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crop is carried off, the surface is left to itself for fens, they are usually of fir.* So far as the higher an interval of from five to twenty years ; it has bogs are concerned, this accords with Dutch expethen become covered with a poor herbage, and rience. In the north of Ireland, also, the roots admits of being again burned, and cropped with and stems of the oak are more numerously met buckwheat. The sowing of grass seeds, to hasten with than those of pines ; in the black bog, the the growth of herbage, is almost unknown. The former; in the red, which is less consolidated, the culture of artificial grasses, indeed, has scarcely latter. In draining a single acre of the black bog, gained admittance as a generally approved practice a friend of ours took out nine tons of oak, in such into any province of Holland. A few hundred-preservation as nearly to pay the whole expense weights of clover seed a year are all that is required of the improvement. The trees are found at all to supply the large market of Amsterdam. The depths, in moss from ten to thirty feet deep, showsowing of artificial grasses, therefore, appears to ing that they have grown not only on the subjabe one of those new practices, by the introduction cent clay, but on the peat also, and at various of which large tracts of land are to be rendered periods during its increasing depth. On the light more productive, while, by the use of easily trans- bogs the Scotch fir will come to maturity, while ported manures, more frequent crops of corn also the larch will grow well only for fifteen or twenty will be raised, even upon the now unproductive years. The oak often dies when planted in the

young state upon moss land, on which it will grow There is one feature in the high veens of Hol- well when sown in the acorn in patches, and then land which is not undeserving the serious atten- thinned out. This is the natural way of planting tion of practical men and improving proprietors, oaks in the original forests. They take more especially in western Scotland and in Ireland :- kindly to a soil to which they have been accusthis is the strong natural tendency to grow wood, tomed from their infancy. On the whole, therewhich many of them exhibit. In the lower veens fore, we strongly recommend the more extended of North Holland and elsewhere, which are pol- trial of broad-leaved trees upon our peaty soils ; dered, willow garths are numerous and luxuriant, giving them, however, a little more previous drainand ash coppice thrives well. The former supply ing, trenching, and other necessary kinds of wattling for the dykes, the latter hoops for casks, preparation, than they have hitherto generally for which they are highly esteemed. On the obtained. higher, generally dry veens, natural woods and The heaths and downs of Holland, poor natuthickets arise—of ash, beech, poplar, birch, oak, rally, are called also ungrateful—as is too often and other broad-leaved trees. These sometimes the case, when to half knowledge or to half culture attain to so large a size, that, when cut down, a soil refuses to yield, what liberal treatment, they have in several instances been left where they guided by skill and economy, can alone enable it grew, because the softness of the bog did not admit to produce. The example of Lincoln heath-we of their removal. Artificial plantations are also might say, also, the practice followed on the sandy made upon these dry peats. A trench is dug along soils of Flanders—proves that on those parts of the side of the intended plantation, and the surface the Dutch territory the basis of an increased nalayer thrown forward into the trench, the depth tional strength, independent of commerce, may yet turned over varying from two to six feet. The be laid. The time is past, when, as a matter of trees, all broad-leaved, are planted immediately on national policy and defence, it can be esteemed the new surface, and they grow with a rapidity desirable to maintain a stretch of uncultivated terproportioned to the depth of the previous trench- ritory along the frontiers of adjoining kingdoms. ing.

From Antwerp to Breda, and on the heaths of There is, we believe, little essential difference Cleves, Utrecht, and Gueldres, corn may be perin the nature of this Frieseland peat, and that of suaded to grow in times of peace : in that case, our dry, brown, and spongy Scotch and Irish when war threatens, the very productiveness of mosses ; nor any difference in their natural drain- the country will present a barrier to its approach. age or climate, of a kind to prevent such planta- The greater the evils which war is likely to inflict, tions from succeeding as well with us. In this the more the chances of its unnecessary occurrence country, the coniferæ have hitherto been thought will be diminished. But the chemistry of agrimost suited to these situations; and have been culture must be better understood, and a know)extensively planted, perhaps without sufficient re-edge of its principles more widely diffused among gard being had to the quality of the moss, and to all classes interested in the soil, before the revothe indications of local circumstances. These pine lution, to which we are looking forward, can be plantations, as a general rule, have not succeeded brought about. in growing profitable timber. The stems of oaks, Our space does not permit us to dwell upon the beeches, chesnuts, hazels, and other broad-leaved less agreeable task of pointing out the various trees, which so often occur in our bogs, appear to defects or oversights, which, amid all our admiraindicate the kind of wood which once throve there, tion of the mechanical exertions of the Dutch, we and to recommend the varieties which we should endeavor to restore. In the fenny districts of Lin

