« ForrigeFortsett »
Lime, and Magnesia, which enter into the composition of all fertile soils. The acids with which these ordinarily combine are the Carbonic, the Sulphuric and Phosphoric. By burning plants, their combinations appear in ashes. An examination of the properties of their principal salts and their components, sheds a great light upon the subject. Let us begin with the bases. These are discovered to be metalic oxydes, the pure metals of which were obtained by Sir Humphrey Davy, and they are denominated respectively potassium, sodium, calcium, and magnesium and bone barytes, barium, &c. But potassium, which is the one most casily obtained, may be taken as a type of the class. It is a glittering metal, much like silver, but clear as water. It has some quality in common with sodium. When a current of water is passed over it, it is decomposed with great rapidity, devolving its oxygen. It often changes red color to blue. It combines with other acids, forming neutral salts, which are obtained by evaporation. The other alkaline metals follow the same process, but not so readily as potassium. The proportions in which they combine are 50 parts potassium, 8 of oxygen; making 48 of potassa, 24 parts of sodium, with 8 of oxygen, making 32 of scda.
Knowing the great importance of this to a farmer to know what amount his soil contains of potash, or of soda, we present them distinctly. Take a portion of the soil, and put it into boiling water, and then strain it through a filter. The water will extract all the soluble portions; then dry by evaporation, and the salt remaining will show by its form, its solubility, and by the action of the air upon it when exposed, what base it contains. That base will generally be found combined with sulphuric acid. When sulphate of potash is present, it will be discovered by its slow solution and its permanency when exposed to the air. Some plants receive from the soil minute portions of alkali, while others absorb an immense quantity. Some plants, Montena for example, contain a considerable quantity of sulphurs, which, combining with oxygen, developes the offensive gas sulphurated hydrogen, as is often found in fire-arms when neglected; and with putrid eggs. To this is owing the nauscous smell of water in
which vegetables may have been cooked. So with the water near the mouths of rivers, especially on the coast of Africa. The copper of ships anchored there rapidly decays, and this is the attributed cause of the unhealthiness of those shores. The best test of its presence is sugar of lead in solution, which in a short time shows itself producing sulphuret of lead. Sulphurretted hydrogen is then unquestionably pernicious to animal life, but not to vegetables, for to some of them sulphur is necessary; it is essential in mustard, cabbages, and in a large class of plants.-Scientific American.
Messrs. Quarterman & Son, of No. 18 Burling Slip, this city, have made a valuable discovery in the mode of mixing paints, for which they have applied for letters patent, All artists' colors can be prepared in the composition, will keep moist for years and will mix either in turpentine, oil, or water. All paints prepared in this manner preserve their brilliancy much longer and are more durable than those prepared in the old way. This new mode is also applicable to paints used in house and ship painting. It is also so cheap and so simple in its application, that any painter or manufacturer can adopt it readily.-Ib.
New Threshing and Cleaning Machine.
Mr. N. B. Lucas, of Jefferson county, Illinois, has invented a new Threshing and Winnowing Machine, which can thresh and clean with ease 600 bushels of oats in a day, and about 500 of wheat. It threshes damp grain well separating the damp grain from the straw easily. The inventor says that there is no machinery that winds with damp straw; no elevators to choke; no hand required to pitch straw from the machine, as the machinery throws it in a pile, to be taken with a horse rake, and thereby saves the labor of a man.—Ib.
ART. I.-POLITICAL ECONOMY.
DISTRIBUTION AND DIRECTION OF LABOR.
INTRODUCTION TO THE SUBJECT.
IN discussing the leading subjects designed to be embraced in the WESTERN JOURNAL, we shall endeavor so to arrange them as to keep their relations to each - other in constant view. By adopting this method, we shall be the better able to point out the connection of one interest with another, and to show the mutual dependence of each. Notwithstanding the practical application of these subjects is designed for the Valley of the Mississippi, (and, in that respect, local,) yet we shall aim to draw deductions from truths that are universal in their nature, and which are, therefore, interesting to the people of every country.
Writers on political economy regard the wealth of countries, with but little reference to the moral nature of man, or to the social condition of the people. They appreciate labor as the agent of civilization, and as the means of producing the appliances of human comfort; but propose no moral reward to the laborer; they offer no reasons calculated to reconcile him to his condition; and leave him to toil under the influence of necessity, or from a desire to accumulate wealth, unchastened by moral refinement
In the course of our discussions, we shall endeavor to show that there are other and higher rewards associated with labor; and that it was ordained by the Creator not only for the purpose of feeding and clothing the body, but also to elevate and dignify the moral nature of man. These discussions will lead us to consider the importance of associating mental and moral improvement with useful employments; to the end that man may become reconciled to labor in obedience to the laws of his being.
