Cornhill Magazine,  8 (1863), 164–71.


[Thomas E Kebbel]




Agriculture, Class, Experiment, Nomenclature, Anti-Scientism, Romanticism, Machinery, Chemistry, Providence, Supernaturalism, Utilitarianism, Materialism, Progress, Conservatism

    Refuses to apply the name 'farmer, "pure and simple"' (166) to that growing 'class of persons who, if they farm at all, really do it either as an amusement or a scientific experiment' (167). The true 'farmer, in spite of all that chemistry and machinery have done for him, is still much of the terræ filius' (169). Observes nostalgically that 'an increased rental and scientific agriculture' is not 'a romantic exchange for that personal service which it was always supposed that the tenant [farmer] would willingly have rendered' (167). Warns that when 'the smart young tenant, in his turn-down collar, red scarf, and large pin, begins to talk upon professional subjects, such as stock, breeding, manure, and the like topics of elegant conversation, his remarks very often show more science than delicacy' (171). After recounting the words of a farmer who considered that a flood that prevented his sheep from grazing was a result of 'those mysterious and occult forces which were what people meant [...] by nature, providence, or fate', notes that the 'utilitarian and materialistic spirit which is characteristic of farmers is counteracted' by a 'strong natural conservatism' (170). Unlike urban areas, the countryside is not 'undergoing [the] perpetual transformation' which 'breathes of progress, invention, expectation, and the greatness of what is to be', and remains a place of 'repose, antiquity, immobility, and the sanctity of what is' (170–71).


Kebbel 1891

© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005 - 2020

Printed from Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical: An Electronic Index, v. 4.0, The Digital Humanities Institute <> [accessed ]