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days. There were no Shorthorns in the district at that time. For the purpose of improving their stock, my father and the late Mr Hay, Shethin, then in the farm of Craigies, went to Galloway about 1823 [probably two or three years earlier] and bought the pick of that district. I do not remember the number they bought, but I think they would have had between 30 and 40. They were not kept long, as they did not retain condition with the same treatment as his own stock, and they were sold at a public sale along with some of his own breeding. I think Mr Hay did not keep his half of them long either." Mr William Stronach, Ardmeallie, Huntly, who was an extensive breeder of cattle early in the century, states that in 1835 he purchased a Shorthorn bull to cross with his stock of cows, which “consisted generally of Buchan humel, the Aberdeen horned, or a mixture of these breeds.” We have already seen that Mr George Williamson, St John's Wells, Fyvie, had been an ardent admirer of the “native low country breed.” We have expressed our opinion that these famous native cattle were not only the progenitors of the modern Buchan humlies, but were themselves also polled. At any rate, there is undoubted testimony that Mr Williamson was a breeder of polled cattle. The late Mr. M'Combie of Tilly four stated that he obtained some of his earlier polled animals from St John's Wells. In his first catalogue, issued in 1850, an entry reads as follows: “Matilda, an Aberdeen cow, bred by the late Mr Williamson, St John's Wells.” Another of the foremost agriculturists of his day, the late Mr Robert Walker, Wester Fintray, was also a breeder of polled cattle; and his herd would seem to have been continued by his son James, who succeeded him. Dr Skene Keith, writing in 1810, refers to Mr Robert Walker as an advanced farmer, and quotes the following as showing the success he had attained as a breeder and feeder of cattle—

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o, o the purpose of improving their sto, a over an the late Mr Hay, Shethin, then in the sing o, Went to Galloway about 1823 [probably tW) . hree years earlier] and bought the pick of that is: * not remember the number they bought, but I this “y would have had between 30 and 10. They was **pt long, as they did not retain condition will. * treatinent as his own stock, and they were solid Public sale along with some of his own breeding link Mr Hay did not keep his half of them long eities. Mr William Stronach, Ardmeallie, Huntly, who was a stensive breeder of cattle early in the century, so at in 1835 he purchased a Shorthorn bull to cross wi s stock of cows, which “consisted generally of Bull unel, the Aberdeen horned, or a mixture of the eeds.” We have already seen that Mr George Williamson's hn's Wells, Fyvie, had been an ardent admirer of to ative low country breed.” We have expressed on nion that these famous native cattle were not of progenitors of the modern Buchan humlies, but e themselves also polled. At any rate, there is " bted testimony that Mr Williamson was a breeders cd cattle. The late Mr M.Combie of Tillysour so he obtained some of his earlier polled animals” sohn's Wells. In his first catalogue, issued in 1850, ntry reads as follows: “Matilda, an Aberdeen " by the late Mr Williamson, St John's Wells." other of the foremost agriculturists of his day, the If Robert Walker, Wester Fintray, was also a bro led cattle; and his herd would seem to have been ued by his son James, who succeeded him. Dr Skol" writing in 1810, refers to Mr Robert Walker as all ed farmer, and quotes the following as showing the he had attained as a breeder and feeder of cat"

Orthorns in the district to

POLLED CATTLE IN ALFORD. 43

viz., that he (Mr R. Walker) had “received £50 each for two bullocks reared upon his farm, and killed at seven years old; that he received £35 each for other two only four years old; and that he has frequently received £30 for young stots either sold to the cattle-dealer, or fed to the butcher.” It is not stated that these were polled cattle, but it is proved beyond doubt that very early in the present century Mr Walker did breed polled cattle at Wester Fintray. It is stated in the ‘Farmer's Magazine' for 1846 (vol. ii.), that Mr James Walker was then one of “the most successful breeders of black cattle in the north of Scotland, particularly the polled Aberdeenshire breed, for which he has acquired much and well - merited celebrity.” It would appear that although it had its headquarters in Buchan, the polled breed had even in the last century been reared in other parts of the county. Mr William Anderson, Wellhouse, Alford, in a communication dated April 13, 1881, says: “My father and uncle farmed land in the Vale of Alford in the end of the eighteenth century, and bred polled cattle. Sometimes the bulls were black and sometimes brindled, but they were always polled. My father would not have bred from a horned bull, and he always disliked horned cattle. He and my uncle took prizes for black polled cattle at the shows of the Wale of Alford Agricultural Society, formed soon after 1830.” Mr Anderson also states that there were other breeders of polled cattle in the Alford district, such as Mr Reid, Greystone, father of the present tenant; Mr Taylor, Wellhouse, and others. Then through Mr James L. Douglass, banker, Ballater, and others, we learn that polled cattle had been bred very early in the present century in the upper districts of Aberdeenshire. Mr Douglass says: “As to the introduction of polled cattle into the Cromar district, I cannot assign a particular date. The late Rev. Mr Brown, minister of Coull, who died in the end of

