D. Peirce.

Observer and record of agriculture, Science and art (Volume v.1) online

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ed, often leads either to inattention or in-
judicious practices in the tenant or the

There is no idea more unfounded than
that a great devotion of time, and minute
knowledge of general chemistry is neces-
sary for pursuing experiments on the na-

ture of soils or the properties of manures.
Nothing can be more easy than to discov-
er whether a soil effervesces, or changes
colour by the action of an acid, or wheth-
er it burns when heated; or what weight
it looses by heat: and yet these simple in-
dications may be of great importance in
a system of cultivation. The expense con-
nected with chemical enquiries is extreme-
ly trifling; a small closet is sufficient for
containing all the materials required. The
most important experiments may be made
by means of a small portable apparatus; a
few vials, a few acids, a lamp and a cruci-
ble are all that are necessary, as I shall
endeavor to prove to you, in the course of
these lectures.

It undoubtedly happens in agricultural
chemical experiments conducted after the
most refined theoretical views, that there
are many instances of failure, for one of
success; and this is inevitable from the
capricious and uncertain nature of the cau-
ses that operate, and from the impossibil-
ity of calculating on all the circumstances
that may interfere; but this is far from
proving the inutility of such trials; one
happy result which can generally improve
the methods of cultivation is worth the la-
bour of a whole life; and an unsuccessful
experiment well observed, must establish
some truth, or tend to remove some pre-

Even considered merely as a philosoph-
ical science, this department of knowledge
is highly worthy of cultivation. For
what can be more delightful than to trace
the forms of living beings and their adap-
tations and peculiar purposes; to examine
the progress of inorganic matter in its dif-
ferent processes of change, till it attain its
ultimate and highest destination; its sub-
serviency to the purposes of man.

Many of the sciences are ardently pur-
sued, and considered as proper objects of
study for all refined minds, merely on ac-
count of the intellectual pleasure they af-
ford; merely because they enlarge our
views of nature, and enable us to think
more correctly with respect to the beings
and objects surrounding us. How much
more then is this department of enquiry
worthy of attention ; in which the pleasure
resulting from the love of truth and of
knowledge is as great as in any other



branch of philosophy, and in which it is
likewise connected with much greater
practical benefits and advantages.

Discoveries made in the cultivation of
the earth, are not merely for the time and
country in which they are developed, but
they may be considered as extending to
future ages, and. as ultimately tending to
benefit the whole human race; as afford-
ing subsistence for generations yet to
come; as multiplying life, and not only
multiplying life, but likewise providing
for its enjoyment.

Of the general powers of Matter ivJdch
influence Vegetation. Of gravita-
tion, of Cohesion, rf Chemical Jit trac-
tion, of Heat, of Light, of Electrici-
ty, ponderable Substances, Elements
of Matter, particularly those found
in Vegetables, Laws of their Combi-
nations and Jirrangements.

The great operations of the farmer are
directed towards the production or im-
provement of certain classes of vegetables;
they arc either mechanical or chemical,
and are, consecjuently, dependent upon
the laws which govern common matter.
Plants themselves are, to a certain extent,
submitted to these laws, and it is necessa-
ry to study their effects both in consider-
ing the phenomena of vegetation, and the
cultivation of the vegetable kingdom.

One of the most important properties
belonging to matter is gravitation, or the
power by which masses of matter are at-
tracted towards each other. It is in con-

sequence of gravitation that bodies thrown
into the atmosphere fall to the surface of
the earth, and that the diflerent parts of
the globe are preserved in their proper
jDOsitions. Gravity is exerted in propor-
tion to the quantity of matter. Hence all
bodies placed above the surface of the
earth fall to it in right lines, which if pro-
duced would pass through its centre; and
a body falling near a high mountain, is a
little ijent out of the perpendicular direc-
tion by the attraction of the mountain, as
has been shown by the experiments of Dr.
Maskelyne on Schehallien.

Gravitation has a very important influ-
ence on the growth of plants; and it is ren-
dered probable by the experiments of Mr.
Knight, that they owe the peculiar direc-
tion of their roots and branches almost en-
tirely to this force.

( To be continued.)


One gallon of lime-water is strained
through a cloth or hair sieve, to which
add one pound of brown sugar and three
or four table spoons-full of salt вАФ more
salt is required in di'y than in wet weath-
er ; and perhaps different degrees of mois-
ture in the atmosphere, and diflerent sub-
stances to be operated on by the white-
wash, may require the relative proportion
of lime-water and sugar diflerent from the
above statement: experience will be the
best guide in mixing the ingredients.

^OJ%^TEj%^TS Of J%^o, S. FVI. S. of OlBSEMil/^MIi A* liECOHMP.

LiOcomotive Steam Engines, 35

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Online LibraryD. PeirceObserver and record of agriculture, Science and art (Volume v.1) → online text (page 10 of 35)