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THE CLASS OF PLANTS MOST LIKELY
TO ENRICH THE SOIL.
SIR,-There is too general an idea abroad among farmers, especially our moderns, that he who buys the most manure, artificial or otherwise, is, and must be, the best farmer. I happen to think differently, and consider that he who gets the greatest return for the capital expended displays the most wisdom. The sorts and varieties of plants grown have, I think, much to do with profit, with the same management. It is a well-received opinion that plants absorb a considerable amount of material from the air, as carbon, &c. Now, if the leaf of the plant, as philosophers tell us, be the medium of conveyance of matter existing in the air, what is the natural inference but that we ought to grow those plants which present the greatest surface to its influence? Take, for instance, the turnip plant-how is it that with the same appliances we get one quarter of barley more per acre (with a certainty) | after a crop of globe turnips than where swedes have been grown? The thing is clear to our mind; and as matter cannot spring out of nothing, so no more can a good or more superior crop come without a cause. I have grown most varieties of the turnip for many years, and have always found that sort to give the best return which had the greatest top or most leaf. Some years ago there was, and with some even now is, great anxiety displayed to get that kind of turnip which had the largest bulb and the very small top. The after-corn returns disappointed that choice as a natural consequence, because the nitrogenous medium had been curtailed. We should aim at a bulb as large as possible, and a top as nearly resembling the cabbage as may be.
It does not follow, as some may suppose, that an increase of top tends to injure the quality of the bulb; far otherwise. The large leaf supplies the bulb with the flesh-forming material it could not otherwise obtain; and in winter affords to that bulb a natural protection pleasing to behold. What farmer at all observant, on a cold frosty morning, has not seen the providential adaptation of the leaf to the bulb when that
leaf has succumbed to the cold? I am not recommending the globe variety, or the swede, but that in either case the leaf should be as large as possible.
As regards the manurial properties of the leaf, I consider them always worth as much, in the early winter, to plough in | as to eat. The same reasoning holds good with other plants. A field of rape, because of its immense leaf, stands first as an improver. Last year the writer had a field sown with it, and at the same time seeded down with mixed grasses, and it kept and fatted ten sheep to the acre during the summer. The practical farmer will know what the high after-condition of that will be; and this spring it will afford, from the stems left, fine early food for sheep.
On all inferior worn-out lands nothing can equal the fertilizing power of the rape plant. Let the land intended be well autumn-cleaned, ploughed early in the winter, manured and limed in early spring (not ploughed after keeping both on the surface), and sown with rape, about 7lbs. to the acre; and at the same time seeded with mixed grass seeds for two years after grazing; and no soil, I think, will refuse the benefit. As regards the cereal crops, the same rule holds good; the more flaggy it is, as it is called, the less exhausting the crop.
The variety called Scotch oat stands pre-eminent in this respect in itself quite a favourite with the miller, from the oily nature of the grain, and consequently high mealing qualities; and the straw so good, that it stands next to hay as fodder, full of flag, and easily consumed by cattle; while the American, Poland, Zealand, short white oats, and similar varieties
Barley is appreciated because of the little injury it does to the soil, and is more flaggy than wheat. Wheat, when the crop has fine clear straw, is, to every observant farmer, more exhausting than the mildewed field. Beans, peas, and other leguminous plants, are considered fertilizers from the same cause that the quantity of leaf-surface presented absorbs carbonaceous and nitrogenous matter from the air; and consequently they gain more than they lose. And if the principle be true, that in the process of combustion the same elements return to the air which had been absorbed from it by the plants or otherwise, the effort of the farmer (when confirmed by practice) should be to produce and cultivate those plants the agency of which would profit without the direct aid of manures, in many cases too costly.
The subject is one of importance to the farmer, and these few hints may lead abler hands to investigate it, and see whether science and practice in this respect agree; then, perhaps, we may not object to a drum-headed-cabbage turniptop, and kettle-bottom-sized. S. G.
Normanton, Alfreton, March 16, 1858.
