Page images

is drawn by a pair of horses with swingle-trees. It is used to lessen inequalities of
surface, by removing a part of the soil from the heights to the hollows, which it does
in an easy and expeditious manner. The driver, who uses long reins, by pressing
moderately on the handle (a) as the horses go forward, collects and transports about five
hundred weight of earth to the place where it is to be deposited ; which is effected in the
most summary manner by his letting go the handle: this causes the front, or edge of
the machine, (b) to dip, and catch against the ground, whereby it is at once inverted and
emptied of its load. The extremity of the handle, to which a rope (c) is affixed, by this
inversion strikes against, and rests upon the swingle-tree bar, and in this manner the
mouldebaert is drawn along towards the accumulated earth, when, by taking up the rope,
the driver draws back the handle, collects his load as before,

proceeds to the spot which is to receive it, and the horses are
never for a moment delayed. The saving of time and labour, in
filling and emptying, gives this implement a decided superiority

ver the cart; nor is the ground so much injured by this, as by

5. Tke Hainanit scythe (fig. 60.) is the general reaping instrument both
in the Netherlands and in French Flanders. The handle is fourteen inches,
with a shield for the hand of four and a half inches, in all eighteen and a half
inches : the blade is two feet three inches in length, the point a little raised,
ad the entire edge bevelled upwards so as to avoid the surface of the ground,
w the frequent use of the sharpening stone. The handle of the crook being
of hard wood, is used as a scythe board. A farther account of the mode of
usag this instrument, and of a series of trials which have been made with it in Scotland, will be found
is a succeeding part of this work.

510 The great Brabant scythe (fig. 61.) differs little from the British implement, and is in general use le muring clorer.


511. The kylanderie, to which Radcliff seems to attach unmerited importance, is nothing more than a screen for freeing grain from vermin, dust, or small seeds. It resetables a gravel screen, and is used in the same manner.

512 The trenching spade consists of a blade of iron fifteen inches long, and a han. dle of two feet. The labourer standing in the last formed trench, with his left hand at the bottom of the handle, and his right near the top, by the weight of his body, and without the assistance of his foot, sinks the spade about eighteen inches, and standing sideways, throws off the soil with a peculiar sleight and turn of the wrist, so as to lodge it in an oblique position in the trench, and against the preceding line of work, retiring as he casts it from the spade, and thereby effecting some little mixture of the two strata, though the upper surface is at the same time placed below the other.

513. The pronged hoe has a pronged blade on one side, and a common plate on the other; it is exceedingly useful; one side may be used for cutting weeds where they prevail, and the other for stirring a surface already clean.

514. The chariot, or great cart (fig. 62.), is the only machine of the Flemish farmer which appears to transgress the bounds of a rigid economy. This, as it is not only to be used for the transport of grain, but of the farmer and his family occasionally,

to the market-town, is more ornamentally finished than any other, and is painted in sosy colours, chiefly green and red; an awning also is very ingeniously contrived, as an occasional delence against the rain and sun. From the natural spring of so long a perch, the centre part of this machine


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

is by no means an uneasy conveyance ; and there the farmer sits in all solemnity, whilst a well appointed boca acts as a postilion, and his fine and

spirited pair of well-trained

horses bring him home from market & arzpad trot.

515. Agricultural operations of every kind are performed with particular care in Flanders. The most remarkable feature in the operations of culture consists in the frequent ploughings given on all soils ; in strong soils for the sake of pulverisation as well as cleanliness, in the lighter, chiefly for the destruction of weeds, and blending the manure with the soil. But, considering that but one pair of horses is in general allowed to about thirty acres, it is surprising how (with the execution of all the other farming work) time can be found for the number of ploughings which is universally given. Very generally, the number, for the various crops, respectively, is as follows :


