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study not only their character and habits, but the modes of culture practised with such success in a country so little favoured by nature !

And were he actually to come among us, it would be easy for him, having started from the Land's End, to proceed from one warm-hearted and hospitable farmer to another, till the Pentland Firth arrested his course;- and all his journey long he might converse with cultivators of ardent minds, full of gencral as well as practical knowledge, who refused to despond, while they saw so much every where around them awaiting the hand of the improver, - who differing widely from each other in political opinion, or on the absolute policy of recent fiscal regulations, yet agreed in feeling that new difficulties only demand new exertions, — and that to resolute men, the conquest of the stubborn land is as sure as the dominion of the sea.

On quitting the British shores, after such a tour, our imaginary foreigner would carry with him a true impression of the flower of English and Scottish agriculturists: And his original estimate of the skill of these island farmers, of their manliness and firmness, would only be strengthened by his actual survey.

But if, instead of being carried along, by his friends or his letters, where the best men and the most skilful culture were to be seen, he should fall into a less known and beaten way, and turning into the by-paths of our rural districts, were to quarter himself on the less instructed class of farmers, -among whom are many who hold large breadths of land, - how ill would the depression and despondency and ignorance of many he now met with agree with his pre-conceived opinions and glowing anticipations! What he had admired as a resolute far-seeing determination, he would here be taught to regard only as the most culpable rashness; and what he had ascribed to large knowledge and confidence in approved skill, he would now be told to attribute to the temperament of over sanguine men, ignorant of what practical agriculture can effect at present, and of what it can ever reasonably hope hereafter to perform. How different the estimate of the character, the skill, and the social state of the country, which this second tour would leave with him, from that which we suppose him to have carried away from the other! It may

be that our former class of cultivators are, in some things, too credulous and venturesome: but most certainly the latter class are too desponding; and underrate, generally from want of knowledge, the command which existing skill might win for them over the difficulties in which they feel or fancy themselves to be placed.

To many, indeed, it may seem strange that in a country

like ours, which, as a whole, certainly stands at the head of European agriculture, so much ignorance should prevail in regard to the principles of the rural arts, — even in the best cultivated districts, and among farmers of the first or leading rank. But the truth is that a few individuals in each county set the example to the rest; make the first trials, run the first risks, and establish the successive improvements. The major part live upon the wits of these men; advance by the help of their knowledge, and adopt the experiments which they have tested. And thus the entire district no doubt advances; while the whole body of farmers obtain the credit of understanding what each of them comes at last to practise.

It must, indeed, always be so, in every art. All may learn how to do a given piece of work; but only a few will understand the principles on which the several steps in the process depend, or will be able to explain how the process must be altered when circumstances alter, or when a change in the market renders necessary a corresponding change in the article to be produced. The true intellectual character, therefore, of British agriculture - the soul and spirit of it is only to be seen in that upper class of men, among whom we supposed our foreigner to have gone in the first instance. They form the locomotive, by which the heavy rural train is slowly dragged ahead, — and which so stoutly snorts against, and battles with the steepest gradients !

It is not wonderful that practical men, who have never learned to take this humbling view of their own apparent skill, should undervalue the aids of the very science which, unknown to themselves, has really made them what they are. It has so often happened in ordinary experience that failure has attended the farming of mere men of books and science, from the want of business habits and of a prudent conduct of their affairs; while such prudent conduct, with ordinary observation and some skill in bargaining, has so often made a farmer thrive — that book knowledge has often been driven to the wall, and the value of practice above science immeasurably extolled, where rent had to be paid. In the meantime, the real state of the question is overlooked:- Assume the same prudence, energy, and business skill in both cases: and then the man who knows the principles of his art the best, will, under the same circumstances, unquestionably make the most money. While we ask, therefore, for more instruction, we stipulate for no less prudence than before.

As often as farmers of merely local skill, and most of our best practical men are, as we have shown, entitled to no higher character,) shift to new counties, where other soils and other customs prevail, their local knowledge, to their frequent loss and mortification, is found to fail them. They presume, in their shallow self-sufficiency, that what they did elsewhere must succeed everywhere; and that the local practice of the districts they have left, will yield as large or even larger profits, in these to which they have come.

We had the opportunity a few months ago of attending an agricultural meeting on the borders of the fen land of Huntingdon, where the Direct Northern Railway runs across the bog which quakes around Whittlesea Mere. At this meeting one of the most noted farmers of the district, in commenting

upon the alleged superior skill of his Scottish brethren, so often, he said, cast in their teeth, stated, that in his recollection no less than six and twenty Scottish farmers had come to settle in that country; and all had failed - except one, who was still under trial The same result, in so many instances, can scarcely be accounted for by any cause less general than this; - skilful cultivators as they might have been at home, they had been unable to diseriminate between the character of the soil and climate which they had left and that of the soil and climate to which they had removed ; and consequently they had undervalued the many local adaptations to those peculiar circumstances, which long experience had introduced among the native farmers

