|CHAPTER XIX. |
Of DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE OLD AND THE NEW HUSBANDRY *.
I. The expense of a crop.
II. The goodness of a crop.
III. The certainty of a crop.
IV. The condition in which the land is left after a crop.
The profit or loss arising from land, is not to be computed, only, from the value of the crop it produces, but from its value, after all expenses of seed, tillage, &c., are deducted.
Thus, when an acre brings a crop worth four pounds, and expenses thereof amount to five pounds, the owner's loss is one pound ; and when an acre brings a crop which yields thirty shillings, and the expense amounts to no more than ten shillings, the owner receives one pound clear profit from this acre's very small crop, as the other loses one pound by his greater crop.
The usual expenses of an acre of wheat, sown in the old husbandry, in the country where I live, is, in some places, for two bushels and a half of seed ; in other place four bushels and a half ; the least of these quantities at three shillings per bushel, being the present price, is seven shillings and sixpence. For three
* I do not say that every species of old husbandry is Virgilian ; for when land of all sorts is ploughed five or six times with due intermissions, instead of once or twice, in that respect it is rather Anti-virgilian ; though it is not the horse-hoeing method, which I call the new husbandry, because not practised but for about these fourteen last years, that I know of.
ploughings, harrowing, and sowing, sixteen shillings ; but if ploughed four times, which is better, one pound. For thirty load of dung, to a statute acre, is two pounds, five shillings. For carriage of the dung, according to the distance, from two shillings to sixpence the load ; one shilling being the price most common, is one pound ten shillings. The price for weeding is very uncertain, it has sometimes cost twelve shillings, sometimes two shillings per acre.
Were I to buy dung at the nearest place where any is to be sold, the very carriage of it to my land would be worth above five pounds for each acre.
Equivocus, in his Essay for May, p. 228, says, land that had been the most dunged brought the worst crop of corn.
He says, the dung being for two years, ought to be reckoned but half of it to the first year. In answer to this, I say, that thought it may be, as he alleges, in the common husbandry, yet in this comparative calculation, the whole expense of dung must be charged to the first year ; because a crop sown in the common manner upon the level, the next year after a hoed crop without dung, is always as good or better than when sowed the next year after a dunged sown crop.
Folding of land with sheep is reckoned abundantly cheaper than cart-dung ; but this is to be questioned, because much land must lie still for keeping a flock (unless there be downs) and for their whole year's keeping with both grass and hay, there are but three months of the twelve wherein the fold is of any considerable value ; this makes the price of their manure quadruple to what it would be, if equally good all the year, like cart-dung : and folding sheep yield little profit, besides their dung ; because the wool of a flock, except it be a large one, will scarce pay the shepherd and the shearers. But there is another thing yet, which more enhances the price of sheep dung ; and that is, the dunging the land with their bodies, when they all die of the rot, which happens too frequently in many places : and then the whole crop of corn must go to purchase another flock, which may have the same fate the ensuing year, if the summer prove wet. And so may the farmer be served for several more successive years, unless he should break, and another take his place, or that dry summers come in time to prevent it. To avoid this misfortune, he would be glad to purchase cart-dung at the highest price, for supplying the place of his fold ; but it is only near cities, and great towns, that a sufficient quantity can be procured.
But, supposing the price of dunging to be only two pounds ten shillings, and the general expense of an acre of wheat, when sown, as three shillings per bushel, to be four pounds ten shillings, with the year's rent of the fallow.
The expenses of planting an acre of wheat in the hoeing husbandry, is three pecks* of seed, at three shillings per bushel, is two shillings and threepence. The whole tillage, if done by horses, would be eight shillings ; because our two ploughings and six hoeings**, are equal to two sturrings, the common price whereof is hour shillings each ; but this we diminish half, when done by oxen kept on St.-Foin, in this manner, viz., land worth thirty shillings rent, drilled with St.-Foin, will well maintain an ox a year***, and sometimes hay will be left to pay for the making ; we cannot, therefor, allow more than one shilling a-week for his work, because his keeping comes but to sevenpence a-week round the year.
** But we sometimes plough out six-feet ridges before drilling, at five or six furrows, which is a furrow or two more than I have reckoned ; but we do not always hoe six times afterwards.
But it is better for successive wheat-crops to bestow the labour of as many hoeings as amount to three plain ploughings in a year, it being a greater damage to omit one necessary hoeing, than is the expense of several hoeings.
*** Or an ox may be well kept nine months, with an acre of indifferent horse-hoed turnips ; and if we value them only at the expense and rent of the land, this will be a yet cheaper way of maintaining oxen.
Upon more experience, it is found that St.-Foin hay alone, or with a small quantity of turnips, is best for working oxen in the winter ; but a plenty of turnips with the same hay is better for fatting oxen that do no work.
the land that is kept in hoeing, works much easier than that which is not).
All the tillage we ever bestow upon a crop of wheat that follows a hoed crop, is equal to eight hoeings, two of which may require four oxen each, one of them three oxen, and the other five hoeings two oxen each. However, allowing three oxen to each single hoeing, taking them all one with another, which is three oxen more than it comes to in the whole.
But the number of oxen required will be according to their bigness and strength, and to the depth and strength of the soil, which also will be the easier draught for the oxen, the oftener the intervals are hoed.
Begin at five in the morning ; and in about six hours you may hoe three acres, being equal in furrows to three rood, i. e., three quarters of an acre. Then turn the oxen to grass, and after resting, eating, and drinking two hours and a half, with another set of oxen begin hoeing again ; and by, or before, half an hour after seven at night, another like quantity may be hoed. These are the hours the statute has appointed all labourers to work, during the summer half-year.
This is the time limited by the words of the statute ; but the meaning is to be determined by the unlimited magistrates, who are to put the same in execution ; and some of them (and their determination has the same effect as of all) have lately declared, that if a labourer works an hour, he must be paid for a day, which makes some alteration in the price of tillage of all sorts.