We give below a table of the fiars' prices of grain as struck up to Saturday, for purposes of comparison between counties. From the various methods taken in striking the fiars, it cannot be expected that a near approach to equality can be reached. Some counties take the purchasers and others take the sellers of grain, and one or two add to or deduct from the prices after the averages are ascertained. In looking over the various prices, the fiars of oats, beans, and meal appear to run nearly on a par and with no great difference in value, but the wheat and barley prices vary in a surprising degree. The general average of wheat appears to be £2 1s. 2d. per qr.; and while Dumfries is 7s. 4d. above this, Edinburgh is 4s. 3d. under it-in fact Edinburgh is within 8d. of being the lowest wheat fiars' price; and, in like manner, take the price struck for barley in Wigtown, 33s. 10d., and the Edinburgh averages of the three prices struck, 24s. 11d.-making Edinburgh for barley 8s. 11d. below Wigtown. The first class
barley average in Edinburgh is stated at 27s. 3d.; the second, 25s.; the third, 22s. 6d.; while during same period the average of all kinds sold in Edinburgh stock market would reach 28s., or thereby, while first-class barley would certainly be above 29a, 6d. to 30s. of average :—
FIARS' PRICES-CROP 1857. Wheat. Barley. Oats. Beans.
£ s. d. £ s. d. £ s. d £ s. d. £ s. d. Dumfries 2 8 619 6 1 0 10 1 19 5 0 17 3 Renfrew.. 2 501 981 1 8 2 0 10 0 17 10 Inverness 2 3 6 1 6 3 1 0 0 18 10 Nairn.... 2 4 6 1 6 0 1 2 Wigtown 2 1 6 1 13 10 1 0 Ayr.... 2 3 21 10 8 0 18 Dumbartn. 2 2 11 7 5 1 1 Elgin 2 5 5 1 11 1 1 2 Lanark 0 1 6 9 0 19
1 10 2 0
0 2 0 8 1 18 9 2 1 61 19 7 1 9 7 1 19
0 0 17 9
0 0 16 11
0 0 16 3
0 0 17 9
30 18 4
5 0 16 3
Roxburgh. 1 17 10 1 8 7 1 3
Total.. 37 1
90 16 6
9 0 19 10 1 17 4 0 16 9 61 17 3 0 16 5 01 13 4 0 17 3 3 1 14 10 0 16 1
2 1 2 1
325 4 8 18 19 8 0 1 1 0 1 17 8 0 17 2
5 38 18 4 15 9 10
THE SPANISH OR MERINO BREED OF defended the system, which brought George III. under
[COMMUNICATED BY LORD WILLIAM LENNOX.] Prejudice founded on system, devoid of experience, is the greatest and most insuperable bar to improvement in every art and science. It was through false impressions thus imbibed, that although the fine-woolled sheep of Spain had been long ago found to retain their valuable qualities in countries still more unfavourable to them than Great Britain; such as Sweden, Denmark, Saxony, Prussia, and Holland yet it was not until seventy years ago that George III., guided by his own good sense and the most patriotic motives, gave orders for the importation of Merino sheep, for the improvement of British wool. In 1791 his Majesty received a small stock of four rams and thirty-six ewes from the Negrette flock, and about ten years after another importation of two thousand from the Paular flock, deemed the best in Spain, of which only fourteen hundred ewes and a hundred rams survived the voyage and the seasoning in this country. Prejudice for awhile opposed the improvement of fine-woolled sheep as an innovation. The breeders fancied that the quality of the fleece depended on the climate, soil, and pasturage of their native country, and that the Spanish sheep would not thrive in our island, or would decline, and only yield wool of an inferior quality; in fact, they maintained the erroneous opinion that the British sheep sent to Spain would, by the same advantages, become equal to those of the latter country; and that the Merinos imported to England would soon become similar to our own breeds, even without any crossing or intermixture. It required all the influence of the King, the late Duke of Bedford, Lord Somerville, Dr. Parry, Mr. Tollet, and various others of the most enlightened gentlemen and most scientific breeders, to combat this dangerous opposition; and it was only by proof the most irrefragable that it began to decline; and it is now admitted that Spanish sheep, with nothing more than the common care administered to our own flocks, will not only maintain their natural superiority, but will confer the same qualities to other breeds, if due precaution is taken to preserve the strain in its purity. The chief and only obstacle that remained, was the article of expense to the small farmer or grazier. The woolstaplers and the butchers also raised some objection to the newly-naturalized animals; but it having been ascertained that the wool of the Anglo-Merino is equal, if not superior, to that imported from Spain, and that the flesh, as an article of food, is also of a superior quality, their clamours have also subsided, and reason has taken the place of unfounded declamation.
