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Arthur Young


places mentioned

1791 Tour from Cambridgeshire to Birmingham

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A MONTH'S TOUR TO NORTHAMPTONSHIRE, LEICESTERSHIRE, &c.

By the Editor.

1791.-July 18.

I Have minuted notes of the country between Bradfield and Cambridge before; it affords me, therefore, no other remark than that of its want of improvement. Great tracts of land well adapted to sainfoin, but not an acre more sown than ten years ago; and streams that call aloud for irrigation, without a single acre of watered meadow: such supineness is dreadful.

The 19th. Taking the road from Cambridge to St. Neot's view for six or seven miles the worst husbandry I hope in Great-Britain. All in the fallow system, and the loss of time, and the expence submitted to, without the common benefit, these fallows are over-run with thistles, and the dung being spread over them forms an odd mixture of black and green that would do well enough for a meadow, but is villainous in tillage. Some divisions of these fallows have not not yet been broken up since reaping the last year's crops. Bid the current of national improvement roll back three centuries, and we may imagine a period of ignorance adequate to the exhibition of such exertions ! To what corner of the three kingdoms -to what beggarly village must we go to find in any branch of manufacture such sloth - such ignorance -such backwardness - such determined resolution to stand still, while every other part of the world is at least moving? - It is in the agriculture of the kingdom alone that such a spectacle is to be sought. There seems somewhat of a coincidence between the state of cultivation within sight of the venerable spires of Cambridge, and the utter neglect of agriculture in the establishments of that University.

They are ploughing here with poor implements, drawn by two horses at length, and conducted by a driver. The crops of wheat pretty good; all others bad.

At Knapwell there is a parliamentary inclosure, and such wretched husbandry in it, that I cannot well understand for what they inclosed relative to management; rent is the only explanation which has risen from 5s. tythed, to 10s. or 11s. free. They sow hay feeds and clover, but little comes except raygrass and thistles; soil a strong loam, and some clay. Thence to St. Neot's, and all the way from Cambridge, must be classed amongst the ugliest countries in England. The lands mostly open field, at 6s. an acre. The management very bad, much strong clay, and some fallows not yet ploughed; the course,

  1. Fallow, ploughed thrice; breaking up 7s. 6d. Two stirrings, each 3s. with 4 horses and a driver.
  2. Wheat, produce 14 or 15 bush. per acre short of statute measure.
  3. Oats or beans.

About St. Neot's a vast improvement by an inclosure, which took place 16 years ago, which makes the country much more beautiful, and has been a great benefit to the community. A gentleman of the town however complained, as I rode thither with him, that, notwithstanding the productiveness of the soil was certainly greater, yet that the poor were ill-treated by having about half a rood given them in lieu of a cow keep , the inclosure of which land costing more than they could afford, they sold the lots at 5l. the money was drank out at the ale-house, and the men, spoiled by the habit, came, with their families, to the parish; by which means poor rates had risen from 2s. 6d. to 3s. and 3s. 6d. But pray, fir, have not rates arisen equally in other parishes, where no inclosure has taken place? Admitted. And what can be the good of commons, which would not prevent poor rates coming to such a height? Better modes of giving the poor a share might easily, and have been, as in other cases, adopted.

St. Neot's, which enjoys the various advantages of the fine river Ouse, has a very great corn-market; so many as 1100 sacks of wheat have been pitched on the market-hill in one day, as it is not sold by sample. Mutton here cheaper than beef, which is not common. Wool last year 22s. 6d. expected now to be dearer ! Land through the country sells now at 26 years purchase, some at 27, and even to 28. Rents undoubtedly rising, average of the line about 10s. No manufacture in the town, but population increases.

To Bedford, the country is rather more inclosed, rent 12s. From Cambridge to Bedford cattle ate a compound mixt of bad mongrels. Meet here a waggon load of wool going from Bedfordshire to Bury. The local position of manufactures is not easily accounted for. The wools of Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire, &c go to Bury to be spun, and to Norwich to be woven, yet St. Neot's and Bedford are populous places, the former without any manufacture, and the latter little, except a scattering of lace, why should not these wools be spun and woven here, upon a considerable navigation, and much nearer to London, one great market for the goods of Norwich. Would it not be as good an employment as the vile one of electioneering?

The 20th. To Newport Pagnel, a country of mixed features, open fields, with inclosures about the villages. Rent about 10s. Much very bad corn; indeed all so except wheat. All the way from Cambridge the land prepared for turnips so surprisingly small, I believe in 40 miles not 40 acres, that live stock must be very sparingly kept. The first stone quarries ate seen about five miles from Bedford. Towards Newport much grass land; neater that town the land improves, but varies much; stiff clay, but speckled with chalk stones; plough with four horses at length. Here the white-faced horn sheep are general; Wiltshires and the varieties bred from them.

In the 53 miles from Newmarket to Newport Pagnel, there is so little interesting to the eye of a farmer, that I cannot but rank it amongst the worst cultivated districts in England; and there are few parts of France that have a worse appearance. If we are to look to national wealth as the cause of a prosperous agriculture, what has that wealth done for this extensive district? which could scarcely be worse cultivated in the time of Fitzherbert. In beauty of landscape, the poverty of this line is equally great; except one scene between St. Neot's and Bedford, where the road looks down on the Ouse; and the first view of Newport Pagnel, from the hill above it, and over a vale of corn, with a sufficiency of wood, and a winding river-these two views excepted all is blank. - By Newmarket to Wakefield Lodge, in Whittlewood Forest, the seat of his Grace the Duke of Grafton, to whose kind attention I owe the following particulars of the husbandry of the neighbourhood.

I shall arrange the minutes in four divisions: 1, Arable; 2, Grass; 3, Live stock; 4, General oeconomy

I. Arable

The soil of the whole country classes under the general denomination of clay, that is to say, it is strong and wet; there are many tracts of loam on a sound bottom, but the general feature is different.

Some open fields yet remain, but the chief part of the country has been inclosed by acts of Parliament. Courses of crops in these are:

  1. Fallow.
  2. Wheat.
  3. Beans; or beans and pease.
  4. Oats.

Also,

  1. Fallow.
  2. Wheat.
  3. Oats.
  4. Clover.
  5. Wheat.

On the drier soils.

  1. Turnips.
  2. Barley.
  3. Clover.
  4. Wheat.
  5. Oats; or beans and pease,

Also,

  1. Turmips.
  2. Barley.
  3. Beans and pease.
  4. Oats.
  5. Clover.
  6. Wheat.

In their tillage they give four earths to a fallow; three or four for turnips; two for barley or oats; one for pease or beans. Seed, and produce as follow: of wheat they sow two bushels and reap three quarters; of barley and oats, sow four bushels and gain five quarters; of beans, sow four or four and a half, and get three and a half quarters; of pease, sow three bushels, and have three quarters; of pease and beans mixed, sow four, and reap three and a half quarters. These products are from lands that are in the arrangement of two crops to a fallow; but if more cropping, then full half a quarter per acre is to be deducted from these products. The manure, consisting of yard dung, is spread very generally on the fallows for wheat, the sheep-sold is reckoned to give better wheat than yard dung: but the beans which sollow are better after that. The best circumstance of improvement introduced in the above courses is that of sowing white clover and tresoil, and a little raygrass (better perhaps omitted) with the common clover, and leaving it in layer , four, or five, or six years, chiefly fed: this is called up-and-down land. They break up this layer with a crop of oats, and either take a second, or sow the stubble with wheat.

