Page images

and expenses. The carelessness of profu- and navigable canals, and in proportion as sion, and the sordidness of penury, must a country is destitute of these, it is deficient both be avoided with equal caution. A in a grand source of national and agriculfixed sum, formed upon calculations, re tural prosperity.

Arrangements on these sulting from actual experiment, should be topics cannot easily occupy too much of the allotted for the expenses of the house, for attention, or at least meet with too much of personal expenses, for family dress, and other the encouragement of the wise statesman. necessary demands, to be by no means ex- And as indefinite advantages might be deceeded, and as casual demands will always rived from positive regulation on these and occur, a reserve should always be provided other details, in behalf of husbandry, much for contingencies. This methodical arrange- might also be done in many countries by ment cannot be too strougly enforced on the removal as well as by the enaction of the young, practitioner, who, without it, is laws. Where the husbandman is precluded in danger of inextricable confusion and from the best markets, the art of cultivaruin. If the investment on a farm be eight tion cannot possibly be pushed up to that thousand pounds, after clearing all expenses point of maturity which it would otherwise arising from regular or contingent de- acquire : the attainable perfection of this, mands, and maintaining the establishment as well as every other art, depending on the in liberal but accurate economy, it a hun- encouragement it finds, or in no less accudred a year be not annually added to the rate, though perhaps more harsh and gratoccupier's capital, the concern must de- ing language, on the profit it produces. cidedly be a bad one. The addition of one The most effectual mode of procuring the hundred and fifty is very far from unreason- growth of any article in abundance is to inable. Whatever it be, in general it cannot sure it a reasonable price, and a rapid sale. be better employed than in prosecuting Freedom of exportation from one country ascertained modes of improvement upon to another affords considerable facility for the farm, if it be the property of the oc these, and promotes, therefore, the object cupier, or if he is in possession of a long which the blindness of former times suplease.

posed to be counteracted by it. AbunAttendance at markets and fairs is an in- dance is ascertained to be secured by the dispensable part of the farmer's occupation, very means which the contracted policy of but in a young man is attended with various departed legislators imagined necessarily to temptations, such as sanguine and social defeat it. Such narrow views are, howtemperaments find it difficult to resist. ever, in general exploded. And though in Caution, therefore, to such is perpetually countries where, as in Great Britain, the requisite. Moreover, the society of persons subsistence of the population is inadein a superior style or rank in life, which, in quately provided for by the natural produce, consequence of establishments for agricul- even in the best of seasons, there is less tural improvement is easily accessible to the reason on this subject for complaint, than young man of vivacity and spirit, cannot be would operate in other circumstances, it is cherished without danger. His mind is thus still an invariable and invaluable maxim, alienated from his regular, and compara- that no lands can be cultivated to their tively very laborious, and, as it may weakly highest point of perfectibility, where re. be deemed, humble occupation, and fas- straints are permitted to operate on the distidiousness, discontent, and neglect will posal of their produce. usurp the place of tranquil and active in The operation of the tithe system must dustry. Such intercourses are completely be considered as one of the most serious beset with temptation, and have often in- impediments on the subject under conduced imitation and profusion, neglected sideration. This odious and oppressive business, and eventual, and indeed speedy, mode of providing for a class of persons, destruction.

whose peculiar duty it is to polish the IMPEDIMENTS TO AGRICULTURAL IM

uncouthness of savage man, to inculcate on the world the principles of concilia

tion and kindness, furnishes a most sinThe want of wise laws on this subject has gular dissonancy between the means and ever been a serious obstacle. The produce the end of those who instituted it; and its of land, and the various manures which are numitigated continuance to the present day necessary for fertilizing it, can be easily and is a reflection on the sagacity, the energy, cheaply conveyed only along good roads or the patriotism of the British legislative.


Regulations, by which those who have no years, restrictive clauses are too frequentiy share wliatever in the expense of improve- introduced, by which the progress of inment should participate in its advantages, provement is arrested, and a mode of culti. are not mere topics of theoretical absurdity, vation insisted upon contrary to the views and but attended with serious detriment in their the interest of the occupier, and not by any operation throughout this country, in a means more beneficial to the owner, than moral, a religious, and, what is most of all what was designed to be adopted, often into the present purpose, an agricultural point expressibly less so. Prejudice and caprice of view. With all the respect due to the in the proprietor are often substituted for representatives of a mighty empire, and the judgment of experience; and a routine of with the most decided detachment from all practice compelled upon the cultivator, in points of vague and general innovation, this consequence of which, curious research and important subject cannot be too frequently attentive experiment are rendered nearly presented to parliamentary attention. Hu- superfluous. Superior knowledge, which man wisdom and human virtue will, it is would in these circumstances be almost usehoped, be at length found equal to the cor less, ceases to be sought for, and stupid acrection of an absurdity at once so glaring quiescence is substituted for lively observaand so prejudicial.

