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IV. Characteristic vegetation of the banks of the Youkon River, Alaska...
V. Characteristic vegetation of the Aleutian district, Alaska.
COMMISSIONER OF AGRICULTURE.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE,
Washington, D. C., November 30, 1868. SIR: I have the honor to submit the seventh annual report of the Commissioner of Agriculture. The interests confided to this department are those of an industrial class more numerous than any other, and upon whose labors, under the guidance and with the blessing of a Power that rules the year, depend the well-being and the very existence of the human family. The sphere of its operations is a territory unsurpassed for fertility of soil, and a climate favorable to the health and comfort of the husbandman, and the fruitfulness of his toil. Its marvellous breadth of area invites the toiling millions of the world, offering to each family a farm and a home, with the added boon of citizenship, and asking in payment only a guarantee of improvement, and a share in the production of the bread of a nation. It is the function of this department to aid this great foundation interest in all legislation affecting it, in the diffusion of practical information concerning it, and in the dissemination and testing of rare and untried plants of other countries, that promise to enrich its store of production. This work involves a familiarity with the latest discoveries of the natural sciences and a knowledge of the technicalities of many arts, with a fund of practical knowledge and sturdy sense that intuitively judges aright in all the actualities of every-day life. If its true object and proper function are understood, a work of great magnitude and importance is opened, requiring a variety of skilled official labor, and special training, in preparation for it. A beginning has been made, small it may be, but foreshadowing, it is believed, a future fraught with a good to agriculture and to the country. Difficulties have been encountered, and discouragements met, but the obstacles are disappearing and shadows lightening, and the way is open for rapid progress and a successful career.
AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION. The industrial colleges now springing into being throughout the northern and western States, though various in character and aims, and at present in the weakness and inefficiency of their infancy, are destined