Imágenes de páginas

tages over one constructed in that mode. It at once presents a smooth, hard surface, which it constantly maintains, and its entire freedom from vegetation, such as mosses and other weeds, will be an annual saving ot many hundreds of dollars, with the additional advantage that there is no probability of any necessity for repairs.

The main feature of the plan is the arboretum. This it is proposed to make as perfect and complete in species and varieties as the climate will admit, and will prove of great benefit in the workings of the department. With a strictly botanical arrangement the idea of landscape effect is happily combined; and in designing the roads the ultimate connection of the contiguous reservation has been kept in view, admitting of a uniform style of improvement with the surrounding grounds in the highest order of landscape gardening. This, in addition to the intrinsic utilitarian value of the collection, cannot fail in giving great attraction to these grounds.

The department is constantly engaged in procuring specimens of rare plants for practical uses. The most important of these are collections of both hardy and exotic plants used in medicine, the fine arts, dyeing, and in manufactures. In the arboretum will be found all that are suf. ficiently hardy to stand unprotected in this climate; but the most valuable will require protection-some constantly, others only during the pro: gress of acclimatization. A commodious range of glass struetures should therefore be provided at once for these purposes. A design with detailed plans of suitable buildings is in course of preparation, and will be sub. mitted for consideration when completed.

CULTIVATION OF RURAL TASTE. While all these improvements will be highly utilitarian in their aim, the love of rural life is worthy of the most careful culture. In this connection it is proper to observe that one of the most certain means of encouraging a taste for rural pursuits, both in agriculture and horticulture, and of instilling a desire for the study of botany and vegetable physiology, is that of proper embellishment of school-house and college grounds. Surround these seats of learning with an extensive variety of trees and shrubs, with the name of each conspicuously attached, arranged with artistic discrimination, and the minds of students will necessarily be drawn to the study of the vegetable kingdom. To know how to plant and cultivate a tree should certainly be a knowledge possessed by every person, whatever his proposed profession or aim in life. This is obvious to every reflecting mind; yet there is a total want of this variety of external attractions in these institutions, for which there is no possible excuse.

DISTRIBUTION OF SEEDS. The seeds contracted for by my predecessor, (with the exception of the wheat, which was imported by myself,) under the very liberal appropri. ation of the past fiscal year, have been distributed extensively, and as judiciously as the nature of the case would admit. Among the thousands of applicants for these favors from every portion of the United States it has been difficult always to discriminate, but great care has been taken to place them in the hands of those appreciating most fully the object of the government in the appropriation, and their obligation to the depart. ment to make the most intelligent and careful test, to disseminate the product throughout the community in which they reside, and to report to the department the results of experiments. While many recipients give lit tle attention to the invariable request going forth with every package of seeds and plants, it is gratifying and encouraging to note the reports of many successful experiments, especially upon the staple cereal products. The result of a single importation of wheat has alone been worth more than an annual appropriation for the whole department.

Our floral wealth has been enriched by the introduction of new and rare varieties of seeds and plants. Much attention has also been given to the extension of our knowledge of pharmaceutical plants, and their adaptation and acclimatization in various portions of our widely extended domain. The same may be said of the fiber-producing plants. The cul. tivation of the citrus family, and other sub-tropical productions, and their introduction into Florida and other portions of our country favor. able to their growth, has received earnest attention.

From every portion of the globe seeds and plants, and information as to their culture, have been successfully obtained, and the results promul. gated through the annual and monthly reports. The care bestowed upon this work, in reforming the former pernicious system has been onerous and difficult, but I trust will ultimately be properly appreciated even by those whose individual interests may have been affected, and approved by enlightened agriculturists of the country as one more worthy of the nation.

Every day's experience develops the importance of a more liberal appropriation for this particular branch than was given it for the present fiscal year, which was less than a third of the appropriation of the previous year. New objects in this connection have been developed demanding special attention. The arrangements for an extended exchange with foreign countries of our valuable cereal and forest tree seeds properly come under this head, and will draw heavily upon this limited appropriation; but it is viewed as one of paramount importance, and destined to add greatly to our national wealth.

The economy of a judicious distribution of seeds by the national gov. ernment is scarcely understood or appreciated. An illustration or two will prove suggestive in investigating its benefits. At a low estimate our wheat yield is reduced six bushels per acre by cultivation of new lands for ten years. If one bushel per acre only is accredited to seed deterioration that might be remedied by a proper wheat distribution, the aggregate will be eighteen million bushels, worth $30,000,000. Oats degenerate more rapidly than wheat, and it is perfectly practicable to increase the value of the crop ten per centum by change of seed, and this

increase should at least be equivalent to $15,000,000. And so the bene. fit might be aggregated till it represented more millions than the seed distribution of this department has ever cost in thousands in any year of its existence. If nine-tenths of the seed distributed are sheer waste, and a single tenth is judiciously used, the advantage to the country may be tenfold greater than the annual appropriations for agriculture. This is fully shown by the records of the department.

The following statement exhibits the disposition made of the seeds under the appropriation from the 1st December, 1867, to 1st December, 1868: · Total number of packages and papers distributed, 592,398, which includes 32,127 sacks of winter wheat imported by the present Commis sioner, as follows: To members of Congress, 223,672; to agricultural and horticultural societies, 98,861; to statistical correspondents, 86,391; to individuals on applications, 183,474; total, 592,398.

FINANCIAL. In presenting for your consideration the financial condition of the department, it is gratifying to have it in my power to state that the expenditures under each appropriation have come within the sums appropriated.

There has been expended since December 4, 1867—the date of my entry upon the duties of Commissioner-$217,400, leaving a balance unexpended of $103,600 for the remainder of the fiscal year ending June 30, 1869.

