24 June 2011

—1878—
Don't Leave The Farm

#25

Voted the most popular painting at the Chicago World's Columbian Exposition in 1893, Thomas Hovendon's Breaking Home Ties captured the drama of the separation of families by showing a young son leaving the family farm to make a living in the city. (click the picture to see a  larger view.... and take note of the dog on the left)

The restlessness that marks the people of New England at the present time is of recent origin. In the early days of the colonies there was, so far as we can learn, but little moving either to the West or from the country into the cities. 

For many years the population of our country towns was maintained, if not steadily increased. Within the present century, or since the multiplication of manufacturing towns and the change in our domestic economy, with the increase of railroads, which require a numerous retinue of employees, and the infinite variety of mechanical pursuits, giving employment to vast numbers of young men, there has been a greater tendency to migrate, and the rural towns have suffered to a far greater extent than the large centers of population.

This flocking of active men to the larger towns and villages has led to the most disastrous consequences. All the professions and all the avenues to success through mercantile and mechanical pursuits are filled and choked up, as it were; the balance of the industries has been distributed, and the road to wealth without manual labor overcrowded. It is easy to see that this condition of things is all wrong. It leads to the worst results, and to untold individual misery.

The true way to stop the consequences of this wrongful step, and to restore the lost balance, is to reoccupy the deserted farms, and to look more directly to mother earth for the means of supporting a large and increasing popluation.

There seems now to be every reason for returning to the old order of things, and looking to the farm and to improved cultivation and management for restoring the country to prosperity and thrift. Farming, earnestly and intelligently followed, will pay as well or better than any other business, and insure an honorable livelihood and independence. It offers every inducement to the industrious, the intelligent, the honest farmer’s son; and the failure of even of those who go to the farm from other pursuits is very rare. 

Farming indeed offers ample scope for the growth and development of all the elements of a noble, high-toned, and manly character.
[Thomas’s]

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The above excerpt is poignant and full of wisdom. It is a call to the restoration of an Agrarian Nation. The call is is as important and valid today as it was in 1878.

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3 comments:

Nancy said...

Oh, how I agree!

Diane in TX said...

Quotes from "Farmer Boy" by Laura Ingalls Wilder

(Mr. Paddock, the wheelwright wants Almanzo to become his apprentice.)

Mother snapped. "A pretty pass the world's coming to, if any man thinks it's a step up in the world to leave a good farm and go to town!

Father said. "A farmer depends on himself, and the land and the weather. If you're a farmer, you raise what you eat, you raise what you wear, and you keep warm with wood out of your own timber. You work hard, but you work as you please, and no man can tell you to go or come. You'll be free and independent, son, on a farm."

Herrick Kimball said...

Diane,

Thanks for the great quote.