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THIS DEPARTMENT of England, which is at once natu
ral and agricultural, I have described, in the Introduction to these volumes.
THE SOUTHWESTERN DEPARTMENT. The situation of this extremity of the island is remarkable. It stretches away from the main body, in a narrow headland, or peninsula, nearly two hundred miles in length, into the western sea; which is its common boundary; unless where it joins the extremes of the western and southern departments.
'The natural characters of its area are likewise singular. The midland and the western parts of it, are chiefly composed of SLATE-ROCK HILLS: a species of country which is unknown, in the rest of the kingdom; excepting a comparatively small district of its northern department; and excepting the insulated hills of Charnwood, which rise near its center! Indeed, the surface, almost throughout the department (its northeastern angle excepted) is of a singular cast: namely, tall, steepsided hills, severed by narrow valleys; the hills being, in most instances, productive to their summits.
Its agricultural distinguishments are not less remarkable. The DAMNONIAN HUSBANDRY is as foreign to the practice of the kingdom at large, as the lands on which it has been nurtured are to those of its other departments.'
For DIGESTED DETAILS of the ESTABLISHED PRACTICES of this Department; with MINUTES on my own practice within it; and with TRAVELLING JOURNALS, on viewing its more interesting passages; together with RETROSPECTIVE REMARKS, on the Department at large,-pointing out its distinguishing characteristics, and suggesting the manner in
which its striking peculiarities of practice, probably, had their rise; see my RURAL ECONOMY of the WEST of ENGLAND.
THIS DEPARTMENT comprizing little more than two Counties, Cornwall and Devonshire, with the western quarter of Somersetshire, and a very small portion of Dorsetshire; -and the Reports to the Board of Agriculture, concerning it, being very few, and of secondary consideration, (one of them excepted);-I have deemed it proper to include my abstract of them, in the same volume with the more important information afforded, by those from the SOUTHERN DEPARTMENT. The quantity of valuable matter which I have been able to extract from the Peninsular Reports is, I perceive, too inconsiderable for a separate publication.
THE REPORTS to the Board, that require examination and abstraction, relative to this department, are Fraser's and Worgan's, from Cornwall.
Fraser's and Vancouver's, from Devonshire.
The small portion of Dorsetshire, which extends within the Peninsula, has been noticed, in reviewing the Reports from that County; and will be mentioned, again, in speaking of Devonshire.
THIS peninsular extremity of the island might be fami
liarly described, as a rugged heap of rocks, rising abruptly out of the ocean; whose waves wash it on every side; excepting the eastern; on which it is bounded by the river Tamar, that separates it from Devonshire.
Along the middle of this wrinkled horn, is stretched a chain of mountain heights, with narrow precipitous valleys, on either side of them; by which their waters are conveyed, principally, to the English Channel; but in part to the Irish Sea.
As the valleys descend they acquire width; and, toward the seacoast, some of them spread wide, with flattened bases, and fertile soils, well adapted to cultivation. And a few well soiled plots are found at a greater distance from the sea.
But the lands bearing that description are inconsiderable in extent, comparatively with those of an opposite nature. It may be said, without risk, I think, that Cornwall comprizes a greater proportion of inarable lands, than any other English County.
COUNTY OF CORNWALL.
OBSERVATIONS ON THE MEANS OF ITS IMPROVEMENT.
BY ROBERT FRASER, 4. M.
THIS is one of the original sketches that were hastily
sent in, presently after the birth of the Board. It was printed in May 1794. The materials for it were, of course, collected during the winter months of 1793-4; and the MS. hurried to the press, early in the spring;-as the Reporter himself intimates.
The number of pages-seventy.
XTENT.-P. 12. Mr. Fraser makes out, from "Martyn's original survey," the total extent of Cornwall, to be 758,484 acres"-nearly 1200 square miles.
