Picture of Arthur Young

Arthur Young

places mentioned

Title and Preface

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THE YEARS 1776, 1777, and 1778. AND

Nobis in arte & inglorius labor.— TACIT.


Honorary Member of the Societies of DUBLIN, YORK and MANCHESTER;
the Imperial Society of Agriculture at PETERSBURGH; the Oeconomical
Society of BERNE; the Palatine Academy of Agriculture,
at MANHEIM, and the Physical Society at ZURICH.






NUMEROUS as the publications on husbandry have become in almost every part of Europe, few of them let us into its actual state in any country. Authors seem to have disdained recording the practice, so much have they been employed in prescribing alterations. Several reasons may be assigned for this omission: to describe the agriculture of a province, it is necessary to travel into it, and among the writers who have been most voluminous upon this subject, the greater number have been confined to their own farms,—perhaps to their fire sides. It was impossible for them to have given detailed descriptions of what they had never seen.

THERE is also a greater temptation to the production of such didactic works as are most usual in agriculture, than to the less entertaining minutiae of common management. The man who composes a piece for instructing others how to conduct their lands, generally includes all sorts of soils, situations, and circumstances; his views are great, his work comprehensive, round, and complete, and every reader finds something that suits him. The success which has attended the complete bodies, general treatises , and dictionaries of the subject, though compiled by men as much acquainted with astronomy, as with agriculture, must have been owing to these circumstances: as the good reception of well written, though erroneous theories, is, to the agreeable bearing away the palm due to the useful alone. But a reader who would wish to receive real information, should readily give up the pleasure of being amused for the use of being instructed; the number of such however, will always be comparatively small, and the writer who aims simply at utility, must expect his productions to give place to those of a more amusing turn. When a long course of years has proved the importance of the facts he has collected, his labours will probably have their due estimation.

THE details of common management are dry and unentertaining; nor is it easy to render them interesting by ornaments of style. The tillage with which the peasant prepares the ground; the manure with which he fertilizes it; the quantities of the feed of the several species of grain which he commits to it; and the products that repay his industry, necessarily in the recital run into chains of repetition, which tire the ear, and fatigue the imagination. Great however is the structure raised on this foundation: it may be dry, but it is important, for these are the circumstances upon which depend the wealth, prosperity, and power of nations. The minutiƦ of the farmer's management, low, and seemingly inconsiderable as he is, are so many links of a chain which connect him with the State. Kings ought not to forget that the splendour of majesty is derived from the sweat of industrious, and too often oppressed peasants. The rapacious conqueror who destroys, and the great statesman who protects humanity, are equally indebted for their power to the care with which the farmer cultivates his fields. The monarch of these realms must know, that when he is sitting on his throne at Westminster, surrounded by nothing but state and magnificence, that the poorest, the most oppressed, the most unhappy peasant, in the remotest corner of Ireland, contributes his share to the support of the gaiety that enlivens, and the splendour that adorns the scene.

IF such is the importance of these little movements in the great machine of the State, to know and to understand them, surely deserves the attention of men, who are willing to sacrifice their amusement to their information. This is in other words faying, that the state of common husbandry, in all its variations and connections ought to be well understood. Of little consequence must precepts, maxims, and directions for a better conduct appear, unless we really know the evils that are to be remedied, and the practices that are to be condemned. Without this necessary knowledge, the recommendations of the most ingenious speculative author, must: be almost useless; and the labours of the experimentalist, want much of the application which is to render his facts important. The object of every writer in rural oeconomics is to make husbandry better. But before they attempt that, should they not know what it is? This idea has often made me, in reading books of agriculture, lament that the first: chapter of every practical work, was not a plain detailed account of the common management in the parish or neighbourhood, where the author lived and wrote.

TO render this sort of knowledge general and complete, it is necessary that every gentleman residing in the country, and practising agriculture, should write and publish an account of so much as falls within the sphere of his observation: The experience of centuries has shewn us how much this may be expected. Were it done, such journies as I have registered and published, would have been perfectly unnecessary. A man who has attended some years to husbandry in one place, would have it in his power to gain a far better and more particular account of every circumstance than it is possible a traveller should procure.