For IV heal, tvo ploughings, with two harrowings.
two or three ditto,






Bucknhcat, four





For Oilettes, two or three ploughings, with two hartosings.
Tolucco, four


ditto Hemp, four


ditto. Turnip, Sthree as a first crop, ditto,

ditto. one as a second crop, ditto,

ditto three as a first crop, ditto,

ditto. Spurry, one as a second crop, ditto,

dittoBeans, two


ditto. Fullors, four or five



516. Trenching is a feature almost peculiar to Flemish farming, and that of Tuscany. This remarkable practice is confined to the lighter soils, and is not used where the strong clay prevails. In the districts in which it is adopted, the depth of the operation varies with that of the soil ; but till this has arrived at nearly two feet of mellow surface, a little is added to it at each trenching, by bringing to the top a certain proportion of the under stratum ; which, being exposed to the action of the atmosphere, and minutely mixed with a soil already fertilised, gradually augments the staple till the sought-for depth be required.

517. The management of live stock in Flanders, though good, is not so eminently exemplary as their tillage culture. The cattle are the short-horned Dutch breed; the colour generally black, or black and white. Little attention is given to the improvement of the form by selection. The sheep are long-woolled and long-legged, and afford a coarse fleece and very indifferent mutton. They are housed at night, and, in the daytime, follow the shepherd and his dog through pathways and along the verges of the fields and roads, picking up a mere subsistence, and never enjoying the range of a sweet and wholesome pasture. In winter they are let out but once a day, and are fed in the sheep houses on rye and hay, &c. A cross with the Merino breed has been tried ; but, as might have been predicted from the incongruous parentage, with no benefit. The swine are long-legged, narrowbacked, and flat-ribbed; not easily fatted, but, when well fed and long kept, making excellent pork and bacon.

518. The horse is the animal for which Flanders has long been noted, with regard to the excellence of its working breed ; and that of England has been considerably improved by the frequent importation thence of stallions and mares, previous to the French revolution. The Suffolk punch horse comes nearest to the most prevalent variety in Flanders; the resemblance is strong, not only in colour, but in some of the 'essential points of form : however, though the prevailing colour is chestnut in all its shades, yet other colours are likewise to be met with; and, with very few exceptions, the Flemish horses are of superior strength, and of the true working character. The chief, indeed almost the only, defects to be observed in any are, a want of depth in the girth, and a dip behind the withers; for symmetry, perhaps the shoulder also, at the top, should be a little finer ; but in all other respects they possess the best shapes.

519. Every farmer breeds his own work-horses, and disposes of the redundance. Even the total absence of pasture is not suffered to prevent it; and the foals are found to thrive remarkably well in a close house. For this purpose, as well as for the general keep of the stock, a regular dietary is observed. manger is formed of well cemented brickwork. In summer clover, and in winter carrots, are usually given; hay in very small quantities, but in all cases chopped straw mixed with corn or beans, or both, and water aired by keeping in the stable, and whitened with a pretty strong proportion of barley-meal. With every symptom of sufficient spirit, they are extremely docile; and, besides being obedient to the word, are guided in intricate cases, in a manner surprising to a stranger, by a single cord; this rein is never thick, and, in some instances, is as small as a stout whipcord, and yet in the deeper soils three powerful horses abreast (the bridles of the middle and oth-side horses being connected with that upon the near-side horse, to which this rein is affixed) are guided by it at all the turnings, the ploughman holding the rein in one hand, and his single-handed plough in the other, and performing his

most accurate straightness and precision. Of corn to market, a pair of horses generally draw two tons ; of manure to the field, one ton and half; and on the pavement in the towns, three tons, without appearing to be overloaded.

520. The shoeing of horses in Flanders is attended to with particular care, and in that country has long been practised the mode of preserving the bars of the hoof, and of letting the frog come in contact with the ground, recommended in England by Freeman and Professor Colman. The use of cockers, or turned heels, is, except in part, entirely abandoned, In two respects, however, the shoeing in Flanders differs from any of the methods in use with us. In one, that to prevent ripping, the hoofs of the fores feet are pared away towards the toe, and the shoes so fitted, that the fore part shall not touch (within three fourths of an inch) the same level surface, upon which the heel and middle of the shoe shall rest.

