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firas of a Series of MINUTES on WORKING ON SUNDAYS, made, during the backward Hay-time, and the Harveft of 1777.
Sunday, 3 Aug. 1777. Laft Sunday, the Meadow-hay was in fwath, and might then have been cocked: no opportunity of cocking has fince occurred, and it is now yellow and almoft rotten. true, I was facrilegious enough to turn fome which was then fpoil-. ing; but the Men appeared to think it wrong, and to-day I did not dare to ask their affiftance.
Though it has been a heavenly day, not a man was to be found, even to uncover the ftacks.
Tuesday, 5 Aug. It may be very good policy to have days of Relaxation and Sociability; but furely thefe days ought not to be fo holy as to interfere with the Sacred Laws of Nature: it can never be good policy, in the Members of any State, to fquander wantonly the means of their own prefervation.
(See the 3d.) Had the Hay mentioned been then hook into Cocklits, it would have been ready to carry yesterday; but it was obliged to be made yesterday, and was caught in the Rain of to-day!
Sunday, 7th Sept. The laft week has been very flack Harvestweather; except yesterday, which was very fine.
'We had this morning about thirty loads of Wheat,-thirty loads of Oats,-fifteen loads of Barley, and twenty acres of fecond cut of Clover down; and most of them fit to be carried.
The month of September is very uncertain Harvest weather: the days grow fhort;-the dews remain long on the ground; the fogs frequently hang on till noon; and, until paft the middle of the month, the Weather is generally fqually and uncertain; though the latter end is as generally fine: this, at least, was the cafe in the September of 1775 and 1776.'
We could have perceived, without being told it, that our Author had read books on farming, and formed fyftems of ' theory in his own mind, as these frequently influence his reafoning, and make him acquiefce in the belief of certain principles as indifputably right, which, if fully examined, would be found to be either erroneous or doubtful. We know not to what we could fo properly liken the prejudices of mankind, with regard to dogmas in agriculture, as to the fimilar prejudices ufual in religious matters. In both cafes we imbibe these prejudices before our reafon has acquired its full force, and afterward, from habit, reft satisfied with their rectitude, without mature examination. We fee evident marks, on many occafions, of this blind prejudice in favour of received doctrines in our Author. Yet is Mr. M. a fceptic, and imagines he thinks boldly for himself. He undoubtedly does fo on fome occafions. Like moft modern freethinkers too, while in certain cafes he yields implicit faith to the fables of the nurfery, and in fome withholds his affent where there is lefs room for doubt, in others he ftill relies, with a faulty credulity, on fingle facts; and from thefe deduces practical inferences that would, in many S 2
cafes, be proved erroneous by the next experiment he should make. This chiefly occurs in the Digeft, which we, on this account, think is the least valuable part of the work, although it is probable the Author forms a very different judgment of it.
That we may run no risk of either impofing on the Author or our Readers, it is neceffary to inform them both, that our fpirited Writer is as yet by far too young a farmer to be qualified for deducing general rules from his practice. He is ftill groping his way, like a blind man, through a labyrinth, of whofe intricate windings he has fcarce any adequate comprehenfion, although in fome cafes he imagines he has got a glimpfe of the general plan, which he thinks will enable him to go forward with freedom. Let him not, however, rely too much upon that knowledge; let him continue his Minutes, and mark down his prefent opinions as they occur, merely as temporary opinions, which he may foon find reafon to relinquish, and adopt new ones in their ftead; and which will, in like manner, be dif-' placed in their turn. After twenty or thirty years experience thus employed, he will perhaps be capable of forming an useful digeft, in which fome general principles may be difcovered,. and, poffibly, be univerfally adopted. Perhaps before that time he may alfo be able to profit by touring *; but till he is much farther advanced in practical knowledge than at prefent, we agree with him in thinking it would be of very little use. It is much to be regretted, that men will begin to travel before they can profit by it. A man of great knowledge can draw inftruction from almost every object that occurs; one of little experience fees objects that properly attract his attention.
