« PreviousContinue »
quire 76,789,000,000 pounds of organic mat-gle grain of solid substance to accumulate ter-six times more than the whole number within it. He states that the evaporation from contribute of organic matter towards the re- an acre of wheat during the period of its production; and in 100 years" the whole or- growth, to be 114,860 gallons, or 73,510,000 ganic material of the country would be con- gallons per square mile. With clover it is sumed!" rather more; with peas and barley less. When we apply these calculations to a county or a kingdom, we are lost in the magnitude of the processes by which nature works, but we see the more clearly that on such a scale the quantity of material supplied by the air, though minute to the individual, becomes vast in the aggregate. We see, moreover, the necessity in understanding the relations between the evaporation and rate of growth, and the laws and effects of absorption in soils. A thousand pounds of dry calcareous sand will gain two pounds in weight in twelve hours, when the air is moist, while pure agricultural clay will gain thirty-seven pounds.
Again; look at a farm.-low much more is carried off from it than is given back again; generally the amount of its yield is three times greater than that of the organic matter it receives: while of the manure applied, the greater part is not taken up, but imperceptibly decomposed. Carbon is the most important of the constituents of plants. An acre of sugar plantation produces 7500 pounds of cane, of which 1200 pounds are carbon; and yet sugar plantations are rarely manured, and then only with the ashes of the burnt canes. With bananas, the result is still more striking-the yield is 98,000 pounds of fruit in a year from a single acre; and of this 17,000 pounds-more than a fifth-is carbon; and the same acre will give the same return, year after year, for twenty or thirty years; and the ground at the end of that time will be richer than at the commencement, from nothing more than the decay of the leaves of the plant. Here in Europe, too, the difference in weight and in carbon between the seed and the produce has often been noted: in wheat, 89 per cent.; in red clover, 158 per cent.; in peas, 361 per cent. These facts af ford evidence of a supply of carbon derived from other sources than those commonly supposed to exist; and while we know that seeds will germinate and become vigorous plants in pure quartzose sand, or in cotton wool, or on a board, we seem to have proof that the chief source of supply is the atmosphere. This is an interesting point, which further research will verify. Schleiden shews the process to be eminently simple. He says in his work According to Link, Schwartz, and others, an acre of water meadow contains 4400 pounds of hay; which, when dry, contains 45-8 per cent. of carbon. The hay then yields 2000 pounds of carbon, to which 1000 pounds may be added in the portion of the year in which tation, and there is perhaps no spring water the grass is not cut, and the roots. To pro- in the universe which contains so little." Then duce these 3000 pounds of carbon, 10,980 as to sulphur and phosphorus, which are also pounds of carbonic acid is requisite, which among the constituents of plants, the quantity may be raised to 12,000 pounds to compensate needed in proportion to the time of vegetafor the nightly expiration. Now, Schubler tion is so small, that one 540,000th of a grain has shown, that an acre of so wretched a grass of sulphuretted hydrogen per cubic foot, dif-. as Poa annua, exhales in 120 days (too low a fused through the atmosphere to a height of computation) of active vegetation, 6,000,000 3000 feet is all that is required. The considepounds of water. To supply the exigencies ration that cereals would soon disappear from of the plants, therefore, it is only necessary the north of Europe, if not cultivated, and for the meadow to imbibe 3 1-2 grains of car- perhaps from nearly the whole of this quarter bonic acid with every pound of water. of the globe, adds weight to the arguments in favor of enlightened attention to the inorganic constituents of plants. The point is to bring the soil into harmony with the conditions by
The source of nitron comes next to be considered: and this also is seen to be independent of manures. Hereupon it is observed, that "our domestic plants do not require a greater supply than in a state of nature. A water meadow which has never received any dung yields from forty to fifty pounds of nitrogen, while the best ploughed land yields only about thirty-one pounds. The plants for which most dung is used, as potatoes and turnips, are in fact proportionally the poorest in nitrogen." That there is a supply independent of the soil is further seen in the millions of hides furnished every year by the cattle of the Pampas, without any diminution of produce; and in the great quantity of nitrogenous matters, hay, butter, and cheese, carried off from pasture land, far more than is returned by the animals fed thereon. Experiments with various kinds of plants, on various soils, have satisfactorily demonstrated that increase of nitrogen in the land and in the crop, does take place quite irrespective of supplies of manure.
