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P.S.—I am very sorry, indeed, to hear you have withdrawn yourself from the “ Great Council of the nation.” Pray don't let yourself be disgusted or discouraged. The cause is good, and perseverance will in the end command success.
JOHN JAY, ESQ. OF NEW YORK.
There is no man with whose correspondence I was more highly gratified than with that of Mr Jay. He entered so fully into all my views, and seemed so deeply impressed with the numerous advantages likely to result from them, as to give me additional energy
in my endeavours to carry on, and complete them.
The following letters respecting the Board of Agriculture seem peculiarly well entitled to be preserved.
Albany, 7th November 1797. DEAR SIR, I was yesterday honoured with yours of the 15th July, together with the papers mentioned in it, and for which accept
The three departments into which you divide the business of the Board comprises objects no less important than various. To methodise and compress the mass of useful knowledge acquired respecting each of these, will require patient perseverance as well as judgment. Give that great work time to mature, that it may be as perfect as possible.
We, in this country, are as yet so far behind you in these excellent arts, that we can cast only a few mites into your treasury. You will teach us useful lessons in agriculture; and they will cost us nothing,—which is more than we can say for some of the other lessons we are learning.
It is asked, how long the same root or plant may be cultivated to advantage in the same field or spot. I well remember that, (excepting from 1776 to 1784), potatoes have been annually planted, for at least forty years, in the same spot of ground, on a farm at Rye, which formerly belonged to my father, but now to my brother; and that spot yields, on an average, one year with another, as much now as ever it did. The land is rich, being a black mould, on a strong loam, with clay under it; and manured every year with dung from the barn-yard.
It was the common practice to put dung in the furrows or trenches, and then lay the seed potatoes upon it. For some years past it has been said, that the seed potatoes should be first placed in the furrows, and long dung put upon them, and then covered as usual with earth. Last year I planted a small piece of ground, (not rich, but stiff, and inclined to bake), alternately in those methods; and the fact was, that the rows where the dung was placed over and upon the seed potatoes, yielded more than the rows where the dung was placed under them. This is the only experiment of this kind which I have made, and therefore do not regard it as conclusive.
I frequently hear it asserted, that long dung is better than rotten dung, in the furrows, for potatoes; and several reasons are assigned why it should be so; but why it should be so is less interesting than how it actually is. To this latter question I cannot yet give a decisive answer.
You have so many letters to read as well as to write, that unnecessary prolixity can neither be proper for me, nor pleasant to you.
With the most cordial and best wishes for the prosperity of the Board, and the health and happiness of their President, I am, Dear Sir, your faithful and obedient servant,
Royal Hotel, Pall Mall, Ist April 1795. DEAR SIR, Accept my thanks for the paper inclosed in the letter which you was so obliging as to write yesterday. You give very good advice to farmers; but it is probable that the information
you diffuse, together with the examples you propose, and which indeed you set, will have greater influence than admonitions.
Your Board is an excellent institution, and will be productive of extensive benefits, while its attention continues to be so unremitted, and well directed. The honour they have done me will induce me to make such communications to
from time to time, on agricultural subjects, as may appear to me to be interesting; and, although I cannot promise that they will be of much importance, yet I flatter myself they will be regarded as marks of that attention which it will always give me pleasure to evince. I am, Dear Sir, your obliged and obedient servant,
Bedford, West Chester County, State of New York,
8th August 1816.
DEAR SIR, I have received the papers which you were so obliging as to send me. Accept my thanks for them. Gratitude is due to those who employ their time and talents in promoting the common welfare. Your exertions to improve agriculture, and render it more productive, are known and acknowledged. The paper on “ Milldew in Wheat" I have sent to New York to be published. The multitude of interesting facts which have been collected during the last twenty years, doubtless furnish materials for a comprehensive system of husbandry. Such a work, ably executed, would be useful.
Credit is also due to your endeavours to make known and excite attention to the means which conduce to health and longevity. The proposed edition of the “ Code” on these subjects, in one octavo volume, will be better calculated for general use, and extensive circulation, than the larger work from which it is to be extracted. It hope it will soon be finished, and find its way to this country. I must be an agreeable reflection to you, that you have been “ diligent in well doing.”
My health has for years been declining; and my age reminds me, that the re-establishment of it is not to be expected. What you have written of the flesh brush will induce me to use it more frequently: it can do no harm, and may do good; and that is no inconsiderable recommendation.
With the best wishes that your health and longevity may be such, as to give additional weight to your remarks respecting them, I am, Dear Sir, your faithful and obedient servant,
This celebrated engineer does great credit to the talents of America. He came over to England to improve himself in the line of his profession. From my being a public character, I found him naturally anxious to be introduced to me, and we had frequent conversations together, on the plans he had suggested for the destruction of the armament at Boulogne. His fame, however, will principally rest on his connexion with that great discovery, “ Navigation by steam.”
Navigation by steam.” Understanding that Dr Logan of Stenton, near Philadelphia, who had come over to England in the year 1810, could furnish me with some information regarding the commencement of this
discovery, I applied to him for the purpose of obtaining it, and received the following answer :
St James's Place, April 20. 1810. DEAR SIR, I regret that it is not in my power at present to afford you the full information you require respecting the steam-boats, as used in the United States. About twenty years ago, a person of the name Ramsay applied to the legislature of Virginia, for the exclusive privilege of using a steam-boat on the rivers within that state ; about the same time, a Mr Fitch claimed the like indulgence from the state of Pennsylvania ; both said to be citizens of the United States, and each claiming a priority of right to the invention. Neither of their plans answered their own sanguine expectations, and were discontinued after a few experiments. In both instances the boats were propelled by oars or paddles. Mr Fulton, on his return from Europe, a few years since, built a steam-boat in New York, of 130 feet in length, 20 feet in width, and drawing not more than three feet of water. The boat is propelled by two water wheels fixed on each side of the boat, at about one-third of its length from the bow. This vessel has for some time been navigated on the north river, with great success, between New York and Albany, a distance of 160 miles, performing the voyage in thirty to thirty-five hours. Last year a boat, on a similar construction, was navigated between New York and Brunswick in New Jersey, passing through New York bay, frequently agitated by a heavy sea. And also one was navigated on the river Delaware. These boats are only calculated for passengers, and their light travelling baggage, and are used for no other purpose. I am of opinion the plan will not answer for vessels of burden constructed to carry merchandise, on account of the power necessary to overcome the resistance of the water,
The above is the best information in my power, in answer to your letter.
letter. I met some gentlemen from America at the