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while he speculates on the good to be derived from living on the edge of a common, his mind acquires an improper bias. This Mr. M. very well describes; and he likewise well appreciates the evils which these wastes occasion to the public, by their being the constant rendezvous of gypsies, strollers, and other loose persons living under tents, which they carry with them from place to place and the resort also of footpads and highwaymen; so that in this respect they are a public nuisance.' He therefore laments to see, in every part of these kingdoms, such extensive tracts of land lying waste or uncultivated; and he deems it particularly disgraceful to the county of Middlesex:
which, so far from raising a sufficient supply of bread for its inhabitants, is under the necessity of importing corn from every quarter of the globe, while at the same time it has land locked up from the operation of the plough; when, by the single means of inclosure, an abundant quantity of coru might be produced, and 150,000l. a year added to the wealth of the country, which is now absolutely lost to society.'
The benefits and advantages (says Mr. M.) that would be derived from a general inclosure of commons, are so numerous, as far to exceed my powers of description or computation. The opportunity it would afford, of separating dry ground from wet, of well draining the latter, and liming the rotten parts, is of infinite consequence; as such an arrangement would, with the aid of intelligent breeders, be the means of raising a breed of sheep and neat cattle, far superior to the present race of wretched half starved animals now seen in such situations. It would have the effect of supporting a more numerous stock, upon the same quantity of food, by restraining the cattle and sheep within due bounds. Their restless and rambling disposition, not only treads the grass off the ground, but also takes the flesh off their bones. This renders the attendance of a shepherd necessary, and requires likewise that they be driven to and from the fold. Further, the live stock would by this means be rendered many hundreds per cent. more valuable to individuals and the community, than it has hitherto been, or can possibly be, without inclosure; and, what is of the last, the greatest importance, it would tend to preserve such improved breed from that destructive malady, the rot, which makes such terrible havock among our flocks. Add to this, that the markets would be more plentifully sup plied with beef and mutton, and the price of these articles considerably reduced.
It does not appear to be necessary to state with precision (nor indeed is it capable of being so stated) what would be the increase in value, of the commons of this county, on their being inclosed, and well and properly cultivated. It may, however, with safety be stated at upwards of fifteen times their present value to the proprietors,
The present produce being only four shillings an acre, the rent cannot be stated at more than two shillings; and fifteen times that sum is but thirty shillings an acre; which is certainly less than they would lett for after being inclosed.-J. M.'
and forty times their present value to the public. But increasing the rental of such land to fifteen, or perhaps twenty times its present amount, is by no means the greatest advantage that may be expected to result from an inclosure of commons. The general salubrity and healthiness of the country would necessarily be improved †; while industry would be largely increased, among the most useful classes of society; beg gary and robbery much lessened; and the general stock of corn and cattle almost inconceivably augmented. And wherever inclosures are made with due attention to the interests of the poor (as they ought always to be), they will be found to ameliorate their condition, as much as they increase the property and the comforts of the rich ‡.
The commons of this kingdom being, with very few exceptions, without ridges, furrows, or drains, have not the means of discharging that superfluous water from the surface of them, which is well known to be of great detriment to vegetation in general. Many commons in low situations, and where the soil happens to be of a retentive quality, hold water like a sponge: which being always stagnant, as well as excessive in quantity, renders the soil of such commons much too wet for the pasturage of sheep; and is, no doubt, the cause of many of the disorders which that animal is subject to, particularly that fatal malady the rot. From the same causes also, the neighbourhood of
* The present produce, as before stated, being four shillings an acre; forty times that sum is only eight pounds, which, there can be no doubt, is less than this land, after being inclosed, and cultivated, would produce. (Vide course of crops, and their produce.)-7. M
"+"I have to observe (says Mr. Billingsley, speaking of inclosure), with heartfelt satisfaction, its happy effects on the health and comfort of the inhabitants of the adjacent villages. Agues and low, fevers from the humidity of the air, impregnated with exhalations from the stagnant contents of the marshes, prevailed very generallyduring the vernal and autumnal seasons. And these, for the most part, were obstinate, and more frequently subdued by the drought and heat of summer, and frosts of winter, than by the most judicious medical treatment. Inclosing and draining have rendered these diseases as scarce in the low as in the uplands. To the prevention whereof, advance of wages (from four to six-pence per day) with constant employ, arising from the same cause, have not a little contributed, by enabling the poor to live better, which is generally accompanied by a growing taste for cleanliness."-Billingsley's Report of Somerset."
Here I am again happy to have my assertions corroborated by Mr. Billingsley, in his valuable Report of Somersetshire. He says, "I can truly declare, that in all cases which have fallen within my observation, inclosures have ameliorated their (the poor) condition, exciting a spirit of activity and industry, whereby habits of sloth have been, by degrees, overcome; and supineness and inactivity have been exchanged for vigour and exertion. No stronger proof can be given of this, than the general reduction of the poor-rates in all those parishes wherein such inclosure has taken place."-Vide Billingsley's Somerset, p. 35, and sect. 3. chap. 3. on cottages, in this work."
such commons must be particularly unfriendly to the health and longevity of man. Only let us reverse the scene, and for a moment suppose these commons to be inclosed, the necessary ditches and drains sunk, and the land brought into tillage, and we shall see all the superabundant moisture got rid of; and the water, being kept in constant motion, by trickling down the side of the ridges into the furrows, and from thence into the ditches and rivulets, will be found to fertilize the very soil which, in its present stagnant state, it serves to injure while, by leaving the land dry, it will be rendered more healthy both for men and cattle. The effects of such a measure would soon shew themselves in many districts of this island, which, at present, are very unpropitious to the health of man, in the much greater longevity of the inhabitants."
