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in my account of these districts. The lateness of the season, and my being obliged to go to Cornwall, prevented me from making an extensive tour through this part of Devonshire, a great part of which, I am informed, is extremely beautiful and romantic."
I do hope that CAPTAIN FRASER, whom I formerly knew as a friend, will not take unkind the requisite animadversions of a Reviewer.--His education, early habits, and turn of mind, well befitted him for various employments; but certainly not for the difficult undertaking that was imposed upon him, by his inconsiderate countryman. The number of pages-seventyfive.
A well lined map of the County; to show its prevailing soils, &c.
XTENT.-P. 8.-Mr. Fraser computes the extent"from Don's map, with the aid of the surveys made for the new map of Devon, by. Mr. Tozer,"-to comprize "2,552 square miles ;" and adds-" I think, therefore, that Devon may be computed at about 1,600,000 acres."
CLIMATURE.-P. 9. "The distinguishing characteristic of
the climate of Devonshire is mildness."
"This mildness and temperature of climate is more particularly felt in winter."
P. 10. "From this advantage in point of climate, there is little interruption to vegetation in time of winter. It has the appearance almost of a perpetual spring. In the south of Devon, the snow seldom lies on the ground in severe. winters more than three or four days.
"In the high grounds of Dartmore, and in the northern parts of the county, the climate is not entirely so mild; but the difference is not so great as the inhabitants themselves apprehend.
"On Dartmore and the high grounds adjacent, snow continues in severe winters, sometimes ten days or a fortnight, but seldom longer."
SOILS.-The" Map of the Soil of Devonshire;" which is prefixed to this Report, does credit to its draughtsman; in as much as it gives a tolerably just idea of the natural division of the County, into more fertile and. less fertile lands. But the sweeping tracts of "dunstone"-" clay""white chalk"! (lined as strong loam) and "strong loam" --serve only to induce an erroneous conception of the soils
of the several districts, which they are made to cover.-An extraordinary intermixture of lands prevails, throughout the County. In the letterpress, it is true, some attempts are made to separate the intermixed lands; but rarely with due effect.
The subjoined passage, I conceive, is the only one capable of conveying useful information to my readers.-Speaking of "red marl loam," the Reporter says,
P. 12. "This singularly rich stratum has a marked, but irregular progress, through different parts of this district;" (South Hams)" which I shall beg leave more particularly to describe.
"It begins in Plymstock, near Plymouth; from thence it holds its course to Yealmpton, Modbury, Aveton-Gifford, Ugborough, Ermington, Harburton, Ashprington, Stoke Gabriel, Paington, Marldon, Cockington, Coffenswell, King's Cerswell, Combeinteign Head, Stokeintein Head, Teignmouth, Bishopsteignton, Mamhead, Powdersham, Exminster, North Tawton, Bow, Collumpton, Clysthaydon, Broadclyst, Broadninch, and several other parishes adjoining the east."-The truth is this valuable variety of land is found in all the more fertile parts of the County.
APPROPRIATION. A considerable porton of this
brief Report relates to the Forest of Dartmore; considered as part and parcel of the DUCHY of CORNWALL.
Its existing state, in 1793-4, and the improvements to be made in it, are the topics of discussion. The first object of the writer, it pretty evidently appears, was to show that the duchy lands were, then, of little or no value, either to the community, the duke of Cornwall, or to those whose domestic animals they maintained, nine months in the year. And the second, to point out their capabilities, as a wide field of improvement.
Neither of those designs, however, has, to my comprehension, been fulfilled. And having looked, in vain, for incidental remarks, concerning those wild lands, which might tend to correct, corroborate, or add, to my own, on the same important subject, I pass over the ground, in silence; lest I should otherwise be inadvertently led into expressions of censure*.
* For my own account of the existing state, and means of improve ment, of Dartmore and its environs, in 1804,-see my WEST of ENGLAND; Ed. 1805.
The only information that I have gathered concerning the general head now under consideration, that can, I conceive, be useful to my present Work, is the following passage; which I insert, here, on the judgement of the Reporter.
P. 65. "From the best information I could obtain, it appears to me that fully one fifth part of the county of Devon is waste land which would amount to 320,000 acres; all of which, except perhaps, some part of Dartmore, is capable of improvement."
"The freehold property of the county of Devon is very much divided, perhaps more than in almost any county of England. The large tracts of country granted to the ancient barons, have been subdivided amongst their descendants, or sold, so that, a few families excepted, there are no very great proprietors, but there are a great number of gentlemen of easy independent fortunes, who pass their time chiefly on their own estates, and live in great harmony with each other, and with the respectable yeomanry in their neighbourhood."
TENURES.-P. 16. "In general, throughout the whole of the county of Devon, the land" (of the larger estates) "is occupied" (held)" by tenants for the terms of ninety-nine years, determinable on three lives."
