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REVIEW OF THOMAS MooRE's PIFE AND works (REPRINTED
* No. CII. or Tre a EDINBURGH Review") e . 81
LINES *GGESTED by MoRE THAN ONE RECENT
RURAL (ECONOMY OF ENGLAND.
1. Essai sur l'Économie rurale de l'Angleterre. Par M. Léonce
de Lavergne, de l'Institut. 1854. 2. Gisborne's Essays on Agriculture. , 1843. 3. Coleman's Visit to England. 1850. 4. Un Voyage à Londres. 1851.
For EIGN travellers, in shoals, have printed and published their impressions of the British Isles; we have had our portraits painted in all conceivable styles, whilst our national vanity has certainly been ministered to by admiring strangers in a way to satisfy the most exigent John Bull amongst us. At the same time, it is as well to admit that some of the Continental ramblers who have visited our shores, pretend to have discovered many imperfections in the social arrangements of England which justly displeased them and offended their taste: with one or two of these dissentients we intend one day to have a passing word, but our chief purpose in approaching the subject of foreign criticism upon the British people and their domestic economy, is to present, in somewhat of a prominent manner, the remarkable work which stands at the head of this article, by M. Léonce de Lavergne, Ex-Prof. at Coll. Agron. of Versailles. The book would seem to have been written, in great part, with a design to convey information and instruction to his own countrymen, especially those engaged B
in agriculture. Long inclined to a belief in the superior science and advancing progress of English husbandry, the author resolved to examine into it personally, and having devoted some time to the work of inquiry and observation—constantly taking notes of what he saw and learned—he has digested his views at leisure into a comprehensive form ; drawing parallels or contrasts, according as the case suggested, between the rural economy of France and that of England. It is hardly necessary to add that the comparisons run a good deal in our favour; their backward science, and the incomplete methods pursued by a large proportion of French cultivators, being repeatedly adverted to, with obvious regret, not to say humiliation. To incite our neighbours to improved efforts being, as has been stated, one of the leading aims of the author, he never hesitates to place in the broad light of contrast, sometimes of ridicule, the shortcomings of those amidst whom it is his fortune to dwell. And if lucid exposition, practical appeals to their interest, and counsels inspired by a thorough comprehension of the subject, could awaken the emulation or quicken the apprehension of the French “paysan,” this book ought to make a sensible impression upon that numerous body. Indeed, we have reason to believe that it has already done so, and that it is obtaining considerable circulation. Meanwhile, our own people will do well to study in the pages before us, the history as well as the theory and practice of modern improvements in husbandry. In a picture traced by the hand of a stranger, curiosity blends itself with the simple appetite for knowledge, and we become as interested
in his account of “short-horns,” “new Leicesters,”
* A hectare is nearly equal to two and a-half English acres.