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we look to the geographical position of Ireland, or to the character of her soil, there will be always such a prevalence of moisture and humidity as will make pasturage, and the production of animals, the most secure and remunerating form which our national industry can assume. I do not of course mean, as I am sure he did not mean, or no friend of Ireland could mean, to disparage tillage, or the proper production of corn crops in those districts which are by nature suited for them. Those districts abound in Ireland, and more especially is this the case with regard to oats. But still, coupling the physical condition of the country with the close proximity of those large English and Scotch markets, where there is such a vast consumption of meat, I believe that Providence has mainly appointed Ireland to be the mother of flocks and herds, and I consequently believe that she will fare all the better the more truly she keeps to her natural vocation. And in this useful and patriotic path no more salutary or efficient encouragement can be afforded her than is supplied by these annual spring exhibitions, coupled with those of the Royal Agricultural Society—these annual exhibitions which take place under the auspices of the Royal Dublin Society. These exhibitions, within the comparatively short limits of my own experience, have evinced a most remarkable progress. It is within these limits that you have housed your cattle, and we hear that in another year you are likely to roof your implements. I need not point out to you what an interesting and suggestive exhibition the implements collected in your yards to-day furnish to you, or over how wide an extent of usefulness they range. The facility of transport, for which we are indebted to our railway friends, has done an infinite deal in promoting every kind of agricultural competition; and we read now, too, of international exhibitions. The Emperor of the French has, with great sagacity, instituted them in his capital; and I am sure that we shall be glad to find that one of our most well-known exhibiters, who has obtained a prize in the competition of to-day, not content with the laurels he gathers in our show-I refer to Mr. Ball-has carried away the prize for heifers in the capital of France. I need not say how entirely I agree with the reference which Mr. Naper so aptly made even to the superior care and anxiety which we owe to the permanent welfare of those labourers who in fact really furnish the national wealth which it should be the object of this exhibition to promote. We know that in the last twenty years, notwithstanding many of the drawbacks and vicissitudes to which I
have referred, and of which we lately had experience, yet the stock of Ireland has increased in value within that period from £21,000,000 to £33,000,000. And with respect to quality, I think it is very probable that almost the worst animal in the yard to-day was as good a one as the prize animal of the same period back. I trust earnestly, my Lords and Gentlemen, that the varied excellences of these exhibitions-the numbers by which they are attended, the patronage by which they are honoured, the skill by which they are fostered-may all progressively advance. It is true that we cannot warm our skies with unclouded sunshine, we cannot mature failing crops, we cannot guard our sheep and cattle from all kinds of diseases; but we may continually furnish fresh aids to man in the struggle which he must always have to keep up with nature, giving the largest command over her bounties, and making difficulties themselves the spurs to his industry, and the elements of his success.
THE ROYAL AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY OF IRELAND.*
ANNUAL CATTLE SHOW-BELFAST.
[AUGUST 9TH, 1861.]
"The Health of the Earl of Carlisle, and Prosperity to Ireland."
THE President of the Society, LORD ABERCORN, said :—
MY LORDS AND GENTLEMEN,
I have now the pleasing task of proposing the health of our distinguished guest, the Lord Lieutenant. I am well aware, Gentlemen, that it is only necessary to name the Lord Lieutenant to ensure the most enthusiastic reception to the toast connected with his name and office.
This Society having become a corporate body, and taken out a Royal Charter, the word "Improvement" is omitted from the title.
Not only for official reasons, but also on the highest grounds of personal respect and attachment, we have every reason to express our gratitude to the distinguished nobleman who now so worthily represents Her Majesty in this country. Our Society has often been favoured by his presence; and it is a cheering prospect to us, and cannot but be so to him, that the annual meeting of our Society bears such strong evidence of that increased prosperity, of that advancement of the country, which it has ever been the anxiety of the noble lord to promote, and which has been one of the prominent features of his rule in this country. My Lords and Gentlemen, there is but one opinion as to the intellectual attainments of my noble friend-as to that polished eloquence and refined courtesy with which he carries out the duties of his high office; but it is upon even higher grounds than these-it is upon the interest and attachment he has ever shown to Ireland-it is upon the ability and the anxiety with which he has always endeavoured to develope its industrial resources-that we feel his name is most well and fittingly associated with the prosperity of the country-a prosperity of which he has often been the true prophet, of which he has been one of the chief promoters and instruments, and in which he, no doubt, feels the highest satisfaction. I beg to give "The Health of the Lord Lieutenant."