The advantage of the Anglo-Merino strain being thus acknowledged, the only thing that remained was to consider the best method of bringing the improvement into general practice. It had been ascertained that not less than four removes from a pure Merino would ensure all that was required; and the breeder therefore, having purchased the best Merino ram, persevered in breeding in-and-in to the fourth remove, when he found himself the possessor of a pure breed, without any danger of retrograding, proper care being taken to prevent commixture with any less pure strain. The result was most satisfactory, for from actual experiments made by Dr. Parry the Merino-Ryeland carried more than three times the value of wool on the same living weight of carcase than its Ryeland ancestor did; almost four times as much as the Southdown and Lincoln, and nearly five times and a-half as much as the New Leicester. It appeared moreover, from Lord Somerville's trials on the Ryeland and Merino-Ryeland breeds, that the value of the wool on the latter is as five to two of the former-an increase which more than compensated for any additional expense or trouble. To those who are interested upon the subject of Spanish sheep, we recommend a perusal of a very clever trealise by Monsieur Lasteyrie, an intelligent Frenchman, which has been translated into English. He
the lash of ridicule of Peter Pindar, viz., that of feeding sheep on horse chestnuts. Monsieur Lasteyrie thus writes: "In Saxony great care is taken to collect the horse chestnuts, which are regarded as a wholesome aliment, and a specific against the rot. These are given to the sheep in autumn, when the green food ceases. The chestnuts are cut into pieces, which it would be dangerous to omit, as they might otherwise stick in the throat of the animal, and cause its death. Sheep, as well as cattle, refuse at first to eat this food; but, when accustomed to it, they seek it with avidity, and even like to eat the prickly husk in which the nut is enveloped."
One of the first toasts at sheep-shearing feasts used to be
"The glorious memory of George the Third,
Who first to Britain Spanish sheep transferred." In the Consort of our Gracious Sovereign we have one who possesses the good sense, sound judgment, and patriotic spirit of her royal grandfather, and who, as a practical farmer, will exert his influence to improve the breed of cattle, pigs, and sheep, by never rejecting without a trial any rational hint of improvement.
ORDER UPON THE FARM.
It has been very correctly said that order or method is the secret of success of many wealthy men of the mercantile class. The above being true, the rule is equally applicable to the
farming classes. What we mean by order is, "a place for
everything, and everything in its place." By everything, we mean all that a farmer uses in his business. A farmer should see that every rail and board about his premises is in its proper place; that his fences are in condition to prevent the entrance or exit of his own or other people's cattle without his consent. Every one who neglects this neglects his peace of mind, as well as subjects himself to losses that must be repaired by means that could have been otherwise profitably employed.
I have known cultivators of the soil to succeed well in maturing crops, but by neglecting to keep their fences in order, lose the most valuable part of their labours. But I am glad to state that such cases are not frequent in these times. In the next place, the farmer should not allow his cattle that are used in the farm-work to be scattered indiscriminately over his fields, as much time is lost in getting them to their places, and as "time is money," it should be economised as much as possible. He should be careful to have his harness all in using trim, his working cattle near his harness house: then but a few minutes are required to prepare for his day's ploughing and hauling. His implements, of every description, should be kept near his dwelling, that no time be lost in repairing those things that are out of order. Many persons will say that they cannot find time to do all these things. Stop, dear reader; I know you can, because whenever you see a rail missing from your fence, go and put it back immediately, for then is the right time. In case the rail should be destroyed, appropriate the first idle one you come to; if you should have no idle ones, lose no time in procuring some; for if you do not, nine chances in ten you lose more by neglect than if you stop the plough long enough to make them. Whenever you have done using a plough, hoe, rake, hay fork, thresher, reaper, or anything else, take it immediately to the barn-make this an invariable rule, and let all your men know it: the result will be, that when anything is wanted, the person sent for it will know where to find it. I would have every farmer have some of the most necessary tools used in making and repairing his implements of husbandry, for I know every one who is able to own a farm is able to have such things. The rainy season, in which much could be done in the way of making and repairing, is always lost to most farmers, because they have not the implements of manufacture. During such times he might put all his farming utensils in excellent working order; whereas if it is neglected until fair weather, he has scarcely had it done before another rainy season overtakes him: thus, all fair weather, in which he might have ploughed, passes in repairing. To concludeFarmers, preserve order in everything, and peace, prosperity, and health will accompany you through life.-Watchman and Reflector.
