Page images
PDF
EPUB

in that locality, I can get as large a margin of profit for my labor and the manure expended, on onions, as on any other crop. I do not raise them very extensively. I had only half an acre this year, on which I raised between three and four hundred bushels of good onions. I do not manure as heavily as some men in the eastern part of the State, where they can go to the cities and get manure; but I have used fertilizers. Last year, upon a quarter of an acre of onions I raised about a hundred and twenty bushels, with nothing but the Stockbridge Fertilizer. I put on two formulas, and I had a hundred and twenty bushels of nice onions, without any manure. I find, in raising cabbages, that I get a larger percentage of large, sound heads, where I use the Stockbridge Fertilizer, than from any other manure.

I have used the Stockbridge Fertilizer altogether for the past two or three years universally, for all the crops I have raised; and in every case I have found that it comes nearer to what is advertised than any other fertilizer I have bought. As I say, I find, in raising cabbages, that there is a larger per cent of large, sound cabbages where I use the fertilizer with manure than any other fertilizer. I find cabbage, in my section of the country, a very exhausting crop to the soil. It is almost impossible for me, without extremely heavy manuring, to raise a fair crop of any thing after a crop of cabbage. It takes two or three years for the land to recruit, so that I can raise any crop as I could before I planted the cabbage. My soil is Connecticut-river bottom-land, flowed over occasionally, and is good soil, where I can cut enormous crops

of
grass

for a series years. I find that potatoes are a very paying crop. I raise them at the rate of two hundred and eighty bushels to the acre, and apply at the rate of two formulas of the Stockbridge Fertilizer to the acre, costing twenty dollars; and, at the price of potatoes in our vicinity, it is a very paying crop indeed. I think that potato-culture throughout Massachusetts ought to be encouraged more than it is. It is a staple vegetable, more largely consumed by our population than any other one vegetable, and necessarily we must produce larger crops. The great bulk of our potatoes come from elsewhere; and, even at fifty cents a bushel, in my section we can hardly raise any crop which pays better. .

A question has been asked in regard to the Colorado beetle.

I attempted to carry out President Chadbourne's plan of picking the bugs; and I found it was not so much work as some people thought it was, although it was considerable work. I picked them; and although I did not keep the vines entirely clear, yet I kept them in such condition, that I got a

bountiful crop.

Adjourned to half-past seven o'clock.

EVENING SESSION.

The meeting was called to order at half-past seven o'clock, by Capt. Moore, who introduced President Chadbourne of Williams College.

ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OF CULTIVATED PLANTS.

BY HON. P. A. CHADBOURNE.

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen, - I appear before you to perform a very unpleasant service; and that is, to take the place of the lecturer who has been advertised to speak here to-night, one who would have come prepared to give you instruction in regard to a far-off land, - in regard to a people in whom we take a very great interest. I am sorry to say that President Clark is entirely unable to be here to-night. It is unpleasant at any time to take the place of another lecturer, but especially such a lecturer as he is, having such a subject as he proposed to present. Besides, I feel in regard to this Board, having been called upon year after year for so long a time, very much like the old minister down in Maine, who came to a parish, and preached about six months, and then told the people that he should have to leave. Why so ?” — “Why,” said he, “I have told you all the stories I know, and, if I stay any longer, I shall have to tell the same stories over again.” But Mr. Flint telegraphed me, on hearing of President Clark's illness, to fill his place, and I am here in obedience to that summons.

It is understood, I believe, that I shall take some sort of outside course whenever I appear as the lecturer of the Board; and I am going to commence far off, and work up

to

the subject of market-gardening. Here this afternoon you listened with great interest to all that was said, and you found that market-gardeners do not agree among themselves : they are like scientific men; we do not agree.

There appeared a very great necessity for more accurate observation; a necessity that our farmers' boys, if they are to make farming pay, should understand. They should also have that in themselves which will make farming pay in something besides dollars and cents. I was particularly interested in what one gentleman said this afternoon; that, when it came Thanksgiving Day, he had a crop around him that was pretty profitable to him, if it was not to anybody else. There is more than one way to make farming pay. If we only try to make any business pay in dollars and cents, we shall be poor all our lives, and go down to the grave in absolute poverty, though our heirs should inherit untold riches when we die.

