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ORIGIN OF CANNIBALISM.
THE President of the Section Geography and Ethnology of the British Association, Mr. John Crawfurd, apologised for the man-eating propensities of certain people, on the assumption that the natural craving for animal food is so great, that, where only vegetable subsistence can be obtained, the savages are compelled, by this aforesaid natural longing, to set their teeth into one another.
The New Zealanders were specially alluded to. It was not a barbarous impulse, it was no vindictiveness of passion, but a necessity of the human system which led them to this indulgence. It was as though they said, "I am very sorry for you, my dear fellow, I owe you no grudge, I wish to put you to no pain, but I really must eat you, because I have eaten nothing but potatoes for a fortnight. A few of those mealy kidneys placed under a joint of your carcass, and baked in my oven, would receivea wonderful relish, and relieve me of a certain peculiar craving in my stomach."
Now, Cook and the old voyagers thought rather differently. They found the cannibals living quietly and comfortably upon their fish and kumeras, and never thinking about shoulders of men or hearts of women, unless excited by the demon of war. It was Hongi, after the frightful massacre in the Waikato country, who put two thousand bodies into the ovens for a grand soldier feast. One of their war songs describes a warrior saying how he hated his foe, and how his teeth were gnashing for a bite.
But it so happens that the New Zealanders, and the various other cannibal South Sea islanders, were well provided with fish, and were not absolute vegetarians.
On the contrary, the Hindoos, and to a very large extent, the Burmese and Chinese, who live absolutely on vegetable food, have never been known to be subject to this terrible stomach affection, nor felt themselves compelled to take a slice of each other.
Then again, the boot is on the other leg; for, of the people described of old as cannibals, none were without plenty of animal food Even Marco Polo's cannibals of Central Asia had the usual resort of Tartars, horseflesh; and, from their wandering habits, could seldom indulge in the pastime of cabbage growing. The Britons of old, who certainly were in no lack of wild animals for their small numbers, are described as given to this foul habit. Our own forefathers, of the Saxon variety, a nation of hunters in the woods of northern Germany, were by no means free from the charge of this propensity.
These live upon the
About the most flesh-eating race in the world is the Australian. numerous wild animals and fowl of the bush, and cultivate nothing. testimony that they have liked a fragment of human flesh. The Tasmanians also, living upon kangaroos, &c., were guilty of the same.
Without doubt some people may like the taste of man, but the real occasion of cannibalism seems to be the gratification of revenge. As to M. Du Chaillu's tale of the African cannibals, not a few distinguished men believe that his story in several parts tells of his American associations, and we wait the confirmation of his remarks by other travellers. There are men whose apprehension is so very quick, that occasionally their perception runs ahead of the object.
I leave the question of the degradation to our nature, in the supposition of the necessity for us to eat one another if too long kept upon potatoes. If this be true, I advise Mr. Crawfurd, and every one else, to keep a sharp look out after the Manchester vegetarians, whose teeth must by this time be sharp set for a tender morsel of their kind. J. B.
[We hope to be favoured with other contributions from our esteemed correspon dent.-ED. D.R.]
Reviews and Notices of Books.
THE CULTIVATION OF SMALL FARMS.
1. Our Farm of Four Acres, and the Money we made by it. London: Chapman and Hall. 2. How to Farm Two Acres profitably, including the Management of the Cow and the Pig. By JOHN ROBSON. London: "Cottage Gardener" Office.
3. Scientific Farming made Easy; or, the Science of Agriculture reduced to Practice. By THOMAS C. FLETCHER, Agricultural and Analytical Chemist. London: Routledge, Warne, and Routledge.
4. Health, Husbandry, and Handicraft. By HARRIET MARTINEAU. London: Bradbury and Evans.
(Continued from page 87.)
