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Full text of "Cottage economy : containing information relative to the brewing of beer ... to which is added The poor man's friend; or, A defence of the rights of those who do the work and fight the battles"

COTTAGE ECONOMY; 



CONTAINING 



INFORMATION RELATIVE TO THE BREWING OF BEER, MAKING OF BREAD, 
KEEPING OF COWS, PIGS, BEES, EWES, -GOATS, POULTRY, AND RABBITS, 
AND RELATIVE TO OTHER MATTERS DEEMED USEFUL IN THE CONDUCT- 
ING OF THE AFFAIRS OF A LABOURER'S FAMILY ; TO WHICH ARE ADDED, 
INSTRUCTIONS RELATIVE TO THE SELECTING, THE CUTTING AND THE 
BLEACHING OF THE PLANTS OF ENGLISH GRASS AND GRAIN, FOR THB 
PURPOSE OP MAKING HATS AND, BONNETS ; AND ALSO INSTRUCTIONS 
FOR ERECTING AND USING ICE-HOUSES, AFTER THE VIRGINIAN MANNER. 



TO WHICH IS ADDED 

THE POOR MAN'S FRIEND; 

on, 

A DEFENCE OF THE RIGHTS OF THOSE WHO DO THE WORK, 
AND FIGHT THE BATTLES. 



BY WILLIAM COBBETT. 



NEW YORK : 
PUBLISHED BY JOHN DOYLE, 12, 

Sorrw? $Y CONNER 
1833. 



Entered according to act of Congress^in the year of our Lord 1833- 
by John Doyle, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the 
Southern District of New- York. 



CONTENTS. 



No. 
I. Introduction. To the Labouring Classes 

of this Kingdom Brewing Beer, - 5 
II. Brewing Beer, continued, - - - - 23 

III. Making Bread, 41 

IV. Making Bread, continued Brewing 

Beer Keeping Cows, - - - - 59 

V. Keeping Cows, continued, Keeping 

Pigs, ---------- 73 

VI. Keeping Pigs, continued Salting Mut- 
ton, and Beef, ------- 86 

VII. Bees, Geese, Ducks, Turkeys, Fowls, 
Pigeons, Rabbits, Goats, and Ewes, 
Candles and Rushes, Mustard, Dress 
and Household Goods, and Fuel, 
Hops, and Yeast, % - - - - 98 

VIII. Selecting, Cutting and Bleaching the 
Plants of English Grass and Grain, 
for the purpose of making Hats and 
Bonnets Constructing and using 
Ice-houses, -------- 122 

AoDiTiON.-^Mangel Wurzel Cobbett's Corn, 151 
INDEX, ------------- 158 



COTTAGE ECONOMY. 

No. I. 
INTRODUCTION. 

To THE LABOURING CLASSES OF THIS KINGDOM. 

1. THROUGHOUT this little work, I shall number 
the Paragraphs, in order to be able, at some stages of 
the work, to refer, with the more facility, to parts that 
have gone before. The last Number will contain an 
Index, by the means of which the several matters may 
be turned to without loss of time ; for, when economy 
is the subject, time is a thing which ought by no means 
to be overlooked. 

2. The word Economy ', like a great many others, 
has, in its application, been very much abused. It is 
generally used as if it meant parsimony, stinginess, or 
niggardliness ; and, at best, merely the refraining from 
expending money. Hence misers and close-fisted men 
disguise their propensity and conduct under the name 
of economy ; whereas the most liberal disposition, a 
disposition precisely the contrary of that of the miser, 
is perfectly consistent with economy. 

3. ECONOMY means management, and nothing 
more ; and it is generally applied to the affairs of a 
house and family, \vhich affairs are an object of the 
greatest importance, whether as relating to indivi- 
duals or to a nation. A nation is made powerful and 
to be honoured in the world, not so much by the num- 
ber of its people as by the ability and character of that 
people ; and the ability and character of a people de- 
pend, in a great measure, upon the economy of the 
several families, which, all taken together, make up 
the nation. There never yet was, and never will be, 

1* 



<5 INTRODUCTION. [No, 

a nation permanently great, consisting, for the greater 
part, of wretched and miserable families. 

4. In every view of the matter, therefore, it is de- 
sirable, that the families of which a nation consists 
should^ be happily off: and as this depends, in a great 
degree, upon the management of their concerns, the 
present work is intended to convey, to the families of 
the labouring classes in particular such information 
as I think may be useful with regard to that manage- 
ment. 

5. I lay it down as a maxim, that for a family to be 
happy, they must be well supplied withybotZ and rai- 
ment. It is a sorry effort that people make to persuade 
others, or to persuade themselves, that they can be 
happy in a state of want of the necessaries of life. 
The doctrines which fanaticism preaches, and which 
teach men to be content with poverty, have a very per- 
nicious tendency, and are calculated to favour tyrants 
by giving them passive slaves. To live well, to enjoy 
all things that make life pleasant, is the right of every 
man who constantly uses his strength judiciously and 
lawfully. It is to blaspheme God to suppose, that he 
created man to be miserable, to hunger, thirst, and 
perish with cold, in the midst of that abundance 
which is the fruit of their own labour. Instead, there- 
fore, of applauding " happy poverty," which applause 
is so much the fashion of the present day, I despise the 
man that is poor and contented; for, such content is a 
certain proof of a base disposition, a disposition which 
is the enemy of all industry, all exertion, all love of 
independence. 

6. Let it be understood, however, that, by poverty, 
I mean real want, a real insufficiency of the iood and 
raiment and lodging necessary to health and decency ; 
and not that imaginary poverty, of which some per- 
sons complain. The man who, by his own and his 
family's labour, can provide a sufficiency of food and 
raiment, and a comfortable dwelling-place, is not a 
poor man. There must be different ranks and degrees 
in every civil society, and, indeed, so it is even amongst 
the savage tribes. There must be different degrees of 



L] INTRODUCTION. 7 

wealth; some must have more than others ; and the 
richest must be a great deal richer than the least rich. 
But it is necessary to the very existence of a people, 
that nine out of ten should live wholly by the sweat 
of their brow; and. is it not degrading to human nature, 
that all the nine-tenths should be called poor; and, 
what is still worse, call themselves poor ', and be con- 
tented in that degraded state? 

7. The laws, the economy, or management, of a 
state may be such, as to render it impossible for the 
labourer, however skilful and industrious, to maintain 
his family in health and decency ; and such has, for 
many years past, been the management of the affairs 
of this once truly great and happy land. A system 
of paper-money, the effect of which was to take from 
the labourer the half of his earnings, was what no 
industry and care could make head against. I do not 
pretend that this system was adopted by design. But, 
no matter for the cause; such was the effect. 

8. Better times, however, are approaching. The 
labourer now appears likely to obtain that hire of 
which he is worthy ; and, therefore, this appears to 
me to be the time to press upon him the duty of using 
his best exertions for the rearing of his family in a 
manner that must give him the best security for hap- 
piness to himself, his wife and children, and to make 
him, in all respects, what his forefathers were. The 
people of England have been famed, in all ages, for 
their good living; for the abundance of their food 
and goodness of their attire. The old sayings about 
English roast beef and plum-pudding, and about Eng- 
lish hospitality, had not their foundation in nothing. 
And, in spite of all refinements of sickly minds, it is 
abundant living amongst the people at large, which 
is the great test of good government, and the surest 
basis of national greatness and security. 

9. If the labourer have his fair wages ; if there be 
no false weights and measures, whether of money 
or of goods, by which he is defrauded ; if the laws be 
equal in their effect upon all men : if he be called 
upon for no more than his due share of the expenses 



8 INTRODUCTION. [No. 

necessary to support the government and defend the 
country, he has no reason to complain. If the large- 
ness of his family demand extraordinary labour and 
care, these are due from him to it. He is the cause 
of the existence of that family ; and, therefore, he is 
not, except in cases of accidental calamity, to throw 
upon others the burden of supporting it. Besides, 
"little children are as arrows in the hands of the giant, 
and blessed is the man that hath his quiver full of 
them/' That is to say, children, if they bring their 
cares, bring also their pleasures and solid advanta- 
ges. They become, very soon, so many assistants 
and props to the parents, who, when old age comes 
on, are amply repaid for all the toils and all the cares 
that children have occasioned in their infancy. To 
be without sure and safe friends in the world makes 
life not worth having ; and whom can we be so sure of 
as of our children ? Brothers and sisters are a mutual 
support. We see them, in almost every case, grow up 
into prosperity, when they act the part that the im- 
pulses of nature prescribe. When cordially united, 
a father and sons, or a family of brothers and sisters, 
may, in almost any state of life, set what is called 
misfortune at defiance. 

10. These considerations are much more than 
enough to sweeten the toils and cares of parents, and to 
make them regard every additional child as an addition- 
al blessing. But, that children may be a blessing and 
not a curse, care must be taken of their education. 
This word has, of late years, been so perverted, so 
corrupted, so abused, in its application, that I am al- 
most afraid to use it here. Yet I must not suffer it to 
be usurped by cant and tyranny. I must use it: but 
not without clearly saying what I mean. 

11. Education means breeding up, bringing up , 
or rearing up ; and nothing mom This includes 
every thing with regard to the mind as well as the 
body of a child ; but, of late years, it has been so used 
as to have no sense applied to it but that of book-learn- 
ing, with which, nine times out of ten, it has nothing 
at all to do. It is, indeed, proper, and it is the duty 



I.] INTRODUCTION. 9 

of all parents, to teach, or cause to be taught, their 
children as much as they can of books, after, and not 
before, all the measures are safely taken for enabling 
them to get their living by labour, or for providing 
them a living without labour, and that, too, out of the 
means obtained and secured by the parents out of their 
own income. The taste of the times is, unhappily, to 
give to children something of book-learning', with a 
view of placing them to live, in some way or other, 
upon the labour of other people. Very seldom, com- 
paratively speaking, has this succeeded, even during 
the wasteful public expenditure of the last thirty years ; 
and, in the times that are approaching, it cannot, I 
thank God, succeed at all. When the project has 
failed, what disappointment, mortification and misery, 
to both parent and child ! The latter is spoiled as a 
labourer : his book-learning has only made him con- 
ceited : into some course of desperation he falls ; and 
the end is but too often not only wretched but ignomi- 
nious. 

12. Understand me clearly here, however ; for it is 
the duty of parents to give, if they be able, book-learn- 
ing to their children, having first taken care to make 
them capable of earning their living by bodily labour. 
When that object has once been secured, the other 
may, if the ability remain, be attended to. But I am 
wholly against children wasting their time in the idle- 
ness of what is called education; and particularly in 
schools over which the parents have no control, and 
where nothing is taught but the rudiments of servility, 
pauperism and slavery. 

13. The education that I have in view is, there- 
fore, of a very different kind. You should bear con- 
stantly in mind, that nine-tenths of us are, from the 
very nature and necessities of the world, born to gain 
our livelihood by the sweat of our brow. What rea- 

son have we, then, to presume, that our children are 
not to do the same ? If they be, as now and then 
one will be, endued with extraordinary powers of mind, 
those powers may have an opportunity of developing 
themselves ; and if they never have that opportunity. 



10 INTRODUCTION. [No. 

the harm is not very great to us or to them. Nor does it 
hence follow that the descendants of labourers are 
always to be labourers. The path upwards is steep 
and long, to be sure. Industry, care, skill, excellence, 
in the present parent, lay the foundation of a rise, 
under more favourable circumstances, for his children. 
The children of these take another rise; and, by-and- 
by, the descendants of the present labourer become 
gentlemen. 

14. This is the natural progress. It is by attempt- 
ting to reach the top at a single leap that so much 
misery is produced in the world ; and the propensity 
to make such attempts has been cherished and encou- 
raged by the strange projects that we have witnessed 
of late years for making the labourers virtuous and 
happy by giving them what is called education. 
The education which I speak of consists in bringing 
children up to labour with steadiness, with care, and 
with skill ; to show them how to do as many useful 
things as possible ; to teach them to do them all in 
the best manner ; to set them an example in industry, 
sobriety, cleanliness, and neatness ; to make all these 
habitual to them, so that they never shall be liable to 
fall into the contrary; to let them always see a good 
living proceeding from labour, and thus to remove 
from them the temptation to get at the goods of others by 
violent or fraudulent means, and to keep far from their 
minds all the inducements to hypocrisy and deceit. 

15. A nd, bear in mind, that if the state of the labourer 
has its disadvantages when compared with other call- 
ings and conditions of life, it has also its advantages. It 
is free from the torments of ambition, and from a great 
part of the causes of ill-health, for which not all the 
riches in the world and all the circumstances of high 
rank are a compensation. The able and prudent labourer 
is always safe, at the least ; and that is what few men 
are who are lifted above him. They have losses and 
crosses to fear, the very thought of which never enters 
his mind, if he act well his part towards himself, his 
family and his neighbour. 

16. But, the basis of good to him, is steady and 



1J INTRODUCTION. Jl 

skilful labour. To assist him in the pursuit of this 
labour, and in the turning of it to the best account, are 
the principal objects of the present little work. I pro- 
pose to treat of brewing Beer, making Bread, keeping 
Cows and Pigs, rearing Poultry, and of other matters ; 
and to show, that, while, from a very small piece of 
ground a large part of the food of a considerable fami- 
ly may be raised, the very act of raising it will be the 
best possible foundation of education of the children 
of the labourer ; that it will teach them a great number 
of useful things, add greatly to their value when they 
go forth from their father's home, make them start 
in life with all possible advantages, and give them the 
best chance of leading happy lives. And is it not much 
more rational for parents to be employed in teaching 
their children how to cultivate a garden, to feed and rear 
animals, to make bread, beer, bacon, butter and cheese, 
and to be able to do these things for themselves, or for 
others, than to leave them to prowl about the lanes and 
commons, or to mope at the heels of some crafty, sleek- 
headed pretended saint, who while he extracts the 
last penny from their pockets, bids them be contented 
with their misery, and promises them, in exchange 
for their pence, everlasting glory in the world to come ? 
It is upon the hungry and the wretched that the fana- 
tic works. The dejected and forlorn are his prey. 
As an ailing carcass engenders vermin, a pauperized 
community engenders teachers of fanaticism, the very 
foundation of whose doctrines is, that we are to care 
nothing about this world, and that all our labours and 
exertions are in vain. 

17. The man, who is doing well, who is in good 
health, who has a blooming and dutiful and cheerful 
and happy family about him, and who passes his day 
of rest amongst them, is not to be made to believe, 
that he was born to be miserable, and that poverty, 
the natural and just reward of laziness, is to secure 
him a crown of glory. Far be it from me to recom- 
mend a disregard of even outward observances as to 
matters of religion ; but, can it be religion to believe 
that God hath made us to be wretched and dejected ? 



12 INTRODUCTION. [No. 

Can it be religion to regard, as marks of his grace, 
the poverty and misery that almost invariably attend 
pur neglect to use the means of obtaining a competence 
in worldly things ? Can it be religion to regard as 
blessings those things, those very things, which God 
expressly numbers amongst his curses ? Poverty 
never finds a place amongst the blessings promised 
by God. His blessings are of a directly opposite de- 
scription ; flocks, herds, corn, wine and oil ; a smiling 
land ; a rejoicing people ; abundance for the body and 
gladness of the heart : these are the blessings which 
God promises to the industrious, the sober, the careful, 
and the upright. Let no man, then, believe that, to 
be poor and wretched is a mark of God's favour ; and 
let no man remain in that state, if he, by any honest 
means, can rescue himself from it. 

18. Poverty leads to all sorts of evil consequences. 
Want, horrid want, is the great parent of crime. To 
have a dutiful family, the father's principle of rule 
must be love not fear. His sway must be gentle, or 
he will have only an unwilling and short-lived obedi- 
ence. But it is given to but few men to be gentle and 
good-humoured amidst the various torments attendant 
on pinching poverty. A competence is, therefore, the 
first thing to be thought of; it is the foundation of all 
good in the labourer's dwelling ; without it little but 
misery can be expected. " Health, peace, and compe~ 
tence," one of the wisest of men regards as the only 
things needful to man : but the two former are scarcely 
to be had without the latter. Competence is the 
foundation of happiness and of exertion. Beset with 
wants, having a mind continually harassed with fears 
of starvation, who can act with energy, who can 
calmly think? To provide a good living, therefore, 
for himself and family, is the very first duly of every 
man. "Two things," says AGUE, "have I asked; 
deny me them not before I die : remove far from me 
vanity and lies ; give me neither poverty nor riches ; 
feed me with food convenient for me : lest I be full 
and deny thee ; or lest I be poor and steal." 

19. A good living therefore, a competence, is the 



L] BREWING. 13 

first thing to be desired and to be sought after ; and, if 
this little work should have the effect of aiding only 
a small portion of the Labouring Classes in securing 
that competence, it will afford great gratification to 
their friend WM. COBBETT. 

Kensington, 19th July, 1821. 



BREWING BEER. 

20. BEFORE I proceed to give any directions about 
brewing, let me mention some of the inducements to 
do the thing. In former times, to set about to show 
to- Englishmen that it was good for them to brew beer 
in their houses would have been as impertinent as 
gravely to insist, that they ought to endeavour not to 
lose their breath ; for, in those times, (only forty years 
ago,) to have a house and not to brew was a rare 
thing indeed. Mr. ELLMAN, an pld^man and a large 
fanner, in Sussex, has recently given in evidence, be- 
fore a Committee of the House of Commons, this fact ; 
that, forty years ago, there was not a labourer in his 
parish that did not brew his -own beer ; and that now 
there is not one that does it, except by chance the 
malt be given him. The causes of this change have 
been the lowering of the wages of labour, compared 
with the price of provisions, by the means of the paper- 
money ; the enormous tax upon the barley when made 
into malt ; and the increased lax upon hops. These 
have quite changed the customs of the English people 
as to their drink. They still drink beer, but, in gene- 
ral, it is of the brewing of common brewers, and in 
public-houses, of which the common brewers have be- 
come the owners, and have thus, by the aid of paper- 
money, obtained a monopoly in the supplying of the 
great body of the people with one of those things 
which, to the hard-working man, is almost a necessary 
of life. 

21. These things will be altered. They must be 
altered. The nation must be sunk into nothingness, 

2 



14 BREWING. [No. 

or a new system must be adopted ; and the nation will 
not sink into nothingness. The malt now pays a tax 
of 4s. 6d* a bushel, and the barley costs only 3s. 
This brings the bushel of malt to Ss. including the 
maltster's charge for malting. If the tax were taken 
off the malt, malt would be sold, at the present price 
of barley, for about 3s. 3d. a bushel ; because a bushel 
of barley makes more than a bushel of malt, and the 
tax, besides its amount, causes great expenses of va- 
rious sorts to the maltster. The hops pay a tax of 
2cZ.f a pound ; and a bushel of malt requires, in ge- 
neral, a pound of hops ; if these two taxes were taken 
off, therefore, the consumption of barley and of hops 
would be exceedingly increased ; for double the pre- 
sent quantity would be demanded, and the land is 
always ready to send it forth. 

22. It appears impossible that the landlords should 
much longer submit to these intolerable burdens on 
their estates. In short, they must get off the malt tax, 
or lose those estates. They must do a great deal 
more, indeed ; but that they must do at any rate. The 
paper-money is fast losing its destructive power ; and 
things are, with regard to the labourers, coming back 
to what they were forty years ago, and therefore we 
may prepare for the making of beer in our own houses, 
and take leave of the poisonous stuff served out to us 
by common brewers. We may begin immediately ; 
for, even at present prices, home-brewed beer is the 
cheapest drink that a family can use, except milk, and 
milk can be applicable only in certain cases. 

23. The drink which has come to supply the place 
of beer has, in general, been tea. It is notorious that 
tea has no useful strength in it; that it contains 
nothing nutritious ; that it, besides being good for 
nothing, has badness in it, because it is well known 
to produce want of sleep in many cases, and in all 
cases, to shake and weaken the nerves. It is, in fact, 
a weaker kind of laudanum, which enlivens for the 
moment and deadens afterwards. At any rate it com- 

* 4s. 6d. English, equal to one dollar. 
t 2d, English, equal to four cents, nearly. 



I.] BREWING. 15 

municates no strength to the body ; it does not, in any 
degree, assist in affording what labour demands. It 
is, then, of no use. And, now, as to its cost, compared 
with that of beer. I shall make my comparison ap- 
plicable to a year, or three hundred and sixty-five days. 
I shall suppose the tea to be only five shillings the 
pound ; the sugar only sevenpence ; the milk only two- 
pence a quart. The prices are at the very lowest. I 
shall suppose a tea-pot to cost a shilling, six cups and 
saucers two shillings and sixpence, and six pewter 
spoons eighteen-pence. How to estimate the firing 
I hardly know ; but certainly there must be in the 
course of the year, two hundred fires made that would 
not be made, were it not for tea drinking. Then 
conies the great article of all, the time employed in 
this tea-making aifair. It is impossible to make a fire, 
boil water, make the tea, drink it, wash up the things, 
sweep up the fire-place, and put all to rights again, in 
a less space of time, upon an average, than two hc/urs. 
However, let us allow one hour; and here we have a 
woman occupied no less than three hundred and sixty- 
five hours in the year, or thirty whole days, at twelve 
hours in the day ; that is to say, one month out of the 
twelve in the year, besides the waste of the man's time 
in hanging about waiting for the tea ! Needs there 
any thing more to make us cease to wonder at seeing 
labourers' children with dirty linen and holes in the 
heels of their stockings ? Observe, top, that the time 
thus spent is, one half of it, the best time of the day. 
It is the top of the morning, which, in every calling 
of life, contains an hour worth two or three hours of 
the afternoon. By the time that the clattering tea 
tackle is out of the way, the morning is spoiled ; its 
prime is gone ; and any work that is to be done after- 
wards lags heavily aloii. If the mother have to go 
out to work, the tea affair must all first be over. She 
comes into the field, in summer time, when the sun 
has gone a third part of his course. She has the heat 
of the day to encounter, instead of having her work 
done and being ready to return home at any early 
hour. Yet early she must go, too : for, there is the 



16 BREWING. [NO. 

fire again to be made, the clattering tea-tackle again 
to come forward ; and even in the longest day she 
must have candle light, which never ought to be seen 
in a cottage (except in case of illness) from March to 
September. 

24. Now, then, let us take the bare cost of the use 
of tea. I suppose a pound of tea to last twenty days ; 
which is not nearly half an ounce every morning and 
evening. I allow for each mess half a pint of milk. 
And I allow three pounds of the red dirty sugar to 
each pound of tea. The account of expenditure 
would then stand very high ; but to these must be 
added the amount of the tea tackle, one set of which 
will, upon an average, be demolished every year. 
To these outgoings must be added the cost of beer 
at the public -house ; for some the man will have, 
after all, and the woman too, unless they be upon 
the point of actual starvation. Two pots a week is 
as little as will serve in this way ; and here is a dead 
loss of ninepence a week, seeing that two pots of 
beer, full as strong, and a great deal better, can be 
brewed at home for threepence. The account of the 
year's tea drinking will then stand thus : 

L. s. d. 

' 18Ib. of tea . . . 4 10 

541b. of sugar . . . 1 11 6 

365 pints of milk . . . 1 10 
Tea tackle . . .050 

200 fires . ... 16 8 

30 days' work . . . 15 

Loss by going to public-house 1 19 

L.ll 7 2* 

25. I have here estimated every thing at its very 
lowest. The entertainment which I have here pro- 
vided is as poor, as mean, as miserable as any thing 
short of starvation can set forth ; and yet the wretch- 
ed thing amounts to a good third part of a good and 
able labourer's wages ! For this money, he and his 

* The above items may be converted into United States' money by 
reckoning 4s. 6d. to the dollar : Thus As 4*. 6d. ; 1 dollar: ; III. 7s, 2d. J 
50 dollars 48 cents. 



I.] BREWING. 17 

family may drink good and wholesome beer ; in a 
short time, out of the mere savings from this waste, 
may drink it out of silver cups and tankards. In a 
labourer's family, wholesome beer, that has a little 
life in it, is all that is wanted in general. Little 
children, that do not work, should not have beer. 
Broth, porridge, or something in that way, is the 
thing for them. Hdwever, I shall suppose, in order 
to make my comparison as little complicated as pos- 
sible, that he brews nothing but beer as strong as 
the generality of beer to be had at the public-house, 
and divested of the poisonous drugs which that beer 
but too often contains ; and I shall further suppose 
that he uses in his family two quarts of this beer 
every day from the first of October to the last day of 
March inclusive : three quarts a day during the 
months of April and May ; four quarts a day during 
the months of June and September ; and five quarts 
a day during the months of July and August ; and 
if this be not enough, it must be a family of drunk- 
ards. Here are 1097 quarts, or 274 gallons. Now, 
a bushel of malt will make eighteen gallons of bet- 
ter beer than that which is sold at the public-houses. 
And this is precisely a gallon for the price of a quart. 
People should bear in mind, that the beer bought at 
the public-house is loaded with a beer tax, with the 
tax on the public-house keeper, in the shape of 
license, with all the taxes and expenses of the brew- 
er, with all the taxes, rent, and other expenses of the 
publican, and with all the profits of both brewer and 
publican ; so that when a man swallows a pot of 
beer at a public-house, he has all these expenses to 
help to defray, besides the mere tax on the malt and 
on the hops. 

26. Weil, then, to brew this ample supply of good 
beer for a labourer's family, these 274 gallons, re- 
quires fifteen bushels of malt and (for let us do the 
thing well) fifteen pounds of hops. The malt is now 
eight shillings a bushel, and very good hops may be 
bought for less than a shilling a pound. The grains 
and yeast will amply pay for the labour and fuel 
2* 



18 BREWING. [NO. 

employed in the brewing ; seeing that there will be 
pigs to eat the grains, and bread to be baked with 
the yeast. The account will then stand thus : 

L. s. d. 

15 bushels of malt . . . 600 
15 pounds of hops . . . 15 
Wear of utensils . . . 10 



.7 5 

27. Here, then, is the sum of four pounds two shil- 
lings and twopence saved every year. The utensils 
for brewing are, a brass kettle, a mashing tub, cool- 
ers, (for which washing tubs may serve,) a half 
hogsnead, with one end taken out, for a tun tub, 
about four nine-gallon casks, and a couple of eigh- 
teen-gallon casks. This is an ample supply of 
utensils, each of which will last, with proper care, 
a good long lifetime or two, and the whole of which, 
even if purchased new from the shop, will only ex- 
ceed by a few shillings, if they exceed at all, the 
amount of the saving, arising the very first year^ 
from quitting; the troublesome and pernicious prac- 
tice of drinking tea. The saving of each succeed- 
ing year would, if you chose it, purchase a silver 
mug to hold half a pint at least. However, the sa- 
ving would naturally be applied to purposes more 
conducive to the well-being and happiness of a 
family. 

28. It is not, however, the mere saving to which 
I look. This is, indeed, a matter of great import- 
ance, whether we look at the amount itself, or at 
the ultimate consequences of a judicious application 
of it ; for four pounds make a great hole in a man's 
wages for the year; and when we consider all the 
advantages that would arise to a family of children 
from having these four pounds, now so miserably 
wasted, laid out upon their backs, in the shape of a de- 
cent dress, it is impossible to look at this waste with- 
out feelings of sorrow not wholly unmixed with 
those of a harsher description. 

To convert these sums into United States' money, see page 16. 



I.] BREWING. 19 

29. But, I look upon the thing in a still more seri- 
ous light. I view the tea drinking as a destroyer of 
health, an en feebler of the frame, an engenderer of 
effeminacy and laziness, a debaucher of youth, and 
a maker of misery for old age. In the fifteen bushels 
of malt there are 570 pounds weight of sweet ; that 
is to say, of nutricious matter, unmixed with any 
thing injurious to health. In the 730 tea messes of 
the year there are 54 pounds of sweet in the sugar, 
and about 30 pounds of matter equal to sugar in the 
milk. Here are 84 pounds instead of 570, and even 
the good effect of these 84 pounds is more than over- 
balanced by the corrosive, gnawing and poisonous 
powers of the tea. 

30. It is impossible for any one to deny the truth 
of this statement. Put it to the test with a lean 
hog : give him the fifteen bushels of malt, and he 
will repay you in ten score of bacon or thereabouts. 
But give hirh the 730 tea messes, or rather begin to 
give them to him, and give him nothing else, and he 
is dead with hunger, and bequeaths you his skeleton, 
at the end of about seven days. It is impossible to 
doubt in such a case. The tea drinking has done a 
great deal in bringing this nation into the state of 
misery in which it now is ; and the tea drinking, 
which is carried on by " dribs" and " drabs ;" by 
pence and farthings going out at a time ; this, mise- 
rable practice has been gradually introduced by the 
growing weight of the taxes on malt and on hops, 
and by the everlasting penury amongst the labourers, 
occasioned by the paper-money. 

31. We see better prospects however, and there- 
fore let us now rouse ourselves, and shake from us 
the degrading curse, the effects of which have been 
much more extensive and infinitely more mischiev- 
ous than men in general seem to imagine. 

32. It must be evident to every one, that the prac- 
tice of tea drinking must render the frame feeble and 
unfit to encounter hard labour or severe weather, 
while, as I have shown, it deducts from the means 
of replenishing the belly and covering the back. 



20 BREWING, [No. 

Hence succeeds a softness, an effeminacy, a seeking 
for the fire-side, a lurking in the bed, and, in short, 
all the characteristics of idleness, for which, in this 
case, real want of strength furnishes an apology. 
The- tea drinking fills the public-house, makes the 
frequenting of it habitual, corrupts boys as soon as 
they are able to move from home, and does little less 
for the girls, to whom the gossip of the tea-table is 
no bad preparatory school for the brothel. At the 
very least,- it teaches them idleness. The everlast- 
ing dawdling about with the slops of the tea tackle, 
gives them a relish for nothing that requires strength 
and activity. When they go from home, they know 
how to do nothing that is useful. To brew, to bake, 
to make butter, to milk, to rear poultry ; to do any 
earthly thing of use they are wholly unqualified. 
To shut poor young creatures up in manufactories 
is bad enough ; but there, at any rate, they do some- 
thing that is useful ; whereas, the girl that has been 
brought up merely to boil the tea-kettle, and to assist 
in the gossip inseparable from the practice, is a mere 
consumer of food, a pest to her employer, and a 
curse to her husband, if any man be so unfortunate 
as to fix his affections upon her. 

33. But is it in the power of any man, any good 
labourer, who has attained the age of fifty, to look 
back upon the last thirty years of his life, without 
cursing the day in which tea was introduced into 
England? Where is there such a man, who can- 
not trace to this cause a very considerable part of all 
the mortifications and sufferings of his life? When 
was he ever too late at his labour ; when did he ever 
meat with a frown, with a turning off, and pauper- 
ism on that account, without being able to trace it to 
the tea-kettle ? When reproached with lagging in 
the morning, the poor wretch tells you that he will 
make up for it by working during his breakfast 
time ! I have heard this a hundred and a hundred 
times over. He was up time enough ; but the tea- 
kettle kept him lolling and lounging at home ; and 
now, instead of sitting down to a breakfast upon 



I.] BREWING. 21 

bread, bacon, and beer, which is to carry him on to 
the hour of dinner, he has to force his limbs along 
under the sweat of feebleness, and at dinner time 
to swallow his dry bread, or slake his half-feverish 
thirst at the pump or the brook. To the wretched 
tea-kettle he has to return at night, with legs hardly 
sufficient to maintain him; and thus he makes his 
miserable progress towards that death, which he finds 
ten or fifteen years sooner than he would have found 
it had he made his wife brew beer instead of making 
tea. If he now and then gladdens his heart with the 
drugs of the public house, some quarrel, some acci- 
dent, some illness, is the probable consequence; to the 
affray abroad succeeds an affray at home ; the mischiev- 
ous example reaches the children, corrupts them or 
scatters them, and misery for life is the consequence. 

34. I should now proceed to the details of brew- 
ing; but these, though they will not occupy a large 
space, must be put off to the second number. The 
custom of brewing at home has so long ceased 
amongst labourers, and, in many cases, amongst 
tradesmen, that it was necessary for me fully to state 
my reasons for wishing to see the custom revived. 
I shall, in my next, clearly explain how the operation 
is performed ; and it will be found to be so easy a 
thing, that I am not without hope, that many trades- 
men, who now spend their evenings at the public 
house, amidst tobacco smoke and empty noise, may 
be induced, by the finding of better drink at home, 
at a quarter part of the price, to perceive that home 
is by far the pleasantest place wherein to pass their 
hours of relaxation. 

35. My work is intended chiefly for the benefit of 
cottagers, who must, of course, have some land; for, 
I purpose to show, that a large part of the food of even 
a large family may be raised, without any diminution 
of the labourer's earnings abroad, from forty roji, or a 
quarter of an acre, of ground ; l)ut at the same time, 
what I have to say will be applicable to larger estab- 
lishments, in all the branches of domestic economy : 
and especially to that of providing a family with beer. 



22 BREWING. [No. 

36. The kind of beer, for a labourer's family, that 
is to say, the degree of strength, must depend on cir- 
cumstances ; on the numerousness of the family ; on 
the season of the year, and various other things. But, 
generally speaking, beer half the strength of 'that men- 
tioned in paragraph 25 will be quite strong enough ; 
for that is, at least, one-third stronger than the farm- 
house " small beer," which, however, as long experi- 
ence has proved, is best suited to the purpose. A ju- 
dicious labourer would probably always have some 
ale in his house, and have small beer for the general 
drink. There is no reason why he should not keep 
Christmas as well as the farmer ; and when he is 
mowing, reaping, or is at any other hard work, a 
quart, or three pints, of really good fat ale a-day is 
by no means too much. However, circumstances vary 
so much with different labourers, that as to the sort of 
beer, and the number of brewings, and the times of 
brewing, no general rule can be laid down. 

37. Before I proceed to explain the uses of the se- 
veral brewing utensils, I must speak of the quality of 
the materials of which beer is made ; that is to say, 
the malt, hops, and water. Malt varies very much 
in quality, as, indeed, it must, with the quality of the 
barley. When good, it is full of flour, and in biting 
a grain asunder, you find it bite easily, and see the 
shell thin and filled up-well with flour. If, it bite hard 
and steely, the malt is bad. There is pale malt and 
brown malt ; but the difference in the two arises 
merely from the different degrees of heat employed 
in the drying. The main thing to attend to is, the 
quantity of flour. If the barley was bad ; thin, or 
steely, whether from unripeness or blight, or any other 
cause, it will not malt so well ; that is to say, it will 
not send out its roots in due time; and a part of it 
will still be barley. Then, the world is wicked enough 
to think, and even to say, that there are maltsters who, 
when they send you a bushel of malt, put a Little bar- 
ley amongst it, the malt being taxed and the barley 
not I Let us hope that this is seldom the case ; yet, 
when we do know that this terrible system of taxation 



II.] BREWING. 23 

induces the beer-selling gentry to supply their custom- 
ers with stuff little better than poison, it is not very 
uncharitable to suppose it possible for some maltsters 
to yield to the temptations of the devil so far as to 
play the trick above mentioned. To detect this trick, 
and to discover what portion of the barley is in an 
unmalted state, take a handful of the unground malt, 
and put it into a bowl of cold water. Mix it about 
with the water a little ; that is, let every grain be just 
wet all over ; and whatever part of them sink are not 

food. If you have your malt ground, there is. not, as 
know of,- any means of detection. Therefore, if your 
brewing be considerable in amount, grind your own 
malt, the means of doing which is very easy, and nei- 
ther expensive nor troublesome, as will appear, when 
I come to speak o flour. If the barley be well malted, 
there is still a variety nrthe quality of the malt; that 
is to say, a bushel of malt from fine, plump, heavy 
barley, will be better than the same quantity from thin 
and light barley. In this case, as in the case of wheat, 
the weight is the criterion of the quality. Only bear 
in mind, that as a bushel of wheat, weighing sixty- 
two pounds, is better worth six shillings, than a bushel 
weighing fifty-two is worth four shillings, so a bushel 
of malt weighing forty-five pounds is better worth 
nine shillings, than a bushel weighing thirty-five is 
worth six shillings. In malt, therefore, as in every 
thing else, the word cheap is a deception, unless the 
quality be taken into view. But, bear in mind, that 
in the case of unmalted barley, mixed with the malt, 
the weight can be no rule ; for barley is heavier than 
malt. 



No. II. 

BREWING BEER (continued.) 

38. As to using barley in the making of beer, I have 
given it a full and fair trial twice over, and I would 
recommend it to neither rich nor poor. The barley 
produces strength, though nothing like the malt ; but 



24 BREWING. [NO. 

the beer is flat, even though you use half malt and 
half barley ; and flat beer lies heavy on the stomach, 
and of course, besides the bad taste, is unwholesome. 
To.pay 4s. Qd. tax upon every bushel of our own bar- 
ley, turned into malt, when the barley itself is not 
worth 3s. a bushel, is a horrid thing ; but, as long as 
the owners of the land shall be so dastardly as to suf- 
fer themselves to be thus deprived of the use of their 
estates to favour the slave-drivers and plunderers of 
the East and West Indies, we must submit to the 
thing, incomprehensible to foreigners, and even to our- 
selves, as the -submission may be. \ 

39. With regard to hops, the quality is very various. 
At times when some sell for 5s. a pound, others sell 
for sixpence. Provided the purchaser understand the 
article, the quality is, of course, in proportion to thp 
price. There are two things to be considered in hops : 
the power of preserving beer, and that of giving it a 
pleasant flavour. Hops may be strong, and yet not 
good. They should be bright, have.no leaves orbits 
of branches amongst them. The hop is the husk, or 
seed-^pod, of the hop-vine, as the cone is that of the 
fir-tree ; and the seeds themselves are deposited, like 
those of the fir, round a little soft stalk, enveloped by 
the several folds of this pod, or cone. If, in the gath- 
ering, leaves of the vine or bits of the branches are 
mixed with the hops, these not only help to make up 
the weight, but they give a bad taste to the beer ; 
and indeed, if they abound much, they spoil the beer. 
Great attention is therefore necessary in this respect 
There are, too, numerous sorts of hops, varying in 
size, form, and quality, quite as much as apples. How- 
ever, when they are in a state to be used in brewing, 
the marks of goodness are an absence of brown colour, 
(for that indicates perished hops ;) a colour between 
green and yellow ; a great quantity of the yellow fa- 
rina ; seeds not too large nor too hard ; a clammy 
feel when rubbed between the fingers ; and a lively, 
pleasant smell. As to the age of hops, they retain for 
twenty years, probably, their power of preserving 
beer ; but not of giving it a pleasant flavour.. I have 



II.] BREWING. 25 

used them at ten years old, and should have no fear of 
using them at twenty. They lose none of their bit- 
terness ; none of their power of preserving beer ; but 
they lose the other quality ; and therefore, in the mak- 
ing of fine ale, or beer, new hops are to be preferred.. 
As to the quantity of hops, it is clear, from what has 
been said, that that must, in some degree depend upon 
their quality ; but, supposing them to be good in qual- 
ity, a pound of hops to a bushel of malt is about the 
quantity. A good deal, however, depends upon the 
length of time that the beer is intended to be kept, and 
upon the season of the year in which it is brewed. 
Beer intended to be kept a long while should have the 
full pound, also beer brewed in warmer weather, 
though for present use : half the quantity may do un- 
der an opposite state of circumstances. 

40. The water should be soft by all means. That 
of brooks, or rivers, is best. That of a pond, fed by 
a rivulet, or spring, will do very well. Rain-water , 
if just fallen, may do ; but stale rain-water, or stag- 
nant pond- water, makes the beer flat and difficult to 
keep ; and hard water, from wells, is very bad ; it does 
not get the sweetness out of the malt, nor the bitter- 
ness out of the hops, like soft water ; and the wort of 
it does not ferment well, which is a certain proof of 
its unfitness for the purpose. 

41. There are two descriptions of persons whom I 
am desirous to see brewing their own beer ; namely, 
tradesmen, and labourers and journeymen. There 
must, therefore, be two distinct scales treated of. In 
the former editions of this work, I spoke of a machine 
for brewing, and stated the advantages of using it in a 
family of any considerable consumption of beer ; but, 
while, from my desire to promote private brewing, 
I strongly recommended the machine, I stated that, 
" if any of my readers could point out any method by 
which we should be more likely to restore the practice 
of private brewing, and especially to the cottage, I 
should be greatly obliged to them to communicate it 
to me." Such communications have been made, and 
I am very happy to be able, in this new edition of my 

3 



26 BREWING. [No. 

little work, to avail myself of them. There was, in 
the Patent Machine, always, an objection on account 
of the expense; for, even the machine for one bushel 
of malt cost, at the reduced price, eight pounds ; a 
sum far above the reach of a cottager, and even above 
that of a small tradesman. Its convenience, especially 
in towns, where room it so valuable, was an object 
of great importance ; but there were disadvantages 
attending it which, until after some experience, I 
did not ascertain. It will be remembered that the 
method by the brewing machine requires the malt to 
be put into the cold water, and for the water to make 
the malt swim, or, at least, to be in such proportion as 
to.prevent the fire beneath from burning the malt. We 
found that our beer was flat, and that it did not keep. 
And this arose, I have every reason to believe, from 
this process. The malt should be put into hot water, 
and the water, at first, should be but just sufficient in 
quantity to stir the wait in, and separate it well. 
Nevertheless, when it is merely to make small beer; 
beer not wanted to keep; in such cases the brewing 
machine may be of use ; and, as will be seen by-and- 
by, a moveable boiler (which has nothing to do with 
the patent) may, in many cases, be of great conveni- 
ence and utility. 

42. The two scales of which I have spoken above, 
are now to be spoken of; and, that I may explain my 
meaning the more clearly, I shall suppose, that, for 
the tradesman's family, it will be requisite to brew 
eighteen gallons of ale and thirty-six of small beer, 
to fill three casks of eighteen gallons each. It will be 
observed, of course, that, for larger quantities, larger 
utensils of all sorts will be wanted. I take this quan- 
tity as the one to give directions on. The utensils 
wanted here will be, FIRST, a copper that will contain 
forty gallons, at least ; for, though there be to be but 
thirty-six gallons of small beer, there must be space 
lor the hops, and for the liquor that goes ofi^n steam. 
SECOND, a ma$hing~tvb to contain sjxty gallons; 
for the malt is to be in this along with the water. 
THIRD, an underbuck, or shallow tub to go under the 



II.] BREWING. 27 

mash-tub, for the wort to run into when drawn from 
the grains. FOURTH, a tun-tub, that will contain 
thirty gallons, to put the ale into to work, the mash- 
tub, as we shall see, serving as a tun-tub for the small 
beer. Besides these, a couple of coolers, shallow tubs, 
which may be the heads of wine buts, or some such 
things, about a foot deep ; or if you have four it may 
be as well, in order to effect the cooling more quickly. 
43. You begin by filling the copper with water, and 
next by making the water boil. You then put into the 
mashing-tub water sufficient to stir and separate the 
malt in. But now let me say more particularly what 
this mashing-tub is. It is, you know, to contain sixty 
gallons. It is to be a little broader at top than at "bot- 
tom, and not quite so deep as it is wide across the 
bottom. Into the middle of the bottom there is a 
hole about two inches over, to draw 'the wort off 
through. In this hole goes a stick, a foot or two 
longer than the tub is high. This stick is to be about 
two inches through, and tapered for about eight inches 
upwards at the end that goes into the hole, which at 
last it fills up closely as a cork. Upon the hole, be- 
fore any thing else be put into the tub, you lay a little 
bundle of fine birch, (heath or straw may do,) about 
half the bulk of a birch broom, and well tied at both 
ends. This being laid over the hole (to keep back the 
grains as the wort goes out,) you put the tapered end 
of the stick down through into the hole, and thus cork 
the hole up. You must then have something of 
weight sufficient to keep the birch steady at the bot- 
tom of the tub, with a hole through it to slip down the 
stick ; otherwise when the stick is raised it will be apt 
to raise the birch with it, and when you are stirring 
the mash you would move it from its place. The 
best thing for this purpose will be a leaden collar for 
the stick, with the hole in the collar plenty large 
enough, and it should weigh three or four pounds. 
The thing they use in some farm-houses is the iron box 
of a wheel. Any thing will do that will slide down 
the stick, and lie with weight enough on the birch 
to keep it from moving. Now, then, you are ready 



28 BREWING. [No. 

to begin brewing. I allow two bushels of malt for the 
brewing I have supposed. You must now put into 
the mashing-tub as much boiling water as will be suf- 
ficient to stir the malt in and separate it well. But 
here occur some of the nicest points of all ; namely, 
the degree of heat that the water is to be at, before 
you put in the malt. This heat is one hundred and 
seventy degrees by the thermometer. If you have a 
thermometer, this is ascertained easily ; but, without 
one, take this rule, .by which so much good beer has 
been made in England for hundreds of years : when 
you can, by looking down into the tub, see your face 
clearly in the water, the water is become cool enough ; 
and you must not put the malt in before. Now put 
in the malt and stir it well in the water. To perform 
this stirring, which is very necessary, you have a stick, 
somewhat bigger than a broom- stick, with two or three 
smaller sticks, eight or ten inches long, put through 
the lower end of it at about three or four inches asunder, 
and sticking out on each side of the long stick. These 
small cross sticks serve to search the malt and sepa- 
rate it well in the stirring or mashing. Thus, then, 
the malt is in; and in this state it should continue for 
about a quarter of an hour. In the mean while you 
will have filled up your copper, and made it boil; and 
now (at the end of the quarter of an hour) you put in 
boiling water sufficient to give you your eighteen gal- 
lons of ale. But, perhaps, you must have thirty gal- 
lons of water in the whole ; for the grains will retain 
at least ten gallons of water ; and it is better to have 
rather too much wort than too little. When your pro- 
per quantity of water is in, stir the malt again well. 
Cover the mashing-tub over with sacks, or something 
that will answer the same purpose ; and there let the 
mash stand for two hours. When it has stood the 
two hours, you draw off the wort. And now, mind, 
the mashing-tub is placed on a couple of stools, or on 
something, that will enable you to put the underbuck 
under it, so as to receive the wort as it comes out of 
the hole before-mentioned. When you have put the 
underbuck in its place, you let out the wort by pulling 



IL] BREWING. 29 

up the stick that corks the whole. But, observe, this 
stick (which goes six or eight inches through the hole) 
must be raised by degrees, and the wort must be let 
out slowly, in order to keep back the sediment. So 
that it is necessary to have something to keep the stick 
up at the point where you are to raise it, and wish to 
fix it at for the time. To do this, the simplest, cheap- 
est and best thing in the world is a cleft stick. Take 
a rod of ash, hazel, birch, or almost any wood ; let it 
be a foot or two longer than your mash ing-tub is wide 
over the top ; split it, as if for making hoops ; tie it 
round with a string at each end ; lay it across your 
mashing-tub ; pull it open in the middle, and let the 
upper part of the wort-stick through it, and when you 
raise that stick, by degrees as before directed, the cleft 
stick will hold it up at whatever height you please. 

