Hide Articles List

12 articles on this Page










IIAVEEFORDWEST. On Monday evening last, a lecture on "The History of Agriculture" was delivered by Mr. William Murychureh, in the library of the Literary Institution in this town, to a large body of the members. The lecture was a most interesting" and instructive one and as it treats of a subject so intimately affecting the interests of our readers generally, we shall lay before them a rather lengthened outline of it "Man having subjccted himself to the double malediction, that he should earn his livelihood by the sweat of his brow, and that the ground should present obstacles to his efforts, rather than assist him, he had to devise those means whereby he Could best raise crops that would serve to sustain him. This was the starting point of the science of agriculture. From this period to that of the deluge, there is no information respecting agri- culture. After that date the Egyptians took the lead in the science, but of'their progress we can glean no intelligence ex- cept from the Book of Moses. "The instrument with which they ploughed was a large heavy piece of wood, similar in shape to the sickle of the pre- sent day. The harrow was a square plank,. long stumps or branches being inserted in it to answer the purpose of teeth. "The Greeks and Jews also applied themselves assiduously to the tillage of the land, and cultivated, in great abundance, corn and fruit. The next era of importance was that when the Roman nation was formed. Romulus divided the land of Italy between his followers at the rate of one acre and a quarter to each indivi- dual; consequently every Roman was an agriculturist—a cir- cumstance which: proved of inestimable advanvage both to themselves and every nation- they conquered. The richer pro- prietors, after a time becoming weary of cultivating their lands, let them out to the poorer classes—not at a fixed rent, as in the present day, but at a certain per centage on the profits. The operations on a Roman farm were very similar to those of the present day. After sowing, the corn was weeded by the hand there is, however, some mention of horse-hoeing, which was accidentally discovered by the Salassi attempting to destroy the young crops by ploughing them up. Thrashing was per- formed by the oxen treading on the corn after it had been spread over the floor from 18 to 24 inches in thickness. Win- nowing was effected by throwing the corn in the wind from one barn to another. tif After the Romans quitted Britain it was invaded by the Saxons, who proved very little more refined than the original inhabitants. In the eleventh century large estates were sub- divided the rent was fixed by the legislature, and always paid out of the produce of the farm. The invasion of the Normans caused a great reformation in the science of agriculture, the nobility and clergy taking a very active part in its improvement. In the 13th century se- veral works were written on agriculture, which was then in a very thriving state. The civil wars which took place in the 15 th century produced an ill effect on every branch of science and commerce. Corn advanced to ruinous prices, wheat being sold for iC 13 per quarter. The ascension of Henry VII. to the throne restored tranquillity, and agriculture assumed a brighter aspect and soon reached a very prosperous state. "In the seventeenth century, clover and turnips were intro- duced by Sir Richard Weston, who brought an account of their culture from Flanders. "In the commencement of the eighteenth century, Jethro Tull introduced his method of sowing the seed in drills, and horse- hoeing. His plans, however, seems to have been neglected for upwards of thirty years after they were first propounded. "The wars, which in the beginning of the nineteenth century so raised the prices of agricultural produce, caused an unnatu- ral excitement, which proved the more injurious on account of the sudden decline occasioned by the subsequent peace. From 1814 to 1817, there was a fearful depreciation in the value of the produce of the country. This was, however, attended with some benefit, as every possible effort was exerted by the agri- cultural public to save themselves from ruin." The lecturer then referred to the various societies which have been instituted for the advancement of agriculture, and the ma- nures which have lately come into general use. He then treated on the method of agriculture in Scotland, and, commencing with Yorkshire, travelled down through the English counties, explaining their respective quality of soils, and the mode of tillage adopted on them. In describing the agriculture of North Wales, he quoted largely from the prize essay of Mr. Rowlandson on the subject; and when speaking of the husbandry of South Wales, he read two very interesting letters from Evan W. David, Esq., of Radyr Court, Glamorganshire, and T. Evans, Esq., Alltycadno, Carmarthenshire (which we hope to be able to give in our next), describing the agriculture of those counties. Treating of Pembrokeshire he said, that the soil is very variable. I n tne nigiier parts, there are some whicn have never been culti- vated, and which have been computed at 22,220 acres. At this stage the lecturer directed attention to several beautiful models of agricultural implements, which he had provided for the occasion, and described their respective uses, and the recent improvements which have been effected in them, and, in conclusion, said, "Taking a review of the subject, which has thus imperfectly been laid before you, we cannot fail to notice the great depend- ence of the national prosperity on the agricultural state of the country. Nor can we be blind to the fact that this science is greatly indebted for many of its most valuable acquisitions to the improved state of literature. As mind advanced-as the march of intellect progressed—so meu were more ready to stifle old pre- judices and adopt new plans. How powerful an argument is this in favour of rural education The advancement of mental cultiva- tion which will raise the man and enrich the community-will make the labourer feel that he acts a part in life's drama as im- portant as those in a more honourable sphere—will blend plea- sure with his toil by teaching him that nothing is actuated by chance, and lead him to inquire for the cause of every effect. In anticipation of such a time, we may look forward to im- provements as far in advance of the present day, as ours are superior to the plans of our ancestors—may hope that the day will arrive when agriculture, with her sister, civilisation, will go hand in hand through our native land, leaving the imprint of their footsteps upon our lovely valleys and barren mountain sides; when Prosperity will be the password of British agricul- ture when this kingdom may take for her crest the flag of peace, embroidered with the horn of plenty when the labourer shall no longer be called from the field to the rank when the ground shall never again be manured by the blood of man and when, in the beautiful language of prophetic inspiration,' the swords shall be beaten into ploughshares, and the spears into pruning hoolts.' At the close of the lecture a hearty and unanimous vote of thanks to Mr. Marychurch was passed, on the motion of John Harvey, Esq.


-----__-----.-THE NORMAL COLLEGE.…


[No title]