A treatise, shewing the intimate connection that subsists between agriculture and chemistry addressed to the cultivators of the soil, to the proprietors of fens and mosses, in Great Britain and Ireland, and to the proprietors of West India estates / by the Earl of Dundonald.
01 Jan 1803-
About: The article was published on 1803-01-01 and is currently open access. It has received 5 citations till now.
Summary (10 min read)
Jump to: [VEGE-] – [The] – [To] – [INERT] – [FOSS1LE FOSSILE COAL] – [By] – [SULPHUREOUS SCHYST.] – [LIME] – [CHALK, ORUNCALCINED CALCAREOUS MATTER.] – [PAR] – [Lime] – [ALKA-ALKALINE SALTS] – [NITROUS NITROUS ACID.] – [MARINE, OK MURIATIC ACID.] – [PHOS-] – [INSECTS.] – [SUL-] – [SULPHAT] – [MURIAT MURIAT OF LIME.] – [N i] – [OXALAT OF LIME.] – [NITRAT OF AMMONIAC.] – [MURIAT fy] – [As] – [When] – [DRAIN-DRAINING,] – [PARING'] – [They] – [CALCAREOUS OR CHALKY.] – [A a] – [B b 2] – [The A TREATISE ON THE CONNECTION. OF] – [There] and [D d and l210]
- VEGETABLES, by the application of heat, and by distillation in close vessels, are resolved into different gasseSj liquid matters, and into insoluble matter.
- The gasses consist of inflammable 'and fixuble air : the liquids, of water, vegetable acids, and oil: the insoluble, of charcoal.
- The soluble are, alkaline and neutral salts*.
- The ceconomical management of tke manufacture of this article is capable of considerable improvement.
- The insoluble matters consist of phosphoric, soreline, or vegetable acid, combined with lime, of calcareous matter.
- It is made capable of solution than what is equivalent to the quantity of volatile alkali, which may be generated in the processj besides which, a large proportion of the acids con-contained in the vegetable matter, combine with that which is calcareous, and form insoluble compounds.
- What has been, and will be further stated on the different uses of peat, will, it is to be hoped, cause this valuable, and hitherto neglected article, to have a primary place in the farmer's calender, and teach him that nothing is useless, if man knew how to turn it to account.
- The most beneficial and productive of these preparations will be found to be, The reformers, and their views of reforming, fall under some one or other of the following heads.
- The indestructible state of vegetable matters, under these circumstances, and their constant accretion, may be referred to the insoluble compounds, produced by the action of pure air on these inflammable substances,.
- The rains would have washed down such extracts, and soluble matters, as fast as formed, into the rivers and springs., contaminating the waters, and rendering them unfit for the existence of fishes, or for the use x)f terrestrial animals.
- It is therefore obvious, if ground receives benefit by being overshadowed, the same ground must receive injury by a direct contrary mode of treatment.
- INERT vegetable matter, or peat, is, for the most part, formed of the remains of aquatic vegetables, or of those vegetables which generally grow in humid or moist situations.
- Their nourishment and growth are promoted by atmospheric air, by the decomposition of water, and by the calcareous matter held in solution, and contained in most water.
- At no time, therefore, in this humid and northern climate, can such soils be divested of their superabundant proportion of moisture with which they charge themselves in the autumn, spring, and winter, as well as during the periodical rains in summer.
- The surface of peat mosses, or what is most exposed to the action of air, is capable of becoming more oxygenated than the under stratum.
FOSS1LE FOSSILE COAL
- Such coal as is most applicable for this purpose is found at the crop or outburst of most seams, particularly those which are of a soft tender nature, and easily aded upon by the joint influence of air and water.
- The vitriolic or sulphuric, muriatic, phosphoric, The acid first formed is the sulphuric.
- As this is generated, it combines either with the earth of iron or the earth of magnesia, forming green vitriol and Epsom salt.
- These acids, as they are generated, combine with the calcareous matter of the coal, now by full decomposition rendered capable of being afted upon, and form salts that are nearly insoluble.
- Carbonaceous matter or charcoal is likewise resolved into fixable and inflammable air, by the alternate application of moisture and heat to charcoal, in close vessels, in which case water is decompounded.
- Vegetable substances contain the carbonaceous principle, or what by heat may become charcoal or coke, but are not prior there to charcoal.