In the infinity of agricultural topics we are now | continually discussing, it is curious to notice how rarely we touch on our different breeds of stock. We of course learn the individual excellence of animals from their positions in the show-yard, and occasionally test the merits of a herd by the prices it will bring at the hammer. There is many a man, too, ready and anxious enough to cry up the sort he himself is interested in; but what we want is, that these opinions should be brought into rather more direct comparison. At this very moment there are two or three beasts that make "the best butcher's meat"-the Scot, the Welsh runt, and the Devon. Then the Short-horn is good to feed, but bad to milk; or, on the other hand, he is as useful for one purpose as the other. The very essence of discussion is difference of opinion, and here we should be sure of it. Still we scarcely remember a single occasion on which the object of a meeting has been to consider which are the best kinds of stock. The Highland Society certainly gave an evening some two years ago to the assumed advantages of crossing; and the London Club has two subjects on its card this season on the management of stock. We repeat, however, that the great question itself is seldom or ever put :-Which is the best beast-a Hereford, a Short-horn, or a Devon? Which is the best sheep-a Southdown, a Leicester, or a Cotswold? And which the best horse-a Suffolk, a Clydesdale, or a Lincoln ? We do not say it would be possible to pass any very definite resolution in answer to such queries; but nevertheless a great deal of interesting information might be obtained by such a means. At present we would almost seem to agree with Mr. Mechi in regarding our flocks and our beeves merely as necessary nuisances, and so saying little or nothing about them.
A comparatively young association in the North of Scotland has within these few weeks taken the bull by the horns. Mr. Home, the Chairman of the Stirling Farmers' Club, has opened a discussion "On the various Breeds of Cattle." In doing so, he naturally dwelt chiefly on such kinds as he himself and his brothermembers were best acquainted with:-"I speak of our well-known black cattle, which, although reared in many parts of our country, are yet shown to greatest advantage and perfection in the county I have named, Argyle. It cannot fail to be observed that good specimens of our black cattle possess almost every point that the breeders of cattle of England and elsewhere are endeavouring to produce. We all know their fineness of hide, straightness of legs, length and breadth of hind-quarters, fine development of breast and chest; and we know that that breed which is most highly csteemed, so far as we can compare a large beast with a small one, is almost exactly the same. The quality of their flesh is considered wholly unsurpassed, there being a fine degree of marble mixture of fatty matter which cannot be surpassed. It is well known that the nobility and gentry of England get up our Scotch kyloes as their finest beef. They are in a half-wild state, and must be fed fat upon grass, for the Highland ox takes as long to get accustomed with a byre as another to be fed fully fat in it. As milkers they do not excel in quantity; but the quality is shown by the manner in which they suckle their calves."
This is more than commonly well put, and certainly so far our Northern friends have no fault to find with their champion. He proceeds to what he terms
peculiar breed"; but a better known one amongst us, that reared in Galloway, Aberdeen, Kincardine, and Angus. "How that breed has come to be what it is, forms a difficult question-whether they be a species of the West Highlander somewhat changed, and having lost their horns, I don't know; but there is a peculiarity regarding them. Those in Galloway are larger and thinner from the hook to the tail, though not so broad as others; while those in Aberdeen are broader over the back. It may be mentioned that the latter county has at this time the honour and glory of supply. ing what in the London market is called pure Scots, and they carry the highest price for beef in the London market. In regard to their milking properties, I have the authority of Mr. M'Combie, of Tilly four, that they are excellent milkers; and he scouted the idea of an Ayrshire being compared with them in Aberdeenshire. I may mention that his place is by no means a garden of Eden, being without shelter, on the top of a hill; and yet there are to be seen some of the most magnificent animals you can conceive. Long may the Aberdeen folks have the credit of producing the best Scots for the London market."
