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seen, yet the farmers get tolerable crops; this is owing, particularly in the new settlements, to the looseness and fertility of old woodlands, which, with very bad tillage, will yield excellent crops: a circumstance the rest of the province is too apt to be guided by, for seeing the effects, they are apt to suppose the same treatment will do on land long since broken up, which is far enough from being the case. Thus, in most parts of the province, is found shallow and unlevel furrows, which rather scratch than turn the land; and of this bad tillage the farmers are very sparing, rarely giving two ploughings if they think the crop will do with one; the consequence of which is their products being seldom near so great as they would be under a different management. Nor are their implements well made, or even well calculated for the work they are designed to perform:


A. Agriculture in New York, 17751

In the more genial climate and richer soil of the Middle Colonies the returns to man's cultivation of the land were greater than they were in New England, and there was a greater variety of agricultural products. The author of American Husbandry seems impressed by these facts and is less severe in his criticisms of prevailing methods.

Wheat in many parts of the province (New York] yields a larger produce than is common in England: upon good lands about Albany, where the climate is the coldest in the country, they sow two bushels and better upon one acre, and reap from 20 to 40: the latter quantity, however, is not often had; but from 20 to 30 bushels are common, and this with such bad husbandry as would not yield the like in England, and much less in Scotland. This is owing to the richness and freshness of the soil. In other parts of the province, particularly adjoining to New Jersey and Pensylvania, the culture is better and the country more generally settled. Though there are large tracts of waste land within twenty miles of the city of New York.

Rye is a common crop upon the inferior lands, and the sort they produce is pretty good, though not equal to the rye of England. The crops of it are not so great in produce as those of wheat on the better lands.

Maize is sown generally throughout the province, and they get vast crops of it. ... It is also of great advantage in affording a vast produce of food for cattle in the winter, which in this country is a matter of great consequence, where they are obliged to keep all their cattle housed from November till the end of March, with exception indeed of unprovident farmers, who trust some out the chief of the winter, to their great hazard.

1 American Husbandry.

By an American (London, 1775). I, 98-103.

Barley is much sown in all the southern parts of the province; and the crops they sometimes get of it are very great, but the grain is not of a quality equal to that of Europe. They make much malt and brew large quantities of beer from it at New York, which serves the home consumption, and affords some also for exportation. Pease are a common article of culture here, and though uncertain in their produce, yet are they reckoned very profitable; and the straw is valued as winter food. Thirty bushels per acre they consider as a large crop, but some times they get scarcely a third of that. Oats they sow in common, and the products are generally large; sixty bushels an acre have been known on land of but moderate fertility. Buckwheat is everywhere sown, and a few crops are supposed to pay the farmer better, at the same time that they find it does


little prejudice to the ground, in which it resembles pease.

Potatoes are not common in New England, but in New York many are planted; and upon the black, loose, fresh woodland they get very great crops, ror does any pay them better if so well, for at the city of New York there is a constant and ready market for them; I have been assured that from five to eight hundred bushels have been often gained on an acre.

There are many very rich meadows and pastures in all parts of the province; and upon the brooks and rivers, the watered ones (for they are well acquainted with that branch of husbandry) are mown twice and yield large crops of hay. In their marshes they get large crops also, but it is a coarse bad sort; not however to a degree, as to make cattle refuse it, on the contrary, the farmers find it of great use in the winter support of their lean cattle, young stock, and

The fruits in this province are much superior to those in New England; and they have some, as peaches and nectarines, which will not thrive there. Immense quantities of melons, and water melons are cultivated in the fields near New York, where they come to as great perfection as in Spain and Italy; nor can it well be conceived how much of these fruits and peaches, &c. all ranks of people eat here, and without receiving any ill consequence from the practice. This is an agreeableness far superior to any thing we have in England; and indeed, the same superiority runs through all their fruits, and


several articles of the kitchen garden, which are here raised without trouble, and in profusion. Every planter and even the smallest farmers have all an orchard near their house of some acres, by means of which they command a great quantity of cyder, and export apples by ship loads to the West Indies. Nor is this an improper place to observe that the rivers in this province and the sea upon the coast are richly furnished with excellent fish; oysters and lobsters are no where in greater plenty than in New York. I am of opinion they are more plentiful than at any other place on the globe; for very many poor families have no other subsistence than oysters and bread. Nor is this the only instance of the natural plenty that distinguishes this country: the woods are full of game, and wild turkies are very plentiful; in these particulars New York much exceeds New England.

B. Agriculture in New Jersey, 1749"

The same wasteful methods that characterized colonial agriculture elsewhere were noted by Peter Kalm in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Kalm was a Swedish botanist and professor of economics who traveled in America during the years 1748 to 1751. He was a trained and accurate observer and his reports are the most trustworthy that we have.

