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very, and they now are generally acknowledged by us all. That each crop is composed of particles, abstracted either from the earth, the air, or water; that these original elements enter in various proportions into different descriptions of produce; that the consequence of a succession of the same crop on the same soil, is to abstract completely from that soil the peculiar elements which enters most largely into the composition of such crop; that on the contrary, by sowing some other seed, the earth will recover from the atmosphere, or the rains, or the plants thus grown on it, the elements which have been so largely abstracted from it; that thus, by the mere alternation of crops, the land is invigorated, without the inactivity of lying idle in fallow, the produce of the earth is increased, and the variety of its products extended. It must be quite unnecessary to dwell upon this subject; we are satisfied that its truth and importance is acknowledged by every man of intelligence throughout the empire, and that many, very many of the landlords of Ireland, who see their estates wasted before their eyes, by the wretched system of farming which prevails with us, for the most part, would gladly encourage and enforce the improved system; but they in too many cases cannot. They have given perpetuities-or what, so far as they are concerned, amounts to perpetuities to their tenants; they have parted with all control over their own property, and when occasionally a farm does fall in, it is so cumbered with a poor, dejected tenantry, whose immediate subsistence is the great pressing object of their lives, who understand not or care not for anything which deserves to be called improvement, that it requires more energy and steadiness, forbearance and capability, than falls to the lot of most men to insist upon such a sweeping reformation in their habits and management, as the introduction of a totally new system of agriculture would amount to.

As to

effecting anything in the shape of agricultural improvement in this country by the mere force of example, we wholly despair of it. It must be stimulated, urged on, constantly enforced by the landlord, or it never will gain ground among us. Even in England,

mere example has little or no influence. We read in Mr. M'Culloch that

"What is well-known and systematically practised in one county [of England] is frequently unknown or utterly disregarded in the adjacent districts; and what is to every unprejudiced observer evidently erroneous and prejudidicial to the land, is in some quarters persisted in most pertinaciously, though a journey of not many miles would open to the view the beneficial effects of a contrary practice."

He tells us that it is estimated that one-tenth of the arable land in England is lost by fences. He tells us, too, that throughout the south and west of England, in light and sandy soils, nothing is more common, even at the present day, than to see, very frequently, as many as five horses ploughing, all yoked in a line. Now, when we recollect that a driver is necessary where there is more than two horses, the increased expense of such a mode of ploughing would appear most obvious; and when we bear in mind that a horse will consume the produce of one acre in six that he tills, that he will eat as much as eight men, it is equally plain that the provision for the people of the country is most materially lessened by this most injudicious practice. When example, then, has had so little influence in England, will the landlords of Ireland venture to rely upon its action with us, and will they not rather, in every possible instance, by clauses as to management in leases, or whatever other mode may be found practicable, insist upon their estates being turned, by judicious culture, to the best advantage for themselves, their tenantry, and the people of the country for whose sustenance the land is provided.

Mr. Sharman Crawford, a gentleman whose character and experience makes him the very first authority on subjects of this nature, enters into a calculation of the produce of the arable lands of Great Britain, supposing them to be cultivated on a regular system of husbandry. It occurs in his "Defence of the Small Farmers of Ireland," which is the very best economical pamphlet concerning Ireland that we ever fell in with. Although Mr. Crawford's calculations are so

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But Mr. M'Culloch has a sovereign panacea for every agricultural difficulty-an abracadabra which is to unlock, in their inmost recesses, the sources of agricultural fertility, and to bring forth an amount of luxuriance such as the world has never yet witnessed. This magic charm, which is alluded to in almost every page of Mr. M'Culloch's book that is at all connected with agriculture, as though he feared the most cursory reader should ever chance to take it up without learning the potent spell, is the consolidation of small farms. Let farms but run from four hundred to six hundred acres, or five hundred at a medium, and Ceres will revel in the earth again, and the golden age will be restored. The most favoured districts of the kingdom are yet much short of what Mr. M'Culloch requires in this respect. In the northern counties of England the average size of the farms is two hundred and eighty-seven acres. This does not satisfy Mr. M'Culloch. Still less does the average size of the farms of the whole of England, which he estimates at about one hundred and sixty, to one hundred and seventy acres. As to Scotland, he does not give us any exact calculation; the land occupied by tenants, he says, is worth £5,200,000

the number of tenants, according to the census of 1841, being 54,873, it follows that each pays about £95 ayear rent.

