The spelling in this text has been preserved as in the original. Obvious printer's errors have been corrected. You can find a list of the corrections made at the end of this e-text.
* * * * *
THE PRINCIPLES, PROCESSES, AND EFFECTS OF DRAINING LAND
WITH STONES, WOOD, PLOWS, AND OPEN DITCHES, AND ESPECIALLY WITH TILES;
TABLES OF RAIN-FALL, EVAPORATION, FILTRATION, EXCAVATION, CAPACITY OF PIPES; COST AND NUMBER TO THE ACRE, OF TILES, &C., &C.,
AND MORE THAN 100 ILLUSTRATIONS.
BY HENRY F. FRENCH.
"READ, not to contradict and to confute, nor to believe and take for granted, but to weigh and consider."—BACON.
"The first Farmer was the first man, and all nobility rests on the possession and use of land."—EMERSON.
NEW YORK: C. M. SAXTON, BARKER & CO., AGRICULTURAL BOOK PUBLISHERS, No. 25 PARK ROW 1860.
ENTERED, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1859, BY HENRY F. FRENCH, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States in and for the Southern District of New York.
TO The Honorable Simon Brown, of MASSACHUSETTS, A LOVER OF AGRICULTURE, AND A PROGRESSIVE FARMER, WHOSE WORDS AND WORKS ARE SO WELL DEVOTED TO IMPROVE THE CONDITION OF THOSE WHO CULTIVATE THE EARTH, THIS BOOK IS INSCRIBED, AS A TESTIMONIAL OF RESPECT AND PERSONAL ESTEEM, BY HIS FRIEND AND BROTHER, THE AUTHOR.
The Agriculture of America has seemed to me to demand some light upon the subject of Drainage; some work, which, with an exposition of the various theories, should give the simplest details of the practice, of draining land. This treatise is an attempt to answer that demand, and to give to the farmers of our country, at the same time, enough of scientific principles to satisfy intelligent inquiry, and plain and full directions for executing work in the field, according to the best known rules. It has been my endeavor to show what lands in America require drainage, and how to drain them best, at least expense; to explain how the theories and the practice of the Old World require modification for the cheaper lands, the dearer labor, and the various climate of the New; and, finally, to suggest how, through improved implements and processes, the inventive genius of our country may make the brain assist and relieve the labor of the hand.
With some hope that my humble labors, in a field so broad, may not have entirely failed of their object, this work is offered to the attention of American farmers.
H. F. F.
THE PINES, EXETER, N. H., March, 1859.
LIST OF ENGRAVINGS.
Elkington's Mode 32, 33 Ditch and Bore-hole 35 Keythorpe System 42 Theory of Springs 80-84 Plug Drainage 106, 107 Mole Plow 108 Wedge Drains 111 Shoulder Drains 111 Larch Tube 112 Pole Drain 113 Peat Tiles and Tool 113 Stone Drains 115-117 Draining Bricks 121 Round Pipes 122 Horse-shoe Tile 124 Sole-Tile 125 Pipes and Collar 126 Flat-bottomed Pipe-Tile 129 Drains across Slope 150 Draining Irregular Strata 162 Relief Drains 162 Small Outlet 178 Large Outlet 179, 180 Outlet, with Flap 181 Well, with Silt Basin 186 Peep-hole 188 Spring in Drained Field 189 Main of Two Tiles 194 Main of Several Tiles 194 Plan of Drained Field 195 Junction of Drains 196 Branch Pipe 197 Daines' Tile Machine 209 Pratt's Tile Machine 210 Tiles, laid well and ill 229 Square and Plumb-Level 229 Spirit Level 230 Staff and Target 231 Span, or A Level 232 Grading Trenches by Lines 233 Challoner's Level 235 Drain Spades 235 Spade with Spur 236 Common Shovel and Spade 236 Long-handled Round Shovel 237 Shovel Scoop 237 Irish Spade 238 Birmingham Spades 240 Narrow Spades 242 English Bottoming Tools 243 Drawing and Pushing Scoops 244 Pipe-Layer 244 Pipe-Laying 245 Pick-axes 245 Drain Gauge 246 Elkington's Auger 246 Fowler's Drain Plow 247 Pratt's Ditcher 249 Paul's Ditcher 250 Germination 277, 278 Land before Drainage and After 286 Heat in Wet Land 288 Cracking of Clays 325 Drainage of Cellar 355 Drainage of Barn Cellar 359 Plan of Rand's Drainage 372 " H. F. French's Drainage 376
Why this Treatise does not contain all Knowledge.—Attention of Scientific Men attracted to Drainage.—Lieutenant Maury's Suggestions.—Ralph Waldo Emerson's Views.—Opinions of J. H. Klippart, Esq.; of Professor Mapes; B. P. Johnson, Esq.; Governor Wright, Mr. Custis, &c.—Prejudice against what is English.—Acknowledgements to our Friends at Home and Abroad.—The Wants of our Farmers.
HISTORY OF THE ART OF DRAINING.
Draining as old as the Deluge.—Roman Authors.—Walter Bligh in 1650.—No thorough drainage till Smith, of Deanston.—No mention of Tiles in the "Compleat Body of Husbandry," 1758.—Tiles found 100 years old.—Elkington's System.—Johnstone's Puns and Peripatetics.—Draining Springs.—Bletonism, or the Faculty of Perceiving Subterranean Water.—Deanston System.—Views of Mr. Parkes.—Keythorpe System.—Wharncliffe System.—Introduction of Tiles into America.—John Johnston, and Mr. Delafield, of New York.
RAIN, EVAPORATION AND FILTRATION.
Fertilizing Substances in Rain Water.—Amount of Rain Fall in United States; in England.—Tables of Rain Fall.—Number of Rainy Days, and Quantity of Rain each Month.—Snow, how Computed as Water.—Proportion of Rain Evaporated.—What Quantity of Water Dry Soil will Hold.—Dew Point.—How Evaporation Cools Bodies.—Artificial Heat Underground.—Tables of Filtration and Evaporation.
DRAINAGE OF HIGH LANDS—WHAT LANDS REQUIRE DRAINAGE.
What is High Land?—Accidents to Crops from Water.—Do Lands need Drainage in America?—Springs.—Theory of Moisture, with Illustrations.—Water of Pressure.—Legal Rights as to Draining our Neighbor's Wells and Land.—What Lands require Drainage?—Horace Greeley's Opinion.—Drainage more Necessary in America than in England; Indications of too much Moisture.—Will Drainage Pay?
VARIOUS METHODS OF DRAINAGE.
Open Ditches.—Slope of Banks.—Brush Drains.—Ridge and Furrow.—Plug-Draining.—Mole-Draining.—Mole-Plow.—Wedge and Shoulder Drains.—Larch Tubes.—Drains of Fence Rails, and Poles.—Peat Tiles.—Stone Drains Injured by Moles.—Downing's Giraffes.—Illustrations of Various Kinds of Stone Drains.
DRAINAGE WITH TILES.
What are Drain-Tiles?—Forms of Tiles.—Pipes.—Horse-shoe Tiles.—Sole-Tiles.—Form of Water-Passage.—Collars and their Use.—Size of Pipes.—Velocity.—Friction.—Discharge of Water through Pipes.—Tables of Capacity.—How Water enters Tiles.—Deep Drains run soonest and longest.—Pressure of Water on Pipes.—Durability of Tile Drains.—Drain-Bricks 100 years old.
DIRECTION, DISTANCE AND DEPTH OF DRAINS.
DIRECTION OF DRAINS.—Whence comes the Water?—Inclination of Strata.—Drains across the Slope let Water out as well as Receive it.—Defence against Water from Higher Land.—Open Ditches.—Headers.—Silt-basins.
DISTANCE OF DRAINS.—Depends on Soil, Depth, Climate, Prices, System.—Conclusions as to Distance.
DEPTH OF DRAINS.—Greatly Increases Cost.—Shallow Drains first tried in England.—10,000 Miles of Shallow Drains laid in Scotland by way of Education.—Drains must be below Subsoil plow, and Frost.—Effect of Frost on Tiles and Aqueducts.
ARRANGEMENT OF DRAINS.
Necessity of System.—What Fall is Necessary.—American Examples.—Outlets.—Wells and Relief-Pipes.—Peep-holes.—How to secure Outlets.—Gate to Exclude Back-Water.—Gratings and Screens to keep out Frogs, Snakes, Moles, &c.—Mains, Submains, and Minors, how placed.—Capacity of Pipes.—Mains of Two Tiles.—Junction of Drains.—Effect of Curves and Angles on Currents.—Branch Pipes.—Draining into Wells or Swallow Holes.—Letter from Mr. Denton.
THE COST OF TILES—TILE MACHINES.
Prices far too high; Albany prices.—Length of Tiles.—Cost in Suffolk Co., England.—Waller's Machine.—Williams' Machine.—Cost of Tiles compared with Bricks.—Mr. Denton's Estimate of Cost.—Other Estimates.—Two-inch Tiles can be Made as Cheaply as Bricks.—Process of Rolling Tiles.—Tile Machines.—Descriptions of Daines'.—Pratt & Bro.'s.
THE COST OF DRAINAGE.
Draining no more expensive than Fencing.—Engineering.—Guessing not accurate enough.—Slight Fall sufficient.—Instances.—Two Inches to One-Thousand Feet.—Cost of Excavation and Filling.—Narrow Tools required.—Tables of Cubic contents of Drains.—Cost of Drains on our own Farm.—Cost of Tiles.—Weight and Freight of Tiles.—Cost of Outlets.—Cost of Collars.—Smaller Tiles used with Collars.—Number of Tiles to the Acre, with Tables.—Length of Tiles varies.—Number of Rods to the Acre at different Distances.—Final Estimate of Cost.—Comparative Cost of Tile-Drains and Stone-Drains.
