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HII. The present State of Great-Britain and North-America, with
Regard to Agriculture, Population, Trade, and Manufactures, impare tially considered: Containing a particular Account of the Dearth and Scarcity of the Neceffaries of Life in England ; the Want of Naples Commodities in the Colonies; the Decline of their Trade; Increase of People ; and Necesity of Manufactures, as well as of a Trade in them hereafter. In which the Causes and Consequences of these growing Evils, and Methods of preventing them, are suggested ; the proper Regulations for the Colonies, and the Taxes imposed upon them, are considered, and compared with their Condition and Cir. cumfiances. 8vo. Pr. 51. Becket and Hondt.
THE general tendency of this work, which is composed
with a precision and knowledge of the subject equal to its importance, is extremely interesting at this juncture, being designed to thew the mutual relation that fubfifts between Great Britain and her colonies, and planning out the means by which they can prove of mutual service to each other under all their difficulties and distreffes.
Our author begins with confiderations on the agriculture of Great Britain with respect to the dearth and scarcity of corn, provisions, and other necessaries, particularly the articles of daily consumption ; fhewing the causes of these public calamities, and the manner of preventing their consequences, which are ruinous to population, trade, and manufactures. He aflerts, and strengthens his opinion with, we think, irrefragable arguments, that the present dearth of provisions in England mufb not be attributed to any temporary accidents of the seasons, but proceeds from three permanent causes; first, the vast encrease of towns; secondly, the want of husbandmen and labourers in the country; thirdly, the great number of horses, The latter inconveniency the writer has placed in a new as well as striking light: he flews, that they consume the bread of the poor, and that the island of Britain is not extenfive enough to maintain a fufficient number of people for the numerous concerns of the nation. He thinks that a tax on horses and dogs would afford a bounty on corn consumed by the poor; mentions several improvements in agriculture, and the rearing of animals proper for food, which may be introduced ; and strengthens his arguments with examples drawn from other countries. He proposes, in particular, the cultivation of such grain as are almost unknown in England ; and thinks, that, were these foris of grain introduced, it would not only be a great saving to the nation if the people fed upon them, but amount to more than the whole exportation of corn. Take
(lays he) barley, rye, and oats, one with another, they are not above half the price of wheat; fo that if the people of England, who consume 7,500,000 quarters of corn a year, worth at least eight millions fterling, were to live on these, and the like. mentioned below, they would save three or four millions a year, which would soon reduce the price of provisions !
We are ignorant how the true-born fons of Scotland and Trea land will relish this author's sentiments of the common people of both nations ; for he affirms that the former have hardly any other food than oatmeal, and that the vulgar of Ireland live upon potatoes. The following paffage, which is part of a note, contains fo valuable and curious a portion of agricultural history, that it must prove highly acceptable to our readers.
• The only sort of corn proper for the northern parts of Amea rica, is one that grows naturally in the foil and climate, well known to måny by the name of Wild Oats. It is so called because it grows like an oat, but the grain is to all intents and purposes a species of rice. It excels that, however, and all other forts of grain that are known, in many remarkable properties; it neither requires reaping, threshing, cleaning, grind. ing, bolting, nor baking; the grain is easily gathered with the hand, and is fit to eat, boiled like rice, as soon as it is gathered; it neither adheres to the husk, like rice, barley and oats, nor has it any bran like wheat, which create a great expence in thèse forts of grain. It likewise affords food both for man and beast, or ripe corn and green fodder, at one and the same time. The blade, which grows four or five feet long, and fometimes feven, has a fweetness in it like Indian corn, and is as much coveted, whether green or dry, by beasts of every kind. Hav. ing mowed it for feveral years, I am well assured it is the best fodder that grows, except the blades of Indian corn. The grain is likewise as agreeable. F. Hennepin lived upon it, and found it “ better and more wholesome than rice," to ufe his words. The grain indeed is but flender, as it grows wild, although very long, and smooth like cleaned rice; but there is no such corn growing wild in any other part of the world, that we have seen or heard of; the best forts of corn were but grafs, and not to be compared to this, before they were improved by culture. Were this duly cultivated like rice, as it grows in like manner in water, it would be as useful; and we might have rice from our northern, as well as fouthern colonies. It grows all over North America, as far north as Huda son's Bay, in the coldest climates of any grain. The natives of Hudson's Bay, and Lake Superior, have no other corn.“ Besides this, there is a species of barley peculiar to the southern parts of North America, where the common barley will not $ %
thrive---Were that continent explored, it would be foundy that we might have both corn, wine, oil, wool, silk, hemp, Max, and many other valuable conimodities, all of the native growth of North America ; and these are the more to be re garded, as no others will thrive in the climate ; they are like. wise totally different from any thing that B: itain produces, and might by that means keep the colonies from interfering with their mother country, &c.