In the open fields, the course most common is,

  1. Fallow.
  2. Wheat.
  3. Beans, or pease and beans,

which is perhaps the most barbarous management any where to be met with. If there is in agriculture one plant determinately appropriate for the preparation of another, it is beans for wheat. Turnips are not better adapted, in this respect, to barley, than beans are to wheat. To sow this crop on fallow, and succeeding it with beans, is, therefore, to put the cart before the horse. The improvement to be recommended on soils stiff and harsh, but so adapted to beans, as to yield them every third year, is this course,

  1. Beans.
  2. Wheat.

But in this course the beans must be kept cleaner than is commonly practicable in a broadcast crop; they should, on every account, if possible, he drilled; but in whatever manner the seed may be deposited, such lands ought never to be ploughed early enough in the spring for sowing beans; they are commonly too wet and too saddened to go upon at that season of the year: they should be ploughed in autumn, and no spring tillage given, but the beans put in, whether by the drill, or by the harrow, or by the dibbler, on that stale furrow. They should be kept absolutely clean, which is done cheaply, if drilled, and their stubble, when the crop is removed, thoroughly shimmed or scuffled, and the land ploughed once for wheat. This husbandry, ill performed, would, I believe, be at least as profitable as the present management; well performed it would very far exceed it. It is here thought an excellent husbandry, to turn sheep into the bean fields, to eat the weeds, in May, and till the crop is in blossom. Some material alteration should certainly be made in their bean culture, for I saw many wretched crops, and scandalously full of weeds; unfortunate seasons for this product may not be in their power to remedy, but to allow their land to be occupied by myriads of weeds, in blossom and in feed, is in their power to prevent. I saw some in Blisworth Field most notably soul.

Cabbages are cultivated, by some persons, for cattle, but on a small scale; they are, however, on the increase.

II. Grass.

Two circumstances occur in the management of grass land, which deserves noting: first, a practice which is gaining ground in this neighbourhood, in manuring; it is to spread the dung upon them in July, as soon as the hay is cleared. The right time of dunging is a question of importance; it must either be done at this season, in autumn, or in the frosts of the winter; objections bear against both these seasons. The frost of winter takes its full effect upon the manure, be fore the grass can reap any advantage; and the effect of frosts on the volatile alkali, and on spirits, is to deprive them of their peculiar qualities; the alkali loses its pungent salt, and the spirit its inflammability. The same effect must take place on dung, exposed to the same agent. The winter rains come also while the manure is too much exposed on the surface, and its virtues are washed from off the field, before vegetation is awakened by the fun. But in July, though a severe drought may possibly damage the manure, by exhalation, yet the probability of rain is great; and if it comes, the quick growth of the after- grass shelters and protects it better, perhaps, than by any other means. In this case, however, I would certainly recommend, that this after-growth should be left through winter, to be fed in the spring, when the value of such food is extraordinarily great, and the dung, by means of such a covering, will be guarded against he frost, in the best possible manner. I have known the practice here mentioned pursued in other counties, with great success. The arrangement of the work of a farm, will not be impeded by manuring at this season, as it will not be wanted to be performed till after turnip sowing is over.1

The other circumstance I meant to speak to, is an experiment of the Duke of Grafton's, of rolling down ant hills, instead of cutting them. I rode over a large pasture, which I should not have known had ever been infested with these hills, if I had not been assured that it was once covered with them: no other method was used than repeated rollings, with a very heavy roller. It may be useful to know, that this way will succeed, as it may be better adapted to certain situations and circumstances, than the more common process.

The greatest improvement of which this counrty, perhaps, is capable. is that of turning the innumerable and beautiful springs, with which it abounds, to profit, by watering their meadows, and by converting all the arable, below the levels of those springs, to meadow: many thousand pounds a year might easily, by this means, be added to the rental of the country, and much greater sum to the product of it. The Duke of Grafton shewed me two noble springs, one of which gushes out of the earth, on the side of a hill, near Blisworth, and the other rises in a farm yard, at Caswell, in Guns Norton; each of them is powerful enough, after the severe drought we have had, for so many months, to water many acres, if judiciously carried along the slopes of the hills, as high as the level will allow. There is, also, a small, but perennial, river, sufficient to water many thousands of acres, but no use whatever made of it. This is surely to be regretted.

III. Live Stock.

The principal and staple live stock of all this neighbourhood are cows; the milk entirely applied to making butter, which goes fresh to London, where it is sold by the name of Epping . Many of the dairies rise to 30, 40, and even 50 cows. The butter fells on an average at 9d. per pound clear at home; 10d. in winter and 8d. in summer. They send it pretty equally the year round. The grass is good enough for fattening large oxen, but butter, at this price, is reckoned a much more profitable produce. There is, however, a circumstance which is attributed to soil and the quality of the food, that deserves noting: whatever may be the breed of cows, and they have all breeds, none will milk late in life; all have disorders in the bag much sooner than in many other counties. The common breed is the long horned Leicester and Warwick: they are mostly bought in, but some are bred, and many more at present than formerly, especially for the last five years, in which prices have so much advanced; and they remark, that the cows bred here come kindlier to the soil than those bought in. The quantity of butter given by some cows is very considerable; for instance, 12lb. a week, for at least one in a dairy of 40; average of a whole dairy 5lb. a week the year round, for all that are milked. Gross produce 6l. a year each cow, including the calf, at 12s. 6d. at four or five days old. Pigs amount to 10s. per cow. In winter, all that are milked are fed upon hay, when dry on straw, till within a month of calving. There is no rule adhered to of keep after-grass for them, though so highly beneficial and valuable in the spring. The farmers who breed have their cattle of course in a succession; take for instance a dairy of 50.

47 Cows
3 Sundries.
13 Calves.
13 Two year olds.
13 Come into the dairy at three years old.
10 fattened and sold.

A circumstance not underserving notice is, that wood lands have been sound at Blisworth to give cattle the red water that feed on them.

Many sheep are kept; the Wiltshires are bought at Weyhill fair, and the Gloucesters at Banbury. The former are never folded; only the latter; the western ewes are bought at three or four shear for 20s. or 21s. each; they are returned within the year, the lambs at that price; the ewe and the fleece 23s. to 24s. The Burford ewes are bought also at 20s. these are kept for stock, but culled every year; the oldest are fattened and the ram given to the culls , to answer the purpose of westerns; ewes of nine stone, about 27s. between Christmas and Lady Day.

The fleece of the Wiltshires 2lb. at 22s. 6d. to 23s. the tod, those of the Burfords 5lb. at 19s. 6d. at present; last year 1s. lower. The tod is 29lb.; about Towcester they commonly employ sworn-winders, with whom the tod is 28lb. as refuse and dirty locks are picked out.

Breeding horses is not an inconsiderable article in live stock; in a team of eight, for two ploughs, there will usually be two mares kept, they are worked within a fortnight of foaling, but rested after for six weeks or two months, wean at Michaelmas, and the colts are then worth from 7l. to 12l. average 9l. It is common to fell at five years old, from 20l. to 35l. Generally put them to work at two years old, after which time they earn their living. In winter they are fed with straw, and a bushel of oats per week, in spring sowing hay. They do not use winter tares for soiling, which is a barbarous neglect.

IV. General ?conomy.

Under this head may be noted, 1, Farms; 2, Rent; 3, Stock and produce; 4, Fences; 5, Tillage; 6, Rates of labour and provisions; 7, Inclosure; 8, Population.

Farms.

In the open fields the farms are generally small, usually about 70l. a-year: these little occupations with which the Duke of Grafton, and other good landlords have patience in order to nurse up industrious families, are yet a heavy loss in repairs: and sometimes in other circumstances: inclosed farms tise to 300l. which is the greatest; there are but few of 200l. to 250l. In farms of a tolerable size, the tenantry are substantial, and it gave me great pleasure to find them with such confidence in their landlord, as to raise considerable erections on the Duke's farms at their own expence, in articles beyond the common demands of the country; as a hay barn, &c. &c. and this while tenants at will; a sure proof that they regard their landlord as their father and their friend.

Rent.

The general rent of the inclosed lands is 15s. to 18s. average perhaps 17s. or near it, tythe free: open fields subject to tythe, 8s. The rent of arable land has risen within ten years about 1s. 6d. an acre.

Stock and Produce.

They commonly reckon 4l. an acre necessary for stocking farms: and that the produce of arable lands is about four or four and a half rents, with a fallow; and five or five and a half, without one.

I enquired particularly if the produce of the land, without paying any regard to rent, had risen of late years, and I was assured that it had considerably in quantity , as well as in price.

Land fells at 27 years purchase. Pays land-tax 2s. 6d. per pound, and rates 4s.