The rye grows very ill in most of the fields [in New Jersey), which is chiefly owing to the carelessness in agriculture, and to the poorness of the fields, which are seldom or never manured. After the inhabitants have converted a tract of land into fields, which had been a forest for many centuries together, and which consequently had a very fine soil, they use it as such, as long as it will bear any corn; and when it ceases to bear any, they turn it into pastures for the cattle, and rake new corn-fields in another place, where a fine soil can be met with, and where it has never been made use of for this purpose. This kind of agriculture will do for some time; but it will afterwards have bad consequences, as every one may clearly see. A few of the inhabitants, however, treated their fields a little better: the English in general have carried agriculture to a higher degree of perfection than any other nation. But the depth and richness of the soil, which those found here who came over from England, (as they were preparing land for ploughing which had been covered with woods from times immemorial) misled them, and made them careless hus

1 Travels into North America. By Peter Kalm. (2d ed., London, 1772.) In Pinkerton's Voyages and Travels, XIII, 564-5, 410, 401.

bandmen. . . . They had nothing to do but to cut down the wood, put it up in heaps, and to clear the dead leaves away. They could then immediately proceed to ploughing, which in such loose ground is very easy; and having sown their corn, they got a most plentiful harvest. This easy method of getting a rich crop has spoiled the English and other European inhabitants, and induced them to adopt the same method of agriculture which the Indians make use of; that is, to sow uncultivated grounds, as long as they will produce a crop without manuring, but to turn them into pastures as soon as they can bear no more, and to take in hand new spots of ground, covered since time immemorial with woods, which have been spared by the fire or the hatchet ever since the creation. This is likewise the reason why agriculture, and the knowledge of this useful branch, is so imperfect here, that one can learn nothing in a great tract of land, neither of the English, nor of the Swedes, Germans, Dutch, and French; except that, from their gross mistakes and carelessness for futurity, one finds opportunities every day of making all sorts of observations, and of growing wise at the expence of other people. In a word, the corn-fields, the meadows, the forests, the cattle, &c. are treated with great carelessness by the inhabitants. We can hardly be more lavish of our woods in Sweden and Finland than they are here: their eyes are fixed upon the present gain, and they are blind to futurity. Every day their cattle are harrassed by labour, and each generation decreases in goodness and size, by being kept short of food, as I have before mentioned. . .


A. A Colonial Plantation, 16861

The following description of a Virginia plantation at the end of the 17th century was written by Colonel William Fitzhugh, a prosperous planter, lawyer, and merchant. When he died in 1701, he left 54,000 acres of land and many slaves. The importance of tobacco is clearly shown in the account of the income to be derived from this plantation.

April 22nd, 1686. Doctr. Ralph Smith

In order to the Exchange you promised to make for me & I desire you to proceed therein, to say to Exchange an Estate of Inheritance

· Letters of William Fitzhugh. In the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography (Richmond, 1893), I, 395-6. Printed by permission of the publisher, the Virginia Historical Society.

in land there [i. e. England] of two or three hundred pound a year, or in houses in any town of three or four hundred pound a year, I shall be something particular in the relation of my concerns here that is to go in return thereof. As first the Plantation where I now live contains a thousand acres, at least 700 acres of it being rich thicket, the remainder good hearty plantable land, without any waste either by marshes or great swamps the commodiousness, conveniency, & pleasantness yourself well knows, upon it there is three quarters well furnished with all necessary houses; grounds and fencing, together with a choice crew of negro's at each plantation, most of them this country born, the remainder as likely as most in Virginia, there being twenty nine in all, with stocks of cattle & hogs at each quarter, upon the same land, is my own Dwelling house furnished with all accommodations for a comfortable & gentile living, as a very good dwelling house with rooms in it, four of the best of them hung & nine of them plentifully furnished with all things necessary & convenient, & all houses for use furnished with brick chimneys, four good Cellars, a Dairy, Dovecot, Stable, Barn, Henhouse, Kitchen & all other conveniencys & all in a manner new, a large Orchard, of about 2500 Aple trees most grafted, well fenced with a Locust fence, which is as durable as most brick walls, a Garden, a hundred foot square, well pailed in, a Yeard wherein is most of the foresaid necessary houses, pallizado'd in with locust Punchens, which is as good as if it were walled in & more lasting than any of our bricks, together with a good Stock of Cattle, hogs, horses, mares, sheep, &c., necessary servants belonging to it, for the supply and support thereof. About a mile & half distance a good water Grist miln, whose tole I find sufficient to find my own family with wheat & Indian corn for our necessitys & occasions up the River in this country three tracts of land more, one of them contains 21996 acres, another 500 acres, & one other 1000 acres, all good convenient & commodious Seats, & wch in few years will yield a considerable annual Income. A stock of Tobo with the crops and good debts lying out of about 250000lb besides sufficient of almost all sorts of goods, to supply the familys & the Quarter's occasion for two if not three years. Thus I have given you some particulars, which I thus deduce the yearly crops of Corn and Tobo together with the surplusage of meat more than will serve the family's use, will amount annually to 60000lb Tobowch at 10 shillings p Co 300£ p annum, & the negroes increase being all young & a considerable parcel of breeders will keep that stock good for ever. The stock of Tobo managed with an inland trade will yearly yield

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