Reconstruction by Way of the Soil

by G.T. Wrench

Chapter 24


It may seem boastful on the part of a writer to say that his subject is world-wide, but the world, at one time so very large, has shrunk a good deal in these latter days and a number of questions, once national or local, have consequently become world-wide. Certainly, if any question has a world-wide significance it is that of the treatment of the world's crust. Action, therefore, at this present time, in the reconstruction via the soil must have a certain world-wide character attached to it.

What, then, of a world-wide character can form a means of action in reconstructions via the soil? The present has shown convincingly what, indeed, scarcely needed another demonstration, namely, that at a time of war every nation engaged, whatever its form of society and government, is not hindered by money. Nor is it hindered by unemployment. At such times there is work for one, and all, and work takes precedence of money; money does not call forth work, but work money. The impulse to action is so great that it takes complete mastery of men and matter. Hence, for a reconstruction of the soil, a very wide impulse will have to be called into being. It is not to be expected, of course, that the impulse will have the cohesive fury of a people called to war, but it should certainly seek for means that are world-wide in their character.

What means of this wide character are, then, favourable to a big-scale movement?

First and foremost there is the unique positive achievement of the war. The war has achieved, as never before, the technical unity of the world. The spirit of unity is quite a different matter. The riven spirit of the pre-war times remains, and as yet there has been nothing in the plans for the post-war period to prove positively that it has been radically diminished. This is as one might expect. The characteristic of the last few decades has been the improvement of technique, to which one great war, one great revolution, expectation of war, and a second great war have jointly given an impulse that has been terrific. This technical achievement cannot possibly be overlooked as means to reconstruction. With its wireless reaching so many homes and papers, its multiple air routes and air bases, its great roads, even amidst the supposedly eternal defiance of the mountains of Central Asia, its innumerable mass-made ships, its thousand inventions in means of communication, it has developed a capacity to weld the world together, such as itself foretells a new era. The world has been technically transformed into one borderless whole, for neither the air nor the ether has frontiers. Unless, then, mankind is to be overtaken by physical degeneration, unless a decay of character brings with it one of those periods of disintegration of civilization, with which historians are familiar and of which the decline and fall of the Roman Empire has been the classic example in the West, there is no possibility of the future technical disseverance of the world. Its technical unity is a fact; all depends upon the uses to which it is put. It may, for example, be made subservient to a revived pre-war money power through a continuance of the officialism necessitated by the war. It may be limited by a variety of fragmentations, if the divided nationalities continue to indulge their political appetites and make the primary needs of their peoples means to national aggrandisement. Its use and misuse may, indeed, lead to further wars, famines and increasing social chaos. All this will be possible, if men continue to ignore the crust of the earth, until the uncontrollable increase of the soil's devastation sinks men into despair or forces them, before it is too late, to use this tremendous technical power for what its wide-world capacity seems to be designed, namely, the world's terrene salvation and not its destruction.

Those, then, who are convinced of the need of reconstruction via the soil, should not now allow themselves any laments for the past or indulge in vain dreams of a world other than it is at this very present. They should look upon the technical unity of the world as a giant of assistance to the awakening of the brotherhood of man through the common parent of all, the soil. They have a message and a means of communication commensurate with its vastness. Their message has undoubted prior claims because, physically, mentally and morally, it affects all men who tread the earth. If they can enforce themselves upon the world's wireless; if, by travel, they can reach once distant lands by air-speed, which now makes east and west and north and south neighbours; if in the world's press they can publish to innumerable readers at one and the same time the more striking news of their movement; if men of each country can communicate to men of other countries what they are doing, what developments have been accomplished or are expected, then they will fill the world with the creed of the soil. There is much to communicate at this day, as soon as the din of war has become silent. This will be far more when the thoughts of men are no longer directed to the slaughter of life, but to the means of its conservation.

