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tobacco smoke; and I have seen the offensive and useless habit of chewing tobacco, since I came to England, in but one solitary instance, and that was on the part of an American. At public dinners the same reserve is not practised, and the atmosphere becomes as thick as a London fog. I will not interfere with any gentleman's private pleasures; but I will lose no fair opportunity of protesting against a practice which has little to recommend it, and in respect to which I think we have good grounds to ask - what right has any man to indulge in any mere personal or selfish gratification, in-doors or without, at the expense of his neighbour's comfort?
3. "The Agricultural Laborers. Next to the farmers come the laborers, and these three classes, preserve the lines of distinction among them with as much caution and strictness, as they preserve the lines and boundaries of their estates. These distinctions strike a visitor from the United States with much force; but in England they have been so established, are so interwoven in the texture of society, and men are by education and habit so trained in them, that their propriety or expediency is never matter of question. The nobleman will sometimes invite his tenant farmer to his table; but such a visit is never expected to be returned. The farmers would, under no circumstances, invite the laborer to his table, or visit him as a friend or neighbour. They are, usually, comfortably clad, in this respect contrasting most favorably with the mechanics and manufacturers in the cities and large towns; but they are, in general, very poorly fed. Their wages, compared with the wages of labor in the United States, are very low. The cash wages paid to them seldom equals the cash wages paid to laborers with us, and our laborers, in addition to their wages in money, have their board; but the English laborers are obliged to subsist themselves, with an occasional allowance, in some instances, of beer, in haying or harvesting. The division of labor among them is quite particular-a ploughman being always a ploughman, and almost inseparable from his horses; a ditcher, a ditcher; a shepherd, a shepherd only; the consequence of this is that what they do, they do extremely well. Their ploughing, sowing, drilling, and ditching or draining, are executed with an admirable neatness and exactness; indeed, the lines of their work could not be more true and straight than they usually are, if they were measured with a marked scale, inch by inch. They speak of ploughing and drilling or ridging by the inch or the half-inch; and the width of the furrow slice, or the depth of the furrow, or the distances of the drills from each other, will be found to correspond, with remarkable precision, to the measurement designed.
"In all parts of the country women are more or less employed on the farms, and in some parts in large numbers. I have frequently counted thirty, fifty, and many more in a field at a time,
both in hoeing turnips, and in harvesting. I have found them, likewise, engaged in various other services; in the fields pulling weeds, in picking stones, in unloading and treading grain, in tending threshing-machines, in digging potatoes and pulling and topping turnips, in tending cattle, and in carrying lime-stone and coals. Indeed, there is hardly any menial service to which they are not accustomed; and all notions of their sex seem out of the question whenever their labor is wanted or can be applied. The wages of women are commonly sixpence and eight pence, and they seldom exceed ten pence a day, excepting in harvest, when they are as high as a shilling. The hours of labor for the men are usually from six o'clock, A. M., to six, P. M., with an interval of an hour for breakfast and an hour for dinner. The women rarely come before eight o'clock, and quit labor at six, with the usual indulgence for dinner. Many of the laborers walk two and three miles to their work, and return at night. Their meals are taken in the fields, and in the most simple form. The dinner is often nothing more than bread.
"In the season of harvest, immense numbers of Irish come over to assist in the labor, and this presents almost the only opportunity which they have in the course of the year, of earning a little money to pay the rent of their cabins and potato patches. Nothing can exceed the destitution and squalidness in which they are seen; starved, ragged, and dirty beyond all description, with the tatters hanging about them like a few remaining feathers upon a plucked goose. At their first coming they are comparatively feeble an inefficient; but, after a week's comfortable feeding, they recover strength, increasing some pounds in weight, and, if they are allowed to perform their work by the piece, they accomplish a great deal.
"I found in one case on two farms- - which, though under two tenants, might be considered as a joint concern more than four hundred laborers employed during the harvests, a large proportion of whom were women, but not exclusively Irish. The average wages paid the men in this case was one shilling sterling (or twenty-four cents) per day, and their food, which was estimated at about nine pence (or about eighteen cents) per day. Their living consisted of oat-meal porridge and a small quantity of sour milk or butter-milk for breakfast; a pound of wheaten bread, and a pint and a half of beer at dinner; and at night, a supper resembling the breakfast, or two pence in money in lieu of it."
Mr. Colman devotes much space to the allotment system, practised of late by some landholders. From a quarter to half an acre is the common size of an allotment to an agricultural laborer, to be cultivated by him at a fixed rent. One land
holder, a lady who is much praised for her public spirit, has divided one hundred and forty acres of land into four hundred and twenty-one allotments, at a rent averaging little more than three pounds an acre, or £428 for the whole. This price is for the land alone, without houses or any buildings, which form a separate rent charge. This may be, and probably is, an act of generosity and public spirit not common, though it would seem to require no great exertion of these qualities to let land at £3 an acre.