It is a consideration of great importance to the true philanthropist, that, by increasing our agricultural energies and capital, the cause of virtue and the poor will assuredly be promoted. Manufactures often enrich individuals at the expence of the health and morals of the poor; yet, while revenue is the great object of Government, manufactures, trade, and commerce, as affording more numerous and more ready articles of taxation, will be more encouraged than the simple operations of "agriculture; which, as Mr. M. says, may be considered as the art of manufacturing the, soil, and, from its effects, ranks the first of all manufactures.
It is impossible for us even barely to notice one quarter of the useful information contained in this thick and closely printed volume, under the several heads into which the Report is divided. We can only farther mention a few particulars.—Mr. Middleton estimates the county of Middlesex to contain 280 square miles, or 179,200 acres; its rental, at about four millions and a half; and its population both within and without the bills of mortality, at 650,000*. On a subject of so much importance, we must be indulged with another extract:
The whole population of South Britain, is supposed to be in the proportion of one inhabitant to 4 6-10ths acres of the cultivated ground. Of this county, it is in the proportion of upwards of 36-10ths inhabitants to every acre.
Including soldiers, sailors, and the inhabitants of the British isles, the population of Britain is, probably, nothing short of nine millions and a half; and perhaps Ireland increases this number to upwards of eleven and a half.
The following account of the number of inhabitants, and acres, is extracted from so many of the printed County Reports as contained those particulars; to which I have added the proportion which they bear to each other: by which it appears that Middlesex is 14 times more thickly peopled than an average of the other counties, and on the whole of South Britain, near 20 times.
This is below what many will suppose: but Mr. M.'s mode of calculating appears to be tolerably accurate.
Proportion, Towns included
8 acres to 1 inhabitant.
5 8-10ths do.
3 1-10ths do.
8 7-10ths do.
2 6-10ths do.
4 1-half do.
3 3-4ths do.
5 3-10ths do.
5 2-10ths do.
3 1-half do.
8 7-10ths do.
Population is best promoted by a continuance of peace, and by employing the people in works of agriculture: on the contrary, war, which takes men from domestic life into the army and navy, unquestionably decreases population. It is a declared enemy to the human race.'
in the proportion of four 3-10ths acres to I inhabitant.
one acre to 3 6-1oths inhabitants.
The general agricultural produce of South Britain, Mr. M. estimates at 130 millions sterling. According to him, the consumption of the metropolis in fruits and vegetables is to the value of upwards of one million of pounds sterling per annum.
On the subject of Planting, Mr. M. is of opinion that the offering premiums for the general increase of wood is going retrograde, or contributing towards a retroduction of uncultivated nature; instead of which, this country ought to be in a state of garden-like cultivation. No parts should be in wood, except such as are unfit for the production of grass, corn, or garden crops.'
In the article of Manure, the Middlesex farmers have the advantage of vicinity to the metropolis; where the sweepings of 3000 acres of pavement, in streets and market places, and the dung produced by 30,000 horses, 8000 cows, and 650,000 inhabitants, give a quantity not less than five hundred thousand cart loads yet, viewing things with the eye of an agriculturist, Mr. M. laments that Old Father Thames should run away with so much precious night-soil.
.. Surely Mr. Middleton has exceeded in his calculation of the
The state of the Middlesex Roads, especially near the metropolis, has attracted Mr. M.'s particular notice; and, knowing their condition in winter from the multitude of carriages, of all descriptions, passing and re-passing, he recommends their being well-formed, and coated with granite, broken into pieces about the size of an hen's egg. This is a good idea, but it should if possible go farther; and all the roads, for a certain distance round the metropolis, should be paved with granite: since no loose materials whatever can sustain the weight and friction without being soon ground to powder in summer, and in the winter months converted into mud. With regard to watering the roads in summer, Mr. M. recommends, instead of this practice, which is liable to various objections, that the dust should be scraped off, as the mud is in winter. He offers also some other remarks on this subject, which are deserving of
Having already exceeded our limits, we must now lay down the pen, though reluctantly: but we heartily recommend to our readers a perusal of the volume itself, where they will find a vast variety of important facts and useful hints which we are obliged to pass in total silence.
We understand that Mr. M.'s Report has been honoured with the first gold medal presented by the Board; and it fully merits. the compliment which it has received.
The Appendix contains a number of eurious and valuable communications from enlightened and public-spirited gentlemen. It is pleasing to see men of various talents and situations in life concurring in works of general utility.
ART. IX. Notice of some Observations made at the Medical Pneumatic
man and Rees.