To hoe these six acres a day, each set of oxen draw the plough only eight miles and a quarter, which they may very well do in five hours ; and then the holder and driver will be at their work of ploughing ten hours, and will have four hours and a half to rest, &c.
The expense then of hoeing six acres in a day, in this manner,may be accounted at one shilling the man that holds the plough, six
pense the boy that drives the plough, one shilling for the six oxen, and sixpence for keeping the tackle in repair. The whole sum for hoeing these six acres is three shillings, being sixpence per acre*.
They who follow the old husbandry cannot keep oxen so cheap, because they can do nothing without the fold, and store-sheep will spoil the St.-Foin. They may almost as well keep foxes and geese together, as store-sheep and good St.-Foin. Besides, the sowed St.-Foin costs ten times as much the planting as drilled St.-Foin does, and must be frequently manured, or else it will soon decay ; especially upon all sorts of chalky land, whereon it is most commonly sown.
The expense of drilling cannot be much ; for, as we can hoe six
* But where there is not the convenience of keeping oxen, the hiring price for hoeing with horses is one shilling each time.
And there is no such conveniency in a farm that consists in common field arable-land, without meadow or pasture ; nor on such a dry, chalky hill-farm as mine is, without a competent quantity of St.-Foin, nor unless the other part of it, which is kept in arable, be managed without folding sheep, because these will spoil the St.-Foin ; and therefore Equivocus is wrong when he says that oxen are equally advantageous to the old and to the new husbandry ; for they can be conveniently kept by the new on a farm whereon they cannot be kept in the old husbandry ; he himself affirming that oxen cannot be kept without rich pasture-land, of which mine and very many other hill-farms have none at all. But for Equivocus to take from hence an occasion to insinuate, that I pretend to be the inventor of ploughing with oxen, and for him to cite Fitzherbert against me to prove that I am not, and that I ought not to have the honour of broaching it, is most ridiculously shameful in Equivocus, whose only talent is pedantry, and therefore he ought to know that oxen were the first drawers of the plough, since a heathen poet says of Ceres, that she
Et veterem curvo dente reveillit humum.
acres a-day, at two furrows on each six-feet ridge, so may we drill twenty-four acres a-day, with a drill that plants two of those ridges at once ; and this we may reckon three halfpence an acre. But because we find it less trouble to drill single ridges, we will set the drilling, at most, at sixpence per acre.
As every successive crop (if well managed) is more free from weeds than the preceding crop, I will set it altogether at sixpence* an acre for weeding.
This may be enough, if the land be well cleansed the year before, and considering that several years in such there is no occasion for weeding at all : and as this calculation is comparative with the old way, we should examine the price of weeding the sown corn, which by the best information I can get is, this year, 1735, about 4s. per acre for weeding of barley ; and of wheat round about where I live about 6s. and in Wiltshire 15s. per acre for their wheat, amongst which much damage is done by the weeder's feet, and yet some weeds are left.
For a boy or woman to follow the hoe-plough, to uncover the young wheat, when any clods or earth happen to fall on it, which trouble is seldom necessary about once** to a crop, twopence an acre. One penny is too much for brine and lime for an acre.
Reaping this wheat is not worth above half as much as the reaping of a sown crop of equal value ; because the drilled standing upon about a sixth part of the ground, a reaper may cut almost as much of the row at one stroke, as he could at six, if the same stood dispersed all over the ground, as the sowed does.
* This is when the land has been well cleansed of weeds in the preceding crop, or fallow, or both.
** But this expense being so small, it is better that a person should follow at every hoeing where we suspect that any damage may happen form any earth's falling on, or pressing too hard against, some of the plants.
And because he who reaps sowed wheat, must reap the weeds along with the wheat ; but the drilled has no weeds ; and besides, there goes a greater quantity of straw, and more sheaves, to a bushel of the sowed, than of the drilled. and since some hundred acres of drilled wheat has been reaped at two shillings and sixpence per acre, I will count that to be the price.
One sheaf of the latter will yield more wheat than two of the former of equal diameter.
The whole Expense of an Acre of drilled Wheat. £ s. d.
For seed . . . . . . . . . 0 2 3
For tillage . . . . . . . . 0 4 0
For drilling . . . . . . . . 0 0 6
For weeding . . . . . . . 0 0 6
For uncovering . . . . . 0 0 2
For brine and lime . . . 0 0 1
For reaping . . . . . . . . 0 2 6
Total 0 10 0
The expense of an acre of sowed wheat is . . . . . . . . . . . 4 0 0
To which must be added, for the year's rent of the fallow 0 10 0
Total 4 10 0
I am wrongfully accused of partiality, by Equivocus, for charging the year's fallow to the calculation of the expenses in the old way, and not to that in the new : when in our successive crops we have no fallow, but in the old there is generally and almost always a fallow for wheat : and therefore two year's rent to be reckoned for their one crop.
If I have reckoned the expense of the drilled at the lowest price, to bring it to an even sum, I have also abated in the other more than the whole expense of the drilled amounts unto.
And thus the expense of a drilled crop of wheat is but the ninth part of the expense of a crop sown in the common manner.
It is also some advantage, that less stock is required where no store-sheep are used.
II. Of the different goodness of a crop.
The goodness of a crop consists in the quality of it, as well as the quantity ; and wheat being the most useful grain, a crop of this is better than a crop of any other corn, and the hoed wheat has larger ears (and a fuller body) than sowed wheat. We can have more of it, because the same land will produce it every year, and even land which, by the old husbandry, would not be made to bear wheat at
all : so that, in many places, the new husbandry can raise ten acres of wheat for one that the old can do ; because, where land is poor, they sow but a tenth part of it with wheat.
We do not pretend that we have always greater crops, or so great as some sown crops are, especially if those mentioned by Mr. Hougton be not mistaken.
The greatest produce I ever had from a single yard in length, of a double row, was eighteen ounces : the partition of this being six inches, and the interval thirty inches, was, by computation, ten quarters, or eighty bushels to an acre.
