Page images
PDF
EPUB

Hornsey are now appropriated to the scythe; though, but a few years ago, they were covered with wood. They are already of five times their former value; and, after being ten years more in grass, their produce will be worth, to the community, ten times more than the produce of the same ground would have been in a state of wood." (?) "Near Bowes Farm, several hundred acres of underwood have been grubbed up within the last eight or ten years; and the improvement of the soil is going on in a proportion nearly similar to the foregoing."

FARM

AGRICULTURE.

ARMS.-Sizes.-P. 48. "The farms of this county are in general small, especially when compared with Sussex, Wilts, and other counties, where large downs or sheep-walks constitute a part of the farms. Mr. Willan's farm, at Mary-le-bonne-park, containing upwards of 500 acres, is probably the largest in this county; there are many of about 200 acres; but perhaps the average of the county would not exceed 100.",

While speaking on the long continued dispute, about great or small farms, Mr. M. truly says, what every man of mature observation will allow, that "it is rather the larger farmers and yeomen, or men who occupy their own land, that mostly introduce improvements in the practice of agriculture, and that uniformly grow much greater erops of corn, and produce more beef and mutton per acre, than others of a smaller capital." p. 49.

Farm Fences.-P. 132. "The hedges are generally full of live wood, consisting mostly of hawthorn, elm, and maple, with some black thorns, crabs, bryers and damsons: the last frequently very fruitful, which is the cause of its being destroyed. All these are made anew once in ten or twelve years; at which time the whole is cut down to within a few inches of the bank. The scouring of the ditch is thrown up, a very thin stake and edder hedge is formed, and all the rest of the wood is made into bavins, and sold principally to bakers, at about a guinea a hundred delivered. In about two years, the live wood is grown so thick again, as hardly to be seen through."

HOMESTEADS.-P. 39. "The oldest farm-houses and offices now in the county, are built with timber, lathed and plastered" (or weather-boarded)" and the roofs thatched; which sufficiently indicates, that at some distant period they were generally so. These buildings appear to have

been

been erected by piece-meal, merely to suit the immediate and indispensible wants of the farmer. Of the houses, many are in villages; others in low sheltered situations; often on the side of a green lane; and frequently near a pond. In the arable part of the county, the offices have been added one after another, in proportion as the woods were cleared, cultivation extended, and the requisitions of the farmers increased. Being built with timber, they will endure repairing, even after every vestige of the origi nal materials is perished and gone.

"Those farm-houses that have been built within the present century, are generally erected with bricks; and, owing to the high price of straw, and the great value of manure, the roofs are now, for the most part, covered with tiles."

P. 40. "Many hay-farmers have only a stable for their horses, and an open shed for loaded carts to stand under, in addition to the dwelling-house and its offices. Others have a shed for a cow, and a barn (without a threshing floor) which they fill with hay, frequently the second crop. Some of these barns are fitted up with deal linings, partitions and floors, in a very complete manner for the purpose of suckling house-lambs; and the second crop of hay is either placed at one end of the barn, or adjacent to it, for the especial use of these lambs.

"Many of the modern farm-houses, in the hay district of the county, have pretty much the appearance of gentlemen's houses, both in construction and neatness, principally owing to there being no farm-yards with cattle. And even in the arable part of the county, there are but few yards of this description, as the straw is almost all sent to market."

PLAN of MANAGEMENT.-Still we continue to find the section, "Rotation of Crops," a favorite with the Board's Reporters. Mr. Middleton has extended it to fourteen pages; not by the means of pocket-book memoranda, put down in conversation with novitial practitioners; but, chiefly, with theoretic systems of the author's own invention.

P. 159. "When the commons, downs, and sheep-walks are inclosed and cultivated (as in a few years they must be), the old inclosed lands will, in consequence, be deprived of the manure deposited in the sheep-folds, which they now derive from those wastes. It will then very soon be found, that the wiser way, if not absolutely necessary, will be to grow two green crops for one of corn, as is now practised over six thousand acres in this county, with complete success.

"With these ideas impressed on my mind, I venture to recommend for the best land, alternate green and white

crops.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

crops. For land of a full medium quality, three green crops for two of white; for ordinary land, two green crops for one of corn; and for the worst, or most exhausted, land, downs and sheep-walks, three green crops to one of white.

66

Cropping land in the foregoing ratio or proportion, would keep it free frem weeds, and in a high state of cultivation; and under such management, might be continued in perpetual aration, with a constant succession of large products."

Under this very ingenious system, how, let it be asked, would the poor and the rich be supplied with corn, for bread, beer, and other valuable purposes? And where would a market be found for the cattle and sheep which such a system would consequently produce? A surplus of corn may be exported, or preserved; but not so a superabundance of beef and mutton.

P. 163. "There are several farmers of this county, who have a field or two near their houses, of a few acres each, cropped one year with winter tares, then turnips, and the next year wheat; thus obtaining three valuable crops every two years, averaging a produce of fifteen guineas per acre per annum. *

"If this system could be extended to a whole farm, and thence over the nation, what a wonderful scene of fertility would this island exhibit! The entire kingdom, undoubtedly, could not be so cropped, but most of the light, dry soils, are perfectly adapted to this mode of culture, even in places the most distant from dunghills. Provided the tares and turnips were one or both of them eaten on the land, a continual productiveness might be ensured.

