Page images
PDF
EPUB

we

received the medal of the Commissioners. It realized bolt on the instant. The next morning you may have to 2s. 8d. per lb., and is of foreign origin, as will be seen on ride ten miles into the country to collect your scattered examination. It is Saxon Merino and French Rambouillet. flock, which are dispersed over the great hills wbich surThey are the best. We pick out the finest of our flock, round them. Tbat is a nuisance in itself; but as in ancient and by crossing with very good German ewes a fine staple times there were Delilahs, who worked all kind of mischief, is produced. We select ihe rams with reference to the even with the strongest, by their wiles, so in this case, these ewes, and these rams cost us from £30 to £50 a piece. native dogs seduce our good dogs, and bring them and their We thus get a stud of rams and ewes in the first cross. masters into all kinds of trouble. Instead of having a stint That is the first stud. The evil then to avoid is the putting for sheep, as in this country, the farmers are obliged to have of rams to their own progeny, but by the plan we pursue, tbree acres of land for every sheep they own. If you take having 60,000 sheep, there is still no relationship. If you 50,000 sheep, you must have 150,000 acres. In my own want to keep up the value and quality of the flock you must case I have 180,000. To form a notion of the extent of this, renew it with fresh blood every few years, every six or eight I would have you start on your horse from Kirbythore, years, allowing the rams free intercourse with the ewes, and making Penrith your head station, and Naworth would be not following the practice in crossing adopted in England. about your out-station of the run which it would embrace, That would involve too much labour and cost; we could not and it would be what we should call a good run for afford it, paying the price we do for rams, and they are allowed 50,000 sheep. My own run is about 18 or 20 miles as to go with ewes in the open country, where it is best opeu the crow flies, or 40 miles from end to end. The pasture forest land, about 3,000 feet above the sea, as in my case. for our flocks must necessarily be large, for a fire might We allow from 5 to 10 sheep to the acre, according to the occur from the dryness of the grass, when immense daruage quality of the ram, and 30 rams are permitted to run with the would be done; and there are seasons when in some places flock for about five weeks. That, it will be seen, spreads the the grass is sparse, and insufficient for the support lambing, which comes in due season, over four or five weeks.

of the flock. When

remember that the sheep We don't breed twice a year; I am not aware whether it is have to go four miles out every day, and return the practice of you here, but we find that two lambings as a every night four miles, you will admit that 50 flocks, under rule don't pay. The seasons for lambing are with us exactly such circumstances, would entail no little anxiety and reversed. We put the rams to the ewes in the month of May, trouble. In this country you put five or six sheep on an and the lambing season ensues in the month of November, enclosed acre of rich and fertile land; and the risks we are whereas you reverse the process, putting the rams with the exposed to are unknown to you here, In wether flocks we ewes in the month of October, and the lambing follows in have, say, flocks of 2,500 dry sheep or dry ewes in the flock, March or April. The summer lambing is the best. Some of and you may imagine the kind of attention they require. our breeders breed twice a year, but the principal farmers When ewes are with lamb or with the ram we are obliged have found that it does not answer.

When the lamby are to limit the attendance, to keep down the expenses ; and, dropped, within five or six mouths after the rams have been I may observe here, as an important feature connected with taken away (when they only require one man to a flock of 800 emigiation, that what we require in such circumstances is not or 1000), we add three or four men to each flock to see that skilled labour. If a man engaged to look after the sheep they are properly attended to. The result is a great increase would not go to sleep on his post-if he would keep a look -an increase of 8 or 9 per cent, in lambs. Then as to out for two-footed thieves by day and four-footed thieves by cutting. I don't know how the process is done in England; night, that is all that is required; we don't want a skilled whether it is thought worth while or not, but we find that it labourer nor active men, but anybody of ordinary capacity improves the sbeep. We have 12,000 or 15,000 in all, and and honesty, and who will keep awake upon his post. This the work is a very serious undertaking. Sir Stuart described would be just the character of the work desired by many men the process, in which the operator, used his teeth, adding one anxioua to emigrate; and it was a fortunate thing for us that will cut and draw 800 lambs in a day, and though the task is on the first blaze of the gold discoveries we were not deserted pot quite so pleasant as eating turtle soup, the men seem to by our servants, like most other people. When they found bave no objection to it (laughter). It is a wonderfal thing to that the diggings were not like Tom Tiddler's ground, where see a man go through such an amount of such work and eat gold might be picked up for the mere stooping, but required bis dinner afterwards with evident relish (laughter). For my a great deal of the bending of the back and hard work, with own part I know that the result, when cooked, is a most de precarious chance of success, our men were content to stick licious fry (laughter). Another point of importance is the to their flocks, and we were therefore able to retain them care of sheep when in the open country. It is a very dif- in the times of the greatest excitement. The native dog ferent thing too when they are brought into enclosures,

