Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

trict are cruelly destructive to his flock, and fatal to his hopes. Obliged to subsist his ewes upon coarse, and often ill-ended hay, they soon shrink their milk, the lambs get stunted, and he not unfrequently loses a third, nay a half of his flock, for want of nourishing food at this critical season. This, in a country where the most profitable, and almost the only system is sheep breeding, must be considered as a radical defect. To remedy it, the young Welsh farmers should be encouraged to travel through the breeding counties of England, and accurately mark the difference at this season of the year between those possessed of water meadows, and those who are not ; the contrast would not fail to be striking. - The landlords should stimulate their tenants by long leases, lending small sums of money to defray the expences of the work, and granting bounties to those who should lead the way in this enriching and almost necessary improvement.

From this statement, drawn up from actual observation, it must obviously appear, that the value of land must be low, and the occupiers of. land far from opulent.

In Montgomeryshire, land in farms was from eight shillings to two, and that considered too dear. · In Denbighshire the average price about seven shillings, in Merioneth four-in Caernarvonshire from five to ten shillings per acre; lands near towns, as in England, fetch high prices, according to the luxury or spirit of the place. In the vicinity of Dolgelly the

5

price is fifty shillings ; and near the town of Caer. naryon, meadow land is as high as three pounds. As other documents the following advertisements of Estates for sale may serve as a clue to the value of

land:

To be sold by auction at the Eagle's Inn, at Festiniog, on Thursday the 28th day of June, 1797, the following freehold tenements, . situate in the parish of Llandecwyn, in the county of Merioneth:

Lot I. Taly lyn farm, two hundred and forty seven acres, £57 per annum.

Lot. II. Onnen, one hundred and eighteen acres, 2£31 10s. per annum.'

56 On Wednesday the 27th of June, at the Eagle's Inn, in Llanrwst, the following freehold estates, situate in the parish of Penmachno, Caernarvonshire ;

Lot. I. Penybryn, two hundred and sixty acres, £73 10s. per annum.

Lot. II. Bryn Idael, one hundred and fifty-five acres, £31 per annum.

N. B. Extensive sheep walks belonging to all these estates."

It
may

be
proper

to remark, that by the measurable farm is considered that between walled bounds the depasturing ground is undefinable. It is a common practice among the tenants of a distriet to meet annually, to determine what number of sheep and cattle each ought to be allowed to send to the

open pastures, regulated according to the size of the farm; but the richer sort always'overstock, and the poorer sell the privilege for four-pence per head; there is, therefore, ample room for improvement, and, to the spirited adventurer, this country holds out a spacious and encouraging field for agricultural speculaţion. Mountainous countries are generally enriched with a variety of mineral strata, and those of North Wales seem to possess their full share; almost every considerable mountain presents traces of lead or copper, and the country abounds with mines at work, or the vestiges of others neglected.

The principal lead mines are confined to Flint and Denbigh, while those of copper abound in Caernaryon and Anglesea; quantities of calamine are dug in some parts of Denbighshire; and there is every reason to suppose that Snowdon abounds in tin,' I have several fine specimens of the common tin stone and tin pyrites, 2d and 3d species of Kirwan, from the neighbourhood of Llanberis. Little iron has hitherto been discovered, and its concomitant coal but in very few places in Flint and Anglesca. The inhabitants, who do not burn peat, have their coals imported from Liverpool, at the average price of £145, per ton. To mining, amongst other causes, may be attributed the present uncultivated state of the country, and the immense proportion of waste lands; for it is an observation that applies to every country, where a spirit of mining is discoverable, there, in proportion, the spirit of patient industry, so neces

sary to agriculture, flags, and the labours of husbandry dwindle. The inhabitants generally become poor, and the face of the country wears evident marks of neglect and wretchedness; a system of adventure is generally accompanied by a spirit of gambling ; and a mine discovered is considered as a fortune made. The minds of the inbabitants are called off from concerns more immediately pertinent, and engaged in delusive dreams of imaginary gains ; property is called in to aid the imagination, and the

ag gregate capital and labour of a district that would have ameliorated the soil, and made the land a perennial source of wealth, is sunk, by diving into the earth some hundred fathoms, only to convince the adventurers that much has been spent, and, barring the failure, much might have been gained ; because one mine has answered, and a few individuals have been enriched, all expect that similar. pursuits must be crowned with equal success; not reflecting that where much is acquired much must have been risqued; and if but few have proved fortunate many must have failed; like the golden dreamers that support the lottery, who count the larger prizes without once considering that the very nature of a prize bespeaks a blank, and the larger the one the more numerous must be the other.

The peasantry, necessary to till the ground, are collected to one or two barren spots, whereby the soil is deprived of the means essential to its improvement. The poor are easily enticed to an em

ployment, however dangerous in the pursuit, or hazardous in the issue, from the higher wages held up by the adventurers; high wages tend to corrupt the morals of the lower classes, and invariably weaker the sinews of industry ; the views of the peasant ar generally confined to the present hour: if he ob tain more than he can properly spend to-day, he ha lost the motive for labour to-morrow; idleness na turally superinduces vice; and vice is the infallible road to want and misery. It is not to be expected that these people should calculate, or that they shoul reficct what produces great and sudden gain to th proprietors cannot ensure certain employment fo the labourers, much less do they foresee that, i case of failure, the whole will be suddenly turnee adrift to seek a livelihood where it may be found and that their families must be left in a starvin state, while the land, on which the burthen mus fall, is not in a condition to support it. Those wh have acquired riches from the bowels of the eart and their united labours, and from whom they mig! expect the boon of charity, have left their residenc and repaired to the seats of luxary and dissipation Observations like these will obtrude themselves o the observing traveller, and whoever has been a tentive to facts, cannot but have remarked, th wherever mines have abounded agriculture has bee in a despicable state, and the lower classes general in the most abject poverty. By these remarks it not meant to decry the pursuits of mineralogy,

« AnteriorContinuar »