The report of Mr. Oluss, the architect employed to superintend the erection of the building, and the necessary fitting and furnishing, shows the completion of the whole in a substantial and workmanlike manner, embracing the laboratory with its new and complete chemical apparatus, and the museum with its convenient and tasteful arrangement of cases, and the library, at a total cost of about $140,000.

The balances under each head are deemed sufficient to meet all future. demands of the present fiscal year.

In view of the completion of the building in all its internal arrangements, the sphere for the operations of the department has been materially enlarged, and it is now prepared to assume its proper rank as the representative department of a largely predominating class.

The work of each division, with its modus operandi, has been outlined in this report, and new ideas suggested by the working of the department have been advanced for your consideration as worthy the encouragement of Congress as a part of the whole system, and in fact indispensable to its successful operation. My estimates for the next fiscal year are based upon these important measures for the enlargement and diverşification of the industrial interests of the country, and I trust they may be met in a liberal and justly appreciative spirit.

HORACE CAPRON, Commissioner. His Excellency ANDREW JOHNSON,

President of the United States.


WASHINGTON, November 20, 1868. SIR: I have the honor to report the completion of the work under the contract for erecting, fitting up, and furnishing the new building for the accommodation of the department under your charge. All the work enumerated in the estimate has been done within the limits of the appropriations made by Congress.

In executing the work a strict compliance with the letter and spirit of the appropriation bills was adhered to throughout. The appropriation for all the work, properly within the province of the builder, being under one head, it was advertised for according to law, and given out in toto to the lowest responsible bidder. The appropriations subsequently made for fitting out and furnishing the building being under separate heads, were given out directly to mechanics and business men of highest reputation in their different branches. Superior quality of work and material have thus been obtained at very moderate rates.

The isolated position of the building has involved a considerable outlay for the connections with the gas-works and water-works of the city, as also for sewerage leading to the Washington city canal.

The building is now finished, with the exception of a few rooms in the basement and the attic story, which were not included in the estimates. An abundant supply of gas has been provided for, since it forms the heating power for the operations in the laboratory. Aside from the supply of water for the accommodation of the office rooms, laboratory, closets, and boilers, pipes of extra size have been carried up, feeding fire-plugs in the several stories. A steam-heating apparatus is in successful operation; the boilers being of sufficient size to heat also the attic story when finished.

All the principal rooms and corridors of the building have been laid off in chaste panels, painted in encaustic oil colors, the ceiling being frescoed. The vestibule and main staircase have received a strictly artis. tic finish. The large hall in the second story, appropriated to the museum of agriculture, has been frescoed with due regard to its national importance, the coat of arms of the United States, surrounded by the escutcheons of the thirty-seven States of the Union, taking a prominent part in the embellishment.

The American wood-hanging, that ingenious new patent which makes the products of the forest in their primeval beauty directly subservient to the highest efforts of the decorator, appeared peculiarly fitting, and has been applied for the finish of the suite of rooms occupied by the Commissioner.

Candelabras and massive chandeliers have been put up at all places where there was an immediate necessity for them.

All the office rooms of the building have been furnished with substantial carpets, and the desks, furniture, and cases, have been replenished to the full extent of the means at command. The laboratory has also been fitted out of the appropriation for the building with a fine set of new instruments and apparatus, which was imperatively required for the transaction of the chemist's operations.

The museum has been partly filled with absolutely dust-proof cases of solid walnut shaped in the best style of the art, each case being glazed with three hundred square feet of pure white glass, and provided with the inost approved bronzed locks and fastenings. The insufficiency of the appropriation could not have been construed to require a full supply of indifferent material and workmanship. .

The sum total of all the appropriations expended, inclusive of sewerage, furniture, carpets, and scientific apparatus for laboratory, is $140,420, and the building contains five hundred and sixty-five thousand cubic feet of available space. The cost is, therefore, but twenty-four and threequarter cents per cubic foot, which compares most favorably with any similar edifice erected by government or private individuals.


Commissioner of Agriculture.


SIR: I have the satisfaction of reporting another year of agricultural prosperity, in which garners have been full, and food products for the sustenance of forty millions of human beings have been abundant, and within the means of the humblest, while prices have been moderately remunerative to the producer.

The tendency of population to the cities and to unproductive and speculative employments is less marked than heretofore; the young man, looking for a career of business, now turns to agriculture as an industry worthy of his education and aspiration. The capitalist, unlike the specu. lator holding as a desert thousands of fertile acres, now, sometimes, enters the arena of agriculture, and shows the farmer, doubtful of thé profit of his business, that a man of brains and means can legitimately hold and thoroughly and profitably cultivate ten thousand acres. The defeated warrior in a cause forever lost is patiently and cheerfully fol. lowing a war-horse that is now a plow-horse; and the freedman, unused as he is to self-control and proverbially unmindful of his coming wants, is more faithful and efficient as a free laborer than he was in previous years. Invention and mechanical skill were never more active and benefi. cent in their gifts to productive industry. All these favorable indications point to increased abundance in the future to meet the requirements of a rapidly increasing population, and a more ample and luxurious style of living

The approaching completion of the Pacific railroad is already opening to cultivation the fertile plains that were formerly held as deserts, and the valleys of the Rocky Mountains, enlarging our field for the collection of agricultural statistics, and furnishing home supplies to the miners and railroad builders of the new west.

The extent and constantly changing condition of our vast territory render attempts at detailed estimates of production somewhat hazardous ; yet, so far as opportunity has been afforded for verification, the results have been quite satisfactory. As to the new and rapidly growing settlements of the West which were scarcely commenced at the date of the last census, it is simply impossible to attain a high degree of accuracy without a careful census annually.

« AnteriorContinuar »