With respect to ammonia, "it appears that one-thirteenth of a grain in every pound of water is sufficient for the exigencies of vege
Mr. Lawes has found also, that in a plant of any one of our ordinary crops, more than 200 grains of water must pass through it for a sin
which growth may best be promoted. Much, face. "In the spring," says the reverend ag depends on the nature of the soil; the dark-culturist, "I well hoed and hand-weeded the est colored lands are generally the highest in rows of wheat, and stirred the intervals with temperature, hence the advantage of vegeta- a one horse scarifier three or four times, up to ble mould, while deep light sands and clay, the very period of flowering in June." The which turn almost to stone in dry weather, crop looked thin and miserable until after weary and vex the cultivator by their unpro- April, when it began "to mat and tiller," it fitableness. It is to be remembered, however, did not turn yellow in May, and the stalk grew that soils which have the highest temperatures so stout and strong as to bear up well against of their own, may not be those most suscepti- the storm. When harvested, the result was ble of receiving heat-that is from the sun, highly gratifying, for the yield amounted to because some lands are warmed by the springs from thirty-six to forty bushels per acre, or that irrigate them. Here we have an explana- rather per half acre, seeing that as the altertion of the phenomena of certain soils, which nate strips were left bare, only one half of are warm in winter and cool in summer. The the field was really planted. The quantity of application of humus evolves heat by the pro- seed used per half acre was a little more than cess of combustion, and sand, lime, clay, and a peck. humus, are the combinations needed, the clay being in a proportion of from forty to fifty per cent; if less than ten per cent. the land will be too light and poor.
Adjoining the field in which these experiments were carried on, was another which had four ploughings, ten tons of manure, six or seven times as much seed, and yet it gave a quarter less to the acre.
This might be looked on as an accident, were it not that Mr. Smith has repeated his experiments year after year, and always with greater success. He believes that if all the conditions be literally fulfilled, the same favor
Schleiden in summing up insists strongly on the necessity of selecting good seed; that from a barren soil, he observes, is likely to be more true to its kind than from well manured land. Also, that the time for sowing should be adapted to the acquirements of the plant, and it will surprise many to read that he advocates able result may invariably be obtained. No a less frequent use of the plough. He holds manure whatever is to be used; and in the ploughing to be a " necessary evil, one to be em-second year, the strip is to be sown which was ployed only so far as necessity requires," be- left bare in the first; and so on, changing from cause of the too frequent loosening of the soil, one to the other, year after year. the decomposition of humus is so rapid as to overbalance the benefit supposed to arise from exposure to the atmosphere.
Such is a brief outline of some of the views of one who holds a high position among men of science; and though in some particulars they may seem to be at variance with practice in this country, there is much in them worthy the attention of intelligent cultivators.
From the Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal. INFLUENCE OF OCCUPATION UPON
An example to show that the application of manure to fields might be more limited.
