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THE ORGANISATION OF AGRICULTURE. (:) The Transition in Agriculture. By Edwin A. Pratt. Pp. x+354. (London: John Murray, 1906.) Price 5s.

(2) An Introduction to the Study of Agricultural Economics. By Henry C. Taylor. Pp. viii+327. (New York: The Macmillan Co.; London: Macmillan and Co., Ltd., 1005.) Price 5s. (3) The Development of Agriculture in Denmark. By R. J. Thompson. A paper read before the Royal Statistical Society, May 15, 1906.

(1) THIS is the work of an author whose previous writings on subjects of agricultural economy have attracted considerable attention. The present volume has a three-fold purpose-to describe recent developments of subsidiary branches of agriculture, the progress of agricultural cooperation, and the principles on which small holdings may have the best chance of success.

Mr. Pratt states that "it is open to consideration whether the bitter cry of the distressed British agriculturist has not been persisted in with undue energy of late years." It is certain, however, that the last period of agricultural depression, which reached its culminating point about 1892, was terribly acute, and the subsequent recovery has been correspondingly slow. That there has been recovery few authorities will deny, and we believe that the general agricultural outlook is more hopeful than it has been for some time. This is certainly the impression we gain from a careful perusal of Mr. Pratt's book; yet at the same time the author scarcely touches upon the main features of British agriculture, and in this respect the title of the work is not altogether justified. Wheat-growing has declined, it is true, to a very marked extent, and a great deal of arable land has been converted into pasture during the last quarter of a century. On the other hand, the decline in the wheat acreage has been somewhat balanced by an increase in the acreage under oats. The increases in the areas of those subsidiary branches of agriculture, as Mr. Pratt calls them, with which his book mainly deals, are relatively unimportant.

The breeding of live-stock, and especially the home and export trade in pure-bred pedigree animals, the fattening of cattle, sheep and pigs, grazing and dairying, all involve operations upon such a large scale, and require individual skill of such a high order, that we cannot conceive of any "transition in agriculture" which would seriously interfere with the size of the holdings, the acreage of the crops, or the capital necessary to maintain them. But if we except agriculture on the large scale as it has been and in all probability will continue to be carried on, we admit that Mr. Pratt has done useful service in bringing under review those important developments of comparatively minor industries which are not only of benefit to agriculture, but are nationally advan

tageous by helping to create and maintain a sturdy, independent race of Englishmen.

An interesting account is given of the commercial aspects of milk selling. The facts related are not new, though it may well be that they have not attracted much attention outside the districts affected or on the part of persons not immediately concerned. Farmers in the dairying districts have found it pay much better to sell fresh milk than to turn it into butter and cheese. The sale of fresh milk and cream is, in fact, practically our only agricultural monopoly, and it is not likely that foreign competition will seriously threaten it. But whereas formerly the milk producer was an individual unit at the mercy of the urban wholesale dealer or middleman, judicious combination amongst dairy-farmers has enabled them to protect their interests, and especially to secure a uniform and equitable price for the milk produced. In Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Cheshire, Essex, and Somerset, associations have been formed with this object in view, and their success has been remarkable. In one case, Mr. Pratt states, the financial gain thus secured through combination amounts to from 30,000l. to 40,000l. annually, or an average annual gain per member of from 30l. to 40l.

The descriptions of fruit-farming and the production of flowers, bulbs, vegetables, poultry, and eggs will repay careful study, and they may well encourage the further extension of similar crops in districts suited to them upon the cooperative principles that have proved successful.

We come finally to the author's views on small holdings. This question is now under consideration by a Departmental Committee of the Board of Agriculture, and it is well known that the new President of the Board, Lord Carrington, is deeply interested in the subject, his own experiments in that direction in Lincolnshire and elsewhere having met with striking success. Mr. Pratt discusses the question as to whether ownership or tenancy is the more expedient form of tenure, and he pronounces unhesitatingly in favour of tenancy. We believe that his conclusions on this subject are sound, and that the example of countries where freehold occupancy has resulted in heavy mortgages with the payment of "rent" in its most odious form should be avoided.

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(2) Dr. Henry C. Taylor, the author of the book on "Agricultural Economics," is assistant professor of political economy in the Wisconsin University, and an expert in the Office of Experiment Stations of the United States Department of Agriculture. His work forms part of the 'Citizen's Library of Economics, Politics, and Sociology," and is in effect a studious effort to apply to practical agriculture the principles of political economy. As such it should prove useful to young agricultural students in connection with their ordinary course of "political arithmetic." Dr. Taylor himself states that one of the aims of his book is the setting forth of " fundamental economic principles, which, when carefully followed, lead the way to success in agricultural production." In thirteen chapters the author deals with the

about 76, and in Germany about 60. Again, with regard to the size of farms, in the United States the average is given as 146.6 acres. In England it is about 65 acres (or 85 acres if holdings above one acre and not above five acres be not included); in Germany it is 19.2 acres, and in France 21.4 acres. This variation in the average size of holdings is, of course, significant of the different systems of land tenure, tenant-farming prevailing in England and peasant-proprietorship in France and Germany. In the United States most of the land is either cultivated by its owners or on the sharing principle. According to the census of 1900, the different classes of farmers in the United States are represented in the following proportions :-