I had also twenty ounces to a like yard of a third successive crop of wheat ; but this being a triple row, and the partitions and interval being wider, and supposed to be in all six feet, was computed at six quarters to an acre. And if these rows had been better ordered than they were, and the earth richer and more pulverised, more stalks would have tillered out, and more ears would have attained their full size, and have equalled the best, which must have made a much greater crop than either of these were.
But to compare the different profit, we may proceed thus : the rent and expense of a drilled acre being one pound, and of a sowed acre five pounds ; one quarter of corn produced by the drilled bears an equal proportion in profit to the one pound, as five quarters produced by the other do to the five pounds. As, suppose it be of wheat, at two shillings and sixpence a bushel, there is neither gain nor loss in the one nor the other acre, though the former yield but one quarter, and the other five ; but if the drilled acre yield two quarters, and the sowed ace four quarters, at the same price, the drilled brings the farmer one pound clear profit, and the sown, by its four quarts, brings the other one pound loss. Likewise, suppose the drilling farmer to have his five pounds laid out on five acres of wheat, and the other to have his five pounds laid out on one dunged acre, then, let the wheat they produce be at what price it will, if the five acres have an equal crop to the one acre, the gain or loss must be equal. But when wheat is cheap, as we say it is, when sold at two and sixpence a bushel, then if the Virgilian has five quarters on his acre, he must sell it all to pay his rent and expenses ; but the other having five quarters on each of his five acres, the crop of one of them will pay the rent and expenses of al his five acres*, and he may keep the remaining twenty quarters, until he can sell them at five shillings a bushel, which amounts to forty pounds, wherewith he may be able to buy four of his five acres at twenty years' purchase, out of one year's crop, whilst the Virgilian farmer must be content to have only his labour for his travel ; or if he pretends to keep his wheat till he sells it at five shillings a bushel, he
* Or suppose a drilled acre to produce no more than one-third of the sowed acre's crop, whose expense is five times as much as of the drilled, it is much more profitable, because a third of five pounds, is one pound, thirteen shillings, and fourpence ; and a fifth of the rent and expense being only one pound, such drilled acre pays the owner thirteen shillings and fourpence more profit than the other which brings a crop triple to the drilled.
commonly runs in debt to his neighbours, and in arrear of his rent ; and if the markets do not rise in time, or if his crops fail in the interim, his landlord seizes on his stock, and then he knows not how it may be sold, actions are brought against him, the bailiffs and attorneys pull him to pieces ; and then the virgilian farmer is broke*.
III. The certainty of a crop.
The certainty of a crop is much to be regarded, it being better to be secure of a moderate crop, than to have but a mere hazard of a great one. The Virgilian is often deceived in his expectation, when his crop at coming into ear, is very big, as well as when it is in danger of being too little. Our hoeing farmer is much less liable to the hazard of either of those extremes ; for when his wheat is big, it is not apt to lodge or fall down, which accident is usually the utter ruin of the other, he is free from the causes which make the Virgilian crop too little.
A very effectual means to prevent the failing of a crop of wheat, is to plough the pulverised earth for seed early, and when it is dry. The early season also is more likely to be dry than the latter season is.
1. The Virgilian is commonly late in his sowing ; because he cannot fallow his ground early, for fear of killing the couch, and
other grass that maintains his
2. folding sheep, which are so necessary to his husbandry : and
when it is sowed
3. late, it must not be sowed dry, for then the winter might kill
the young wheat. Neither can he at that time plough dry, and
sow wet, because he commonly sows under furrow ; that is, sows
the seed first, and ploughs it in as fast as it is sown.
* Though only five acres and one acre be put, yet we may imagine them two hundred and fifty ; and fifty to enrich the one, or break the other farmer.
4. If he sows early (as he may if he will) in light land, he must not
sow dry, or fear the poppies and other weeds should grow and
devour his crop ; and if his
5. land be strong, let it be sown early, wet or dry (though wet is
worst) it is apt to grow so stale and hard by the spring, that his
crop is in danger of starving, unless the land be very rich, or
much dunged, danger of being so big as to fall down and be
6. spoiled. Another thing is, that though he had no other
impediment against ploughing dry, and sowing wet, it is seldom
that he has time to do it in ; for he
7. must plough all his ground, which is eight furrows in six feet,
and whilst it is wet, must lie still with his plough. When he
sows under furrow, he fears to
8. plough deep, lest he bury too much of his seed, and if he
ploughs shallow, his crop loses the benefit of deep-ploughing,
which is very great. When he sows upon
9. furrow (that is after it is ploughed) he must harrow the ground
level tocover the seed, and that exposes the wheat the more to
the cold winds, and suffers the snow to be blown off it, and the
water to lie onger on it : all which are great injuries to it.
Our hoeing husbandry is different in all of the fore-mentioned particulars.
1. We can plough the two furrows whereon the next crop is to stand, immediately after the present crop is off.
2. We have no use of the fold ; because our ground has annually a crop growing on it, and it must lie still a year, if we would fold it, and that crop would be lost ; and all the good the fold could do to the land, would be only to help to pulverise it for one single crop ; its benefit not lasting to the second year. And so we should be certain of losing one crop for the very, uncertain hopes of procuring
one the ensuing year by the fold ; when it is manifest, by the adjoining crops, that we can have a much better crop every year, without a fold or any other manure.
3. We can plough dry, and drill wet, without any manner of inconvenience.
4. He fears the weeds will grow and destroy is crops : we hope they will grow, to the end we may destroy them. For before they grow they cannot be killed ; but if they are all killed as soon as they appear, there will be no danger of there exhausting the land or restocking it with their seed ; and it is our fault if we drill more than we can keep clean from weeds by the horse-hoe, hand-hoe, and hands : the first for the intervals, the second for the partitions, and the third for the rows : by the two former, as soon after they appear as they can ; but by the last, when they are grown high enough to be conveniently taken hold of.
5. We do not ear to plant our wheat early (so that we plough dry), because we can help the hardness or staleness of the land by hoeing.