These moral considerations will either be interwoven with the principal subjects or embodied in separate articles at the conclusion of each number, as may appear most appropriate and convenient.
Although we esteem this branch of our subject as properly belonging to political economy, yet as it has not, hitherto, been treated in connection with that science, we shall call it "moral economy;" and, by that title, shall refer to it as occasion may require.
The field of investigation upon which we are about to enter, is not only extensive, but, in many respects, new; and although fertile, yet will require much labor, to make it fruitful. These considerations, however, will not discourage us, if we shall be so fortunate as to receive the approbation of our readers.
DISTRIBUTION OF LABOR.
The primary wants of man in a state of nature, are food, and protection from the inclemencies of the seasons. These are merely physical: civilization adds others equally essential; and, among the first of these, we must place mental and moral improvement. Hence the propriety of uniting moral with political economy; for, although food and shelter may sustain man in a state of nature, civilization can only be sustained by mental and moral culture.
The spontaneous productions of nature are only sufficient to support a small number of human beings in a state of barbarism: all beyond this limit is the result of labor and knowledge combined; and without this combination the earth must have remained a wilderness, and the human family a horde of savages.
The inhabitants of the earth having increased far beyond its capacity to sustain them without labor, and, for the reason that labor cannot be profitably directed without knowledge, it will be readily perceived that not only the comfort but the existence, also, of a large portion of the human family depend upon a wise direction of their employment.
Man is so constituted, that a certain degree of exercise is necessary to insure a healthful condition of his physical nature; and, without this, all physical enjoyments lose their relish and fail to delight his senses. This exercise was doubtless designed by the Creator to be appropriated to the production of the means of human comfort, and to redeem man from a state of barbarism. Hence we conclude, that, if every individual were to appropriate that exercise which is necessary to sustain health, to some useful purpose, that this would be sufficient to produce the appliances of every reasonable comfort, and leave ample time for mental improvement, and social intercourse.
Were it not so, little, or perhaps, no advancement could be made in civilization, except by such as should avail themselves of the labor of others; therefore, if all should not be oyed according to their capacity, and a considerable portion should subsist upon the labor of other hands than their own, the burthen would become unequal; and those upon whom it should bear the heaviest, must faint by the way, and fall behind in the march of civilization.
An equal distribution of labor among the inhabitants of a country, and a judicious direction of this labor to proper objects, constitute the true basis of political economy: and the permanent prosperity of every country, must mainly depend upon the observance of this proposition.
In considering the condition of the inhabitants of a country, we must constantly bear in mind that there are certain wants, which are common to every individual. Among these, are food and clothing, shelter from the inclemencies of the seasons, exercise and rest, intellectual improvement and moral instruction; and if these wants are not supplied, physical suffering, and moral degradation, are the necessary consequences. Every departure from an equal distribution of labor, tends to deprive a portion of the community of the means of supplying some one or more of these wants.
To illustrate the effects of an unequal distribution of labor, we will suppose, that a community of ten individuals should have so ordered their time, as to labor seven hours out of twenty-four; and, finding this sufficient to produce every reasonable comfort, they should appropriate the other seventeen hours to mental improvement, social intercourse, rest, and refreshment. Now, if one of the number should, from any cause, cease to labor, and subsist by the labor of the other nine, they would be compelled to forego a portion of their former comforts, or add forty-six minutes per diem to their time of employment. If two of this community should cease to labor, and subsist in like manner upon the labor of the other eight, these must increase their time to eight hours and forty-five minutes. And if three should cease to labor, and still draw their subsistence from the labor of the remaining seven, the latter would be required to labor just ten hours per diem; or, otherwise, suffer great diminution in their former comforts. This withdrawal of three out of ten would leave the remaining seven but little time to devote to mental improvement or to social intercourse; and, moreover, the time for improvement would not only be lessened, but the faculties of the mind would be impaired also; for when physical exercise is carried beyond a certain point, it ceases to afford pleasure, and produces a state of suffering, arising from exhaustion; and the mind, sympathizing with the body, loses its elasticity and yields to the physical demand for repose.
Hence we perceive how important it is to the advancement of civilization, that every individual should be usefully employed; for it is utterly impracticable that any considerable portion of a community can subsist upon the labor of the other without producing a state of want and moral degradation; and it may be well questioned, whether the moral condition of any country can improve, where as many as three individuals out of every ten, who are capable should, from any cause, fail to be engaged in some useful employment. It Lot sufficient that those who are not usefully employed should pay in money for all that they consume; this would not alter the case in the end-it would not lessen the amount of productive labor required to support the community; for, money being the