Owners

Part Owners

Owners and Tenants
Managers

Cash Tenants
Share Tenants

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An interesting description is given of the American system of " share-tenancy," which is scarcely, if at all, practised in this country. The principle of it is something akin to métayage, as adopted in France, Italy, and Spain. A share-tenant in America pays for the use of the farm a proportion (such as onethird or one-half) of the crops cultivated. The share is delivered to the owner in kind. The owner participates in the management of the farm, and, in fact, directs all the more important operations. Under this system the landlords are usually the older and more experienced men, who own more land than they can well cultivate, whilst the tenants are younger men who prefer share tenancy to fixed rent, because their risk of loss is less.

Mr.

(3) Denmark is a concrete example of the successful development of "commercial agriculture." Thompson has made an elaborate statistical study of the agricultural conditions prevailing in Denmark, and his facts and figures are well worthy of careful study on the part of economists. Most authorities agree that the prosperity of Denmark is attributable to three causes-the system of land tenure, education, and cooperation. Thrift, the art of wisely saving and wisely spending, is a national characteristic of the Danes, and this, combined with the admirable organisation of their export trade in dairy produce, has enabled them to attain to a greater relative degree of agricultural prosperity than perhaps any other country. Whilst there may be much to admire and copy in the methods of agricultural organisation pursued in Denmark, it should be remembered that this little country is almost entirely dependent upon its exports to the free and immense markets of Great Britain, and that its system of wholesale grading for despatch to one country could not be applied, without modifications, to Great Britain, which has little or no export trade in dairy produce, and whose local home markets are scattered and unlinked with E. H. G.

factors of production, the organisation of the farm, the size of farms, the prices of agricultural products, the distribution of wealth, the value of land, the methods of its acquisition, and the relations between landlord and tenant. He uses the term "capitalgoods" to represent the live-stock and implements essential to agricultural production, and the word "capital" to represent the money-value of capitalgoods. Land, capital-goods, and labour being the three factors of agricultural production, he discusses the economic properties of each. In regard to labour, which includes the work of the farmer himself, he advances some interesting economic propositions, especially as to the " qualitative and quantitative efficiency of farmers ❞—qualitative efficiency relating to the return a man can obtain from a given piece of land with a given supply of capital-goods, and quantitative efficiency to the quantity of land and capital-goods which a man can operate. He shows that the farmer with the highest degree of qualitative efficiency can make not only more than a living upon land of any grade, but that he can make the largest net profit on the most productive land after outbidding all competitors for its use. Thus, "owing to the higher rents which the more efficient are willing to pay for the better grades of land, the farmer can secure the largest net profit by employing that grade of land which corresponds to his degree of qualitative efficiency."

In discussing the principles which determine different methods of farming, the author points out that whereas formerly agricultural conditions demanded that farms should produce all that was required by the cultivators, modern conditions of increased population and improved facilities of transport have given rise to what is described as commercial agriculture, the system under which agricultural produce is grown in bulk, and marketed in return for other commodities required but no longer produced by the seller.

In this country we pride ourselves upon the superior yield of our agricultural crops. This is, however, due to a system of intensive cultivation, and Dr. Taylor shows that the extensive system of cultivation as pursued in the United States is that which is at present best suited to the economic conditions of the country. Pressure of population in the older States of the American Union is already causing a more intensive cultivation than that previously followed. "In new countries," Dr. Taylor writes, "where land is relatively abundant, extensive culture is generally most profitable, and the average size of farms is usually greater than in older countries where land is scarce, land values very high, and intensive culture most profitable."

Incidentally, the book contains many statistical details relating to the United States that are not readily accessible to the general reader. For instance, the land area of the United States is given as 1,900,947,200 acres. The area of the United Kingdom is 77,671,319 acres. The percentage of improved land, or, as we describe it, "land under crops and grass," is in the United States about 22, in England | any central administration.

THE MANUFACTURE OF CYANIDES. The Cyanide Industry Theoretically and Practically Considered. By R. Robine and M. Lenglen. Translated by J. Arthur Leclerc, Ph.D., with an appendix by C. E. Munroe, Ph.D. Pp. xix 408; illustrated. (New York: John Wiley and Sons; London: Chapman and Hall, Ltd., 1906.) Price 173. net.