- Admitting, however, that the expence of the fire engine, and of conveying the water, were to be double the sum above stated, and that instead of 3!. los. it were to amount to 7-1. .a quantity of salt water containing one ton of salt would, in .-this latter case, cost the farmer only 45.
- THIS substance generally accompanies the strata of coal and limestone.
- For the most part it consists of clay and pyrites, /'. e. iron mineralised by sulphur, with a proportion of calcareous matter and magnesia, the whole tinged with a black, blue, or grey colour, by mineral tar or oil.
- By exposure to air vitriolic acid is formed ; this, by combining with lime, magnesia, earth of iron, or clay, forms gypsum, Epsom salt, green vitriol, or allum.
- Sulphureous schyst acts powerfully as a manure to soils containing much phosphat of lime, or calcareous matter.
- Is produced from chalk, marble, limestone, coral, or shells, when submitted to a sufficient degree of heat to disengage the fixable air, or carbonic acid, with which, in a natural state, these substances are always united.
- Water has a great tendency to combine with lime; heat is disengaged, and there is reason to believe that the water is decomposed in the process.
- When applied to organic bodies, containing moisture, it rapidly destroys their adhesion, or continuity of parts, and disengages from them inflammable air, and azotic or phlogisticated air, forming volatile alkali.
- The residuum will be found to consist of charcoal, and of a combination of lime with the phosphoric and other acids, forming saline matters, which are nearly insoluble.
CHALK, ORUNCALCINED CALCAREOUS MATTER.
- This gas is absorbed by the roots of vegetables, decomposed in the pro:ess of vegetation, affording the carbonaceous principle to vegetables ; whilst vital air, the other constituent part of fixable air, is thrown off by the respiratory power of vegetables.
- The different effects of lime and of chalk on vegetable and animal substances, shew, that when either of those materials is applied with a view to promote the fertility of the ground, they should be used according to circumstances, and the nature of the soil.
- PARTICULAR EFFECTS RESULTING FROM THE APPLI-CATION OF LIME AND CHALK TO GROUND.
- After breaking up pasture ground that formerly had been limed on the sward, it is frequently observed in this situation : this has been generally ascribed to its specific gravity, and to its acting in a mechanical manner.
- In gravelly, or sandy soils, there Can be no doubt but that the difFusibility and smallnessof the particles of lime will induce it mechanically to sink through the larger particles of the sand or gravel, and to remain at rest OH the more compact stratum which may resist its passage.
- After remaining in this situation at rest for a certain number of years, on breaking up, a floor of calcareous matter will frequently be found lying immediately beneath the roots of the grass.
- Lime is capable of being dissolved in water, in six hundred times its own weight.
- Chalk, /. e. lime combined to a certain degree with fixable air, is insoluble ; but chalk is capable of solution by a greater proportion of fixable air, either in consequence of its disengagement from vegetable matters decaying in the soil, or from the changes which the carbonaceous matter therein con-t ained may undergo.
- The * Chalk and clay are nearly of the same specific gravity, and sand of greater specific gravity than lime,.
- The abundant use of lime has undoubtedly occasioned the consumption of a large proportion of the vegetable and animal matters in the soils to which it has repeatedly been applied ; still the evil is not so great as at first it may appear.
- The fixed are obtained by the combustion of marine and terrene plants.
- Alkaline salts al upon and destroy the continuity of the parts of animal and vegetable substances : they acl: most powerfully on the latter, when oxygenated, forming therewith saline compounds, which, in a very high degree, promote vegetation.
- THIS acid, in the new nomenclature, is called by the French chemists the sulphuric acid ; a name much more descriptive of its origin than that generally used.
- A due knowledge and attention to this very important process of nature, the most beneficial consequences may be derived.
- On the principles already stated, the vitriolic acid may be used beneficially to decompose, and to bring into action the the insoluble matter accumulated in soils, by the combination of the phosphoric and soreline acids with calcareous matter.
NITROUS NITROUS ACID.
- This combination takes place under different circumstances, particularly by the putrefa6lion and decay of animal and vegetable substances.
- As it forms, it combines either with calcareous matter or alkaline salts; forming saline substances, which are conducive to vegetation.
MARINE, OK MURIATIC ACID.
- Marine acid is contained in sea water, in salt rock, and in salt springs, combined with mineral alkali, or soda, and with the earth of magnesia.
