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and on seeing him, I said: "You are not looking as well as usual." "No," he replied, "I have the dyspepsia powerfully bad." When dinner was ready, there was an abundant supply of meats and wellbaked corn bread. There was also, however, something called biscuit, which was in fact rather warm dough, with much grease in it. I saw that my host ate this freely with his meats. I remarked that I did not wonder that he had dyspepsia, for that I could not live a month in that way. I suggested that if he would eat well-baked corn bread, or better still, light bread, he would not suffer as he was doing. He answered vehemently, "That he would rather die than eat light bread." I replied, "This is a free country, and you have a right to die in this mode if you choose, and I have no doubt but that you will soon. die." I then referred to cases in which I had known people to die from such practices. My cool mode of discussing the question evidently made an impression on his wife. Next summer on meeting him, I said, "You are looking much better." "Yes," he replied, bursting into a hearty laugh, "I followed your advice, and took to eating light bread, and I am as well as I ever was in my life."
Two or three years after this occurrence, I went to the house of another friend, and on meeting him, remarked that he was thin and appeared to be in bad health. "Yes," he answered, "I have been suffered very much from dyspepsia for nearly a year." In a few moments his wife appeared and on bis introducing me, she extended her hand pleasantly and said: "Is this Tom Clingman, is this the member of Congress?" "The same," I answered." Well," she said, "I have often wished you were dead, because my husband used to lose so much sleep for fear you would not be elected." When dinner was prepared I observed that my friend ate with his meat the same kind of biscuit as those above described. "Why," said I, "you need not be disheartened about your health, your constitution is better than mine. I could not live many months on those biscuit. If you will eat well done light bread, or even corn bread, you can get well." "So I have been told," was the answer, "but I believe I had rather die at once than to do it." Not wishing to lose such a friend I talked very fully on the subject with him, and when, a year later, I met him, he was in good health, as he believed, solely because he had given weight to my suggestion. I am inclined to think that within ten years as many persons have died prematurely in this State from bad cookery as were slain in the war. Dyspepsia is robbed of much of the credit of its operations. A certain individual, more remarkable for the length of his horns and tail than for his friendship for humanity, is said always to catch the hindmost. His agents act on this principle. Diseases are cowardly things and avoid attacking robust or vigorous constitutions, but when they find a poor devil enfeebled by dyspepsia, acting on the principle that when a man is down then is the time to gouge him, they pounce upon the disabled creature and soon finish him. It thus happens, that cholera, consumption, or their co-laborers, carry off the credit that is due to indigestion, just as Falstaff appropriated the glory of killing Harry Percy.
The question may be asked, why should the people of the United States, and especially in the South, in this respect, differ from the other civilized nations of the earth, and even those of former ages? The Scriptures tell us that Jesus Christ broke bread, but much of what is called bread in our day is little less difficult to break than the molasses candy made and pulled by young people. A reason occurs to me why this practice prevails with us, which I have never heard suggested. One who reads the book of Sir Samuel Baker and other African explorers, will learn that the negroes are as fond of fat and grease as are the Esquimaux Indians. They also eat and are capable of digesting raw vegetables, and have capacities in these respects much superior to those of the Caucasian. They have chiefly been the cooks of our country, and every cook, unless otherwise instructed, will prepare food to suit his own palate. Early in life I used to hear negroes say that they did not consider lean ham as meat, and they greatly preferred the fat sides of the bacon. Their system of cookery seems to have prevailed to so great an extent, that the white race, with its different physical constitution, is now suffering seriously.
As this practice results from ignorance entirely, why should it not be changed? It is idle to say that the tastes of our people are essentially different from those of the kindred nations of Europe. That children prefer hot bread half baked is due to early teaching. No child likes the taste of tobacco, but by long practice they may be rendered fond of it. As children are ready to put anything into their stomachs, Providence kindly has given them the digestive powers of the ostrich, but after their minds have had time to expand and acquire knowledge, he leaves them to take care of themselves in this respect. If a mother were convinced that by giving her children hot, greasy bread, she at the same time would render their constitutions feeble and cause them to die early, would she persist in such a practice?
