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Weekly national intelligencer. [volume] (Washington [D.C.]) 1841-1869, January 08, 1853, Image 6

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NATIONAL INTELLIGENCER.
THE CULTURE OF POTATOES.
A few days ago there was received at the office of
this journal, for examination, a sample of a crop of
Potatoes which have been brought to a highly im
proved quality by the Kev. Joel Blew, of Howard
county, Maryland, whose post-office is Savoy, in
that county.
We are satisfied that in regard to the improve
ment in the cultivation of this important article of
food, which has been examined and highly approv
ed by the 44 Klk llidge Agricultural Club," we can
not do a better service to our rural aud suburban
readers than by transferring to our columns the first
part of an Essay, by Mr. Blew, on the cultivation of
ihe potatojoriginally published iu the HowardGazette.
To the u Elkridge Agricultural Club."
Gk.mllmkn : I have been trying these twenty years to
improve Irish potatoes?in yield, shape, uniformity in
mze, uniformity in ripening, and clear of prongs, knots,
pimples, My success has been in proportion to my
efforts; I think myself amply rewarded. I was about
eight years trying to discover the most profitable variety
of Potatoes from Germany, Irelaud, &c. For the last
twelve years I have had only the Nova Scotia Mercer,
or, as they are commonly called, the White Mercer. They
improve a little each year. They will keep well until
July. V'ou can readily discover more imperfection and
evident signs of disease in other potatoes with the naked
eye than you can detect in them by using the most pow
erful glass. My plan is as follows :
Seei>.?I examine all the potatoes offered for sale in
April. I go from one end of the wharf to the other, and
agree with the 6eller to let me pick out one, two, three,
or more bushels. I then take such as I know to be per
fectly ripe. A ripe potato, if dug at the right time, has
a smooth akin?as smooth as an apple?and in the sun
shine is a little pink-colored about the smaller end.
About planting time, I take a ktiife that I am used ??
i fixed my ?.iua juet what resistance the
right kind of a jn>cato has. If the knife passes too easily
through it, I rej?;t it ; if it cuts a little too hard, I reject
if. I am careful to get a suitable place to work. The
light must strike, so as to show the color. Much, very
much depends upon the color of the flesh of a potato for [
- ???'1. A good plan is to set a pure stone china dish to
i.if right hand?this is a good guide as to color. If the
p 'Mtoes were raised north of the 12d degree of north la-1
t.tule, they will have a little pink an<l purple, or '-Castile
f'Mp'' appearance. This is no objection. Then a piece
ttf polished Italian marble is a good guide. 1 mean the
white mast be white, and not muddy. If you cut a pure
Mercer potato in two, if it is free from all disease, when
you lo-i'v at it through a good magnifying glass it will
look like a white frost upon a smooth surface when the
sun I ^ to shine upon .it. The little cavities or air
ceU", mid water bladders will be regular and uniform in
Vae ; the water from the cut bladders will look verj elean,
clear iud thiu; it will look like the sweat upon an in
faut"- :'ie; it will have a '? shiny," sparkling appearance,
like the broken eud of a bar of cast steel in the sun. If
the is dropsical which is very often the case) the
cut surface will look like melting snow and ice running
from t'ue stable door ; it will be turbid, and a little frothy.
If it have the consumption, the air cells and water blad
der- vill be irregular in size; the water will look like
old skimmed milk?you can see a gradual derangement
all through the potato. Many potatoes look as if they
had been taken out of red clay: the skin is a little yel
lowish, aTvl a part of it covered with pimples?it is dis
eased. l&you take an old well-worn fine gingham apron,
and wipe s potato carefully, you will see small specks of
color. Apply the glass; if all is right those specks will
not show mere than the one hundredth part of an inch.
Bat if they ?bow black, or grey one-twentieth of an inch;
a microscope will show them to be a mass of rottenness.
In cutting n?n bushels of the best offered for sale, I may
get one buiftl ?.f the rirht sort.
PLASTiNn.?On clean, light, well-ploughed ground, lay
off with aa Atwood or broad two-horse plough. Let a
hand follow with the guano, throwing a full handful along
the furrow every step. Then let the most skilful follow
with a shovel-plough. Say, "Now, my good fellow, do
your best; yuu will pass this shovel along this furrow 1J
inches deep, right in the middle of the furrow, and as
straight as ft line.1' The guano is then aicely mixed with
the soil, and you have a half circle to drop the sets in.
Let the droppers follow. Drop about eight inches apart.
If we have four droppers, when the ploughs have laid off
an acre, the dripper; wid be about half through; then
let the shovel-plough begin at the first row and throw the
earth from each side off into the row.