*In some of the low fens near Marshland in Norfolk, colnshire, the higher bogs abound with stems of numerous fir-trees and roots are taken up every year as

the plough touches them ; and the farm-yards may be trees, most of which are oak; while, in the lower I seen walled round with them.

have discerned in the detailed practice of their The reason of this vast improvement was speedagriculture—their neglect of root crops, for exam- ily pointed out by a chemical examination of milk ple, of the rich manure they yield, and of the and cheese on the one hand, and of bones on the composts of the Scottish and English farmers. other. Among other results of this examination, We may present, however, one or two familiar it appeared, that the milk of the cow actually conillustrations of the way in which home-produced tains a considerable proportion of the substance of materials for chemical improvements are overlooked. true bone ; and that every cow which has a calf

Among the great promoters of turnip husbandry robs the soil in its food every year of the matein our own country, has been the use of bones as a rials of eighty-two pounds of bone-dust. A ton manure. By some persons, imperfectly acquainted of bones every twenty-seven years would be neceswith what science has really done, it is considered sary to restore this."* A full-grown ox or horse, to be one of the triumphs of chemistry in its appli- on the other hand, returns to the land in its dropcation to agriculture, that it has suggested a method pings as much as it crops in the form of herbage. of dissolving, and thus more economically applying, Only that which is carried to market is lost to the crushed bones to the land. But it is more impor- soil. Long devotion to dairy-husbandry, must, tant to our present purpose, that the principle upon therefore, have withdrawn from the fields of which the employment of this manure is based, Cheshire a vast quantity of the material of bones. has been shown by chemists to be one of neces- But this substance is as necessary to the growth sary and universal application. It must be as of the herbage, as it is to the secretions of the useful in Holland as it has been found in England animal : and therefore the grass languished, and and other countries; though the employment of became impoverished on the so exhausted land. bones in this way has not, we believe, as yet been But, when the bones had been artificially added, at all introduced into Holland. The Jews there, this deficiency was supplied—the herbage recovas is the case in many parts of the world with the ered its luxuriance—the materials for making milk humblest of the huckster population, collect, sell, were once more afforded to the cattle—and the and finally export them, chiefly to our eastern produce in cheese, and the rentage value of the ports. The English fields are thus enriched by land, were proportionally augmented. what, if retained at home, would make the land So ought it to be in Holland, under equally juof Holland more fertile, and so strengthen its na-dicious treatment. Its poldered pastures, it is true, tional resources.

differ somewhat in their circumstances from those The practice of improving farmers in the Bed- of Cheshire. The waters that make their way by ford level, who almost universally raise their turnip leakage through the soil from the upper rivers, and crops by means of bones, may be considered as are lifted out by the pumps and scoop-wheels, may sufficient proof that this manure is well adapted bring mineral and vegetable food of various kinds for such peaty soils as occur in the poldered fields to the roots of the herbage, which cannot, from of Holland. Whether farms are under green crops similar sources, reach our Cheshire fields ; but it and artificial grasses, or are growing corn and colza, is much to be doubted, whether what the land gains it will equally improve them. But it is more es- in this way can, in any degree, make up what expecially suitable to those extensive dairy pastures, isting causes yearly take away from it. We befrom which for centuries the exportation of cheese lieve, that, on the whole, the grass-lands of Holhas been largely carried on.*

