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our armies, and give us new Cressys, Agincourts, and Blenheims. Then shall the winds and the storms make new alliances with our fleets, to ruin those of our invaders. No enemy shall be able to disturb us at home, nor resist us abroad; and the many blessings we have long enjoyed, and had almost forfeited by our ingratitude, shall be entailed on us and our posterity, until we cease to ensure them to ourselves, by our piety and virtue.
I know there are few people who care to be troubled with such thoughts as these; and of those few who will bear with me thus far, some will be offended and others will make a jest of what I have said; but I speak in the cause of God and my country, and as I know every good man must think and speak as I have done, so I shall little regard either the scoffs of atheistical fools, or the rage of overweening and malicious men.
TILLAGE AND GRANARIES:
A MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT.
LIVING IN THE COUNTY OP
In qua terra culturam agri docuerunt pastores progeniem suam, qui condiderunt ur
bem : ibi contra progenies eorum, propter avaritiam, contra leges, ex segetibus fecit prata, ignorantes non idem esse agriculturam et pastionem.
Varro de Re Rustica. lib. 2.
Your entreaties are no longer to be resisted. I will now send you, in writing, the substance of what past between us some years ago on the subject of tillage. This I shall do the more willingly, because the distress of two dear years, added to those I then argued from, will probably procure what I shall say a favourable hearing. Besides, I have reason to think, that as the nation is now become more sensible of the necessity of tillage, and as a bill, I hear, is preparing in favour of it, you and your friends, may, by the help of such reasonings, as I shall lay before you, be induced to second a design, on which I hope to shew, that both the increase of your own private fortune, and the welfare of your country depend. On the first of those points I shall speak to you as the professor of a large estate in land; and on the second, as a representative and guardian of your country.
I believe your estate including both your rents, and the
profits of such grounds, as you hold in your own hands, yields you about 20001. yearly. The whole, excepting some very inconsiderable patches, is grazed by black cattle, mostly barren, and sheep.
If I can shew you, sir, that the same estate, under tillage, might produce you, and your tenants at the rate of three and a half to one, more than it does at present under pasturage, I hope what I shall say, will neither seem tedious nor disagreeable to you. Though people are generally prejudiced in favour of such methods as they have grown up, and prospered tolerably in, yet if other methods can be shewn to be attended with a much greater profit, no prejudice is strong enough to hinder a rational man from quitting his old ones and going over to the new.
Let us, if you please, sir, suppose thirty-six acres of your rich and strong ground to be employed in grazing for five years, and let us see what would be the neat profit, which would arise out of the said ground during the time mentioned.
There are three kinds of grazing usually practised in this kingdom, that of milch cattle, that of dry cows and bullocks, and that of sheep.
As to the first; twenty-seven acres Irish measure will graze twenty-one cows, and the remaining nine acres will furnish them with hay. These twenty-one cows will produce twenty-one calves in the year, value 12 12 0
They will likewise produce besides suckling their calves, twenty-one hundred of butter which at 11. 2s. per hundred come to
23 20 The buttermilk of the twenty-one cows, will be worth in the year
19 16 0
55 10 0 As some of the cows may happen to cast their calves, others miss bulling, and be liable to several other accidents that may
occasion a diminution of the milk, we may allow in lieu thereof the winter's milk.
The profits of one year being 55l. 10s. the profits of the five years will be
. 277 10 0 Out of the above sum of 2771. 10s. we must deduct
2771. for the maintenance of a family to manage the dairy 191. 12s. 5d. yearly, which in five years come to 981. 2s. Id. The remaining neat profits will be 1791. 7s. 11d.
The second kind of grazing, namely of dry cows and bullocks.
Thirty-six cows bought at May, and sold at All Saints for 11. per cow profit
36 0 0 Out of which, if we deduct for buying, selling, and herding, the sum of
1 12 6
The remainder will be
34 7 6 The clear profits for five years will be 171 17 6
The expenses and profits in respect to bullocks, need not be computed, being nearly the same with those in the case of dry cows, only as the profits arising from bullocks are generally thought to be a small matter less than from dry cows, I have therefore chosen to rest in the latter.,
It will here be observed that I have allowed nothing for the winter's grass. In this I have acted by the opinion of the most experienced drovers, who think they rather gain than lose by not trampling those pastures in the wet seasons, nor grazing them in the spring, on which they intend to fatten cattle the following summer. If we should allow a fifth penny of the rent for the winter's grass; in this case, the grounds being grazed and trodden in the winter, will not be able to fatten at the rate of a cow per acre the next summer; and so twice as much will be lost in summer, as gained in the winter.
As to the last kind of grazing, to wit, of sheep, it is very difficult to form a regular computation of the profits arising from thence. After having consulted with many persons skilled in that kind of cattle, and finding they differed widely in their sentiments, as to the removal of them from one kind of ground to another, as to the cost occasioned by disorders, as to the haying and wintering them, and as to the uncertainty of the price which wool bears in different years,
I resolved to put the matter upon another footing. You know the profits of sheep as well as most men. I have therefore the less occasion to be particular in this letter on that article. I shall take a shorter and a surer way.
Strong and rank grounds are not quite so fit for sheepwalks, as those that are a degree lighter, and produce finer
grass. Now it is for the tillage of strong grounds, chiefly, that I contend. And as to wet grounds, which usually throw up a harsh and sour sort of herbage, they are very unfit for sheep. But were they drained and cultivated, they would often produce the richest crops of any kind of soil. Sheep and tillage ought not therefore greatly to interfere.
But supposing the ground to be equally fit for tillage, and grazing of all kinds; the profits arising from sheep could not be much higher than those from black cattle ; because were they considerably higher, every one would stock his grounds with sheep, provided they were in the least fit for the purpose. A great advantage, were there such, would soon be perceived and generally pursued. But as on different parcels of the same ground, we frequently see droves of black cattle and flocks of sheep, and those too often belonging to persons equally well skilled in both, and sometimes to the same man, we may be sure the profits on both sides are nearly upon a par.
In the county of Louth, and great part of the county of Meath, those grounds, which were formerly stocked with sheep are now converted to tillage. This the inhabitants of those counties learned from their neighbours in the North. They know by this time, whether they have reason to repent or rejoice in what they have done. But this every one knows, that they go on ploughing, and producing such crops as hinder them from ever thinking of returning to pasturage. The counties of Dublin and Kildare are taking the useful bint from Louth and Meath. I hope it will go farther.
But though from the above way of reasoning, in which we can scarcely be mistaken, it follows that the profits of black cattle and sheep are nearly equal, yet to cut matters short I will allow those of sheep to exceed so much, that the thirty-six acres above-mentioned shall produce yearly A. more under sheep than they can under black cattle. Now the highest profit in black cattle being 1791. 7s. 11d. the highest in sheep will be 1891. 7s. lld. This allowance I make to prevent all objections, and cavils, which I am sure it will do among the candid and skilful.
The whole profits then of thirty-six acres, Irish measure, of good and strong ground under sheep for five years will be 1891. 7s. 11d.