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

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elements; they assimilate it by means of
peculiar organs: and it is by examining
their j:)hysical and chemical constitution,
and the substances and powers which act
upon them, and the modifications which
they undergo, that the sci 'utific princi-

ples of agricultural chemistry are ob-

According to these ideas, it is evident
that the study ought to be commenced by
some general inquiries into the composi-
tion and nature of material bodies, and the
laws of their changes.

The surface of the earth, the atmo-
sphere, and the water deposited from it,
must, either together or separately, af-
ford all the principles concerned in vege-
tation; and it is only by examining the
chemical nature of these principles, that
we are capable of discovering what is the
food of plants, and the manner in which
this food is supplied and prepared for their

The principles of the constitution of
bodies consequently, will form the first
object of our consideration.

By methods of analysis dependent upon
chemical and electrical instruments dis-
covered in late times, it has been ascer-
tained, that all the varieties of material
substances may be resolved into a compa-
ratively small number of bodies, which,
as they are not capable of being decom-
pounded, are considered in^ the pre-
sent state of chemical knowledge as ele-

The bodies incapable of decomposition
at present known, are forty-seven. Of
these, thirty-eight are metals; six are in-
flammable bodies; and three substances
which unite with metals and inflammable
bodies, and form with them acids, alka-
lies, earths, or other analagous compounds.

The chemical elements acted upon by
attractive powers combine in different

In their simpler combinations, they
produce various crystaline substances, dis-
tinguished b}' the regularity of their forms.
In more complicated arrangements they
constitute the varieties of vegetable and
animal substances, bear the higher charac-
ter of organization, and are rendered sub-
servient to the purposes of life. And by
the influence of heat, light, and electrical
jToweis, there is a constant series of
changes; matter assumes new forms; the
dcsliuction of one order of beings tends to
the conservation of another; solution and
consolidation, decay and renovation, are
connected; and wliilst the parts of the
svstem continue in a state of fluctuation


and change, the order and harmony of the
whole remain unalterable.

After a general view has been taken of
the nature of the elements, and of the
principles of chemical changes, the next
object will be the structure and constitu-
tion of plants. In all j)lants there exists
a system of tubes or vessel?, which in one
extremity terminate in roots, and at the
other in leaves. It is by the capillary
action of the roots that the fluid matter is
taken up from the soil. The sap in pass-
ing upwards becomes denser, and more
fitted to deposited solid matter: it is modi-
fied by exposure to heat, light, and air in
the leaves; descends through the bark; in
its progress produces new organized mat-
ter; and is thus in its vernal and autumnal
flow, the cause of the formation of nevV
parts, and of the more perfect evclution of
parts already formed.

In this part of the inquiry, 1 ^tall en-
deavour to connect together in a general
view, the observations of the mostenlight-

From Uie Philosopliical Magazine.

Dr. Cantu has proved the existence of
Iodine, in the state of hydriodate, in the
sulphurous mineral waters of Castelnouve
d'Asli. He infers, as a probability, from
his experiments, that iodine is a consti-
tuent part of all sulphurous waters which
contain muriates; and to this he attributes
the medical efllcacy of these waters in
diseases of the glandulnr and lymphatic
systems. {Giornale di Fisica.) — Dublin
Phil. Journ.

Fi-om the same.

In a former patent, Mr. Hancock pro-
posed to form a substitute for leather, by
depositing caoutchouc in a fluid state,
upon loose fibres of wool, cotton, or flax,
felted or matted together. In the present
patent, he uses a woven cloth, made of

ened philosophers who have studied the i wool, cotton, or flax. When this cloth is

physiology of vegetation

Those of Grew, Malpighi, Sennebier,
Darwin, and above all, of Mr. Knight.
He is the latest inquirer into these inter-
esting subjects, and his labours have tended

stretched upon a flat surface, the composi-
tion t ) be presently described is sjji-ead
over it. Above the composition, a uni-
form layer of wadding, made of cotton,
flax, wool, silk, or hair, is to be laid, and

most to illustrate this part of the economy i the whole pressed between a pair of rollers,
of nature. i in order to force the fluitl composition

The chemical composition of plants has . among the fibres. It is then to be dried
within the last ten 3'ears, been ehicidated 'at a temperature not exceeding 80° or 90°
by the experiments of a numbei' of chemi- 1 of Fahrenheit.

cal philosophers, both in this and in other Mr. Hancock has given us the following
countries; and it forms a beautiful part of compositions to be used according to cir-
general chemistry; it is too extensive to 1 cumstances:

be treatetl of minutely; but it will be ne- 1 First composition. Dissolve two

cessary to dwell upon such parts of it as pounds of caoutchouc in one gallon of oil
afford practical inferences. | of turpentine and highly rectilied coal tar.