521. This preparation of the foot is in general use; the horses are not thereby in any degree injured, and are particularly sure-footed. The other point of difference is, that the shoe is nailed on fat and close to the foot, which, in depriving the iron of all spring, and all unequal pressure against the nails, may

be in part the cause of the durability of the shoeing.

522. For shocing vicious horses every precaution is taken by the use of the forge machine, a common appendage to the smithies in Flanders. "If the horse is not altogether unmanageable, his hind foot is tied to a cross bar, or his fore leg to a stilt and bracket; but if he is extremely vicious indeed, he can be raised from the ground in a minute, by means of a cradle-sling of strong girth web, hooked to the upper side. rails, which, with a slight handspike, are turned in the blocks that support them (the extremities of the sling thereby coiling round them), till the horse is elevated to the proper height, and rendered wholly powerless.

523. The Flemish and Dutch dairies are more remarkable for the abundance than the excellence of their products ; owing to the inferiority of their pastures, and the cows


work with

being kept the greater part of the winter in the house. In summer the principal article of food in Flanders is clover, cut and carried to the stall. On a small scale, when pasturage is to be had, they are left at liberty ; when this is not the case, each cow is led by a rope, and permitted to feed round the corn fields, the grassy borders of which are left about ten feet wide for this purpose.

524. The food for one cou in winter, for twenty-four hours, is straw, eighteen pounds; turnips, sixty pornts. Sünde farmers boil the turnips for them; others give them raw, chopping them with the spade : one or other operation is necessary to obviate the risk of the animal being choked, where the turnips, which is usually the case ia Flanders, are of too small a size. In lieu of turnips, potatoes, carrots, and gruas are occasionally used Bean-straw is likewise given, and uniformly a white drink, prepared both for ows 21 horses, consisting of water in which some oilcake has been dissolved, whitened with ryemeal, oatmeal, or the four of buckwheat.

525. In the dairies the summer feed is pasturage day and night; in winter, hay, turnips, carrots, grains from the breweries, cakes of linseed, rapeseed, bean and other meals, and the white drink before mentioned. For the sake of cleanliness, the tails of the cows are tied to the roof of the cow-house with a cord during the time of milking. The cow-houses, both in Flanders and Holland, are kept remarkably clean and warm ; so much so, that a gentleman “spoke (to Radcliff) of having drunk coffee with a cowkeeper, in the general stable, in winter, without the annoyance of cold, of dirt, or of any offensive smell.” The Dutch are particularly averse from unfolding the secrets of their dairy management; and, notwithstanding the pointed queries of Sir John Sinclair on the subject, no satisfactory idea was given him of their mode of manufacturing butter or cheese.

526. The woodlands of Flanders are of considerable extent; but more remarkable for the care bestowed on them, than for the bulk of timber grown. To this purpose, indead, the soil is inadequate ; most of these woods having been planted or sown on land considered too poor for tillage,

2. Ia oraing artificial plantations, the general mode is to plough the ground three or four times, and take a crop a buckwheat; afterwards

the plants or seeds are inserted and hoed for a year or two, till they cure the surface. For the Seutch pine, which is sometimes sown alone on the poorest soils, the most Cena and the simplest mode is that of burning the surface, for which process its heathy quality gives Te faility. The ashes being spread, the ground is formed into beds from six to fifteen feet wide, accord.

to circumstances; the seed sown at the rate of six pounds to the English acre, and covered by a lagtt sbording from the furrows, which are sunk about two feet, not only to supply covering to the beds, but as drains to carry off the surface water.

528. Extensive artificial woods have been created in this manner, converting a barren soil into a state of productiveness, the least expensive, very profitable, and highly ornamental. Of six years' growth, there exist flourishing plantations (treated in this manner), from five to nine feet in height. At about ten years from its formation, they begin to thin the wood, and continue to do so annually, with such profit by the sale, as at the end of thirty years to have it clear of every charge; a specific property being thus acquired, by industry and attention merely, without the loss of any capital.

529. Pine woods are often sown, and with great success, without the labour of burning the surface; as at Vladsloo, in the neighbourhood of Dixmude, where a luxuriant crop, seten feet high, though of but five years' growth, had been cultivated by Madame de Cleir, by merely ploughing the heathy surface into beds of fifteen feet, harrowing, sowing at the rate of six pounds to the English acre, raking in the seed, and covering the beds lightly from the furrows, which are sunk about eighteen inches deep.

539). drother mode of souing, practised by the Baron de Serret, in the vicinity of Bruges, was productive of a growth not less luxuriant, merely by sowing the seed upon sand (taken from the excavation for tuding, which was spread over the heathy surface, the seed raked in, and the furrows shoveled up. 1. Tke tring of pine xed in many cases is adopted for the purpose of bringing waste land into an arable state, which, when the timber has been disposed of, is found to yield admirable crops, from a surface soil formed by the accumulation of the leaves which have fallen for so many years. For this purpose also, the broom is frequently sown upon waste lands of a similar description, and at the end of kar er éve years ia pulled away, leaving the soil capable of yielding crops of corn,

532. The preservation of trees is attended to in the strictest manner, not only by proprietors, but by the government. As an example of this, Radcliff mentions that at a certain season of the year, when the caterpillars commence their attack upon the trees, Every farmer is obliged to destroy those upon his own premises, to the satisfaction of the mayor of his particular commune, or to pay the cost of having it done for him.

As a proof of the strictness with which this is enforced, the governor sends round a circular letter annually, reminding the sub-intendants and mayors of the obligations and penalties for nonperformance.

583. There are a number of royal forests in Flanders ; and, besides these, all the trees on the sides of the public roads belong to the government. In West Flanders there are five, announting together to nearly 10,000 acres. They are superintended by eighteen persons : an inspector, resident at Bruges; a deputy inspector, resident at Ypres; two Kardes généraur, and fourteen particuliers, or privates. The inspector is answerable for all: froin him the garde général takes his instructions, and sees that they are enforced by the privates, to whom is committed the regulatiou of the necessary labour.

534. The cuttings take place periodically with respect to small trees and fire-wood, so as to secure an annual produce; but reserves are always left to become, eventually, large and valuable timber.

535. The cutting of the taillis or coppice, chiefly used as fire.wood, takes place every eleventh year ; that of the high and grosser coppice, every twenty-fifth year; the felling of the half-grown forest trees, every sixtieth year, and that of the full-grown forest trees, once in a hundred years.

536. In the management of copprces, it is considered essential to preserve the roots from stagnant water ; the trenches originally formed for that purpose are from time to time cleared out; and the sediment and manure from the falling leaves, which have accumulated in them, are carefully spread upon the ridge, or rounded set, which the wood occupies. A second branch of regular attention is to remove all brambles and briars; a third, to replace the old and fading stocks by new plantations; a fourth, to thin the stems with regularity and care.

537. The sorts of trees are birch, oak, service, ash, maple, elm, beech, poplar, aspen, wild pine, Weymouth pine, plane, lime, larch, Spanish chestnut, and alder. A variety of pine, called the Pinus mari. tima, but not the plant of that name which is known on the coast of Italy and Greece, has been tried on the sea-coast, and found to resist the sea-brecze. It is said extensive plantations have been made of this tree on the coast of France, at Bourdeaux, and that it produces excellent timber; but whether it is a distinct species, or a variety possessing any particular qualities, or merely the common wild or Scotch pine, in a favourable situation, does not appear. Most probably the last circumstance is the case. The 63

pine is liable to the attacks of the Bóstríchus pinipérdus (fig. 63.),
on the wood of the old branches, and of the larva of a species of moth
on the leading young shoots. The moth deposits its eggs among the
buds at their extremities: the turpentine or resin which oozes from
the buds, protects the eggs till the insect is brought out by the

64 warmth of the atmosphere, when vegetation commences; it then inserts itself into one of the young shoots, about five or six inches below the end (fig. 64. a), and works upwards till it finds its way out at the extremity (b), which at this time begins to shoot, and lodging itself in the centre of it, perforates the young shoot up and down, till it either breaks off, or withers.