is perhaps the worst evil we have to deal with ; one of them under the care of the shepherd, and one of the greatest will attack a fock, and bite no less than fifty sheep, one after difficulty is to break in the weapers. The shepherds at- another : not that he wants to eat them, but from the mistending these lambs should be good men and up to their chievous nature of the brute. And of those tbat are bitten, work. We will take, say, 15,000 weaners, half male and it often happens that sixteen or eighteen will die. Another balf female, A man is put with them, without their misfortune may overtake the breeder in taking his flocks to mothers, in

pasture alone. At any surprise, how. untried pastures, where the grass may be poisonous. But in ever trifling, the weaners will take it into their heads some places the herbage is very wholesome; and I have at times to run for two or three miles, without stopping, known instances of sheep which have been without grass being in an unsettled state for want of their mothers. It for four months, and it would be supposed they were by that is all a matter of chance. If you get a flock of steady weat- time completely starved ; but it was not the case, the sbeep ers you are a lucky shepherd; and the only enclosures we thrived very fast: and upon examining the ground there would know of are hurdles. I have adopted this plan, and ap

be found a short bush of apparently very slight nature, but pointed a man to watch them, and to guard them from the upon which the sheep feed with alacrity, and get fat. At attack of the native dogs; and some allow their sheep to the same time there are very many poisonous grasses, which go into the open country and camp in a normal way for must be avoided ; and require great care on the part of the it is their nature to camp in the best and dryest place they farmer. Now, as to shearing, I will take a station at the end can find. If some ingenious person could hit npon a plan of the season —October. The sheep require some generalship of driving out the native dogs, as St. Patrick did in Ireland, to enable us to shear them; and none are washed, except in it would be a great boon to sheep-breeders ; but as we have a pool connected with a running river. All my wool has been never hit upon such a plan, we are obliged to hurdle our 80 washed. When the season comes round, some six or eight sheep for safety. Even then we may have a smash ; and it men are engaged, according to the size of the flocks; and, becomes a very serious thing. Fancy a flock of very valu. after the sheep have been washed, they are allowed to walk able ewes, worth $1 or £2 a-piece, and a native dog gets at about four or five days, to encourage the nature of the woolthem, in spite of the care of the shepherd and his dogs, wbich has been injured by washing-to grow up again, for the for even a native dog is paralysed if the other happens to be English wool-dealer cannot bear the feel of the wool between of the opposite sex, and instead of watching the sheep goes the fingers to be harsh. after her--the consequence is that the native dog, longing A MEMBER: You refer to what is here called the yoke. for a bite of mutton, jumps over the hurdles, and the sheep Sir S. DONALDSON : Yes, the yoke; and that is restored