The book already published is a fufficient fpecimen of a most, excellent plan of ftudy. As fuch we have viewed it, and in that view have beftowed upon it ample praife; but in this confifts almost its whole merit. Should more books, on the fame plan, be published, equally undigested, we should be obliged to reprehend them, as deftructive to the advancement of agriculture. We hope, therefore, that thofe whom it may concern will make a proper ufe of this watch-word.
Nothing is more agreeable, in our eyes, than a becoming ease and freedom of style; but this will not prevent us from reprehending our Author for that affectation in point of language which runs through the whole performance. The ftale of a Junius-ftile memorandal-fons of rufticity-daughters of speculation, begin to opinion; with numberiefs expreffions of a fimilar. kind, are altogether indefenfible. At a certain period of life, what is fingular appears pretty. It is this that induces boys to
*The Author ridicules the practice of touring, as he calls it; that: is, travelling in quest of agricultural knowledge.
metamorphofe themselves into monkies, or macaronies. It is this which caufes girls to become pert and petulant-speak loud at a play-titter at church, and be immoderately merry when others are difpofed to be ferious; and it is the fame paffion which induces young authors to coin uncouth phrases. In all cafes it is a certain proof of a prefent want of found fenfe, and a breach of decorum, that nothing but the contempt and pity which it excites prevent from being deeply refented by every fenfible perfon.
Nor can we admit, as fufficient, the apology which he offers for the many new-coined technical terms he has introduced, often without fufficient cause. These must be confidered as trefpaffes on good-manners at leaft, if we do not bestow upon these words the harsher name of barbarisms. Of this kind are naturifion, vegetifion, cuftomed, aerialift, &c. &c. &c. &c. In every art or science we admit that there must be fome technical terms; and a writer will fometimes be under the neceffity of inventing a new one for the fake of precifion. But a man of good manners will avoid using the technical terms, in all cafes wherein it is poffible to make himself understood by the help of ordinary words; because he knows that when he employs unneceffarily these phrases, he renders himself unintelligible to fome of those to whom he addreffes himself, or gives them an unneceffary degree of trouble to understand him. A common failor interlards his difcourfe with fea-phrafes, upon all occafions; while the politer officer feldom finds it neceffary to employ any thing more than ordinary language; or if he fees a technical term abfolutely unavoidable, he ufes it only when neceffary. A man of judgment may, occafionally, employ uncommon phrafes; but it is only a young writer, vain of his inventive genius, who will introduce them on all poffible occafions. Our lively Author frequently trefpaffes in this way.
If technical terms, which have been long known, fhould be thus cautiously employed, new ones fhould not be adopted but in cafes of indifpenfible neceffity; and then they fhould be chofen with the moft fcrupulous care; otherwife they are neglected by fucceeding writers, and they become as an unneceffary excrefcence, burthening the language without being useful. We know of no walk in literature in which an author has lefs chance of gathering laurels than this of agriculture, although there is no department in which inexperienced writers are more ambitious of difplaying their talents. We shall give one inftance of the difficulty of fucceeding, even where pains have not been fpared:
'How difficult, fays our Author, the task to write intelligibly (it would be weaknefs to attempt to write elegantly) on infant fciences ! $ 3
The term furrow has, in Agriculture, three or four diftinct fignifications, and muft of neceffity be a fource of perpetual ambiguity. It fignifies the foil turned by the plow, and the trench left by the operation. It fignifies the interval between two ridges, and the crofs drain which receives the rain water collected by thefe intervals. -Fobnfon adds a fifth; but he mistakes furrow for drill, or totally mifunderftands Mortimer.
How fhall the Writer conduct himself? Shall he be guilty of the fin of ambiguity or of innovation? He will not hesitate-for the one is deadly, the other only venial; and he trufts, that the See Critical will grant him a difpenfation.
But he finds it difficult even to fin; and confeffes, that he was never more puzzled in coining a word, than in the prefent inftance. -Johnson's general definition is, "any long trench or hollow." This includes three out of the four fignifications above mentioned ;but the foil turned, has no claim to it whatever ;-nor, perhaps, does it ftrikingly refemble any thing :-a bad furrow, indeed, might be compared to the leaf of a book, or the lift of cloth; but a good furrow is nearly fquare, and the ideas have no connexion.