"How to Farm Two Acres Profitably " is evidently written by a person well up in gardening and garden literature. His instructions on the preparation and improvement of the soil are full and complete. Chapters on "Burning Clay," "First Steps in Tillage," "Division of the Ground," &c., are admirable for so small a book. But, to our view, he starts on a totally wrong principle. We hold with Harriet Martineau, and pretty nearly every cultivator of allotments, that grass and hay are the dearest food for cattle. That the natural grasses are the basis from which the cultivator starts, and that the quantity of food he gets beyond the ordinary produce of hay and grass, plus labour and capital, is the measure of his success. For instance, while the large dairy farmer apportions three acres for each cow, the small cultivator must, by the tillage of his soil, keep his cow upon half an acre. And while the graziers fatten an ox upon an acre of the richest grass, the small cultivator, and particularly if he be a vegetarian, must show how he can find the food for himself and a small family, from that same acre of rich grass when brought into tillage. Therefore, when a modern instructor announces what he can do, and when examined proves that his ultima thule of progress is cultivating up to the natural grasses, he surely has mistaken his mission, or, depending upon old teaching, he has lost his way. And from his remarks about cabbages as bad food for milch cows, we can only presume that gardener he may be, but that he knows nothing practically of the dairy. We know from experience that Cobbett was right in recommending the small cultivator to depend upon cabbages as one of the mainstays of the small dairy. And we well know we have had the choicest butter, not only in our estimation but that of the public in the market place, from cabbage-fed cows.
We again object to his instructions for the cultivation of lucerne, not only as meagre and leaving out the really important information that is wanted to be generally known about the necessities and habits of this valuable plant, but stating what is untrue and deceptive. He says "lucerne likes a stiff soil;" and he purposes "calling (it) permanent for a year or two." No doubt with his stiff soil and his instructions a year or two will be long enough for the endurance of his lucerne.
Now the value of lucerne as a forage crop is little known in this country; and where known is a crop much oftener desired than grown. The soil is blamed, and no doubt very correctly, if every owner of a clay soil on the old red sandstone, or the blue lias, or the Oxford clay, attempts its cultivation with such meagre instructions as are given by John Robson, in his two acre farming.
Lucerne was, the most important forage crop of the Roman and Italian farmer-the ancients were almost wild in its praises. "Agrum stercorat. Macra animatia reficit. Curat agrota. Jugerum ejus toto anno tribus equis abunde sufficit." "Tanta dos ejus est ut cum uno satu amplius quam triginta annis duret."
And the modern French farmer is equally satisfied with its value and usefulness. He places his chief dependence upon it for green fodder. Taking the earliness of its first cut, and the quantity of its annual produce, it is deemed by him the most valuable green crop for soiling. And indeed by some it is thought as highly of dried as hay. A French hectare produces as much as fourteen tons of dry hay at three mowings, being equal to a little more than five and a half tons to the English acre. A strong contrast in weight and worth to the ordinary produce of our meadow land that our author teaches his readers to work up to!
Lucerne will not prosper in a sandy soil, it cannot retain sufficient moisture for it; neither will it succeed in a clay soil, it is too tenacious for the tender and long roots of the plant to penetrate. But a rich loam, with a porous subsoil, containing sufficient humus to retain moisture, and a large quantity of calcareous matter to build up the fabric of the plant, will carry lucerne, if kept clean of weeds and manured rationally, through the cultivator's lifetime. In our opinion it has often failed on favourable soils in England in consequence of the absence of lime in the soil in sufficient quantity. Take for example twenty tons as the
produce of an acre, and that crop would carry away from the soil every year 552lbs. of lime, while of the other inorganic and more valuable ingredients of the soil, phosphoric acid, potash, &c., it only carries off altogether 348 lbs. Therefore its natural food can be supplied very efficiently with the commercial super-phosphate of lime, and the occasional addition of wood or coal ashes.