tion. It is however of importance, that The want of due estimation of the oc towards the close of a term, the series of cupation of husbandry, is in many countries cropping should be regulated by covenant, a grand impediment to its progress. Where as the inducement to exhaust land, to the the cultivation of the soil is regarded with extremne injury of the owner and the public contempt, or as beneath the attention of wouid otherwise be seldom resisted. Bemen of rank and education, it will be en- yond this object it is unwise to enforce res. trusted to the management of persons of nar- triction or to yield to it, and whatever disrow capital and still narrower minds. Such coveries are made by the personal experience prejudices operate in various places. They of the farmer hinself, or are derived from the till lately existed to a great extent in France, - experience and practice of others, it is desiand are yet deplorably prevalent in Spain. rable that he should ever be free to avail In England, fortunately, they are every day himself of them. The liberal ideas on this rapidly dissipating. Agriculture is ascer subject, which have been suggested by the tained to be the road to wealth and respect. best writers, and adopted by enlightened ability; and men of high connections and landlords, will unquestionably in time, and distinguished fortunes, think themselves ho- it is hoped rapidly, prevail to the almost noured instead of being degraded, by a re total exclusion of those narrow and pernigular and assiduous application to it, and by cious notions which have hitherto existed. establishing their sons in situations, in which It is desirable that the farmer should octhey may look to it as the means of maintain- cupy a sufficient tract of land to engage his ing families, accumulating property, and time, not irregularly and occasionally, but doing service and honour to their country. fully and completely, by which means his

Agriculture is very injuriously checked by attention is not distracted from this importhe occupier of land not possessing in it a taut employment to others which would inrequisite interest. Even in this country, terfere with it, and necessarily prevent its corlarge portions of land are beld by coinmuni rect and profitable management; and those ties of persons, the individuals of which, idle habits, connected with public injury and have no right to any particular spot of it, individual ruin are effectually precluded. and are not only thus precluded from per- A large farm therefore, generally speaking, sonal and active cultivation, but by the is far preferable to a small one, in this as in scanty right and profit which they possess every other point of view. Some persons in the general property, possess no sufficient not having employment for themselves in motive to enforce correct management and the superintendance of the different departimproving cultivation on those persons by ments of husbandry on their land, have rewhom it is actually occupied. Family en course to personal exertion, and substitute tails and short leases are likewise eminently themselves for labourers, a plan which is exhostile to full cultivation, upon the obvious tremely unwise. The true art of farming principle, that men will ever apply their ca- consists, not in driving the plough or engag. pital and exertions only in proportion to their ing in other menial offices, but in allotting expectation of advantage. Even when and superintending labour, in recording its leases are granted of a reasonable number of results, and contriving how and where to dis

pose of it to the most perfect advantage. of manure in abundance to repair the ex To read, and think, and attend the public haustion of the soil, and not only keep it in markets, and regulate accounts, and observe heart, but carry it towards that point of ferwhat others in the same occupation in the tility, beyond which, additional expense will neighbourhood, or even at some distance, are be incapable of returning proportional proengaged in, is of far more importance to the duce, is also a matter often of extreme diffiadvance of agriculture and the profit of the culty and cost. The importance indeed of individual cultivator, than for him to engage adequate means is so obvious, that it might in those manual operations, whiclı, in conse- perhaps by some be scarcely thonght excuquence of more practice, are generally per- sable to insist upon the subject. But the formed with more rapidity and success, by frequent and ruinous neglect of this considecommon labourers. Oo urgency of business, ration will by others be regarded as an amor as an example to his men, and to give ple justification of enforcing most emphati. their employment that estimation and dig- cally and repeatedly the idea, that the pernity, the idea of which will ever render fection of agriculture can never be attained them at once more happy and more dex: without an unembarrassed and abundant catrous in it, it will be extremely proper for pital. With an inadequate capital on a large him to engage occasionally even in these, extent of land, the same consequences will and his education ought always to have been take place, which formed the most striking such, as to enable him to practise them with and decided objection to those little farms, some degree of skill and neatness, by which which, however strange it may now appear, he will of course be better enabled to judge were formerly thought the grand foundation when they are well performed by others. for national plenty and perfect husbandry. But let hin consider himself as the manager The produce must be carried to market, not of a grand manufacturing establishment, re at the season most advantageous, but almost quiring peculiar and incessant vigilance; of immediately after the harvest, in order to a concern, in which occurring contingences enable the farmer to extricate himself from often require a change of plan, in which the immediate embarrassment and prepare the exercise of judgment is perpetually de- soil, inadequately as it must be done in manded, and through the want of a sagacious these circumstances, for fresh cultivation. and presiding mind the manual labour of Commercial monopoly is considerably famany, convertible to extreme advantage, voured by this compulsion upon the farmer may easily become productive only of mis- for selling at whatever price is offered, and chief, or may have substituted for it negli artificial scarcity though now not much to gence, indolence, and dishonesty. This si- be dreaded in this country, is more likely tuation of continued superintendence is the to originate from this circumstance than any proper situation of the farmer; and in pro- other. Those grand operations of spreading portion as he does not occupy land sufficient marl over large districts, at the rate of a to require it, he engages in the profession with hundred and fifty tons per acre, of convey. incorrect views, and misemploys his time. ing immense quantities of dung from towns

