Report of the cattle show at Trearne, 10th Sept. 1836
10th Sept., 1836.
ON THE BENEFICIAL EFFECTS OF INDUSTRY,
AND READ ON THAT OCCASION
BY A. AITKEN.
"What cannot Art and Industry perform,
When science plans the progress of their toil,
They laugh at penury, disease, and storm
And ocean's from their mighty mounds recoil."
PRINTED BY J. SMITH.
(From the Air Advertiser, Sept. 15, 1836.)
The thirteenth Annual Competition of Cattle, for prizes given by the Proprietors to the Tenants on the Estates of Trearne, Hazlehead, Rough wood, Woodside, and Drumbowie, lying in the Parishes of Beith, Dairy, and Lochwinnoch, and Counties of Ayr, and Renfrew, took place at Trearne, on the 10th current. The same judges attended who have officiated with so much satisfaction for the last 12 years, viz:—Messrs Alexander Bartlemore of Seabrae; James Kirkwood in Gameshill; Robert Craig in Ryesholm: and John Craig in Blackbarn. There appeared on the field 29 mileh cows, 17 queys, 51 stirks, 11 bulls, 27 mares, foals and colts, and 5 pair of pigs, making in all one hundred and forty-five.
After inspeeting the cattle, in presence of the tenants and a number of spectators, the Proprietor, with the Judges and Tenants, and a few friends, amounting in all to about 100 sat down to a most comfortable dinner at Trearne, when the report of the Judges was read over and the prizes, amounting in all to twenty pounds, were distributed as follows, viz:—
During the eourse of the evening, an Essay on the beneficial effects of Industry, composed by one of the tenants, was read—some speeches were made, and useful information eommunicated by several members of the meeting, regarding Furrow Drainage—recent Agricultural Improvements, and on various subjects connected with Farming, and the management of the Dairy—The Meeting separated highly pleased and gratified with the evening's entertainment.
The progress of men who live by their daily industry, through this world, may be likened to the march of an army through an enemy's country. He who, from fatigue, from disease, from inebriety, from severe wounds, or whatever cause, falls out of the line of march, and lays him down by the way side, is sure, as a matter of eourse, to be destroyed by the peasantry; once let the eolumn he belongs to pass on a little way ahead, and death is his sure portion. It is a dangerous thing to fall behind the ever-onward march of the world.
Whatever individuals may profess, it is by neeessity that the mass of mankind are eompelled to toil for their subsistanee—this fecling predominates through all the ramifieations of eivilised soeiety. In proportion as the neeessitics of men push them on to seek new means of subsistanee, so do these new means open upon their view. On casting a retrospeetive glanee upon those steps whieh soeiety has traeed from its infaney to manhood—from a state of barbarick rudness to a condition of luxury and splendour—we invariably find that all improvements have originated in the wants of the people; and that in proportion as they increased in number so did their invention contrive additional means of support. It is from this eause that Scotland, for instance, had no greater overplus of food when it had only a million of inhabitants than it has now, when it supports nearly three times the number. Nay, it had mueh less food in proportion when it had only a million of people; and hcncc it is proved that mankind, by their inventions and improvements, greatly increase the means of support beyond the point at which they formerly stood. Thc power of inventing new means of subsistanee, just as the old oncs are pereeived to be inadequate, has been aetively at work since the beginning of time, and will operate for the benefit of our raee as long as sun and moon endure. It is in the exereise of this transeendant faeulty of the human mind that we see the benefieenee of the Creator in providing unseen means of subsistance; and it is in this that we find the cheering hope that at no period, however distant, even when the whole earth shall have been covered with inhabitants, shall mankind languish for lack of food. As they increase in number, so will they go on perfecting their contrivances; every succeeding generation may labour under some new difficulty, but so will it be endowed with the faculty of releasing itself from it.
"All things in the world are originally the produce of the ground; what we call commodities is nothing but land severed from the soil. Man deals in nothing but earth. The merchants are the factors of the world, to exchange one part of the earth for another. Agriculture is, therefore, the nurse of the arts, the parent of population, and the promoter of what is most cstimable in human character, or important in society. Of all the common arts, it contributes most obviously and powerfully to individual and social support and happiness—to it all the arts refer, and from it they derive the materials of their operations. The labours of the field are calculated to breed a hardy, strong, temperate, and industrious class of men. Without thinking that the heathen legends were altogether allegorical, we may suppose that the poets did not without meaning, assign the culture of the earth as the appropriate employment of mankind during the golden age, the reign of peace, innocence, and happiness. The benign influence of this occupation upon the ancient Romans is well known. Not only were the armies of Rome formed and recruited from the fields, her legislators, her generals, her dictators, were often called from the plough to preside in the senate, or lead forth the levies to victory. In our own country, no classes of the community are more respectable, independent, and intelligent, than the yeomen of England and the peasantry of Scotland. As they promote the fixed wealth, so they constitute a considerable portion of the aggregate wisdom, virtue, and valour of the nation." Farming, the primitive natural business of man, is probably the most healthful, both for body and mind. It places us, as it were in daily contact with the Deity, by our unceasing experience of his superintending love, and goodness, connects earth with heaven, and brings religion home to our business and bosoms.