[ocr errors]

to the wool by allowing the sheep to walk up and down for a than the north-namely, what English wools mis best short season after they are washed. And there is another with first-rate Australian wool. point of much importance at this time, in respect to which Sir STUART: It is difficult to say exactly which, as there you would do well to take example in Eugland. If we wanted is a difference of opinion on that point. I have shown that to select 2,000 choice ewes from the general flock, to put to we have increased the value of our wool, and we hope to the rams, it is at the shearing time that we do that. Our increase the size of carcases as well. I may say that the men-I meau good men, of course--will shear as many as five carcases themselves are the best answer to Mr. Marshall's or six score of sheep in a day; therefore the work is very question. The Kentish cross is a good breed, much better quickly disposed of, however large the flock. We classily than the heavy crossed sheep of your Leicesters and Lin. then as they are sheared, selecting the ewes and marking colns. This (taking up the hogget fleece) is more mixed them with tar, taking such as we want for the sams from the with silk than wool, and forms the fabric of ladies' dresses. rest of the fiock. Another thing is the “culliug ;" and that It is capable of producing the very finest cloth, and I say is generally let for sale ; for the difference of hall-a-pound of that none of you will compete with us in that respect. The wool upon our sheep, where there are so many, seriously manufacturers at Leeds get these wools and mix them with affects the profit in the aggregate. If we fiud a deficient silk, but your wooi is applied to other purposes. sheep, we cull it from the rest and sell it, and in this way a The CHAIRMAN.--You have not introduced many English flock of 50,000 sheep would be greatly increased in value. breeds among your sheep ? When we produce a flock of a thousand wethers for sale, the Sir STUART.-No; we find that the purer the breed the bad ones baviog all been put aside in this way, it makes a less it agrees with the warm climate of Australia. considerable difference in the profits of the sale. The pur- Mr. HESKETT.-) should think any English sheep chaser knows the improved value of your flock; and in sent to you would deteriorate with your climate ? tbis country, too, he will single out sheep of an otherwise Sir STUART.-Yes, both in carcase and wool. If your good flock that will materially diminish the value of sheep bad to travel ten miles a day in search of food, you the whole flock (Hear). Then as to shipping. I can would soon find him a different animal to what he is now, assure you we, as colonists, feel for the mother country ; ) pent up in your rich fields. our strongest sympathies are excited towards her, and our Mr. "HESKETT.—He would never be able to get back desire is to send her the largest quantities of our finest wools again. Laughter.) (Hear, hear). The plan is to sell to some merchant in London, The SECRETARY.—1 presume that you look more to the say 50,000 or 60,000 fleeces at one time. In October I sent

wool than the inutton ? 104,000 fleeces at once, and we generally find it best to send Sir STUART.—Yes; if we can produce a carcase of 70lbs., it home, and that is what I have always done. I have done it we consider it the best in Australia. particularly with regard to this country, because of the affec

Mr. HESKETT.-Even here 701bs. is very good. tion and enthusiasm I feel towards my native place, and if I Sir Stuart.-Yes ; we consider it perfection between were to describe all those feelings, I fear I should be thought 60lbs. and 70lbs. to be speaking in the language of hyperbole. But it is not so, A member asked what part of the colony Sir Stuart nor can the warmth of feeling towards England felt by the

farmed in ? colonists be over estimated. They are too glad to receive Sir Stuart replied-About 500 miles from Sydney : just emigrants from the mother country, and I may mention, for on the Borders ; within 400 miles of Maitlani. the information of those who may contemplate emigrating, The CHAIRMAN (Mr. Howard, of Greystoke), in putting that there has been a wonderful improvement in the whole the vote of thanks, stated the circumstances under which social condition of that great colony withiu the last few years ;

Sir Stuart Donaldson had been invited, and consented to the government has provided that the education of the rising | give this lecture to the Club. There were two points be generation shall be daly attended to, and under their protect

should wish to advert to. Sir Stuart did not anticipate the ing ægis it is a country where you have the management of

mixture of the coarser wools with the finer, but he (the your affairs yourselves, and where there is every temptation Chairman) thought the manufacturer would prosper in pro. for the emigrant to go. Indeed, I may be permitted, in con- portion to the importation of the foreign fine wool, and the clusion, to quote an old favourite poet of mine, Virgil, who I

home production of the coarser wool. think exactly describes the country so well, though applied to other regions and other times. He saye :

ANNUAL INSPECTION OF STOKE EDITH “ Hic ver assiduum, atque alienis mensibus estas

