Page images

Doubtlessly there were many among the regenerators of 1793, whose wishes for the happiness and well-being of their kind were genuine and fervent : but they forgot that man was a creature fallen from original justice, prone to evil, and feeling constant need of assistance from Above, to enable him to discharge his duty to his Creator, and his fellow-creatures. They forgot that in consequence of our fallen state, we are here in a state of probation, labouring for a lasting state of happiness, not attainable till we pass from earth. They shut their eyes to the fact of owing any share of their present happiness, or enjoyment, or security in their property, to the influence of the Christian Faith, through which, such civilization, good manners, brotherly love, mutual confidence, and morality, as we possess, exist, and flourish. They trusted mere human reason for everything ; they made nu allowance for the selfish and animal instincts of human nature. Like ignorant and self-confident chemists, not availing themselves of the knowlege acquired, and bequeathed to them by their predecessors, they raslıly experimented with dangerous and unknown materials, whose explosion scattered misery and destruction among themselves and their ill-fated countrymen.



Catalogue du Concours Universal de 1856. Paris.

International Exhibitions form a most characteristic feature of the nineteenth century. Under the classic roof of the fairy-like palace of 1851, all civilized nations learned to measure alike the status of their science and the quality of their artistic genius. Grand in its conceptions, comprehensive in its domain, gigantic in its proportions, and unrivalled in the universality of its objects and effects, the Exhibition of 1851 is a lasting monument of the grasp of intellect of him who conceived it, and of the greatness of the United Kingdom.

We are not now concerned with the purely scientific, purely mechanical, or purely artistic elements of that great event, and merely wish to rivet attention on the fact that the Agricultural Section of the Exhibition perhaps exercised a greater effect on the general material progress of mankind than was produced by any other department. As modes of advancing agriculture, cattle shows justly rank high in public estimation. The great shows of the National Agricultural Societies of England, Ireland, and Scotland, have familiarized improved stock, as well as approved implements of tillage and farm machinery, to the farmers of the United Kingdom. The English Agricultural Society, with its enormous resources, has, in a pre-eminent degree, produced this effect. Though not the oldest, it has

, been the most potent lever ever employed for placing agriculture in the path of progress, and the most active agent that has ever distributed the advantages of science among the tillers of the soil. The shows of this Society, speaking as they do to the senses, have taught lessons of applied science to thousands who would otherwise have remained in utter ignorance of her advantages. Stimulated to the utmost by keen and well-directed competition, the English manufacturers, a wealthy and skilful class, have reduced agricultural machine making to a scientific precision which is truly astonishing; and the shows of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, for some years past,

have presented implements of a variety and style, which would appear fabulous if predicted by a sage a generation or two ago.

Hence it is that the agricultural section of the world's fair of 1851 did not present to the advanced agricultural classes, who had been in the habit of attending the Annual Cattle Shows of this great Society, the same startling and marvellous interest that, in common with other departments, it possessed for the great mass of the people.

To argue, however, that the Exhibition of 1851, in an agricultural point of view, was superior, beyond comparison, to any previous one, is a work of supererogation. It is true live stock was not embraced in the Catalogue of 1851; but millions visited Hyde Park who seldom or never saw Cattle Show; and, above all, foreigners were enabled to see the state of perfection to which we had brought agricultural mechanics, and returned home, conscious of the backward condition of continental agriculture, and determined, as we know from subsequent experience, to turn to useful account the lesson which they had received. Well, therefore, may that accurate observer, M. Lavergue, remark, " that what caused nost surprise to the immense concourse of the curious from all parts of the world was the agricultural developement displayed in those departments of the Exhibition set apart for implements of busbandry.”

It remained, however, for the comprehensive mind of that most illustrious among modern statesmen, Napoleon III., to give completeness to International Exhibitions.

