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Atracts of a Series of MINUTES on WORKING ON SUNDAYŚ, made, during the backward Hay-time, and the Harvest of 1777.

Sunday, 3 Aug. 1777. Last Sunday, the Meadow.hay was in swath, and might iben have been cocked: no opportunity of cocking has fince occurred; and it is now yellow and almost rotten. It is true, I was facrilegious enough to turn some which was then spoil. ing; but the Men appeared to think it wrong, and to-day I did not dare to all their aflftance.

• Though it has been a heavenly day, not a man was to be found, even to uncover the stacks.

Tuesday, 5 Aug. It may be very good policy to have days of Relaxation and Sociability ; but surely these days ought not to be so holy as to interfere with the sacred Laws of Nature : it can never be good policy, in the Members of any State, to squander wantonly the means of their own preservation.

(See the 3d.) Had the Hay mentioned been then hook into Cocklics, 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 last week has been very slack Harvėstweather ; except yefterday, which was very fine.

. We had this morning about thirty loads of Wheat,-thirtý loads of Oats,- fifteen loads of Barley, -and twenty acres of second cut of Clover down; and most of them fit to be carried.

• The month of September is very uncertain Harvest weather : the days grow short;--the dews, remain long on the ground; the fogs frequently hang on till noon; and, until past the middle of the month, the Weather is generally squally and uncertain; though the latter end is as generally fine: this, at least, was the case 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 systems of theory in his own mind, as these frequently influence his reasoning, and make him acquiesce in the belief of certain principles aś indisputably right, which, if fully examined, would be found to be either erroneous or doubtful. We know not to what we could so properly liken the prejudices of mankind, with regard to dogmas in agriculture, as to the similar prejudices usual in religious matters. In both cases we imbibe these prejudices before our reason has acquired its full force, and afterward, from habit, rest satisfied with their rectitude, without mature examination. We see evident marks, on many occasions, 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 so on fome occasions. Like most modern freethinkers too, while in certain cases he yields implicit faith to the fables of the nurfery, and in some withholds his aflent where there is less room for doubt, in others he still relies, with a faulty credulity, on single facts; and from these deduces practical inferences that would, in many

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cases, be proved erroneous by the next experiment he should make. This chicfly 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 imposing on the Author or our Readers, it is necessary to inform them both, that our fpirited Writèr is as yet by far too young a farmer to be qualified for deducing general rules from his practice. He is still groping his way, like a blind man, through a labyrinth, of whose intricate windings he has scarce any adequate comprehenfion, although in some cases he imagines he has got a glimpse 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 present opinions as they occur, merely as temporary opinions, which he may soon find reafon to relinquish, and adopt new ones in their stead ; and which will, in like manner, be dirai placed in their turn. After twenty or thirty years experience thus employed, he will perhaps be capable of forming an useful digest, in which fome general principles may be discovered, and, possibly, be universally adopted. Perhaps before that time he may also be able to profit by touring * ; but till he is much farther advanced in practical knowledge than at present, 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 instruction from almost every object that occurs ; one of little experience fees objects that properly attract his attention.

The book already published is a sufficient specimen of a most excellent plan of study. As such we have viewed it, and in that view have bestowed upon it ample praise; but in this confifts almost its whole merit. Should more books, on the same plan, be published, equally undigested, we should be obliged to reprehend them, as destructive to the advancement of agriculture. We hope, therefore, that those whom it may concern will make a proper use 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 fole of a Junius–Atile memorandalfons of rusticity -- daughters of speculation, begin to opinion ; with numberless expreflions of a similar kind, are altogether indefensible. At a certain period of life, what is singular appears pretty. It is this that induces boys to

* The Author ridicules the practice of touring, as he calls it; that is, travelling in quett of agricultural knowledge.


metamorphose themselves into monkies, or macaronies. It is this which causes girls to become pert and petulant-speak loud at a play-titter at church, and be immoderately merry when others are disposed to be serious; and it is the same paffion which induces young authors to coin uncouth phrases. In all cases it is a certain proof of a present want of found fense, and a breach of decorum, that nothing but the contempt and pity which it excite's prevent from being deeply resented by every sensible person.

Nor can we admit, as sufficient, the apology which he offers for the many new-coined technical terms he has introduced, often without sufficient cause. These must be considered as trespasses on good-manners at least, if we do not bestow upon these words the harsher name of barbarisms. Of this kind are naturision, vegetision, customed, aerialis, &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 sake of precision. But a man of good manners will avoid using the technical terms, in all cases wherein it is possible to make himself understood by the help of ordinary words ; because he knows that when he employs unnecessarily these phrases, he renders himself unintelligible to some of those to whom he addresses himself, or gives them an unneceffary degree of trouble to understand him. A common failor interlards his discourse with sea-phrafes, upon all occafions; while the politer officer seldom finds it neceffary to employ any thing more than ordinary language ; or if he fees a technical term absolutely unavoidable, he uses it only when necessary. A man of judgment may, occasionally, employ uncommon phrases; but it is only a young writer, vain of his inventive genius, who will introduce them on all posible occasions. Our lively Author frequently trespasses in this way.

If technical terms, which have been long known, thould be thus cautiously employed, new ones should not be adopted but in cases of indispensible neceffity; and then they should be chosen with the most scrupulous care; otherwise they are neglected by succeeding writers, and they become as an unnecessary excrescence, 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 displaying their talents. We shall give one instance of the difficulty of succeeding, even where pains have not been spared :

• How difficult, fays our Author, the task to write intelligibly (it would be weakness to atteinpt to write elegantly) on infant sciences !


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The term furrow has, in Agriculture, three or four distinct fignifications, and mult' of neceslicy be a source of perpetual ambiguity. It signifies the soil turned by the płow, and the trench left by the operation. It fignifies the interval between two ridges, and the cross drain which receives the rain water collected by these intervals. -Johnson adds a fifth ; but he mistakes furrow for drill, or totally misunderlands Mortimer.

• How shall 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 trusts, that the See Critical will grant him a dispensation.

• But he finds it difficult even to lin; and confesses, that he was never more puzzled in coining a word, than in the present instance. —Johnson's general definition is, “ any long trench or hollow.” This includes three out of the four significations above mentioned ;but the soil turned, has no claim to it whatever ;-por, perhaps, does it strikingly resemble any thing :-a bad furrow, indeed, might be compared to the leaf of a book, or the list of cloth; but a good fur. row is nearly square, and the ideas have no connexion.

• Will analogy help us ? A spade-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 so near an affinity. But this will not do ;-it conveys an idea too effeminate for the robust operation 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 at? The intention is various, but the act itself is uniformly, to turn the foil with a plow, upside down-o 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 soil by a plow, and the thing produced is the portion of soil turned by the plow; and if we raise a name here, turn or plow, or both, is the root or roots from which it must noot. Turning would be ambiguous; because it is generally understood to mean two of these things made by one turning of the team-and so would plowing, becaule it has already cwo or three fignifications. • As it is so difficult to find a suitable word which has


determinate meaning, shall we look for some general term without any meaning at all? Shall we call them frings, floreds, fips or frips? No ; these are tog infignificant for so important an operation.

• What shall 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 some 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 spoken or written. A spade is a hand-plow; a plow is a {pade 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. sion of earth turned by the plow, a Plit.

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. But there are still three ideas which lay claim to she word Furrow :

The trench made by the plow;
The collateral drains ;

And the cross drains ; which the Writer will diftinguith, when distinction is neceíTary, by

The Plow-Furrow ;
The Inter Furrow;

The Cross-Purrow. • 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 talk in the world ; for the Writer has scarcely introduced or altered any word throughout these MINUTES and the Digest, which has not cost him a train of ideas bearing some resemblance 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 “ small trench.”

It is allowed that a real ambiguity here occurs, and that fome new terms are necessary-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-fice to denote that part of the mould turned over by the plow, which is by Mr. Marshall called plit. Mr. Anderson, in the Eljays reo lating to Agriculture and rural Affairs, likewise distinguishes the trench made by the plow in working, from the interval between the ridges, calling the first a thurrow, and the last only a fur. row; yet we doubt if succeeding authors will be pleased 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 reserve, 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 posible he would adopt the following words in preference to any of the former, as he thinks they have at least a greater claim to simplicity.

In some of our northern counties the provincial word to dea note the trench made by the plow in going, is not furrow, but simply 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 side of the ridge in rows, has naturally been denominated fure rows. Would not these two terms, if always used in the above fense, prevent intirely the necessity of Lord Kaims's furrow.flice, and Mr. Marshall's plit, and have less 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 app

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