1823 or beginning of 1824, had a small farm rented along with his glebe, and had a very excellent stock of cattle, chiefly of the polled breed; also the late Mr Harry Lammond, of Pitmurchie, on his farm of Strathmore, previous to his death in 1829, had polled cattle for many years, always using a polled bull. The late Mr Robert Douglass, farmer, Culsh, had a polled bull in 1822, while his cows were horned, as almost all the cows in Cromar at that date were.” We have thus set forth as briefly as possible the main reasons which have induced us to regard the Aberdeen or Angus polled breed not only as a direct branch of the aboriginal cattle of Scotland, but also as indigenous to the very districts which still form its headquarters, the north-eastern counties of Scotland, with Forfar and Aberdeen as chief centres. The improved breed is derived directly from the ancient polled cattle of Angus and Buchan—two varieties of the same type, known in the former as “Doddies,” and in the latter as “ Humlies.” And we have endeavoured to show the great antiquity of the race in its hornless form in these two districts. We believe that originally the loss of horns had arisen from those spontaneous variations, or accidental or proper sudden organic changes, spoken of by Darwin, Smith, and Low, and referred to in the preceding chapter. Nothing has been discovered that would enable us to fix the precise date at which these changes had occurred. It has certainly not been within the past hundred years—probably not within the past two or three centuries.

so or beginning of 1824, had a small film tentedals: ith his glebe, and had a very excellent stock of ot. hiefly of the polled breed; also the late Mr Him ammond, of Pitmurchie, on his farm of Statino revious to his death in 1829, had polled cattle for many *s always using a polled bull. The late M. Ron ouglass, farmer, Culsh, had a polled bull in 1822, whi. * cows were horned, as almost all the cows in Como that date were.” We have thus set forth as briefly as possible the mi asons which have induced us to regard the Aberdeen's ngus polled breed not only as a direct branch of to original cattle of Scotland, but also as indigeno's e very districts which still form its headquarters—i. rth-eastern counties of Scotland, with Forfar and Abo on as chief centres. The improved breed is deriod ectly from the ancient polled cattle of Angos all chan—two varieties of the same type, known in to iner as “Doddies,” and in the latter as "Humio d we have endeavoured to show the great antiquity of race in its hornless form in these two districts. " ove that originally the loss of horns had arised to se spontaneous variations, or accidental or Pro in organic changes, spoken of by Darwin, Smith m !, and referred to in the preceding chapter. Nothing been discovered that would enable us to fix * ise date at which these changes had occurred. It has inly not been within the past hundred year-o not within the past two or three centuries

CHAPTER IV.

IMPROVEMENT OF THE BREED.

Little inducement to improve cattle a hundred years ago—Beef at one penny per pound—ltearing cattle for farm-work—Introduction of Holderness and Fife breeds — Demand for beef — Working cattle abandoned—Improvement of native races—Choice of polled variety as beef cattle—Improvement of polled cattle in Angus–Operations of Mr Hugh Watson, Lord Panmure, Earl of Southesk, Mr William Fullerton, Messrs Mustard, Mr Bowie, and others—Improvement of the breed in Kincardineshire—Operations of Mr Walker, Portlethen, and others — Improvement in Aberdeenshire — The efforts of Mr William M'Combie of Tillyfour, and others—Introduction of Shorthorns—The crossing craze—Improvement in Banff and Moray—The Ballindalloch and other herds—Encouragement by Agricultural Societies to improvers of polled cattle—The ‘Polled Herd Book"—The Polled Cattle Society.

IT would seem that in the north of Scotland little attention had been given to the improvement of cattle till after the middle of the eighteenth century, Prior to that there had been scarcely any inducement to bestow trouble or expense in developing either the beef or the milk producing properties of cattle. During the Queen Anne wars, subsequent to the union of England and Scotland in 1707, the farmers of the south of Scotland began to export their surplus cattle to England. That trade continued and increased considerably, but did not until long after extend its benefits in any substantial form to the counties in the north and north-east. It is stated that in

1762 the English supply of salt beef for the Navy had proved insufficient, owing to a visitation of cattle disease in England, and that the deficiency in that and some succeeding years had been made up from Scotland “at the average price of one penny per pound.” Mr G. Robertson, in his ‘Rural Recollections, remarks that in 1740 the largest ox in the county of Kincardine, weighing from 43 to 51 imperial stones, “could have been bought for 20s., or at most, 21s.; ” and that by 1764 the same class of cattle, “as full fed as the county could make them,” would have sold at from £3 to £4 each. It is thus seen that even later than the middle of last century the farmers of the north of Scotland had little or no encouragement to develop the beef-producing properties of their cattle. Other circumstances, however, arose which resulted in a marked improvement of the cattle in the north-eastern counties. Throughout these counties, as in other parts of Scotland, a large part of the farm-work was formerly—in some districts even after the opening of the present century —accomplished by oxen. The native cattle of the northeast having originally been rather small for the heavier part of this work, the larger farmers obtained their ploughoxen from the south of Scotland, chiefly the Lothians. About the middle of last century the Lothian farmers began to give up cattle-rearing for the growing of wheat and barley. This, together with the general progress of the country following upon the Union and the protracted wars of the time, raised the price of cattle, and induced the farmers of the north-east to turn their attention to the rearing of their own plough-oxen. The importing of these oxen from the south became decidedly a losing arrangement; and soon after the middle of last century, the more practical landlords, and larger and more enterprising farmers, commenced the systematic improvement of the native stock, with the view of rearing cattle sufficiently

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