Unreasonable Expectations about Draining Tools.—Levelling Instruments.—Guessing not Accurate.—Level by a Square.—Spirit Level.—Span, or A Level.—Grading by Lines.—Boning-rod.—Challoner's Drain Level.—Spades and Shovels.—Long-handled Shovel.—Irish Spade, description and cut.—Bottoming Tools.—Narrow Spades.—English Bottoming Tools.—Pipe-layer.—Pipe-laying Illustrated.—Pick-axes.—Drain Gauge.—Drain Plows, and Ditch-Diggers.—Fowler's Drain Plow.—Pratt's Ditch-Digger.—McEwan's Drain Plow.—Routt's Drain Plow.
PRACTICAL DIRECTIONS FOR OPENING DRAINS AND LAYING TILES.
Begin at the Outlet.—Use of Plows.—Leveling the Bottom.—Where to begin to lay Pipes.—Mode of Procedure.—Covering Pipes.—Securing Joints.—Filling.—Securing Outlets.—Plans.
EFFECTS OF DRAINAGE UPON THE CONDITION OF THE SOIL.
Drainage deepens the Soil, and gives the roots a larger pasture.—Cobbett's Lucerne 30 feet deep.—Mechi's Parsnips 13 feet long!—Drainage promotes Pulverization.—Prevents Surface-Washing.—Lengthens the Season.—Prevents Freezing out.—Dispenses with Open Ditches.—Saves 25 per cent. of Labor.—Promotes absorption of Fertilizing Substances from the Air.—Supplies Air to the Roots.—Drains run before Rain; so do some Springs.—Drainage warms the Soil.—Corn sprouts at 55 deg.; Rye on Ice.—Cold from Evaporation.—Heat will not pass downward in Water.—Count Rumford's Experiments with Hot Water on Ice.—Aeration of Soil by Drains.
DRAINAGE ADAPTS THE SOIL TO GERMINATION AND VEGETATION.
Process of Germination.—Two Classes of Pores in Soils, illustrated by cuts.—Too much Water excludes Air, reduces Temperature.—How much Air the Soil Contains.—Drainage Improves the Quality of Crops.—Drainage prevents Drought.—Drained Soils hold most Water.—Allow Roots to go Deep.—Various Facts.
TEMPERATURE AS AFFECTED BY DRAINAGE.
Drainage Warms the Soil in Spring.—Heat cannot go down in Wet Land.—Drainage causes greater Deposit of Dew in Summer.—Dew warms Plants in Night, Cools them in the Morning Sun.—Drainage varies Temperature by Lessening Evaporation.—What is Evaporation.—How it produces Cold.—Drained Land Freezes Deepest, but Thaws Soonest, and the Reasons.
POWER OF SOILS TO ABSORB AND RETAIN MOISTURE.
Why does not Drainage make the Land too Dry?—Adhesive Attraction.—The Finest Soils exert most Attraction.—How much Water different Soils hold by Attraction.—Capillary Attraction, illustrated.—Power to Imbibe Moisture from the Air.—Weight Absorbed by 1,000 lbs. in 12 Hours.—Dew, Cause of.—Dew Point.—Cause of Frost.—Why Covering Plants Protects from Frost.—Dew Imparts Warmth.—Idea that the Moon Promotes Putrefaction.—Quantity of Dew.
INJURY OF LAND BY DRAINAGE.
Most Land cannot be Over-drained.—Nature a Deep drainer.—Over-draining of Peaty Soils.—Lincolnshire Fens. Visit to them in 1857.—56 Bushels of Wheat to the Acre.—Wet Meadows Subside by Drainage.—Conclusions.
OBSTRUCTION OF DRAINS.
Tiles will fill up, unless well laid.—Obstruction by Sand or Silt.—Obstructions at the Outlet from Frogs, Moles, Action of Frost, and Cattle.—Obstruction by Roots.—Willow, Ash, &c., Trees capricious.—Roots enter Perennial Streams.—Obstruction by Mangold Wurtzel.—Obstruction by Per-Oxide of Iron.—How Prevented.—Obstructions by the Joints Filling.—No Danger with Two-Inch Pipes.—Water through the Pores.—Collars.—How to Detect Obstructions.
DRAINAGE OF STIFF CLAYS.
Clay not impervious, or it could not be wet and dried.—Puddling, what is.—Water will stand over Drains on Puddled Soil.—Cracking of Clays by Drying.—Drained Clays improve by time.—Passage of Water through Clay makes it permeable.—Experiment by Mr. Pettibone, of Vermont.—Pressure of Water in Saturated Soil.
EFFECTS OF DRAINAGE ON STREAMS AND RIVERS.
Drainage Hastens the Supply to the Streams, and thus creates Freshets.—Effect of Drainage on Meadows below; on Water Privileges.—Conflict of Manufacturing and Agricultural Interests.—English Opinions and Facts.—Uses of Drainage Water.—Irrigation.—Drainage Water for Stock.—How used by Mr. Mechi.
England protects her Farmers.—Meadows ruined by Corporation dams.—Old Mills often Nuisances.—Factory Reservoirs.—Flowage extends above level of Dam.—Rye and Derwent Drainage.—Give Steam for Water-Power.—Right to Drain through land of others.—Right to natural flow of Water.—Laws of Mass.—Right to Flow; why not to Drain?—Land-drainage Companies in England.—Lincolnshire Fens.—Government Loans for Drainage.
DRAINAGE OF CELLARS.
Wet Cellars Unhealthful.—Importance of Cellars in New England.—A Glance at the Garret, by way of Contrast.—Necessity of Drains.—Sketch of an Inundated Cellar.—Tiles best for Drains.—Best Plan of Cellar Drain; Illustration.—Cementing will not do.—Drainage of Barn Cellars.—Uses of them.—Actual Drainage of a very Bad Cellar described.—Drains Outside and Inside; Illustration.
DRAINAGE OF SWAMPS.
Vast Extent of Swamp Lands in the United States.—Their Soil.—Sources of their Moisture.—How to Drain them.—The Soil Subsides by Draining.—Catch-water Drains.—Springs.—Mr. Ruffin's Drainage in Virginia.—Is there Danger of Over-draining?
AMERICAN EXPERIMENTS IN DRAINAGE—DRAINAGE IN IRELAND.
Statement of B. F. Nourse, of Maine.—Statement of Shedd and Edson, of Mass.—Statement of H. F. French, of New Hampshire.—Letter of Wm. Boyle, Albert Model Farm, Glasnevin, Ireland.
Why this Treatise does not contain all Knowledge.—Attention of Scientific Men attracted to Drainage.—Lieutenant Maury's Suggestions.—Ralph Waldo Emerson's Views.—Opinions of J. H. Klippart, Esq.; of Professor Mapes; B. P. Johnston, Esq.; Governor Wright, Mr. Custis, &c.—Prejudice against what is English.—Acknowledgements to our Friends at Home and Abroad.—The Wants of our Farmers.
A Book upon Farm Drainage! What can a person find on such a subject to write a book about? A friend suggests, that in order to treat any one subject fully, it is necessary to know everything and speak of everything, because all knowledge is in some measure connected.
With an earnest endeavor to clip the wings of imagination, and to keep not only on the earth, but to burrow, like a mole or a sub-soiler, in it, with a painful apprehension lest some technical term in Chemistry or Philosophy should falsely indicate that we make pretensions to the character of a scientific farmer, or some old phrase of law-Latin should betray that we know something besides agriculture, and so, are not worthy of the confidence of practical men, we have, nevertheless, by some means, got together more than a bookfull of matter upon our subject.
Our publisher says our book must be so large, and no larger—and we all know that an author is but as a grasshopper in the hands of his publisher, and ought to be very thankful to be allowed to publish his book at all. So we have only to say, that if there is any chapter in this book not sufficiently elaborate, or any subject akin to that of drainage, that ought to have been embraced in our plan and is not, it is because we have not space for further expansion. The reader has our heartfelt sympathy, if it should happen that the very topic which most interests him, is entirely omitted, or imperfectly treated; and we can only advise him to write a book himself, by way of showing proper resentment, and put into it everything that everybody desires most to know.
A book that shall contain all that we do not know on the subject of drainage, would be a valuable acquisition to agricultural literature, and we bespeak an early copy of it when published.
IRRIGATION is a subject closely connected with drainage, and, although it would require a volume of equal size with this to lay it properly before the American public, who know so little of water-meadows and liquid-manuring, and even of the artificial application of water to land in any way, we feel called upon for an apology for its omission.
Lieutenant Maury, whose name does honor to his nation over all the civilized world, and on whom the blessings of every navigator upon the great waters, are constantly showered, in a letter which we had the honor recently to receive from him, thus speaks of this subject:
"I was writing to a friend some months ago upon the subject of drainage in this country, and I am pleased to infer from your letter, that our opinions are somewhat similar. The climate of England is much more moist than this, though the amount of rain in many parts of this country, is much greater than the amount of rain there. It drizzles there more than it does here. Owing to the high dew point in England, but a small portion only—that is, comparatively small—of the rain that falls can be evaporated again; consequently, it remains in the soil until it is drained off. Here, on the other hand, the clouds pour it down, and the sun sucks it up right away, so that the perfection of drainage for this country would be the very reverse, almost, of the drainage in England. If, instead of leading the water off into the water-veins and streams of the country, as is there done, we could collect it in pools on the farm, so as to be used in time of drought for irrigation, then your system of drainage would be worth untold wealth. Of course, in low grounds, and all places where the atmosphere does not afford sufficient drainage by evaporation, the English plan will do very well, and much good may be done by a treatise which shall enable owners to reclaim or improve such places."
Indeed, the importance of this subject of drainage, seems all at once to have found universal acknowledgement throughout our country, not only from agriculturists, but from philosophers and men of general science.
