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For the Literary Magazine.

kotan husbandry.

The following particulars are taken from
a French translation of a German au-
thor, who has filled a volume with
economical reveries of the same kind.
They are fanciful, but not destitute of
some solidity, and may amuse those
whom they do not instruct.

HUSBANDRY, the most import-
ant of all arts, has been reduced to
very simple principles, and been
brought within a very narrow com-
pass, by this nation. There is no
art susceptible of greater variety in
its operations than this, and none in
which the western nations have ac-
tually adopted a greater number and
diversity of modes. This obviously
arises from the dispersed and un-
connected situation of the cultivators,
and from their stupidity and igno-
rance. The learned and curious
have laid out their wealth and their
curiosity on different objects, and
the art of extracting human subsist-
ence from the earth has been treat-
ed with contempt and negligence.

There is no one circumstance,
which strikes the sense of the stran-
ger with a stronger sense of novelty,
than the system and all the appen-
dages of Kotan husbandry. A man,
fresh from Europe, and somewhat
familiar with the agriculture of his
native country, and finding himself
among a civilized nation, looks
around him in expectation of meet-
ing with the same objects, but al-
most every object he meets with in-
forms him that he has fallen among
a new race of men.

In the first place, he will notice
with surprise the degree of unifor-
mity which he will meet with. As
he passes from district to district,
and from province to province, he
will naturally look for new subjects
and modes of culture, but he will be
disappointed. As he passes from
one extremity of the empire to ano-
ther, farms of similar dimensions,
distributed and cultivated in the
same manner, stocked in the same

manner and degree, and with build-
ings and tenants of the same fashion,
will be every where found. I need
not observe, that, in these respects
an absolute sameness prevails. Va-
riety is the necessary attendant on
all human affairs, and some differ-
ences necessarily flow from soil and
climate Exclusive of these last,
however, the variety confines itself
within narrow limits, and is much
less in districts a thousand miles
from each other, than in German
farms, within the same parish.

As the country was formerly di-
vided into numerous petty states,
the modes of cultivating the earth
were as diverse as possible; but
since one of these states has gain-
ed an absolute ascendancy over the
rest, the whole mass, in all its mo-
difications and ingredients, has
been rapidly assimilating to the con-
quering state. There is no circum-
stance in which the ruling powers
have more zealously laboured to pro-
duce a uniformity, than in the culti-
vation of the earth. They seem to
have thought that one mode of hus-
bandry was more beneficial than any
other, and that the prosperity of the
state eminently depended on the
kind and quantity of provision which
was drawn from the soil. Hence,
having conceived the notion of a
farm as it ought to be, they have
bent their mightiest efforts to des-
troying every other scheme of culti-
vation, and establishing this in its

Their plan of husbandry, in its
objects and operations, would no less
surprise a stranger by its simpli-
city, than by its extensive preva-
lence. The care of every husband-
man has properly but one object.
This is a root called beel. From
this root is derived the whole vege-
table food of the society, and with
this are fed all the domestic ani-

Instead of a great variety of
grains, some of which are confined
to man, and some to beasts, some to
satisfy the cravings of the poor and
laborious, some to pamper the rich;
instead of a great number of esculent

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and garden vegetables, the Kotan
field and garden are acquainted
with but one. As agriculture is
entirely confined to this one plant,
and as its culture and properties
are universally known, it will be
proper to enter into some particu-
lars respecting it. The food of
the nation being entirely drawn
from this root, directly or indirectly,
it is necessary to be well acquainted
with it.

The beel is a species of potatoe
or yam. It possesses, like that root,
a smooth, thin skin; and several
roots are connected with one stalk.
Its shape, however, is more regular,
inclining almost always to the oval.

Its taste is much more lively,
pungent, and saccharine than that of
the potatoe. The pulp is of a yel-
lowish hue, and all the preparations
of this plant have a tincture of that

The size of the root, and the
number belonging to one stalk, de-
pend very much on the soil and cul-
ture. The plant, in a poor soil and
totally neglected, will produce two
or three roots, the whole weight of
which is equal to about eight ounces
avoird.; whereas, if aided by ma-
nure, plentifully watered, and fre-
quently tilled and dressed, the pro-
duct will be equal to ten pounds.
The difference, therefore, which is
made by human art, is as twenty to

This is a hardy plant, and is a
native of the soil, as a small kind is
is found in desert places, which is
found capable of being improved, by
culture, into an equality with the
largest and best; and the best kinds,
if wholly neglected, are found to de-
generate into a resemblance to this
wild one.

It will grow in every soil which
is not exceedingly bad. It will flou-
rish most in the blackest and rich-
est, but will grow wherever there is
a small proportion of productive
particles: the product being in pro-
portion to the goodness of the soil,
and the labour, manure, and especi-
ally the watering bestowed upon it.