Fences.

The Duke of Grafton's considerable farm here is fenced in the utmost perfection. All done with white thorn hedges, so admirably preserved by posts with double and even treble rails, that not a head of cattle, of any kind, seems ever to have had a bite at them. They are set in double rows, and the growth is such as to form a spectacle pleasing to behold.

Tillage.

The lands of this country are all thrown up in the broad ridge and furrow, which is almost universal in the central counties. The success of the practice depends on the attention with which they convey the water from the furrows; when this is effected, there is no better method of laying land; inconveniencies there undoubtedly are, but all should give way to effective draining, which can only be thus performed on truly tenacious soils. These lands are cast (ploughed down) for spring corn, and arched for wheat. They plough with four horses at length, and even five; price 7s. an acre. It is remarkable, that they very rarely harrow, except for couch-grass. It is seldom that they give an autumnal earth either to fallows or the land for beans; thinks it does no good; and the land never works kindly after it in the spring. But quere if this is not owing to going on it too soon in the spring? Fallows left till spring sowing is over, cannot sometimes be ploughed at all, as I have seen often on this journey: and for beans there should, on such soils, be no spring tillage.

The Duke of Grafton's steward, Mr. Roper,2 who came from Suffolk, brought with him ploughs for the horses to go abreast, but on trial he sound it would not do, the land was too much trampled, the plough too short and unsteady. I have no doubt of this being the fact, for the common plough of Suffolk will not plough, in any soil, above four inches deep; if it is made to go six deep, there are few worse ploughs, for in that case the furrow is ill turned, and worse cleaned, and the draught required is great; but for four inches, in a soil not too strong, it is a good little tool. The ploughs of this country are by no means free from capital objections: the copse, or head, admits no variations of depth, done only by altering the traces, which is a barbarous defect; all the horses, except the hinder one, draw from the tuck of his collar harness, which 1s throwing a portion of the weight of all their draughts on his back, and is greatly increased when, for making the plough go shallower, the ridge chain which goes over his back is shortened. The share is from four to six inches broad, yet the heel of the plough is ten to fourteen inches, consequently these are eight to ten inches in every furrow not cut, but only driven over by force; this explains the thistles, so common on many fallows: it was, in answer to this objection, replied, that they do not often plough a furrow fourteen inches wide, though the plough is of that width in the heel; but this implies a yet greater error, which is, tilting the plough aside, in its work, to raise the earth board, which narrows the furrow, it is true, but infallably rest-baulks the land, and makes of all other work the worst. The length of the beam and of the handles, are good points, but might be had with a better plough; the beam, however, is not so long as they are willing to suppose, for it measures not to its own end, where it unites with the handles, but to the heel of the plough. As the line of traction, formed by the horse's draught, ascertains the right length of the beam, it will be longer for horses that draw at length, than for a pair of horses that draw abreast; the length of the Northampton beam is, therefore, proper: the share fastens on in a stronger and firmer manner than in the Suffolk plough.

Labour, Provisions, &c.

Labour, in summer and winter, 10d. to 1s. a day, and small beer.

In hay time, 1s. 6d. a quart of ale, and small beer.

In harvest, 36s. the month, and board; one quart of ale a day, and well fed with meat.

Threshing wheat, 3d. a bushel; spring corn, 2d.; oats, 1d.

Making a dead hedge, very strong, and 3 feet high, d. a yard; making faggots, 3s. a hundred; felling trees, 8d. in the pound of the value of the timber; barking, 21d. or 22d. in the pound, value of the timber.

The wives and children all employed in lace making; they begin at six or seven years old; women carn, on an average, 8d. a day, some even to 10d. and 1s. It is a great object to all the poor; the trade is now very brisk, and the dealers have made much money for four or five years past.

Provisions.-Beef, 4d.-Mutton, 4d.-Veal, 5d.-Pork, 4d. to 5d.-Bacon, 6d. to 7d.

Butter, 8d. to 10d.

Hay, 3s. per cwt.-Straw, 20s. a ton.

Coals, at Northampton, 12d. to 13d. a cwt. -carriage, 10s. 6d. a chaldron.

Rent of a cottage, 20s. to 25s.-The Duke of Grafton never makes them an object of revenue, expecting only, that on the general account they repair and support one another; I found, however, other cottages letting at 35s. and 40s.

The state of the poor, in general, in this country is advantageous, owing very much to lace making. The sollowing account will shew this, in the receipt and expenditure of a poor family, viz. a man, his wife, and five children, the eldest sixteen years of age.

Earnings.

. s. d.
Twenty-six weeks winter, at 7s. raised to that rate by taking work by the great, 9 2 0
Five harvest, at 9s. 2 5 0
Four week's hay, going upwards (towards London), 3 3 0
Seventeen weeks summer, at 8s. 6 16 0
The son 3s. a week, and 16s. extra in hay and harvest, 8 12 0
The rest of the family, 2s. a week, 5 4 0
-----
35 2 0
-----

Expenses.

Bread, half the year (winter), barley, and half wheaten, at 6s. 6d. a week, on an average, including baking, 4d. barm, 2d. and salt, 1d. 0 6 6
Salt for other uses, 0 0 0
Bacon, 2lb. a week, 0 1 4
Tea, sugar, and butter, 0 1 0
Cheese, half a pound, 0 0 2
Beer (four bushel of malt, at 5s. 6d. and 3 lb. of hops, 3s.) per week, 0 0 6
Soap (half a pound in three weeks), and starch, and blue, 0 0 2
Candles, 0 0 3
Thread, half an ounce a week, 1d. worsted, 2d. 0 0 3
----
0 10 3
----
Per annum, 26 15 2
Rent, 1 15 0
Wood ,3 0 12 0
Lying in and sickness, 1 0 0
Cloaths. The man's shoes 0 15 0
shirts, 0 8 0
stockings, 0 4 0
hat, &c. 0 1 6
jacket, 0 6 0
-----
1 14 6
Family, 2 0 0
---- 3 14 6
----
33 16 8
----
Earnings, 35 25 0
Expenses, 33 16 8
----
To lay up, or expend in additional cloaths, 1 5 4
----

Inclosure.

The advantages of inclosing to every class of the people are now so well understood, and combated at present but by a few old women, who dislike it for no other reason but a love of singularity, and a hatred of novelty, it would be useless to do more than generally remark that the rents and produce of all this part of Northamptonshire have increased greatly by this first of all improvements. The following table was made out some years past, by order of the Duke of Grafton, to shew an objection ill sounded that had arisen against them on the idea that a new inclosure threw many persons on the parish.

NORTHAMPTONSHIRE. Potterspury, inclosed 1776.

The Amount of the Expence of the Poor for the three Years before the Inclosure.

. s. d.
For the Year, ending Easter, 1774, 201 4 6
For the Year, ending Easter, 1775, 175 12 0
For the Year, ending Easter, 1776, 187 0 0

The Amount of the Expence of the Poor for the three Years after the Inclosure.

For the Year, ending Easter, 1785, 187 1 1
For theYear, ending Easter, 1786, 237 18 8
For the Year, ending Easter, 1787, 188 10 10

. s. d.
The yearly value of Potterspury before the inclosure was about - 720 0 0
Valued on the inclosure, and now lets for about - 1070 0 0
---

The old inclosures contained about 390 acres, and, on being valued at the inclosure, arose about 50l. per annum. The new inclosed part contained about 680 acres, and increased, on an average, about 6s. 6d. per acre.-The cow-pasture and sheep-commons, on which no particular rent was fixed before the inclosure, amounted to very near 100l. per annum.

Converted from arable to pasture about 150 acres; and from the cow-pastures and sheep-commons, about 30 acres is now arable.

October, 1787. The number of Inhabitants in Potterspury, without Yardley, are

Males, 277
Females, 329
--
Total, 606
--

Population.

POTTERSPURY.