Each country will need its band of men and women to take a part in this new unity of the world. The type of men required to form the initial bonds is of the greatest significance. It is at once clear that they must be of a kind that was almost voiceless in the period, between the two great wars, when their contraries, by converting soil-fertility freely into money, were 'drawing the whole world headlong to starvation', in the words of Mr. Jacks. Upon their ignorant greed, there was, says Mr. Jacks, at that time only one check, the threat of war. Then came the actuality of war, and the governments of the Great Powers engaged in it, realizing at last the paramount and primary character of soil-fertility, allowed it no longer to be turned freely into money, but treated it as a national armament no less precious than were the metals and the chemicals. This dominance of soil over money must not be allowed to relapse with the cessation of the war. The lesson then learnt must this time be unforgettable.

A new social, non-military war, indeed, opens out, the war on behalf of the soil and of the healthy life and physical freedom of men. In this war, the soil will have, in the beginning, many opponents. Firstly, except for men of genius and the capacity it gives them to change an outlook and break with the personal trammels of the past, those men who rose to high authority before the war may be expected to be opponents, from the very fact that they rose to authority under the ruinous values of the earth's devastation. These values will still be treasured, because the use of them brought them their public power. To purge themselves of the gross defect of mind that the values entailed, will be beyond their capacity; whether they wish it or not, the familiar spirits will not cease to haunt their thoughts and actions.

Then, there are aliens and men without any country of their own, without, in the first case, any inborn, native love for the land in which they have their refuge; in the second, without any actual kinship of mind, occupation, and tradition with the soil. With both money is, of necessity, the paramount object, because the only world-wide rival to money is the soil. Such men are dangerous.

Urban people are likely to be opponents at the beginning, for urbans become perforce not individuals so much as mass. In small matters they hold the opinions of their set; in larger they are subject to mass-emotion. Their interests and faiths wax and wane, are hot and cold. Fed by selected news and spurred by propaganda, they are the objects of unfixed laws, each of which, like a wave on a sandy shore, wipes out the impress of its predecessor. Severed as they are by modern town life from the soil and its creative powers, they are alien to fixed laws, by which alone its dominance can be maintained.

Modern education itself is an opponent and a powerful detractor of the land, because the soil is only regarded in it as something that can be ignored. All education for the young, one can say, in all advanced countries seems to have this profound defect. Personally I am best acquainted with my own education, that of a public school in England. The school was situated amongst cultivated fields and riverside pastures. Yet never once was the local character of the land of sufficient significance to be mentioned by the teachers. I realized vaguely even then that our education did not start at the beginning, not from the soil and the river from which our life began, but from somewhere else, as if the roots of being did not matter in education and could be left invisible or unknown almost for ever to the instructed mind. It taught us to be gentlemen, something superior to the soil. It cut us away at the start from the Islamic sanctity of the soil. And this stigma most of us had to carry throughout our lives, only the rare sceptic might escape from its trammels. Even when the Empire's needs called some of my colleagues to the charge of primitive agricultural peoples, the stigma remained. 'Unfortunately most of the Europeans who come out to this country (Nigeria)', stated Mr. G. N. Herrington, at a West African Agricultural Conference in 1938, 'have received an education which is divorced from rural life and few have any knowledge of its interest and variety, or the intelligent skill that rural life entails. This type of education has created a traditional attitude that is very difficult to overcome.' It has only very rarely been overcome, only in great sceptics and men with rare sympathy for their rural subjects, such as were pre-eminent in British India before the Mutiny, the four M's, Sir Thomas Munro, Sir John Malcolm, Sir Mountstuart Elphinstone and Sir Charles Metcalfe. Because of this almost invincible, traditional attitude, our empire over rural lands has been one mostly divorced from rural life and antagonistic to the soil.

In addition, to the famous British public schools, education in our state schools, in the United States and other countries, has had the same tendency. In the German University, where I spent eighteen months in post-graduate education, it seemed to me, then more awakened to the fault, to be the same; men with so-called brains were considered to be suited for something better and more lucrative than for work upon the land. This profound fault in the education of the Industrial Era has worked untold mischief in health, sanity, food and the conservation of the soil. It makes education undoubtedly an opponent, not an adjuvant to reconstruction via the soil.