THESE accounts however having no existence, such as I have more than once offered to the public, may have their use: what should chiefly induce the reader to think so, is their being taken on the spot, from the mouths of gentlemen or farmers who reside in the districts, they describe — that the accounts are however perfect, cannot be expected—they are proportionally so to the sagacity, information, and experience of the person who speaks. When my intelligence was received from a company of gentlemen, I always waited for their settling among themselves any difference of opinion before I entered the minute; and if they did not agree, took the average of the sums or quantities in question,

THE unbounded hospitality of a kingdom in which every country gentleman is by necessity a farmer, left me under very few difficulties, in gaining intelligence: but I did not trust entirely to this source, having upon most occasions common farmers summoned to assist at the consultations, the design of which was my information. Nor did I neglect opportunities of making enquiries of the cottagers, and of examining into their situation and way of living—the information I procured in this line, I apprehend to be of consequence: in England we know pretty well the state of the poor, but their circumstances in other countries ought to be one of the first objects of a traveller's attention, since from their ease or oppression, a multitude of conclusions may be drawn relative to government, wealth, and national prosperity.

THAT the agriculture of both these islands is of the highest importance, no one will deny, and perhaps, when the present state of Europe is well considered, it will in a political light be deemed more so than ever it was at any former period. It is true we are at present in a war with France, but I must own, the period appears to me fast approaching, when all the western part of Europe will find an absolute necessity of uniting in the closest bands. If the scene which has annihilated Dantzick, was now acting at Hamburgh and Amsterdam, I do not see where the power is to be found, to prevent or revenge it. The consequence of France has been long declining, and the transfer of her exertions from the land to the sea service, may be fatal to the liberties of Europe. If ever the fatal day comes, when that exertion is, to be made, all her neighbours would seel it their common interest to second and support her. Much would it then be regretted, that the strength and resources of those powers should have been so exhausted by wars among themselves, as to be disabled in the moment when most signally wanted. Then it would appear, that France should have directed all her attention to her army, and Britain to her navy, as the best united means of resisting what Lord Chesterfield very justly terms, "new devils," arising in Europe. But from whatever quarter danger may arise to Great Britain, it much behoves her, while other powers are rising so incredibly in force, to take every means that providence permits, to strengthen herself; and that the most secure and solid way of doing this, is by carrying all the arts of cultivation in both islands, to the highest pitch of persec. tion that is practical, nobody will I apprehend deny.

THAT too much national attention cannot be given to agriculture, never appeared so strong as it does in the present period. The legislature of this kingdom has for a century bent all its endeavours to promote the commercial system. The statute-book is crouded with laws for the encouragement of manufactures, commerce, and colonies, and in some instances at the expence of the improvement of the national soil. Yet in that period only one great agricultural measure was embraced, the bounty on the export of corn, frittered down to the present system, which turns out with or without, but certainly by the connivance of law, to be a constant import scheme , in order to reduce the prices of the earth's products, in favour of those classes whose monopolizing spirit has had the direct tendency to beggar and ruin the kingdom. Whoever considers attentively the commercial conduct of Great Britain, will not think there is anything paradoxical in this assertion,

THE entire administration of the colonies has been commercial. It has been made a trader's project, and the spirit of monopoly pervaded every step of our progress in planting and rearing those settlements. They were governed by the narrow spirit of a countinghouse, which in the plantation of countries formed to be the residence of great nations, neither saw nor permitted any thing better than a monopolized market. It was this spirit that shackled those countries in such commercial fetters as to render them incapable of contributing to the necessities of the general government of the empire. Had a more liberal policy been embraced, such contributions would have been early introduced, with a capability (from a free commerce) of supporting them. The commercial government gave up the advantage of all contribution for the greater profit of monopoly: it was evident that both could not be had, till those countries became too great and powerful to be forced into new and unjust habits. Nothing therefore can be more idle than to say, that this set of men, or the other administration, or that great minister, occasioned the American war. It was not the stamp act, nor the repeal of the stamp act; it was neither Lord Rockingham nor Lord North, but it was that baleful monopolizing spirit of commerce that wished to govern great nations, on the maxims of the counter. That did govern them so; and in the case of Ireland and the Indies does still govern them so. Had not the trader's system been embraced, America would, in consequence of taxation, have been long ago united with Britain; but our traders knew very well that a free commerce would follow a union.

