« AnteriorContinuar »
BOOK price paid by Prince Henry; and it is the best beef only, it must be obferved, which is fit to be falted for thofe diftant voyages.
The price paid by Prince Henry amounts to 3 d. per pound weight of the whole carcafe, coarse and choice pieces taken together; and at that rate the choice pieces could not have been fold by retail for lefs than 4 d. or 5d. the pound.
In the parliamentary inquiry in 1764, the witneffes ftated the price of the choice pieces of the best beef to be to the confumer 4d. and 4‡d. the pound; and the coarse pieces in general to be from feven farthings to 2 d. and 24d.; and this they faid was in general one half-penny dearer than the fame fort of pieces had usually been fold in the month of March. But even this high price is ftill a good deal cheaper than what we can well fuppofe the ordinary retail price to have been in the time of Prince Henry.
During the twelve firft years of the last century, the average price of the best wheat at the Windfor market was 17. 18s. 3 d. the quarter of nine Winchester bufhels.
But in the twelve years preceding 1764, including that year, the average price of the fame measure of the best wheat at the fame market was 21. 18. 9žd.
In the twelve firft years of the last century, therefore, wheat appears to have been a good deal cheaper, and butcher's meat a good deal dearer, than in the twelve years preceding 1764, including that year.
In all great countries the greater part of the CHA P. cultivated lands are employed in producing either food for men or food for cattle. The rent and profit of these regulate the rent and profit of all other cultivated land. If any particular produce afforded lefs, the land would foon be turned into corn or pafture; and if any afforded more, fome part of the lands in corn or pafture would foon be turned to that produce.
Thofe productions, indeed, which require either a greater original expence of improvement, or a greater annual expence of cultivation, in order to fit the land for them, appear commonly to afford, the one a greater rent, the other a greater profit than corn or pasture. This fuperiority, however, will feldom be found to amount to more than a reasonable intereft or compenfation for this fuperior expence.
In a hop garden, a fruit garden, a kitchen garden, both the rent of the landlord, and the profit of the farmer, are generally greater than in a corn or grafs field. But to bring the ground into this condition requires more expence. Hence a greater rent becomes due to the landlord. It requires too a more attentive and skilful management. Hence a greater profit becomes due to the farmer. The crop too, at least in the hop and fruit garden, is more precarious. Its price, therefore, befides compenfating all occafional loffes, must afford fomething like the profit of insurance. The circumstances of gardeners, generally mean, and always moderate, may fatisfy us that their great ingenuity is
BOOK not commonly over-recompenced.
Their de lightful art is practifed by fo many rich people for amusement, that little advantage is to be made by those who practise it for profit; because the perfons who should naturally be their beft customers, fupply themselves with all their moft precious productions.
The advantage which the landlord derives from fuch improvements feems at no time to have been greater than what was fufficient to compenfate the original expence of making them. In the ancient husbandry, after the vine. yard, a well-watered kitchen garden feems to have been the part of the farm which was fuppofed to yield the most valuable produce. Democritus, who wrote upon husbandry about two thousand years ago, and who was regarded by the ancients as one of the fathers of the art, thought they did not act wifely who enclofed a kitchen garden. The profit, he faid, would not compenfate the expence of a ftone wall; and bricks (he meant, I fuppofe, bricks baked in the fun) mouldered with the rain, and the winter ftorm, and required continual repairs. Columella, who reports this judgment of Democritus, does not controvert it, but propofes a very frugal method of enclofing with a hedge of brambles and briars, which, he says, he had found by experience to be both a lasting and an impenetrable fence; but which, it seems, was not commonly known in the time of Democritus. Palladius adopts the opinion of Columella, which had before been recommended by
Varro. In the judgment of those ancient im- c HA P. provers, the produce of a kitchen garden had, it seems, been little more than fufficient to pay the extraordinary culture and the expence of watering; for in countries fo near the fun, it was thought proper, in those times as in the prefent, to have the command of a ftream of water, which could be conducted to every bed in the garden. Through the greater part of Europe, a kitchen garden is not at prefent fuppofed to deferve a better enclosure than that recommended by Columella. In Great Britain, and fome other northern countries, the finer fruits cannot be brought to perfection but by the affiftance of a wall. Their price, therefore, in fuch countries must be fufficient to pay the expence of building and maintaining what they cannot be had without. The fruit-wall frequently furrounds the kitchen garden, which thus enjoys the benefit of an enclosure which its own produce could feldom pay for.
That the vineyard, when properly planted and brought to perfection, was the most valuable part of the farm, feems to have been an undoubted maxim in the ancient agriculture, as it is in the modern through all the wine countries. But whether it was advantageous to plant a new vineyard, was a matter of dispute among the ancient Italian husbandmen, as we learn from Columella. He decides, like a true lover of all curious cultivation, in favour of the vineyard, and endeavours to fhow, by a comparison of the profit and expence, that it was a moft advan
BOOK tageous improvement. Such comparisons, how ever, between the profit and expence of new projects, are commonly very fallacious; and in nothing more fo than in agriculture. Had the gain actually made by fuch plantations been com. monly as great as he imagined it might have been, there could have been no difpute about it. The fame point is frequently at this day a mat ter of controverfy in the wine countries. Their writers on agriculture, indeed, the lovers and promoters of high cultivation, feem generally difpofed to decide with Columella in favour of the vineyard. In France the anxiety of the proprietors of the old vineyards to prevent the planting of any new ones, feems to favour their opinion, and to indicate a consciousness in those who must have the experience, that this fpecies of cultivation is at prefent in that country more profitable than any other. It feems at the fame time, however, to indicate another opinion, that this fuperior profit can laft no longer than the laws which at prefent reftrain the free cultivation of the vine. In 1731, they obtained an order of council, prohibiting both the planting of new vineyards, and the renewal of thofe old ones, of which the cultivation had been interrupted for two years, without a particular permiffion from the king, to be granted only in confequence of an information from the intendant of the province, certifying that he had examined the land, and that it was incapable of any other culture. The pretence of this order was the fcarcity of corn and pasture, and the