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climate of Florida is especially favorable to these productions. The department has for some time past been collecting fruits of this description for the purpose of introducing them into the most favorable regions, and is in the possession of much information with regard to the climate, and its suitableness for these useful products.
Among the new and valuable plants” which the organic law of the department requires it to propagate, cultivate, and distribute among agriculturists, there may be included not merely those useful as food stuffs, or for industrial arts and manufactures, but also those which subserve the sanitary interests of the people. European governments, possessing intertropical colonies, have already taken the lead in the introduction and acclimatization of medicinal plants within their own limits. I would especially call attention to the necessity which has arisen within the last few years for the initiation of prompt measures by the government to obviate the results of the extinction of the cinchona Corests on the Andes, which is caused by the negligence of the governments of Peru, Ecuador, and more northern Andean states. The experiments of England, Holland, and other countries, have shown how readily new plantations of cinchona trees may be established in suitable localities, how rapidly the species becomes acclimated, and how early it yields satisfactory returns, and how easily such enterprises are popularized and rendered profitable. The supply of quinine has become a necessity of existence, not merely as a cure, but as a prophylactic agent. During the late war many thousand lives were saved by its use alone. In view of the approaching extinction of the cinchona species, (unless intelligent governments introduce the cultivation within their own territories,) I would earnestly recommend that an appropriation be made by congress to introduce it, and to propagate and establish a cinchona plantation under the care of this department. The attention of the public has already been called to this subject in the annual report for 1866, and the present is a fitting time for carrying into effect the plan there recommended..
THE STATISTICAL DIVISION.
The operations of the statistical division include the collection of the facts of agriculture in its widest range, from all the States and Territories of this country, and the gleaning of similar data, for purposes of comparison and instruction, from European records of experimental science, the transactions of societies, and official bulletins and publications. It involves the tabulation and systematic arrangement of this matter, and the publishing of condensations or deductions from it in a monthly report. The compilation, composition, revision, and publication of the annual volume is also intrusted to this division. The importance of this work will readily be acknowledged, and it is to be regretted that it has of late been cramped for means to carry out plans for its improvement and prompt issue. While the cost of publishing the last volume was about $160,000, the appropriation for its preparation, together with the matter for the monthly, the statistical data on file for reference, and all special statistical investigations whatever, was last year but $10,000. It is in no sense commensurate with the objects to be accomplished, and would inevitably fail of realizing any valuable results but for the untiring industry and perseverance of those engaged in the work.
The crop statistics of the present year indicate a more than average condition of agricultural prosperity. The wheat crop is somewhat larger than last year, the increase being about equal to that of the population, and may be estimated at not less than two hundred and twenty million bushels. The corn crop is much larger than last year, but may not be placed, on completion of the tabulation, at more than nine hundred million bushels. The cotton crop, although of slightly reduced acreage, would have been excessive but for the damage from army and boll worms, yet the result will exceed two million three hundred thousand bales. For details of crop reports, and numbers and condition of farm stock, reference is made to the report of the statistician.
THE CHEMICAL DIVISION. During the spring and early summer of this year, the laboratory has been engaged in analyses of samples which had been forwarded by correspondents from various parts of the United States. In great part these examinations were directly in the interest of farmers, or of those whose avocations are connected with agriculture. The variety of work has been similar to that of preceding years, embracing the examination of minerals, ores, earths, products from various manufactures, special investigations in technical branches of industry, and analyses of field products. The amount of work which flows in upon the laboratory is necessarily large, froin the great extent of territory whence it is derived, and the number of our correspondents. In former reports the numerous instances in which parties seek to use the laboratory to further private interests have been alluded to, and I take occasion to repeat with emphasis that the proper aims of an agricultural laboratory cannot be subserved under a practice which admits of a constant and desultory occupation of the time of the chemists. A large force of practical analysts, with copyists and clerks, would be required to dispose of all the scientific work which has thus accumulated under the former interpretation of the duties of this division. In the future the increase of this species of service will not be deemed advisable, for, although it yields much information which is beneficial to localities, it absorbs attention which might otherwise be devoted to work of more general utility. From the month of July to the present time, but little analytic work has been done, owing to the transfer of the laboratory from the Patent Office building, and the necessarily slow performance of the work of refitting.
In compliance with circulars from this office addressed to various State agricultural societies, requesting samples of average quality of the cereal crops of this year, for the purposes of chemical analysis to deter mine their relative richness in food elements, returns are being received. When the number is complete, so as to represent the production of the whole country, this extensive investigation will be undertaken, and will form the burden of the work of the laboratory for the coming year. It is by means of such experiments, which no individual society or insti. tution could successfully prosecute, that the department may be made most useful to the country,
The appropriation destined for the laboratory has been nearly expended in the general fitting up of the laboratory with new cases, shelving, tables, and in the renovation of the old work.
Through the courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution, the department has been enabled to purchase to advantage in Europe chemical apparatus and materials, which have been forwarded with care and have arrived in safety. The purchase was made in the most judicious manner, considering the sum which remained for use after the necessary expenditure in fitting up the cabinet, &c. The laboratory will be in a few weeks, when all shall have been put in place, in good working order, and well adapted for the general applications of chemistry to analytic purposes. As so much of the current appropriation has been expended on wood-work, the chemist has been unable to obtain all of the fine chemicals and chemico-physical apparatus which a government laboratory needs in order to be prepared for that variety and amount of general or special work to which such an institution should be devoted. It is proposed that the appropriation of the coming year be allocated to this purpose.
