Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

cultivate the mind, and the religious nature; we should ever strive to marry the two, and when joined, never by neglect allow them to be divorced. It seems right and just that institutions of learning, where our young men are to be trained for responsible places, should be guarded and supported by religious people. It seems right, too, that those persons who are brought together by a common belief, and by a common love, should have their own colleges for the education of their own sons. It is fitting that, as a religious body, we who, more than others, believe in unsettered training, should have ours, and that we should feel their claims upon us. Tufts College belongs to us.

It belongs to all of like precious faith. It is not an affair inerely of the more favored amongst us, who are able to give their thousands, and do give thousands for its support; it is just as much the college of those who can give their sympathy, and their prayers. And while we are grateful that it has so many warm friends among the rich, the college, after all, like its auxiliary institutions, must be sustained by the mass of the people, by those who will contribute from less than a dollar, to twenty and fifty, for its prosperity, and whose sons, in the years that are coming, will honor it as their Alma Mater.

L, H. C.

ART. XVII.

Literary Notices.

1. Transactions of the Middlesex Agricultural Society, for the Year 1856. Published by Order of the Trustees. pp. 83.

The motto on the title page of this pamphlet reads thus : · Agriculture is the leading Interest of Nations. If the motto be true-and limiting its application to material interests we see not how to call it in question,-how lamentable is our confession, that we have taken very little active interest in agricultural matters! Under ordinary circumstances, we should, in all probability, have laid the pamphlet aside for reading at some leisure hour, and in this way have forgotten all about it. Our

numerous antecedents in this line, are certainly prophetic of such a disposition of the Transactions of the Middlesex Agricultural Society. In the present instance, the circumstances were not exactly ordinary. The pamphlet under notice contains an Address delivered before the Society abovenamed, at its last annual meeting, by the Rev. A. R. Pope, of Somerville. As a neighbor with whom we have had some official relations, and as a man of reputed various gifts, we needed no urging to read his address. How complex are the influences which determine the acts of mortals ! Verily, there is something potential in circumstances; and though we must hold to the reality of the will, every day's experience is a proof that if circumstances do not make the man, they have much to do in shaping his conduct.

The title of the address “smells of the shop”—“ Agricultural Head-Work;"—in this instance, the odor is fragrant. We are obliged to the “circumstances,” or whatever else deserves the praise; for we have read the address. It is not often our privilege to spend an hour more profitably. The author has managed to compress into thirty-six handsomely printed octavo pages, a great amount of information relative to the “leading interest of nations.” By facts and reasonings, he demonstrates that a farmer need not be a drudge—that the agricultural process is not merely mechanical—that in the work of raising crops, brains as well as hands are useful—that agriculture calls for head-work, and pays liberal wages therefor. Though this periodical circulates for most part among ministers, we yet recollect that some of these are also agriculturists. We hope that many laymen read what we write, even if they do not pay the publisher for the privilege. And now that we happen to know something about farming, we will, with our author's aid, tell our readers even more than we know about the business and its accompaniments. The address before us complains that agriculture has not as yet had sufficient head-work, and adds:

“No form of labor invites so freely, and repays so promptly, the head-work of the laborer, as agriculture. Nature does not reveal her secrets, or declare her processes unquestioned; but to keen intelligence, she constantly offers something new and valuable. The positive toils of the farmer may not need generalizing into a fixed science. But, as mere physical efforts, they belong in the same grade, no matter how they are taken up, with like muscular exertions of the ditch-digger. Labor is exalted by the intelligence which may quicken its purposes, as well as direct its efforts. The divorce of head-work from handwork is completely shown in the English collieries and on the Southern plantations. It is their union,—the combination of mind and muscle, of thought and strength,—which has made New England all that it is more than an infertile soil and a stern climate would suggest as possible. But the combination, hitherto, has been more fostered in those departments of industrial enterprise, which have especially incited the application of ingenious devices to secure thrift and success. To-day, it is time for every one to feel that science must be heartily joined to hard toil in agriculture, head-work to its hand-work. Book-farming, so called, has not, for good reasons, stood in very high repute. But book-farming, and farming upon philosophical principles, or with a full knowledge of some of the great laws which regulate the distribution of material forces and the yielding of products, may be very different matters.”—pp. 21, 22.

If our farmers will only give a practical confirmation of the promises suggested in this extract, we think there will not be further occasion for us to avow a want of interest in their pursuit! Surely, no one is to blame for lacking enthusiasm over the dull routine of unintelligent toil. We do indeed respect the hewer of wood and the drawer of water, in that every man is entitled to respect, who, rather than be a burden to others, prefers to eat his bread in the sweat of his brow. But though we can admire the man, we cannot work ourselves into an ecstacy over his calling. We believe that statistics speak well for the intelligence and morality of farmers ; but we desire to see them intelligent as farmers---to see head-work joined to their handwork; and when we can be favored with such a union of forces, we can but feel an interest in the general employment.

