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AMERICAN QUARTERLY REVIEW.

No. XLI.

MARCH, 1837.

Art. 1.-1. Journal of the American Institute, a Monthly

Publication, devoted to the Interests of Agriculture, Commerce, Manufactures, and the Arts; accompanied with public documents, sketches of natural history, and, occasionally, philosophical and literary essays. Edited by a Committee,

Members of the Institute. Vol. I. New York: 1836. 2. The New England Farmer and Gardener's Journal; con

taining essays, original and selected, relating to agriculture and domestic economy, with the prices of country

produce. By THOMAS G. FESSENDEN. Boston: 1837. 3. Elements of Agricultural Chemistry, in a Course of Lec

tures for the Board of Agriculture. By Sir HUMPHREY Davy, LL. D. London: 1814.

Agriculture, in its broadest sense, may be defined the cultivation of the earth; and it is probably the most ancient of all the arts. Adam was sent forth to till the ground, and that was the condition of his existence. The precise date and measure of agricultural improvement, which existed during the different early ages of the world, cannot be accurately determined, from a want of historical records. The Chaldeans, the Phænicians, Egyptians, Persians, Athenians, and Romans, it is well known, practised agriculture with considerable success, and encouraged it among their people as an honourable employment: and the learned treatises upon the subject, which were written during the continuance of the Grecian and Roman rule, comprising the works of such men as Hesiod, Xenophon, Cato, Columella, Virgil, and Varro, almost rival in bulk the " many camel loads í of the Justinian age of the law. Who has not heard of Cincinnatus returning to his plough, after restoring the liberties of his country; or of Regulus, who requested to be recalled from Africa lest his farm might suffer from his absence; or of the VOL. XXI,—NO. 41.

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ancient Persian kings, who annually threw off their diadem, that they might eat with the husbandmen! The senators of Rome employed the intervals of their public duties in the cares of husbandry. The veneration for this employment was carried so far by the Egyptians, that they worshipped as gods certain products of the soil, and those animals which were used in tillage.

We shall present a condensed sketch of the early history of Agriculture, though the question may be asked, Why, in this age of printing, when the world can scarcely contain the books which are written, we discuss a matter so dry and opinteresting? We enter but a single plea of justification, the importance of the subject.

Agriculture was successfully exercised among the most civilized portions of the earth, until the reign of the Emperor Claudius, when it fell into neglect. The northern barbarians, who, after the reign of Constantine, overran Europe, cultivated by slaves only a small portion of the land near their habitations, and were content to roam over the vast deserts which their ravages had made, without any settled habits of industry. It is clear that, among these people, husbandry could receive but little attention. In 1478, an attempt was made to revive it, through the publication of a work in Florence by Crescenzio. The precise period in which agriculture was introduced into Britain is not known, although Julius Cæsar has alleged that it was practised by some of the colonists from Gaul who had settled in the southern part, about one hundred years before the Roman invasion. Great improvements were brought about in this art, however, by the establishment of the Romans in that country, and it sunk only with the declension of the other arts. Vast inroads were made by the Picts and Scots upon

the

general prosperity of the Britons; and on the arrival of the Saxons, in 449, the disastrous wars which followed actually drove the Britons from the fields which they had cultivated into barren regions. But although the Britons had lost, in a great measure, the science of agriculture, they encouraged it by their laws, which provided certain privileges in favour of those who should cultivate the soil.

The Anglo-Saxons, upon their accession to Britain, imbibed a contempt for agriculture, and enacted by law that it should be followed only by women and slaves. These haughty warriors were, however, soon obliged to pursue the art, when the Britons, whom they had before plundered of their subsistence, were driven from the kingdom. The Saxon princes divided their domains into two parts, the inlands and outlands. The foriner were generally contiguous to the mansion of the proprietor, and were cultivated by his slaves for domestic purposes :

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