- The disengagement and separation of this acid, from the alkaline basis with which it is united in sea or rock salt, may be accomplished by various methods ; one only has as yet been discovered and effected at an expence which can admit a manufactory of alkaline salts being established on an extensive scale.
- The accomplishment of this most desirable object, by a cheap and easy process, must appear, with respect to certain useful arts, as well as to the application of it to agriculture, to be one of the most important discoveries to which chemistry could have lent its aid.
- PHOSPHORIC ACID, AND SORELINE OR OXALIC ACID.
- THE origin, nature, and properties of these acids have previously been so fully discussed, that any further explanation is deemed unnecessary.
- INDEPENDENT of the various substances hitherto noticed, as being contained in soils, and affording their assistance in the production and nourishment of plants, the innumerable tribes of inserts which abound in rich soils, or soils long under cultivation, ought not to be everlooked.
- Some of these inserts are extremely noxious, whilst others are inoffensive to the vegetable kingdom ; but all, when destroyed, (as will hereafter directed) may be rendered serviceable in affording v^f a pro-a proportion of animal matter for the general uses of vegetation.
- The common earth worm, which is inoffensive, may be made to rise to the surface, and to become useful for the domestic purpose of feeding poultry.
- The * Siliceous matter is not included, being soluble only by the fluor acid.
- The following table will shew, the salts that may be formed, by the combination of the vitriolic nitrous muriatic phosphoric and soreline or oxalic acids, with clay, chalk, magnesia, and the earth of iron.
- Dr. FRANCIS HOME* of Edinburgh, the first person who thought of making experiments with saline bodies in promoting the growth of plants, found no beneficial effects to result from the application of allum to garden mould, the soil on which his experiments were made.
- Yet they may with great probability be expected to arise by the application of allum to soils containing much calcareous matter ; especially to such as contain, beside this latter substance, a sufficient proportion of animal and vegetable matter.
- GYPSUM exists in great abundance, in many soils.
- Gypsum is to be decomposed by alkaline salts ; the sulphuric acid forming with them sulphat of potash and sulphat of soda, according to the alkali used.
- By Dr. HOME'S experiments, Epsom salt has been found in a very high degree to promote vegetation*.
- These matters are generally found accompanying the coal strata, as well as in coal itself; particularly in such coals as are sulphureous.
- When added to soils containing calcareous matter, and a due proportion of animal and vegetable substances, it has been found, whennot used in too great quantities, to have producect beneficial efFefts in promoting the growth of grass ; but experiments have not as yet been made, fully to ascertain its effefts on arable land.
- THIS saline substance is found in the rubbish of old buildings, and in those materials from which salt-petre is extradted : viz.
- According to Dr. HOME, it is likewise contained in what is commonly called hard water, which, by his experiments, was found to promote the growth of plants in a much higher degree than soft-water.
- It is procured in small quantities, in -the processes for making the muriatic acid, and muriat of ammoniac, or sal ammoniac.
MURIAT MURIAT OF LIME.
- It is very soluble, and when mixed with dung, its effects in promoting vegetation will probably be found similar to those of the next article, the muriat of magnesia.
- It may be procured in great quantities from the bitter refuse liquor which at present runs to waste at the salt works.
- There is reason to believe, a very considerable proportion of this nearly insoluble salt is contained in most fertile soils, especially those that have been long under cultivation.
- Alkaline salts and phosphoric acid, are found in the ashes of most vegetables.
- THIS is a very soluble salt; celdom occurs in nature; promotes vegetation.
- It may be formed in soils containing phosphat of lime and uncombined magnesia, by watering ground, containing these substances, with water acidulated by the vitriolic acid, or by an acid pyriteous liquor; or the acid maybe applied, by moistening mould with water properly acidulated by the vitriolic acid, and then sowing, or spreading the mould on the ground.
- And form gypsum ; whilst the phosphoric acid, thus disengaged, will join with the magnesia in the soil, and form phosphat of magnesia.
- If phosphat of lime can be decomposed by sulphat of iron, (on the principles of the double ele6trive attractions) and form sulphat of lime (or gypsum) and phosphat of iron, the phosphat of iron may, in that case, be decomposed by magnesia, forming phosphat of magnesia.
OXALAT OF LIME.
- OXALAT of lime is a very insoluble saline compound/ formed by the combination of calcareous matter with the oxalic, or soreline acid, with which acid calcareous matter has a greater affinity than have alkaline salts,.