A CURIOUS and interesting report has been prepared by Mr. Finlaison, the actuary of the National-Debt office, upon the subject of sickness and mortality among the male members of friendly societies in England and Wales, as shown by the returns made by them to the Government for the five years 1846-50. It appears that the proportion on the sick-list, in the course of a year, is one in four, or 24.99 in every hundred. The proportion seems large, but some allowance may have to be made for cases of feigned illness; and the persons in question are not those who are most favorably
A few years ago, the Rev. S. Smith, of Lois Weedin, in the neighborhood of Banbury, instituted a course of experiments on this very point, and with results which are singularly interesting. He took a field of four acres, having a gravelly soil, with clay, marl, and gravel as the subsoil. It had been hard worked for a hundred years; but except a thorough ploughing, no other means were taken to improve it, not a particle of manure was supplied. Wheat circumstanced in regard to food, clothing, was then sown in single grains, three inches lodging, and the various conditions of health. apart, and in rows a foot apart, a space of Mr. Finlaison proceeds to divide the members three feet being left quite bare between each of these societies into four classes: 1. Those three rows, and this was continued in alter- who have heavy labor with exposure to the nate stripes all across the field. The sowing weather-such as agricultural and other outtook place at the beginning of autumn; and door laborers-a class in which he has 353,103 in November, when the plant rows began to cases; 2. Those who have heavy labor withshow, all the intervening three feet spaces were out exposure to the weather—such as smiths, trenched by the spade, and six inches of the sawyers, coopers, plumbers—a class number subsoil made to change places with the sur- ing 94,259; 3. Those who have light labor,
with exposure to the weather-such as shep-expenditure of bodily strength may be deherds, drovers, drivers, pedlars, messengers, vised, its production should be hailed as one custom-house officers - in number 58,809; of the greatest of blessings to the sons of toil, 4. Those who have light labor without expo- and not ignorantly contemned by the very sure to the weather—such as clerks, shopmen, class whom in reality it ultimately benefits. barbers, factory operatives, servants-in num- A study of the following digest leads to the ber 286,909. He found that persons engaged conclusion, that the inventor of any engine in heavy labor, with and without exposure to which spares the physical energies diminishes the weather, have respectively 28.04 and 26.54 the amount of human sickness in proportion as per cent. of their number sick in the year; he, by means of his device, economizes the la. persons engaged in light labor 20.80 and 21.58: bor of his fellow-creatures.' in round numbers, taking a census of workingmen disabled by illness, for every three whose work is light or moderate, there are four of the class whose lot is heavy labor. The duration of sickness to each person sick is, however, upon an average, only 38 days and 40.73 in the two classes engaged in heavy labor, and 41 days and 44.25 in the two classes engaged in light labor. The mortality is heaviest among the persons classed as engaged in light labor and in-door labor shows itself less favorable to longevity that out-door. But the main difference in the distribution of sickness seems to turn upon the expenditure of physical force. "This is no new thing," says Mr. Finlaison, "for in all ages the enervation and decrepi- of persons sick, not to the duration of the tude of the bodily frame has been observed to sickness. The duration of sickness does not follow a prodigal waste of the mental or cor-decline in manhood, but increases with the poreal energies; but it has been nowhere pre-age. The severity of the railway employviously established upon recorded experience, ment, according to these tables, tells upon the that the quantum of sickness annually fallen to constitution; the men, it is said, get" weatherthe lot of man is in direct proportion to the beaten." In the police there is a marked indemands on his muscular power. So it would crease in the amount of sickness after 40, as seem to be, however. Therefore, whatever if the service broke down the men at an earscientific invention of machinery to save the lier age than other occupations.
These last remarks relate to the proportion
The tables show that the liability to sickness runs up to a temporary maximum in the young man, and then declines, and does not attain the same percentage until advanced years. This sick maximum of early manhood -the effect of a primitive demand on the bodily vigor-is in the period from 18 to 21, except in the class engaged in outdoor heavy labor, in which it appears to be at 14. The same percentage is reached, ever afterwards to increase, at the age of 48 in the class who have indoor heavy labor, 51 in the case of indoor light labor, 57 with outdoor heavy labor, and 65 with outdoor light labor.
From The Economist.
The want has led to much discussion about
Foreign Secretary immediately caused a circular to be sent to our consular and other agents abroad, requesting them to make THE great national want at present is of inquiries whether any substances of a fibrous Nor is such a want unknown in other and glutinous nature, adapted for making countries. There is an equal want of rags in paper, were produced or could be obtained in the United States. Bounties are offered there the countries in which they resided at a low as here for a supply, or for a discovery of some price. Answers have not yet been obtained, substance that may serve in their stead. So but the movement shows how keenly the want great is now the consumption of paper by the of rags is felt, and how important the Governreading and writing population of the two ment regards the supply. countries, that rags enough to make the required quantity cannot be had. Paper is rising in price, and the price of several provincial newspapers, in order to make them pay, has been raised. In consequence of this rise and the scarcity of the material, a paper manufacturer applied to the Government some In the five years ending 1834 was. 70,988,131 time ago, representing the difficulties of the In the five years ending 1853 was. 151,234,178 trade, to procure information where a supply of rags or substitution for them could be ob80,246,047 tained, and the Treasury thought the matter or 114 per cent., while it is well known that so important that it recommended it to the the whole population in that period did not inconsideration of the Foreign-office. The
* Observations on Fibrous Substances, etc.
