« AnteriorContinuar »
this address, had he been present at the late meeting of the so. ciety, intended to have proposed the inviting and declaring all the clergymen in the county to be members ; but exempt from pecuniary contributions. Formerly, parsonages (like glebe lands in England) were provided for our clergy in the country; and their cultivation was necessarily to depend on the direction, and in some measure on the manual labour, of the incumbents—the clergy themselves. At this day, many clergymen, from the scantiness of their salaries, are required to imitate St. Paul, working with their own hands, to minister to their necessities, A great proportion of our clergy are the sons of farmers, and in early life were acquainted with the practice of husbandry. Its principles, as a branch of natural philosophy, cannot fail to in. terest them. And were their attention drawn to the subject, it would be in their power easily to obviate the complaint so often made-That practical farmers cannot be persuaded to communicate to the public (through agricultural societies, or otherwise) their successful improvements. Unaccustomed to write, they naturally shrink from the task. But it would not cost clergymen much time to make themselves acquainted with every improvement in husbandry among their parishioners; nor much labour to describe and communicate them for publication. And I cannot suppose that such attentions would render them less acceptable to their people ; while they would tend to give efficacy to their prayers, that “the earth yield her increase.” “God helps them that help themselves."
To the Essex Agricultural Society.
HAVING suggested to the Trustees, at their late meeting, the expediency of preparing fome propositions to be submitted to the Society at its adjourned meeting; by whom, so far as they appeared to embrace useful objects and ideas tending to the improvement of our Agriculture, they might be recommended to the attention of farmers; and the Trustees thinking this might be done conveniently in the form of an Address, I consented, at their request, to throw upon paper my views of such arti. cles of husbandry as should seem proper to engage the attention of the Society, at the commencement of its operations.
I shall present my observations under the heads of Manure-Domestic Animals, or the Live Stock of a farm-Green Food, comprehending Carrots, the Great Beet, or Mangel Wurtzel, the Swedish Tur. nip, and Indian Corn plants, while abounding in sweet juices -Ripened Indian Corn--and Wheat.
I wave all remarks on the importance of the subject of our inftitution : that is universally acknowledged. How, indeed, are we fed, clothed and warmed ? By the productions of the earth. How shall these be rendered abundant ? and most abund. ant? to fubfist greater numbers than now depend on them?-By improvements in Agriculture, taking this word in its largest sense, and comprehending every object meriting the attention of the husband man.
New-Lands, cleared of their trees, and the brush and rubbish burnt on the ground, yield a number of crops without other manure. But in Essex, there is, I presume, no land of this sort. All our farmers, therefore, depend on common manure for crops that will reimburse the expense of their culture. But the quantity of manure arising within their farms, is extremely limited, and wholly inadequate to their wants. And
And as “dung is all in all," * it is of the highest interest to every farmer, first to husband what he has, and next to consider how he may increase the quantity.
It is seventeen years since, riding from Boston into the country with a friend, and passing a farm con. fisting, on one hand, of gentle hills, and on the other of a plain, to which latter part great quantities of manure had been applied, but which produced only a very transient fertility ;-" That (he remarked) is good land-this (the plain) is riddle land.” After we had parted, his expression, "riddle land," occurred to me. “ And what (putting the question to myself) is riddle land?” That which is of so and loose a texture as to let the rain falling on it pass through it, as water poured into a riddle or Geve, and carrying down with it the essence of the manure below the roots of plants for whose nourish. ment it is applied. But is it true, that on such land, or on any land, the fertilizing parts of manure es. cape by sinking beyond the reach of plants? If they do, how happens it, that in lands which have been cultivated and manured for ages, every layer of earth
* A remark long since made, I think by Arthur Young, a celebrated English writer on husbandry; comprehending litter and all other materials usefully mingled with the dung and urine of animals.
below the cultivated soil is, nevertheless, found dead and barren? Is it not for this reason, that farmers in general cautiously avoid ploughing deeper than the soil, left by stirring that dead earth, and mixing it with the soil, they thould lefsen its fertility? The result of a little experiment which I had made prior to our revolution then occurred to me. Its recital may in some other respects be useful.
Within a stone's throw of my father's house, was a piece of sandy loam, which from its contiguity to the dwelling-place of himself and ancestors, for upwards of a hundred and thirty years, must have been kept, a large portion of that time, in tillage, and consequently have been often manured. Ņet the coloured soil was no more than five or fix inches in depth. This foil I removed from one spot, with three or four inches of the earth next beneath it. Of the next, red earth, I then took up as much as measured a peck and a half. Dividing a long box into two equal portions by a board, into one I put a peck of the red earth; and into the other a half peck, intimately mingled and incorporated with half a peck of clay-perfect clay to the touch; but it was taken from the edge of a clay-pit holding water, where cattle often drank, and a flock of geefe bathed, during the summer. Hence the apparent clay was doubtless impregnated, in some degree, with the droppings from these animals. This box I placed, on the surface, in a garden. Adjacent to it, I sunk, to a level with the surface, a small earthen pot filled with the same sort of clay. In these three places I lowed turnip feed, as late as the 20th of Auguft. In a few days I reduced the number of turnip plants in each to three. The pot of clay, even with the surface, received fufficient water from rains : but I regularly watered the parcels of earth in the box;
bestowing equal quantities, and at the same times, on each division. Near the close of October, 1 carefully took up the turnips, and washed them, leaving upon them the fibrous roots and leaves. The three which had grown in the pot of clay weighed ten ounces—the bulbs hot to the taste, stringy and tough. The three from the dead red earth weighed only three ounces, and the bulbs were soft, spungy and insipid. But the three which had grown in the mingled red earth and clay weighed twenty-four ounces, and the bulbs were of good texture, and well flavoured.
From the facts above stated, I felt authorized to infer, that all the loft manure, (that is, all the parts not imbibed by the roots of plants, nor remaining in the soil) instead of sinking below the sphere of vegetation, rose into the atmosphere: and that “ riddle land,” (land on which the effects of manure were not lasting) however highly manured, so soon lost its fertility, not by letting the essence of the manure fink speedily through it, but by its incapacity to retain it against the power of evaporation.
My own practice, since, has been conformed to this conclusion; diligently ploughing in all manure as soon as spread; even fo far as to fpread in the morning no more than could be ploughed in before the hour of dining ; and while the cattle were eating, to spread only so much more as they could plough in by night.
Lands kept constantly in pasture show how little benefit is derived from dung as dropped from the animals depastured. That of horses, though in lumps two or three inches thick, very slightly enriches the spot where it lies; and that of oxen and cows, lying from one to two inches thick, has no considerable effect. Whereas dung which is spread and immedi