The new men and women -- for the war has brought many women in direct contact with the land -- will be those who have been shaped and fashioned by the soil to a serenity, a sense of the spaciousness of time, and a capacity of individual judgment. The soil itself has been their textbook and printed books only subsidiary. Books widen the understanding and give to their students knowledge of many chemical and physical properties of the earth's crust, but they have not the magic in revelation of the soil itself. They are very valuable supports and helpers, but they are not initiators of the sense of kinship. Initiation belongs only to the parent of life.

The new men and women know the soil and its creative powers personally, learning chiefly through their eyes and muscle-sense, and not through their ears. Their knowledge and feeling for the soil are the same as they are for other living things, a matter of touch, smell and sight, a physical response to contact with it. It is made up of a variety of factors; the feel and sight of rain, snow, dew, sun and wind; the characters and purposes of hedges, woods, fields, hills, valleys and plains, of insects, plants, flowers, weeds, all subject to the seasons in their progress through the years. It is, then, something very real, something very vital, something that proclaims an ordered multitude of being, far transcending the ephemeral life of individuals. 'It is to the fresh air of the open field that we belong by right,' said Goethe. 'It is as if the Spirit of God there breathes immediately upon men and thereby a godlike strength exercises its influence.'

The new men and women possess or gain a health that transcends what the practitioners of scientific medicine have taught the public to regard as health, namely, something that can be acquired by a process of severally discovering and putting into practice means of escape or recovery from diseases in their severalty. What will be required is not this, but the positive, whole health, which exists in itself quite apart from disease. It will be required, because it is a necessary prerequisite of the comprehensive simplification which the times require. Cleverness there is at the present day in abundance, for when the simplification of positive health is mostly absent, cleverness finds opportunity in a thousand hydra-headed problems. It is for this reason that, in spite of the numbers of educated, clever men and women and in spite of their signal ability in dealing with fragmentary social and political difficulties, in their lack of the central understanding of what was really happening in the world they failed entirely to avoid the emergence of a series of catastrophes. Health, therefore, there must be. Its simplification -- such as healthy fields bring healthy men -- of hydra-headed difficulties is essential.

Health is, as Goethe said of truth, like a diamond, it emits its rays in all directions. Being whole itself, it brings with it a lively valuation of the things of health and wholesomeness, and a ready acceptance of them with rejection of the fragmentary. Its convictions are not mere matters of mental persuasion. They are matters of bodily response, sober in action and hard to oust, for they are creatively positive. By right choosing, they prevent the complication of many particulate solutions burdening a problem with much argument, for they are attracted to the right intuitively. The correct terrene life is in reality not nearly so difficult as the wrong, because it is simple in the root meaning of the word, which is unity.

It is to men and women so equipped that the initial guidance of reconstruction should be entrusted. Power comes later, when conviction of the need has become widespread. Then power will be given, as it was willingly and freely given by the people to its leaders during the war. Of this power, the great urgency of war has provided many valuable precedents, the memory of which, it is hoped, will not be permitted to die out with the rapidity that affects the day to day memory, which the swift transition of events and the concentration on those of the present inculcate in the public. Of these precedents there are few which surpass that established by Lord Woolton, Minister of Food in Britain. His is, to my mind, a classic example of an inspiration to workers in many, if not all, countries concerned in these primary matters. One only wishes that reconstruction via the soil could be almost a continuance of the work done by the Departments of Food and Agriculture, without the long lapse that seems inevitable for the initiation of the public to the need for reconstruction.

