Medical Society of the State of North Carolina. An.

The Register of Pennsylvania (Volume v.6) online

. (page 38 of 129)
Online LibraryMedical Society of the State of North Carolina. AnThe Register of Pennsylvania (Volume v.6) → online text (page 38 of 129)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

make report to this board thereof, under their hands on
2d day.

M a Councilheld at Philadelphia, 29th 9th mo. 1701.

The persons appointed to view the road and bridge
at the north end of the town, and to bring in their re-
port this day to this board, accordingly brought in the
same severally, each with their reasons, but without any
agreement on the whole: whereupon it is ordered, that
the matter be deferred till the Governor himselt'shall
come from E. Jersey, and that then, if he thinks fit the
Governor and Council may ride out themselves to the
place, and personally view it, that they may be the
more able to determine for the general advantage of
the people.

M a Councilheld at Philadelphia, 2Ut Jpril 1702, P. M.
The Governor acquainted the board, that whereas
upon his entrance into the Government, he had proposed
to three of the Commissioners named in the King's Dedi-
mus Protestatem, under the great sealof England, for ad-
administering the oath appointed by the act of Parliament
for the better security of the plantation trade to the gov-
ernment of this Province for the time being, that accord-
ing to the tenor of the said instrument, they would admin-
ister it to him upon the Proprietaries commission of dep-

utation, but that they had refused unless they could be
gratified in certain demands, which not only then w?re
in the opinion of the Council judged unreasonable, but
that since he had procured the opinion of Judge Alt- ■•
wood, appointed by commission from the King, Chief
Justice of the government of New York, upon the case,
who had declared that as he conceived, the Dedimus
ought to be kept in the Secretary's office, or such other
place as has been used for preserving public records,
which the said Judge had given under his hand, and
that for the further satisfaction of some, he had also the
opinion of one of the most eminent Council of the Pro-
vince of Maryland, who concurred with the said Chief
Justice in the same.

But that having upon their said refusal, deferred ta-
king the said oath, till the time hmitedinthe act of Par-
liament and Dedimus Potestatem, was near e-xpiring.
He was now under a necessity of taking it by such other
means as should be found agreeable to the tenour of
the said instrument, and therefore desired to take it at
the hands of such of the Council, as in their consciences
were free to administer an oath.

And accordingly John Guest, Capt. Finney, and John
Finney, together with John Bewly, Collector of the
King's customs for the Port of Philadelphia, administered
said oath in the presence of the other members of Council
who.<^ybscribed as witnesses to a certificate indorsed on
the said instrument in the following words, viz:

In pursuance, and by virtue of the within instrument,
Andrew Hamilton Esq. Deputed Governor of the Pro-
vmce of Pennsylvania, and counties annexed, by virtue
of a commission from the Hon. Wm. Penn, Proprieta-
ry and Governor of the said Province, &c. at a Coun-
cil held at Philadelphia, the 21st day of April 1702. took
the within directed oath at the hands of John Guest,
Samuel Finney, and John Finney, Esquires, members
ofCiitmcil for the said Province and Territories, and
John Bewly, Esq. Collector of his majesty's customs,
for the Port of Philadelphia, in the presence of the
other members of the said Council hereunto sub-

Samuel Carpenter, \ Samuel Finney,
AVilliam Clark, John Finney,

Caleb Pusey, | John Bewly, Collector.

John Guest, j


To the Agricultural Society of Buck's County, fPa-J
delivered at their Annual Meeting, on the I2th Novem-
ber, 1827 by S. D. Ingham.
There is no pursuit that has yet engaged the atten-
tion of man, which offers such an interesting variety of
useful and valuable matter for the contemplation of the
economist, the moralist, the philanthropist, or the phi-
losopher, as that which constitutes the object of this as-

The cultivation of the earth, and the improvement of
its productions, by increasing their quantity and value,
and adapting them to the purposes of animal food, seem
to have been among the first considerations which pre-
sentedto the mind of the omniscient Creator,after he had
constituted human existence on our globe. And without
detracting- from the character of any other occupation
which has been produced by the wants of civilized so-
ciety; it may with great propriety be asserted that agri-
culture stands foremost in the order of all human arts;
that it is the favored handmaid of the Deity in perfecting
through human instrumentaliiy the beautiful works of
his will; and that while it subdues and adorns the inani-
mate world, giving the means of subsistence to animated
nature, increasing and multiplying its beings in rapid
progression; it is the grand agent employed by the
same Almighty hand to promote the civilization of the
human fimily. Whatever superiority civilized man,
who indulges in all the comforts of life upon the pro-
duct of a single acre, can boast over the untutored and
ferocious savage who roams upon 10,000 acres for a




scanty subsistence; this superiority and all its train of
blessings, we owe under Providence, mainly to our skill
in cultivating the earth.

