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cally, because we have broken down those ancient prejudices which served them in a great measure in the stead of education, and must supply them with instruction as the only compensation; morally, that we may rescue them by the teaching and attractions of learning, from the seducements of dissipation; economically, that by a fiitting industrial education, we may enable them rightly to apply to, and efficiently develop the sources of wealth which we have at our command.
We are told, indeed, of great proficiency in mechanical skill-of many and valuable improvements in machinery having been made by mere artizans; and that this is so to some extent, we have no doubt that from the unceasing companionship with his untiring fellow-labourer, machinery, our labourer must acquire considerable intimacy with his working, we make no doubt. The saying of Lord Bacon is at the same time, brought forcibly to our mind, "That in the infancy of states arms flourish-in its maturity, arms and letters for a short time-in its decline, commerce and the mechanical arts." But the pursuit in which education is most needed, and could be most readily communicated, the progress of which, in proportion to that of other branches of industry, has been the slowest, and yet, which convinces us by the success of what has been done of its unbounded capacity for further development, is, strange to say, that very pursuit which is most attractive and most important to man, -the cultivation of the soil. And this brings us to the second branch of our subject: what it is possible to accomplish by a judicious application even of the modes of husbandry which are already known. This is abundantly testified in the volume now before us :
"The farms in the wolds and moorish districts of Lincolnshire are very extensive. Large tracts, which, at no very distant period, were entirely covered with heath and gorse, or were all but worthless, are now in the highest state of cultivation, and yield the finest crops. In proof of this we may mention, that the extensive tract of country stretching from Canwick, near Lincoln, to Swayfield, was formerly a dreary moor without house or habitations to such a degree was this the case, that, in the mid
dle of the last century, a light was exhibited on a tower at Dunstan, seventy feet high, on this moor, to guide travellers at night along this pathless waste. This deserted tract is now one of the best cultivated in England, the farms into which it is divided having so rich and so finished an appearance, that they seem rather to be farmed by landlords, as an example to others, than, as is really the case, by tenants farming for profit, and paying high rents. In other parts the improvement has been equally great, and many thousands of acres, which, at the date of Arthur Young's last report (about forty years since), were occupied as rabbit-warrens, are now in the highest state of cultivation. This extraordinary improvement has been principally brought about by the liberal use of the bone manure. The turnip husbandry is here prosecuted on a larger scale than in any other part of England-a single farmer (Mr. Dawson, of Withcall, near Louth,) has usually about 600 acres in turnips."
Again, of Norfolk, naturally a very poor country, consisting of a light sandy loam:-
"Previously to the reign of George the Second, the largest portion of the north-west part of the county, which is now the most improved, consisted of wastes, sheep-walks, and warrens of very little value. These were converted into highly-productive lands, by enclosing, marling, and the aid of turnip husbandry."
And so again, of East Lothian, and many other places which our space prevents us from extracting an account of. But indeed it is needless to multiply instances, to convince every man of ordinary observation, of the great capacity for further development which the soil of the country admits of. Much has been done by many enclosure acts for adding to the amount of land which can profitably be cultivated; very nearly four thousand enclosure acts have been passed from the reign of Queen Anne to the present year; and the quantity of acres which were enclosed, from 1790 to 1832, are estimated by Mr. M'Culloch at upwards of five millions and a-half, and the produce of this vast accession of land he conceives to have been five-fold. But the great increase which has been made to the produce of the soil, and the source (so far as we know at present) to which we must look for
a still more extended field, is in the drainage of the land, and the alternate system of cropping. We are supplied with very few particulars on the subject of drainage by Mr. M'Culloch; he mentions, with regard to Ireland, what we all must admit, that until of very late years, hardly anything was done in the way of draining: latterly, however, a great improvement has sprung up among us in this respect; prizes are given for the best drained farms; landlords are paying in very many cases a proportion, in some, the whole of the expenses of draining their estates; insisting, as of course they should, that such drainage shall be conducted as they direct or approve of; and although we know some instances in which these intentions of the landlord have been resisted, actually resisted by the tenant, from some undefined apprehension of some covert purpose of advantage to be taken of him by the landlord, yet we find few, if any, farmers in Ireland who will hesitate to acknowledge the service that is so rendered to the soil. In the absence of any particulars as to Irish drainage in Mr. McCulloch's work, we take the liberty of extracting the following passage from Sir Robert Kane's excellent book :
"That the advantages derivable from effective drainage are fully appreciated by our agricultural proprietors, is shown by the fact that, although the powers and the regulations of the Board of Works are yet but little understood by the public, there had been applications and surveys instituted between August, 1842, when the act passed, and April, 1844, for the drainage of 48,293 acres of land liable to flood. The estimated cost of thoroughly draining these lands amounted to £129,811, or £2 13s. 6d. per acre. The expected increase in the annual setting value of the lands amounted to £16,489, or about 13 per cent. on the capital invested.
"A feature in these drainage operations which deserves notice, is the amount of employment which they afford. Of the £129,811, estimated above as the expense of these operations, it is calculated that £96,000 would be expended in labour alone; and not being necessarily limited in time, the operations of each district could be executed by the labourers of the district when agricultural occupation was most deficient."
This last paragraphjis eminently deserving of attention at the present season. On referring to Mr. Thom's book, we find the list of applications to the Drainage Commissions under the 5th and 6th Vic. c. 89, by their fourth report, dated in 1846, comprized upwards of 140,000 acres, the estimated cost of reclaiming which was £793,000. Can it be possible that in this year of unparalleled pressure, when the country is visited by an infliction, the like of which, in the impressive language of Lord Lansdowne, he prayed to God might never visit the world again, as he knew that such had never visited it before; when the proprietors are wholly unable to make the necessary advances; when there will be a demand for a permanentlyincreased supply of food to take the place of the more abundant crops which have failed us; and when the unavoidable poor-law which is now permanently imposed on us, will be, at the very least, for some years four shillings in the pound on the poor-law valuation of the country-can it be possible that at such a season, and with such prospects-with such present deficiency, and such future requirements the imperial exchequer will close its coffers, and withhold the grant of a sum which, if applied to carry out the purposes of these applications, would go far in mitigating the present distress, and would so materially contribute to insuring the future produce of the country? Surely it
But it is important to see whether, in these districts of Great Britain which exhibit so rapid an advance in husbandry, there be any causes at work to which this improvement is referable-whether beyond the accident of an enterprising and encouraging landlord, acting by his general influence and example, there be any practices prevailing through all these improved districts so universally, that they may reasonably be conceived to contribute materially to this improvement, if not wholly to occasion it. We conceive such are
to be found. We find, universally,
in all the districts of Great Britain which have exhibited the most rapid improvement, the existence of leases. To this we ascribe a most important influence on agricultural prosperity,
although, strange enough, we are obliged to say, that we conceive their action on the improvement of the country to be in a directly opposite direction to that which Mr. M'Culloch ascribes to them. He conceives it is by the certainty which the tenant thus enjoys (that he will reap the fruits of his labour) that leases stimulate the farmer's exertions. We believe that it is by the certainty of the termination of his interest in a certain limited period, that he is spurred on to exertion. Nothing, we are satisfied, and freely admit, could by possibility operate more prejudicially to the agricultural improvement of the country than any apprehension on the mind of the tenant that he should be unjustly deprived of the fruits of his outlay and his industry. If such injustice were of common occurrence, we would most unquestionably say that the security which the tenant derived from his lease was the very first step to an improved state of things; but the case is not so the instances are very rare, indeed, where the tenant, who pays his stipulated rent regularly, is deprived of his farm before he has enjoyed it for a sufficient time to reap fully all the advantages of his capital and skill. Were it otherwise, the farmers of England would not have continued without leases, as the greater number of them are, down to the present time. No; but it is because he knows that, in practice, he never will be removed while he continues to pay his rent; that the habit of not giving leases works much of the ill which accompanies the perpetuities with which we are familiar in Ireland. The farming leases which are given in England are generally for seven or fourteen years; the first term is probably too short; it can hardly enable the cultivator to reap the full advantage of his outlay. must no doubt bear in mind that it is the practice of English landlords to give possession to the tenant of his farm, fully appointed with barns, storehouses, and dwelling-house, all well and sufficiently fenced and hedged; his outlay is consequently altogether insignificant in comparison of that which is required of the tenant with us; nevertheless, we conceive that seven years is altogether too short a tenure for the farmer, and would say that the Scotch have approximated much more closely
to the reasonable term, by fixing it, as their custom is, at nineteen years; a term which has been selected in order to allow of three courses of a six-shift alternation, with a year over. In a note to Mr. M'Culloch's edition of Adam Smith, we find the late Mr. Oliver, of Loch End, one of the most intelligent farmers in the empire, giving his opinion decidedly in favour of the nineteen years' lease :
"The tenure under which we hold," he says, 66 gives us perfect security that we shall reap the full benefit of our outlays, at the same time that the certainty that our interest in the land will cease at the expiration of nineteen years, prompts to a vigorous and instant execution of the necessary improvements."
As one most important step, then, towards the improvement of the agricultural interest, we emphatically call upon the landlords of Ireland to abolish that system, as ruinous to themselves as to their tenantry, of granting those interminable leases which are so common amongst us. What could possibly be invented more certain of encouraging the very worst treatment of the soil, than the habit of letting on three lives or thirty-one years; some of the lives most generally survive the term of years; in fact the lives is the tenure that is looked to, the years are but as a security in the event of the lives failing by any mischance. Here, then, is every possible encouragement held out to mismanagement; the years run out, and the lives are getting old; it would be gross improvidence to incur any great outlay on such a holding; it may be daily expected to fall into the landlord, it becomes the tenant's interest to rack the soil to the uttermost, to seize on whatever produce may be for the instant most profitable, as he knows not the moment his interest may terminatethe land is worn out and exhausted, corn crop after corn crop is taken from it, it continues under this most ruinous treatment, incapable of improvement itself, and an example of the most wretched husbandry to everything about it; an effectual hindrance to the spread of improved practices; until at last it returns to the landlord, at the dropping of the last life, so completely out of heart, that it exhausts the whole capital of the succeeding te
tant in the endeavour to bring it into anything like working condition.
But the long tenures of this country, in addition to objections to which Mr. Oliver shows they are liable, that, namely, of fostering slothfulness, and encouraging procrastination, are further objectionable, as being the great encouragement to sub-letting, that most fertile source of agricultural backwardness. If the lease be short, it will obviously not be for the interest of any one to sub-divide the farm, the tenure will be too soon brought to a close; but when the lease is for a long term, the farmer to whom it was made acquires, by sub-division, a provision for his sons and sons-in-law, and by subletting he acquires a tenantry of his own; he affects the habits, and apes the manners of his betters; instead of cultivating the land by his own exertion and with his own capital, he leases it out to the poorer classes, as deficient in capital as in skill, and mayhap converts what he holds in his own hands into pasturage; he keeps his dog and his gun certainly, perhaps his hunter; he breeds his horse or two, and persuades himself that, by showing him off after the hounds, he is engaged in his legitimate business; he seeks, for want of employment, to obtain some of the small receiverships in which the country abounds, and thus adds to his money, and brings himself somewhat into contact with the upper classes; but all this while, the farms which he sub-let are being gradually sub-divided, from the necessity of an increasing population-a pauper tenantry, without skill, industry, or capital, are growing up on the estate, and when the original farm falls into the landlord's hands, he finds it overrun with an incapable multitude, whom the whole rent would not support for a quarter of a year. As one of the innumerable instances with which we are all familiar, it is in evidence before Lord Devon's commission, that on an estate of Lord Palmerston, which was let some sixty or seventy years ago to six tenants, for three lives or thirty-one years, on its lately falling into the present landlord, two hundred and eighty tenants were in occupation of it; and the whole rental would not support this multitude for two months. Most wofully will the system of long leases fall upon the
holders of land, now that a poorrate, rendered unavoidable by the circumstances of the country, is about to come into operation-now that the legislature have declared that the destitute poor must be provided for.
But not only are the leases short in the most successful of the agricultural districts of Great Britain, but they almost universally impose upon the tenant a prescribed mode of cultivation. On the Holkam estate, in Norfolk, the same course of cultivation has been enforced for very many years. Mr. M'Culloch tells us, that "in East Lothian, Berwickshire, Northumberland, and all the best cultivated counties, leases invariably contain regulations in regard to the rotation of crops, and the proportion of the farm to be applied to culineferous crops, green crops, grass, &c." This surely is a custom which ought to be introduced into this country. Restrictions upon trade are for the most part anything but beneficial; but the reason they are not so, is because that the interest of the person who is directly concerned in the profit (in mercantile engagements for example) most frequently instructs him in what course is most advantageous, and is the strongest incentive that can be applied to him to induce him to follow it; but so long as the landlords of the country who impose the obligations, are better informed than the tenant who is to carry them out, so long must the practice of prescribing peculiar modes of culture be a beneficial one, and one peculiarly to be desired in so backward a country-one so wholly averse to improvement as our own.
The next characteristic that we find common to all the improving agricultural districts, is, that the farmers are possessed of abundant capital. "The prosperity of agriculture in all countries, ancient and modern," says Mr. Oliver, "has always depended, and ever must depend, on the capital possessed by the actual cultivators of the soil." The capital of a farmer is, of course, great or small in proportion to the extent and to the requirements of the farm which he undertakes. In every country the original capital, whether engaged in agriculture, or in any other industrial pursuit, must necessarily have been but trifling; by skill, industry, and frugality, it accu
mulates; but as its increase in agriculture must greatly depend upon the development of the capabilities of the soil, nothing can impede its accumulation, or prevent its successful application, so much as the habit of farmers undertaking a greater quantity of land than their capital is equal to. The proportion that should exist between capital and the extent of the farm, it would be difficult to lay down with accuracy-much must depend upon the quality and nature of the soil, the courses that it admits of, the condition that it is in when the tenant goes into possession, and many other considerations; but it may be said, that without from £8 to £10 or £12 for every acre, it is utterly hopeless that anything like efficient cultivation can be attained. The rapidity with which agricultural capital has accumulated in parts of this kingdom, is strongly illustrated by comparing the present condition of the Scotch and many of the English farmers, with the following opinions of Edmund Burke, himself an eminent agriculturist, and, like most other truly great men, passionately devoted to the pursuit; in his "Thoughts and Details on Scarcity" we read:
"In most parts of England which have fallen within my observation," he says, "I have rarely known a farmer who to his own trade had not added some other employment or traffic, that, after a course of the most unremitting parsimony, and labour, and persevering in his business for a long course of years, died worth more than paid his debts, leaving his posterity to continue in nearly the same equal conflict between industry and want, in which the last predecessor, and a long line of predecessors before him lived and died."
When we contrast Scotland, and part of England at the present day, and the amount of agricultural capital which is there accumulated, with these opinions coming from such a man-a man no less unbounded in his knowledge than startling in his foresight, we feel that we could have no more forcible admonition addressed to us, never to despair of the resources of our country, or to distrust its capabilities being equal to any demands which could by possibility be made upon them. When the amount of the farmer's capital is, then, of such vital
concern to us all, nothing can be more ruinous than any practice which has the effect of reducing this capital just at the time when he most needs it, namely, when he is entering on his farm; the custom, consequently, of letting lands on fine, is most justly condemned by Mr. M'Culloch; it is a practice which, he tells us, is hardly now known at all in England, and which, by reason of the strict law of entail which prevails in Scotland, has been pronounced illegal in that country. A very general practice which prevails now in parts of Ireland, and those too which are most rapidly improving, is very much of the same ill tendency, that, namely, of imposing a condition on the tenant, that he shall erect a dwelling-house of a suitable description on his farm. Where the lease is, as it ought to be, for a short term of years, this is virtually tantamount to a fine. In twenty-one, or even thirty-one years, the house is little worse of the wear, and falls in to the landlord, to increase by so much the value of the farm for his succeeding tenant. Unquestionably, it would be better for all parties, that the landlord should, as in England and Scotland, take on himself the erection of a suitable dwelling-house for his tenant; it would leave the tenant his capital available for the right cultivation of the soil; it would increase the produce, and improve the agriculture of the country; and the benefit to the landlord, in the improved condition of his farm, would be at the least equal, if not much greater, than in the mere possession of a dwelling-house on an unimproved farm.
The next feature which we find common to all the improved agricultural districts both of England and Scotland, is the alternate system of cropping. It is needless to quote instances in illustration or confirmation of this. It is now universally acknowledged, that without a judicious alternation of crops, varying with the nature and qualities of the soil, that it is impossible to develop the resources of the land. It were needless to dwell upon the simple principles by which the necessity for an alternation of crops is established. To Sir Humphry Davy, and other eminent chemists who succeeded him, both French and English, these principles owe their disco