NOR is it only in the loss of vast territories that we see the direful effects of the monopolizing spirit. The greatest part of the national debt is owing to the two last wars, which cost us one hundred millions sterling, and arose solely from mercantile causes: that of 1740 was a war for the protection of English smugglers: and that of 1756, sprung from an apprehension that the French would divide the American market with our traders: the present, which may be as expensive before it is finished as either of the former, was owing to a determination to secure the market we had gained. But all the wars are for markets or smuggling, or trade or manufacture. That vast debt which debilitates the kingdom, those taxes we pay for having lost thirteen provinces, and the hazard we now run of losing or ruining Ireland, are all owing to the former predilection of our government for the trading system.

I should go much beyond the line of truth to declare, that trade and manufacture are necessarily ruinous. The very contrary is my opinion; extensive manufactures, and a flourishing commerce, are the very best friends of agriculture, as I have endeavoured to shew more at large in my Political Arithmetic. What I would urge here is, that trade is an admirable thing; but a trading government a most pernicious one. Protect and encourage merchants and manufacturers in every exertion of their industry; but listen not to them in the legislature. They never yet were the fathers of a scheme that had not monopoly for its principle. It has been the fatality of our government to attend to them on every occasion. We are, at this moment, in the full maturity of the evils which a legislature, influenced by traders, can bring upon a country. Nor can I, without astonishment, view the commercial jealousy that has arisen in Europe in the last 50 years. Other nations have caught of us the commercial spirit. They have attributed the effects of the noblest and most perfect system of freedom the world has ever seen, to the trade of the country. Deluded mortals! Give your subjects the liberty which Englishmen enjoy, and trade will spring up one among the many luxuriant branches of that wide extended tree. LIBERTY, not trade, has been the cause of England's greatness. Commerce and all its consequences have been the effects not the cause of our happiness. France has, with the same sort of folly, overlooked the simple and obvious advantage of improving her noble territory for the more precarious profits of trade: and what are the consequences? She too has hazarded those wars for commerce, which have exhausted her resources, mortgaged her revenues, and debilitated every principle of her national strength.

WHEN the present rage for monopoly (the true characteristic of the commercial system) has half beggared Europe with the thirst of wealth; and that nations have grown wiser by experience, they will, it is to be hoped, found their greatness jn the full cultivation of their territories; the wealth resulting from that exertion, will remain at home, and be secure; nothing in that progress will kindle the jealousy of neighbours — no vile monopolies— no restrictions no regulating duties are wanting: perpetual wars, heavy debts, and ruinous taxes, will not be necessary to extend and promote agriculture, inseparable as they have been from commerce.

TO a philosophical eye the present conduct of commercial Europe is an inexplicable enigma. The mercantile system of England having grasped at and possessed the monopoly of the North American market, France, in the transactions which preceded the war of 1756, manisested the plainest jealousy of our power in North America: the most ill-founded jealousy, as experience has shewn, that could actuate a nation. The two countries engaged in the war upon a subject merely commercial; and it cost, between them, above an hundred millions sterling, the one to be driven out of Canada, and the other to lose America by rebellion. Is it possible that the rulers of these two kingdoms, if they had an inclination to amuse themselves with expending such a sum, had so poor a genius that they could not devise the means of doing it at home , in the encouragement of agriculture and arts; in inclo sures, navigations, roads, harbours, the cultivation of wastes, draining marges, railing palaces? &c.

IN the Duke de Choiseul's ministry we were on the point of another commercial war, we had had a greater trade to India than France, and in order to balance it, that kingdom was ready to expend fifty millions more. Then Spain takes commercial umbrage, at our settling with commercial views on a rock, the great products of which are seals and penguins; the. affair could not cost less than five millions; but that is a trifle in the affairs of trade—For see, we are now engaged in a fresh career of commerce with America, and the whole house of Bourbon. Upon a moderate computation, France, Spain, and Britain, will each of them spend enough in it to improve three or four provinces to the highest pitch of cultivation; which instead of slaughtering three or four hundred thousand men, and leaving thrice than number of widows and orphans, would render a greater number of families happy for life, and leave a rich and increasing legacy of ease and plenty to their posterity: and all the slaughter, ruin, poverty and destruction, that is thus brought on the human species, is for the sake of commerce.