After God had created man he blessed him and com-
manded him to "be fruitful and multiply and replenish
the earth a?irfsujrfue it." In this brief and emphatic
mandate we find the elementary law which fixes the
great plan of human affairs in our world. The consti-
tutional desire to perpetuate our existence and preserve
life, accompanied by the necessity for nourishment to
sustain it, constitute the grand causes, beyond which
reason cannot look, that give action to the whole ope-
rations of our physical existence.

Man by nature is prone to indolence and can only be
stimulated to action by the love of pleasure or some
unyielding necessity; but it is a law of his creation that
these stimulants sliall attend him — he cannot subsist
without food, and is therefore compelled to toil for it,
and the multiplication of his race causes a proportion-
ate necessity for increasing the means of subsistence,
and consequently for increased, exertion to procure
them — thus his passions and his appetites are made the
instruments of his own improvement, and propel him
forward from indolence, vice and the grovelling habits of
the semi-brutal 6avage,to the enjoyment of the comforts,
luxuries and elegant accomplishments of civilized life;
and he whose whole mind would have been absorbed
in the love of ease, love of pleasure and selfish love of
existence, is thus changed into a being devoted to indus-
try, social affection and love of justice.

I will not further occupy your time in marking the
progress of the primary laws of our nature, and their
agency in the work of civilization; let it suffice to ob-
serve that they operate through the regular succession
of causes and effects, and are directed and controlled,
by an all-wise hand to the great end and object of our
creation, the intellectual and moral perfection of human

It has already been observed, that the art of agricul-
tural economy is among the primary agents in this great
work, and it may be added, that it is not only a neces-
sary auxiliary in giving the first impulse, but mustjbe a
constant attendant and support of it, in every stage of
its progress.

But I must proceed to the more immediate consider-
ation of the topics for the investigation of which the ap-
pointment of an annual address was designed. Permit
me, however, to observe, that the various and care-en-
grossing pursuits in which it has been my lot to be en-
gaged from early life, as most of you know, have pre-
cluded that minuteness of observation and accuracy of
experiment which would be indispensible to enable me
to off'er any thing of much value, from that source, by
way of instruction to a society composed of some of the
best practical farmers in the United States; but being
sensible of the kind indulgence which you will be dis-
posed to extend to every well meant endeavour to make
the smallest addition to the general stock of knowledge,
I have been encouraged to undertake the duty you
have been pleased to assign me.

A distinguished writer, whose works are imperish-
able, has immortalized, as a great public benefactor,
whoever "shall make two blades of grass grow where but
one grew before," and if to this simple idea, we add, that
o{ improving the quality of the plant, we have presented
in a small compass a view of the whole end and design
of agricultural improvement. But however simple this
purpose may seem to be, the means for its effectuation
are so diversified, and embrace so vast a scope of the
operations of human ingenuity, and the point of perfec-
tion is so far beyond our reach, that we may contem-
plate the progress of agricultural improvement, as we
do the approach to the termination of boundless space
or the conclusion of endless time; it certainly has no
limit, and yet every development of an useful fiict brings
» delightful reward for our efforts, that cheers us on the
way, and more than reconciles us to the pursuit of our

unapproachable object, by the assurance that our labor
cannot be lost, as posterity must begin where we have
ended. Emerging from the hunter state, we commence
our work of improvement by clearing away the native
forests and emplying the plough (o turn up the soil and
expose it to the genial action of light and air and heat,
and at the same time turning down the upper surface
with its load of undecomposed vegetable matter, to pu-
trefy and dissolve for the support of another growth.