6. The two furrows of every ridge whereon the rows are to be drilled, we plough dry ; and if the weather prove wet before these are all finished, we can plough the other two furrows up to them, until it be dry enough to return to our ploughing the first two furrows, and after finishing them, let the weather be wet or dry, we can plough the last two furrows. We can plough our two furrows in the fourth part of the time they can plough their eight, which they must plough dry, all of them, in every six feet ; for they cannot plough part dry, and the rest when it is wet, as we can.
7. We never plant our seed under the furrow, but place it just at the depth, which we judge most proper, and that is pretty shallow, about two inches deep, and then there is no danger of burying it.
8. We not only plough a deep furrow, but also plough to the depth of two furrows ; that is, we trench-plough where the land will allow it ; and we have the greatest convenience imaginable for doing this, because there are two of our four furrows always lying open ; and two ploughed furrows (that is, one ploughed under another) are as much more advantageous for the nourishing a crop, as two bushels of oats are better than one for nourishing a horse. Or if the staple of the land be too thin or shallow, we can help it by raising the ridges prepared for the rows the higher above the level.
Very little of my land will admit the plough to go the depth of two common furrows without reaching the chalk ; but deep land may be easily thus trench-ploughed with great advantage ; and even when there is only the depth of a single furrow, that may sometimes be advantageously ploughed at twice.
9. We also raise a high ridge in the middle of each interval above the wheat, before winter, to protect it from the cold winds, and to prevent the snow from being driven away by them. And the furrows or trenches, from whence the earth of these ridges is taken, serve to drain off the water from the wheat, so that is being drier, it must be warmer than the harrowed wheat, which has neither furrows to keep it dry, nor ridges to shelter it, as every row of ours has on both sides of it.
This is a mistake ; for the ridges in the middle of the intervals do not always, nor often in thin shallow land, lie high enough to make a shelter for the rows, they being higher : but when wheat is drilled on the level, it is sheltered by the ridges raised in the intervals : but we never weed or hand-hoe wheat before the spring.
IV. The condition in which the land is left after a crop.
The different condition the land is left in after a crop, by the one and the other husbandry, is not less considerable than the different profit of the crop.
If indifferent land be well pulverised by the plough for one whole year, it will produce a good crop : but then, if, instead of being sown, it be kept pulverised on for another year without being exhausted by any vegetables, it will acquire from the atmosphere an extraordinary great degree of fertility, more than it had before such second year's pulverisation and unexhuastion. This being granted, which no man of experience can deny, what reason can there be why such a number of plants, competent for a profitable crop, may not be maintained on it the second year that may keep the degree of their exhaustion in equilibrio with that degree of fertility, which the same land had acquired at the end of the first year of its pulverisation, the same degree of pulverisation being continued to it by hoeing in the second year ? Or why may it not produce annual crops always, if the same equilibrium be continually kept ? Two unanswerable reasons may be given, why this equilibrium cannot be kept in the random sowing, as it may in the hoeing method, viz., 1st, in the former, the land is by the number of sown plants and weeds much more (we may suppose at lest five times more) exhausted : and, 2dly, no pulverisation is continued to the soil, whilst the crop is on it ; which is that part of the year wherein is the most proper (if not the only proper) season for pulverising ; therefore, allowing that in the random way a soil cannot, for want of quantity of vegetable food, continue to produce annual crops without manure, or perhaps with it ; yet, that is no reason why it may not produce them in the hoeing culture duly performed.
A piece of eleven acres, of a poor, thin, chalky hill, was sown with barley in the common manner, after a hoed crop of wheat, and produced full five quarters and a half to each acre (reckoning the tithe) which was much more than any land in all the neighbourhood yielded the same year ; though some of it be so rich, as that one acre is worth three acres of this land : and no man living can remember that ever this produced above half such a crop before,
even when the best of the common management has been bestowed upon it.
A field that is a sort of heath-ground, used to bring such poor crops of corn, that heretofore the parson carried away a whole crop of oats from it, believing it had been only his tithe. The best management that ever they did or could bestow upon it, was to let it rest two or three years, and then fallow and dung it, and sow it with wheat, next to that with barley and clover, and then let it rest again ; but I cannot hear of any good crop that it ever produced by this or any other of their methods ; it was still reckoned so poor, that no body cared to rent it. They said dung and labour were thrown away up it : then immediately after two sown crops of black oats had been taken off it, the last of which was scarce worth the mowing, it was put into the hoeing management, and when three hoed crops* had been taken from it, it was sown with barley, and brought a very good crop, much better than ever it was known to yield before ; and then a good crop of hoed wheat succeeded the barley ; and then it was again sown with barley, upon the wheat stubble ; and that also was better than the barley it used to produce.
Now, all the farmers of the neighbourhood affirm, that it is impossible but that this must be very rich ground, because they have seen it produce six crops in six years, without dung or fallow, and never one of them fail. But, alas ! this different reputation they give to the land, does not at all belong to it, but to the different sorts of husbandry ; for the nature of it cannot be altered but by that, the crops being all carried off it, and nothing added to supply the substance those crops take from it, except (what Mr. Evelyn calls) the celestial influences, and that these are received by the earth, in proportion to the degrees of its pulverisation.
* These three hoed crops were of turnips and potatoes.
A field was drilled with barley after a hoed crop, and another adjoining to it on the same side of the same poor hill, and exactly the same sort of land, was drilled with barley also, part of it after the sown crop, the same day with the other ; there was only this difference in the soil, that the former of these had no manner of compost on it for many years before, and the latter was dunged the year before, yet its crop was not near so good as that which followed the hoed crop* ; though the latter had twice the ploughing that the former had before drilling, and the same hoeings after wards, viz., each was hoed three times.
