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erally contradictory, and then the chairman of the meeting or some venerable gentleman would get up and say that in a year or two 'our agricultural college will be established, and then we shall have experiments that will settle the matter and give definite answers to all these questions.'

"The agricultural college was to tell us the best time to cut hay and the best way to feed it. It was to tell us whether it would pay to chaff fodder or to cook it. It was to tell us what is the best breed of horses, cows, sheep, and swine. It was to tell us whether it would pay to use this or that commercial manure. It was to tell us which crop was most profitable; whether, after deducting expenses, we could make most money from a crop of wheat, barley, oats, rye, corn, pease, beans, potatoes, grass, or roots. It was to answer the great question, Does farming pay?'-and woe to the professor if he did not answer it in the affirmative. We were to have a 'model farm' and an experimental station combined. The whole farm was to be devoted to trying experiments, and be made to pay into the bargain. "I need not tell you that such expectations could not be realized. As a rule the experiments made at our agricultural colleges have been of little interest or value. They have settled nothing. Unless there is a better system adopted they never will give us the information we so much need. The great trouble has been the desire to make popular experiments, such as cooking food for stock or testing commercial fertilizers.

The Michigan Agricultural College is a bright exception to this dark picture. It has made some most important experiments. They have been evidently planned with great thought and after patient investigation. They are not hap-hazard experiments. They were made with a definite object. They bear the marks of scrupulous accuracy. Nothing is covered up, nothing omitted. We have all the details, and can draw our own conclusions from the results. They are not 'pen-and-ink experiments.' No one doubts their entire trustworthiness. They are not common experiments, such as any of us can make, and ought to make, on our own farms. They are scientific experiments. They are not designed to tell us merely whether an Essex or a Berkshire pig will make the most pork from 100 lbs. of corn, but they are designed to tell us why.

And this is what we want. And I must do Professor Miles the justice, and it is nothing more than justice, to say that his experiments on pigs have thrown more light on the ra tionale of pig-feeding than any other experiments of which I have any knowledge. They supplied the missing link. Lawes and Gilbert's grand experiments, continued on a large scale for several years, were with pigs nine months old. Dr. Miles in some cases commenced his experiments when the pigs were only two weeks old, and filled up the gap. If he never makes another experiment his name will occupy an honorable place in agricultural literature for years to come. But I hope his useful life will long be spared, and that the intelligent farmers of Michigan will stand by him and encourage him in his work. I know something of the labor of making scientific experiments. I know how difficult it is to plan an experiment which shall afford any definite conclusions. We have thousands of so-called agricultural experiments, interesting so far as they go, but they are mere fragments. They are inconclusive and often contradictory. We need definite knowledge in regard to fundamental principles. We must have this knowledge before we can make rapid advances. One man makes an experiment which shows a great saving in cooking food for hogs; another proves from an equally satisfactory experiment that it does not pay. Both are doubtless right: it depends on circumstances,-the breed, age, condition, etc., of the pigs; and before we can know when it will and when it will not pay to cook food for pigs, we must know more in regard to the processes of digestion and assimilation. Dr. Miles, by his experiments at the Michigan Agricultural College, has thrown more light on these fundamental questions than any other investigator.

But I am saying much more than I intended. You ask me if " from a practical point of view, it would be desirable to continue at the Michigan Agricultural College the same system of experimenting, or would it be oetter to adopt some other methods?" By all means continue them. It will be a serious loss to agriculture if the experiments are discontinued. The Michigan Agricultural College now stands at the head of all similar institutions in this country. It is an honor to the State and to the country at large. Other methods should be added as the occasion requires, but the general design of the experiments can not be changed for the better. Above all do not aim to make popular experiments. Do not waste the time of scientific men and the money of the State in making experiments which prove nothing when you have got them. Any farmer in Michigan can ascertain whether plaster is a useful fertilizer on his farm for corn. What the college should aim at is, to first find out whether it does good on certain crops on the college farm, and then to ascertain, if possible, why it does good on some crops and not on others. This is what we want agricultural colleges and experimental farms for. They must make investigations which require more time, money, patience, and scientific apparatus than those of us who are exclusively engaged in the busy duties of the farm can afford to bestow. Do not let your scientific men at the college waste their time in ascertaining facts which we can find out for ourselves. Do not tie their hands. Let them have full liberty to make such experi

ments as the interests of scientific agriculture demand. They ought to know, and I am sure Dr. Miles does know, what we need. Do not cripple them for want of means.

"We all hold Michigan in high honor for what she has done for agricultural science. The experiments on the college farm are becoming more and more interesting the longer they are continued, and it will be a great mistake to adopt any new and doubtful methods.