land are as much in want of assistance as our own. In our own island, no district in this respect so In the case of many of the polders, (especially such closely resembles the dairy pastures of Holland, as as are based upon the low peaty tracts,) bone-dust the county of Chester. From time immemorial, would not only renovate the pastures, but would cheese has been made and sent out from it in large impart to them a richness they never before posquantities. Its celebrated pastures in consequence sessed. Of course, in proportion as their bones almost imperceptibly deteriorated. When bones are applied at home, the fields of Great Britain were introduced as a manure in England, and their will be deprived of a part of their usual supply ;

arable lands had been found so profitable, and so far our country will be the loser. But it was natural to try them also upon grass. The knowledge, besides being a universal possession, is experiment failed in many places : but, in Cheshire, progressive in its nature, and rejoices in contending the return was most remarkable. The value of against new difficulties. Let Holland, therefore, the grass-land, to which bones were applied, was, in in justice to herself, apply her own bones to her many instances, increased five times : and the good own land. Other sources are open to English eneffects have continued visible for twenty or thirty terprise, and other means of fertility lie waiting in years. At present, the tenantry willingly pay the storehouses of yet undeveloped science. eight per cent. upon the cost to the landlord, on his Again, the oily seeds are cultivated to a great undertaking to bone for them their weaker pastures. extent, especially in North Holland ; and lint and manure.; accordingly, it is imported largely, and misconception. Netherland farmers are not less applied immediately to the land. Among Dutch skilful now, but they have stood comparatively farmers, we believe, this use of it is very little still, and have been absorbed in their own peculiar practised ; yet why should not their own fields be forms of improvement, while other nations have manured and fertilized with that which English far- been advancing. So long as there were low and mers can afford to import and pay for?

colza oils expressed. Our English experience has * The quantity of cheese sold in 1845, in the two towns shown that the compressed cake or residue which of Alkmaar and Purmerende, in the middle of the great polders of North Holland, was four millions four hundred remains from the rape or colza, is a very valuable thousand Netherland pounds in the former, and one million three hundred thousand in the latter. In the Texe), thirty-two thousand pounds of ewe-milk cheese were sold * Johnston's Lectures on Agricultural Chemistry and in the same year.

Geology. 2d edit., p. 791.

use upon


fenny lands to drain, and great drains to be blocked On the subject of manures, we are in the habit out and rendered efficient, Dutch drainers were in of quoting, and not without reason, the economical request.* But after this first epoch was past, and practices of the Flemish garden farmers. They the second mechanical step had to be taken--more certainly know how to save and mix up manures especially, since the purely chemical period has been of all kinds in their tanks, and they apply them entered upon—the Dutchmen were no longer of skilfully, at frequent intervals—chiefly in the liquid use, and were therefore no longer sought after in or semi-fluid form—and with much economy. To foreign lands. At the present day they have much this their light and sandy soils have compelled them. both to learn and practise, before they shall have But they are by no means masters of that species placed their country generally on that productive of skill, which on Lincoln heath, with a similar but level to which it is capable of being raised, or shall perhaps still worse soil, has, by a different manage- have brought up their rural population to that point ment on the large-farm system, raised crops quite of intelligence and skill which can render their aid as remunerative, and enabled the land to pay a desirable in other countries—at least in countries higher rent. Nor are they acquainted with those as far advanced as Great Britain and Ireland. resources of portable manures, which at once char- But there is reason to hope that these higher acterize the present state of British agriculture, and objects will henceforth be aimed at with clearer indicate the amount of knowledge which our most views by the agriculturists of the Netherlands. skilful farmers now possess. Dutch farmers can. They are not unobservant of what is now doing in not in general lay claim even to the merits of other countries. Zealous and enlightened citizens Flemish husbandry ;* while the application of our are anxious to help on a better state of things, and portable and artificial manures has scarcely begun by the diffusion of new knowledge, both practica. to be introduced. The rape cake, which enriches and scientific, to give to their countrymen new our wheat fields, and the linseed cake, to which, power over the land they till. Leyden, and among English counties, those on our east coast Utrecht, and Groningen, have their learned botare so much indebted, come to us in frequent car- anists, geologists, and chemists—the illustrious goes from the numerous oil-mills in the neighbor- Mulder in the van of these-all eager advocates hood of Amsterdam.