As to the nature of the work of initiation, it will come under some such headings as the following:

  1. The restoration of the peasantries and peasant families as the cardinal cultivators of the soil; the use of large estates, where suitable to particular soils, forms of cultivation, or social conditions.
  2. The freedom of the soil from money-power.
  3. The first claim of the soil upon a country's water; the local control of its distribution.
  4. A rural education, which is, locally and generally, a true soil-education.
  5. An education of all urban populations, which begins at the beginning in the soil and in the life which it provides to all men.
  6. The adoption by both town and country of the rule of return.
  7. The unity of the healths of the soil, the plant, the animal and man.
  8. The right of all men to their share of essential foods and work.
  9. The use of modern technique in promoting and maintaining the brotherhood of man throughout the world by the common bond of the soil and its conservation.

The gateways of change have been thrown open by the war, and when I venture near them to descry a vista of the future, I must confess that I am possessed by a dazzling vision of which this cruel war seems to be the immediate, creative cause.

The war has brought together, as allies, the four Powers that have control over the four greatest areas of land upon the surface of the globe. These four Powers divide themselves by neighbourhood into two pairs, namely, China and Russia, with a basic similarity soon to be propounded, the other pair, connected by the mediate country of Canada, the United States and the British Empire, the two leading capitalistic powers of the world.

These four allies form a strange conjunction of many differences. There is first the aged China, with an unequalled history of stability and conservatism, now torn asunder by the inroads of modernity. Secondly, there is Russia, also an ancient, historical autocracy, which has recently overthrown capitalism and with so fierce an energy has created a Collective State. Thirdly, there is the United States, so compact in the spacious unity of their land, in which they endeavoured to shut themselves from the troubles of the world, but suddenly aroused to the futility of this isolation by the catastrophe of Pearl Harbour. Lastly, there is the British Empire of dominions so wide and varied as to make it the leading power of the world, but aghast at the discovery of its inability to protect its far-flung possessions and almost its homeland, in the early years of the war.

There are, then, apparent infusible differences of need and necessity in the character and circumstance of the four allies, and especially do they reveal themselves if attempts to effect a fusion are made by the agency of politics and politicians.

One general need, however, indissolubly binds the four. It is to prevent the repetition of the present in the future by precluding the possibility, now and for ever, of further irruptions of the Teutonic Northerners or their pupils of the Pacific Sea.

Apart from this need it must seem, to those not instructed in the present terrene state of mankind, that genuine unity will find no bond in the manifest differences of character and circumstance of the four allies. Yet there is such a bond, the bond that ultimately unites all terrene men in an ultimate similarity, and that bond is the soil. It is the soil, and the soil alone, which can bind the four Powers together in a reconstruction of life. All four Powers, and with them the rest of the wide earth, are bound together as to their future state by the perilous condition of the world's soil. None can escape its dangers in the new technical unity of the world. That is the one imperative and vital bond in their conjunction for reconstruction.

Let us take the four allies severally and see what contributions they can make to this fundamental question of life itself and to their own particular needs with regard to it.

The Chinese are by far the oldest people of the allies. Their contribution is that of the accumulated wisdom of four thousand years.

None have better described this gift of the historic Chinese and their pupils the Koreans and pre-modern Japanese, than Professor King in a partially written Message of China and Japan to the World, which he proposed to add to his great book on the Farmers of Forty Centuries, but which purpose was frustrated by his death.

In the part of this message that has survived his death, he wrote: 'It could not be other than a matter of the highest industrial, educational and social importance to any nation, if it could be furnished with a full and accurate account of all those conditions which have made it possible for such dense populations to be maintained upon the products of the Chinese, Korean and Japanese soils. Many of the steps, phases and practices through which this evolution has passed are irrecoverably buried in the past, but such remarkable maintenance attained centuries ago and projected into the present with little apparent decadence merits the most profound study. Living as we do in the morning of a century of transition from isolated to cosmopolitan national life, when profound readjustments, industrial, educative and social, must result, such an investigation cannot be made too soon.'