Emerson, whose eagle glance, piercing beyond the sight of other men, recognizes in so-called accidental heroes the "Representative men" of the ages, and in what to others seem but caprices and conventionalisms, the "Traits" of a nation, yet never overlooks the practical and every-day wants of man, in a recent address at Concord, Mass., the place of his residence, thus characteristically alludes to our subject:
"Concord is one of the oldest towns in the country—far on now in its third century. The Select-men have once in five years perambulated its bounds, and yet, in this year, a very large quantity of land has been discovered and added to the agricultural land, and without a murmur of complaint from any neighbor. By drainage, we have gone to the subsoil, and we have a Concord under Concord, a Middlesex under Middlesex, and a basement-story of Massachusetts more valuable than all the superstructure. Tiles are political economists. They are so many Young-Americans announcing a better era, and a day of fat things."
John H. Klippart, Esq., the learned Secretary of the Ohio Board of Agriculture, expresses his opinion upon the importance of our subject in his own State, in this emphatic language:
"The agriculture of Ohio can make no farther marked progress until a good system of under-drainage has been adopted."
A writer in the Country Gentleman, from Ashtabula County, Ohio, says:—"One of two things must be done by us here. Clay predominates in our soil, and we must under-drain our land, or sell and move west."
Professor Mapes, of New York, under date of January 17, 1859, says of under-draining:
"I do not believe that farming can be pursued with full profit without it. It would seem to be no longer a question. The experience of England, in the absence of all other proof, would be sufficient to show that capital may be invested more safely in under-draining, than in any other way; for, after the expenditure of many millions by English farmers in this way, it has been clearly proved that their increased profit, arising from this cause alone, is sufficient to pay the total expense in full, with interest, within twenty years, thus leaving their farms increased permanently to the amount of the total cost, while the income is augmented in a still greater ratio. It is quite doubtful whether England could at this time sustain her increased population, if it were not for her system of thorough-drainage. In my own practice, the result has been such as to convince me of its advantages, and I should be unwilling to enter into any new cultivation without thorough drainage."
B. P. Johnson, Secretary of the New York Board of Agriculture, in answer to some inquiries upon the subject of drainage with tiles, writes us, under date of December, 1858, as follows:
"I have given much time and attention to the subject of drainage, having deemed it all-important to the improvement of the farms of our State. I am well satisfied, from a careful examination in England, as well as from my observation in this country, that tiles are far preferable to any other material that I know of for drains, and this is the opinion of all those who have engaged extensively in the work in this State, so far as I have information. It is gratifying to be assured, that during the year past, there has been probably more land-draining than during any previous year, showing the deep interest which is taken in this all-important work, so indispensable to the success of the farmer."
It is ascertained, by inquiry at the Land Office, that more than 52,000,000 acres of swamp and overflowed lands have been selected under the Acts of March 2d, 1849, and September 28th, 1850, from the dates of those grants to September, 1856; and it is estimated that, when the grants shall have been entirely adjusted, they will amount to 60,000,000 acres.
Grants of these lands have been made by Congress, from the public domain, gratuitously, to the States in which they lie, upon the idea that they were not only worthless to the Government, but dangerous to the health of the neighboring inhabitants, with the hope that the State governments might take measures to reclaim them for cultivation, or, at least, render them harmless, by the removal of their surplus water.
Governor Wright, of Indiana, in a public address, estimated the marshy lands of that State at 3,000,000 acres. "These lands," he says, "were generally avoided by early settlers, as being comparatively worthless; but, when drained, they become eminently fertile." He further says: "I know a farm of 160 acres, which was sold five years ago for $500, that by an expenditure of less than $200, in draining and ditching, has been so improved, that the owner has refused for it an offer of $3,000."
At the meeting of the United States Agricultural Society, at Washington, in January, 1857, Mr. G. W. P. Custis spoke in connection with the great importance of this subject, of the vast quantity of soil—the richest conceivable—now lying waste, to the extent of 100,000 acres, along the banks of the Lower Potomac, and which he denominates by the old Virginia title of pocoson. The fertility of this reclaimable swamp he reports to be astonishing; and he has corroborated the opinion by experiments which confounded every beholder. "These lands on our time-honored river," he says, "if brought into use, would supply provisions at half the present cost, and would in other respects prove of the greatest advantage."
The drainage of highways and walks, was noted as a topic kindred to our subject, although belonging more properly perhaps, to the drainage of towns and to landscape-gardening, than to farm drainage. This, too, was found to be beyond the scope of our proposed treatise, and has been left to some abler hand.
So, too, the whole subject of reclaiming lands from the sea, and from rivers, by embankment, and the drainage of lakes and ponds, which at a future day must attract great attention in this country, has proved quite too extensive to be treated here. The day will soon come, when on our Atlantic coast, the ocean waves will be stayed, and all along our great rivers, the Spring floods, and the Summer freshets, will be held within artificial barriers, and the enclosed lands be kept dry by engines propelled by steam, or some more efficient or economical agent.
The half million acres of fen-land in Lincolnshire, producing the heaviest wheat crops in England; and Harlaem Lake, in Holland, with its 40,000 acres of fertile land, far below the tides, and once covered with many feet of water, are examples of what science and well-directed labor may accomplish. But this department of drainage demands the skill of scientific engineers, and the employment of combined capital and effort, beyond the means of American farmers; and had we ability to treat it properly, would afford matter rather of pleasing speculation, than of practical utility to agricultural readers.
With a reckless expenditure of paper and ink, we had already prepared chapters upon several topics, which, though not essential to farm-drainage, were as near to our subject as the minister usually is limited in preaching, or the lawyer in argument; but conformity to the Procrustean bed, in whose sheets we had in advance stipulated to sleep, cost us the amputation of a few of our least important heads.
"Don't be too English," suggests a very wise and politic friend. We are fully aware of the prejudice which still exists in many minds in our country, against what is peculiarly English. Because, forsooth, our good Mother England, towards a century ago, like most fond mothers, thought her transatlantic daughter quite too young and inexperienced to set up an establishment and manage it for herself, and drove her into wasteful experiments of wholesale tea-making in Boston harbor, by way of illustrating her capacity of entertaining company from beyond seas; and because, near half a century ago, we had some sharp words, spoken not through the mouths of prophets and sages, but through the mouths of great guns, touching the right of our venerated parent to examine the internal economy of our merchant-ships on the sea—because of reminiscences like these, we are to forswear all that is English! And so we may claim no kindred in literature with Shakspeare and Milton, in jurisprudence, with Bacon and Mansfield, in statesmanship, with Pitt and Fox!
Whence came the spirit of independence, the fearless love of liberty of which we boast, but from our English blood? Whence came our love of territorial extension, our national ambition, exhibited under the affectionate name of annexation? Does not this velvet paw with which we softly play with our neighbors' heads, conceal some long, crooked talons, which tell of the ancestral blood of the British Lion?
The legislature of a New England State, not many years ago, appointed a committee to revise its statutes. This committee had a pious horror of all dead languages, and a patriotic fear of paying too high a compliment to England, and so reported that all proceedings in courts of law should be in the American language! An inquiry by a waggish member, whether the committee intended to allow proceedings to be in any one of the three hundred Indian dialects, restored to the English language its appropriate name.
Though from some of our national traits, we might possibly be supposed to have sprung from the sowing of the dragon's teeth by Cadmus, yet the uniform record of all American families which goes back to the "three brothers who came over from England," contradicts this theory, and connects us by blood and lineage with that country.
Indeed, we can hardly consent to sell our birthright for so poor a mess of pottage as this petty jealousy offers. A teachable spirit in matters of which we are ignorant, is usually as profitable and respectable as abundant self-conceit, and rendering to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, quite as honest as to pocket the coin as our own, notwithstanding the "image and superscription."
We make frequent reference to English writers and to English opinions upon our subject, because drainage is understood and practiced better in England than anywhere else in the world, and because by personal inspection of drainage-works there, and personal acquaintance and correspondence with some of the most successful drainers in that country, we feel some confidence of ability to apply English principles to American soil and climate.
To J. Bailey Denton, Engineer of the General Land Drainage Company, and one of the most distinguished practical and scientific drainers in England, we wish publicly to acknowledge our obligations for personal favors shown us in the preparation of our work.
We claim no great praise of originality in what is here offered to the public. Wherever we have found a person of whom we could learn anything, in this or other countries, we have endeavored to profit by his teachings, and whenever the language of another, in book or journal, has been found to express forcibly an idea which we deemed worthy of adoption, we have given full credit for both thought and words.
Our friends, Messrs. Shedd and Edson, of Boston, whose experience as draining engineers entitles them to a high rank among American authorities, have been in constant communication with us, throughout our labors. The chapter upon Evaporation, Rain fall, &c., which we deem of great value as a contribution to science in general, will be seen to be in part credited to them, as are also the tables showing the discharge of water through pipes of various capacity.
Drainage is a new subject in America, not well understood, and we have no man, it is believed, peculiarly fitted to teach its theory and practice; yet the farmers everywhere are awake to its importance, and are eagerly seeking for information on the subject. Many are already engaged in the endeavor to drain their lands, conscious of their want of the requisite knowledge to effect their object in a profitable manner, while others are going resolutely forward, in violation of all correct principles, wasting their labor, unconscious even of their ignorance.
In New England, we have determined to dry the springy hill sides, and so lengthen our seasons for labor; we have found, too, in the valleys and swamps, the soil which has been washed from our mountains, and intend to avail ourselves of its fertility in the best manner practicable. On the prairies of the great West, large tracts are found just a little too wet for the best crops of corn and wheat, and the inquiry is anxiously made, how can we be rid of this surplus water.
There is no treatise, English or American, which meets the wants of our people. In England, it is true, land drainage is already reduced to a science; but their system has grown up by degrees, the first principles being now too familiar to be at all discussed, and the points now in controversy there, quite beyond the comprehension of beginners. America wants a treatise which shall be elementary, as well as thorough—that shall teach the alphabet, as well as the transcendentalism, of draining land—that shall tell the man who never saw a drain-tile what thorough drainage is, and shall also suggest to those who have studied the subject in English books only, the differences in climate and soil, in the prices of labor and of products, which must modify our operations.