for agricultural reforms, and anxious to contribute From Rotterdam, and from Harlingen in Friese- to their wider spread. The opposition which they land, cattle are now exported in great numbers to may encounter, and for which they must for some the English market. This new outlet for their time be prepared, is the same, neither more nor produce ought to draw their attention to the feed-less, which agricultural reformers, like all other ing of stock, as a means of increasing the yearly reformers, must reckon upon meeting with. return of corn, through the increased produce of In addition to the numerous scientific and patrimanure, as well as of providing more and better otic societies which exist in the Netherlands, probeef. The use of prepared and artificial food for vincial agricultural societies have been established cattle—the production of enriching manure, by in Zealand and Guelderland. One is now in consuming their oily seeds or the refuse of their course of organization also in the province of Holoil-mills—and the train of improved practices which land ; embracing all those objects, in reference accompany these processes, are unseen on the both to live stock and to the improvement of land, Dutch homesteads. When cake and linseed or to which the views of the present time are princibean-crushers, and chaff-cutters, appear among pally directed. An annual agricultural congress their common implements, we may conclude that has been held during the last two years, on the the national produce of flax and rape are in the model of the German meetings; but, like them, way of being employed in such a manner as will

* Their services were sometimes secured in ways which contribute, in the greatest possible degree, to the our Dutch friends would by no means wish for. " In the national advantage.

battle of 18th February, 1652, between Blake and Van We have heard Netherlanders lament that the Tromp, many Dutch prisoners were taken, and five hun

dred of them were sent down to work at the drainages of agriculture of their country is not now what it was the Bedford South Level, where they are said to have been in former times; that, two centuries ago, Dutch- of much service. They remained till 1654, when the men were in request as agricultural improvers in peace enabled them to return home.”

We may add to this note, that after the battle of Dun. almost every part of Europe ; whereas, now, their bar, when so many of Leslie's army were taken prisoners services are nowhere called for. These regrets the Bedford level, where many of them afterwards settled.

by Cromwell, numbers were sent down and employed on over the past, as far as they refer to agriculture, In the minutes of the proceedings of the company, under and not to gardening, are founded, however, on a date the 31st December, 1651, we have met with the fol

lowing entry :-"Memor.-To get 500 Scotch prisoners * A plan is now under consideration for collecting a from Durham, to be sent to Lynne, according to ihe order part of the waste of the large towns of Rotterdam, &c., lately made at Council of Staie." And again, “ Ordered hitherto discharged into the canals, and sending it in the that the Scots that are not yet furnished with clothes, be fluid form in covered boats into the provinces, where the forth with provided for here, according as the Scotch pris want of manure is most severely feli.

oners were, and at the same rates." 17




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of those funds, or that permanent ma-| the Wash on the east. This tract of country is chinery, which have made our national societies so seventy or eighty miles in length, and from twenty useful to the rural economy of the three kingdoms. to forty miles in width, and contains nearly seven A project however, is now under consideration, hundred thousand acres. A less extensive tract which will, in some degree, meet their wants. It of low fen and marsh-land skirts the western side is proposed to establish a general society for the of the same oolite hills, along the lower part of the whole kingdom, on the model of the Agricultural river Trent, and near its confluence with the Chemistry Association of Scotland. The society Yorkshire Ouse, the Ayre, and the Don. is to have its laboratory to analyze, its chemist In many respects, this low country of England skilled in agricultural practice to advise and ex- resembles that of the Netherlands; and, from the plain, and its lecturers to diffuse in the rural dis- earliest times, it has been the scene of contention tricts, that elementary scientific knowledge, which, and strife between the labors of man, on the one it now appears, can not only be made intelligible hand, and the efforts of the elements on the other. to, but can be profitably applied by, all.