There are countries which yield a plentiful produce almost spontaneously. It is not in these, however, but in those which are comparatively barren, where the inhabitants are compelled to wring, by skill and industry, from niggard nature, the wealth she does not easily bestow, that the culture of the soil has been carried to the greatest perfection. Great Britain, placed under a sky by no means propitious, and possessing a soil originally by no means prolific, surpasses all the world in the art of husbandry. The faeility with which the banana can be cultivated has doubtless eontributed to arrest the progress of improvement in tropical regions. In the new continent eivilization first eommeneed on the mountains, in a soil of inferior quality. Neeessity awakens industry, and industry calls forth the intelleetual powers of man. When these are developed, he does not sit in a cabin, gathering the fruits of his little patch of bananas, asking no greater luxuries, and proposing no higher ends of life than to eat and to sleep. He subdues to his use all the treasures of the earth by his labour and his skill; and he carries his industry forward to its utmost limits, by the eonsideration that he has active duties to perform. The idleness of the poor Indian keeps him, where he has been for ages, little elevated above his inferior animal;—the industry of the European, under his eolder skies, and with a less fertile soil, has surrounded him with all the blessings of society—its comforts, its affeetions, its virtues, and its intelleetual riehes.
While we are thus enjoying the blessings of civilization, we cannot sufficiently honour the memory of those whose patriotie energies have been the means of plaeing us in such happy circumstances. And we regret to observe that one of the principal hinderances of soeial improvement, is, that in eonsequenee of a false taste, mankind have bestowed more attention and applause upon great talents or ingenuity, when exerted in the arts of destruction, than when employed in devising the means of giving plenty and felicity to nations. The writings of historians and poets are filled with the actions of men, who under the influenee of insatiable lust of dominion, have wasted cities and provinees, and have defaeed the finest monuments of human genius and industry, while the benifieient enterprizes and efforts of those persons are negleeted or forgotten, who invented the instruments of agrieulture—who selected or imported into their country the seeds or plants most worthy of cultivation, or who drained morasses, gave fertility to barren wastes, and pointed out the best modes of preserving and augmenting the value of the produetions of the soil. Mankind suffered severely from their absurd admiration of successful ambition, and the applause whieh they bestow on it, tempting thereby restless individuals, in every age, to lay schemes for our destruetion, and to glory in the extent of the mischief which they produce. It seems to be the duty of men of letters, as friends of humanity, to endeavour in the destribution of renown, to eall from obseurity, those persons, however humble their stations may have been, who have sueeesfully laboured in promoting the substantial prosperity of their country. Among the number, none is more deserving of this service than Barbara Gilmour, whose good sense and industry first produced in Ayrshire what is now eelebrated through all Seotland by the name of Dunlop Cheese.
Barbara had gone to Ireland to avoid the religious perseeution which was eondueted with sueh atroeity in the West of Seotland, under the last prinees of the House of Stuart. Having returned after the revolution, and beeome the wife of a farmer in the parish of Dunlop, she introdueed the manufaeture of cheese, which sinee that period, has been the great business of this part of Ayrshire, and has been the means of covering the country with a number of industrious, happy, and prosperous small farmers. Our fathers, sensible that the elimate and soil were better adapted for pasturage than cropping, turned their attention to this species of farming. They improved their breed of cattle, enclosed their lands, and appropriated a third or a fourth part thereof to tillage—using every means in their power to augment the value of their stock and annual produee by raising natural and artifieial grasses, of greatest bulk and bcst quality.
