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ROYAL AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY OF ENGLAND.
A WEEKLY COUNCIL was held on Wednesday, the 24th of February: present, Mr. Raymond Barker, VicePresident, in the Chair; Mr. George Raymond Barker; Mr. Bosanquet; Dr. Camps; Mr. T. T. Clark; Mr. Dent, M.P.; Rev. L. Vernon Harcourt; Mr. Fisher Hobbs; Rev. James Linton; Mr. Thomas Scott; Mr. Clark Thornhill; and M. de Trehonnais.
Communications were received: 1. From the Earl of Clarendon, enclosing dispatches from Captain Vansittart of H.M.S. Magicienne, reporting, as the result of a search made during a recent visit to the Gallapagos Islands, that deposits of guano do not exist there in ufficient quantities for practical purposes. 2. From Sir Charles Lyell, a collection of works, received by him from various sources, having a bearing more or less immediate on agricultural science and practice. 3. From M. Andreas von Kiss, of Pesth, desiring the opinion of the Council on a question of exhaustion of land underlet by him to peasants, and of which the Austrian laws took no cognisance. 4. From Mr. Murray (of Albemarle-street), requesting on the part of the Baron von Rosenkrone, of Bergen, information for a committee appointed by the Norwegian Government on the best system of inclosure to be adopted for estates in that country.
The Council adjourned to their monthly meeting on
the 3rd of March.
A Monthly Council was held on Wednesday, the 3rd of March: present-Lord Berners, President, in the Chair; Lord Feversham, Lord Portman, Hon. Colonel Wood, Hon. W. G. Cavendish, M.P., Sir Watkin Williams Wynn, Bt., M.P., Sir Chas. Gould Morgan, Bt., Sir Archibald Keppel Macdonald, Bart., Mr. Raymond Barker, Mr. Barnett, Mr. Barthropp, Mr. Brandreth, Mr. Caldwell, Colonel Challoner, Mr. Druce, Mr. Brandreth Gibbs, Mr. Fisher Hobbs, Mr. James Howard, Mr. Hudson (Castleacre), Mr. Jonas, Mr. Lawrence, Mr. Millward, Mr. Paget, M.P., Mr. Pain, Mr. Shuttleworth, Professor Simonds, Mr. Thompson, Mr. Torr, Mr. Vyner, and Mr. Jonas Webb.
Thomas Mills, Esq., of Tolmers, Hertfordshire, was elected a Governor of the Society.
The following new members were elected :-
Cotton, Lt.-Col. Hon. Wellington H. S., Cherry Hill, Malpas.
Wheeler, E., Kyrewood House, Tenbury, Gloucestershire.
the accounts; from which it appeared that the current cash-balance in the hands of the bankers was £612. JOURNAL.-Mr. Thompson, Chairman of the Journal Committee, reported recommendations: (1.) That Mr. Miles's article in the last Journal on horse-shoeing should be reprinted in a separate form, and sold at 6d. each copy to the public, and at the rate of 2s. 6d. per dozen to members of the Society. (2.) That a bound copy of the Journal should be presented to the library of the Harpenden Laboratory, in acknowledgment of the numerous and valuable contributions made by Mr. Lawes to the Society's Journal, and of the eminent services conferred by him on British Agriculture. On the motion of Mr. Jonas, seconded by Mr. Torr, the discussion of the questions of the amount of salary to be given to a paid editor of the Journal, and the person or persons who should be appointed to discharge the duties of that office, was postponed till the next monthly meeting.
LECTURES ON MILK.-Mr. Raymond Barker, Chairman of the Veterinary Committee, reported that Prof. Simonds, the Veterinary Inspector of the Society, had stated to the committee that his paper for the next Journal, embodying the substance of his lectures delivered before the members on the Anatomy and Physifar advanced towards ology of Milk-secretion, was completion, and would be delivered to the Journal Committee by the 15th of next month.
PRIZE ESSAYS. - Numerous essays and reports, competing for the prizes offered this year by the Society,
TRUSTEE. On the motion of Mr, Fisher Hobbs, seconded by Mr. Milward, Mr. Thompson, of Kirby Hall, and Chairman of the Journal Committee, was unanimously elected one of the trustees of the Society, to supply the vacancy created by the decease of Earl Spencer.
