officers three heads secured by a green ribbon." Mr. Watson as pres-
ident delivered the address and awarded the premiums which amount-
ed to seventy dollars only.
At the next exhibition in 1812 the premiums were $208. It seems
now strange, though illustrative of the conservative tendency of
human nature, and distrust of new things, that " valuable premiums
were offered for articles of domestic industry ; the da} 7 arrived ; a
large room was prepared ; many superior articles of domestic manu-
facture, especially woollen and linen, were exhibited ; but no female
appeared to claim the premiums. Native timidity and the fear of
ridicule restrained them. No one dared to be the first to support the
new project." How did the original mind, so full of resources, of
Mr. Watson surmount the difficulty? "I left the hall," he says,
" and with no small difficulty prevailed on my good wife to accom-
pany me to the house of exhibition. I then despatched messengers
to the ladies of the village announcing that she waited for them at
the cloth show. They hastened out. The farmers' wives and daugh-
ter^, who were secretly watching the movement of the waters, also
sallied forth, and the hall was speedily filled with female spectators
and candidates for premiums."
I have thus dwelt more at length upon the circumstances of the
birth of the Berkshire "cattle show" than might seem necessary,
not because it presents a curious parallel with the first cattle show
on. Plymouth Rock, but because the results of both present such
striking changes and contrasts. The little one has become ten thous-
and. The grain of mustard seed overshadows the land. I verily
believe that the social influences, the associate power, the joint sym-
pathies and desires and the educational wants, aye, and the public
influence on public men, of the agricultural societies which have fol-
lowed this little show of two forlorn, imported sheep under the elm
at Pittsfield, were moving forces without which the People, the Great
Creators would never have blown the breath of life into the Board of
Agriculture and the Agricultural College. If geese saved Rome why
should not two sheep save agricultural education? But it is not the
trifle, as such which saves, and that bv accident as in the case of
Rome, but the idea that the trifle may enforce, which generally saves
or benefits the world.
" A small drop of ink
Falling like dew upon a thought produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions,
In 1849 Hon. M. P. Wilder in an address before the Norfolk
Agricultural Society broached the subject of an Agricultural College,
and the next year a bill to establish an Agricultural College and an
experimental farm passed the Senate of Massachusetts unanimously,
but was defeated in the House. A board of commissioners was; then
created, consisting of Mr. Wilder, Edward Hitchcock, Samuel A.
Eliot, Thomas E. Payson and Eli Warren, and in 1851 their report
with an elaborate account of the agricultural schools in Europe, vis-
ited by Prof. Hitchcock was made to the Legislature. It commenced
by the remark that kk the first seed ever planted was the first effort
of civilization," and stated that no institution expressly for instruc-
tion in agriculture -had then been established either in this Common-
wealth or in any other state. No immediate action resulted from
their recommendations. In 1852 the Massachusetts Board of Agri-
culture was established. Mr. Wilder was persistent, and in 1856
obtained a charter of " The Trustees of the Massachusetts School of
Agriculture, "and during 1856 he also acquired from Congress a charter
of the United States Agricultural Society, which was opposed in the
Senate by Jefferson Davis on the ground, which now seems absurd,
that Congress had no power to create corporations. In I860 a com-
mittee of the Board of Agriculture, consisting of Richard S. Fay,
Marshall P. Wilder, and Ex-Lieut. -Governor Simon Brown made an
elaborate report upon agricultural education, and the Board caused
to be published for the use of schools, a "Manual of Agriculture,"
of which George B. Emerson and Charles L. Flint, its accomplished
secretary, were the authors. All this information, showing however
a difference of opinion among leading agriculturists, was before the
public ; and the farming community had become more alive to the
necessity of more scientific and exact knowledge of agriculture than
ever before, when Hon. Justin S. Merrill's bill was introduced by
him in 1857, in the National House of Representatives, supported
by numerous petitions of the people. It was passed and vetoed by
Presfdent Buchanan in I860 ; and the pendency of that bill, and a ques-
tion of its location in Springfield or elsewhere had delayed action upon
the charter of the Trustees of the Massachusetts School of Agriculture.