fibrous materials for making paper, and Mr. Sharp, who has written a pamphlet on the subject, tells us that the average amount of paper made
crease more than 16 per cent., and the imports ing made and worn. The industry of the of fibrous materials and the use of clothing Russians and other producers of the raw maincreased less than 60 per cent. In the first terials has not kept pace with the intellectual quarter of the present year the quantity made improvement of society, and the manufacture was 46,304,217 lbs., gainst 43,588,903 lbs. in and consumption of clothing, ingenious as our the corresponding quarter of 1853, showing artisans and luxurious as our people are said an excess in the first quarter of the present to be, have not been sufficiently great to year of 2,715,314 lbs. This will be equiva- supply the materials for books and newspapers. lent to 10,800,000 lbs. in the year, or 5,000 For the sake of the paper manufacturers and tons of paper. At the same time the con- the intellectual wants they supply, more clothsumption in the United States is also rapidly ing should have been produced and worn; increasing, and the Americans come to our and luxury in dress, instead of having been market for rags, though they keep out our too great for the general improvement, has paper by an ad valorem duty of 30 per cent. not been great enough.
To find society in want of rags is a remarkable phenomenon. Till the paper maker came to convert them into one of the most beauti
The quantity of rags imported on the average of the three years, 1801-3, was 3,111 tons, and on the average of 1851-3, 9,332 tons; but in the latter series there was exported on an ful of manufactures, and the intellectual proaverage 1,587 tons, while there was none ex-gress of society made an enormous daily conported in the former series, leaving for the sumption of that manufacture indispensable latter series a supply of 7,745 tons. In one to welfare, rags were a nuisance; they haryear, 1837, there was 13,079 tons imported-bored pestilence; they were in the way; they an immense quantity of what is commonly were burnt to be got rid of; and thus intelclassed as rubbish to bring into the kingdom, lectual progress gives a pecuniary value to the and an emblem of the immense traffic which rubbish rejected by the lowest classes. It may arise in things that are considered worth-adds, in an unexpected manner, to the wealth less. Paley notices with astonishment the of the world. It makes more and different large trade which grows from the perverted species of industry necessary, and stimulates taste for tobacco, but even the trade in tobacco production. Intellectual progress in England and the revenue it yields, is less striking than and America and in other free countries, rethe import of 13,000 tons of rags, the manu-quires that more hemp and flax should be facture of them into half as much paper, on produced in Russia and in India, and more which some 60,000l of duty may be paid, and clothing made and worn throughout society. which gives employment, in one way and an- It will give an additional value to the fibrous other, to many thousands of persons. productions of the tropics, and stimulate exertion in the most distant lands. Besides increasing skill and facilitating production, it indirectly increases wealth, and accelerates the progress of civilization. The pressing want of rags, and of fibrous substances for making clothing, ships' sails, etc., is of importance of itself; but as a type of the increasing demand all over the world for the products of industry, which takes away all excuse for idleness, and tolerates no waste, which will contribute to make men increasingly industrious, trading, and peaceful, it is of infinite importance.
Such, however, is the progress of the intellectual arts reading, writing, engraving, printing etc. which tend to increase the consumption of paper, that the usual fibrous materials worked up into clothing and cast aside as rags when done with, and the large importations mentioned, no longer suffice to supply society with paper, and those who cater for it are compelled to hunt through the whole vegetable world to obtain substances as little valuable, or now less valuable, than rags, in order to be manufactured into paper.