538. The domestic circumstances of the Flemish farmer and his servants are depicted by Radcliff in a favourable point of view. “ Nothing,” he says, “tends more to the uniform advancement of good farming, than a certain degree of ease and comfort in those who occupy the soil, and in the labouring classes whom they employ. Without it, an irregular, speculative, and anticipatory extraction of produce, always followed by eventual loss, is resorted to, in order to meet the emergencies and difficulties of the moment; whereas, under different circumstances, the successive returns of a well regulated course become the farmer's object, rather than the forced profit of a single year; and whilst he himself is thus intrinsically served, his landlord is secured, and his ground ameliorated.

539. The laborious industry of the Flemish farmer is recruited by intervals of decent and comfortable refreshment; and the farm -servants are treated with kindness and respect. They uniformly dine with the farmer and his family, at a clean tablecloth, well supplied with spoons, with four-pronged forks, and every thing necessary for their convenience. In Flanders, the gentlemen are all farmers; but the farmers do not aspire to be gentlemen, and their servants feel the benefit. They partake with them of a plentiful and orderly meal, which varies according to circumstances. One standing dish, however, is universal, a soup, composed of buttermilk, boiled and thickened with four or rye-bread. Potatoes, salt pork, salt fish, various vegetables, and eggs are common; fresh meat and fresh fish occur occasionally, though not for daily consumption : add to these, a plentiful supply of butter, or rendered lard, which is sometimes substituted ; and when it is recollected that these articles of provision are always made palatable by very tolerable cookery, it will be allowed that the farmer's table is comfortably supplied. The potatoes are always peeled, and are generally stewed in milk; a particular kind of kidneybean, as mentioned before, the fêve haricot, sliced and stewed in milk also, is a frequent dish. No farmer is without a well cultivated garden, full of the best vegetables, which all appear at his own table; and apples are also introduced into their cookery. The great fruit and vegetable markets of the towns are supplied by gardeners who make it their means of subsistence; but the gardens of the farmers, unless in case of redundance, are cultivated wholly for their own consumption."

540. The farm-servants partake of their master's fare, except in his refreshments of tea, coffee, and beer.

541. The day-labourers are not so well provided : they have, however, rye-bread, potatoes, buttermilk, and occasionally some salt pork. labourer is, in general, very well able to support himself by his work : in a country where so much manual labour is required in weeding, the labourer's family is occupied pretty constantly in summer; and in winter they spin. Each day-labourer has, in most cases, a small quantity of land, from a rood to half an acre, for his own cultivation,

542. "Beggars in common times are scarcely to be seen, except in the towns, and but few there. the country, habits of industry are kept up till health fails; and to meet the infirmities of age, the poor possess a revenue from pious donations, regulated by the government, and vested by them in commissions, of which the mayors of the different communes are presidents, respectively, in right of their office.

543. The clothing of the peasantry is warm and comfortable, good shoes, stockings, and frequently gaiters of leather or strong linen, which are sold very cheap; their innate frugality leads them, however, to economise in those articles, substituting on many occasions conrse flannel socks and wooden sabots, both of which are supplied in all the public markets at about eightpence cost. Their comfortable supply




[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

of linen is remarkable; there are few of the labouring classes without many changes. In riding with a
landed proprietor through a part of the country in which

his property was situated, a neat cottage pre.
septed itself: the clipped hedge which surrounded the garden, covered with linen very white, suggested
an enquiry, whether it did not belong to a washerwoman ?" The answer was, “ That it was occupied
by a labourer and his family, and that the linen was all their own." It must, however, be observed, that
universally in proportion to the supply is the postponement of the washing, which causes the greater
display, and particularly at the beginning of May, which is a chosen scason for this purpose. Any
circumstance connected with the cleanliness, health, and comfort of the lower classes is interesting; and
to this of which we have been speaking, a peculiar degree of decency is attached. If the labourer is com.
fortable in point of apparel, the farmer is still more so. In home-work, the farmer generally protects his
clothes be a smock-frock of blue linen; and great attention to cleanliness prevails throughout his operations

544. With respect to the farm-house, the exterior is for the most part ornamented with creepers, or fruit trees trained against the walls ; and within, the neatness which prevails is quite fascinating. Every article of furniture is polished; the service of pewter displays a peculiar brightness ; and the tiled floor is purified by frequent ablutions.

