In "Of Plantations," what are Bacon's suggestions regarding victuals, beasts, birds, crops, wood, salt, and mines in the country of plantations?
For the protean Francis Bacon, the question of how to operate a plantation effectively was more than an academic exercise; along with Captain John Smith and his cousin the Earl of Salisbury, he was among the first to explore the newly chartered Virginia Colony in the early seventeenth century. And in the context of the essay "Of Plantations," it's worth noting that for Bacon, the word "plantation" is a synonym for colony.
Regarding victuals, or what we would call food, he suggests that settlers first seek out what might be growing wild, such as chestnuts, walnuts, plums, cherries, and so on. Next, he recommends crops which can be grown quickly, like carrots, turnips, and onions. Bacon advises against immediately planting wheat, barley, and oats given their labor-intensive nature and instead directs colonists to bring stores of these grains until the plantation is well-established.
Considering wildlife, he instructs the settlers to choose livestock and avian life which is the least susceptible to disease and reproduces most quickly: swine, goats, hens, turkeys, cocks, geese, and so on. He commends the use of salt as a seasoning and suggests that the evaporation of sea water is the optimal technique for the production of bay-salt crystals.
Bacon also advises potential colonists to treat whatever timber the land most plentifully yields as a viable commodity but to forego mining as a risky endeavor with uncertain returns.
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