It might have been expected that science would ere
this have reduced to certainty many facts in relation to
the nourishment of plants, which we now only know as
general speculative truths — but this knowledge is yet
in its infancy; we learn, indeed, as far as any fact can be
known from a mass of strong and uncontradicted evi-
dence, that nature makes no new creations now — nor
does she suffer any of her created matter to be annihila-
ted; she may, however, be said to delight in chang'es, &
to be constantly practising in the art of transformation of
bodies. Those phenomena which we are accustomed to
regard as appearances of destruction and annihilation,
are only the regular operations of her fixed laws, or the
sports and freaks of her subordinate agents.

Man cannot change these laws; although he may by
special combinations made in obedience to them, in-
crease or diminish their eff'ective power — this is all we
can presume to do — so imperfect is our knowledge on
this subject, that it is not known with any certainty,
what constitutes the proper combination of matter for
the best pabulum of any one plant in the whole vegeta-
ble kingdom. Experience and observation have in-
deed tau.ght us that their habits are as various among
the different genera and species, as are those of the ani-
mal race; some require a temperate climate, and a fertile
soil; others prefer the torrid, others the frigid zone, and
thrive on a burning sand, or under beds of snow; some
grow in the bottom of rivers, lakes, and even of the
ocean, while others float on their surface, seemingly in-
dependent of the earth, the supposed parent of all ve-
getation; and there are a few vegetable as well as ani-
mal parasites, which continue to subsist upon the sub-
stance of others; these varieties of habits in plants prove
the difficulty of determining the proper combination of
elements best adapted to their support; but the diffi-
culty or even impossibility of attaining all we desire
to know, is no reason for relaxing our pursuit after use-
ful knowledge. Science has given us many facts,
which when thoroughly tested by the light of experi-
ence, may become of great use in settling principles,
and establishing theories, in agricultural economy,
which may tend to narrow the field for mere speculation;
and relieve the practical cultivator of the earth, from
the labor and expense of many unnecessary experiments.

The plainest dictates of reason would suggest, that
when we are about to cultivate a plant, we should first
ascertain its particular habits and especially what con-
stitutes its favorite aliment;& wherever we begin the stu-
dy of agriculture or horticulture,either practically or sci-
entifically, this must be one of the chief objects of our
researches — in pursuance of this idea, I have selected
chiefly from the works of the German chemists a few
extracts shewing"the results of the chemical analysis of
the seeds of various plants, and other practical experi-
ments in relation to them. By these experiments it
was ascertained that the following earths and metallic
oxydes were found in 32 ounces of —

JVheat. Rye. Barley. Oats. Rye st.
Silica 13.2 grs. 15.6 66.7 144.2 15,2

Carbonate of Lime 12.6 ' 13.4 24.8 33.75 46.2
Do. of Magnesia 13.4 ' 14.2 25.3 33.9 28.2
Alumina 0.6 ' 1.4 4.2 4.5 3.2