The rapidity with which the manufacture of Dunlop cheese was introduced into the northern district of this shire is a striking instance of the readiness with which farmers are always disposed to follow the example of one of their own rank. When an equal, depending like themselves, for subsistance in industry, prospers by means of a new project or successful plan of management, the whole neighbourhood cagerly imitates the example set before them, and the change becomes universal, while on the contrary, if the improvement is attempted to be introduced by some rich proprietor, from motives of caprice, as thcy suppose, and with means which they cannot so wcll command, it always makes its way slowly, and with difficulty. It is thus that Providencc sometimes puts it in the power of a person in the humblest station, to become extcnsivcly uscful to society. The example of his successful industry and ingenuity, by communicating a spirit of activity and entcrprize, proves a souree of wealth and comfort to the whole eommunity
Not only has our Ayrshire checse been widely celebrated and cnquired after—our Cunningham dairy stock has attracted universal regard—breeding samples thereof have been introduced into every corner of the united kingdom, thcy have also been exported unto almost evcry civilised nation on the globe. At no vcry remotc pcriod, as some of you recollect, the cattlc of this district were poor half-starved, ill favoured creatures, with black skins and white riggings, fired backs, the hooks on their cycs, and the worm in their tail; and constantly liable to bc shot by elves and other malicious invisible agents. Whence the grateful changc now? I answer, it is happly produced by skill and industry. I do not say that man can create, but he has the power to alter, modify, scparate, and combine, every tangible substancc in nature, into whatever shape or purposc he pleases. See, for instance, into how many useful and pleasant sorts of food the milk of the cow can be converted. "All are aware that vegetables taken from their birthplace, and cultivated in gardens, undergo changes which render them no longer recognisable as the same plants. Many that were naturally hairy become smooth. Many of such as were creepcrs and trailed along the ground, rcar their heads and become erect. Others lose their thorns or asperities. Others, again, from the ligneous state which their stem possessed in hot elimates, where they were indigenous, pass to the herbaceous, and, among them, some which were perennials become mere annuals. Even our cultivated wheat is a vegetable brought by man into the state in which we now sce it, for in no eountry does a similar plant grow wild, unless where it has escaped from cultivated ficlds. Where do we find in nature our eabbages, lettuees, and other culinary vcgetables, in the same state in which they appear in our gardens? The same holds true in regard to many animals which domesticity has changed or considerably modified? Our domestic fowls and pigeons are unlike any wild birds. Our domestic hens, ducks, and geese, have lost the faculty of raising themselves into the higher regions of the air, and crossing extensive countries in their flight, like the wild ducks and geese from which they wore originally dcrived. The numerous races of dogs which we have produced by domesticity are no where to be found in a wild state. In nature we seek in vain for mastiffs, harriers, spaniels, greyhounds, and other races, bctween which the differenees are sometimes so great, that they would bc readily admitted as specific between wild animals, yet all these have sprung originally from a single race at first approaching very near to a wolf." Our almost countless breeds of sheep, swine, &c. are also produced by the agency of man. The story about the old cunning Patriareh, Jacob, with his peeled hazle-rods and his ring-straked, speckled and spotted cattle, that we used to read, and wonder at, is now thrown into the shade, modern cattle-rearers can change not only the colour of animals, but likewise their shape, and almost their very nature.
Nothing, you see, is too difficult for well directed industry, and nothing valuable is to be effected without it. The necessities of life constrain us to industry, and the emoluments of it invite us to exertion. To it is to be ascribed the invention, and perfection of all these arts, whcreby human life is civilised, and the world cultivated with numberless accommodations and beauties. All the comely, the stately the pleasant, and useful works, which we view with delight, or enjoy with comfort, industry did contrive them industry did frame them. Industry reared these commodious houses, it laid those convenient roads, and bridges, it plantcd those fine gardens with various flowers and fruit, it clothed those pleasant fields with corn and grass; it built those ships whereby we plough the seas, reeping the commodities of foreign regions. It hath subjected all creatures to our command and service, enabling us to subdue the fiercest, to catch the wildest, and to render the gentler sort more tractable and useful to us. It enables us, from the wool of the sheep, the hair of the goat, and the labours of the silk-worm, to weave our clothcs to keep us warm, to make us fine and gay. It helpeth us, from the bowels of the earth, to fetch divers tools and utensils.
Industry collected mankind into cities, and disposed them into orderly societies, and divised wholesome laws, under shelter of which we enjoy safcty and peace, wealth and plenty, mutual protection, sweet conversation, and profitable commerce. Industry, by meditation, did invent all those sciences, whereby our minds are enlarged, enriched, and enobled, our manncrs are refined, our curiosity is satisfied, our life is benefited.
Doth our country flourish in wealth, in grandeur, in learning, in general prosperity? it must be imputed to industry; to the industry of its governors settling good laws, and mantaining social order, and to the industry of its people following profitable occupations. It is not by the force and success of our arms, but by persevering industry and skill, that our country has arisen to such a pitch of grcatness. The industrious man, therefore, has the satisfaction of vanquishing impediments, conquering difficulties, planning great designs, furnishing useful works, and bringing good designs to perfeetion. Sueh a man gains the affeetion and gratitude of soeiety. Pleasant to him is the retrospeet of his past, the enjoyment of his present, and the prospect of his future existence.
In eonclusion, I would advise you to be as industrious in the acquirement of useful knowledge as in the aquisition of money or other kinds of wealth. Above all, study to aequire a taste for reading. Of all the amusements whieh can possibly be imagined for a hard-working man, after his daily toil, or in its intervals, there is nothing like reading an entertaining book. If I were to pray for a taste whieh should abide by me under every variety of cireunstanees, and be a souree of happiness to me through life, and a shicld against its ills, however things might go amiss, and the world frown upon me, it would be a taste for reading. I speak of it, of course, as a worldly advantage, and not as superseding or dcrogating from the higher office and surer and stronger panoply of religious principles—but as an instrument and a mode of pleasurable gratification. Give a man this taste, and the means of gratifying it, and you ean hardly fail of making a happy man, unless, indeed, you put into his hands a most perverse selection of books. You place him in contact with the best society in every period of history—with the wisest, the wittiest—with the tenderest, the bravest, and the purest eharaeters that have adorned humanity. You make him a denizen of all nations—a eotemporary of all ages. Thus enjoying himself, he may forget the "ills of life" fully as much as if he were ever so drunk, with the great advantage of having saved his money for more useful purposes—he is a happy man, and he beeomes a souree of happiness to all around him. The world, in short, has been ereated for him.
J. SMITH, PRINTER.
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