The Duke of Rutland has made more than one thousand allotments, or allotment-gardens as they are called, to laborers. Their extent is generally limited to one sixth of an acre of potato garden at a rent of ten shillings a year. This is at a rate of £3 an acre, or £510 for one hundred and seventy acres, or one thousand and twenty allotments. In the present condition of English laborers, we should suppose that these allotments, at any reasonable rate, would be beneficial to the occupant, though the rent seems high compared with that of large farms.
The English have far surpassed all other nations in the breeding and management of their live stock-their horses, cattle, and sheep. Very great improvement has been made in the breed of horses for every kind of employment in which horses are used; for in England the principle of the division of labor has been applied to this animal. Horses are bred and trained for a particular department, and exclusively confined to it, as for sporting, pleasure, travelling, draught, or agricultural labor. There is the race-horse, the hunter, carriagehorse, draught-horse, the roadster, the saddle-horse, the pony for ladies and children, the general hack, and the farm-horse. Such a division and the care and skill displayed in the treatment and training of this noble animal can be expected only in a society of great wealth, activity, and intelligence.
The horse is used in England for farm labor, almost to the exclusion of oxen, especially on large farms. The question whether horses or oxen are preferable, or which on the whole is the most profitable for agricultural labor, has been much debated in England, and, so far as the practice of the great majority can decide, it is in favor of using horses. The use of oxen has been continually decreasing, and that of horses for farm labor has been constantly growing into practice, till it has become very general.
We suppose there must be some good reason for this prac
tice among such an intelligent people as the English, and by farmers who, paying a large rent, have strong motives to cultivate their land in the most economical manner. Mr. Colman, indeed, thinks the practice is founded on error, but we believe that English agricultural writers are now more generally agreed in its favor than formerly. On our small farms and New England soil it might not and probably would not be often expedient; but the practice, as is well known, is very common south and west of New England, and even here in some places, as in the vales of the Connecticut, horses are much used in ploughing and other farm work.
In England, instead of keeping oxen for work till they are seven or eight years of age, and then fatting and sending them to market as is common here, young cattle and steers, as we should call them, from two to three years old, are fatted, and supply the Smithfield and other markets with the roast beef of old England.
We have no space to enumerate the different breeds of cat tle in England, or to dwell on the very great improvement in their size and qualities. One of the best proofs is, that though the average age of the cattle for slaughter is only from two to three years, the weight is more than double the average ninety or a hundred years ago. At that period the average weight of the cattle sold at Smithfield market did not exceed three hundred and seventy pounds. At present, the average weight is estimated at eight hundred pounds, and the number of cattle is more than twice as great as at the former period.
Nothing relating to English agriculture is more remarkable than the magnitude and value of their sheep husbandry. The number of sheep in England is supposed to be twenty millions or upwards; the annual increase about seven millions, and nearly this last number are annually slaughtered for the market. The product of wool is about one hundred million pounds. Including Scotland, where the sheep may be about four millions, the whole number in Great Britain may be twenty-four or five millions. The annual product of wool, including lamb's wool and that of sheep killed for market, is estimated at nearly or quite one hundred and twenty million pounds.
In the United States there may be, if we credit the reports of the patent office, about the same number of sheep as in England, but the product of wool can be but little if any more than half as much. The average weight of a fleece here is
not far from two pounds and a half. In England the longwooled sheep vary from five to nine pounds to a fleece; the average is supposed to be seven pounds and ten ounces. The fleece of the short-wooled is supposed to average from three to four pounds, perhaps not more than three pounds and a half. The sheep producing long wool may be in number about onefourth of the whole.
The breed of this most useful animal has been improved by the English to a surprising degree. In Smithfield market the average weight of a sheep, that is, of the four quarters, was, a few years ago, eighty pounds. Mr. Colman was informed that it was now ninety. A hundred years ago it was less than half this amount, and in 1710 was estimated at only twenty-eight pounds.
The two last numbers of Mr. Colman, comprising what is published in a small volume called Continental Agriculture, we found peculiarly interesting. This part of the work is more methodical, more condensed, and contains fewer digressions. The description of French agriculture, which occupies most of the small volume, seems to have been written, con amore, with a hearty devotion to the cause of agriculture, and a pleasure in describing that of France in particular. The agriculture of France is prosecuted in quite a different manner from that of England, and in some respects presents a marked contrast. Instead of a country where the land is owned by a few thousand great proprietors, and occupied in large farms by tenant farmers, who cultivate it by hired laborers dependent solely on their wages for a subsistence, we find a great country and a flourishing agriculture, where four-fifths of the agriculturalists, who compose a large majority of the nation, cultivate their own land, and the number of landed proprietors is supposed to amount to five millions.
Mr. Colman gives a very favorable and gratifying account of the French peasantry and their modes of cultivation, and of the state of landed property in France. The agriculture of every great country must be its most important interest. But in France it is so to a greater extent than in England, where commerce, manufactures, and mining occupy so great a portion of the national industry. It is a great advantage to France that regular returns of the products of agriculture are annually made to the government, so that in the late scarcity of grain and failure of the potatoes, the government were enabled to provide early with a humane foresight for the