IT was the commercial system that founded those colonies—commercial profits reared them—commercial avarice monopolized them—and commercial ignorance now wars to recover the possession of what is not intrinsically worth the powder and ball that are shot away in the quarrel. The same baneful commercial genius influences France and Spain to exhaust their revenues, ruin their subjects, and stagnate every branch of domestic industry, for distant, ideal, and precarious commercial advantages.

BUT to return—The manufactures, commerce, and fisheries of Ireland, are objects of much importance to Great Britain, and as the information I procured concerning them, was chiefly gained on the spot, and given me without those intentions of deceiving, which are too common, when such particulars are introduced politically to the world, I believe the reader will not be sorry at my having given them a place.

THE general view of the kingdom I have given from the whole of the intelligence, will, I flatter myself, throw Ireland into that just light, in which she has not hitherto appeared. The many erroneous ideas concerning the rental, wealth, and consequence of that island, with which every book is filled that treats of it, will be here explained. The reader will find the progress of national prosperity, its present state, and the vast field of improvement which Ireland will continue, until it comes to be every thing to Britain which the warmest patriot could wish. For so happy a state to arrive, nothing is wanting but this country to change her policy, and cherish that industry she has hitherto seemed so anxious to shackle.

AFTER having travelled through the greatest part of the kingdom, I found, upon sitting, down to give an account of those circumstances, not immediately arising from the husbandry of the country, that I was in want of many public accounts of trade, manufactures, taxes, &c. not to be procured upon a journey. I was for some time in correspondence with some friends in Dublin to gain these, but after passing near a twelvemonth in expectation, 1 found it would be impossible to procure the necessary papers without going thither; I accordingly went and resided nine weeks in that city, very busily employed in examining and transcribing public records and accounts, which enabled me to give such a detail of those subjects, as has not hitherto been laid before the public. I may, without exaggeration, assert, that all these objects for want of industry in those who have written concerning Ireland, have been treated in the way of guess, conjecture, and declamation, to answer particular purposes, instead of any detail of facts. Part of these enquiries may be uninteresting to those who do not reside in the country, but I am nevertheless so much convinced of their importance to England, as well as to Ireland, that I have determined to explain- them as fully as I was able, tedious as they may appear to those who read rather for amusement, than information. Perhaps there would be no impropriety in prefixing to all the productions I venture before the public, this caution: I have been reproached for being tedious, but I profess, to treat that subject which I think (vainly perhaps) I understand, in so detailed a manner, that if my pieces were not unentertaining, they would very indifferently answer the end, to accomplish which, I have travelled, practised, and written.

HUSBANDRY is an art that has hitherto owed less to reasoning than I believe any other. I know not of any discoveries, or a single beneficial practice that has clearly flowed from this source. But every one is well acquainted with many that have been the result of experiment and registered observation. There is no people existing so backward but have some good practices to copy, as well as errors to avoid. To describe both is to give a chain of connected facts that must, in the end, prove useful to such as will read and digest them with attention and reflection: but I am ready to admit that this is a study very far from amusing. The registers of such journies, as I have employed a great deal of time and expence in making, must necessarily be exceedingly dull to those who read for pleasure: so disagreeable, that they will certainly throw down the volume with as much disgust as they would tables of arithmetic. The flattering circumstance of a successful publication is not thus to be expected. The present age is much too idle to buy books that will not banish l'enuye from a single hour. Success depends on amusement. The historical performances of this age and nation, which have proved so honourable to their authors, would have met with a less brilliant success, had not the charms of stile rendered them as amusive as a romance. Their extreme popularity is perhaps built on rivalling, not only the authors that had before treated the same subjects, but Sir Charles Grandison and Julia. That this observation, however, when applied to books of agriculture is just, will appear from the very ill success met with by authors of capital merit, and the great sales that have attended the most miserable performances. The merit of Mr. Lisle's husbandry has, in many years, carried it but into the second edition. Mr. Hitt's treatise on husbandry has not been re-printed, and is very little known, yet there are particulars in it of more merit than half a score volumes that have been successful. Even the elegant essays on husbandry of my old and much regretted friend Mr. Harte, have not been re-printed. Proofs to which many more might be added, that the publick reception does not always mark the merit of a book.