But whatever this quantity of land may at the distance of twenty miles, of floating be thought to be, differing certainly in rela- meadows at the cost of tive pounds per acre, tion to different individuals, the importance of draining lands at the expense of three, of adequately stocking and preparing what of paying persons to reside in distant shires is actually occupied is extreme. To unite or even countries, to acquire superior prac. the portion of land necessary to occupy the tical information, or of improving the breeds time of the experienced farmer, with the of sheep and cattle, by giving for the use of complete means of its fertility and improve. a single auimal for a season, a price at which ment, affords the most auspicious foundation our ancestors would have been absolutely for the hope of success. For frequent and astonished and confounded; practices, which, fine tillage, and abundant nianure, which happily, have been far from uncommon in are essential to the perfection of husbandry, the British empire, and are daily adding, considerable expense is demanded. The perhaps mere than any other canse, to its most skilful servants, the most correct im. Stability and prosperity, have depended enplements, the most robust cattle are neces- tirely upon abundant capital. Such prosary to produce that improveil tilth, which cesses for improvement might as easily be is the most productive cultivation, and will expected in the management of those small ainply repay the extraordinary expense in- farms, formerly so highly extolled, and now curred in obtaining them. The procuring so justly in theory exploded, as in the conduer

of large tracts occupied only by men of em- of the very first importance that persous enbarrassed means. The supply of present gaged, particularly on a large scale, in the proexigencies preclude those comprehensive fession of agriculture, should keep correct and remote views on which the success of accounts of all their transactions, and of all the art most materially depends, and un their profits and losses. The advantages of thrifty savings and corroding cares are substi- clear accounts are obvious in every other tuted for the liberal expenses and delighted occupation of life. Persons who are engaghopes, which must attend the skilful appli- ed in speculations of merchandise, to any cation of comparative opulence.

extent, and who are known not to attend to Finally, as the art of husbandry is particu- this department, are always supposed to be larly intricate and comprehensive, and those in dangerous circumstances. Agriculture engaged in it are generally persons of slight seems by many to be considered an exception education, secluded in a great degree from to all other species of business; that it may mutual intercourse and comparative obser- be engaged in without preliminary study, vation; ignorance may very justly be consi. and is capable of being properly conducted, dered as an obstacle to its improvement, even to a large extent, without any regular perhaps the most operative of all. Instead accounts, necessary as these are admitted of being collected like artists in cities, and to be in other situations. · With respect to possessing opportunities for animating cu- experimental agriculture no correct concluriosity, and benefiting by communication, sions are to be drawn, but from correct and they are scattered over the surface of the minute details. Suppositions drawn from country, and have cultivated generally the general observation are of no utility, or same lands, and the same prejudices as their deceive rather than inform. The difficulty ancestors, for a series of generations. Un of keeping accounts, which, however, comless there be among the number of those monly neglected, it is allowed never ought engaged in this art, a certain proportion of to be so, is certainly not inconsiderable. persons of intelligent and educated minds, The mode must often be regulated by the capable of turning the experience of them nature of the farm. The possessor of open selves and others to advantage, and deriv. fields, where scraps of land belonging to ing assistance to agriculture, from the dis others are intermingled with his own, can, coveries of other sciences or arts, it would with extreme difficulty only, keep an acbe vain in any country to expect its rapid count of every part, which, however, it is approach towards that perfect standard to justly thought of the first importance to do which every human effort should be referred. in general, as the knowledge of what every That the proportion of such characters has field has paid in certain circumstances is considerably increased of late years in this the only basis for correct decision on its apcountry, is an observation no less true than plication. Small fields are from this, as pleasing; and in the class of persons engaged well as from other causes, extremely inconin agricultural pursuits, it may be safely venient. They are not only inconvenient affirmed there exists much less tenacity of in preparation, and attended with much loss prejudice, a far greater disposition to re in borders and ditches, but they derange search, and openness to conviction, than the accuracy of accounts if they are not were to be found in any former age. Even “fully noticed, and occupy a great portion of though, in some instances, old and absurd the time of the farmer if they are. When routines of practice may have been main- all the produce of several fields is thrown tained with more constancy through the together, which is far from an uncommon hasty projects and absurd expenses of some case, some objects very interesting to be innovators, whose failure has checked the ascertained must be left entirely to conjęcspirit of improvement, and unjustly involved ture; and when a comparison is made by in one common ridicule all deviations from guesses, the conclusion formed must be toancient custom; these effects, however much tally invalidated as authority. The separato be regretted, are only partial, and infor tion of crops is therefore an important obmation is still making its way into the most ject with a view to accounts, and is essential, remote recesses, and the most stubborn indeed, to their being kept with accuracy. minds. With a view to lessen the darkness For the rent, tithes, and parochial rates, three and intricacy yet connected with the sub- separate accounts should be kept, but the ject, to prevent random speculations and amount of all should be divided on every field, ruinous projects, with their ill consequences for which an account should be kept accordof every kind, it may be observed that it is ing to the real contents of it. A distineVOL. I.