44. When you have drawn off the ale-wort, you 
proceed to put into tbe mashing tub water for the 
small beer. But, I shall go on with my directions 
about the ale till I have got it into the cask and cel- 
lar and shall then return to the small-beer. 

45. As you draw off the ale-wort into the under- 
buck, you must lade it out of that into the tun-tub, for 
which work, as well as for various other purposes in 
the brewing, you must ha ye a bowl-dish with a handle 
to it. The underbuck will not hold the whole of the 
wort. It is, as before described, a shallow tub, to go 
under the mashing-tub to draw off the wort into. Out 
of this underbuck you must lade the ale-wort into the 
tun-tub ; and there it must remain till your copper 
be emptied and ready to receive it. 

46. The copper being empty, you put the wort into 
it, and put in after the wort, or before it, a pound and 
a half of good hops, well rubbed and separated as you 
put them in. You now make the copper boil, and 
keep it, with the lid off, at a good brisk boil, for a full 
hour, and if it be an hour and a half it is none the 
worse. 

47. When the boiling is done, put out your fire, 
and put the liquor into the coolers. But it must be 
put into the coolers without the hops. Therefore, in 

3* 



30 BREWING. t^O. 

order to get the hops out of the liquor, you must have 
a strainer. The best for your purpose is a small 
clothes-basket, or any other wicker-basket. You set 
your coolers in the most convenient place. It may be 
in-doors or out of doors, as most convenient. You 
lay a couple of sticks across one of the coolers, and 
put the basket upon them. Put your liquor, hops 
and all, into the basket, which will keep back the hops. 
When you have got liquor enough in one cooler, you 
go to another with your sticks and basket, till you have 
got all your liquor out. If you find your liquor deeper 
in one cooler than the other, you can make an altera- 
tion in that respect, till you have the liquor so distri- 
buted as to cool equally fast in both, or all, the coolers. 
48. The 'next stage of the liquor is in the tun-tub, 
where it is set to work. Now, a very great point is, 
the degree of heat that the liquor is to be at when it 
is set. to working. The proper heat is seventy de- 
grees ; so that a thermometer makes this matter sure. 
In the country they- determine the degree of heat by 
merely putting a finger into the liquor. Seventy de- 
grees is but just warm, a gentle luke-warmth. No- 
thing like heat. A little experience makes perfect- 
ness in such a matter. When at the proper heat, or 
nearly, (for the liquor will cool a little in being re- 
moved,) put it into the tun-tub. And now, before I 
speak of the act of setting the beer to work, I must 
describe this tun-tub, which I first mentioned in Para- 
graph 42. It is to hold thirty gallons, as you have 
seen ; and nothing is better than an old cask of that 
size, or somewhat larger, with the head taken out, or 
cut off. But, indeed, any tub of sufficient dimensions, 
and of about the same depth proportioned to the 
width as a cask or barrel has, will do for the purpose. 
Having put the liquor into the. tun-tub, you put in the 
yeast. About half a pint of good yeast is sufficient. 
This should first be put into a thing of some sort that 
will hold about a gallon of your liquor ; the thing 
should then be nearly filled with liquor, and with a 
stick or spoon you should mix the yeast well with the 
liquor in this bowl, or other thing, and stir in along 



II."] BREWING. 31 

with the yeast a handful of wheat or rye flour. This 
mixture is then to be poured out clean into the tun- 
tub, and the whole mass of the liquor is then to be 
agitated well by lading up and pouring down again 
with your bowl-dish, till the yeast be well mixed with 
the liquor. Some people do the thing in another 
manner. They mix up the yeast and flour with 
some liquor (as just mentioned) taken out of the 
coolers ; and then they set the little vessel that con- 
tains this mixture down on the bottom, of the tun-tub ; 
and, leaving it there, put the liquor out of the coolers 
into the tun-tub. Being placed at the bottom, and 
having the liquor poured on it, the mixture is, per- 
haps, more perfectly effected in this way than in any 
way. The flour may not be necessary ; but, as the 
country people use it, it is, doubtless, of some use ; 
for their hereditary experience has not been for no- 
thing. When your liquor is thus properly put into 
the tun-tub and set a working, cover over the top of 
the tub by laving across it a sack or two, or some- 
thing that will answer the purpose. 

49. We now come to the last stage ; the cask or 
barrel. But I must first speak of the place for the 
tun-tub to stand in. The place should be such as 
to avoid too much warmth or cold. The air should, 
if possible, be at about 55 degrees. Any cool place 
in summer and any warmish place in winter. If the 
weather be very cold, some cloths or sacks should be 
put round the tun-tub while the beer is working. In 
about six or eight hours, a frothy head will rise upon 
the liquor; and it will keep rising, more or less slow- 
ly, for about forty-eight hours. But, the length of 
time required for the working depends on various cir- 
cumstances; so that no precise time can be fixed. 
The best way is, to take off the froth (which is in- 
deed yeast) at the end of about twenty-four hours, 
with a common skimmer, arid put it into a pan or 
vessel of some sort ; then, in twelve hours' time, 
take it off again in the s^ime way; and so on till the 
liquor has done working, and sends up no more yeast. 
Then it is beer ; and when it is quite cold (for ale or 



32 BREWING. [No. 

strong beer) put it into the cask by means of a fun- 
nel. It must be cold before you do this, or it will be 
what the country-people call foxed ; that is to say, 
have a rank and disagreeable taste. Now, as to the 
cask, it must be sound and sweet. I thought, when 
writing the former edition of this work, that the bell- 
shaped were the best casks. I am now convinced 
that that was an error. The bell-shaped, by con- 
tracting the width of the top of the beer, as that top 
descends, in consequence of the draft for use, certainly 
prevents the head (which always gathers on beer as 
soon as you begin to draw it off) from breaking and 
mixing in amongst the beer. This is an advantage 
in the bell-shape; but then the bell-shape, which pla- 
ces the widest end of the cask uppermost, exposes 
the cask to the admission of external air much more 
than the other shape. This danger approaches from 
the ends of the cask ; and, in the bell-shape, you 
have the broadest end wholly exposed the moment 
you have drawn out the first gallon of beer, which is 
not the case with the casks of the common shape. 
Directions are given, in the case of the bell-casks, 
to put damp sand on the top to keep out the air. But, 
it is very difficult to make this effectual ; and yet, if 
you do not keep out the air, your beer will be flat ; 
and when flat, it really is good for nothing but the 
pigs. It is very difficult to Jill the bell-cask, which 
you will easily see if you consider its shape, It must 
be placed on the level with the greatest possible 
truth, or there will be a space left ; and to place it 
with such truth is, perhaps, as difficult a thing as a 
mason or bricklayer ever had to perform. And yet, 
if this be not done, there will be an empty space in 
the cask, though it may, at the same time, run over. 
With the common casks there are none of these dif- 
ficulties. A common eye will see when it is well 
placed ; and, at any rate, any little vacant space that 
may be left is not at an end of the cask, and will, 
without great carelessness, be so small as to be of no 
consequence. We now come to the act of putting 
in the beer. The cask should be placed on a stand 



II.] BREWING. 33 

with legs about a foot long. The cask, being round, 
must have a little wedge, or block, on each side to 
keep it steady. Bricks do very well. Bring your 
beer down into the cellar in buckets, and pour it in 
through the funnel, until the cask be full. The cask 
should lean a little on one side, when you fill it ; be- 
cause the beer will work again here, and send more 
yeast out of the bung-hole ; and, if the cask were 
not a little on one side, the yeast would flow over 
both sides of the cask, and would not descend in 
one stream into a pan, put underneath to receive it. 
Here the bell-cask is extremely inconvenient ; for 
the yeast works up all over the head, and cannot run 
off, and makes a very nasty affair. This alone, to 
say. nothing of the other disadvantages, would de- 
cide 'the question against the bell-casks. Something 
will go off in this working, which may continue for 
two or three days. When you put the beer in the 
cask, you should have a gallon or two left, to keep 
filling up with as the working produces emptiness-; 
At last, when the working is completely over, right 
the cask. That is to say, block it up to its level. 
Put in a handful of fresh hops. Fill the cask quite 
full. Put in the bung, with a bit of coarse linen 
stuff round it ; hammer it down tight ; and, if you 
like, fill a coarse bag with sand, and lay it, well 
pressed down, over the bung. 

50. As to the length of time that you are to keep 
the beer before you begin to 'use it, that must, in 
some measure, depend on taste. Such beer as this 
ale will keep almost any length of time. As to the 
mode of tapping, that is as easy almost as drinking. 
When the cask is empty, great care must be taken 
to cork it tightly up, so that no air get in ; for, if it 
do, the cask is moulded, and when once moulded, it 
is spoiled for ever. It is never again fit to be used 
about beer. Before the cask be used again, the 
grounds must be poured out, and the cask cleaned by 
several times scalding ; by putting in stones (or a 
chain,) and rolling and shaking about till it be quite 
clean. Here again the round casks have the decided 



34 BREWING. |N<X 

advantage; it being almost impossible to make the 
bell-casks thoroughly clean, without taking the head 
outj which is both troublesome and expensive ; as it 
cannot be well done by any one but a cooper, who 
is not always at hand, and who, when he is, must 
be paid. 

51. I have now done with the ale, and it remains 
for me to speak of the small beer. In Paragraph 47 
(which now see) I left you drawing off the ale-wort, 
and with your copper full of boiling water. Thirty- 
six gallons of that boiling water are, as soon as you 
have got your ale-wort out, and have put down your 
mash-tub stick to close up the hole at the bottom ; 
as soon as you have done this, thirty-six gallons of 
the boiling water are to go into the mashing-tub; the 
grains are to be well stirred up, as before; Ihe mash- 
ing-tub is to be covered over again, as mentioned in 
Paragraph 43; and the mash is to stand in that 
state for an hour, and not two hours, as for the ale- 
wort. 

52. When the small beer mash has stood its hour, 
draw it off as in Paragraph 47, and put it into the 
tun-tub as you did the ale-wort. 

53. By this time your copper will be empty again, 
by putting your ale-liquor to cool, as mentioned in 
Paragraph 47. And you now put the small beer wort 
into the copper, with the hops that you used before, 
and with half a pound of fresh hops added to them ; 
and this liquor you boil Briskly for an hour. 

54. By this time you will have taken the grains 
and the sediment clean out of the mashing-tub, and 
taken out the bunch of birch twigs, and made all 
clean. Now put in the birch twigs again, and put 
down your stick as before. Lay your two or three 
sticks across the mashing-tub, put your basket on 
them, and take your liquor from the copper (putting 
the fire out first) and pour it into the mashing-tub 
through the basket. Take the basket away, throw 
the hops to the dunghill, and leave the small beer 
liquid to cool in the mashing-tub. 

55. Here it is to remain to be set to working- as 



II.] BREWING. 35 

mentioned for the ale, in Paragraph 48 ; only, in this 
case, you will want more yeast in proportion ; and 
should have for your thirty-six gallons of small beer, 
three half pints of good yeast. 

56. Proceed, as to all the rest of the business, as 
with the ale, only, in the case of the small beef, it 
should be put into the cask, not quite cold, but a tittle 
warm, ; or else it will not work at aft in the barrel, 
which it ought to do. It will not work so strongly of 
so long as the ale; and may be put in the barrel much 
sooner ; in general the next day after it is brewed. 

57. All the utensils should be well cleaned and 
put away as soon as they are done with ; the little 
things as well as the great things ; for it. is loss of 
time to make new ones. And, now, let us see the 
expense of these utensils. The copper, new, 51. ; 
the mash ing-tub, new, 30.?.; the tun-tub, not new, 5s.; 
the underbuck and three coolers, not new, 20s. The 
whole cost is 71. 10s. which is ten shillings less than 
the one bushel machine. I am now in a farm-house, 
where the same set of utensils has been used for 
forty years ; and the owner tells me, that, with the 
same use, they may last fox forty years longer. The 
machine will not, I think, last four years^ if in any 
thing like regular use. It is of sheet-iron, tinned on 
the inside, and this tin rusts exceedingly, and is not 
to be kept clean' without such rubbing as must soon 
take off the tin. The great advantage of the ma- 
chine is, that it can he removed. You can brew with- 
out a brew-house. You can set the boiler up against 
any fire-place, or any window. You can brew un- 
der a cart-shed, and even out of doors. But all this 
may be done with these utensils, if your copper be 
moveable. Make the boiler of copper, and not of 
sheet-iron^ and fix it on a stand with a fire-place and 
stove-pipe ; and then you have the whole to brew 
out of doors with as welj as in-doors, which is a very 
great convenience. 

58. Now with regard to the other scale of brewing, 
little need be said ; because, all the principles being 
the same, the utensils only are to be proportioned to 



36 BREWING. [No, 

the quantity. If only one sort of beer be to be brewed 
at a time, all the difference is, that, in order to extract 
the whole of the goodness of the malt, the mashing 
ought to be at twice. The two worts are then put to- 
gether, and then you boil them together with the hops. 

59. A Correspondent at Morpeth says, the whcle of 
the utensils used by him are a twenty-gallon pot, a 
mashing-tub, that also answers for a tun-tub, and a 
shallow tub for a cooler; and that these are plenty for 
a person who is any thing of a contriver. This is 
very true ; and these things will cost no more, perhaps, 
than forty shilling's. A nine gallon cask of beer can 
be brewed very well with such utensils. Indeed, it is 
what used to be done by almost every labouring man 
in the kingdom, until the high price of malt and com- 
paratively low price of wages rendered the people too 
poor and miserable to be able to brew at all. A Cor- 
respondent at Bristol has obligingly sent me the model 
of utensils for brewing on a small scale; but as they 
consist chiefly of brittle ware, I am of opinion that 
they would not so well answer the purpose. 

60. Indeed, as to the country labourers, all they want 
is the ability to get the malt. Mr. ELLMAN, in his 
evidence before the Agricultural Committee, said, 
that, when he began farming, forty-five years ago, 
there was not a labourer's family in the parish that 
did not brew their own beer and enjoy it by their own 
fire-sides ; and that, now, not one single family did it, 

from want of ability to get the malt. It is the tax 
that prevents their getting the malt ; for, the barley is 
cheap enough. The tax causes a monopoly in the 
hands of the maltsters, who, when the tax is two and 
sixpence, make the malt, cost Is. 6cZ., though the bar- 
ley cost but 2s. 6.d; and though the malt, tax and all, 
ought to cost him about 5s. (yd. If the tax were taken 
off, this pernicious 'monopoly would be destroyed. 

61. The reader will easily see, that, in proportion 
to the quantity wanted to be brewed must be the size 
of the utensils ; but, I may observe here, that the above 
utensils are sufficient for three, or even four, bushels 
of malt, if stronger beer be wanted. 



II.] BREWING. 37 

62. When it is necessary, in case of falling short 
in the quantity wanted to fill up the ale cask, some 
may be taken from the small beer. But, upon the 
whole brewing^ there ought to be no falling short ; be- 
cause, if the casks be not Jilted up, the beer will not be 
good, and certainly will not keep. Great care should 
be taken as to the cleansing of the casks. They 
should be made perfectly sweet; or it is impossible to 
have good beer. 

63. The cellar, for beer to keep any length of time, 
should be cool. Under a hill is the best place for a 
cellar ; but, at any rate, a cellar of good depth, and dry. 
At certain times of the year, beer that is kept long 
will ferment. The vent-pegs must, in such cases, be 
loosened a little, and afterwards fastened. 

64. Small beer may be tapped almost directly. It 
is a sort of joke that it should see a Sunday; but, that 
it may do before it be two days old. In short, any 
beer is better than water ; but it should have some 
strength and some weeks of age at any rate. 

65. I cannot conclude this Essay without express- 
ing my pleasure, that a law has been recently passed 
to authorize the general retail of beer. This really 
seems necessary to prevent the King's subjects from 
being poisoned. The brewers and porter quacks have 
carried their tricks to such an extent, that there is no 
safety for those who drink brewer's beer. 

66. The best and most effectual thing is, however, 
for people to brew their own beer, to enable them and 
induce them to do which, I have done all that lies in 
my power. A longer treatise on the subject would 
have been of no use. These few plain directions 
will suffice for those who have a disposition to do the 
thing, and those who have not would remain unmoved 
by any thing that I could say. 

67. There seems to be a great number of things 
to do in brewing, but the greater part of them require 
only about a minute each. A brewing, such as I have 

fiven the detail of above, may be completed in a day; 
ut, by the word day, I mean to include the morning, 
beginning at four o'clock. 

4 ; 



38 BREWING. [No. 

68. The putting of the beer into barrel is not more 
than an hour's work for a servant woman, or a trades- 
man's or a farmer's wife. There is no heavy work, no 
work too heavy for a woman in any part of the busi- 
ness, otherwise I would not recommend it to be per- 
formed by the women, who, though so amiable in them- 
selves, are never quite so amiable as when they are 
useful; and as to beauty, though men may fall in love 
with girls at play -, there is nothing to make them stand 
to their love like seeing them at work. In conclusion 
of these remarks on beer brewing, I once more express 
my most anxious desire to see abolished for' ever the 
accursed tax on malt, which, I verily believe, has 
done more harm to the people of England than was 
ever done to any people by plague, pestilence, famine, 
and civil war. 

69. In Paragraph 76, in Paragraph 108, and per- 
haps in another place or two (of the last edition,)- 1 
spoke of the machine for brewing. The work being 
stereotyped, it would have been troublesome to alter 
those paragraphs ; but, of course, the public, in read- 
ing them, will bear in mind what has been now said 
relative to the machine. The inventor of that ma- 
chine deserves great praise for his efforts to promote 
private brewing ; and, as I said before, in certain con- 
fined situations, and where the beer is to be merely 
small beer, and for immediate use, and where time 
and room are of such importance as to make the cost 
of the machine comparatively of trifling considera- 
tion, the machine may possibly be found to be an use- 
ful utensil. 

70. Having stated the inducements to the brewing 
of beer, and given the plainest directions that I was 
able to give for the doing of the thing, I shall, next, 
proceed to the subject of bread. But this subject is 
too large and of too much moment to be treated with 
brevity, and must, therefore, be put off till my next 
Number. I cannot, in the mean while, dismiss the 
subject of brewing 1 beer without once more adverting 
to its many advantages, as set forth in the foregoing 
Number of this work. 



II.l BREWING. 39 

71. The following instructions for the making of 
porter, will clearly show what sort of stuff is sold at 
public-houses in London ; and we may pretty fairly 
suppose that the public-house beer in the country is 
not superior to it in quality, " A quarter of malt, with 
these ingredients, will make Jive barrels of good por- 
ter. Take one quarter of high-coloured malt, eight 
pounds of hops, nine pounds of treacle, eight pounds 
of colour, eight pounds of sliced liquorice-root, two 
drams of salt of tartar, two ounces of Spanish-liquor- 
ice, 'and half an ounce of capsicum." The author 
says, that he merely gives the ingredients, as used by 
many persons. 

72. This extract is taken from a book on brewing, 
recently published in London. What a curious com- 
position ! What a mess of drugs ! But, if the brew- 
ers openly avow this, what have we to expect from the 
secret practices of them, and the retailers of the arti- 
cle ! When we know, that beer-doctor and brewers 1 - 
druggist are professions, practised as openly as those 
of bug-man and rdt-killer, are we simple enough to 
suppose that the above-named are the only drugs that 
people swallow in those potions, which they call pots 
of beer ? Indeed, we know the contrary ; for scarcely 
a week passes- without witnessing the detection of 
some greedy wretch, who has used, in making or in 
doctoring his beer, drugs, forbidden by the law. And, 
it is not many weeks since one of these was convict- 
ed, in the Court of Excise, for using potent and dan- 
gerous drugs, by the means of which, and a suitable 
quantity of water, he made two buts of beer into three. 
Upon this occasion, it appeared that no less than nine- 
ty of these worthies were in the habit of pursuing the 
same practices. The drugs are not unpleasant to the 
taste ; they sting the palate : they give a present re- 
lish: they. communicate a momentary exhilaration: 
but, they give no force to the body, which, on the con- 
trary, they enfeeble, and, in many instances, with 
time, destroy ; producing diseases from which the 
drinker would otherwise have been free to the end 
of his days. 



40 BREWING. [No. 

73. But, look again at the receipt for making por- 
ter. Here are eight bushels of malt to 180 gallons" 
of beer ; that is to say, twenty-five gallons from the 
bushel. Now the malt is eight shillings a bushel, and 
eight pounds of the very best hops will cost but a shil- 
ling a pound. The malt and hops, then, for the 180 
gallons, cost but seventy-two shillings ; that is to say, 
only a little more than fourpence three farthings a 
gallon, for stuff which is now retailed for sixteen 
pence a gallon! If this be not an abomination, I 
should be glad to know what is. Even if the treacle, 
colour, and the drugs, be included, the cost is notjive- 
pence a gallon; and yet, not content with this enor- 
mous extortion, there are wretches who resort to the 
use of other and pernicious drugs, in order to increase 
their gains ! 

74. To provide against this dreadful evil there is, 
and there can be, no law ; for, it is created by the law. 
The law it is that imposes the enormous tax on the 
malt and hops ; the law it is that imposes the license 
tax, and places the power of granting the license at 
the discretion of persons appointed by the govern- 
ment ; the law it is that checks, in this way, the pri- 
vate brewing, and that prevents jfree and fair competi- 
tion in the selling of beer, and as long as the law does 
these, it will in vain endeavour to prevent the people 
from being destroyed by slow poison. 

75. Innumerable are the benefits that would arise from 
a repeal of the taxes on malt and on hops. Tippling- 
houses might then be shut up with justice and propri- 
ety. The .labourer, the artisan, the tradesman, the 
landlord, all would instantly feel the benefit. But the 
landlord more, perhaps, in this case, than any other 
member of the community. The four or five pounds 
a year which the day-labourer now drizzles away in 
tea-messes, he would divide with the farmer, if he had 
untaxed beer. His wages would fall, and fall to his 
advantage too. The fall of wages would be not less 
than 40/. upon a hundred acres. Thus 40/. would go, 
in the end, a fourth, perhaps to the farmer, and three- 
fourths to the landlord, This is the kind of work to 



III.] MAKING BREAD, 41 

reduce poor-rates, and to restore husbandry to prospe- 
rity, undertaken this work must be, and performed 
too ; but whether we shall see this until the estates 
have passed away from the present race of landlords, 
is a question which must be referred to time. 

76. Surely we may hope, that, when the American 
farmers shall see this little Essay, they will begin se- 
riously to think of leaving off the use of the liver- 
burning and palsy-producing spirits. Their climate, 
indeed, is something : extremely hot in one part of 
the year, and extremely cold in the other part of it. 
Nevertheless, they may have, and do have, very good 
beer if they will. Negligence is the greatest impedi- 
ment in their way. I like the Americans very much ; 
and that, if there were no other, would be a reason 
for my not hiding their faults. 



No. III. 

MAKING BREAD. 

77. LITTLE time need be spent in dwelling on the 
necessity of this article to all families ; though, on ac- 
count of the modern custom of using potatoes to sup- 
ply the place of bread, it seems necessary to say a few 
words here on the subject, which, in another work I 
have so amply, and, I think, so triumphantly discussed. 
I am the more disposed to revive the subject for a mo- 
ment, in this place, from having read, in the evidence 
recently given before the Agricultural Committee, 
that many labourers, especially in the West of Eng- 
land, use potatoes instead of bread to a very great ex- 
tent. And I find, from the same evidence, that it is 
the custom to allot to labourers " a potatoe ground" 
in part payment of their wages ! This has a tenden- 
cy to bring English labourers down to the state of the 
Irish, whose mode of living, as to food, is but one re- 
move from that of the pig, and of the ill-fed pig too. 

78. I was, in reading the above-mentioned Evi- 

4* 



42 MAKING BREAD. [No. 

dence, glad to find, that Mr. EDWARD WAKEFIELD, 
the best informed and most candid of all the wit- 
nesses, gave it as his opinion, that the increase which 
had taken place in the cultivation of potatoes was 
"injurious to the country /' an opinion which must, I 
think, be adopted by every one who takes the trouble 
to reflect a little upon the subject. For leaving out of 
the question the slovenly and beastly habits engen- 
dered amongst the labouring classes by constantly lift- 
ing their principal food at once out of the earth to 
their mouths, by eating without the necessity of any 
implements other than the hands and the teeth, and 
by dispensing with everything requiring skill in the 
preparation of the food, and requiring cleanliness in 
its consumption or preservation ; leaving these out of 
the question, though they are all matters of great mo- 
ment, when we consider their effects in the rearing of 
a family, we shall find, that, in mere quantity of food, 
that is to say of nourishment, bread is the preferable diet. 
79. An acre of land that will produce 300 bushels 
of potatoes, will produce 32 bushels of wheat. I state 
this as an average fact, and am not at all afraid of 
being contradicted by any one well acquainted with 
husbandry. The potatoes are supposed to be of a good 
sort, as it is called, and the wheat may be supposed to 
weigh 60 pounds a bushel. It is a fact clearly estab- 
lished, that, after the water, the stringy substance, and 
the earth, are taken from the potatoe, there remains 
only one tenth of the rough raw weight of nutritious 
matter, or matter which is deemed equally nutritious 
with bread, and, as the raw potatoes weigh 561b. a 
bushel, the acre will yield l,8301b. of nutritious mat- 
ter. Now mind, a bushel of wheat, weighing 601b. 
will make of household bread (that is to say, taking 
out only the bran) 651b. Thus, the acre yields 
2,0801b. of bread. As to the expenses, the seed and 
act of planting are about equal in the two cases. But, 
while the potatoes must have cultivation during their 
growth, the wheat needs none ; and while the wheat 
straw is worth from three to five pounds an acre, the 
haulm of the potatoes is not worth one single truss 



III.] MAKING BREAD. 43 

of that straw. Then, as to the expense of gathering, 
housing, and keeping the potatoe crop, it is enormous, 
besides the risk of loss by frost, which may be safely 
taken, on an average, at a tenth of the crop. Then 
comes the expense of cooking. The thirty-two bush- 
els of wheat, supposing a bushel to be baked at a time, 
(which would be the case in a large family,)' would 
demand thirty-two heatings of the oven. Suppose 
a bushel of potatoes to be cooked every day in order 
to supply the place of this bread, then we have nine 
hundred boilings of the pot, unless cold potatoes be 
eaten at some of the meals ; and, in that case, the 
diet must be cheering indeed ! Think of the labour ; 
think of the time ; think of all the peelings and scra- 
pings and washings and messings attending these 
nine hundred boilings of the pot ! For it must be a 
considerable time before English people can be 
brought to eat potatoes in- the Irish style ; that is to 
say, scratch them out of the earth with their paws, 
toss them into a pot without washing, and when boil- 
ed, turn them out upon a dirty board, and then sit 
round that board, peel the skin and dirt from one at a 
time and eat the inside. Mr. Curwen was delighted 
with " Irish hospitality" because the people there re- 
ceive no parish relief; upon which I can only say, that 
I wish him the exclusive benefit of such hospitality. 

80. I have here spoken of a large quantity of each 
of the sorts of food. I will now come to a compa- 
rative view, more immediately applicable to a labour- 
er's family. When wheat is ten shillings the bushel, 
potatoes, bought at best hand, (I am speaking of the 
country generally,) are about two shillings (English) 
a bushel. Last spring the average price of wheat 
might be six and sixpence, (English ;) and the ave- 
rage price of potatoes (in small quantities) was about 
eighteen-pence ; though, by the wagon-load, I saw 
potatoes bought at a shilling (English) a bushel, to 
give to sheep; then, observe, these were of the 
coarsest kind, and the farmer had to fetch them at a 
considerable expense. I think, therefore, that I give 
the advantage to the potatoes when I say that they 



44 MAKING BREAD. [No. 

sell, upon an average, for full a fifth part as much as 
the wheat sells for, per bushel, while they contain 
four pounds less weight than the bushel of wheat ; 
while they yield only five pounds and a half of nu- 
tritious matter equal to bread ; and while the bushel 
of wheat will yield sixty-five pounds of bread, be- 
sides the ten pounds of bran. Hence it is clear, 
that, instead of that saving, which is everlastingly 
dinned in our ears, from the use of potatoes, there is 
a waste of more than one half ; seeing that, when 
wheat is ten shillings (English) the bushel, you can 
have sixty-five pounds of bread for the ten shillings ; 
and can have out of potatoes only five pounds and a 
half of nutritious matter equal to bread for two shil- 
lings ! (English.) This being the case, I trust that we 
shall soon hear no more of those savings which the 
labourer makes by the use of potatoes ; I hope we 
shall, in the words of Dr. DRENNAN, " leave Ire- 
land to her lazy root," if she choose still to adhere 
to it. It is the root, also, of slovenliness, filth, mi- 
sery, and slavery ; its cultivation has increased in 
England with the increase of the paupers : both, I 
thank God, are upon the decline. Englishmen seem 
to be upon the return to beer and bread, from water 
and potatoes : and, therefore, I shall now proceed to 
offer some observations to the cottager, calculated to 
induce him to bake his own bread. 

81. As I have before stated, sixty pounds of wheat, 
that is to say, where the Winchester bushel weighs 
sixty pounds, will make sixty-five pounds of bread, 
besides the leaving of about ten pounds of bran. 
This is household bread, made of flour from which 
the bran only is taken. If you make fine flour, you 
take out pollard, as they call it, as well as bran, and 
then you have a smaller quantity of bread and a 
greater quantity of offal; but, even of this finer 
bread, bread equal in fineness to the baker's bread, 
you get from Jifty-eight to fifty-nine pounds out of 
the bushel of wheat. Now, then, let us see how 
many quartern loaves you get out of the bushel of 
wheat, supposing it to be fine flour, in the first place. 



III.] MAKING BREAD. 45 

You get thirteen quartern loaves and a half; these 
cost you, at the present average price of wheat 
(seven and sixpence a bushel,) in the first place 7s. 
6d. ;* then 3d. for yeast ; then not more than 3d. for 
grind ingj because you have about thirteen pounds 
of offal, 'which is worth more than a $d. a pound, 
while the grinding is 9d. a bushel. Thus, then, the 
bushelof bread of fifty-nine pounds costs you eight 
shillings ; and it yields you the weight of thirteen 
and a half quartern loaves : these quartern loaves 
now (Dec. 1821) sell at Kensington, at the baker's 
shop, at Is. ^d. ; that is to say, the thirteen quartern 
loaves and a half cost 14s. 7-J-d I omitted to mention 
the salt, which would cost you 4d. more. So that, 
here is 6s. 3$d. saved upon the baking of a bushel 
of bread. The baker's quartern loaf is indeed 
cheaper in the country than at Kensington, by; pro- 
bably, a penny in the loaf ; which would still, how- 
ever, leave a saving of 5s. upon the bushel of bread. 
But, besides this, pray think a little of the materials 
of which the baker's, loaf is composed. The alum, 
the ground potatoes, and other materials ; it being a 
notorious fact, that the bakers, in London at least, 
have mills wherein to grind their potatoes ; so large 
is the scale upon which they use that material. It 
is probable, that, but of a bushel of wheat, they 
make between sixty and seventy pounds of bread, 
though they have no more flour, and, of course, no 
more nutritious matter, than you have in your fifty- 
nine pounds of bread. But, at the least, supposing 
their bread to be as good as yours in quality, you 
have, allowing a shilling for the heating of the oven, 
a clear 4s. saved upon every bushel of bread. If 
you consume half a bushel a week, that is to say 
about a quartern loaf a day, this is a saving of 51. 
4s. a year, or full a sixth part, if not a fifth part, of 
the earnings of a labourer in husbandry. 

82. How wasteful, then, and, indeed, how shame- 

* All the calculations in this work, it must be remembered, are m 
English money but may be turned into United States' money as before 
directed, page 16. 



46 MAKING BREAD* [No. 

ful, for a labourer's wife to go to the baker's shop; and 
how negligent, how criminally careless of the wel- 
fare of his family, must the labourer be, who per- 
mits so scandalous a use of the proceeds of his 
labour ! But I have hitherto taken a view of the 
matter the least possibly advantageous to the home- 
baked bread. For, ninety-nine times out of a hun- 
dred, the fuel for heating the oven costs very little. 
The hedgers, the copsers, the woodmen of all de- 
scriptions, have fuel for little or nothing. At any 
rate, to heat the oven cannot, upon an average, take 
the country through, cost the labourer more than 6d. 
a bushel. Then, again, fine flour need not ever be 
used, and ought not to be -used. This adds six 
pounds of bread to the bushel, or nearly another quar- 
tern loaf and a half, making nearly fifteen quartern 
loaves but of the bushel of wheat. The finest flour 
is by no means the most wholesome ; and, at any 
rate, there is more nutritious matter in a pound of 
household bread than in a pound of baker's bread. 
Besides this, rye, and even barley, especially when 
mixed with wheat, make very good bread. Few peo- 
ple upon the face of the earth live better than the 
Long Islanders. Yet nine families out of ten sel- 
dom eat wheaten-bread. Rye is the flour that they 
principally make use of. Now, rye is seldom more 
than two-thirds the price of wheat, and barley is 
seldom more than half the price of wheat. Half 
rye and half wheat, taking out a little more of the 
offal, make very good bread. Half wheat, a quarter 
rye and a quarter barley, nay, one-third of each, 
make bread that I could be very well content to live 
upon all my lifetime; and, even barley alone, if the 
barley be good, and none but the finest flour taken 
out of it, has in it, measure for measure, ten times 
the nutrition of potatoes. Indeed the fact is well 
known, that our . forefathers used barley bread to a 
very great extent. Its only fault, with those who 
dislike it, is its sweetness, a fault which we certainly 
have not to find with the baker's loaf, which has in 
it little more of the sweetness of grain than is to be 



III.] MAKING BREAD. 47 

found in the offal which comes from the sawings of 
deal boards. The nutritious nature of barley is 
amply proved by the effect, and very rapid effect, of 
its meal, in the fatting of hogs and of poultry of all 
descriptions. They will fatten quicker upon meal of 
barley than upon any other thing.. The flesh, too, 
is sweeter than that proceeding from any other food, 
with the exception of that which proceeds from buck 
wheat, a grain little used in England. That pro- 
ceeding from Indian corn is, indeed, still sweeter 
and finer; but this is wholly out of the question 
with us. 

83, I am, by-and-by, to speak of the cow to be kept 
by the labourer in husbandry. Then there will be 
milk to wet the bread with, an exceedingly great 
improvement in its taste as well as in its quality ! 
This, of all the ways of using skim milk, is the most 
advantageous : and this great advantage must be 
wholly thrown away, if the bread of the family be 
bought at the shop. . With milk, bread with very lit- 
. tie wheat in it may be made far better than baker's 
bread ; and, leaving the milk out of the question, 
taking a third of each sort of grain, you would get 
bread weighing as much as fourteen quartern loaves, 
for about 5s. 9d. at present prices of grain ; that is to 
say, you would get it for about 5d. the quartern loaf, 
all expenses included; thus you have nine pounds and 
ten ounces of bread a day for about 5s. 9d. a week. 
Here is enough for a very large family. Very few 
labourers' families can want so much as this, unless 
indeed there be several persons in it capable of earn- 
ing something by their daily labour. Here is cut and 
come again. Here is bread always for the table. 
Bread to carry a field; always a hunch of bread 
ready to put into the hand of a hungry child. We 
hear a great deal about " children crying for bread," 
and objects of compassion they and their parents are, 
when the latter have not the means of obtaining a 
sufficiency of bread. But I should be glad to be in- 
formed, how it is possible for a labouring man, who 
earns, upon an average, 1O. a week, who has not 



48 MAKING BREAD. [No. 

more than four children (and if he have more, some 
ought to be doing something;) who has a garden of 
a quarter of an acre of land (for that makes part of 
my plan ; who has a wife as industrious as she ought 
to be ; who does not waste his earnings at the ale- 
house or the tea shop : I should be glad to know how 
such a man, while wheat shall be at the price of 
about 6s. a bushel, can possibly have children crying 
for bread ! 

84. Cry, indeed, they must, if he will persist in 

fiving 135. for a bushel of bread instead of 5s. 9d. 
uch a man. is not to say that the bread which I have 
described is not good enough. It was .good enough for 
his forefathers, who were too proud to be paupers, 
that is to say, abject and willing slaves. " Hogs eat 
barley." And hogs will eat wheat, too, when they 
can get at it. Convicts in condemned cells eat 
wheaten bread ; bat we think it no degradation to 
eat wheaten bread, too. I am for depriving the la- 
bourer of none of his rights; I would have him 
oppressed in no manner or shape ; I would have him 
bold and free ; but to have him such, he must have 
bread in his house, sufficient for all his family, and 
whether that bread be fine or coarse must depend 
upon the different circumstances which present them- 
selves in the cases of different individuals. 

85. The married man has no right to expect the 
same plenty of food and of raiment that the single 
man has. The time before marriage is the time to 
lay by, or, if the party choose, to indulge himself in 
the absence of labour. To marry is a voluntary act, 
and it is attended in the result with great pleasures 
and advantages. If, therefore, the laws be fair and 
equal ; if the state of things be such that a labouring 
man can, with the usual ability of labourers, and with 
constant industry, care and sobriety ; with decency 
of deportment towards all his neighbours, cheerful 
obedience to his employer, and a due subordination 
to the laws ; if the state of things be such, that such 
a man's earnings be sufficient to maintain himself 
and family with food, raiment, and lodging needful 



III.] MAKING BREAD. 49 

for them ; such a man has no reason to complain ; 
and no labouring man has reason to complain, if the 
numerousness of his family should call upon him for 
extraordinary exertion, or for frugality uncommonly 
rigid. The man with a large family has, if it be not 
in a great measure his own fault, a greater number of 
pleasures and of blessings than other men. If he be 
wise, and just as well as wise, he will see that it is 
reasonable for him to expect less delicate fare than 
his neighbours, who have a less number of children, 
or no children at all. He will see the justice as well 
as the necessity of his resorting to the use of coarser 
bread, and thus endeavour to make up that, or at least 
a part of that, which he loses in comparison with his 
neighbours. The quality of the bread ought, in every 
case, to be proportioned to the number of the family 
and the means of the head of that family. Here is 
no injury to health proposed ; but, on the contrary, 
the best security for its preservation. Without bread, 
all is misery. The Scripture truly calls it the staff 
of life ; and it may be called, too, the pledge of peace 
and happiness in the labourer's dwelling. 

86. As to the act of making bread, it would be 
shocking indeed if that had to be taught by the means 
of books. Every woman, high or low, ought to know 
how to make bread. If she do not, she is unworthy 
of trust and confidence ; and, indeed, a mere burden 
upon the community. Yet, it is but too true, that 
many women, even amongst those who have to get 
their living by their labour, know nothing of the 
making of bread ; and seem to understand little more 
about it than the part which belongs to its consump- 
tion. A Frenchman, a Mr. CUSAR, who had been 
born in the West Indies, told me, that till he came 
to Long Island, he never knew Iww the flour came: 
that he was surprised when he learnt that it was 
squeezed out of little grains that grew at the tops of 
straw ; for that he had always had an idea that it was 
got out of some large substances, like the yams that 
grow in tropical climates. He was a very sincere 
and good man, and I am sure he told me truth. And 
5 



50 MAKING BREAD. [No. 

this may be the more readily believed, when we see 
so many women in England, who seem to know no 
more of the constituent parts of a loaf than they 
know of those of the moon. Servant women in 
abundance appear to think that loaves are made by 
the baker, as knights are made by the king ; things 
of their pure creation, a creation, too, in which no one 
else can participate. Now, is not this an enormous 
evil ? And whence does it come ? Servant women 
are the children of the labouring classes ; and they 
would all know how to make bread, and know well 
how to make it too, if they had been fed on bread of 
their mother's and their own making. 

87. How serious a matter, then, is this, even in 
this point of view! A servant that cannot make 
bread is not entitled to the same wages as one that 
can. If she can neither bake nor brew ; if she be 
ignorant of the nature of flour, yeast, malt, and hops, 
what is she good for ? If she understand these mat- 
ters well ; if she be able to supply her employer with 
bread and with beer, she is really valuable ; she is 
entitled to good wages, and to consideration and 
respect into the bargain; but if she be wholly de- 
ficient in these particulars, and can merely dawdle 
about with a bucket and a broom, she can be of very 
little consequence ; to lose her, is merely to lose a 
consumer of food, and she can expect very little in- 
deed in the way of desire to make her life easy and 
pleasant. Why should any one have such desire ? 
She is not a child of the family. She is not a rela- 
tion. Any one as well as she can take in a loaf from 
the baker, or a barrel of beer from the brewer. She 
has nothing whereby to bind her employer to her. 
To sweep a room any thing is capable of that has got 
two hands. In short, she has no useful skill, no use- 
ful ability; she is an ordinary drudge, and she is 
treated accordingly. 

88. But, if such be her state in the house of an 
employer, what is her state in the house of a hus- 
band? The lover is blind; but the husband has 
eyes to see with. He soon discovers that there is 



III.] MAKING BREAD, 51 

something wanted besides dimples and cherry cheeks ; 
and I would have fathers seriously reflect, and to be 
well assured, that the way to mate their daughters 
to be long admired, beloved and respected by their 
husbands, is to make them skilful, able and active in 
the most necessary concerns of a family. Eating 
and drinking come three times every day ; the pre- 
parations for these, and all the ministry necessary to 
them, belong to the wife ; and I hold it to be impos- 
sible, that at the end of two years, a really ignorant, 
sluttish wife should possess any thing worthy of the 
name of love from her husband. This, therefore, is 
a matter of far greater moment to the father of a 
family, than, whether the Parson of the parish, or the 
Methodist Priest, be the most "Evangelical" of 
the two ; for it is here a question of the daughter's 
happiness or misery for life. And I have no hesita- 
tion to say, that if I were a labouring man, I should 
prefer teaching my daughters to bake, brew, milk, 
make butter and cheese, to teaching them to read the 
Bible till they had got every word of it by heart; 
and I should think, too, nay I should know, that I was 
in the former case doing my duty towards God as well 
as towards my children. 

89. When we see a family of dirty, ragged little 
creatures, let us inquire into the cause ; and ninety- 
nine times out of every hundred we shall find that 
the parents themselves have been brought up in the 
same way. But a consideration which ought of it- 
self to be sufficient, is the contempt in which a hus- 
band will naturally hold a wife that is ignorant of the 
matters necessary to the conducting of a family. A 
woman who understands all the things above men- 
tioned, is really a skilful person; a person whorthy of 
respect, and that will be treated with respect too, by 
all but brutish employers or brutish husbands ; and 
such, though sometimes, are not very frequently 
found. Besides, if natural justice and our own in- 
terest had not the weight which they have, such 
valuable persons will be treated with respect. They 
know their own worth ; and, accordingly, they are 



52 MAKING BREAD. [No. 

more careful of their character, more careful not to 
lessen by misconduct the value which they possess 
from their skill and ability. 

90. Thus, then, the interest of the labourer; his 
health ; the health of his family ; the peace and hap- 
piness of his home ; the prospects of his children 
through life; their skill, their ability, their habits of 
cleanliness, and even their moral deportment ; all 
combine to press upon him the adoption and the 
constant practice of this branch of domestic econo- 
my. " Can she bake ?" is the question that I always 
put. If she can, she is worth a pound or two a year 
more. Is that nothing' ? Is it nothing for a labouring 
man to make his four or five daughters worth eight 
or ten pounds a year more; and that too while he is 
by the same means providing the more plentifully for 
himself and the rest of his family? The reasons on 
the side of the thing that I contend for are endless ; 
but if this one motive be not sufficient, I am sure, all 
that I have said, and all that I could say, must be 
wholly unavailing. 

91. Before, however, I dismiss this subject, let me 
say a word or two to those persons who do not come 
under the denomination of labourers. In London, or 
in any very large town where the space is so confin- 
ed, and where the proper fuel is not handily to be 
come at and stored for use, to bake your own bread 
may be attended with too much difficulty ; but in all 
other situations there appears to me to be hardly any 
excuse for not baking bread at home. If the family 
consist of twelve or fourteen persons, the money ac- 
tually saved in this way (even at present prices) 
would be little short of from twenty to thirty pounds 
a year. At the utmost here is only the time of one 
woman occupied one day in the week. Now mind, 
here are twenty-five pounds to be employed in some 
way different from that of giving it to the baker. If 
you add five of these pounds to a woman's wages, is 
not that full as well employed as giving it in wages 
to the baker's men ? Is it not better employed for 
you ? and is it not better employed for the commu- 



III.] MAKING BREAD. 53 

irity ? It is very certain, that if the practice were as 
prevalent as I could wish, there would be a large de- 
duction from the regular baking population; but 
would there be any harm if less alum were imported 
into England, and if some of those youths were left 
at the plough, who are now bound in apprenticeships 
to learn the art and mystery of doing that which 
every girl in the kingdom ought to be taught to do 
by her mother ? It ought to be a maxim with every 
master and every mistress, never to employ another 
to do that which can be done as well by their own 
servants. The more of their money that is retained 
in the hands of their own people, the better it is for 
them altogether. Besides, a man of a right mind 
must be pleased with the reflection, that there is a 
great mass of skill and ability under his own roof. 
He feels stronger and more independent on this ac- 
count, all pecuniary advantage out of the question. 
It is impossible to conceive any thing more contemp- 
tible than a crowd of men and women living together 
in a house, and constantly looking out of it for peo- 
ple to bring them food and drink, and to fetch* their 
garments to and fro. Such a crowd resemble a nest 
of unfledged birds, absolutely dependent for their 
very existence on the activity and success of the old 
ones. 

92. Yet, on men go, from year to year, in this state 
of wretched dependence, even when they have all 
the means of living within themselves, which is cer- 
tainly the happiest state of life that any one can en- 
joy. It may be asked, Where is the mill to be found? 
where is the wheat to be got ? The answer is, 
Where is there not a mill ? where is there not. a 
market ? They are every where, and the difficulty 
is to discover what can be the particular attractions 
contained in that long and luminous manuscript, a 
baker's half-yearly bill. 