So that even in Scotland there are two or three varieties which make "the best London beef." We have, then, the Fife breed, "few in number," and according to another speaker, coarse in quality, and not to be recommended." The discussion from this point assumed a more general tone, as it touched upon the merits of two sorts of which we have all more or less some experience. These were the Ayrshires and the Shorthorns-animals that would appear to be not only bred, but reared, and cultivated for diametrically opposite uses. The over-feeding of the Shorthorn, so that he shall do nothing but make flesh, is an old story. Mr. Home dwelt upon it at some length :-"I am far from thinking that if you keep them according to the present English rules you will be greatly benefited by them. Some of the means at present adopted go to deprive the animal of its milking powers, and render it unnatural in its inclination to take on fat; but if they are made to keep in a good, fair, growing, breeding state-in fact, in that state of exuberant health which makes them suitable for breeding-the country would greatly benefit by their introduction. Unfortunately, the great run has been upon shape only, to the neglect of milking and breeding qualities. I may mention, in confirmation of my remarks about the fattening of the Shorthorn, that I was at the Newcastle show of the English Society some years ago, and was going round the yard with Mr. Booth of Killerby. He was reckoned the first breeder of fat stock in Yorkshire, and was only equalled by Mr. Bates, whom he never liked to meet, so close was the competition. Mr. Booth's cattle were very high fed; and one cow he had at that show (Necklace, I think, was her name) was as magnificent an animal as one could wish to behold. But then she had, as it were, pillows of fat sewed on to her hind quarters and along her back. I remarked that the calves of such an animal must be very valuable. He answered, 'I am sorry to say I have been rather unfortunate in that respect-the calf died.' After expressing my regret, I said, 'Do you not think she is rather fat?' He said that perhaps she was a little."
The Ayrshires are to be condemned for the very reverse of all this. "It is a breed generally allowed to be superior to all others for quantity of milk. The X
Ayrshire breeders have, for many years, been driving at that point-namely, good milking qualities, and I regret to say that I fear they have done so to the neglect of the feeding qualities. A recent writer, speaking of Ayrshires, says, that one cause of the pleuro-pneumonia is that they are bred too fine, and I am of opinion that there is some truth in this. The same writer also said, that if a breeder has a first-rate bull, he was put to his nearest relations, to his own mother, daughters, or cousins, thus breeding too much in-andin. Whatever causes operate to produce the effect, I do not pretend to say; but it is an acknowledged fact the Ayrshire breed are deficient in beef and growing qualities. They are, generally speaking, narrow in the chest, and cannot have a large development of lungs, so that they may be predisposed to take injury or catch cold."
The difference between the two is yet further demonstrated. If the Shorthorn is fed up the Ayrshire is as systematically fed down. Mr. Gray, of Bearside, was once leaving the house of a friend where he had been to buy a bull, when he saw an Ayrshire calf which could scarcely move about. He asked what was the matter? 66 Nothing," ," said his friend, "only we must starve the calves the first year to make them fine, or they would grow up large coarse animals."
of opinion that a Shorthorn bull with Angus cows would make an excellent animal; but, if such were done, he would stick to the first cross, and never cross again. The Chairman, in his reply, even took up the cudgels for the Shorthorns on their weak point: "The milking qualities of the Shorthorns were fully equal to the Ayrshire. All the dairies in London were filled with Shorthorns, and the Londoners were pretty well up to the way of getting most value for their money. He had known one Shorthorn cow that gave 18 Scotch pints (36 quarts imperial) of milk per day, and the amount of butter he did not recollect, but it was something immense; while at Keir he believed there was a Shorthorn cow which was a most magnificent milker. All this went to show that the Shorthorn breed contains all the good milking properties, but they had been destroyed by endeavouring too much to get a monstrous fat beast." There is a great deal of truth and sound sense in all this. Indeed, we must especially compliment Mr. Home upon the manifest justice with which all his remarks were made, as well as upon the great attention he has clearly given to his subject. Cattle are not merely fed too highly for breeding purposes, but even it is said for that of consumption. A London surgeon has recently been alarming the town by a declaration-founded upon post mortem examination-that there was scarcely a beast exhibited at the Smithfield Club Show but was so grossly over-fattened as to be unfit for human food! Without going quite so far, the abuse at our summer stock shows is altogether indisputable. Scotland itself affords a very recent and striking example of this. The famous "John O'Groat," the first-prize bull this year at both the English and Scotch national meetings, and one of the grandest Shorthorns ever seen, has since died. Mr. Hoine, "for one, however, was not altogether unprepared to hear of such an event. If an animal is fed up to a state quite unlike healthy nature, as the rage is at present, what else can be expected?" This may not be very palatable to some of our friends, but a home truth may do them more good than they may at first be willing to admit.