MEMBERS OF COUNCIL.-On the motion of Mr. Milward, seconded by Mr. Torr, Mr. Humberston, of Mollington, and Mayor of Chester, was unanimously elected one of the general Members of Council, to supply the vacancy created by the decease of Mr. Simpson; and on the motion of Mr. Fisher Hobbs, seconded by the Hon. Colonel Hood, Mr. Francis Sherborne, of Bedfont, Middlesex, was elected one of the general Members of Council, to supply the vacancy created by the decease of Mr. Stephen Mills.
CHESTER MEETING.-Lord Portman, Chairman of the General Chester Committee, reported recommendations on the acceptance of Mr. Manning's contract for the works at Chester, and of the Mayor of Chester's arrangements for a dinner for 500 persons in the Music Hall; also on the accommodation of the Judges, and the sale of substantial refreshments at a cheap rate to the labouring classes during the period of the meeting. The Committee also recommended that a Special Committee should be appointed to report, before the selection of the place of meeting for next year, the best arrangements to be made in reference generally to the showyard works.
On the motion of Mr. Fisher Hobbs, seconded by Mr. Paine, a Special Committee of Show-yard Works was appointed.
Mr. Barnett's suggestion that application should be made for the refusal of extra land, should such be required, for the trial of the steam-cultivators at Chester, was adopted.
Mr. Hudson (of Castleacre) suggested that the general question of the Society's purchasing a suitable pavilion, to be retained as its own property, for the purpose of the great dinner of the Society at its successive country meetings, should be referred to the special committee on show-yard works.
Additional Special Prizes offered by the Chester Local Committee were accepted, and ordered to be included in the Prize-sheets of the Society.
On the motion of Mr. Jonas, seconded by Lord Feversham, Mr. Milward, of Thurgarton Priory, was unanimously elected one of the stewards of the cattleyard at the country meetings of the Society.
On the motion of Lord Portman, seconded by Lord Feversham, it was decided that the Stewards of the Stock-yard be requested to report to the Council, at a Special Council to be held as soon as possible after the entry of stock, the number of Judges required for
METROPOLITAN MEETING. On the motion of Mr. Brandreth Gibbs, seconded by Mr. Fisher Hobbs, the Council decided that it was desirable that the Society should hold a Metropolitan Show, provided a suitable site could be obtained; and on the motion of Lord Portman, seconded by Lord Feversham, that the Show should not be held until after the year 1860, when the circuit of districts for the country meetings of the Society will have been completed, but in the first year afterwards that might be found practicable. The arrangements connected with this subject were referred to the Metropolitan Show Committee.
DATES OF ENTRY.-Lord Feversham adverted to a misprint in the last part of the Journal, which might mislead persons who were not aware of the standing dates at which entries had for many years been made for the shows at the country meetings. It occurred in the last page of the appendix, where, under the head of "Dates of Entry," Live Stock had been misprinted for Implements.
CARD OF MEETINGS, AND ADMISSION OF REPORTERS.-The Council did not adopt Mr. Frere's suggestion for a "Card of Meetings," and they declined to grant Mr. Morton's application, on the behalf of the Proprietors of the Gardener's Chronicle, for the admission of Reporters.
STEAM CULTIVATOR.-A lithographed circular addressed to the Council, and requiring special information on the subject of the Society's prize for a Steam Cultivator, was laid on the table; and the Council ordered that Mr. Collinson Hall, Mr. Fowler, Mr. Burrell, and Mr. Williams, by whom it was signed, should be referred to the printed rules for trial, to which the Council would adhere.
The Council adjourned to their weekly meeting, on March 10.
A WEEKLY COUNCIL was held on the 17th of March: present, Lord BERNERS (President) in the chair; Mr. Alcock, M.P., Mr. Fuller Baines, Mr. Raymond Barker, Mr. Body, Mr. Caird, M.P., Mr. Fisher Hobbs, Mr. Holland, M.P., Mr. Langston, M.P., Mr. Majendie, Mr. T. Scott, Mr. Vyner, Mr. Burch Western, and Mr. Sutton Western, M.P.