"I have alluded above to the experiments on pigs. The experiments on sheep, though not so extensive, are also of great interest and value. I saw some of these experimental sheep. They convinced me that we could easily raise good mutton and fine combing wool; and since then I have adopted on my farm the very same cross which the experiments showed to be so useful. We were told then, as we are told now, that the farmers of the United States could not raise combing wool. The experiments at the college showed that this was a great mistake. I cannot go into this matter, but I feel that the college has never received half the credit it is entitled to for the position then taken and for the facts which sustained it. These experiments alone might well be worth to the farmers of Michigan more than the entire cost of the college. I should be much pleased to see these sheep experiments continued on the plan Dr. Miles suggested in his report for 1868. It is precisely what we want, and I do not doubt that the results would be as interesting and instructive as the remarkable results from Dr. Miles' experiments on pigs.

"The field experiments, though evidently conducted with great care and labor, have not given us so much positive information as the experiments on animals. But negative results are not without value. It may save the farmers of Michigan more money to know that phosphates are not an economical manure for wheat, than to know that phosphates are valuable for turnips. A failure will sometimes teach a man more than a success. What we want is a well-planned experiment and an honest record of the result. We want truth, and this the Michigan Agricultural College gives us. Yours respectfully,




Muck upon grass, hoed crops, and potatoes.
On grass; plaster, ashes, etc.
Top dressing of grass lands.
Agricultural chemistry; muck and night soil.
Top dressing on grass; manures to corn.

1863-pages 63-71. By Dr. Kedzie.
1864-pages 117-119. By Dr. Kedzie.
1865-pages 235-239. By Dr. Miles.
1866-pages 51-54. By Dr. Kedzie.
1866-pages 55-59. By Dr. Miles.
1866-pages 59-62. By Dr. Miles.
1867-pages 39-52. By Dr. Miles.
1867-pages 53-54. By Prof. Prentiss. Fertilizers; corn.

1868-pages 47-72. By Dr. Miles. Sheep-feeding.

1868-pages 73-97. By Dr. Miles, Pig-feeding.

1868-pages 99-128. By Dr. Miles. Fertilizers.

1868-pages 129-149. By Dr. Kedzie. Agricultural chemistry.

1868-pages 150-152. By Prof. Prentiss, Fertilizers.

1869-pages 53-71. By Dr. Miles. Pig-feeding.

1869-pages 73-104. By Dr. Miles. Fertilizers.

1869-pages 190-194. By W. K. Kedzie. Steeping seeds in brine.

1870-pages 75-92. By Dr. Miles. Pig-feeding.

1870-pages 93-117. By Dr. Miles. Manures.

1870-folded sheet between pages 118-119. By Prof. Prentiss. Tomatoes.

1873-pages 108-132. By Dr. Miles. Pig-feeding.

1873-pages 123-139. By Dr. Miles. Fertilizers.

The report for 1871 contains (pages 291-389) the proceedings of a convention for the discussion of college experiments. Great pains was taken to correct all errors in the newspaper reports by correspondence with the various persons who took part in the discussions.




In the House of Representatives, on March 6th, 1875, Mr. Copley offered the following:

Resolved, That a committee of two be appointed to wait on Prof. R. C. Kedzie of the Agricultural College, and invite him to deliver a lecture in this Hall on Chemistry, its application to practical agriculture and the laws of health, on some evening mutually convenient to the legislature and himself; Which was adopted.

The Speaker appointed as such committee Messrs. Copley and Greiner.

In response to the above invitation, Prof. Kedzie delivered the following address on the evening of March 16th, 1875.



The science of Chemistry is yet in its infancy. The foundation fact out of which it sprung was the discovery of oxygen; and yet this discovery by Priestly was only 100 years ago. The centennial of its discovery was celebrated by chemists all over the world, on the first day of last August. Yet, young as it is, it has become the most complete and exact of the natural sciences. Its influence on human affairs is no less remarkable. It has revolutionized manufactures, and placed its stamp on every trade. It gives laws to commerce, controls trade, supervises the transmission of intelligence, and the means of travel. It moulds human destiny, and gives shape to modern civilization. It has revolutionized war, and dictates terms of peace. It was the cultivation of this science which has made Germany the first power of Europe. It was the rifled cannon of Krupp that won the victories at Gravelotte and Sedan; and it was the Bessemer steel of Berlin that made these guns possible,-guns of so long range, that a French officer complained that he had been whipped six times in battle and had never once seen his enemy.

What chemistry has already accomplished is only a dim foreshadowing of what it will yet do. Take the single fact that in the near future chemisty will yet give us cast steel cheaper than wrought iron; for cast steel is the halfbrother of cast iron, while wrought iron is only his cousin. Think what a

revolution is involved for every manufacture, trade, and human calling in that one possibility!

