Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/393

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THE ROTATION OF THE FARM.

the time when we can find the intermediate links that may unite them into a series.

And now let us continue faithful to the glorious traditions which our great masters have bequeathed to us. The majority of the students whose names are inscribed in the preceding congresses were archæologists. Lartet and Dessort, Vorso and Liche, Hozedine and Clericci, Ouvarov and Romer, who remain the protecting genius of our congress, have shown us how we must work. To select an example, questions like that of the discovery of copper, and of its value as a medium of exchange, ought to be problems of the greatest interest to us.—Translated for The Popular Science Monthly from the Revue Scientifique.

 
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THE ROTATION OF THE FARM.
By APPLETON MORGAN.

IT was an English maxim, as old as Harold, and it is probably a safe one to-day, that "horses feel a famine first." The meaning, of course, is that, in the commencement of a dearth of cereals, the stables would be pillaged of the grains fed to the horses by a hungry populace before it clamored to the authorities for bread.

They seem to have changed all that in Massachusetts. There lies before me a pamphlet, issued by the authority of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, entitled A Descriptive Catalogue of Farms in Massachusetts, Abandoned or partially Abandoned (issued under the provisions of chapter 280 of the Acts of 1891), by William R. Sessions, Secretary of the State Board of Agriculture, November, 1891. Certainly this is a startling head-line, and those of us who had begun to have faith in modern methods, in agricultural colleges, in the chemistry of crop rotation, by which the element exhausted by the yield of one year should be supplied by the next, confronted by it might begin to weaken as to the compensations, and what had been supposed to be the eternal laws of reciprocal affinities! Is it possible, we would perhaps find ourselves asking, that the Massachusetts farmer, the nearest in the Union in point of mileage to the two or three greatest of its markets, should "abandon" the fields of his ancestors? That, after generations of tillage, any tracts of agricultural land anywhere are diverted to other utilities in the course of their prime function of supporting life is a familiar contingency. Lands once agricultural may be covered by residences or factories as neighboring towns spread out to include them. But absolute abandonment would seem the rarest of possibilities, so long, at least, as