The practices and the methods, by which these meticulously careful farmers conserved the fertility of their soils are nowhere better described than in the pages of King's book. But he makes no specific mention of the Tsing Tien System of which Dr. Ping-Hua Lee, in Volume 99 of the Columbia University of New York's Studies in History, wrote: 'The whole history of the government administration of agriculture in China coincides with the Tsing Tien System. Its vicissitudes, its crises and its epochs were timed by the abolition or re-establishment of the System ... It is fortunate for the economic historian that the Tsing Tien System is coincident with China's political history.'

Yet, not the Chinese farmers' devotion to the rule of return; not their incomparable and tireless spreading of the mud of their numerous canals to the extent of seventy tons per acre; not their careful preservation of the humble earth-worm, who, said Darwin, spreads ten tons per acre of an even finer soil than silt upon the fields he studied, in addition to the other services he so eloquently eulogizes; not the irrigation of their carefully levelled fields; not the mixed crops, will form a bond more firmly riveting peasants to peasants than this Tsing Tien System. What else, indeed, is the Kolkhoz System of the present Russians than the Tsing Tien System modified to suit their imperative duty to provide food and other soil-products for the hundred and more new manufacturing towns which were built to give them their place amongst the modern Powers, and to equip them for the Power-war, for which their rulers prepared with such marvellous speed? The Russian farming families have the same private fields handed over to them for continuous ownership and their partial subsistence. The central plot, immensely larger though it is than the ninth field of the Chinese sages, is like that ninth field in that it is the State's plot, worked co-operatively by the Russian farming families.

Moreover, the very dangers of the Kolkhoz System, in the pressure that perforce was put upon it for large and speedy returns by the threat of war, will find their solution nowhere better than in a study of Chinese methods. There can be no stronger bond between two huge, neighbouring terrene peoples, the Chinese and the Russians, than this bond of their peasantries.

The Chinese themselves are also in great need of effective bonds with their allies. Anyone who has talked to the Chinese leaders, knows how eagerly they look to the great water engineers of the British Empire and the United States, for instruction to curb the devastating floods of their great rivers, especially the Yellow River; to re-forest their barren catchment areas; to refructify the fertile loess soil, which was the teeming home of their first ancestors, but is now so miserably given over to waste; and in a hundred other ways to assist in the reconstruction of a distraught farming people. No one of the allies, then, has so much to give and so much to receive in the bonds of the soil as the Chinese.

The Russians are the next oldest people of wide dominions to the Chinese. Ivan IV (A.D. 1533-84), Ivan the Terrible, is now heralded as one of the greatest fathers of the Russian people. With ruthless determination, he consolidated the Russian lands, drove out the Mongols, made the Volga into a Russian river, annexed Siberia and made its lands so attractive to the Russian peasants that his successor to power, Boris Godounov, issued an order stopping further migrations of peasant families.

In Chapter 19 we have seen how the Russians had eroded vast areas of their land more or less from the time of Ivan onwards and mainly by the destruction of forests in order to open up new land. They did not even spare the watersheds and their slopes. But the tempo of those days was far slower than that of the modern Russians. Their need of cash for foreign machinery led to the wholesale destruction of Russian and Siberian forests, the timber of which was sold. The Steppe and other and lands did not offer the same inducement, so, while they were developed and arid lands were reclaimed with singular skill, the forested lands were gravely depleted. To the warning of Professor Kornev, quoted by Messrs. Jacks and Whyte, the two authors added this comment: 'The tractor plough is the enemy of grassland in dry areas, but is indispensable to the propagandist in the modernization of Russian agriculture. Though fore-warned by the experience of other countries, it is difficult to ascertain if the authorities are aware of the danger of mechanization.'

To what degree the Russians have degraded their farmed soil owing to the pressure of the war cannot yet be known, but it must be considerable; it may be, indeed, the greatest loss which they as victors in the war have suffered. That they have much to give and much to receive from their allies in terms of the soil is clear. They can give their experience particularly in the reclamation of arid land; they can give the picture of land developed under an economic system by which the land is developed and farmed without the burden of financial debt, but with the help of their share of the State's revenues; they were about to give in their fourth Five-Year Plan a control of water of a stupendous character, linking together the waters of the north-flowing and south-flowing rivers, as well as individual rivers, and the same with the rivers flowing east and west, perhaps, to use Professor Kornev's words, an act 'of the excessive breaking-up of the topography', the results of which can only be estimated by experience. Yet, on a small scale, Mesopotamia once gave an example of unparalleled success in a linking of rivers.