- The calcareous matter will combine with the acid, and form oxalat of lime ; whilst eleclrive attractions, especially if the neutral salts, used for that purpose, are superacidulated.
- SALINE SUBSTANCES COMPOSED OF ALKALIS AND ACIDS.
- 'These are stated in the following table, to which will 'be added, under each distinct ,head, the peculiar powers jof each, in promoting or retarding vegetation, &x.
- THIS salt is soluble in fifteen times its weight of cold water, and has been found by Dr. HOME to promote vegetation in an extraordinary manner.
NITRAT OF AMMONIAC.
- DIGESTIVE salt of Silvius is soluble in about thrice its weight of cold water.
- As this salt does not often naturally present itself, and cannot be procured in large quantities, its effects on vegetation may be considered to be stated under the next article, which it very much resembles.
- Exclusively of its septic effects, when used with dung, and animal or vegetable matters, it is destructive to many different kinds of living insects, such as snails, grubs, slugs, worms, 8c.
- THE above salts having similar effects in promoting vegetation, the same description, as it respects Agriculture, will nearly apply to them all.
- By this process there can be no doubt that a greater quantity, and a still more valuable dung dung may be obtained than by the other practice of keeping a less number of .cattle, and littering them with straw.
- When peat cannot be had, the richest and blackest mould should be procured, that the volatile alkali of the urine may acl: upon and dissolve, into a mucilaginous gummy liquor, the oxygenated inert vegetable matter contained in such mould.
- Hence it is that sea salt of the greatest purity should exclusively be used for curing beef, pork, fish, cheese, and butter; whilst the more impure salt, /. e. such as contains a great a great proportion of vitriolic salts, should be exclusively applied to dung or other substances, to promote their complete putrefaction.
- Such adventitious aids or helps to a farm, are of a nature that answers a much better purpose as top-dressings to grass lands, than for lands which are constantly kept under the plough.
- This process throws into the air the remaining i9-2oths of peat, which might, by other preparations of it, be made to contribute, in a superior degree, to the purposes of vegetation.
- The proportion of the lime to the peat here given, should be carefully attended to, and the mixing of the two substances together should be performed under cover, in a shed or out-house constructed for that purpose, as too much rain, or a too great exposure to air, will prevent a due action of the lime upon the peat.
- The purchase is attended with a considerable advance of capital, and with great expence for labour and carriage.
- When easily procured, and properly slacked with water, immediately spread on the ground, and ploughed in, if applied m great quantities it will occasion a too immediate dissipation, in agassious state, of the vegetable matters contained in the soil, from which the succeeding crop can only be benefited by the proportion it is able to receive during the dissipating process.
- For, although calcareous matter, or lime, forms a component part of vegetable and animal bodies, still the quantity that can be obtained from the annual produce of most crops, from an acre of ground, will not exceed eighty pounds weight.
- DRAINING of ground in the northern and humid climate of Britain and Ireland is indispensably necessary, and is the precursor to all culture and improvement ofthe soil.
- From moisture at those seasons when it would prove hurtful.
- Water constitutes the chief'food of plants : it is decomposed in the process of vegetation, the plant retaining the hydrogen or inflammable air, as \frell as the calcareous matter held in solution in the water, whilst the oxygen or vital air, the other component part of water,is disengaged.
- Considerable benefits ensue to certain soils by artificially watering the ground at certain seasons, yet much greater, and more extensive advantages to the soil, and to the agriculture of these kingdoms, would result by a more complete and general drainage of the surface.
- The different mechanical operations of draining land are in general so well understood, that it cannot be deemed necessary necessary to enter into a description of them, in a Treatise which has principally in view such circumstances and matters as have not hitherto, on chemical principles, received satisfactory explanation.
- Is a comburatory dissipating process, whereby nineteen parts out of twenty of the vegetable matter, the only substance the fire can act upon, is dissipated and thrown into the air.
- Moors overgrown with ling or heath, peaty soils, or soils covered with a sward of coarse ^unprofitable herbage, and containing a superabundance of vegetable matter, may, with due precaution, be subjected to this process with very beneficial effects.
- The proportion of alkaline, or other salts$ produced by paring and burning, is so very small, that were the benefits immediately resulting from paring and burning AGRICULTURE WITH CHEMISTRY.
- Still it requires great limitations or restrictions.
- They should understand the properties and effects, and superior affinities of alkalis and acids; as well as the names, properties, and compounded eleclrive attractions attendant on the mixture of the different neutral salts, and their effects on vegetation.