We must be careful not to attribute the want to the war. It is felt now, but last year Some persons, amongst the rest Mr. Sharp, the import of flax and hemp was somewhat whose pamphlet we have referred to, seem more than usual, and last year's refuse and anxious to profit by present circumstances to last year's rags have not yet come to the pa- bring forward the fibrous productions of India per mill. It is not from the war, therefore, to the exclusion of those of other countries. that the scarcity arises here and in America, Their object is not trade, but to give employthough the war may make those who now ment to our fellow-subjects in our colonies experience the difficulty look forward with and dependencies to the exclusion of Russians increased anxiety to future supplies. It arises and Americans. This, means, in the main, simply from the consumption of paper having we believe, enriching some few hundred or increased much more rapidly than the use of thousand of our countrymen who have estates clothing and the consequent formation of or a pecuniary interest in the East and West rags. Before the war began enough of hemp Indies. At the same time a factitious system and flax and cotton was not produced to sup- of State patronage directed to this end would ply the general wants, nor enough of cloth- obviously injure, in an equal or greater de
gree, all the persons engaged in the shipping serve peace, and we, therefore, are not disand in the trade with those countries from posed to revert to the old policy of giving which our too zealous patriots wish to exclude State bounties and State encouragement to supplies. Though we have been forward the productions of our colonies in preference when war, forced on by the ambition of the to those of other countries. We have repuCzar, was inevitable, to call public attention diated that policy for native productions, such to the fact that we could procure the supplies as wheat;-why should we recommend it we have hitherto obtained from Russia from now to favor for the production of hemp, or other countries, we have no intention of join- some similar fibrous substance in our coloing with those who revive on this occasion the nies? As to encouraging the growth of cotproject of making us "independent of foreign- ton in India by the action of the State or the ers. We have no wish to see the sails of our public, in order to diminish our dependence ships made by hemp grown in India in prefer- on America, we think no policy can be more ence to hemp grown in Russia. It is, indeed, erroneous than that which would throw the a great social misfortune, that the Customs slightest obstacle in the way of extending the regulations of Russia and our own long con- mutual dependance of the free people of tinued Corn Laws prevented a much more England and America. For the future of intimate trade connection than has ever yet both nothing could be more disastrous than a existed, and might exist, between Russia and trade hostility, leading to still worse conflicts, England. It might have preserved peace and nourished by the continuance of the classcurbed the destructive ambition of the Czar tariffs of the American manufacturers and much more effectually than fleets and armies. the recriminating State encouragement to Whenever they have done their now neces-colonial products, such as India cotton and sary work, we can only rely on trade enabling hemp, recommended by those who are still nations mutually to serve each other, to pre-enamored of protection.
From The Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal. On the Palolo. Communicated by the Rev. Mr. Gill, Missionary, in a Letter to R. CHAMBERS, ESQ.
2. The worm is found swimming in a spiral form, as if at random, often singly, but generally collected in shoals. They vary in length, from a few inches to two and three feet. In thickness none exceed the eighth of an inch, and the segments number according to the length of the animal.
It has long hairs along each side, so that with the exception of the head, it is not much unlike the Geophilus longicornis, or the Scolo
The Palolo is the native name given by the Samoa islanders to a sea worm, which appears regularly every year, near to a few of the boat-openings in the great barrier reef pendra electrica of Linn. The head is someround the islands of Upolo and Savaii, the two thing like that of an earthworm. In color largest islands of the Samoa group. they vary; brown, blue, and green of all shades.
ONE of the natural curiosities of the South Pacific Island is the Palolo.
There are many singularities connected with the Palolo, calculated to excite attention and to demand investigation.
1. The time of its appearance.
3. Not the least singular fact connected with their appearance is the difficulty of ascertaining from whence they come. None are found It invariably appears on the morning of the outside the barrier reef, but always inside, in day when the moon enters her last quarter, water three or four fathoms deep. The naeither in the month of October, if the moon tives say, they come from seaward, but can quarters late in that month, or if not, it occurs give no reason for this conjecture. After in November; and this at the same time every many years' close observation, writes the Rev. year. A few of the Palolo may be seen on W. Mills, I am still unable to decide; but the previous morning, but the day of the from the suddenness with which they gather moon's quartering is the grand day. After into clusters, I am inclined to think they rise that forenoon not the least vestige is to be from the bottom. The question then is: Is it seen until that day in the following year. one of the many Polypifera which are emThey appear in great quantities about the ployed in constructing the coral, and which at dawn of day and continue on the surface of that particular time escape from its many rathe sea until the sun is about two hours high mifications? above the horizon; they then break up into small fragments, dissolve into a yellow creamy matter, having to all appearance fulfilled their destiny.
The objections to this supposition, are, first, That the Palolo is to be found at a very few places, not more than three or four in all the great extent of reef surrounding this island;