« PreviousContinue »
brighter green. Now, these laws of moisture appear upon a wider extent than the gleaming lakes and fair shores of Killarney. The heat of the land of Europe, exceeding that of the occan through a great portion of the year, draws towards it the western sea breeze; and the atmosphere, thus charged with humidity, which breaks upon the surface of Ireland, which, through more than three-quarters of its extent consisting mainly of limestone, does not rise above 500 feet over the surface of the sea, and yet is fringed by mountains ready to condense the vapour suspended in the air, necessarily produces a large allowance of rain without great mixtures of extreme heat or cold." Here, we find in the soil and the climate the conditions best suited for pasture, and pasture frequently of too rich a kind to be good for several species of sheep, which (I say it in the face of the splendid show of sheep in the yard hard-by) will often be found to browse better in such hilly uplands as Scotland abounds in. Hence, it appears that cattle, above all things, seem to be rendered, by the conditions of soil and climate, the most appropriate stock for Ireland. And the laws of the market, to which I have before adverted, co-operate in recommending this source of supply. Corn, you all know, can be brought from one country to another-from a great distance, at comparatively small freights. It is not so with cattle. Hence, the great hives of industry in England and Scotland, across the Channel, can draw their frequent shiploads of corn from more southern and drier climates, but they must have a constant dependence upon Ireland for an abundant supply of meat. Now, the precise test of a very few figures will be found to confirm these general remarks. In the year 1859-I compare Scotland and Ireland-the heads of cattle in Scotland were 974,437, in Ireland they were 3,630,954. This shows the immense preponderance of cattle in this country. With sheep, as I have said before, it is the reverse. Scotland produced 5,683,068 sheep, Ireland only 3,452,952; but it appears that, whether for cattle or for sheep, nearly one-half of the surface of Ireland was devoted to pasture. Now, it is obvious, that with this immense quantity of your capital vested in live stock, too much caution.and vigilance cannot be taken in providing against the recurrence of occasional bad seasons such as that in a great measure, through which we have lately passed, and which, I fear, will be found to have inflicted very serious injury, especially upon the small classes of farmers. The moral of what I am drawing your attention to is this that the country ought not to be covered with stock according
to the measure of the food which may naturally be produced in one or two very favourable seasons. For instance, you ought not to calculate on the abundance of one year very favourable to the growth of hay, at the risk of its being succeeded by another year, which will prove to be very short in the hay crop-whether from drought, or over-much rain. To show you how difficult it is to calculate upon the same sort of seasons, I may just mention that in 1857 the rain-fall in May was less than the third of the average of that month. In June it was below the average; whereas in the present year, 1860, the rain-fall in May was five times as much as the average, and in June it was more than twice as much. Hence arises the necessity for those who give their attention to the production and rearing of stock of being sure, and being always provided with a sufficient supply of green crops, and with due provision for stall-feeding. Arthur Young, the writer, who wrote upon the agriculture of the United Kingdom and foreign countries, in 1776, said he had seen four men in a field hoeing turnips in Ireland, and it gave him as much pleasure as if he had seen four emperors. Now, we are very much in advance of that; but still it is very essential to note, that the growth of turnips and of other green crops does not seem to be increasing as much as they ought. In 1859 there were 22,000 fewer acres of turnips than in 1858. In 1859 there were 3000 fewer acres of mangold than in the preceding year. Vetches, cabbage, and carrots show a proportional diminution. Now, there was but scant provision for the very cold and unfavourable winter, and the spring through which we have just passed--and I think it cannot be too much inculcated on all who have the interest of Irish agriculture and of Irish stock at heart— to pay due attention to the encouragement of turnips and green crops, for I fear it will be found, when the annual return of the RegistrarGeneral shall have been made up, that serious loss will have been sustained in those particulars. The fine old Irish crop of oats, which was at one time considered the staple of Ireland, still maintains its own preeminence, it being still the largest tilled crop in Ireland. Potatoes hold the second place; but it is satisfactory to know that the large extent of potatoes, which used to be grown in much larger proportion upon very small and inadequate holdings, now is generally grown by farmers who can better sustain the loss to which that very tender crop is subject. With respect, more especially to the agriculture of the county of Cork, in which we are now met together, I am happy to find that there is reason
to congratulate the inhabitants of this large and important county upon the general results of their agricultural work. Within twenty years there has been an increase in the county of Cork of 100,000 acres of land, producing food crops of one kind or another. The corn crops have, since 1847, diminished by 55,000 acres, but the green crops have increased by above 70,000 acres. Horses and sheep have slightly increased. Pigs have somewhat decreased; but cattle-to which I called your attention as being the most appropriate stock for Ireland at largein the county of Cork, within twenty years, have more than doubled. Twenty years ago they were 152,000. Now they are 333,000 head, and the estimated value of the whole live stock, taking it at prices estimated in 1841, which would be an inadequate measure of quality as well as quantity, have improved since. The value has increased above a million. It would be bad taste to speak of agricultural statistics in the county and city of Cork without one word upon butter. I find that the number of firkins of butter, so short a time back as 1847, amounted to 253,000. In 1858, they amounted to 420,000, or about double; and the exported butter amounts, in annual value, to a million of money. I fear, my Lords and Gentlemen, that I have detained you longer than I have any pretension to, upon the subject of agriculture. The splendour and success of the present Show will receive more appropriate and discriminating praise from those who are most competent to address you upon such a subject. With reference to the general concerns of Ireland, I feel that I am justified in speaking to you, upon the whole, in the terms of congratulation and hopefulness. The number of persons relieved from the poor-rate in Ireland-I do not assume this as an absolute measure of the number needing relief, but I do assume it as a pretty accurate return of the wholly destitute-the number of persons relieved in Ireland form only one per cent. of the whole of the population; in England they form 4 per cent.; in Scotland, 4 per cent. The expenditure for the relief of the poor in England on the whole population is 68. per head; in Scotland, it is 48.; in Ireland, it is 1s. 6d. Then, with respect so those "mud cabins" which were formerly the great opprobrium of the country, and which excited the censure and condemnation of all travellers, also the regret of all those public-spirited inhabitants who mourned over a state of things which they were not enabled, at all events at once, to relieve-the mud cabins of Ireland amounted in 1841, not twenty years ago, to 491,000; they have now diminished to
125,000. The number of emigrants, which had been gradually decreasing for some years, has somewhat increased in the last and present years. They are generally from a superior class in life to those who formed the bulk of former emigrants. They now comprise many young people of both sexes, who have been comparatively well educated, and who hope to find in a less crowded community a better market for their industry, and a more adequate demand for their natural and acquired intelligence; but I conceive this is not a symptom, with whatever immediate and local inconvenience it may no doubt be attended, at which, viewed at large, we ought to repine. The success of those who go out will prove a stimulus both to those who are induced to follow them beneath other skies, and also to those who cling to their native soil and to their accustomed homes. Wages in Ireland incline to look up. This is a most hopeful and agreeable "sign of the times." They have generally and considerably improved, and frequently now rate three times as much as what they were when many of us were young. Education has been much more widely extended, and is improved both in quality and quantity; and we can gather from official returns, from the addresses and charges of judges, and from the experience of every one of you at your own door, that, with increasing knowledge we have decreasing crime. I do not pretend to say, my Lords and Gentlemen, that there is no drawback to this improving picture-no scattered clouds amidst this brightening sky; but I do tell all the ill-wishers of this country's progress, and all the disturbers of the country's peace, that we have better hopes and better omens.
Proud, impious man, think'st thou yon sanguine cloud,
Raised by thy breath, can quench the orb of day?
To-morrow he repairs his golden flood,
And warms the nations with redoubled ray.
THE ROYAL DUBLIN SOCIETY'S SPRING CATTLE
ANNUAL SPRING EXHIBITION.
EVENING MEETING FOR THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF PRIZES.
[APRIL 3RD, 1861.]
IR ROBERT PAUL said, the pleasing duty devolved upon him of moving a vote of thanks to His Excellency for his kindness in visiting the Show-yard in the afternoon, and presiding at their meeting that evening.
The EARL OF CARLISLE said:
I am reluctantly compelled to infer that the resolution which has just been moved and seconded has been adopted by the meeting. being the case, in returning my thanks to the meeting for the great honour they have been induced to pay me, not indeed for the first time, I can only wish that, while the gratitude I feel must necessarily have received an increase in its amount, I could succeed in imparting any novelty or variety to the expression of it. I feel very certain that those whom I have the pleasure to address do not need to be assured of the real interest which I feel in the Exhibitions of this Society, connected as I conceive them to be with the advancing progress of Irish agriculture. I am only copying the example of the Prime Minister of England, and, I have no doubt, anticipating the example of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he brings forward his approaching budget, when I make some allusion to the inclement character of the seasons through which we have recently passed. True it is, the spring, summer, autumn, and winter have conformed to the usual law and course of nature in the respective lengths of their nights and days; but hail, rain, frost, and storm have appeared to occupy a joint preponderance throughout the whole of those seasons. Seldom indeed have these island shores been more strewn with wrecks; and we have had to lament the loss— outweighing unnumbered argosies—of brave human life. But difficulties and drawbacks seem to be the appointed schooling through which improved agriculture, as well as everything else that is sterling and valuable in our knowledge, is destined to struggle, to emerge, and to