93. With regard to the mill, in speaking of fami- 
lies of any considerable number of persons, the mill 
has, with me, been more than once a subject of obser- 
vation in print. I for a good while experienced the 

5* 



54 MAKING BREAD. [No. 

great inconvenience and expense of sending my 
wheat and other grain to be ground at a mill, This 
expense, in case of a considerable family, living at 
only a mile from a mill, is something ; but the incon- 
veniency' and uncertainty are great. In my " Year's 
Residence in America," from Paragraphs 1031 and 
onwards, I give an account of a* horse-mill which I 
had in my farm yard ; and I showed, I think very 
clearly, that corn could be ground cheaper in this 
way than by wind or water, and that it would an- 
swer well to grind for sale in this way as well as for 
home use. Since my return to England I have seen 
a mill, erected in consequence of what the owner had 
read in my book. This mill belongs to a small far- 
mer, who, when he cannot work on his land with his 
horses, or in the season when he has little for them 
to do, grinds wheat, sells the flour ; and he takes in 
grists to grind, as other millers do. This mill goes 
with three small horses ; but what I would recom- 
mend to gentlemen with considerable families, or to 
farmers, is a mill such as I myself have at present. 

94.' With this mill, turned by a man and a stout 
boy, I can grind six bushels of wheat in a day and 
dress the flour. The grinding of six bushels of wheat 
at ninepence a bushel comes to four and sixpence, 
which pays the man and the boy, supposing them 
f which is not and seldom can be the case) to be hired 
lor the express purpose out of the street. With the 
same mill you grind meat for your pigs; and of this 
you will get eight or ten bushels ground in a day. 
You have no trouble about sending to the mill; you 
are sure to have your own wheat ; for strange as it 
may seem, I used sometimes to find that I sent white 
Essex wheat to the mill, and that it brought me flour 
from very coarse red wheat. There is no accounting 
for this, except by supposing that wind and water 
power has something in it to change the very nature 
of the grain ; as, when I came to grind by .horses, 
such as the wheat went into the hopper, so the flour 
came out into the bin. 

95. But mine now is only on the petty scale of 



III.] MAKING BREAD. 55 

providing for a dozen of persons and a small lot of 
pigs. For a farm-house, or a gentleman's house in 
the country, where there would be room to have a 
walk for a horse, you might take the labour from the 
men, clap any little horse, pony, or even ass to the 
wheel ; and he would grind you off eight or ten 
bushels of wheat in a day, and both he and you 
would have the thanks of your men into the bargain. 
96. The cost of this mill is twenty pounds. The 
dresser is four more ; the horse-path and wheel might, 
possibly, be four or five more; and, I am very cer- 
tain, that to any farmer living at a mile from a mill, 
(and that is less than the average distance perhaps ;) 
having twelve persons in family, having forty pigs to 
feed, and twenty hogs to fatten, the savings of such 
a mill would pay the whole expenses of it the very 
first year. Such a farmer cannot send less than fifty 
times a year to the mill. Think of that, in the first 
place ! The elements are not always propitious : 
sometimes the water fails, and sometimes the wind. 
Many a farmer's wife has been tempted to vent -her 
spleen on both. At best, there must be horse and 
man, or boy, and, perhaps, cart, to go to the mill ; 
and that, too, observe, in all weathers, and in the 
harvest as well as at other times of the year. The 
case is one of imperious necessity : neither floods 
nor droughts, nor storms nor calms, will allay the 
craving's of the kitchen, nor quiet the clamorous up- 
roar of the stye. Go, somebody must, to some place 
or other, and back they .must come with flour and 
with meal. One summer many persons came down 
the country more than fifty miles to a mill that I 
knew in Pennsylvania ; and I have known farmers 
in England carry their grists more than fifteen miles 
to be ground. It is surprising, that, under these cir- 
cumstances, hand-mills and horse-mills should not, 
long ago, have become of more general use ; espe- 
cially when one considers that the labour, in this 
case, would cost the farmer next to nothing. To 
grind would be the work of a wet day. There is no 
farmer who does not at least fifty days in every year 



56 MAKING BREAD. [No. 

exclaim, when he gets up in the morning, " What 
shall I set them at to-day?" If he had a mill, he 
would make them pull off their shoes, sweep all out 
clean, winnow up some corn, if he had it not already 
done, and grind and dress, and have every thing in 
order. No scolding within doors about the grist ; no 
squeaking in the stye ; no boy sent off in the rain to 
the mill. 

97. But there is one advantage which I have not 
yet mentioned, and which is the greatest of all; 
namely, that you would have the power of supplying 
your married labourers ; your blacksmith's men 
sometimes ; your wheelwright's men at other times ; 
and, indeed, the greater part of the persons that you 
employed, with good flour, instead of their going to 
purchase their flour, after it had passed through the 
hands of a Corn Merchant, a Miller, a Flour Mer^- 
chant, and a Huckster, every one of whom does and 
must have a profit out of the flour, arising from wheat 

frown upon, and sent away from, your very farm ! 
used to let all my people have flour at the same 
price that they would otherwise have been compelled 
to give for worse flour. Every Farmer will under- 
stand me when I say, that he ought to pay for nothing 
in money, which he can pay for in any thing but 
money. His maxim is to keep the money that he 
takes as long as he can. Now here is a most effectual 
way of putting that maxim in practice to a, very great 
extent. Farmers know well that it is the Saturday 
night which empties their .pockets ; and here is the 
means of cutting off a good half of the Saturday 
night. The men have better flour for the same mo- 
ney, and still the farmer keeps at home those profits 
which would go to the maintaining of the dealers in 
wheat and in flour. 

98. The maker of my little mill is Mr. HILL, of 
Oxford-street. The expense is what I have stated 
it to be. I, with my small establishment, find the 
thing convenient and advantageous ; what then must 
it be to a gentleman in the country who has room 
and horses, and a considerable family to provide for? 



III.] MAKING BREAD. 57 

The dresser is so contrived as to give you at once, 
meal, of four degrees of fineness ; . so that, for cer- 
tain purposes, you may take the very finest ; and, in- 
deed, you may have your flour, and your bread of 
course, of what degree of fineness you please. But 
there is also a steel mill, much, less expensive, re- 
quiring less labour, and yet quite sufficient for a 
family. Mills of this sort, very good, and at a rea- 
sonable price, are to be had of Mr. PARKES, in Fen- 
church-street, London. These are very complete 
things of their kind. Mr. PARKES has, also, excellent 
Malt-Mills. 

99. In concluding this part of my Treatise, I can- 
not help expressing my hope of being instrumental 
in inducing a part of the labourers, at any rate, to 
bake their own bread ; and, above all things, to aban- 
don the use of " Ireland's lazy root." Nevertheless, 
so extensive is the erroneous opinion relative to this 
yillanous root, that I really began to despair of check- 
ing its cultivation and use, till I saw the declaration 
which Mr. WAKEFIELD had the good sense and the spirit 
to make before the " AGRICULTURAL COMMITTEE." Be 
it observed, too, that Mr. WAKEFIELD had himself made 
a survey of the state of Ireland. What he saw there 
did not encourage him, doubtless, to be an advocate for 
the growing of this root of wretchedness. It is an 
undeniable fact, that, in the proportion that this root 
is in use, as a substitute for bread, the people are 
wretched ; the reasons for which I have explained 
and enforced a hundred times over. Mr. WILLIAM 
HANNING tuld the Committee that the labourers in 
his part of Somersetshire were " almost wholly sup- 
plied with potatoes, breakfast and dinner, brought 
them in the fields, and nothing but potatoes ; and that 
they used, in better timesj to get a certain portion of 
bacon and cheese, which, on account of their " pover- 
ty, they do not eat now." It is impossible that men 
can be contented in such a state of things : it is un- 
just to desire them to be contented : it is a state of 
misery and degradation to which no part of any com- 
munity can have any show of right to reduce another 



58 MAKING BREAD. [No. 

part : men so degraded have no protection ; and it is 
a disgrace to form part of a community to which 
they belong. This degradation has been occasioned 
by a silent change in the value of the money of the 
country. This has purloined the wages of the la- 
bourer; it has reduced him by degrees to housel with 
the spider and the bat, and to feed with the pig. It 
has changed the habits, and, in a great measure, the 
character of the people. The sins of this system are 
enormous and undescribable; but, thank God 1 they 
seem to be approaching to their end ! Money is- re- 
suming its value, labour is recovering its price: let 
us hope that the wretched potatoe is disappearing, 
and that we .shall, once more, see the knife in the 
labourer's hand and the loaf upon his board. ' i 

[This was written in 1821. Now (1823) we have 
had the experience of 1822, when, for the first time, 
the world saw a considerable part of a people, 
plunged into all the horrors of famine, at a moment 
when the government of that nation declared food 
to be abundant ! Yes, the year 1822 saw Ireland in 
this state $ saw the people of whole parishes receiv- 
ing the extreme unction preparatory to yielding up 
their breath for want of food ; and this while large 
exports of meat and flour were taking place in that 
country ! But horrible as this was, disgraceful as it 
was to the name of Ireland, it was attended with 
this good effect : it brought out, from many members 
of Parliament (in their places,) and from the public 
in general, the acknowledgment, that the misery and 
degradation of the Irish were chiefly owing to the 
use of the potatoe as the almost sole food of the 
people.'] 

100. In my next number I shall treat of the keeping" 
of cows. I nave said that I will teach the cottager 
how to keep a cow all the ye.ar round upon the pro- 
duce of a quarter of an acre, or, in other words, forty 
rods, of land ; and, in* my next, I will make good 
my promise. 



III.] MAKING BREAD. *>9 

No. IV 

MAKING BREAD (CONTINUED.) 

101. IN the last number, at Paragraph 86, 1 observ- 
ed that I hoped it was unnecessary for me to give 
any directions as to the mere act of making bread. 
But several correspondents' inform me that, without 
these directions, a conviction of the utility of baking 
bread at home is of no use to them. Therefore, I 
shall here give those directions, receiving my in- 
structions here from one, who, I thank God, does 
know how to perform this act. 

102. Suppose the quantity be a bushel of flour. 
Put this flour into a trough that people have for the 
purpose, or it may be in. a clean smooth tub of any 
shape, if not too deep, and if sufficiently large. 
Make a pretty deep hole in the middle of this heap 
of flour. Take (for a bushel) a pint of good fresh 
yeast, mix it and stir it well up in a pint of soft wa- 
ter milk-warm. Pour this into the hole in the heap 
of flour. Then take a spoon and work it round the 
outside of this body of moisture so as to bring into 
that body, by degrees, flour enough to make it form 
a thin batter, which you must stir about well for a 
minute or two. Then take a handful of flour and 
scatter it thinly over the head of this batter, so as to 
hide it. Then cover the whole over with a cloth to 
keep it warm ; and this covering, as well as the si- 
tuation of the trough, as to distance from the fire, 
must depend on the nature of the place and state of 
the weather as to heat and cold. When you per- 
ceive that the batter has risen enough to make cracks 
in the flour that you covered it over with, you begin 
to form the whole mass into dough, thus : you begin 
round the hole containing the batter, working the 
flour into the batter, and pouring in, as it is wanted 
to make the flour mix with the batter, soft water milk- 
warm, or milk, as hereafter to be mentioned. Before 
you begin this, you scatter the salt over the heap at 



60 MAKING BREAD. [No. 

the fate of half a pound to a bushel of flour. When 
you have got the whole sufficiently moist, you knead 
it well. This is a grand part 01 the business; for, 
unless the dough be well worked, there will be little 
round lumps of flour in the loaves ; and, besides, the 
original batter, which is to give fermentation to the 
whole, will not be duly mixed. The dough must, 
therefore, be well worked. The Jists must go hear- 
tily into it. It must be rolled over ; pressed out ; 
folded up and pressed out again, until it be com- 
pletely mixed, and formed into a stiff and tough 
dough. This is labour, mind. I have never quite 
liked baker's bread since I saw a great heavy fellow, 
in a bakehouse in France, kneading bread with his 
naked feet ! His feet looked very white, to be sure : 
whether they were of that colour before he got into 
the trough I could not tell. God forbid, that I should 
suspect that this is ever done in England : It is la- 
bour ; but, what is exercise other than4abour ? Let a 
young woman bake a bushel once a week, and she 
will do very well without phials and gallipots. 

103. Thus, then, the dough is made. And, when 
made, it is to be formed into a lump in the middle of 
the trough, and, with a little dry flour thinly scattered 
over it, covered over again to be kept warm and to 
ferment ; and in this state, if all be done rightly, it 
will not have to remain more than about 15 or 20 
minutes. 

104. In the mean while the oven is to be heated; 
and this is much more than half the art of the ope- 
ration. When an oven is properly heated, can be 
known only by actual observation. Women who 
understand the matter, know when the heat is right 
the moment they put their faces within a yard of the 
oven-mouth ; and once or twice observing is enough 
for any person of common capacity. But this much 
may be said in the way of rule: that the fuel (I am 
supposing a brick oven) should be dry (not rotten) 
wood, and not mere brush-wood, but rather fagot- 
sticks. If larger wood, it ought to be split up into 
sticks not more than two, or two and a half inches 



IV.] MAKING BREAD* 61 

through.^ Bush-wood tnat is strong, not green and 
not too old, if it be hard in its nature and has some 
sticks in it, may do. The woody parts of furze, or 
ling, will heat an oven very well. But the thing is, 
to have a lively and yet somewhat strong fire ; so 
that the oven may be heated in about 15 minutes, and 
retain its heat sufficiently long. 

105. The oven should be hot by the time that the 
dough, as mentioned in Paragraph 103, has remained 
in the lump about 20 minutes. When both are ready, 
take out the fire, and wipe the oven out clean, and, 
at nearly about the same moment, take the dough out 
upon the lid of the baking trough, or some proper 
place, cut it up into pieces, and make it up into loaves, 
kneading it again into these separate parcels ; and, 
as you go on, shaking a little flour over your board, 
to prevent the dough from adhering to it. The loaves 
should be put into the oven as quickly as possible 
after they are formed ; when in, the oven-lid, or door, 
should be fastened up very closely ; and, if all be pro- 
perly managed, loaves of about the size of quartern 
loaves will be sufficiently baked in about two hours. 
But they usually take down the lid, and look at the 
bread, in order to see how it is going on. 

106. And what is there worthy of the name of 
plague, or trouble, in all this ? Here is no dirt, no 
filth, no rubbish, no litter, no slop. And, pray, what 
can be pleasanter to behold? Talk, indeed, of your 
pantomimes and gaudy shows ; your processions and 
installations and coronations ! Give me, for a beau- 
tiful sight, a neat and smart woman, heating her 
oven and setting in her bread ! And, if the bustle 
does make the sign of labour glisten on her brow, 
where is the man that would not kiss that off, rather 
than lick the plaster from the cheek of a duchess. 

107. And what is the result ? Why, good, whole- 
some food, sufficient for a considerable family for a 
week, prepared in three or four hours. To get this 
quantity of food, fit to be eaten, in the shape of po- 
tatoes, how many fires ! what a washing, what a 
boiling, what a peeling, what a slopping, and what a 



62 BREWING BEER. [No. 

messing ! The cottage everlastingly in a litter ; the 
woman's hands everlastingly wet and dirty ; the 
children grimed up to the eyes with dust fixed on by 
potato-starch ; and ragged as colts, the poor mother's 
time all being devoted to the everlasting boilings of 
the pot ! Can any man, who knows any thing of the 
labourer's life, deny this ? And will, then, any body, 
except the old shuffle-breeches band of the Quarterly 
'Review, who have all their lives been moving from 
garret to garret, who have seldom seen the sun, and 
never the dew except in print; will any body except 
these men say, that the people ought to be taught to 
use potatoes as a substitute for bread ? 

BREWING BEER. 

108. THIS matter has been fully treated of in the 
two last numbers. But several correspondents wish- 
ing to fall upon some means of rendering the prac- 
tice beneficial to those who are unable to purchase 
brewing utensils, have recommended the lending 1 of 
them, or letting out, round a neighbourhood. Another 
correspondent has, therefore, pointed out to me an 
Act of Parliament which touches upon this subject; 
and, indeed, what of Excise Laws and Custom Laws 
and Combination Laws and Libel Laws, a human 
being in this country scarcely knows what he dares 
do or what he dares say. What father, for instance, 
would have imagined, that, having brewing utensils, 
which two men carry from house to house as easily 
as they can a basket, he dared not lend them to his 
son, living in the next street, or at the next door ? 
Yet such really is the law ; for, according to the Act 
5th of the 22 and 23 of that honest and sincere gen- 
tleman Charles II., there is a penalty of 50/. for lend- 
ing or letting brewing utensils. However, it has this 
limit ; that the penalty is confined to Cities, Corpo- 
rate Torfhs, and Market Towns, WHERE THERE is A 
PUBLIC BREWHOUSE. So that, in the first place, you 
may let, or lend, in any place where there is no pub- 
lic brewhouse; and in all towns not corporate or 



IV.] BREWING BEER. 63 

market j and in all villages, hamlets, and scattered 
places* 

109. Another thing is, can a man who has brewed 
beer at his own house in the country, bring that beer 
into town to his own house, and for the use of his 

"family there? This has been asked of me. I can- 
not give a positive answer without reading about 
seven large volumes in quarto of taxing laws. The 
best way would be to try it ; and, if any penalty, pay 
it by subscription, if that would not come under the 
law of conspiracy ! However, I think, there can be 
no danger kere. So monstrous a thing as this can, 
surely, not exist. If there be such a law, it is daily 
violated ; for nothing is more common than for coun- 
try gentlemen, who have a dislike to die by poison, 
bringing their home-brewed beer to London. 

1 10. Another correspondent recommends parishes 
to make their own malt. But, surely, the landlords 
mean to get rid of the malt and salt tax ! Many 
dairies, I dare say, pay 50/. a year each in salt tax. 
How, then, are they to contend against Irish butter 
and Dutch butter and cheese ? And as to the malt 
tax, it is a dreadful drain from the land. I have heard 
of labourers, living " in unkent places," making their 
own malt, even now ! Nothing is so easy as to make 
your own malt, if ypu were permitted. You soak 
the barley about three days (according to the state of 
the weather.) and then you put it upon stones or 
bricks and keep it turned, till the root shoots out; 
and then to know when to stop, and to put it to 
dry, take up a corn (which you will find nearly trans- 
parent) and look through the skin of it. You will 
see the spear, that is to say, the shoot that would 
come out of the ground, pushing on towards the point 
of the barley-corn. It starts from the bottom, where 
the root comes out ; and it goes on towards the other 
end ; arid would, if kept moist, come out at that other 
end when the root was about an inch long. So that, 
when you hav"e got the root to start, by soaking and 
turning in heap, the spear is on its way. If you look 
in through the skin, you will see it; and now observe; 



64 KEEPING COWS. [No. 

when the point of the spear has got along as far as 
the middle of the barley-corn, you should take your 
barley and dry it. How easy would every family, 
and especially every farmer, do this, if it were not 
for the punishment attached to it ! The persons in 
the " unkent places " before mentioned, dry the malt 
in their oven ! But let us hope that the labourer will 
soon be able to get malt without exposing himself to 
punishment as a violater of the law. 

KEEPING COWS.' 

111. As to the use of milk and of that which pro- 
ceeds from milk, in a family, very little need be said. 
At a certain age bread and milk are all that a child 
wants. At a later age they furnish one meal a day 
for -children. Milk is, at all seasons, good to drink. 
In the making of puddings, and in the making of 
bread too, how useful is it ! Let any one who has 
eaten none but baker's bread for a good while, taste 
bread home-baked, mixed with milk instead of with 
water ; and he will find what the difference is. There 
is this only to be observed, that in hot weather, bread 
mixed with milk will not keep so long" as that mixed 
with water. It will of course turn sour sooner. 

112. Whether the milk of a cpw be to be consumed 
by a cottage family in the shape of milk, or whether 
it be to be made to yield butter, skim-milk, and butter- 
milk, must depend on circumstances. A woman that 
has no child, or only one, would, perhaps, find it best 
to. make some butter at any rate. Besides, skim-milk 
and bread (the milk being boiled) is quite strong food 
enough for any children's breakfast, even when they 
begin to go to work ; a fact which I state upon the 
most ample and satisfactory experience, very seldom 
having ever had any other sort of breakfast myself 
till I was more than ten years old, and I was in the 
fieldte at work full four years before that. I will here 
mention that it gave me singular pleasure to see a 
boy, just turned of sir, helping his .father to reap, in 
Sussex, this last summer. He did little, to be sure ; 



KEEPING COWS. 



but it was something. His father set him into the 
ridge at a great distance before him ; and when he 
came up to the place, he found a sheaf cut; and, thtose 
who know what it is to reap, know how pleasant it 
is to find now and then a sheaf cut ready to their 
hand. It was no small thing to see a boy fit to be 
trusted with so dangerous a thing as a reap-hook in 
his hands, at an age when " young masters " have 
nursery-maids to cut their victuals for them, and to 
see that they do not fall out of the window, tumble 
down stairs, or run under carriage-wheels or horses' 
bellies. Was not this father discharging his duty 
by this boy much better than he would have been by 
sending him to a place. called a school? The boy is 
in a school .here, and an excellent school too : the 
school of useful labour. I must hear a great deal 
more than I ever have heard, to convince me, that 
teaching children to read tends so much to their hap- 
piness, their independence of spirit, their manliness 
of character, as teaching them to reap. The crea- 
ture that is in want must be a slave ; and to be ha- 
bituated to labour cheerfully is the only means of pre- 
venting nineteen-twentieths of mankind from being 
in want. I have digressed here ; but observations of 
this sort can, in my opinion, never be too often re- 
peated; especially at a time when all sorts of mad 
projects are on foot, for what is falsely called edu- 
cating the people, and when some would do this by 
a tax that would compel the single man to give part 
of his earnings to teach the married man's children 
to read and write. 

113. Before I quit the uses to which rnilk may be 
put, let me mention, that, as mere drink, it is, unless 
perhaps in case of heavy labour, better, in my opinion, 
than any beer, however good. I have drin&ed little else 
for the last five years, at any time of the day. Skim- 
milk I mean. If you have not milk enough to wet 
up your bread with (for a bushel of flour requires 
about 16 to 18 pints,) you make up the quantity with 
water, of course ; or, which is a very good way, with 
water that has been put, boiling hot, upon bran, and 
6* 



66 KEEPING COW3. [No. 

then drained off. This takes the goodness out of the 
bran to be sure ; but really good bread is a thing of 
so much importance, that it always ought to be the 
very first object in domestic economy. 

114. The cases vary so much, that it is impossible 
to lay down rules for the application of the produce 
of a cow, which rules shall fit all cases. I content 
myself, therefore, with what has already been said on 
this subject ; and shall only make an observation on 
the act of milking^ before I come to the chief mat- 
ter ; namely, the getting of the food for the cow. A 
cow should be milked clean. Not a drop, if it can be 
avoided, should be left in the udder. It has been 
proved that the half pint that comes out last has 
twelve tim,es, I think it is, as much butter in it, as the 
half pint that comes out first. I tried the milk often 
Alderney cows, and, as nearly as -I, without being 
very nice about the matter, could ascertain, I found 
the difference to be about what I have stated. The 
udder would seem to be a sort of milk-pan in which 
the cream is uppermost, and, of course, comes out 
last, seeing that the outlet is at the bottom. But, be- 
sides this, if you do not milk clean, the cow will give 
less and less milk, and will become dry much sooner 
than she ought. The cause of this 1 do not know, 
but experience has long established the fact. 

115. In providing food for a cow we must look, 
first, at the sort of cow ; seeing that a cow of one 
sort will certainly require more than twice as much 
food as a cow of another sort. For a cottage, a cow 
of the smallest sort common in England is, on every 
account, the best; and such a cow will not require, 
above 70 or 80 pounds of good moist food in the 
twenty-four hours. 

116. Now, how to raise this food on 40 rods of 
ground is what we want to know. It frequently hap- 
pens that a labourer has more than 40 rods of ground. 
It more frequently happens, that he has some corn- 
won, some lane, some little out-let or other, for a part 
of the year, at least. In such cases he may make a 
different disposition of his ground ; or may do with 



IV.] KEEPING COWS. 67 

less than the 40 rods. I am here, for simplicity's sake, 
to suppose, that he have 40 rods of clear, unshaded 
land, besides what his house and sheds stand upon ; 
and that he have nothing further in the way of means 
to keep his cow. 

117. I suppose the 40 rods to be clean and unshad- 
ed ; for I am to suppose, that when a man thinks of 
5 quarts of milk a day, on an average, all the year 
round, he will not suffer his ground to be encumbered 
by apple-trees that give him only the means of treat- 
ing his children to fits of the belly-ache, or with cur- 
rant and gooseberry bushes, which, though their fruit 
do very well to amuse, really give nothing worthy of 
the name of food, except to the blackbirds and thrush- 
es. The ground is to be clear of trees ; and, in the 
spring, we will suppose it to be clean. Then, dig it 
up deeply, or, which is better, trench it, keeping, how- 
ever, the top spit of the soil at the top. Lay it in 
ridges in April or May about two feet apart, and 
made high and sharp. When the weeds appear 
about three inches high, turn the ridges into the fur- 
rows (never moving the ground but in dry weather ',) 
and bury all the weeds. Do this as often as the 
weeds get three inches high ; and by the fall, you will 
have really clean ground, and not poor ground. 

118. There is the ground then, ready. About the 
26th of August, but not earlier, prepare a rod of 
your ground ; and put some manure in it (for some 
you must have,) and sow one half of it with Early 
York Cabbage Seed, and the other half with Sugar- 
loaf Cabbage Seed, both of the true sort, in little 
drills at 8 inches apart, and the seeds thin in the 
drill. If the plants come up at two inches apart (and 
they should be thinned if thicker,) you will have a 
plenty. As soon as fairly out of ground, hoe the 
ground nicely, and pretty deeply, and again in a few 
days. When the plants have six leaves, which will 
be very soon, dig up, make fine, and manure another 
rod or two, and prick out the plants, 4000 of each in 
rows at eight inches apart and three inches in the 
row. Hoe the ground between them often, and they 



6$ KEEPING COWS. [No. 

will grow fast and be straight and strong. 1 suppose 
that these beds for plants take 4 rods of your ground. 
Early in November, or, as the weather may serve, a 
little earlier or later, lay some manure (of which I 
shall say more hereafter) between the ridges, in the 
other 36 rods, and turn the ridges over on this ma- 
nure, and then transplant your plants on the ridges 
at 15 inches apart. Here they will stand the winter ; 
and you must see that the slu'gs do not eat them. If 
any plants fail, you have plenty in the bed where you 
prick them out ; for your 36 rods will notVequire more 
than 4000 plants. If the winter be very hard, and bady 
for plants, you cannot cover 36 rods ; but you may 
the bed where the rest of your plants are. A little 
litter, or straw or dead grass, or fern, laid along be- 
tween the rows and the plants, not to cover the leaves, 
will preserve them completely. When people com- 
plain of all their plants being " cut off'" they have, 
in fact nothing to complain of but their own extreme 
carelessness. If I had a gardener who complained 
of all his plants being cut off, I should cut him off 
pretty quickly. If those in the 36 rods fail, or fail in 
part, fill up their places, later in the winter, by plants 
from the bed. 

119. If you find the ground dry at the top during 
the winter, hoe it, and particularly near the plants, 
and rout out all slugs and insects. And when March 
comes, and the ground is dry, hoe deep and well, and 
earth the plants up close to the lower leaves. As soon 
as the plants begin to grow, dig the ground with a 
spade clean and well, and let the spade go as near to 
the plants as you can without actually displacing the 
plants. Give them another digging in a month ; and, 
if weeds come in the mean-while, hoe, and let not 
one live a week. Oh ! " what a deal of work /" 
Well ! but it is for yourself, and, besides, it is not all 
to be done in a day ; and we shall by-and-by see what 
it is altogether. 

120. By the first of June ; I speak of the South of 
England, and there is also some difference in seasons 
aud soils ; but, generally speaking, by the first of 



IV.] KEEPING COW3. 69 

June you will have turned-in cabbages, and soon 
you will have the Early Yorks solid. And by the 
first of June you may get your cow, one that is about 
to calve, or that has just calved^ and at this time such 
a cow as you will want will not, thank God, cost 
above five pounds. 

121. I shall speak of the place to keep her in, and 
of the manure and litter, by-and-by. At present I 
confine myself to her mere food. The 36 rods, if 
the cabbages all stood till they got solid, would give 
her food for 200 days, at 80 pounds weight per day, 
which is more than she would eat. But you must 
use some, at first, that are not solid ; and, then, some 
of them will split before you can use them. But you 
will have pigs to help off with them, and to gnaw 
the heads of the stumps. Some of the sugar-loaves 
may have been planted out in the spring; and thus 
these 36 rods will get you along to some time in Sep- 
tember. 

122. Now mind, in March, and again in April, 
sow more Early Yorks, and get them to be fine stout 
plants, as you did those in the fall. Dig up the 
ground and manure it, and, as fast as you cut cab- 
bages, plant cabbages ; and in the same manner and 
with the same cultivation as before. Your last plant- 
ing will be about the middle of August,- with stout 
plants, and these will serve you into the month of 
November. 

123. Now we have to provide from December to 
Mo.y inclusive ; and that, too, out of this same piece 
of ground. In November there must be, arrived at 
perfection, 3000 turnip plants. These, without the 
greens, must weigh, on an average, 5 pounds, and 
this, at 80 pounds a day, will. keep the cow 187 days; 
and there are but 182 days in these six months. The 
greens will have helped out the latest cabbages to 
carry you through November, and perhaps into De- 
cember. But for these six months, you must depend 
on nothing but the Swedish turnips. 

124. And now, how are these to be had upon the 
same ground that bears the cabbages ? That we 



70 KEEPING COWS. [No. 

are now going to see. When you plant out your cab- 
bages at the out-set, put first a row of Early Yorks, 
then a row of Sugar-loaves, and so on throughout 
the piece. Of course, as you are to use the Early 
Yorks first, you will cut every other row ; and the 
Early Yorks that you are to plant in summer will 
go into the intervals. By-and-by the Sugar-loaves 
are cut away, and in their place will come Swedish 
turnips, you digging and manuring the ground as in 
the case of the cabbages : and, at last, you will find 
about 16 rods where you will have found it too late, 
and unnecessary besides, to plant any second crop of 
cabbages. Here the Swedish- turnips will stand in 
rows at two feet apart, (and always a foot apart in the 
row,) and thus you will have three thousand turnips; 
and if these do not weigh five pounds each on an 
average, the fault must be in the seed or in the man- 
agement. 

125. The Swedish turnips are raised in this man- 
ner. You will bear in mind the four rods of ground 
in which you have sowed and pricked out your cab- 
bage plants. The plants that will be left there will, 
in April, serve you for greens, if you ever eat any, 
though bread and bacon are very good without greens, 
and rather better than with. At any rate, the pig, 
which has strong powers of digestion, will consume 
this herbage. In a part of these four rods you will, in 
March and April, as before directed, have sown and 
raised your Early Yorks for the summer planting. 
Now, in the last week of May, prepare a quarter of a 
rod of this ground, and sow it, precisely as directed 
for the Cabbage-seed, with Swedish turnip-seed ; and 
sow a quarter of a rod every three days, till you have 
sowed two rods. If the fly appear, cover the rows 
over in the day-time with cabbage leaves, and take 
the leaves off at night ; hoe well between the plants ; 
and when they are safe from the fly, thin them to four 
inches apart in the row. The two rods will give you 
nearly Jive thousand plants, which is 2000 more than 
you will want From this bed you draw your plants 
to transplant in the ground where the cabbages have 



IV.] KEEPING COWS. 71 

stood, as before directed. You should transplant 
none much before the middle of July, and not much 
later than the middle of August. In the two rods 
whence you take your turnip plants, you may leave 
plants to come to perfection, at two feet distances 
each way ; and this will give you over and above, 
840 pounds weight of turnips. For the other two 
rods will be ground enough for you to sow your 
cabbage plants in at the eild of August, as directed 
for last year. 

126. I should now proceed to speak of the manner 
of harvesting, preserving, and using the crops ; of the 
manner of feeding the cow ; of the shed for her ; of the 
managing of the manure, and several other less im- 
portant things ; but these, for want of room here, must 
be reserved for the beginning of my next Number. 
After, therefore, observing; that the Turnip plants 
must be transplanted in the same way that Cabbage 
plants are ; and that both ought to be transplanted in 
dry weather and in ground just fresh digged, I shall 
close this Number with the notice of two points which 
I arn most anxious to impress upon the mind of every 
reader. 

- 127. The first is, whether these crops give an ill 
taste to milk and butter. It is very certain, that the 
taste and smell of certain sorts of cattle-food will do 
this ; for, in some parts of America, where the wild 
garlick, of which the cows are very fond, and which, 
like other bulbous-rooted plants, springs before the 
grass, not only the milk and butter have a strong taste 
of garlick, but even the veal, when the calves suck 
milk from such sources. None can be more common 
expressions, than, in Philadelphia market, are those 
of Garlicky Butter and Garlicky Veal. I have 
distinctly tasted the Whiskey in milk of cows fed on 
distiller's wash. It is also certain, that, if the cow 
eat putrid leaves of cabbages and turnips, the butter 
will be offensive. And the white-turnip, which is at 
best but a poor thing, and often half putrid, makes 
miserable butter. The large cattle-cabbage, which, 
when loaved hard, has a strong and even an offensive 



72 KEEPING -COWS. [No. 

smell, will give a bad taste and smell to milk and but- 
ter, whether there be putrid leaves or not. If you boil 
one of these rank cabbages, the water is extremely 
offensive to the smell. But I state upon positive and 
recent experience, that Early York and Sugar-loaf 
Cabbages will yield as sweet milk and butter as any 
food that can be given to a cow. During this last 
summer, I have, with the exception about to be no- 
ticed, kept, from the 1st of May to the 22d of October, 
five cows upon the grass of two acres and a quarter oj 
ground, the grass being generally cut up for them, 
and given to them in the stall. I had in the spring 
5000 cabbage plants, intended for my pigs, eleven in 
number. But the pigs could not eat half their allow- 
ance, though they were not very small when they be- 
gan upon it. We were compelled to resort to the aid 
of the cows ; and, in order to see the effect on the milk 
and butter, we did not mix the food ; but gave the 
cows two distinct spells at the cabbages, each spell 
about 10 days in duration. The cabbages were cut 
off the stump with little or no care about dead leaves. 
And sweeter, finer butter, butter of a finer colour, than 
these cabbages made, never was made in this world. 
I never had better from cows feeding in the sweetest 
pasture. Now, as to Swedish turnips, they do give a 
little taste, especially if boiling of the milk pans be 
neglected, and if the greatest care be not taken about 
all the dairy tackle. Yet we have, for months to- 
gether, had the butter so fine from Swedish turnips, 
that nobody could well distinguish it from grass-but- 
ter. But to secure this, there must be no sluttishness. 
Churn ; pans, pail, shelves, wall, floor, and all about 
the dairy, must be clean ; and, above all things-, the 
pans must be boiled. However, after all, it is not 
nere a case of delicacy of smell so refined as to faint 
at any thing that meets it except the stink of per- 
fumes. If the butter do taste a little of the Swedish 
turnip, it will do very well where there is plenty of 
that sweet sauce which early rising and bodily labour 
are ever sure to bring. 

128. The other point (about which I am still more 



V.] KEEPING COWS. 73 

anxious) is the seed / for if the seed be not sound, 
and especially if it be not true to its kind, all your 
labour is in vain. It is best, if you can do it, to get 
your seed from some friend, or some one that you 
know and can trust. If you save seed, observe all 
the precautions mentioned in my book on Gardening". 
This very year I have some Swedish turnips, so 
called, about 7000 in number, and should, if my seed 
had been true, have had about twenty tons weight ; 
instead of which I have about three! Indeed, they 
are not Swedish turnips, but a sort of mixture be- 
tween that plant and rape. I am sure the seedsman 
did not wilfully deceive me. He was deceived him- 
self. The truth is, that seedsmen are compelled to 
buy their seeds of this plant. Farmers save it ; and 
they but too often pay very little attention to the 
manner of doing it. The best way is to get a dozen 
of fine turnip plants, perfect in all respects, and plant 
them in a situation where the smell of the blossoms 
of nothing of the cabbage or rape or turnip or even 
charlock kind, can reach them. The seed will keep 
perfectly good for four years. 



No. V 
KEEPING cows (continued.) 

129. I HAVE now, in the conclusion of this article, 
to speak of the manner of harvesting" and preserving" 
the Swedes ; of the place to keep the cow in; of the 
manure for the land ; and of the quantity of labour 
that the cultivation of the land and the harvesting of 
the crop will require. 

130. Harvesting" and preserving the Swedes. 
When they are ready to take up, the tops must be cut 
off, if not cut off before, and also the roots; but neither 
tops nor roots should be cut off very close. You will 
have room for ten bushels of the bulbs in the house, or 
shed. Put the rest into ten-bushel heaps. Make the 

7 



74 KEEPING COWS. [No. 

heap upon the ground in a round form, and let it rise 
up to a point. Lay over it a little litter, straw, or dead 
grass, about three inches thick, and then earth upon 
that about six inches thick. Then cut a thin round 
green turf, about eighteen inches over, and put it 
upon the crown of the heap to prevent the earth from 
being washed off. Thus these heaps will remain till 
wanted for use. When given to the cow, it will be 
best to wash the Swedes and cut each into two or 
three pieces with a spade or some other tool. You 
can take in ten bushels at a time. If you find them 
sprouting in the spring, open the remaining heaps, 
and expose them to the sun and wind ; and cover 
them again slightly with straw or litter of some 
sort.* 

131. As to the place to keep the cow in, much will 
depend upon situation and circumstances. I am al- 
ways supposing that the cottage is a real cottage, and 
not a house in a town or village street ; though, 
wherever there is the quarter of an acre of ground, 
the cow may be kept. Let me, however, suppose 
that which will generally happen ; namely, that the 
cottage stands by the side of a road, or lane, and 
amongst fields and woods, if not on the side of a com- 
nion. To pretend to tell a country labourer how to 
build a shed for a cow, how to stick it up against the 
end of his house, or to make it an independent erec- 
tion ; or to dwell on the materials, where poles, rods, 
wattles, rushes, furze, heath, and cooper-chips, are all 
to be gotten by him for nothing or next to nothing, 
would be useless ; because a man who, thus situated, 
can be at any loss for a shed for his cow, is not only un- 
fit to keep a cow, but unfit to keep a cat. The warmer 
the shed is the better it is. The floor should slope, 
but not too much. There are stones, of some sort or 
other, every-where, and about six wheel-barrow-fulls 
will pave the shed, a thing to be by no means neglect- 

* Be sure, now, before you go any further, to go to the end of 
the book, and there read about MANGLE WURZLE. Be sure to do 
this. And there read also about COBBBTT'S CORN. Be sure to do this 
before you go any further. 



V.] KEEPING COWS. 75 

ed. A broad trough, or box, fixed up at the head of 
the cow, is the thing to give her food in ; and she 
should be fed three times a day, at least ; always at 
day-light and at sun-set. It is not absolutely necessa- 
ry that a cow ever quit her shed, except just at calving 
time, or when taken to the bull. In the former case 
the time is, nine times out of ten, known to within 
forty-eight hours. Any enclosed field or place will 
do for her during a day or two ; and for such purpose, 
if there be not room at home, no man will refuse place 
for her in a fallow field. It will, however, be good, 
where there is no common to turn her out upon, to 
have her led by a string, two or three times a week, 
which may be done by a child only five years old, to 
graze, or pick, along the sides of roads and lanes. 
Where there is a common, she will, of course, be turn- 
ed out in the day time, except in very wet or severe 
weather ; and in a case like this, a smaller quantity 
of ground will suffice for the keeping of her. Accord- 
ing to the present practice, a miserable " toilet" of 
bad hay is, in such cases, the winter provision for the 
cow. It can scarcely be called food ; and the conse- 
quence is, the cow is both dry and lousy nearly half 
the year ; instead of being dry only about fifteen days 
before calving, and being sleek and lusty at the end 
of the winter, to which a warm lodging greatly con- 
tributes. For, observe, if you keep a cow, any time 
between September and June, out in a field or yard, 
to endure the chances of the weather, she will not, 
though she have food precisely the same in quantity 
and quality, yield above two-thirds as much as if she 
were lodged in house ; and in wet weather she will 
not yield half so much. It is not so much the cold 
as the wet that is injurious to all our stock in England. 
132. The Manure. At the beginning this must 
be provided by collections made on the road ; by the 
results of the residence in a cottage. Let any man 
clean out every place about his dwelling ; rake and 
scrape and sweep all into a heap ; and he will find 
that he has a great deal. Earth of almost any sort 
that has long lain on the surface, and has been trod* 



76 KEEPING COWS. [N0, 

den on, is a species of manure. Every act that tends 
to neatness round a dwelling, tends to the creating 
of a mass of manure. And I have very seldom seen 
a cottage, with a plat of ground of a quarter of an acre 
belonging to it, round about which I could not have 
collected a very large heap of manure. Every thing of 
animal or vegetable substance that comes into a house, 
must go out of it again, in one shape or another. The 
very emptying of vessels of various kinds, on a heap 
of common earth, makes it a heap of the best of 
manure. Thus goes on the work of reproduction; 
and thus is verified the words of the Scripture, 
" Flesh is grass, and there is nothing" new under the 
sun" Thus far as to the outset. When you have 
got the cow, there is nb more care about manure; 
for, and especially if you have a pig also, you must 
have enough annually for an acre of ground. And 

cessary, 
crop; fc 

than substantial part ; as it is well known, that wheat 
plants, standing in ground too full of manure, will 
yield very thick and long straws, but grains of 'little 
or no substance. You ought to depend more on the 
spade and the hoe than on the dung-heap. Never- 
theless, the greatest care should be taken to preserve 
the manure ; because you will want straw, unless you 
be by the side of a common which gives you rushes, 
grassy furze, or fern ; and to get straw you must give 
a part of your dung from the cow-stall and pig-sty. 
The best way to preserve manure, is to have a pit of 
sufficient dimensions close behind the cow-shed and 
pig-sty, for the run from these to go into, and from 
which all runs of rain water should be kept. Into this 
pit would go the emptying of the shed and of the sty, 
and the produce of all sweepings and cleanings round 
the house ; and thus a large mass of manure would 
soon grow together. Much too large a quantity for 
a quarter of an acre of ground. One good load of 
wheat or rye straw is all that you would want for the 
winter, and half of one for the summer ; and you 




V.] KEEPING COWS. 77 

would have more than enough dung to exchange 
against ttfls straw. 

1 33. Now, as to the quantity of labour that the 
cultivation of the land will demand in a year. We 
will suppose the whole to have Jive complete dig- 
gings, and say nothing about the little matters of 
sowing and planting and hoeing and harvesting, all 
which are a mere trifle. We are supposing the owner 
to be an able labouring man ; and such a man will 
dig 12 rods of ground in a day. Here are 200 rods 
to be digged, and here are little less than 17 days of 
work at 12 hours in the day ; or 200 hours* work, to 
be done in the course of the long days of spring and 
summer, while it is li^ht long before six in the morn- 
ing, and long after six at night. What is it, then ? 
Is it not better than time spent in the ale-house, or 
in creeping about after a miserable hare ? Frequently, 
and most frequently, there will be a boy, if not two, 
big enough to help. And (I only give this as a hint) 
I saw, on the 7th of November last (1822,) a very 
pretty woman, in the village of Hannington, in Wilt- 
shire, digging a piece of ground and planting it with 
Early Cabbages, which she did as handily and as 
neatly as any gardener that ever I saw. The ground 
was wet, and therefore, to avoid treading the digged 
ground in that state, she had her line extended, and 
put in the rows as she advanced in her digging, stand- 
ing in the trench while she performed the act of 
planting, which she did with great nimbleness and 
precision. Nothing could be more skilfully or beau- 
tifully done. Her clothes were neat, clean, and tight 
about her. She had turned her handkerchief down 
from her neck, which, with the glow that the work 
had brought into her cheeks, formed an object which 
I do not say would have made me actually stop my 
chaise, had it not been for the occupation in which 
she was engaged ; but, all taken together, the temp- 
tation was too strong to be resisted. But there is the 
Sunday ; and I know of no law, human or divine, 
that forbids a labouring man to dig or plant his gar- 
den on Sunday, if the good of his family demand it ; 
7* 



7& KEEPING COWS. [No, 

and if he cannot, without injury to that family, find 
other time to do it in. Shepherds, carters, jHgfeeders, 
drovers, coachmen, cooks, footmen, printers, and nu- 
merous others, work on the Sunaays. Theirs are 
deemed by the law works of necessity. Harvesting 
and haymaking are allowed to be carried on on the 
Sunday, in certain cases ; when they are always 
carried on by provident farmers. And I should be 
glad to know the case which is more a case of ne- 
cessity than that now under our view. In fact, the 
labouring people do work on the Sunday morning in 
particular, all over the country, at something or other, 
or they are engaged in pursuits a good deal less reli- 
gious than that of digging and planting. So that, as 
to the 200 hours, they are easily found, without the loss 
of any of the time required for constant daily labour. 
134. And what a produce is that of a cow ! I sup- 
pose only an average of 5 quarts of milk a day. If 
made into butter, it will be equal every week to two 
days of the man's wages, besides the value of the 
skim milk : and this can hardly be of less value than 
another day's wages. What a thing, then, is this 
cow, if she earn half as much as the man ! I am 
greatly under- rating her produce ; but I wish to put 
all the advantages at the lowest. To be sure, there 
is work for the wife, or daughter, to milk and make 
butter. But the former is done at the two ends of 
the day, and the latter only about once in the week. 
And, whatever these may subtract from the labours 
of the field, which all country women ought to be 
engaged in whenever they conveniently can ; what- 
ever the cares created by the cow may subtract from 
these, is amply compensated for by the education 
that these cares will give to the children. They will 
all learn to milk,* and the girls to make butter. And 

* To me the follow-in? has happened within the last year. A youn? 
man, in the country, hud agreed to be my servant; but it was found 
that, he conld not milk ; and the bargain was set aside. About a month 
afterwards a young man, who said he w.is a. farmer's son, anJ who 
came from Herefordshire, offered himself to me at Kensington. "Can 
you milk ?" He could not ; but would learn ! Ay, but in the learn- 
ing, he might dry up my cows! What a shame to the parents of 
use young men ! Both of them were in want of employment. Th 



V.J KEEPING COWS. 79 

which is a thing of the very first importance, they 
will all learn, from their infancy, to set a just value 
upon dumb animals, and will grow up in the habit 
oi treating them with gentleness and feeding them 
with care. To those who have not been brought up 
in the midst of rural affairs, it is hardly possible to 
give an adequate idea of the importance of this part 
of education. I should be very loth to intrust ihe 
care of my horses, cattle, sheep, or pigs, to any one 
whose father never had cow or pig of his own. It is 
a general complaint, that servants, and especially 
farm-servants, are not so good as they used to be. 
How should they ? They were formerly the sons 
and daughters of small farmers ; they are now the 
progeny of miserable property-less labourers. They 
nave never seen an animal in which they had any 
interest. They are careless by habit. This mon- 
strous evil has arisen from causes which I have a 
thousand times described ; and which causes must now 
be speedily removed ; or, they will produce a disso- 
lution of society, and give us a beginning afresh. 

