to the policy of government. Under the forms of diverse institutions, Professor Amos seeks to trace the tendencies and influences that are at work for good or for evil, and by which the value of the accompanying forms must be judged. The book, in the nature of things, can not be as spicy as a treatise on local politics, appealing to the bias and prejudice of patriotic feeling, but just for this reason its influence will be salutary and wholesome. We greatly need that catholicity of view in dealing with political subjects which it is the object of science to illustrate and enforce.
Description of Houghton Farm by H. E. A.; with experiments on Indian Corn, 1880-81, by Manly Miles, Director of Experiments. With a Summary of the Experiments with Wheat for Forty Years at Rothamsted. Cambridge: Printed at the Riverside Press. Pp. 75.
Experimental scientific agriculture—anything truly entitled to the name—is perhaps one of the most difficult things that a man can undertake. Experimental science, anyhow earnestly pursued, is the hardest kind of work. Mere experiments are, of course, easy enough, and it is easy to parade their results and talk about new discoveries, of which people generally know nothing. But to make experimental investigations tributary to any real advance of knowledge, to get new and valuable results which will stand, or to give greater precision and trustworthiness to accepted conclusions, is as far as possible from easy, and is, indeed, so difficult as to be but rarely attained. It is quite a mistake to suppose that laboratories grind out new truth with the regularity of a flouring-mill. Elaborate experiments may go on for years, and nothing come of them worth preserving. It is exactly this difficulty in getting it that makes scientific truth so precious. It is like diamond-digging, only the "finds" are much less frequent, and infinitely more valuable.
But, if in each of the sciences, with perfected equipments of research and a comparatively narrow field, it is so hard to add anything new to the stock of knowledge, how much more difficult must it be when the attack is made upon a whole group of mutually dependent sciences! The farm, taken as an arena of experiment, is itself a congeries of laboratories. The phenomena involved are physical, chemical, geological, meteorological, and broadly biological—that is, embracing the economy of vegetal and animal life, from mildews to fruit-orchards, from insects to vertebrates. To know the nature of the soil, the nature of the air, the nature of fertilizers, the nature of plants and animals of all kinds, so as to study them in their vital connections by experimental processes that shall bring out valuable and lasting results, is hence, as we have said, one of the most formidable of tasks.
In the first place, there will arise all the difficulties encountered in the pursuit of the special sciences, with the disadvantage that the means of investigation are very rarely so perfect. But the peculiar and most formidable difficulty of agricultural science arises from the fact that the farm is itself a grand laboratory of nature, which imposes its own conditions of inquiry. And the first of these conditions is, that Nature must be taken at her own pace. Her processes go on at their own rates, and can not be much forced. The natural changes involved in agricultural effects proceed slowly, and the experimenter must conform his plans to this fact. The changes of soil, the action of fertilizers, the improvement of crops, the culture of stock, involve slowly accumulating results, require time, and, in addition to knowledge and skill on the part of the investigator, he must also have patience and perseverance, remembering that the fruits of his efforts belong to the future. Agricultural science, if honest, can not strike for immediate results; that scientific farming which demands something to display promptly, like prize-cattle and prize crops, or that seeks to astonish the neighborhood, is a sham, and only brings an excellent thing into unmerited disgrace. This is what must be, and what is shown by abundant experience. The farm establishments started by rich men for the promotion of agricultural science, and which have come to nothing, may be counted by hundreds. On the contrary, the one which has a world-wide reputation for having made the largest contribution to agricultural progress is working by a system which requires a long series of years to develop its results. The Rothamsted farm of Messrs.