The necessity of connecting a chemical laboratory with the Department of Agriculture has been admitted; but it may be affirmed that the direction in which it should be employed is hardly yet appreciated. It is only by reviewing the work done in European laboratories, which are fostered by the several governments, that the right application of an agricultural laboratory is rendered apparent. That chemical science may be brought in more immediate connection with agricultural experiences, there should be established an experimental garden as a portion of the general farm, having for its special object the cultivation of plants or crops, under certain specified conditions, in which every element of growth may be under observation. It is by such co-operation of garden and laboratory that those researches of Payen, Boussingault, Ville, Hoffman, Corenwinder, and others, have been carried out; and I would therefore recommend that an appropriation be made for this purpose.
As an integral part of this dirision there has been commenced the formation of an economic mineralogical cabinet, which will serve not only to illustrate the relation of soils to the parent rock, but will also form the nucleus of an industrial collection, illustrating the lithological riches of the country which are available for architectural and other art purposes.
ENTOMOLOGY. The labors of the entomological division lave greatly increased during the past year. Letters of inquiry in regard to insects destructive to the crops have been far more numerous than formerly. The ravages of the cotton army-worm at the south, and of the potato-bug and locust at the west, have aroused the attention of farmers and cultivators generally, and excited an unusual degree of interest in the subject of practical entomology.
As lands are brought under cultivation, insects which formerly preyed upon indigenous weeds, finding cultivated plants more attractive and congenial food, have multiplied so rapidly as to alarm the farmer and stimulate inquiry into their habits and the means for their destruction. Letters on these subjects are daily received, many containing specimens of the insects either known or supposed to be injurious, with details of the damage done, the means used to prevent their depredations, and the success or failure attending them. This correspondence is filed as a record of the progress of entomology. All the insects thus received, if new or hitherto undescribed, have been figured by Professor Glover, and copies of the plates, twenty to thirty in number, have been added to the large collection in the museum, now comprising about one hundred and eighty plates, containing from twenty to fifty figures each. These insect illustrations, accompanied as they are by names and references to habits and means of destruction, form one of the most useful and instructive features of the museum of which they are a part.
THE MUSEUM In removing from the Patent Office to the new building of the department it was found that many of the specimens of natural history were so much injured by dampness and consequent mold as to be unfit for the uses of the collection; these were destroyed, and it will be necessary to replace them with new and better types. It is also deemed important to procure type specimens of pure-bred domestic fowls, and some of the smaller farm animals.
Now that adequate accommodations are furnished for the museum, it is hoped that greater interest will be shown by agricultural and horticultural societies of the different States, and that samples of grain, fruits, &c., will be more freely contributed than heretofore, so that each may be fully represented at the capital of our national government. It is designed as soon as possible to duplicate this collection, for the purpose of aiding the several States to establish museums of their own, in which the agriculture and natural history of the various sections may be correctly represented.
There are already collected about fifteen hundred samples of foreign cereals and vegetable seeds, which for want of room and proper conveniences have never been exhibited; and about the same quantity of native grains, seeds, &c., a portion of which were shown in the old rooms. It should be understood that this is not intended to be a mere collection of beautiful, unique, or curious specimens, but a cabinet of reference, where the merits of each group may be shown, together with their uses, habits, and adaptability to various sections of the country. It has been planned with a design entirely utilitarian by the entomologist and naturalist of the department, under whose special charge it is, and who has here created a substantial foundation for a great national agricultural and economic repository of useful knowledge. A glauce at what has already been done, and a consideration of the scope and bearings of the plan, cannot fail to recommend it to popular favor and insure its permanence as a most desirable adjunct of the department, worthy of the fostering care of the government.
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EXPERIMENTAL GARDEN. The distribution of plants from the garden during the past year em. braced thirty thousand plants. Many thousands of scions and cuttings of fruit trees have also been disseminated. Great care is taken to preserve the nomenclature, to guard against errors in the numerous varieties cultivated. The utility of the garden is not confined to the propa. gation and distribution of useful plants. The information derived from observation of their growth is of great benefit to the department in its correspondence. Questions relative to fruit trees, medical, and other useful plants, are daily considered, which could not be satisfactorily an. swered without the aid of the garden. The progress of horticulture bas never been so rapid in the country as it is at the present time; and the great increase of new fruits and plants demands vigilant attention and considerable means to maintain and complete the collection, since the knowledge derived from experiments with new varieties to be useful must be prompt.
It is necessary that the legitimate operations of the garden should be kept in view. It cannot be either useful or expedient for the department to propagate or disseminate plants indiscriminately, a supposition that seems prevalent, judging from its correspondence. Orders are received for almost every description of plant, entailing a vast amount of unnecessary correspondence, since all such orders are entirely out of place, and utterly beyond the means and inconsistent with the objects of the department.
DEPARTMENT GROUNDS AND ARBORETUM. The grounds connected with the new building are being rapidly im. proved. The adoption of a well-matured plan, before commencing active operations, has tended to facilitate the execution of the work at those points more immediately pressing. The roads and walks in close proximity to the building have been constructed as far as practicable with the time and means at command. A portion of the main road has been finished with a concrete surface, which has proved even more satisfactory than was anticipated. This road, while it is no more expensive than one of granite properly macadamized, has many and great advan