This, however, includes every description of land which it is worth while to apply to any purpose of production whatsoever, whether of tillage, or those extensive sheep walks of the Highlands which are let in the gross, without any acreable rent ascertained, running along the skirts and the sides of the mountains-the average acreable rent for all this (not in

cluding holdings under one acre) appears to be about six shillings, which would leave the average size of all the farms in Scotland at about three hundred acres. Such farms, consequently, as are of the same character with the farms of England and Ireland, and can alone enter into the comparison, ordinary tillage or pasture lands, must rate at a much lower average than three hundred acres. In Ireland, the average size of farms above one acre appears, by the census return of 1841, to have been about twenty-nine acres. "These returns," says Mr. M'Culloch, "set the smallness of the farms in Ireland in the most striking light; they show that of a total of 658,309 holdings of more than one acre, only 48,312 exceeded thirty acres." Such, then, being the size of the farms throughout the kingdom, the productive powers of the land are, in the judgment of Mr. M'Culloch, and many other competent authorities contracted and ruinously enveloped by reason of the undue sub-division of the soil.

This is, beyond all doubt, a subject of the very utmost importance to entertain right views upon, and we do not affect to disguise from ourselves that it is also a subject of no ordinary difficulty. Although it appears to us to be altogether absurd to ascribe to the consolidation of small farms all the influence which Mr. M'Culloch attributes to it, and to look upon the question as one that does not admit of a particle of doubt, we cannot conceal from ourselves that many eminent authorities, and much plausible reasoning, may be produced on behalf of the large farms; it may be said to be the prevailing theory throughout the whole of Scotland; we never were in company with a Scotch agriculturist yet, who did not introduce it as the doctrine of all others which he delighteth to dwell upon, and perhaps no small portion of Mr. M'Culloch's zeal in the matter may be referred to his national sympathies. He argues (supported by the authority of Arthur Young and Mr. Wakefield) that the large farms must give the greatest scope to improvement; that they allow of the division of labour being carried to the farthest extent; and that they provide constant occupation for the farmer himself, and for every person who is engaged on them; differing in this

respect from the small farms, where, except in seed time and harvest, there is no sufficient employment, and where, consequently, habits of indolence and sloth are unavoidably contracted. This last reason, that of affording constant occupation for every one employed on them, and chiefly as affording full employment to the farmer himself for the whole of his time, is the argument that we have ourselves heard most frequently advanced by intelligent Scotchmen in behalf of their favourite system.

As this is an argument which has considerable weight with skilful and practical men, it is certainly deserving of attention; but after all (so far as concerns the farmer himself), to what does it amount but simply to this, that the man whose capital does not enable him to take a large farm must encounter all the inconvenience of a small one; that if his circumstances do not allow him to enter upon a field where his whole time can be advantageously occupied, he must perforce content himself with a more restricted sphere of action; this, we conceive, is an inconvenience of his birth or position, it is one of the inequalities of advantage which occur in every position and situation of life; and on what principle is it that the agriculturist should be debarred from engaging in such a farm as his capital warrants him in entering on, because, forsooth, that farm is not sufficient to employ all his time? is there any imperious obligation on the human race that the whole of their waking hours should be engaged in the pursuit of gain? or if a man feels within him a predilection for a particular occupation, if he has energy, and industry, and liking, to concur in ensuring him success and a competent livelihood, is he to be debarred from exercising these qualities for his own behalf? is he to be told that he must

engage himself as steward to some proprietor, as overseer to some wealthy farmer, because indeed that his capital is only equal to undertaking a farm of some sixty or a hundred acres, and that if he engages in this, he will be a part of his time idle; because he must spend a part of his time in attending on the silent workings of nature, his mighty fellow-laborer; because, that such is unavoidably his position, he is by this new system forcibly expelled from a pursuit to which he is inclined,

and forcibly sentenced to some occupation which he hates; but to be sure he has the satisfaction of being able to spend his whole time at it. We have asked Scotchmen of considerable intelligence and experience, whether they ever knew an instance of a laboring man rising to the position of a holder of land, and found that the cases were so few as to justify us in saying that it can rarely if ever occur. One most intelligent and efficient agent, who had charge of great estates, told us that in his whole experience he knew of but one such instance, and in that case the person to whom he referred, had previously realised £1500 capital, by jobbing in cattle. The consequence of this system is, that the rural districts of Scotland are gradually becoming dispeopled, their hardy sons are driven from the soil to which they gladly would have applied themselves, and forced into the widely-extending and manufacturing districts of Scotland, or driven, with their enterprise and industry, to transfer these inestimable qualities to another land. We believe, and are convinced, that this system, if persevered in-if carried out universally throughout both kingdoms, will be ruin, perfect ruin to the country; its cruelty and tyrannical injustice ought of themselves to be sufficient to arrest the evil. There does exist-it is idle to deny it-there does exist in mankind an affection for the soil and for agricultural pursuits. The noblest and the best have felt and manifested this affection most. Watch the small farmer of a holiday, and see if his course does not lie towards his "bit of land;" and though it be but to pull up a weed, or throw aside a stone, his delight is in lingering about the spot on which his industry is exercised. Does any other occupation present a similar feature, or anything at all like it; and is it humane-is it just-that the great mass of the people should be forcibly excluded by this new fanciful theory from a branch of industry which they are thus created with a preference and with a capability for? What title can the proprietors of land produce to justify them in such a course? We are precluded, by the nature of this article, in which we would avoid all political discussion, from entering upon, as we could desire, the eminently unconstitutional

tendency of this doctrine of consolidating the small farms of the country. We take it, that there is no one who has given ever so slight a consideration to the nature of our constitution, who will not acknowledge how mainly its chief and most valuable institutions are based and supported on a tone of public opinion which has been transmitted to us from remote periodsone which the circumstances of the times naturally gave rise to it, but which could never have grown up amongst us spontaneously under our present circumstances and relationsand equally impossible will it be to deny that the agricultural interest, with its associations, its permanence, and its social tendencies, has been the connecting-link whereby this origi nal phase of opinion has been handed down to us. Abolish this tone of public feeling, and you overthrow the institutions which it supports. Let the agricultural interests become but disproportioned to the other great interests of the country, and the public opinion is revolutionized.

It is

not for us here, as we have said, it is not within the scope of this notice to enter into any comparison of the agricultural and other pursuits on the character and condition of a peoplethat the difference in their effects is enormous, no man will venture to deny; but we have said enough to indicate how complete a revolution would be wrought, if Mr. M'Culloch's desire of cutting up England into farms of 500 acres were carried out. He would have the twenty-nine millions of acres which constitute the arable land of England divided among 58,000 farmers, but 58,000 persons and the proprietors to support the agricultural interests of England against the other active, restless, encroaching interests of the country; every other man working on the soil is to be a cottager, with perhaps a small patch of garden, but wholly unqualified to obtain political influence, or to exercise it if it were extended to him. We cannot here enter further into this branch of the subject, and the host of considerations which it brings along with it; the system is pregnant with political evil, it is one which we are convinced it behoves every man who has his country at heart to resist. There was a great deal both of good

sense and of good feeling in the Act which was passed in the reign of Henry the Eighth, "against those greedy and covetous persons who keep a great quantity of land in their hands, from the occupying of the poor husband


But if the advocates for the large farms have their wishes carried out, and the agricultural labourers of the kingdom are reduced to that number which will find constant employment all the year round, say five men for every hundred acres, or twenty-five men for each of these farms, where, we would ask, is the extra labour to be sought for which is required in seedtime, and in harvest; is the corn to shed upon the ground, or the hay to rot upon the field, for want of reapers, and mowers, and hay-makers, and will twenty-five men supply all these, besides doing the ordinary work on farms of five hundred acres, cultivated on the alternate system of cropping; or if they are sufficient for the extra work, must not most of them be unemployed at the other seasons of the year, when the demand for agricultural labour is comparatively insignificant; the problem is one which it is impossible to solve, to provide namely, that where the amount of employment fluctuates, a given number of labourers shall have full and constant occupations at all seasons of the year, and yet be sufficient for the extra-work at those seasons when the demand increases. All this difficulty, however, of supplying the unavoidable fluctuations in the demand for agricultural labour can be abundantly, and, so far as we see, can only be provided for by a number of small holdings, which, while they go far towards supporting their owner and his family, leave him yet sufficient time and inclination to add to his income, by occasionally hiring out his labour. That this deficiency of agricultural labourers is no imaginary evil, we have abundant evidence in the annual emigration of the Irishmen to England. We know that in Cambridgeshire, last year, the greatest possible alarm prevailed, by reason of the late arrival of the Irish reapers; there were no labourers in the country to save the harvest-but for the arrival of the Irish the whole must have been lost; and on the banks of the Mississipi great crops of maize are constantly lost or thrown open to herds of swine,

for want of hands to cut it and draw it home. How, then, this most formidable difficulty is to be provided for by the advocates of consolidation of farms, they have never yet condescended to inform us, and we confess that we are wholly unable to conjecture. Neither, with every respect for the writings of Mr. Young, can we at all see the force of his reasoning, when he supports his statement, that large farmers contribute most to improvement, and that these improvements can only be carried out by large and opulent farmers, asking us

"Where is the little farmer to be found who will cover his whole farm with marl at the rate of 100 or 150 tons per acre, who will drain all his land at the expense of £2 or £3 per acre, who will pay a heavy price for the manure of towns, and convey it thirty miles by land carriage," &c.

We cannot at all see why a man with but ten acres of land should not accomplish all these purposes of improvement as effectually as a man with ten hundred acres; the difference is simply this, that it will cost the man who farms one hundred acres, one hundred times as much; it will require one hundred times a greater amount of capital to cover with marl, or to draw manure, or to drain his larger farm, than the small farmer will require; but why the small farmer, a man with capital proportioned to his farm, should not drain his ten acres for £30, as well as the large farmer will drain his one thousand acres for £3000, we are wholly at a loss to conjecture. There is no force whatsoever in the argument. But even in Mr. M'Culloch's own volumes we are furnished with most striking evidence of the great inexpedience of large holdings, for, on looking over his separate notice of each of the English counties, we invariably find that pauperism is uniformly greater in these countries in which he tells us that the farms are large, and vice versû, that pauperism is less in these counties where the holdings are small.

We would not, however, be misunderstood. We are very far indeed from advocating the wretched system of sub-division into acres, and half acres, which prevails in this country. We are convinced that Mr. McCulloch

is perfectly right in attributing a great portion of the miserable condition of the Irish people to this melancholy system; we believe that it has led to the crowding of the people on the soil in numbers much too great, not by any means for its capacity of production, but for its present productiveness, in numbers which would be perfectly insignificant, if even the improved agricultural processes which are already known were generally adopted, but which, from the culpable neglect of improvement, from a perfect disregard of every opportunity, are, in many places greatly in excess. This excess will of course in Ireland be much increased by the inadequacy of grain crops to take the place of the potato, in supplying subsistence for the people; it will make the present population fully one third more redundant, as compared with the provision that is made for them. In time, we have no doubt whatsoever, but that the agriculture of the country, stimulated by the present emergency, must improve; and we are also convinced that its improvement will be in some districts much facilitated by reason of the reduction in our numbers which will be occasioned by the emigration that is now forced upon us-we say by the emigration that is forced upon us, for thankful as we are for having any such outlet in this season of affliction, we cannot look upon the stream of human beings that is now flowing from our shores without feelings of deep distress. The very last resource that a country should ever adopt is that of emigration-the very last mode of providing for a people is by getting rid of them. Within our shores they might have been the sources of our wealth and of our strength; there lives not the man whose labour, if well disciplined and directed, would not produce more than his own consumption, and the common stock is so much impaired by every working man who is drawn from it. We acknowledge that, circumstanced as we now are, we have no alternative the remedy is a desperate one, but it must be endured. Great has been the neglect, great is the responsibility falling on those who have occasioned the need for it; but let us resolve vigorously, and bestir ourselves actively, that the like reproach

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