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gratitude for having received its rudiments from Egypt, several of the Grecian states annually sent to that country the first fruits of their harvests. The Spartans and the Penestes of Thessalia, on the other hand, erred in nothing more, than in regarding agriculture so servile an employment, as to be only worthy the attention of slaves.
III. The superior advantages of an agricultural life, over a savage one, is expressively marked by Tissot, in a passage, quoted from Mirabeau ; where he says, that a Roman of the age of Cincinnatus was always ready to return to the cultivation of his land : and, in doing so, he subsisted, himself and his family upon one acre: whereas a savage who neither sows, nor cultivates, consumes as much game for his own subsistence, as requires forty acres of land to feed them.
The Sabæans, in their respect for agriculture and pasturage, enacted a law, making it penal, for any one to destroy cows, ewes, or female goats. It is an art greatly esteemed in Japan . The Chinese call it the most distinguished of the sciences; and Yu, one of their best monarchs, not only wrote a treatise on the subject, but first recommended the important practice of irrigation. In this country scarcely a weed is suffered to grow; and most vegetables are used in the economy of the husband man. In the city of Pekin is established a society of venerable agriculturists. When the emperor visits them in the spring, he ploughs a small field, with his own hand?.
Then a group of peasants appear; and, surrounding him and the princes of his court, they sing hymns in praise of their art; which, thus dignified in the eyes of the country, is universally esteemed an honourable profession. One of the Chinese emperors, it is said', ordered a mine · of precious stones to be shut up; because he was unwilling, that his people should suffer fatigue in the acquirement of things, which would neither give them food, fuel, nor raiment.
IV. To neglect a farm, in ancient Italy, was an offence, cognizable by the censor :-in the time of Trajan, the whole of that country resembled a large public garden. Cato, when in the zenith of his fame, ploughed his own lands, like Cincinnatus; and thought that he bestowed a high character upon any man, when he said that he was a good husbandman? One of the same name and family retired to the village of Picenum, now called Marca de Acona; and lived in such comfort, dividing his time between reading, gardening, and farming, that the inhabitants of his village one day chalked over his door, “ Happy Cato! for happy thou must be, since thou alone knowest how to live.” Two thousand Catos might live in the present day, and not one of them be distinguished in a similar manner: and had Doris existed in the nineteenth century, instead of exercising the office of chief magistrate at Athens six and thirty years, little wisdom would have been recognised by his. neighbours, were he to inscribe over an English door,
Montesq. Spirit of Laws, b. vii. ch. 6. : De Rust. Proem.
what was so happily admired upon an Attican one:. “ Adieu, both to fortune and to hope ! I have discovered a true portico to rest and content ?."
In the reign of Romulus no person had more than two acres of land for his share: during that of Numa, as not a foot of ground was added to the republic, no increase could be allowed to individuals: in the time of the earlier consuls, however, seven acres were allowed. Cincinnatus had only four': and at the time, in which Ælius Tubero, son-in-law of Paulus Emilius, was consul, his whole family, consisting of sixteen persons, with their wives and children, lived in the same house, standing upon a few acres of land, which they cultivated with their own hands. The Licinian law enacted, that no man should enjoy more than 500 of acres of land; and in the year 377 it was decreed, that no one should have more than 100 head of oxen, and 500 of small cattle. This act, not having been afterwards sufficiently observed, it was confirmed in the year 620s when those, who possessed more, were enjoined to surrender the overplus, to be divided amongst the poor, in equal quantities. This law occasioned the death of the proposer.
In respect to ancient agricultural manners, we may gain no little information from the second epode of Horace. The Sabines, Latines, and Apulians, says he, pass their time in pruning branches, and in joining the vines to the poplars. They feed their flocks in retired valleys; take honey from their hives ; shear their sheep; gather grapes from their orchards; corn from their fields; and hay from
· Hence the inscription of Le Sage:
Inveni portum, Spes et Fortuna, valete, &c. ? Columella. Præf. i. 3.
their meadows. In autumn and winter they catch hares and cranes; place snares for thrushes ; and drive boars into nets. Their houses are superintended by their wives, children, and servants; and, after the labours and pleasures of the day have subsided, they all sup together in the same hall.
· Mago, the Carthaginian, wrote twenty-four books in favour of this art; and Varro nearly as many. Virgil sung in its praise; and Xenophon truly calls it the source of a thousand honest pleasures, and the mother of many virtues. Hiero, king of Sicily, esteemed the practice of fertilizing a country, inclosing wastes, and writing treatises for the direction of others, more honourable, than to command armies, or to be the monarch of a splendid court. His book on husbandry is lost'. . Gelimer, king of the Vandals, conquered by Belisarius, and carried prisoner to Constantinople, sought refuge in rural labours: and Pertinax recovered Italy from waste, by an earnest attention to an art, which Numa patronized as the charm of peace, the bond of love, and as one principal excitement to the adoption of manners, which raise opulence on the superstructure of simplicity and innocence. i .. · Aristotle regarded a commonwealth of husbandmen the best of all others: Brissot lamented, that he had not been born the son of an American farmer: and Washington, whose life, involving the history of an infant republic, demands the united pens of a Plutarch and a Tacitus, devoted all the
· The Book of Constantine IV. has met a happier fate. It still exists · under the title of Geoponics.
best hours of his leisure to the spade, the plough, and the fleece. Noah was a husbandman"; and David was a lover of the art in all its branches; from the keeping of sheep to the ploughing of the ground; from planting of olives to the pruning of vines. And Uzziah, king of Judah, is said to have employed “ planters in the plains, vine dressers on the mountains, and shepherds in the valleys."
Agriculture is publicly taught in the Swedish, Danish, and German universities; and Xenophon proposed to have given honorary distinction to its professors at Athens 2. Hence Cowley 3 esteemed it an incomprehensible circumstance, that, in England, public instructions should be given in most other sciences, both useful and refined ; and yet not in an art, which he styles “so pleasant, so virtuous, so profitable, so necessary, and so honourable.” Even Mahomet, Bey of Tunis, had a knowledge of its excellence. Having been dethroned by his subjects, he sought the protection of the Dey of Algiers. The Dey promised to reinstate him, if he would discover the great secret of alchymy. Mahomet promising to do so, the Dey reinstated him; and, having performed his own promise, demanded the fulfilment of Mahomet’s. Upon which the latter sent him, with much ceremony, a vast number of ploughs, harrows, and mattocks; with a letter, importing, that if the Dey wished to learn the secret of the philosopher's stone, he must cultivate the soil of his kingdom, with the greatest assiduity and dili
i Gen. ix. 20. Xenoph. Memorab. lib. v. 3 Ess. p. 45.5 ' * Agricultural lectures we:e delivered at Cambridge in the years 1816,