That charter had passed into other hands. Mr. Mori-ill's bill was dead.
In the winter of 1861 a renewed effort was made by Mr. Wilder,
supported by petitions from all parts of the Commonwealth for a
State Agricultural College. Hearings were had before the commit-
tee of education, and great pressure was brought to bear upon both
sides. The committee hesitated, and finally " let I dare not wait
upon I would" by delaying the question. This was accomplished by
reporting a resolve, Chap. 98, of the Resolves of 1861, authorizing
Gov. Andrew to appoint a commission of three persons to serve
without pay, to report a plan for an Agricultural College. The title
of the Resolve was misleading, " Resolve in favor of the establish-
ment of an Agricultural School or College." It was generally
understood that this course was taken to get rid of the question
without a decision on its merits. We had light enough. All these
reports were before the people. With this knowledge the only way
to organize a college was to organize, as Mr. Greeley said of specie
payments, that the best way was to resume. No detailed plan of a
college could be rmide beforehand, especially if there were no indica-
tions what scale of a college was desired. Plans enough were already
before the public. Mr. Thomas Pluukett of Berkshire, Increase
Newton of Worcester, two elderly gentleman, and your historian
heiv were appointed on the commission. The minds of neither of
my seniors had ever been directed to the -subject, and they met with
a feeling that the action of the Legislature was a feint, and that
nothing was expected of them. We were advised not to report at
once. Mr. Morrill's bill would be again offered under Mr. Lincoln,
and if it passed, the mind of the Legislature would be forced to enter-
tain the subject, and make full inquiry. We met once, when from
the fact that I was at thai time an Overseer of Harvard College, I
was delegated to confer with Mr. Felton its president, and inquire
officially whether any arrangement could be made or suggested for
an Agricultural College, aided by the Bussey fund. Mr. Felton took
a few days to reply, and finally answered very courteously that Har-
vard College took no interest in the subject. We met a second time,
when I reported concerning Harvard College, and upon some ques-
tions as to the Smith fund at Northampton. I have never again had
the pleasure of seeing either of these gentlemen before their death.
Meanwhile as I have stated, on Dec. 14. 1857 Hon. Justin S.
Merrill, then a National Representative from Vermont, introduced a
bill, to grant land scrip to the several States and Territories at the
rate of 20,000 acres for each Seuntor aild Representative in Congress,
for the endowment of a college in each, to teach such branches of
kerning as are related to agriculture and the mechanic arts. His
idea was to bring as cheaply as possible to the farmer and mechanic,
such education as is necessary to their several pursuits in life, to
recognize agriculture as at least a leading, if not the chief interest of
As the Spaniards when they took possession of new countries
always raised the standard of the Cross, an emblem to die by, so did
Mr. Morrill with enlarged foresight resolve to plant a standard of
agricultural education on the hilltop of every state like a beacon light
to direct men how to live. His bill was referred to the Committee
on Public Lands, who delayed their report four months to April 15,
1858, and then reported against it. Mr. Morrill enforced his views
with elaborate and eloquent arguments, from which if there were
time I should be pleased to quote to-day. After many delays the
bill passed fourteen months after it was offered, but was vetoed by
President Buchanan on the 29th of Feb. (according to the Congres-
sional Record), 1859, for various reasons : 1st because it was uncon-
stitutional ; 2nd because the government could not afford the outlay ;
ord because it would injure the new States by preventing settlements ;
4th because the law would be of doubtful benefit; 5th because it
would weaken existing colleges ; 6th because this vast gift from the
government would tend to alienate the states from the national gov-
ernment. Mr. Morrill made a full and triumphant reply to this veto,
but the veto was sustained. Mr. Morrill persevered. In December,
1861 he again offered his bill, providing for 30.000 acres for each
Senator and Representative, which was also referred to the Commit-
tee on Public Lands, which held it until the 29th of May, 1862,
when Mr. Potter of Wisconsin reported against it, and it was refer-
red to the committee of the whole. Meanwhile before the committee
of the House had reported adversely, on the 2nd of May, Hon. Ben-
jamin Wade of Ohio offered a bill of the same purport, which was
referred to the Senate committee on Public Lands, of which Senator
Harlan of Iowa was chairman. Promptly on the 14th of May, before
the House committee had reported, he reported the bill with slight
amendments, and- on the 10th of June it passed the Senate without
strong opposition. The next day the bill was sent to the House, and
against the opposition of the Committee on Public Lands passed on
the 19th of June, 1<S62, 25 years ago last Sunday; and Abraham
Lincoln attached his name on the second of July following.
