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BOOK thence carrying out their dung to it. But unless the price of the cattle be fufficient to pay both the rent and profit of cultivated land, the farmer cannot afford to pafture them upon it; and he can ftill lefs afford to feed them in the stable. It is with the produce of improved and cultivated land only, that cattle can be fed in the ftable; because to collect the fcanty and scattered produce of wafte and unimproved lands would require too much labour and be too expenfive. If the price of the cattle, therefore, is not fufficient to pay for the produce of improved and cultivated land, when they are allowed to pafture it, that price will be ftill lefs fufficient to pay for that produce when it must be collected with a good deal of additional labour, and brought into the ftable to them. In thefe circumftances, therefore, no more cattle can, with profit, be fed in the ftable than what are neceffary for tillage. But thefe can never afford manure enough for keeping conftantly in good condition, all the lands which they are capable of culti vating. What they afford being infufficient for the whole farm, will naturally be referved for the lands to which it can be moft advantageously or conveniently applied; the most fertile, or thofe, perhaps, in the neighbourhood of the farm-yard. Thefe, therefore, will be kept conftantly in good condition and fit for tillage. The reft will, the greater part of them, be allowed to lie wafte, producing scarce any thing but fome miferable pafture, juft fufficient to keep alive a few straggling, half-ftarved cattle; the farm, though
much understocked in proportion to what would CHA P. be neceffary for its complete cultivation, being very frequently overstocked in proportion to its actual produce. A portion of this wafte land, however, after having been paftured in this wretched manner for fix or feven years together, may be ploughed up, when it will yield, perhaps, a poor crop or two of bad oats, or of fome other coarse grain, and then, being entirely exhaufted, it must be refted and paftured again as before, and another portion ploughed up to be in the fame manner exhaufted and rested again in its turn. Such accordingly was the general system of management all over the low country of Scotland before the union. The lands which were kept conftantly well manured and in good condition, feldom exceeded a third or a fourth part of the whole farm, and fome. times did not amount to a fifth or a fixth part of it. The rest were never manured, but a certain portion of them was in its turn, notwithstanding, regularly cultivated and exhaufted. Under this fyftem of management, it is evident, even that part of the lands of Scotland which is capable of good cultivation, could produce but little in comparison of what it may be capable of pro, ducing. But how difadvantageous foever this fyftem may appear, yet before the union the low price of cattle feems to have rendered it almost unavoidable. If, notwithstanding a great rife in their price, it still continues to prevail through a confiderable part of the country, it is owing, in many places, no doubt, to ignorance and attach
BOOK ment to old cuftoms, but in most places to the unavoidable obftructions which the natural courfe of things oppofes to the immediate or fpeedy establishent of a better fyftem: firft, to the poverty of the tenants, to their not having yet had time to acquire a flock of cattle fufficient to cultivate their lands more completely, the fame rife of price which would render it advantageous for them to maintain a greater ftock, rendering it more difficult for them to acquire it; and, fecondly, to their not having yet had time to put their lands in condition to maintain this greater ftock properly, fuppofing they were capable of acquiring it. The increase of ftock and the improvement of land are two events which must go hand in hand, and of which the one can no-where much out-run the other. Without fome increase of flock, there can be scarce any improvement of land, but there can be no confiderable increase of flock but in confequence of a confiderable improvement of land; because otherwife the land could not maintain it. Thefe natural ob ftructions to the establishment of a better fyftem, cannot be removed but by a long courfe of fru gality and industry; and half a century or a century more, perhaps, muft pafs away before the old fyftem, which is wearing out gradually, can be completely abolished through all the different parts of the country. Of all the commercial advantages, however, which Scotland has de rived from the union with England, this rife in the price of cattle is, perhaps, the greatest. It has not only raised the value of all highland
349 eftates, but it has, perhaps, been the principal CHAP. caufe of the improvement of the low country.
In all new colonies the great quantity of wafte land, which can for many years be applied to no other purpose but the feeding of cattle, foon renders them extremely abundant, and in every thing great cheapnefs is the neceffary confequence of great abundance. Though all the cattle of the European colonies in America were originally carried from Europe, they foon multiplied fo much there, and became of fo little value, that even horfes were allowed to run wild in the woods without any owner thinking it worth while to claim them. It must be a long time after the first establishment of fuch colonies, before it can become profitable to feed cattle upon the produce of cultivated land. The fame caufes, therefore, the want of manure, and the disproportion between the stock employed in cultivation, and the land which it is deftined to cultivate, are likely to introduce there a system of husbandry not unlike that which still continues to take place in fo many parts of Scotland. Mr. Kalm, the Swedish traveller, when he gives an account of the husbandry of fome of the English colonies in North America, as he found it in 1749, obferves, accordingly, that he can with difficulty discover there the character of the English nation, fo well skilled in all the different branches of agriculture. They make fcarce any manure for their corn fields, he fays; but when one piece of ground has been exhausted by continual cropping, they clear and cultivate another
BOOK piece of fresh land; and when that is exhausted, proceed to a third. Their cattle are allowed to wander through the woods and other uncultivated grounds, where they are half-ftarved; having long ago extirpated almost all the annual graffes by cropping them too early in the fpring, before they had time to form their flowers, or to fhed their feeds. The annual graffes were, it feems, the beft natural graffes in that part of North America; and when the Europeans firft fettled there, they used to grow very thick, and to rife three or four feet high. A piece of ground which, when he wrote, could not maintain one cow, would in former times, he was affured, have maintained four, each of which would have given four times the quantity of milk which that one was capable of giving. The poornefs of the pafture had, in his opinion, occafioned the degradation of their cattle, which degenerated fenfibly from one generation to an other. They were probably not unlike that ftunted breed which was common all over Scotland thirty or forty years ago, and which is now fo much mended through the greater part of the low country, not fo much by a change of the breed, though that expedient has been employed in fome places, as by a more plentiful method of feeding them.
Though it is late, therefore, in the progress of improvement before cattle can bring fuch a price as to render it profitable to cultivate land for the
* Kalm's Travels, vol. i. p. 343, 344