There are, however, circumstances of very striking Purely agricultural schools also have sprung up. difference between the two cases—such as have A provincial school of this kind has been formed materially modified the nature of the struggle in at Groningen, the seat of a university, and in a the two countries, and the degree of resolution and district where some of the most zealous improvers perseverance necessary to maintain it. of the Netherlands reside. There is a private ag- The physical structure and formation of the great ricultural school in the neighborhood of Utrecht, level is easily understood. It is skirted on the in which scientific instruction occupies a prominent west, as we have said, by the oolite hills, from place; and the Prince of Hohenzollern has lately among which descend the six rivers of the level offered his castle of Heerenberg, on the south-east-the Ouse, the Cam, the Nen, the Welland, the of Guelderland, and just within the limits of the Glen, and the Witham. The tourist who, from kingdom, for the establishment of another on an these hills, travels towards the east coast, passes extensive scale.

first over a sloping yet gradually flattening zone of Nor are the humbler schools forgotten—the in- dry land—the natural talus formed from the debris struments by which the masses are shaped and of the hills themselves. He then finds himself moulded. As in Scotland, each parish in the upon an apparently low, flat, fenny country, (the Netherlands has its school. Into these, in the lowland fen,) covered with peat of varying depth, rural districts, an effort is making to introduce a in which the trunks of numerous trees are met with, certain amount of industrial education, as far at at first oaks, and afterwards chiefly pine. This least as relates to that art by which the pupils, in was the site of ancient forests—of oak on the more after life, are for the most part to get their bread. inland, and of pine on the more seaward sideIt is an old regulation of the government, that the which grew on the subjacent clay, and which have theological students at the universities shall attend been succeeded by a growth of peat. He then the lectures on agriculture ; that they may thus gently ascends, as he travels on, and crosses the become useful advisers to their parishioners, when“ highland fen,” a region of clay and clayey loam they are settled in country parishes. This pre- of various degrees of tenacity, on which no peat pares them for taking an interest in agricultural exists, and which does not appear to have ever instruction, and for superintending and directing it, been covered with wood. Beyond this, by another when introduced into the local schools.

almost imperceptible ascent, he comes upon the All these things show that the mind of Hol- "marsh-land," formed by the rich sea slime which land is at work upon this important national ques- has been chiefly warped up, embanked, and gained tion. The moves now making may be bad ones, from the sea by human industry. Further on still, or, from counter-moves, may for a while fail of lie the “outer marshes,” in the form of a green

But the waters of knowledge, once at fringe, beyond the artificial dykes, and these, in a certain height, cannot be long kept out. The their turn, are succeeded by long black banks of mere oozings and leakages of knowledge may for growing warp, which are uncovered only at the a while be stopped, as is the case with the barriers recess of the tide. The zone of peaty fen is about which their own river and sea dykes present, and eighty miles long, by ten broad—that of the more ordinary storms may be withstood ; but when the seaward loam and salt-marsh about forty-five miles swollen tide comes in, the history of their country long, by from four to fifteen broad. shows that no impediments can arrest it.

The formation of such a country is easily unHere our space compels us to close our obser- derstood. We suppose the low land at the foot vations upon Holland : but the subject would be of the hills to be formed—perhaps as the land is incomplete and unsatisfactory to the English reader, formed now—to be covered with wood, and to be were we to omit all notice of what has been done washed by the alternate ebb and flow of the inlet in England in the same walk of agricultural engi- of the German ocean, commonly called the Wash. neering. Every one has at least heard of the The rivers brought down their sediment, and lodged Bedford level—the low tract of fenny country it chiefly at their mouths; where the meeting of which, commencing at Ely, runs north-west into the waters, the fresh and the salt, occasioned the ihe valley of the Witham, bounded by the high same mixed mineral and animal deposit, which we volite country on the west, and by the estuary of have already described, when speaking of the


Rhine. The mouths of the rivers thus gradually flood is upon record, such as decennially afflicts the became obstructed, and their beds raised, so that less protected Netherlands ; and, though the rivers when freshes came, they could no longer contain rise and are driven upwards before the swelling the floods which descended from the western hills. tides, yet their winding courses, and the very difConsequently, they often overflowed their banks, ferent directions they severally take, show that drowned the forest-land, and cut out new channels. there is no such peril from the mass of waters as As the deposit in question did not ascend higher is experienced in the open mouth and straight than the tide, the outer country gradually increased channel of the lower Maese. Lastly, the whole in elevation, while the inner country retained its of the land which forms the Bedford level—the original level. Hence the gradual ascent to the marsh-lands of Norfolk, those of the Holland and “highland fen,” which formed, in fact, a great other fens in Lincolnshire, and of the Trent, west natural dyke, or dam, by means of which the pre- and north of the island of Axholme—though low, viously dry forest country within it was flooded, fenny, and liable to floods, is yet all, we believe and gradually converted into a bog—or was divided without exception, above (some of it many