Depth to Plaxt.?This is a very important point. The
full and perfect development of a potato depends very
much upon the trnpcraturt and humidity of its bed. Our
soils vary so much in this reaped that no safe rule can as
yet be given. If you take three inches of the surface soil
of the light islngluss lands of Elkridge, after a heavy rain
of forty-eight hours' continuance, you will find that it has
absorbed only at>out 11 per cent, of its weight of water.
And if you dig to the depth of five feet you will perceive
all the way down about the same humidity. Again, this
soil absorbs more dew, dries off more gradually, and al
lows the atmospheric air to penetrate deeper and to cir
culate more freely than any soil I have ever seen. I
would suggest that we plant 4 rows 4 inches deep, 4 rows
6 inches deep, and 4 rows 9 inches deep, and, about the
1st of June, bury a thermometer with the bulb exactly at
the depth of tire seed in the three different depths, and
every two or three days note the temperature. Then
when we dig we shall not only know the best depth to
plant, but we shall know to some extent the temperature.
This will serve as a guide in future in all such soil. Again,
there ia a good deal of land the surface of which is light
and appears very much like the above, but G, 8, or 10
inches down it is a stiff tenacious clay, that will absorb
to 80 per cent, of it* weight in water. This land 1
never would plant iti potatoes without subsoiling very
deep and putting on ashes and shell lime and mixing tho
roughly. I have never seen a crop of potatoes taken out
of such soil that-were not dropsical. I have read of one,
and only one exception. Gen. B. C. Howard, of Baltimore
county, in 184'.?, who raised fine Mercer potatoes on (mark
hit! language; "stiff clay loam; manure in the drill on
and under the potato." It gives me pleasure to record
such cases. Tbj?t a stiff clay soil is nAt suitable for pota
toes, Frederick county. Ohio, and Kentucky will prove.
If you weigh one-pound of stiff clay when dry, pnt it in a
colander, sprinkle water upon it until it will hold no
more, when it stopt dripping it will weigh about ljj lbs.
1'ut it in a plate in the son in July, it will dry off very
iuitmptraitly ; the first half-inch will not only become dry,
but it will become dusty and heated before the next half
inch will let its water go off. If you put a plateful of
this clay on a bench in the garden at night and a plate
full of the isinglass soil by its side, in the morning you
will find that the Utter has become quite moist, altlfiugh
while the olay is not perhapa moi?tened one half-inch. I
think a clay clod by a jrrowin(t potato is much worse than
a stone of the ?ame siie. The clod draws moisture away
from the potato, the stone does not; and it is thought
that it may impart moisture to the potato. I know of no
good reasons wiiy a potato may not be grown as round as
an onion or a turnip; if it meets with the same resist
ance all around, and fix*] adapted to its growth is equally
accessible at all points. Potatoes grown in rich nnc
ground without any manure are nearly round.
You perceive, gentlemen, that my theory, roughly
sketched in this paper, is to prttml disease. We may
weep over our blighted sickly vines until the fountain of
our tears runs dry?we may sigh over the $250,000 loss
on the Kennebec river alone, the $243 paid lor one e?say
on the rol, the $2o,*')00,<>00 annual loss in Ireland, Eng- i
land, and Wales, three-fourths of the whole cropin Hoi-1
land, the universally inferior quality of the lri?h potato,
from north to south, and from ocean to ocean, and the
very high prices the consumers have paid for these ten
years ; I tell yoa, gentlemen, we mux take our stand at
the threshold of danger ; we must strangle the enemy in
the cradle. I have tried "cutting off the vines." salt,
lime, charcoal, finely ground bone, liquid manure, chem
ical compounds; and found it all like giving the child
medicine to cure the mother. When we shall have pa
tiently .and pcrseveringly studied the temperature and
humidity of our soils, the anatomical structure, the circu
lation of the juicep. the influence of light, heat, and air,
the kind and quantity of food that our plants require,
then, and not until then, shall wc be prepared folly to
appreciate the benefits of chemistry.
Between the practical farming and the science of
chemistry there will l?e contradictions, if the intermtdiatu
causes are not well understood. One example. Chemis
try tells us that there is very little nutriment in an Irish
potato, not the one fourth as much as in wheat, and very
little more than in an apple. Experience tells us that
there axe now living in Baltimore aged gentlemen who
show unmistakeable signs of a powerful and maacular
frame, men who have stood at the head of commerce;
their voices have been heard at the Baltimore Bar, and
in the State Senate; their intellectual power is un
questioned, and when these muscular frames were form
ing, and this powerful intellect was expanding, their food,
their ordinary food, wan roasted Irish potatoes and salt;
sometimes milk was added. Now to make out beth
chemistry and experience true, we must know that if the
hungry stomach is distended by healthy vegetable food,
er a mixture of animal and vegetable food, it is all that
nature requires. Hix ounce* of roasted potatoes will do a
iiungry man more good than six ounces of sugar. * * *
C0N(rJvh8S.