ESTATE: AWARD OF PRIZES' FOR BEST FARMBis gravidæ pecudes, bis pomis utilis arbos;

ING.-On Thursday, Oct. 17th, the Lady Emily Foley's Hæc eadem argenti, rivos ærisque metalla;

estate at Stoke Edith underwent its annual inspection, in Ostendit venis, atque auro plurima fluxit.''

order that prizes might be awarded to the best farming in which, for those who prefer the Eoglish, I may translate two classes-1st class, £20; 2nd class, £10. The prizes thus:

have been given annually since 1851 by the noble lady who “ Perpetual spring is here, and summer reigns

owns the estate, through the medium of the Herefordshire In months beyond her own. The cattle twice

Agricultural Society, and have stirred up an amount of Are pregnant: twice the trees bear useful fruit;

emulation among the tenants which has resnlted in a very Metallic veins of copper and white streams

marked improvement, not only in the farming itself, but also of silver glisten here; and here no less

in the estate, thus conferring benefit on all concerned. The golden ore in richest current flows."

fine day did much to enhance the pleasure of the inspection, Sir Stuart then resumed bis seat, amidst loud applause, ex

and enabled the various farms to be seen to the best advanpressing his readiness to answer any questions that might be

tage. There was a large muster of tenant farmers, who put to him.

followed Mr. Mathews (the judge) and Mr. Mason, agent to Mr. Scott: What wages do you give to shepherds ? her ladyship, in their tour round the estate. About seren

Sir S. DONALDSON : Of course, like every other labourer, o'clock a large number of the tenantry were entertained in a a shepherd will receive wages according to his capabilities. sumptuous manner by the noble landlady. Mr. Mssoa A man who knows the country, has been with sheep, and occupied the chair, supported, right and left, by the julga, is well acquainted with the habits of the native dog, would Vr. Mathews, and the successful candidate for the first get as much as £50 a year, with 10 lbs. of meat, and as prize. After the cloth was cleared, and the dessert pat en much bread as he likes, per day, and a house to live in. the table, Mr. Mason vacated the chair, and it was taken by In reply to another remark,

Lord William Graham, M.P., who was accompauied by the Sir Stuant said they did not desire rough cutting of the Lady Emily Foley, the Countess Powis, the Lady Herbert, wool.

and the Rev. W. Lambert. In the course of the evening, Mr. Heskett, examining the fleeces, said they were by Mr. Mason read the judge's report of the inspection, which no means rough cut. In Cumberland there was sometimes awarded the first prize for the best cultivated farm to Vr. as much wool left on the sheep after shearing as there was Taylor, of Showle, and the second to Mr. Sexty, of Jloartaken ofl. The wool before him was very fine.

house. The report referred to the efforts made by the Mr. MARSHALL: The Chairman thinks with me that it tenantry to overcome the difficulties of a most uncongenial would be well if Sir Stuart would tell us more to the effect season, and the friendly emulation provoked by the system of one point which affects the south country farmers more of offering these prizes.

APPLICATION OF CHEMISTRY TO AGRICULTURE.

FROM A LECTURE BY BARON JUSTUS VON LIEBIG, AS DELIVERED AT A PUBLIC MEETING OF THE ROYAL

ACADEMY OF SCIENCES, IN MUNICH, NOV. 23, 1861.

This day, when Bavaria celebrates the anniversary of culturists had no idea of the true causes of fertility in the birth of its king, the Academy of Sciences meets to the soil, and of the exhausting of it by culture. Besides express its wishes for the well-being of the monarch. the sun, dew, and rain, the cultivator knew comparaTo the sentiments of joy, fidelity, and devotion which tively nothing of the conditions of development in a burst from the whole population of Bavaria, are added plant. Many thought that the earth merely served to from our Academy those of a profound and respectful furnish the plant with a solid spot in which it could recognition for the enlightened protection accorded by vegetate. It had been known for many centuries that the king to science. True, all classes do not compre- by carefully cultivating the surface of the soil the prohend what analogy exists between their well-being and duce would be increased, and still more by using the the protection given to science. It will not, therefore, excrements of animals. They thought that the acbe out of place to take a glance at the development of tion of stable-dung was produced in some incomprehenthe agricultural profession, showing bow powerful is its sible way which art cannot imitate, just as the food acts influence, and how far it bas extended.