My course to-night may seem a little on the outside ; but, before we get through, we shall come around to this corn which I have here on the sofa, which I have been experimenting upon this year. Now, I propose to ask a question, in order to illustrate this one point which I have brought up, in regard to the necessity of more accurate observation, and to convince you, I think, that we are very deficient in this matter. I suppose there is not a fruit on the face of the earth that this audience is better acquainted with than with the apple, and I propose to ask you a single question in regard to that fruit. There are on the blackboard the outlines of two apples. If we cut down through these apples, we find seeds in them. There is not one in this audience who has not cut an apple open hundreds of times. Many of you have cut them open to-day, I presume. Now, an apple-seed has a sharp point, and I want this audience to tell me where I shall put that sharp point in the apple. Shall I put it towards the stem, or shall I put it towards the calyx ? [A voice: “ Towards the stem.”] Those that think it should be put towards the stem, raise their hands. [A few hands were raised.] Those that think it should be put towards the calyx, raise their hands. [Quite a number raise their hands.] Those who do not know, raise their hands. (A large majority of the audience responded.] Why, there are votes enough to carry a man into Congress,

of men in this audience who do not know which way the sharp point of the seed is placed in the apple, – a fruit that you have all around you, and cut open and eat every day! What is the use of standing here, and talking about obserying, when this is the result? Some six or eight voted to put it towards the stem, and twice as many to put it towards the calyx; that is to say, you are wrong two to one, besides a great many who do not know any thing about it. I cannot give any better illustration of the want of observation, or, rather, the want of observing in such a manner that you can carry your knowledge with you always; and, unless you do this, you will be constantly making observations and making experiments, and leaving out some important thing which seems to you of no importance whatever. Now, if you cut an apple open, you will find that sharp point to be towards the stem. But just bear this in mind whenever you are carrying on any of these discussions; and let no man get up here and say, “I have observed this, and observed that," and go on, and show by every thing he says, almost, hour after hour, that he has failed to observe those things that are absolutely essential to the accuracy of his observation, or the perfection of his experiment.

I have been trying some experiments this year in regard to fertilization, which would carry me directly, if I should begin with those, to the subject which Professor Goodale, one of my old pupils, will present to-morrow evening in a very much better way than I can do it. I propose to commence very far back, and to pass on very rapidly indeed. I am glad to have these flowers and plants here. Just look at these plants, and see what treasures we have. In the first place, here are ferns. If we turn over the fronds, we find the fruit in minute dots. Put them under the microscope, and we should find the ultimate fruit, or spore, to be simply a little cell. Here we find a tree loaded with oranges, - large, beautiful, most delicious fruit. We find our table covered with beautiful flowers. Whence came all these? What was the origin of all these? I do not propose to-night to spend your time in discussing Darwin's theory, or any other theories ; but I wish to call your attention to the beginning of plantlife, and then to bring you rapidly along through the changes that we know have taken place as we come up to the plants

ern zone.

that we now use, and then to show what their nature is that adapts them so perfectly to our wants that we go on from day to day, and year to year, discussing these problems in regard to the perfection of plant-life. The things I am now going to state to you are those that I believe are accepted by all persons of science, no matter what theories they may hold in regard to the progress of life on the globe.

We all know that there was a time when there was no plant upon this earth. Here was a globe of melted matter, if you please, and by and by a globe covered with solid rock, with no vestige of plant-life upon it. If there is any thing we know in science, we know that; and yet we are here to-night, surrounded by all these beautiful forms that are spread over the earth from zone to zone; and not only on the earth, but abounding in the waters; not only in the torrid and temperate zones, but in the frigid. Very few persons have any idea of the amount of vegetation in the north

I confess that I was perfectly astounded, when going up among the icebergs of Greenland and Iceland, at the abundance and variety of the vegetation there, - not on the land, but in the water. As you sail over those beautiful bays of Greenland, and look down into the water, it seems as though you were passing over a forest. It looks as though the vegetation of the land had gone down beneath the waters. You find that vegetation grows there with a rapidity perfectly marvellous. Our boat, that simply rested a single week in the harbor of God haab in ice-cold water, was found to be covered with vegetation, and the bottom of our vessel was abundantly covered. There is vegetation, even in that northern zone, in the water, so adapted to the place in which it is found, that it grows in abundance. How has this all been brought about? We know that the earth was first covered with a very low form of plant-life. We have just as low forms of plant-life now. The lowest form is the single cell. We can find plants in our pools in the spring of the year, which begin life as a cell, and never go beyond the cell, and propagate themselves by division of the original cell, or by forming other cells within the original cell. Then come the alge, the seaweeds, and similar kinds of vegetation. There was a time, in the history of our globe, when those constituted all its vegetation. That was the lower

« PreviousContinue »