ANY real utility that may result from this work out of Ireland, can only be from those who determine steadily to become acquainted with all the facts they can procure, in order to compare, combine, and draw conclusions from them. To men thus scientific, too many facts can never be published; and with such, I flatter myself, I shall be readily pardoned for having added so many to the number. Indeed I sometimes smile in reading performances, the authors of which think me of importance enough to do me the honour of abusing for whole pages together, at the very time that they make extremely free with information they never might have known, had my labours been wrought, like their own, at a fire-side. But while I am happy in the good opinion, and instructed in the correspondence of some of the first characters in Europe—while my writings will stand the test with such men as a Harte, a Haller, and an Artbuthnot, I am perfectly indifferent to the ideas of the Moores, Shirleys, Marshals, and Wimpeys of the age.

THERE is one part of these papers which particularly demands an apology. I have ventured to recommend to the gentlemen of Ireland several courses of husbandry, as improvements upon what I found them practising, and have given directions how they should be performed. This is going a little out of my way; for it is that species of writing which I am apt to condemn. Instructions in this subject should, more than in any other, be gathered simply from the register of experiments and repeated pbservations: but having been requested by many gentlemen on the journey to do it, I have submitted to their opinion, rather in contradiction to my own. I have reflected attentively on the circumstances of Ireland before I drew up these recommendations; and I believe, that those who are best acquainted with the kingdom, will not think what I have proposed entirely inapplicable.

HAVING given such explanations of the design of this work as appeared necessary, there only remains to insert the names of those who were pleased to favour me with their assistance in executing it.

To the following persons only I was indebted for recommendations to Ireland:

The Earl of Shelburne.
The Dowager Lady Middleton.
Mrs. Vesey.
Edmund Burke, Esq;
Samuel Whitbread, Esq;
John Arbuthnot, Esq;
Governor Pownal.
Lord Kenmare.
John Baker Holroyd, Esq;
David Barclay, Esq;

SUCH were the small number of persons in England, who, before I went, took the trouble to interest themselves in the undertaking. As to the great body of absentees, knowing that there was not one but could contribute to my being well informed, by cards to their agents, I took the most effectual means of letting them know my intention; but except the few just named, the design was not happy enough to appear in such a light, as to induce them to contribute to it. Indeed there are too many possessors of great estates in Ireland, who wish to know nothing more of it than the remittance of their rents,

THE circumstance was rather discouraging, and I began to apprehend that I might want information; but the reception I met at Dublin immediately removed it; and the following list of those who were so obliging as to take every means of having me perfectly well informed, will shew that I was not disappointed.