135. The circumstances vary so much, that it is 
impossible to lay down precise rules suited to all cases. 
The cottage may be on the side of a forest or com- 
mon ; it may be on the side of a lane or of a great road, 
distant from town or village ; it may be on the skirts 
of one of these latter : and then, again, the family may 
be few or great in number, the children small or big, 
according to all which circumstances, the extent and 
application of the cow-food, and also the application 
of the produce, will naturally be regulated. Under 
some circumstances, half the above crop may be 
enough ; especially where good commons are at hand. 
Sometimes it may be the best way to sell the calf as 
soon as calved; at others, to fat it; and, at others, if 
you cannot sell it, which sometimes happens, to knock 
it on the head as soon as calved ; for, where there is 
a family of small children, the price of a calf of two 

latter had come more than a hundred miles in search of work ; and 
here he was left to hunger still, and to be exposed to all sorts of ill* 
because he could not milk. 



SO KEEPING COWS. [No. 

months old cannot be equal to the half of the value of 
the two months' milk. It is pure weakness to call it 
" c pity." It is a much greater pity to see hungry 
children crying for the milk that a calf is sucking to 
no useful purpose ; and as to the cow and the calf, the 
one must lose her young, and the other its life, after 
all ; and the respite only makes an addition to the suf- 
ferings of both. 

136. As to the pretended unwholesomeness of milk 
in certain cases ; as to its not being adapted to some 
constitutions, I do not believe one word of the matter. 
When we talk of the fruits, indeed, which were for- 
merly the chief food of a great part of mankind, we 
should recollect, that those fruits grew in countries 
that had a sun to ripen the fruits, and to put nutritious 
matter into them. But as to milk, England yields to 
no country upon the face of the earth. Neat cattle 
will touch nothing that is not wholesome in its nature ; 
nothing that is not wholly innoxious. Out of a pail 
that has ever had grease in it, they will not drink a 
drop, though they be raging with thirst. Their very 
breath is fragrance. And how, then, is it possible, 
that unwholesomeness should distil from the udder of 
a cow? The milk varies, indeed, in its quality and 
taste according to the variations in the nature of the 
food ; but no food will a cow touch that is any way hos- 
tile to health. Feed young puppies upon milk from, the 
cow, and they will never die with that ravaging disease 
called " the distemper." In short, to suppose that 
milk contains any thing essentially unwholesome is 
monstrous. When, indeed, the appetite becomes vi- 
tiated : when the organs have been long accustomed 
to food of a more stimulating nature ; when it has been 
resolved to eat ragouts at dinner, and drink wine, and 
to swallow " a devil," and a glass of strong grog at 
night ; then milk for breakfast may be "heavy " and 
disgusting, and the feeder may stand in need of tea or 
laudanum, which differ only as to degrees of strength. 
But, and I speak from the most ample experience, 
milk is not " heavy" and much less is it unwholesome, 
when he who uses it rises early, never swallows 



V.] KEEPING COWS. 81 

strong drink, and never stuffs himself with flesh of 
any kind. Many and many a day I scarcely taste of 
meat, and then chiefly at breakfast, and that, too, at 
an early hour. Milk is the natural food of young 
people; if it be too rich, skim it again and again till 
it be not too rich. This is an evil easily cured. If 
you have now to begin with a family of children, they 
may not like it at first. But persevere; and the parent 
who does not do this, having the means in his hands, 
shamefully neglects his duty. A son who prefers a 
" devil " and a glass of grog to a hunch of bread and 
a bowl of cold milk, I regard as a pest ; and for this 
pest the father has to thank himself. 

137. Before I dismiss this article, let me offer an 
observation or two to those persons who live in the 
vicinity of towns, or in towns, and who, though they 
have large gardens, have "no land to keep a cow? a 
circumstance which they " exceedingly regret" I 
have. I dare say, witnessed this case at least a thou- 
sand times. Now, how much garden ground does it 
require to supply even a large family with garden 
vegetables? The market gardeners round the metro- 
polis of this wen-headed country ; round this Wen of 
all wens ; * round this prodigious and monstrous col- 
lection of human beings ; these market gardeners have 
about three hundred thousand families to supply with 
vegetables, and these they supply well too, and with 
summer fruits into the bargain. Now, if it demanded 
ten rods to a family, the whole would demand, all 
but a fraction, nineteen thousand acres of garden 
ground. We have only to cast our eyes over what 
there is to know that there is not & fourth of that quan- 
tity. A square mile contains, leaving out parts of a 
hundred, 700 acres of land ; and 19,000 acres occupy 
more than twenty-two square miles. Are there twenty- 
two square miles covered with the Wen's market gar- 
dens? The very question is absurd. The whole of the 
market gardens from Brompton to Hammersmith, ex- 
tending to Battersea Rise on the one side, and to the 
Bayswater road on the other side, ajid leaving out 

* London. 



82 KEEPING COW3. [No. 

roads, lanes, nurseries, pastures, corn-fields, and plea- 
sure-grounds, do not, in my opinion, cover one square 
mile. To the north and south of the Wen there is very 
little in the way of market garden; and if, on both sides 
of the Thames, to the eastward of the Wen, there be 
three square miles actually covered with market gar- 
dens, that is the full extent. How, then, could the Wen 
be supplied, if it required ten rods to each family ? To 
be sure, potatoes, carrots, and turnips, and especially 
the first of these, are brought, for the use of the Wen, 
from a great distance, in many cases. But, so they 
are for the use of the persons I am speaking of; for a 
gentleman thinks no more of raising a large quantity 
of these things in his garden, than he thinks of rais- 
ing wheat there. How is it, then, that it requires half 
an acre, or eighty rods, in a private garden to supply a 
family, while these market gardeners supply all these 
families (and so amply too) from ten, or more likely, 
five rods of ground to a family? I have shown, in 
the last Number, that nearly fifteen tons of vegetables 
can be raised in a year upon forty rods of ground ; 
that is to say, ten loads for a wagon and four good 
horses. And is not a fourth, or even an eighth, part 
of this weight, sufficient to go down the throats of a 
family in a year ? Nay, allow that only a ton goes to 
a family in a year, it is more than six pound weight 
a day; and what sort of a family must that be that 
really swallows six pounds weight a day ? and this a 
market gardener will raise for them upon less than 
three rods of ground ; for he will raise, in the course 
of the year, even more than fifteen tons upon forty 
rods of ground. What is it, then, that they do with 
the eighty rods of ground in a private garden ? Why, 
in the first place, they have one crop where they ought 
to have three. Then they do not half till the ground. 
Then they grow things that are not wanted. Plant 
cabbages and other things, let them stand till they be 
good for nothing, and then wheel them to the rubbish 
heap. Raise as many radishes, lettuces, and as much 
endive, and as^many kidney-beans, as would serve 
for ten families ; and finally throw nine-tenths of 



V.] SEEPING COWS. 83 

them away. I once saw not less than three rods of 
ground, in a garden of this sort, with lettuces all bear- 
ing seed. Seed enough for half a county. They cut 
a cabbage here and a cabbage there, and so let the 
whole of the piece of ground remain undug, till the 
last cabbage be cut. But, after all, the produce, even 
in this way, is so great, that it never could be gotten 
rid of, if the main part were not thrown away. The 
rubbish heap always receives four-fifths even of the 
eatable part of the produce. 

138. It is not thus that the market gardeners pro- 
ceed. Their rubbish heap consists of little besides 
mere cabbage stumps. No sooner is one crop on the 
ground than they settle in their minds what is to fol- 
low it. They clear as they go in taking off a crop, 
and, as they clear they dig and plant. The ground is 
never without seed in it or plants on it. And thus, in 
the course of the year, they raise a prodigious bulk of 
vegetables from eighty rods of ground. Such vigi- 
lance and industry are not to be expected in a servant; 
for it is foolish to expect that a man will exert him- 
self for another as much as he will for himself. But if 
I was situated as one of the persons is that I have spo- 
ken of in Paragraph 137 ; that is to say, if I had a gar- 
den of eighty rods, or even of sixty rods of ground, I 
would out of that garden, draw a sufficiency of vege- 
tables for my family, and would make it yield enough 
for a cow besides. I should go a short way to work 
with my gardener. I should put Cottage Economy 
into his hands, and tell him, that if he could furnisn 
me with vegetables, and my cow with food, he was 
my man ; and that if he could not, I must get one that 
could and would. I am not for making a man toil like 
a slave ; but what would become of the world, if a 
well-fed healthy man could exhaust himself in tilling 
and cropping and clearing half an acre of ground? I 
have known many men dig thirty rods of garden 
ground in a day ; I have, before I was fourteen, digged 
twenty rods in a day, for more than ten days succes- 
sively ; and I have heard, and believe the fact, of a 
man at Portsea, who digged forty rods in one single 



84 KEEPING PIGS. [NO. 

day, between daylight and dark. So that it is no 
slavish toil that I am here recommending. 

KEEPING PIGS. 

139. NEXT after the Cow comes the Pig; and, in. 
many cases, where a cow cannot be kept, a pig or 
pigs may be kept. But these are animals not to be 
ventured on without due consideration as to the 
means of feeding them ; for a starved pig is a great 
deal worse than none at all. You cannot make ba- 
con as you can milk, merely out of the garden. There 
must be something more. A couple of flitches of ba- 
con are worth fifty thousand Methodist sermons and 
religious tracts. The sight of them upon the rack 
tends more to keep a man from poaching and stealing 
than whole volumes of penal statutes, though assisted 
by the terrors of the hulks and the gibbet. They are 
great softeners of the temper, and promoters of do- 
mestic harmony. They are a great blessing; but 
they are not to be had from herbage or roots of any 
kind ; and, therefore, before a pig be attempted, the 
means ought to be considered. 

140. Breeding sows are great favourites with Cot- 
tagers in general ; but I have seldom known them to 
answer their purpose. Where there is an outlet, the 
sow will, indeed, keep herself by grazing in summer, 
with a little wash to help her out : and when her pigs 
come, they are many in number ; but they are a heavy 
expense. The sow must live as well as a fatting' 
hog) or the pigs will be good for little. It is a great 
mistake, too, to suppose that the condition of the sow 
previous to pigging is of no consequence ; and, in- 
deed, some suppose, that she ought to be rather bare 
offiesh at the pigging time. Never was a greater 
mistake; for if she be in this state, she presently be- 
comes a mere rack of bones ; and then, do what you 
will, the pigs will be poor things. However fat she 
may be before she farrow, the pigs will make her lean 
in a week. All her fat goes away in her milk, and 
unless the pigs have a store to draw upon, they pull 



V.] KEEPING PIGS. 85 

her down directly ; and, by the time they are three 
weeks old, they are starving for want ; and then they 
never come to good. 

141. Now, a cottager's sow cannot, without great 
expense, be kept in a way to enable her to meet the 
demands of her farrow. She may look pretty well ; 
but the flesh she has upon her is not of the same na- 
ture as that which the farm-yard sow carries about 
her. It is the result of grass, and of poor grass, too, 
or other weak food ; and not made partly out of corn 
and whey and strong wash, as in the case of the far- 
mer's sow. No food short of that of a fatting hog 
will enable her to keep her pigs alive ; and this she 
must have for ten weeks, and that at a great expense. 
Then comes the operation, upon the principle of 
Parson Malihus, in order to check population; and 
there is some risk here, though not very great. But 
there is the weaning; and who, that knows any thing 
about the matter, will think lightly of the weaning 
of a farrow of pigs ! By having nice food given them, 
they seem, for a few days, not to miss their mother. 
But their appearance soon shows the want of her. 
Nothing but the very best food, and that given in the 
most judicious manner, will keep them up to any 
thing like good condition ; and, indeed, there is 
nothing short of milk that will effect the thing well. 
How should it be otherwise ? The very richest cow's 
milk is poor, compared with that of the sow; and, to 
be taken from this and put upon food, one ingredient 
of which is water, is quite sufficient to reduce the 
poor little things to bare bones and staring hair, a 
state to which cottagers' pigs very soon come in 
general ; and, at last, he frequently drives them to 
market, and sells them for less than the cost of the 
food which they and the sow have devoured since they 
were farrowed. It was, doubtless, pigs of this descrip- 
tion that were sold the other day at Newbury market, 
for fifteen pence a piece, and which were, I dare 
sayj dear even as a gift. To get such a pig to begin 
to grow will require three months, and with good 
feeding too in winter time. To be sure it does come 
8 



86 KEEPING PIGS. [NO. 

to be a hog at last ; but, do what you can, it is a 
dear hog. 

142. The Cottager ', then, can hold no competition 
with the Farmer in the breeding of pigs, to do which, 
with advantage, there must be milk, and milk, too, 
that can be advantageously applied to no other use. 
The cottager's pig must be bought ready weaned to 
his hand, and, indeed, at four months old, at which 
age, if he be in good condition, he will eat any-thing 
that an old hog will eat. He will graze, eat cabbage 
leaves, and almost the stumps. Swedish turnip tops 
or roots, and such things, with a little wash, will 
keep him along in very good growing order. I have 
now to speak of the time of purchasing, the manner 
of keeping, of fatting, killing, and curing ; but these 
I must reserve till my next Number. 



No. VI. 
KEEPING PIGS {continued.) 

143. As in the case of cows so in that of pigs, 
much must depend upon the situation of the cottage ; 
because all pigs will graze; and therefore, on the 
skirts of forests or commons, a couple or three pigs 
may be kept, if the family be considerable ; and es- 
pecially if the cottager brew his own beer, which will 
give him grains to assist the wash. Even in lanes. 
or on the sides of great roads, a pig will find a good 
part of his food from May to November; and if he be 
yoked, the occupiers of the neighbourhood must be 
churlish and brutish indeed, if they give the owner 
any annoyance. 

144. Let me break off here for a moment to point 
out to my readers the truly excellent conduct of Lord 
WINCHILSEA and Lord STANHOPE, who, as I read, 
have taken great pains to make the labourers on their 
estates comfortable, by allotting to each a piece of 
ground sufficient for tne keeping of a cow. I once, 



VI.] KEEPING PIGS. 87 

when I lived at Botley, proposed to the copyholders 
and other farmers in my neighbourhood, that we 
should petition the Bishop of Winchester, who was 
lord of the manors thereabouts, to grant titles to all 
the numerous persons called trespassers on the wastes; 
and also to give titles to others of the poor parishion- 
ers, who were willing to make, on the skirts of the 
wastes, enclosures not exceeding an acre each. This 
I am convinced, would have done a great deal towards 
relieving the parishes, then greatly burdened by men 
out of work. This would have been better than dig- 
ging holes one day to fill them up the next. Not a 
single man would agree to my proposal ! One, a bull- 
frog farmer (now, I hear, pretty well sweated down,) 
said it would only make them saucy ! And one, a 
true disciple of Malthus, said, that to facilitate their 
rearing of children was a harm ! This man had, at 
the time, in his own occupation, land that had formerly 
been six farms, and he had, too, ten or a dozen chil- 
dren. I will not mention names ; but this farmer 
will now, perhaps, have occasion to call to mind what 
I told him on that day, when his opposition, and par- 
ticularly the ground of it, gave me the more pain, as 
he was a very industrious, civil, and honest man. 
Never was there a greater mistake than to suppose 
that men are made saucy and idle by just and kind 
treatment. Slaves are always lazy and saucy ; no- 
thing but the lash will extort from them either labour 
or respectful deportment. I never met with a saucy 
Yankee (New Englander) in my life. Never servile ; 
always civil. This must necessarily be the character 
of freemen living in a state of competence. They 
have nobody to envy ; nobody to complain of; they 
are in good humour with mankind. Ii must, how- 
ever, be confessed, that very little, comparatively 
speaking, is to be accomplished by the individual ef- 
forts even of benevolent men like the two noblemen 
before mentioned. They have a strife to maintain 
against the general tendency of the national state of 
thing's. It is by general and indirect means, and not 
by partial and direct and positive regulations, that so 



88 KEEPING PIGS. [No. 

great a good as that which they generously aim at 
can be accomplished. When we are to see such 
means adopted, God only knows ; but ? if much longer 
delayed, I am ot opinion, that they will come too late 
to prevent something very much resembling a disso- 
lution of society. 

145. The cottager's pig should be bought in the 
spring, or late in winter ; and being then four months 
old, he will be a year old before killing time ; for it 
should always be borne in mind, that this age is 
required in order to insure the greatest quantity of 
meat from a given quantity of food. If a hog be more 
than a year old, he is the better for it. The flesh is 
more solid and more nutritious than that of a young 
hog, much in the same degree that the mutton of a 
full-mouthed wether is better than that of a younger 
wether. The rjork or bacon of young hogs, even if 
fatted on corn, is very apt to boil out, as they call it ; 
that is to say, come out of the pot smaller in bulk 
than it goes in. When you begin to fat, do it by de- 
grees, especially in the case of hogs under a year old. 
If you feed high all at once, the hog is apt to surfeit, 
and then a great loss of food takes place. Peas, or 
barley-meal is the food ; the latter rather the best, and 
does the work quicker. Make him quite fat by all 
means. The last bushel, even if he sit as he eat, is 
the most profitable. If he can walk two hundred 
yards at a time, he is not well fatted. Lean bacon 
is the most wasteful thing that any family can use. 
In short, it is uneatable, except by drunkards, who 
want something to stimulate their sickly appetite. 
The man who cannot live on solid fat bacon, well- 
fed and well-cured, wants the sweet sauce of labour, 
or is fit for the hospital. But, then, it must be bacon, 
the effect of barley or peas, (not beans,) and not of 
whey, potatoes, or messes of any kind. It is frequent- 
ly said, and I know that even farmers say it, that 
bacon, made from corn, costs more than it is worth! 
Why do they take care to have it then ? They know 
better. They know well, that it is the very cheapest 
they can have ; and they, who look at both ends and 



VI.] KEEPING PIGS. 89 

both sides of every cost, would as soon think of shoot- 
ing their hogs as of fatting them on messes; that is 
to say, for their own use, however willing they might 
now-and-then be to regale the Londoners with a bit 
of potato-pork. 

146. About Christmas, if the weather be coldish, 
is a good time to kill. If the weather be very mild, 
you may wait a little longer ; for the hog cannot be 
too fat. The day before killing he should have no 
food. To kill a hog nicely is so much of a profes^ 
sion, that it is better to pay a shilling for having it 
done, than to stab and hack and tear the carcass about. 
I shall not speak of pork ; for I would by no means 
recommend it. There are two ways of going to work 
to make bacon ; in the one you take off the hair by 
scalding. This is the practice in most parts of Eng- 
land, and all over America. But the Hampshire way, 
and the best way, is to burn the hair off'. There is a 

treat deal of difference in the consequences. The 
rst method slackens the skin, opens all the pores of 
it, makes it loose and flabby by drawing out the roots 
of the hair. The second tightens the skin in every 
part, contracts all the sinews and veins in the skin, 
makes the flitch a solider thing, and the skin a better 
protection to the meat. The taste of the meat is very 
different from that of a scalded hog; and to this chiefly 
it was that Hampshire bacon owed its reputation for 
excellence. As the hair is to be burnt off it must be 
dry, and care must be taken, that the hog be kept on dry 
litter of some sort the day previous to killing. When 
killed he is laid upon a narrow bed of straw, not 
wider than his carcass, and only two or three inches 
thick. He is then covered all over thinly with straw, 
to which, according as the wind may be, the fire is 

Eut at one end. As the straw burns, it burns the 
air. It requires two or three coverings and burnings, 
and care is taken, that the skin be not in any part burnt, 
or parched. When the hair is all burnt off close, the 
hog is scraped clean, but never touched with water. 
The upper side being finished, the hog is turned over, 
and the other side is treated in like manner. This 
8* 



90 KEEPING PIGS. [No. 

work should always be done before day-light ; for in 
the day-light you cannot so nicely discover whether 
the hair be sufficiently burnt off. The light of the 
fire is weakened by that of the day. Besides, it makes 
the boys get up very early for once at any rate, and 
that is something ; for boys always like a bonfire. 

147. The inwards are next taken out, and if the 
wife be not a slattern, here, in the mere offal, in the 
mere garbage, there is food, and delicate food too, for 
a large family for a week; and hog's puddings for 
the children, and some for neighbours' children, who 
come to play with them ; for these things are by no 
means to be overlooked, seeing that they tend to the 
keeping alive of that affection in children for their 
parents, which, laterinlife, will be found absolutely ne- 
cessary to give effect to wholesome precept, especially 
when opposed to the boisterous passions of youth. 

148. The butcher, the next day, cuts the hog up; 
and then the house is filled with meat ! Souse, gris- 
kins, blade-bones, thigh-bones, spare-ribs, chines, 
belly-pieces, cheeks, all coming into use one after the 
other, and the last of the latter not before the end 
of about four or five weeks. But about this time, it 
is more than possible that the Methodist parson will 
pay you a visit. It is remarked in America, that these 
gentry are attracted by the squeaking of the pigs, as 
the fox is by the cackling of the hen. This may be 
called slander; but I will tell you what I did know 
to happen. A good honest careful fellow had a spare- 
rib, on which he intended to sup with his family after 
a long and hard day's work at coppice-cutting. Home 
he came at dark with his two little boys, each with 
a nitch of wood that they had carried four miles, 
cheered with the thought of the repast that awaited 
them. In he went, found his wife, the Methodist 
parson, and a whole troop of the sisterhood, engaged 
in prayer, and on the table lay scattered the clean- 
polished bones of the spare-rib ! Can any reasonable 
creature believe, that, to save the soul, God requires 
us to give up the food necessary to sustain the body ? 
Did Saint Paul preach this ? He, who, while he 



VI.] KEEPING PIGS. 01 

spread the gospel abroad, worked himself " in order to 
have it to give to those who were unable to work? 
Upon what, then, do these modern saints ; these evan- 
gelical gentlemen, found their claim to live on the 
labour of others. 

149. All the other parts taken away, the two sides 
that remain, and that are called flitches, are to be 
cured for bacon. They are first rubbed with salt on 
their insides, or flesh sides, then placed, one on the 
other, the flesh sides uppermost, in a salting trough 
whicli has a gutter round its edges to drain away the 
brine; for, to have sweet and fine bacon, the flitches 
must not lie sopping in brine; which <*ives it that sort 
of taste which barrel-pork and sea-jonk have, and 
than which nothing is more villanous. Every one 
knows how different is the taste of fresh, dry salt, 
from that of salt in a dissolved state. The one is 
savoury, the other nauseous. Therefore, change the 
salt often. Once in four or five days. Let it melt, 
and sink in ; but let it not lie too long. Change the 
flitches. Put that at bottom which was first put on the 
top. Do this a couple of times. This mode will cost 
you a great deal more in salt, or rather in taxes, than 
the sopping mode; but without it, your bacon will 
not be sweet and fine, and will not keep so well. As 
to the time required for making the fiitches-sufficiently 
salt, it depends on circumstances ; the thickness of 
the flitch, the state of the weather, the place wherein 
the salting is going on. It takes a longer time for a 
thick than for a thin flitch ; it takes longer in dry, than 
in damp weather ; it takes longer in a dry than in a 
damp place. But for the flitches of a hog of twelve 
score, in weather not very dry or very damp, about six 
weeks may do ; and as yours is to be fat, which 
receives little injury from over-salting, give time 
enough ; for you are to have bacon till Christmas 
comes again. The place for salting should, like a 
dairy, always be cool, but always admit of a free cir- 
culation of air : confined air, though cool, will taint 
meat sooner than trie mid-day sun accompanied with 
a breeze. Ice will not melt in the hottest sun so soon 



92 KEEPING PIGS. [No. 

as in a close and damp cellar. Put a lump of ice in 
cold water, and one of the same size before a hotjire, 
and the former will dissolve in half the time that the 
latter will. Let me take this occasion of observing, 
that an ice-house should never be under ground^ or 
under the shade of trees. That the bed of it ought 
to be three feet above the level of the ground ; that 
this bed ought to consist of something that will admit 
the drippings to go instantly off; and that the house 
should stand in a place open to the sun and air. This 
is the way they have the ice-houses under the burn- 
ing sun of Virginia ; and here they keep their fish and 
meat as fresh and sweet as in winter, when at the 
same time neither will keep for twelve hours, though 
let down to the depth of a hundred feet in a well. 
A Virginian, with some poles and straw, will stick 
up an ice-house for ten dollars, worth a dozen of those 
ice-houses, each of which costs our men of taste as 
many scores of pounds. It is very hard to imagine, 
indeed, what any one should want ice for, in a country 
like this, except for clodpole boys to slide upon, and to 
drown cockneys in skaiting-time ; but if people must 
have ice in summer, they may as well go a right way 
as a wrong way to get it. 

150. However, the patient that I have at this time 
under my hands wants nothing to cool his blood, but 
something to warm it, and, therefore, I will get back 
to the flitches of bacon, which are now to be smoked; 
for smoking is a great deal better than merely drying, 
as is the fashion in the dairy countries in the West of 
England. When there were plenty of /arm-houses, 
there were plenty of places to smoke bacon in; since 
farmers have lived in gentleman's houses, and the 
main part of the farm-houses have been knocked 
down, these places are not so plenty. However, there 
is scarcely any neighbourhood without a chimney left 
to hang bacon up in. Two precautions are necessary : 
first, to hang the flitches where no rain comes down 
upon them : second, not to let them be so near the fire 
as to melt. These precautions taken, the next is, that 
the smoke must proceed from wood^ not turf, peat, or 



VI.] KEEPING PIGS. 03 

coal. Stubble or litter .might do ; but the trouble would 
be great. Fir, or deal, smoke is not fit for the pur- 
pose. I take it, that the absence of wood, as fuel, in 
the dairy countries, and in the North, has led to the 
making of pork and dried bacon. As to the time that 
it requires to smoke a flitch, it must depend a good 
deal upon whether there be a constant fire beneath, 
and whether the fire be large or small. A month may 
do, if the fire be pretty constant, and such as a farm- 
house fire usually is. But over smoking, or, rather, 
too long hanging in the air, makes the bacon rust. 
Great attention should, therefore, be paid to this 
matter. The flitch ought not be dried up 10 the hard- 
ness of a board, and yet it ought to be perfectly dry. 
Before you hang it up, lay it on the floor, scatter the 
flesh-side pretty thickly over with bran, or with some 
fine saw-dust other than that of deal or fir. Rub it 
on the flesh, or pat it well down upon it. This keeps 
the smoke from getting into the little openings, and 
makes a sort of crust to be dried on ; and, in short, 
keeps the flesh cleaner than it would otherwise be. 

151. To keep the bacon sweet and good, and free 
from nasty things that they call hoppers; that is to 
say, a sort of skipping maggots, engendered by a fly 
which has a great relish for bacon : to provide against 
this mischief, and also to keep the bacon from be- 
coming rusty, the Americans, whose country is so 
hot in summer, have two methods. They smoke no 
part of the ho^ except the hams, or gammons. They 
cover these with coarse linen cloth such as the finest 
hop-bags are made of, which they sew neatly on. 
They then white-wash the cloth. all over with lime 
white-wash, such as we put on walls, their lime be- 
ing excellent stone-lime. They give the ham four or 
five washings, the one succeeding as the former gets 
dry; and in the sun, all these washings are put on in 
a few hours. The flies cannot get through this ; and 
thus the meat is preserved from them. The other 
mode, and that is the mode for you, is, to sift fine 
some clean and dry wood-ashes. Put some at the 
bottom of a box, or chest, which is long enough to 



94 KEEPING PIGS- [No. 

hold a flitch of bacon. Lay in one flitch ; then put 
in more ashes ; then the other flitch ; and then cover 
this with six or eight inches of the ashes. This will 
effectually keep away all flies ; and will keep the 
bacon as fresh and good as when it came out of the 
chimney, which it will not be for any great length of 
time, if put on a rack, or kept hung up in the open air. 
Dust, or even sand, very, very dry, would, perhaps, 
do as well. The object is not only to keep out the 
flies, but the air. The place where the chest, or box. 
is kept, ought to be dry ; and, if the ashes should 
get damp (as they are apt to do from the salts they 
contain,) they should be put in the fire-place to dry, 
and then be put back again. Peat-ashes, or turf-ashes, 
might do very well for this purpose. With these 
precautions, the bacon will be as good at the end of 
the year as on the first day ; and it will keep two, and 
even three years, perfectly good, for which, however, 
there can be no necessity. 

152. Now, then, this hog is altogether a capital 
thing. The other parts will be meat for about four 
or five weeks. The lard, nicely put down, will last 
a long while for all the purposes for which it is wanted. 
To make it keep well there should be some salt put 
into it. Country children are badly brought up if 
they do not like sweet lard spread upon bread, as we 
spread butter. Many a score hunches of this sort 
have I eaten, and I never knew what poverty was. I 
have eaten it for luncheon at the houses of good sub- 
stantial farmers in France and Flanders. I am not 
now frequently so hungry as I ought to be ; but I 
should think it no hardship to eat sweet lard instead 
of butter. But, now-a-days, the labourers, and espe- 
cially the female part of them, have fallen into the 
taste of niceness in food and finery in dress ; a quarter 
of a bellyful and rags are the consequence. The food 
of their choice is high-priced, so that, for the greater 
part of their time, they are half-starved. The dress 
of their choice is showy and flimsy, so that, to-day, 
they are ladies, and to-morrow ragged as sheep with 
the scab. But has not Nature made the country girls 



VI.] KEEPING PIGS. 95 

as pretty as ladies ? Oh, yes ! (bless their rosy cheeks 
and white teeth !) and a great deal prettier too ! But 
are they less pretty, when their dress is plain and 
substantial, and when the natural presumption is, 
that they have smocks as well as gowns, than they 
are when drawn off in the frail fabric of Sir Robert 
Peel,* "where tawdry colours strive with dirty white," 
exciting violent suspicions that all is not as it ought 
to be nearer the skin, and calling up a train of ideas 
extremely hostile to that sort of feeling which every 
lass innocently and commendably wishes to awaken 
in her male beholders? Are they prettiest when they 
come through the wet and dirt safe and neat; or when 
their draggled dress is plastered to their backs by a 
shower of rain ? However, the fault has not been 
theirs, nor that of their parents. It is the system of 
managing the affairs of the nation. This system 
has made all flashy and false, and has put all things 
out of their place. Pomposity, bombast, hyperbole, 
redundancy, and obscurity, both in speaking and in 
writing ; mock-delicacy in manners ; mock-liberality, 
mock-humanity, and mock-religion. Pitt's false mo- 
ney, Peel's flimsy dresses, Wilberforce's potatoe diet, 
Castlereagh's and Mackintosh's oratory, Walter 
Scott's poems, Walter's and Stoddart'sj paragraphs, 
with all the bad taste and baseness and hypocrisy 
which they spread over this country; all have arisen, 
grown, branched out, bloomed, and borne together; 
and we are now beginning to taste of their fruit. But, 
as the fat of the adder is, as is said, the antidote to 
its sting ; so in the Son of the great worker of Spinning- 
Jennies, we have, thanks to the Proctors and Doctors 
of Oxford, the author of that Bill, before which this 
false, this flashy, this flimsy, this rotten system will 
dissolve as one of his father's pasted calicoes does at 
the sight of the washing-tub. 

133. " What," says the cottager, "has all this to do 
with hogs and bacon ?" Not directly with hogs and 

* The father of the present Sir Robert Peel, who gained his fortune M 
a cotton weaver by the help of machinery. 

* Editors of the Ixwidon Times Newspaper. 



96 KEEPING PIGS. [NO. 

bacon, indeed ; but it has a great deal to do, my good 
fellow with your affairs, as I shall, probably, hereafter 
more fully show, though I shall now leave you to 
the enjoyment of your flitches of bacon, which, as I 
before observed, will do ten thousand times more than 
any Methodist parson, or any other parson (except, of 
course, those of our church) to make you happy, not 
only in this world, but in the world to come. Meat 
in the house is a great source of harmony, a great 
preventer of the temptation to commit those things, 
which, from small beginnings, lead, finally, to the 
most fatal and atrocious results ; and I hold that 
doctrine to be truly damnable, which teaches that 
God has made any selection, any condition relative to 
belief, which is to save from punishment those who 
violate the principles of natural justice. 

154. Some other meat you may have ; but, bacon 
is the great thing. It is always ready ; as good cold 
as hot ; goes to the field or the coppice conveniently; 
in harvest, and other busy times, demands the pot to 
be boiled only on a Sunday ; has twice as much 
strength in it as any other thing of the same weight; 
and in short, has in it every quality that tends to 
make a labourer's family able to work and well off. 
One pound of bacon, such as that which I have de- 
scribed, is, in a labourer's family, worth four or five 
of ordinary mutton or beef, which are great part bone, 
and which, in short, are gone in a moment. But 
always observe, it is fat bacon that I am talking 
about. There will, in spite of all that can be done, 
be some lean in the gammons, though comparatively 
very little ; and therefore you ought to begin at that 
end of the flitches ; for, old lean bacon is not good. 

155. Now, as to the cost. A pig (a spayed sow is 
best) bought in March four months old, can be had 
now for fifteen shillings. The cost till fatting time 
is next to nothing to a Cottager ; and then the cost, 
at the present price of corn, would, for a hog of 
twelve score, not exceed three pounds ; in the whole 

four pounds Jive ; a pot of poison a week bought 
at the public-house comes to twenty-six shillings 



VI.] SALTING MUTTON AND BEEP. 07 

of the money ; and more than three times the re- 
mainder is generally flung away upon the miserable 
tea, as I have clearly shown in the First Number, at 
Paragraph 24. I have, indeed, there shown, that 
if the tea were laid aside, the labourer might supply 
his family well with beer all the year round, and have 
a fat hog of even fifteen score for the cost ofthe-tea, 
which does him and can do him no good at all. 

156. The feet, the cheeks, and other bone, being 
considered, the bacon and lard, taken together, would 
not exceed sixpence a pound. Irish bacon is " cheap- 
er." Yes, lower-priced. But, I will engage that a 
pound of mine, wnen it comes out of the pot (to say 
nothing of the taste,) shall weigh as much as a pound 
and a half of Irish, or any dairy or slop-fed bacon, 
when that comes out of the pot. No, no: the far- 
mers joke when they say, that their bacon costs them 
more than they could buy bacon for. They know 
well what it is they are doing; and besides, they 
always forget, or, rather, remember not to say, that 
the fatting of a large hog yields them three or four 
load of dung, really worth more than ten or fifteen of 
common yard dung. In short, without hogs, farming 
could not go on; and it never has gone on in any coun- 
try in the world. The hogs are the great stay of the 
whole concern. They are much in small space; 
they make no show, as flocks and herds do ; but with 
out them, the cultivation of the land would be a poor, 
a miserably barren concern. 

SALTING MUTTON AND BEEF. 

157. VERY FAT Mutton may be salted to great 
advantage, and also smoked, and may be kept thus a 
long while. Not the shoulders and legs, but the back 
of the sheep. I have never made any flitch of sheep- 
bacon ; but I will ; for there is nothing like having 
a store of meat in a house. The running to the butch- 
ers daily is a ridiculous thing. The very idea of being 
fed, of a. family being fed, by daily supplies, has some- 
thing in it perfectly tormenting. One half of the 

9 



98 BEES, FOWLS, &C. &C. [No. 

time of a mistress of a house, the affairs of which are 
carried on in this way, is taken up in talking about 
what is to be got for dinner, and in negotiations with 
the butcher. One single moment spent at table be- 
yond what is absolutely necessary, is a moment very 
shamefully spent ; but. to suffer a system of domestic 
economy, which unnecessarily wastes daily an hour 
or two of the mistress's time in hunting for the pro- 
vision for the repast, is a shame indeed ; and when 
we consider how much time is generally spent in this 
and in equally absurd ways, it is no wonder that we 
see so little performed by numerous individuals as 
they do perform during the course of their lives. 

158. Very fat parts ofBeefn\&y be salted and smo- 
ked in a like manner. Not the lean ; for that is a great 
waste, and is, in short, good for nothing. Poor fel- 
lows on board of ships are compelled to eat it, but it 
is a very bad thing. 



No. VII. 

BEES, FOWLS, &C. &C. 

159. I NOW proceed to treat of objects of less impor- 
tance than the foregoing, but still such as may be 
worthy of great attention. If all of them cannot be 
expected to come within the scope of a labourer's fami- 
ly, some of them must, and others may : and it is al- 
ways of great consequence, that children be brought 
up to set a just value upon all useful things, and es- 
pecially upon all living" things; to know the utility 
of them : for, without this, they never, when grown 
up, are worthy of being entrusted with the care of 
them. One of the greatest, and, perhaps, the very 
commonest, fault of servants, is their inadequate care 
of animals committed to their charge. It is a well- 
known saying that " the masters eye makes the horse 
fat," and the remissness to which this alludes, is gene- 
rally owing to the servant not having been brought up 
to feel an interest in the well-being of animals. 



VII.] EEE3. 99 

BEES. 

160. IT is not my intention to enter into a history 
of this insect about which so much has been written, 
especially by the French naturalists. It is the useful 
that I shall treat of, and that is done in not many 
words. The best hives are those made of clean un- 
blighted rye-straw. Boards are too cold in England. 
A swarm should always be put into a new hive, and 
the sticks should be new that are put into the hive for 
the bees to work on ; for, if the hive be old, it is not 
so wholesome, and a thousand to one but it contain the 
embryos of moths and other insects injurious to bees. 
Over the hive itself there should be a cap of thatch, 
made also of clean rye straw ; and it should not only 
be new when first put on the hive ; but a new one 
should be made to supply the place of the former one 
every three or four months ; for when the straw be- 
gins to get rotten, as it soon does, insects breed in it, 
its smell is bad, and its effect on the bees is dangerous. 

161. The hive should be placed on a bench, the 
legs of which mice and rats cannot creep up. Tin 
round the legs is best. But even this will not keep 
down ants, which are mortal enemies of bees. To 
keep these away, if you find them infest the hive, 
take a green stick and twist it round in the shape of a 
ring to lay on the ground round the leg of the bench, 
and at a few inches from it ; and cover this stick with 
tar. This will keep away the ants. If the ants come 
from one home, you may easily trace them to it ; and 
when you have found it, pour boiling' water on it in 
the night, when all the family are at home. 

This is the only effectual way of destroying ants, 
which are frequently so troublesome. It would be 
cruel to cause this destruction, if it were not neces- 
sary to do it, in order to preserve the honey, and in- 
deed the bees too. 

162. Besides the hive and its cap, there should be 
a sort of shed, with top, back, and ends, to give addi- 
tional protection in winter ; though in summer hives 
may be kept too hot, and in that case the bees become 



100 BEES. [NO. 

sickly and the produce becomes light. The situation 
of the hive is to face the South-east ; or, at any rate, 
to be sheltered from the North and the West. From 
the North always, and from the West in winter. If 
it be a very dry season in summer, it contributes 
greatly to the success of the bees, to place clear water 
near their home, in a thing that they can conveniently 
drink out of; for if they have to go a great way for 
drink, they have not much time for work. 

163. It is supposed that bees live only a year; at 
any rate it is best never to keep the same stall, or 
family, over two years, except you want to increase 
your number of hives. The swarm of this summer 
should always be taken in the autumn of next year. 
It is whimsical to save the bees when you take the 
honey. You must feed them ; and, if saved, they 
will die of old age before the next fall ; and though 
young ones will supply the place of the dead, this is 
nothing like a good swarm put up during the summer. 

164. As to the things that bees make their collec- 
tions from, we do not, perhaps, know a thousandth 
part of them ; but of all the blossoms that they seek 
eagerly that of the Buck-wheat stands foremost. Go 
round a piece of this grain just towards sunset, when 
the buck-wheat is in bloom, and you will see the air 
filled with bees going home from it in all directions. 
The buck-wheat, too, continues in bloom a long while ; 
for the grain is dead ripe on one part of the plant, 
while there are fresh blossoms coming out on the 
other part. 

165. A good stall of bees, that is to say, the pro- 
duce of one, is always worth about two bushels of 
good wheat. The cost is nothing to the labourer. 
He must be a stupid countryman indeed who cannot 
make a bee-hive ; and a lazy one indeed if he will 
not, if he can. In short, there is nothing but care 
demanded ; and there are very few situations in the 
country, especially in the south of England, where a 
labouring man may not have half a dozen stalls of 
bees to take every year. The main things are to keep 
away insects, mice, and birds, and especially a little 



VII.] GEESE. 101 

bird called the bee-bird ; and to keep all clean and 
fresh as to the hives and coverings. Never put a 
swarm into an old hive. If wasps, or hornets, annoy 
you, watch them home in the day time ; and in the 
night kill them by fire, or by boiling water. Fowls 
should not go where bees are, for they eat them. 

166. Suppose a man get three stalls of bees in a 
year. Six bushels of wheat give him bread for an 
eighth part of the year. -Scarcely any thing is a 
greater misfortune than shiftlessness. It is an evil 
little short of the loss of eyes or of limbs. 

GEESE. 

167. THEY can be kept to advantage only where 
there are green commons, and there they are easily 
kept ; live to a very great a^e ; and are amongst the 
hardiest animals in the world. If well kept, a goose 
will lay a hundred eggs in a year. The French put 
their eggs under large hens of common fowls, to 
each of which they give four or five eggs ; or under 
turkies, to which they give nine or ten goose-eggs. 
If the goose herself sit, she must be well and regu- 
larly fed, at, or near to, her nest. When the young 
ones are hatched, they should be kept in a warm 
place for about four days, and fed on barley-meal, 
mixed, if possible, with milk ; and then they will be- 
gin to graze. Water for them, or for the old ones 
to swim in, is by no means necessary, nor, perhaps, 
ever even useful. Or, how is it, that you see such fine 
flocks of fine geese all over Long Island (in America) 
where there is scarcely such a thing as a pond or a 
run of water? 

168. Geese are raised by grazing ; but to fat them 
something more is required. Corn of some sort, or 
boiled Swedish turnips. Some corn and some raw 
Swedish turnips, or carrots, or white cabbages, or 
lettuces, make the best fatting. The modes that are 
resorted to by the French for fatting geese, nailing" 
them down by their webs, and other acts of cruelty, 
are, I hope, such as Englishmen will never think of, 

9* 



102 GEESE. [No. 

They will get fat enough without the use of any of 
these unfeeling means being employed. He who can 
deliberately inflict torture upon an animal, in order 
to heighten the pleasure his palate is to receive in 
eating it, is an abuser of the authority which God 
has given him, and is, indeed, a tyrant in his heart. 
Who would think himself safe, if at the mercy of 
such a man ? Since the first edition of this work 
was published, I have had a good deal of experience 
with regard to geese. It is a very great error to sup- 
pose that what is called a Michaelmas goose is the 
thing. Geese are, in general, eaten at the age when 
they are called green geese ; or after they have got 
their full and entire growth, which is not until the 
latter part of October. Green geese are tasteless 
squabs ; loose flabby things ; no rich taste in them ; 
and, in short, a very indifferent sort of dish. The 
full-grown goose has solidity in it ; but it is hard^ as 
well as solid ; and in place of being rich, it is strong. 
Now, there is a middle course to take ; and if you 
take this course, you produce the finest birds of which 
we can know any thing in England. For three years, 
including the present year, I have had the finest geese 
that I ever saw, or ever heard of. I have bought 
from twenty to thirty every one of these years. I 
buy them off the common late in June, or very early 
in July. They have cost me from two shillings to 
three shillings each, first purchase. I bring the flock 
home, and put them in a pen, about twenty feet 
square, where I keep them well littered with straw, 
so as for them not to get filthy. They have one 
trough in which I give them dry oats, and they have 
another trough where they have constantly plenty of 
clean water. Besides these, we give them, two or 
three times a day, a parcel 01 lettuces out of the gar- 
den. We give them such as are going to seed gene- 
rally ; but the better the lettuces are, the better the 
geese. If we have no lettuces to spare, we give them 
cabbages, either loaved or not loaved ; though, ob- 
serve, the white cabbage as well as the white lettuce, 
that is to say, the loaved cabbage and lettuce, are a 



VII.] GEESI. 103 

great deal better than those that are not loaved. This 
is the food of my geese. They thrive exceedingly 
upon this food. After we have had the flock about 
ten days, we begin to kill, and we proceed once or 
twice a week till about the middle of October, some- 
times later. A great number of persons who have 
eaten of these geese have all declared that they did 
not imagine that a goose could be brought to be so 
good a bird. These geese are altogether different 
from the hard, strong things that come out of the 
stubble fields, and equally different from the flabby 
things called a green goose. I should think that the 
cabbages or lettuces perform half the work of keep- 
ing and fatting my geese ; and these are things that 
really cost nothing. I should think that the geese, 
upon an average, do not consume more than a shil- 
ling's worth of oats each. So that we have these 
beautiful geese for about four shillings each. No 
money will buy me such a goose in London ; but the 
thin^ that I can get nearest to it, will cost me seven 
shillings. Every gentleman has a garden. That 
garden has, in the month of July, a wagon-load, at 
least, of lettuces and cabbages to throw away. No- 
thing is attended with so little trouble as these geese. 
There is hardly any body near London that has not 
room for the purposes here mentioned. The reader 
will be apt to exclaim, as my friends very often do, 
" Cobbett's Geese are all Swans." Well, better that 
way than not to be pleased with what one has. How- 
ever, let gentlemen try this method of fatting geese. 
It saves money, mind, at the same time. Let them 
try it ; and if any one, who shall try it, shall find the 
effect not to be that which I say it is, let him reproach 
me publicly with being a deceiver. The thing is no 
invention of mine. While I could buy a goose off 
the common for half-a-crown, I did not like to give 
seven shillings for one in London, and yet I wished 
that geese should not be excluded from my house. 
Therefore I bought a flock of geese, and brought them 
home to Kensington. They could not be eaten all 
at once. It was necessary, therefore, to fix upon a 



104 DUQS. [NO, 

mode of feeding them. The above mode was adopt- 
ed by my servant, as far as I know, without any 
knowledge of mine ; but the very agreeable result 
made me look into the matter ; and my opinion, that 
the information will be useful to many persons, at 
any rate, is sufficient to induce me to communicate 
it to my readers. 

DUCKS. 