It is commonly planted in squares,

whose sides are sixteen inches. The
seed consists of a small root of the
previous harvest. The ground is
prepared for it, by being well bro-
ken up by a hoe, and the dung of
cattle is put into the hole which re-
ceives the seed. It is then covered
up, four or five inches deep.

The subsequent duty of the hus-
bandmen merely consists in loosen-
ing the earth, in the intervals, extir-
pating all weeds, and in supplying
the ground with water. The thriv-
ing of the plant depends more upon
the use of the hoe than on any other
circumstance. It is hardly possible
to give it too much hoeing. It is
well known that a single plant, care-
fully hoed every day, during the
whole period of its growth, will pro-
duce twenty pounds of roots, pro-
vided some manure, and seasonable
irrigation in dry weather, be like-
wise used.

The water may be frequently
given, but sparingly. It must not
be overflowed with water, but only
sprinkled, and the oftener this is
done, not exceeding once in twenty-
four hours, in dry weather, the more
flourishing is the plant.

This degree of attention it is not
possible to pay where the fields are
large, and the hands few; and yet
if one plant, fully tended, will pro-
duce as much as ten or twenty, at-
tended with less assiduity, it is evi-
dent that, if the labour be in both
cases equal, the first case is prefer-
able to the latter, since ground is
saved in the same proportion that
labour is expended.

To this plant their whole hus-
bandry, as to edibles, is confined.
The vegetable part of the food of
man consists wholly in this, and this
being the mere subsistence of their
cattle, it supplies them likewise, in-
directly, with all their meat, milk,
butter, and cheese. Beel espree,
or beel-planting, is, therefore, ano-
ther name for agriculture or farm-

A small, but stout, well-looking
species of the bovine genus is the
only cattle which is known. Instead
of that variety with which I was

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accustomed at home, of sheep, goats,
hogs, and kine, the latter is the only
one that makes its appearance.——
Those who know the value of the
hog and the sheep, the former of
which supplies a solid and beneficial
nutriment, at a very small expence
in the maintenance, and the latter
affords at the same time milk, meat,
leather, and hair for clothes, will
censure the Kotans for confining
their whole attention to a single spe-
cies of domestic animals.

They are no stranger to the hog
and sheep, which are in common
use in the neighbouring regions, nor
does any superstition appear to ope-
rate against them. Their own opi-
nion is in in favour of the use of
kine, in consequence of which all
other domestic quadrupeds are to-
tally unknown among them, except
by description.

They never mutilate their cattle.
Those only among the males who
are requisite to continue the species
are permitted to grow up to matu-
rity. The rest are, at an early age,
consigned to the butcher.

Cows are maintained for the sake
of their milk. After five years old,
they are deemed unfit for this ser-
vice, and are killed. Their flesh is
firm and well tasted beef, nor is
there any thing remarkably peculiar
to the breed. They afford plenty of
milk, which is manufactured into
cheese and butter.

Their colour is by no means uni-
form. A pare white is most com-
mon, but a dusky red, growing gra-
dually dark towards the extremities,
is not uncommon. I never met
with any of a dappled, motley, or
brindled hue.

In the management of cattle,
every thing is marked with an or-
der and nicety not elsewhere to be
seen. Their cattle do not subsist
by pasture or grass, but are fed en-
tirely on beel. They remain all the
year round in pens or yards. Their
bodies are kept perfectly clean by
washing and brushing. Their pens
are paved or floored with well burnt
clay, and their refuse is carefully

removed every day. All the neces-
sary accommodations are adjusted
and arranged with the utmost order
and harmony. When I first saw a
cow-pen, I could not conceal my as-
tonishment at the cleanliness and
even elegance of every object. The
animals themselves were as sleek as
a well dressed horse, and habit had
made them as docile as dogs. They
implicitly obeyed the voice of their
keeper and milker, and moved to
and fro, and took particular attitudes
or stations, without reluctance or

A cow of full age and health re-
quires a daily supply of thirty-five
pounds of beel. If boiled, a less
quantity will suffice. This food ap-
pears to be in the highest degree
congenial with their nature. They
eat it with never-failing relish, and
their milk flows with little difference
as to quantity throughout the year.
They are plump and round, and af-
ford the most delightful examples of
meek, placid faces.

Indeed, when we reflect upon the
life which the Kotan cow and bull
lead, we see in what an eminent de-
gree man is capable of being the be-
nefactor of the lower animals. We
likewise see that benevolence and
interest inculcate the same lesson,
since the happier the cow is made,
the more advantageous is she to her

In the first place, their existence
is absolutely void of all toil and care.
They are not employed either in
draft or burthen. To supply milk
and continue their race, both of
which are mere pleasures to them,
are all that is required of them. In
return for this, plenty of the most
delicious food is given them; chrys-
tal springs continually flow to their
lips; a shelter is provided for them
against adverse elements; their
persons are cleansed and purified;
and their treatment is invariably
gentle and soothing. From the fear
of death, that copious source of mi-
sery, their limited faculties secure
them; and death, which must come,
is inflicted in the easiest and quick-

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est manner. A sharp instrument is
struck into their spine, which ends
their existence in an instant.