With some practical experience on his own land, with careful observation in Europe and in America of the details of drainage operations, with a somewhat critical examination of published books and papers on all topics connected with the general subject, the author has endeavored to turn the leisure hours of a laborious professional life to some account for the farmer. Although, as the lawyers say, the "presumptions" are, perhaps, strongly against the idea, yet a professional man may understand practical farming. The profession of the law has made some valuable contributions to agricultural literature. Sir Anthony Fitzherbert, author of the "Boke of Husbandrie," published in 1523, was Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, and, as he says, an "experyenced farmer of more than 40 years." The author of that charming little book, "Talpa," it is said, is also a lawyer, and there is such wisdom in the idea, so well expressed by Emerson as a fact, that we commend it by way of consolation to men of all the learned professions: "All of us keep the farm in reserve, as an asylum where to hide our poverty and our solitude, if we do not succeed in society."
Besides the prejudice against what is foreign, we meet everywhere the prejudice against what is new, though far less in this country than in England. "No longer ago than 1835," says the Quarterly Review, "Sir Robert Peel presented a Farmers' Club, at Tamworth, with two iron plows of the best construction. On his next visit, the old plows, with the wooden mould-boards, were again at work. 'Sir,' said a member of the club, 'we tried the iron, and we be all of one mind, that they make the weeds grow!'"
American farmers have no such ignorant prejudice as this. They err rather by having too much faith in themselves, than by having too little in the idea of progress, and will be more likely to "go ahead" in the wrong direction, than to remain quiet in their old position.
HISTORY OF THE ART OF DRAINING.
Draining as Old as the Deluge.—Roman Authors.—Walter Bligh in 1650.—No thorough drainage till Smith of Deanston.—No mention of tiles in the "Compleat Body of Husbandry," 1758.—Tiles found 100 years old.—Elkington's System.—Johnstone's Puns and Peripatetics.—Draining Springs.—Bletonism, or the Faculty of Perceiving Subterranean Water.—Deanston System.—Views of Mr. Parkes.—Keythorpe System.—Wharncliffe System.—Introduction of tiles into America.—John Johnston, and Mr. Delafield, of New York.
The art of removing superfluous water from land, must be as ancient as the art of cultivation; and from the time when Noah and his family anxiously watched the subsiding of the waters into their appropriate channels, to the present, men must have felt the ill effects of too much water, and adopted means more or less effective, to remove it.
The Roman writers upon agriculture, Cato, Columella, and Pliny, all mention draining, and some of them give minute directions for forming drains with stones, branches of trees, and straw. Palladius, in his De Aquae Ductibus, mentions earthen-ware tubes, used however for aqueducts, rather for conveying water from place to place, than for draining lands for agriculture.
Nothing, however, like the systematic drainage of the present day, seems to have been conceived of in England, until about 1650, when Captain Walter Bligh published a work, which is interesting, as embodying and boldly advocating the theory of deep-drainage as applied by him to water-meadows and swamps, and as applicable to the drainage of all other moist lands.
We give from the 7th volume of the Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society, in the language of that eminent advocate of deep-drainage, Josiah Parkes, an account of this rare book, and of the principles which it advocates, as a fitting introduction to the more modern and more perfect system of thorough drainage:
"The author of this work was a Captain Walter Bligh, signing himself, 'A Lover of Ingenuity.' It is quaintly entitled, 'The English Improver Improved; or, the Survey of Husbandry Surveyed;' with several prefaces, but specially addressed to 'The Right Honorable the Lord General Cromwell, and the Right Honorable the Lord President, and the rest of the Honorable Society of the Council of State.' In his instructions for forming the flooding and draining trenches of water-meadows, the author says of the latter:—'And for thy drayning-trench, it must be made so deep, that it goe to the bottom of the cold spewing moyst water, that feeds the flagg and the rush; for the widenesse of it, use thine own liberty, but be sure to make it so wide as thou mayest goe to the bottom of it, which must be so low as any moysture lyeth, which moysture usually lyeth under the over and second swarth of the earth, in some gravel or sand, or else, where some greater stones are mixt with clay, under which thou must goe half one spade's graft deep at least. Yea, suppose this corruption that feeds and nourisheth the rush or flagg, should lie a yard or four-foot deepe; to the bottom of it thou must goe, if ever thou wilt drayn it to purpose, or make the utmost advantage of either floating or drayning, without which the water cannot have its kindly operation; for though the water fatten naturally, yet still this coldnesse and moysture lies gnawing within, and not being taken clean away, it eates out what the water fattens; and so the goodnesse of the water is, as it were, riddled, screened, and strained out into the land, leaving the richnesse and the leanesse sliding away from it.' In another place, he replies to the objectors of floating, that it will breed the rush, the flagg, and mare-blab; 'only make thy drayning-trenches deep enough, and not too far off thy floating course, and I'le warrant it they drayn away that under-moysture, fylth, and venom as aforesaid, that maintains them; and then believe me, or deny Scripture, which I hope thou doust not, as Bildad said unto Job, "Can the rush grow without mire, or the flagg without water?" Job viii. 12. That interrogation plainly showes that the rush cannot grow, the water being taken from the root; for it is not the moystnesse upon the surface of the land, for then every shower should increase the rush, but it is that which lieth at the root, which, drayned away at the bottom, leaves it naked and barren of relief.'
"The author frequently returns to this charge, explaining over and over again the necessity of removing what we call bottom-water, and which he well designates as 'filth and venom.'
"In the course of my operations as a drainer, I have met with, or heard of, so many instances of swamp-drainage, executed precisely according to the plans of this author, and sometimes in a superior manner—the conduits being formed of walling stone, at a period long antecedent to the memory of the living—that I am disposed to consider the practice of deep drainage to have originated with Captain Bligh, and to have been preserved by imitators in various parts of the country; since a book, which passed through three editions in the time of the Commonwealth, must necessarily have had an extensive circulation, and enjoyed a high renown. Several complimentary autograph verses, written by some imitators and admirers of the ingenious Bligh, are bound up with the volume. I find also, not unfrequently, very ancient deep drains in arable fields, and some of them still in good condition; and in a case or two, I have met with several ancient drains six feet deep, placed parallel with each other, but at so great a distance asunder, as not to have commanded a perfect drainage of the intermediate space. The author from whom I have so largely quoted, is the earliest known to me, who has had the sagacity to distinguish between the transient effect of rain, and the constant action of stagnant bottom-water in maintaining land in a wet condition."
Dr. Shier, editor of "Davy's Agricultural Chemistry," says, "The history of drainage in Britain may be briefly told. Till the time of Smith, of Deanston, draining was generally regarded as the means of freeing the land from springs, oozes, and under-water, and it was applied only to lands palpably wet, and producing rushes and other aquatic plants."
He then proceeds to give the principles of Elkington, Smith, Parkes, and other modern writers, of which we shall speak more at large.
The work published in England, not far from Captain Bligh's time, under the title "A Complete Body of Husbandry," undertakes to give directions for all sorts of farming processes. A Second Edition, in four octavo volumes, of which we have a copy, was published in 1758. It professes to treat of "Draining in General," and then of the draining of boggy land and of fens, but gives no intimation that any other lands require drainage.
Directions are given for filling drains with "rough stones," to be covered with refuse wood, and over that, some of the earth that was thrown out in digging. "By this means," says the writer, "a passage will be left free for all the water the springs yield, and there will be none of these great openings upon the surface."
He thus describes a method practiced in Oxfordshire of draining with bushes:
"Let the trenches be cut deeper than otherwise, suppose three foot deep, and two foot over. As soon as they are made, let the bottoms of them be covered with fresh-cut blackthorn bushes. Upon these, throw in a quantity of large refuse stones; over these let there be another covering of straw, and upon this, some of the earth, so as to make the surface level with the rest. These trenches will always keep open."
No mention whatever is made in this elaborate treatise of tiles of any kind, which affords very strong evidence that they were not in use for drainage at that time. In a note, however, to Stephen's "Draining and Irrigation," we find the following statement and opinion:
"In draining the park at Grimsthorpe, Lincolnshire, about three years ago, some drains, made with tiles, were found eight feet below the surface of the ground. The tiles were similar to what are now used, and in as good a state of preservation as when first laid, although they must have remained there above one hundred years."
ELKINGTON'S SYSTEM OF DRAINAGE.
It appears, that, in 1795, the British Parliament, at the request of the Board of Agriculture, voted to Joseph Elkington a reward of L1000, for his valuable discoveries in the drainage of land. Joseph Elkington was a Warwickshire farmer, and Mr. Gisborne says he was a man of considerable genius, but he had the misfortune to be illiterate. His discovery had created such a sensation in the agricultural world, that it was thought important to record its details; and, as Elkington's health was extremely precarious, the Board resolved to send Mr. John Johnstone to visit, in company with him, his principal works of drainage, and to transmit to posterity the benefits of his knowledge.
Accordingly, Mr. John Johnstone, having carefully studied Elkington's system, under its author, in the peripatetic method, undertook, like Plato, to record the sayings of his master in science, and produced a work, entitled, "An Account of the Most Approved Mode of Draining Land, According to the System Practised by Mr. Joseph Elkington." It was published at Edinburgh, in 1797. Mr. Gisborne says, that Elkington found in Johnstone "a very inefficient exponent of his opinions, and of the principles on which he conducted his works."
"Every one," says he, "who reads the work, which is popularly called 'Elkington on Draining,' should be aware, that it is not Joseph who thinks and speaks therein, but John, who tells his readers what, according to his ideas, Joseph would have thought and spoken."
"Johnstone, measured by general capacity, is a very shallow drainer! He delights in exceptional cases, of which he may have met with some, but of which, we suspect the great majority to be products of his own ingenuity, and to be put forward, with a view to display the ability with which he could encounter them."