So the Russians have much to give in terms of the soil. They have also much to receive; especially from the great work of the Americans of the United States in the reclamation and conservation of arid lands, and the re-growth of forests upon watersheds. They have, then, many bonds to forge in terms of the soil.

The last two allies give pictures of the development of farming of land under the dominion of money. The picture that they present has already been sufficiently illustrated in previous chapters as one of progressive destruction of life for temporarily successful financial farming and ranching. They have both pursued the path of Rome with a tempo far exceeding that of Rome. One writer, indeed, has stated that North America would, at the pace set, be turned into a Sahara within a century.

The rude fact is that neither the Americans nor the British are yet civilized in terms of the soil; neither has yet learnt the meaning of the Wisdom of the East. Their use of their dominant money is too often nomadic. They invest it in land or other ventures for personal profit and, when profit fails to appear, the pressed and overworked land is abandoned, and finance transfers itself to other ventures, even such as the help of other countries to arm themselves in a preparation to fight the very countries and peoples of the lending financiers themselves. Between the financiers and the nomads, between them and the practitioners of shifting cultivation, there is, indeed, very little difference in principle and in values in terms of the soil. Only the nomads of the past consciously risked much more; they risked their lives, those of their wives and children, their very existence. The financial nomads, on the other hand, consciously risked very little. They risked much unconsciously; their own lives by enemy bombing, those of their wives and children, their homes and the very safety and freedom of the countries in which they lived.

The Americans of North America, and especially the farmers of the United States, have recently become woefully aware and alarmed at the results of nomadism on the soil, of the free cutting down of forests, of over-grazing of the deforested land, of the deep ploughing and mechanical farming of their prairies, of the one-year tenures of farms which enable men to turn fertility into cash and, when this land is degraded, to purchase new land in the great territories of fertile soil which are still theirs. They can ponder over special maps, as we pondered, in Chapter 6, over the map of Asia, and read their fate in its distinctions. Such a special map of the United States is to be found on page 51 of Messrs. Jacks and Whyte's now famous warning to the world. The land of little or no erosion is white, the lands of erosion are graded in shades to indicate its character and degree. One may well shudder at the supreme peril of this great people, if one ponders on the human meaning of this map. The white areas are so few; they seem to cover but a tenth of the map. The rest is eroded lands, according to their kind and their degree, together with mountains, mesas, canyons, and bad-lands. This visual evidence is enhanced by a number of photographs, which terrify the mind, eased though it is by the knowledge that what is happening points to a dread future, to which our own span of life will not extend. 'Not in our time, 0 Lord,' but surely enough, in our time, and to many farmers who have witnessed their farms blown away in storms of dust, 'in our time' with a poignant reality.

Against this tale of home-destruction, with the haunting fear it brings to farmers of the richest country in the world in money, can now be set the supreme achievement of the Tennessee Valley Authority, which has brought about in the valley's inhabitants a veritable resurrection of the human spirit. Mr. Lilienthal does not fail to lay stress on this human change-about and quotes these words from an editorial of a newspaper of Alabama, one of the seven states: 'We can write of the great dam ... of the building of home-grown industry and of electricity at last coming to the farms of thousands of farm people in the Valley. Yet the significant advance has been made in the thinking of a people. They are no longer afraid. They have caught the vision of their own powers.'

This gift of confidence, one thinks, will be the outstanding contribution of the U.S.A. It has already attracted the keen interest of many governments of South America, Europe, the East and South Africa. But, if the men of the United States have much to give, they have also much to learn from their Allies. From the Russians, they can learn the value of saving the soil from the dominance of money; from the Chinese, the meticulous conservation of the soil, the full rule of return, and agriculture as a national art; and since they now have colonies; from the British, the right and wrong ways of the treatment of tropical colonies, and much else.

