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and Commerce, who have been the patrons of many valuable discoveries, and at all times the strenuous promoters of Agriculture.
Conceiving this moment particularly important for the interests of this branch of national industry, and that a new era in our system of internal and external politics is likely to arise, I have been the more willingly induced to give my consent to the collection, in one single volume, of my detached hints on the Economy of Feeding Stock; not without sanguine hopes, that the fruits of some practice and experience may contribute in a small degree to the furthering of those objects which are ultimately connected with, the prosperity of every individual.
I feel still more inclined to accede, from the belief which I entertain, that rapid as the improvements in Agriulture have been (especially within the few last years), there is not yet drawn from the earth a fifth part of the produce that might be obtained by a more perfect system of Agriculture, by a general inclosure of waste lands, and by a proper economy in the feeding of stock.
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Under these powerful convictions, I submit the following pages to the candid perusal of my countrymen; trusting that, at a moment when the exertions of every class of society are imperiously called for in defence of our country, and in support of its best and most vital interests, the present publication may not be entirely useless; and that my example may serve to stimulate other more experienced persons, to submit the result of their practice to the consideration and free inquiry of an enlightened and liberal public.
The favorable reception of a former edition of this work, under many disadvantages, has operated together with other circumstances to induce me, not only to undertake the revision, but to make considerable additions, with the hope of correcting not only the errors of the press, but others of my own of more consequence. I trust that the • work may now appear in a form and at an expense which may give it a chance of extending its circulation to the practical farmer.
The opportunities since afforded me of visiting a great variety of farms, in different
• parts parts of the kingdom, have contributed to strengthen my former opinions, that economy in feeding stock is a lesson yet to be learned by the generality not only of gentlemen-agriculturists but of farmers. I have been highly gratified by learning that my mode of feeding has, in different parts of the kingdom, been tried and approved.
The plan of supplying milk for the labouring classes is, I am happy to say, likely to be extensively adopted.
Important as I have previously assumed agriculture to be to the interests of the empire, the circumstances of the times render it still more imperiously so. The last has been a year of non-importation. Had our wants required it, our circumstances were such as to debar all assistance from our former sources of supply. Does not, then, our safety, the only hopes for restoring the independence of Europe, rest on our agriculture? Who can contemplate the situation in which the nation is placed, and refrain from giving active support to every measure by which the cultivation of the soil can be promoted? Can this be too often pr too strenuously impressed on the public?
But Buta few years ago, (since the commencement of the war) a twelfth part of the grain annually consumed was imported. In the two years preceding the last, a twentyfourth part only wasr equired. In the year preceding the last, though there was a failure in some of the crops, there was a sufficiency of grain of our own growth to answer all demands. The pressure, except in a few particular districts, was not severe. The advance in the prices of grain has not been without benefit, first in promoting cultivation, and farther by affording employment to a part of that population which the stagnation of manufactories had deprived of work.
Those who concur with me in opinion, that it is more than probable that our foreign trade may never attain to its former extent, will be ardent in their wishes that those sources of national wealth, which are independent of foreign control, should be the first objects of national attention. England and Ireland afford ample room for improvement. Who can view without regret the enormous grants of public money annually voted for the support of some of our
foreign foreign possessions, from which it would be difficult to point out any object obtained beyond an increase of patronage to persons in power. With a part of these sums, so uselessly lavished, what important national purposes might be effected!
That great and radical reforms are wanting, will scarcely be denied. Though a revenue is raised which places above half a million of people dependent on government, it is no proof of the flourishing state of the empire, that on examination there is found a million and a quarter of Britons existing on parochial relief.
There must be something fundamentally wrong when the efforts of honest Jabour will not afford the means of supporting a family independently.
From whatever causes have sprung this lamentable situation of affairs, it must be the wish of every* friend of his country to see a speedy remedy applied. May we not reasonably hope, by employing a larger part of the mass of the people in the occupations of agriculture, and by early attention to the education of the rising generation, that probity, industry, and frugality may