How, then, are these evils to be corrected? As they are due partly to laziness, but chiefly to ignorance, the minds of the people must be enlightened. It is not sufficient that an article should occasionally appear in a newspaper, or an essay be read to a small assemblage of people. No clergyman thinks he has done his duty, when he has delivered one sermon in a county. Earnest and continued efforts are necessary to enlighten the public mind. Some time since I told the members of the Legislature that if they would send two suitable men over the State to combat laziness and ignorance in farming and cookery, they might confer more real benefit on the State than all their legislation for the past ten years has done. But the men sent out must be popular speakers; such persons as are usually selected to canvass for the Governorship or for Congress. Let these men announce that they will, on Tuesday, of each court, show the people how to pay their taxes easily, and live comfortably. When the day comes, if the Judge will not yield one of them the court house for two hours, he will have a box placed under a tree to stand on, and he will address the crowd earnestly, like a man who wants an office very much. After informing them that Almighty God created Adam because He saw that there was no man to till the ground, he will discuss farming and cookery.
Of the five hundred present, a dozen or two may be sufficiently impressed to make a trial. One will put peas into the ground, another sow a lot in clover, while a third will put his manure on a piece of ground near his stable to see if he can make an hundred bushels of corn to the acre. Some of their neighbors, after observing the result, will follow their example. As politicians have their sub electors, so these men should have local orators to aid them, and distribute documents. Every fourth year the whole country is agitated by speakers and flooded with pamphlets to carry a Presidential election. If onehalf the effort which was made in this State in 1872, to elect Greeley or Grant, could be made to enlighten the people on these subjects, the face of the country would be greatly changed for the better.
Besides working earnestly and intelligently, our people must practice economy. When I see a lady, who once was accustomed to wear silk, with a calico dress on, and know that this change was caused by losses in the war, that lady not only looks a little handsomer to me, but I like her much better. If the grangers wish to diminish the profits of the middle men, they should buy as little as possible from them. If our citizens would, for a few years, labor as industriously and live as economically as they did during the last two years of the war, our State would soon become one of the most prosperous in the Union.
I have, my dear sir, perhaps extended these observations too far, but possibly some of the suggestions made, may set men to thinking on these topics.
DELIVERED BEFORE THE NORTH CAROLINA STATE AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY, OCTOBER 21, 1858.
By Hon. T. L. CLINGMAN.
MR. PRESIDENT, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:
When, some twelve months, ago, there was a similar assemblage at this place, we were entertained with an address abounding in knowledge of agricultural subjects, comprehensive and thorough in its details, and in all respects interesting and useful to the planter and farmer. Such in character have been many of the addresses heretofore delivered on these occasions by the President of the Association and others. I regret that it will not be in my power to present to you a similar offering to-day.
My past course of life and the pursuits with which I have been occupied, have been of such a character that most of you are, perhaps, my superiors in these branches of knowledge. The fact that the Exec
utive Committee of the Association should have selected me for such an office, well knowing as they did, doubtless, my deficiencies in this respect, would seem to imply that in their judgment, there were subjects within the reach of any man of education sufficiently related to practical agriculture to be interesting on an occasion like this. Having no especial reason for declining the invitation with which I was honored, and feeling a deep interest in the movements and success of the Association, I had no alternative but to accept, and must therefore bespeak your kindest indulgence while I attempt the performance of a duty wholly new to me.
