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The infusion of litmus was reddened when added to it. With the nitrate and acetite of barites, insoluble precipitates were thrown down, as was also the case with the acetite of lead. Sulphate of iron gave a very slight olive tinge to the infusion, after standing eight hours; and with the solution of gelatine, a small quantity of a whitish flocculent precipitate was formed, after standing twelve hours. The oxalic acid, a solution of pure ammonia, and the nitrate of silver, produced no effect on the infusion.
The conclusion to be drawn from these results is, that the moss contains in its composition, beside the ordinary principles of vegetables, a very small portion of gallic acid, and of tannin, some sulphuric acid in an uncombined state, mucilage, and extractive matter. No inference can, therefore, be drawn from these results, which explains in any degree the effects of the moss in preserving the vegetables that are enveloped in it; nor is there any effect produced in the air by it, more than is produced by mosses in general, when in an uncorrupted state; other causes to explain the preservative property of the moss must therefore be looked for, and these are to be found, in my opinion, in the peculiar qualities of the moss, connected with its own existence as a living plant.
Plants which are taken from the earth, and packed up to Plants will not be sent abroad, or to any distance so considerable as to vegetate unless kept alive. keep them for some length of time in the package, will not vegetate when again taken out of it and planted, unless some degree of vitality has been preserved during the period that they have been out of the ground.
To preserve this, four circumstances are essential in the Circumstances packing material; softness, in order that the delicate parts requisite to of the enveloped vegetable be not injured; looseness, that a certain portion of air be contained in it, and that an equal temperature may be preserved; moisture; and the power of resisting fermentation, and the putrefactive process.
All of these circumstances this moss possesses in a remark- Bog moss emiable degree; its power of absorbing and retaining mois. nently possesses ture is more considerable than that which perhaps any other moss possesses, it is light, soft, and loose in its texture, and its vitality is so considerable, as to carry on the powers.
Theory of its action.
of vegetation, and consequently to enable it to resist fermentation and putrefaction for a very great length of time.
Placed under such circumstances, the plants, which are packed up in the moss, enjoy a kind of life in some degree similar to that enjoyed by an animal in a torpid state, the functions of life are supported at a very low state, but still sufficient to preserve them in a situation to be acted upon by favourable circumstances, when again planted. Such is the theory I have formed of the effect of this moss in preserving plants; the many necessary calls of my profession have not allowed me time sufficient to investigate the sub. ject, with all the attention I could have wished to have bestowed on it, and must also plead my apology, for the hasty manner in which my opinion is presented to you. I consider the discovery of much value, both to botany and agriculture,
A. T. THOMPSON.
Various fruit trees sent to Sierra Leone, packed in this
IN addition to the account which I delivered to you, respecting my method of packing plants for exportation in the sphagnum palustre moss, I beg leave to observe, that, at the time the case was packed up, which I sent to the Adelphi in January last, a similar package was sent from me to Sierra Leone, by desire of the African Institution, who wished to introduce into that colony the mulberry tree for feeding silk worms; also different kinds of vines, and other fruit trees, amounting in the whole to nearly fifteen hundred trees.
They arrived there in about four months after the pack. age was made up, and the trees were planted under the direction of a gentleman, to whom I gave a copy of the instructions, which accompanied my former letter to you of last January. The following account of them has since appeared in the African Herald. "A number of fruit and other trees, among which are the white and red mulberry, vines, &c., have been sent from London, by order of the African Institution; all of which are at present growing
here, in a very flourishing state; and a piece of ground is clearing in the mountains, to which they are intended to be removed the next season."
in the same
I requested the gentleman, to whose management the African plants plants were entrusted, to acquaint me how they succeeded, sent to England, and to use the same moss in packing up for me some of the wild plants of that neighbourhood, which he did in June last; and at the same time I received a letter from Mr. Macaulay of that place, with the following intelligence. "The plants which were bought of you, and sent out by the African Institution, all thrive very well, except the tea tree, soursop, and a few others. The mulberries, &c., grow most luxuriantly; most of the trees have been removed to a more temperate situation, about three miles hence, where the remainder will soon also be planted.”
fit state for
This letter arrived by the Derwent, captain Colombine, and arrived in a who also brought me a box of plants packed up in the vegetating. moss, which had been previously sent with the above; and although the package did not arrive at Brompton before the 5th of October last, the plants were in a fine state of vegetation, and are now growing in my hot-house; and even the moss itself had preserved its vegetative, state, and was perfect.
