Monday, March 18, 2013

ARATOR: new "how to" book just published 1813



Being a series of Agricultural essays; practical and political, in sixty-one numbers,
By a Citizen of Virginia.

For sale in the district [sic] of Columbia as follows:

                In Georgetown: -- at J[oseph]. Milligan's bookstore, High-street, at the Book-store and Lottery-office, Bridge street, and at the office of the Spirit of'75.

               In Washington -- at the book-stores of R. C. Weigh[]man, W. Cooper, D Rapine and A. & G. Way.

               In Alexandria - - at the bookstores of Robert Gray and James Kennedy.[1]

March 2 -- 1w[]e[]d3t[2]





I shall consider in a succession of short essays, the present state of agriculture in the United States, its oppressions and defects, and the remedies, political and domestic, which it nceds. It is confessed however, that the chief knowledge of the author, as to modes of agriculture is confined to the states of Maryland, Virginia and North-Carolina. And therefore, whilst his remarks in relation to its political state, will generally apply to the whole union* those in relation to these modes, will particularly apply to all states using slaves, or to the thrce enumerated states.

Mr. Strictland, an Englishman, reputed to be sensible and honest, published at London in the year 1801, a pamphlet upon the agriculture of the United States, being the result of his own observation, during a considerable period spent in travelling through the country, for the special purpose of investigating it.... The judgment of this impartial stranger appears in the following quotations.—Page 26 : " Land- in America affords little pleasure or profit, and appears in a progress of continually affording less."—P. 31: " Virginia is in a rapid decline."—P. 38 : " Land in New-York, formerly producing twenty bushels to the acre, now produces only ten,"—P. 41: " Little profit can be found in the present mode of agriculture of this country, and I apprehend it to be a fact that it affords a bare subsistence." P. 45 : " Virginia is the southern limit of my enquiries, because agriculture had there already arrived to its lowest state of degradation."—P. 49 : "The land owners in this state are, with a few exceptions, in low circumstances ; the inferior rank of them wretched in the extreme."—P. 52 ; " Decline has pervaded all the states."

These conclusions, if true, are awfully threatening to the liberty and prosperity of a country, whose hostage for both is agriculture. An order of men, earning a bare subsistence, in low circumstances, and whose inferior rank is wretched in the extreme, cannot possibly constitute a moral force, adequate to either object. It is therefore highly important to the agricultural class, to ascertain whether it is true, that agriculture is in a decline.—A decline terminates like every other progress, at the end of its tendency.

Upon reading the opinion of this disinterested foreigner, my impressions were, indignation, alarm, conviction; inspired successively, by a love for my country, a fear for its welfare, and a recollection of facts.

The terrible facts, that the strongest chord which vibrates on the heart of man, cannot tie our people to the natal spot, that they view it with horror, and flee from it to new climes with joy, determine our agricultural progress, to be a progress of emigration, and not of improvement; and lead to an ultimate recoil from this exhausted resource, to an exhausted country.[3]

[1] Daily National Intelligencer; Date: 03-18-1813; Volume: I; Issue: 66; Page: [1]; Location: Washington (DC), District of Columbia
[2] characters blurred; difficult to transcribe
[3] Taylor, John. Arator: being a series of agricultural essays, practical & political: in sixty-one numbers. 2nd edition. New York, New York: J. M. Carter, 1814.

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