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In the year 1678 England, by statute, enacted that all corpses should be buried in woolen shrouds, and this statute remained in force until the year 1808. Whether or not this law afforded any comfort or consolation to the English citizen, who thus secured for himself, in death, at least, if not before, one suit of woolen clothes, is not known, but the result of the law, it is said, was most beneficial to wool-growing and wool manufacture.

In the year 1684 the assembly of Virginia passed a law to encourage the manufacture of wool in that colony, but England annulled the law, and fifteen years later, viz, in 1699, becoming jealous of the colonies, prohibited under heavy penalties the exporting of wool or woolen manufactures from their borders.

As further evidence of the jealousy of England toward her colonies, in 1698 Governor Nicholson of Virginia suggested to the English Crown that cloth-making should be prohibited in the colonies, and the other royal governors soon followed the example of Governor Nicholson.

In 1731 the English Government "instituted inquiries to ascertain to what extent colonial manufactures were injuring English manufactures," and in 1750 the alarm became so great at the increase of American skill that a statute was enacted prohibiting the exporting from England of any tools or utensils used in woolen manufactures.

In the year 1700 the wool crop of England was only about 10,000,000 pounds per annum, and the value of her woolen manufactures about $40,000,000. In 1844 her woolen manufactures had increased to $120,000,000 per annum in value, and her woolen exports to $40,000,000. In 1859 her woolen exports alone amounted to $75,000,000, while her wool crop in the United Kingdom was 250,000,000 pounds and her imports of raw wool 110,000,000 pounds. The average weight per fleece in the United Kingdom in 1860 was 5 pounds.

Woolen manufactures retained their supremacy as the first in importance of English industries until the close of the eighteenth century, when the wonderful increase in cotton production and manufacture sent cotton manufactures to the front.


In the colonies wool production and manufacture were of slow growth, owing to the unfriendly attitude of the mother country; nevertheless considerable progress was made. Of course whatever of knowledge there was in the colonies as to the use or manufacture of wool was derived from England.

The first sheep introduced into the colonies were brought from England to Jamestown, Va., in the year 1609; the exact number is not known but probably only a few. There is but little subsequent information about these until 1649, when it is stated that they had increased to 3,000.

In 1633 a few sheep were brought from England to Massachusetts, and in the year 1640 they had increased to about three thousand. In 1625 the Dutch brought over some sheep to the New Netherlands, and again in 1630, but their efforts to raise sheep proved unsuccessful.

In 1663 a Swedish colony in Delaware brought over 80 sheep.

No mention can be found of the names of these stocks of sheep introduced from Europe at this early period, but it is known that the wool was coarse and the sheep inferior, and there is no record of any effort to improve the stock by importing Merinos until after the Revolution.

In 1645 Massachusetts passed laws encouraging the raising of sheep, and in 1656 another statute was passed requiring each family to spin 3 pounds of wool, cotton, or flax per week for thirty weeks of each year.

In the same year, 1656, the first weaver who settled and commenced weaving at Lowell, Mass., was encouraged so to do by a grant of 30 acres of land.

In 1662 Virginia, by statute, prohibited the exporting of wool, and offered 5 pounds of tobacco [at that time Virginia currency] for every yard of woolen cloth made in the colony; and in 1664 the general assembly of Virginia established in each county looms and weavers.

Other colonies likewise encouraged wool raising and manufacture by various local statutes.

There are no means of ascertaining the number of sheep in the colonies prior to the Revolution, but it is known that before the close of the seventeenth century "spinning, carding, and weaving of wool, and the dressing of cloth were introduced in all of the old colonies by the successive arrivals of English and German artisans, and were encouraged by statutes, and it was said that New England then abounded in sheep."

Just prior to the Revolution it was deemed patriotic in all the colonies to use homespun cloth in preference to English goods, and in the year 1770 it is said that "the graduating class at Harvard College appeared clad in black cloth of New England manufacture," but this was probably of inferior grade.


The first concerted action for the improvement of the stock of sheep seems to have come from the Society for the Promotion of Agriculture of South Carolina. In 1785 this society offered a medal for the first flock of Merino sheep kept in the State; but there were no importations of Merino sheep to any of the States until 1793.

