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Art. IX. The English Practice of Agriculture exemplified in the Management of a Farm in Ireland, belonging to the Earl of Conyngham, at Slane, in the County of Meath, (East Meath) with an Appendix ; containing a comparative Estimate of the Irish and English Mode of Culture, as to Profit and Loss: and a regular Rotation of Crops for a Period of six Years. By Richard Parkinson, Author of the experienced Farmer, and other Works of Agriculture. Svo. pp. 338. Price
9s. bds. Longman and Co. THE reputation Mr. Parkinson has acquired as an agricul
türal author, by his “ Experienced Farmer,” and his ? Tour in America" (see Ecl. Rev. Vol. II. p. 165) certainly does not intitle him to pester the public with all the vapid remarks, crude inferences, and impertinent stories, that he may be able to pick up in the course of his agricultural pursuits. The few original observations worthy of being recorded by the press, which occur in this heterogeneous and immethodical volume, should rather have been communicated to the world in the Agricultural Magazine, or the publications of the national board, as far as the interest of English farmers is concerned. But it seems that the author inte ds it especially for circulation in Ireland; he thinks the Irish farmers and landholders will be convinced, by his example and his writing, that they follow a very imperfect system, and are extremely deficient in the most important parts of rural economy; that they will adopt the mode of agriculture which he attempted to introduce at Slane; and that they will eagerly buy up, not only the greatest part of the impression of this work, but also 500 copies of a second edition of his “ Experienced Farmer," printed in America, which he informs us he has put into the hands of two very respectable booksellers in Dublin. The obnoxious way, however, in which he speaks of Irish prejudices, and of hish manners, of the country itself, and of the character of its inhabitants, is likely to prevent his book from becoming a favourite on the other side of St. George's channel ; and we fear he will receive very unsatisfactory accounts from his Dublin booksellers.
Mr. P.'s design of laying a contribution on the farmers of both countries, has occasioned some oddity in the naming of his book. To attract Irish readers, he calls it the English Practice, &ç.”; to attract English readers, we suppose, he labels it on the back, “ Parkinson's Irish Farming
Of the effects of a smothering crop, as a substitute for a fallow, the author gives the following account.
• The chapel held was sown with grey peas in the proportion of twenty stone to an acre*. This was done more with an intention of smothering
* We apprehend some mistake here. Rev.
the weeds than for a crop of corn (pulse), and it proved effectual. The
peas grew luxuriantly; and, in the beginning of May, were about four inches high, but weeds of every description, and particularly couch, springing up among them, it was hard to judge whether the weeds or peas would be the master-crop. As sheep will not eat this kind of pea, I turned three hundred ewes and lambs into the field, which excited the surprise of all who beheld it; for this kind of farming being wholly new to the people of this country (Ireland) they supposed the crop would be destroyed : and when they saw it had the desired effect, that the sheep ate the couch and weeds only, their surprise increased.
The peas being thus the master crop grew very luxuriantly; and although they yielded so little corn as hardly to be worth threshing, the produce was very great in straw, so great that in many places the weight of it (the root-end rotting when the peas were in blossom) smothered the land in such a manner, that the field was rendered a much better fallow than many acres that had been tilled by the plough and harrow during the summer ; which proved a wet one. From what Lobserved in this instance, I am of opinion, where land is proper for peas, that, by remarkably thick and early sowing, as early as the seed can well be got on the land, and afterwards weeding with sheep, a fallow may be nearly completed, thistles excepted, in a wet summer; and if it prove a dry summer, there will be a great chance of a good yielding crop of peas, and not a very bad fallow, besides the advantage of adding largely to the dainghill.
Mr. P.'s precipitancy in making up his decisions on partial or imperfect grounds is strikingly exemplified at p. 27, where he tells us, he has found from experience, that a scarifier with seven teeth is much superior for any land to one with thirteen teeth, which he had before recommended in his Experienced Farmer; and at the same time, this experience appears to have arisen solely from scarifying a field that was so full of stones and couch that “ from the nature of the land the teeth broke continually, and when seven only remained, it performed its office well and was of great service.". Notwithstanding he thus gives the preference to a scarifier with seven teeth, we are presented with a plate and description of one with nine teeth. The construction of this scarifier appears to us very well a lapted for the purposes intended; and it is certainly to be preferred to the one with thirteen teeth, which in foul ground, where the implement is principally of use, are apt to gather and entangle the rubbish, and render the labour very severe.
Very little practical utility is to be derived from the account, minute in some places, contorted in others, and uninteresting in most, of the methods of cultivation pursued in each field of the farm at Slane. We have endeavoured to discover whether the author had any particular system to recommend; and we believe, that he meant this work principally to point out
the advantages, and esemplify the possibility, of a farm of sufficient dimensious being made to produce its own manure, and being cultivated without fallowing. This is Mr. P.'s sys+ tem in huis other works, and is highly worthy of approbation": but those who wish to understand it should consult the ". Experienced Farmer."
From our author's destription of the people of Ireland, we extract what relates to the farmers and their labourers.