The gift of the British to their allies is, indeed, unique in that they, with their extensive empire, have been brought into relationship with all kinds and varieties of terrene conditions. The British have the greatest world-knowledge; ranging from the many millions of India and their imperilment due to their relation of the soil, which I have described elsewhere in my Restoration of the Peasantries, 1939; from the vast plains of Canada, which share so fully the most dramatic dangers of the Dust Bowl of the United States; from the disasters that are afflicting her Australasian colonies; from the erosion and degradation of the fertile West Indian Islands, to the little twin islands of the Falklands in the cold waters of the South Atlantic. They are, indeed, fortunate, in comparison to their allies, in that their homeland, set in a temperate sea and served by a humid climate, is almost free from the dangers of erosion. The problems of the reconstruction of its misused soil have not the gigantic proportions of the homelands of the other three.

They, therefore, with the vast varieties of their experience, can act as bonds not only between the Allies, but between them and the whole wide world. Their knowledge of cold, temperate and tropical soils and their peoples is not yet understanding enough for them to be the bond that is needful, but at least they possess the links, through which that knowledge, when recognized and formulated, can be diffused. With their contact with their allies and their contact with many lands and their peoples, with their empire-made neighbours, they, like their great technical achievements, are making the world one.

The meeting of the Four Powers, then, has potentially a far greater meaning than the somewhat hackneyed phrase of a Conference of Powers customarily conveys. It is a meeting, not of tongues and diplomats of the countries they represent, but of the soil of the world and of mankind. It is a meeting, not of four great Powers only, but of four great masses of men all witnessing the rebellion of the soil to its human treatment. They are severally not China, but the Chinese with their forty centuries of farming; not Russia, but the Russians, who first conjoined great tracts of two continents in one whole and who are now testing ways of treating their soils so as to form the basis of a civilization of stability; not the United States, but Americans, people of yet another continent, who are gathering their forces together to stem the terror of an insulted virgin soil; not Britain, but the British, who have been marching upon the path of soil destruction so clearly marked out by Rome, but who, with a like courage and enterprise to that great people, link together most parts of the habitable world. What a conjunction of opportunity! The heart almost stops at the thought that, had the war ended as at one time it seemed it might end, the future of the world would have belonged to the Germans, who, shut in their history between their southern and eastern neighbours and two cold northern seas, have none of the treasures of experience which the Four Allies can bring to reconstruction.

But to the Four Allies are opened the gateways of an opportunity to bless the whole world as never before. Beyond the murk and rubble of the war; beyond the last, bleak resting places of millions of heroic men; beyond the razed homes and shattered towns of 'the quiet people'; beyond the scorched acres and barren fields; beyond the famines and their reign of death; beyond all this horrible orgy of life-destruction, is seen the vista of the living earth. as the source of the reconstruction of terrene mankind. At the gateways stand sentinels awaiting the password -- THE SOIL.

Table of Contents
1. Introductory
2. Rome
3. The Roman Foods
4. The Roman Family
5. Roman Soil Erosion
6. Farmers and Nomads
I. The Land
II. The Nomads
III. The Farmers
IV. Nomadic Migrations and Farmers
7. Contrasting Pictures
8. Banks for the Soil
9. Economics of the Soil
10. The English Peasant and Agricultural Labourer
11. Primitive Farmers
12. Nyasa
13. Tanganyika
14. 'Earth Thou Art'
15. Sind and Egypt
16. Fragmentation
17. East and West Indies
18. German Colonies: The Mandates
19. Russia, South Africa, Australia
South Africa
20. The United States of America
21. A Kingdom of Agricultural Art in Europe
22. An Historical Reconstruction
The Initiation
The Institution
The Achievement
23. Recapitulation
24. Action

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