Communications were received-1. From Mr. Stal
lard, of Redmarley, Gloucestershire, suggesting a prize to be offered by the Society, for the best-constructed moveable shade for sheep during the hot months of the year, especially on the red warm sandy soils, for the purpose not only of comfort to the animals themselves, but of preventing their damaging the under part of fences, and their losing flesh during the period of hot weather. The President had found simple awnings con structed of four upright poles, open at the sides, but covered at the top with faggots or brushwood, answer the purpose very well. 2. From Mr. Alcock, M.P., suggesting that the Society should offer a prize of £100 for the largest amount in value of agricultural produce (serving as food for man or beast), in one year, from a single acre of land, provided a fair profit be shown by the cultivator; the application for the prize to be accompanied by a detailed account of the cost, value of the crop, and mode of cultivation, and notice given to the Secretary by any person intending to compete.-These communications were referred to the Journal Committee. Adjourned to March 24.
NOVEL APPLICATION OF HORSE-POWER.The Montrose Standard directs attention to the "performance of a new method of applying horse-power to drive machinery, which Major Rennie Tailyour, of Borrowfield, has introduced at his steading at Newmanswalls. apparatus, which is very simple in its design, differs entirely from the mode hitherto in use. Instead of moving round in a circle, and drawing the end of a lever attached to an upright shaft, the horse remains stationary, fastened in a stall, and the flooring on which he stands passes backwards under him, as he appears to step forward. The flooring consists of a series of stout boards, lying across the stall, and resting on and made fast to two endless chains stretched round a couple of drums, one at the head and the other at the foot of the stall, thus forming, as it were, a firm but flexible belt, on the upper surface of which, as on a moveable floor, the horse stands. The drum at the head of the stall being somewhat more elevated than at the foot, this moveable floor is slightly inclined; and the weight of the horse causes it to descend towards the lower drum, carrying the horse backward along with it. As, however, the halter by which he is tied in the stall obliges the horse to maintain his position, he is compelled to step forward continuously as the floor recedes under him; and the revolution of the drums thus produced drives whatever machinery it is intended to propel. At Newmans walls it is successfully applied to driving a thrashing machine, a chaff-cutter, and a machine for bruising oats. No driving or watching is required; and we were informed that a horse might work at this species of treadmill without distress or fatigue for eight hours." [The practice is common throughout the United States and Canada. In fact, the wood at every minor railway station is sawn in this manner.]
THE AGRICULTURE OF FRANCE.
At the height of what might have been so delicate a crisis, it becomes us to be especially careful as to what we say of our neighbours. With the notoriety of the Fleet-street Forum by way of a warning, we should be more than usually nice in our parts of speech. There should not be a phrase to quarrel with, or even a word to cavil at. It is difficult, then, to imagine an orator vehement in his denunciation of what is going on over the other side of the Channel-how the higher classes in France are bought and sold with honours-how the monied men are rotten to the core-how the improvements in Paris are made at an unfair expense to the country-how those who would do good have no power-and so on. And yet it has been our fate to hear lately a great deal in this strain; not, however, at a gin-and-water parliament in the City, nor from the over-excited aspirant of a debating club. On the contrary, no less august a body than the Society of Arts gave its countenance to the occasion. Further than this, the reader has only to associate the staid decorum of its discussion-room with the wild Irishman or headlong patriot who rejoiced in so unexpected an opportunity of having his "fling."
This would make the offence complete; but luckily the Society is saved the more serious part of the charge, It is no wild Irishman who talks like this; no ferocious Cuffey bound on re-organizing, not merely his own country, but all the world over. For the very reverse, take a plump, really contented-looking gentleman, who speaks with an accent so decidedly foreign that it is difficult to follow him-who announces himself as a landed proprieter in Normandy-and who, in fact, is a Frenchman, just giving his opinion on the political economy of his own country. The Society of Arts is inexpressibly relieved, and the "reading" proceeds with far more equanimity than had Brian Boru or some home-bred Hampden been in possession of the chair.