There is some difference in their
condition, according to the temper,
knowledge, and wealth of the pro-
prietor, but there is now a very
great uniformity, in all these res-
pects, throughout the kingdom, and
the cow that fares worst may still
be said to enjoy a terrestrial para-

A very small portion of the milk
is consumed in its natural state. It
is made into cheese and butter, and
the residue composes the liquid part
of their food. Their cheese is form-
ed into various shapes, sometimes
fanciful and imitative; but each
mass is always so modelled as to
weigh about ten pounds. This is
sent to market in bamboo baskets.

The colour of this cheese is a
bright orange. It is generally dry
and firm, and becomes harder by
age. It is so hard, before it is
eaten, as to endure being ground in-
to powder, and in this state it always
comes upon table.

Their butter, the greater part of
it, is consumed at a distance from
the place where it is made, and after
being kept for some time. It is
consequently seasoned with salt, and
formed into masses of ten pounds.

This cheese and butter are gene-
rally equal to the best which I ever
tasted. They are better in some
districts than in others, but the food
of the cows being the same in all
cases, the products are sufficiently
alike. There is in their milk,
cheese, and butter a peculiar fla-
vour, arising from the use of beel.
At first, this property displeased
my palate, merely because I was
unused to it. In a little time, I be-
gan to relish it extremely, and Sax-
on butter is now insipid to my taste.

In their dairies, running water is
deemed indispensable. Their ves-
sels are formed of bamboo. Their
churn is a hollow cylinder of this
wood, in which there is a turning
axis, with dashers affixed to it.
This axis, when the power is at
hand, is turned by a jet of water.

A Kotan dairy is a circular space,
built round with apartments, suited
to the various purposes of making
and preserving milk, butter, and
cheese. In the centre is a court in
which the cattle are folded, and
which contains all the necessary
means for feeding, watering, and
sheltering them.

No instrument of tillage is more
familiar to us than the plough, and
the great business of the ox and the
horse is to drag it over the ground.
The use of the plough has been sug-
gested by the need there was of
economizing labour; and it is so
obvious an expedient, that no con-
trivance is more ancient and gene-
ral than this. In Kotan, however,
the inquisitive traveller looks in
vain for a plough. The only instru-
ments of tillage are the hand and
the hoe. The preparation of the
soil for beel, the planting, the weed-
ing, and the taking up, when ma-
ture, are all performed by one in-
strument, which I call the hoe, be-
cause it is used oftener as a hoe
than as a spade, though it is so ad-
apted to the handle as to be screwed
on in different ways, and to serve
either purpose, as occasion requires.

The want of the plough appeared
to me a very manifest defect in their
system. The plough performs the
work of a great number of spades,
in a shorter time, and sometimes in
a more effectual manner. Hence,
as there is no business more con-
stantly and generally followed than
that of tilling the ground, no inven-
tion has done more towards lighten-
ing the most necessary of human

Finding the use of the hoe or
spade universal, I imagined that I
had a fine opportunity of improving
their art, and took a great deal of
pains, on many occasions, to show
the great superiority of the plough.
I was never eloquent enough, how-
ever, to make a convert of any who
was worth convincing. Their pre-
judices as easily found arguments
against the plough, as those of Eu-
ropean farmers would find them
against the exclusive use of the

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spade. Every particular in our
management was such as to shock
their established habits. The mu-
tilation of cattle, the devoting of an
animal, so sacred as this is in their
eyes, to so toilsome a drudgery,
were the first ideas that always oc-
curred to their imagination. They
likewise denied that the use of the
plough occasioned any saving of la-
bour. The oxen put into the yoke
were to be maintained in health and
vigour, and the most moderate cal-
culation always makes the subsist-
ence of a cow or ox equal to the
quantity of food consumed by twelve
men. The question, therefore, ne-
cessarily occurred, whether the
strength of two oxen was equal to
that of twenty-four men.

All nice comparisons, however,
between the maintenance and la-
bour of men and oxen were pre-
cluded by the notion that the tho-
rough cultivation of the hoe could
not be effected by any other instru-
ment, and that the present state of
population and tillage did no more
than furnish wholesome and agree-
able employment to that class who
cultivated the ground: more com-
pendious modes are thought perni-
cious, inasmuch as they would oc-
casion idleness in those who are at
present employed in no greater de-
gree than is wholesome and agree-

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