Christenings. Burials.
1780, 28 32
1781, 31 27
1782, 26 25
1783, 32 22
1784, 31 24
----- -----
Average of five years, 29 26
-----
Increase, 3
-----
1785, 29 31
1786, 27 25
1787, 31 27
1788, 35 20
----- -----
Average of four years, 30 25
----- -----
Increase, 5
-----

As the number of new cottages, that have been built of late years throughout this country is very inconsiderable, the increase of people occasions their being more crouded in the old ones; which is also a general remark.

Wittlewood Forest.

But the most interesting object in the rural oeconomy of Wakefield Lodge, is the forest of Whittlewood, which extends in length above 11 miles, but is narrow in many places; and contains, by a rough estimation, near 7000 common acres. I n it the underwood belongs, by a grant of the Crown, in the time of Charles II. to the Duke of Grafton, and his heirs male for ever, with the right of fencing out the deer and all commonable cattle, during nine years after cutting. The timber is reserved to the Crown, and fourteen parishes have a right of commonage for such cattle and horses (none of sheep or pigs) as they can support in winter. It would be natural to suppose such a right of more consequence than it really is: in 1789 there were sound, by driving the forest, which is now done every year in three drives of Haselborough, Sholebrook, and Hanger, no more than 470 head of cattle and horses, which shews of what little value the commonage upon such a vast extent of land amounts to.

The commissioners for managing the landed revenue of the Crown are supposed to be employed at present on their report concerning this forest. I did not find, upon enquiry, that it had been viewed and examined by any person with so much care and accuracy as at all likely to preclude the few observations I have to make on it.

The ideas of these gentlemen may be pretty well collected from their seventh report, which, though on Salcey forest, more immediately has some remarks which are applied to that of Whittlewood; these forests are but a few miles from each other. At page 9, of that report, it is remarked, that in James I. time there were in that of Salcey,

Trees. Loads.
Oak trees, 15,274 34,366 Loads fit
--- for the navy.
Ditto, in 1788, 2,918 - 3745
Other oaks, 8,266 - 7338
--- ---
11,184 11,083
--- ---
Browse ashes, 8,914
---

"So that the timber fit for the navy was little more than 1 /10 of what it was in 1608, which small stock of timber remaining in 1783, is not accounted for by the selling of timber in the present century, -extraordinary diminution !"

As Whittlewood forest is an object, from its extent, of much greater importance than Salcey forest, it is to be hoped that these gentlemen will pay it another sort of attention, for the above remark is dashed off in a manner much too hasty to give the least satisfaction to any inquisitive mind. So far from there appearing to be any extraordinary diminution of oak, there does not in the above particulars appear to have been any diminution equal to what has taken place on all the private properties of the kingdom. Here is, according to their own account, 11,000 loads of oak, and near 9000 ashes; these may amount to a total very different from that of a tenth. But it is remarkable that there are now 11,000 oak trees, and in 1608 only 15,000, thus the quantity of timber has been much more lessened than the number of the trees: this seems to prove that in modern times the oaks have been left far too thick, which has preserved number at the expence of quantity ; and I am the readier to make this remark, because in numerous rides, which I took through Whittlewood forest, observing the oaks particularly, I noted them to be lest vastly too thick, I mean in those coppices, in which government have not yet cleared all the timber of a good dimension, and which are all the coppices, except those from 16 to 251 years growth; in many coppices indeed the trees stand so thick, that I am confident the quantity of timber has been much lessened by it. It is not uncommon to see five or six trees with their heads all joining; but to have great timber, there ought to be a free current of air around the head of each; I surely need nor remark that when the view is navy timber, the size of the trees should not be sacrificed to the purpose of keeping a great number.

When the improvements that have taken place since 1608, the immense increase of population, which must have thronged all the adjacent villages, and consequently the much greater number of cattle, turned by common right on the forest, are well considered, the decrease of timber here marked will, so far from appearing extraordinary , be thought remarkably small.

I am sorry to have occasion to observe, that these gentlemen do not feem averse from seizing opportunities of finding fault even upon points much too trifling to demand notice: at page 11, they say, "the stools or roots of trees felled, which unquestionably belong to the Crown, are here taken by the keepers; the value of them when dug up, is from 1 s. to 5s. each." - "to any one, who considers the natural tendency of such a system of management, it cannot be surprising that any property whatever should not prove very productive." - When the reader is informed that at least half the value of these roots must be paid for the labour of grubbing them, I believe it will be generally agreed that by far the best application of them is to give them away, so as to make it the interest of some resident persons to take care that these roots should be grubbed. And why? Not for securing to the Crown the paltry value of 6d. or 1s. but for having such spaces of earth very well broken, to receive acorns that may produce future trees, an object, with a view to timber, worth attending to, whereas that of the mere value of the stump is contemptible, and unworthy of the piece of censure that is tagged to it.

To mark this more strongly, I may observe that these roots are not cleared away till after the second year; and where only it has been seen, that they would not shoot out again. In this case, every intelligent person will perceive that in woods of two years growth the damage, which would accrue from the carting into them to get these roots, would amount to fifty times the value of them.

In some particulars the commissioners appear to have been too ready to listen to insufficient information; p. 10. they are informed, "that some of the browse trees (shredded or pollarded ones, trimmed periodically for the deer to browse on) are very large, sound, and fit for the service of the navy:" in consequence of this, above 100 were ordered to be cut in Salcey forest, none of which, or scarcely any, were sound. Pollarded or trimmed trees sound, and fit for the navy ! - Whoever will examine such trees, which I have done many thousands, they will be sound either decayed from that destructive management, or the texture of the timber so short and brittle from knots, as to be of little worth for primary uses.

In the following passage, these gentlemen do not seem to have considered their subject with the requisite attention; p. 13. "It is the concurring information which we have hitherto received of a gradual decrease in the quantity of growing timber, the prospect of a scarcity, and the danger of depending upon other countries for the support of our navy, which alone could induce us to recommend that government should undertake what we know to be so difficult as the management, protection, and improvement of woods and timber."

Now it is the scarcity, and consequent value, of wood and timber, which form precisely the reason why government ought not to attempt this; which will be sufficiently clear to those who reflect that wood is destroyed by robbery and depredation exactly in proportion to its scarcity. One hundred and seventy years ago it was so plentiful, that even government itself, with all its waste and negligence, was adequate to the preservation of that which at present cannot be well preserved by the fostering care and attention of the immediate eye of the owner. In future, wood of all kinds will grow dearer and dearer, and at such a time to recommend to government to attempt the farming of oak can, in common sense, mean no more than the establishment of groups of officers to pocket salaries, for doing what is well known will never be done at all. Will the plundering poor regard forests, because the public property? Will not officers, in future, abuse their trusts, as well as officers in the past and present time? And will government, in time to come, be able to do what it never was able to do in times past-be careful and ?conomical in the management of land?

But these gentlemen complain of the scarcity of oak. This complaint, as an argument, has, I conceive, no foundation whatever. If by it we are only to understand, that the kingdom having doubled or trebled its population,-that corn, and mutton, and beef, now occupy the land which once was incumbered by wood,-that hedge rows, instead of spreading two or three rods into every field, now are confined to the quick-set and the ditch,-if these plain facts only are in contemplation, the question may be dismissed in a moment, for all the world knows, that in proportion as a kingdom improves, wood must lessen: we have just so much reason to rejoice that wood is scarce, as cultivation is more valuable in the scale of national prosperity than waste and forest. But if by this complaint, and consequent recommendation, any thing is implied, touching the price of timber being too high-or that the scarcity is greater than might have been expected-or that any steps should be taken to arrest the natural progress of improvement, by confining certain spots, by authority, to this production, which would otherwise submit in their turn to that amelioration which time carries throughout the kingdom;-in this case the proposition is a serious and a very mischievous one. Oak may be bought of other countries. but industrious men, fed by better products, cannot be bought. Of whom, nautically speaking; have you any apprehension, if not of France? But France is more denuded of oak (to use a Johnsonian phrase) than England itself, and builds her ships of war of foreign wood: if she therefore must go abroad for timber, surely we may do the fame, on terms as advantageous.