Ox. of Manganese 5.0' 3.2 6.T 6.95 6.8
Oxyde of Iron 2.5 « 0.9 3.8 4.5 2.4

4r.3 48.7 131.5 227.8 238.8

It should here be observed that a great variety of

other ingredients have been detected ia these vegeta-




bles, as well as in others. It is also known that the ab-
sorbent vessels of plants receive substances, which are
not only unnecessary as food, but actually destructive
of vegetable life, from which it may be inferred thai
only a part of the ingredients found in tliem are benefi-
cial to their growth; the best rule, perhaps, to guide our
researches in ascertaining the proper nourishment of
plants, would be to regard those substances which are
peculiar to all plants, and all soils, as constituting either
their primary nourishment, or the most important agents
in preparing it for use. In pursuance of this idea I
would observe tliat all soils are found by chemical ana-
lysis to contain ihe fullowing earths, viz: silica, lime, al-
umina, and magnesia; and it is remarkable that Iheseare
the only earths yet found in plants: and if to these we
add the other simple substances o( which plants are chief-
ly composed, viz. carbon, hydrcigen, oxygen, and azote,
we may presume to have inclutled in our list, those in-
gredients wliich constitute as well the primary food of
vegetables as tlie chief agents employed by nature in its
preparation. This is further proved by the analysis of
the matter that composes vegetable seed already no-
ticed, because it is evident that this matter supplies the
food of the embryo plant in the process of germination,
which being prepared by nature herself, is no doubt the
most perfect ingredient for that use. If any further
evidence were necessary to show that the svibstances
above mentioned are the great instruments of nature, in
the process of vegetation, we have it in the universally
established fact, that decomposed animal and vegetable
substances (which are similar in their constituent parts,)
are the most agreeable nutriment we can offer to the
growing plant. That the earth is employed as a men-
slrum for preparing and preserving the food of plants is
very certain, but you will be surprised to hear that it has
even been doubled by some very learned experiment-
alists whether the earth was at all essential in this great
work of vegetation, "Van Helmont,'* says Dr. Thomp-
son, "planted a willow, which weighed five pounds, in
an earthen vessel filled witli 200 lbs. of soil, previously
dried in an oven, and moistened with rain water, this
vessel he sunk into the earth, and he watered his wil-
low sometimes with rain, and sometimes distilled water;
after five years itweighd 169^ lbs and the earth in which
it was planted when again dried, was found to have lost
but two ounces of its original weight."

Schroeder, of Berlin, planted seeds in the flour of
sulphur, also in the oxydes of zinc and antimony, moist-
ened them with distilled water, and they came to ma-
turity, and what is very remarkable, plants raised in this
manner were found to contain the same ingredients with
those raised from soil.

These experiments seem to prove either that water
contained all the earths found in the plants, or that
earths were formed in the process of vegetation. It
was ascertained, however, by Saussure, that plants rais-
ed in soil yielded more than three times the quantity of
fixed matter, that was obtained from those fed on distil-
led water; and it was further ascertained that plants
raised without earth, gradually deteriorated and finally
produced no seed; which must remove the doubt as to
the necessity for earth in supporting the vegetable king-
dom. It has been remai ked by Dr. Thompson, that
" soil consists of two parts, namely, pure earths which
constitute its basis; and the i*emains ofanimal and vege-
table substances applied as manure;" but it must be ob-
vious that the vessels within the fibrous roots of plants
through which their nourishment is mainly rectived,
are too minute to take up substances of any kind, not in
a state of solution, hence the necessity for active chemi-
cal agents to decompose and dissolve whatever in),'re-
dienlsare lo be imbibed. There are no dcubl many of
these whose functions are but little understood; but all
our experience added to the facts already noticed,
proves that water is one of the most efficient and essen-
tial of these solvents. It has been observed that " the
carbonaceous matter in all active manures, is in such a

state of combination that it is soluble in water: all the
salts which we can suppose to make a part of the food of
plants are more or less soluble in water. This is the
case also with lime whether it be pure or in a state of a
salt, and magnesia and alumina may be rendered so by
meansof carbonic acid gas. " Bergman and others have
shewn that even silica may be dissolved in water. Air
is also essential to vegetation; it supplies oxygen, with-
out which seeds will not germinate, and also carbona-
ceous matter. Heat is also indispensable to the support
of vegetation; and is a powerful agent in the decompo-
sition and solution of fi.\ed matter. The earth no doubt
operates both as a menstruum for the extraction of ali-
mentary matter from substances in its presi-nce, and as
a laboratory and reservoir for their preparation and pre-
servation, and also as a medium lo equalize the action
of water, air and heat, and other subordinate agents em-
ployed in preparing and distributing the vegetable ali-
ments. As a further proof of the fact that silica, lime,
and alumina are among ihe most essential ingredients
in vegetation, it may be observed that their mechanical
organization is peculiarly adapted to regulating the sup-
ply of water, as the dryness or moisture of a soil will
very much depend upon the proportion of these earths
contained in it; those which contain the greatest quan-
tity of silica (sand) are least retentive of moisture; and
those which contain most alumina (clay) retain it the
longest; lime is an intermediate agent between these
opposite capacities; it increases the tenacity of a sandy
soil, renders it more retentive of moisture, while it des-
troys the tenacity of a clayey soil, and diminishes its wet-
ness: these facts suggest a very important function of
these simple earths, which are found in all soils and in
all plants. But let us consider whether any sufficient
data are furnished by known facts; and the experiments
1 have noticed, to settle any principles or establish the-
oi'ies which can assist us in the useful branches of our
pursuit; for unless experiments and speculations lead to
such results, they degenerate into mere matters of
amusement for idle curiosity. I indulge some hope
however that those I have brought into view will not
be found entirely of this character, they have been con-
sidered with some care, and subjected to the test of
such light of observation and experience as I could
command. It may I think be affirmed that moisture,
air and heat are necessary to the decomposition of ve-
getable substances, and that the substance of seeds
prepared by these agents constitutes the natural nour-
ishment of the young germ of plants.

