« PreviousContinue »
There is, however, what I should not expect to find, a little modern Circulating Library, for those who are inclined to letters. I must also add, that the roads are remarkably fine, and well suited to the foot, the horse, or the carriage, and both for a long or a short distance, for either meadow or romantic views.'
Nothing seems to escape the observation of this keensighted tourist of 85 he sketches characters as well as describes places; and the sojourners at Coatham while he was there will find their portraits in these pages. During his stay, he paid a visit to Guisborough Abbey, which was once superbly endowed, and which affords Mr. H. an opportunity of remarking on the state of the priesthood in the days of Abbeysplendour:
Here we see a true and excellent picture of Ecclesiastical life; it consisted of luxury, dominion, and idleness. An holy life was only another word for a voluptuous one. Religion teaches the priest to be poor in spirit; but he learns the lesson of being rich in pocket.'
The church of Rome was, in its infancy, a pure Christian church; but there is nothing upon earth that continues in the same state. The priest, in a course of time, drew the attention of men, then their affections, then their judgment, and then their property."
In connection with the state of property in the neighbourhood of Coatham, Mr. H. presents us with anecdotes of the antient families; among which the sketch of Mrs. Margaret Wharton makes a conspicuous figure, and is worth transcribing :
• When an excentric character appears upon the stage of life, we laugh at the oddities it exhibits; but if we scrutinize such a person's conduct, we may find much more to praise than to censure; weighed in the balance of reason, the odds may terminate in favour of the person ridiculed; nay, even the wisest have their whimseys. I was intimate with a gentleman, who always carried in his pockets one or two dozen of pen-knives, and for no use; yet he was one of the most sensible of men. I was acquainted with another so very penurious, that he was never known to give away a penny; yet he would frequently give away hundreds, and sometimes thousands; his generosity, when the whim took him, kept no bounds.
I also knew a lady of considerable fortune and capacity; who, reflecting that her life might be of short duration, thought it needless to recruit her wardrobe. Time, however, passed on: she was in health, but her apparel in a consumption. However, her motive for not purchasing dress was strengthened, when she considered there were fewer sands in her glass. She still continued. The wardrobe expired, and she absolutely left the world in rags. She discarded that which is the most valued by her sex.
Mrs. Margaret Wharton, aunt to the present gentleman, was tall, thin, and lived to about ninety-one. She was said to have been pos7
gessed of 200,000l. She had some inoffensive oddities, but more excellencies; she made a present to her nephew of one hundred thousand; an act of generosity practised by few.
She chose to be her own caterer. Purchasing some eels, she put them in her pocket, entered her coach, and called upon a lady to take her an airing. The warmth of the body reviving the condemned prisoners, one of them took the liberty of creeping out for a little air, being deprived of water. The friend cried out, in horror, “Lord, Madam! you have an adder creeping about you! Coachman, stop, stop! let me get out." - "You need not be frightened, madam," she said coolly: "I protest one of my eels is alive!"
Though she resided in York, she visited Scarborough in the season; and frequently sending for a pennyworth of strawberries and a pennyworth of cream for supper, the people conferred upon her the name of Peg Pennyworth, which never forsook her.
Her charities were boundless, but always private; nothing hurt her so much as to have them divulged. If any did proclaim them, she withdrew her benevolence; and nothing pleased her more than to be deemed rich.
An incident occurred, in which she displayed her aversion to public charity. Some gentlemen soliciting her favour, whom she could scarcely deny, (about the year 1774, when light guineas were in disgrace,) she pulled out a number of guineas, and, repeatedly turning them over, selected one of the lightest. This produced a few winks and smiles; but the matter did not end here. The celebrated Foote, of comic memory, laid hold of the incident, and drew her character in a farce, under the name of Peg Pennyworth.
When she was informed of this circumstance, she exclaimed, with a smile, "I will see it acted, as I live." She did, and declared with joy, "They had done her great justice." A gentleman took her in his arms, before the whole audience, and cried, "This is the greatest fortune in Yorkshire!" which delighted her more; and no doubt she would be equally delighted, if living, with this concise History of, her Life; nay, who can tell but her shade hovers over me, and directs my pen, with a smile. The entertainment over, a cry was repeated, Peg's coach." They might have called me Margaret, however, said she.
