Sunday, November 26, 2006


"...The diseased farm I allude to, is that near the High Peak, and as I have long had an eye to that farm, but that its case seemed to me a desperate one, I thought it advisable to consult Mr. Fish ; who, no doubt, we may reckon our best land doctor here ; for as to Stream and Spring, they are as yet only Noting beginners, and cannot be expected to know much of these things.
When I asked Fish, “what he would do with that land?” he replied, “Do with it ! why, I would make a mine of it.” I did not immediately comprehend him, and he explained, he would make his fortune by it—“How so?” said I—“Easy enough,” said he, “for the land is good, and a great part of it, fit for the plough. In front of the new house, both in the vale or ravine, as well as on the west side, there are many fine acres, at present covered with coarse and useless grass.

“There is also a good large space inclosed around the premises, which I see it is needless to plant, unless it goes through a proper course. Land, you must know, is in a manner like your stomach, which I fancy you would not like to have constantly crammed with the same food ; and without any sort of seasoning : in time, you would not relish it; and disorders might follow.—Now I understand this land, or stomach, has tasted nothing for the last fifteen years but potatoes ; consequently, it baths that food, or, as we English farmers say, “it is tired of the crop.” This expression is very common with us, for we say such a field is “tired of clover,” and the like ; although this is a mode of express ion, on which some of our best agriculturists have differed. One thing, however, is certain, that if land, in its nature tolerably good, has been drained by repeated, or improperly managed crops, the best remedy for recovering such exhausted land, is by a few months fallowing ; and by frequently stirring it, and clearing it of every sort of vegetable substance. By this plain and easy mode (a sort of abstinence, if I may so express myself,) not only will its tone be recovered by the influence of air and moisture from the atmosphere, but weeds will be extirpated, and insects of every sort (and particularly the grub) will be effectually destroyed by being deprived of that food which is absolutely necessary for their subsistence, at the time the solar heats occasion a change from the oviparous state.”

I did not clearly understand the whole of those odd expressions ; but I however perceived, that Mr. Fish is, as I imagined, a very learned land doctor. I therefore candidly told him that I understood, only in a general way, all he had said, in which there seemed to be no small portion of good sense. I therefore requested him to go on, and tell me particularly the mode he would pursue with that farm, if it were in his own occupation." (

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