The news from Washington for the past week has smelled hugely of brimstone and nitre, and has had a look as black as charcoal or abolitionism. The telegraph has furnished us nothing for days, save the movements of troops and war steamers, and followed by contradictions and counter-marches. The dispatches of the 9th, however, seems to lift a curtain a little, so as to afford us a chance at guessing at least at the policy of the administration. This policy, if the carefully transmitted statement may be relied upon, is to re-supply and re-inforce Sumter and Pickens at all hazards. – This is asserted to be in harmony with the peace policy of the inaugural, and the declaration is made with as much gravity as if it was expected that the people of the country would believe it. If the administration wants to hold those forts, it wants to do it for the purpose of aggressive measures against the Confederate States; it wants them as a basis of operations, from whence are to issue armies for the conquest of an independent nation, and to reduce a free people to the condition of vassals and serfs. The pretext that hostilities will be commenced by the South is so shallow and frivolous that it is almost incredulous. It is more foolish than the conduct of the boy who placed a chip on his shoulder and dared another boy to knock it off. The whole conduct of the administration is brimfull of taunts and menaces toward the South – insulting and spurning them – and then defying the Confederate States to help themselves. It is pursuing the same policy toward the Confederates, that the British crown pursued toward the Colonies. It initiates measures to bring on hostilities – it carries out plans to provoke a war – and then hypocritically says to the people it would subjugate and destroy, “the government will not assail you.” The continued possession of forts and the maintaining of armies in the territory of another nation is tantamount to a declaration of war; and when to this is added the shipment of munitions and supplies for the armies, with all the characteristics of a military campaign, it is the worst of knavery to pretend that so much demonstration is not intended to provoke hostilities and bring on the terrible conflict of armies. We repeat that the administration has no practical use for Sumter or Pickens, except as a standing menace and defiance to another power; and the attempted re-inforcement of those fortresses, after the repeated declarations of the Confederate States that such re-inforcement would be resisted to the last extremity, and be regarded in no other light than as a willful and deliberated intention on the part of Lincoln and his abolition advisors to wage a war of aggression, of conquest, of subjugation, against those States. If he does not wish to do this, there can be no dishonor in recognizing the independence of the Confederate States, or at least in first exhausting all peaceable negotiation. In refusing to negotiate, and in doggedly attempting to re-inforce and strengthen those forts, the President has given much evidence that he is determined to inflict all the horrors and calamities of war upon the country.
Hints. – Prairie Farmer
Farmers, spring is upon you. Its demands and duties will crowd upon you thick and fast. Amid the greater demands do not overlook the smaller ones. Lest you should, let one of your kind suggest a few hints.
As to your year’s stock of wood: if you have not cut and piled that under your wood-shed, you may as well let that pass; you can haul one load at a time during the season, and cut it each night and morning, Sundays excepted, for it will be green and chop easy; it does not burn out so fast as seasoned wood; then there is something so interesting about going out to the woodpile and pitching in an hour or so in harvest time, to say nothing about the good humor that such an arrangement keeps the women in.
Those shade trees in front of the house and along the street that have never been set might as well be postponed for some other time; you can get along as well without them as you have done heretofore; they might get broke down, and it would take some trouble to get the elder bushes and other rubbish out of the fence corners.
Those old dead apple-trees that you were going to re-set with thrifty grafted ones, and the fixing up the orchard fence to keep the cattle and sheep out, might be left to some other time, or when all the old trees were dead, so that you could set the whole orchard at once.
As to fixing up fences, it is a bad time to do it in the spring, farmers are so busy; then the cattle have got such a notion of jumping the fences that they will jump them anyhow. ‘Old Bose’ is a better remedy than high fences; it is far easier to say ‘sic,’ ‘take ‘em; lug ‘em;’ than to always be laying up rails and nailing on boards.
If your gates have settled so as to require the strength of a man to tug them around, all the better; they will not be opened only when necessary, and then only by men who will not forget to shut them; the winds never blow open such gates, neither do boys injure them by swinging on them.
If your smaller gates have a hinge or fastening off, never mind; you can that some odd spell; if the hogs get into the garden and eat up the early peas and vegetables, or the old sow gets among the sheep and eats up a half-dozen lambs, take a club, call the dog, and settle the account at once; it will give you more real satisfaction than the fixing of a dozen gates would.
If any boards have got off from the barn, never mind such trifles; it must be a poor barn that can not stand a half-dozen boards off. If you run for every such trifle, what will become of your leisure moments?
If the banks of your ditches, by freezing and thawing, have slid in and filled them, you had better not clean them out, for they will surely fill up again, sooner or later.
A very convenient place for old and new implements such as harrows, scrapers, rollers, and old bits of boards, timber, plank, refuse brick, cobble stone, apple tree brush, etc., is along the street in front of the house. How can a man afford to shelter such things? Why! it would require nearly a half acre roofed over.
The place for whiffletrees, chains, clevises, axes, and hoes, is to drop them where last used. Many a farmer knows better than to make a fool of himself running to carry such things to some hiding place for shelter. – Mowing machines, horse rakes, cradles, and scythes, should always be left in the field where last used; for ten chances to one if they do not require to be used in that very place the next time.
Plow shallow – plant and sow late.
Your manure should be piled against the sides of your barns and stables, to preserve them from rotting. If the heaps get so large as to be troublesome, move your buildings, or do as another man did – make a bee, and haul and scrape the manure into the river.
Take no agricultural papers, unless you want to be humbugged with ‘book farmin’.’ ‘They have come to be filled with all manner of stuff, such as short-horned bulls, shanghie chickens, china geese, gaunt-gutted horses, deep plowing, compost heaps, made of bogs, dry leaves and dung, ashes, lime, salt, suds and hen-roost scrapings, all mixed pell mell, and soaked with rain water and urine, which must be mixed with guano, poudrette, and nobodys knows what. And then they are brimful of draining, under-draining, tile-draining, and machines for digging potatoes, catching rats, and sucking cows; telling how to make flap-jacks, nice cake, roasting turkeys, and stuffing chickens.’ Strange pass, surely; but my space is up. W. L. CURTIS. Near Clyde, Ohio.