A field of about seventeen acres was summer-fallowed, and drilled with wheat, and with the hoeing brought a very good crop (except part of it, which being eaten by trespassing sheep in the winter, was somewhat blighted) ; the Michaelmas after that was taken off, the same field was drilled again with wheat, upon the stubble of the former, and hoed : this second crop was a good one, scarce any in the neighbourhood better. A piece of wheat adjoining to it, on the very same sort of land (except that this latter was always reckoned better, being thicker in mould above the chalk), sown at the same time on dunged fallows, and the ground always dunged once in three years, yet this crop failed so much, as to be judged, by some farmers, not to exceed the tithe of the other : that the hoed field had received no dung or manure for many years past is, because it lies out of the reach for carrying of cart-dung, and no fold being kept on my farm : but, I cannot say I think there was quite so much odds betwixt this second undunged hoed crop and the sown ; yet this is certain, that the former is a good, and the latter a very bad crop.
* This was a wheat crop, and often well hoed.
The reasons why I keep no sheep are many, viz., I have no common, nor downs, nor pasture, nor meadow to keep sheep upon ; and St.-Foin is unfit for store sheep ; so that if I kept a fold I should be obliged to till with horses only, which (according to the rules whereby our servants, at present, are pleased to govern us) would cost me one full rent more than the same tillage done by oxen. The profit of store sheep depends much upon the owner's skill in managing them, in buying and selling them at proper times, and in many other circumstances ; it is a trade that I am not master of, nor can I have it well done by a deputy. I find it very difficult to preserve my corn from being spoiled by neighbouring sheep ; but, if I had a flock of my own, it would be more difficult ; besides the trouble and continual quarrels with neighbours about damages done and received. Thus the same sheep would be detrimental to me that are profitable to others. Then as to the fold, the urine of sheep is a great pulveriser of the soil, and without which the Virgilian can do nothing, nor the common farmer much ; but in the hoeing husbandry, I know, by many years experience, there is no necessity of a fold, as there is not (in such a farm as mine, managed by such an occupier as I am) a conveniency of keeping a fold.
The low price of wool in Britain shows, that more sheep are kept here than are for the public benefit ; the too great plenty of wool being contrary to that of corn, because foreign countries buy our wool to supply their manufactures in prejudice to our own ; and as the French have none of those statutes, the consequence of which enhances the price of our labour to double, and in some works to quadruple of theirs, they can afford to pay above double the price for wool that our clothiers can, and yet undersell our merchants of cloth in foreign markets ; and the more foreigners have from us, the more will they stock those markets with their cloth. We are apt to have too much wool, as appears by the act for burying in woollen,
which, because the living are not sufficient to consume it, obliges the dead to wear it.
Equivocus, in his Essay for April, p. 17, affirms, that I say in my Essay, " that even the dung and urine of sheep are of no use in husbandry ;" but if the reader cannot find that I have said so, he will be satisfied of the want of veracity Equivocus is guilty of here, as well as in his other false quotations.
Is it not very unfair of Equivocus to represent the farmer's opinion of the odds, as if it were mine, when in the same paragraph I contradict the farmer's opinion ? That in my account, I have not exaggerated the odds of those different crops, two of the noble peers, whom Equivocus has had the presumption to name (in p. 64, of his Introduction to April), and several gentlemen, being altogether eye-witnesses of it just before harvest, could with justice vindicate me from the false imputation he would maliciously cast upon me, relating to the ipse dixit, which he has falsely quoted. Those two crops grew within two or three horses' length of one another, both on hill ground ; mine was formerly a sheep-down, and the other a cow-down, and to this day retains the name of Cow-Down-Hill : the poor crop had not too much dung, nor was it a very dry summer, which I mention in answer to the questions of Equivocus.
I could give many more instances of the same kind, where hoed crops and sown crops have succeeded better after hoed crops than after sown crops, and never yet have seen the contrary : and therefore am convinced, that the hoeing (if it be duly performed) enriches the soil more than dung and fallows, and leaves the land in a much better condition for a succeeding crop ; the reason I take to be very obvious. The artificial pasture of plants is made and increased by pulverisation only ; and there is nothing else in our power to enrich our ground, but to pulverise it, and keep it from
being exhausted by vegetables*. (Superinductions of earth are an addition of more ground, or changing it, and is more properly purchasing than cultivating.)
This is more especially meant of Virgilian fallows, and a moderate quantity of common dung or the fold : and there may be such a poor sand, or other barrenish soil, so subject to constipation in the winter, as to require dung when planted with wheat, there being no general rule without exceptions ; and it is impossible for me to know the number of these exceptions. Well it is for the hoer, whose land is of such a kind, that he can keep it in heart without dung by hoeing ; for when he has no fold, ploughs his ground with oxen, and plants it mostly with wheat, the straw whereof being for other uses, he can make but very little dung.
I have given reasons for this my opinion ; and as far as the authority of Equivocus goes, he confirms the first part of it ; for in p. 165 of this Essay for August, he gives up the necessity of dung, after all the stir and stench he has made of it, and says, " That fallowing twice, and sowing with turnips, improve land more than dung." And I believe it will appear upon full trials, that our hoeings, duly and frequently performed, may improve more than twice fallowing : because by hoeing the land is fallowed, and many
* It may be asked, how it is possible that eight hoeings, which are but equal, in labour, to two plain ploughings, should so much exceed three plain ploughings, as to procure as good or better crop without manure, than the common three ploughings can do with manure, and enrich the land also ?
nbsp; The answer is, that each hoeing of the five or six being done to the wheat-plants, though it does not clean-plough the whole interval underneath, yet it changeth the who external superficies (or surface) thereof, whereby it becomes impregnate by the nitrous air, as much as if it were all clean-ploughed at the time of every hoeing, and the weeds are as much stifled or suffocated.
times iterated every year, and if our plants are only a bare competent number, they may exhaust the land less than a crop of sown turnips. All experienced husbandmen (I do not mean such as have practised none but Virgilian) will allow, that a Virgilian fallow (which Equivocus, in p. 124, 125 of his Essay for July relates) is a very mean improver of the land. He here affirms it for a " well-known truth in husbandry, that wheat should never be sown but upon ground which has been once or twice ploughed, and has lain fallow for a whole summer." Indeed the land lying still one summer might not be much exhausted by the wheat sown therein without once or twice ploughing ; for it would produce none, or very little.
