An application having been made to your Representatives in Congress to vote a sum equal to five cents from each individual in the United States, or about a million Dollars of your resources, to the promotion of an improved system of "Terra-culture" as described in Senate, Document No. 23, of the third session of the 25th Congress, I hereby direct your attention to a few extracts taken from the applicant's preamble; copies of which were forwarded to each member of the 26th Congress, in session, November 30, 1839, by Russell Comstock-
From the Poughkeepsie Eagle, of January 25,1840.
To the Hon. Perry Smith, Chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Agriculture of the 25th Congress. " With the consent and by the advice on the 23d inst, of the chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Agriculture of the 25th Congress, I forward to each member of the 26th Congress the accompanying document dated the 14th inst; the object is to show you some of the proof that a discovery of vital importance to civilized man has been made, which in several letters from different members of the present and last Congress is valued at hundreds of millions of days' labour, and worth more than all the discoveries Of The Present Age Combined - The Application Of Steam
"For what purpose would all the owners of the public lands more freely or gratefully consent to give one hundreth part of those lands, or the proceeds thereof? Would they not be grateful to those members of Congress, who assist in giving the owners of the public domain the desired information, and reverence them as benefactors of human kind.
"For the honour of the Republic, for the honour of the age, and for the interest and comfort of the living, as well as the unborn, let not that discovery which may cause two seeds to ripen where one now does, which prevents the premature death of all cultivated trees, which has been searched for in vain during the history of all civilized society, die with the discoverer for want of the action of the United States Congress."
Our patriotic discoverer" claims the following five discoveries as his, besides other discoveries which are stated in his memorial to the 25th Congress:
1st. "That various diseases, universally supposed to be destructive to plants are only symptoms that a particular error in cultivation has been committed; and that many other injurious effects have been produced by the same error, which are attributed to other causes.
2d. "That the error is Universally committed, to a greater or less extent, throughout the States, and that he has seen an excess of it where-ever he has been, which is in the Atlantic States, from Georgia to Massachusetts, inclusive.
3d. "That the Peach and Nectarine are more easily injured by the error than most other Fruit trees, and the cause of their being more easily injured by it; and that this error causes them to be barren, or short-lived.
4th. "That the application of two known laws in nature demonstrate the reality of his discovery and its application to the whole vegetable king dom; and that by them, his discovery, (if publicly known,) must be per petuated, and his practice more easily introduced: and that by these two laws the occasional success of common remedies is explained.
5th. "That the said error is the obstacle which has discouraged experimenters, and lamentably retarded improvements in the scienee and practice of agriculture; and that he has discovered facts and made himself acquainted with knowledge sufficient to reduce them to practice."
We are farther informed, "that it is neither climate, nor soil, nor insects, nor worms, that, are the cause of many of the disastrous effects that have been attributed to them, but that those effects are produced by error in cultivation, which diseases the smallest plant or largest tree."
Our modest and patriotic fellow-citizen admits, in the course of his preamble, "that the practical part of his discovery is so extremely simple and economical, that it costs no more to prevent the diseases than it does to produce them; and that it is so different from the established theories and habits of the people, that unless a large amount be appropriated, many will be unwilling to try it, and therefore the public good seems to require that a large amount should be appropriated." He moreover asserts, that "there are two known laws in nature, by which the reality of his discovery, and its application to the whole vegetable kingdom, are demonstrable in less than thirty words."
That this invaluable secret, whatever it may be, is not strictly speaking a new discovery, is demonstrable by numerous living witnesses which have inhabited the fields of the old world for over a thousand years; and our discoverer freely admits, and in very emphatic language, that there are thousands of trees in our own country on which, what he terms "the common error" has never been committed; and also, that several of the fifteen gentlemen to whom he communicated his secret,"confidently for ever" have some such trees on their own domains.
Hear him - "The Senator from Missouri, (Mr. Linn,) said, that the most flourishing and healthy Peach tree in his possession had never had what I call the common error in cultivation committed upon it."
"The Senator from Pennsylvania, (Mr. McKean,) said, that he had long supposed that what I call the common error, was an error, but that he had no idea of such extensive evils arising from it."
"The Senator from Maryland, (Mr, Spence,) said, that in his district it was a universal custom to commit what I call the common error in cultivation) on the fruit trees, and that it was common to have no Plums perfect and free from worms, excepting on a few of his, on which the error had not been committed for twenty years, if ever; and those few (four) continued to bear abundantly annually; that he had no recollection of ever seeing an imperfect wormy Plum on either of these four trees, but that he had never supposed that to have been the cause of their perfection."