THE

HE stimulating effect on industrial research caused by the prospect of immediate material gain is strikingly illustrated by the progress of the cyanide industry. Until cyanide of potassium was applied to the treatment of gold ores, comparatively little interest was taken in its manufacture. The consumption amounted to about fifty tons a year only, and the old expensive and wasteful methods of obtaining it from ferrocyanide which had been made by the use of nitrogenous organic substances were deemed sufficient for the purpose. When the demand was rapidly growing in the 'nineties there was a rush of investigators to discover new and cheaper methods of manufacture. A fair amount of success was attained, and some thousands of tons of cyanide are now produced annually in Great Britain and Germany and sold at one-third the former price. The older processes have been abandoned and new ones introduced, and, although some doubt still remains as to the future of the industry, the field for useful research has been narrowed, and once again offers little attraction to the chemical "pot-hunter." Comparatively little cyanide is produced in France, however, and apparently it was the apathy of their fellow-countrymen on the subject which induced MM. Robine and Lenglen to write the book which has just been translated.

The authors divide their book into four parts, of which part iii., on the methods of manufacturing cyanide compounds, is alone of any real importance. Part i., occupying sixty-five pages, deals with the chemistry of cyanogen and its derivatives. It contains no correct statement that does not appear in ordinary text-books of chemistry, and is distinguished by an extraordinary number of misprints or misstatements, such as "cyanogen does not unite directly with hydrogen," "it [cyanogen] becomes a liquid at 20°.7 under ordinary pressure," and "If the cyanide contains chlorides, the method [of estimation of cyanide by means of silver nitrate] is not accurate." There are no references to the sources of information, and the whole section seems to have been drawn up in a perfunctory way.

Of even less value is part ii., which occupies twelve pages, and is on "The Present Condition of the Cyanide Industry." None of the information given in this part appears to be of later date than 1901, and some of the tables of figures end in 1896. The tables refer mainly to France, but there is a list of works producing cyanide compounds which applies to the whole world.

Part iii. occupies 213 pages, and gives a clear account of a very large number of methods of manufacture, most of which, as the authors are careful to point out, have never been successful on an in

dustrial scale. All the chief cyanide compounds are dealt with, and separate chapters are devoted to the manufacture of cyanides, ferrocyanides, ferricyanides,. and sulphocyanides. Sulphocyanides and, to a less extent, ferrocyanides owe their importance to their use in the preparation of cyanides, but the authors devote most attention to the interesting direct synthetic processes of making cyanides from carbon and nitrogen or ammonia.

The fixation of atmospheric nitrogen is a fascinating. problem which is likely to continue to exercise the minds of chemists, and the translator, as an agri-cultural chemist, expresses the daring hope that the publication of this volume will result in the solution of the problem on an industrial scale. It is, of course, well known that cyanides are formed in blast furnaces, and many attempts have been made to apply this knowledge, beginning with Bunsen's special furnace, which was built in 1845. In most of the later processes, atmospheric nitrogen, freed from oxygen by passing it over heated metals or by distilling liquid air, has been passed over carbides of metals heated in electric or other furnaces, but although some progress has been made, the cyanide industry still continues to depend on more roundabout chemical actions. One of these is the synthesis. of sulphocyanide by the action of ammonia on carbon bisulphide in the presence of a base such as lime, fol-lowed by the reduction of the sulphocyanide by means of carbon, metals, or hydrocarbons.

Illuminating gas and its residues constitute a source of cyanide which has not been fully exploited. The authors anticipate that in the future a large proportion of the required cyanides will be obtained from gas works, and estimate that in France alone. 4,000,000 tons of coal used annually in the manufacture of illuminating gas could be made to yield cyanide compounds worth from eight to twelve million francs, all of which is now lost. In other countries, however, the matter has not been overlooked, and it is certain that the illuminating gas. used in the world could be made to yield far more cyanide than could possibly be disposed of, unlessnew uses for cyanide should be discovered. The progress of the cyanide industry is checked rather by well-founded fears of overstocking the market than by the neglect by manufacturers of their opportunities or by the need of fresh sources of supply.

In part iv., which occupies twenty-seven pages,. there is an adequate account of the use of cyanogen compounds, and this is followed by an appendix of seventy-one pages. Here a digest is given of the United States patents relating to cyanide processes forthe recovery of the precious metals. No doubt the list is fairly complete, but it has nothing to do with the main subject of the book, and does not contain any reference to patents relating to the manufactureof cyanides. However, as it shows the activity of the consumers of cyanide, it may be taken as a tonicby disheartened manufacturers, who, after all, are probably more interested in markets than in chemical formulas. T. K. ROSE.

A YEAR ON THE "SIBOGA.”

Ein Jahr an Bord I.M.S. Siboga. Von Frau A. Weber van Bosse. Beschriebung der Holländischen Tiefsee-Expedition im Niederländisch-Indischen Archipel 1899-1900. Nach der II Auflage aus dem Holländischen übertragen von Frau E. (Leipzig: W.