Strangely enough, the text-word of this address was Agriculture. Now if there is one thing more than another that we Englishmen should be inclined to regard with a feeling of satisfaction, it is the effort France has lately been making in this way. If there be any one cause that has induced more than another to kindly intercommunication between the two countries, it has assuredly been this desire to improve the cultivation of France. The international shows are still fresh upon our recollections. The manner in which the English were received, and the way in which they endeavoured to return the compliment-the individual courtesies of the Emperor to men distinguished amongst us in the pursuit-His evident sympathy with the artthe prices he gives for stock-the example he is setting in farming-when we come to reflect on all these recent manifestations, one might suppose a glance over the agriculture of France would surely by this time turn to the sunny side of the picture.
Stranger even still, perhaps, there was no one, who by his antecedents stood better recommended to read a paper on French farming than the in. troducer of this subject. One of the first points in his favour was that he was well known to English farmers; another, that he had a natural taste for the occupation; and, a third, that he is now pursuing it in France. Monsieur Trehonnais was just the man to have made a practical comparison between the cultivation of the two countries. With his intimate knowledge of either,
it should have been his peculiar province to have directed the excellence of ours to the wants of his own system. Unfortunately he did not dwell enough upon this very essential matter. The first part of a long address was devoted to the agriculture of France, traced as far as three hundred years back, and of course dependent upon the authorities of those times. The second section, which touched more upon the present condition of the country, partook rather of an essay upon political economy than one directly referring to agriculure. In fact, the subject itself was little more than incidentally touched on, and what was said of it was tinged with something very like, utter despondency. According to Monsieur Trehonnais, the farming of France is as bad as it possibly can be-worse than it was three hundred years ago. This would appear to be mainly attributable to two grand causes-want of labour, and want of capital. France, be it remembered, is essentially a military nation; and the continual drain of able-bodied men must of course tell upon the cultivation of the country. The two arts never yet flourished together. Monsieur Trebonnais further attributes this scarcity to what he considers the present injudicious centralization in towns. The embellishments of Paris, for example, are made at the expense of agriculture. The 300,000 additional inhabitants of a few years chiefly consist of mechanics and labourers removed from the country. The want of capital naturally follows. He speaks of the amount of treasure lavished on the city-the disproportionate expenditure for public works in Paris compared with the whole of France. The chief cause of this want of means for improving the land-at least, the one generally received as such amongst us-he will not admit. He believes the evil influence consequent on the division of property to be more apparent than real. At the same time he allows that share for share does take place: the daughters receiving an equivalent in money, and the land remaining with the son. Under such a system, it is almost impossible to imagine anything but the soil being continually mortgaged with these equivalents," and left without a franc for its own improvement. In this country no man now does so badly as the one who just hangs on to his own bit of land. With the small occupier, either owner or tenant, no great progress can be attained; and France is overrun with these small holdings. Monsieur Trehonnais thinks it only right they should be thus limited in accordance with the means of the people. He must remember, however, that nothing can be done without capital, while the greatest bar to its use is the perpetuation of these little properties. Men in such a position can never command it. If we needed any illustration of this, we have only to look to Ireland as it was, and as it is. It is hard to suppose that the agriculture of France can be materially advanced without some more decided action of the law of primogeniture.
Monsieur Trehonnais himself unintentionally supports this view of the case. He will have everything depend upon individual exertion-a sound conclusion enough, although he rather over-impresses it. It strikes but harshly to hear the recent efforts of the Emperor characterized as worse than useless :-"But, I may be asked, has the French Government done nothing to revive agriculture? There is a Minister of Agricul ture; there is a large and influential staff of agricultural inspectors; there are innumerable Government
model farms, agricultural colleges, breeding establishments, where the best English cattle are kept; there are shows, both local and general; there have even been some called universal and international. We have heard of a vote of £4,000,000 sterling for drainage; there is a bank of crédit foncier; very large sums of money are spent from the consolidated funds and from local resources, in liberal prizes and encouragement. Surely all these must have exerted a considerable influence upon French agriculture, and given an extraordinary impetus to its progress."
Surely, at any rate, say his hearers, the effort is a noble one; and if such encouragement does not effect something, it ought to. But what says Monsieur? He answers us with a very terrible simile :
"We have all heard of-and some of my audience, perhaps, have seen-a strange and somewhat awful experiment performed by means of a galvanic pile upon a corpse. A wire is put in communication with the spinal marrow, and life, movement, and action are restored to the muscles; the corpse will stand erect, open its eyes, move its arms and legs; its livid lips will quiver as if they were going to speak, and to all appearances death has been conquered, and the corpse lives: but only interrupt the mysterious current from the pile, and the lustre of the eyes will vanish, the arm will fall inert, the jaw will hang, the eyelids will close, and the ghastly corpse will fall to the ground, once more a helpless mass, on the verge of decomposition. In like manner the action of the French Government props up a show of activity, a show of vitality, in the French agricultural interest; but it exists only on the surface.
Who are those who exhibit at the shows? They are only a few amateur fancy farmers; and the specimens they exhibit very often constitute the totality of the stock they have on their farm, and are by no means a sample of the agriculture of their districts. The farmers, with very few exceptions, are not only not exhibitors, but not even visitors. The schools have been productive of very little good. As farms, they have been lamentable failures, and the peasants point to them as instances of the folly of modern ideas; in fact they do not pay, and as model farms they ought to pay."
And so on. But Monsieur Trehonnais should bear in mind that a whole people do not take to a business like this on the instant. It was some years, even, before our own great agricultural show came to be appreciated, and for many it had to bear up against all kinds of abuse and ridicule. We really believe that, whatever the Emperor may have done for France in other ways, his laudable attempts to advance the agriculture of the country have been both judicious and effective. We may indeed we must, wait for such a result; but it will come nevertheless.
We could wish to have concurred more fully with the tone of this paper. Somehow or other, however, it was scarcely suited to an English taste, and there was not a speaker who followed Monsieur Trehonnais but that dissented from his deductions and opinions. As these were chiefly friends of his own, this expression of feeling is the more remarkable. The last few years have given many the opportunity of seeing something of French agriculture, as well as of what the Emperor is doing for it.
THE GAME LAWS.
INJURIOUS EFFECTS OF UNDUE PRESERVATION OF GAME ON OUR HOME SUPPLIES.
At a recent meeting of the Milborne St. Andrew Farmers' Club, Mr. Richards opened a discussion on this subject. Mr. H. Fookes in the chair.
Mr. RICHARDS proceeded-Although the circumstance of my bringing before you the subject for our discussion this evening originated from a passing joke, yet permit me to say that I consider it a very grave and important subject, and one which deserves our most serious consideration. I say then, gentlemen, it is an important subject-and why? My answer is, because it involves the question of a most serious loss to the country at large, and a perfectly ruinous one to individuals. You who know what quantities of agricultural produce are annually destroyed by rabbits and hares, will not be surprised to hear me say that my opinion is, it would be possible to show that the preservation of game lessens our home produce to nearly the extent of our importations. I would not have you understand me to say that food to this amount is eaten by rabbits and hares, but that our produce is lessened in one way and another to this extent. I would now proceed to show in what way the preservation of rabbits, hares, and game generally may be said to lessen our produce; to consider the effect, direct and indirect, to individuals, and to the public; and to suggest a means by which an equal amount of sport would be afforded, without the objectionable consequences which now exist in many cases. First, then, in what way is agricultural produce so lessened by the preservation of game? And here I may be met with the objection that rabbits are not game, and therefore it is unfair to consider the damage done by them under this head. To this I would answer that, in preserving game, the increase of rabbits is almost a certain consequence; and although they may not, strictly speaking, constitute game, yet to kill them is an offence punishable under the game laws, and an act which, on the part of a tenant, would displease a game-preserving landlord. It may be said "Why, it will only take so much to keep a rabbit, and so much a hare, and therefore the consumption cannot be so great." But you do