that passes through the body of man. They thought No profession had felt less than agriculture the influ. that on every farm, with sufficient cattle, they could ence of the progress of the age ; in none had the old produce, by means of a certain succession of crops, a routine been more firmly rooted, or the obstacles to mass of manure so great that there would be no end to amelioration been more powerful. If we picture to our- its production; that the raising of the produce of the selves the task that agriculture had to accomplish, if earth depended upon the labour and ability of the man we examine the state in which it was 33 years ago, it in the culture of his fields and the suitable choice of the seems that the accomplishment of that task was alto- crops be put in them. One fact that might often be obgether impossible without a radical change in its mode of served was that one man would ruin himself on a farm, operation. The task it had to fulfil was the production whilst another would make money by it; that the produce of meat and bread, necessary for a population ever grow- of a farm increased or diminished according to the man ing; and we can easily comprehend the extent of it. In that cultivated it; and thus was formed the belief that the States of the Union of German Customs, Hanover increased produce depended upon the will of man, and and Oldenburg excepted, the population has increased that he could, if he only knew the art of doing it, transsince 1818 little more than 1 per cent. ; while there were form into fertile meadows sandy plains apparently sterile. in these States, in 1858, nearly two millions of men Towards the end of the last century, a man of supemore than in 1848. Taking it at the lowest estimate, rior mind succeeded in laying down some rules for the and allowing for the sustenance of each man 1 kilo- culture of the earth, until then without laws, and in gramme of rye, or its equivalent, per day, we have per making it a profession. From some rules discovered by head and per year 365 kilogrammes of rye. Therefore, himself in the culture of his farm, he could calculate in in 1858, the population of the Union of Customs con- figures what was the productive faculty of the soil, how sumed 7,250,000 metrical quintals more than in 1848, much it exhausted itself by the culture of cereals and and 29,000,000 more than in 1818; and if the popu- commercial crops, how he should manage it- whether lation continues increasing in the same proportion, he could enrich it by the culture of roots or fodder crops, he consumption of rye in 1871 will be nearly 25,000,000 and what quantity of dung was necessary to repair the metrical quintals more than in 1851. When loss. Thaër thought that what the cultivator carried off consider that the cultivable surface of the earth cannot from his fields under the form of grain or food he could be much enlarged, the satisfying of such an enormous return to them by regulating the quantity of the force of excess of wants, increasing daily, seems to be an exigence the soil. What the force of the soil was he could not which it is almost impossible to provide for.

tell, and the idea he formed was that it was connected Let us suppose that in the last ten years of the past with things which operated in the earth like the phlocentury the population of Europe had increased at the giston from oxygen. same rate that it has done since 1818, we should have In the doctrine of Thaër, and his ideas of the equiliseen in the course of two generations a state of things brium between the productive force of the soil, the conequal in horror to those which existed in the middle sumption created, and the necessary means of repairing ages. For agriculture such as it was then, and indeed its loss, there was a germ of truth capable of complete has been till within the last few years, was entirely with- development; but in the hands of bis ignorant succesout the means of furnishing food equal in proportion to sors, who were strangers to science, as if under the inthe increase of a population always growing. As it is fluence of an evil genius, they had made no use of the with certain kinds of beasts, when the want of nourish- progress effected in natural sciences since Thaër, consement is felt, the strongest attack their more feeble quently his doctrine degenerated into a system void of neighbours, and fight till they have devoured them, so