2. That the same process by which the food of the
young germ is prepared takes place in the preparation
of the food of the growing plant.

o. That silica, lime, alumina and magnesia being
found in all soils and in all plants, a portion of these
earths must be dissolved by other agents and absorbed
through the vessels of the fibrous roots of vegetables;
and hence a proper mixture of them in the soil, is highly
beneficial if not essential to vegetation.

4. That these earths are not only important in Ihe
foregoing particular, but they equalize the supply of
moisture and perhaps of heat, tor the support of the
plant, which might be injured by the presence of too
much or too little of these agents.

5. That the proportions of silica, lime and alumina will
determine the capacity of the earth for retaining and
equalizing heat and moisture, the chief agents in the pre-
paration of the food of plants.

6. That as the earth receives and retains the dissolv-
ed ingi'edients (gasses) which nourish plants, it may be
inferred that all undccomposed substances intended for
manure, will be most economically used by first mixing
them with the earth, which will thereby receive the dis-
solved matter and prevent its escape into the atmosphere.

7. That a compact clay soil which resists the action
of heat and moisture, and the efforts of the fibrous roots
in quest of food, will be corrected in both these respects
by a mixture of lime and sand




8. That a sandy soil which has not sufficient tenacity
to retain moisture maybe improved by the addition of
lime and clay.

9. That all soils aboundinff in acid (^specially those
containing' undecomposed veg'etable matter) may be
rendered fertile by the free use of lime alone.

10. That in addition to the foreg'oing' properties of
lime, it attracts by chemical affinity a portion of carbon-
ic acid g'as from the atmosphere, and if silica be, as Sir
H. Davy supposes, an acid soluble in potassium, it
is not improbable that nature by her obscure operations
in the process of vegfeg-ation, may through the agency

light soil, if the climate be warm, but if not suited in the
climate, it demands a rich mould thruugbly prepared,
and constant attention to keep out intruders of every
description; it no doubt exhausts the soil considerably,
but not in proportion to other grain, when compared
with the quantity of nourishment it affords. Of this
grain it may be observed, that it is preferable as a food
for man or beast to the barley, pulse or turnip, or any
of the roots so much famed in European agriculture;
and withal yields a much greater quantity of nutriment
from the same ground and with the same labour than
any of those vegetables. Potatoes, which are now the
of lime dissolve a portion of that earth and prepare it for I staff of life for the poor of a great part of the old world,
vegetable nourishment; if so it will account for the very as well as an article of luxury on the tables of the most
remarkable effect of lime upon sandy soils. wealthy, prefer a cool, moist climate, and a soilthat re-

11. That as decomposition of vegetable matter in the sists the approach of both light and heat; the summit
earth is slowly effected, and as the feod of plants must level regions of the middle and northern slates produce
be in a state of selution which succeeds decomposition, them in the greatest perfection, probably owing to the
that soil in these operations are most perfectly perform- cool damp atmosphere which is always found in the re-

ed is best adapted to nourish the tender plant which
has just emerged from the parent seed; and hence all
soils into which seeds are planted, are best adapted te
their growth, when most perfectly pulverised, in which
state they give out most freely the gasses which are ab-
sorbed by the fibrous roots.

12. These crops which arrive at maturity in the short-
est time, require the most perfect preparation ef the soil.

13. Those crops which are the longest time in at-
taining maturity, require a portion of undecomposed
manure to sustain their latter growth and the ripening
of their seed.

A more minute examination of this subject will sug-
gest many additional C9nsiderations worthy of notice,
but I have endeavoured to confine myself to such as

Online LibraryMedical Society of the State of North Carolina. AnThe Register of Pennsylvania (Volume v.6) → online text (page 38 of 129)