These two are all we have in our power, for pulverising includes an exposure to the atmosphere, without which, I think, it cannot be reduced to particles minute enough, or have their superficies so impregnated as to become a fertile pasture for plants. The experiment related by Mr. Evelyn of artificial pulverisation, seems to prove such an exposure necessary, as also the frequent turning (or incessantly agitating) that fine dust for a year, before the barren exhausted earth was made rich and prolific : for besides the benefit of pulverisation and impregnation, land is more enriched in proportion to the time of exposure, during which it is free from exhaustion, and continually receiving from the atmosphere ; therefore frequent turning and exposure are both contained in the words pulverise and not exhaust ; and to comply with the latter, we should endeavour that our land may be never exhausted by any other plants than by those we would propagate, and by no more of them neither, than what are necessary for producing a reasonable crop ; which upon full trial will be found a very small number in comparison to those that are commonly sown ; and then if the supply from the atmosphere by help of the pulverisation exceeds
the exhaustion, the land will become richer, though constant crops are produced of the same species, as in the vineyards ; and the soil of these are so much improved by a bare competent exhaustion and the usual pulverisation, that after producing good annual crops without dung, until age has killed the vines, they leave the soil better than they found it, and better than contiguous land of the same sort kept in arable-field culture.
By pulverisation are meant all the benefits of it that accrue to the pasture of plants ; and by exhaustion, all the injuries that can be done to that pasture, except burning. And as the benefits of pulverisation visibly continue for several years, so do the injuries of exhaustion ; which appear by the ends of some of my rows that have been cleansed of weeds in their partitions by the hand-hoe, and the other ends of the same rows not cleansed ; the difference is visible in the colour of the wheat in the third and fourth following crops, equally managed ; and this is no more to be wondered at, than that two unequal sums, being equally increased or diminished, should remain unequal, until an addition to the lesser, or a subtraction from the greater, be made ; which in case of the soil, must be either by a greater pulverisation or a lesser exhaustion.
Equivocus, in the last-mentioned page 125, relates that an exposure of the earth to the sun all the summer would rather enervate and impoverish, than enrich an extraordinarily fine loamy land, or mouldy ground ; but as it appears through his whole treatise, that he is most fond of false positions wherever he finds them, and when he does not find them, he forges them out of his own brain, he must excuse me for suspecting this position to be of the latter sort, unless he can produce some other author for it. I am sure it is contrary to all the experience I ever saw in any sort of land, or heard of before on this sort of land.
Their one year's tillage, which is but two ploughings before seed-time, commonly makes but little dust, and that which it does make, has but a short time to lie exposed for impregnation ; and after the wheat is sown, the land lies unmoved for near twelve months, all the while gradually losing its pasture, by subsiding, and by being continually exhausted in feeding a triple stock of wheat-plants, and a stock of weeds, which are sometimes a greater stock,. This puts the Virgilians upon a necessity of using dung, which is, at best, but a succedaneum of the hoe ; for it depends chiefly on the weather, and other accidents, whether it may prove sufficient by fermentation to pulverise in the spring, or not : and it is a question whether it will equal two additional* hoeings, or but one ; though, as I have computed it, one dunging costs the price of one hundred hoeings.
It is possible, perhaps, to pulverise the ground with a pen, and they seem to act almost as oddly, when, at such a vast expense, instead of a hoe, they make use of a toilet, to help them in their pulverisation.
When they have done all they can, the pasture they raise is generally too little for the stock that is to be maintained upon it, and much the greatest part of the wheat-plants are starved ; for from twenty gallons of seed they sow on an acre, they receive commonly no more than twenty bushels of wheat in their crop, which is but an increase of eight grains for one. Now, considering how many grains there are in one good ear, and how many ears on one plant, we find, that there is not one plant in ten that lives til harvest, even when there has not been frost in the winter sufficient to kill any of them ; or, if we count the number of plants that come up on a certain measure of ground, and count them again in the
* Additional, because there must first be several hoeings to make our triple row equal to an undunged six-feet ridge of sown wheat.
spring, and likewise at harvest, we shall be satisfied, that most, or all of the plants that are missing, could die by no other accident than want of nourishment.
They are obliged to sow this great quantity of seed, to the end that the wheat, by the great number of plants, may be the better able to contend with the weeds ; and yet, too often at harvest, we see a great crop of weeds, and very little wheat among them. Therefore, this pasture being insufficient to maintain the present crop, without starving the greatest part of its plants, is likely to be less able to maintain a subsequent crop, than that pasture which is not so much exhausted.
Their plants stand on the ground in a confused manner, like a rabble ; ours like a disciplined army : we make the most of our ground ; for we can, if we please, cleanse the partitions with a hand-hoe* ; and for the rest, if the soil be deep enough to be drilled
on the level*, in triple rows, the partitions at six inches**, the intervals five feet ; five parts in six of the whole field may be pulverised every year, and at proper times all round the year.
The partitions being one-sixth part for the crop to stand on, and to be nourished in the winter, one-sixth part being well pulverised, may be sufficient to nourish it from thence till harvest ; the remainder, being two-thirds of the whole, may be kept unexhausted, the one third for one year, and the other third of it two years ; all kept open for the reception of the benefits descending from above, during so long a time ; whilst the sowed land is shut against them, every summer, except the little time in which it is fallowed, once in three years, and a little, perhaps, whilst they plough it for barley in the winter, which is a season seldom proper for pulverising the ground. This may be done, though the roots of a competent number of plants run through the whole, in the manner hereinbefore explained.
Their land must have been exhausted as well by those supernumerary plants of wheat, while they lived, as by those that remain for the crop, and by the weeds. Our land must be much less exhausted, when it has never above one-third part of the wheat-plants to nourish that they have, and generally no weeds ; so that our hoed land having much more vegetable pasture made, and
* This is only put as a supposition ; for I have for these several years left off drilling on the level, and do advise against it ; because, although mould should not be wanting for the partitions in deep rich land, yet it is much more difficult to hoe on the level than on ridges.