In fact, an inspection of the heavy soils of Huntingdon and the aljoining counties, which rest upon and are mainly derived from ihe Oxford clay, will at once explain to a person who has examined the surface of the northern half of the island, why Scottish farmers, introducing unmodified Scottish practices, should fail, in these quarters, to cultivate with a profit. To say nothing of differences of climate, it is enough that in all Scorland there are no clay soils which at all resemble the clays w these counties, - none so difficult and expensive to work, 80 vorn under the plough, so susceptible to rain and drought;

which the tid - the time between too wet and too dry-is so Wivil and which in their present state require such special pildband and so large a force to work. Under circumstances so maAvm, it is not wonderful therefore that men, locally skilful, wa kuprovided with principles to guide them, should have Www www in adapting their home methods to these new conW Haw much more generally useful would that measure w problema end practical skill

, which is almost necessarily acquimi bos mery settled member of the agricultural community, winter w. such principles universally diffused among them!

comprehension and despondency, whether arising

from defective knowledge or from other causes, are disturbing the minds of so many, not only of the occupiers, but of the owners of land, it is of consequence to inquire, — from what sources relief and hope are to be looked for ? and, apart from fiscal regulations, what our own hands and heads can do, to uphold, as in times past, the prosperity of the agricultural interest and the comfort of our rural population ?

A pamphlet recently published by Mr. Caird, a Wigtonshire farmer", discusses this question in a practical, though too limited sense.

His position, that high-farming is the best substitute for protection, is well illustrated by the results of the actual management of a farm of two hundred and sixty acres on the estate of Colonel M‘Douall of Logan in Wigtonshire. The improvements consisted of drainage, judicious grain-cropping, more extended stock-feeding, and high manuring; and, within a time not specified, they have increased the produce fourfold :-' amply sufficient,' it is stated, 'to pay the * increased annual expenditure, and leave a rich return for the tenant's capital and enterprise besides.'

Supposing two thirds of the whole improveable land of Great Britain, and nine tenths of that of Ireland, to be neither drained, according to our more perfect methods, nor subjected to the greater pressure of high-farming, over this proportion of the two islands the rents of land and the profits of the cultivator might be kept up to at least their present state, by the universal adoption of the more skilful and improved culture described by Mr. Caird. It must therefore be the interest of all persons connected with agriculture, and especially of the owners of such land, to encourage the extension of this improved system, and by every means to diffuse the knowledge on which the profitable practice of the system depends.

But more than this must be done. For the comfort and fair encouragement of all parties, we must not stop here. If prices are to be permanently lowered, both for corn and cattle, it may be feared, that improvements which were profitable under the old prices will not be so under the new. And further, if the Lothians and Lincolnshire, and the best parts of all our other counties be already highly farmed, Mr. Caird's substitute for protection will not avail them. They not only cultivate well already, but they pay rents in proportion ; and, unless there is some way for them to advance further still, both the rents of the owners and the profits of the cultivators of our most im

* High-farming, under liberal Covenants, the best Substitute for Protection. Blackwood: 1849.

portant distriets must certainly fall

. It is not therefore to highfarming, in the abstract sense, that we can look for the general and permanent support of our national agriculture. It is only by the general introduction of improvements upon existing methods, on rich land as well as on poor, on the high-farmed as well as on the low-farmed, that the actual condition of all who depend on land is to be bettered, or indeed maintained. We must raise more corn and cattle on the same surface, or we must raise the same quantities at a less cost.

And how is either of these things to be done?

As in all the other arts by which this country has attained to eminence, it must be by the application of more skill. If the United States of America are now beating us out of any of our old markets, it is not that they possess more energy than we do, more industry, or more intelligence, or have cheaper labour; but because, from their earnest competition, they have in these cases been more attentive to avail themselves of the daily discoveries of Science, and have accordingly so far succeeded in producing better or cheaper articles.

It is from the aids of Science, hitherto so much undervalued, that British agriculture is to draw new strength. If other nations have outstripped her in any art, she, by the use of the same means, may surely outstrip her present self. She has only to carry out a little more zealously and generously into agriculture the system by which her other manufacturing arts have been raised to their present height; and the numerous cases of individual distress which all fiscal and social changes involveand which, we may add, all great national triumphs bring along with them — will be swallowed up and disappear beneath the swelling tide of general prosperity.

But what has science yet done for practical agriculture to justify this opinion concerning its future use? This is a question which is still asked, notwithstanding all that has not only been written but performed of late years, showing the relations of science to practical husbandry in its largest sense. The works, of which the titles are placed at the head of this article, afford us the materials for a satisfactory reply.

Our readers are aware that botany, physiology, geology, meteorology, and mechanics, all lay claim, and with much justice, to the honour of having greatly benefited general husbandry and those concerned in it. But during the last twenty years Chemistry has taken the lead in explaining the processes and illustrating the principles on which the practice of agriculture depends. During this period its materials have been gradually accumulating; and, when collected, systematised, and

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