If the organs of plants be submitted to \ Add six ounces of black resin, two pounds
chemical analysis, it is found that their i of strong glue size, and one pound of yel-
almost infinite diversity of form, depends | low ochre, whitening or powdered pum-
upon different arrangements and combina-
tions of a very few of the elements; sel-
dom more than seven or eisht belons; to
them, and three constitute the greatest
part of their organized matter; and ac-
cording to the manner in which these ele-
ments are disposed, arise the different pro-
perties of the products of vegetation,
whether employed as food, or for other
purposes and wants of life.

( To be continued.)


Second cojnposition. — Dissolve 1 1-2
pounds of caoutchouc as before, and hav-
ing melted and mixed one pound of glue
size and i-esin in a steam bath, add the dis-
solved caoutchouc to it, stirrino; while
mixing them. The wb.ole must then be
strained through a sieve.

The first of the above compositions
must be used when a cheap and stiff" sub-
stance is required, and the proportions
may be one-third whitening or glue; but


when a strong and pliant substance is I
wanted, the ^cc^nof composition, in which
the caoutchouc predominates, is to be pre-

A suhstance like leather may be formed
by joining togetlier several thicknesses
before they are dry. When leather for
the soles of shoes is required, JNJr. Han
cock jjroposes to use as the groundwork,
wool and cotton in equal quantities. For
pipes, straps, &c., he proposes chopped
hemp and cotton or flax; and when smooth
surfaces are wanted, the substance must be
pressed between polished metallic plates.
— Edinburgh Journ, of Science.
— -^ —

From the Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal.



JNI. Bousingault has addressed a note to
the Jlcadernie des Sciences of Paris, which
is entitled Comparative examination of
the iMel ear oloiiical circumstances under
which our common grains, [the Cerealia)
Turkey-wheat, maize, and potatoes, ve-
getate at the Equator, and in tlie tem-
perate zone. — In this examination the
autb.or has first made investigations into
the lime which elapses between the first
springing of the plant and its full maturi-
ty. He then determined the temperature
of the space of time which separates these
two extreme epochs of vegetable life. By
comparing tliese data concerning any given
])lant which is cultivated both in Europe
and America, he arrives at this curious re-
sult; that the number of days that sep-
arates the commencement of vegetation
from its maturity, is more considerable in
])roportion as the mean temperature, under
the influence of which the plant grows, is
less; the duration of th.e vegetation will be
equal, however different the climate may
be, if tliis temperature is identical in the
two places; and it will be shorter or long-
er according as the mean heat of the pe-
riod of time necessary for the accomplish-
ment of the vegetatioQ, is itself greater or
less, in other words, the duration of the
vegetation appears to be in the inverse
ratio of the mean temperatures. So that
if you multiply the number of days dur-
ing which any given plant vegetates in
these distinct climates^ by the mean tem-
perature of the actual period of its vege-
tation, you will obtain numbers which are

very nearly equal. This result is not only
remarble, inasmuch as it seems to indicate
that, under all climates the same annual
plant receives, in the course of its exist-
ence, an equal quantity of heat; but it
leads also to a practical result, in enabling
us to decide upon the possibility of intro-
tducing any particular vegetable into a
country as soon as we know the mean
temperature of the month there. —

1 From the same.


By the by, I travelled by night to
avoid the mid-day vertical sun, and I now
from experience, advise my friends never
to follow my example. No evaporation
takes place, you perspire copiously, with
which, and the excessive dew, your clothes
get saturated, hanging on you like wet
leather, impeding every motion, and thus
increasing your fatigue. Your breathing
is less free, and you get an occasional puff
of cold damp air, which instead of refresh-
ing, only adds to your discomfort; in
short, you become completely oppressed.
But in the sun, what a change; evapora-
tion rapidly progresses, your dress acts like
a wine-cooler, you get rid of the oppressive
sense of heat, become stimulated, and
march on excessively relieved. One point
however must never be neglected, to keep
a considerable thickness of clothing upon
your head, you may then bid defiance to
mere heat. On the subject of tropical
nights, it occurs to me that there is a rather
singular affection to which the human
frame is subject, and several medical gen-
tlenien to whom I have spoken, seem to
me to entertain rather erroneous views as
to its origin. 1 allude to what is vulgarly
called inoon-struck. Dr. Wells, in his
admirable Essay on Dew, has shown that
a niutual interchange of radiated heat takes
j)lace, in ordinary circumstances, between
all bodies, and that on this depends the
preservation of temperature. On brilliant
moonlight and other cloudless nights, how-
ever, all exposed bodies do not receive a
quantity equal to that which they shed
forth. The want of clouds prevents them
receiving that vast quantity which would
otherwise be shot back fron the sky in
consequence; equality of temperature is
not maintained. All those bodies which
lie favourably, some more than others, be-