P. 18. "Leases on lives afford an irregular kind of income to the proprietor, and the holder frequently pays so great a proportion of his little capital for the purchase, that be has only a small sum left, not perhaps sufficient to stock and work it with advantage. When these leases also hang on one life, it tempts the tenant to run out of the ground, from the apprehension of being obliged to pay a fine, on renewal, equal to the improvements he may have made.
"On the whole, I found that the people in general are very desirous to possess themselves of leases on lives, from their considering it as a more permanent and independent species of property."
TENANCY.-P. 17. "These life-estates are frequently let out for terms of seven, fourteen or twenty-one years, but many occupy their own."
FARMS.-P. 17. " Farms in general are small, from
twenty to forty acres being the common run of the holdings in this county. Of late, the farms are beginning to increase, and one farmer is sometimes found to occupy two, three, or more, of these tenements; but I found very few farms exceed two, or at most three hundred acres."
OCCUPIERS.-P. 17. "In the South Hams in particular, the respectable class of yeomanry is more numerous than in any district of England I have seen. They live in great comfort, and exercise without parade, that old English hospitality which the refinements of modern manners have banished from many other parts of the kingdom. I observed with much pleasure, the attention they paid to their various dependants around them, and their kindness to the poor."
PLAN of MANAGEMENT.-P. 20. (South Hams.) "The greatest part of the land in this district is under a course of husbandry; scarcely any of the land is kept wholly in grass, but is alternately under grain and grass, and no part is kept unbroken up by the plough, except the water meadows. The rotation of crops for this purpose, varies according to the skill and industry of the farmer." WORKPEOPLE.-P. 43. (South Hams.) 66 Wages are one shilling a day, and a quart of cyder. In harvest, the wages much the same, with as much cyder as they chuse to
IMPLEMENTS.-P. 43. "Carts are little used for the purposes of agriculture."
MANURES.-P. 22. (South Hams.) "In the southern part of this district, they are at a considerable distance from lime, and they therefore make use of sea sand* as a substitute for lime, to the amount of one or 200 seams per acre (each seam contains two bushels) which they mix with earth, the scrapings of the lanes, mud from ponds, bottoms of the ditches, &c. and above all, when they can collect it, with rotten dung, to the amount of about 120 seams each; all of which is generally carried on horses backs: on account of the country being hilly, carts are very little, or not at all, used, for the purposes of agriculture....
"The best farmers spare no labour or expence, to collect these different manures, and mix them with each other with great care. This compost of dung, mud, and sea sand,
* See Cornwall, p. 541, aforegoing.
is reckoned a most excellent manure, and more lasting than the composts with lime."
TILLAGE." Skirting and Beat-burning."-This operation. is, in its effects, much the same as "paring and burning." But being performed by implements of draft, I here consider it as a kind of tillage, and insert Mr. F.'s slight sketch of it.-P. 21. (South Hams.) "This process, which, I believe, is peculiar to Devon and Cornwall, has been uniformly practised in this part of Devonshire for near 300 years; and whether the farmer intends to sow wheat or turnips, this is the uniform mode of breaking up grass lands. Skirting is properly a sort of half ploughing, as two or three inches of surface of the ley is left unturned, and is covered by the furrow, cut very thin, with the grassy side downwards; so that the grass side of the furrow, and the narrow balk which is left unturned, being in contact, soon rot by the fermentation of the sward. If for turnips, it is. turned thin about Midsummer, and is immediately worked; if to lay to rot for wheat, in the fall of the year it is turned: a little deeper. The operation is performed by a wing turned up the furrow side of the plough-share, which cuts the furrow the breadth the farmer chooses; generally about four inches and a half.
"This operation is sometimes, also, performed by spading, or pairing with a breast plough; sometimes, also, with a mattock. But skirting with the plough is generally practised. The best time for this operation is before Christmas, if the grass can be spared: the winter frosts bring it into fine order, but in general it is done in summer.
"After laying some time, it is cross cut with the plough and well worked with harrows, and either left to rot, or again harrowed and rolled with much care and labour, until the broken sod is made very light, and the earth shaken from the grassy roots and weeds, which are then raked together by hand into heaps, and burnt, which process is called beat burning.”
CATTLE. On this, the most valuable species of domestic animals,-taken all in all,-I find nothing that is satisfactory. I copy the following passage; as it requires correction.-P. 32. (South Hams.) "They are of the short horned breed, and have been in the south part of Devon from time immemorial. The best of this breed are excellent milkers, and answer well for either work or fatting. The oxen are generally turned off to fat at five or six years old, and run up to eight, ten, and twelve hundred weight. These cattle are larger and heavier than the North Devon breed, the beauty of which is so famed and well known, throughout the kingdom."