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Calling in the aid of chemistry to quicken the powers
of nature, that you will hear a common farmer of
the present day talking about ammonia and phos-
phates, as though he were acquainted with their
composition;” so persuaded is this class of the im-
perious need of extorting more and more from natural
The efforts made in agricultural progress some
fifty years ago, proceeded from members of the
aristocratic class. Those now at work result in great
part from the enterprize and emulation of a class
Somewhat lower in the social scale, of which the
spirited owner of “Tiptree Hall” is one of the most
instructive specimens.
“It is said that M. Mechi buries money in his
farming experiments, and I can readily believe it;
but I like this vein of expenditure better than most
others. A Paris cockney would perhaps lay out his
money in a smart villa, with Gothic portico, and a
Swiss hermitage, and other silly whims. Which is the
preferable mode?” (p. 256.)
The system of distributing, by tubes or otherwise,
fluid stercoraceous matter over the surface of our
soil, mainly due to the example set by the Rev. Mr.
Huxtable and Mr. Mechi, now ranks among the most
effective of the stimuli, to the employment of which

* “The agricultural mind is now becoming alive to the fact that, task the powers of cultivation and of the soil as we may, we are likely to be wholly unable to keep up with the demands made upon them by our rapidly increasing population; a population, too, whose powers of consumption are increasing even in a greater ratio than its numbers, so that it exhibits day by day an increasing desire to revel in beef and mutton,” &c. &c.—Agricultural Gazette for the week ending December 2, 1854, No. 48.

we are in course of being driven. M. Lavergne seizes the value of this provocative, describing the system with care and exactness in the chapter “High Farming.” As to the stall-feeding practice, the author again expresses himself thus:–“One cannot suppress a disagreeable emotion on beholding these poor creatures, whose relations still stray over the immense pasture grounds of Britain, here deprived of liberty and exercise, and on thinking that possibly a day may come when the numerous herds which yet roam at large amid green fields, frisking with gaiety, shall all be clapped up within these dismal walls, which they will quit only to be driven to the slaughter-house. These workhouses for the production of meat, milk, and manure, where the animal figures as a mere machine,

offer something which is unpleasant to the imagina

tion; after a peep into one of these, one's stomach has little relish for meat for days after. But the loud clamours of necessity impel you to produce food, at all cost, and no matter by what means: with never slackening pace your population strides onward, whilst its wants even outstrip its numbers. Farewell, then, to the pastoral scenes and features of which England has ever boasted the charm, and which poets and painters have striven with emulous rivalry to depict and illustrate.” (p. 215.) He suggests indeed two chances—viz., that the quality of the meat thus managed may at last grow too bad to be endured, or, that the unnatural regimen itself may give rise to diseases unknown in our flocks and herds under the old healthy plan of grazing. All of us, at least all persons above forty years of age, re


cognise the difference between the old down-fed mutton
of former times, and the present pallid, tallowy article
supplied by butchers, and deplore the impossibility of
obtaining for money any better meat. The decline of
flavour and quality in our mutton, nobody indeed dis-
putes, but we are told that the farmer can send the
sheep to market cheaper at 20 months old, than at five
years. So conclusive to all English minds is this argu-
ment, that the counteracting contingencies contem-
plated by M. Lavergne, of firstly, an universal
murrain, or, secondly, a wide-spread distaste for oil
cake as a bottom dish, however disguised by the out-
Ward semblance of fibrine and caseine, as checks to
the cheap production of meat, do not re-assure us.
But our limits warn us to terminate this vein of pro-
phecy, which we will do by one more quotation from
our economist's more sentimental pages.
“Black clouds of smoke now curl over the verdant
landscapes so delightfully chanted by Thomson: the
charm peculiar to English rural scenery is disappear-
ing with its pastures and hedgerows. The ancient
feudal character of country life is changing under
the disappearance of its game. Even its parks are
regarded with a sort of jealousy, as occupying a
surface capable of being more profitably culti-

“In all this we may perceive much more than an agricultural question; nay, it concerns perhaps the whole structure of English society. No one ought to affirm that revolutions find no field in England; on the contrary, revolutions go forward there as elsewhere, only that they proceed silently and in a leisurely way.” And he adds that he believes in the possibility of adapting the new to the old forms of society, in such a manner as that we shall all come out gainers; though this seems to us a persuasion requiring vast faith in the agents of the compromise.


After a brief glance over the English counties, their most striking external features, soil, productions,

and varying relations between owner and cultivator,

we come to the chapter on Scotland.
Here, as indeed is the case with the author's descrip-
tion of England, much more than an agricultural
“coup-d'oeil” is presented to the reader. One of the
characteristics on which M. Lavergne dwells with
obvious pleasure, is the approximation, in that
country, to the negation of government.
“Viewed in a political light,” says he, “Scotland
may be pronounced to be England perfected. No-
where in Europe is there less of administrative
machinery: one must go to America to find an equal
measure of simplicity in this respect. A centralized
administration, so much lauded, which both vexes
and taxes three-fourths of the French nation for the
advantage of the remaining fourth, stifling through-
out the land all local or individual initiatory action,
is here unknown.” (p. 345.)
Again :-
“In this little nation, of less than three millions
of souls, a sense of common interests (that funda-
mental truth so hard to inculcate through the lessons
of science) is recognised by, and is present to all.
Scotland, in short, is a family.” (p. 347.)
As with most travellers, Scottish scenery, coupled
as it is with traditions of a picturesque age, disposes
M. Lavergne to poetical musings. He appears to be

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perfectly familiar with the creations of Sir Walter Scott, and delights to find a locality for his favourite

fictions as he wanders over ground hallowed by

those marvellous romances. Shaking off this seductive mood, however, he conducts us through the “Lowlands,” lecturing as he goes along upon the culture pursued, and the races of domestic animals prevalent, in that section of North Britain; touching, by way of conclusion, upon the superior prudence and self-control displayed by the Lowlanders in regard to marriage; their numbers never exceeding the limits of comfortable subsistence. Whilst in England, he says, the population has tripled its numbers, and that of Ireland quadrupled, Scotland has, during an equal interval, only doubled hers; in the Lowlands, that is to say, for in the Northern counties a vastly different state of society has always subsisted. “The Highlands” forms a chapter apart, and will be found to contain much that is not generally known to Southern readers. The author “commences with the Deluge,” it must be premised, but, having started, runs so rapidly over the historical antecedents of “Bonnie Scotland” that the reader is safely landed, at the end of about fourand-twenty pages, enriched with so much information respecting the extraordinary mutation that Scottish industry, social institutions, and manners have undergone, as will surprise him, when he can take breath and reflect upon the space he has travelled over. To sketch an outline even of the domestic revolution effected in the sister kingdom, is what few foreigners would have had the hardihood to attempt. D

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