Your Special Committee, raised "to take into consideration the state and condition of American agriculture, and to report such measures and policies as in their judgment will tend to afford relief from the weights, hindrances and difficulties that may beset it, and to suggest such methods as will restore to American farmers greater prosperity and promote their political and material welfare," have given the subject such consideration as opportunity and circumstances allowed, and present the following report. . . . American farming is growing less profitable and less encouraging.
In a country possessing so many facilities of cheap production this discouraging aspect of agriculture must be and is the result of other than natural causes. The annual additions of wealth under the enlightened system of agriculture are enormous, but from the unequal divisions of the profits of labor and the unjust discriminations made against it, the enlistments of property show that the farmers of the United States are not prospering. While it is rapidly extinguishing all debts and restoring an equilibrium to the currency of the country, its votaries are deprived of a just share of the rewards of their toil. Capital concentrates to make corners and form rings to fix prices. Transportation companies are allowed to make and unmake prices at will by their unjust and discriminating tariffs and freights. Subsidies and tariffs are created to protect other industries to the prejudice of agriculture. Commerce is shackled. American productions are denied the markets of the world through partial and restrictive laws. Agricultural property is made to bear an unequal and undue proportion of taxation to afford exemptions and privileges to other industries. Monopolies are permitted to assume power and control and exercise perogatives and privileges justly belonging to sovereignty. Encouraged by legislation and stimulated by power, they have grown dictatorial and imperious in their demands, unrelenting in their exactions, and cruel and unmerciful in their impositions. Society has become extravagant and is now a heedless spendthrift of the painful earnings of labor. Government has become proud and autocratic, while her toiling laborers are humiliated in their poverty. States are lavish and prodigal with the people's money. Cities and towns grow rich at the expense and impoverishment of the country. Laws are ingeniously formulated to make justice tardy and thus tend to encourage crime and disorder. In view of the well-established fact that the productive industries must bear the burdens of society, chief among which is agriculture, the national nursing mother of all the occupations, trades, and professions of our people, it is found that it is over-taxed and over-burdened with unnecessary, unjust, unequal, and flagrant impositions, that a just sense of right would transfer to where they justly belong. The farmers of America have on all occasions shown themselves to be a patient and enduring people, and further submission to wrong and injustice will be a sacrifice of manhood and exhibition of cowardice. Stirred with a just sense of right and supported by the integrity of our purpose, the National Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry, in the name and interests of the farmers of the United States, sternly demand--
1st. That the Department of Agriculture shall be made an Executive Department, and the Commissioner a Cabinet officer.
2d. That the Agricultural Department shall be sustained and supported by annual appropriations commensurate with the importance of the great and permanent industry it represents.
3d. That commercial treaties shall be made with all foreign countries, giving to American products equal and unrestricted intercourse with the markets of the world.
4th. That governments be administered in a cheaper and simpler manner, consonant with the conditions of the people.
5th. That a more rigid economy in the expenditures of public moneys be re-established.
6th. That the laws shall be plain and simple, to the end that justice shall be speedy, crime punished, and good government maintained.
7th. That the creation or allowing of monopolies to exist is in violation of the spirit and genius of free republican government.
8th. That the tariffs of freight and fare over railroads and all transportation companies shall be regulated, and all unjust discriminations inhibited by law.
9th. That taxation shall be equal and uniform, and all values made to contribute their just proportion to the support of the government.
10th. That the revenue laws of the United States shall be so adjusted as to bear equally upon all classes of property, to the end that agriculture shall be relieved of the disproportion of burdens it bears.
11th. That the patent laws of the United States be so revised that innocent purchasers of patent rights shall be protected, and fraudulent venders alone held responsible for infringements of rights and violations of law.
12th. That a system of elementary agricultural education shall be adopted in the common schools of the country.
13th. That we are entitled to and should have a fair representation in the legislative halls of the country, chosen from the ranks of the farmers.
Emphatically asserting our unalterable determination to support and maintain these principles, we demand that they shall be incorporated in the laws of the country for the protection of American agriculture, and invoke the aid of the farmers of the United States in their support, regardless of party affiliations and party mandates. To follow the dictation of partizan influences whilst our earnings are spirited away, and our families beggared, is a degradation and sacrifice that cannot longer be endured.
With manly dignity we boldly declare our rights and interests, and with unwavering devotion will maintain and defend them on all occasions, and this warning is defiantly thrown to the world.