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parts, there is no ingredient (the oxide of iron possibly excepted) of sufficient activity, to restrain or augment, the peculiar energies of the substances employed.”
The beds were laid out and planted on the same day, the 14th of April ; they were manured as in the following table. These beds were each 40 yards in length, and I yard wide.
Every bed was planted with a single row of potatoes, “and, that the general experiment might be conducted with all
possible accuracy, each bed received the same number of sets.
The potatoes were taken up on the 21st of September, when the produce of the beds were as follows :
Bushels, 1. Land without any manure produced per acre .....
157 2 with 60 bushels of wood ashes ...
60 bushels of wood ashes, salt 8 bushels 217 4. peat 363 bushels.....
peat ashes 368 bushels, salt 8 bushels .. 185 6. peat 363 bushels, salt 8 bushels
171 7. saw dust 363 bushels .
155 8. malt dust 60 bushels .
184 9 decayed leaves 368 bushels ..
The use of ashes may be traced to a very early age.
The Romans were well acquainted with paring and burning. Cato recommends the burning of the twigs and branches of trees, and spreading them on the land. Palladius
says, that soils só treated, would require no other manure for five years. They also burnt their stubbles, a practice common among the Jews in Palestine. The ancient Britons, according to Pliny, were used to burn their wheat straw and stubble, and spread the ashes over the soil. And Conradus Heresbachius, a German counsellor, in his Treatise on Husbandry, published in 1570, which was translated by Googe, tells us, P. 20, that “In Lombardie, they like so well the use of ashes, as they esteem it farre aboue any doung, thinking doung not meete to be used for the unholsomnesse thereof." GREAT TOTHAM, Essex, February, 1837.
[TO BE CONTINUED.]
ON BEET-ROOT SUGAR.
I have read with much interest, so far as it has hitherto gone, Mr. Taylor's translation respecting the management and culture of the beet-root for sugar in France, and the impression on my mind was, that the same system would be equally applicable to this country, provided that no legislative enactment was likely to interfere with the speculation. I have heard this subject more than once debated amongst my brother farmers, and the conclusion generally arrived at seemed to be, that government surely would not, for a long time to come at least, take any steps to throw a damp on a branch of business which could not but be serviceable to the interests of agriculture, and was not likely, of many years, perhaps, to interfere with those of commerce.
it is not without regret that I perceive by the public papers that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has manifested a desire to put an extinguisher on this new and interesting branch of manufactures, by imposing a duty on the sugar so manufactured; for it is obvious to any one at all conversant with the subject, that a duty must operate in the way I have described. It is, to all intents and purposes, a prohibition to what might have been a very important investment of skill and capital, and it is not too much to say, an additional source of national wealth. But the West India Colonies might be affected, and, of course, according to modern doctrines, they ought first to be consulted, even though the benefit to our home farmers were ever so apparent; and, proceeding on the maxim, look abroad before you trouble yourself about home, the question is virtually settled. The British farmer must bow to the West India planter. Sir, I grieve over the policy which has led to this decision. It is unworthy a liberal and enlightened government, such as I am quite ready to admit the present has on more than one occasion shown itself. At all events the English sugar-manufacturer ought not to have been condemned without a trial, which, by this sudden, and, I contend, premature enactment, he undoubtedly is. When will the time arrive that our senators will know and practice the principles of fairness and equity towards the home producer ?
ON LAND DRAINING.
At a distance from London, I have not, for upwards of eighteen months past, had the good luck to see any thing of your esteemed periodical, the British Farmer's Agricultural Magazine, nor can I charge my memory with the merits of any article contained in its pages, on the subject of land draining, the most important operation in British rural economy.
So far as my observation enables me to draw conclusions on this subject, and I have had a good deal of experience, not only in Scotland, but also in many parts of England, I hesitate not in saying, that the operation is much too often performed at random; and also, that it is too frequently conducted on erroneous principles; and that, consequently, the results are uncertain, unsatisfactory, discouraging, and not at all affording adequate remuneration for the risk of capital and labour bestowed. And I say it advisedly, that any publications that I have seen from professional gentlemen, are, in my mind, more calculated to confuse, to dismay, than to encourage or to instruct. Expence, a vital consideration with agriculturists in general, the professional drainer too often casts entirely in the shade, as a consideration not worth taking into account; and this snake in the grass, rendered much more hideous from its partial concealment, I have no doubt, retards, if not entirely puts a stop to, the improvement of many a field, and defeats the very object it is intended to promote. Systems of draining, however bad, are adopted, and without deliberation become habituated—if I may use the term-confirmed in the district, and, passing from man to man, become rivetted to the place. The son fills up
the footsteps of the father, and without inquiry, without weighing circumstances and appearances in his mind, inserts, possibly, a six feet drain, where sixteen inches would be infinitely preferable—or vice versa—and the result is consequently neither at all commensurate with the expence, nor satisfactory to the operator or any one else. Yet, like Mrs. Maclarty, in Miss Hamilton's publication of the Cottagers of Glenburnie, he sits himself down in the weak idea that it will do weel eneugh ; that he has done all that can be done, or that a prudent man ought to attempt ; and fairly gives up his soil as beyond recovery-irreclaimably drowned.