169. No water, to swim in, is necessary to the old, 
and is injurious to the very young. They never should 
be suffered to swim (if water be near) till more than 
a month old. The old duck will lay, in the year, if 
well kept, ten dozen of eggs ; and that is her best em- 
ployment ; for common hens are the best mothers. 
It is not good to let young ducks out in the morning 
to eat slugs and worms; for, though they like them, 
these things kill them if they eat a great quantity. 
Grass, corn, white cabbages, and lettuces, and espe- 
cially buck- wheat, cut, when half ripe, and flung down 
in the haulm. This makes fine ducks. Ducks will 
feed on garbage and all sorts of filthy things ; but 
their flesh is strong, and bad in proportion. They 
are, in Long Island, fatted upon a coarse sort of crab, 
called a horse-foot fish, prodigious quantities of which 
are cast on the shores. The young ducks grow 
very fast upon this, and very fat ; but wo unto him 
that has to smell them when they come from the spit ; 
and, as for eating them, a man must have a stomach 
indeed to do that ! 

170. When young, they should be fed upon barley- 
meal, or curds, and kept in a warm place in the night- 
time, and not let out early in the morning. They 
should, if possible, be kept from water to swim in. It 
always does them harm ; and, if intended to be sold 
to be killed young, they should never go near ponds, 
ditches, or streams. When you come to fat ducks, 
you must take care that they get at no filth whatever. 
They will eat garbage of all sorts ; they will suck 
down the most nauseous particles of all those sub- 



VII.] TURKEYS. 105 

stances which go for manure. A dead rat three parts 
rotten is a feast to them. For these reasons I should 
never eat any ducks, unless there were some mode of 
keeping them from this horrible food. I treat them 
precisely as I do my geese. I buy a troop when they 
are young, and put them in a pen, and feed them upon 
oats, cabbages, lettuces, and water, and have the place 
kept very clean. My ducks are, in consequence of 
this, a great deal more fine ana delicate than any 
others that I know any-thing of. 



171. THESE bn flying things, and so are common 
fowls. But it may happen that a few hints respecting 
them may be of use. To raise turkeys in this chilly 
climate, is a matter of much greater difficulty than in 
the climates that give great warmth. But the great 
enemy to young turkeys (for old ones are hardy 
enough) is the wet. This they will endure in no 
climate ; and so true is this, that, in America, where 
there is always " a wet spell" in April, the farmers' 
wives take care never to have a brood come out until 
that spell is passed. In England, where the wet 
spells come at haphazard, the first thing is to take care 
that young turkeys never go out, on any account, ex- 
cept in dry weather, till the dew be quite off the 
ground ; and this should be adhered to till they get to 
be of the size of an old partridge, and have their backs 
well covered with feathers. And, in wet weather, 
they should be kept under cover all day long. 

172. As to the feeding of them, when young, va- 
rious nice things are recommended. Hard eggs chop- 
ped fine, with crumbs of bread, and a great many 
other things ; but that which I have seen used, and 
always with success, and for all sorts of young poul- 
try, is milk turned into curds. This is the food for 
young poultry of all sorts. Some should be madeyVesft 
every day ; and if this be done, and the young turkeys 
kept warm, and especially from wet, not one out of 
a score will die. When, they get to be strong, they 



106 TURKEYS. [No. 

may have meal and grain, but still they always love 
the curds. 

173. When they get their head feathers they are 
hardy enough; and what they then want is room to 
prowl about. It is best to breed them under a com- 
mon hen ; because she does not ramble like a hen- 
turkey ; and it is a very curious thing that the turkeys 
bred up by a hen of the common fowl, do not them- 
selves ramble much when they get old ; and for this 
reason, when they buy turkeys for stock, in America, 
(where there are such large woods, and where the 
distant rambling of turkeys is inconvenient.) they 
always buy such as have been bred under the hens of 
the common fowl ; than which a more complete proof 
of the great powers of habit is, perhaps, not to be 
found. And ought not this to be a lesson to fathers 
and mothers of families ? Ought not they to consider 
that the habits which they give their children are to 
stick by those children during their whole lives ? 

174. The hen should be fed exceedingly well, too, 
while she is sitting" and offer she has hatched ; for 
though she does not give milk, she gives heat ; and, 
let it be observed, that as no man ever yet saw healthy 
pigs with a poor sow, so no man ever saw- healthy 
chickens with a poor hen. This is a matter much 
too little thought of in the rearing of poultry ; but it 
is a matter of the greatest consequence. Never let a 
poor hen sit; feed the hen well while she is sitting, 
and feed her most abundantly when she has young 
ones ; for then her labour is very great ; she is ma- 
king exertions of some sort or other during the whole 
twenty-four hours ; she has no rest ; is constantly 
doing something or other to provide food or safety 
for her young ones. * 

175. As to fatting turkeys, the best way is, never 
to let them be poor. Cramming is a nasty thing, 
and quite unnecessary. Barley-meal, mixed with 
skim-milk, given to them, fresh and fresh, will make 
them fat in a short time, either in a coop, in a house, 
or running about. Boiled carrots and Swedish tur- 
nips will help, and it is a change of sweet food. La 



VII.] FOWLS. 107 

France they sometimes pick turkeys alive, to make 
them tender ; of which I shall only say, that the man 
that can do this, or order it to be done, ought to be 
skinned alive himself. 



176. THESE are kept for two objects ; their flesh 
and their eggs. As to rearing them, every thing said 
about rearing turkeys is applicable here. They are 
best fatted, too, in the same manner. But, as to lay- 
ing-hens, there are some means to be used to secure 
the use of them in winter. They ought not to be old 
hens. Pullets, that is, birds hatched in the foregoing 
spring, are, perhaps, the best. At any rate, let them 
not be more than two years old. They should be kept 
in a warm place, and not let out, even in the day-time, 
in wet weather ; for one good sound wetting will keep 
them back for a fortnight. The dry cold, even in the 
severest cold, if dry, is less injurious than even a little 
wet in winter-time. If the feathers get wet, in our 
climate, in winter, or in short days, they do not get 
dry for a long time ; and this it is that spoils and kills 
many of our fowls. 

177. The French, who are great egg-eaters, take 
singular pains as to the food of laying-hens in winter. 
They let them out very little, even in their fine 
climate, and give them very stimulating food ; barley 
boiled, and given them warm; curds, buck-wheat, 
(which, I believe, is the best thing of all except curds;) 
parsley and other herbs chopped fine ; leeks chopped in 
the same way; also apples and pears chopped very 
fine ; oats and wheat cribbled ; and sometimes they 
give them hemp-seed, and the seed of nettles ; or dried 
nettles, harvested in 'summer, and boiled in the 
winter. Some give them ordinary food, and, once a 
day, toasted bread sopped in wine. White cabbages 
chopped up are very good in winter for all sorts of 
poultry. 

178. This is taking a great deal of pains ; but the 
produce is also great and very valuable in winter ; for, 



108 FOWLS. [No. 

as to preserved eggs, they are things to ruufrom and 
not after. All this supposes, however, a proper hen- 
house, about which we, in England, take very little 
pains. The vermin, that is to say, the lice, that 
poultry breed, are the greatest annoyance. And as 
our wet climate furnishes them, for a great part of the 
year, with no dust by which to get rid of these vermin, 
we should be very careful about cleanliness in the hen- 
houses. Many a hen, when sitting, is compelled to 
quit her nest to get rid of the lice. They torment the 
young chickens. And, in short, are a great injury. 
The fowl-house should, therefore, be very often clean- 
ed out ; and sand, or fresh earth, should be thrown on 
the floor. The nest should not be on shelves, or on 
any-thing fixed ; but little flat baskets, something like 
those that the gardeners have in the markets in Lon- 
don, and which they call sieves, should be placed 
against the sides of the house upon pieces of wood . 
nailed up for the purpose. By this means the nests 
are kept perfectly clean, because the baskets are, when 
necessary, taken down, the hay thrown out, and the 
baskets washed; which cannot be done, if the nest be 
made in any-thing forming a part of the building. Be- 
sides this, the roosts ought to be cleaned every week, 
and the hay changed in the nests of laying-hens. It is 
good to fumigate the house frequently by burning dry 
herbs, juniper wood, cedar wood, or with brimstone ; 
for nothing stands so much in need of cleanliness as 
a fowl-house, in order to have fine fowls and plenty 
of eggs. 

179. The ailments of fowls are numerous, but they 
would seldom be seen, if the proper care were taken. 
It is useless to talk of remedies in a case where you 
have complete power to prevent the evil. If well fed, 
and kept perfectly clean, fowls will seldom be sick ; 
and, as to old age, they never ought to be kept more 
than a couple or three years ; for they get to be good 
for little as layers, and no teeth can face them as food. 

180. It is, perhaps, seldom that fowls can be kept con- 
veniently about a cottage ; but when they can, three, 
four, or half a dozen hens to lay in winter, when the 



VIL] FOWLS. 109 

wife is at home the greater part of the time, are worth 
attention. They would require but little room, might 
be bought in November and sold in April, and six of 
them, with proper care, might be made to clear every 
week the price of a gallon of flour. If the labour 
were great, I should not think of it; but it is none; 
and I am for neglecting nothing in the way of pains 
in order to ensure a hot dinner every day in winter, 
when the man comes home from work. As to the 
fatting" of fowls, information can be of no use to those 
who live in a cottage all their lives ; but it may be of 
some use to those who are born in cottages, and go to 
have the care of poultry at richer persons' houses. 
Fowls should be put to fat about a fortnight before 
they are wanted to be killed. The best food is bar- 
ley-meal wetted with milk, but not wetted too much. 
They should have clear water to drink, and it should 
be frequently changed. Crammed fowls are very nasty 
things : but " barn-door " fowls, as they are called, 
are sometimes a great deal more nasty. Barn-door 
would, indeed, do exceedingly well ; but it unfortu- 
nately happens that the stable is generally pretty near 
to the barn. And now let any gentleman who talks 
about sweet barn-door fowls, have one caught in 
the yard, where the stable is also. Let him have it 
brought in, killed, and the craw taken out and cut open. 
Then let him take a ball of horse-dung from the stable- 
door; and let his nose tell him how very small is 
the difference between the smell of the horse-dung, 
and the smell of the craw of his fowl. In short, roast 
the fowl, and then pull aside the skin at the neck, put 
your nose to the place, and you will almost think that 
you are at the stable door. Hence the necessity of 
taking them away from the barn-door a fortnight, at 
least, before they are killed. We know very well that 
ducks that have been fed upon fish, either wild ducks, or 
tame ducks, will scent a whole room, and drive out of it 
all those who have not pretty good constitutions. It 
must be so. Solomon says that all flesh is grass ; and 
those who know any-thing about beef ? know the differ- 
ence between the effect of the grass in Herefordshire 
10 



110 PIGEONS. [No. 

and Lincolnshire, and the effect of turnips and oil cake. 
In America they always take the fowls from the farm- 
yard, and shut them up a fortnight or three weeks 
before they be killed. One thing, however, about 
fowls ought always to be borne in mind. They are 
never good for any-thing when they have attained 
their full growth, unless they be capons or poullards. 
If the poulets be old enough to have little eggs in them, 
they are not worth one farthing; and as to the cocks 
of the same age, they are fit for nothing but to make 
soup for soldiers on their march, and they ought to be 
taken for that purpose. 

PIGEONS. 

181. A FEW of these may be kept about any cottage, 
for they are kept even in towns by labourers and arti- 
zans. They cause but little trouble. They take care 
of their own young ones ; and they do not scratch, 
or do any other mischief in gardens. They want 
feeding with tares, peas, or small beans ; and buck- 
wheat is very good for them. To begin keeping them, 
they must not have flown at large before you get 
them. You must keep them for two or three days, shut 
into the place which is to be their home ; and then 
they may be let out, and will never leave you, as long 
as they can get proper food, and are undisturbed by 
vermin, or unannoyed exceedingly by lice. 

182. The common dove-house pigeons are the best 
to keep. They breed oftenest, and feed their young 
ones best. They begin to breed at about nine months 
old, and if well kept, they will give you eight or nine 
pair in the year. Any little place, a shelf in the cow 
shed ; a board or two under the eaves of the house ; 
or, in short, any place under cover, even on the ground 
floor, they will sit and hatch and breed up their young 
ones in. 

183. It is not supposed that there could be much 
profit attached to them ; but they are of this use ; they 
are very pretty creatures ; very interesting in their 
manners; they are an object to delight children, and 



VII.] RABBITS. Ill 

to give them the early habit of fondness for animals 
and of setting' a value on them, which, as I have 
often had to observe before, is a very great thing. A 
considerable part of all the property of a nation con- 
sists of animals. Of course a proportionate part of 
the cares and labours of a people appertain to the 
breeding and bringing to perfection those animals; 
and, if you consult your experience, you will find that 
a labourer is, generally speaking, of value in propor- 
tion as he is worthy of being intrusted with the care 
of animals. The most careless fellow cannot hurt 
a hedge or ditch ; but to trust him with the team, or 
thejlock, is another matter. And, mind, for the man to 
be trust- worthy in this respect, the boy must have been 
in the habit of being kind and considerate towards 
animals; and nothing is so likely to give him that ex- 
cellent habit as his seeing, from his very birth, animals 
taken great care of, and treated with great kindness 
by his parents, and now-and-then having a little thing 
to call his own. 

RABBITS. 

184. IN this case, too, the chief use, perhaps, is to 
give children those habits of which I have been just 
speaking. Nevertheless, rabbits are really profitable. 
Three does and a buck will give you a rabbit to eat for 
every three days in the year, which is a much larger 
quantity of food than any man will get by spending 
half his time in the pursuit of wild animals, to say 
nothing of the toil, the tearing of clothes, and the 
danger of pursuing the latter. 

185. Every-body knows how to knock up a rabbit 
hutch. The does should not be allowed to have more 
than seven litters in a year. Six young ones to a doe 
is all that ought to be kept ; and then they will be 
fine. Abundant food is the main thing ; and what is 
there that a rabbit will not eat 1 I know of nothing 
green that they will not eat ; and if hard pushed, they 
will eat bark, and even wood. The best thing to feed 
the young ones on when taken from the mother, is 



112 RABBITS. [No. 

the carrot, wild or garden. Parsnips, Swedish turnips, 
roots of dandelion ; for too much green or watery stuff 
is not good for weaning rabbits. They should remain 
as long as possible with the mother. They should 
have oats once a-day ; and, after a time, they may 
eat any-thing with safety. But if you give them too 
much green at first when they are weaned, they rot 
as sheep do. A variety of food is a great thing ; and, 
surely, the fields and gardens and hedges furnish this 
variety ! All sorts of grasses, strawberry-leaves, ivy, 
dandelions, the hog-weed or wild parsnip, in root, 
stem, and leaves. I have fed working horses, six or 
eight in number, upon this plant for weeks together. 
It is a tall bold plant that grows in prodigious quan- 
tities in the hedges and coppices in some parts of 
England. It is the perennial parsnip. It has flower 
and seed precisely like those of the parsnip; and 
hogs, cows, and horses, are equally fond of it. Many 
a half-starved pig have I seen within a few yards of 
cart-loads of this pig-meat ! This arises from want 
of the early habit of attention to such matters. I, 
who used to get hog-weed for pigs and for rabbits 
when a little chap, have never forgotten that the wild 
parsnip is good food for pigs and rabbits. 

186. When the doe has young ones, feed her most 
abundantly with all sorts of greens and herbage and 
with carrots and the other things mentioned before, 
besides giving her a few oats once a-day. That is the 
way to have fine healthy young ones, which, if they 
come from the mother in good case, will very seldom 
die. But do not think, that because she is a small 
animal, a little feeding is sufficient ! Rabbits eat a 
great deal more than cows or sheep in proportion to 
their bulk. 

187. Of all animals rabbits are those that boys are 
most fond of. They are extremely pretty, nimble in 
their movements, engaging in their attitudes, and al- 
ways completely under immediate control. The pro- 
duce has not long to be waited for. In short, they keep 
an interest constantly alive in a little chap's mind; and 
they really cost nothing; for as to the oats> where is 



VII.] GOATS AND EWES. 113 

the boy that cannot, in harvest-time, pick up enough 
along the lanes to serve his rabbits for a year? The 
care is all; and the habit of taking care of things is, 
of itself, a most valuable possession. 

188. To those gentlemen who keep rabbits for the 
use of their family (and a very useful and convenient 
article they are,) I would observe, that when they 
find their rabbits die, they may depend on it, that 
ninety-nine times out of the hundred starvation is 
the malady. And particularly short feeding of the 
doe, while, and before she has young ones; that is 
to say, short feeding of her at all tim.es ; for, if she 
be poor, the young ones will be good for nothing. 
She will live being poor, but she will not, and cannot 
breed up fine young ones. 

GOATS AND EWES. 

189. IN some places where a cow cannot be kept, 
a goat may. A correspondent points out to me, that 
a Dorset ewe or two might be kept on a common near 
a cottage to give milk; and certainly this might be 
done very well ; but I should prefer a goat, which is 
hardier and much more domestic. When I was in 
the army, in New Brunswick, where, be it observed, 
the snow lies on the ground seven months in the year, 
there were many goats that belonged to the regiment, 
and that went about with it on shipboard and every- 
where else. Some of them had gone through nearly 
the whole of the American War. We never fed them. 
In summer they picked about wherever they could 
find grass ; and in winter they lived on cabbage-leaves, 
turnip-peelings, potatoe-peelings, and other things 
flung out of the soldiers' rooms and huts. One of these 
goats belonged to me, and, on an average throughout 
the year, she gave me more than three half-pints of 
milk a day. I used to have the kid killed when a few 
days old ; and, for some time, the goat would give 
nearly or quite, two quarts of milk a day. She was 
seldom dry more than three weeks in the year. 

190. There is one great inconvenience belonging 

10* 



114 GOATS AND EWES. [No. 

to goats ; that is, they bark all young trees that they 
come near ; so that, if they get into a garden, they 
destroy every thing. But there are seldom trees on 
commons, except such as are too large to be injured 
by goats ; and I can see no reason against keeping a 
goat where a cow cannot be kept. Nothing is so 
hardy ; nothing is so little nice as to its food. Goats 
will pick peelings out of the kennel and eat them. 
They will eat mouldy bread or biscuit ; fusty hay, 
and almost rotten straw ; furze-bushes, heath-thistles ; 
and, indeed, what will they not eat, when they will 
make a hearty meal on paper, brown or white, printed 
on or not printed on, and give milk all the while ! 
They will lie in any dog-hole. They do very well 
clogged, or stumped out. And, then, they are very 
healthy things into the bargain, however closely they 
may be confined. When sea voyages are so stormy 
as to kill geese, ducks, fowls, and almost pigs, the 
goats are well and lively ; and when a dog of no kind 
can keep the deck for a minute, a goat will skip about 
upon it as bold as brass. 

191. Goats do not ramble from home. They come 
in regularly in the evening, and if called, they come 
like dogs. Now, though ewes, when taken great care 
of, will be very gentle, and though their milk may be 
rather more delicate than that of the goat, the ewes 
must be fed with nice and clean food, and they will 
not do much in the milk-giving way upon a common ; 
and, as to feeding them, provision must be made pret- 
ty nearly as for a cow. They will not endure con- 
finement like goats ; and they are subject to nume- 
rous ailments that goats know nothing of. Then the 
ewes are done by the time they are about six years 
old ; for they then lose their teeth ; whereas a goat will 
continue to breed and to give milk in abundance for a 
great many years. The sheep is frightened at every- 
thing, and especially at the least sound of a dog. A 
goat, on the contrary, will face a dog, and if he be 
not a big and courageous one, beat him off. 

192. I have often wondered how it happened that 
none of our labourers kept goats ; and I really should 



VIL] CANDLES AND RUSHES. 115 

be glad to see the thing tried. They are pretty crea- 
tures, domestic as a dog, will stand and watch, as a 
dog does, for a crumb of bread, as you are eating ; 
give you no trouble in the milking ; and I cannot help 
being of opinion, that it might be of great use to in- 
troduce them amongst our labourers. 

CANDLES AND RUSHES. 

193. WE are not permitted to make candles our- 
selves, and if we were, they ought seldom to be used 
in a labourer's family. I was bred and brought up 
mostly by rush-light, and I do not find that I see less 
clearly man other people. Candles certainly were 
not much used in English labourers' dwellings in the 
days when they had meat dinners and Sunday coats. 
Potatoes and taxed candles seem to have grown into 
fashion together ; and, perhaps, for this reason : that 
when the pot ceased to afford grease for the rushes, 
the potatoe-gorger was compelled to go to the chand- 
ler's shop for light to swallow the potatoes by, else 
he might have devoured peeling and all ! 

194. My grandmother, who lived to be pretty nearly 
ninety, never, I believe, burnt a candle in her house 
in her life. I know that I never saw one there, and 
she, in a great measure, brought me up. She used 
to get the meadow-rushes, such as they tie the hop- 
shoots to the poles with. She cut them when they 
had attained their full substance, but were still green. 
The rush at this age, consists of a body of pith with 
a green skin on it. You cut off both ends of the 
rush, and leave the prime part, which, on an average, 
may be about a foot and a half long. Then you take 
off all the green skin, except for about a fifth part 
of the way round the pith. Thus it is a piece of pith 
all but a little strip of skin in one part all the way up, 
which, observe, is necessary to hold the pith together 
all the way along. 

195. The rushes being thus prepared, the grease 
is melted, and put in a melted state into something 
that is as long as the rushes are. The rushes are 



116 MUSTARD. [No. 

put into the grease ; soaked in it sufficiently ; then 
taken out and laid in a bit of bark taken from a young 
tree, so as not to be too large. This bark is fixed up 
against the wall by a couple of straps put round it ; 
and there it hangs for the purpose of holding the 
rushes. 

196. The rushes are carried about in the hand; 
but to sit by, to work by, or to go to bed by, they are 
fixed in stands made for the purpose, some of which 
are high to stand on the ground, and some low, to 
stand on a table. These stands have an iron port 
something like a pair of pliers to hold the rush in, 
and the rush is shifted forward from time to time, as 
it burns down to the thing that holds it. 

197. Now these rushes give a better light than a 
common small dip-candle ; and they cost next to 
nothing, though the labourer may with them have as 
much light as he pleases, and though, without them 
he must sit the far greater part of the winter evenings 
in the dark, even if he expend fifteen shillings a year 
in candles. You may do any sort of work by this 
light; and, if reading be your taste, you may read the 
foul libels, the lies and abuse, which are circulated 
gratis about me by the " Society for promoting 
Christian Knowledge," as well by rush-light, as you 
can by the light of taxed candles ; and, at any rate, 
you would have one evil less ; for to be deceived and 
to pay a tax for the deception are a little too much 
for even modern loyalty openly to demand. 

MUSTARD. 

198. WHY buy this, when you can grow it in your 
garden ? The stuff you buy is A half drugs; and is 
injurious to health. A yard square of ground, sown 
with common Mustard, the crop of which you would 
grind for use, in a little mustard-mill, as you wanted 
it, would save you some money, and probably save 
your life. Your mustard would look brown instead 
of yellow; but the former colour is as good as the 
latter : and, as to the taste, the real mustard has cer- 



VII.] DRESS, HOUSEHOLD GOODS, AND FUEL. 117 

tainly a much better than that of the drugs and flour 
which go under the name of mustard. Let any one 
try it, and I am sure he will never use the drugs 
again. The drugs, if you take them freely, leave a 
burning at the pit of your stomach, which the real 
mustard does not. 

DRESS, HOUSEHOLD GOODS, AND FUEL. 

199. IN Paragraph 152, I said, I think, enough to 
caution you, the English labourer, against the taste, 
now too prevalent, for fine and flimsy dress. It was, 
for hundreds of years, amongst the characteristics 
of the English people, that their taste was, in all 
matters, for things solid, sound, and good ; for the 
useful^ and decent^ the cleanly in dress, and not for 
the showy. Let us hope that this may be the taste 
again ; and let us, my friends, fear no troubles, no 
perils, that may be necessary to produce a return of 
that taste, accompanied with full bellies and warm 
backs to the labouring classes. 

200. In household goods, the warm, the strong, the 
durable, ought always to be kept in view. Oak tables, 
bedsteads and stools, chairs of oak or of yew tree, 
and never a bit of miserable deal board. Things of 
this sort ought to last several lifetimes. A labourer 
ought to inherit from his great grandfather something 
besides his toil. As to bedding, and other things of 
that sort, all ought to be good in their nature, of a 
durable quality, and plain in their colour and form. 
The plates, dishes, mugs, and things of that kind, 
should be of pewter, or even of wood. Any-thing 
is better than crockery-ware. Bottles to carry a-field 
should be of wood. Formerly, nobody but the gyp- 
sies and mumpers, that went a hop-picking in the 
season, carried glass or earthen bottles. As to glass 
of any sort, I do not know what business it has in 
any man's house, unless he be rich enough to live 
on his means. It pays a tax, in many cases, to the 
amount of two-thirds of its cost. In short, when a 
house is once furnished with sufficient goods, there 



118 HOPS. [No. 

ought to be no renewal of hardly any part of them 
wanted for half an age, except in case of destruction 
by fire. Good management in this way leaves the 
man's wages to provide an abundance of good food 
and good raiment; and these are the things that 
make happy families ; these are the things that make 
a good, kind, sincere, and brave people ; not little 
pamphlets about " loyalty " and " content." A good 
man will be contented fast enough, if he be fed and 
clad sufficiently; but if a man be not well fed and 
clad, he is a base wretch to be contented. 

201. Fuel should be, if possible, provided in sum- 
mer, or at least some of it. Turf and peat must 
be got in summer, and some wood may. In the 
woodland countries, the next winter ought to be 
thought of in June, when people hardly know what 
to do with the fuelwood ; and something should, if 
possible, be saved in the bark-harvest to get a part of 
the fuel for the next winter. Fire is a capital article. 
To have no fire, or a bad fire, to sit by, is a most dis- 
mal thing. In such a state man and wife must be 
something out of the common way to be in good hu- 
mour with each other, to say nothing of colds and 
other ailments which are the natural consequence of 
such misery. If we suppose the great Creator to 
condescend to survey his works in detail, what object 
can be so pleasing to him as that of the labourer, after 
his return from the toils of a cold winter day, sitting 
with his wife and children round a cheerful fire, while 
the wind whistles in the chimney and the rain pelts 
the roof? But, of all God's creation, what is so miser- 
able to behold or to think of as a wretched, half- 
starved family creeping to their nest of flocks or straw, 
there to lie shivering, till sent forth by the fear of ab- 
solutely expiring from want ? 

HOPS. 

202. I TREATED of them before ; but before I con- 
clude this little Work, it is necessary to speak of them 
again. I made a mistake as to the tax on the Hops, 



VII.] YEAST. 119 

The positive tax is 2d. a pound, and I (in former 
editions) stated it at 4d, However, in all such cases, 
there falls upon the consumer the expenses attending 
the paying of the tax. That is to say, the cost of 
interest of capital in the grower who pays the tax, 
and who must pay for it, whether his hops be cheap 
or dear. Then the trouble it gives him, and the 
rules he is compelled to obey in the drying and bag- 
ging, and which cause him great expense. So that 
the tax on hops of our own English growth, may 
now be reckoned to cost the consumer about 3-J-d. a 
pound. 



203. YEAST is a great thing in domestic manage- 
ment. I have once before published a receipt for 
making yeast-cakes, I will do it again here. 

204. In Long Island they make yeast-cakes. A 
parcel of these cakes is made once a year. That is 
often enough. And, when you bake, you take one 
of these cakes (or more according to the buln of the 
hatch) and with them raise your bread. The very 
best bread I ever ate in my life was lightened with 
these cakes. 

205. The materials for a good batch of cakes are 
as follows : 3 ounces of good fresh Hops; 3^- pounds 
of Rye Flour; 7 pounds of Indian Corn Meal; and 
one Gallon of Water. Rub the hops, so as to sepa- 
rate them. Put them into the water, which is to be 
boiling at the time. Let them boil half an hour. 
Then strain the liquor through a fine sieve into an 
earthen vessel. While the liquor is hot, put in the 
Rye-Flour; stirring the liquor well, and quickly, as 
the Rye-Flour goes into it. The day after, when it is 
working, put in the Indian Meal, stirring it well as it 
goes in. Before the Indian Meal be all in, the mess 
will be very stiff; and it will, in fact, be dough, very 
much of the consistence of the dough that bread is 
made of. Take this dough ; knead it well, as you 
would for pie-crust. Roll it out with a rolling-pin, 



120 YEAST. [NO. 

as you roll out pie-crust, to the thickness of about a 
third of an inch. When you have it (or a part of it 
at a time) rolled out, cut it up into cakes with a tum- 
bler glass turned upside down, or with something 
else that will answer the same purpose. Take a clean 
board (a tin may be better) and put the cakes to dry 
in the sun. Turn them every day ; let them receive 
no wet ; and they will become as hard as ship bis- 
cuit. Put them into a bag, or box, and keep them in 
a place perfectly free from damp. When you bake, 
take two cakes, of the thickness above-mentioned, 
and about 3 inches in diameter ; put them into hot 
water, over-night, having cracked them first. Let 
the vessel containing them stand near the fire-place 
all night. They will dissolve by the morning, and 
then you use them in setting your sponge (as it is 
called) precisely as you would use the yeast of beer. 
206. There are two things which may be consi- 
dered by the reader as obstacles. FIRST, where are 
we to get the Indian Meal? Indian Meal is used 
merely because it is of a less adhesive nature than 
that of wheat. White pea-meal, or even barley-meal, 
would do just as well. But SECOND, to dry the cakes, 
to make them (and quickly too, mind) as hard as ship 
biscuit (which is much harder than the timber of 
Scotch firs or Canada firs;) and to do this in the sun 
(for it must not be /ire,) where are we, in this climate, 
to get the sun? In 1816 we could not; for, that year, 
melons rotted in the glazed frames and never ripen- 
ed. But, in every nine summers out of ten, we have 
in June, in July, or in August, a fortnight of hot sun, 
and that is enough. Nature has not given us a peach- 
climate; but we get peaches. The cakes, when put 
in the sun, may have a glass sash, or a hand-light, 
put over them. This would make their birth hotter 
than that of the hottest open-air situation in America. 
In short to a farmer's wife, or any good housewife, 
all the little difficulties to the attainment of such an 
object would appear as nothing. The will only is 
required ; and, if there be not that, it is useless to 
think of the attempt. 



VII.] SWEDISH TURNIP. 121 

SOWING SWEDISH TURNIP SEED. 

207. IT is necessary to be a little more full than I 
have been before as to the manner of sowing this 
seed ; and I shall make my directions such as to be 
applied on a small or a large scale. Those that want 
to transplant on a large scale will, of course, as to 
the other parts of the business, refer to my larger 
work. It is to get plants for transplanting' that I 
mean to sow the Swedish Turnip Seed. The time 
for sowing must depend a little upon the nature of 
the situation and soil. In the north of England, 
perhaps early in April may be best ; but, in any of 
these southern counties, any time after the middle of 
April and before the 10th of May, is quite early 
enough. The ground which is to receive the seed 
should be made very fine, and manured with wood- 
ashes, or with good compost well mixed with the 
earth. Dung is not so good ; for it breeds the fly more ; 
or, at least, I think so. The seed should be sown 
in drills an inch deep, made as pointed out under the 
head of Sowing in my book on Gardening. When 
deposited in the drills evenly but not thickly, the 
ground should be raked across, the drills, so as to fill 
them up; and then the whole of the ground should be 
trodden hard, with shoes not nailed, and not very 
thick in the sole. The ground should be laid out in 
four -feet beds for the reasons mentioned in the "Gar- 
dener" When the seeds come up, thin the plants 
to two inches apart as soon as you think them clear 
from the fly; for, if left thicker, they injure each 
other even in this infant state. Hoe frequently be- 
tween the rows even before thinning the plants ; and 
when they are thinned, hoe well and frequently be- 
tween them ; for mis has a tendency to make them 
strong; and the hoeing before thinning helps to keep 
off the fly. A rod of ground, the rows being eight 
inches apart, and plants two inches apart in the 'Vow, 
will contain about two thousand two hundred plants. 
An acre in rows four feet apart and the plants a foot 
apart in the row, will take about ten thousand four 
11 



122 ENGLISH STRAW PLAT. [No. 

hundred and sixty plants. So that to transplant an 
acre, you must sow about five rods of ground. The 
plants should be kept very clean ; and, by the last 
week in June, or first in July, you put them out. 
I have put them out (in England) at all times be- 
tween 7th of June and middle of August. The first 
is certainly earlier than I like; and the very finest I 
ever grew in England, and the finest I ever saw for 
a large piece, were transplanted on the 14th of July. 
But one year with another, the last week in June is 
the best time. For size of plants, manner of trans- 
planting, intercultivation, preparing the land, and the 
rest, see " Yearns Residence in America" 



No. VIII. 

On the converting of English Grass, and Grain 
Plants cut green, into Straw, for the purpose of 
making Plat for Hats and Bonnets. 

KENSINGTON, MAY 30, 1823. 

208. THE foregoing Numbers have treated, chiefly f 
of the management of the affairs of a labourer's family, 
and more particularly of the mode of disposing of the 
money earned by the labour of the family. The 
present Number will point out what I hope may be- 
come an advantageous kind of labour. All along I 
have proceeded upon the supposition, that the wife 
and children of the labourer be, as constantly as pos- 
sible, employed in work of some sort or other. The 
cutting, the bleaching, the sorting, and the platting - 
of straw, seem to be, of all employments, the best suit- 
ed to the wives and children of country labourers ; 
and the discovery which I have made, as to the 
means of obtaining the necessary materials, will en- 
able them to enter at once upon that employment. 

209. Before I proceed to give my directions rela- 
tive to the performance of this sort of labour, I shall 
give a sort of history of the discovery to which I have 
just alluded. 



VIII.] ENGLISH STRAW PLAT. 123 

210. The practice of making hats, bonnets, and 
other things, of straw, is perhaps of very ancient date; 
but not to waste time in fruitless inquiries, it is very 
well known that, for many years past, straw cover- 
ings for the head have been greatly in use in England, 
in America, and, indeed, in almost all the countries 
that we know much of. In this country the manu- 
facture was, only a few years ago, very flourishing ; 
but it has now greatly declined, and has left in po- 
verty and misery those whom it once well fed and 
clothed. 

211. The cause of this change has been, the im- 
portation of the straw hats and bonnets from Italy, 
greatly superior, in durability and beauty, to those 
made in England. The plat made in England was 
made of the straw of ripened grain. It was, in ge- 
neral, split ; but the main circumstance was, that it 
was made of the straw of ripened grain ; while the 
Italian plat was made of the straw of grain, or grass, 
cut green. Now, the straw of ripened grain or grass 
is brittle ; or, rather, rotten. It dies while standing, 
and, in point of toughness, the difference between it 
and straw from plants cut green- is much about the 
the same as the difference between a stick that has 
died on the tree, and one that has been cut from the 
tree. But besides the difference in point of tough- 
ness, strength, and durability, there was the differ- 
ence in beauty. The colour of the Italian plat was 
better ; the plat was brighter; and the Indian straws, 
being small w!w(e straws, instead of small straws 
made by the splitting of large ones, here was a round- 
'ness in them, that gave light and shade to the plat, 
which could not be given by our flat bits of straw. 

212. It seems odd, that nobody should have set to 
work to find out how the Italians came by this fine 
straw. The importation of these Italian articles was 
chiefly from the port of LEGHORN ; and therefore the 
bonnets imported were called Leghorn Bonnets, 
The straw manufacturers in this country seem to have 
made no effort to resist this invasion from Leghorn, 
And, which is very curious, the Leghorn straw has 



124 ENGLISH STRAW PLAT. [No. 

now began tobe imported, and to be platted in this coun- 
try. So that we had hands to plat as well as the 
Italians. All that we wanted was the same kind of 
straw that the Italians had : and it is truly wonder- 
ful that these importations from Leghorn should have 
gone on increasing year after year, and our domestic 
manufacture dwindling away at a like pace, without 
there having been any inquiry relative to the way 
in which the Italians got their straw ! Strange, that 
we should have imported even straw from Italy, with- 
out inquiring whether similar straw could not be got 
in England! There really seems to have been an 
opinion, that England could IH> more produce this 
straw than it could produce the sugar-cane. 

213. Things were in this state, when in 1821, a 
Miss WOODHOUSE, a farmer's daughter in CONNECTI- 
CUT, sent a straw-bonnet of her own making to the 
Society of Arts in London. This bonnet, superior in 
fineness and beauty to anything of the kind that had 
come from Leghorn, the maker stated to- consist of a 
sort of grass of which she sent along with the bonnet 
some of the seeds. The question was, then, would 
these precious seeds grow and produce plants in per- 
fection in England ? A large quantity of the seed 
"had not been sent : and it was therefore, by a mem- 
ber of the Society, thought desirable to get, with as 
little delay as possible, a considerable quantity of the 
seed. 

214. It was in this stage of the affair that my attention 
was called to it. The member just alluded to applied 
to me to get the seed from America. I was of opinion 
that there could be no sort of grass in Connecticut 
that would not, and that did not, grow and flourish in 
England. My son JAMES, who was then at New- 
York, had instructions from me, in June 1821, to go 
to Miss WOODHOUSE, and to send me home an account 
of the matter. In September, the same year, I Jieard 
from him, who sent me an account of the cutting and 
bleaching, and also a specimen of the plat and grass 
of Connecticut. Miss WOODHOUSE had told the 
Society of Arts, that the grass used was the Poa 



VIIL] ENGLISH STRAW PLAT. 125 

Pratensis. This is the smooth-stalked meadow- 
grass. So that it was quite useless to send for seed. 
It was clear, that we had grass enough in England, 
if we could but make it into straw as handsome as 
that of Italy, 

215. Upon my publishing an account of what had 
taken place with regard to the American Bonnet, an 
importer of Italian straw applied to me to know 
whether I would undertake to import American straw. 
He was in the habit of importing Italian straw, and of 
having it platted in this country ; but having seen the 
bonnet of Miss WOODHOUSE, he was anxious to get 

the American straw. This gentleman showed me 
some Italian straw which he had imported, and as 
the seed heads were on, I could not see what plant it 
was. The gentleman who showed the straw to me, 
told me (and, doubtless, he believed) that the plant 
was one that would not grow in England. I how- 
ever, who looked at the straw with the eyes of a far- 
mer, perceived that it consisted of dry oat,wheat, and 
rye plants, and of Bennet and other common grass 
plants. 

216. This quite settled the point of growth in 
England. It was now certain that we had the 
plants in abundance; and the only question that re- 
mained to be determined was, Had we SUN to give 
to those plants the beautiful colour which the Ame- 
rican and Italian straw had ? If that colour were to 
be obtained by art, by any chemical applications, we 
could obtain it as easily as the Americans or the 
Italians ; but, if it were the gift of the SUN solely, 
here might be a difficulty impossible for us to over- 
come. My experiments have proved that the fear of 
such difficulty was wholly groundless. 

217. It was late in September 1821 that I obtained 
this knowledge, as to the kind of plants that produ- 
ced-the foreign straw. I could, at that time of the 
year, do nothing in the way of removing my doubts 
as to the powers of our Sun in the bleaching of grass ; 
but I resolved to do this when the proper season for 
bleaching- should return. Accordingly, when the 



126 ENGLISH STRAW PLAT. [No. 

next month of June came, I went into the country 
for the purpose. I made my experiments, and, in 
short, I proved to demonstration, that we had not 
only the plants, but the sun also, necessary for the 
making of straw, yielding in no respect to that of 
America or of Italy. I think that, upon the whole, 
we have greatly the advantage of those countries ; 
for grass is more abuudant in this country than in 
any other. It flourishes here more than in any oth- 
er country. It is here in a greater variety of sorts ; 
and for fineness in point of size, there is no part of 
the world which can equal what might be obtained 
from some of our downs, merely by keeping the land 
ungrazed till the month of July. 

218. When I had obtained the straw, I got some of 
it made into plat. One piece of this plat was equal 
in point of colour, and superior in point of fineness, 
even to the plat of the bonnet of Miss WOODHOUSE. 
It seemed, therefore, now to be necessary to do no- 
thing more than to make all this well known to the 
country. As the SOCIETY OF ARTS had interested it- 
self in the matter, and as I heard that, through its 
laudable zeal, several sowing's of the foreign grass- 
seed had been made in England, I communicated an 
account of my experiments to that Society. The 
first communication was made by me on the 19th of 
February last, when I sent to the Society, specimens 
of my straw and also of the plat. Some time after 
this I attended a committee of the Society on the 
subject, and gave them a verbal account of the way 
in which I had gone to work. 

219. The committee had, before this, given some 
of my straw to certain manufacturers of plat, in order 
to see what it would produce. These manufacturers, 
with the exception of one, brought such specimens of 
plat as to induce, at first sight, any one to believe 
that it was nonsense to think of bringing the thing 
to any degree of perfection ! But, was it possible to 
believe this ? Was it possible to believe that it 
could answer to import straw from Italy, to pay a 
twenty per cent, duty on that straw, and to have it 



VIII.] ENGLISH STRAW PLAT. 127 

platted here ; and that it would not answer to turn 
into plat straw of just the same sort grown in Eng- 
land ? It was impossible to believe this; but possi- 
ble enough to believe, that persons now making 
profit by Italian straw, or plat, 'or bonnets, would 
rather that English straw should come to shut out 
the Italian and to put an end to the Leghorn trade. 

220. In order to show the character of the reports 
of those manufacturers, I sent some parcels of straw 
into Hertfordshire, and got back, in the course of five 
days, fifteen specimens of plat. These I sent to the 
Society of Arts on the 3d of April ; and I here insert 
a copy of the letter which accompanied them. 

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE SOCIETY OF ARTS. 

KENSINGTON, April 3, 1823. 

SIR, With this letter I send you sixteen speci- 
mens of plat, and also eight parcels of straw, in order to 
show the sorts that the plat is made out of. The num- 
bers of the plat correspond with those of the straw; 
but each parcel of straw has two numbers attached 
to it, except in the case of the first number, which is 
the wheat straw. Of each kind of straw a parcel of 
the stoutest and a parcel of the smallest were sent to 
be platted ; so that each parcel of the straw now sent, 
except that of the wheat, refers to two of the pieces of 
plat. For instance, 2 and 3 of the plat is of the sort 
of straw marked 2 and 3 ; 4 and 12 of the plat is of 
the sort of straw marked 4 and 12; and so on. These 
parcels of straw are sent in order that you may know 
the kind of straw, or rather, of grass, from which the 
several pieces of plat have been made. This is very 
material; because it is by those parcels of straw that 
the kinds of grass are to be known. 

The piece of plat No. 16 is American; all the rest 
are from my straw. You will see, that 15 is the finest 
plat of all. No. 7 is from the stout straws of the 
same kind as No. 15. By looking at the parcel of 
straw Nos. 7 and 15, you will see what sort of grass 
this is. The next, in point of beauty and fineness 



128 ENGLISH STRAW PLAT. [No. 

combined, are the pieces Nos. 13 and 8 ; and by look- 
ing at the parcel of straw, Nos. 13 and 8, you will 
see what sort of grass that is. Next comes 10 and 5, 
which are very beautiful too ; and the sort of grass, 
you will see, is the common Bennet. The wheat, 
you see, is too coarse ; and the rest of the sorts are 
either too hard or too brittle. I beg you to look at 
Nos. 10 and 5. Those appear to me to be the thing 
to supplant the Leghorn. The colour is good, the 
straws work well, they afford a great variety of sizes, 
and they come from the common Bennet gross, 
which grows all over the kingdom, which is culti- 
vated in all our fields, which is in bloom in the fair 
month of June, which may be grown as fine or as 
coarse as we please, and ten acres of which would, 
I dare say, make ten thousand bonnets. However, 7 
and 15, and 8 and 13, are very good; and they are to 
be got in every part of the kingdom. 

As to platters, it is to be too childish to believe that 
they are not to be got, when I could send off these 
straws, and get back the plat, in the course of five 
days. Far better work than this would have been 
obtained if I could have gone on the errand myself. 
What then will people not do, who regularly under- 
take the business for their livelihood? 

I will, as soon as possible, send you an account of 
the manner in which I went to work with the grass. 
The card or plat, which I sent you some time ago, 
you will be so good as to give me back again some 
time ; because I have now not a bit of the American 
plat left. 

I am, Sir, your most humble and most obedient 
servant, WM. COBBETT. 

221. I should observe, that these written communi- 
cations of mine to the Society, belong, in fact, to it, 
and will be published in its PROCEEDINGS, a volume 
of which comes out every year ; but, in this case, 
there would have been a year lost to those who 
may act in consequence of these communications 
being made public. The grass is to be got, in great 



VIIL] ENGLISH STRAW PLAT. 129 

quantities and of the best sorts, only in June and 
July; and the Society's volume does not come out 
till December. The Society has, therefore, given its 
consent to the making of the communications public 
through the means, of this little work of mine. 

222. Having shown what sort of plat could be pro- 
duced from English grass-straw, I "next communi- 
cated to the Society an account of the method which 
I pursued in the cutting and bleaching of the grass. 
The letter in which I did this I shall here insert a 
copy of, before I proceed further. In the original the 
paragraphs were numbered from one to seventeen: 
they are here marked by letters, in order to avoid 
confusion, the paragraphs of the work itself being 
marked by numbers. 

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE SOCIETY OF ARTS. 

KENSINGTON", April 14, 1823. 

A. SIR, Agreeably to your request, I now com- 
municate to you a statement of those particulars 
which you wished to possess, relative to the speci- 
mens of straw and of plat which I have at dif- 
ferent times sent to you for the inspection of the 
Society. 

B. That my statement may not come too abrupt- 
ly upon those members of the Society who have not 
had an opportunity of witnessing the progress of 
this interesting inquiry. I will take a short review of 
the circumstances which led to the making of my 
experiments. 

C. In the month of June, 1821, a gentleman, a 
member of the Society, informed me, by letter, that a 
Miss WOODHOUSE, a farmer's daughter, of Weathers- 
field, in Connecticut, had transmitted to the Society 
a straw-bonnet of very fine materials and manufac- 
ture ; that this bonnet (according to her account) was 
made from the straw of a sort of grass called poa 
pratensis; that it seemed to be unknown whether 
the same grass would grow in England ; that it was 
desirable to ascertain whether this grass would grow 



130 ENGLISH STRAW PLAT. [No. 

in England ; that, at all events, it was desirable to 
get from America some of the seed of this grass ; and 
that, for this purpose, my informant, knowing that 
I had a son in America, addressed himself to me, it 
being his opinion that, if materials similar to those 
used by Miss WOODHOUSE could by any means be 
grown in England, the benefit to the nation must 
be considerable. , v v . 