Johnstone's report seems to have undergone several revisions, and to have been enlarged and reproduced in other forms than the original, for we find, that, in 1838, it was published in the United States, at Petersburg, Virginia, as a supplement to the Farmer's Register, by Edmund Ruffin, Esq., editor, a reprint "from the third British Edition, revised and enlarged," under the following title:
"A Systematic Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Draining Land, &c., according to the most approved methods, and adapted to the various situations and soils of England and Scotland; also on sea, river, and lake embankments, formation of ponds and artificial pieces of water, with an appendix, containing hints and directions for the culture and improvement of bog, morass, moor, and other unproductive ground, after being drained; the whole illustrated by plans and sections applicable to the various situations and forms of construction. Inscribed to the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland, by John Johnstone, Land Surveyor."
Mr. Ruffin certainly deserves great credit for his enterprise in republishing in America, at so early a day, a work of which an English copy could not be purchased for less than six dollars, as well as for his zealous labors ever since in the cause of agriculture.
There is, in this work of Johnstone, a quaintness which he, probably, did not learn from Elkington, and which illustrates the character of his mind as one not peculiarly adapted to a plain and practical history of another man's system and labors. For instance, in speaking of the arrangement of his subject into parts, he says, in a note, "The subject being closely connected with cutting, section is held as a better division than chapter!"
Again, he speaks of embanking, and says he has some experience on that head. Then he adds the following note, lest a possible pun should be lost: "An embankment is often termed a 'head,' as it makes head, or resistance, against the encroachment of high tide or river floods."
There is some danger that a mind which scents a whimsical analogy of meaning like this, may entirely lose the main track of pursuit; but Johnstone's special mission was to ascertain Elkington's method, and his account of it is, therefore, the best authority we have on the subject.
He gives the following statement of Elkington's discovery:
"In the year 1763, Elkington was left by his father in the possession of a farm called Prince-Thorp, in the parish of Stretton-upon-Dunsmore, and county of Warwick. The soil of this farm was so poor, and, in many places, so extremely wet, that it was the cause of rotting several hundreds of his sheep, which first induced him, if possible, to drain it. This he begun to do, in 1764, in a field of wet clay soil, rendered almost a swamp, or shaking bog, by the springs which issued from an adjoining bank of gravel and sand, and overflowed the surface of the ground below. To drain this field, which was of considerable extent, he cut a trench about four or five feet deep, a little below the upper side of the bog, where the wetness began to make its appearance; and, after proceeding with it in this direction and at this depth, he found it did not reach the principal body of subjacent water from which the evil arose. On perceiving this, he was at a loss how to proceed, when one of his servants came to the field with an iron crow, or bar, for the purpose of making holes for fixing sheep hurdles in an adjoining part of the farm, as represented on the plan. Having a suspicion that his drain was not deep enough, and desirous to know what strata lay under it, he took the iron bar, and having forced it down about four feet below the bottom of the trench, on pulling it out, to his astonishment, a great quantity of water burst up through the hole he had thus made, and ran along the drain. This led him to the knowledge, that wetness may be often produced by water confined farther below the surface of the ground than it was possible for the usual depth of drains to reach, and that an auger would be a useful instrument to apply in such cases. Thus, chance was the parent of this discovery, as she often is of other useful arts; and fortunate it is for society, when such accidents happen to those who have sense and judgment to avail themselves of hints thus fortuitously given. In this manner he soon accomplished the drainage of his whole farm, and rendered it so perfectly dry and sound, that none of his flock was ever after affected with disease.
"By the success of this experiment, Mr. Elkington's fame, as a drainer, was quickly and widely extended; and, after having successfully drained several farms in his neighborhood, he was, at last, very generally employed for that purpose in various parts of the kingdom, till about thirty years ago, when the country had the melancholy cause to regret his loss. From his long practice and experience, he became so successful in the works he undertook, and so skillful in judging of the internal strata of the earth and the nature of springs, that, with remarkable precision, he could ascertain where to find water, and trace the course of springs that made no appearance on the surface of the ground. During his practice of more than thirty years, he drained in various parts of England, particularly in the midland counties, many thousand acres of land, which, from being originally of little or no value, soon became as useful as any in the kingdom, by producing the most valuable kinds of grain and feeding the best and healthiest species of stock.
"Many have erroneously entertained an idea that Elkington's skill lay solely in applying the auger for the tapping of springs, without attaching any merit to his method of conducting the drains. The accidental circumstance above stated gave him the first notion of using an auger, and directed his attention to the profession and practice of draining, in the course of which he made various useful discoveries, as will be afterwards explained. With regard to the use of the auger, though there is every reason to believe that he was led to employ that instrument from the circumstance already stated, and did not derive it from any other source of intelligence, yet there is no doubt that others might have hit upon the same idea without being indebted for it to him. It has happened, that, in attempts to discover mines by boring, springs have been tapped, and ground thereby drained, either by letting the water down, or by giving it vent to the surface; and that the auger has been likewise used in bringing up water in wells, to save the expense of deeper digging; but that it had been used in draining land, before Mr. Elkington made that discovery, no one has ventured to assert."
Begging pardon of the shade of John Johnstone for the liberty, we will copy from Mr. Gisborne, as being more clearly expressed, a summary explanation of Elkington's system, as Mr. Gisborne has deduced it from Johnstone's report, with two simple and excellent plans:
"A slight modification of Johnstone's best and simplest plan, with a few sentences of explanation, will sufficiently elucidate Elkington's mystery, and will comprehend the case of all simple superficial springs. Perhaps in Agricultural Britain, no formation is more common than moderate elevations of pervious material, such as chalk, gravel, and imperfect stone or rock of various kinds, resting upon more horizontal beds of clay, or other material less pervious than themselves, and at their inferior edge overlapped by it. For this overlap geological reasons are given, into which we cannot now enter. In order to make our explanation simple, we use the words, gravel and clay, as generic for pervious and impervious material.
"Our drawing is an attempt to combine plan and section, which will probably be sufficiently illustrative. From A to T is the overlap, which is, in fact, a dam holding up the water in the gravel. In this dam there is a weak place at S, through which water issues permanently (a superficial spring), and runs over the surface from S to O. This issue has a tendency to lower the water in the gravel to the line M m. But when continued rains overpower this issue, the water in the gravel rises to the line A a, and meeting with no impediment at the point A, it flows over the surface between A and S. In addition to these more decided outlets, the water is probably constantly squeezing, in a slow way, through the whole dam. Elkington undertakes to drain the surface from A to O. He cuts a drain from O to B, and then he puts down a bore-hole, an Artesian well, from B to Z. His hole enters the tail of the gravel; the water contained therein rises up it: and the tendency of this new outlet is to lower the water to the line B b. If so lowered that it can no longer overflow at A or at S, and the surface from A to O is drained, so far as the springs are concerned, though our section can only represent one spring, and one summit-overflow, it is manifest that, however long the horizontal line of junction between the gravel and clay may be, however numerous the weak places (springs) in the overlap, or dam, and the summit-overflows, they will all be stopped, provided they lie at a higher level than the line B b. If Elkington had driven his drain forward from B to n, he would, at least, equally have attained his object; but the bore-hole was less expensive. He escapes the deepest and most costly portion of his drain. At x, he might have bored to the centre of the earth without ever realizing the water in this gravel. His whole success, therefore, depended upon his sagacity in hitting the point Z. Another simple and very common case, first successfully treated by Elkington, is illustrated by our second drawing.
"Between gravel hills lies a dish-shaped bed of clay, the gravel being continuous under the dish. Springs overflow at A and B, and wet the surface from A to O, and from B to O. O D is a drain four or five feet deep, and having an adequate outlet; D Z a bore-hole. The water in the gravel rises from Z to D, and is lowered to the level D m and D n. Of course it ceases to flow over at A and B. If Elkington's heart had failed him when he reached X, he would have done no good. All his success depends on his reaching Z, however deep it may lie. Elkington was a discoverer. We do not at all believe that his discoveries hinged on the accident that the shepherd walked across the field with a crow-bar in his hand. When he forced down that crow-bar, he had more in his head than was ever dreamed of in Johnstone's philosophy. Such accidents do not happen to ordinary men. Elkington's subsequent use of his discovery, in which no one has yet excelled him, warrants our supposition that the discovery was not accidental. He was not one of those prophets who are without honor in their own country: he created an immense sensation, and received a parliamentary grant of one thousand pounds. One writer compares his auger to Moses' rod, and Arthur Young speculates, whether though worthy to be rewarded by millers on one side of the hill for increasing their stream, he was not liable to an action by those on the other for diminishing theirs."
Johnstone sums up this system as follows:
"Draining according to Elkington's principles depends chiefly upon three things:
"1. Upon discovering the main spring, or source of the evil.
"2. Upon taking the subterraneous bearings: and,
"3dly. By making use of the auger to reach and tap the springs, when the depth of the drain is not sufficient for that purpose.
"The first thing, therefore, to be observed is, by examining the adjoining high grounds, to discover what strata they are composed of; and then to ascertain, as nearly as possible, the inclination of these strata, and their connection with the ground to be drained, and thereby to judge at what place the level of the spring comes nearest to where the water can be cut off, and most readily discharged. The surest way of ascertaining the lay, or inclination, of the different strata, is, by examining the bed of the nearest streams, and the edges of the banks that are cut through by the water; and any pits, wells, or quarries that may be in the neighborhood. After the main spring has been thus discovered, the next thing is, to ascertain a line on the same level, to one or both sides of it, in which the drain may be conducted, which is one of the most important parts of the operation, and one on which the art of draining in a scientific manner essentially depends.
"Lastly, the use of the auger, which, in many cases, is the sine qua non of the business, is to reach and tap the spring when the depth of the drain does not reach it: where the level of the outlet will not admit of its being cut to a greater depth; and where the expense of such cutting would be great, and the execution of it difficult.
"According to these principles, this system of draining has been attended with extraordinary consequences, not only in laying the land dry in the vicinity of the drain, but also springs, wells, and wet ground, at a considerable distance, with which there was no apparent connection."
DRAINAGE OF SPRINGS.