But to all the purposes of fair argument, I contend that oak is not dear ; and that all the scarcity (supposing there is any) that is feared, has proceeded from its being too cheap . There are few oaks in Great Britain, on a soil good enough to produce navy timber, but what at 150 or 200 years old, have cost the propietors of the land, and the nation, the double of what they are worth. Apply an acre of land now to oak, and an adjoining acre to corn or grass, and which in 100 or 200 years will have paid most? The result (not difficult to calculate) would shew, that oak timber instead of being scarce , is not at half its fair price. Rough, waste, and barbarous countries, are the proper nurseries of timber: it is a produce inconsistent with a high degree of cultivation and improvement. To complain of its scarcity, is to reprobate national prosperity; and to propose, by any restrictions, such an application of the soil, is to prefer a product that pays 20s. to another that would yield 5l. Such speculations are very proper dreams for commissioners, who apply those years to making reports , which might be employed in dividing and felling forests,-but forbid it, policy, that they should be adopted by the legistature !

The plain result of all such enquiries will be, that for the production of any commodity whatever, there is but one system of policy adequate; to leave it entirely to private industry, and private views; and to let the only encouragement be a good price. In my opinion, there is no other want of timber in this country than what there ought to be, from the right preference given to other productions. If it was proper to encourage a greater growth, which can hardly be, there is but one way to do it, and that is, to raise the price considerably;-6l. a load would not be adequate.

Whatever decision may, in the opinion of the public, be given to such enquiries, there can be no doubt of the propriety of converting all such forests to private property. I have already described the treble right there is in this of Whittlewood. The timber the Crown's: the underwood the Duke's, and the right of commonage upon the soil. This intermixture is equally mischievous to both. The timber suffers greatly; the young oaks, of only nine years growth, are eaten up, barked, or trampled on equally with the underwood, so that none could escape if it was not for the thickets of blackthorn that her- and there protect one; nor is this the only grievance, the timber is left so late in the coppices, as I saw to the end of July, when there seemed to be at least two months carting to do, that the teams must have destroyed many young standils, as well as done great damage to the underwood; it is sufficiently clear that better management would rectify this abuse. The depredations of the cattle and deer are not so easily guarded against; the growth of nine years is little protection against them, for I saw the bark eaten off plants that one would have thought secure; but cattle used to the forest have the art of bending down a bough by the neck till within reach of the soot, then treading on it till they have stripped it. Nothing can remedy such mischief, but making every property distinct; assigning to the parishes some portion adequate to their commonage; to the Duke of Grafton another, equal to his rights; and selling (not reserving), the remainder. In the division and sale of the Crown Lands, I conceive the great object is their conversion to the most profitable productions of which they are capable: provided they are cultivated to the best advantage, it is of very little consequence to the state in whose hands they are found.

Should, however, the legislature listen to propositions that have only the production of timber in view, then it will be necessary in all such cases to transfer the Crown's right to its portion of the forest, on the division, to some private person (the ranger or principal proprietor), under covenant to deliver, after a certain number of years, a specified number of loads of oak timber, annually, for the use of the navy. Difficulties would arise in the method of doing this, and officers with a constant inspection must of necessity be continued in order to fee that the succession of oak was always preserved; a sad business at best, and never to be depended on satisfactory y by either party. Under the present administration of the forests, or under that which is now hinted at, or any other but the mere attention of private interest, it is probable that the royal navy never did, and never will receive a tree worth 10l. that did not cost the nation 100l. So very incomplete is every project, but that plain and simple one of depending for the supply of oak on the price that will be given for it.

But to return-The soil of this forest, and of the country in general is well adapted to the growth4 of most sorts of wood; and the copses, of which the Duke of Grafton has a great extent, are, notwithstanding the feeding of the deer, and the common cattle, valuable. The mode of selling them and the payment form the circumstance of a very eligible property. Nothing can be better adapted to save trouble than the methods used. Washes or glades are cut across the copse, at certain distances, and laid in a row, from which to judge of the contents of the whole. Wood-valuers are employed, who walk in the wash on each side of every cut, and note in their view-book , the value of each cut , that is each space of 10 poles long and 2 broad. From habit they acquire such dexterity that their valuation very rarely occasions any appeal from their judgment; and as much employment as an object to them of interest, honesty is their best policy, so that no suspicions are entertained of their integrity. The whole copse being thus marked into cuts and numbered and valued, every purchaser can be supplied with a lot to the value he wants; and the money is paid before he takes the wood away. They are cut, at the expence of the purchaser, at 21 years growth; and the value is various, according to the accidental depredations of the deer and cattle, the thickness of the plant, the soil, &c. but it may be stated at from 2l. 10s. to 6l. an acre. The value of such an estate to the proprietor is very great indeed; for here is not the hazard of a bad tenant in a century; no farm-houses, barns, or stables to repair, nor any tythe to pay on the produce; and the value of the crop rises pretty regularly every 20 years. In Mr. Cape's examination, in the Seventh Report , this rise is stated to be one-third in the memory of a man of about 50: and he remarks that it is still increafmg. But great as the value of such an estate is at present, the improvement of excluding deer and cattle altogether would be a capital one; as appears by some copses where they are entirely shut out; and the growth and thickness of such are duly proportioned to that circumstance.

The great value of woods in this country, will appear from a state of the sales of underwood and timber, for three years in certain woods of the Duke of Grafton's private property, which his Grace favoured me with, and which I shall insert here, as the management of the timber is not common, and merits considerable attention. It is to be noted that in these woods trees will not come to a great size, yet are very profitable to a certain growth, provided they are left with judgment, taking out all such as will not thrive well; these copses are cut at 13 years growth, and the timber according to its thriving, at two to five falls of the underwood, that is from the age of 26 to 65 years; beyond which age it does not pay for standing.

Sale of Underwood and Timber on the Duke of Grafton's Estates in Northamptonshire, 1789, 1790. and 1791.

A. R. P. . s. d.
1789-- Seywell wood, 5 2 16 { Underwood cleared, 30 0 2
Timber ditto, 70 13 6
-------
100 13 8
-------
Grubb's coppice, 4 3 2 { Underwood cleared, 21 18 3
Timber ditto, 82 18 0
-------
104 16 3
-------
Plain woods, 12 1 34 { Underwood cleared, 45 17 3
Timber ditto, 141 12 0
-------
187 9 3
-------
Ashton wood, 6 2 0 { Underwood cleared, 34 6 8
Timber ditto, 53 4 6
-------
87 11 2
-------
1790-- Seywell wood, 4 2 25 { Underwood cleared, 14 17 7
Timber ditto, 40 17 7
-------
55 15 2
-------
Grubb's coppice, 4 2 7 { Underwood cleared, 30 5 9
Timber ditto, 52 6 10
-------
82 12 7
-------
Plain woods, 12 3 5 { Underwood cleared, 37 0 7
Timber ditto, 85 11 4
-------
122 11 11
-------
Ashton wood, 8 1 29 { Underwood cleared, 45 10 0
Timber ditto, 81 1 8
-------
126 11 8
-------
1791-- Seywell wood, 6 2 6 { Underwood cleared, 30 11 6
Timber ditto, 32 17 1
-------
63 8 7
-------
Grubb's coppice, 6 0 4 { Underwood cleared, 33 2 10
Timber ditto, 80 16 0
-------
113 18 10
-------
Plain woods, 12 1 0 { Underwood cleared, 38 3 6
Timber ditto, 132 6 6
-------
170 10 0
-------
Ashton wood, 4 2 18 { Underwood cleared, 19 3 1
Timber ditto, 66 1 2
-------
85 4 3
-------

N. B. The tythe, which is paid in kind, and the expences of new fencing in the part sold, in the aforesaid sales of wood, are deducted from the underwood account. The usual time of cutting is at 13 years growth of the underwood.

Average of the whole 14l. 14s. per acre, for 13 years. This land pays, therefore, above 20s. per acre per annum.

A remarkable instance of the great produce of wood occurred upon the Ascot inclosure; 14 acres, a corner of the field over-run with rubbish, had so bad an appearance that none of the proprietors wished to have the allotment; the duke of Grafton did not object, and had it; it was carefully fenced, and half of it cut in eleven years; the seven acres sold for 63l. or 9l. per acre, or above I6s. per acre per annum, the first cutting, with a certainty of a confiderable improvement as the copse thickens and is preserved.