Will analogy help us? A fpade-full is called a Spit, and, by analogy, a plow-full a Plit.-A hit! Why not a plait or fold?Perhaps, no other worded idea bears fo near an affinity. But this will not do ;-it conveys an idea too effeminate for the robust ope ration of plowing.-It reminds one of Milliners, Mantua makers, and Laundry-maids, rather than of Plowmen and Horned Horses.
Will the operation afford as a better? What is the intent of the aft? The intention is various, but the act itself is uniformly, to turn the foil with a plow, upfide down-to cut off with a plow, a long piece of foil, of a certain breadth, and certain thickness, and turn it topsy-turvy. Simply, the act is turning the foil by a plow, and the thing produced is the portion of foil turned by the plow; and if we raife a name here, turn or plow, or both, is the root or roots from which it must fhoot. Turning would be ambiguous; because it is generally understood to mean two of these things made by one turning of the team-and fo would plowing, because it has already two or three fignifications.
As it is fo difficult to find a fuitable word which has any determinate meaning, fhall we look for fome general term without any meaning at all? Shall we call them frings, freds, flips or frips? No; thefe are too infignificant for fo important an operation.
• What fhall we do? The English language has not a word which conveys the idea either directly or obliquely, and yet this very idea will occur perpetually, Shall we apply to fome other language? What make Englishmen talk Greek and Latin, when they ean transfer their ideas in English? For WHATEVER IS AGREEABLE TO ENGLISH ANALOGY IS ENGLISH, whether or not it has happened to have been fpoken or written. A fpade is a hand-plow; a plow is a fpade worked by cattle. The portion of earth turned by a spade is, in English, a Spit; and the Writer will not hesitate to call the por tion of earth turned by the plow, a Plit.
But there are ftill three ideas which lay claim to the word Furrow:
The trench made by the plow;
which the Writer will distinguish, when distinction is neceffary, by
• How unthankful foever the office of Innovator may be, the Reader will be able to judge from this Note, that it is not the most delightful task in the world; for the Writer has fcarcely introduced or altered any word throughout thefe MINUTES and the DIGEST, which has not coft him a train of ideas bearing fome refemblance to thofe above registered.
As a proof of the ambiguity of this term, it is clearly the Plit, which is meant both by Mortimer and Dryden; and which even Dr. JOHNSON (being no Farmer) mistakes for a "fmall trench."
It is allowed that a real ambiguity here occurs, and that fome new terms are neceffary-nor is Mr. Marshall the first who has felt this difficulty. Lord Kaims complains of it in his Gentleman Farmer, and has invented the term furrow-flice to denote that part of the mould turned over by the plow, which is by Mr. Marshall called plit. Mr. Anderfon, in the Effays reEssays lating to Agriculture and rural Affairs, likewife diftinguithes the trench made by the plow in working, from the interval between the ridges, calling the firft a thurrow, and the last only a furrow; yet we doubt if fucceeding authors will be pleafed with either these names, or those invented by Mr. Marshall; because, where men are not awed by the reverence they have for the established jus et norma loquendi, every one endeavours to find out a more analogous term than that of his predeceffors, which he adopts without referve, if he thinks he has made that discovery. Were the Writer of this Article to become the author of a book on agriculture, it is poffible he would adopt the following words in preference to any of the former, as he thinks they have at least a greater claim to fimplicity.
In fome of our northern counties the provincial word to denote the trench made by the plow in going, is not furrow, but fimply fur. May not this have been the original word from
which the others have been derived? The earth turned out of the fur by the plow in its going, which is left lying along the fide of the ridge in rows, has naturally been denominated furrows. Would not these two terms, if always used in the above fense, prevent intirely the neceffity of Lord Kaims's furrow flice, and Mr. Marshall's plit, and have lefs the appearance of no, velty? If the word fur was the original word to denote any trench made by the plow, it would naturally come to be ap