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buy them growing in the fields, at every distance short of twelve or thirteen miles from London, at prices varying from five to ten guineas per acre, according to the length of carriage and quantity of the crop. The cow-keepers are at the expence of pulling them up, loading and carting them home, which is generally done in waggons drawn by six stout horses, in loads, that, for their largeness, surprise every beholder."
CULTIVATED HERBAGE.-Rye.-P. 179. " There are a few acres of rye grown on many farms of the more sandy nature in this county, for spring green feed."
Tares.-P. 198. "Many of the farmers in this county grow a few acres of tares, and the culture of them is extended every year, from the circumstance of their importance becoming better understood. It is a considerable degree of gratification to me, to have been the first who sowed them on a large scale, and publicly recommended them to the notice of farmers, as highly deserving to be introduced into a regular rotation of crops."
This is speaking of tare herbage as something new, in Middlesex! Whereas, in the County of Surrey, not more than ten miles from the confine of Middlesex, nor above three or four from the Reporter's "country residence," both rye and tares have been grown, mixed as well as separately, by professional farmers, for "green meat,”during the last half century. The former for cows, as affording not only much, but sweet, milk; the latter for cart horses*.
Clover.-Disposal.-P. 230. "Most of it is sold and delivered in London for the support of draught horses; and it is the general opinion, that it is more nourishing than any other bay, except sainfoin, and sells at about fifteen shillings a ton higher than meadow hay."
Sainfoin.-Disposal.-P. 233. "Sainfoin, is not grown in any part of this county; but the superior value of its hay is well known in the London markets: it produces at least a guinea a ton more than meadow hay equally well cured. It is brought from the chalk-hills of Surrey and Kent."
The opening of this Reporter's chapter, "Grass," is altogether incomprehensible to ordinary understandings.
* For the culture of tare herbage; and a successful method of making it into hay see my Minutes of Agriculture, in Surrey;-those relating to tare herbage being written in 1775 and 1776; when tares and rye. were, there, ordinary crops in husbandry,
P. 219. "Natural meadows are no where to be found, as all grass land which is in a state of nature, or uncultivated, is universally depastured.
"Natural pastures are, of course, the most wretched of all grass land; and, in this county, are only to be met with in commons.”
Admitting that the world is natural,-that the atmosphere which involves it is natural,-that mountains and valleys are natural, and that rivers and the alluvial lands they have every where formed are natural,-surely, the herbage with which such lands have been covered, without the help of man,-some of them, possibly, before the being man set foot on the island,-ought to be deemed natural.
The author of the Report of Middlesex, however, arranges the river-formed grass lands of that County, under a conspicuous head (across the page)-ycleped "CULTIVATED MEADOWS and PASTURES"!! And, under that monstrous head, proceeds to describe them;-with satisfactory intelligence, and interesting information.
Border of the Lea.-P. 219. "There is some excellent grass land on the Middlesex side of this river, lying in the parishes of Enfield, Edmonton, Tottenham, &c. containing about one thousand acres; most of which is divided, by land marks, among a great number of proprietors, in pieces containing from a rood to four or five acres each. The meadows are opened for the reception of the cattle of every inhabitant of those parishes, from the 12th of August in every year, until the 5th of April in the following year. On the latter day the cattle are taken off; and soon afterwards the ground is prepared for a crop of hay, which it yields in July.
"This tract of land is occasionally flooded every winter; and also once in two or three years, in the summer, by water impregnated with manure, brought from the welldressed and chalky lands of Hertfordshire. If these occasional floods were made to pass off in a few days, or so soon as they had deposited their enriching particles on the land, they would promote a very high degree of fertility; but unfortunately, the drainage is so interrupted from Stratford-le-bow to the Thames, that the water is detained much too long on the land; and, owing to the very nature of common meadows and pastures, the sewers, ditches, and drains, are so shamefully neglected, that the soil is chilled, the best grasses destroyed, and a worthless herbage substituted in their place.
"These meadows are said to produce about a ton of ordinary hay per acre, and are lett for about twenty-five shillings on an average. If they were inclosed and em
banked, and a proper drainage obtained, they would be as well worth three or four pounds per acre."
Border of the Thames.-P. 220. "In many of the parishes on the Middlesex border of this river also, there are meadows and pastures, though of small extent, which are occasionally laid under water by floods in winter; and sometimes, though in a less degree, in summer. Perhaps there may be one hundred acres which are sometimes overflowed by particularly high tides. The water drains very readily off much of this land at the reflux of the tide, particularly so much of it as lies adjoining to the river. But some parts of it are situated rather more distant from the Thames, and the surface being nearly level, the water is more interrupted, and consequently runs very slowly off."
Borders of the Coln.-P. 221. "There are extensive meadows and pastures on the borders of this river, the whole way from Staines to Harefield. The soil is of a black, peaty, tender nature, and but little above the level of the river. Such of them as are inclosed and drained, are very fertile; but much the greater part of them are Lammasmeads, and one of the necessary consequences is, that the ditches are so much neglected as to be nearly grown up.
"The pastures are more than half covered with mole and ant hills; and, in some places, gravel has been dug from them in such quantities as to leave them under water.
"The drainage being wholly neglected, the land is consequently filled with water, and thereby rendered unsound. No farmer would hire it, if he were obliged to continue it in its present condition, at any price; but, if it were inclosed, and properly drained, the produce would yield from five to eight pounds per acre.
"The whole of the several tracts of grass land included in the foregoing description, contain about 2500 acres. They are subject to be flooded by sudden and heavy rains, even during the spring and summer months; and, when that happens early in the year, the water deposits among the growing grass quantities of sand, mud, slime, sticks, and weeds, which afterwards impede the operations of the scythe; and, above all, reduces the hay in value below the price of straw. When such a flood takes place after the grass is cut down, and before the hay is carried away, it frequently floats the whole summer's produce on the surface of the water. The occupiers of these lands have only the entire produce of them four months in a year; which, together with the risk of suffering such serious losses during that time, keeps down the rent and produce of this soil shamefully below that rank in the scale of productiveness,
which, from its natural fertility, if aided only by a little art, it would be entitled to possess."
Isle of Dogs.-P. 223. "The isle of Dogs, containing about 1000 acres, lies at the south-east corner of this county, and would be overflowed every tide, were it not secured by an embankment. This ground is divided by ditches, which empty themselves through sluices, at low water, into the Thames, and keep this tract of land sufficiently dry."
"Upland Meadows and Pastures.-P. 223. "About seven-eighteenths of this county, or 70,000 acres, consist of grass land of this kind, great part, or nearly the whole of which, exhibits the usual marks of the plough."
Even where the surfaces of old grass lands are marked by the plow, the herbage is as natural, as where no such marks appear; and as it is on commons, sheep walks and
Man, it is true, can now cultivate herbage,-can make artificial grasses"!-But if the soil be suffered to remain, only a few years, undisturbed, nature will not fail to treat silly man as a bungler; and cover the ground with a valuable assortment of natural plants which are better adapted to the soil, situation, and climature *.
Sheep Downs.-It has been shown, aforegoing, that the writer of the Report, under review, ranks sheep walks with wastes. In page 127, he opens a section on Sheep Downs" alone; which he extends through five or six pages; without proving any thing (it will not to be too severe to say) but his own deficiency in correct knowledge concerning them.
MANAGEMENT of GRASS LANDS.-P. 225. "Meadow land in the occupation of cow-keepers, is generally mown two or three times in a summer. Their great number of cows enable them to dress it every year, and they are studious to procure their hay of a soft grassy quality, not letting it stand till the seedling stems rise, but mowing it two, three, or four weeks sooner than it would be advisable to do for the support of horses. This land lies near the town, as at Islington, Mary-le-bonne, Paddington, &c. and is usually mown the first time in each summer early in May."
HAYMAKING. Mr. Foor's systematic account of this operation
*For an ample proof of the correctness of the above position, see my YORKSHIRE; section, Cultivated Herbage; subsection, mixed perennial Ley. And for farther observations on the subject,-see the NORTHERN DEPARTMENT (of my present work); "County," Northriding of Yorkshire.-See also the ensuing article, Young's Sussex, in this volume.
operation is inserted, in p. 106, aforegoing. Mr. Middleton has copied much of it, without the accustomed marks of quotation; and has added to it some remarks of his own, and several notes from the margins of the former reports. I perceive nothing, however, among those additions, of sufficient interest to be noticed, here; saving an error of a learned annotator, concerning the heating of hay. This note-upon-note writer asserts, p. 247, that "it is the moisture received from the atmosphere, and not the sap of the grass, that is the general cause of the heating of hay. If the grass is dead, which it soon is in dry weather, and has not been wetted by rain, it may be early stacked with safety. But though it were never so dead and discoloured, if it has been drenched with rain, and stacked without being skin dry, it will most certainly heat."
No fact in rural affairs, I believe, is better ascertained than that it is the natural juice,the sap of herbage-which generates heat-even unto flame; and that "water wet,"as an unlettered hay farmer would say,--begets "mould and muck."
Mr. Middleton's leading remark, to the section under consideration, is perfectly just.-P. 237. "This branch of the rural art has, by the farmers of Middlesex, been brought to a degree of perfection altogether unequalled by any other part of the kingdom. The neat husbandry, and superior skill and management, that are so much, and justly, admired in the arable farmers of the best cultivated districts, may, with equal justice and propriety, be said to belong, in a very eminent degree, to the hay farmers of Middlesex."
The neighbourhood of London, where, and where only, hay farming, on a large scale, is a separate branch of business, where hay fetches a price at market, according to its quality, and of course where the farmer's profit principally depends on the method of manufacture,--is certainly a proper place in which to study the process.
CATTLE.-Breed.-P. 327. " This county is not distinguished by any particular breed of neat cattle, as belonging peculiarly to itself; for most of the calves bred here are suckled till about ten weeks old, and then sold to the butchers, for the supply of the London and other markets, in the article of veal.
"In the pleasure-grounds of gentlemen, the Suffolk,, Alderney,