D. In consequence of this application, I wrote to 
my son James, (then at New York,) directing him to 
do what he was able in order to cause success to the 
undertaking. On the receipt of rny letter, in July, 
he went from New York to Weathersfield, (about a 
hundred and twenty miles;) saw Miss WOODHOUSE; 
made the necessary inquiries; obtained a specimen 
of the grass, and also of the plat, which other per- 
sons at Weatherstield, as well as Miss WOODHOUSE, 
were in the habit of making ; and having acquired 
the necessary information as to cutting the grass 
and bleaching the straw, he transmitted to me ah 
account of the matter ; which account, together with 
his specimens of grass and plat, I received in the 
month of September. 

E. I was now, when I came to see the specimen 
of grass, convinced that Miss WOODHOUSE'S mate- 
rials could be grown in England; a conviction 
which, if it had not been complete at once, would 
have been made complete immediately afterwards by 
the sight of a bunch of bonnet-straw imported from 
Leghorn, which straw was shown to me by the im- 
porter, and which I found to be that of two or three 
sorts of our common grass, and of oats ? wheat, and 
rye. 

F. That the grass, or plants, could be grown in 
England was, therefore, now certain, and indeed 
that they were, in point of commonness, next to the 
earth itself. But before the grass could, with pro- 
priety, be called materials for bonnet-making, there 
was the bleaching to be performed ; and it was by 
no means certain that this could be accomplished by 
means of an English sun, the difference between 



VIII.] ENGLISH STRAW PLAT. 131 

which and that of Italy or Connecticut was well 
known to be very great. 

G. My experiments have, I presume, completely 
removed this doubt. I think that the straw produced 
by me to the Society, and also some of the pieces ot 
plat, are of a colour which no straw or plat can sur- 
pass. All that remains, therefore, is for me to give 
an account of the manner in which I cut and bleached 
the grass which I have submitted to the Society in 
the state of straw. 

H. First, as to the season of the year, all the 
straw, except that of one sort of couch-grass, and the 
long coppice-grass, which two were got in Sussex, 
were got from grass cut in Hertfordshire on the 21st of 
June. A grass head-land, in a wheat-field, had been 
mowed during the forepart of the day, and in the af- 
ternoon I went and took a handful here and a handful 
there out of the swaths. When I had collected as 
much as I could well carry, I took it to my friend's 
house, and proceeded to prepare it for bleaching, ac- 
cording to the information sent me from America by 
my son; that is to say, I put my grass into a shallow 
tub, put boiling water upon it until it was covered by 
the water, let it remain in that state for ten minutes, 
then took it out, and laid it very thinly on a closely- 
mowed lawn in a garden. But I should observe, 
that, before I put the grass into the tub, I tied it up 
in small bundles, or sheaves, each bundle being about 
six inches through at the butt-end. This was neces- 
sary, in order to be able to take the grass, at the end 
of ten minutes, out of the water, without throwing 
it into a confused mixture as to tops and tails. Being 
tied up in little bundles, I could easily, with a prong, 
take it out of the hot water. The bundles were put 
into a large wicker basket, carried to the lawn in the 
garden, and there taken out, one by one, and laid in 
swaths as before-mentioned. 

I. It was laid very thinly; almost might I say, that 
no stalk of grass covered another. The swaths were 
turned once a day. The bleaching was completed 



132 ENGLISH STRAW PLAT. [No. 

at the end of seven days from time of scalding 
and laying out. June is a fine month. The grass 
was, as it happened, cut on the longest day in the 
year ; and the weather was remarkably fine and 
clear. But the grass which I afterwards cut in Sus- 
sex, was cut in the first week in August; and as to 
the weather my journal speaks thus : 

August, 1822. 

2d. Thunder and rain. Began cutting grass. 
3d. Beautiful day. 
4th. Fine day. 

5th. Cloudy day. Began scalding grass, and laying it out. 
6th. Cloudy greater part of the day. 
7th. Fame weather. 

8th. Cloudy and rather misty. Finished cutting grass. 
9th. Dry but cloudy. 

10th. Very close and hot. Packed up part of the grass. 
llth, 12th, 13th, and 14th. Same weajher. 
15th. Hot and clear. Finished pac/cing the grass. 

K. The grass cut in Sussex was as well bleached 
as that cut in Hertfordshire; so that it is evident that 
we never can have a summer that will not Afford sun 
sufficient for this business. 

L. The part of the straw used for platting 'it 
part of the stalk which is above the upper joint, ; ,t 
part which is between the upper joint and the seed- 
branches, This part is taken out, and the rest of 
the straw thrown away. But the whole plant must 
be cut and bleached; because, if you were to take 
off, when green, the part above described, that part 
would wither up next to nothing. This part must 
die in company with the whole plants, and be sepa- 
rated from the other parts after the bleaching has 
been performed. 

M. The time of cutting must vary with the sea- 
sons, the situation, and the sort of grass. The grass 
which I got in Hertfordshire, than which nothing 
can, I think, be more beautiful, was, when cut, ge- 
nerally in bloom; Justin bloom. The wheat was in 
full bloom ; so that a good time for getting grass may 
be considered to be that when the wheat is in bloom. 
When I cut the grass in Sussex, the wheat was ripe. 
for reaping had begun j but that grass is of a very 



VIII.] ENGLISH STRAW PLAT. 138 

backward sort, and, besides, grew in the shade 
amongst coppice-wood and under trees, which stood 
pretty thick. 

N. As to the sorts of grass, I have to observe ge- 
nerally, that in proportion 'as the colour of the grass 
is deep; that is to say, getting further from the yel- 
low, and nearer to the blue, it is of a deep and dead 
yellow when it becomes straw. Those kinds of grass 
are best which are, in point of colour, nearest to that 
of wheat, which is a fresh pale green. Another thing 
is, the quality of the straw as to 'pliancy and tough- 
ness. Experience must be our guide here. I had not 
time to make a large collection of sorts ; but those 
which I have sent to you contain three sorts which 
are proved to be good. In my letter of the 3d instant 
I sent you sixteen pieces of plat and eight bunches 
of straw, having the seed heads on, in order to show 
the sorts of grass. The sixteenth piece of plat was 
American. The first piece was from wheat cut and 
bleach^S by me ; the rest from grass cut and bleached 
\ -I will here, for fear of mistake, give a list of 
jUr Aames of the several sorts of grass, the straw of 
which was sent with my letter of the 3d instant, re- 
ferring to the numbers, as placed on the plat and on 
the bunches of straw. 

'PIECES BUNCHES SORTS 

OF PLAT. OF STRAW. OF GRASS. ', $f,v' * 

No 1. . . No. 1. . . Wheat. 

2. ) o^io S Melica CseruJea : or. Purple Melica 

3. V ' ' an ' ' I Grass. 

4. . , 10 \ Agrostis Stolonifera ; or, Florin Grass; 
12. '-,*.; ' ' ( that is to say, one sort of Couch-grass. 

5. 
10. 
6. 



5 and 10 ... Lolium Perenne ; or, Ray-grass. 



6 and 11 $Avena Flavescens; or, Yellow Oat 



7 and 15 

8 and 13 



Cynosurus Cristatus; or, Crested Dog's- 
tail grass. 

Anthoxanthum Odoratum ; or, Sweet 
scented Vernal grass. 



9. / g and ^ < Agrostis Canina ; or, Brown Bent 

O. These names are those given at the Botanical 
Garden at Kew. But the same English names are 
12 



134 ENGLISH STRAW PLAT. [No. 

not in the country given to these sorts of grass. The 
Florin grass, the Yellow Oat-grass, and the Brown- 
Bent, are all called couch-grass; except that the latter 
is, in Sussex, called Red Robin. It is the native grass 
of the plains of Long Island ; and they call it Red 
Top. The Ray-grass is the common field grass, 
which is, all over the kingdom, sown with clover. The 
farmers, in a great part of the kingdom, call it Bent, 
or Bennett, grass; and sometimes it is qalled Darnel- 
grass. The Crested Dog^s-tail goes, in Sussex, by 
the name of Hendonbent; for what reason I know 
not. The sweet-scented Vernal-grass I have never, 
amongst the farmers, heard any name for. Miss 
WOODHOUSE'S grass appears, from the plants that I 
saw in the Adelphi, to be one of the sorts of Couch- 
grass.. Indeed, I am sure that it is a Couch-grass, if 
the plants I there saw came from her seed. My son, 
who went into Connecticut, who saw the grass grow- 
ing, and who sent me home a specimen of it, is now 
in England : he was with me when I cut the grass 
in Sussex; and he says that Miss WOODHOUSE'S was 
a Couch-grass. However, it is impossible to look at 
the specimens of straw and of plat which I have sent 
you, without being convinced that there is no want 
of the raw material in England. I was, after my first 
hearing of the subject, very soon convinced that the 
grass grew in England ; but I had great doubts as to 
the capacity of our sun. Those doubts my own ex- 
periments have completely removed ; but then I was 
not aware of the great effect of the scalding, of which, 
by the way, Miss WOODHOUSE had said nothing, and 
the knowledge of wrnch we owe entirely to my son 
James' journey into Connecticut. 

P. Having thus given you an account of the time 
and manner of cutting the grass, of the mode of cut- 
ting and -bleaching ; having given you the best ac- 
count I am able, as to the sorts of grass to be em- 
ployed in this business ; and having, in my former 
communications, given you specimen^ of the plat 
wrought from the several sorts of straw, I might here 
close my letter ; but as it, may be useful to speak of 



VIII.] ENGLISH STRAW PLAT. 135 

the expense of cutting and bleaching, I shall trouble 
you with a few words relating to it. If there were 
a field of Ray-grass, or of Crested Dog's-tail, or any 
other good sort, and nothing else growing with it, 
the expense of cutting would be very little indeed, 
seeing that the scythe or reap-hook would do the 
business at a great rate. Doubtless there will be such 
fields; but even if the grass have to be cut by the 
handful, my opinion is, that the expense of cutting 
and bleaching would not exceed fourpence for straw 
enough to make a large bonnet. I should be willing 
to contract to supply straw, at this rate, for half a 
million of bonnets. The scalding must constitute a 
considerable part of the expense ; because there must 
be fresh water for every parcel of grass that you put 
in the tub. When water has scalded one parcel of 
cold grass, it will not scald another parcel. Besides, 
the scalding draws out the sweet mutter of the grass, 
and makes the water the colour of, that horrible stuff 
called London porter. It would be very good, by-the- 
by, to give to pigs. Many people give hay-tea to pigs 
and calves ; and this is grass-tea. To scald a large 
quantity, therefore would require means^not usually 
at hand, and the scalding is an essential part of the 
business. Perhaps, in a large and convenient farm- 
house, with a good brewing copper, good -fuel and 
water handy, four or five women might scald a wagon 
load in a day; and a wagon would, I think, carry 
straw enough (in the rough) to furnish the means of 
making a> thousand bonnets. However, the scalding 
'might take place in the field it&tf, by means of a 
portable boiler, especially if water were at hand ; and 
perhaps it would be better to carry the water to the 
field than to carry the grass to the farm-house, for 
there must be ground to lay it out upon the moment 
it has been scalded, and no ground can be so proper as 
the newly -mowed ground where the grass has stood. 
The space, too, must be large, for any considerable 
quantity of grass. As to all these things, however, the 
best and cheapest methods will soon be discovered 
when people set about the work with a view to profit. 



136 ENGLISH STRAW PLAT. [No. 

Q,. The Society will want nothing from me, nor 
from any-body else, to convince it of the importance 
of this matter; but I cannot, in concluding these com- 
munications to you, Sir, refrain from making an ob- 
servation or two on the consequences likely to arise 
out of these inquiries. The manufacture is alone 
of considerable magnitude. Not less than about^ve 
millions of persons in this kingdom have a dress 
which consists partly of manufactured straw ; and a 
large part, and all the most expensive part, of the 
articles thus used, now come from abroad. In cases 
where you can get from abroad any article at less 
expense than you can get it at home, the wisdom of 
fabricating that article at home may be doubted. But, 
in this case, you get the raw material by labour per- 
formed at home, and the cost of that labour is not 
nearly so great as would be the cost of the mere car- 
riage of the straw from a foreign country to this. If 
our own people had all plenty of employment, and 
that too more profitable to them and to the country 
than the turning of a part of our own grass into 
articles of dress, then it would be advisable still to 
import Leghorn bonnets ; but the facts being the re- 
verse, it is clear, that whatever money, or money's 
worth things, be sent out of the country, in exchange 
for Leghorn bonnets, is, while we have the raw ma- 
terial here for next to nothing, just so much thrown 
away. The Italians, it may be said, take some of 
our manufactures in exchange; and let us suppose, 
for the purpose of illustration, that they take cloth 
from Yorkshire. >top the exchange between Leg- 
horn and Yorkshire, and, does Yorkshire lose part 
of its custom? No: for though those who make the 
bonnets out of English grass, prevent the Leghorners 
from buying Yorkshire cloth, they, with the money 
which they now get, instead of its being got by the 
Leghorners, buy the Yorkshire cloth themselves; and 
they wear this cloth too, instead of its being worn by 
the people of Italy ; ay, Sir, and many, now in rags, 
will be well clad, if the laudable object of the Society 
be effected. Besides this, however, why should we 



VIII.] ENGLISH STRAW PLAT. 137 

not export the articles of this manufacture ? To Ame- 
rica we certainly should ; and I should not be at all sur- 
prised if we were to export them to Leghorn itself. 

R. Notwithstanding all this, however, if the 
manufacture were of a description to require, in order 
to give it success, the collecting of the manufacturers 
together in great numbers, I should, however great 
the wealth that it might promise, never have done 
any thing to promote its establishment. The contra- 
ry is happily the case : here all is not only performed 
by hand r but by hand singly, without any combina- 
tion of hands. Here there is no power of machinery 
or of chemistry wanted. All is performed out in the 
open fields, or sitting in the cottage. There wants 
no coal mines and no rivers to assist; no' water-pow- 
ers nor powers of fire. No part of the kingdom is 
unfit for the business. Every -where there are grass, 
water, sun, and women and children's fingers ; and 
these are all that are wanted. But, the great thing 
of all is this ; that, to obtain the materials for the ma- 
king of this article of dress, at once so gay, so useful, 
and in some cases so expensive, there requires not a 
penny of capital. Many of the labourers now make 
their own straw hats to wear in summer. Poor rot- 
ten things, made out of straw of ripened grain. 
With what satisfaction will they learn that straw, 
twenty times as durable, to say nothing of the beau- 
ty, is to be got from every hedge ? In short when 
the people are well and clearly informed of the facts, 
which I have through you, .Sir, had the honour to lay 
before the Society,*. it is next to impossible that the 
manufacture should not become general throughout 
the country. In every labourer's house a pot of wa- 
ter can be boiled. What labourer's wife cannot, in 
the summer months, find time to cut and bleach grass 
enough to give her and her children work for a part of 
the winter? There is no necessity for all to be platters. 
Some may cut nd bleach only. Others may prepare 
the straw, as mentioned in paragraph L, of this let- 
ter. And doubtless, as the farmers in Hertfordshire 
now sell their straw to the platters, grass collector* 
12* 



138 ENGLISH STRAW PLAT. [INK 

and bleachers and preparers would do the same. 
So that there is scarcely any country labourer's fami- 
ly that might not derive some advantage from this 
discovery ; and, while I am convinced that this con- 
sideration has been by no means over-looked by the 
Society, it has been,, I assure you, the great consider- 
ation of all with, 

Sir, your most obedient and 

most humble Servant, 

WM. COBBETT. 

223. In the last edition, this closing part of the 
work, relative to the straw plat, was not presented to 
the public as a thing which admitted of no alteration ; 
but, on the contrary, it was presented to the public 
with the following concluding remark: " In conclu- 
sion I have to observe, that I by no means send forth 
this essay as containing opinions and instructions 
that are to undergo no alteration. I am, indeed, en- 
deavouring to teach others ; but I am myself only a 
learner. Experience will, doubtless, make me much 
more perfect in a knowledge of the several parts of 
the subject ; and the fruit of this experience I shall be 
careful to communicate to the public." I now proceed 
to make god this promise. Experience has proved 
that very beautiful and very fine .plat can be made 
of the straw of divers kinds of grass. But the most 
ample experience has also proved to us that it is 
to the straw of wheat, that we are to look for a man- 
ufacture to supplant the Leghorn. This was men- 
tioned as a strong suspicion in my former edition of 
this work. And I urged my readers to sow wheat for 
the purpose. The fact is now proved beyond all con- 
tradiction, that the straw of wheat or rye, but particu- 
larly of wheat, is the straw for this purpose. Finer 
plat may be made from the straw of grass than can 
possibly be made from the straw of wheat or rye : 
but the grass plat is, all of it, more ,or less brittle; 
and none of it has the beautiful and uniform colour of 
the straw of wheat. Since the last edition of this 
work, I have received packets of the straw from Tus- 



ENGLISH STRAW PLAT. 139 

cany, all of wheat; and, indeed, lam convinced that 
no oth-sr straw is any-thing like so well calculated 
for the purpose. Wheat straw bleaches better than 
any other. It has that fine, pale, golden colour which 
no other straw has ; it is much more simple, more 
pliant than any other straw ; and, in short, this is the 
material. I did not urge in vain. A good' quantity 
of wheat was sowed for this purpose. A great deal 
of it has been well harvested ; and I have the plea- 
sure to know that several hundreds of persons are 
now employed in the platting of straw. One more 
year; one more crop of wheat; and another Leghorn 
bonnet will never be imported in England. Some 
great errors have been committed in the sowing of 
the wheat, and in the cutting of it. I shall now, 
therefore, availing, myself of the experience which I 
have gained, offer to the public some observations on 
the sort of wheat to be sowed for this purpose ; 
on the season for sowing; on the land to be used for 
the purpose ; on the quantity of seed, and the man- 
ner of sowing : on the season for cutting ; on the 
manner of cutting, bleaching, and housing; on the 
platting ; on the knitting, and on the pressing. 

224. The SORT OF WHEAT. The Leghorn 
plat is all made of the straw of the spring wheat. 
This spring wheat is so called by us, because it is 
sowed in the spring, at the same time that barley is 
sowed. The botanical name of it is TRITICUM 
^STIVUM. It is a small-grained bearded wheat. 
It has very fine straw; but experience h^s convinced 
me, that the little brown-grained winter wheat is just 
as good for the purpose. In short, any wheat will do. 
I have now in my possession specimens of plat made 
of both winter and spring wheat, and I see no differ- 
ence at all. I am decidedly of opinion that the win- 
ter wheat is as good as the spring wheat for the pur- 
pose. I have plat, and I have straw both now before 
me, and the above is the result of my experience. 

225. THE LAND PROPER FOR THE 
GROWING OF WHEAT. The object is to have 
the straw as small as we can get it. The lard must 



140 ENGLISH STRAW PLAT. [No. 

not, therefore, be too rich ; yet it ought not to be very 
poor. If it be, you get the straw of no length. I 
saw an acre this year, as beautiful as possible, sowed 
upon a light loam, which bore last year a fine crop 
of potatoes. The land ought to be perfectly clean, 
at any rate ; so that, when the crop is taken off,, the 
wheat straw may not be mixed with weeds and grass. 

226. SEASON FOR SOWING. This will be 
more conveniently stated in paragraph 228. 

227. QUANTITY OF SEED AND MANNER 
OF SOWING. When first this subject was started 
in 1821, I said, in the Register, that I would engage 
to grow as fine straw in England as the Ita.ians could 
grow. I recommended then, as a first guess, fifteen 
bushels of wheat to the acre. Since that, reflection 
told me that that was not quite enough. I therefore 
recommended twenty bushels to the acre. Upon the 
beautiful acre which I have mentioned above, eigh- 
teen bushels, I am told, were sowed ; fine and beau- 
tiful as it was, I think it would have been better if it 
had had twenty bushels ; twenty bushels, therefore, 
is what I recommend. You must sow broad cast, of 
course, and you must take great pains to cover the 
seed well. It must be a good even-handed seedsman, 
and there must be very nice covering. 

228. SEASON FOR CUTTING. Now, mind, 
it is fit to cut in just about one week after the bloom 
has dropped. If you examine the ear at that time, 
you will find the grain just beginning to be formed, 
and that is precisely the time to cut the wheat: The 
straw has then got its full substance in it. But I must 
now point out a very material thing. It is by no 
means desirable to have all your wheat fit to cut at 
the same time. It is a great misfortune, indeed, so to 
have it. If fit to cut altogether, it ought to be cut all 
at the same time ; for supposing you to have an acre, 
it will require a fortnight or three weeks to cut it and 
bleach it, unless you have a very great number of 
hands, and very great vessels to prepare water in. 
Therefore, if I were to have an acre of wheat for 
this purpose, and were to sow all spring wheat, I 



VIH "| ENGLISH STRAW PLAT. 141 

would sow <i twelfth part of the acre every week from 
the first week in March to the last week in May. If I 
relied partly upon winter wheat, I would sow some 
every month, from the latter end of September to 
March. If I employed the two sorts of wheat, or 
indeed if I employed only the spring wheat, the 
TRITICUM .ZEsTivuM, I should have some wheat fit to 
cut in June, and some not fit to cut till September. 
I should be sure to have a fair chance as to the 
weather. And, in short, it would be next to impos- 
sible for me to fail of securing a considerable part 
of my crop. I beg the reader's particular attention 
to the contents of this paragraph. 

229. MANNER OF CUTTING THE WHEAT. 
It is cut by a little reap-hook, close to the ground as 
possible. It is then tied in little sheaves, with two 
pieces of string, one near the butt, and the other 
about half-way up. This little bundle or sheaf ought 
to be six inches through at the butt, and no more. It 
ought not to be tied too tightly, lest the scalding 
should not be perfect. 

230. MANNER OF BLEACHING. The little 
sheaves mentioned in the last paragraph are carried 
to a brewing mash, vat, or other tub. You must not 
put them into the tub in too large a quantity, lest 
the water get chilled before it get to the bottom. Pour 
on scalding water till you cover the whole of the little 
sheaves, and let the water be a foot above the top 
sheaves. When the sheaves have remained thus a 
full quarter of an hour, take them out with a prong, 
lay them in a clothes-basket, or upon a hurdle, and 
carry them to the ground where the bleaching is to 
be finished. This should be, if possible, a piece of 
grass land, where the grass is very short. Take the 
sheaves, and lay some of them along in a row; untie 
them, and lay the straw along in that row as thin as 
it can possibly be laid. If it were possible, no one 
straw ought to have another lying upon it, or across it. 
If Inn sur be clear, it will require to lie twenty-four 
hours Jirs, then to be turned, and lie twenty-four ' 
hcnrs or? the other side. If the sun be not very clear, 



142 ENGLISH STRAW PLAT. [No. 

it must lie longer. But the numerous sowings which 
I have mentioned will afford you so many Chances, 
so many opportunities of having fine weather, that 
the risk about weather would necessarily be very 
small. If wet weather should come, and if your 
straw remain out in it any length of time, it will be 
spoiled ; but, according to the mode of sowing above 
pointed out, you really could stand very little chance 
of losing straw by bad weather. If you had some 
straw out bleaching, and the weather were to appear 
suddenly to be about to change, the quantity that you 
would have out would not be large enough to prevent 
you from putting it under cover, and keeping it there 
till the weather changed. 

231. HOUSING THE STRAW. When your 
straw is nicely bleached, gather it up, and with the 
same string that you used to tie it when green, tie it 
up again into little sheaves. Put it by in some room 
where there is no damp, and where mice and rats are 
not suffered to inhabit. Here it is always ready for use, 
and it will keep, I dare say, four or five years very well. 

232. THE PLATTING. This is now so well 
understood that nothing need be said about the man- 
ner of doing the work. But much might be said about 
the measures to be pursued by land-owners, by parish 
officers, by farmers, and more especially by gentlemen 
and ladies of sense, public spirit, and benevolence of 
disposition.' The thing will be done; the manufac- 
ture will spread itself all over this kingdom ; but the 
exertions of those whom I have here pointed out might 
hasten the period of its being brought to perfection. 
And I beg such gentlemen and ladies to reflect on the 
vast importance of such manufacture, which it is im- 
possible to cause to produce any-thing but good. One 
.of the great misfortunes of England at this day is, 
that the land has had taken away from it those employ* 
merits for its women and children which were so ne- 
cessary to the well-being of the agricultural labourer. 
The spinning, the carding, the reeling, the knitting ; 
these have been all taken away from the land, and 
given to the Lords of the Loom, the haughty lords of 



VIII.] ENGLISH STRAW PLAT. 143 

bands of abject slaves. But let the landholder mark 
how the change has operated to produce his ruin. He 
must have the labouring MAN and the labouring 
BOY; but, alas! he cannot have these, without hav- 
ing the man's wife, and the boy's mother, and little 
sisters and brothers. Even Nature herself says, that he 
shall have the wife and little children, or that he shall 
not have the man and the boy. But the Lords of the 
Loom, the crabbed-voiced, hard-favoured, hard-heart- 
ed, puffed -up, insolent, savage and bloody wretches 
of the North have, assisted by a blind and greedy 
Government, taken all the employment away from 
the agricultural women and children. This manu- 
facture of Straw will form one little article of em- 
ployment for these persons. It sets at defiance all the 
hatching and scheming of all the tyrannical wretches 
who cause the poor little creatures to die in their fac- 
tories, heated to eighty-four degrees. There will need 
no inventions of WATT ; none of your horse powers, 
nor water powers; no murdering of one set of wretches 
in the coal mines, to bring up the means of murder- 
ing another set of wretches in the factories, by the 
heat produced from those coals ; none of these are 
wanted to carry on this manufactory. It wants no 
combination laws; none of the inventions of the 
hard-hearted wretches of the North. 

233. THE KNITTING. Upon this subject, I 
have only to congratulate my readers that there are 
great numbers of English women who can now knit, 
plat together, better than those famous Jewesses of 
whom we were told. 

234. THE PRESSING. Bonnets and hats are 
pressed after they are made. I am told that a proper 
press costs pretty nearly a hundred pounds ; but, then, 
that it will do a 'prodigious deal of business. I would 
recommend to our friends in the country to teach as 
many children as they can to make the plat. The 
plat will be knitted in London, and in other consider- 
able towns, by persons to whom it will be sold. It ap- 
pears to me, at least, that this will be the course that 
the thing will take. However, we must leave this to 



144 ICE-HOUSES. [No. 

time : and here I conclude my observations upon a auL- 
ject which is deeply interesting to myself, and which 
the public in general deem to be of great importance. 
235. POSTSCRIPT onbrewing.I think it right 
to say here, that, ever since I published the instruc- 
tions for brewing by copper and by wooden utensils, 
the beer at my own house has always been brewed 
precisely agreeable to the instructions contained in 
this book ; and I have to add, that I never have had 
such good beer in my house in all my lifetime, as 
since I have followed that mode of brewing. My 
table-beer, as well as my ale, is always as clear as 
wine. I have had hundreds and hundreds of quarters 
of malt brewed into beer in my house. My people 
could always make it strong enough and sweet 
enough; but never, except t>y accident, could they 
make it CLEAR. Now I never have any that is not 
clear. And yet my utensils are all very small ; and 
my brewers are sometimes one labouring man, and 
sometimes another. A man wants showing how to 
brew the first time. I should suppose that we use, in 
my house, about seven hundred gallons of beer every 
year, taking both sorts together; and I can positively 
assert, that there has not been one drop of bad beer, 
and indeed none which has not been most excellent, 
in my house, during the last two years, I think it is, 
since I began using the utensils, and in the manner 
named in this booL 

ICE-HOUSES. 

. 236. First begging the reader to read again para- 
graph 149, 1 proceed here, in compliance with numer- 
ous requests to that effect, to describe, as clearly as 
I can, the manner of constructing the sort of Ice- 
houses therein mentioned. In England, these recep- 
tacles of frozen water are, generally, under ground^ 
and always, if possible, under the shade of 'trees -, the 
opinion being, that the main thing, if not the only 
thing, is to keep away the heat. The neat is to be kept 
away certainly; but moisture is the great enemy of 



VIIL] ICE-HOUSES. 145 

Ice; and how is this to be kept away either under 
ground^ or under the shade of trees ? Abundant ex- 
perience has proved, that no thickness of wall, that 
no cement of any kind, will effectually resist moisture. 
Drops will, at times, be seen hanging on the under 
side of an arch of any 'thickness, and made of any 
materials, if it have earth over it, and even when it 
has the floor of a house over it ; and wherever the 
moisture enters, the ice will quickly melt. 

237. Ice-houses should therefore be, in all their 
parts, as dry as possible : and they should be so con- 
structed, and the ice so deposited in them, as to en- 
sure the running' away of the melting's as quickly as 
possible, whenever such meltings come. Any-thing 
in way of drains or gutters, is too slow in its elfect ; 
and therefore there must be something that will not 
suffer the water proceeding from any melting, to re- 
main an instant. 

238. In the first place, then, the ice-house should 
stand in a place quite open to the sun and air ; for 
whoever has travelled, even but a few miles (having 
eyes in his head) need not be told how long that part 
of a road from which the sun and wind are excluded 
by trees, or hedges, or by any-thing else, will remain 
wet, or at least damp, after the rest of the road is 
even in a state to send up dust. 

239. The next thing is to protect the ice against 
wet, or damp, from beneath. It should, therefore, 
stand on some spot from ichich water would run in 
every direction; and if the natural ground presents 
no such spot, it is no very great job to make it. 

240. Then come the materials of which the house 
is to consist. These, for the reasons before-mention- 
ed, must not be bricks, stones, mortar, nor earth ; for 
these are all affected by the atmosphere ; they will 
become damp at certain times, and dampness is the 
great destroyer of ice. The materials are wood and 
straw. Wood will not do ; for, though not liable to 
become damp, it imbibes heat fast enough ; and, be- 
sides, it cannot be so put together as to shut out air 
sufficiently. Straw is wholly free from the quality 

13 



146 ICE-HOUSES. [No, 

of becoming damp, except from water actually put 
upon it ; and it can, at the same time, be placed on a 
roof, and on sides, to such a degree of thickness as 
to exclude the air in a manner the most perfect. The 
ice-house ought, therefore^ to be made of posts, plates, 
rafters, laths, and straw. The best form is the cir- 
cular; and the house, when made, appears as I have 
endeavoured to describe it in Fig. 3 of the plate. 

241. FIG. 1, c, is the centre of a circle, the diame- 
ter of which is ten feet, and at this centre you put 
up a post to stand fifteen, feet above the level of the 
ground, which post ought to be about nine inches 
through at the bottom, and not a great deal smaller at 
the top. Great care must be taken that this post be 
perfectly perpendicular ; for, if it be not, the whole 
building will be awry. 

242. bbb are fifteen posts, nine feet high, and six 
inches through at the bottom, without much tapering 
towards the top. These posts stand about two feet 
apart, reckoning from centre of post to centre of post, 
which leaves between each two a space of eighteen 
inches, cccc are fifty-four posts, five feet high, and 
five inches through at the bottom, without much 
tapering towards the top. These posts stand about 
two feet apart, from centre of post to centre of post, 
which leaves between each two a space of nineteen 
inches. The space between these, two rows of posts 
is four feet in width, and, as will be presently seen, 
is to contain a wall of straw. 

243. e is a passage through this wall ; cZis the out- 
side door of the passage ; f is the inside door; and 
the inner circle, of which a is the centre, is the place 
in which the ice is to be deposited. 

244. Well, then, we have now got the posts up ; 
and, before we talk of the roof of the house, or of the 
bed for the ice, it will be best to speak about the mak- 
ing of the wall. It is to be made of straw, wheat- 
straw, or rye-straw, with no rubbish in it, and made 
very smooth by the hand as it is put in. You lay it 
IT?, very closely and very smoothly, so that if the wall 
were cut across, as at g g, in FIG. 2 (which FIG. 2 



9 



, C 



c 



Ify.2. 




Seal," rf J? 29 

1 1 " ' " .1 HI I 1 t . . ! 



148 ICE-HOUSE. [No. 

represents the whole building cut down through the 
middle, omitting the centre post,) the ends of the 
straws would present a compact face as they do after 
a cut of a chaff-cutter. But there requires some- 
thing to keep the straw from bulging out between the 
posts. Littie stakes as big as your wrist will answer 
this purpose. Drive them into the ground, and fasten, 
at top, to the plates, of which 1 am now to speak. 
The plates are pieces of wood which go all round 
both the circles, and are nailed on upon the tops of 
the posts. Their main business is to receive and sus- 
tain the lower ends of the rafters, as at m m and n n 
in FIG. 2. But to the plates also the stakes just men- 
tioned must be fastened at top. Thus, then, there 
will be this space of four feet wide, having, on each 
side of it, a row of posts and stakes, not more than 
about six inches from each other, to hold up, and to 
keep in its place, this wall of straw. 

245. Next come the rafters, as from s to n, FIG. 2. 
Carpenters best know what is the number and what 
the size of the rafters; but from s to m there need 
be only aiout half as many as from m to n. How- 
ever, carpenters know all about this. It is their every- 
day work. The roof is forty-five degrees pitch, as 
the carpenters call it. If it were even sharper, it 
would be none the worse. There will be about thirty 
ends of rafters to lodge on the plate, as at m; and 
these cannot all be fastened to the top of the centre- 
post rising up. from a; but carpenters know how to 
manage this matter, so as to make all strong and 
safe. The plate which goes along on the tops of 
the row of posts, b b b, must, of course, be put on in 
a .somewhat sloping form ; otherwise there would 
be a sort of hip formed by the rafters. However, 
the thatch is to be so deep, that this may not be of 
much consequence. Before the thatching begins, 
there are laths to put upon the rafters. Thatchers 
know all about this, and all that you have to do is, to 
take care that the thatcher tie the straw on well. The 
best way, in a case of such deep thatch, is to have 9 
ttrong man to tie for the thatcher. 



VIII.] ICE-HOUSES. 149 

246. The roof is now raftered, and it is to receive 
a thatch of clean, sound, and well-prepared wheat or 
rye straw, four feet thick, as at h h in FIG. 2. 

247. The house having now got walls and roof, the 
next thing is to make the bed to receive the ice. This 
bed is the area of the circle of which a is the centre. 
You begin by laying on the ground round log's, eight 
inches through, or thereabouts, and placing them 
across the area, leaving spaces between them of 
about a foot. Then, crossways on them, poles about 
four inches through, placed at six inches apart. Then, 
crossways on them, other poles, about two inches 
through, placed at three inches apart. Then, cross- 
ways on them, rods as thick as your ringer, placed at 
an inch apart. Then upon these, small, clean, dry, last- 
winter-cut twigs, to the thickness of about two inches ; 
or, instead of these twigs, good, clean, strong heath, 
free from grass and moss, arid from rubbish of all sorts. 

248. This is the bed for the ice to lie on ; and as 
you see, the top of the bed will be seventeen inches 
from the ground. The pressure of the ice may, per- 
haps, bring it to fourteen, or to thirteen. Upon this 
bed the ice is put, broken and pummelled, and beaten 
down together in the usual manner. 

249. Having got the bed filled with ice, we have 
next to shut it safely up. As we have seen, there is 
a passage (e). Two feet wide is enough for this 
passage; and, being as long as the wall is thick, it is 
of course, four feet long. The use of the passage is 
this : that you may have two doors, so that you may, 
in hot or damp weather, shut the outer door, while 
you have the inner door open. This inner door may 
be of hurdle-work, and straw, and covered, on one of 
the sides, with sheep-skins with the wool on, so as to 
keep out the external air. The outer-door, which 
must lock, must be of wood, made to shut very close- 
ly, and, besides, covered with skins like the other. 
At times of great danger from heat, or from wet, the 
whole of the passage may be filled with straw. The 
door (p. FIG. 3) should face the North, or between 
North and East. 

13* 



150 1CE-HOUSE3. [No. 

250. As to the size of the ice-house, that must, of 
course, depend upon the quantity of ice that you may 
choose to have. A house on the above scale, is from 
ID to x (FiG. 2) twenty-nine feet; from y to z (Fio. 
2) nineteen feet. The area of the circle, of which a 
is the centre, is ten feet in diameter, and as this area 
contains seventy-five superficial feet, you will, if you 
put ice on the bed to the height of only five feet, (and 
you may put it on to the height of seven feet from the 
top of the bed,) you will have three hundred and se- 
venty-five cubic feet of ice; and, observe, a cubic foot 
of ice will, when broken up, fill much more than a 
Winchester Bushel: what it may do as to an " IMPE- 
RIAL BUSHEL," engendered like Greek Loan Commis- 
sioners, by the unnatural heat of " PROSPERITY," God 
only knows ! However, I do suppose, that, without 
making any allowance for the "cold fit," as Dr. 
Baring calls it, into which " late panic" has Irought 
us ; I do suppose, that even the scorching, the burn- 
ing dog-star of "IMPERIAL PROSPERITY;" nay, that 
even DIVES himself, would hardlf call for more than 
two bushels of ice in a day ; for more than two bush- 
els a day it would be, unless it were used in cold as 
well -as in hot weather. 

251. As to the expense of such a house, it could, 
in the country, not be much. None of the posts, ex- 
cept the main or centre-post, need be very straight. 
The other posts might be easily culled from tree-lops, 
destined for fire-wood. The straw would make all 
straight. The plates must 6f necessity be short 
pieces of wood ; and, as to the stakes, the laths, and 
the logs, poles, rods, twigs, and heath, they would 
not all cost twenty shillings. The straw is the prin- 
cipal article ; and, in most places, even that would 
not cost more than two or three pounds. If it last 
many years, the price could not be an object ; and if 
but a little while, it would still be nearly as good for 
litter as it was before it was applied to this purpose. 
How often the bottom of the straw walls might want 
renewing I cannot say, but I know that the roof would 
with few and small repairs, last well for ten years. 



VIII.] MANGEL WURZEL. 151 

252. I have said that the interior row of posts is to 
be nine feet high, and the exterior row five feet high. 
I, in each Case, mean, with the plate inclusive. I 
have only to add, that by way of superabundant pre- 
caution against bottom wet, it will be well to make a 
sort of gutter, to receive the drip from the~ roof, and 
to carry it away as soon as it falls. 

253. Now, after expressing a hope that I shall have 
made myself clearly understood by every reader, it is 
necessary that I remind him, that I do not pretend to 
pledge myself for the complete success, nor for any 
success at all, of this mode of making ice-houses. 
But, at the same time, I express my firm belief, that 
complete success would attend it; because it not 
only corresponds with what I have seen of such mat- 
ters ; but I had the details from a gentleman who 

^had ample experience to guide him, and who was a 
man on whose word and judgment I placed a per- 
fect reliance. He advised me to erect an ice-house ; 
but not caring enough about fresh meat and fish in 
summer, or at least not setting them enough above 
"prime pork" to induce me to take any trouble to se- 
cure the former, I never built an ice-house. Thus, 
then, I only communicate that in which I believe; 
there is, however, in all cases, this comfort, that if 
the thing fail as an ice-house, it will serve all gene- 
rations to come as a model for a pig-bed. 



ADDITION. 

Kensington, Nov. 14Z/1, 1831. 



MANGEL WURZEL. 



254. THIS last summer, I have proved that, as keep 
for cows, MANGEL WDRZEL is preferable to SWEDISH 
TURNIPS, whether as to quantity or quality. But 
there needs no other alteration in the book, than 
merely to read mangel wurzel wherever you find 
Swedish turnip ; the time of sowing, the mode and 



152 MANGEL WURZEL. 

time of transplanting, the distances, and the cultiva- 
tion, all being the same ; and the only difference being 
in the application of the leaves, and in the time of 
harvesting" the roots. 

255. The leaves of the MANGEL WURZEL are of 
great value, especially in dry summers. You begin, 
about the third week in August, to take off by a down- 
ward pull, the leaves of the plants ; and they are ex- 
cellent food for pigs and cows; only observe this, that, 
if given to cows, there must be, for each cow, six 
pounds of hay a day, which is not necessary in the 
case of the Swedish turnips. These leaves last till 
the crop is taken up, which ought to be in the first week 
of November. The taking off of the leaves does good 
to the plants : new leaves succeed higher up ; and the 
plant becomes longer than it otherwise would be, and, 
of course, heavier. But, in taking off the leaves, you. 
must not approach too near to the top. 

256. When you take the plants up in November, you 
must cut off the crowns and the remaining leaves ; and 
they, again, are for cows and pigs. Then you put 
the roots into some place to keep them from the frost ; 
and, if you have no place under cover, put them in 
pies, in the same manner as directed for the Swedish 
turnips. The roots will average in weight 10 Ibs, each. 
They may be given to cows whole, or to pigs either, 
and they are better than the Swedish turnip for both 
animals ; and they do not give any bad or strong taste 
to the milk and butter. But, besides this use of the 
mangel wurzel, there is another, with regard to pigs 
at least, of very great importance. The juice of this 
plant has so much of sweetness in it, that, in France, 
they make sugar of it ; and have used the sugar, and 
found it equal in goodness to West India sugar. 
Many persons in England make beer of this juice, and 
I have drunk of this beer, and found it very good. 
In short, the juice is most excellent for the mixing 
of moist food for pigs. I am now (20th Nov. 1831) 
boiling it for this purpose. My copper holds seven 
strike-bushels ; I put in three bushels of mangel wurzel 
cut into pieces two inches thick, and then fill the 



COBBETT'S CORN. 153 

copper with water. I draw off as much of the liquor 
as I want to wet pollard, or meal, for little pigs or 
fatting-pigs, and the rest, roots and all, I feed the 
yard-hogs with ; and this I shall follow on till about 
the middle of May. 

257. If you give boiled, or steamed, potatoes to pigs, 
there wants some liquor to mix with the potatoes ; for 
the water in which potatoes have been boiled is hurt- 
ful to any animal that drinks it. But mix the potatoes 
with juice of mangel wurzel, and they make very good 
food for hogs of all ages. . The mangel wurzel produ- 
ces a larger crop than the Swedish turnip. 



COBBETTS CORN. 



258. IF you prefer bread and pudding to milk, 
butter, and meat, this corn will produce, on your forty 
rods, forty bushels, each weighing 60 /6s. at the least; 
and more flour, in proportion, than the best white 
wheat. To make bread with it you must use two- 
thirds wheaten, or rye, flour ; but in puddings this is 
not necessary. The puddings at my house are all 
made with tliis flour, except meat and fruit pudding; 
for the corn flour is not adhesive or clinging enough 
to make paste, or crust. This corn is the. very best 
for hog-fatting in the whole world. I, last April, 
sent parcels of the seed into several counties, to be 
given away to working men : and I sent them instruc- 
tions for the cultivation, which I shall repeat here. 

259. I will first describe this corn to you. It is 
that which is sometimes called Indian corn; and 
sometimes people call it Indian wheat. It is that 
sort of corn which the disciples ate as they were going 
up to Jerusalem on the Sabbath-day. They gathered 
it in the fields as they went along and ate it green, 
they being " an hungered," for which you know they 
were reproved by the pharisees. I nave written a 
treatise on this corn in a book which I sell for four 
shillings, giving a minute account of the qualities, the 
culture, the harvesting, and the various uses of this 
corn ; but I shall here confine myself to what is ne- 



154 COBBETT'S CORN. 

cessary for a labourer to know about it, so that he 
may be induced to raise and may be enabled to raise 
enough of it in his garden to fat a pig of ten score. 

260. There are a great many sorts of this corn. 
They all come from countries which are hotter than 
England. This sort, which my eldest son brought 
into England, is a dwarf kind, and is the only kind 
that I have known to ripen in this country : and I 
know that it will ripen in this country in any sum- 
mer ; for I had a large field of it in 1828 and 1829 ; 
and last year (my lease at my farm being out at 
Michaelmas, and this corn not ripening till late in 
October) I had about two acres in my garden at Ken- 
sington. Within the memory of man there have not 
been three summers so cold as the last, one after ano- 
ther; and no one so cold as the last. Yet my corn 
ripened perfectly well, and this you will be satisfied 
of if you be amongst the men to whom this corn is 
given from me. You will see that it is in the shape 
of the cone of a spruce fir ; -you will see that the 
grains are fixed round a stalk which is called the cob. 
These stalks or ears come out of the side of the plant, 
which has leaves like a flag, which plant grows to 
about three feet high, and has two or three and some- 
times more, of these ears or bunches of grain. Out of 
the top of the plant comes the tassel, which resem- 
bles the plumes of feathers upon a hearse ; and this 
is the flower of the plant. 

261. The grain is, as you will see, about the size 
of a large pea, and there are from two to three hun- 
dred of these grains upon the ear, or cob. In my 
treatise, I have shown that, in America, all the hogs 
and pigs, all the poultry of every sort, the greater 
part of the oxen, and a considerable part of the sheep, 
are fatted upon this corn; that it is the best food for 
horses ; and that, when ground and dressed in vari- 
ous ways, it is used in bread, in puddings, in several 
other ways in families ; and that, in short, it is the 
real stafi of life, in all the countries where it is in 
common culture, and where the climate is hot. When 
used for poultry, the grain is rubbed off the cob. 



COBBETT'S CORN. 155 

Horses, sheep, and pigs, bite the grain off, and leave 
the cob ; but horned cattle eat cob and all. 

262. 1 am to speak of it to you, however, only as a 
thing to make you some bacon, for which use it sur-^ 
passes all other grain whatsoever. When the grain 
is in the whole ear, it is called corn in the ear ; 
when it is rubbed off the cob, it is called shelled corn. 
Now, observe, ten bushels of shelled corn are equal, 
in the fatting of a pig, to fifteen bushels of barley ; 
and fifteen bushels of barley, if properly ground and 
managed, will make a pig of ten score, if he be not 
too poor when you begin to fat him. Observe that 
everybody who has been in America knows, that the 
finest hogs in the world are fatted in. that country ; 
and no man ever saw a hog fatted in that country in 
any other way than tossing the ears of corn over to 
him in the sty, leaving him to bite it off the ear, and 
deal with it according to his pleasure. The finest and. 
solidest bacon in the world is produced in this way. 

263. Now, then, I know, that a bushel of shelled 
corn may be grown upon one single rod of ground 
sixteen feet and a half each way ; I have grown more 
than that this last summer ; and any of you may do 
the same if you will strictly follow the instructions 
which I am now about to give you. 

1. Late in March (I am doing it now,) or in the 
first fortnight of April, dig your ground up very deep, 
and let it lie rough till between the seventh and fif- 
teenth of May. 

2. Then (in dry weather if possible) dig up the 
ground again, and make it smooth at top. Draw drills 
with a line two feet apart, just as you do drills for 
peas ; rub the grains ' off the cob ; put a little very 
rotten and fine manure along the bottom of the drill ; 
lay the grains along upon that six inches apart ; cover 
the grain over with fine earth, so that there be about 
an inch and a half on the top of the grain ; pat the 
earth down a little with the back of a hoe to make it 
lie solid on the grain. 