Ruge-Baenziger. Pp. xiii + 370.
Engelmann, 1905.) Price 6s. net.

IN

N this book Mrs. Weber gives a popular account of the expedition the scientific results of which have been described in the "Siboga-Expeditie " edited by Dr. Max Weber.

The Siboga, a twin-screw vessel of the Royal Dutch Navy, built for the East Indian service, deprived of her armament, and specially fitted for her scientific voyage, left Surabaya, on the north coast of Java, on March 7, 1899, and returned thither on February 26, 1900, having spent the interval-practically a year --in exploring the marine, and especially the deepwater, fauna of the East Indies. The expedition consisted of Prof. Max Weber and Mrs. Weber, two scientific assistants, a doctor, and a draughtsman, and received from the naval staff of the vessel those ungrudging and invaluable services which the officers of our own Navy so invariably put at the disposal of the scientific members of an expedition. The investigation of the marine flora was in the hands of Mrs. Weber.

The course of the Siboga lay at first along the coasts of the Lesser Sunda group from Java to Timor, then across the Flores Sea to Saleyer Island, and to Macassar, in Celebes, where the expedition was landed for a time while the ship made a trip to Surabaya. On her return the voyage was continued through the Macassar Straits to the Sulu Islands, then southwards across the Celebes Sea to Kwandang, in Celebes, northwards again to the Sangir and Talaur groups, southwards through the Molucca Straits to Obi, and eastwards across the Halmahera Sea to the coast of New Guinea. From Atjatuning, in New Guinea, the ship sailed by Ceram, Amboyna, Buru, and Buton to Saleyer again. Here the expedition was left during a second trip of the Siboga to Surabaya. When a fresh start was made the course lay eastward across the Banda Sea by Amboyna to Aru and back to Amboyna. From this place the Siboga returned to Surabaya along the Sunda Islands by a different route from that which she had taken at starting.

The story of this voyage is pleasantly told by Mrs. Weber. Scattered through her account of the everyday life of the ship and the happenings at various stopping-places and dredging-grounds. allusions to the scientific discoveries of the expedition. Some of the soundings are particularly interesting. It appears that the Lombok Straits, instead of being a deep cleft between Bali and Lombok, are in reality quite shallow (170 fathoms). Since Weber has already shown that the fauna of the East Indies changes only gradually from an Asiatic to an Australian character in an easterly direction, we have now probably heard the last of that old friend of our

student days, "Wallace's Line "a picturesque and fruitful hypothesis, for all the contempt with which it is apt to be treated nowadays. On the other hand, interesting soundings of considerable depth were obtained among the islands-some 2700 fathoms in the Banda Sea and in the Celebes Sea, 2200 fathoms in the Ceram Sea, 1500 fathoms between the Banda Sea and the Flores Sea, and 2000 fathoms close to land off Saleyer. Near the latter island great banks of calcareous algæ were found, which recalls Stanley Gardiner's observations on the importance of these organisms in Funafuti and elsewhere. The plankton also seems to have been unusually rich and plentiful. The sea bottom is in many places rough, entirely unlike the oozy bed of the great oceans, and was the cause of much loss and damage to gear.

The book is well got up and illustrated by some good photographs, and should prove interesting to the large class of readers who are attracted by books of travel.

YORKSHIRE FUNGI.

The Fungus Flora of Yorkshire. By G. Massee and C. Crossland. Yorkshire Naturalists' Union Botanical Transactions, vol. iv. Pp. 396. (London : A. Brown and Sons, Ltd., 1905.)

HE Yorkshire Naturalists' Union has held and THE maintained a high place in the history of British cryptogams, and its published Transactions abound in records of fungi in which the county seems to be peculiarly rich. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that a scientific society of such well-proved eminence should every now and then issue the results of its labours, originally published in its serial journal, in the form of a separate book.

To do this in the case of the fungi required more initiative and enterprise than with most other cryptogams, and the committee is to be congratulated, not only on having carried the work through, since 1902, but on having done it so thoroughly and efficiently.

When we extend our congratulations also to the two authors responsible for the work, we may take the opportunity of pointing out that while one is

an

amateur field naturalist of that peculiarly enthusiastic and accurate type for which Yorkshire has long been famous, the other is a professional mycologist of high reputation; and the combined labours of the two give us all the advantages of the accurate and industrious notes of a collector who knows his county thoroughly, together with the critical supervision of one who knows his herbarium equally well, and who has had shed on to his shoulders the cloak of Berkeley, and has been a fellow-worker with Cooke.

The book consists of 365 pages with appendices and an index, a too meagre bibliography, and more than 2600 entries. There is a short introduction and classifica. tion, with notes on the distribution within the county. The work is by no means a mere catalogue, though in many cases little more than the record of the name is given, together with the localities in which the fungus has been found growing. Interesting notes

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