Boston: Loring, 1870.
First Edition. 87 pp, in original printed wrappers. Light soiling, a few small chips; very good.
A didactic novel meant to inspire young men to choose farming as a career. The story follows the lives of two new Harvard graduates, Charley, who returns to his country roots to be a farmer, and Fred, who comes from a wealthy family and becomes a lawyer. Fred advises Charley not to “bury your brilliant talents in a corn-field or a compost heap” and urges him to study law and pursue a political career. Five years later, however, we find Fred alone and barely making a living, while Charley has married his high school sweetheart and become a respected pillar of his community. The lesson is that returning to the land of his birth gives Charley “a framework to bind together and family and work, personal happiness and communal stability. Living outside such a context, on the other hand, was a recipe for personal and ultimately financial failure” (Johnson, Countryside in the Age of the Modern State, p. 25). Bland, a Quaker who had served as a medical doctor in the Union Army, published The Northwestern Farmer ("a superb magazine of rural life devoted to agriculture, horticulture, rural economy, home improvement, and family reading," according to an ad at the end of this book) and later became head of the National Indian Defence Association.