In one of her visits to Scarborough, she, with her usual economy, had a family pye for dinner; she directed the footman to take it to the bakehouse, who rather declined it, as not being his place, or rather, his consequence would suffer.
She then moved the question to the coachman, but found a stronger objection. To save the pride of both, she resolved to take it herself; and ordered one to harness and bring out the carriage, and the other to mount behind, and took the pye thus dignified to the bakehouse; what pye had ever been so honourably conveyed! When baked, coachee was ordered to put-to a second time, and the footman to mount and the pye returned in the same honourable state. Now, says she to the coachman, you have kept your place, which it to drive; and yours, to the footman, which is to wait.
A clergyman's wife having kept up a visiting connection in York, the clergyman dying, and leaving the lady in affluence, she
retired to Thirsk with four daughters, and sollicited Peg to pay her a visit. Peg consented, took her carriage and servants. After some time, the lady began to think the visit rather protracted, particularly as she had a family of her own to provide for; but Peg thought that treating the young ladies with a frequent airing in the carriage was an ample recompence.
A growing discontent cannot be smothered, the lady could neither find a remedy, nor complain. At length she ventured to hint to Mr. Wharton, "That the pressure was great." “Be silent, madam," said he, "let my aunt have her way. I will pay you two hundred a year during the life of my aunt; and one hundred during your own, should you survive her."
Peg ended her days with this lady, and I believe the hundred a year is paid to this day.
After her death, her nephew being in company with his friends; one of them remarked, "that as his aunt had bequeathed to him so large a fortune, he ought to honour her memory with an Epitaph." He replied:
"Beneath this great stone, lies my worthy Aunt Peg.
Who never had issue but one in her leg.'
Returning towards home, Mr. H. visits Marton, (the birthplace of Captain Cook,) Boroughbridge, and Aldburgh, the Isurium of the Romans, of which, like a true F.A.S., he is eager in exploring the antiquities: but we did not expect a professed antiquary to class Isis (p. 210.) among the he deities. Passing by Marston Moor, he avails himself of the occasion for describing the celebrated battle fought on that spot between the forces of Charles I. and those of the Parliament, in July 1644; which, he says, I am induced to do
Because my father's grandfather fought at that battle, in the capacity of a private trooper, under the Earl of Manchester, in the service of the Parliament. His basket hilted sword descended to his heirs, till the dreadful riots in Birmingham in 1791, when I was wronged of that, and ten thousand pounds worth of other property.
And here, allow me to introduce, though foreign to my subject, an expression which has passed through four generations of my family; and which is not found in any of our Histories. I had it from my father seventy-five years ago, who had it from my grandfather, and he received it from my great-grandfather, the trooper; who was one of the detachment sent, after the battle of Worcester, in pursuit of Charles the Second, when he took refuge in the Royal Oak at Boscobel. "They nearly guessed where the King was secreted, but did not chuse to find him."
It will be seen by this work that Mr. Hutton did not lose. his spirits with his property; and though as an author he cannot expect to gain riches, he will be sure to win the good opinion and perhaps will excite the envy of the reader.
For DECEMBER, 1810.
Art. 14. A Treatise on Gypsum, on its various Uses, and on its Ap plication, as a Manure. By Sutton Thomas Wood, Esq., Lam beth. 8vo. pp. 38. 18. 6d. Rivingtons..
Art. 15. Practical Observations on Gypsum, or Plaister of Paris, as a Manure. By Richard Parkinson, Author of "the Experienced Farmer," &c. 12mo. pp. 121. 38. 6d. sewed. Longman and
HAVING given the chemical analysis of Gypsum, enumerated its several kinds, and specified its uses in the Arts, Mr. Wood proceeds to enlarge on its singular utility as a manure. In the latter application, it is stated to be most valuable; in as much as its effect is striking, and, while it is considerably cheaper than dung-composts, is more easy of carriage, and can be obtained when dung is not to be procured. Gypsum is said to be in high repute in America; and even according to the evidence of English farmers, it is found to be a very improving manure on all dry loams, on sandy and calcareous soils, a on stiff stubborn ones,' and to be peculiarly beneficial on grass-land. It is said to promote fertility by accelerating putrefaction, and converting undecayed animal and vegetable matter into carbon. The quantity of the gypsum-powder sown on an acre is from two to six bushels; and at the end of Mr. Wood's pamphlet, the reader is informed that prepared gypsum is sold at 38. per bushel at Palace Wharf, Lambeth. So far this pamphlet is an advertisement.