Wherever, from any cause, water bursts out from a hill's side, or from below, in a well defined spring, in any considerable quantity, the Elkington method of cutting a deep drain directly into the seat of the evil, and so lowering the water that it may be carried away below the surface, is obviously the true and common-sense remedy. There may be cases where, in addition to the drain, it may be expedient to bore with an auger in the course of the drain. This, however, would be useful only where, from the peculiar formation, water is pent up upon a retentive subsoil in the manner already indicated. Elkington's method of draining by boring is illustrated in the following cut.
In studying the history of Elkington's discovery, and especially of his own application of it, it would seem that he must have possessed some peculiar faculty of ascertaining the subterranean currents of water, not possessed or even claimed by modern engineers.
Indeed, Mr. Denton, who may rightly claim as much skill as a draining engineer, perhaps, as any man in England, expressly says, "It does not appear that any person now will undertake to do what Elkington did sixty years back."
In the Patent Office Report for 1851, at page 14, may be found an article entitled, "Well-digging," in which it is gravely contended, and not without a fair show of evidence, that certain persons possess the power of indicating, by means of a sort of divining rod of hazel or willow, subterraneous currents or springs of water. This power has been called Bletonism, which is defined by Webster to be, "the faculty of perceiving and indicating subterraneous springs and currents by sensation—so called from one Bleton, of France, who possessed this faculty."
Under the authority of Webster, and of Mr. Ewbank, the Commissioner of Patents, in whose report the article in question was published by the Government of the United States, it will not be considered, perhaps, as putting faith in "water-witchery," to suggest that, possibly, Elkington did really possess a faculty, not common to all mankind, of detecting running water or springs, even far below the surface. We have the high authority of Tam o' Shanter for the opinion, that witches cannot cross a stream of water; for, when pursued by the "hellish legion" from Kirk-Alloway, he put his "gude mare Meg" to do her "speedy utmost" for the bridge of Doon, knowing that,
"A running stream they darena cross."
If witches are thus affected by flowing water, there is no reason to doubt that others, of peculiar organization, may possess some sensitiveness at its presence.
It would not, probably, be useful to pursue more into detail the method of Mr. Elkington. The general principles upon which he wrought have been sufficiently explained. The miracles performed under his system seem to have ceased with his life, and, until we receive some new revelation as to the mode of finding the springs hidden in the earth, we must be content with the moderate results of a careful application of ordinary science, and not be discouraged in our attempts to leave the earth the better for our having lived on it, if we do not, like Elkington, succeed in draining, by a single ditch and a few auger holes, sixty statute acres of land.
THE DEANSTON SYSTEM; OR, FREQUENT DRAINAGE.
James Smith, Esq., of Deanston, Sterlingshire, in Scotland, next after Elkington, in point of time, is the prominent leader of drainage operations in Great Britain. His peculiar views came into general notice about 1832, and, in 1844, we find published a seventh edition of his "Remarks on Thorough Draining." Smith was a man of education, and seems to be, in fact, the first advocate of any system worthy the name of thorough drainage.
Instead of the few very deep drains, cut with reference to particular springs or sources of wetness, adopted by Elkington, Smith advocated and practiced a systematic operation over the whole field, at regular distances and shallow depths. Smith states, that in Scotland, much more injury arises from the retention of rain water, than from springs; while Elkington's attention seems to have been especially directed to springs, as the source of the evil.
The characteristic views of Smith, of Deanston, as stated by Mr. Denton, were:
"1st. Frequent drains at intervals of from ten to twenty-four feet.
"2nd. Shallow depth—not exceeding thirty inches—designed for the single purpose of freeing that depth of soil from stagnant and injurious water.
"3rd. 'Parallel drains at regular distances carried throughout the whole field, without reference to the wet and dry appearance of portions of the field,' in order 'to provide frequent opportunities for the water, rising from below and falling on the surface, to pass freely and completely off.
"4th. Direction of the minor drains 'down the steep,' and that of the mains along the bottom of the chief hollow; tributary mains being provided for the lesser hollows.
"The reason assigned for the minor drains following the line of steepest descent, was, that 'the stratification generally lies in sheets at an angle to the surface.'
"5th. As to material—Stones preferred to tiles and pipes."
Mr. Smith somewhat modified his views during the last years of his life, especially as to the depth of drains, and, instead of shallow drains, recommended a depth of three feet, and even more in some cases; but continued, to the time of his death, which occurred about 1854, to oppose any increased intervals between the drains, and the extreme depth of four feet and more advocated by others. The peculiar points insisted on by Smith were, that drains should be near and parallel. His own words are:
"The drains should be parallel with each other and at regular distances, and should be carried throughout the whole field, without regard to the wet and dry appearance of portions of the field—the principle of this system being the providing of frequent opportunities for the water rising from below, or falling on the surface, to pass freely and completely off."
Mr. Smith called it the "frequent drain system," and Mr. Denton says, that, "for distinction sake, I have ventured to christen this ready-made practice, the gridiron system," a name, by the way, which will, probably, seem to most readers more distinctive than respectful. Whatever may be the improvements on the Deanston method of draining, the name of Mr. Smith deserves, and, indeed, has already obtained, a high place among the improvers of agriculture.
VIEWS OF MR. PARKES.
About the year 1846, when the first Act of the British Parliament authorizing "the advance of public money to promote the improvement of land by works of drainage" was passed, a careful investigation of the whole subject was made by a Committee of the House of Lords, and it was found that the best recorded opinions, if we except the peculiar views of Elkington, were represented by, if not merged into, those of Smith, of Deanston, which have already been stated, or those of Josiah Parkes. Mr. Parkes is the author of "Essays on the Philosophy and Art of Land Drainage," and of many valuable papers on the same subject, published in the journal of the Royal Agricultural Society, of which he was consulting engineer. He is spoken of by Mr. Denton as "one whose philosophical publications on the same subject gave a scientific bearing to it, quite irreconcilable with the more mechanical rules laid down by Mr. Smith."
The characteristic views of Mr. Parkes, as set forth at that time, as compared with those of Mr. Smith, are—
"1st. Less frequent drains, at intervals varying from twenty-one to fifty feet, with preference for wide intervals.
"2nd. Deeper drains at a minimum depth of four feet, designed with the two-fold object of not only freeing the active soil from stagnant and injurious water, but of converting the water falling on the surface into an agent for fertilizing; no drainage being deemed efficient that did not both remove the water failing on the surface, and 'keep down the subterranean water at a depth exceeding the power of capillary attraction to elevate it to near the surface.'
"3rd. Parallel arrangement of drains, as advocated by Smith, of Deanston.
"4th. The advantage of increased depth, as compensating for increased width between the drains.
"5th. Pipes of an inch bore, the 'best known conduit' for the parallel drains. (See Evidence before Lords' Committee on Entailed Estates, 1845, Q. 67.)
"6th. The cost of draining uniform clays should not exceed L3 per acre."
The most material differences between the views of these two leaders of what have been deemed rival systems of drainage, will be seen to be the following. Smith advocates drains of two to three feet in depth, at from ten to twenty-four feet distances; while Parkes contends for a depth of not less than four feet, with a width between of from twenty-one to fifty feet, the depth in some measure compensating for the increased distance.
Mr. Parkes advocated the use of pipes of one inch bore, which Mr. Smith contemptuously denominated "pencil-cases," and which subsequent experience has shown to be quite too small for prudent use.
The estimate of Mr. Parkes, based, in part, upon his wide distances and small pipes, that drainage might be effected generally in England at a cost of about fifteen dollars per acre, was soon found to be far below the average expense, which is now estimated at nearly double that sum.
The Enclosure Commissioners, after the most careful inquiry, adopted fully the views of Mr. Parkes as to the depth of drains. Mr. Parkes himself, saw occasion to modify his ideas, as to the cost of drainage, upon further investigation of the subject, and fixed his estimates as ranging from $15 to $30 per acre, according to soil and other local circumstances.
It has been well said by a recent English writer, of Mr. Parkes:
"That gentleman's services in the cause of drainage, have been inestimable, and his high reputation will not be affected by any remarks which experience may suggest with reference to details, so long as the philosophical principles he first advanced in support of deep drainage are acknowledged by thinking men. Mr. Parkes' practice in 1854, will be found to differ very considerably from his anticipations of 1845, but the influence of his earlier writings and sayings continues to this day."
THE KEYTHORPE SYSTEM.
Lord Berners having adopted a method of drainage on his estate at Keythorpe, differing somewhat from any of the regular and more uniform modes which have been considered, a sharp controversy as to its merits has arisen, and still continues in England, which, like most controversies, may be of more advantage to others than to the parties immediately concerned.
The theory of the Keythorpe system seems to have been invented by Mr. Joshua Trimmer, a distinguished geologist of England, who, about 1854, produced a paper, which was published in the journal of the Royal Agricultural Society, on the "Keythorpe System." He states that his own theory was based entirely on his knowledge of the geological structure of the earth, which will be presently given in his own language, and that he afterwards ascertained that Lord Berners, who had no special theory to vindicate, had, by the "tentative process," or in plain English, by trying experiments, hit upon substantially the same system, and found it to work admirably.
Most people in the United States have no idea of what it is to be patronized by a lord. In England, it is thought by many to be the thing needful to the chance, even, of success of any new theory, and accordingly, Mr. Trimmer, without hesitation, availed himself of the privilege of being patronized by Lord Berners; and the latter, before he was aware of how much the agricultural world was indebted to him for his valuable discoveries, suddenly found himself at the head of the "Keythorpe System of Drainage."
His lordship was probably as much surprised to ascertain that he had been working out a new system, as some man of whom we have heard, was, to learn that he had been speaking prose all his life! At the call of the public, however, his lordship at once gave to the world the facts in his possession, making no claim to any great discovery, and leaving Mr. Trimmer to defend the new system as best he might. The latter, in one of his pamphlets published in defence of the Keythorpe system, states its claims as follows:
"The peculiarities of the Keythorpe system of draining consist in this—that the parallel drains are not equidistant, and that they cross the line of the greatest descent. The usual depth is three and a half feet, but some are as deep as five and six feet. The depth and width of interval are determined by digging trial-holes, in order to ascertain not only the depth at which the bottom water is reached, but the height to which the water rises in the holes, and the distance at which a drain will lay the hole dry. In sinking these holes, clay-banks are found with hollows or furrows between them, which are filled with a more porous soil, as represented in the annexed sectional diagram.
