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A Farmer And His Sons

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I have knowii in my life a good many farmers of enlarged rneans, whose sous, after receiving what is comuionly callod a liberal eduoation, iavariably deserted the farm and betook themselves to some other oocupation where they wcre furnished with constant exercise for the meutal faculties. It was not always - not often, perhaps - ambitious views, or even the expectation of largor gains that indueed them to desert the farm, but what it was may, perhaps, be illustrated by drawing a picture of another farmer I once knew. This man lived upon a small farm in the State of New York, by the industrious working of whioh 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 Ilis two sons had reeeived somo benefit from echools, but as a collegiate edueation was expensive, the father resolved to do what he could toward cducating them in another 'mode. As his desire was that they should follow the same occupation with himself, it struck bim as of primary importance that he should first interest them in that omployment, and then fit them for it. Though it might be very well for them to spond years in acquiriug a knowledge of the dead languages, he thought it still more important that they should becomo intïmately acquainted with the various soils, and with the conditions neoessary to the ïcalthy growth of trees and crops ; and as life is limited, and knowledge infinite, ie thought it good policy that they should first devote their time to that which was of greatest practical valuc. It would have done you good to witness the interest which hia two boys took n the various phcnomena of nature to which he directed their attention. No Drofessional student was ever so much lelighted with his books, and for tho sufficient reason that no othcr volume ever aresented such intellectual feasts as tho I3ook of Nature unfolds, The unchangable laws of animal and vegetable life upon which every operation in agricul;ure is based, were daily exhibiting to them new and boautiful illustrations ; and whethor it was eoed time or harvest, sum mer or winter, any labor to which their time was devoted, bad for tbem its peculiar interest. To their surprise they found many things in occupation six thousand years old which were still the subject of experiment. The best time for planting trees, the soil, and eonditions of soil suited to the diíFerent varieties, the best mode of preserving timber in the grouud or out, and a thousand like things appeared still to be subjects of dispute, and thouch of prime importanco, to bc receiving little Dr no attention ainong their neighbors. - The habits of the various insect enemies that destroyed their fruit and ravaged their fields, seemed little 'jnderstood, and, in fact, these young men were frcquontly astonished at meeting with owners of large orchards who, though they could sec their apples, peaches. and plums being daily destroyed by inseots, were utterly uuable to teil whethor one or forty different species were the cause, and had never given a moment's attention to the habits of those inseets, and to moans 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 bctween singing and tho destruetion of noxious insects, were subjects of baseless and ridiculous suspicions in the neighborhood, and were slaughted without mercy on charges tho falsity of which might, with a littlo investigation, have been demonstrated. Tho 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 machinc-liko stolidity, while the mind was coustanly wandering to othcr avocations, and indulging in longing for something of a more eugrossing nature. - The care of trees, of crops, and of domestic animáis was a perpetual study, ful] of interest, and lacking the dullnoss that pervades the task of the " professional" student, because every day's growth was presenting to their view new phases for eontemplation and thought. For the application of the seieuces, of the rudiments of whieh they had made themsclvcs masters, they had frequent occasion and as their minds expanded with the raultiform nature of their practica studies, a taste of general literatura crept in to add to the pleasurea of thei home. I have sometimes tliouglit that if som farmers I know were to bestow a little at tention upon the career of these two youn0 men, they mightjperceive at once the rcaso why 60 many among the most bright anc enterprising of farmers' sons seek Bom other oceupatioH, so soon as thoy are a liberty to do so. Wliore the mind is no interestcd, the hand disduins to labor. - Ho who teaches bis sons to work as li would teach the unreasoning ox to bea the joke, rnust expect the restless nunc to long for that activity elsowbere which he neglects to incite in Lus o.wu ernploymeut, T. M. Cooley. t Tt is only the fooi who is pleased with himself; no wise man is good enough for his owa satisfaotioa.


Old News
Michigan Argus