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fake of feeding them; yet of all the different parts CHA P. which compofe this fecond fort of rude produce, they are perhaps the firft which bring this price; because till they bring it, it seems impoffible that improvement can be brought near even to that degree of perfection to which it has arrived in many parts of Europe.
As cattle are among the firft, fo perhaps venifon is among the last parts of this fort of rude produce which bring this price. The price of venifon in Great Britain, how extravagant foever it may appear, is not near fufficient to compenfate the expence of a deer park, as is well known to all those who have had any experience in the feeding of deer. If it was otherwife, the feeding of deer would foon become an article of common farming; in the fame manner as the feeding of thofe fmall birds called Turdi was among the ancient Romans. Varro and Columella affure us that it was a moft profitable article. The fattening of ortolans, birds of paffage which arrive lean in the country, is faid to be fo in fome parts of France. If venifon continues in fashion, and the wealth and luxury of Great Britain increase as they have done for fome time paft, its price may very probably rife ftill higher than it is at prefent.
Between that period in the progrefs of improvement which brings to its height the price of fo neceffary an article as cattle, and that which brings to it the price of fuch a fuperfluity as venison, there is a very long interval, in the courfe of which many other forts of rude produce gradually
BOOK gradually arrive at their highest price, fome I. fooner and fome later, according to different cir. cumstances,
Thus in every farm the offals of the barn and ftables will maintain a certain number of poultry. These, as they are fed with what would otherwise be loft, are a mere fave-all; and as they coft the farmer fcarce any thing, fo he can afford to fell them for very little. Almoft all that he gets is pure gain, and their price can fcarce be fo low as to difcourage him from feeding this number. But in countries ill culti vated, and, therefore, but thinly inhabited, the poultry, which are thus raised without expence, are often fully fufficient to fupply the whole demand. In this ftate of things, therefore, they are often as cheap as butcher's-meat, or any other fort of animal food. But the whole quan tity of poultry, which the farm in this manner produces without expence, must always be much smaller than the whole quantity of butcher'smeat which is reared upon it; and in times of wealth and luxury what is rare, with only nearly equal merit, is always preferred to what is com mon. As wealth and luxury increase, therefore, in confequence of improvement and cultivation, the price of poultry gradually rifes above that of butcher's-meat, till at laft it gets fo high that it becomes profitable to cultivate land for the fake of feeding them. When it has got to this height it cannot well go higher. If it did, more land would foon be turned to this purpose. In feve ral provinces of France, the feeding of poultry is confidered
confidered as a very important article in rural CHAP. œconomy, and fufficiently profitable to encou rage the farmer to raise a confiderable quantity of Indian corn and buck-wheat for this purpose. A middling farmer will there fometimes have four hundred fowls in his yard. The feeding of poultry feems scarce yet to be generally confidered as a matter of fo much importance in England. They are certainly, however, dearer in England than in France, as England receives confiderable supplies from France. In the In the progrefs of improvement, the period at which every particular fort of animal food is deareft, must naturally be that which immediately precedes the general practice of cultivating land for the fake of raising it. For fome time before this practice becomes general, the scarcity must neceffarily raise the price. After it has become general, new methods of feeding are commonly fallen upon, which enable the farmer to raise upon the fame quantity of ground a much greater quantity of that particular fort of animal food. The plenty not only obliges him to fell cheaper, but in confequence of these improvements he can afford to fell cheaper; for if he could not afford it, the plenty would not be of long continuance. It has been probably in this manner that the introduction of clover, turnips, carrots, cabbages, &c. has contributed to fink the common price of butcher's-meat in the London market fomewhat below what it was about the beginning of the last century.
The hog, that finds his food among ordure, and greedily devours many things rejected by every other useful animal, is, like poultry, originally kept as a fave-all. As long as the number of fuch animals, which can thus be reared at little or no expence, is fully fufficient to fupply the demand, this fort of butcher's-meat comes to market at a much lower price than any other. But when the demand rifes beyond what this quantity can supply, when it becomes neceffary to raise food on purpose for feeding and fattening hogs, in the fame manner as for feeding and fattening other cattle, the price neceffarily rifes, and becomes proportionably either higher or lower than that of other butcher's-meat, according as the nature of the country, and the state of its agriculture, happen to render the feeding of hogs more or less expensive than that of other cattle. In France, according to Mr. Buffon, the price of pork is nearly equal to that of beef. In moft parts of Great Britain it is at present somewhat higher.
The great rife in the price both of hogs and poultry has in Great Britain been frequently imputed to the diminution of the number of cottagers and other fmall occupiers of land; an event which has in every part of Europe been the immediate forerunner of improvement and better cultivation, but which at the fame time may have contributed to raise the price of those articles, both fomewhat fooner and fomewhat fafter than it would otherwife have rifen. As the
pooreft family can often maintain a cat or a dog, CHAP. without any expence, fo the pooreft occupiers of land can commonly maintain a few poultry, or a fow and a few pigs, at very little. The little offals of their own table, their whey, skimmed milk and butter-milk, fupply thofe animals with a part of their food, and they find the reft in the neighbouring fields without doing any fenfible damage to any body. By diminishing the number of those small occupiers, therefore, the quantity of this fort of provifions which is thus produced at little or no expence, muft certainly have been a good deal diminished, and their price muft confequently have been raised both fooner and fafter than it would otherwife have rifen. Sooner or later, however, in the progrefs of improvement, it must at any rate have rifen to the utmost height to which it is capable of rifing; or to the price which pays the labour and expence of cultivating the land which furnishes them with food as well as thefe are paid upon the greater part of other cultivated land.
The bufinefs of the dairy, like the feeding of hogs and poultry, is originally carried on as a fave-all. The cattle neceffarily kept upon the farm, produce more milk than either the rearing of their own young, or the consumption of the farmer's family requires; and they produce moft at one particular season. But of all the productions of land, milk is perhaps the most perishable. In the warm feafon, when it is most abundant, it will scarce keep four-and-twenty hours. The farmer, by making it into fresh butter,