The great undertaking of 1851 could only be viewed as a mammoth bazaar. The Agricultural Section, for instance, wanted the element of competition which is the very life of all our Agricultural Exhibitions. Napoleon III., in the International Concourse of 1855, supplied this element, and thus crowned with success that cosmopolitan undertaking. The liberal prizes offered, and, in a still greater degree, the channel presented to him for pushing an extensive and lucrative sale, induced the English manufacturer to compete with the French machinist on his own soil; and " to carry into the heart of France (as the present Speaker of the House of Commons remarks, in his report on this subject to the Board of Trade) and to display before the eyes of hundreds of thousands of spectators those evidences of the skill of our machine makers, placed in immediate contrast with the works of their competitors, from all quarters of the world."


The Agricultural Section of the Exhibition of 1851 was more local than that of 1855. In quantity and quality the farm implements and machines of 1851 surpassed those of 1855. The Hyde Park Bazaar made the agricultural world acquainted with the Reaping Machine, through the enterprise of a citizen of the United States, who deserves a niche in the temple of honorable notoriety for having brought one across the broad Atlantic. The Palace of 1851 brought into the world's capital the agricultural skill of nations for the universal good. All countries shared in the advantages, but the British Empire shared in those advantages in a far greater degree than any other country. Conscious, then, of our own superiority, it might be surtised we would rest upon our honors, and leave others to reap the fruit of the crystal harvest. Not so, however ; we rather have been cheered on in the current of progression and improvement by the laudable desire of rendering ourselves more and more worthy of being recognised at the bead of civilized nations. In some branches of art we derived instruction from the products of other nations at the Great Exbibition of 1851; but in agriculture, the mother of all arts, we established, beyond question, our own superiority. The agricultural skill of the machinists of France and England was not measured by the mathematical accuracy of a dynamometer in 1851 ; but the contrast was so striking, and our superiority so apparent, that dynamic indications were not required to bring conviction to the mind of the foreigner.

The French Government, not satisfied with the general statements which reached their country in reference to the superior excellence of our agricultural machinery, as elicited at the Industrial Exhibition of 1851, wisely determined to make the Agricultural Section of the Concourse of 1855 a complete indication of the skill of the different nations; and accordingly an “International Jury," composed of twenty amateur and professional agriculturalists, was appointed to carry out a series of tests in which science and practice were happily united. This Jury was presided over by that distinguished agronome, Count de Gasparin ; it had Evelyn Denison, present Speaker of the House of Commons, and then President of the English Agricultural Society, as Vice-President; and included such men as Boussingault, Barral, of France; and Professor Wilson and Mr. Amos, C.E., from England.

[ocr errors]

We will not now duell, in technical detail, on the trials which were conducted at Trappes by the Jury, nor criticise the faulty classification unfortunately adopted by the French, and in consequence of which thrashing machines, oat-bruisers, &c., were removed from the scrutiny of the Jury of Agriculture. We will, therefore, merely bring under the notice of tle reader the result of the trial of different varieties of the plough, orie of the oldest, most general, and useful of agricultural implements.

We may remark that the merits of a plough are now-a-days judyed by the quality of the work and the amount of motive power expended in drawing the implement through the soil, as indicated by an instrument called a dynamometer.

The dynamometer used at Trappes was the one manufactured by Mr. Bentall, which, according to Mr. Amos, is imperfect when used with ploughs of light draft, as it gives the resistance of such plouglis too small. This arises from the driving disc-plate having in its centre a hole, which, though of no consequence when ploughs are used on heavy land, yet, when used with ploughs of small resistance on light land, the spring of the dynamometer is not compressed enough to keep the driving-disc clear of the hole.*

The comparative resistance of the most successful ploughs of the different countries stood thus :Howard, Bedford, England,

2.6 Grignon Agricultural School, France,

4.4 Belgium,

6:0 Canada,

7.7 Austria,

10.1 The Thaër Plough, Saxony,

16.2 This table is a striking commentary on the state of agricultural mechanics in the different nations of Europe. Howard's may, without fear of offending any of the other distinguished machinists of England, be looked upon as the type of a class of ploughs which approach perfection very closely. The Grignon Agricultural School has long been celebrated for being the manufactory of the best ploughs on the continent; and the Thaër Plough takes its name from the celebrated Von Thaër, one of the mast renowned professors of agriculture in Europe. Now, making all allowance for the short coming of

[ocr errors]


* Journal, Royal Agricultural Society of England, vol. 17, p. 39.

« PreviousContinue »