However various soils may be, and the system of draining best adapted for them, nature has assuredly, in every
instance, laid the means of reclaimation to our hands, and that we only want energy
and discernment to turn her beneficence to advantage. And however ably the subject of land draining may be handled in the British Farmer's Magazine, still the subject cannot be too much agitated. By holding its importance up to view, much good may arise, and no harm; for certainly any system of draining must be better than none.
It must be admitted, that until the soil is laid dry, agriculture cannot be successfully pursued. Without a sufficient supply of moisture, gradual moisture I shall call it—not stagnant waterI admit that vegetation will not proceed; but wherever a superabundance exists, it is baneful in the ratio of that excess, to the life, to the health of the plant. Draining, therefore, where such operation is necessary, is the basis, and it also ought to be the forerunner—the prelude—wherever a substantial, well executed improvement is expected or intended. For until the superfluous moisture is withdrawn, you cannot bring your soil into that state of pulverization so as to enable it to throw off the contamination, and expel the vicious principles it may have imbibed from its long contact with water. Nor until it is brought into such state of pulverization, can it accept-inhale as it were—the purifying, the fructifying influence of the atmospheric air. Manure applied to lands in a wet state is in a great measure thrown away; it is in fact like tossing your bread upon the waters, but you shall not “ find it again after many days”-no nor until the superfluous moisture is withdrawn, and your soil brought into a state of pulverization-into that state of garden-like culture, in which alone it can exert its best energies, expand its virtues to the full effect, in the perfect production of those sorts of plants which generally constitute the food of man.
There is therefore no operation in British rural economy, of such vital importance to the well-being of the agriculture of the nation at large, than is that of draining; and though the most profitable method of accomplishing this
desirable end may admit of much discussion ; still, the subject is only the more worthy of serious consideration.
The great sums annually expended on draining, must be allowed to be a heavy tax, and, I make bold to say, according to the general practice, an endless tax upon the farmer; and whatever thwarts his operations is not only an individual lossa burying of capital—but also, of course, a drawback on the improvement of the country—an enhancement of the earth's pro
duce a national evil-and could an efficient permanent system of draining, applicable to every soil and situation be introduced, an incalculable blessing would be conferred on British agriculture. Such a system, I say, is in every man's power; the difficulty only is to make him think so, and induce and instruct him how to put it into practice.
In the hope of being of some service, I beg to trouble you with the following observations and opinions on the subject of land-draining.
To advert to the various systems of land-draining suggested by speculative theorists, or adopted by men desirous of drying their lands and saving their money, would be both a useless and an endless task, and taking up your time to no good purpose.
In the first place I will take a view of the system till of late years in universal practice in Scotland, but which is now gradually giving way to a more enlightened system.
Open ruts, of course, exhibit draining in its infancy. In a more advanced state of the art those open ruts are filled with stones, (in Scotland), forming, when covered with soil, the rumbling drain. These early attempts being so shallow—so far as they have come under my eye, being only about two feet in depth, and filled with stones within reach of the plough—their utility must have been of short duration. The drains of the present day are rarely under three feet, frequently five, six, or even more, and filled with stones (or ought to be) to within 12 inches or so of the surface, at an expense, in the aggregate, of not less for a six-feet drain than 30s. per Scotch chain, and other depths in like ratio ; and which, in nine cases out of ten, will not continue efficient during the currency of a nineteen years' lease, and consequently must be repeated (as usual, particularly when stones are scarce) by raising the old drains, at an expense of not less than two-thirds of the original cost ; nor is the second operation likely to be so efficient as the first, from the mud that must adhere to the stones; and, moreover, though a rumbling drain, as it is generally formed, evidently never was intended for the carrying off surface water. Yet I know, that having a vent formed in it—a communication opened with the surface—it is frequently made to perform this operation, and invariably gets closer in a much shorter time than I have pointed out; should even a mole choose to take possession of the rumbler for a few hours, the formation may be nipt in the very bud. And even when this drain is finished in the most perfect style it will admit of, it will not dry in most cases, if any,
NEW SERIES, VOL. ), NO. 1.