not need to be told by me that it is a case which admits of no such rule of calculation. Could farmers by any means confine these animals, cause them to feed where they would choose, and make them eat their way clean as they go, then it may be possible to arrive at something like a correct estimate of the value of keep. But this you know to be impossible. What, then, are the facts? Take first the swede crop, which, as you are aware, is raised at a heavy outlay, and which, probably, the grower intends as a provision for his sheep in the spring, and on which he may be solely dependent for food at that period. What, then, are his disappointment, inconvenience, and loss, when he finds that instead of twenty tons per acre which he had on his land in November, he has, in the month of March, not more than ten? and, probably, of the ten tons lost, not more than two or three have been eaten, or even less than this, as you well know that when turnips are bitten they decay, and, for one ton actually consumed, five, or even more, may rot in the ground. And now, gentlemen, how shall we estimate the loss arising from such destruction? The answer of some may be, "Why, you lose so many tons of swedes, the market value of which is so much." That I admit is your first direct loss; but, where a flock of sheep is kept which have to be fed on that farm, who shall say what the loss may be on that flock? And this is only a mere beginning of injuries; for, if you have but one-half the amount of keep to feed on your land, you leave on that land only one-half the quantity of manure which would have been left had you fed your entire crop. I need scarcely ask you what will be the effect on your next crop? Where hares and rabbits have eaten swedes they will also visit barley; and, as by the loss of so large a portion of your turnip crop you have been unable to leave much manure, your corn crop grows sparingly, and the consequence is that it requires a large breadth to furnish food for these nightly visitors; and at harvest you may make up your mind to be content with, it may be, less than half the crop that you would have had but for the ravages of these vermin. I do not intend to attempt
to trace these effects to their end, but I cannot stop yet. I would next inquire, what are the results of a deficient corn crop? Not only are you deprived of your fair returns from this branch of your produce, but the amount of straw is also lessened; consequently you have not the quantity to convert into manure to return to your land again, which you ought to have, and your future crops must suffer. Some may say one good arises from a light crop of barley, which is, that your clover and grasses do better. In some measure this may be true; but, remember, before you reap much benefit from this crop you have to pass through a winter; and I would inquire what is your experience of the effect of incessant close feeding through a winter on a clover crop? I venture to assert that no crop, whether sainfoin, red clover, or any other description of clover, is proof against the continual feeding of a large stock of hares and rabbits, and that consequently the destruction of your clover crop is as certain as that of your corn crop. Your land, in its turn, comes to wheat, and this being an autumn-sown crop gives a long period, at a time when food is scarce, for game to feed on it. And here, too, as you well know, if too closely fed, its destruction is certain; and if not really killed, is so checked by repeated bleeding, that it will not grow until a late period in the spring; and the consequence is that you get scarcely any corn in your straw, and, what little you have, of most inferior quality. Rabbits, as you are aware, feed on and keep down a certain breadth, whereby the injury is perceptible at a glance; whereas hares cut roads in all directions through corn, leaving those roads completely covered with ears of corn; and therefore, unless a close inspection is made, it would almost pass unobserved, but although the damage is less apparent, it is, I believe, greater in amount. You are aware, gentlemen, that all I undertook to do was merely to launch the subject for you, in order that the various members may have an opportunity to express their opinions, and I think what I have said is sufficient for that purpose, as well as to show that the actual destruction by hares and rabbits is very considerable. But it is not to this alone that I attribute the deficiency on our home produce. Consider the many thousands of acres of useful land at this time made available for nothing but for the preservation of game. Look, again, at the additional thousands which, although not actually incumbered and forming preserves, are but very imperfectly cultivated from their contiguity to game preserves. Consider, then, the increased amount which may be grown were all these lands well cultivated and none of the produce consumed, and ray whether you do not think that England may be made to feed her own population? Next, then, as to the effects of this destruction. To the individual who suffers the direct loss it is most ruinous. No consideration of rent can compensate for it, and I believe it would not be difficult to trace to this cause the ruin of many a man of capital. There is a maxim, not unfrequently quoted, that "The man who makes two blades grow where only one grew heretofore, is a benefactor to his country." May it not with equal truth be said that he who imposes an obstacle to the full development of the resources of our soil is an enemy to his country? It appears to me that there can be no more genuine source of national wealth than the produce of our soil, particularly as it furnishes the chief necessaries of life; and whether the food for our population be raised on our own soil, or whether a large proportion be purchased in foreign countries, at a cost of many millions sterling per annum, is a question of no small amount to the country at large. I think the farmers of England may say "Allow us fair scope for the application of our capital, our skill, and our energies, and you shall have little occasion to go to foreign shores for human food." Are we, then, to