3. If there be any danger of slugs, you must kill 
them before the corn comes up if possible : and the 



156 COBBETT'S CORN. 

best way to do this is to put a little hot lime in a bag, 
and go very early in the morning, and shake the bag 
all round the edges of the ground and over the ground. 
Doing this three or four times very early in a dewy 
morning, or just after a shower, will destroy all the 
slugs ; and this ought to be done for all other crops 
as well as for that of corn. 

4. When the corn comes up, you must take care to 
keep all birds off till it is two or three inches high ; 
for the spear is so sweet, that the birds of all sorts are 
very apt to peck it off, particularly the doves and 
the larks and pigeons. As soon as it is fairly above 
ground, give the whole of the ground (in dry weather) 
a flat hoeing, and be sure to move all the ground close 
round the plants. When the weeds begin to appear 
again, give the ground another hoeing, but always in 
dry weather. When the plants get to be about a foot 
high or a little more, dig the ground between the 
rows, and work the earth up a little against the stems 
of the plants. 

5. About the middle of August you will see the. 
tassel springing up out of the middle of the plant, and 
the ears coming out of the sides. If \veeds appear in 
the ground, hoe it again to kill the weeds, so that the 
ground may be always kept clean. About the mid- 
dle of September you will find the grains of the ears 
to be full of milk, just in the state that the ears were 
at Jerusalem when the disciples cropped them to eat. 
From this milky state, they, like the grains of wheat, 
grow hard ; and as soon as the grains begin to be 
hard, you should cut off the tops of the corn and the 
long flaggy leaves, and leave the ears to ripen upon 
the stalk or stem. If it be a warm summer, they will 
be fit to harvest by the last of October; but it does 
not signify if they remain dut until the middle of No- 
vember or even later. The longer they stay out, the 
harder the grain will be. 

6. Each ear is covered in a very curious marrer 
with a husk. The best way for you will be, w. -^i 
you gather in your crop to strip off the husks, to tie 
the ears in bunches of six or eight or ten, and to hang 



COBBETT'S CORN. 157 

them up to nails in the walls, or against the beams of 
your house ; for there is so much moisture in the cob 
that the ears are apt to heat if put together in great 
parcels. The room in which I write in London is 
now hung all round with bunches of this corn. The 
bunches may be hung up in a shed or stable fora while, 
and, when perfectly dry, they may be put into bags. 

7. Now, as to the mode of using the corn ; if for 
poultry, you must rub the grains off the cob ; but if 
for pigs, give them the whole ears. You will find 
some of the ears in which the grain is still soft. Give 
these to your pig first ; and keep the hardest to the 
last. You will soon see how much the pig will re- 
quire in a day, because pigs, more decent than many 
rich men, never eat any more than is necessary to 
them. You will thus have a pig ; you will have two 
flitches of bacon, two pig's cheeks, one set of souse, 
two griskins, two spare-ribs, from both which I trust 
in God you will keep the jaws of the Methodist par- 
son ; and if, while you are drinking a mug of your 
own ale, after having dined upon one of these, you 
drink my health, you may be sure that it will give 
you more merit in the sight of God as well as of 
man, than you would acquire by groaning the soul 
out of your body in responses to the blasphemous 
cant of the sleekheaded Methodist thief that would 
persuade you to live upon potatoes. ^ 

264. You must be quite sensible that I cannot have 
any motive but your good in giving you this advice, 
other than the delight which I. take and the pleasure 
which I derive from doing that good. You are all 
personally unknown to me: in all human probability 
not one man in a thousand will ever see me. You 
have no more power to show your gratitude to me 
than you have to cause me to live for a hundred years. 
I do not desire that you should deem this a favour 
received from rne. Tho thing is worth your trying, 
at any rate. 

265. The corn is off by the middle of November. 
The ground should then be well manured, and deeply 
dug, and planted with EARLY YORK, or EARLY DWARF 

14 



158 COBBETT'S CORN. 

CABBAGES, which will be loaved in the latter end of 
April, and may be either sold or given to pigs, or 
cows, before the time to plant the corn again. Thus 
you have two very large crops on the same ground 
in the same year. 



INDEX. 



PARAGRAPH 

Acnir - ' 19 


PARAGRAPH 


Bees 1 60 


ice nouses 


919 


Bread, making of - - - - 77 
Brewing Beer .... 20, 108 
See also " POSTSCRIPT." 
Brewing-machine .... 41 
Brougham, Mr. .... 41 
Candles and Rushes - - - 199 
Castlereagh's and Mackintosh's 


T hi I 


108 


Malthus, Parson - - - 


- 141 
254 


Mustard - -- ' - > - 
Parks Mr 


- 198 

98 




148 


Peel's flimsy Dresses - - 
Pigeons 


- 152 
- 181 
- 139 


Combination Laws ... 108 
Corn Cobbett - 258 


Pitt's false Money - - - 
Plat, English Straw - - 
Porter, how to make - - 


- 152 
- 208 
71 
77 




Cusar Mr ...... QQ 


Custom Laws ..... 108 


Drennen Dr - - - - - - 80 


Rabbits 


184 


Dress, Household Goods, 
and Fuel - 199 


Salting Mutton and Beef - 
Stanhope, Lord ... - 
Swedish Turnips - - - 
Turkeys -----. 
Walter's and Stoddart's Pai 


- 157 
- 144 
- 207 
- 171 
a- 
152 


Ducks .... . 169 


Economy, meaning of the term 2, 3 


Ellman Mr 20 60 




Walter Scott's Poems 
Want, the Parent of Crime 
Wakefield, Mr. Edward - 
Wilberforce's Potatoe-Diet 
Winchelsea, Lord - - - 
Woodhouse, Miss - - - 
Yeast - 


- 152 
- 18 
78, 99 
- 152 
- 144 
- 213 
203 


Fowls - 176 


Oeese - 167 




Hanning, Mr. Wm. - - - 99 
Hill Mr 98 


Hons .' 202 



COBBETT'S 

POOR MAN'S FRIEND; 

A DEFENCE OF THE RIGHTS OF THOSE WHO DO 
THE WORK, AND FIGHT THE BATTLES. 



COBBETT'S 
POOR MAN'S FRIEND. 



NUMBER I. 

TO THE 

. <* 

WORKING CLASSES OP PRESTON. 

Burghclere, Hampshire^ 22d August, 1826. 

MY EXCELLENT FRIENDS, 

1. AMONGST all the new, the strange, the unnatu- 
ral, the monstrous things that mark the present times, 
or, rather, that have grown out of the present system 
of governing this country, there is, in my opinion, 
hardly any thing more monstrous, or even so mon- 
strous, as the language that is now become fashiona- 
ble, relative to the condition and the treatment of that 
part of the community which are usually denomina- 
ted the POOR ; by which word I mean to designate 
the persons who, from age, infirmity, helplessness, 
or from want of the means of gaining anything by 
labour, become destitute of a sufficiency of food or of 
raiment, and are in danger of perishing if they be not 
relieved. Such are the persons that we mean when 
we talk of THE POOR ; and, I repeat, that amongst 
all the monstrous things of these monstrous days, 
nothing is, in my opinion, so monstrous as the lan- 
guage which we now constantly hear relative to the 
condition and treatment of this part of the community. 

2. Nothing can be more common than to read, in 
the newspapers, descriptions the most horrible of the 
sufferings of the Poor, in various parts of England, 
but particularly in the North. It is related of them, 

14* 



4 COBBETT'S [No. 

that they eat horse-flesh, grains, and have been detect- 
ed in eating out of pig-troughs. In short, they are rep- 
resented as being far worse fed and worse lodged than 
the greater part of the pigs. These statements of the 
newspapers may be false, or, at least, only partially 
true ; but, at a public meeting of rate-payers, at Man- 
chester, on the 17th of August, Mr. BAXTER, the 
Chairman, said, that some of the POOR had been 
starved to death, and that tens of thousands were 
upon the point of starving ; and, at the same meet- 
ing, Mr. POTTER gave a detail, which showed that 
Mr. BAXTER'S general description was true. Other 
accounts, very nearly official, and, at any rate, being 
of unquestionable authenticity, concur so fully with 
the statements made at the Manchester Meeting, that 
it is impossible not to believe, that a great number of 
thousands of persons are now on the point of perish- 
ing for want of food, and that many have actually 
perished from that cause; and that this has taken 
place, and is taking place, IN ENGLAND. 

3. There is, then, no doubt of the existence of the 
disgraceful and horrid facts ; but that which is as hor- 
rid as are the facts themselves, and even more horrid 
than those facts, is the cool and unresentful language 
and manner in which the facts are usually spoken of. 
Those who write about the misery and starvation in 
Lancashire and Yorkshire, never appear to think 
that any body is to blame, even when the poor die 
with hunger. The Ministers ascribe the calamity to 
" over-trading";" the cotton and cloth and other mas- 
ter-manufacturers ascribe it to " a want of paper- 
money" or to the Corn-Bill; others ascribe the ca- 
lamity to the taxes. These last are right ; but what 
have these things to do with the treatment of the 
poor ? What have these things to do with the horrid 
facts relative to the condition and starvation of Eng- 
lish people ? It is very true, that the enormous taxes 
which we pay on account of loans made to carry on 
the late unjust wars, on account of a great standing 
army in time of peace, on account of pensions, sine- 
cures and grants, and on account of a Church, which, 



L] POOR MAN'S FRIEND. 5 

besides, swallows up so large a part of the produce of 
the land and the labour; it is very true, that these 
enormous taxes, co-operating with the paper-money^^ 
and its innumerable monopolies ; it is very true, that 
these enormous taxes, thus associated, have produced 
the ruin in trade, manufactures and commerce, and 
have, of course, produced the low wages and the 
want of employment; this is very true ; but it is not 
less true, that, be wages or employment as they may, 
the poor are not to perish with hunger, or with cold, 
while the rest of the community have food and rai- 
ment more than the latter want for their own suste- 
nance. The LAW OF ENGLAND says, that there 
shall be no person to suffer from want of food and rai^^j 
ment. It has placed officers in every parish to see 
that no person suffer from this sort of want ; and lest 
these officers should not do their duty, it commands 
all the magistrates to hear the complaints of the poor, 
and to compel the officers to do their duty. The LAW 
OF ENGLAND has provided ample means of relief 
for the poor; for, it has authorized the officers, or 
overseers, to get from the rich inhabitants of the par- 
ish as much money as is wanted for the purpose, 
without any limit as to amount ; and, in order that 
the overseers may have no excuse of inability to make 
people pay, the law has armed them with powers of 
a nature the most efficacious and the most efficient 
and most prompt in their operation. In short, the 
language of the LAW, to the overseer, is this: 
" Take care that no person suffer from hunger, or 
from cold; and that you may be sure not to fail of 
the means of obeying this my command, I give you, 
as far as shall be necessary for this purpose, full 
power over all the lands, all the houses, all the goods, 
and all the cattle, in your parish." To the Justices of 
the Peace the LAW says: "Lest the overseer should 
neglect his duty ; lest, in spite of my command to him, 
any one should suffer from hunger or cold, I command 
you to be ready to hear the complaint of every sufferer 
from such neglect ; I command you to summon the of- 
fending overseer, and to compel him to do his duty." 



6 COBBETT'S [No. 

4. Such being the language of the LAW, is it not 
a monstrous state of things, when we hear it com- 
monly and coolly stated, that many thousands of per- 
sons in England are upon the point of starvation; 
that thousands will die of hunger and cold next win- 
ter; that many have already died of hunger; and 
when we hear all this, unaccompanied with one 
word of complaint against any overseer , or any jus- 
tice of the peace ! Is not this state of things perfectly 
monstrous ? A state of things in which it appears to 
be taken for granted, that the LAW is nothing, when 
\ it is intended to operate as a protection to the poor ! 
Law is always law : if one part of the law may be, 
with impunity, set at defiance, why not another and 
every other part of the law? If the law which pro-- 
vides for the succour of the poor, for the preservation 
of their lives, may be, with impunity, set at defiance, 
why should there not be impunity for setting at defi- 
ance the law which provides for the security of the 
property and the lives of the rich ? If you, in Lan- 
cashire, were to read, in an account of a meeting in 
Hampshire, that, here, the farmers and gentlemen 
were constantly and openly robbed ; that the poor 
were daily breaking into their houses, and knocking 
their brains out ; and that it was expected that great 
part of them would be killed very soon : if you, in 
Lancashire were to hear this said of the state of 
Hampshire, what would you say? Say ! Why, you 
would say, to be sure, " Where is the LAW ; where 
are the constables, the justices, the juries, the judges, 
the sheriffs, and the hangmen? Where can that 
Hampshire be ? It, surely, never can be in Old Eng- 
land. It must be some savage country, where such 
enormities can be committed, and where even those, 
who talk and who lament the evils, never utter one 
word in the way of blame of the perpetrators.' 5 And 
if you were called upon to pay taxes, or to make sub- 
scriptions in money, to furnish the means of protection 
to the unfortunate rich people in Hampshire, would 
you not say, and with good reason, "No : what should 
we do this for? The people of Hampshire have the 



I.] POOR MAN'S FRIEND. 7 

SAME LAW that we have ; they are under the 
same Government ; lei Ihem duly enforce that law; 
and then they will stand in no need of money from 
us to provide for their protection." 

5. This is what common sense says would be your 
language in such a case ; and does not common sense 
say, that the people of Hampshire, and of every other 
part of England, will thus think, when they are told 
of the sufferings, and the starvation, in Lancashire 
and Yorkshire ! The report of the Manchester ley^ } 
payers, which took place on the 17th of August, 
reached me in a friend's house in this little village ; 
and when another friend, who was present, read, in 
the speeches of Mr. BAXTER and Mr. POTTER, that 
tens of thousands of Lancashire people were on the 
point of starvation, and that many had already 
actually died from starvation; and when he per- 
ceived, that even those gentlemen uttered not a word 
of complaint against either overseer or justices of the 
peace, he exclaimed : " What ! are there no poor-laws 
in Lancashire ? Where, amidst all this starvation. 

is the overseer ? Where is the justice of the peace ? 
Surely that Lancashire can never be in England?" 

6. The observations of this gentleman are those 
which occur to every man of sense ; when he hears 
the horrid accounts of the sufferings in the manufac- . 
turing districts ; for, though we are all well aware^l 
that the burden of the poor-rates presses, at this time, 
with peculiar weight on the land-owners and occu- 
piers, and on owners and occupiers of other real pro- 
perty, in those districts, we are equally well aware, 
that those owners and occupiers have derived great 
benefits from that vast population that now presses 
upon them. There is land in the parish in which I 
am now writing, and belonging to the farm in the 
house of which I am, which land would not let for 
20s. a statute acre ; while land, not so good, would 
let, in any part of Lancashire, near to the manufac- 
tories, at 605. or 80s. a statute acre. The same may 
be said with regard to houses. And, pray, are the 
owners and occupiers, who have gained so largely by 



8 COBBETT'S [No. 

the manufacturing works being near their lands and 
houses ; are they, now, to complain, if the vicinage of 
these same works causes a charge of rates there, 
heavier than exists here ? Are the owners and occu- 

Eiers of Lancashire to enjoy an age of advantages 
*om the labours of the spinners and the weavers ; 
and are they, when a reverse comes, to bear none of 
the disadvantages ? Are they to make no sacrifices, 
in order to save from perishing those industrious and 
ever-toiling creatures, by the labours of whom their 
land and houses have been augmented in value, three, 
five, or perhaps tenfold 1 None but the most unjust of 
mankind can answer these questions in the affirmative. 
7. But as greediness is never at a loss for excuses 
for the hard-heartedness that it is always ready to 

Practise, it is said, that the whole of the rents of the 
md and the houses would not suffice for the purpose; 
that is to say, that if the poor rates were to be made 
so high as to leave the tenant no means of paying 
rent, even then some of th poor must go without a 
sufficiency of food. I have no doubt that, in particu- 
lar instances, this would be the case. But for cases 
like this the LAW has amply provided ; for, in every 
case of this sort, adjoining parishes may be made to 
assist the hard pressed parish ; and if the pressure be- 
comes severe on these adjoining parishes, those next 
adjoining them may be made to assist ; and thus the call 
upon adjoining parishes may be extended till it reach 
all over the county. So good, so benignant, so wise, so 
foreseeing, and so effectual, is this, the very best of 
all our good old laws ! This law or rather code of 
laws, distinguishes England from all the other coun- 
tries in the world, except the United States of 
America, where, while hundreds of other English 
statutes have been abolished, this law has always re- 
mained in full force, this great law of mercy and 
humanity, which says, that no human being that 
treads English ground shall perish for want of food 
and raiment. For such poor persons as are unable 
to work, the law provides food and clothing; and it 
commands that work shall be provided for such as 



I.] POOR MAN'S FRIEND. 9 

are able to work, and cannot otherwise get employ- 
ment. This law was passed more than two hundred 
years ago. Many attempts have been made to chip 
it away, and some have been made to destroy it alto- 
gether 5 but it still exists, and every man who does 
not wish to see general desolation take place, will 
do his best to cause it to be duly and conscientiously 
executed. 

8. Having now, my friends of Preston, stated what 
the law is, and also the reasons for its honest enforce- 
ment in the particular case immediately before us, I 
will next endeavour to show you that it is .found- 
ed in the law of nature, and that, were it not for 
the provisions of this law, people would, accord- 
ing to the opinions of the greatest lawyers, have a 
right to take food and raiment sufficient to preserve 
them from perishing ; and that such taking would 
be neither felony nor larceny. This is a matter of 
the greatest importance ; it is a most momentous 
question ; for if it be settled in the affirmative if it 
be settled that it is not felony , nor larceny, to take 
other men's goods without their assent, and even 
against their will, when such taking is absolutely 
necessary to the preservation of life, how great, how 
imperative, is the duty of affording, if possible, that 
relief which will prevent such necessity ! In other 
words, how imperative it is on all overseers and jus- 
tices to obey the law with alacrity ; and how weak 
are those persons who look to "grants" and "sub- 
scriptions^ to supply the place of the execution of 
this, the most important of all the laws that consti- 
tute the basis of English society ! And if this ques- 
tion be settled in the affirmative ; if we find the most 
learned of lawyers and most wise of men, maintain- 
ing the affirmative of this proposition ; if we find 
them maintaining, that it is neither felony nor larceny 
to take food, in case of extreme necessity, though 
without the assent, and even against the will of the 
owner, what are we to think of those (and they are not 
few in number nor weak in power) who, animated 
with the savage soul of the Scotch feelosophers, 



10 COBBETT'S [No, 

would wholly abolish the poor-laws, or, at least, ren- 
der them of little effect, and thereby constantly keep 
thousands exposed to this dire necessity ! 

9. In order to do justice to this great subject; in 
order to treat it with perfect fairness, and in a man- 
ner becoming of me and of you, I must take the au- 
thorities on both sides. There are some great lawyers 
who have contended that the starving man is still 
guilty of felony or larceny, if he take food to satisfy 
his hunger ; but there are a greater number of other, 
and still greater, lawyers, who maintain the con- 
trary. The general doctrine of those who maintain 
the right to take, is founded on the law of nature ; 
and it is a saying as old as the hills, a saying in every 
language in the world, that "self-preservation is the 

first law of nature." The law of nature teaches 
every creature to prefer the preservation of its own 
life to all other things. But, in order to have a fair 
view of the matter before us, we ought to inquire how 
it came to pass, that the laws were ever made to pu- 
nish men as criminals, for taking the victuals, drink, 
or clothing, that they might stand in need of. We must 
recollect, then, that there was a time when no such 
laws existed ; when men, like the wild animals in 
the fields, took what they were able to take, if they 
wanted it. In this state of things, all the land and 
all the produce belonged to all the people in com- 
mon. Thus were men situated, when they lived 
under what is called the law of nature; when 
every one provided, as he could, for his self-pre- 
servation. 

10. At length this state of things became changed : 
men entered into society ; they made laws to restrain 
individuals from following, in certain cases, the dic- 
tates of their own will ; they protected the weak 
against the strong; the laws secured men in posses- 
sion of lands, houses, and goods, that were called 
THEIRS ; the words MINE and THINE, which 
mean my own and thy own, were invented to desig- 
nate what we now call a property in things. The 
law necessarily made it criminal in one man to take 



1.] POOR MAN'S FRIEND. 11 

away, or to injure, the property of another man. It 
was, you will observe, even in this state of nature, 
always a crime to do certain things against our neigh- 
bour. To kill him, to wound him, to slander him, 
to expose him to suffer from the want of food or rai- 
ment, or shelter. These, and many others, were 
crimes in the eye of the law of nature ; but, to take 
share of a man's victuals or clothing ; to go and in- 
sist upon sharing a part of any of the good things 
that he happened to have in his possession, could be 
no crime, because there was -no property in anything, 
except in man's body itself. Now, civil society was 
formed for the benefit of the whole. The whole 
gave up their natural rights, in order that every one 
might, for the future, enjoy his life in greater security. 
This civil society was intended to change the state of 
man^br the better. Before this state of civil society, 
the starving, the hungry, the naked man, had a right 
to go and provide himself with necessaries wherever 
he could find them. There would be sure to be 
some such necessitous persons in a state of civil so- 
ciety. Therefore, when civil society was established, 
it is impossible to believe that it had not in view 
some provision for these destitute persons. It would 
be monstrous to suppose the contrary. The contrary 
supposition would argue, that fraud was committed 
upon the mass of the people in forming this civil so- 
ciety ; for, as the sparks fly upwards, so will there al- 
ways be destitute persons to some extent or other, in 
every community, and such there are to now a consider- 
able extent, even in the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA; 
therefore, the formation of the civil society must have 
been fraudulent or tyrannical upon any other suppo- 
sition than that it made provision, in some way or 
other, for destitute persons ; that is to say, for persons 
unable, from some cause or other, to provide for them- 
selves the food and raiment sufficient to preserve them 
from perishing. Indeed, a provision for the destitute 
seems essential to the lawfulness of civil society ; and 
this appears to have been the opinion of BLACKSTONE, 
when, in the first Book and first Chapter of his Com- 
15 



12 COBBETT'S [No. 

mentaries on the Laws of England, he says, " the law 
not only regards life and member, and protects every 
man in the enjoyment of them, but also furnishes 
him with every thing necessary for their support. 
For there is no man so indigent or wretched, but he 
may demand a supply sufficient for all the necessaries 
of life from the more opulent part of the community, 
by means of the several statutes enacted for the re- 
lief of the poor; a humane provision dictated by the 
principles of society" 

11. No man will contend, that the main body of 
the people in any country upon earth, and of course 
in England, would have consented to abandon the 
rights of nature; to give up their right to enjoy all 
things in common ; no man will believe, that the 
main body of the people would ever have given their 
assent to the establishing of a state of things which 
should make all the lands, and all the trees, and all 
the goods and cattle of every sort, private property ; 
which should have shut out a large part of the peo- 
ple from having such property, and which should, at 
the same time, not have provided the means of pre- 
venting those of them, who might fall into indigence, 
from being actually starved to death ! It is impossi- 
ble to believe this. Men never gave their assent to 
enter into society on terms life these. One part 
of the condition upon which men entered into society 
was, that care should be taken that no human being 
should perish from want. When they agreed to enter in- 
to that state of things, which would necessarily cause 
some men to be rich and some men to be poor ; when 
they gave up that right, which God had given them, 
to live as well as they could, and to take the means 
wherever they found them, the condition clearly was, 
the "principle of society;" clearly was, as BLACK- 
STONE defines it, that the indigent and wretched should 
have a right to " demand from the rich a supply suf- 
ficient for all the necessities of life." 

12. If the society did not take care to act upon 
this principle ; if it neglected to secure the legal means 
of preserving the life of the indigent and wretched ; 



I.] POOR MAN'S FRIEND. 13 

then the society itself, in so far as that wretched 
person was concerned, ceased to have a legal existence. 
It had, as far as related to him, forfeited its character 
of legality. It had no longer any claim to his sub- 
mission to its laws. His rights of nature returned : 
as far as related to him, the law of nature revived in 
all its force : that state of things in which all men en- 
joyed all things in common was revived with regard 
to him ; and he took, and he had a right to take, food 
and raiment, or, as Blackstone expresses it, " a supply 
sufficient for all the necessities of life." For, if it be 
true, as laid down by this English lawyer, that the 
principles of society ; if it be true, that the very prin- 
ciples, or foundations of society dictate, that the des- 
titute person shall have a legal demand for a supply 
from the rich, sufficient for all the necessities of life ; if 
this be true, and true it certainly is, it follows of course 
that the principles, that is, the base, or foundation^ of 
society, is subverted, is gone ; and that society is, in 
fact, no longer what it was intended to be, when the 
indigent, when the person in a state of extreme neces- 
sity, cannot, at once, obtain from the rich such suffi 
cient supply : in short, we need go no further than 
this passage of BLACKSTONE, to show, that civil society 
is subverted, and that there is, in fact, nothing legiti- 
mate in it, when the destitute and wretched have no 
certain and legal resource. 

13. But this is so important a matter, and there 
have been such monstrous doctrines and projects put 
forth by MALTHUS, by the EDINBURGH REVIEWERS, by 
LAWYER SCARLETT, by LAWYER NOLAN, by STURGES 
BOURNE, and by an innumerable swarm of persons who 
have been giving before the House of Commons what 
they call "evidence:" there have been such monstrous 
doctrines and projects put forward by these and other 
persons ; and there seems to be such a lurking desire 
to carry the hostility to the working classes still further, 
that I think it necessary in order to show, that these 
English poor-laws, which have been so much calum- 
niated by so many greedy proprietors of land ; I think 
it necessary to show, that these poor-laws are the 



14 COBBETT'S [No. 

things which men of property, above all others, ought 
to wish to see maintained, seeing that, according to 
the opinions of the greatest and the wisest of men, 
they must suffer most in consequence of the abolition, 
of those laws ; because, by the abolition of those laws, 
the right given by the laws of nature would revive, 
and the destitute would take, where they now simply 
demand (as BLACKSTONE expresses it) in the name of 
the law. There has been some difference of opinion, 
as to the question, whether it be theft or no theft ; or, 
rather, whether it be a criminal act, or not a criminal 
act, for a person, in a case of extreme necessity from 
want of food, to take food without the assent and even 
against the will, of the owner. We have, amongst 
our great lawyers, SIR MATTHEW HALE and SIR WIL- 
LIAM BLACKSTONE, who contend (though as we shall 
see, with much feebleness, hesitation, and reservation, ) 
that it is theft, not withstan ding the extremity of the 
want; but there are many, and much higher authorities, 
foreign as well as English, on the other side. Before, 
however, I proceed to the hearing of these authorities, 
let me take a snort view of the origin of the poor laws 
in England; for that view will convince us, that, 
though the present law was passed but a little more 
than two hundred years ago, there had been something 
to effect the same purpose ever since England had been 
called England. 

14. According to the Common Law of England, 
as recorded in the MIRRODR OF JUSTICES, a book which 
was written before the Norman Conquest ; a book in 
as high reputation, as a law-book, as any one in Eng- 
land; according to this book, CHAPTER 1st, SECTION 
3d, which treats of the "First constitutions made by 
the antient kings ; " according to this work, provision 
was made for the sustenance of the poor. The words 
are these : " It was ordained, that the poor should be 
sustained by parsons, by rectors of the church, and 
by the parishioners, so that hone of them die for want 
of sustenance" Several hundred years later, the ca- 
nons of the church show, that when the church had 
become rich, it took upon itself the whole of the care 



I.] POOR MAN'S FRIEND. 15 

and expense attending the relieving of the poor. 
These canons, in setting forth the manner in which 
the tithes should be disposed of, say, " Let the priests 
set apart the first share for the building and ornaments 
of the church; let them distribute the second to the 
poor and strangers, with their own hands, in mercy 
and humility' and let them reserve the third part for 
themselves." This passage is taken from the canons 
of ELFRIC, canon 24th. At a later period, when the 
tithes had, in some places, been appropriated to con- 
vents, acts of Parliament were passed, compelling the 
impropriators to leave, in the hands of their vicar, a 
sufficiency for the maintenance of the poor. There 
were two or three acts of this sort passed, one par- 
ticularly in the twelfth year of RICHARD the Second, 
chapter 7th. So that here we have the most ancient 
book on the Common Law ; we have the candns of 
the church at a later period; we have acts of Parlia- 
ment at a time when the power and glory of England 
were at their very highest point ; we have all these to 
tell us, that in England, from the very time that the 
country took the name, there was always a legal and 
secure provision for the poor, so that no person, how- 
ever aged, infirm, unfortunate, or destitute, should 
suffer from want. 

15. But, my friends, a time cam'e when the provi- 
sion made by the Common Law, by the Canons of the 
Church, and by the Acts of the Parliament coming in 
aid of those canons ; a time arrived, when all these 
were rendered null by what is called the PROTESTANT 
REFORMATION. This " Reformation," as it is called, 
sweeped away the convents, gave a large part of the 
tithes to greedy courtiers, put parsons with wives and 
children into the livings, and left the poor without 
any resource whatsoever. This terrible event, which 
deprived England of the last of her possessions on 
the continent of Europe, reduced the people of Eng- 
land to the most horrible misery ; from the happiest 
and best fed and best clad people in the world, it 
made them the most miserable, the most wretched 
and ragged of creatures. At last it was seen that. 
15* 



16 COBBETT'S [No. 

in spite of the most horrible tyranny that ever was 
exercised in the world, in spite of the racks and the 
gibbets and the martial law of QUEEN ELIZABETH, 
those who had amassed to themselves the property 
out. of which the poor had been formerly fed, were 
compelled to pass a law to raise money, by way of 
tax, for relieving" the necessities of the poor. They 
had passed many acts before the FORTY-THIRD year of 
the reign of this Queen Elizabeth ; but these acts 
were all found to be ineffectual, till, at last, in the 
forty-third year of the reign of this tyrannical Queen, 
and in the year of our Lord 1601, that famous act 
was passed, which has been in force until this day ; 
and which, as I said before, is stilLin force, notwith- 
standing all the various attempts of folly and cruelty 
to get rid of it. 

16. Thus, then, the present poor-laws are no new 
thing 1 . They are no gift to the working people. 
You hear the greedy landowners everlastingly com- 
plaining against this law of QUEEN ELIZABETH. 
They pretend that it was an unfortunate law. They 
affect to regard it as a great INNOVATION, seeing 
that no such law existed before; but, as I have shown, 
a better law existed before, having the same object 
in view. I have shown, that the " Reformation," as 
it is called, had sweeped away that which had been 
secured to the poor by the Common Law, by the Ca- 
nons of the Church, and by ancient Acts of Parlia- 
ment. There was nothing new, then, in the w*y of 
benevolence towards the people, in this celebrated 
Act of Parliament of the reign of QUEEN ELIZABETH ; 
and the landowners would act wisely by holding 
their tongues upon the subject; or, if they be too 
noisy, one may look into their GRANTS, and see 
if we cannot find something THERE to keep out 
the present parochial assessments. 

17. Having now seen the origin of the present 
poor-laws, and the justice of their due execution, let 
us return to those authorities of which I was speak- 
ing but now, and an examination into which will 
*how the extreme danger of listening to those pro- 



I.] POOR MAN'S FRIEND. 17 

jectors who would abolish the poor-laws ; that is to 
say, who would sweep away that provision which 
was established in the reign of Q,UEEN ELIZABETH, 
from a conviction that it was absolutely necessary to 
preserve the peace of the country and the lives of 
the people. I observed before that there has been 
some difference of opinion amongst lawyers as to the 
question, whether it be, or be not, theft, to take with- 
out his consent and against his will, the victuals of 
another, in order to prevent the taker from starving. 
SIR MATTHEW HALE and SIR WILLIAM BLACKSTONE 
say that it is theft. I am now going to quote the 
several authorities on both sides, and it will be ne- 
cessary for me to indicate the works which I quote 
from by the words, letters, and figures which are 
usually made use of in quoting from these works. 
Some part of what I shall quote will be in Latin: 
but I shall put nothing in that language of which I 
will not give you the translation. I beg you to read 
these quotations with the greatest attention ; for you 
will find, at the end of your reading, that you have 
obtained great knowledge upon the subject, and 
knowledge, too, which will not soon depart from 
your minds. 

18. I begin with SIR MATTHEW HALE, (a Chief 
Justice of the Court of King's Bench in the reign 
of Charles the Second,) who, in his PLEAS OF THE 
CROWN, CHAP. IX., has the following passage, which 
I put in distinct paragraphs, and mark A, B, and C. 

19. A. " Some of the casuists, and particularly 
COVARRUVIUS, Tom. I. De furti et rapince. restitu- 
tione, 3, 4, p. 473 ; and GROTIUS, de jure belli ac 
pads; lib. II. cap. 2. 6, tell us, that in case of 
extreme necessity, either of hunger or clothing, the 
civil distributions of property cease, and by a kind of 
tacit condition the first community doth return, and 
upon this those common assertions are grounded: 
1 Quicquid necessitas cogit, defendii,,' [Whatever 
necessity calls for, it justifies.] ' Necessitas est lex 
temporis et loci? [Necessity is the law of time and 
place.! ' In casu extremes, necessitatis omnia sunt 



18 COBEETT'S [No. 

communiaS [In case of extreme necessity, all things 
are in common;'] and, therefore, in such case theft is 
no theft, or at least not punishable as theft; and some 
even of our own lawyers have asserted the same ; 
and very bad use hath been made of this concession 
by some of the Jesuitical casuists of France, who 
have thereupon advised apprentices and servants to 
rob their masters, where they have been indeed them- 
selves in want of necessaries, of clothes or victuals ; 
whereof, they tell them, they themselves are the com- 
petent judges ; and by this means let loose, as much 
as they can, by their doctrine of probability, all the 
ligaments of property and civil society." 

20. B. " I do, therefore, take it, that, where per- 
sons live under the same civil government, as here 
in England, that rule, at least by the laws of Eng- 
land, is false ; and, therefore, if a person being under 
necessity for want of victuals, or clothes, shall, upon 
that account, clandestinely, and ' animo furandij 
[with intent to steal,] steal another man's goods, 
it is felony, and a crime, by the laws of England, 
punishable with death; although, the judge before 
whom the trial is, in this case (as in other cases of 
extremity) be by the laws of England intrusted 
with a power to reprieve the offender, before or after 
judgment, in order to the obtaining the King's mercy. 
For, 1st, Men's properties would be under a strange 
insecurity, being laid open to other men's necessi- 
ties, whereof no man can possibly judge, but the 
party himself. And, 2nd, Because by the laws of 
this kingdom [here he refers to the 43 Eliz. cap. 2] 
sufficient provision is made for the supply of such 
necessities by collections for the poor, and by the 
power of the civil magistrate. Consonant hereunto 
seems to be the law even among the Jews ; if we 
may believe the wisest of kings. Proverbs vi. 30, 31. 
'Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his 
soul when he is hungry, but if he be found, he shall 
restore seven-fold, he shall give all the substance of 
his house? It is true, death among them was not 
the penalty of theft, yet his necessity gave him wo 



J F U 



I.] POOR MAN'S FRIEND. 19 

exception from the ordinary punishment inflicted by 
their law upon that offence." 

21. C. "Indeed this rule, c in casu extremes neces- 
sitatis omnia sunt communiaj does hold, in some 
measure^ in some particular cases, where, by the tacit 
consent of nations, or of some particular countries or 
societies, it hath obtained. First, among the Jews, 
it was lawful in case of hunger to pull ears of stand- 
ing corn, and eat, (Matt. xii. 1;) and for one to pass 
through a vineyard, or olive-yard, to gather and eat 
without carrying away. Deut. xxiii. 24, 25. SECOND, 
By the Rhodian law, and the common-maritime 
custom, if the common provision for the ship's com- 
pany fail, the master may, under certain tempera- 
ments, break open the private chests of the mariners 
or passengers, and make a distribution of that par- 
ticular and private provision for the preservation of 
the ship's company." Vide CONSOLATO DEL MARE, 
cap. 256. LE CUSTOMES DE LA MERE, p. 77. 

22. SIR WILLIAM BLACKSTONE agrees, in substance, 
with HALE ; but he is, as we shall presently see, much 
more eager to establish his doctrine ; and, we shall 
see besides, that he has not scrupled to be guilty of 
misquoting, and of very shamefully garbling, the 
Scripture, in order to establish his point. We shall 
find him flatly contradicting the laws of England ; 
but, he might have spared the Holy Scriptures, 
which, however, he has not done. 

23. To return to HALE, you see he is compelled to 
begin with acknowledging that there are great 
authorities against him; and he could not say that 
GROTIUS was not one of the most virtuous as well 
as one of the most learned of mankind. HALE does 
pot know very well what to do with those old say- 
ings about the justification which hard necessity 
gives : he does not know what to do with the maxim, 
that, "in case of extreme necessity all things are 
owned in common." He is exceedingly puzzled with 
these ancient authorities, and flies off into prattle 
rather than argument, and tells us a story about "Jesu- 
itical " casuists in France, who advised apprentices 



20 COBBETT'S [No. 

and servants to rob their masters, and that they thus 
"let loose the ligaments of property and civil society." 
I fancy that it would require a pretty large portion of 
that sort of faith which induced this Protestant judge 
to send witches and wizards to the gallows ; a pretty 
large portion of this sort of faith, to make us believe, 
that the "casuists of France," who, doubtless, had 
servants of their own, would teach servants to rob 
their masters ! In short, this prattle of the judge 
seems to have been nothing more than one of those 
Protestant effusions which were too much in fashion 
at the time when he wrote. 

24. He begins his second paragraph, or paragraph 
B., by saying, that he " takes it " to be so and so ; 
and then comes another qualified expression ; he talks 
of civil government " as here in England" Then 
he says, that the rule of GROTIUS and others, against 
which he has been contending, u he takes to be false, 
at least," says he, " by the laws of England." After 
he has made all these qualifications, he then pro- 
ceeds to say* that such taking is theft; that it \$ felony; 
and it is a crime which the laws of England punish 
with death! But, as if stricken with remorse at 
putting the frightful words upon paper ; as if feeling 
shame for the law and for England itself, he in- 
stantly begins to tell us, that the judge who presides 
at the trial is intrusted, " by the laws of England," 
with power to reprieve the offender, in order to the 
obtaining of the King^s mercy I Thus he softens - 
it down. He will have it to be LAW to put a man 
to death in such a case ; but he is ashamed to leave 
his readers to believe, that an English judge and an 
English king WOULD OBEY THIS LAW ! 

25. Let us now hear the reasons which he gives 
for this which he pretends to be law. His first rea- 
son is, that there would be no security for property, 
if it were laid open to the necessities of the indigent, 
of which necessities no man but the takers them" 
selves could be the judge. He talks of a " strange 
insecurity ;" but, upon my word, no insecurity could 
be half so strange as this assertion of his own. 






I."] POOR MAN'S FRIEND. 21 

BLACKSTONE has just the same argument. " Nobody, 3 ' 
says he, "would be a judge of the wants of the taker, 
but the taker himself;" and BLACKSTONE, copying the 
very words of HALE, talks of the "strange insecurity" 
arising from this cause. Now, then, suppose a man 
to come into my house, and to take away a bit of 
bacon. Suppose me to pursue him and seize hinu 
He would tell me that he was starving for want of 
food. I hope that the bare statement would induce 
me, or any man in the world that I do call or ever 
have called my friend, to let him go without further 
inquiry ; but, if I chose to push the matter further, 
there would be the magistrate. If he chose to com- 
mit the man, would there not be &jury and a judge 
to receive evidence and to ascertain whether the ex- 
treme necessity existed or not ? 
, 26. Aye, says Judge HALE ; but I have another reason, 
a devilish deal better than this, " and that is, the act 
of the 43d year of the reign of Q,UEEN ELIZABETH !" 
Aye, my old boy, that is a thumping reason ! "Suffi- 
cient provision is made for the supply of such neces- 
sities by collections for the poor, and by the power of 
the civil magistrate.' 1 '' Aye, aye ! that is the reason ; 
and, Mr. SIR MATTHEW HALE, there is no other reason, 
say what you will about the matter. There stand the 
overseer and the civil magistrate to take care that 
such necessities be provided for; and if they did not 
stand there for that purpose, the law of nature would 
be revived in behalf of the suffering creature. 

27. HALE, not content however with this act of 
QUEEN ELIZABETH, and still hankering after this hard 
doctrine, furbishes up a bit of Scripture, and calls 
Solomon the wisest of kings on account of these two 
verses which he has taken. HALE observes, indeed, 
that the Jews did not put thieves to death; but, to 
restore seven-fold was the ordinary punishment, in- 
flicted by their law, for theft; and here, says he, we 
see, that the extreme necessity gave no exemption. 
This was a piece of such flagrant sophistry on the 
part of HALE, that he could not find in his heart to 
send it forth to the world without a qualifying obser- 



22 COBBETT'S [No. 

vation; but even this qualifying observation left the 
sophistry still so shameful, that his editor, Mr. EMLYN, 
who published the work under authority of the House 
of Commons, did not think it consistent with his re- 
putation to suffer this passage to go forth unaccom- 
panied with the following remark: "But their (the 
Jews') ordinary punishment being entirely pecuniary, 
could affect him only when he was found in a condi- 
tion to answer it; and therefore the same reasons 
which could justify that, can, by no means, be ex- 
tended to a corporal, much less to a capital punish- 
ment." Certainly : and this is the fair interpretation 
of these two verses of the Proverbs. PDFFENDORF, 
one of the greatest authorities that the world knows 
anything of, observes, upon the argument built upon 
this text of Scripture, " It may be objected, that, in 
Proverbs, chap. vi. verses 30, 31, he is called a thief, 
and pronounced obnoxious to the penalty of theft, 
who steals to satisfy his hunger ; but whoever closely 
views and considers that text will find that the thief 
there censured is neither in such extreme necessity 
as we are now supposing, nor seems to have fallen 
into his needy condition merely by ill fortune, with- 
out his own idleness or default: for the context im- 
plies, that he had a house and goods sufficient to 
make seven-fold restitution; which he might have 
either sold or pawned ; a chapman or creditor being 
easily to be met with in times of plenty and peace ; 
for we have no grounds to think that the fact there 
mentioned is supposed to be committed, either in time 
of war, or upon account of the extraordinary price of 
provisions." 

28. Besides this, I think it is clear that these two 
verses of the Proverbs do not apply to one and the 
same person; for in the first verse it is said, that men 
do not despise a thief if he steal to satisfy his soul 
when he is hungry. How, then, are we to reconcile 
this with morality ? Are we not to despise a thief? 
It is clear that the word thief does not apply to the 
first case ; but to the second case only ; and that the 
distinction was here made for the express purpose of 



I.] POOR MAN'S FRIEND. 23 

preventing the man who took food to relieve his 
hunger from being confounded with the thief. Upon 
any other interpretation, it makes the passage contain 
nonsense and immorality ; and, indeed, GROTIUS says 
that the latter text does not apply to the person men- 
tioned in the former. The latter text could not mean 
a man taking food from necessity. It is impossible 
that it can mean that; because the man who was 
starving for want of food could not have seven-fold ; 
could not have any substance in his house. But what 
are we to think of JUDGE BLACKSTONE, who, in his 
Book IV., chap. 2, really garbles these texts of Scrip- 
ture. He clearly saw the effect of the expression, 
"MEN DO NOT DESPISE;" he saw what an 
awkward figure these words made, coming before the 
words "A THIEF ;" he saw that, with these words 
in the text, he could never succeed in making his 
readers believe that a man ought to be hanged for 
taking food to save his life. He clearly saw that he 
could not make men believe that God had said this, 
unless he could, somehow or other, get rid of those 
words about NOT DESPISING the thief that took 
victuals when he was hungry. Being, therefore, very 
much pestered and annoyed by these words about 
NOT DESPISING, what does he do but fairly leave 
them out ! And not only leave them out, but leave 
out a part of both the verses, keeping in that part of 
each that suited him, and no more ; nay, further, 
leaving out one word, and putting in another, giving 
a sense to the whole which he knew well never was 
intended. He states the passage to be this : " If a 
thief steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry, he 
shall restore seven-fold, and shall give all the sub- 
stance of his house." No broomstick that ever was 
handled would have been too heavy or too rough for 
the shoulders of this dirty-souled man. HALE, with 
all his desire to make out a case in favour of severity, 
has given us the words fairly : but this shuffling fel- 
low ; this smooth-spoken and mean wretch, who is 
himself thief enough, God knows, if stealing other 
men's thoughts and words constitute theft 5 this in- 



24 COEBETT'S [No. 

tolerably mean reptile has, in the first place, left out 
the words " men do not despise : " then he has left 
out the words at the beginning of the next text, "but 
if he be found" Then in place of the " he," which 
comes before the words "shall give" he puts the word 
"and;" and thus he makes the whole apply to the 
poor creature that takes to satisfy his soul when he is 
hungry I He leaves out every mitigating word of the 
Scripture ; and, in his reference, he represents the 
passage to be in one verse 1 Perhaps, even in the 
history of the conduct of crown-lawyers, there is not 
to be found mention of an act so coolly bloody-minded 
as this. It has often been said of this BLACKSTONE, 
that he not only lied himself, but made others lie; 
he has here made, as far as he was able, a liar of 
King Solomon himself: he has wilfully garbled the 
Holy Scripture ; and that, too, for the manifest pur- 
pose of justifying cruelty in courts and judges ; for 
the manifest purpose of justifying the most savage 
oppression of the poor. 