There are very few respectable farmers ; such as are called little gentlemen, are amongst the meanest farmers and they are 'worse in appearance, and enjoy much less comfort than an English labourer. The class that goes by the denomination of middlemen is the destruction of the country. The middleman purchases from the landed proprietor, for a sum of money, leases on lives at reduced rents; many of these middlemen are in the pos- i! session of
perpetuities of this kind, purchased many years back, at six o shillings an acre, even be let for two pounds an acre and a fine thirty shillings, and might
and a fine. The middleman, having obtained such leases, lets the land out in small parcels, at 50 or 60s, per acre, to 'men" of little property, who build their own, &c. and again underlet, part of the land to labourers, for the cultivation of potatoes or fax, or both, ' at five or six" guineas por acre. The cabins of these poor labouringénien 'áre built of clay, withont wood or stone in the? walls i with a hip at the end, and a frame, intended for à doorcase, with something like a door in sit, often without hinges, and propped withinside by a stope. 1. The roof is composed of five or six pieces of twood called ribberies, at the distance of three or four feet agunder, with some boughs of trees tied to each ribbery, with straw, and then thatched in a very slight manner. Few of the cabins have chimnies, the inhabitants make their fire in the midst of the cabin ; a hole or vent is left in the centre of the roof for the smoke to escape ; but as the fuel for the fire is generally com, posed of something wet, such as straw, stubble, potatoe tops, green furze, or small branches of thorns, the smoke soon fills the cabin, and makes its way out at the door, and through the thatch'in every direction.
A sad account then follows of the depredating habits of the inhabitants of these hovels, with a disgusting picture of their squalid wretchedness; after a digressive excursion to General Washingtou's seatin America, Mr.P completes hissketch by saying," a man who has never seen this country would scarcely believe, that there esisted so corrupt aset of people on the earth."
There are strong symptoinşof book-making in this work; some parts of it, the author confesses, " were written several years ago" (P. 235); a large quantity of the materials is very irrelevant: the stateinents of profit and loss are unnecessarily prolix, and the neglect of method induces continual repetitions. It undoubtedly contains much useful advice, and many just observations; but we cannot fiatter the author with any hope that a publication so injudiciously made up can be very usefut in Ireland, or popular among his own countrymer.
Art X. A Description of Ceylon, containing an Account of the Country,
Inhabitants, and Natural Productions ; with Narratives of a Tour
Price 31. 11s. 6d. Longman and Co. 1807.
earlier life, that we regretted the disproportion between the dimensions of the globe and the locomotive powers of man, and should have been glad for the one to have been greater or the other less. Or it would have partly contented us; as to our own gratification, (and we own we were not much caring for that of persons in distăút nations)" if ten or twenty of the most wonderful objects and scenes in the whole world had been placed in such contiguity as to be comprehended in one country, and in Europe, where a moderate share of travelling might have brought us in sight of all that. most deserved admiration on earth. But as these objects are placed at such distances that a hundred thousand miles of travelling, and the average length of human life, would hardly suffice to carry a man to all the principal of them, we felt great mortification, while burning with a most eager passion for the sight of the wonders we read of, to think of the miserable slowness of the modes of human 'motion, as set against the immense spaces which must be traversed'to gratify the ambition of curiosity. When, in addition to this, we found ourselves denied the means and facilities for visiting even many remarkable scenes much nearer home than those which make the most conspicuous figure in a description of the globe, means which would have enabled the ordinary powers of motion to reach these nearer objects of curiosity in a comparatively short time, we did sometimes feel the wonderful accounts of travellers and naturalists operate as a bitter satire on our lot as belonging to such a slow moving genus of animals, as being placed so far from the most interesting spots on the earth, and as having at command so few of the compensations derivable from viewing more accessible, though less magnificent, wonders. It was mortifying, after reading of Niagara, to find nothing in the compass of our walks more striking than the weir of the mill-pond; to turn our eyes from the page which described an eruption of Etna, to see the smoke of a brick-kiln or forge; to be reminded of the pyramids by the sight of a steeple, or to have our reverie about Thebes or Palmyra interrupted by coming in view of a ruined manor-house: And even when, being in a much less ro
mantic and classical mood, we carried the excursions of fancy: no farther than Derbyshire, Cumberland, Killarney, or the > Highlands, the indulgence became a 'very equivocal gratification, while we looked over the dull level or the insignificant billócks around us, and considered how many things concurred to forbid our going even a hundred leagues to indulge our taste for the beautiful and the sublime.
With no very good grace, perhaps, we submitted to our desa tiny, which every interesting book of travels we successively i read, tempted us to deem an unfortunate one, but which we endeavoured to alleviate by making to ourselves a positive assurance, that at some period of life we absolutely would and must repay ourselves, by gazing on Alps, or cataracts, or the ruins of ancient grandeur. It was not so obvious how this .. could be, but an acknowledged certainty that it was not to be,” would really have been a grievous conviction..
Though still subject to a revival of all our ancient enthu- siasm when we look into some parts of the books of Bruce or Denon, and though it is somewhat hazardous to our peace of mind to read about Rome, Herculaneum, Vesuvius, and Antiparos, yet time, sober reflection, and disappointment, not: to add the infirmities of age, have done a good deal toward reconciling us to our excursions of half a mile, to our garret, and to our arm-chair, sitting in which garret and chair we often depute our imagination to accompany, instead of our bodilyi form and substance, the adventurers who traverse large tracts of sea and land. When these heroes are brought into des } perate perils, we look complacently round on the dingy walls 5 of our garret, and kindly grasp the arm of the chair, feeling ourselves very glad that our bodily substance is where we find it to be; but no sooner do we see them dexterously eluding or bravely surmounting the danger, than we begin to think * that we were qualified to share the exploit, and deserving to share the triumph. When we beheld Park in the very romantic predicament of finding the gates of the town shutí against him, while he heard a lion roar, and perceived its Very near approach by the rustling of the bushes, there is no doubt that we blessed ourselves in the security of our situation ---but when this man of resources mounted a tree, and i defied the enemy, we thought that we also could have climbed a tree with the adroitness of apes, and there laughed at the formidable king of beasts. Some of our readers may be spiteful'enough to say, that a cluster of reviewers, with their spectacles on, up in a tree, would have been a goodly sight, and to wish we might have been reduced to hold our sessions no where else to the end of time. They must however pardon