SURFACE and SOILS.-P. 13. "On the sea shores and the vallies, near the banks of the great rivers, are the chief and almost only seats of cultivation. The higher grounds exhibit, in many parts, the appearance of a dreary waste. The roads of communication with the neighbouring country pass chiefly through these higher grounds, or large and extensive commons, and exhibit to the traveller a rude prospect which impresses him with a more unfavourable opinion of this county than it in general deserves. For although the higher lands have little to please the eye, the number and variety of beautiful and well wooded vallies, left me. only to regret that the season in which I visited them did not allow me to enjoy their beauty in full perfection. While the strata of the rich and fertile soil, with which the lands of this county frequently abound, invited a more minute examination than my time could possibly afford."
P. 23. "So great is the variety of soil in the county of Cornwall, that to describe it with correctness, would require an history of every parish. I shall just point out the general distinctive characters. Throughout the higher lands, almost generally the upper stratum of soil consists of a light black earth, intermixed with small gravel, the detritus of the granite or growan. Hence they call this soil by the name of growan. This soil, on the tops and sides of the mountains, is very shallow, and even on many of the more level and flat extensive wastes, of no great depth. Its natural produce is a thin short heath, and the dwarf or Cornish furze."
P. 25. "A great part of the soil of Cornwall consists of a kind of slaty earth, the detritus of the softer species of the schistos. This kind of soil is found in many parts of the west and south-west, near the sea shore, stratified in regular strata: it is also found more inland, in patches. It produces excellent crops of wheat, and particularly of barley. It also makes an excellent compost with the more viscuous earths, sand, &c. as I have seen successfully practised at Clowance, the seat of Sir John Saint Aubyn.
"In the eastern part of the county, there are two very fertile districts which abound with this species of soil. One of these districts is on the north, and the other on the
south side of the range of mountainous grounds we have described.
"The northern district is on the banks of the Alan and Camel towards Padstow, and from thence west on the one hand as far as the parish of Cuthbert, or on the other northeast to Lanteglos.
"In the south, on the banks of Fowey, around Menabily, the seat of Philip Rashleigh, Esq. from that river, extending eastward, skirting Bodmin Downs to Liskeard, Saint German's, and to the banks of the Tamar, below Hengston, this soil prevails, stratified in many places with reddish and hazle loams.
"These two districts are very fertile. The northern produces immense crops of barley, and may be justly called the Granary of Cornwall. It is from thence, the miners of the west are chiefly supplied with that grain. On the south, plentiful crops of wheat as well as barley are produced. They grow wheat in the northern district, but in the south they have the advantage of procuring lime from Plymouth, which would be very expensive in the north: this they use as a preparation for wheat.
"Besides these two districts, is a very rich tract of land on the banks of the river Fal, around Tregothnan, the beautiful seat of Lord Falmouth, extending to Grampound and Trewithen, the seat of Sir Christopher Hawkins, &c. round by Tregony to Roseland. Another district of excellent fertility is to be found on the river Hel, around Trelowaren, the seat of Sir Cary Vivyan, Anthony, St. Kevran, &c. towards the Lizard Point.
"In the hundred of Stratton, on the north-east of the county, around the town of Stratton, and towards Morwinstow, there is a district of good land, although the greatest part of this hundred consists of waste and boggy land. Towards Penzance also, on the south-west, there is some land which produces very large crops of potatoes and grain.
"In general, the more internal parts are only cultivated in patches, and these surrounded by uncultivated wastes and commons. The most remarkable of which are those extending from near Launceston, almost to Bodmin, and to the south and south-east of this borough. In the parish of Saint Agnes, and the neighbouring mining parishes in the west, there are extensive tracts of waste lands. On the south, towards the Lizard, there is also an extensive tract of waste, called GONHILLY DOWNS."
CLIMATURE.-P. 29. " In Cornwall, the air is milder in winter than in the more internal parts of England, and cooler in the summer months. From its being open to the vast Atlantic ocean, without the intervention of any land