The point of the debate was, nevertheless, all in favour of the Shorthorn. As a cross for almost any kind of Scotch cattle there is clearly nothing equal to them. "Mr. Bates, of Kirklevington, once told me (Mr. Home) he had got a lot of West Highland heifers, and put Shorthorn bulls to them; thus producing the most admirable animals he ever saw-pictures of many of which he had hung on his walls." Mr. Stobie, of Ballochneck, not only confirmed this, but went on to mention that he exhibited two cross-bred heifers at the recent show of fat cattle at Glasgowone of which gained the first prize, and was out of a small Ayrshire cow, by a pure Shorthorn bull; it was a very fine animal, and admired by every one. "He had no hesitation in saying the Shorthorns, and first crosses were the easiest fattened breed, and in times We have followed out this discussion with much like these, when the farmer must get his goods quickly interest and satisfaction, and hope ere long to have to to market, they were the best." Mr. M'Nellan had chronicle some such similar inquiry on this side of found the Shorthorn the easiest fed, and a cross be- the Border. The new number of the Royal Agricultween the Shorthorn and Ayrshire exceedingly useful-tural Society's Journal has a very able paper on the in fact, as easily fed as the Shorthorns; and, while he had reared this class to 50 stone, he could not rear an Ayrshire to more than 35. And Mr. Chrystal was
Implement Show at Salisbury, but not one word as to the live stock. And yet our "different breeds of cattle" is no so unimportant a thesis, after all.
THE CONDUCT OF THE PARIS MEAT TRADE. We recently referred to the price of cattle in France and England, showing that the British grazier had no reason to fear a competition with our French neighbours. We now publish, on page 292, of this number, a paper on the production and consumption of meat in France, and the effect of the present law upon the price of meat, in Paris particularly, and generally throughout France. We are sure that this paper will not only be perused with interest by the English grazier, but it will excite some surprise at the clumsy apparatus set to work for the regulation of the sale of meat by the French Government, to the destruction of all competition, and the encouragement of every species of fraud and peculation on the one hand, and unmerciful exaction of dues necessary to support the system on the other. Between the public taxes and the private plunder-the latter connived
at by the functionaries specially employed to protect the public interests--both the producer and the consumer are robbed right and left; whilst the only persons benefited by the system are the butchers, who make enormous profits. In the mean while, the production and grazing of cattle decrease in France, and the quality of what is produced is deteriorated by the operation of the law, and the ruinous deductions between the grazier and the consumer; and the consumption is checked by reason of the high price of meat, the consequence of the prohibitory exactions, amounting to about 3 d. per kilo. on ox and cow beef, 43d. on veal, and 64d. on mutton; or on an average from 14d. to 31d. per lb.
The enhancement of price, however, is not the only evil of the system. By the law, the butchers are bound to make four kinds or classes of meat, and also to sell
cow beef, as such, at a lower rate than ox beef. But they have found a means of evading the law in both respects so effectually, that although it is notorious that a vast proportion of cows-generally old and past working and milking-are slaughtered in Paris, no cow beef is ever to be seen upon the stalls; and on the other hand, no beef of the fourth or most inferior class, and very little of the third class, is exhibited for sale. The just inference therefore is, that both the cow beef and that of the inferior classes of meat are transferred and merge into the first and second classes, to the extra profit of the butcher, and injury of the public.
overlooked, and the proofs of them too strong to be refuted. Both demand the immediate and serious attention of the French Government. The high price of meat alone, is enough to show that a change is necessary, both on account of the prosperity and the health of the population.