** But when it is drilled upon ridges, the proportion is less by how much the partitions, being thicker in mould, contain more than a sixth part of the whole six feet of earth, and the proportion of unexhausted earth will be altered likewise ; and I only mention these distances to avoid fractions.
continually renewed, to so much a less stock of plants*, must needs be left, by every crop, in a much better condition than theirs is left in by any one of their sown crops, although our crops of corn at harvest be better than theirs**.
They object against us, saying, that sometimes the hoeing makes wheat too strong and gross, whereby it becomes the more liable to the blacks (or blight of insects) ; but this is the fault of the hoer, for he may choose whether he will make it to strong,
* Therefore, whenever a soil receives more supplies of fine earth from the atmostpehre, than is exhausted by all the plants that grow in the soil, it becomes richer ; but if the contrary, then it becomes poorer.
** On an undunged low six-feed-ridge, we have three rows, eight inches asunder, all which being equal, during the winter, but each of the two outside rows at harvest producing ten times as much wheat as the middle row doth, all three together produce a quantity equal to one-and-twenty of this middle row. Now, supposing the roots of this row not to reach through the outside rows, so as to receive any benefit from the hoed intervals, then this row might only be equal to one of nine rows, which should have been drilled eight inches asunder on this ridge, and then our three would only be equal to twenty-one of such nine rows. But since it can be demonstrated, that the roots of our middle row do pass through both the outside rows far into the hoed intervals, we may well suppose it to be at least double to what if would have been if it had had no benefit from the hoeing, and then our three will be equal to forty-two of such nine unhoed rows. Thus our crop is thirty-three in forty-two (or almost four part in five) increased by the hoeing ; for though many fields of wheat have been drilled all over in rows eight inches asunder, it never has been judged in twenty years' experience, that a crop so planted, though not hoed, was, by its evenness and regularity, less, cęteris paribus, than a crop sown at random.
nbsp; I have left off making low ridges, unless when my ploughmen make them so against my will ; but when land is drilled on the level, they are always low, though they do become ridges by the furrows that are sunk on each side of them by the hoe-plough : but these never produce the middle row equal to the other two ; though in such the earth raised up higher in the middle of each interval in the winter is a shelter to the rows.
because he may apply his hoeings at proper times only, and apportion the nourishment to the number and bulk of his plants. However, by this objection they allow, that the hoe can give nourishment enough, and therefore they cannot maintain that there is a necessity of dung* in the hoeing husbandry ; and that, if our crops of wheat should happen to suffer, by being too strong, our loss will be less than theirs, when that is too strong, since it will cost them nine times our expense to make it so.
* As for the quantity of vegetable matter of dung, when reduced to earth by putrefaction, it is very inconsiderable, and, of many sorts of manure, next to nothing.
nbsp; The almost only use of all manure, is the same as of tillage, viz., the pulverisation it makes by fermentation, as tillage doth by attrition or contusion ; and which these differences, that dung, which is the most common manure, is apt to increase weeds, as tillage (of which hoeing is chief) destroys them, and manure is scanty in most places, but tillage may be had everywhere. Another difference is, the vast disproportion of the price of manure and that of tillage.
Note, as we have no way to enrich the soil, but by pulverisation of manure or of instruments, or of both ; so Nature has ordained, that the soil shall be exhausted by nothing, but by the roots of plants.
Equivocus says this opinion of Dr. Woodward concerning manure hath been often confuted ; but does not say how or by whom : and until that be known I shall conclude the Doctor's opinion herein unanswerable, being built upon a sure foundation. The matter of fact is true, that the salts of dung will kill plants, when insumed by therm ; and when the operations made by those salts upon the body and juices of a plant are seen to kill it, it is not improper to say they poison it. It is not enough for Equivocus to assert, that it is not the quality by the quantity of them that have this deleterious effect ; for he may assert the same distinction in favour of almost any poison ; a small quantity of which may be taken without causing death. But a small quantity of salt killed the mints in my experiments, where only one string of a root that hand many was put into the salt.
But the greatest quantity of earth that a plant ever insumes doth not kill but nourish it. Could it be shown that those salts, mixed with
A second objection is, that as hoeing makes poor land become rich enough to bear good crops of wheat for several years successively,
moist earth, did not pulverise it, it would be a strong argument against my above definition of its use ; but as it is seen always to pulverise the earth, and to kill plants when taken in any considerable quantity, and not to nourish them, why should not the same degree of pulverisation made by tillage, and the same exposure with no greater exhaustion, keep the ground from going weary or tired, as well as if part of that pulverisation were made by the ferment of those salts ? That practice tells the contrary, I deny ; because I have seen what I have advanced proved by long practice. I have never affirmed that part of the necessary degree of pulverisation made by tillage alone, without the salts of manure, will have the same effect as the whole necessary degree of pulverisation made by tillage, and those salts together will ; neither have I said that tillage alone can pulverise to that degree in all sorts of land ; for there are some sands that have very little earth in the staple of them, and that little may require a greater degree of pulverisation than can be obtained from the plough alone, in a reasonable time of exposure. Pure sand consists of very small stones that are perfectly barren, when no earth is amongst them, as the sands of Libya are : but when sand is full of good mould, it is, by its richness and friability, the most profitable soil that is ; and the most likely to be sufficiently pulverised by tillage alone.