We think that the owners of farms, are under special obligations to our author, for his suggestions relative to the impoverishment of the soil. The skill which seeks to make two blades of grass grow instead of one, but which in so doing, exhausts the “ nutrient properties " of the land, he very justly terms dalism.” Let no one interested fail to read the following paragraph.

“ If it is the particular business of the husbandman to furnish to the world the resources of material life,—and all the trade and commerce of the world must hinge on this,--it ought to be as much his care to leave his acres entirely unimpaired in their fertility. Even if his descendants could ever reclaim the wasted fields, it is scarcely honest to leave to posterity such an incumbrance upon the land, in a mortgage to poverty, signed in its name, with so many years' unpaid interest already accumulated. What then can happen in such a case, but that the mortgagee must secure a foreclosure, and enter into possession with a clear title? Over-cropping, unskilful manuring and hard labor, may

van

-p. 27.

for a while, make two blades of grass grow where one grew before.' It is the agriculturist's duty, indeed, to secure the two blades' instead of the one blade.' The increase of animal life, dependent upon the produce of the soil, the extending demands of civilization, the multiplicity and variety of material wants, which always bear some correspondence to culture and refinement, all point to the quantity, or the highest possible productiveness of the soil, as a final necessity of tillage. But agricultural head-work has a duty to perform in protecting the soil from all forms of vandalism, by which its nutrient properties are in any way or degree reduced.

What the address says on the subject of seed-propagation, is to us entirely new. We were indeed aware of the fact that the best of seed is liable to run out; but we had not informed ourselves as to the cause ; certainly, we had no knowledge of the preventive. What is stated in the following extract, may not be new to all our readers; but those who share in our ignorance, will certainly profit by a careful perusal.

“ The importance of seed-propagation is not, I think, sufficiently felt among husbandmen. But there is no variety yet discovered, which will not, in common phrase, run itself out in this way. As a mere matter of policy, it must seem obvious, that whoever wishes to keep up a stock of the earliest peas, must save the seeds of those blossoms, which were fertilized before other peas were in bloom. Whoever wishes to keep a squash, or cucumber, or melon, true to that quality which belongs to its vine, must protect its blossoms from the contacts of bees and bugs for one day. Whoever has a favorite peach, whether itself grown on a budded stock or not, can raise the same in successive generations, by securing a single blossom from all admixture from other trees for three days,-one before, and two after its opening,-himself attending, if necessary, to the fertilization from its own stamens. I have not faith to believe that seedculture is universally practised on any such principles. It surely, however, requires very little common sense to perceive that a cultivator cannot afford to cull his seeds of any kind, with his eyes blinded; or, which is much the same thing, with his mind inactive and sluggish."-p. 32.

At a time when the canker-worm and the caterpillar are doing for New England, what the locusts did for Egypt, we are thankful for any light that can guide us in the work of abating the pest. Our author does not encourage high expectations. He confesses that it is “humiliating that such little things can circumvent all the labor and skill of a strong man.” Very much of the mischief, however, can be prevented by the timely use of the torch; and the farmer who is remiss in this matter, almost reconciles our neighbor to the resuscitation of that method of chastisement-now classic from age--the rail, with tar and feather accompaniments.

“ The farmers of this eastern part of Middlesex County will probably have ample opportunity to fight a hard fight, if not a brave one, with the hosts of caterpillars which will cover the trees next year, as the natural crop of the unmolested nests which hung on the denuded trees last summer in such unusual numbers. It always makes me sad to see so much negligence (indolence, is it not?) of farmers, who, in an hour's time, on a rainy day early in the season, could exterminate all the caterpillars of a large orchard ; and, in another hour, could extend an equal diligence to the neighboring wild-cherry shrubs, or to the other trees in the vicinity, on which these pests are ensconced. I do not wish to speak ill of any man; and I do not believe in personal violence; but, if any man is to be ridden upon a rail, or to be decorated with tar and feathers, I think the farmer, who leaves a caterpillar's nest to remain to maturity, and its inmates to fly away to increase and multiply,' would be a very suitable candidate.”-pp. 44, 45.

We have staid with our author so long in the field, that we cannot now accompany him into the kitchen. True, our epicurean proclivities would find a delicious enthusiasm over his suggestions relative to the manufacture even of “ soups

and “ boiled dinners.” We can only commend his address, and the pamphlet of which it forms a part, to all persons in general, and agriculturists in particular.

E.

2. Impressions of England; or Sketches of English Scenery and Society. By A. Cleveland Coxe, Rector of Grace Church, Baltimore. New York: Dana & Co. 1856. pp. 321.

We are reluctant to find fault with this book, so gentle is the spirit which pervades it, and so little do we find in it which can irritate even the most irritable. Candor, however, compels us to say that few books are so open to censure. Surely, if theological conceit and ecclesiastical pride are the qualities which may chiefly commend an author, Mr. Coxe will find few rivals. We cannot name the book which exhibits these qualities in so preeminent a degree as this writer's “ Impressions of England.” As a devoted

disciple of the English Church, it was quite natural for him to seek out the memorials of the history of that ecclesiastical body; nor has any one a right to complain, if, as

« VorigeDoorgaan »