Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 45.djvu/132

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Evans, Treasurer of the Royal Society and Honorary Treasurer of the Rothamsted Jubilee Fund; the Earl of Clarendon, Lord Lieutenant of the County of Herts; Sir John Lubbock, M, P., Trustee of the Lawes Agricultural Fund; Mr. Ernest Clarke, Secretary to the Royal Agricultural Society of England and Honorary Secretary of the Rothamsted Jubilee Fund; representatives of the Société des Agriculteurs de France; and other men whose names are as significant and representative. Letters were read from the Prince of Wales, to whom is given the credit of having originated the celebration; Prince Christian; the Marquis of Salisbury; Prof. Huxley; Sir Gabriel Stokes; M. Tisserand, Director of Agriculture for France; the Association of Experimental Stations in Canada and the United States; M. Pasteur; M. Déhéran, and other foreigners famous in science. These distinguished guests were assembled, and the ceremonies of the day were performed, to do honor to the work of two men—plain farmers, we might correctly call them—who had spent their lives in the study of the best means of improving the yield and quality of agricultural crops—Sir John Bennet Lawes and Mr. Joseph Henry Gilbert.

We have already given, in a sketch of J. B. Lawes, in Volume XXVIII of The Popular Science Monthly, a brief account of the early history of the Rothamsted Agricultural Experiment Station.

It was established by Mr. Lawes on the estate which he entered by inheritance in 1834. He had been engaged for several years in chemical experiments, chiefly with reference to the preparation of drugs. As he wrote to a friend in 1888, he had not thought of any connection between chemistry and agriculture till his attention was attracted by the remark of a gentleman, who farmed near him, that on one farm bones were invaluable for the turnip crop, and on another farm they were useless. A quantity of precipitated gypsum and spent animal charcoal was offered him; he was using much sulphuric acid in his drug experiments; and here he had materials for applying superphosphate and enlarging and extending to the field experiments which he had begun with plants in pots. In 1843 Mr. Joseph Henry Gilbert became associated with Mr. Lawes, and the experiments have been continued since then without interruption under the joint direction of the two. The celebration we have mentioned was held to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of this connection and of the beginning of the real work of the Rothamsted Station. Both men were entitled to equal honor in remembrance, and both received it in the tributes which were offered.

Mr. Gilbert was born at Hull, August 1, 1817. His father was the late Rev. Joseph Gilbert, and his mother was well known as an author, under the name of Ann Taylor of Ongar. After