Prior to Queen Elizabeth's reign, England raised the finest Merino sheep in the world; but during her reign Spain stepped to the front rank in raising sheep of fine grade, and she guarded her fine Merino stock with jealousy, forbidding the export of any Merino sheep from that country.

In 1793 Hon. William Foster, of Massachusetts, is said to have smuggled from Spain to a friend in Boston three fine Merinos, worth $1,500 each; but Foster's friend, in ignorance of the value of the gift, killed the sheep for mutton and thanked him for the delicious meat he had sent him.

The first full-blooded Merino stock ram kept in this country, so far as can be ascertained, was from 1801 to 1805, on the farms of M. Dupont de Nemours and M. de Lessert, on the Hudson River. This ram was imported from Spain at a cost of $1,000, and named Dom Pedro. In 1805 M. Dupont purchased Dom Pedro, and he became the sire of many fine-grade flocks, near Wilmington, Del.

In 1810 M. Dupont erected woolen mills on the Brandywine, and in his manufactures used the wool of these flocks.

In 1802 Hon. R. R. Livingston, United State minister at Paris, and afterwards chancellor, sent home to his New York farm two pairs of French Merinos from the French Government stock at Chalons; these he crossed with the Dom Pedro stock.

Col. David Humphreys, of Connecticut, United States minister to Spain, shipped to the United States in 1802 a flock of 20 Merino rams and 71 ewes.

In 1803 Dr. James Mease, of Philadelphia, imported 2 black Spanish Merinos.

In 1807 Dr. Muller imported several Merinos from Hesse-Cassel.

In 1809 William Jarvis, consul at Lisbon, purchased and shipped to the United States from Lisbon 3,850 sheep selected from the best Spanish breeds, which had been confiscated and ordered to be sold by the Span. ish Junta, and it is estimated that up to 1810 there had been imported about 5,000 Merino sheep, which had been disseminated through New England and the Middle States, and as far west as Ohio.

At an exhibition of the Merino Society of the Middle States in October, 1811, there were specimens of the Irish, Tunisian or Barbary, New Leicester, Bakewell or Dishley, and Southdown breeds.

These 5,000 Merino sheep are the basis on which stands the American improved stock of the present day, although the stock has been, since 1810, kept up by numerous additions from the best flocks of Europe. In 1823 the Saxon Merinos were imported, and since then the French and Silesian Merinos have been introduced and distributed throughout the country, and the United States have for forty years past been raising as fine sheep and as fine wool as any country in the world, though not to the extent demanded by manufacturers.

It is the current popular opinion that English and Australian wool surpasses American in quality, but the reverse is true. The opinion referred to doubtless arises from the fact that England surpasses this country in fine broadcloths and cassimeres, but that is due to the fine quality and length of fiber of American wool, which renders it unsuitable for the short smooth nap of fine cloths. The American cloths, how

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ever, are more durable than the English, though not susceptible of so smooth a finish. In all goods where soft and fleecy finish is required, American wool and American manufactures excel those of the rest of the world.

In 1851, at the World's Exhibition in London, four prize medals were awarded to American sheep, and at the International Exhibition of 1863, at Hamburg, where all of the finest flocks of Europe were represented, two first-class prizes were awarded to Merino sheep from Vermont.

Since the year 1850, the Western States and Territories have taken the front rank as sheep and wool producing sections. In Texas, New Mexico, and California, there were 21 sheep ranches in 1880, aggregating 3,000,000 sheep, and averaging about 140,000 to the ranch; the greater portion of these (probably four-fifths of them) were in the hands of old Mexican families. The pasturage of these sheep, like the pasturage of a large part of the Western cattle, is supplied by the lands of the United States Government.*

Sheep, however, are not believed to injure lands; on the contrary, it is said that sheep-grazing produces a stronger grass, and it is estimated *In the cases of the small flocks of sheep abounding principally in the Southern, Middle, and Eastern States, whose average size is small, probably not exceeding forty or fifty per flock, there is no rule of treatment with respect to their care, propagation, &c., which can be laid down. But among the large ranges of the West and Southwest, especially Texas, New Mexico, and California, the methods as to these vital matters are more uniform.

