“  forty shillings. No fires to be kindled before the first of March.” They offered a small bounty on every acre of planted field. We presume that the Colony of Massachusetts was quite as far advanced in agricultural skill and productive harvests as that of Connecticut; therefore, we can judge from Mr. Wolcott's farm in Connecticut what and how much our Medford farmers raised. That distinguished magistrate says (1638): “I made five hundred hogsheads of cider out of my own orchard in one year!” We apprehend these hogsheads were not of the modern size, but were a larger kind of barrel. He says: “Cider is 10s. A hogshead.” He gives an enumeration of products thus: “English wheat, rye, flax, hemp, clover, oats, corn, cherries, quince, apple, pear, plum, barberry-trees.” A very tasteful catalogue! It sounds very little like scarcity or self-denial. It seems that the land hereabouts was as rich and productive as in any of the neighboring states: nevertheless, it needed help from manure; and Johnson tells us, that in this region “there was a great store of fish in the spring time, and especially alewives, about the largeness of a herring. Many thousand of these they use to put under their Indian corn.” They are sometimes so used at this day. May 22, 1639.--“It is forbidden to all men, after the 20th of next month, to employ any cod or bass fish for manuring of ground.” May 26, 1647.--Ordered, “That all cattle that feed on public commons shall be marked with pitch.” Hiring land was not unusual. There were many adventurers who did not belong to the company, and they settled where they could buy or hire at the best advantage. Oct. 7, 1640, we find the following record: “John Greenland is granted his petition, which is, to plant upon a five-acre lot in Charlestown, bounds on Mistick River.” The rule for planting was: Plant when the white-oak leaves are the size of a mouse's ear. Hence the lines:---
When the white-oak leaves look goslin grey,The first settlers very soon found clay in different parts of their plantation, where cellars and wells were dug; and they concluded that drought could not extensively injure a soil which had a deep substratum of this water-proof material.
Plant then, be it April, June, or May.