"The next object is to connect these furrows by drains laid across them. The result is, that as the furrows and ridges here run along the fall of the ground, which I have observed to be the case generally elsewhere, the sub-mains follow the fall, and the parallel drains cross it obliquely.
"The intervals between the parallel drains are irregular, varying, in the same field, from 14 to 21, 31, and 59 feet. The distances are determined by opening the diagonal drains at the greatest distance from the trial-holes at which experience has taught the practicability of its draining the hole. If it does not succeed in accomplishing the object, another drain is opened in the interval. It has been found, in many cases, that a drain crossing the clay-banks and furrows takes the water from holes lying lower down the hill; that is to say, it intercepts the water flowing to them through these subterranean channels. The parallel drains, however, are not invariably laid across the fall. The exceptions are on ground where the fall is very slight, in which case they are laid along the line of greatest descent. On such grounds there are few or no clay-banks and furrows."
It would seem highly probable that the mode of drainage adopted at Keythorpe, is indebted for its success at that place, to a geological formation not often met with. At a public discussion in England, Mr. T. Scott, a gentleman of large experience in draining, stated that "he never, in his practice, had met with such a geological formation as was said to exist at Keythorpe, except in such large areas as to admit of their being drained in the usual gridiron or parallel fashion."
It is claimed for this system by its advocates, that it is far cheaper than any other, because drains are only laid in the places where, by careful examination beforehand, by opening pits, they are found to be necessary; and that is a great saving of expense, when compared with the system of laying the drains at equal distances and depths over the field.
Against what is urged as the Keythorpe system, several allegations are brought.
In the first place, that it is in fact no system. Mr. Denton, having carefully examined the Keythorpe estate, and the published statements of its owner, asserts, that the drains there laid have no uniformity of depth—part of the tiles being laid but eighteen inches deep, and others four feet and more, in the same field.
Secondly, that there is no uniformity as to direction—part of the drains being laid across the fall, and part with the fall, in the same fields—with no obvious reason for the difference of direction.
Thirdly, that there is no uniformity as to materials—a part of the drains being wood, and a part tiles, in the same field.
Finally, it is contended that there is no saving of expense in the Keythorpe draining, over the ordinary mode, when all points are considered, because the pretended saving is made by the use of wood, where true economy would require tiles, and shallow drains are used where deeper ones would in the end be cheaper.
In speaking of this controversy, it is due to Lord Berners to say, that he expressly disclaims any invention or novelty in his operations at Keythorpe.
On the whole, although a work at the present day which should pass over, without consideration, the claims of the Keythorpe system, would be quite incomplete in its history of the subject, yet the facts elicited with regard to it are perhaps chiefly valuable, as tending to show the danger of basing a general principle upon an isolated case.
The discussion of the claims of that system—if such it may be called—may be valuable in America, where novelty is sure to attract, by showing that one more form of error has already been tried and "found wanting;" and so save us the trouble of proving its inutility by experiment.
THE WHARNCLIFFE SYSTEM.
Lord Wharncliffe, with a view to effect adequate drainage at less expense than is usual in thorough drainage, has adopted upon his estate a sort of compromise system, which he has brought to the notice of the public in the Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society.
Upon Fontenelle's idea, that "mankind only settle into the right course after passing through and exhausting all the varieties of error," it is well to advise our readers of this particular form of error also—to show that it has already been tried—so that no patent of invention can be claimed upon it by those perverse persons who are not satisfied without constant change, and who seem to imagine that the ten commandments might be improved by a new edition.
Lord Wharncliffe states his principles as follows, and calls his method the combined system of deep and shallow drainage:
"In order to secure the full effect of thorough drainage in clays, it is necessary that there should be not only well-laid conduits for the water which reaches them, but also subsidiary passages opened through the substance of the close subsoil, by means of atmospheric heat, and the contraction which ensues from it. The cracks and fissures which result from this action, are reckoned upon as a certain and essential part of the process.
"To give efficiency, therefore, to a system of deep drains beneath a stiff clay, these natural channels are required. To produce them, there must be a continued action of heat and evaporation. If we draw off effectually and constantly the bottom water from beneath the clay and from its substance, as far as it admits of percolation, and by some other means provide a vent for the upper water, which needs no more than this facility to run freely, there seems good reason to suppose that the object may be completely attained, and that we shall remove the moisture from both portions as effectually as its quantity and the substance will permit. Acting upon this view, then, after due consideration, I determined to combine with the fundamental four-feet drains a system of auxiliary ones of much less depth, which should do their work above, and contribute their share to the wholesome discharge, while the under-current from their more subterranean neighbors should be steadily performing their more difficult duty.
"I accomplished this, by placing my four-feet drains at a distance of from eighteen to twenty yards apart, and then leading others into them, sunk only to about two feet beneath the surface (which appeared, upon consideration, to be sufficiently below any conceivable depth of cultivation), and laying these at a distance from each other of eight yards. These latter are laid at an acute angle with the main-drains, and at their mouths are either gradually sloped downwards to the lower level, or have a few loose stones placed in the same intervals between the two, sufficient to ensure the perpendicular descent of the upper stream through that space, which can never exceed, or, indeed, strictly equal, the additional two feet."
There are two reasons why this mode of drainage cannot be adopted in the northern part of the United States.
First: The two-foot drains would be liable to be frozen up solid, every winter.
Secondly: The subsoil plow, now coming into use among our best cultivators, runs to so great a depth as to be likely to entirely destroy two-foot drains at the first operation, even if it were not intended to run the sub-soiler to a greater general depth than eighteen inches. Any one who has had experience in holding a subsoil-plow, must know that it is an implement somewhat unmanageable, and liable to plunge deep into soft spots like the covering over drains; so that no skill or care could render its use safe over two-foot drains.
The history of drainage in America, is soon given. It begins here, as it must begin everywhere, when practiced as a general system, with the introduction of tiles.
In 1835, Mr. John Johnston, of Seneca County, New York, a Scotchman by birth, imported from Scotland patterns of drain-tiles, and caused them to be made by hand-labor, and set the example of their use on his own farm. The effects of Mr. Johnston's operations were so striking, that in 1848, John Delafield, Esq., for a long time President of the Seneca County Agricultural Society, imported from England one of Scragg's Patent Tile machines. From that time, tile-draining in that county, and in the neighboring counties, has been diligently and profitably pursued. Several interesting statements of successful experiments by Mr. Johnston, Mr. Delafield, Mr. Theron G. Yeomans of Wayne County, and others, have been published, from time to time, in the "New York Transactions." Indeed, most of our information of experimental draining in this country, has come from that quarter.
Mr. Johnston, for more than twenty years, has made himself useful to the country, and at the same time gained a wide reputation for himself, by occasional publications on the subject of drainage.
In addition to this, his practical knowledge of agriculture, and especially of the subject of drainage, has gained for him a competence for his declining years. In this we rejoice; and trust that in these, his latter years, he may be made ever to feel, that even they among us of the friends of agriculture who have not known him personally, are not unmindful of their obligations to him as the leader of a most beneficent enterprise.
Tile-works have since been established at various places in New York, at several places in Massachusetts, Ohio, Michigan, and many other States. The first drain-tiles used in New-Hampshire, were brought from Albany, in 1854, by Mr. William Conner, and used on his farm in Exeter, that year; and the following year, the writer brought some from Albany, and laid them on his farm, in the same town.
In 1857, tile-works were put in operation at Exeter; and some 40,000 tiles were made that year.
The horse-shoe tiles, we understand, have been generally used in New York. At Albany, and in Massachusetts, the sole-tile has been of late years preferred. We cannot learn that cylindrical pipes have ever been manufactured in this country until the Summer of 1858 when the engineers of the New York Central Park procured them to be made, and laid them, with collars, in their drainage-works there. This is believed to be the first practical introduction into this country of round pipes and collars, which are regarded in England as the most perfect means of drainage.
Experiments all over the country, in reclaiming bog-meadows, and in draining wet lands with drains of stone and wood, have been attempted, with various success.
Those attempts we regard as merely efforts in the right direction, and rather as evidence of a general conviction of the want, by the American farmer, of a cheap and efficient mode of drainage, than as an introduction of a system of thorough drainage; for—as we think will appear in the course of this work—no system of drainage can be made sufficiently cheap and efficient for general adoption, with other materials than drain-tiles.
RAIN, EVAPORATION, AND FILTRATION.
Fertilizing Substances in Rain Water.—Amount of Rain Fall in United States—in England.—Tables of Rain Fall.—Number of Rainy Days, and Quantity of Rain each Month.—Snow, how Computed as Water.—Proportion of Rain Evaporated.—What Quantity of Water Dry Soil will Hold.—Dew Point.—How Evaporation Cools Bodies.—Artificial Heat Underground.—Tables of Filtration and Evaporation.
Although we usually regard drainage as a means of rendering land sufficiently dry for cultivation, that is by no means a comprehensive view of the objects of the operation.
Rain is the principal source of moisture, and a surplus of moisture is the evil against which we contend in draining. But rain is also a principal source of fertility, not only because it affords the necessary moisture to dissolve the elements of fertility already in the soil, but also because it contains in itself, or brings with it from the atmosphere, valuable fertilizing substances. In a learned article by Mr. Caird, in the Cyclopedia of Agriculture, on the Rotation of Crops, he says:
"The surprising effects of a fallow, even when unaided by any manure, has received some explanation by the recent discovery of Mr. Barral, that rain-water contains within itself, and conveys into the soil, fertilizing substances of the utmost importance, equivalent, in a fall of rain of 24 inches per annum, to the quantity of ammonia contained in 2 cwt. of Peruvian guano, with 150 lbs. of nitrogeneous matter besides, all suited to the nutrition of our crops."