come much cooled down, and, among other
efTects, moisture is depositee! from the lit-
tle portion of air, cooled by contact in the
immediate vicinity of the bodies. The
human body, when exposed offers no ex-
ception to the law, and if the circumstanlces
of the case are such as to preclude tiie
generation copiously of animal heat, the
consequences are very serious; persons who
incauliously sleep, sentries on duty, &c.
become occasionally even victims. When
attentively examined in this state, they
seem like icicles, cold and wet, shrunk
and livid, all the blood has left the super-
ficial vessels, and become engorsied in the
large veinous trunks; congestion takes
place in the brain, producing a state pre-
cisely similar to that from apoplexy,
which occurs in peisons perishing in
snow storms, and 1 have known cases
where apoplectic condition has termina-
ted in paralysis either of the face or of the
limbs, and in one instance in death. When
interrogated, those who have suffered
slightly from it state the consciousness of
extreme cold against which they could
not make head, then insensibility to cold,
and afterwards a drowsiness, which grad-
ually overpowered them: — a descriplion
which tallies exactly with that of Banks
and Solander, in relation to their suffering
from excessive cold in South America,
and to which the latter nearly fell a victim
The means, also, of recovering them is
precisely similar, a gradual approach to
natural temperature, with a cautious use
of stimulants. Officers on night duty in
India, leaving their warm quarters on
pickets, Jiave sometimes suffered similarly
from the carrying power of the damp
air, in which they have been forced to re-
main for some time, serious illnesses have
been entailed on them. May not this be
looked upon as a primary, or at least
as an auxiliary agent in the production of
agues, from its tendency to lower the ani
mal powers?

From the same.

The Philomathic Society of Paris hav-
ing been consulted by the Agricultural
Society of La Marne, concerning the
quality of four different kinds of wheat

which are cultivated in the same manner
and on the same lands. M. Payan explain-
ed to the society that he had discovered
very considerable differences in the pro-
portions of the nitrogenous matter, as well
as in the distribution of that substance in
relation to the mass of perisperm or \\\t
integument of the seed. The maximum
of gluten and of two other nitrogenous
matteis in the varieties which were of
moderate hardness, is concentrated in the
parts which adhere to the integuments or
which approach it the most ; whilst in the
centre of the grain the nitrogenous sub-
stances are in the smallest proportion.

The author has also determined the re-
lation between the weight of the external
integument, and that of the mass of the
grain; and finally, he has ascertained that
between the most nitrogenous grains, and
those which are least so, the proportion of
nitrogen varies from 0.022 to 0.029. The
varieties thus experimented upon were
the Polish wheat, the March wheat, the
wheat de. la Trinite and de pays. M.
Payan being desirous of investigating, if
still greater differences could be found in
the hardest corns, and those which are the
softest, subjected to analysis the wheat of
Taganrock, of Odessa, and of Poland, on
tlie one hand, and the whitest wheats
that are employed in La Mennerie of
Paris on the other; and he found that the
former contained from 0.029 to 0.031 of
nitrogen, whilst the others only gave from
0.019 to 0.020. M. Pay en adds, that he
means to continue these researches on the
maxima and minima of nitrogen, by pro-
curing samples of the hardest corns of
southern countries, and the softest that are
raised in the northern regions.

Fi'om the Journal of Uie Franklin Institute.

There have been some remarkable pe-
culiarities in the cultivation of sugar beets
in this country during the three past
years. Its light and sandy soil suits them
well, if the temperature, which under-
goes a sudden change on the first rains, do
not loo long protract the sowing. Exces-
sive droughts are also injurious, causing
the portion of the root which is above the
ground, to become green ?ind acrid. Irri-
gations, so easily made in this country,
and so favourable to rice, wheat and corn,


injure beets, because they submerge the
plants and prevent the iintolding of the
leaves. To remedy these inconveniences,
M. Pagen has advised the sowing of the
seeds in beds, and then transplanting the
roots in raised beds enriched with good
fine manure, immediately after the early
rains. The roots will soon strike into this
deep soil, and will be less exposed above
ground. Water may be conveyed into
the furrows between the beds without any
risk of submerging the plants, and the
produce will be more certain. Last year,
the temperature and moisture being unu-
sually favourable, beets vrere sown early
with the drill, and the gathering was
abundant. The juice marked 5° on
Baume's aerometer, after being clarified.
The ravv sugar had a more agreeable taste,
and the molasses was very sensibly less
acrid than similar products in the north of

A large portion of lai:d having been
covered with the alluvial sands of the
Adda, the beets sown upon it were unu-
sually flourishing, but the juice was sul-
phurous, and furnished but little sugar. —
.Bulletin d'Encour. Mai.

From ttie same.

This process consists in converting the
beets into powder or dry flour, by a me-
thod which operates at once upon large
masses and at little expense. The sugar
is extracled from this farina, by a very
small quantity of water, which comes out
clear and limpid, and so concentrated, that
in order to obtain a given quantity of su-
gar, only two or three times its weight is
necessary of this concentrated and limpid
fluid. The subsequent manijudation, cr^'s-

Online LibraryD. PeirceObserver and record of agriculture, Science and art (Volume v.1) → online text (page 2 of 35)