545. The cottage of the labourer, though not so well furnished, is, however, as clean ; a frequent and periodical use of water and the broom pervades every house, great and small, in the country and in towns; originating, perhaps, in the necessity of cleanliness, and the public enforcement of it, when Flanders was visited by the plague.

546. The Flemish farmer seldom amasses riches, but is rarely afflicted by poverty : in-
dustry and frugality are his characteristics; he never looks beyond the enjoyment of
moderate comforts; abstains from spirituous liquors, however easily to be procured ;
Bever exceeds his means; pays his rent punctually; and, in case of emergency, has
always something to command, beyond his necessary disbursements.

Sect. V. Of the present State of Agriculture in Germany.
347. The agriculture of Germany is, in many respects, less different from that of Britain
than is the agriculture of France or Italy. It is, however, but very imperfectly known in
this country; partly from the numerous petty states into which the German empire is
divided, which greatly increases the variety of political circumstances affecting agricul-
ture; but principally from the German language being less generally cultivated by
Britons, than that of France or of Italy. The outline which we submit is drawn chiefly
from the published journals of recent travellers, especially Jacob, Hodgson, and Bright,
and from our own observations made in 1813, 1814, and 1828. Those who desire more
copious details may consult Thaer's Annals der Landuirtschaft, Hassel’s Erdebeschreibung,
and the agricultural writings of Hazzi, Schwartz, and Krunitz.

SCBSECT. I. General View of the Agricultural Circumstances of Germany.
548. A great variety of soil, surface, climate, and culture must necessarily exist in a
country so extensive as Germany. From the south of Hungary to the north of Den-
mark are included upwards of twelve degrees of latitude, which alone is calculated to
produce a difference of temperature of twenty degrees : and the effect of this difference
of geographical position is greatly increased by the variations of surface; the immense
ridges of mountains, inlets of the sea, lakes and rivers, and extensive plains. The
winters in Denmark and Prussia are very severe, and last from six to eight months; the
vinters in the south of Hungary are from one to three months. The south and south-
east of Germany, comprising part of Bohemia, Silesia, and Hungary, are the most
mountainous: and the north-east, including Prussia and part of Holstein and Hanover,
presents the most level surface. The richest soil is included in the interior and south-
westem parts; in the immense plain of the Danube, from Presburg to Belgrade, an
extent of three hundred miles; and great part of Swabia, Franconia, and Westphalia.
The most barren parts are the mountains and sandy plains and heaths of the north, and
especially of Prussia; and that country, and part of Denmark and Holstein, abound
also in swamps, marshes, and stagnant lakes.

549. Landed property, throughout Germany, is almost universally held on feudal
tenure, and strictly entailed on the eldest son. It is generally in estates from one hun.
dred acres upwards, which cannot be divided or increased. Most of the sovereigns have
large domains, and also the religious and civil corporations.

550. The farmers of Germany are still in many instances metayers; but the variety of this mode of holding is much greater there than in France and Italy. In some cases the farmer does not even find stock; and in others, more particularly in Hungary, he and bis family are little better off than the cultivators of Russia. In Brandenburg, Saxony, aadi part of Hanover, the farmers hold on the metayer tenure, or that of paying a fixed rent of com or money, unalterable either by landlord or tenant. In Mecklenburg, FriesLand, Holstein, Bavaria, &c., most of the property is free, as in Britain, and there agriculture is carried to great perfection. Tithes are almost universal in Germany; but are not felt as any great grievance. Poor-rates are unknown.

551. The consequence of these arrangements of landed property in Germany is a comparatively fixed state of society. The regulations which have forbid an augmentation

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »