Page images
PDF
EPUB

the practice of sheep-folding is more admired, or more earnestly pursued, than in the county of Dorset. There are but few farmers in the upland districts who keep wethers, but such as do, fold them continually either on the arable or green land, from one end of the year to the other, The ewes are mostly folded from Lady-day till they are ready to drop their lambs, which is about Christmas, after which time they are thought to deserve a more tender and careful treatment."

Yet, after reciting the pratices and decided opinions of the first occupiers, and after the above general remarks, the Reporter has had the temerity to set up the following groundless notions, against the long-established practice of a County,

P. 410. "The custom of putting the sheep into a fold, where the land is tolerably level, and where the manure is wanted on the very spot that produces the grass on which the sheep are depastured, appears to be a very useless prac tice, calculated to destroy a great many hurdles, and sometimes much grass, to make additional labour for the shepherd, to harass the sheep, and cause distempers amongst them, to hinder their feeding when their appetite incites them to it, to prevent their food from being converted to nutriment, and to expose them in winter to all the severities of the season."

HAMPSHIRE,

HAMPSHIRE.

THERE are very few separable and entire DITRICTS,

either natural or agricultural, in Hampshire. Its Chalk Hills form but a link of a long chain of similar calcarious heights. The lower lands, on the northern margin of the County, unite with the southern bank of the vale of Newbury, and the forest lands of Berkshire. And the Heathlands, on the eastern border, are the outskirts of those of Surrey and Sussex. The New Forest, and the southern foot of the Chalk Hills (northeastward of the estuary of Southhampton) are tolerably well defined districts.

The Isle of Wight is itself a country;-abounding with natural and agricultural districts; bearing, as I have elsewhere intimated, a striking resemblance of the ISLE OF ISLES. For a prose description of that lovely Islet, see my SOUTHERN COUNTIES.

The COUNTY of SOUTHAMPTON has had no less than four pens employed, by the Board of Agriculture, to give a view of its Natural, Political, and Rural Economics.

Messrs. DRIVER's Report made its appearance, in July, 1794. The Rev. WARNER'S Isle of Wight, and the "Postscript" of the SECRETARY of the BOARD, would seem to have come out, about the same time, as the three, in the copy which lies before me, are paged in continuation, and stitched up together; the whole making seventyeight octavo pages, on quarto paper, only.

The last, but not the least, either in size or quality, is the reprinted," otherwise published Report, on octavo paper, by Mr. VANCOUVER,-the Reporter of Cambridgeshire and Essex.-See the EASTERN and the MIDLAND DEPARTMENTS.

"GENERAL

"GENERAL VIEW

OF THE

AGRICULTURE

OF THE

COUNTY OF HANTS,

WITH

OBSERVATIONS ON THE MEANS OF ITS IMPROVEMENT.

BY ABRAHAM AND WILLIAM DRIVER,

OF KENT ROAD, SURREY.

1794."

How far those gentlemen were qualified for the task

they undertook, we can but surmise from what their slight sketch affords us. From their being superiorly intelligent, concerning forests and woodlands,-from their having been employed to survey the New Forest, in 1787,-and from their urging the public, as well as individuals, to propagate timber, one is led to the idea that they were professional men, in the line of planting and wood surveying.

The following extract is a sufficient apology, for the deficiency in useful information, concerning the agriculture of Hampshire.

P. 7. "When we first undertook to report the state of the Agriculture of the County of Hants, we were not altogether aware of the time and attention it would require, to make a complete and particular statement of the whole county; and we find from experience, the more we investigated the subject, the wider the field expanded to our view. Nevertheless, had our other avocations, perImitted it, we would with pleasure have entered into the minutiæ of every parish in the district, and have made a detailed, and not a general report, on the state of its Agriculture, and the means of its Improvement. But as A that was impossible, we must request the Board to accept the following sketch, which is considerably shortened, in consequence of our having been robbed of our portmanteau, &c. containing a considerable number of papers, by some footpads, on our return from the survey. If there

should,

J

should, however, be found any information in the following sheets, that may tend to the improvement of this county, of of the kingdom at large, it will afford us ample compensation for the trouble and expence we have sustained in the course of making this survey, of which we hope the Board will accept; and if at any future period the Board should have occasion for a further investigation of the subject, we shall be extremely happy to render them all the assistance in our power."

The number of pages forty four.

NATURAL ECONOMY.

EXTENT

XTENT.-P. 9. "It is sixty miles long, thirty miles broad, and 150 miles in circumference; containing 1481 square miles, or 1,212,000 acres." (?)

SOILS.-Messrs. Driver appear to have paid especial attention to this material object of Report.-P. 10. "In the course of our survey, we found a great variety of soils, but by far the greatest proportion tending to a chalk, particu larly upon the uplands; nevertheless, there is a considerable proportion of rich land, and water meadows, which are very productive. On the north side towards Berkshire, the land is in general deep and a good staple, produces great crops of corn, and considerable quantities of oak and elm."

"Towards Basingstoke, the land upon the top of the hills is in general very deep, strong land, with chalk underneath, which produces large crops, particularly in dry seasons, as it never burns."

P. 11. "The land towards Whitchurch is generally chalky, with a thin staple, but produces good crops of corn and saintfoine."

P. 12. Towards the New Forest the land changes from a chalk, to a loam and gravel."

"In the neighbourhood of Lymington, the land is very irregular, the hills in general poor, and the meadows rich." P. 13. "About Redbridge" (at the head of the estuary of Southampton)" there are some valuable salt marshes." "Towards Winchester and Alresford, the land is high and chalky, with a thin staple, and continues much the same till you approach Alton, where are some considerable beech woods, which run very high and straight."

P. 15. There is a considerable quantity of salt marshes towards the sea," (near Portsmouth)" of a fertile quality, which let from 30s. to 50s, per acre.

"Toward

"Towards Petersfield the land is more open, with a considerable quantity of down, some of which is very good."

P. 14. Towards Fareham and Warnford the land continues much the same, the hills are chalky and pretty much covered with beech woods."

"Towards Portsmouth, the county is more inclosed, and interspersed with timber and underwood; the land in genetal being stronger and deeper."

I do not mean to intimate that the above remarks, on soils, are particularly luminous. But they serve to show, that the Board's Surveyors were not altogether inattentive to the cultivated lands of the county.

POLITICAL ECONOMY.

APPROPRIA

PPROPRIATION.-P. 29. "Waste Lands.-We cannot take this subject into consideration, without expressing our astonishment, that century after century should be suffered to elapse, without some efficient measures being taken to cultivate the waste lands of this kingdom, particularly those belonging to the Crown, when it is a very clear case, that if they were properly managed, they would produce sufficient to pay a very considerable part of the interest of the national debt. In treating upon this subject, we do not mean to confine ourselves to this county, as the same argument will hold good in every part of the kingdom, and although there is a vast quantity in Hampshire, yet we apprehend more will be found in other counties, particularly in the adjoining county of Dorset."

After proposing the improvement of those public waste lands; by applying" the richest to agriculture, and the rest for planting"-the Reporters proceed to speak of the private wastes of Hampshire.

P. 30. "What we have hitherto said upon this subject, relates to the waste lands belonging to Government. We shall now briefly state our opinion on that which is private property, of which there is an immense quantity throughout this kingdom. The same argument will nearly apply to this as to the other, excepting that it is, in general, poor land; in which case, the general observation is, that it produces nothing when inclosed. This argument may hold good when applied to agriculture, but cannot with respect to planting, as we can easily prove, that each acre, at the end of twenty-five years, will yield at least 100%. worth of timber and fire-wood, supposing the whole cut down at that

period;

« PreviousContinue »