The EARL OF CARLISLE then said:
MY LORD ABERCORN, MY LORDS, AND GENTLEMEN,
I return you very sincere thanks for the honour you have paid me in drinking my health, which has been on this occasion so very kindly proposed, and so warmly received. I thank you also for coupling my name with that which I claim to hold very dear the prosperity of Ireland; and allow me to remark that these words have their peculiar weight and meaning at the present moment. If this were the time and the occasion-which happily it is not-for a mere party speech, or a sort of political survey of passing events, I might possibly light upon one or two considerations and incidents connected with Ireland which might not seem to be altogether of so comfortable and reassuring a character; but, Gentlemen, standing here as the guest of the Royal Agricultural Society as a visitor to the splendid Show of the year 1861, in the town of Belfast-I feel, I thankfully feel, that I am placed on a higher level, and command a far wider field of a noble horizon-from this vantage
ground. Thus-I say it with all the experience of my twelfth year of direct connexion with the Government of Ireland-I say it with the reservation that some elements of future uneasiness and disturbance may not even now be wanting, yet, in my judgment, Ireland has never exhibited such an exemption from general crime, from political agitation, or from physical distress and privation as that which she now enjoys. And I need not say, Gentlemen, that these are considerations which far outweigh all others in the satisfaction they impart; and with the full consciousness how small any personal contribution might be to those mighty blessings, it is enough for happiness and for gratitude to have been allowed to witness them. But I can almost fancy that some one might here interpose, and say, "Talk to us of prosperity, when the returns of last year undoubtedly show a falling-off in some kinds of agricultural produce, especially, perhaps, in the yield of wheat, and when the census of the last decade, or interval of ten years, shows a decrease of nearly a million souls." Now, with respect to this decrease of the population, there can be no doubt that the famine and pestilence which worked such fearful havoc upon the immediately preceding decade left its mark also upon that which has succeeded it; but there is no question that the continuous flow of emigration is the chief cause of the great reduction which has ensued in the number of the people. If the number of emigrants from Ireland itself, exclusive of those who have left other ports of the United Kingdom, is allowed for, there would have been in the last decade, from 1851 to 1861, an increase in Ireland close upon 40,000. This decrease has been least observable in the province of Ulster, which seems mainly, I imagine, to be attributable to that mixed agricultural and manufacturing industry which there prevails. I need not tell you that no such decrease at all has taken place in the town of Belfast. With respect to the place in which we are now assembled, I shall give only the dates of three successive periods, which sufficiently tell their own story. The population of Belfast one hundred years ago, in 1760, amounted to 8,600 souls; in 1831, thirty years ago, it amounted to 48,224; and in the year 1861, in which I now address you, it amounts to 119,200 souls. Nor has wealth been left behind population. I find in the valuation for local assessment the fixed capital in building and other rateable property in Belfast was a quarter of a century ago, in 1836, £115,000; in 1861 it has risen to £305,000. History bears record to the efforts of successive Viceroys, from the Earl of
Strafford to the Earl of Clarendon, to advance the linen manufactures of the North of Ireland. Probably the moisture of the climate (may I admit so much ?) is more favourable to the production of flax than of other cereal growths. I need not remind you in Belfast how much that place owes to her Murlands and Mulhollands, and many more. It may be sufficient to mention that in the last year there were exported from Belfast 65,000,000, or upwards, yards of linen, valued at about £2,000,000 sterling, and at the same time yarns and threads to the amount of 3,000,000 pounds weight, valued at £764,000. The improvements which have been effected in the noble harbour of this town have amounted within twenty years to half a million of money, and this without any aid from public grants; and within the same comparatively short period the tonnage of vessels and the harbour receipts have been much more than doubled. Now, it may be inferred how material a contribution this liberal and splendid community, together with its group of connected and associated towns, must have made to the consumption of agricultural produce. But I have already stated to you, Gentlemen, the amount of decrease which has occurred on the whole population of Ireland in the last ten years. Now, with respect to the productiveness of the country within the same period, the land under cultivation either under tillage or in meadowing and pasture-in 1841 was 13,000,000 acres; in 1851-I suppress the slight addition that the odd hundreds would make-it was above 14,000,000; in 1861 it is above 15,000,000 of acres. The live stock, which form so interesting an item in the exhibition of the Royal Agricultural Society, was valued in 1841 at £21,000,000; in 1851, at £27,000,000; in 1861, at £33,000,000; and this independently of the improvement of quality in the animals, which I believe is by every one admitted to be very great, amounting perhaps to 25 per cent. Along with this great increase of productiveness there has been a very striking diminution of the small holdings and of the wretched cabins of the peasantry. Now, Gentlemen, these figures, which I have passed in rapid review-I am afraid not quite sufficiently rapid, for I know that figures are apt to be tedious, especially after dinner-but they surely show that, with largely increased production and a largely increasing producing area, there has been a considerable diminution of population. Now, taking these two together, we must look upon the result as being occasioned by better labour, better directed, with a larger application of capital. The social and the neces