- Deprived of the water of chrystallization, and brought to an equal degree of dryness, the quantity of calcareous matter and magnesia in each may be ascertained by BERG-MAN'S or KIRWAN-S tables of the proportion of acid, alkali, earth, and water contained in different neutral salts.
- The quantity of gypsum previously existing in the soil is to be ascertained by weighing, when properly dried, the calcareous matter which had been precipitated by the alkali ; and by adding thereto, in calculation, the proportion of vitriolic acid necessary to constitute it gypsvim ; having previously deducted therefrom the proportion of fixable air which the precipitated chalk contains.
CALCAREOUS OR CHALKY.
- A PURE unmixed chalky soil, like a pure or lean .clayey one, is unfertile.
- The fertility of this soil, like all others, depends on its containing a due admixture of other earths, with the requisite quantity of vegetable or animal matter.
- A chalky loam, or mixture of chalk with clay, is frequently a very fertile soil, and well adapted to the culture of beans and wheat.
- Chalky soils produce a short sweet herbage, and, for the most part, are more proper for sheep pasture than for tillage.
- There are no soils that receive more benefit from artificial watering, as they are apt at certain seasons to be parched by drought.
- To stocking the ground with a due proportion of neat cattle, sheep, and horses ; as the one animal will eat the grass which springs up from the dung of the other, and which otherwise would produce tufts of coarse grass :.
- To top-dressings of alkaline salts, and other saline substances ; and also to top-dressings of lime, either by itself, or when mixed with peat or fen mould.
- To such objects, the general interest of the many, and the nation in general, are too frequently sacrificed.
- The expence of fuel might still farther be diminished, by making use of the refuse small coal made at Newcastle in working the larger and more valuable sorts.
B b 2
- The T96 A TREATISE ON THE CONNECTION (OF-The draining, inclosing-, and properly cultivating the fens and peat mosses in Britain, would, by rearing and feeding a greater number of cattle of all descriptionsâ llow a greater proportion of the higher and drier lands to be kept in tillage; whence would be produced a greater quantity of grain and animal food.
- The present inhabitants of Great Britain would be more reasonably and plentifully fed and cloathed, and a considerable surplus would be left either for exportation, or for the maintenance of an augmented number of people.
- Population would increase as plenty is secured.
- The crops of sugar, for many years, after clearing and cultivating the ground, were very great.
- At length, by repeatedly cropping and exhausting the soil, the planters are now under the necessity either of manuring for sugar crops, or of substituting others of a less exhausting nature for a certain number of years, until the ground shall recover.
The A TREATISE ON THE CONNECTION. OF
- There can be no doubt that the vegetable matter in a small part only been expended in producing those abundant crops, and that by far the greater part has become oxygenated and insoluble by the exposure of renewed surfaces to the aclion of the atmospheric air, in consequence of the frequent stirrings and boeings which the ground has received.
- On the whole, there can be -little risque in.
- There can be no doubt, that when peat is rendered completely soluble, and thus fitted to promote the growth of plants, it will, when applied to the culture of the sugarcane, afford those substances which constitute sugar; when these, by the process of vegetation, are afterwards combined and united in due proportions.
- Mankind seem at this moment to detest all alterations, excepting in such matters as are the most difficult and dangerous, viz.
- Judicious as this process in many cases may be, of.
- Magnesia has a greater affinity with the oxalic acid than alkalis have, so that by the addition of earths, containing magnesia, to ground producing a crop of sorel, the acid will not only be neutralized, but the oxalat of potash, -the other component part of sorel, will likewise be decomposed.
D d and l210
- The application of the different substances here recommended, or the operation of paring and burning, should take place only at the time when the crop of sorel is in the greatest luxuriance.
- THE multiplicity of subjects connected with the main objeft of this work, open so wide a field of enquiry and discussion, that it is with difficulty the Author has restrained himself from exceeding the bounds proposed ; " Cunfla me non difturum sed quczdam".
- More might have been said on the praftical part of husbandry; but, unl uckily for science, too much has already been written on that subject, and absurd theories have been too often blended with practice.
- As the main obje6l of this work is to promote the more complete and extended cultivation of the soil, nothing which may retard or advance this important object, can be deemed foreign to this publication ; as such, the form of government, laws, particular taxes, general Many of these produce consequences inimical to the interests of agriculture.
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