The

cold clayey loams are exceedingly well calculated for the alternate growth of tares and wheat, or, which is still better, of wheat, clover, tares. The former rotation would, in this county, average eleven guineas, and the latter twelve guineas per acre..

"If it were either necessary or advisable, clover, tares, turnips, &c. might be grown and consumed on the land, until it became too rich for wheat, in which case it might be laid down to grazing pasture, or again depreciated by the growing of oats." O! fine, fine!

OCCUPIERS. I have pleasure in copying the subjoined

well

This is eligible. GARDEN FIELDS are most convenient appendages, to farmsteads. I am gratified to hear of their being adopted in the environs of the Metropolis. See my Minutes of Agriculture in Surrey.

K

well drawn picture of Middlesex farmers.-P. 51. «The farmers, or cultivators of the soil of this county, may be divided into various classes, or descriptions of persons.

"In the vicinity of London, the ground is mostly rented by gardeners and nurserymen. The land lying immediately beyond the last, is occupied by the villas of wealthy citizens and others; and at a still further distance, by farmers, who are again divided, first, into persons with whom farming is but a secondary object (their primary occupation being generally in London), and who do not pay to it that attention which is necessary to make it profitable. "Secondly, into persons who, having acquired an easy fortune in other pursuits, retire to farming, with the idea of uniting profit and amusement in their agricultural labours. There are many of this class, who know nothing either of the theory or practice of agriculture; but having hastily imbibed a notion that it is a very pleasant pursuit, enter into it with great expence and precipitancy, and generally quit it again in two or three years, after having suffered considerable loss, from having laid out large sums of money for the most part in useful improvements, without waiting to receive a return for their labour and expence. They then quit their farms in disgust, and leave. them for others to reap the fruits of their industry.

"The third is a less numerous class, and consists likewise of persons who have been in a different line of business, yet have had such a strong inclination for rural occupations, that they abandon their former employments altogether, and betake themselves wholly, and without reserve, to farming of land, as a profession. This class forms. the most intelligent and most accurate of husbandmen.'"

P. 52. "The number of cultivátors of this description, is, however, very limited."

"The fourth and last class, is about equal in number to all the rest, and is composed of persons who are farmers by profession, and who have at no time been engaged in any other line of business: these, as a body of men, may justly be said to be industrious and respectable, and much more intelligent and enlightened than the generality of farmers in places more distant from the metropolis."

WORKPEOPLE.-P. 380. "The wages most generally paid" (in 1798)" to ordinary labourers in husbandry in this county, is ten shillings a week during the winter half year, and twelve shillings a week during the summer half year; but on most farms, there is one handy, confidential workman, at twelve shillings a week all the year round. Those who are only employed during hay-time and harvest, are paid fifteen shillings a week; they are occasionally

occasionally allowed beer, and sometimes a dinner, which makes it equal to their being paid twelve shillings a week the year round.

"In summer, the hours of labour are from six o'clock in the morning till six o'clock in the evening; and during the winter months, from light till dark but half an hour of rest is always allowed at breakfast, and an hour at dinner. "A great deal of labour, perhaps a moiety or more, of the whole, is done by the piece."

P. 382. "The number of women (mostly from North Wales) who are employed by the farmers and gardeners round London, during every summer season, in weeding and making hay, in gathering green peas and beans, in picking fruits, and carrying strawberries and other tender fruit to market, is astonishing."

P. 388. "The servants who are boarded by the farmers, frequently consume more animal food than their masters. There is no certain rule, but perhaps something like the following routine may be near the truth, viz. bread, cheese, and fat pork for breakfast; coarse joints of beef boiled, with cabbages and other vegetables, or meat pyes, meat puddings, &c. for dinner; cold pork, bread and cheese, &c. for supper; and with every meal small beer.

"It is evident the expence of such a diet must be very considerable; and the waste which the servants of this county make, is shameful.

"This, together with their rude manners, induces most farmers to pay them board-wages, especially as this method greatly lessens the trouble of the mistress, and female servants of the house."

Mr. Middleton's observations, and censure, concerning chandler's shops and public houses, as grievances to laborers, are highly creditable to him, as a zealous moralist.

IMPLEMENTS. Mr. M. has thought it fitting to bestow nine or ten pages of general "Observations" on this head, without conveying much useful information to his readers. They are the remarks of an amateur-of a man of reading and incidental observation, rather than those of a practised occupier.

MANURES. In the section "Manuring," is comprized some interesting intelligence, concerning the amelioration. of Soils, in the County of Middlesex.

Town Manure.-P. 301. "The greater part of the manure used in this county is carted from London; being part of the sweepings of a surface containing three thousand acres of pavement, in streets and mrket-places, and the dung produced by 30,000 horses, 8000 cows, and 650,000 inhabitants.

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »