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and genius, to leave precepts to posterity upon the utility of the husbandman's profession. Hiero, Attalus, and Archelaus, kings of Syracuse, Pergamus, and Cappadocia, have composed books for supporting and augmenting the fertility of their different countries. The Carthaginian general, Mago, wrote twenty eight volumes upon this subject ; and Cato, the censor, followed his example. Nor have Plato, Xenophon, and Aristotle, omitted this article, which makes an essential part of their politics. And Cicero, speaking of the writings of Xenophon, says, “How fully and excellently does he, in that book called his Oeconomics, set out the advantages of husbandry, and a country life ?”
When Britain was subject to the Romans, she annually supplied them with great quantities of corn ; and the isle of Anglesea was then looked upon as the gran. ary for the western provinces ; but the Britons, both under the Romans and Saxons, were employed like slaves at the plough. On the intermixture of the Danes and Nurmans, possessions were better regulated, and the state of vassalage gradually declined, till it was entirely wore off under the reigns of Henry VII, and Edward VI. for they hurt the old nobility by favouring the commons, who grew rich by trade, and purchased estates.
The wines of France, Portugal, and Spain, are now the best ; while Italy can only boast of the wine made in Tuscany. The breeding of cattle is now chiefly confined to Denmark and Ireland. The corn of Sicily is still in great esteem, as well as what is produced in the northern countries ; but England is the happiest spot in the
universe for all the principal kinds of agriculture, and especially its great produce of corn.
The improvement of our landed estates, is the enrichment of the kingdom ; for, without this, how could we carry on our manufactures, or prosecute our commerce ? We should look upon the English farmer as the most useful member of society. His arable grounds not only supply his fellow subjects with all kinds of the best grain, but his industry enables him to export great quantities to other kingdoms, which might otherwise starve ; particularly Spain and Portugal; for, in one year, there have been exported fifty one thousand five hundred and twenty quarters of barley, two hundred and nineteen thousand seven hundred and eighty one of malt, one thousand nine hundred and twenty of oatmeal, one thousand three hundred and twenty nine of rye, and one hundred and fifty three thousand, three hundred and forty three of wheat ; the bounty on which amounted to seventy two thousand four hundred and thirty three pounds. What a fund of treasure arises from his pasture lands, which breed such innumerable flocks of sheep, and afford such fine herds of cattle, to feed Britons, and clothe mankind ! He rears flax and hemp for the making of linen ; while his plantations of apples and hops supply him with generous kinds of liquors.
The land tax, when at four shillings in the pound, pro. duces two millions of pounds a year. This arises from the labour of the husbandman ; it is a great sum ; but how greatly is it increased by the means it furnishes for trade ? Without the industry of the farmer, the manufacturer could have no goods to supply the merchant, nor the merchant find any employment for the mariners ; trade would be stagnated ; riches would be of no advantage to the great ; and labour of no service to the poor.
The Romans, as historians all allow,
my last visit, I took the liberty of mentioning a subject, which, I think, is not considered with attention proportionate to its importance. Nothing can more fully prove the ingratitude of mankind, a crime often charged upon them, and often denied, than the little re. gard which the disposers of honorary rewards have paid to Agriculture ; which is treated as a subject so remote from common life, by all those who do not immediately hold the plough, or give fodder to the ox, that I think there is room to question, whether a great part of mankind has yet been informed that life is sustained by the fruits of the earth. I was once indeed provoked to ask a lady of great eminence for genius, Whether she knew of what bread is made ?
I have already observed, how differently agriculture was considered by the heroes and wise men of the Roman commonwealth, and shall now only add, that even after the emperors had made great alteration in the system of life, and taught men to portion out their esteem to other qualities than usefulness, agriculture still maintained its reputation, and was taught by the polite and elegant Celsus among the other arts.
* From the Visiter, for March 1756, p. 111.
The usefulness of agriculture I have already shown ; I shall now, therefore, prove its necessity ; and having before declared, that it produces the chief riches of a nation, I shall proceed to show, that it gives its only riches, the only riches which we can call our own, and of which we need not fear either deprivation or diminution.
Of nations, as of individuals, the first blessing is independence. Neither the man nor the people can be happy to whom any human power can deny the necessaries or conveniences of life. There is no way of living without the need of foreign assistance, but by the product of our own land, improved by our own labour. Every other source of plenty is perishable or casual.
Trade and manufactures must be confessed often to enrich countries ; and we ourselves are indebted to them for those ships by which we now command the sea,
from the equator to the poles, and for those sums with which we have shown ourselves able to arm the nations of the north in defence of regions in the western hemisphere. But trade and manufactures, however profitable, must yield to the cultivation of lands in usefulness and dignity.
Commerce, however we may please ourselves with the contrary opinion, is one of the daughters of fortune, inconstant and deceitful as her mother ; she chooses her residence where she is least expected, and shifts her abode, when her continuance is in appearance most firmly settled. Who can read of the present distresses of