?IoNIUY, JANUARY 3, 1853.
IN SENATE.
INTERPOSITION IN FAVOR Oi' RELIGIOUS PRIVILEGES
Mr. CASS. Mr. President, 1 have bean requested to
present the petition, which I send to the Clerk's table,
from the Maryland Baptist Union Association, asking*the
interposition of the United States to secure to Americans
abroad the right* of jreligious worship according to their
contciences, and to more its reference to the appropriate
committee. I do this with pleasure, not only from regard
to (lie motives and position of those who make this appli
cation, but also because I heartily concur with them in
the importance of the object, an<l in the propriety of call
ing the attention of the Government to it?an object dear
to k* and to the world, in its consequences, now nud here
after. This body of pious and intelligent christians
aimously uesire the freedom or religious worship tor
tinir countrymen, wherever the accidents of life may car
ry them. A mi it is not strange that this sentiment should be
strongly felt and strongly expressed in this land of Gospel
liberty, but it is strange that in this age of the world, and
in this day of intellectual advancement, any obstacle
should be interposed by any Government in Christendom
tj prevent the believers in the faith of Jesus from follow
ing the dictates of their conscience, and, while rendering
unto Caesar the things that are Cesar's, prohibit them from
rendering unto God the things that are God's, agreeably
to their own convictions of the injunctions of his divine
word. I coincide fully with the signers of this petition,
that the best of all freedom is the freedom of conscience,
and that there is no tyranny so revolting as that which
tyrannizes over the mind.
[Here Mr. Smith objected to the remarks of Mr. Cass,
as not being in order upon the presentation of a petition.
But the Senate permitted Mr. Cass to go on.]
We have H right (said Mr. Cass) to be heard in such
an appeal as this, for we have tried the great experiment?
an experiment do longer, for it has become experience?
of the entire separation of Church and State and have
shown that unrestricted freedom of worship is not only
beat for the political interests of a country, but best for
the true interests of religiou itself. Lntortunately, the
arrore of the dark ages have not yet wholly yielded ty the
progress of truth; and in many countries the civil au
thority impiously undertakes to exclude any form of reli-1
glon but its own ; and non-conformity is not the want of
conformity to the will of God, but the offence of prefer- j
ring the Divine will to that of the ruler. Human pre
sumption has never gone further than in the erection of a
standard of faith with which all must agree, or be subject
to the penalties of the Government here and to the denun
ciations of the church hereafter. So far as regards the
profession of a particular doctrine as a necessary <jualifi
cation for office, however we may* lament its preemption
and injustice, we have no national cause of oo mplaint, as
that is a question of internal policy. And nothing better
illustrates the slow progress of truth in those old coun
tries, where it has many interests and prejudices to en
counter, than the fact that even in England, with all her
real claims to freedom and intelligence, a Jew to this day
cannot occupy a seat in Parliament without taking ancath
by which he abjures his own faith, nnd the religion of his
forefathers.
But we have a right to expect from the comity of all
friendly nations that American citiiens be permitted to
enjoy liberty of worship -wherever they may go. There
is not the slightest reasonable objection to such a demand.
It ought not indeed to be necessary, for this unworthy sys
tem of intolerance has not the least foundation in reason
or religion. It is a mere relic of barbarism, converting
the religion ?f the Gospel into an engine of State, and sub
stituting human fallibility, or rather human presumption,
for those personal convictions of religious belief which
every one should exercise for himself, and for the exercise
of which every one is responsible.
In what manner it may be proper for our Government
to present this grave question to other Governments I do
not undertake at present to say. I shall move its refer
ence to the Committee on Foreign Relations, feeling satis
fied that they will give it their earnest attention, and in
the hope that they will make a report which will be au
thoritative as the expression of our views, and still more
those of our constituents, in any communications the Ex
ecutive may open with foreign. Powers. Certainly there
can be no objections to firtn and friendly representations,
and I cannot doubt that these declarations of the wishes
of the American people will have weight every where, and
I am satisfied they will ere long produce a salutary effect
in some countries, and eventually in all. This is a kind of
interposition which well befits this Republic: and as day
by day we find ourselves engaged in far different ques
tions. we have come to feel gratified that the ojtportunity
is offered us of aiding in a work which commends itself
to our consideration by the highest motives that can in
fluence human action.
