Shellbanks, VA: Published at the Office of the Farmers’ Register; Robert Ricketts, Printer, 1835.
Octavo, lacking original wrappers (24.5 x 16 cm.), viii, -116 pages. Printed in double columns (after the Preface); errata notice at foot of final page. ~ Stated “second edition”, following the first edition of 1832, published in Petersburg, VA; this edition also appeared in some bound copies of the Farmers’ Register, Volume 2, of which the author was editor. Edmund Ruffin (1794-1865) was a Virginia plantation owner and slave holder considered by some to be, alternately, the "father of modern scientific agronomy” or the “father of soil science". In the preface, he states, "The object of this Essay is to investigate the peculiar features and qualities of the soils of our tide-water district, to show the causes of their general unproductiveness, and to point out means as yet but little used, for their effectual and profitable improvement.” The book describes effects of decades of tobacco monoculture on the soils, measuring their content and recommending how they could be improved, and the potential benefits of using calcareous manures as well as marling and liming, with notes concerning the effect of slavery on the agriculture of Virginia. The author later falsely claimed he fired the first shot on Fort Sumter (though he was the first to enter after it fell to Confederate forces). A radical states' rights advocate, he committed suicide at the end of the Civil War. Edges of text block a bit bumped; light toning and scattered foxing to contents. Lacking the wrapper as stated above. Otherwise near very good. [OCLC locates thirty-three copies; American Imprints 34059; Haynes 16151; Sabin 73915].