At the first view, agriculture strikes the mind as being the most independent and certain of progress of all occupations. Fertility, or the capacity for production, is a permanent enduring quality of the earth. The course of the seasons is regular and constant, within the necessary limits, so that they bring, in proper order, sunshine and rain and the required changes of temperature. Even if, from any cause, particular spots of the earth's surface should be deprived of their productive powers, nature supplies fertilizing agents in great abundance. The wants of man which impel him to cultivate the earth, are fixed in his very nature; while the knowledge necessary to enable him to obtain a subsistence by husbandry is so small as to seem almost instinctive. Such discoveries as lead to improved modes of culture from time to time are easily transmitted to succeeding gen. erations, and without any very great mental exertions the stock of knowledge in this branch of industry is gradually increased. It would seem, therefore, that where agriculture once obtained a position it ought to extend itself, until, by successive advances, it attained the highest state of perfection. As, for example, it has already acquired a firm foothold in the United States, is there any reason to doubt but that it will expand and improve, until it has take entire possession of the North American continent, and everywhere exhibit itself in its highest condition?
There are many facts in history which seem to sustain the affirmative of this question. It has been observed that agricultural States were those which manifested the greatest and most enduring vitality. India and China are pointed to as examples, and Sparta and Rome have been contrasted with such States as Phoenicia and Athens, and Carthage and Venice. It has been truly said that nations which were mainly dependent on commerce and manufactures were often ruined. by a single unsuccessful campaign, while those chiefly engaged in agriculture could stand repeated reverses, and arise from each shock with renewed vigor, like the fabled earth-born giant from the touch of his mother.
But numerous as are the circumstances that lend plausibility to this view, and pleasing as it would be for us to adopt such a hypothesis, a wider induction, and a more careful survey of the facts, will not allow us to rest with absolute certainty on such a conclusion. Thousands of years ago, immense nations existed in southwestern Asia. Dim as is the light of early history, it is yet sufficient to satisfy us that the country on either side of the great river Euphrates, and extending
quite to the Mediterranean, once teemed with dense masses of huınan beings. So imperfect were the means of transportation then known, that we can have no doubt but that they obtained their subsistence mainly from the soil on which they lived. But the traveler who now passes over these regions finds comparatively but a sparse population, and the ruins of mighty cities, with immense mounds and buried columns, and sculptures of strange design and execution. Covered walls and cisterns, and dilapidated aqueducts, afford evidence of former industry on a vast scale. The mind instinctively asks what has wrought this wonderful change, and converted fertile fields and populous cities into deserts? It cannot have been caused by any great geological convulsion or movement of the earth's surface. The form of the continents is now what it then was, and the seas and rivers still occupy their former places. The revolutions of the heavenly bodies. continue in their long-known accustomed orbits and periods; nor can the finger of science point to anything in nature that has affected the course of the seasons, or materially modified the amount of heat and cold, and sunshine and rain, that visited those regions in the times of Nebuchadnezzar or Cyrus, or even of King Solomon.
As inanimate nature and the course of physical events furnish no adequate cause for these changes, the reasons must be found in those political and social conditions which influence the actions of men. It may be said that invasions and conquests, or desolating wars, have destroyed the industry of these regions. It is undoubtedly true that feeble States are often plundered by strong ones to a ruinous extent; but, why, for example, did not the successors of Alexander the Great protect their subjects for their own advantage? Why did not the mighty monarchies which have since held these regions afford such security to them as to encourage industry, and keep up their former high condition of agricultural wealth?
To obtain answers to these questions we must look to examples nearer to our own times, and to cases in which the facts are more generally within the range of our observation. While the great Roman Republic held the choicest parts of the then known world, Italy itself was blooming like a garden, and filled with a dense and prosperous population. After the lapse of a few centuries it was found to be in a state of decay, a large proportion of its inhabitants had disappeared, and wild beasts roamed over what had once been among its best cultivated districts. Certain anti-slavery writers in Europe, seconded by some in this country, have contended that this remarkable change was to be attributed to the existence of slavery in that Empire. They strangely overlook the fact that this institution existed in all the great States of antiquity, so that such writers as Aristotle regarded it as a necessary element in every stable political and social system. For centuries during the best days of the Roman Republic the number of slaves were computed at three times that of the freemen, while the manumissions under the later Emperors, and after the times of Constantine, the liberation of all such slaves as might become Christians greatly diminished their numbers. If the question, therefore, should be narrowed down to this issue, he would seem to have the advantage