About 42 inches of rain may be taken as a fair general average of the rain-fall in the United States. If this supplies as much ammonia to the soil as 3 cwt. of Peruvian guano to the acre, which is considered a liberal manuring, and which is valuable principally for its ammonia, we at once see the importance of retaining the rain-water long enough upon our fields, at least, to rob it of its treasures. But rain-water has a farther value than has yet been suggested:
"Rain-water always contains in solution, air, carbonic acid, and ammonia. The two first ingredients are among the most powerful disintegrators of a soil. The oxygen of the air, and the carbonic acid being both in a highly condensed form, by being dissolved, possess very powerful affinities for the ingredients of the soil. The oxygen attacks and oxydizes the iron; the carbonic acid seizing the lime and potash and other alkaline ingredients of the soil, produces a further disintegration, and renders available the locked-up ingredients of this magazine of nutriment. Before these can be used by plants, they must be rendered soluble; and this is only affected by the free and renewed access of rain and air. The ready passage of both of these, therefore, enables the soil to yield up its concealed nutriment."
We see, then, that the rains of heaven bring us not only water, but food for our plants, and that, while we would remove by proper drainage the surplus moisture, we should take care to first conduct it through the soil far enough to fulfill its mission of fertility. We cannot suppose that all rain-water brings to our fields precisely the same proportion of the elements of fertility, because the foreign properties with which it is charged, must continually vary with the condition of the atmosphere through which it falls, whether it be the thick and murky cloud which overhangs the coal-burning city, or the transparent ether of the mountain tops. We may see, too, by the tables, that the quantity of rain that falls, varies much, not only with the varying seasons of the year, and with the different seasons of different years, but with the distance from the equator, the diversity of mountain and river, and lake and wood, and especially with locality as to the ocean. Yet the average results of nature's operations through a series of years, are startlingly constant and uniform, and we may deduce from tables of rain-falls, as from bills of mortality and tables of longevity, conclusions almost as reliable as from mathematical premises.
The quantity of rain is generally increased by the locality of mountain ranges. "Thus, at the Edinburgh Water Company's works, on the Pentland Hills, there fell in 1849, nearly twice as much rain as at Edinburgh, although the distance between the two places is only seven miles."
Although a much greater quantity of rain falls in mountainous districts (within certain limits of elevation) than in the plains, yet a greater quantity of rain falls at the surface of the ground than at an elevation of a few hundred feet. Thus, from experiments which were carefully made at York, it was ascertained that there fell eight and a half inches more rain at the surface of the ground, in the course of twelve months, than at the top of the Minster, which is 212 feet high. Similar results have been obtained in many other places.
Some observations upon this point may also be found in the Report of the Smithsonian Institution for 1855, at p. 210, given by Professor C. W. Morris, of New York.
Again, the evaporation from the surface of water being much greater than from the land, clouds that are wafted by the winds from the sea to the land, condense their vapor upon the colder hills and mountain sides, and yield rain, so that high lands near the sea or other large bodies of water, from which the winds generally blow, have a greater proportion of rainy days and a greater fall of rain than lands more remote from water. The annual rain-fall in the lake districts in Cumberland County, in England, sometimes amounts to more than 150 inches.
With a desire to contribute as much as possible to the stock of accurate knowledge on this subject, we availed ourselves of the kindly offered services of our friends, Shedd and Edson, in preparing a carefully considered article upon a part of our general subject, which has much engaged their attention. Neither the article itself, nor the observations of Dr. Hobbs, which form a part of its basis, has ever before been published, and we believe our pages cannot be better occupied than by giving them in the language of our friends:
"All vegetables, in the various stages of growth, require warmth, air, and moisture, to support life and health.
Below the surface of the ground there is a body of stagnant water, sometimes at a great depth, but in retentive soils usually within a foot or two of the surface. This stagnant water not only excludes the air, but renders the soil much colder, and, being in itself of no benefit, without warmth and air, its removal to a greater depth is very desirable.
A knowledge of the depth to which this water-table should be removed, and of the means of removing it, constitutes the science of draining, and in its discussion, a knowledge of the rain-fall, humidity of the atmosphere, and amount of evaporation, is very important.
The amount of rain-fall, as shown by the hyetal, or rain-chart, of North America, by Lorin Blodget, is thirty inches vertical depth in the basin of the great lakes; thirty-two inches on Lake Erie and Lake Champlain; thirty-six inches in the valley of the Hudson, on the head waters of the Ohio, through the middle portions of Pennsylvania and Virginia, and western portion of North Carolina; forty inches in the extreme eastern and the northern portion of Maine, northern portions of New Hampshire and Vermont, south-eastern counties of Massachusetts, Central New York, north-east portion of Pennsylvania, south-east portion of New Jersey and Delaware; also, on a narrow belt running down from the western portion of Maryland, through Virginia and North Carolina, to the north-western portion of South Carolina; thence, up through the western portion of Virginia, north-east portion of Ohio, Northern Indiana and Illinois, to Prairie du Chien; forty-two inches on the east coast of Maine, Eastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, and middle portion of Maryland; thence, on a narrow belt to South Carolina; thence, up through Eastern Tennessee, through Central Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, to Iowa; thence, down through Western Missouri and Texas to the Gulf of Mexico; forty-five inches from Concord, New Hampshire, through Worcester, Mass., Western Connecticut, and the City of New York, to the Susquehanna River, just north of Maryland; also, at Richmond, Va., Raleigh, N. C., Augusta, Geo., Knoxville, Tenn., Indianopolis, Ind., Springfield, Ill., St. Louis, Mo.; thence, through Western Arkansas, across Red River to the Gulf of Mexico. From the belt just described, the rain-fall increases inland and southward, until at Mobile, Ala., the rain-fall is sixty-three inches. The same amount also falls in the extreme southern portion of Florida.
In England, the average rain-fall in the eastern portion is represented at twenty inches; in the middle portion, twenty-two inches; in the southern and western, thirty inches; in the extreme south-western, forty-five inches; and in Wales, fifty inches. In the eastern portion of Ireland, it is twenty-five inches; and in the western, forty inches.
Observations at London for forty years, by Dalton, gave average fall of 20.69 inches. Observations at New Bedford, Mass., for forty-three years, by S. Rodman, gave average fall of 41.03 inches—about double the amount in London. The mean quantity for each month, at both places, is as follows:
New Bedford. London.
January 3.36 1.46 February 3.32 1.25 March 3.44 1.17 April 3.60 1.28 May 3.63 1.64 June 2.71 1.74 July 2.86 2.45 August 3.61 1.81 September 3.33 1.84 October 3.46 2.09 November 3.97 2.22 December 3.74 1.74 ——- —— Spring 10.67 4.09 Summer 9.18 6.00 Autumn 10.76 6.15 Winter 10.42 4.45 ——- ——- Year 41.03 20.69
Another very striking difference between the two countries is shown by a comparison of the quantity of water falling in single days. The following table, given in the Radcliffe Observatory Reports, Oxford, England, 15th volume, shows the proportion of very light rains there. The observation was in the year 1854. Rain fell on 156 days:
73 days gave less than .05 inch. 30 " between that and .10 " 27 " between .10 " .20 " 9 " " .20 " .30 " 9 " " .30 " .40 " 4 " " .40 " .50 " 1 gave .60 " 2 " .80 " 1 " 1.00 "
Nearly half the number gave less fall than five-hundredths of an inch, and more than four-fifths the number gave less than one-fifth of an inch, and none gave over an inch.
There is more rain in the United States, by a large measure, than there; but the amount falls in less time, and the average of saturation is certainly much less here. From manuscript records, furnished us by Dr. Hobbs, of Waltham, Mass., we find, that the quantity falling in the year 1854, was equal to the average quantity for thirty years, and that rain fell on fifty-four days, in the proportion as follows:
Number of rainy days, 54; total rain-fall, 41.29.
0 days gave less than .05 inch. 2 " between that and .10 " 8 " between .10 " .20 " 7 " " .20 " .30 " 5 " " .30 " .40 " 4 " " .40 " .50 " 2 " " .50 " .60 " 4 " " .60 " .70 " 4 " " .70 " .80 " 3 " " .80 " .90 " 0 " " .90 " 1.00 " 0 " " 1.00 " 1.10 " 2 " " 1.10 " 1.20 " 1 " " 1.20 " 1.30 " 1 " " 1.30 " 1.40 " 3 " " 1.40 " 1.50 " 2 " " 1.50 " 1.60 " 1 " " 1.60 " 1.70 " 2 " " 1.80 " 1.90 " 1 " " 2.30 " 2.40 " 1 " " 2.50 " 2.60 " 1 " " 3.20 " 3.30 "
No rain-fall gave less than five-hundredths of an inch; and more than one-fourth the number of days gave more than one inch. In 1850, four years earlier, the rain-fall for the year, in Waltham, was 62.13 inches, the greatest recorded by observations kept since 1824. It fell as shown in the table:
Number of rainy days, 58; total rain-fall, 62.13.
3 days gave between .05 and .10 inches. 4 " .10 " .20 " 6 " .20 " .30 " 3 " .30 " .40 " 5 " .40 " .50 " 3 " .50 " .60 " 3 " .60 " .70 " 3 " .70 " .80 " 2 " .80 " .90 " 1 " .90 " 1.00 " 3 " 1.00 " 1.10 " 7 " 1.20 " 1.30 " 2 " 1.80 " 1.90 " 2 " 1.90 " 2.00 " 3 " 2.00 " 2.10 " 2 " 2.10 " 2.20 " 1 " 2.30 " 2.40 " 1 " 2.50 " 2.60 " 1 " 2.60 " 2.70 " 1 " 2.80 " 2.90 " 1 " 3.60 " 3.70 " 1 " 4.50 " 4.60 "