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most anxiously transmitted to America any information that could further its agricultural interests; and gave any aid in my power to the improvement of its live stock.
No individual anticipates with greater pleasure the height of prosperity which America is likely to reach ; and it is by no means improbable, that the new world will, in various respects, eclipse the old, unless we exert ourselves, with our utmost energy, to maintain our ancient supremacy.
There was no circumstance, from which I derived greater satisfaction, than from carrying on, for a great number of years, a friendly intercourse with the First President of the United States of America; and I have now much pleasure in laying his communications before the reader, as they display, to so much advantage, the powerful talents,--the generous views,—and the unbounded philanthropy of that celebrated statesman.
The peculiar predilection which General Washington has so strongly and so frequently expressed, in the subsequent letters, for agricultural improvement, which he preferred to every other pursuit, is a circumstance which I am desirous should be recorded, for the benefit, both of the present, and of future times, from a desire that it may make a due impression upon the minds of those, who might otherwise be induced to dedicate themselves entirely, either to the phantoms of military fame, or to the tortures of political ambition.
I feel anxious to record the praises which this distinguished statesman has bestowed on the establishment of the British Board of Agriculture, an institution respecting which, he remarks, that he entertained the most favourable idea of it from the first; and that the more he saw and reflected afterwards
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on the plan, the more convinced he was of its importance, in a national point of view, not only to Great Britain, but to all other countries *.
The wish which the founder of the American Republic has expressed, to have a similar agricultural establishment in America, I have also judged it expedient to publish, in the hopes that the recommendation of so great a man will at last be generally adopted, as indeed it has already been in some degree, by the establishment of a Board of Agriculture in the state of New York.
proper to give a short account of the origin of the following correspondence.
About the year 1790, I began to be engaged in those extensive statistical inquiries, regarding the general state of Scotland, and the means of promoting its improvement, which were not only interesting to this country, but to every civilized part of the world ; and having resolved to send copies of the first papers which were printed respecting these inquiries, to several distinguished characters in foreign countries, I could not think of neglecting an individual, so pre-eminently conspicuous, as the President of the United States of America. In answer to the first letter I had the honour of addressing to him, I received the communication, dated the 20th day of October 1792.
I embraced every opportunity of transmitting to him, from time to time, the additional papers which were afterwards printed on the subjects of our correspondence, accompanied by letters, of which I have only a copy of one, in which I endeavoured to demonstrate the advantages which might be derived from establishing a Board of Agriculture in America. Of that letter, I beg leave to subjoin the following extract, as it tends to explain more fully General Washington's answer of the 6th day of March 1797, stating the circumstances which at that time prevented the immediate adoption of the
* See Letter, No. 3, 1795, July 10.
o give !
Extract of a Letter from Sir John Sinclair to General Washing
ton, dated Whitehall, London, 10th September 1796. The people of this country, as well as of America, learn, with infinite regret, that you propose resigning your situation as President of the United States. I shall not enter into the discussion of a question, of which I am incompetent to judge ; but if it be so, I hope that you will recommend some agricultural establishment on a great scale, before you quit the reins of government. By that I mean a Board of Agriculture, or some similar institution, at Philadelphia, with societies of agriculture in the capital of each state, to correspond with it. Such an establishment would soon enable the farmers of America to acquire agricultural knowledge, and, what is of equal importance, afford them the means of communicating what they have learnt to their countrymen.
I scarcely think, that any government can be properly constituted, without such an establishment. As mere individuals, four things are necessary; 1. Food ; 2. Clothing ; 3. Shelter ; 4. Mental Improvement. As members of a large community, four other particulars seem to be essential, namely, 1. Property ; 2. Marriage ; 3. Laws for our direction in this world; and, 4. Religion, to prepare us for another. But the foundation of the whole is food ; and that country must be the happiest, where that sine qua non can be most easily obtained. The surest means of securing abundance of food, however, is by ascertaining the best mode of raising it, and rousing a spirit of improvement for that purpose ; for both of which the countenance and protection of the government of a country is essential. The trifling expense for which such an institution might be supported, is another argument in its favour.
I am induced, more particularly, to dwell upon this circumstance, as it might be in my power, on various occasions,
to give useful hints to America, were there any public institution to which they might be transmitted. .: Before I conclude, permit me to ask, Is there no chance of seeing General Washington in England ? I should be proud of his accepting an apartment in my house; and I am sure that he would meet with the most flattering reception in every part of the island, but from none with more real attachment and regard, than from, &c.
The most important communication I received from General Washington was owing to the following circumstance:
At the commencement of the year 1796, the aspect of public affairs in Great Britain became of the gloomiest description. Such was the success of the arms of France, and such the terror which they inspired, that the Continent seemed to be completely subdued ; while the affairs of Great Britain itself were so unfortunately conducted, as to give rise to the most serious apprehension, that it could not much longer continue the contest. The minister who then governed this country, (the Right Honourable William Pitt), was gifted with extraordinary talents, and almost unequalled powers of eloquence. He was much better calculated, however, to shine in a popular assembly, than to conduct a war, more especially in conjunction with other states, whom it was necessary to conciliate, and to rouse to the greatest possible exertions. He had not himself acquired any knowledge of foreign nations; and he would not listen to the communications of those, who wished to give him true information respecting their characters and views,-how far they might be depended on,-and what they were capable of effecting. For some years, I had been in habits of great intimacy with him; during which period, every suggestion, transmitted by me for his consideration, was almost uniformly attended to. But latterly, from an inordinate confidence in his own resources -an unwillingness to listen to disagreeable truths, (which an independent character felt it his duty to state, when any
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occasion required it),--and a dislike to those, who would not be completely subservient to him, on all occasions,-he, all at once, altered so much his style of behaviour towards me, that our connexion was dissolved.
At that time, any person who did not believe in the infallibility of William Pitt, was considered a sort of public enemy. Disgusted with a nation, which had thus submitted itself to the control of one individual, whom I considered in the light of a personal enemy, and seeing but little prospect that the country would be extricated from the difficulties in which it was involved, unless a different system was pursued, I naturally thought it necessary, to look out for an asylum for myself and family, where we might live at a distance from the calamities of Europe, which seemed more likely to increase than to diminish. I was thence induced to apply to my respectable correspondent, General Washington, to know what part of America was the most desirable, as a place of residence, for a British emigrant.
This short narrative will explain to the reader, the circumstances which led General Washington to transmit to me, the following account of the several states of America. Owing to the difficulty, however, of removing a numerous family, and unwillingness to quit a country, for which I had naturally a strong predilection, and whose commercial interests, and agricultural prosperity, I still hoped it might be in my power to promote, the plan of emigration to America was, after full deliberation, given up. This was attended with fortunate consequences to the country. From the difficulties into which the country had got, the minister was induced to adopt a measure recommended by me, that of issuing two millions of Exchequer bills, by the loan of which the commercial interest was saved from almost general bankruptcy; and soon afterwards, he supported with his influence, the plan of establishing “ A Board of Agriculture," proposed by me in the House of Commons, where it met with considerable opposition, but whose establishment, (to which the support of the minister
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