Thus did Mr. Morrill by his industry and persistency, like Elkauah
Watson and Marshall P. Wilder, succeed in his great project. Dur-
ing peace under Washington, agriculture could not obtain even rec-
ognition by the government, but the arts of war were encouraged, I
do not say improperly encouraged. In 1862 under Lincoln, in the
midst of a civil war in which more forces were engaged, more blood
shed, at a greater waste of treasure than were ever before known,
Mr. Morrill's mind still turned from the work of destruction to the
work of production which sustains men and nations, without which
there would be no society, no commerce, no manufactures, no trades,
and populous life of man could not exist. Taking the lead in draw-
ing laws for raising revenue by internal taxes and by tariffs, he
found time in the midst of war, to encourage the arts of peace.
He believed that "Ceres should be counted among the Gods of
And now, my friends, should you ask me to epitomize the progress
of agricultural education in this country, I should name Watson,
Wilder and Morrill ! *
*General United States Act in Relation to Agricultural Colleges. (United States Statutes,
Vol. 12, Chap. 130, P. 503).
An Act donating Public Lands to the several States and Territories, which may provide
Colleges for the benefit of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America
in congress assembled: That there be granted to the several States, for the purpose herein-
after mentioned, an amount of public land, to be apportioned to each State a quantity
equal to thirty thousand acres for each Senator and Representative in congress to which
the States are respectively entitled by the apportionment under the census of eighteen
hundred and sixty : provided, that no mineral lands shall be selected or purchased under
the provisions of this act.
SEC. 2. And be it further enacted: That the land aforesaid, after being surveyed, shall
be apportioned to the several States in sections or subdivisions (if sections, not less than
one quarter of a section ; * * * said scrip to be sold by said States and the proceeds
thereof applied to the uses and purposes prescribed in this act, and for no other use or
purpose whatsoever: * * *
SEC. 4. And be it further enacted: That all moneys derived from the sale of the lands
aforesaid, by the States to which the lands are apportioned, and from the sales of land
scrip hereinbefore provided for, shall be invested in stocks of the United States, or of the
States, or some other safe stocks, yielding not less than Jive per centum upon the par value
of said stocks; and that the moneys so invested shall constitute a perpetual fund, the
capital of which shall remain forever undiminished (except so far as may be provided in
section fifth of this, act), and the interest of which shall be inviolably appropriated by each
State ichich may take and claim the benefit to this act, to the endowment, support and mainte-
nance of at least one college where the leading object shall be, without excluding other scientific
and classical studies, and including military tactics, to teach such branches of learning as are
related to agriculture and the mechanic arts, in such manner as the legislatures of the States
Mr. Merrill's bill became a law July 2nd, 1862, and during the
Legislative session of 1863, there were presented the serious ques-
tions of the acceptance of the Act by Massachusetts, and of the
incorporation of the Massachusetts Agricultural College. Mr. Erastus
O. Haven was chairman of the joint committee to whom these questions
were submitted. The committee entered upon a most thorough and
candid inquiry, and it is due to that committee that it should be
stated that a more faithful, and fair investigation was never had.
Early in the session Gov: Andrew had assembled at his house a levee
of the leading men upon both sides of the question, and advocated
with all his power the association of the college with the Bussey insti-
tution which was or was to be a part of Harvard College, but had not
then been opened as a school. Prof. Agassiz was there urging the
annexation of the Agricultural College to Harvard, but no members
of the corporation were present, and there was no evidence that its
authorities took any interest in the question, except that its president,
Rev. Thomas Hill, who had acceded to the office in October, 1862, ex-
pressed a desjre to have the college so located in the act of incorpo-
ration. The disposition of a large majority of the gentlemen present
may respectively prescribe, in order to promote the liberal and practical education of the
industrial classes in the several pursuits and professions in life.