We have now before us a work devoted to the subject, which estimates the general consumption of meat for all France at 7 kilos. (or 15 lbs.) per head. In Paris the proportion of neat cattle slaughtered is stated to be 78,000 oxen, 18,000 cows, and 74,000 calves. For all France, in 1840, the estimated numbers were 492,000 oxen, 718,000 cows, and 2,478,400 calves; the latter being nearly the double in number ascribed for this of the two former. The reason destruction of animal food at the very source, is the extreme poverty of the farmers, which compels them to convert their produce into money as quickly as possible. We learn that the same system is still pursued, and the consequence is that few calves are reared, and the production of meat is continually price of meat advances, declining, whilst the and the consumption proportionally diminishes. The author also accounts for the inferior quality of the cattle sent to Paris by referring to the state of the law. "Under the system of a tax per head the butcher purchased by preference the finest cattle, finding it to his interest to do so in spite of their high price relatively as live meat. Now, on the contrary, his interest
To these evils of the present system must be added the enormous quantity of dead meat (la viande à la main), generally diseased, slaughtered clandestinely beyond the barrier, and brought into Paris. This in 1846 amounted to 4,560,000 kilos.; but in 1856 it rose to 17,151,000 kilos., or nearly 50,000 head of cattle. We admit that our London market is liable to the same species of imposition, and that large quantities of diseased meat are clandestinely brought thither for sale. The supervision, however, of the officers appointed by the City, to prevent its sale, have no temptation to forego their duty, on account of the free competition which exists, and that renders it dangerous and difficult, without detection, to offer such meat for public sale. The consequence is, that we continually read, in the public journals, of butchers being fined for this offence; and the proportion, therefore, sold to the public, is small compared with the general consump-compels him to purchase only animals of the second or
third quality. He pays the tax on the weight, and receives no advantage from the form or strength of the animal he purchases. On the other hand, the tax being uniform, as he finds in an ox of 500 kilos. as many pieces of each class as in an ox of 300, and as he cannot sell the meat proceeding from the first at one single centime more than that of the second, he has an evident interest in purchasing only animals of inferior
The first and most palpable result of this system is, that the entire consumption of beef in Paris, which is but the type of all the large cities of France, is reduced to about 87 pounds per head per annum, whilst that of London amounts to about 104 pounds; the meat of the latter being almost wholly good wholesome ox beef, whilst that of the former consists of a large pro-quality, which cost him less alive, and afford him a portion of diseased and cow beef and veal, the cows being usually both milked and worked until they are past use for either. In the above statement, no account is taken of the sheep and pigs slaughtered in London, which would add at least from 38 to 40 pounds per head per annum to the general consumption.
But a more serious consequence of this system of the butchery of Paris is not generally appreciated, because it lies in the back-ground of the picture. This is the effect upon the general health and longevity of the population. By a comparative view of this question, as relating to Paris and London, it appears from official documents, that whilst in the latter city the mortality is gradually decreasing, in the former it is as steadily increasing. Thus, in London, the average proportion of deaths in ten years (from 1846 to 1855) has been 25 per thousand; and in 1856 it was only 22 per thousand. But in Paris, the average from 1831 to 1840 was 26; from 1841 to 1850, 28; and from 1851 to 1855, 31 per thousand! and this decrease in the duration of life is ascribed by the writer to the diminution in the consumption of animal food, the result of the present system.
Surely, if any thing will open the eyes of the present astute ruler of France to the evils of the system pursued in Paris, it is a statement like the one we have given. We believe he has the welfare of the French nation at heart, and the cities of France, especially Paris, have engaged his anxious attention. How it is that he has adopted the present fatal system we cannot tell; but with the abundant evidence before him of its disastrous working, both upon the producers and the consumers of meat, we cannot believe that he will long suffer it to continue. The evils are too palpable to be
better profit. He neglects, therefore, beasts of superior quality, or does not offer a price for them adequate to what they cost; which tends to discourage the breeding of finer races, and lowers the quality of the meat consumed on the great market of Paris. Under this regulation the consumption of cows continually increases, to the decline of that of oxen; and the mean weight of the latter, as well as their mean value, as continually diminishes."
Such is the state of butcher's law in Paris; and its effects upon the most important branch of good husbandry in general, and upon the health of the inhabitants of Paris in particular. Efforts are making to induce the agriculturists to adopt a better system; but until the law is altered or abolished altogether, it is impossible that any beneficial change can take place.
In the meanwhile France will become an importer instead of an exporter of cattle; for it is impossible under the present system either to improve the breeds generally, or to prevent decline in the production of cattle. All writers on the agriculture of France agree on this subject, as well as that the farmers of France are more disposed to invest their savings in fresh purchases of land, or in railway and other public stock, than in the improvement either of the soil or of the breeds of cattle. There are undoubtedly exceptions to this, but it certainly applies to the large body of farmers in that country, and is the bane of its agricultural prosperity.
* "Question des Subsistances-solution, le pain à soixante centimes les deux kilogrammes;" &c.