[merged small][ocr errors]

lion must be drawn between the gross and net dnce the difficulty, one account should be contents of the field; as, otherwise, in the 'opened for mowing ground, to which all excomparison of husbandry, that field might be penses of rent, tithe, taxes, &c. shoald be concluded the most advantageous which had carried for every field mown; while its crethe least border, and merely for that reason, dit consists of the value, at the market price, the cultivation practised in the other being, of all the mown produce, as delivered to the in fact, more profitable. But, detail on this cattle of any description. The after grass subject is here impracticable, and we must on these fields must be estimated at a cerbe satisfied with observing that without cor tain sum per acre, and charged to the acrectness of data for a comparison, the con count of feeding ground. To this account clusions formed will constitute only a cata must be carried all the debits of the fields logue of errors. The article of sundry ex- · fed, while the credit should consist of all the penses must universally have place in a well food of the team at a certain weekly estiregulated account, and should include what mate; and of any cattle taken to joist. The ever payments concern the farm in general, account for sheep, dairy, and fatting beasts, (and are not included in any distinct article) is each to be charged its peculiar expenses ; and not any object or field in particular. wages, hurdles, shepherd, &c. for the first; With respect to the article of wear and tear, fuel and straw, &c. for the second; and the the arable lands will swallow up by far purchase money of lean stock for fatting the greater proportion of these expenses.

beasts. Amidst all this minuteness and As they principally attach to the team, the complexity of account, order must be proproper mode of setting them down is, after duced. The cattle, cows, and sheep, have ascertaining them at so muci per pound on turnips, with respect to which the estimate the team account, to charge thus proportion of them must be made, not at what they ally per acre. The land appropriated for cost, but at what they would sell for eaten feeding grass will have very little concern in off the field, as they cost more than the them, and that for mowing by no means latter price, and were intended to repay in much. To settle the expense of the team the crops for which they prepare. The work, the green food for the teams in sum- books should be every year balanced, about mer, the hay and oats consumed, the shoeing the season at which the farm was entered and farriering, their real decline in value, upon; and to avoid arbitrary valuation, the the pay for attendance, are each to be item- old year's accounts must be continued open ed down separately; and to apportion the considerably after the new ones have comwhole expense to the work executed by menced, till the fatting beasts and the corn are them, a day-book must contain an account sold, and those points decided on which the of this work every day in the year, with a profit or loss of the former year depended. specification of the field or business they By these means conjectures may be, in a were engaged in. At the end of the year a great degree, precluded, but not altogeclear result may be obtained, by propor- ther, as these must extend to the estimate tionally dividing the amount of the expense of the live stock bought and sold within the among the work. The article manure should year, and to the implements of husbandry. be arranged under the head farm-yard, and The stock must be estimated every year; is one of the most complex and difficult. and in settling this estimate, their worth at This account should be charged with the the very time of its being made, that is, the price of the straw used in the yard, at what price they would then sell for, must be set it could be sold for, deducting the carriage, down. With respect to fatting beasts, cows, and it should be credited with the price per and sheep, this proceeding must equally week of keeping the cattle. All the labour take place. Every year, also, implements employed in turning over the dung and should be valued, and the balance must be cleaning the yard, is charged to this account. carried, where alone it is applicable, to the The total expense of the dung when carted general head of wear and tear. to the land, is divided by the number of The minuteness and accuracy necessary loads, giving so much per load: it should be for this or any other efficient mode of accharged the following year on the lands on count, may deter many from its adoption, which it is spread, although the benefit of it and undoubtedly has this effect on thousands. is not confined to that single year: but The want of attention, however, to this subkeeping open the account for a longer time ject has, unquestionably, been the cause to would expose to great and inextricable con- which many individuals may justly ascribe fusion. One of the most complex of all their failure in this art, and has operated ex. 26counts is that of grass lands fed. To re tremely to check the progress of it in gene

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »