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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/240

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

Scotland enjoys deservedly the distinction of having been first among the peoples of Europe to introduce in the university course scientific education in agriculture. In 1790 a chair was established in the University of Edinburgh, and a course of agricultural lectures was given therefrom by Rev. D. Walker. Better than that, in 1743 a volume entitled Select Transactions was published by Maxwell, representing the agricultural society known as the "Society of Improvers," and numbering at one time three hundred members. Out of this society grew the "Highland and Agricultural Society," which organization has fostered every agricultural effort which private beneficence or royal grant has initiated in the land since 1834. Through its munificence both the departments of forestry and veterinary surgery have been placed upon a firm educational basis, and the educational lectureship of Edinburgh University has been permanently endowed. It has instituted its own syllabus of examinations for granting "Fellowships in Agriculture," and stimulated pupils of the secondary schools to make the effort by offering prizes and scholarships to the ambitious students.

The University of Aberdeen has lately entered the field as an agricultural educator by becoming what the Government styles a "collegiate center," receiving a straight subsidy of £100 per annum, and furnishing professional instructors to rural assemblies arranging lectures for them. In the public schools of Scotland agricultural science is arranged for as an optional study from the third to the sixth standards inclusive. In 1895-'96, 4,148 pupils passed examinations in the subject, and the cost of this to the state was £42,792. In 1896-'97 pupils in the "evening continuation schools" to the number of 1,089 passed in agriculture, and 115 others in horticulture.

England and Wales are under a joint administration of agricultural affairs. The Government policy, so far as it has one, has been continually opposed to paternalism and direct subsidy or ownership of schools. Rather has her Parliament waited to be solicited to make subventions by way of encouraging individual or local society initiative. The flourishing agricultural schools at Cirencester and Downton, for the instruction of the higher classes, have grown out of private establishments, then been perpetuated by obtaining royal charters, by which the Government became pledged to supply any lack of income. But since 1893 the state has so far relaxed her policy as to grant subsidies to certain colleges centrally located, which it styles "collegiate centers," through which colleges it offers superior instruction to the public. These colleges associate with themselves ample farm lands for experiment grounds and dairy machinery, and equip themselves with competent lec-