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The Loneliness Of Farming Life In America

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Au American travelerin the Old Wo:Id notices, among tho multitude of things that ace new to his eye, tho gathcring of agricultural populations into villuges. lli' bas beea aecustauied in hisown country to seo thora distributed upon tlie farms they cultívate. The isolated farm life, so universal here, either does not exist at all in tho greuter part of continentat Europc, or it exists a a comparatiyely modern institution. The old populations, of all calhngs and professioiis, clustered together for solf-defejisü, md built. walls around themelves. Out from these walls, for milos around, went the tillen of the soil in the niorning, and back into tha gates they thronged at nigUt. Oottage-s wurt elustered around feudal castles, and grew iuto towns ; and 80 Europo for many conturies was cultivatod mainly by people who lired in villages and cities, inany of which wcro walled, and all of which possessed appointments of defense. Tho early geittere in our own country took the same nieans to dolend thc-mselves froiu the treacherons Ind;;vn. Tho towns of Hadley, fiatfield, R Sftld, and Decrtield, on tho Connecticut Hivor, are notable exanvples ot' thia kind of building ; an:l to this day thoy rernain Tillages of agriculturists. That this is tho way in which farmers ought to live vro have no question, aud we wish to say m few words about it. There is sonio roason for tho general disposition of Araeriean mon and women to shun pursuits which the observéis and philosophers have been stow to find. Wo seo young men rushing everywhere into trade, into mechanical pursuits, into the learnod professions, into insignificant elerkshil, into salariad positions of every sort that wilt take them into towns and support and hold thein thera Wc iind it impossible drive poor pcoplo from the cities with the threat of starvation, or tl cmx tlnin with the proinisu oí better pay md phoaper faro. Thero they stay, and starve, and gicken, and siuk. Young woinen rosort to the shops and faetones rather than take service in farmers' hooaeai where thoy aro reccived. as uiöuiboi'3 of the fainily ; and when thoy iitairy they seek an alliance, when practicable-, with meehanics and tradesmen who live in v, and larsro towns. The daughters of the fornier fly the farm at the first opportunity. Tho towns grow largc-r all the time, and, in New Elnglitnd at least, tho farms are becoming widor and longcr, ar.$ the farming jjojmlaiion aro diimnishod in nutnbers, anJ, in looalitios, degraded in qu:ility and chavaeter. it all coma to this, that isolated life hu-; -.t:Ty little &ign;fic:me to a social berng. The social life of the. village and the city lias intenso fascinntion to tho lonoly dwelluis on the fazfti, or to a groat atTfVtitude of thin. BSpeoially is this the case with tho young. The youlh of both sexes who have si-,:n nothiug of the world havo an overwheluiiug dí! to meel lito and to be araórig the multitxlde. They ieel their life to ba naiTow in itsopportunitics and its reward?, uivi tho pulsations of tho great social heart thal OOmcs to thom 111 rushing trains and passing ateatners and daily mjwspapers, damp with thO dews of a hundred brows, thrill thein with longingj for the places where tho rhythmic throb is feit and heari!. Thoy are not to be blamod fur th3. It is the most natural thing in tho world. If all of life were labor, - if tho great object of life wero tho scraping togother of a few dollars, more or less, - why, isolation without diversion would bo economy.and prdni ; bat so long as tho object. of life is life, and the best and pu rest ana liappiest that can como of it, all need'c.s isolation is a, crime agaïagt tltó ëSUl, iu that it is a surrender and sacrilice of noble opportunities. We are, therefore, not sorry tosoe farms growing largor, piovided those who woik tintín will get nearer togellier; and th;;t iswhatthey ought to do. Any farmer who plauts himself aiid his faiuUy alouo - lar ísoiii possible neighbors- talü" ajion hiiusolf a terrible responsibility. It is impossible that ho and his should bo woll aevelopéd thore. lic will be forsaken in his old age by the very ohildxen for whom he mado his great sacriüco. Thoy will fly to the towns for the social food and stimulus for which thoy are stturved. We never hear of a col on y siftling on a Western prairie withou & thrill of plcasurc. It is in colouiei that a-lk ought to settle, and in vilhtges rat'uer than on separate farms. The meeting, the lecture, thepuiuicaiuusement, the social assembly, should bo things ensily reachéd. There is no s.uah damper upou freo socinl lifo as distMiee. A long ruad is the suiest bsw to meighborly intorcourse. lf. the social lifo of the farmer wero rjijher. liis life would by that meaeiue ie the more attractive. Aftor all, there are farmers who will read this article with a sense of affront or injury, as if by doubting or disputing the sutnoicioy ot their social opportunities w insult them with a sort of contempt. To assuro them that thoy cannot afford to treat thoroughly sympathotic counsel in this way. We know that their wivos and daughters and sons are on our side, tyiarrel with us as they may; and the woiatóv and ahildxea are right. " The old I aT,""who rides to maiket and the postoiiice, and minglus more or less in business with the world, gots alóng tolertibly woll ; but it is the stayors at homo who guffcr. Instead of growing wiser and W '!"' grow old, thoy lose all tho grace of life iu unmeaning drudgeiry, and instoad of ripeuing iu mind and heart, they simyily dry up or decay. We aro ontirely satisficd that the great curse in farmiug life in Ainerica is its isohitJon. It. is ■usaless to. süy that men shun tho inrra be cause they aio lazy. The American is not a lazy man any where; but he is sooial, and he wili íly from a life that is not social to ono that is. If we aro to have a larger and botter population dovoted to agricultura, isolation must be llulBAed an p)e policy of settlei.fiji h.i, aiicr must be eontrolled or greatly Kiodifled by social consirterations.


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Michigan Argus