Tillage of the Soil,

Comments by Madhava Ghosh
When tillage begins, other arts follow. The farmers, therefore, are the founders of human civilization.”  Daniel Webster


Which echoes Prabhupada when he says:

“Without protection of cows, brahminical culture cannot be maintained; and without brahminical culture, the aim of life cannot be fulfilled.”
Srimad Bhagavatam 8.24.5

Cow protection includes agriculture because the dung is used for fertilizer and the bull used for traction. Not slaughtering animals is a specific feature of true Vaisnava agriculture.

A follow up email I received:
I found the original  quoted extract in the last paragraph of a speech Daniel Webster delivered to the Massachusetts Legislature (Boston, 13 January 1840):

“Let us never forget that the cultivation of the earth is the most important labor of man. Man may be civilized, in some degree, without great progress in manufactures and with little commerce with his distant neighbors. But without the cultivation of the earth, he is, in all countries, a savage. Until he gives up the chase, and fixes himself in some place and seeks a living from the earth, he is a roaming barbarian. When tillage begins, other arts follow. The farmers, therefore, are the founders of human civilization.”

The speech is printed in its entirety in The Works of Daniel Webster, Vol. 1, 7th ed. (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1853), pp. 443-457 . (See enclosed attachment.) This lawyer and politician had a great interest in and knowledge of agriculture. He discoursed confidently on crop rotation and fallowing, the importance of manure, winter feeding of livestock, the best breeds of sheep and cows, etc.

Of course, his perspective was not that of a Vaishnava; he viewed as normal the raising of animals for slaughter, for example, but the bulk of what he said seems quite intelligent. His stamina and productivity were amazing; at one time he was employed for a dollar a day as the principal of an academy while working as a recorder of land deeds and also studying law in his spare time!

Posted in In the News.