Mr. Parkinson is no advertiser, but, with much self-conceit, considers himself to have as much title to give an opinion on the use of gypsum as any person he has ever met with ;' and he offers his opinion with no little display and prolixity. He makes frequent references to his short residence in America, for which country he has no predilection; and, as he has done in his Tour*, he speaks very contemp. tuously of its agriculture, except when his own farming is in question, and then we have accounts of wonderful crops. As to the plaister, he says, I am rather a promoter of its use than otherwise; and though I can find ten failures to one proof of its success, both in America and in England, it has certainly been proved to be a manure, but indeed a very partial one.' He records its astonishing efficacy on turnips and clover: but on white crops he found it to be of no He afterward denies gypsum to be a vegetable manure, or to have the property of promoting putrefaction, because, forsooth, it does not produce maggots: but he regards it as a medicine to sickly plants, and talks of its quenching their thirst. A writer who ridicules the application of chemistry to farming should abstain from an attempt to explain the mode in which gypsum operates, and should have confined himself to a plain statement of the instances in which it
* See M. R. Vol. li. N.S. p.42.
was and in which it was not beneficial. This point he could have accomplished in a few pages.
Art. 16. The Practical Norfolk Farmer; describing the Manage. ment of a Farm throughout the Year; with Observations founded on Experience. 8vo. pp. 117. 58. Boards. Scatcherd and Co. The plea assigned for this publication is the scanty knowlege which prevails in the distant parts of the kingdom, respecting the true Nor folk system, arising from the want of real experience in those who have undertaken to write on that plan. An acquaintance with it for thirty years has enabled this author to correct the errors and to supply the deficiencies of his predecessors; and it furnishes a claim to notice, which the practical farmer will know how to appreciate.-As a preliminary, we are presented with some judicious remarks on the advantages, in a national view, of granting leases, instead of requiring farmers to cultivate as yearly tenants. These remarks are followed by a statement of the different courses of farming in the county of Norfolk; which, on account of its being at once clear and concise, we transcribe for the information of our agricultural readers:
The turnip-system of husbandry, as it is usually termed, has prevailed in this country for near a century with unrivalled success, and would, with the same attention, no doubt, be found as beneficial in different parts of the kingdom. The courses of farming under which it is practised, are various, according to the soil and situation. In the south part of it, the land in some districts consists of a strong clay, wet, and difficult to cultivate; in some parts of which, the four-course husbandry prevails: first, turnips; second, barley or oats; third, clover; and fourth, wheat. Where beans can be grown with advantage, they pursue the following method: first, turnips; second, barley or oats; third, clover; fourth, wheat; fifth, beans; and sixth, wheat.
This is a very profitable course of farming; and as the soil is more adapted for winter than summer corn, a double proportion of the first is grown, but it requires the utmost care of the cultivator in producing such a quantity of manure, as will enable him to use it boun tifully for his wheat-crop after the beans; and as those by being twice well hoed will leave the land perfectly clean, a crop of wheat succeeds in produce equal to that after the clover.
The five-course husbandry is often practised here: first, turnips; second, barley or oats; third, clover; fourth, wheat; and fifth, barley or oats; and invariably manure for their turnip and wheat crops.
In the south-west part of it. where the land is light and the success of their crops depends in a great measure on the sheep, they pursue the following course: first, turnips; second, barley; third, grasses, a considerable part of which is fed; fourth, grasses fed; and fifth, wheat or rye. By this system a fifth part of the land is with turnips, and two-fifths with grass, and a greater quantity of sheep fed than by any other method; and the turnips being sowed from the wheat stubble, produce a superior crop than, from the appearance of the soil, could be supposed.