Extract from Thomas Jefferson to David Williams
|Washington Nov. 14. 1803.|
the class principally defective is that of agriculture. it is the first in utility, & ought to be the first in respect. the same artificial means which have been used to produce a competition to learning, may be equally successful in restoring agriculture to it’s primary dignity in the eyes of men. it is a science of the very first order. it counts, among it’s handmaids, the most respectable sciences, such as, chemistry natural philosophy, mechanics, mathematics generally, natural history, botany. in every college & university a professorship of Agriculture, & the class of it’s students, might be honored as the first. young men, closing their academical education with this, as the crown of all other sciences, fascinated with it’s solid charms, & at a time when they are to chuse an occupation, instead of crowding the other classes, would return to the farms of their fathers, their own, or those of others, & replenish & reinvigorate a calling now languishing under contempt & oppression. the charitable schools, instead of storing their pupils with a lore which the present state of society does not call for, converted into schools of agriculture, might restore them to that branch qualified to enrich & honor themselves, & to increase the productions of the nation instead of consuming them.