I have been thus particular in my description of the fact, as it is a corroborating proof of the utility of this moss for such purposes; and as the removal of trees cannot be otherwise effected in long voyages, without great expense and inconvenience.
I am, with great respect, Dear Sir,
Yours very truly,
Reference to Mr. Salisbury's Method of managing Plants, after they are removed from the Package. See Plate
IX, Fig. 2, 3.
The plan fig. 2, at the bottom of plate IX, represents, Method of maon a small scale, sections of the beds and alleys, with the naging the plants after plants as first set. The beds, aa, are to be made on level their arrival. ground, cach bed to be five feet wide, with a space, bbb, between
between each for a road. A portion of the earth is to be thrown out of the five feet beds, upon these roads, so as to raise them four inches higher than the beds, as shown in the plan; C represents the plants as first set out, with an arched cover of canvas cloth over them; D shows the plants when they have grown in the beds for some time, and in a state ready for planting out.
To illustrate the mode of cutting or pruning the plants, pruning them. after they are removed from the package: fig. 3, No. 1, is supposed to be a fruit tree, of one year's growth from the graft, that is a maiden plant. It is to be cut down as is represented in No. 2, and the next season's growth will form the tree No. 3. When it is fit to remain as a dwarf, or if pruned, as is represented in No. 4, it will form a standard, or such as are usually planted in orchards with high stems, in order to be out of the reach of cattle. No 5 is supposed to represent any small tree, that has not been grafted, but cut down for planting. No. 6 is the form it will make the following season, when it may be left; or, should it be intended for timber, or have a crooked stem, cut it close down to the ground as at No. 7, and it will throw up several shoots, which should be all cut off but the strongest, and that will make the tree No. 8. This may afterward be kept trimmed up to a single stem, and a tree be formed much better than in any other mode.
Plants kept alive in the moss nine months.
N. B. The packages of plants, Nos. 1 and 2, men. tioned in Mr. Salisbury's first letter, were opened and examined by the committee of agriculture, on the 16th of January, 1809, when all the plants appeared to be in a state fit for vegetation. The boxes were then closed, and placed in the society's model room, and opened again on the 30th of May, at the distribution of the rewards of the society; the plants were then in a state fit for growth, having formed both new roots and branches during their con finement. It appears, therefore, that the plants were, from their first enclosure by Mr. Salisbury, thus preserved nine months out of the earth.
Description of an Apparatus used at Sheffield for cleaning
THE HE two brushes, Plate X, fig. 1, and 2, are those Apparatus for which at present appear to answer best the intended pur cleaning chimneys, pose. Fig. 1 is the easiest to work in difficult chimneys; but in those which are tolerably straight No. 2 will be found the more convenient, as it clears itself better of the soot in ascending. Soldered on the inside of the iron hoop A, at b is a hollow iron tube, going through the wooden balls B. The nut C screws upon the upper end of the hollow tube, through which the rope passes, and fastens the whole together. The balls B are put upon the tube in separate parts, divided at d, for the conveniency of putting in and replacing the brush part F, which is composed of bristles, whisk, aud whalebone. The whisk (which should be well selected for the purpose) is in the middle, on each side of which, above and below, is a row of whalebone, split thin, with the flat sides towards the whisk, and above and below the whalebone are bristles. Care must be taken that the whole is not too thick and strong, otherwise it will be difficult to get in and out of the pipes on the tops of the chimneys; where they are pressed together between the balls B, they should not be thicker than three eighths of an inch. Great care must also be taken, that the parts of the brushes are well fastened together, and firmly fixed between the balls B, so as not to be loosened in working. The diameter of the balls B is three inches. The distance
Abridged from the Trans. of the Soc. of Arts, vol. xxvii, p. 209. The Society, anxious to relieve the sufferings of humanity, have attended with much pleasure to the endeavours of the inhabitants of Sheffield, and cooperate with them in their attempts to supersede the necessity of employing climbing boys; they have, therefore, immediately on receiving the following communication, ordered it to be inserted in their volume, and an explanatory cngraving of the machinery employed to be annexed.