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MAINE STATE SOCIETY.
The Secretary, Dr. E. Holmes, writes me as follows:
The annual “Cattle Show and Fair” of the Maine State Society for 1859, took place in Augusta on the 21st of September, and continued through the week.
It was a decided success, and a decided failure. At no previous show were there brought out so many splendid cattle, sheep and horses; and the halls were filled to overflowing with articles of manufacture of all kinds; and the products of the dairy exhibited have never been equalled for quality or quantity. The Trustees in their official report state that “ the arrival of horses, cattle, sheep and swine upon the grounds exceeded their most sanguine expectations, not only in the increased number of entries-amounting to over 1,000—but also in the evidence of great improvement in the quality of the stock presented.
The increased premiums offered on sheep met with gratifying results. A great impetus has thus been given to renewed exertions in sheep raising-a branch of husbandry of great importance to Maine.
By Tuesday, at 3 o'clock, every stall and pen upon the ground were full, and many waiting places, which were constructed as fast as possible for their accommodation."
Tuesday was a splendid day, and every thing went happily and harmoninously,
“Merry as a marriage bell," but by Wednesday, a powerful rain, so "genial to growing crops” but willing to a cattle show, began to fall, and all outdoor operations were suspended. For this reason, the show, which, as it regards numbers and excellence of cattle and other farm stock, and articles in the various halls, was a great success, as it regards pecuniary matters was a failure.
The Editor of the New England Farmer, whose presence we regarded as a cheerful acquisition to the company assembled, thus facetiously describes the unfavorable turn of the weather :
“The exhibition was to have continued through four days, but the threatening aspect of the weather on Tuesday resolved itself into a decided storm on Wednesday, and arrested its further progress. There was no 'make-believe' about it, for the rains descended, the winds blew, and the floods came, and every living thing 'caught the dumps' at once. The cattle would not low, the cocks would not crow, nor the horses go—it was an effectual damper all round. The auctioneers grew hoarse while the icy rain drizzled down their necks, and soon began to pack up their traps; the jockeys lost all their grit, and the boldest of them didn't believe there was a horse on the ground that could trot a mile in ten minutes; the men suddenly came to the conclusion that 'discretion is the better part of valor,' and departed to get up a flame within themselves, or find one at their hotels. There was a regular stampede among the women, and the fields, so lately sparkling with feminine beauty and grace, became damp, dull and despondent, and the winds and rain had it pretty much to themselves. But the exhibition was not a failure after all, for the interruption which it experienced showed how much the people regard and cherish the festival. It was not a failure, either, because what goes to make up an exhibition was there, although the people were prevented from seeing it. Some 1,000 cattle, 500 horses, 400 sheep, swine, poultry, bees and honey, grains and vegetables, fruits and flowers, household manufactures, paintings and pictures, and a respectable collection of farm implements and machines, were presented to be examined. Then there were the usual arrangements for plowing, drawing, and the exhibition of horses."
The Trustees in their annual report to the Secretary, referring to the exhibition and its effect on the agricultural interests of the State, say:
"It may not be out of place for us to say that the experience of the past year has proved, in a marked degree, the value to agriculture of the efforts of this Society. The intrinsic importance of these efforts are not by any means to be summed up in the various inducements held out by the premiums offered to competitors, for these
are of insignificant value, when viewed with the advantages afforded to compare the stock and productions of one section of our State with another, thereby stimulating our farmers to a laudable emulation to excel in the various departments of agriculture.
And while we have the most cheering evidence of the rapid diffusion of general and scientific intelligence, applicable to all departments of agriculture and mechanics, we feel fully satisfied of the necessity of continuing our annual exhibition as heretofore, where agriculturists, who are making earnest efforts to improve, may compare with each other, and receive the just appreciation of the public eye.
We feel warranted in saying to you that the beneficial effects of this society are each year better appreciated by the intelligent farmers of Maine.
And while the labors of the Board of Agriculture are directly felt and acknowledged as of incalculable value, wherever their comprehensive and able reports have been circulated-while our farmers have with much readiness and an earnest spirit of enquiry adopted many new methods of culture, improvements in stock and implements—yet they look to the exhibitions of this society to illustrate the practical value of their operations, compared with old methods.
Herein, gentlemen, it is cheering to believe that in establishing this society, you have created a most powerful agent for the diffusion of agricultural intelligence and improvement. Your shows and fairs become wide spread advertisements of the best fruits of the farmers' labor, at the same time furnishing to the unsuccessful competitor, the method by which these results have been attained.
Is there any gentleman, member of this association, who can look back to the commencement of the last decade and not be surprised at the great improvement visible in the present condition of the farming interests of Maine? Compare the marketable products of the farmers’ industry of that date and the present. The increase of cattle, sheep, horses, swine and crops—the remarkable improvement in the qualifications and value of every class of animals, and the increased variety of the products of the soil, the facility of their production under the promptings of science and the careful experiments of intelligent men, which it is your mission to encourage in their labors and publish their experiences.