The Earl of Harcourt, Lord Lieutenant
Earl of Charlemount, Dublin
Mr. Machpharland, Luttrels Town
Right Hon. Thomas Conolly
—— Clements, Esq; Killadoon
Colonel Marley, Celbridge
Duke of Leinster, Castleton
—— Jones, Esq; Dolleston
Right Hon. H. L. Rowley, Summer Hill
Earl of Mornington
Right Hon. William Burton, Slaine Castle
—— Jeb, Esq; Slaine
Mr. Gerard, Gibbstown
Earl of Bective, Heardfort
Lord Longford, Packenham
Captain Johnston
Rev. Dean Coote, Sbaen Castle
——Brown, Esq;
Mr. Butler, near Carlow
——Mercer, Esq; Laughlin bridge
Gervas Parker Bush, Esq; Kilfaine
Colonel Nun
Earl of Courtown
Lieut. General Cunninghame, Mount Kennedy
Baron Hamilton, Ballybriggen
Lord Chief Baron Forster, Cullen
Lord Gosfort, Market Hill
His Grace the Lord Primate, Ardmagh
Mr. William Macgeough, ditto
Bishop of Clonsert
Maxwell Close, Esq;
——Richardson, Esq;
——Leslie, Esq; Glaslough
——Workman, Esq; Mahon
Right Hon. William Brownlow, Lurgan
——Warren, Warrenstown
Mr. Clibborn, ditto
The Bishop of Down, Lisburne
John Alexander, Esq; Belfast
—— Portis, Esq; ditto
Arthur Buntin, Esq; ditto
Mr. Holmes, ditto
Dr. Halliday, ditto
Patrick Savage, Esq; Porta Ferry
—Ainsworth, Esq; Strangford
John O'Neal, Esq; Shaen Castle
James Leslie, Esq; Leslie Hill
Rev. Mr. Leslie
Right Hon. Richard Jackson, Coleraine
Robert Alexander, Esq; Derry
Rev. Mr. Bernard
Rev. Mr. Golding, Clonleigh
Alexander Mongomery, Esq; Mount Charles
Thomas Nesbitt, Esq;
Sir James Caldwell, Bart. Castle Caldwell
The Earl of Ross, Belleisle
Lord Viscount Inniskilling, Florence Court
Earl of Farnham, Farnham
W. G. Newcomen, Esq; Ballyclough
Thomas Mahon, Esq; Strokestown
The Bishop of Elphin, Elphin
Bishop of Kilmore
The Hon. Thomas Fitzmaurice, Ballymoat
The Right Hon. Joshua Cooper, Mecra
Lewis Irvine, Esq; Tanrego
——Brown, Esq; Sortland
Right Hon. Thomas King, Ballyna
Bishop of Killalla, Killalla
——Hutchinson, Esq; ditto
The Earl of Altamont, Westport
Mr. Lindsay, Hollymount
His Grace the Archbishop of Tuam, Tuam
Robert French, Esq; Moniva
Mr. Andrew Trench, Galway
Frederick Trench, Esq; Woodlawn
Robert Gregory, Esq; Kiltartan
Sir Lucius O'Brien, Bart. Drummoland
Mr. Robert Fitzgerald
Mr. Singleton
Mr. Thomas Marks, Limerick
Richard Aldworth, Esq; Annsgrove
Lord Donneraile, Donneraile
Denham Jepson, Esq; Mallow
Denham Jepson, jun. Esq; ditto
Robert Gordon, Esq; Newgrove
St. John Jefferyes, Esq; Blarney Castle
Dominick Trent, Esq; Dunkettle
The Earl of Shannon, CafHe Martyr
Robert Longfield, Esq; Castle Mary
Earl of Inchiquin, Rostellan
Rev. the Dean of Corke, Corke
Rev. Archdeacon Oliver
Sir John Croulthurst, Bart.
——Herbert, Esq; Mucrus
Arthur Blennerhasset, Esq; Arbella
Earl of Glandore, Ardsert
Lord Crosbie, ditto
Robert Fitzgerald, Esq; Woodford
Edward Leslie, Esq; Tarbat
Mrs. Quin, Adair
Right Hon. Silver Oliver, Castle Oliver
Earl of Clanwilliam
——Macarthy, jun. Esq; Spring House
Mr. Allen
Lord de Montalt, Dundrum
Right Hon. Sir Wm Osborne, Bart. Newtown
——Moore, Esq; Marlefield
Earl of Tyrone, Curraghmoor
Cornelius Bolton, Esq; Ballycavern
Cornelius Bolton, jun. Esq; ditto
Richard Nevill, Esq; Furness
John Lloyd, Esq; Gloster
Peter Holmes, Esq; Johnstown
Michael Head, Esq; Derry
Rev. Mr. Lloyd, Cullen
Lord Viscount Kingsborough, Mitchelstown

SUCH are the contributors to this work. It is with the utmost pleasure I reflect on the liberal, polite, and friendly manner in which I was received by such a number of persons, among whom are many of the most distinguished characters in Ireland—Characters that would reflect a lustre upon any nation.

THE most careless eye will discern at once the great advantages, which the uncommon, but polite hospitality of the nation, united with an eagerness to do whatever had the most distant appearance of being serviceable to their country, gave me in describing it. If, with all these advantages, Ireland is not in future much better known than ever she was before, the fault is entirely mine, and I have little to plead in extenuation of it.

By mere accident, the Author omitted amongst his friends in Ireland, the name of WILLIAM COLVILL, Esq. of Dublin; a very undesigned omission, as no person could be more assiduous in procuring him every sort of information he wished. ——Much concerning the corn trade was very valuable.

Arthur Young, A Tour in Ireland, made in the years 1776, 1777, and 1778 (London: T. Cadell, 1780)

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