« PředchozíPokračovat »
Wisconsin, to the fact that we have some land in the northern part of the state that will raise just as much wheat to the acre as yours will, and this land is now for sale at government prices ; and on such land as this you can raise a flock of sheep.
Mr. Speaker Arnold - I can very well see how one man may be successful in dairying and another man in sheep raising. The idea that ordinary farming will not pay, and that we are compelled to go into dairying in order to live, I do not believe in. I wish to say something in reference to this dog question. The first decis. ion upon the law as originally passed, in reference to dogs, was that dogs were not property, and therefore not liable to taxes; but the courts construed the law as in the nature of a license, and therefore held it to be good. It was fixed so that it was left discretionary with the board of supervisors. As a tax, the courts held it unconstitutional, as it was not uniform throughout the state. I apprehend if we had a law passed authorizing the licensing of dogs, strictly as a license, to be paid previous to the keeping of the dog, instead of as now, after the dog has been kept a year, that it could then be left discretionary with the board of supervisors of every county, and that that might be a constitutional law. I can see the propriety of such a law. In one part of the state they think dogs are useful, and in another they entertain a different opinion.
Mr. Sellers — Being a resident of Wisconsin, I should not like to have the impression go abroad that it is not profitable to raise sheep here. I have been in the habit of buying wool for about eighteen years in my lise. I came in contact with farmers in Penusylvenia, Ohio, and largely in Wisconsin. And the farmers universally told me, that were raising sheep, that it was the best stock they could raise to make money from. A prominent farmer in Wisconsin told me, take one year with another, that he could do better with his flock of sheep at twenty-five cents a pound than any other stock he could raise on his farm. I have not been buying wool for ten years, and don't know that the rule holds good; but this I do know, that the farmers raising wool had money to loan, while others had mortgages on their farms.
I do not want this idea to go out among the farmers of Wis
consin that it is not profitable to raise sheep. Sheep are money at all times. After it dies the fleece is worth something. I think sheep just as profitable as any stock the farmer can raise.
Mr. Boyce — I am glad this dog tax has come up before this convention. I have lived in Dane county, Wisconsin, about thirtyseven years, and I have kept sheep most all that time; and I certainly would not do without sheep as long as I .owned ten acres of land. I also keep cows, and live close by as good a cheese factory, probably, as there is in the state. If I had to do without either I should kill off my cows very soon, because the labor of milking and caring for your cows is never taken into account in making up the sum.
I claim if we could get rid of the dog and the wolves, that you could afford to keep sheep in Wisconsin if you didn't get anything from them but the manure. Now we are compelled to house the sheep over night. I live in the south part of Dane county. I never dare let my sheep be out in the night because I am afraid of the wolves and the dogs. If I could leave my sheep out my farm would be worth enough more to save all the expenses of that flock of sheep.
I would say, pay a bounty of fifty dollars on the wolves, and tax the dogs ten dollars. Get rid of them all at once.
Then we have a clear field, and I defy any man to compete with his cows with a flock of good sheep. I have tried both to my satisfaction.
. Kept them side by side for twenty-five or thirty years.
I can almost tell, as I ride through the country, the man who keeps sheep. His farm is cleaner, his crops are better, he is a more thrifty farmer. Sheep will find enough to live on where a cow will starve to death. Speaking of high priced land not being fit to keep sheep on, the higher the price the more profit there is in sheep.
FEBRUARY 5, 1880. Convention met at 9 A. M.
N. D. Fratt, President of the State Agricultural Society, in the chair.
Sec. Bryant - I have been requested to read over one question that was presented yesterday and no answer to it was made.
" What course shall a young man pursue who has run in debt for a run down farm, so as to improve his farm, support his family, and pay his debts ?”
J. M. Smith - Mr. President, this question was read yesterday, and I was very much annoyed afterwards in thinking it over. I thought that we did not do justice to ourselves, and we did not do justice to the man who asked the question. I do not know who he is, where he is, or what his situation is, but that is a question - and we may disguise the fact as we will — that nine. tenths of the young men of this country have got to solve. They have got to solve it for themselves. It is a question that my father had to solve. When he was a young man he had his father and his mother on his baods. He had a young family on his hands, and a large one at that. He had an old wornout farm on his hands, and he was in debt for all it was worth, and more than it could have been sold for. My father bad the misfortune to fail. He told the creditors, “If you will give me the property I will pay the debts.” A few men stood by him and bought the property in, and turned it over to him — told him to take bis time and
his debts as soon as he could. That was the ques. tion he had to solve: How shall I pay these debts? That bappened in a state and at a time when they could lock a man up and put him in jail for debt. I never can think of it without its making my blood fairly boil to think that any state in this Union ever should have had such an infernal law as this. He went to work, and the farm was so poor that he could not possibly support his family on it. And what should he do?
And what should he do? How should be pay these debts, support a family and send his children to school? There was no public school in the state at that time. He was one of the first men in the state to commence a system of im. provements. He commenced by draining. He had land that was entirely worthless. He commenced experimenting with fertilizers. It was a new thing. It was more than fifty years ago,
and he had very few of the advantages that we have now. He subscribed for the Albany Cultivator, the first agricultural paper of the United States that lived. He had to be taunted with being a book farmer. That was about equal to being called an abolitionist in those days. But he went to work, and from having an old worn down, impoverished farm, in the course of years he succeeded in supporting his family, bringing up his children well and paying his debts. To-day he is an old man; but he solved that problem. He has got a good home. He is not a Vanderbilt, but so far as good living and a good comfortable home is concerned, he is just as well off as Mr. Vanderbilt is. And, gentle. men, that is the course his sons have bad to pursue. They have had to solve the same problem. And his grandsons have got to solve the same problem for themselves.
I was annoyed a few days ago at a convention I was attending. It was said that we men who attended conventions were above the common grade of farmers - we were men of means, men who could go on and make improvements, and we were holding ourselves above the common class of farmers. But, gentlemen, nearly all of us commenced at the bottom of the ladder. I had to run in debt for my land, and for the improvements I made on it; and I had to pay ten per cent. interest. I am not quite out yet, but I can see through, and I only want a little more time to make myself not rich, but conifortable; and I can walk over the little land that I know I own and know it will take good care of me. I knew when I bought it that I could pay that interest in but one way, and that was to improve the land, let it cost wbat it would. I must have large crops. My early education, my study of agriculture and my practical experience had taught ine how to raise large crops, and I knew that I could raise big crops; and that I could so cultivate my land that I could make big crops the rule and not the exception. And there lies the secret of successful farming. I say to this man, whoever he is, young or old, if he is in debt he must have good big crops, and have them year after year. If he meets hard times, as we have all met them, and cannot pay his debts, I say to him to go to his creditor like an honest man and say to bim, “I have met with misfortunes; I
cannot meet these payments to-day." Tell him just how you are situated; tell him why and wherefore; and in nine cases out of ten his creditor will give him time and all the time be wants. Let him pursue a straightforward, honest course — honest with everybody. I believe in the advice that Wolsey in his old age gave to Cromwell; you recollect the line :
Corruption wins not more than honesty."
And I believe this is true in all our business transactions. Let him go right straight to his creditor and tell him if he caunot pay. I can tell you of a man who ruined his prospects for life by simply refusing to do that.. He was a young man. He wanted help, and went to a friend who had the money and was perfectly willing to help him, and would have helped him from that day to this if it had been necessary. But he says, "Now I want to know a little about how you are situated. I have got the money; I am willing to help you ; but I want to know a little how you are situated. Tell me about your business." He got up on bis dignity and refused to tell him anything about it. “If you cannot let me bave the money on simply my character and saying that I want it, I won't take it at all.” The result was that he failed in a very short time, and has been working at day labor from that day to this.
I mention this simply to show the necessity of frankness with your creditors. It is not necessary to proclaim it to the world but that, and the necessity of going to work and improving your farın year after year, will make you succeed. No matter if you don't make any money this year or next, it is bound to come in the end. As I said before, I know all about it. I have been through the mill and haven't got clear out yet.
Mr. Anderson — I was very much interested, and perhaps all of you who have heard Mr. Smith's history of himself and his ancestors; but I take it for granted what this young man wants to know isn't the history of my affairs or anybody else's, but how to take a poor farm of eighty or one hundred and twenty, or one hundred and sixty acres of land, that is run down; how shall he crop it to improve that land. If he can raise good crops, all right. I advise every person to raise good crops; but can you raise good crops from poor land ? Now I am a great advocate