AGRICULTURE (from the Latin Agriculture). The economical relation of agriculture to other branches of indus try is the subject of the following re marks.
The question has sometimes been pro pounded whether agriculture or manu factures are more useful to a state, or, in other words, whether agriculture or other branches of industry contribute most to the wealth of a state ; and whether a state should give more encouragement to agri culture or manufactures. Such questions imply that there is something which essentially distinguishes manufactures from agriculture ; and also that a state can and ought to give a direction to in dustry. Agriculture is the raising of vegetable products from the soil, which are either consumed in their raw state or used as materials on which labour is em ployed in order to fashion them to some useful purpose. Manufactures, in the ordinary sense of the term, comprise the various modes of working up the raw products of agriculture and mining. So far there is a distinction between agricul ture and manufactures ; agriculture is auxiliary and necessary to the other. In the popular notion, the difference in these two processes, the raising of a product from the ground and the working up of the product into another form, constitutes an essential difference between these two branches of industry ; and accordingly agriculture and manufactures are often spoken of as two things that stand in opposition or contrast, and they are often viewed as standing in a hostile opposition to one another. But such a distinction between agriculture and manufactures has no real foundation Those agricul tural products which are articles of food— as bread, the chief of all—are essentials, and the industry of every country is directed to obtaining an adequate supply of such articles, either from the produce of such country or by foreign trade. Some of the various kinds of grain which are used as food are the prime and daily articles of demand in all countries. Agri. cultural articles which are employed as materials out of which other articles are made, such as cotton, are only in demand in those countries where they can be worked up into a new and profitable form. The varieties of soil and climate render some parts of the world more fit to pro duce grain, and others more suitable for cotton. Ever since the earliest records of history the people of one country have exchanged their products for the products of other countries; and if the matter were simply left to the wants and wishes of the great majority of mankind, no one would trouble himself with the question of the relative superiority of the process by which he produces grain or cotton, and the art by which his cotton is turned into an article of dress in some other country, and sent back to him in that new form to be exchanged for grain or more raw cotton. He might not perceive any essen
tial difference in the process of turning the earth, committing the seed to it, and reaping the crop at maturity; and the process by which the raw material which he has produced, such as flax or cotton, is submitted to a variety of operations, the whole of which consist only in giving new forms to the material or combining it with other materials. In both cases man moves or causes motion; he changes the relative places of the particles of mat ter, and that is all. He creates nothing ; he only fashions anew. The amount of his manual labour may be greatly reduced by mechanical contrivances, and much more in what are called manufactures than in what is termed agriculture ; so that if the amount of the direct labour of hand is to be the measure of the nature of the thing produced, agricultural pro ducts are more manufactures than manu factured articles are. Some branches of agriculture, such as wine-making, indeed belong as much to manufactures, in the ordinary sense of that term, as they be long to agriculture. The cultivation of the vine is an essential part of the process of wine-making : but the making of the wine is equally essential. Indeed there are few agricultural products which re ceive their complete value from what is termed agriculture. Corn must be car ried to the market, it must be turned into flour, and the flour must be made into bread, before the corn is in that shape in which it is really useful. Agriculture therefore only does a part towards the process of making bread, though the making of bread is the end for which corn is raised. It is true that in agricul tural countries the processes by which many raw products are fashioned to their ultimate purpose, are often carried on by agriculturists and on the land on which the products are raised. But agriculture, as such, only produces the raw matter, corn, flax, grapes, sugar-cane, or cotton. If any agriculturist makes flour, linen, wine, sugar, or cotton-cloth, he does it because he cannot otherwise produce a saleable commodity ; but the making of flour or wine or cloth is a manufacturing opera tion, as the word manufacture is under stood.