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. A GRICULTURE;
THEORY AND PRACTICE
OF THE VALUATION, TRANSFER, LAYING OUT, IMPROVEMENT, AND
AND THE CULTIVATION AND ECONOMY OF
AND A STATISTICAL VIEW OF ITS PRESENT STATE,
WITH SUGGESTIONS FOR ITS FUTURE PROGRESS IN THE
By J. C. LOUDON, F.L.S., H.S., &c.
AUTHOR OF THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF GARDENING,
UPWARDS OF EIGHT HUNDRED ENGRAVINGS ON WOOD BY BRANSTON.
Though the title of this work is sufficiently comprehensive, it may not be improper to state the grounds on which it lays claim to being the most complete body of Agriculture hitherto submitted to the public.
The subject of Agriculture admits of two grand divisions; the improvement and general management of landed property, which may be termed Territorial Economy; and the cultivation and treatment of its more useful animal and vegetable productions, which is called Husbandry, or Agriculture in a more limited sense of the term. Numerous as have been the publications on rural matters during the last twenty years, there are but two or three of them, whose titles might lead to a supposition that they embraced both of these departments. Of these, two may be cited: the Complete Farmer, as the most extensive, and the Code of Agriculture, as the most recent. The Complete Farmer, or Dictionary of Husbandry, in two thick quarto volumes, with numerous plates, was published in 1807; it is copious to an excess, containing an immense mass of matter, new and old, good and bad. As a dictionary of Husbandry, it was the best of its kind at the time of its publication: but the rapid progress of Agriculture since its date, renders it at the present time quite an obsolete work. The Code of Agriculture, in one volume octavo, published in 1817, professes to be " a general view of the principles of the art, and an account of its most approved practices." (Pref. p. xi.) By inspecting the contents of the work, however, it will be found limited to the Husbandry Department; and of that to contain little more than a general outline. That it never was intended as more than a book on Farming, its first chapter, " On the Preliminary Points which a Farmer ought to consider, &c," and an observation of its author in his preface, sufficiently shews: "in addition," he states, "(to the Code) it would certainly be desirable to have a separate work on the Minutiae of Farming," "which," he continues, "might be accomplished in another volume of a similar size." (Pref. p. xi.) The Code of Agriculture, therefore, has no other pretensions to being a complete view of the subject, than what the imagination may confer from the quaintness of its title. By this title it has been alleged, the author probably intended, "some allusion to the Code Napoleon, some mysterious reference to a body of laws, and some modest preten
sions to the character of an Agricultural Lawgiver." (Farmer's Mag. vol. xviii. p. 78.) The Code, however, has great merit as a collection of useful precepts on Farming; but not being a complete view of its subject; and the Complete Farmer being obsolete, there remained ample room for a performance such as we have undertaken.
This work, which we have termed an Encyclopaedia of Agriculture, on account of its comprehensiveness, professes to embrace every part of the subject; and what has never hitherto been attempted, a general History of Agriculture in all countries, and a condensed survey of its present state in every county of the British Isles. We have adopted a systematic arrangement as by far the best for instruction, and also as best admitting of compression; and we have at the same time supplied a copious General Index to render the whole of the easiest access as a book of reference. All this could only be accomplished by a very copious page, and the liberal use of engravings. By these means, much verbal description is avoided, ideas more forcibly expressed, and such a body of useful matter included in one volume as, by the system of detached copperplate engravings, and ordinary letter press, would have occupied half a dozen, and been high priced in proportion.
Throughout this work, we have kept in view the following objects: in Part I., to depict Agriculture in the most universal sense, by giving a view of that of all countries; in Part II., to depict the principles on which the operations and results of the Agriculture of all countries are founded; and in Parts III. and IV., to apply these principles to that particular Agriculture which is practised in Britain, and similar climates. In pursuing these objects, we have aimed at language sufficiently free from provincial or obscure technology to be understood by all classes of readers. In depicting the Agriculture of Britain, we have held up to view that of the northern counties of Northumberland, Berwickshire, and East Lothian as examples, in most things, to the other parts of the empire. In addressing landlords, superior agents, valuators, and patrons, to point out the advantages of equitable and liberal conduct to their tenants and dependants; in discussing the duties of land stewards, bailiffs, and other serving agriculturists, to recommend habits of order, vigilance, and economy ; and finally, submitting to all classes of readers, the advantages of enlightening the minds and ameliorating the condition of the operative classes, by facilitating the attainment of instruction : pointing out the evils of early marriages; increasing the comfort and improving the appearance of their cottages and gardens; and, especially, by repaying their labor to a certain extent in productions calculated for their chief support. (See § 3841. and 44960 For in our opinion the peculiar comfort of all those engaged in agriculture as a profession, from the laborer to the gentleman farmer, will ever consist more in the possession •within themselves of the essential mean s of comfortable existence, than of the power of accumulating fortunes, such as manufacturers and commercial men frequently acquire.
As much of the value of a work of this kind will depend on the knowledge it conveys of the modern improvements in implements and buildings, particular attention has been paid to these subjects. Threefourths of the implements and edifices of which engravings are given in Dr. Dickson's Practical Agriculture, and the Complete Farmer, may be considered as obsolete, or greatly altered by subsequent improvements. Many of these improvements have not found their way into any books, and for them we have had recourse to the originals, and to the most eminent Agricultural mechanics and manufacturers of implements: Our thanks in this respect are particularly due to the proprietors of Weir's Agricultural Repository, Oxford-Street, London, for permitting us to take sketches from their extensive collection, and more particularly of those implements and machines which the late Mr. Weir invented or greatly improved. Our best thanks arc also due to Mr. Morton, Leith-walk, Edinburgh, who is equally eminent as an Agricultural mechanist in Scotland. There is no implement or machine mentioned in this work which will not be found on sale, or may not be made to order in the establishments alluded to, in the best manner, and at an equitable charge.
For important assistance in the Veterinary part of this work, our best thanks are due to an eminent professor. Through the kind assistance of this gentleman we have been enabled to bring together a body of popular information on the anatomy, physiology, pathology, breeding, rearing, and general treatment of the horse, the ox, the sheep, and other domestic animals, even to dogs and poultry, as we can safely assert is not to be found in any other Agricultural publication.
It remains only to mention as a key to this work, that such technical terms as are used in a more definite sense than usual, are explained at the end of this preface; such as arc not common in general language, in the index ; and the abridged titles of books, or of proper names, are there also given at length. The systematic nomenclature of plants adopted, is that of our Encyclopaedia of Plants and Hortus Britannicus, now in great part through the press, with some exceptions which arc noted where they occur. In the specific names of animals, we have followed Turton's edition of the Systema Naturee of Linnxus: such chemical, mineralogical, and geological terms as occur, are those used by Sir H. Davy in his Agricultural Chemistry, and by Professor Brande in his Geology: and the weights and measures are always after the standard of England, unless otherwise expressed. More accuracy and consistency, it is hoped, has been attained in these particulars, than is usual in even the best Agricultural works; the dry rot i» not here described as "a plant with leaves like the misletoe," as in