The faculty of power or practice was, according it is with us; but only amongst people the most savage to them, the principal thing; but to know in what condoes one devour another, whilst in more civilized nations sisted the power they imagined was quite unnecessary. hunger creates a cruel thirst for blood, which seeks to We should, according to them, attach ourselves to expesatisfy itself by domestic revolutions or foreign war; and rience ; " With a theory," said they, “ we shall never the great battles at the end of the last century and the be- manure the fields. ginning of this appeared then as natural phenomena We who have seen the end of this system of culture destined to re-establish the equilibrium between the can comprehend the result. What they called expeproduction and consumption of alimentary substances. rience

the true experience of those In the last twenty-five years of the past century, agri- / who have proved it. They held then,

M M

we

sense.

was

not

as

an ternate course.

incontestable truth, that the diminution or in- liar circumstances, the doctrine was not altogether crease of the produce of land was in proportion to the applicable to his land, and that, though certain princiquantity of humus that it contained, or with the dimi- ples were tried with advantage in England, they were of nution or increase in the land of certain combustible no use in Germany. Thus, all the supporters of that principles, which the cultivator should use all his efforts extraordinary system of culture held this strange posito increase. There was truth in the doctrine, that upon tion : they recognized the principles which had been a fertile soil more plants will grow than upon an infer- taught them, as true in theory, though inapplicable in tile one; and that in a rich soil more organic debris will practice. And, what was worse, the effect produced be amassed than in a poor one. They had confounded upon those who could not distinguish true doctrine from the effect with the cause, and had taken the effect for false theory was an utter horror of scientific instruction, the cause itself. A poor field, thought they, would give The idea of perfection that man attaches to matbemuch larger crops if the cultivator knew how to make matical operations, and to all that resolves itself into more humus; and that principle would be incontestable, figures and measures, caused the name of rational to be if they could produce humus in land which does not con• given to a culture based upon agricultural statistics. tain the necessary conditions for the growth of plants. From that time there were rational and non-rational

One can get an idea of the means they employed in cultivators, and the one knew as little as the other of the keeping up the production of land by calling to mind reason or motives of their manner of acting. In fact, that Thaër, in 1806, attached little value to phosphate the reason was none other than the number of pieces of of bones, and attributed its effects to the quantity of money with which the method of culture was measured gelatine they contained. Again, in 1830, Sprengel and compared. taught that bones as manure were of no use in Ger- The cultivator who abandoned the triennial dismany. They knew, for a fact, that in England, pulver- tribution for the alternate sowing, and found bis ized bones were used as an indispensable means of in- revenue increase, regarded the new method as the creasing the produce of English fields already very rational one, and threw behind him a glance of fertile, but such was the blindness produced by their pity on his old way of culture. None saw that the false doctrine, that the German cultivators saw with per- change to alternate distribution was in itself an indi. fect indifference the exportation to England of several cation of the improvement of his fields, because in million quintals of bones. How their doctrine sup. the countries where the triennial cultivator saw bis ported itself in their experience, and how false they dis- labours remunerated by heavy crops of grain, no one covered it to be, we may judge by the fact, that now thought of being able to get any advantage from the althere is not a single cultivator in Germany of any intelligence who believes it possible to keep up or augment If nature had not so abundantly supplied the culti. the fertility of the soil without the use of bones.

vable soil with all that is necessary for the existence of The ground upon which their doctrine supported men and animals, and if the changes which the earth itself was, that in the lands of Moeglin powdered bones undergoes from one barvest to another were visible, the produced little or no effect; as is the case still. They practical cultivator would soon become convinced that produce no effect upon some fields, not because the his rational culture did not rest on a golden soil, bat bones themselves are useless, but because they do not that what he mistook for gold was only a gilt surface. know the right method of rendering them active. Several generations must have succeeded before it was

They believed, in fact-and that was the basis of known thall bis was a false route. The dazzled eyes of Thaër's system that the whole land of Germany was the the practitioner saw only false and disfigured images. same in nature ; and, as they did not know how and to It astonished him that, after having for thirty years what purpose manure acted, they thought they could try well-tilled and manured his fields, their fertility was upon any land whatever the effect of every manure. not the least in the world increased. He remembered Upon Thaër's fields bone-dust had no effect, and they that his father with less manure gathered more grain therefore concluded that it would be the same all over and less straw, and that in the time of his grandfather Germany; and, consequently, it was useless trying it. the hectolitre of barley had weighed from 10 to 15 kilo.

The production and increase of bumus, which in the grammes more than now. “But," thought he, “I need time of Thaër was considered as the most important fea- not seek the cause in the land, for it looks the same as it ture for agriculture, has now ceased to be the object of did formerly ; nor can it be my fault, for I hare cultithe cultivator's efforts ; and all that is indispensable for vated it with much more care," &c.; but the evil was keeping up and increasing the produce of land, in the that, peas, clover, and fodder plants in general would shape of grain or meat--all that was then, in blind igno- no longer succeed. If he could only find means of rance, left to waste, through believing imaginary rules getting more frequent crops of these plants, then bis and experiences all that, the cultivator now brings, at a trouble would be at an end. With more fodder he would great expense, from America, Australia, and Africa. As have more manure, and with plenty of dung be could the productive force of the soil, such as they imagined obtain large grain harvests. If he only had enough it, did not exist, it was evident that the agricultural fodder the grain crops would come of themselves. His equilibrium built upon that force of soil could never system of culture was based on the production of accord with the results of culture; and that the state of manure, and that on the production of fodder. It bad the land, such as it should have been, according to their taught the cultivator that he should transform his accounts, was in perpetual contradiction to the truth. fodder into stable-dung, and that manure was the matter Where a field, after a rotation of crops, should have gained that his art transformed into meat and bread. Bat it 25 per cent. in the force of soil, it had in reality lost, had not taught him what he should do to procure the because they gave it nothing to replace the conditions of manure when fudder would not grow in the land : it had fertility that they had taken from it ; and when they only taught him that cereals and certain commercial thought to have doubled the force of the soil, there was crops exhausted the soil, whilst fodder spares it, besides nothing left of its primitive strength.

improving and enriching it. Nevertheless, the practitioner had no doubt of the If cereals cultivated successively on the same field, truth of his doctrine. He explained in this manner the did not produce the second or third year satisfactory contradiction which existed between his doctrine and crops, they said the land was sick. For the same practice : be thought that the talent of putting his phenomenon they had two different causes. In the fint doctrine into practice had failed--that, by certain pecu- case they supposed the cause of non-success to be the failure of certain principles; and, in the second case, ment of other sciences ; and while chemists laboured to want of activity or strength. For the exhaustion of search out the phenomenon of life in plants and the land the cultivator found a remedy in manure, for animals, they found themselves in connexion with fodder, he sought a medicine, or, as for a lazy horse, a agriculture. whip. “What will be the end of agriculture," cried The chemist bad begun to study plants in all their these practitioners," if we must manure fodder plants parts—be examined the leaves, stems, branches, the as we do cereals? The farmer can scarcely produce roots and fruits ; he pursued the phenomenon of the enough manure for the cereals, and where would he get nutrition of animals ; he sought to discover what the it for other crops ?” The practical cultivator had neg. aliments became in their bodies; in short be analyzed lected to get intelligence in his practice: he had worked the lands of almost every country in the world. He as a shoe-maker exercises his trade; but he had not recognised that plants absorbed certain parts of earth, seen what the shoe-maker does see—that his quantity which aided the formation of their bodies, and that it of leather is constantly exhausting. He had treated his returned under the form of ashes after the combustion fields as a piece of leather without end, which if one of the plants, and that these ashes are for the pourish. cuts at one end it sprouts at the other. The manure was ment of other plants, just as bread and meat are for to him only the means of lengthening out and softening man, and fodder for cattle; that a fertile soil contains the leather, so as to make it cut more easily. He much, and an infertile soil very little of these nutritive treated it as if God had worked a miracle for him—not principles—that if they are increased, the poor soil for the preservation of the human species, but to save will become fertile ; that good soil would speedily the cultivator the trouble of thinking of the sources become infertile when by the production of plants, from whence flow the blessings of the Creator. In the and gathering them from the fields where they had schools of agriculture they had taught him that the true vegetated, the provisions of the land bad become talent of the cultivator consisted in cutting from the lessened; and in order that the soil may remain fertile immeose quantity of leather, which the land supplied, he must completely restore what was taken from it: if the greatest possible number of shoes in the shortest the restitution was not complete, he could not reckon time, and at the least expense, and that the best masters upon tbe return of the same harvests ; and it was only appeared to be those who carried to the farthest that art by giving to the soil more than he took from it that the

There was no lack of voices that raised themselves in produce could be increased. The chemist showed defence of that doctrine, and one of the greatest erils further (to serve as a comparison), that the aliments of that it caused subsequently was that the cultivators were men and animals operated in their bodies as in a furnace quite content with occasionally obtaining from their where they are burnt. The urine and solid excreland heavy crops, which sustained itself, and wbich even ments are the ashes of nourishment, mixed with increased as well as enriched them, and gave colour to soot and the produce of imperfect combustion, and the belief that they owed to their intelligence and the good effects that they produce upon fields are easily ability what was only traceable to their land, which explained, because they supply to the land what was gave them, without trouble, what others could not taken from it by the crops grown there; but with stable obtain from theirs with the greatest efforts.

dung, produced on the farm, he cannot cultivate for To the evident fact that the harvests diminished upon many years together, becanse it returns nothing to the an infinite number of lands, these happy cultivators land, of all its produce, which had been transported into opposed their own local experience to prove that the the towns. The farmer should then endeavour to draw from doctrine of agricultural equilibrium was correct, other sources the fertilizing principles which are wantand pretended that if the others would only decide ing in dung, and it is only by using artificial manures upon following the same mode of culture which had that he can render fertile the exhausted land. The task been so successful with them, there would be an end to of the cultivator does not consist in producing, at the all their difficulties ; that all lands were of the same expense of his land, large crops of what impoverishes composition as theirs, spoke for itself, and therefore, the soil ; but he should, on the contrary, try to proconformable to their experience, the conditions of duce good harvests without diminishing, but rather infertility should be with them inexhaustible. It was creasing its fertility from year to year. in reality conformable to true experience, that the In this manner science showed what was the real profields of these happy cultivators still gave some large ductive force of the soil, and fixed its laws of culture; crops; but how many times more they would give it showed that the system of culture proposed by Thaër, them, was a question which no one was prepared to would have had very different results is that eminent answer. The tradesman, or as they say in agriculture man had known the true productive force of the soil, the practical man, did not trouble himself with such and had been able to base upon it his doctrlue of agriquestions; but, nevertheless, he would perhaps have cultural equilibrium, or if, whilst his doctrines debeen wiser, had he taken them into consideration. veloped themselves, agricultural instructions had fallen What was most opposed to his thoughts was the doctrine into the hands of men of science, instead of tradesmen. itself; it had become an article of faith that the soil is It is true that in the schools of agriculture they had inexhaustible; for if it had been exhaustible, the taken care to teach natural philosophy, chemistry, and system of calture had had no more foundation, and to other branches of natural history; but the knowledge doubt its exactitude would have appeared a wilful that the pupils acquired in these sciences was not aprefusal of truth.

plied by the professor, completely ignorant of the science After some years, difficulties of every kind multiplied of practical culture, and skilful only in taking the land. in culture, and still farther was felt the want of manure. Young men thought then that natural sciences only Some by exerting all their powers could not succeed served as ornaments to trade, and that they were introwith the means at their disposal in increasing their pro- duced into their studies merely to torment them. duce of grain and meat. Others, in many places, In Germany the directors of these schools had sucappeared scarcely to avoid diminishing their produce. ceeded in keeping them in the country, in some cloistered It is evident in this embarrassed state agriculture could | isolation, far from the scientific movement, which had not satisfy the wants of a growing population.

then penetrated into all classes of the population, for in During that time, amongst the natural sciences that way alone it was possible for them to ensure a certain chemistry bad made sufficient progress in her own re

duration to their system of instruction, and to their posiconstruction to enable her to take part in the develop. I tion.

« EelmineJätka »