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State Agricultural Coijlege, )
To the Legislature of the State of Michigan:
I have the honor to submit herewith the Annual Report required by law of the Secretary of the State Board of Agriculture.
T. C. ABBOT,
The State Board of Agriculture has been in existence less than two years. At its first meeting His Excellency Austin Blair was made President of the Board. He was also the President pro tempore of the Agricultural College, until the appointment of the subscriber to the Presidency at an adjourned Autumn meeting of the Board. No Secretary has yet been appointed, with the salary and full duties set forth in the law for the reorganization of the Agricultural College. Section eleven of that law (No. 188, Approved March 15,1861,) fixes his salary at " one thousand dollars per annum, to be paid quarterly, from the State Treasury, in the same manner as is provided by law for the payment of State officers;" and section twelve of the eame law appropriates "twelve hundred dollars per annum" for each of the past two years, for the expenses of his office. The law seems to intend the creation of a State officer to look after its Agricultural interests. On a comparison, however, of these sections of Act 188 with the 1st section of Act 183, of the same date of approval, a doubt arose as to whether the Board were entitled to the appropriations of the section above cited, and no certificates were drawn on the Auditor General for any portion of them. As the appropriation for the College was deemed barely sufficient for its needs, the subscriber was asked to act as Secretary to the extent practicable with other and arduous labors. He has attended to the receipts and disbursements of the College, the keeping of the Board and-Faculty records, the labor account of students, and the general correspondence of the Board.
The Reports of the Secretaries of New York, Maine and Massachusetts, eagerly sought after for their Intrinsic value9 show what kind of benefits may be derived from the office^ when the proper man shall devote himself to its duties.
The first duty of the State Board of Agriculture was to bring the Agricultural College into conformity with the Act of Eeorganlzation. The Act requires a course of study of not less than four years, and that u the Institution shall combine physical with intellectual education, and shall be a high Seminary <of learning, in which the graduate of the Common School can ^ commence, pursue and finish a course of study, terminating in thorough theoretic and practical instruction in those science® and arts which bear directly on Agriculture and kindredindustrial pursuits." In other words, the graduate of the College in addition to Agricultural science and skill, is to possess tk% ^rental discipline and education befitting an intelligent citizen.
The law not contemplating a preparation in the higher graid© bf schools, for the College, and yet exacting an extended rang^ of study, the Board have instituted a Preparatory Department for the review of the higher studies of the District Schools,
The Board refer with considerable confidence to the course of study laid down in the catalogue of the college for 1862. It enters into no competition with that of other institutions more literary in character or more full in their mathematical and engineering courses. It does, indeed, present a number of "such studies as serve to impart the power of communicating ideas and extending the influence of one's education and experience; and a few, also, that teach the student his own nature and his duties as a citizen, But its peculiar feature is the prominence'given to the physical sciences; such as bear practically on the arts of life, Botany and Horticulture, Chemistry and Animal Physiology, in place of the few weeks of study required in other colleges, are here pursued from one to two years each.
The law requires each student to labor three hours a day, and provides for payment for this labor. The plans for labor heretofore existing? had been found to be such as to preserve the ability to work, and, at least, to counteract the distaste for manual labor, which years of sedentary life at college is apt to engender; and they were adopted by the Board.
Under the new course of study and rules for labor, the College was re-opened to students. The vegetable, fruit and botanical gardens were put under the control of the Professor of Botany and Horticulture, under whose instruction the classes for the year in those branches have had considerable practice in grafting fruits, harvesting, preserving of seeds, observing habits of growth, &c. Three hundred varieties of seed were planted the last year, some eighty of which were selected from the packages received by the Secretary from the Agricultural Bureau, and the lately established Department of Agriculture, at Washington. It may be proper here, in passing, to refer to the extracts of the report of the Horticulturist to the Board for a notice of some new varieties worthy of mention: also to state that a large number of packages of seeds grown and tested in the College garden, have already been distributed in the State.
Instruction has been given by text books, and lectures on the subject of Agricultural Chemistry, on Noxious Insects, and the Principles of Stock Breeding. The classes have had lim. ited opportunities for the dissection and examination of Domestic Animals, and have interested themselves in adding to the museum of Natural History, which has almost been extemporized from our fauna and the exchanges which the professor in that department has been able to effect. This detail is gone into to show the peculiar character of the instruction imparted at the College, and to commend it to the favor, not only of farmers, but of all who interest themselves in measures taken to make our yeomanry a body of enlightened citizens, and in a wide spread of the knowledge of the sciences that bear on the practical arts of life.
The farm is scarcely in a condition to serve, so well as the garden, the purposes of instruction. But the Board, not unmindful of the design of the Legislature in uniting a pystem <tf manual labor and a school of science, will give immediate