SEC. 5. And be it further enacted: That the graut of land and land scrip hereby author-
ized shall be made on the following conditions, to which, as well as to the provisions here-
inbefore contained, the previous assent of the several States shall be signified by legislat-
ive acts :
FIRST. If any portion of the fund invested, as provided by the foregoing section, or any
portion of the interest thereon, shall, by any action or contingency, be diminished or lost, it
shall be replaced by the State to tohich it belongs, so that the capital of the fund shall, remain
forever undiminished; and the annual interest shall be regularly applied without diminu-
tion to the purposes named in the fourth section of this act, except that a sum not
exceeding ten per centum upon the amount received by any State under the provisions
of this act, may be expended for the purchase of lands for sites or experimental farms,
whenever authorized by the respective legislatures of said States.
SECOND. No portion of said fund, nor the interest thereon, shall be applied, directly or
indirectly, under any pretence whatever, to the purchase, erection, preservation, or repair of
any building or buildings.
THIKD. Any State which may take and claim the benefit of the provisions of this act
shall provide within five years, at least not less than one college, as described in the fourth
section of this act, or the grant to such State shall cease ; and said State shall be bound to
pay the United States the amount received of any lands previously sold, and that the title
to purchasers under the State shall be valid.
FOURTH. An annual report is to be made regarding the progress of each college, record-
ing any improvements and experiments made, with their cost and results, and such other mat-
ters, including State industrial and economical statistics, as may be supposed useful; one
copy of which shall be transmitted by mail free, by each, to all th<- other colleges which may be
endowed under the provisions of this act, and also 4 one copy to the Secretary of the Interior.
SIXTH. No State while in a condition of rebellion or insurrection against the govern-
ment of the United States shall be entitled to the benefit of this act.
Approved July 2, 1862.
was with Gov. Andrew, whilst the smaller number, more particularly
in sympathy and alliance with farmers of the Commonwealth, said
little, but concluded to " bide their time."
The whole subject was finally before the committee, which had
many hearings, including evening sessions. Mr. Wilder, Mr. Flint
and I were attached to the Board of Agriculture, and were appointed
a committee to express the views of the Board, that the Agricultural
College for farmers' sons should be located in the country, and not
in nor near a great city. We feared its temptations, we asked for
pure country air, we painted a scene which would be purely rustic,
and where the time and attention of the students would not be diverted
by the attractions of a city. We felt that we represented the opinion
of the farmers ; and surely never did men plead for a cause in which
they had no personal interest with an earnestness, and confidence, it-
would be unbecoming to say an eloquence, more effective than we
prayed the committee not to decide the location in their bill. We
knew that the first impression of the committee, from the position of
Gov. Andrew, and the pressure of leading men, city men, not par-
ticularly interested in farming, was in favor of Harvard College.
But we satisfied them that it was a mistake that Harvard College, as
a corporation, took any interest in the subject. It had made no
effort to launch the Bussey Institution. It is now open with one to
three students, and never I think more than nine.
The committee were fully converted, and reported the act of incor-
poration, which became a law April 29, 1863, whilst the acceptance
of the congressional grant of 30,000 acres for each Senator and Rep-
resentative in Congress was declared eleven days before. Massachu-
setts claims to be the first state to accept the act. Fourteen gentle-
men, one from each county in the state, were named in the
charter. These names were inserted by the committee without
the knowledge of, and without consultation with any man named
therein. These names furnish striking proof how thoroughly the
committee were convinced that the college should not be located near
the city, because so many of the incorporators had committed them-
selves before the committee against the Harvard College connection,
including the corporators who resided in the counties which included
the locations of Harvard and the Bussev farm !
The Joint Special Committee consisted of the following members :
Erastus O. Haven, Middlesex, William D. Swan, Norfolk,
George D wight, Hampden.
RE PRESENTATIV ES .
A. A. Ranney, Boston, Charles Nowell, Boston,
Stephen H. Williams, Roxbury, Thomas White, Randolph,
J. L. S. Thompson, Lancaster, Samuel Smith, Jr., Granby,
P. Francis Wells, Cambridge.
This committee acted also under the following resolve :
RESOLVE AUTHORIZING CERTAIN EXPENDITURES BY THE COMMITTEE ON
AN AGRICULTURAL COLLEGE.
Resolved, That the joint special committee to whom was referred
so much of the governor's address as relates to an agricultural col-
lege, the society of natural history and the institute of technology,
have authority to invite conference with parties interested, or who
may impart valuable information, and also may visit any localities
or institutions, and incur other needful expenditures to an amount
not exceeding three hundred dollars. Approved February 17, 1863.
Chap. 10(i. An Act to provide for the reception of a grant of Congress, and to create a
fund for the promotion of education in agriculture and the mechanic arts.
lie it enacted, etc., as follows:
SECTION 1. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts hereby accepts the grant offered to
it by the United States, as set forth and defined in the act of congress entitled " An Act
donating public lands to the several states and territories which may provide colleges for
the benefit of agriculture and the mechanic arts," said act being chapter one hundred and
thirty of the statutes of the United States, passed at the second session of the thirty-sev
enth congress, and Approved by the president July second, in the year eighteen hundred
and sixty-two, upon the terms and conditions contained and set forth in said act of con-
gress ; and the governor of the Commonwealth is hereby authorized and instructed to give
due notice thereof, to the government of the United States.
SECTION* 2. The governor is hereby authorized and instructed to receive, by himself or
his order, from the secretary of the interior, or any other person authorized to issue the
same, all the land scrip to which this Commonwealth may be entitled by the provisions
of the before-mentioned act of congress.
SECTION 3. The governor, with the advice and consent of the council, is hereby author-
ized and instructed to appoint a commissioner, whose duty it shall be to locate, without
unnecessary delay, all the land scrip which may come into the possession of the Common-
wealth by virtue of this act, ami to sell the same from time to time, on such tei'ms as the
governor and council shall determine. Said commissioner shall give a bond, with suffic-
ient sureties, in the penal sum of fifty thousand dollars, to be approved by the governor
and council, that he will faithfully perform the duties of his office, and shall render full
and accurate returns to them, at the end of every six months, or oftener if required ,to do
so by them, of his proceedings under this act. The compensation of said commissioner
shall be lixed by the governor and council, and shall be paid out of the treasury of the
Commonwealth, and the governor is hereby authorized to draw his warrants therefor.
SECTION* 4. All moneys received by virtue of this act, for the sale of land scrip, shall
be immediately deposited with the treasurer of the Commonwealth, who shall invest and
hold the same in accordance with the fourth section of the afore-mentioned act of con-
gress. The moneys so invested shall constitute a perpetual fund, to be entitled the Fund
for the Promotion of Education in Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts, which shall be ap-
propriated and used in such manner as the legislature shall prescribe, and in accordance
with the said act of congress.
SECTION .">. This act shall take effect upon its passage.
Approved April 18, 1863.
Of the incorporators since we last met here, Marshall P. Wilder,
the father of agricultural education in New England, the enthusias-
tic, generous, persistent, mild mannered, peace making, patriotic
gentleman, whose love of nature and nature's God enlarged his
" Having won
The bounds of man's appointed years, at last.
Life's blessings all enjoyed, life's labors done,
Serenely to his final rest has passed.
And we are glad that he has lived thus long.
And glad that he has gone to his reward ;
Nor can we deem that Nature did him wrong
Softly to disengage the vital cord.
For ere his hand grew palsied, and his eye
Dim with mists of age, it was his time to die."
ACT OF INCORPORATION. (1863. Chap. 220) . AN ACT TO INCORPORATE THE TRUSTEES
OF THE MASSACHUSETTS AGRICULTURAL COLLEGE.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives, in General Court assembled, and by
the authority of the same, as follows :
SECTION 1. Marshall P. Wilder, of Dorchester; Charles G. Davis, of Plymouth; Na-
than Duii'ee, of Fall River; John Brooks, of Princeton ; Henry Colt, of Pittsfleld ; William