feet into lake, bog, and island, according to the relative above) the level of low water in the Wash and natural elevations of its several parts. As the Humber. It is this latter circumstance which has land grew in breadth towards the sea, the course rendered possible those great improvements in the of the rivers became more tortuous and obstructed, outfalls of the rivers and canals already executed, and the level at which they discharged themselves now in progress, or under consideration, by which into the Wash higher. Thus the depth of water so large an increase in the agricultural and money in the inner country increased, new portions were value of the inland fenny districts has been, or is covered by it, and the extent and thickness of the likely to be, effected. growing peat were constantly enlarged.

In brief, the Dutch have had the great outlet for In these circumstances, the lowland district was the rains and melting snows of half a continent to peopled by a few scattered inhabitants, who, by confine, an angry ocean to battle with, and lands the help of fish and wild-fowl, eked out the pre- to pump out and keep dry, which lie beneath the carious subsistence, which was all that the half- lowest level of the surrounding waters.

The candried land could yield to agricultural labor. The did fen-land engineer will confess that these cirhighland fen was covered with a more numerous cumstances must have given a character and inpeople. The marsh-land was banked out from the terest to the foreign struggle, to which, in the sea by successive dykes, as it became available ; difficulties of our home improvers, there has been and, finally, the low black fen was improved by a happily nothing to correspond. series of operations carried on with great perse- The form or shape which our successive home verance, though with various degrees of intelligence improvements have assumed, indicate at once the and skill, and only during the last fifty years with physical character of the country, and the progress any very encouraging success.

of mechanical skill in all that relates to fen-land The reader will observe a general similarity be- drainage. They prove also the direct bearing which tween this English level and the flat land of the advancement in one line of art has upon other Netherlands—the same inland bogs, the same branches. At present we can only advert to the stripes of rich clay land along the courses of the general character of these improvements. rivers, and the same deposits of silt along the The beds of the rivers had been raised by grad shores of the bays and river mouths. There are ual deposits. Like the Rhine, the Po, and the however, as we have said, very striking differences Mississippi, they ran on the top of long hills or also between the two tracts of country. In the ridges, raised by their own waters, and, after first place, the six rivers which descend through heavy rains, the extensive pastures on their banks the Bedford level, and pour their water into the were liable to be flooded. High and strong dykes Wash, are all comparatively small, and convey the were therefore raised to shut them in ; and, as rains of an inconsiderable area only. Though they early as William the Conqueror, it is recorded that have frequently come down in floods, broken their the river Welland, along the Deeping fen, was banks, and spread themselves over the low lands, thus inclosed by a

mighty bank.” yet they have never carried with them that fear and The low fen-land was frequently more or less destruction which so frequently attend the swollen under water, and the outlets were stopped. The waters of the Rhine and the Maese. Again, there remedy was to cut new channels from these lands, have been no formidable billows of a real naked either into the open Wash, or into the lower part ocean to contend with—no costly coast defences of the river courses. The earliest of such modern to erect, and then unceasingly watch, and scrupu- cuts—“Morton's leam”—was made in 1478, by lously maintain ; for though, when a north-east wind Morton, Bishop of Ely, afterwards so celebrated, drives the swollen tide into the mouth of the Wash, as the chosen counsellor of Henry the Seventh, and the sea-walls are assailed, and occasional deluges patron of Sir Thomas More. In 1630, Francis have poured over them and drowned the land Earl of Bedford, the father of this great drainage, within, yet, since 1613, (on which occasion damage made the old Bedford river and several other im was done to the amount of £27,000, some thou- portant river canals. His son, the first duke, in sands of sheep washed away, and numbers of peo- the time of the conmonwealth, in conjunction with ple drowned in their beds,) no great or melancholy the celebrated Sir Cornelius Vermuyden, whoso

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