« PreviousContinue »
nected with them, are in the highest degree adverse to the industry and prosperity of a great proportion of the inhabitants of this county, and of course to the improvement of the country. It is impossible that, under so good a government, this shall continue long to be the case.
Scarcity of timber, the want of more commodious and comfortable houses, and better implements of husbandry, are all of them circumstances unfavourable to improvements; but the tendency to better things which already begins to appear, gives every reason to hope we shall make rapid progress.
A prejudice in favour of a coarse-woolled breed of sheep is in many respects unfavourable to the country : the wool brings less money, and the more valuable native breed is neglected, and in danger of being loft. Nothing could be of more importance to the county than to preserve and improve its native breed of horses, cows, and sheep, all which are capable of being brought to great perfection, and better adapted to the county than any other that have been, or perhaps can be tried.
Of all the obstacles to improvement none can be greater than the non-residence of many of the heritors, which deprives the ground of almost any part of the rent being spent on the premises. If a farmer should sell all the straw or dung which should manure his farm, it could not be more hurtful to improvement than the landlord's spending all his rents elsewhere. Two thirds, at least, of the rent are spent out of the county.
The intolerable number of dram-houses, which destroy the time, the morals, the means, and the health of the inhabitants, is also adverse in the extreme to industry and improvement. Landlords are in no respect more blind to their own interest than in tolerating so many of these baneful nuisances. They think that the farmer, by means of them, gets a better price for his bear; but it were better the bear were caft into the sea, than to have it thus converted into a deadly poison to the industry, morals, means, and health of the people. If the publican is thus enabled to pay a trifle of rent, it is at the expence of 50 or 100 of his neighbours, and ultimately at the expence of the landlord. The tenant might raise oats instead of bear, and the meal would always find a market; or he might raise green crops, and add to the number of his cattle. By this change, the tenant, the landlord, and the country, could be gainers.
Among the great obstacles to the prosperity and improvement of this county, though not peculiar to it, may be mentioned the unhappy frequency of our wars. It may be computed that, between soldiers and failors, every war drains this county of between 3000 and 4000 of its most active and able hands, the support of thousands more. In comparison of this, how trifling are all our other lofses by emigration ! Happy would it be for the natives of Europe, if some general court could be established, in which all the quarrels of its ruling powers could be adjusted by delegates, who should fit as judges, and finally determine every contest by their decisions, without the dreadful and shocking appeal to the cannon, the bayonet, and the sword. How must future ages be astonished at our madness, when the happy time shall come, in which there hall be war no more! In the mean time, while we are attacked, it is necessary to defend.
Sect. I.-Agricultural Societies. One has been lately inftituted in Kintyre, and favoured by the Prefident of the Board of Agriculture with a parcel of agricultural reports, which are read with avidity, and may be a means of diffusing knowledge of useful facts, and exciting attention and a spirit of inquiry.
It might be of service to have such a fociety in every parish, every member paying a small annual subscription, to be applied folely to the purchase of useful bocks on agricultural subjects : And as the minister of the parish is often (what perhaps he ought not to be) a farmer, it might be of service, if at a slack season of the year, he would give a few weekiy lectures on agricultural subjects, arranging and digesting the most useful hints and improvements that come to light from time to time, so far as they suit the place and people of his charge. Those who cannot read themselves, nor perhaps afford the expence of a subscription, might thus be benefited, and a general spirit of improvement be diffused.
In every county there might be some person connected with the Board of Agriculture, who might receive, digest, and communicate, any important facts or useful discoveries that might occur in the county, and note down, from time to time, in tables, the measurement of any lands that may be surveyed, the rise or fall in their price, rent, or produce; the changes in the mode of living, price of labour, management of land or cattle, change or improvement of breed, with any other particulars that might lead to make the Agricultural Reports, in time, more perfect than it was possible to do in the first attempt.
Sect. II.---Weights and Measures. In this county, as in other parts of the kingdom, the weights and measures are various, in various districts. At Inveraray the boll of meal is eight stone Scotch Troy, or Dutch; 17 i-half lb. avoirdupois to the stone. At Campbelton it is to stone, of the same weight; or 16 pecks of 10 lb, Scotch Troy; or to lb. 15 oz. avoirdupois, each.
In fome parts of Knapdale and Lorn, the boll is nine stone ; and dry measures vary in these parts nearly in the same proportion,
At Inveraray, oats, barley, and malt, are measured by a firlot of 3438.183 cubic inches ; equal to one firlot, two pints, one mutchkin, Scotch standard measure, which makes the boll (of four firlots) 9.258 per cent. better than the Scotch standard meafure, and equal to fix bushels one peck nine pints 10.2 cubic inches, English standard measure.
In Kintyre, oats, barley, or bear and malt, were for time immemorial fold by a heaped peck, of which the standard lay with the dean of guild in Campbelton. Of this meafure 17 pecks made, and still make, the Kintyre boll from August to Patrickmas, and only 16 from that date to the new crop ; and the divisions of the boll are regulated by the same proportions. As measuring by the heaped peck had been long considered as inconvenient and inaccurate, it was agreed on in the year 1782 by the heritors of the district, justices of the peace, and magiftrates of the borough, that the heaped peek should be converted into a ftriked one, which should contain exactly the fame quantity. This was accordingly done with great care and attention, and the new striked peck, corresponding to the old, was committed to the dean of guild, and has been since the standard of the district. The dimensions of it are 12 English inches diameter, equally wide throughout, and 10 I-tenth English inches deep. · The contents of it in cubic inches are 1142.28576 *; which makes the Kintyre boll 19418.85792 cubic inches, before Patrickmas, and 18276.57216 after it +. The first is equal to nine Winchester bushels and 65.03112 cubic inches (about is of a bushel), and equal to one boll eight pecks 1.61788 lippie, Linlithgow standard measure. The latter is equal to 8 1-half Winchester bushels I, excepting 2.0394 cubic inches, and to one boll 6-pecks, 3.746 lippies, Linlithgow.
At Inveraray, the peck of potatoes contains ļ4 pints and que mutchkin, ale measure. At Campbelton, it contains about nine English wine gallons, and is given heaped ; and gene. rally weighs about 56 lb. avoirdupois,
Beans and pease are sold in Kintyre by the old peck ftriked, or by a measure one third less than that for oats and bear. Lineal and liquid measures are the same with the Scotch standards. Butter, cheese, tallow, hay, wool, and lint, are sold by the stone of 24 lb. avoirdupois. Butcher meat by the pound of 24 ounces avoirdupois at Inveraray, and of 16 ounces at Campbelton. The herring barrel contains 32 English gallons of wine measure, or 67.28 customary ale pints of 109.866 cubic inches each.
The inconveniences, occasioned by such a diversity of weights and measures as prevail over all the kingdom, are so many and so great, that it is astonishing how they have been
* Equal to 11 Scotch pints, and a very little more than two thirds of a gill.
+ A lippie more, or 1-64th of a boll, for town dues, is given with every ball delivered in Campbelton.
# The Winchester bushel contains 2150.42 cubic inches. The Linlithgow boll standard measure, 12822.096