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We perceive no evident traces of a regular SURVEY of the County, with a view toward the requisite groundwork of Report. The fresh matter, relating to its practices, might be deemed inconsiderable. And the quotations from the former reports are neither numerous, nor important (saving such as appear in the preceding article); nor do the marginal notes, made on those reports, convey much practiIcal information.
Viewing the Work in the mass, it appears as a didactic essay, dissertation, or treatise;-a lecture on the Natural, Political, and Rural Economy of the island at large. Not only are its propositions frequently enforced by prompt assertions, but some considerable part of them is marked by Italic types; even to the length of long paragraphs.
This, however, is merely a matter of taste, and cannot lower, in the mind of a considerate reader, the many in-. genious suggestions that are discernible in the book. It would, nevertheless, be unpardonable, in a censor, not to apprize the unpractised student, that the work is not free from misconceptions, and hazardous dictations :—a caution, this, which is the more requisite, as the forcible language, and impressive tone, in which they are generally conveyed, are such as may be capable of leading, not only students, but novitial practitioners, into error.
Having already refuted, in the course of my present undertaking, many or most of the ill grounded doctrines which the volume before me contains, I will here bring forward such particulars, only, as relate to the County which is now under view;-with, however, such new or important observations of the author, as I may think will enrich this concentration of useful knowledge.
The number of pages-five hundred and ninetyseven; including a copious index.
A map of the County (the same as that prefixed to Mr. Foot's sketch). No other engraving.
SUBJECT THE FIRST.
XTENT.-Mr. Middleton estimates, in p. 2, the extent of the County of Middlesex, at "280 square miles, or 179,200 acres." Hence, it ranks among the smallest of the English Counties.
SURFACE.-P. 22. "This county, from its gentle waving surface, is particularly suited to the general purposes of
agriculture: it being sufficiently sloping, to secure a proper drainage, and at the same time without those abrupt elevations which in some places so much increase the labour and expence of tillage; and from its being entirely free from large stones, those powerful enemies to the free operations of the plough."
P. 23. "All the land to the south of the road passing from Brentford through Hounslow to Longford, is so nearly level, as to have no more than a proper drainage, and much the greater part of it is less than ten feet above the surface of the river Thames at Staines-bridge, and not more than from three to five feet above the level of the rivulets flowing through this district.
"From Staines, through Ashford and Hanworth commons, to Twickenham, a distance of seven miles and an half, is a perfect level, and generally of from ten to twenty feet above the surface of the river Thames."
CLIMATURE.-P. 14. "The temperature of the atmosphere, except perhaps so far as the influence of the London fires extend, is nearly the same through the whole county, there being no situation so much elevated as to produce the cold and thin air that we find in mountainous countries."
WATERS.-The section, "Water," of this report, is rather uninteresting. The rivers named in it are the Thames, the Lea, the Brent and the Coln; and to those are added the "New River" (Sir Hugh Middleton's Aqueduct) and the "Serpentine River" (a fish pool in Hyde Park): also several brooks and rivulets. I find nothing in the section that requires transcription. The navigation of the Thames and the Lea is spoken of in another section," Rivers and Canals.".
SOILS-On this important subject of a provincial report, Mr. Middleton speaks with satisfactory intelligence, and becoming diffidence.
P. 16. "The following observations are offered in a very general way. To delineate the variety of soils, so as accurately to draw the lines between them, would require much more time, even supposing it possible to investigate every part of the county, than can be expected in a work of this kind.
"A surface of perfect sand, clean gravel, or pure clay, is not now perhaps to be found in any part of the county, The top soil has every where been ameliorated or changed by the operation of the elements, by manure and cultivation; these powerful agents have made the surface of all the lands in this county assume, more or less, the appearance of loam.
"Sand and Gravel.-Hampstead-hill consists of eight or ten feet of yellow iron-stained sand, with some loam and rounded
rounded flints, on a pure white sand of many more feet; and at the depth of about 150 feet are springs. The surface is covered with furze, except where the ground is dug.
The summits of most of the highest hills in the county consist of sand and gravel, though frequently intermixed with loam. I observed in the old inclosures, and on Enfield-chase, in various places, that when the gravel is very near to the top, a full crop of yellow blossomed broom covers the ground, if in a state of grass; and when ploughed, an equally full crop of sorrel.
"Loamy Sand-Or dry turnip and barley land, will include all that portion of the county lying between the road leading from Hounslow to Colnbrook on the north, and the river Thames on the south, containing in depth from one foot to three (though for the most part from eighteen inches to two feet), on a gravel of small flints, six, eight, or ten feet in thickness, with a subsoil of blue tile earth.
"On the east side of the county, the whole way from Tottenham to Enfield-wash, the superstratum is of the same light nature; of from six inches to two feet in depth, on a gravel of small flints, which can only be dug for the repairing of roads to the depth of from two feet to five, owing to its then putting on the appearance of a quick sand, so filled with water as to prevent all deeper digging. There is some poor land about the extreme west end of Hounslow-heath, and doubtless in a few other places.
"Sandy Loam-Will include all the land between the Colnbrook and Uxbridge roads, on the west side of Hanwell and Hounslow, of from eighteen inches to upwards of five feet in depth, on six or eight feet of the gravel of flints on a subsoil of blue tile earth. Of this description is the south side of the parish of Harefield, and the parishes of Twickenham, Isleworth, Ealing, Chiswick, Kensington, Fulham, Brompton, and Chelsea: at the last place, this soil has been most highly enriched by cultivation and
"Strong Loam.-All the land from Riselip and Ickenham, on the west, to Greenford, Apperton and Harrow, on the east, and between Pinner on the north, and Northcote on the south, is composed of strong loam. The land about South Mims is also of this kind.
"The level between Islington, Highgate and Hornsey, is a strong but very productive loam."
FOSSILS.-P. 27. "The immediate subsoil of the county, for the most part, consists of a gravel of flints, which is also found in the beds of most or all of the rivers; and under that, for the most part, blue tile earth.”
P. 26. I have not met with any stratified-rock stone, such as freestone, limestone, slate, &c. in this county; nor are any pebbles of the like stone found in the rivers, except such as have come there fortuitously."
SUBSTRUCTURE.-N. p. 32. " At Mr. Munday's brewery at Chelsea, in this county, a well was dug about the year 1793, to the depth of 394 feet, within 20 or 30 feet of the edge of the river, mostly through a blue clay or marl. At the depth of about 50 feet a quantity of loose coal about twelve inches in thickness was discovered; and a little stratified sand and gravel was found about the same depth. The well digger usually bored about 10, 15 or 20 feet at a time lower than his work, as he went on; and on the last boaring, when the rod was about 15 feet below the bottom of the well, the man felt, as the first signal of water, a rolling motion, something like the gentle motion of a coach passing over pavement: upon his continuing to bore, the water presently pushed its way by the side of the auger with great force, scarcely allowing him time to withdraw the borer, put that and his other tools into the bucket, and be drawn up to the top of the well. The water soon rose to the height of 200 feet.-J. M."
SUBJECT THE SECOND.
PPROPRIATION.-Common Pastures.-P. 98. "The commons of Middlesex are situate in the more remote parts of the county, and bear a much smaller, proportion to the whole quantity of land, than those of most other districts in the kingdom.
"The names and computed quantities, are as follows, viz.
1. Hounslow-heath, which is said to contain
4. Harrow-weald, and part of Bushy-heath,
6. Uxbridge-common, 7. Harefield-common, 8. Hillendon-heath,
Brought forward 12,650 acres.
The remains of Enfield chase, still unculti-
to Hadley parish,
to which add, several smaller ones, under 100 acres each, such as Hampstead-heath, Pinner-common, Sudbury-common, Pinner-marsh, Roxhill-green, Apperton-green, Wembly-green, Kenton-green, Greenhull-green, Uxbridge-moor, Memsey-moor, Goulds-green, Peils-heath, Hanwell-common, and Wormwood-shrubs, which possibly may contain altogether 1,350 acres: then deduct for roads, ponds, and gravel-pits 1000 acres, and it will shew that the uncultivated soil of this county, capable of receiving improvement, is about 17,000 acres, or rather under one-tenth of the whole quantity."
P. 103. "On estimating the value of the commons in this county, including every advantage that can be derived from them, in pasturage, locality of situation, and the barbarous custom of turbary, it appears that they do not produce to the community, in their present state, more than four shillings per acre! On the other hand, they are, in many instances, of real injury to the public; by holding out a lure to the poor man-I mean of materials wherewith to build his cottage, and ground to erect it upon; together with firing, and the run of his poultry and pigs for nothing. This is, of course, temptation sufficient to induce a great number of poor persons to settle upon the borders of such commons. But the mischief does not end here; for having gained these trifling advantages, through the neglect or connivance of the lord of the manor, it unfortunately gives their minds an improper bias, and inculcates a desire to live, from that time forward, without labour, or at least with as little as possible."
"Another very serious evil which the public suffers from these commons, is, that they are the constant rendezvous of gypseys, strollers, and other loose persons, living under tents which they carry with them from place to place, according to their conveniency. Most of these persons have asses, many of them horses, nay, some of them have even covered carts, which answers the double purpose of a caravan for concealing and carrying off the property they have stolen, and also of a house for sleeping in at night. They