Imagens da página

the number of inclosures; and of the Welsh farmer to begin folding his sheep. By this means he would soon be possessed of more valuable arable land, and have a quantity of grass land highly productive, that would continue to improve the longer it remains.

In a country thinly peopled, and destitute of large towns, the richer manure must be scarce; and the succedaneum sheep-folding is not used. Still the country in various parts produces different substances, that, with judicious management, might supply the deficiency.

A knowledge of a few common principles of chymistry, and the application of them. to practice, would do wonders for Wales; but these are not known, and if they were, would probably be disregarded. Lime is the general substitute in the inland parts, and sea-wreck and sea-sand in the parts bordering on the coast. The great error of those who disclaim the use of lime, has been that of using it on all kinds of land, without distinction ; vainly expecting equal advantages from the most opposite effects. While it has proved a useful dressing to some soils, it has rendered others less fertile. To clay lands and cold wet bogs, this substance may be useful in a mechanical and chymical view. It may break and divide the argillaceous particles, and render it less tenacious by absorbing the superfluous moisture, and thus be beneficial as an alterative. It may, by combining with the superabundant acids with which these soils abound, decompose the

vegetable and animal matter; and, by assisting putrefaction, develope other principles favourable to the growth of vegetables. In silicious soils by increasing the density and tenacity, enabling it to hold water longer, the principal food of plants, lime also may be highly beneficial. But the Welsh farmer, from having heard of the great crops obtained by liming, or rather from the strength of prevailing custom, and the facility with which he can obtain this substance, is fatally bountiful in its application ; and from su persaturation it produces an action on the soil more violent than is compatible with a state of fertility. Sometimes it is put upon the ground in its full caustic state, and immediately ploughed in. This, from the quantity of vegetable matter lime will thus dissipate by its disengaged heat in a state of gas, that otherwise would have helped to fertilize the soil, must be highly injurious. In other cases, from the distance it is fetched, and the time it is suffered to lie upon the ground, it is slaked by the dews, and rains; and being long subject to the action of the atmosphere, becomes in a great measure inert, returns to a state of carbonate of lime or chalk, and, without other assistance, only serves to, increase the barrenness of the soil. Yet still without reason, the Welsh farmer goes on, subjecting himself to increasing loss by increasing experiments; and wondering and complaining at the sterility of the soil. He loads his grass lands, with the same inattention to causes and consequences, A first or second dressing, by its meeting with other sub

and hay.

stances, that enter into new combinations with it, will afford matters friendly to the growth of the several useful grasses; but when oversaturated by its specific gravity, it falls below the roots of the sward, and forms a new soil, consisting of calcareous matter, several inches thick; and those who have wit, nessed the state of herbage upon unassisted chalk lands, need not be told how he is soon disappointed of his usual



grass Sea-weed, wreck, or ware, is by some successfully applied; and when taken fresh from the sea, and immediately ploughed in, the effects are distinctly marked by early and luxuriant crops. In barley grounds the produce has been beyond all reasonable expectation : and there have been instances where the value of the land has increased in a six-fold proportion in consequence of the judicious application of this manure. But the generality of occupiers of land on the coast take a convenient opportunity for collecting it; lay it up in heaps to ferment; whereby they lose the great advantages that might be derived from it. In this respect, sea-ware and most other marine plants differ from other vegetable and animal manures.

To render the latter completely useful, fermentation is indispensably necessary; the former, on the contrary, exhibiting the most beneficial effects in a recent state. It may be urged in defence of this conduct, that the greatest quantity is thrown up from November to February. But every month produces some ; and reservoirs might casily be con

structed on the sea-shore, or it might be 'mised in the season of plenty with a proportion of earth and lime into a compost ; by which means its valuable properties might be preserved. A point of the Highest importance to the maritime farmer. ; Sea Sand and Sea Sludge I shall : class together; though essentially different; because ithey are both used in an improper manner in North Wales. These should be used as top dressings, and in a fresh state. But the reverse is the case. Immense quantities are thrown up daily by the tide : the unskilful husbandmen of these parts collect it at their leisure ; and, drawing it out of the tide's way, lay it in heaps for months together, till successive rains have deprived it of the whole of the salts, the very principle for which it must be considered valuable as a ma+ nure.

All the reasoning in the world will not induce these obstinate farmers to change their course. Indeed it would be absurd to reason with people unaccustomed to reason. In this case, and on such subjects, example is the only powerful and proper stimulus. An introduction of rational English farmers, possessed of capital, would be the best and most obvious mode for the landed gentlemen tó adopt, for the improvement of their estates and the melioration of the country.

I have witnessed two or three instances in the course of my peregrinations where sensible men, perceiving the errors of their brother farmers, wait till their land is ready for the marine manure. At

ebb tide they engage all the hands and strength they can, and draw.. the mud or sand immediately upon their arable land; plough it in, and throw in the seed, By this simple and judicious plan, the rest have the mortification of seeing these: men procure decent crops from land they have given up in despair ; without ever inquiring into the cause, or adverting to the method which produced it.

What Mr. Kentojustly styles the greatest and most valuable of all agricultural improvements, water niead, is not known in this country though peculiarly adapted for its use. The only water meadows the Welsh farmer is acquainted withi, are those which nature makes, either by, the river overflowing the yales, or the mountain rivulets intercepted by stones, forming catéh-meadows on the sides of the hills. And though he frequently sees the advantages his pastures derive from this dentention of the waters, and that wintep floods which quickly 'subside contribute greatly to fertility, yet jnattentive to the operations of Nature, he does not profit by her instructions. Though possessed of the most conve nient situation, he has not the most distant idea of the utilitycar possibility of bringing water upon the dand and taking it off again at pleasure.. To do thiş requires acute abservation, ingonuitý,sand a Ķnow ledge of the proper time for its introduction and dismissal." Unacquainted with this bot bed for early grass, andhrdestitute of the only substitute, turnips, he feels the force of an ungenial spring, and the months of March and April in this backward disz,

« AnteriorContinuar »