These, and many other instances that might be given of the great profit of woodland to the landlord , must not induce any one to think that the national interest is equally concerned. To him the gross produce , and the net profit , are nearly the same thing; and 20s. from wood is better to him than 20s. from a farm; but the difference is immense to the public. The farm that gives 20s. rent gives from 12s. to 20s. more in profit to the farmer; from 20s. to 30s. and even 40s. to the poor in labour, besides the support of artizans, &c. All woods, therefore, in the eye of the public, should be considered as a species of waste; a productive waste, it is true, but not by three-fourths so productive as corn and grass.

How wood can answer so well as it does, is absolutely unaccountable, for the quantity in this country is immense, and the consumption not accounted for by the number or size of the towns, or by the population of the country. The prices are-

Cord wood billets, 8d. to 1s. per cwt.

Underwood faggots, 12s. to 15s. and 20s. per 120.

Brick kiln faggots,5 10s. to 12s. 6d.

Timber top and underwood of the same price.

Oak timber, 10d. to 2s. a foot; prime pieces, for coopers, 2s. 6d.

Browse trees, 8d. to 9d.

Ash timber, 1s. to 1s. 6d.

Elm, 10d. to 1s. 2d. None in the forest, but very large trees in Wadden Chace.

Poplar, 8d. to 10d.

Bark, 5s. to 5s. 6d. in the pound on the value of the timber; thus, tree 20s. bark 5s.

I shall not quit Wakefield, without remarking, that the duke of Grafton is, on the wetland of Northamtonshire, as good a farmer as he is on the sands of Suffolk. His fences are in the highest state of perfection; his fields well laid down, and well kept; excellent hovels are built to every close; ponds dug to all: a variety of small and convenient farmyards, well inclosed with stone walls, and surrounded with cattle-sheds, properly disposed over his great farm for convenience, and every thing in that tight repair, and excellent order, which is as pleasant to the eye of a spectator, as it is useful to the interest of a proprietor. His great crop of hay this year, when tolerable ones are so scarce, proves how well he manages his grass lands; and nothing can be better or neater made than his hay stacks; if his neighbours would copy this circumstance, it would not add a little to the beauty of every landscape; but at present they do not seem to think much difference of form necessary for a dunghill or a stack. Such a spectacle is much more to me than all the lawns, waters, and houses in England. I may however remark, for the use of such as love seeing places , that there is one feature at Wakefield Lodge equal to most in the kingdom; a lawn of delicious verdure, even in this drought, which may spread 500 acres, sloping to a water, of which it is sufficient to say, that it was formed by Brown; scattered groups of trees chequer the scene, and all surrounded, in every direction, by the shade of a forest impervious to the eye; not the poverty of a limit planted to screen and deceive, but the deep recesses, the umbrageous gloom, in which you may wander without boundary, and roam as in the wilds of America, did not numerous ridings cut in strait lines, and very neatly laid to grass, facilitate a passage to every part6

July 31 -Cross the forest towards Banbury. Of these twenty miles, the first eight are in the forest, which may yield, perhaps, 10s. an acre; the next five are strong land, that lets at about 14s.; and the last seven a good red loam, from 16s. to 20s.; the whole is inclosed; a great deal of it under grass, with much cattle and sheep. There are some fine views before descending from the high ground, over the rich vale around Middleton Cheney, and to Banbury. Enquiring of my landlord, at the Red Lion, about persons curious in agriculture, he mentioned Mr. Goldby, of the town, for a driller: I sent to his house, to request seeing his crops; he was not at home, but his farming man shewed them; I found his beans and wheat good, but his barley among the worst crops I have seen this bad year, and I sound his man condemning the system for barley, though very candidly admitting the merit for wheat and beans. After all the experiments that have been made, and premiums that have been given, the merit of the drill husbandry is almost as much unascertained, as it was in the time of Tull, which can be owing to nothing but the excessive and exaggerated praises that have been given it. But I am in the way to the prince of drillers, Mr. Boote, there all doubts will, I suppose, be removed. There is a practice at Banbury, and the vicinity, which I think an execrable one, that of tethering horses on winter tares; the poor animal is exposed full to fun and flies, staked to a spot which he tramples till the soil is rendered as hard as a barn floor; the food is wasted, the field spoiled, and the horse gets lean instead of fat. Cross here the canal that joins Oxford and Coventry, above 100 miles. Shares in this canal, for want of water, were down to 60l. and even 50l. This was a pretty loss to adventurers, sinking half their capitals, because these canal projectors, who never see any other difficulties than that of getting people's money, are mistaken in their calculations. Reservoirs were here provided and exhausted, and the barges last year sailing merrily on dry land: they were very near having the same spectacle this year; but, by new exertions, things are coming about again, steam engines are built, or building, at the summit, three miles from Bransom, and about twenty from Banbury, for throwing back the water wasted by passing the sluices; and, in consequence of this, shares are now got up to par. Undoubtedly the spirit of enterprize, the ardent, energic, and daring attempts that are every day made in this kingdom, are glorious exertions, and do infinite honour to it. Success generally is commanded at last; but this does not remedy the evil, to those who lose half their investments: this is a private affair; individuals may lose, but the public is sure to gain. Coals, at Banbury, 1s. per cwt.

August 1.-Take the road to Stratford on Avon; pass Wroxton, the seat of Earl Guildford; there is one feature in the place which is very pleasing; a lake, with a river, and a most noble accompanyment of wood. From a gothic temple, on a knole of land that rises in the valley, the water view is double, and very pleasing; the wood singularly umbrageous. Many of the trees are remarkably fine: I measured a beautiful beech, on which some fool has written R. P. 1780, it is seven feet four inches and a half in circumference, at five feet from the ground: also an ash seven feet four inches by another bent towards the top; both these trees are of a vast height. The house is situated in the most recluse spot that can be imagined; apparently calculated for that sort of retirement which forbids the entrance of ambition, or of any tumultuous passion that could invade the quiet of this sequestered shade: how perverse, that it should belong to a prime minister, who sought for happiness in levees of knaves and fools, instead of the society of his beeches, his ashes, his swans, his carps, and cows:-Which of these have proved ungrateful?

To Stratford there is much open and much inclosed country; at eight miles there is a great view of the plain from a hill, which commands an extensive prospect. Home pieces, inclosed, let at 20s.-others, 15s.-open arable, 10s. Much here is under the course,

  1. Fallow.
  2. Wheat.
  3. Beans, &c.

Very little clover. Perhaps the average rent all the way, may be 15s. as there is a good deal of red, deep, friable loam. The whole country in high ridges, and on many of the baulks bushes ate allowed to grow, which give a beggarly and ragged appearance, and seem of no other use than for the sheep to hang their wool on. Much dairying, and many polled sheep. Great view to Bredon Hill, and across the whole county of Worcester, to the Hills of Malvern, in Herefordshire. In the twenty miles to Stratford, only one field of turnips, and in the forty from Wakefield, not above two or three.

Having never been at Stratford before, my feelings were awakened by the birth place of our divine poet; I hastened to the church, and could not but look around there to some ancient tombs of Clopton's, where wealth is recorded at this town; and to others more modern. Within the ken of Shakespeare's effigy is a marble dedicated to one Kendal, whose panegyrick is, that " rather than vote for the repeal of the penal laws and test, resigned his commission in the army and his seat in Parliament." A pretty subject of praise ! that a man should consider bigotry and intolerance in the class of such sterling virtues, as to write them on a tombstone: that when we are gone to appear before the God of all religions, the spirit of persecution should be engraved on our marble, as the signal of merit, and the expectancy of reward. Let me note in my tablets the name, to see if none that wear it are in a list of Warwickshire justices. The greatness of the poet's genius is in nothing more manifest than in the predominancy of the interest that seizes the bosom at Stratford. If, instead of a Clopton and a Kendal, here were the remains of half a score chancellors, secretaries of state, or ambassadors. it would be more signally marked. Their manes would all be mob; we should turn from their splendid tablets with indifference, and rivet our melancholy regards to those of the divine genius,

Whose eye, in a fine phrenzy rolling,
Glances from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown; the poet's pen
Turns them to shape, and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation, and a name.

I viewed the house which gave him birth, and was sorry to hear, that the Harts, its possessors, pulled down an antique porch about 30 years ago, which was, as they call it, old and ugly. The people seem in a very low state, and to have inherited little more than the poverty so often allied to talents. They shew the poet's chair in a chimney corner; Mrs. Jordan, of Drury-Lane Theatre, kneeling down, kissing this chair, and writing her name on the wall, is become one of the chief anecdotes told by these people.

In the town-hall there is a very bad picture, by a very good painter, Garrick embracing the bust of Shakespeare, by Gainsborough: a much better of the poet in his study, by Wilson, given by Garrick. There is no other person perhaps in the Biographia Britannica , whose birth has shed such a lustre on the place of his nativity, as the deer-stealer of Stratford. Bacon, Newton, and Milton, were as great in their respective paths as Shakespeare in his: but they do not equally interest the universal feeling; nor have they had such commentators as Garrick to impress their merit on the hearts of millions.

Coals, 11d. per cwt. lime, 2s. 6d. a quarter, 10 quarters are spread per acre, and much mixed with dung and mould. Land around the town is very highly rented; 50s. an acre for inclosures by parliament about 17 years ago. There are some drilled crops, but neither great nor clean.

August 2d. To Atherston upon Stour, to see the drilled farm of Mr. Boote, whose memoirs in the Transactions of the London Society gained him the gold medal, and who has been repeatedly named as the greatest and most successful driller in England; I have often declared that I am not yet convinced of the superiority of the drill husbandry, taken in its aggregate to the common or broadcast mode; but I am always open to conviction, and ever on the search for satisfactory experiment: it may be supposed, therefore, that I did not come out of my way many miles in order to view the farm of a gentleman, who had declared in public that sowing an acre of wheat, broadcast, would be the loss of 4l. to him, without expecting information of importance to myself, and highly satisfactory to my readers: Mr. Boote politely shewed me his farm, but expressing some dissatisfaction at any thing concerning it being made public, I left my notes with him (which, however, I had his permission to take before I used a pencil) on his promising to explain himself by letter. After I returned home I received one from him, in which is this expression, relying on your honour not to publish my mode of husbandry .

My readers will rest satisfied, after this, that I shall not publish one syllable more about a farm which has excited so much attention to drill ploughs, and drilling. The public will draw their own conclusions. Many of the crops are very fine.

From Atherston all the way by Stratford to Henley is through a lovely country; hills and vales all inclosed, and tipped with woods on the summits, backed by the mountains of Shropshire, Herefordshire, and Worcestershire. The soil almost every where a fine red friable loam, that runs to a thick turf of white clover and excellent grasses; the whole inclosed seemingly within 20 or 30 years. In which period such immense tracts of land in England have been as it were created anew by inclosure. Coals at Henley at 9d. and 9d. the cwt.

The 3d. To Birmingham; land 18s. and 20s. an acre, for some miles, the fine country continuing, and all inclosed; but for eight or nine miles before Birmingham flatter, and not equal. Lime here 2s. 6d. per quarter at the kiln, and 12 used per acre on fallow for wheat: a fair common crop 20 bushels; 200l. a year reckoned a large farm. At six miles coals 8d. per cwt. four horses draw 45 cwt. 5 horses 53 cwt. and 8 draw 80 cwt. About half a ton per horse may be stated, as the common load. For the last three miles the country full of new villas in every direction, and many brick houses and cottages, all seem to date within 20 years, as nearly as I can judge by the colour and other circumstances of brick work and building. Whatever I see, therefore, has been erected since I was at Birmingham in 1768.

Seeing, as I passed, a house in ruins, on enquiry I found it was Dr. Priestley's; alighted from my horse, and walked over the ruins of that laboratory, which I had left home with the expectation of reaping instruction in - of that laboratory, the labours of which have not only illuminated mankind, but enlarged the sphere of science itself; which has carried its master's same to the remotest corners of the civilized world; and will now, with equal celerity convey the infamy of its destruction to the disgrace of the age, and the scandal of the British name. The close of the eighteenth century, the period for giving lectures of high church and Sacheverel, passive obedience, non-resistance, and the sovereign efficacy to the hard-ware of Birmingham, of mitred fronts in courts and parliaments ! These are the pulpit principles that have scrawled Church and King on all the barns and stables that I pass. These are the principles that instigated a mob of miscreants -- I beg pardon; -- of "FRIENDS and Fellow Churchmen , attached to CHURCH AND KING"7 -- to act so well for the reputation of this country.

Meeting here, by appointment, Mr. Bakewell, who being related to some gentlemen in the manufactory no time was lost; they had the goodness to shew me every thing I wished. The circumstance in the fabric which most excited my surprise was the small, or rather no use, that is made o water; in the town there are no mills; and the number in the vicinity, for the direct operations of the fabric, are inconsiderable; the number of little and distinct forges for works performed by a single hand, surprised me; I had conceived that machinery was carried much further in this fabric; they have some tools of beautiful invention, but which, to an inquisitive and reflecting mind, excites some degree of wonder that so many operations yet remain performed by the reiterated strokes of hand, given by a man in executing works that might apparently be abridged with the same case as others, seemingly more complex. I saw no machines comparable to a cotton mill or a stocking engine.

The capital improvement wrought since I was here before is the canal to Oxford, Coventry, Wolverhampton, &c.; the port, as it may be called. or double canal head in the town crouded with coal barges is a noble spectacle, with that prodigious animation, which the immense trade of this place could alone give. I looked around me with amazement at the change effected in twelve years; so great that this place may now probably be reckoned, with justice, the first manufacturing town in the world. From this port and these quays you may now go by water to Hull, Liverpool, Bristol, Oxford (130 miles), and London. The cut was opened through the coal mines to Wolverhampton in 1769. In 1783, into the new mines of Wednesbury, and to the junction with the Coventry canal, at Faseley, near Tamworth. From Birmingham to the Staffordshire canal is 22 miles, and to Faseley 15. In the 22 miles from hence to Wolverhampton only three locks: but down to Faseley there are 44 locks; not one rivulet to supply water, and only 30 acres of reservoirs, the water coming out of the earth. At Ocher hills they have a powerful steam engine for throwing back the waste water: and in the whole extent one that cost 4000l.; another of 3000l.; another of 2500l. another of 1200l.; and yet another building that will cost 3500l. The first-mentioned works at the charge of 200l. for six months. The old and new cuts were executed at the expence of about 250,000l.; one mile where it is open to the depth of 44 feet 30,000l. for sinking only 18 feet lower than the original level. There are 13 locks between the port and Deritan, 8 feet 2 inches wide, and the boats 7 feet; to pass the 13 takes only two hours. Coals, before these canals were made, were 6d. per cwt. At Birmingham, now 4d. The consumption is about 200,000 tons a year, which exhausts about 20 or 22 acres; it employs 40 boats, each 20 ton a day for the six summer months, besides 15 to 20 boats to Oxford, a new supply since the new cut. In the Wednesbury mines the coal is 10 yards thick, and in some even to 12 and 14, a thing elsewhere almost unheard of: a cubical yard they reckon a ton. Shares in the navigation, which were at first done at 140 per cent are now at 1040. I was assured that shares in the Aire and Calder navigation are yet higher, even 100 per cent. per ann.

These immense works, which wear so animated a face of business, correspond well with the prodigious increase of the town, which l viewed to good advantage from the top of the new church of St. Paul: it is now a very great city indeed; and it was abundantly curious to have it pointed out to me the parts added since I was here. They form the greatest part of the town, and carry in their countenance undoubted marks of their modern date. In 1768 the population was under 30,000; now the common calculation is 70,000, but more accurate calculation extend it to 80,000, which I am told is the number assigned by Dr. Priestley. In the last 10 years above 4000 new houses have been built: and the increase is at present going on much more rapidly, for I was told that the number this year is not less than 700.

The earnings of the workmen in the manufacture are various, but in general very high: a boy of 10 or 12 years, 2s. 6d. to 3s. a week; a woman from 4s. to 20s. a week, average about 6s.; men from 10s. to 25s. a week, and some much higher; colliers earn yet more. These are immense wages, when it is considered that the whole family is sure of constant steady employment; indeed they are so great, that I am inclined to think labour higher at Birmingham than in any place in Europe: a most curious circumstance for the politician to reflect on, and which shews of how little effect to manufactures is cheap labour, for here is the most flourishing fabric that was perhaps ever known, paying the highest rates of labour. Such an instance ought to correct those common notions that have been retailed from hand to hand a thousand times, that cheap provisions are necessary for the good of manufactures, because cheap provisions suppose cheap labour, which is a combination founded in ignorance and error. Provisions at Birmingham are at the same rate as every where else in England, for it is remarkable that the level of price at present is very general, except the division of the east and west of the kingdom for corn; but while Birmingham and Norwich eat their provisions at nearly the same price (with allowance that the former is much the more quick, ready, and active market), the price of labour is at least 150 per cent. higher in one of those places than the other. Thy then I enquire, what has provisions to do with the rate of labour? If one was to form our ideas from a very enlarged view of all the great fabrics in Europe, we should be apt to think that a great and flourishing fabric could not subsist, either with cheap provisions, or with cheap labour.

I tried hard to pick up some data, on which to calculate the amount of the fabric, but difficulties of various kinds prevented any accuracy in the estimation. In conversation with a very ingenious gentleman, who has written an able work on the town, and who was rewarded for it by having his house burnt down in the late riots, I mean Mr. Hutton, he informed me that ten years ago there were many estimates made with a good deal of care; and that on multiplied experiments it was found, that the returns per week, was equal to the rent per annum; including all the houses of the town on an average; all shops; all trades: the houses were then about 9000, and the rent 9l. each, on a medium: now the houses are about 13,000, and as I find, on enquiry, that the little houses, which have been built in such numbers for manufacturers, are let at 6l. 10s.8 the lowest; 7l. and 8l. each; 9l. on a general average of rents must now be much too low; however let us call it no more than 10l. this would make the rental of the town 130,000l. a year, and the returns of all its trade 6,760,000l. per annum: out of which a very great deduction is to be made for all the trades and professions of common life. supported by the manufacture, but not composing it. If I should form any idea corrective of this, it would be that the estimate is carried too high: let us suppose the population 80,000, then there are about 40,000 males, of these deduct 5000 not employed in the manufacture, remain 35,000; three-fourths of that number are of an age to be employed, or 26,250. Suppose these to earn, including manufacturers and merchants profit, 15s. a week, it amounts to 1,023,724l. a year. Of the 40,000 women 20,000 may be supposed to be employed, and to earn 6s. including, as above; the year's earnings will be 312,000l. in all 1,335,000l. double this, to include all raw materials, and you have 2,670,000l. for the amount of the manufacture. Now I am ready to grant, that here is a great deal of supposition in this estimate, but at the same time it is not altogether without data, and though the total may exceed this, possibly half a million, yet I think as much might be said to shew the calculation high, as to prove it low. It is true the ratio of the earnings is taken rather low, including, as it ought to do, the profit both of the manufacturer and of the merchant, which cannot well be less than 20 per cent.; but then the number of the workmen can scarcely exceed the supposition, probably not equal to it, 20,000 females, in particular are a high allowance.

There are some circumstances in the supply of this great market, which seem rather singular; garden vegetables come from Evesham, 30 miles off; and from Tamworth, 16 miles; there being very few gardens near the town. Corn is brought by land carriage from very great distances, such as appeared to me almost incredible; from Compton 50 miles; and from Buckingham 56; it may be supposed that the carriage of coal back must be the principal inducement to such prodigious carriage. It comes hither also from the vale of Evesham. None is brought from Liverpool, nor any since 1782 from Hull. North of Birmingham the country consumes much more than it produces, and is fed very much from this town; Dudley, For instance, is a better market than Birmingham; Wolverhampton is chiefly supplied by Shropshire.

Upon these circumstances I have a remark to offer, which ought to be particularly interesting to Norfolk, Suffolk, and Cambridgeshire, three counties which are certainly to be classed among the cheapest corn ones in England. Of what infinite importance is it to make a navigation from Bury, in Suffolk, to Birmingham. Measuring on the map the following distances occur:

Miles.
From Bury to Ely, by water, 30
Ely to Huntingdon, by ditto, 25
Huntingdon to Higham Ferrars, by land, 20
Higham Ferrars to Daventry, by water, 22
Daventry to the Coventry canal, S. of Dunchurch, by land, 10
From that junction to Birmingham, by the canal. 30
--
137
--

Every thing here mentioned by water is already navigable, I have no doubt, except the 10 miles from Northampton to Daventry; and thus it appears that there are wanting no more than 30 miles of new cuts, certainly not more than 40, to connect the wretchedly cheap corn and dear coal market of Bury with the great demand of corn and supply of coals that are found at Birmingham. The people of Suffolk are eager for navigations to connect them with London, but let them remember that the numberless markets of Birmingham, and its vicinity, are, on an average, 30, perhaps 40 per cent. higher than London, and consequently an union with such a manufacturing region would affect our markets to a vastly greater benefit than any navigation to London could do.


1 There is one point in manuring here, which deserves notice; lime is used, on sound good loams, for turnips; from twelve to twenty quarters per acre, at the expense of 2s. 10d. per quarter.

2 Mentioning Mr. Roper, reminds me of an experiment he has made on cow-grass. In the spring of 1789, he sowed part of a field with red clover, and the rest of it with cow-grass bought from Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire , with barley after turnips. Both here mown for hay in 1790, the common clover giving the greatest produce, and rather the most after-grass. This year, 1791, both are fed, and the cow grass has yielded vastly more than the clover, and of a better quality. They are apparently of a decidedly different habit and quality; the cow grass spreads more on the ground; thicker; the stalk is solid, not pipy, and it does not run equally to blossom. The stipula of the trifolium alpefire , is lancolated; of the pratense aristated; which I have been taught to esteem the decisive difference, as well as the running roots of the former: now, to all common appearance, these plants are the same, for 1 do not put much faith in a doubtful appearance of solidity in the stalk. Will some of my botanical readers pay some attention to this question, and give to plain farmers, the characteristical difference of these plants; and should there be none, which was the opinion of the late Rev. Mr. Laurents, a very able botanist, will they at least explain these certainly distinct qualities, of which duration is the most material.

3 If all bought, it would be 2l. 8s.

4 I measured Wakes oak in the forest, which is the ruins of a noble tree. 20 feet 3 inches in circumference, at 5 feet from the ground, and 25 feet 8 inches, at 25feet. Ravens oak, 16 feet 8 inches, at 5 feet. The Lawnhead oak, 16 feet 6 inches.

5 They have an ?conomical practice, of burning lime on the kiln at the same time with bricks; to a kiln of 15,000 bricks, 40 quarters of lime are burnt.

6 Such ridings answer the purposes for which they were made, and therefore it would be ridiculous to find fault with them, but to me they bring down the imposing effect of the forest idea, to the decoration of a park; if grass is introduced, it should be in broken and irregular lines; to be lost in the sinuosities of such, would be a merit adapted to the extent and wildness of the scene; a man should be able to find his way in a park, but not in a forest.

7 Called so in an address to the mob, while engaged in their plunderings and burnings, in the same hand-bill that speaks of the King's laws . May not that address be translated into plainer English, "You are a set of honest fellows, engaged in a good cause - which, however, you have pushed a littte too far . What a miracle after that the whole town was not plundered and burnt !

8 Near the canal there are ranges of workmen's garden, 16 yards by 24, which let each at 1l. 1s. per annum; this is 13l. 5s. per acre.

Arthur Young, Tours in England and Wales, selected from the Annals of Agriculture (London: London School of Economics, 1932)

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