We will now turn to a more pretentious work, "Scientific Farming made Easy;" by Thomas C. Fletcher, Agricultural and Analytical Chemist. This book excited largely our expectation and attention. How miserably we were disappointed we shall presently show. We will only turn to his teaching about manures. For though there is a long affix to his name we shall not notice severely his botanical blunder in page 11. "The sensitive plant shrinks back," &c. "Another species of the same plant has acquired the name of flytrap." This is wrong, the first is a Mimosa, and the second a Dionea. At page 21 we are assured "no acid can be formed without its (oxygen) aid." So it seems this agricultural and analytical chemist never met with or heard of muriatic acid formed by chlorine and hydrogen. Even this blunder might have been passed over if it had not been accompanied by the disgraceful one that follows. At page 37 we have a table occupying the whole page, "of the weight of fixed or incombustible ingredients in pounds avoirdupois in every ton of the following crops." Now a table of this kind is exceedingly valuable to every cultivator who wishes to specially manure any of his crops. But worse than nothing if put together by a blunderer or one ignorant of the subject. Now the one given here by this agricultural and analytical chemist is a tissue of blunders. And yet he tells us at page 3, "In all that appertains to manures, their constituents and process of manufacture, I have stated nothing but what has been borne out by my actual experience and that of numerous friends, spread over a long series of years, and tested under many and various adverse circumstances." Now turn to his table. Swedes, for instance; a ton removes from the soil of fixed ingredients, potash, 39 lbs. 4oz.; soda, 261b. 23oz.; lime, 181b. 11oz.; magnesia, 6 lb. 5oz.; phosphoric acid, 9 lb. 23oz.; sulphuric acid, 201b.; salt, 157 lb. 134oz.; sand, 101b. 9oz. Together 288 Ib. and 07. of fixed inorganic matter in one ton of swedes! Now any tyro in agricultural matters would tell you off at hand that he expects to get in a ton of swedes 1,948 lb. of water, 272 lb. of carbonaceous and nitrogenous matter of food, and just about 20lb. of ash or fixed inorganie matter. And yet this agricultural and analytical chemist, who has had so many years of experience, and has stated nothing but his own actual experience, finds over 288 lb. of the mineral matter of the soil in every ton of swedes. Really we should like to handle some of these swedes, we fancy they would make capital cannon balls for Armstrong guns. Such swedes never did and never will enter a cow's mouth. A similar or worse blunder is made with cabbages, carrots, mangold, &c., &c. Now we have no doubt our readers may fancy this agricultural chemist knew what he was about, and knew as well as an agricultural tyro that about 20lb. is the quantity of fixed or mineral matters in a ton of swedes, and that there was some printer's blunder in the figures. No, no. There is no such excuse for an agricultural and analytical chemist. For in the following page to his valuable table he tells us: "A mere superficial glance of the preceding table will be sufficient to show its bearing upon the subject under consideration, and will enable the practical farmer, by a judicious application of special artificial fertilizers, to return to the soil those substances which former crops may have removed in any remarkable degree from it, or to re-supply them, by mixing with his ordinary manure when preparing his land for the following crops. By way of illustration, let us suppose a farmer to be preparing his soil to receive a crop of swedes; he will find that, to produce a good average crop (25 tons per acre, for instance), he will require an extra amount of salt, seeing that 25 tons of swedes will require at least 35 cwt. 1 qr. of that material alone; and as the crop could not be expected to take up all the salt supplied, a dressing of two tons per acre would not be an overdose."
Now we have here a deliberate repetition of this outrageous blunder, and even reasoned out in this agricultural and analytical chemist's manner. If any farmer could be found foolish enough to take this pretended advice, and use two tons of salt for every acre of swedes he cultivates, and could afterwards catch this agricultural and analytical chemist, he would give him such a "dressing" that he would require pickling in his own salt.
We do think that if the respectable London publishers had known enough of the contents of the book, their name would not have appeared on its title page; and that the Nottingham squire and the Nottingham farmers would not willingly be mixed up with, and accept the dedication of, such a book of blunders.
"Health, Husbandry, and Handicraft," by Harriet Martineau. We do not intend here to notice the chapters on Health and Handicraft. Our present subject is Husbandry; and Harriet Martineau, who has benefited her country in so many ways, renders the nation again her debtor by her bold attempt at two-acre farming, and by her admirable exposition of her mode of proceeding.
In the year 1850, Miss Martineau published "Two Letters on Cow-Keeping." (London: Gilpin; price 6d.) We then thought, and have thought so ever since, that it was the best sixpennyworth ever published upon the question. Since then these "Two Letters" have
been worked up in chapters in Household Words and Chambers's Journal, and now they do service again in making up "Health, Husbandry, and Handicraft." If we have any complaint to make, it is that our old valuable sixpenny pamphlet should be handed to us again in our 9s. book. True it may be said, on the other side, the matter or the manner must be valuable, or it would not bear so many transformations. Well, that we grant. It matters not whether it be Cow-Keeping or Indian History, Novels, or Philosophy, Harriet Martineau's genius is equally displayed in all.
And her "Cow-Keeping" is interesting to her countrymen and countrywomen, for it brings out some touches of her personal history. She buys a field, two acres and a quarter, in a beautiful valley in the Lake District, to build herself a home some twelve years or more ago. Her house and garden occupy a part of this field, the remainder is let to a man who grazes it with a cow, and does nothing else to render it fertile or neat. The untidy field annoys her. She cannot get cream and butter, and hams and poultry, when she wants them, and so she determines to see if she cannot get them out of the untidy field. She at once writes to the master of the Guiltcross Union Workhouse, far away southwards, to send her a spadesman who knows how to cultivate land. The master made a very happy choice, and Miss Martineau evidently got a clever, useful servant. At once one cow was kept, and soon two, besides pigs and poultry. And a half-acre more land was hired and a hedge was "sticked" up, and the land made productive. Now, for eleven or twelve years the experiment has lasted; and though she has had "accidents by flood and field," and death deprived her of one lamented cow, it appears that it has turned out financially as she wished. She did not desire gain, neither "could she afford to lose by the experiment," so she said. The experiment, then, of Two-acre Farming, even when undertaken by an elderly lady, provides admirably for a working man and his wife, finds the employer with milk, cream, butter, poultry, hams, eggs, &c., with many household conveniences, and these products pay for their cost and leave some surplus. She gives us in "Health, Husbandry, and Handicraft," at page 283, her balance-sheet of cow-keeping:
Now we fear we have hardly space enough to comment fully upon this balance-sheet. "Grass and hay," she tells us very correctly in her pamphlet, page 9, "are the most expensive kinds of food." The same truth is repeated in "Health, Husbandry, and Handicraft," page 274. And we too are told, in both pamphlet and book, that three acres of pasture are commonly used in her neighbourhood to keep a cow. Now, though hay and grass be the dearest food, and three acres of grass be required to keep a cow, better far to go on the old fashioned way than spend £10 in food and £2. 15s. in tillage and manure on the improved plan of keeping a cow on half an acre of tillage. Why, three acres of pasture can be had in most rural districts for £2 an acre; thus the cost of three acres would be but £6, and so £6. 15s. would be saved. Improvements in agriculture, it seems, like gold, may be bought too dear. And then the item of attendance, £11, is erroneous. Fancy a small Irish farmer on twenty acres, with his five cows only making £11 each profit-£55 a year, a decent income for him. "Never mind how large is the cost, if it pays." Very well, let
us see. Milk, £30. 8s. 4d. from each cow.
We are told it is made up thus: "After calving, she gave sixteen quarts or more for a time; to set against which there was the decline and dryness before calving; so that we reckon the average at ten quarts." Now we are perfectly satisfied Miss Martineau would not willingly deceive any one; yet we cannot but believe she is estimating the produce of the milk too high. Mind, it is only an estimate, an assumption, she is making. Now, ten quarts a day for 365 days is 913 gallons for the year. Morton, in his valuable "Handbook of Dairy Husbandry" takes 600 gallons a year as the average product of each cow. In the
appendix of his book there are some valuable dairy statistics from J. T. Harrison, Esq., Frocester Court, Gloucestershire. He milks 55 cows; and the quantity of milk they gave was 31,728 gallons, or 577 gallons per cow, besides the milk expended in weaning 43 calves." This could not have made a material difference, as the calves were sold off at £1, and a week's milk or so each can only be added. Therefore, it seems the small unimproved cows from the fells of Cumberland are to be estimated as giving one-half more milk than the fine Gloucestershire breed, feeding in the vale of Berkeley! And we are inclined (we cannot but speak with diffidence about or against such a prodigy of learning, such a sage of wisdom, as Miss Martineau) to question the policy of always taking up with the local sort of cow. Rather awkward in Herefordshire, where the local breed are fit for anything but the dairy. And where, pray, would improvement come from if we sat down in perfect contentment with every local prejudice or infirmity? It may be true she lives "too far north for Alderneys," which, she says, "ladies often incline to, to their cost in the long run.” cannot for the life of us understand what is meant by the last clause of the sentence. the ladies are fond of them need excite no surprise. Their deer-like beauty of countenance, their docility of temper, the unequalled richness of their milk, are alone quite sufficient reasons for the preference. M. Le Corun's report, Journal of the Agricultural Society, October, 1859, states that "instances are cominon of [Jersey] cows giving 121b. or even 14lb. of butter in one week." Our own, a young one, with her second calf, gave 10 lb. and 101b. weekly at the flush of the season. It may be true that at the end of their usefulness as dairy cows they may be worth little or nothing. But anyone must have managed badly with them if they have not paid their cost and a long per centage of profit before they are ready to be cast off.
One word with Miss Martineau on our special question. We have always thought her knowledge perfectly encyclopedic. Nothing appears to have escaped her attention. But at last we have found one subject that she does not understand, and she virtually confesses it. In a very fine chapter on The weather, and the price of food in 1860," at page 312, she says: "The Vegetarians have the chance of a great triumph at such a time as this, if they can prove their point. Let them show what they can do in the economy of food, as well as in providing substitutes for meat." What are we to do to "show what we can" effect after all we have done? We bave published scientific and popular books; we have given lectures; we have published periodicals; we have challenged the flesh-eater in public and in private to prove his case-to only give us five reasons for eating flesh, and they have never been forthcoming. What are we to do more? Why, recommend Miss Martineau to read the Dietetic Reformer. And she may test our question in any way, and we will assist her; our pages are open for her objections, or for her defence of her bad habit of eating flesh.
But we must part with "Health, Husbandry, and Handicraft," and we cannot do so without our meed of praise. The book is full of convincing truth, told with marvellous eloquence and skill. And those who wish for health amidst city life, or to know the mystery of profit in small husbandry, or to survey the wonders of handicraft, cannot choose a better guide than this latest work of Miss Martineau.
After the conflicting accounts and balance-sheets of cow-keeping, a word may be expected from us. Undoubtedly a dairy is profitable, often the most profitable part of farming. But dairy cows are not generally generously kept. They are expected to "make bricks without straw," or something equivalent to it-to give us milk and butter without our giving them the elements of these articles in sufficient quantity. And this can be done economically and profitably. Not on grass at £5 per acre, with the ladies of "Our Farm of Four Acres;" nor on Thorley's food and such like, at £10 per year per cow; nor with Miss Martineau, or like her, with £12. 10s. attendance on each cow :-all this will not do with a small cultivator who wishes for profit. The attendance must be a part of his daily toil and pleasure, for it can be both. And as to the cows' food, he must grow oats, with clover, on a third of his land appropriated for cows. The oats he cuts green, just as the milk-sap of the seed is setting; and, when they are well harvested, he passes them in sheaves through his chaff cutter. Oats and straw unthrashed, and mixes the chaff with pulped roots. And give in addition to a cow in full milk 71b. of inalt dust daily, at a cost of threepencehalfpenny; or rape cake, well boiled to a soup, and mixed with the chaff and pulped root, at the same cost and about the same quantity. As to the cultivation of the land, we may have more to say some day.
Proceedings of the Thirty first Meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. Reprinted from the MANCHESTER GUARDIAN. Manchester: The Guardian Office.
THIS is a reprint of the proceedings of the British Association and its various sections, as reported from day to day in the local press. Of course the Report is not official, and is very much abbreviated. Some of the more important papers are given in extenso. In another page we have given several extracts from two or three interesting papers.