curtail the rights of our aristocracy to their sports? I would be the last man to make such a proposition, and I am quite sure there are none among you who would not be pleased to show your landlord and his friends a fair amount of sport; and I think this could be done without the present system of game preserving, and at a much less cost to the landlord. I should hope there is enough of principle among the agriculturists of the present day, to entitle them to a little confidence from the owners; and I would say, make every tenant keeper over his own farm; give him at least an unrestricted right to kill rabbits and hares, and you shall find an equal, if not an increased amount of legitimate and fair sport; for every farmer would feel a pride in showing his landlord and his friends good sport; he would take an interest in the preservation of game, whilst he would have it in his power to protect himself from the injuries of the rabbits and hares. He would
overlook a little damage done by hares rather than not have enough of them to afford a fair amount of sport. We all know the difference between a voluntary and a compulsory loss; and whilst a man would bear cheerfully with the one, he would feel the other to be a gross injustice. Give a man an interest in the game, and he at once feels responsible for its preservation, and becomes as jealous over it as over his own stock. He would discountenance poaching, and thereby prevent breaches of the law, which sometimes lead to more serious crime. No man has the same influence with the labourer as the master, and no man so likely to know his habits and character; and who can doubt that when a man is suffering severe losses by game, and dares not defend himself against them, nor in any degree participate in the sport of destroying it, he will sometimes shut his eyes to acts of poaching, and that, too, without feeling that he is really countenancing a breach of the law? Gentlemen, 1 feel I have occupied a full share of your time, although I have but feebly and imperfectly discharged the duty I undertook. Having been bred a practical farmer, my education and early associations have not fitted me either for an author or an orator; but of this you may rest assured, that the little experience I have gained by my intercourse with the world is ever at your service, for I feel that we are linked together by bonds of no common order, our object being not our individual benefit, but the common good of all. When I have heard the remarks of the members present, and should I find their views accord with mine, I shall be prepared to submit a resolution to the meeting.
Mr. DOWDEN said, although he agreed with Mr. Richards' arguments, he was happy to say he did not suffer from an excess of the game nuisance at the present time. The evil had been put down to a great extent, as he was at liberty to kill hares, rabbits, &c., on his farm. He, however, remembered the time when he could have shot one hundred and fifty couple of rabbits in one day. This species of game he regarded as more destructive than any other; as, wherever they assembled in numbers, they poisoned the soil, and ruined everything that came after them;
The CHAIRMAN (Mr. H. Fookes) could not agree with Mr. Richards as to the loss inflicted by the preservation of game in England. No doubt, however, rabbits did a great deal of mischief to the crops and herbage. He considered that the farmer was a better preserver of game than the gamekeeper; for the privilege to shoot gave him as much interest in preserving it as any other man. He had not much confidence in gamekeepers generally, though there might be some respectable men amongst them.
A conversation took place respecting the means adopted to snare rabbits by traps, so as not to hazard the lives of other game. The Chairman expressed an opinion that this sine qua non was altogether delusive, and said that the same trap which caught rabbits could snare all other game.
Mr. RICHARDS, in reply, said he thought more members of the club would have expressed their opinions upon the subject. With regard to the Chairman's comment on his remark as to the quantity of produce consumed in England by game, he would reply that the damage done in this county was less than in any other. In other counties the damage was infinitely greater; the game being more strictly preserved. In many instances also it was deemed disrespectful for a tenant to make complaint to his landlord against a gamekeeper, and the consequence was that there were no greater poachers anywhere than gamekeepers. Mr. Richards then submitted the following resolution to the approval of the club: Resolved-"That it is the opinion of this club, that the manner in which game is preserved in some districts is most objectionable, inasmuch as it impedes the advancement of agriculture, subjects the tenant farmer to serious losses and inconvenience, and in many cases is the cause of disagreement and ill-feeling between landlord and tenant. And whilst we do not wish a repeal of the game laws, or in any way to infringe the rights of property, we consider that if tenants were allowed the right of sporting over their own farms, to the extent of killing hares and rabbits, they would insure to the landlord an equal amount of sport to that which he now enjoys, and in most cases the chief cause of complaint would be removed."
The CHAIRMAN said he fully coincided with the resolution, and on being put to the meeting, it was carried unanimously.
Mr. ROBT. FOOKES moved, and Mr. DALE seconded, a vote of thanks to Mr. Richards.