For the farmer chemistry has done much indirectly, in the improved machinery, and in the increased facilities for transportation it has made possible. But for farming, directly it has done less than for any other industry. There are many reasons for this. In the first place, chemists have been engrossed in developing the facts and principles of this vast science. In the next place, the applications of this science to mining and metallurgy, to bleaching, dyeing, calico-printing, the manufacture of acids and alkalies, etc., etc., have been more simple and easy than its application to agriculture, and chemists have received a more appreciative welcome from these classes. While manufacturers and artizans have shown a keen anxiety to avail themselves of every hint which science throws out for their guidance, too many farmers have been doubting and captious about the teachings of science, or have put an extinguisher on the whole matter by calling it "book-farming" as though any fact, when once placed in print, ceased to be of any value whatever. Another and a rapidly increasing class of farmers, are ready to avail themselves of all the benefits which science affords. Again, the application of chemistry to agriculture involves questions very complex in their nature, and hard of solution. The chemist has to deal with a soil, not only very complex, but very varying in constitution; the seasons are ever varying, and the products of vegetable growth are themselves very complex; and then, to add confusion to all this complexity, there is added that mysterious power which we call life, which often varies or even reverses the laws of chemistry.


One duty often assigned to the agricultural chemist by those who know little either of chemistry or agriculture, is to "analyze the soil:" as if the chemical analysis of the soil would determine every question of its agricultural capabilities, the kind, amount, and quality of the crops it would raise. In the early history of the science, analysis of certain barren soils revealed the cause of the barrenness in the sulphate of iron present. When this was removed or decomposed by lime, the soil was fruitful. A few instances of this kind gave great hopes of benefit from soil analysis. But such instances of barrenness from purely chemical causes are rare and exceptional. An instance of this kind, however, occurred a few years ago in a neighboring province. A dispute having arisen whether the tract of land, selected at Etobicoke, in the province of Ontario, for an experimental and model farm in connection with the Canadian Agricultural College, was suitable for this purpose, the Commissioner of Agriculture and Public Works selected Dr. Miles to examine and report on the same, requesting a chemical analysis of the soils as one ground for a decision. I analysed a large number of specimens of the soil, and pronounced many of them unfit for cultivation because they were acid in their reaction, contained but a minute quantity of lime, and a large excess of protoxide of iron. Specimens of this soil are before you, and I presume that any farmer in this House will say that a chemical analysis was not necessary to condemn such soil. The soil was better suited to make bricks than to raise bullocks.

But it is often found that the most careful chemical analysis will not distinguish between a fertile and a barren soil. One reason is that the barrenness may be due to physical causes, e. g., want of drainage. Chemical analysis can orly determine the chemical conditions of the soil, and will not always reveal

physical evils. Agricultural chemists now regard the analysis of the soil as of only secondary importance.


The most notable effort to develop agriculture from a chemical basis, was that of Baron Liebig, when he propounded his "rational system of agriculture." In bringing forward this system, he asked, as fundamental questions, "What does the soil contain? What do plants contain ?" He assumed that all that the plant took from the soil, and all that was necessary for a complete development of any crop, was the mineral elements it derived from the soil, or what remained as ash when the plant is burned; that the only valuable materials in manures were the mineral substances they contained; so that it would have the same effect if we should burn the manure and apply the ashes to the soil. If we want to know what manure to use to raise any crop, he tells us to burn the plant, find the amount of ash, analyze it, and we would thus know what minerals to use, and in what amount, to make that crop produce its highest yield. Thus a few salts would take the place of the cords of barnyard manure now used. The excitement in Great Britain over this mineral theory was remarkable. The millennium of agriculture had come. An English lord, in explaining this theory to his Scotch gardener, said, "The time is coming, Sandy, when you can carry the manure for a whole field in one vest pocket." "And when that time comes, my laird," said Sandy, "ye can carry the crop in your ither vest pocket."

Large manufactories were established to make these mineral manures, and farmers sent in their orders for so many hundred weight of "wheat manure," "barley manure," "turnip manure," etc. "All went merry as a marriage bell" till harvest-time came, when it was found that these mineral manures were an utter failure. The mineral theory was very beautiful, but somehow Nature never "got the hang of it," and did not fulfill the chemist's predictions in the smallest particular.

But if the great Liebig thus failed to aid the farmer, can the small fry of chemists hope to do anything? How can the chemist aid the farmer?


One duty of the chemist is to explain the facts which are already known in agriculture. By knowing the reason why we do a thing, we may discover better ways of doing it, or that some other and easier process may accomplish the same result. We thus sift our processes, and eliminate needless elements or introduce better ones.

But there is another benefit of knowing the reason of our actions. When the mind comprehends and watches the wonderful chemical processes which are always going on in earth, in air, and in the growing crop, the body forgets half the weariness of toil. Nothing is so wearisome as work without thought. It is mere drudgery; and every man, and especially every boy, hates it. Let the the boy know that in handling the hoe, holding the plow, in harrowing and cultivating, he is providing the conditions of wonderful chemical changes. Let him understand those changes; the chemistry of plant growth; of ripening of grains and fruits; why the bitter and austere apple of July becomes the golden pippin of September,-let such thoughts fill his brain, and the weariness of the body is forgotten. Glorified and loving Nature walks by his

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