• This corn might be as proper for all the low, wet and boggy grounds in Great-Britain and Ireland, which are so extensive, and produce nothing. And such a corn might prove as serviceable as potatoes have been, which were in like manner broụght from America. - These com:non potatoes are the Papas of Peru, where they grow naturally, and were the only bread corn that the natives had upon their cold mountains, or have to this day. They likewise grind them to meal, and make a bread of it, called Chunno, which is famous in history; with this the Indians supplied the mines of Potosi, and grew richer by the trade than the miners. The Spaniards likewise make a great variety of dishes with them, unknown to us, and live upon them like the common people in Ireland They were first brought to Europe by Sir Francis Drake, in his return from the expedition to the Spanish Welt-Indies in 1986. He then brought the colony of Virginia home with him, and among the rest the famous mathematician Mr. Thomas Heriot, who was sent thither by Sir Walter Raleigh to explore the productions of the country, and brought these roots with hiin ; he gave them to Gerard the botanist, who first planted them in London, and sent them to Clusius in Holland, who planted them in Burgundy, and sent them to Italy ; as appears from the works of these and several other authors. It was from this their introduction into Europe, that they are said by most of our writers to have been natives of Virginia, where they will hardly grow, and do not thrive, unless they are planted in the following manner. They should be planted in trenches like Celeri, and earthed up to the top of the stalk in like manner, till they come to be in blossom ; by that means they spread and grow to a great size under ground, as I learnt from my late worthy friend Don Pedro Maldonado, F. R. S. governor of .the province of Emeraldos, and a native of Quito, who reckoned our potatoes but very indifferent, in comparison of what they daily eat and live upon, by this method of culture in Peru.
They are cultivated in this manner, in order to prevent the plant from running into Italk and seed, which robs the root of its nourirment. But in Britain, the seed never ripens as in
America, which abundantly fhews that they are exotics. Upon this account it is not altogether fo necessary here to earth them up as they grow, althougla it may be as proper. :: This method of cultivating potatoes is necessary on another account, in order to divest them of the rank and poisonous quality of the Solanum, of which they are a species. This is so strong in them, where they grow on the surface of the ground exposed to the fun in hot climates, that the very hogs will not taste them; and I have known people who could not fit at table where they were, for this their poisonous scent, of which the hogs are more sensible than we are. Even when kept on hard meat on board of ship, I have seen hogs refuse these potatoes grown in a hot climate. They there grow hard and knotty when exposed to the sun, instead of soft and mealy, and have this rank flavor to such a degree, that many people cannot taste them. It'was for this reason, that when they were first planted in Burgundy, the use of them was condemned by law, for occasioning a severe distemper, they imagined. But in these cold climates, which are more natural to them, or by thus covering them up from the sun, they are so divested of this rank and noxious flavor, that we are not sensible of it ; no more than the hogs whose scent is fo acute. But from there their qualities, the use of potatoes has been chiefly confined to the British isles, to which they were first brought; and here the general use that is made of thein seeins to have been owing to an accident in Ireland, in the time of the civil wars, when the armies destroyed the fields of corn ; but some fields of potatoes, we are told, throve very well after they were trampled by them, and supplied the want of corn, as they have done ever since. But these are not to be compared to the Spanish potatoes, as they are called, which are a very different root and plant, and much more delicious and wholesome.?
The writer next proceeds to prove, that foreigners are entirely mistaken in supposing the soil of England to be worn out. The improvements of this kingdom are so far from being exhausted, that they are searcely commenced. If this nation (fays he) were to exert itself in agriculture, both at home and abroad, as well as in trade and navigation, and to give but à ' very small moiety of that encouragement to one, which she lays out upon the other, she might make the arts of peace as great a terror to her enemies as the late war; and defend herself from daily insults by these, as well as by her fleets, which the income from her lands would support. The people, he thinks, decrease, and particularly in their towns, over all England,
nd, and Ireland; and that the tax he proposes, with a few others, might retrieve our population
• They who can afford to keep dogs and horfes, may well afford to pay forty or fifty shillings a year for such purposes as these ; when great numbers are unable to live by paying such heavy taxes, and high prices, for every thing which they, or their children, put in their mouths, and are daily obliged to use. As dogs and horses raise the price of provisions to such an height, the frugal and industrious tradesman is by that means obliged to pay for the extravagancies of the fox-hunters, racers and others; and the very poor, and even the beggars, pay for the coaches of the richest in every morfel of bread they eat; which they might much better afford to do, were it any thing else, To make dogs and horses, therefore, relieve these burdens on the poor, is only to put the faddle on the right horse. They who keep them should consider, that it is the poor who main. tain the rich, and inake their fortunes.--A few idle gentlemen, who do nothing but live on the rest, and keep dogs and horses, are hardly to be considered in a state, otherwise both they and their country will foon come to be of very little confideration, -For want of employment and bread, and from the excessive dearness of every thing, the poor are obliged to desert the country; after which the gentlemen must provide for their dogs and horses themselves.--This nation lofes fo many people in its many large towns at home, which increase so falt; in its foreign trade, and many plantations abroad, which have been lately extended in climates that seem to be calculated to deItroy its people ; that it will soon, in the way it goes on, have no people left, unless the poor are provided for, and can find a subsistance aţ a cheaper tatę. This seems already to have happened in Ireland, and will soon be the case in England, The enorinous expences of this nation, in foreign articles, extirpate the poor, and are very ill suited to its circumstances. It might be easy to mention only a few, among many, besides dogs and horses, which cost at least four or five millions a year, as much as all the public debts amount to.
Upon the whole, as this tax would afford a bounty on one half of the corn consuined in the kingdom, and consequently for all the labourers, tradesmen, manufacturers, and poor, who would at the same time be relieved from those ruinous taxes on the articles of daily consumption, which, with the high price of provisions that is daily riling, threaten the total ruin of this nation ; such a general and public benefit, which has been so long wanted, and so much desired, inust be looked upon as an advantage infinitely greater than any inconvenience that may arise froin a tax on dogs and horses; especially as that tax would be the greatest benefit in itself, were it not appropriated to these signal services į and is only a tax on