And I am free to confess, sir, that for myself I rejoice
at the occasion thus given to us, while pleading for the
full toleration of religion, to bear our testimony to its
| priceless value. Independent of its connexion with hu
man destiny hereafter, 1 believe the fate of republican
governments is indissolubly bound up with the fate of
the Christian religion, and that a people who repel its
holy faith will find themselves the slaves of their own evil
passions and of arbitrary power. And I am free also to
acknowledge that I do not see altogether without anxiety
some of the signs which are shadowed forth around us.
A weak and sublimated imagination with some, and un
regulated passions with others, are producing founders
and followers of strange doctrines, whose tendencies it is
easier to foresee than it is to account for their origin and
progress. But they will find their barrier and their reme
dy, not in legislation, but in a sound rsligious opinion,
whether they inculcate an appeal to God, by means of
*loek* and ttont* and rapping*, the latest and the most ri
diculous experiment upon human credulity, ,or whether
they seek to pervert the Scriptures to the purposes of
their own libidinous passions, by destroying that safe
guard of religion and social order, the institution of mar
riage, and by leading lives of unrestricted intercourse,
thus making proselytes to a miserable imposture, un
worthy of our nature, by the temptations of unbridled
lust. This ?nne trial was made in Germany some three
centuries ago, in a period of strange aberrations, ami fail
ed. And it will fail here. Where the Word of God is
free to all, no such Tile doctrine can permanently estab
lish itself.
I now more the reference of this petition to the Com
mittee on Foreign Relations.
Mr. UNDERWOOD complimented Mr. Cass, tendering
him his thanks for the progress he had made.
Mr. HALE regarded the subject as an important one,
ami while he approved of the object of the memorial, did
not very well see how this country could make such an
appeal. The memorial asked the interposition of this
Government in order that religious freedom might be
tolerated in a country where it wns expressly forbidden by
law. Was it not a species of that higher-law doctrine
which had been so much condemned in certain quarters ?
In this country it appeared that no higher law was tole
rated than the Baltimore platform and the fugitive slave
act, and yet this memorial, so highly extolled by the
Senator from Michigan, sought to force upon countries a
law higher than their own. He would be glad that all
nations should b? taught that there was a God whose
laws were supreme, and that men had consciences, but
he thought, under all the circumstances of the case, this
country should be the last to send missionaries to preach
that doctrine.
Mr. PASS. If I understood what the Senator from
New Hampshire meant I might reply to him.
Mr. HALE. The difficulty on the part of the Senator
in oomprehending my meaning arises from the fact
that I mean precisely what I say?a thing so unusual in
this Senate that the Senator cannot understand it.
[Laughter]
The memorial was then referred to the Committee on
Federal Relations.
MEMORIALS AND PETITION?.
The following memorials and petitions were presented
and appropriately referred:
: liy Mr. SMITH : From II. F. Gold, of New Haven, Con
necticut, asking the patronage of the Government to
wards his discovery far the manufacture of American
sheet Iron equal to the best Russian.
Also, from Charles T. Wells, asking a gratuity in con
sideration of the discovery of his father, Dr. Horace
Wells, of the availability of anaesthetic agents in surgi
cal operations.
Mr. S. moved to refer it to the Committee on Patents,
which led to a long discussion, and Mr. 8. afterwards
moved its reference to a select committee.
Mr. CASS complained of the time wasted in a dis
cussion that did not bear on the question, and moved to
lsy the petition on the table; which motion was agreed to.
By Mr. FISH : From the proprietors of the New York
and Havre mail steamers, asking the Government to grant
them such further aid as will enable them to pursue the
service without ruin to themselves, or to purchase their
ships at equitable prices, or to release them from their
contract.
RESOLUTIONS.
Mr. HALF, submitted the following resolution:
Hr*>lrrd, That the Herretary of the Navy be directed to
inform the Senate the number of days the United States ra*ee
Independence, thr flagship of the Mediterranean squadron,
commended by Charles W. Morgan, was at sea after her ar
rival at Naples on th? Htb of September, 1A4?, until she
sailed thence for the United State* on the 2Wh Maroh, 1862)
how many days said ship w?. at anchor in the bay or
harbor of Naples, and how long at Spextia or other ports
daring that period; what portien of the aforesaid two and a
half jeer* was pasted on shore, aad hew much of it on bo?rd
?hip by said Morgan ; what it the estimated expense of a ship

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