Of what sort the sands of Essex and Kent are, I know not, nor perhaps Equivocus neither ; yet he presumes to pronounce that should I affirm of those sands the same thing that I (and some modern authors) have advanced concerning other lands, as above, " the Essex and Kentish men would think me (and that with great justice too) a madman." but whether they will not (with greater justice) think Equivocus a madman for recommending the manure he extols in his Preface to June, I leave to the judgement of every impartial reader. It is as follows, viz., he extracts it from one who, in his opinion, is an exceeding good author, asserting that land may be " manured with malt cheaper (sometimes) than with dung, nor does it matter what corn the malt is made of ; for by this means it is converted into the substance of the wheat, together with the benefit of the multiplication : neither is it material whether the malt be ground or not, especially for any corn sown before winter ; because that is the time the whole grain will be dissolved and putrefied, so as that by little and little it maybe assimilated to the
the same must needs make very good land become too rich for wheat. I answer, that if possibly it should so happen, there are two
nature of the grain you would improve, by sweetening (as we add) the sour and unhealthy juices of that land, and by giving it a new sweet ferment (the original of all vegetable motion) it will produce admirable effects on that corn on (or with which) it is sown."
Here, patient reader, you have the theory and practice both of the (falsely entitled) Practical Husbandman and his exceeding good author.
It is such a specimen of profound knowledge in practical agriculture, and skill in choosing the best speculative authors, that I have not patience to animadvert upon it ; but it leaves no doubt, whether the Private Society have made good their unparalleled bragging promise, that theirs should " be such a system as never appeared in the world before."
Before I conclude my notes on this Chapter of the comparison between the two sorts of husbandry, I will give an answer to a very false and malicious assertion of the Equivocal Society ; though having already proved their notorious and wilful want of veracity in their pretended description of my farm, and in many other particulars, I need take no notice of any more of their untruths (with which their work so plentifully abounds), but this one on which they lay the greatest stress. It is, in p. 37 of their Essay for July, in these words, viz., " The proprietor himself, instead of raising one estate by this and other new-invented pieces of husbandry, has well-nigh spent two."
These latent authors must be very much conceited of their own penetration, if they pretend to know my affairs better than I do : and if I know them, I have been so far from spending an estate in any manner, that my circumstances are now better than when I first set out in the world, notwithstanding many uncommon and inevitable misfortunes of divers kinds that have befallen me ; amongst which, the loss of health, obliging me to quit the profession to which I was bred, and to travel for saving my life, may be reckoned.
As to agriculture, it was not by choice, but a sort of necessity, that I practised it ; and I never kept an acre in my hands, that I could reasonably dispose of to a tenant ; I knew too much of the inconveniency and slavery attending the exorbitant power of husbandry servants and labourers over their masters, to propose to myself any other gain by occupying of land, but to repair the injuries done it by bad tenants, and to keep it, till I could let it at a reasonable rent to such as I thought good ones.
remedies to be used in such a case ; the one is to plant it with beans, or some other vegetables, which cannot be over nourished, as
I have occupied only two farms, the first was in Oxfordshire. I so much improved that farm in nine years, as to let it for above a third more rent than it was ever let for before ; and that being almost thirty years ago, the rent is not sunk yet, but likely always to continue or increase. But the lands of the farm I have now, lie so remote from all farmers, that they cannot be let without the house where I live, and which is situate in an air that I would not willingly part with. To avoid this, and yet to be out of trouble, as I was likely to be confined to my bed, I prepared materials for building a new farm-house, and had in a manner agreed with a tenant to enter on my farm the last summer, which was disappointed by an accident, and now perhaps I may be forced to keep it as long as I live. However that may happen, I am confident (all things considered) that in the time I have already occupied it, if I and managed it in the common husbandry, the value of its purchase would have been lost by it ; though a robust able-bodied farmer in the clovering and turnip method might have thrived upon it : but every Virgilian farmer that has rented it (and here have been few other, since it was first made into a farm), that being about seventy years ago, has either broke, or quitted it before the end of his term.
It is to the new husbandry that I owe the property of my farm, and all that I here have said I can make appear to any gentleman whose curiosity shall induce him to inquire of me to find the truth for his satisfaction. My estate is not so large as to leave an overplus for acquiring another, after the expenses of maintaining me in the manner I have been accustomed to live. I propose no more than to keep out of debt, and leave my estate behind me better than I found it ; which, unless some new accident prevent, I shall perform : whilst not only many farmers in my neighbourhood have broke, and several gentlemen-farmers have lost their estates larger than mine, and others more money than all I have is worth, by the old husbandry, and by the many chargeable superinductions, their horses, bailiffs, &c., incident thereto, within the time I have been practising my scheme, though generally the first inventor of a project is a loser. But my scheme diminishes the usual expense so much, that one who understands it can scarce be in danger of losing by it : yet, owned it must be, that had I, when I first began to make trials, known as much of it as I do now, or as the diligent reader of my Essay and this Appendix may, the practice of it would have been more profitable to me.
turnips, carrots, cabbages, and such like, which are excellent food for fatting of cattle ; or else they mary make use of the other infallible remedy, when that rich land, by producing crops every year in the hoeing husbandry, is grown too vigorous and resty, they may soon take down its mettle, by sowing it a few years in their old husbandry, which will fill it again with a new stock of weeds, that will suck it out of heart, and exhaust more of its vigour, than the dung*, that helps to produce them, can restore.
There is a third objection, and that is, that the benefit of some ground is lost where the hoe-plough turns at each end of the lands ; but this cannot be much, if any, damage ; because about four square perches to a statute acre is sufficient for this purpose, and that, at the rate of ten shillings rent, comes to but three pence, though this varies, according as the piece is longer or shorter : and supposing the most to be eight perches, that is but sixpence per acre ; and that is not lost neither, for whether it be of natural or artificial grass, the hoe-plough in turning on it, will scratch it, and leave some earth on it, which will enrich it so much, that it may be worth its rent for bating of horses or oxen upon it. And besides, these ends are commonalty near quick-hedges or trees, which do so exhaust it, that when no cattle come there to manure it, it is not worth the labour of ploughing it.
But suppose I had worsted my substance, are there not many who by family misfortunes or otherwise have lessened their estates, though they have never practised agriculture ? Nor do I think any gentleman ought to repine at the smallness of his estate, if (without his own fault) it be reduced to his bare share of the island ; which will be in justice the less in proportion as that possessed by his ancestors has been greater and longer enjoyed.
* Dung made of the straw of sown corn, generally abounds with the seed of weeds.