to Missouri.
"An industrious pair, some twenty or thirty years ago, commenced the world with strong hands, stout hearts, robust health, and steady habits. By the blessing of Heaven their industry has been rewarded with plenty, and their labors have been crowned with success. The dense forest has given place to stately orchards of fruits, and fertile fields, and waving meadows, and verdant pastures, covered with evidences of worldly prosperity. The log cabin is gone, and in its stead a fair white house, two stories, and a wing with kitchen in the rear, flanked by barns, and cribs, and granaries, and dairy houses.
Bat take a nearer view. Ha! what means this mighty crop of unmown thistles bordering the road. For what market is that still mightier crop of pigweed, dock and nettles destined, that fills up the space they call the " garden?" And look at those wide, unsightly thickets of elm, and sumac, and briers, and choke-cherry, that mark the lines of every fence!
Approach the house, built in the road to be convmisnt, and save land! Two stones and a wing, and every blind shut close as a raiser's fist, without a tree, or shrub, or flower to break the air of barrenness and desolation around it. There it stands, white, glaring and ghastly as a pyramid of bones in the desert. Mount the unfrequented door stone, grown over with vile weeds, and knock till your knuckles are sore. It is a beautiful moonlight October evening; and as you stand upon that stone, a ringing laugh comes from the rear, and 'satisfies you that somebody lives there Pass now around to the rear: but hold your nose when you come within range of the piggery, and have a care that yon don't get swamped in the neighborhood of the sink spout. Enter the kitchen. Ha! here they are all alive, and here they live all together. The kitchen is the kitchen, the dining-room, the sitting-room, the room of all work. Here father sits with his hat on and in his shirt sleeves. Around him are his boys and hired men, some with hats and some with coats, and some with neither.
The boys are busy shelling corn for samp; the hired men are scraping whip stocks and whittling bow pins, throwing every now and then a sheep's eye and a jest at the girls, who, with their mother, are doing-up the house-work. The younger fry are building cob-houses, parching corn, and burning their fingers. Not a book is to be seen, though the winter school has commenced, and the master is going to board there. Privacy is a word of unknown meaning in that family; and if a son or daughter should borrow a book, it would be almost impossible to read it in that room; and on no occasion is the front house opened, except when " company come to spend the afternoon," or when things are brushed and dusted, and "set to rights".
Yet these are as honest, as worthy and kind-hearted people as you will find anywhere, and are studying oat some way of getting their younger children into a better position • than they themselves occupy. They are in easy circumstances, owe nothing, and have money loaned on bond and mortgage. After much consultation, a son is placed at school that he may be fitted to go into a store, or possibly an office, to study a profession; and a daughter is sent away to learn books, and manners, and gentility. On this son or daughter, or both, the hard earnings of years are lavished; and they are reared up in the belief that whatever smacks of the country, is vulgar - that the farmer is necessarily ill bred, and his calling ignoble.
Now, will any one say that this picture is overdrawn? I think not. But let us see if there is not a ready way to change the whole expression and character of the picture, almost without cost or trouble. I would point out an easier, happier, and more economical way of educating those children, far more thoroughly, while at the same time the minds of the parents are expanded, and they are prepared to enjoy, in the society of their educated children, the fruits of their own early industry.
And first: let the front part of that house be thrown open, and the most convenient, agreeable, and pleasant room in it, be selected as the family room. Let its doors be ever open, and when the work of the kitchen is completed, let mothers and daughters be found there, with their appropriate work. Let it be the room where the family altar is erected, on which the father offers the morning and the evening sacrifice. Let it be consecrated to Neatness, and Purity, and Truth. Let no hat ever be seen in that room on the head of its owner, [unless he be a Quaker friend;] let no coatl ss individual be permitted to enter it. If father's head is bald, (and some there are in that predicament,) his daughter will be proud to see his temples covered by the neat and graceful silken cap that her own hands have fashioned for him. If the coat he wears by day is too heavy for the evening, calicoes are cheap, and so is cotton wadding. A few shillings placed in that daughter's hand, ensures him the most comfortable wrapper in the world; and if his boots are hard, and the nails cut mother's carpet, a bushel of wheat once in three years, will keep him in slippers of the easiest kind.