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Matthew, P. Crops in Northern Germany and Scotland. Gardeners’ Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette (10 Aug 1861), pp.741-2

(Article dated July 31)
Matthew reports on crop conditions in Germany and Scotland.

He makes some unorthodox comments regarding electricity, and its effects on the life force (vis vitae) of living things:
“This or a similar blight in some seasons infects other vegetables-—the tall Fern, Horse Chesnut, Teucrium, the field Grey Pea, and it is said the Vine under the name of oidium. The disposing cause seems to be an excess of water in the juices of the plant, heat, and much loose electricity. The last is found to pervade dead organic matter, causing speedy corruption in flesh, rapidly throwing milk, beer, wine, dough, into the acetous change, and no doubt also interferes with the vital attractions of the living, inducing putrid disease. It loosens the vis vitae as it were, cooks the substance of the larger organism into digestible food to the numerous animalcular destroyers which pervade and feed upon superior life.”

Again, Matthew considers the possibility of made-made cloud formation:
“It is probable that man will yet attain a greater mastery over the elements, extending to the regulation of rain and cloud.”

Matthew ends with a promise of more on certain topics:
“I intended to have said something of the character and condition of the German people, to have pointed out the strange infatuation of our government to court those who ere long may become our enemies, and to neglect our natural friends in northern Germany, and of the disposition of our press to follow the same wayward course. I may in a future letter make these statements good”.

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