There the sheep are divided into flocks of from 1,200 to 2,500, with one shepherd in charge of each flock. The shepherd is generally assisted by one or more shepherd dogs. These dogs, together with the shepherd's wife, accompany him from pasture to pasture from the close of the sheep-shearing season until October or November, when he returns with his flock to their permanent winter abode.

As soon as he returns the weathers are separated from the ewes and the latter are corraled to receive the Merino rams.

These pure Merino rams have been fed for about a month previously on corn and oats mixed. They are admitted to the ewes at night and withdrawn at daybreak, when the ewes are driven to pasture and the rams fed with corn, oats, and alfalfa hay. This process is continued for about six weeks until all the ewes have beeu served.

Some ranchmen use 1 ram for 50 ewes, while most of them supply 1 ram to 100


The rams are renewed every three years.

Ewes, if well treated, last for seven years.

The better grades of sheep now bear two lambs and not infrequently three, while the native and common stock never have over one. The period of gestation is from twenty to twenty-one weeks.

Just before the lambing season begins, three extra men are employed for each flock. These men care for the ewes during parturition. And within about ten days from the beginning of the season the important and delicate work of castrating, marking, and tailing the young lambs begin.

The lambing season, which lasts about the same length of time as the rutting season, say six weeks, being over, the shearing begins, and as soon as this is ended the extra hands are discharged and the shepherds, their wives and dogs, again depart with their flocks for the summer pastures.

that a Western sheep pasture, after five years' grazing, will support 40 per cent. more sheep than it did the first year.

Sheep raising has of late years superseded cattle raising to a great extent along the Mexican border. This revolution has been effected in consequence of the liability of cattle to the raids of cattle thieves who drive them across the border, while sheep cannot be made to travel rapidly or to any great distance.

Prior to 1850 the few sheep owned in Texas were of the old Spanish or Mexican breed, greatly degenerated, producing only about 1 pound to the fleece, and of inferior quality. From 1850 to 1860 greater attention was devoted to sheep-raising in Texas, and pure Merinos were imported and crossed on the native stock with the 'happiest results. In 1860 the number of sheep in Texas had increased 700 per cent. over that of the year 1850, and the wool clip was much better. From 1860 to 1870 there was no increase, but a slight decrease in numbers, the decrease being only for the years 1868-'69. In 1880 the number of sheep had doubled since 1870, and the wool clip had increased 300 per cent. In 1880 the native Mexican sheep, which in 1850 produced only 1 pound per fleece, produced on an average 2.17 pounds, while the half-breed Merinos produced 3.17 pounds, and the grades above half breeds produced 4.75 pounds per fleece. Here, as elsewhere in the United States, practical experience has demonstrated that the best sheep for the country generally is about three-fourths Merino, the grades above that proving less hardy and more liable to serious diseases, although during the last twenty years the long combing wool or mutton sheep, viz, the Leicesters or Lincolns and Cotswolds, have greatly increased and are still increasing, especially in localities convenient to the large fresh-meat markets of the country. This has been caused by the enhanced value of the long combing wools for worsted manufactures, and also by the superior quality of the mutton of these sheep; but the quality of their wool does not equal that of the Merinos, nor is the wool so valuable for general manufacturing purposes. Up to the present time, however, the long combing wools bring the highest prices, owing to their scarcity. It is now estimated that one-fourth of the stock of Michigan and a few other Western States is of the mutton or long combing wool stocks, while New York has to a great extent substituted the same stock for her Merinos. If the rest of the country should follow the example of New York, the prices of the combing wools would necessarily depreciate, while Merinos would enhance in value and the manufacturing interests would lose by the change.

Merinos are not only the hardiest sheep, but also produce the finest quality of wool, and sheep-growers have recently, in view of the dangers besetting the Merino stock from the rivalry of the mutton sheep, advocated and begun to practice the doctrine that the mutton qualities of the Merinos can be improved so that they will equal the best mutton sheep. Their theory is that Merinos are poorly fed, and, when young,

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