29. After all, HALE has not the courage,, to send 
' forth this doctrine of his, without allowing that the 
case of extreme necessity does, " in some measure," 
and " in particular cases" and, "by the tacit or silent 
consent of nations," hold good ! What a crowd of 
qualifications is here ! With what reluctance he con- 
fesses that which all the world knows to be true, that 
the disciples of JESUS CHRIST pulled off, without leave, 
the ears of standing corn, and ate them "being" an 
hungered" And here are two things to observe upon. 
In the first place this corn was not what we call corn 
here in England, or else it would have been very 
droll sort of stuff to crop off and eat. It was what 
the Americans call Indian corn, what the French 
call Turkish corn, and what is called corn (as being 
far surpassing all other in excellence) in the Eastern 
countries where the Scriptures were written. About 
four or five ears of this corn, of which you strip all 
the husk off in a minute, are enough for a man's 
breakfast or dinner; and by about the middle of 
August this corn is just as wholesome and as effici- 



I.] POOR MAN'S FRIEND. 25 

ent as bread. So that, this was something to take 
and eat without the owner's leave ; it was something 
of value ; and observe, that the Pharisees, though so 
strongly disposed to find fault with everything that 
was done by Jesus Christ and his disciples, did not 
find fault ot their taking the corn to eat; did not call 
them thieves; did not propose to punish them for 
theft ; but found fault of them only for having plucked 
the corn on the Sabbath-day! To pluck the corn 
was to do work, and these severe critics found fault of 
this working on the Sabbath-day. Then, out comes 
another fact, which HALE might have noticed if he 
had chosen it; namely, that our Saviour reminds the 
Pharisees that " DAVID and his companions, being an 
hungered, entered into the House of God, and did eat 
the show-bread, to eat which was unlawful in any- 
body but the priests." Thus, that which would have 
been sacrilege under any other circumstances ; that 
which would have been one of the most horrible of 
crimes against, the law of God, became no crime at 
all when committed by a person pressed by hunger. 
30. Nor has JUDGE HALE fairly interpreted the two 
verses of DEUTERONOMY. He represents the matter 
thus : that, if you be passing through a vineyard or an 
olive-yard you may gather and eat, without being deem- 
ed a thief. This interpretation would make an English- 
man believe that ihe Scripture allowed of this taking 
and eating, only where there was a lawful foot-way 
through the vineyard. This is a very gross misrepre- 
sentation of the matter ; for if you look at the two 
texts, you will find, that they say that, " when thou 
contest into;" that is to say, when thou enter est or 
goest into, "thy neighbour's vineyard, then thou 
mayest eat grapes thy fill at thine own pleasure, but 
thou shalt not put any in thy vessel ;" that is to say, 
that you should not go and make wine in his vine- 
yard and carry it away. Then in case of the corn, 
precisely the same law is laid down. You may 
pluck with your hand; but not use the hook or a 
sickle. Nothing can be plainer than this : no distinc- 
tion can, be wiser, nor more just. HALE saw the force 



26 COBBETT'S [No. 

of it ; and therefore, as these texts made very strong- 
ly against him, he does not give them at full length, 
but gives us a misrepresenting abbreviation. 

31. He had, however, too much regard for his re- 
putation to conclude without acknowledging the right 
of seizing on the provisions of others at sea. He 
allows that private chests may be broken open to pre- 
vent men from dying with hunger at sea. He does 
not stop to tell us why men's lives are more precious 
on sea than on land. He does not attempt to recon- 
cile these liberties given by the Scripture, and by the 
maritime laws, with his .own hard doctrine. In short, 
he brings us to this at last : that he will not acknow- 
ledge, that it is not theft to take another man's goods, 
without his consent, under any circumstances ; but, 
while he will not acknowledge this, he plainly leaves 
us to conclude, that no English judge and no Eng- 
lish king will ever punish a poor creature that takes 
victuals to save himself from perishing; and he 
plainly leaves us to conclude, that it is the poor-laws 
of England ; that it is their existence and their due 
execution, which deprive everybody in England of 
the right to take food and raiment in case of extreme 
necessity. 

32. Here I agree with him most cordially ; and it 
is because I agree with him in this, that I deprecate 
the abominable projects of those who would annihi- 
late the poor-laws, seeing that it is those very poor- 
laws which give, under all circumstances, really legal 
security to property. Without them, cases must fre- 
quently arise, which would, according to the law of 
nature, according to the law of God, and as we shall 
see before we have done, according to the law of 
England, bring us into a state, or, at least, bring par- 
ticular persons into a state, which as far as related to 
them, would cause the law of nature to revive, and 
to make all thing's to be owned in common. To ad- 
here, then, to these poor-laws ; to cause them to be duly 
executed, to prevent every encroachment upon them, to 
preserve them as the apple of our eye, are the duty of 
every Englishman, as far as he has capacity so to do. 



II.] POOR MAN'S FRIEND. 27 

33. I have, my friends, cited, as yet, authorities only 
on one side of this great subject, which it was my 
wish to discuss in this one Number. I find that to be 
impossible without leaving undone much more than 
half my work. I am extremely anxious to cause this 
matte/ to be well understood, not only by the work- 
ing classes, but by the owners of the land and the 
magistrates. I deem it to be of the greatest possible 
importance; and, while writing on it, I address my- 
self to you, because I most sincerely declare that I 
have a greater respect for you than for any other 
body of persons that I know any thing of. Tne next 
Number will conclude the discussion of the subject. 
The whole will lie in a very small compass. Six- 
pence only will be the cost of it. It will creep about, 
by degrees, over the whole of this kingdom. All the 
authorities, all the arguments, will be brought into 
this small compass; and I do natter myself that 
many months will not pass over our heads, before all 
but misers and madmen will be ashamed to talk of 
abolishing the poor-rates and of supporting the 
needy by grants and subscriptions. 

I am, 
Your faithful friend and 

Most obedient servant, 

WM. COBBETT. 



NUMBER II. 

Bollitree Castle, Herefordshire, 22d Sept. 1826. 
MY EXCELLENT FRIENDS, 

34. In the last Number, paragraph 33, I told you, 
that I would, in the present Number, conclude the dis- 
cussion of the great question of theft, or no theft, in 
a case of taking another's goods without his consent, 
or against his will, the taker being pressed by ex- 
treme necessity. I laid before you, in the last Num- 
ber, JUDGE HALE'S doctrine upon the subject; and I 
16* 



28 COBBETT'S [No. 

there mentioned the foul conduct of BLACKSTONE, the 
author of the "Commentaries on the Laws of Eng- 
land." I will not treat this unprincipled lawyer, this 
shocking court sycophant; I will not treat him as he 
has treated King Solomon and the Holy Scriptures ; 
I will not garble, misquote, and belie him, as he gar- 
bled, misquoted, and belied them ; I will give the 
whole of the passage to which I allude, and which 
my readers may find in the Fourth Book of his Com- 
mentaries. I request you to read it with great atten- 
tion ,; and to compare it, very carefully, with the pas- 
sage that I have quoted from SIR MATTHEW HALE, 
which you will find in paragraphs from 19 to 21 
inclusive. The passage from BLACKSTONE is as 
follows : 

35. " There is yet another case of necessity, 
which has occasioned great speculation among the 
writers upon general law; viz., whether a man in 
extreme want of food or clothing may justify steal- 
ing either, to relieve his present necessities. And 
this both GROTIUS and PUFFENDORF, together with 
many other of the foreign jurists, hold in the 
affirmative; maintaining by many ingenious, hu- 
mane, and plausible reasons, that in such cases the 
community of goods by a kind of tacit concession of 
society is revived. And some even of our own law- 
yers have held the same ; though it seems to be an 
unwarranted doctrine, borrowed from the notions of 
some civilians: at least it is now antiquated, the law 
of England admitting no such excuse at present. 
And this its doctrine is agreeable not only to the sen- 
timents of many of the wisest ancients, particularly 
CICERO, who holds that c suum cuique incommodum 
ferendum est, potius quam de alterius commodis cle- 
trahendum;' but also to the Jewish law, as certified 
by King Solomon himself: ' If a thief steal to satisfy 
his soul when he is hungry, he shall restore seven- 
fold, and shall give all the substance of his house:' 
which was the ordinary punishment for theft in that 
kingdom. And this is founded upon the highest rea- 
son: for men's properties would be under a strange 



II.] POOR MAN'S FRIEND. 29 

insecurity, if liable to be invaded according to the 
wants of others ; of which wants no man can possi- 
bly be an adequate judge, but the party himself who 
pleads them. In this country especially, there would 
be a peculiar impropriety in admitting so dubious an 
excuse ; for by our laws such a sufficient provision is 
made for the poor by the power of the civil magis- 
trate, that it is impossible that the most needy stran- 
ger should ever be reduced to the necessity of thiev- 
ing to support nature. This case of a stranger is, by 
the way, the strongest instance put by Baron PUFFEN- 
DORF, and whereon he builds his principal arguments ; 
which, however they may hold upon the continent, 
"where the parsimonious industry of the natives or- 
ders every one to work or starve, yet must lose all 
their weight and efficacy in England, where charity 
is reduced to a system, and interwoven in our very 
constitution. Therefore, our laws ought by no means 
to be taxed with being unmerciful, for denying this 
privilege to the necessitous ; especially when we con- 
sider, that the king, on the representation of his mi- 
nisters of justice, hath a power to soften the law, and 
to extend mercy in cases of peculiar hardship. An 
advantage which is wanting in many states, parti- 
cularly those which are democratical : and these have 
in its stead introduced and adopted, in the body of 
the law itself, a multitude of circumstances tending 
to alleviate its rigour. But the founders of 'our con- 
stitution thought it better to vest in the crown the 
power of pardoning peculiar objects of compassion, 
than to countenance and establish theft by one gene- 
ral undistinguishing law." 

36. First of all, I beg you to observe, that this pas- 
sage is merely a flagrant act of theft, committed 
upon JUDGE HALE ; next, you perceive, that which I 
noticed in paragraph 28, a most base and impudent 
garbling of the Scriptures. Next, you see, that 
BLACKSTONE, like HALE, comes, at last, to the poor- 
laws; and tells us that to take other men's goods 
without leave, is theft, because " charity is here re- 
duced to a system, and interwoven in our very con- 



30 COBBETT'S [No. 

stitution." That is to say, to relieve the necessitous ; 
to prevent their suffering from want ; completely to 
render starvation impossible, makes a part of our 
very constitution. " THEREFORE, our laws ought 
by no means to be taxed with being unmerciful for 
denying this privilege to the necessitous." Pray 
mark the word therefore. You see, our laws, he 
says, are not to be taxed with being unmerciful in 
deeming the necessitous taker a thief. And why are 
they not to be deemed unmerciful? BECAUSE 
the laws provide effectual relief for the necessitous. 
It follows, then, of course, even according to BLACK- 
STONE himself, that if the Constitution had not pro- 
vided this effectual relief for the necessitous, then the 
laws would have been unmerciful in deeming the ne- 
cessitous taker a thief. 

37. But now let us hear what that GROTIUS and 
that PUFFENDORF say ; let us hear what these great 
writers on the law of nature and of nations say upon 
this subject. BLACKSTONE has mentioned the names 
of them both ; but he has not thought proper to no- 
tice their arguments, much less has he attempted to 
answer them. They are two of the most celebrated 
men that ever wrote ; and their writings are referred 
to as high authority, with regard to all the subjects of 
which they have treated. The following is a pas- 
sage from GROTIUS, on War and Peace, Book II., 
chap. 2. 

38. " Let us see, further, what common right there 
appertains to men in those things which have already 
become the property of individuals. Some persons, 
perchance, may consider it strange to question this, 
as proprietorship seems to have absorbed all that 
right which arose out of a state of things in common. 
But it is not so. For, it is to be considered, what 
was the intention of those who first introduced pri- 
vate property, which we may suppose to have been 
such, as to deviate as little as possible from natural 
equity. ' For if even written laws are to be construed 
in that sense, as far as it is practicable, much more 
so are customs, which are not fettered by the chains 



II.] POOR MAN'S FRIEND. 31 

of writers. Hence it follows, first, that, in case of 
extreme necessity, the pristine right of using things 
revives, as much as if they had remained in common ; 
because, in all human laws, as well as in the law of 
private property, this case of extreme necessity ap-* 
pears to have been excepted. So, if the means of 
sustenance, as in case of a sea-voyage, should chance 
to fail, that which any individual may have, should 
be shared in common. And thus, a fire having broken 
out, I am justified in destroying the house of my 
neighbour, in order to preserve my own house ; and I 
may cut in two the ropes or cords amongst which 
any ship is driven, if it cannot be otherwise disen- 
tangled. All which exceptions are not made in the 
written law, but are presumed. For the opinion has 
been acknowledged amongst Divines, that, if any one, 
in such case of necessity, take from another person 
what is requisite for the preservation of his life, 
he does not commit a theft. The meaning of which 
definition is not, as many contend, that the proprie- 
tor of the thing be bound to give to the needy upon 
the principle of charity; but, that all things distinct- 
ly vested in proprietors ought to be regarded as such 
with a certain benign acknowledgment of the primi- 
tive right. For if the original distributors of things 
were questioned, as to what they thought about this 
matter, they would reply what I have said. Neces- 
sity, says Father SENECA, the great excuse for hum an 
weakness, breaks every law ; that is to say, human 
law, or law made after the manner of man." 

39. " But cautions ought to be had, for fear this li- 
cense should be abused : of which the principal is, to 
try, in every way, whether the necessity can be avoid- 
ed by any other means ; for instance, by making ap- 
plication to the magistrate, or even by trying whether 
the use of the thing can, by entreaties, be obtained 
from the proprietor. PLATO permits water to be 
fetched from the well of a neighbour upon this con- 
dition alone, that the person asking for such permis- 
sion shall dig in his own well in search of water as 
far as the chalk : and SOLON, that he shall dig in his 



32 COBBETT'S [No. 

own well as far as forty cubits. Upon which PLU- 
TARCH adds, that he judged that necessity was to be 
relieved, not laziness to be encouraged" 

40. Such is the doctrine of this celebrated civilian. 
Let us now hear PUFFENDORF ; and'you will please to 
bear in mind, that both these writers are of the great- 
est authority upon all subjects connected with the 
laws of nature and of nations. We read in their 
works the result of an age of study : they have been 
two of the great guides of mankind ever since they 
wrote : and, we are not to throw them aside, in order 
to listen exclusively to Parson HAY, to HULTON OF 
HULTON, or to NICHOLAS GRIMSIIAW. They tell us 
what they, and what other wise men, deemed to be 
right ; and, as we shall by and by see, the laws of 
England, so justly boasted of by our ancestors, hold 
precisely the same language with these celebrated 
men. After the following passage from PUFFENDORF, 
I shall show you what our own lawyers say upon the 
subject; but I request you to read the following pas- 
sage with the greatest attention. 

41. " Let us inquire, in the next place, whether the 
necessity of preserving our life can give us any right 
over other men's goods, so as to make it allowable for 
us to seize on them for our relief, either secretly, or 
by open force, against the owner's consent. For the 
more clear and solid determination of which point, we 
think it necessary to hint in short on the causes upon 
which distinct properties were first introduced in the 
world ; designing to examine them more at large in 
their proper place. Now the main reasons on which 
properties are founded, we take to be these two ; that 
the feuds and quarrels might be appeased which arose 
in the primitive communion of things, and that men 
might be put under a kind of necessity of being indus- 
trious, every one being to get his maintenance by his 
own application and labour. This division, therefore, 
of goods, was not made, that every person should sit 
idly brooding over the share of wealth he had got, 
without assisting or serving his fellows ; but that any 
one might dispose of his things how he pleased ; and 



II.] POOR MAN'S FRIEND. 33 

if he thought fit to communicate them to others, he 
might, at least, be thus furnished with an opportunity 
of laying obligations on the rest of mankind. Hence, 
when properties were once established, men obtained 
a power, not only of exercising commerce to their 
mutual advantage and gain, but likewise of dispen- 
sing more largely in the works of humanity and be- 
neficence; whence their diligence had procured them 
a greater share of goods than others : whereas before, 
when all things lay in common, men could lend one 
another.no assistance but what was supplied by their 
corporeal ability, and could be charitable of nothing 
but of their strength. Further, such is the force of 
property, that the proprietor hath a right of delivering 
his goods with his own hands ; even such as he is 
obliged to give to others. Whence it follows, that 
when one man has anything owing from another, he 
is not presently to seize on it at a venture, but ought 
to apply himself to the owner, desiring to receive it 
from his disposal. Yet in case the other party refuse 
thus to make good his obligation, the power and pri- 
vilege of property doth not reach so far as that the 
things may not be taken away without the owner's 
consent, either by the authority of the magistrate in 
civil communities, or in a state of nature, by violence 
and hostile force. And thougn in regard to bare 
Natural Right, for a man to relieve another in extrem- 
ity with his goods, for which he himself hath not so 
much occasion, be a duty obliging only imperfectly^ 
and not in the manner of a debt, since it arises wholly 
from the virtue of humanity; yet there seems to be 
no reason why, by the additional force of a civil ordi- 
nance, it may not be turned into a strict and -perfect 
obligation. And this Seldon observes to have been 
done among the Jews ; who, upon a man's refusing 
to give such alms as were proper for him, could force 
him to it by an action at law. It is no wonder, there- 
fore, that they should forbid their poor, on any account, 
to seize on the goods of others, enjoining them to take 
only what private persons, or the public officers, or 
stewards of alms, should give them on their petition* 



34 COBBETT'S [No. 

Whence the stealing of what was another's, though 
upon extreme necessity, passed in that state for theft 
or rapine. But now supposing under another govern- 
ment the like good provision is not made for persons 
in want, supposing likewise that the covetous temper 
of men of substance cannot be prevailed on to give 
relief, and that the needy creature is not able, either 
by his work or service, or by making sale of anything 
that he possesses, to assist his present necessity, must 
he, therefore, perish with famine ? Or can any hu- 
man institution bind me with such a force that, in 
case another man neglects his duty towards me, / 
must rather die, than recede a little from the ordina- 
ry and regular way of acting ? We conceive, there- 
fore, that such a person doth not contract the guilt of 
theft, who happening, not through his own fault, to be 
in extreme want, either of necessary food, or of clothes 
to preserve him from the violence of the weather, 
and cannot obtain them from the voluntary gift of the 
rich, either by urgent entreaties, or by offering some- 
what equivalent in price, or by engaging to work it 
out, shall either forcibly or privily relieve him self out 
of their abundance; especially if he do it with full 
intention to pay the value of them whenever his bet- 
ter fortune gives him ability. Some men deny that 
such a icase of necessity, as we speak of, can possibly 
happen. But what if a man should wander in a for- 
eign land, unknown, friendless, and in want, spoiled 
of all he had by shipwreck, or by robbers, or having 
lost by some casualty whatever he was worth in his 
own country; should none be found willing either to 
relieve his distress, or to hire his service, or should 
they rather (as it commonly happens,) seeing him in 
a good garb, suspect him to beg without reason, must 
the poor creature starve in this miserable condition ?" 
42. Many other great foreign authorities might be 
referred to, and I cannot help mentioning COVARRU- 
vius, who is spoken of by JUDGE HALE, and who ex- 
presses himself upon the subject in these words: 
" The reason why a man in extreme necessity may, 
without incurring the guilt of theft or rapine, forci- 



II.] POOR MAN'S FRIEND. 35 

bly take the goods of others for his present relief, is 
because his condition renders all things common. 
For it is the ordinance and institution of nature itself, 
that inferior things should be designed and directed 
to serve the necessities of men. Wherefore the divi- 
sion of goods afterwards introduced into the world 
doth not derogate from that precept of natural reason, 
which "suggests, that the extreme wants of mankind 
may be in any manner removed by the use of tempo- 
ral possessions." PUFFENDORF tells us, that PERESIUS 
maintains, that, in case of extreme necessity, a man 
is compelled to the action, by a force which he can- 
not resist ; and then, that the owner's consent may be 
presumed on, because humanity obliges him to suc- 
cour those who are in distress. The same writer cites 
a passage from St. AMBROSE, one of the FATHERS 
of the church, which alleges that (in case of refu- 
sing to give to persons in extreme necessity) it is the 
person who retains the goods who is guilty of the act 
of wrong doing, for St. AMBROSE says, "it is the 
bread of the hungry which you detain ; it is the rai- 
ment of the naked which you'lock up." 

43. Before I come to the English authorities on 
the same side, let me again notice the foul dealing of 
Blackstone ; let me point out another instance or two . 
of the insincerity of this English court-sycophant, who 
was, let it be noted, Solicitor-general to the queen of 
the " good old King." You have seen, in paragraph 28, 
a most flagrant instance of his perversion of the Scrip- 
tures. He garbles the word of God, and prefaces 
the garbling by calling it a thing " certified by King 
Solomon himself;" and this word certified he makes 
use of just when he is about to begin the scandalous 
falsification of the text which he is referring to. Nev- 
er was anything more base. But, the whole extent 
of the baseness we have not yet seen ; for, BLACK- 
STONE had read HALE, who had quoted the two verses 
fairly ; but besides this, he had read PUFFENDORF, 
who had noticed very fully this text of Scripture, and 
who had shown very clearly that it did not at all 
make in favour of the doctrine of Blackstone. Black- 
17 



36 COBBETT'S [No, 

stone ought to have given the argument of PUFFEN- 
DORF ; he ought to have given the whole of his argu- 
ment ; hut particularly he ought to have given this 
explanation of the passage in the PROVERBS, which 
explanation I have inserted in paragraph 27. It was 
also the height of insincerity in BLACKSTONE, to pre- 
tend that the passage from CICERO had anything at 
all to do with the matter. He knew weir that it 
had not ; he knew that CICERO contemplated no case 
of extreme necessity for want of food or clothing ; 
but, he had read PUFFENDORF, and PUFFENDORF had 
told him, that CICERO'S was a question of the mere 
conveniences and inconveniences of life in general ; 
and not a question of pinching hunger or shivering 
nakedness. BLACKSTONE had seen his fallacy expo- 
sed by PUFFENDORF ; he had seen the misapplication 
of this passage of CICERO fully exposed by PUFFEN- 
DORF; and yet the base court-sycophant trumped it up 
again, without mentioning PUFFENDORF'S exposure of 
the fallacy ! In short this BLACKSTONE, upon this 
occasion, as upon almost all others, has gone all 
lengths ; has set detection and reproof at defiance, for 
the sake of making his court to the government by 
inculcating harshness in the application of the law, 
and by giving to the law such an interpretation as 
would naturally tend to justify that harshness. 

44. Let us now cast away from us this insincere 
sycophant, and turn to other law authorities of our 
own country. The Mirrour of Justices, (quoted by 
me in paragraph 14,) Chap. 4, Section 16, on the sub- 
ject of arrest of judgment of death, has this passage. 
Judgment is to be staid in seven cases here specified : 
and the seventh is this : " in POVERTY, in which 
case you are to distinguish of the poverty of the of- 
fender, or of things ; for if poor people, to avoid fam- 
'ine, take victuals to sustain their lives, or clothes that 
they die not of cold, (so that they perish if they keep 
not themselves from cold,) they are not to be adjudg- 
ed to death, if it were not in their power to have bought 
their victuals or clothes ; for as much as they are war- 
ranted so to do by the law of nature." Now, my 



II.] POOR MAN'S FRIEND. 37 

friends, you will observe, that I take this from a book 
which may almost be called the BIBLE of the law. 
There is no lawyer who will deny the goodness of 
this authority ; or who will attempt to say that this 
was not always the law of England. 

45. Our next authority is one quite as authentic, 
and almost as ancient. The book goes by the name 
of BRITTON, which was the name of a Bishop of 
Hereford, who edited it, in the famous reign of EDWARD 
THE FIRST. The book does, in fact, contain the laws of 
the kingdom as they existed at that time. It may be call- 
ed the record of the laws of Ed ward the First. It begins 
thus, " Edward by the grace of God, King of England 
and Lord of Ireland, to all his liege subjects, peace, 
and grace of salvation." The preamble goes on to 
state, that people cannot be happy without good laws ; 
that even good laws are of no use unless they be known 
and understood; and that, therefore, the king has order- 
ed the laws of England thus to be written and recorded. 
This book is very well known to be of the greatest au- 
thority, amongst lawyers, and in Chap. 10 of this book, 
in which the law describes what constitutes a BUR- 
GLAR, or house-breaker, and the punishment that he 
shall suffer (which is that of death,) there is this pas- 
sage : "Those are to be deemed burglars who felo- 
niously, in time of peace, break into churches or hou- 
ses, or through walls or doors of our cities, or our 
boroughs ; with exception of children under age, and 
of poor people who for hunger, enter to take any sort 
of victuals of less value than twelve pence ; and ex- 
cept idiots and mad people, and others that cannot 
commit felony." Thus, you see, this agrees with the 
MIRROUR OF JUSTICES, and with all that we have read 
before from these numerous high authorities. But 
this, taken in its full latitude, goes a great length in- 
deed ; for a burglar is a breaker-in by night. So that 
this is not only a taking ; but a breaking into a house 
in order to take ! And observe, it is taking to the val- 
ue of twelve pence ; and twelve pence then was the 
price of a couple of sheep, and of fine fat sheep too; 
nay, twelve pence w^s the price of an ox, in this 



38 COBBETT'S [No. 

very reign of Edward the First. So that, a hungry 
man might have a pretty good belly-full in those days 
without running the risk of punishment. Observe, by- 
the-by, how time has hardened the law. We are told of 
the dark ages, of the barbarous customs, of our fore- 
fathers : and we have a SIR JAMES MACKINTOSH to 
receive and to present petitions innumerable, from 
the most tender hearted creatures in the world, about 
" softening the criminal code ;" but, not a word do 
they ever say about a softening of this law, which 
now hangs a man for stealing the value of a RAB- 
BIT, and which formerly did not hang him till he 
stole the value of an OX ! -Curious enough, but still 
more scandalous, that we should have the impudence 
to talk of our humanity, and our civilization, and of 
the barbarousness of our forefathers. But, if a part 
of the ancient law remain, shall not the whole of it 
remain ? If we hang the thief, still hang the thief 
for stealing to the value of twelve pence ; though the 
twelve pence now represents a rabbit instead of an 
ox; if we still do this, would BLACKSTONE take away 
the benefit of the ancient law from the starving man? 
The passage that I have quoted is of such great im- 
portance as to this question, that I think it necessary 
to add, here, a copy of the original, which is in the 
old Norman- French, of which I give the translation 
above. " Sunt tenus burgessours trestous ceux, que 
felonisement en temps de pees debrusent esglises 
ou auter mesons, ou murs, ou portes de nos cytes, ou 
de nos burghes ; hors pris enfauntz dedans age, et 
poures, que, pur feyn, entret pur ascun vitaille de 
meindre value q' de xii deners, et hors pris fous nastres, 
et gens arrages, et autres que seuent nule felonie faire." 
46. After this, lawyers, at any rate, will not attempt 
to gainsay. If there should, however, remain any one 
to affect to doubt of the soundness of this doctrine, let 
them take the following from him who is always call- 
ed the "pride of philosophy, "the "pride of English 
learning," and whom the poet POPE calls " greatest 
aad wisest of mankind." It is LORD BACON of whom 
I am speaking. He was Lord High Chancellor in 



II.] POOR MAN'S FRIEND. 39 

the reign of James the First ; and, let it be observed y 
that he wrote those "law tracts," from which I am 
about to quote, long after the present poor-laws had 
been established. He says (Law Tracts, page 55,) 
" The law chargeth no man with default where the 
act is compulsory and not voluntary, and where there 
is not consent and election ; and, therefore, if either 
there be an impossibility for a man to do otherwise, 
or so great a perturbation of the judgment and reason, 
as in presumption of law a man's nature cannot over- 
come, such necessity carrieth a privilege in itself. 
Necessity is of three sorts : necessity of conservation 
of life ; necessity of obedience ; and necessity of the 
act of God or of a stranger. First, of conservation of 
life ; if a man steal viands (victuals) to satisfy his 
present hunger, this is no felony nor larceny" 

47. If any man want more authority, his heart 
must be hard indeed ; he must have an uncommonly 
anxious desire to take away by the halter the life 
that sought to preserve itself against hunger. But, 
after all, what need had we of any authorities? 
What need had we even of reason upon the subject? 
Who is there upon the face of the earth, except the 
monsters that come from across the channel of St. 
George ; who is there upon the face of the earth, ex- 
cept those monsters, that have the brass, the hard 
hearts and the brazen faces, which enable them coolly 
to talk of the "MERIT" of the degraded creatures, 
who, amidst an abundance of food, amidst a " super- 
abundance of food," lie quietly down and receive the 
extreme unction, and expire with hunger? Who, 
upon the face of the whole earth, except these mon- 
sters, these ruffians by way of excellence ; who, ex- 
cept these, the most insolent and hard-hearted ruffians 
that ever lived, will contend, or will dare to think, 
that there ought to be any force under heaven to 
compel a man to lie down at the door of a baker's 
and butcher's shop, and expire with hunger ! The 
very nature of man makes him shudder at the thought. 
There want no authorities ; no appeal to law books ; 
no arguments ; no questions of right or wrong : that 
17* 



40 COBBETT'^ [No. 

same human nature that tells me that I am not to cut 
my neighbour's throat, and drink his blood, tells me 
that I am not to make him die at my feet by keeping 
from him food or raiment of which I have more than 
I want for my own preservation. 

48. Talk of barbarians, indeed; Talk of" the dark 
and barbarous ages." Why, even in the days of the 
DRUIDS, such barbarity as that of putting men to death, 
or of punishing them for taking to relieve their hun- 
ger, was never thought of. In the year 1811, the 
REV. PETER ROBERTS, A. M. published a book, enti- 
tled COLLECTANEA CAMERICA. In the first volume of 
that book, there is an account of the laws of the AN- 
CIENT BRITONS. Hume, and other Scotchmen, would 
make us believe, that the ancient inhabitants of this 
country were a set of savages, clothed in skins and 
the like. The laws of this people were collected and 
put into writing, in the year 694 before Christ. The 
following extract from these laws shows, that the 
moment civil society began to exist, that moment 
the law took care that people should not be starved 
to death. That moment it took care, that provision 
should be made for the destitute, or that, in cases of 
extreme necessity, men were to preserve themselves 
from death by taking from those who had to spare. 
The words of these laws (as applicable to our case) 
given by Mr. ROBERTS, are as follows : " There are 
three distinct kinds of personal individual property, 
which cannot be shared with another, or surrendered 
in payment of fine ; viz., a wife, a child, and argy- 
frew. By the word argyfrew is meant, clothes, arms, 
or the implements of a lawful calling. For without 
these a man has not the means of support, and it 
would be unjust in the law to unman a man, or to 
uncoil a man as to his calling." TRIAD 53d. "Three 
kinds of THIEVES are not to be punished with DEATH. 
1. A wife, who joins with her husband in theft. 2. 
A youth under age. And 3. One who, after he has 
asked, in vain, for support, in three towns, and at 
nine houses in each town." TRIAD 137. 

49. There were, then, houses and towns, it seems; 



II.] POOR MAN'S FRIEND. 41 

and the towns were pretty thickly spread too ; and, as 
to "civilization" and "refinement," let this law rela- 
tive to a youth under age, be compared with the new 
orchard and garden law, and with the tread-mill 
affair, and new trespass law! 

50. We have a law, called the VAGRANT ACT, to 
punish men for begging. We have a law to punish 
men for not working to keep their families. Now, 
with what show of justice can these laws be main- 
tained? They are founded upon this; the first, that 
begging is disgraceful to the country ; that it is de- 
grading to the character of man, and, of course, to 
the character of an Englishman ; and, that there is 
no necessity for begging, because the law has made 
ample provision for every person in distress. The 
law for punishing men for not working to maintain 
their families is founded on this, that they are doing 
wrong to their neighbours ; their neighbours, that is 
to say, the parish, being bound to keep the family, if 
they be not kept by the man's labour ; and, therefore, 
his not labouring is a wrong done to the parish. The 
same may be said with regard to the punishment for 
not maintaining bastard children. There is some 
reason for these laws, as long as the poor-laws are 
duly executed; as long as the poor are duly relieved, 
according to law ; but, unless the poor-laws exist; 
unless they be in full force ; unless they be duly exe- 
cuted ; unless efficient and prompt relief be given to 
necessitous persons, these acts, and many others ap- 
proaching to a similar description, are acts of bare- 
faced and most abominable tyranny. I should say 
that they would be acts of such tyranny ; for generally 
speaking, the poor-laws are, as yet, fairly executed, 
and efficient as to their object. 

51. The law of this country is, that every man, 
able to carry arms, is liable to be called on, to serve 
in the militia, or to serve as a soldier in some way or 
other, in order to defend the country. What, then, 
the man has no land; he has no property beyond 
his mere body, and clothes, and tools ; he has no- 
thing that an enemy can take away from him. What 



42 COBBETT'S [No, 

justice is there, then, in calling upon this man to 
take up arms and risk his life in the defence of the 
land: what is the land to him ? I say, that it is some- 
thing to him ; I say y that he ought to be called forth to 
assist to defend the land ; because, however poor he 
may be, he has a share in the land, through the poor- 
rates ; and if he he liable to be called forth to defend 
the land, the land is always liable to be taxed for his 
support. This is what I say: my opinions are con- 
sistent with reason, with justice, and with the law 
of the land; but, how can MALTHUS and his silly and 
nasty disciples ; how can those who want to abolish 
the poor-rates or to prevent the poor from marrying; 
how can this at once stupid and conceited tribe look 
the labouring man in the face, while they call upon 
him to take up arms, to risk his life, in defence of the 
land ? Grant that the poor-laws are just ; grant that 
every necessitous creature has a right to demand re- 
lief from some parish or other ; grant that the law 
has most effectually provided that every man shall 
be protected against the effects of hunger and of cold; 
grant these, and then the law which compels the 
man without house or land to take up arms and 
risk his life in defence of the country, is a perfectly 
just law; but, deny to the necessitous that legal and 
certain relief of which I have been speaking; abolish 
the poor laws; and then this military-service law be- 
comes an act of a character such as I defy any pen 
or tongue to describe. 

52. To say another word upon the subject is cer- 
tainly unnecessary; but we live in days when "stern 
necessity^ has so often been pleaded for most fla- 
grant departures from the law of the land, that one 
cannot help asking, whether there were any greater 
necessity to justify ADDINGTON for his deeds of 1817 
than there would be to justify a starving man in tak- 
ing a loaf? ADDINGTON pleaded necessity, and he 
got a Bill of Indemnity. And, shall a starving man 
be hanged, then, if he take a loaf to save himself 
from dying ? When Six ACTS were before the Par- 
liament, the proposers and supporters of them never 



II.] POOR MAN'S FRIEND. 43 

pretended that they did not embrace a most dreadful 
departure from the ancient laws of the land. In an- 
swer to LORD HOLLAND, who had dwelt forcibly on 
this departure from the ancient law, the Lord Chan- 
cellor, unable to contradict LORD HOLLAND, exclaim- 
ed, " Solus populi suprema lex" that is to gay " The 
salvation of the people is the first law" Well, then, 
if the salvation of the people be the first law, the sal- 
vation of life is really and bona fide the salvation of 
the people ; and, if the ordinary laws may be dis- 
pensed with, in order to obviate a possible and specu- 
lative danger, surely they may be dispensed with, in 
cases where to dispense with them is visibly, demon- 
strably, notoriously, necessary to the salvation of the 
lives of the people: surely, bread is as necessary to 
the lips of the starving man, as a new law could be 
necessary to prevent either house of parliament from 
being brought into contempt; and surely, therefore, 
Salus populi suprema lex may come from the lips of 
the famishing people with as much propriety as they 
came from those of the Lord Chancellor! 

53. Again, however, I observe, and with this I con- 
clude, that we have nothing to do but to adhere to 
the poor-laws which we have ; that the poor have 
nothing to do, but to apply to the overseer, or to ap- 

Eeal from him to the magistrate ; that the magistrate 
as nothing to do but duly to enforce the law ; and that 
the government has nothing to do, in order to secure 
the peace of the country, amidst all the difficulties 
that are approaching, great and numerous as they are; 
that it has nothing to do, but to enjoin on the magis- 
trates to do their duty according to our excellent law; 
and, at the same time, the government ought to dis- 
courage, by all the means in their power, all projects 
for maintaining the poor by any other than legal 
means; to discourage all begging-box affairs; all 
miserable expedients ; and also to discourage, and, 
where it is possible, fix its mark of reprobation upon 
all those detestable projectors, who are hatching 
schemes for what is called, in the blasphemous slang 
of the day 5 " checking the surplus population," who, 



44 COBBETT'S [No. 

are hatching schemes for preventing the labouring 
people from having" children : who are ahout spread- 
ing their nasty beastly publications ; who are hatch- 
ing schemes of emigration; and who, in short, seem 
to be doing every-thing in their power to widen the 
fearful breach that has already been made between 
the poor and the rich. The government has nothing 
to do but to cause the law to be honestly enforced; 
and then we shall see no starvation, and none of 
those dreadful conflicts which the fear of want, as 
well as actual want, never fail to produce. The bare 
thought of forced emigration to a foreign state, includ- 
ing, as it must, a transfer of all allegiance, which is 
contrary to the fundamental laws of England ; or, 
exposing every emigrating person to the danger of 
committing high treason; the very thought of such 
a measure, having become necessary in England, is 
enough to make an Englishman mad. But, of these 
projects, these -scandalous nasty beastly and shame- 
less projects, we shall have time to speak hereafter ; 
and in the mean while, 1 take my leave of you, for 
the present, by expressing my admiration of the sen- 
sible and spirited conduct of the people of STOCK- 
PORT, when an attempt was, on the 5th of September, 
made to cheat them into an address, applauding the 
conduct vf the Ministers ! What ! Had the people 
of STOCKPORT so soon forgotten 16^ of August ! 
Had they so soon forgotten their townsman, JOSEPH 
SWAN ! If they had, they would have deserved to 
perish to all eternity. Oh, no! It was a proposition 
very premature : it will be quite soon enough for the 
good and sensible and spirited fellows of STOCKPORT; 
quite soon enough to address the Ministers, when the 
Ministers shall have proposed a repeal of the several 
Jubilee measures, called Ellenborough's law; the 
poacher-transporting law ; the sun-set and sun-rise 
transportation law; the tread-mill law; the select- 
vestry law; the Sunday-toll laws; the new trespass 
law; the new treason law; the seducing-soldier- 
hanging law; the new apple-felony law; the SIX 
ACTS; and a great number of others^ passed in the 



III.] POOR MAN'S FRIEND. 45 

reign of Jubilee. Q,uite soon enough to applaud, that 
is, for the sensible people of STOCKPORT to applaud, 
the Ministers, when those Ministers have proposed 
to repeal these laws, and, also, to repeal the malt tax, 
and those other taxes, which take, even from the 
pauper, one half of what the parish gives him to 
keep the breath warm in his body. Quite soon enough 
to applaud the Ministers, when they have done these 
things ; and when in addition to all these, they shall 
have openly proposed a radical reform of the Com- 
mons House of Parliament. Leaving them to do 
this as soon as they like, and trusting, that you will 
never, on any account, applaud them until they do it, 
1, expressing here my best thanks to Mr. BLACKSHAW, 
who defeated the slavish scheme at Stockport, remain. 
Your faithful friend, 

and most obedient servant, 

WM. COBBETT. 



NUMBER III. 

Ilurstbourne T arrant (called Uphusband,) 
Hants, 13th October, 1826. 

MY EXCELLENT FRIENDS, 

54. In the foregoing Numbers, I have shown, that 
men can never be so poor as to have no rights at all : 
and that, in England, they have a legal, as well as a 
natural, right to be maintained, if they be destitute 
of other means, out of the lands, or other property, 
of the rich. But, it is an interesting question, HOW 
THERE CAME TO BE SO MUCH POVERTY 
AND MISERY IN ENGLAND. This is a very^ 
interesting question ; for, though it is the doom of 
man, that he shall never be certain of any-thing, and 
that he shall never be beyond the reach of calamity; 
though there always has been, and always will be, 
poor people in every nation ; though this circumstance 
of poverty is inseparable from the means which up- 



46 COBBETT'S [No. 

hold communities of men ; though, without poverty, 
there could be no charity, and none of those feelings, 
those offices, those acts, and those relationships, which 
are connected with charity, and which form a con- 
siderable portion of the cement of civil society : yet, 
notwithstanding these things, there are bounds beyond 
which the poverty of the people cannot go, without 
becoming a thing to complain of, and to trace to the 
Government as a fault. Those bounds have been 
passed, in England, long and long ago. England 
was always famed for many things ; but especially 
for its good living ; that is to say, for the plenty 
in which the whole of the people lived ; for the 
abundance of good clothing and good food which they 
had. It was always, ever since it bore the name 
of England, the richest and most powerful and most 
admired country in Europe ; but, its good living, its 
superiority in this particular respect, was proverbial 
amongst all who knew, or who had heard talk of, the 
English nation. Good God ! How changed ! Now, 
the very worst fed and worst clad people upon the 
face of the earth, those of Ireland only excepted. 
How, then, did this horrible, this disgraceful, this 
cruel poverty come upon this once happy nation? 
This, my good friends of Preston, is, to us all, a 
most important question ; and, now let us endeavour 
to obtain a full and complete answer to it. 

55. POVERTY is, after all, the great badge, the 
never-failing badge, of slavery. Bare bones and rags 
are the true marks of the real slave. What is the 
object of Government? To cause men to. live hap- 
pily- They cannot be happy without a sufficiency of 
food and of raiment. Good government means a 
state of things in which the main body are well fed 
and well clothed. It is the chief business of a gov- 
ernment to take care, that one part of the people do 
not cause the other part to lead miserable lives. 
There can be no morality, no virtue, no sincerity, no 
honesty, amongst a people continually suffering from 
want ; and, it is cruel, in the last degree, to punish 
such people for almost any sort of crime, which is. 



HI.] POOR MAN'S FRIEND. 47 

in fact, not crime of the heart, not crime of the per- 
petrator, but the crime of his all-controlling necessi- Jb 
ties. To what degree the main body of the people, 
in England, are now poor and miserable ; how deplo- 
rably wretched they now are ; this we know but too 
well ; and now, we will see what was their state be- 
fore this vaunted " REFORMATION." I shall be very 
particular to cite my authorities here. I will infer 
nothing ; I will give no " estimate ;" but refer to au~ 
thorities, such as no man can call in question, such 
as no man can deny to be proofs more complete than 
if founded on oaths of credible' witnesses, taken 
before a judge and jury. I shall begin with the 
account which FORTESCUE gives of the state and 
manner of living of the English, in the reign of 
Henry VI.; that is, in the 15th century, when the 
Catholic Church was in the height of its glory. FOR- 
TESCUE was Lord Chief Justice of England for nearly 
twenty years ; he was appointed Lord High Chan- 
cellor by Henry VI. Being in exile, in France, in 
consequence of the wars between the Houses of 
York and Lancaster, and the King's son, Prince 
Edward, being also in exile with him, the Chancel- 
ler wrote a series of Letters, addressed to the Prince, 
to explain to him the nature and effects of the Laws 
of England, and to induce him to study them and 
uphold them. This work, which was written in 
Latin, is called De Laudibus Legum Anglicz ; or, 
PRAISE OF THE LAWS OF ENGLAND. This book was. 
many years ago, translated into English, and it is a 
book of Law-Authority, quoted frequently in our 
courts of this day. No man can doubt the truth of 
facts related in such a work. It was a work written . 
by a famous lawyer for a prince ; it was intended to 
be read by other contemporary lawyers, and also by 
all lawyers in future. The passage that I am about to 
quote, relating to the state of the English, was purely 
incidental; it was not intended to answer any tem- 
porary purpose. It must have been a true account. 
The Chancellor, after speaking generally of the 
nature of the laws of England, and of the difference 
18 



48 COBBETT'S [No. 

between them and the laws of France, proceeds to 
show the difference in their effects, by a description 
of the state of the French people, and then by a de- 
scription of the state of the English. His words, 
words that, as I transcribe them, make my cheeks 
burn with shame, are as follows : " Besides all this, 
the inhabitants of France give every year to their 
King the fourth part of all their wines, the growth of 
that year, every vintner gives the fourth penny of 
what he makes of his wine by sale. And all the 
towns and boroughs pay to the King yearly great 
sums of money, which are assessed upon them, for 
the expenses of his men at arms. So that the King's 
troops, which are always considerable, are substituted 
and paid yearly by those common people, who live in 
the villages, boroughs, and cities. Another grievance 
is, every village constantly finds and maintains two 
cross-bow-men, at the least; some find more, well 
arrayed in all their accoutrements, to serve the King 
in his wars, as often as he pleaseth to call them out, 
which is frequently done. Without any considera- 
tion had of these things, other very heavy taxes are 
assessed yearly upon every village within the king- 
dom, for the King's service ; neither is there ever any 
intermission or abatement of taxes. Exposed to these 
and other calamities, the peasants live in great hard- 
ship and misery. Their constant drink is water, 
neither do they taste, throughout the year, any other 
liquor, unless upon some extraordinary times, or fes- 
tival days. Their clothing consists of frocks, or little 
short jerkins, made of canvass, no better than com- 
mon sackcloth ; they do not wear any woollens, ex- 
cept of the coarsest sort; and that only in the gar- 
ment under their frocks ; nor do they wear any trowse, 
but from the knees upwards ; their legs being exposed 
and naked. The women go barefoot, except on holi- 
days. They do' not eat Jiesh, except it be the fat of 
bacon, and that in very small quantities, with which 
they make a soup. Of other sorts, either boiled or 
roasted, they do not so much as taste, unless it be of 
the inwards and offals of sheep and bullocks, and the 



III.] POOR MAN'S FRIEND. 49 

like which are killed, for the use of the better sort of 
people, and the merchants; for whom also quails, 
partridges, hares, and the like, are reserved, upon 
pain of the galiies / as for their poultry, the soldiers 
consume them, so that scarce the eggs, slight as they 
are, are indulged them, by way of a dainty. And if 
it happen that a man is observed to thrive in the world, 
and become rich, he is presently assessed to the King^s 
tax, proportionably more than his poorer neighbours, 
whereby he is soon reduced to a level with the rest" 
Then comes his description of the ENGLISH, at the 
same time; those "priest-ridden" English, whom 
CHALMERS and HUME, and the rest of that tribe, would 
fain have us believe, were a mere band of wretched 
beggars." The King of England cannot alter the 
laws, or make new ones, without the express consent 
of the whole kingdom in Parliament assembled. 
Every inhabitant is at his liberty fully to use and 
enjoy whatever his farm produceth, the fruits of the 
earth, the increase of his flock, and the like : all the 
improvements he makes, whether by his own proper 
industry, or of those he retains in his service, are his 
own, to use and enjoy, without the let, interruption, 
or denial of any. If he be in anywise injured or 
oppressed, he shall have his amends and satisfactions 
against the party offending. Hence it is that the in- 
habitants are rich in gold, silver, and in all the neces- 
saries and conveniences of life. They drink no water, 
unless at certain times, upon, a religious score, and 
by way of doing penance. They are fed, in great 
abundance, with all soi*ts of flesh and fish, of which 
they have plenty every-where; they are clothed 
throughout in good woollens; their bedding and other 
furniture in their houses are of wool, and that in 
great store. They are also well provided with all 
other sorts of household goods and necessary imple- 
ments for husbandry. Every one, according to his 
rank, hath all things which conduce to make life easy 
and happy." Go, and read this to the poor souls, 
who are now eating sea-weed in Ireland ; who are 
detected in robbing the pig-troughs in Yorkshire; 



50" COBBETT'S [No. 

who are eating horse-flesh and grains (draff) in Lan- 
cashire and Cheshire ; who are harnessed like horses, 
and drawing gravel in Hampshire and Sussex ; who 
have 3d. a day allowed them by the magistrates in 
Norfolk ; who are, all over England, worse fed than 
the felons in the jails. Go, and tell them, when they 
raise their hands from the pig-trough, or from the 
grains-tub, and, with their dirty tongues, cry " No 
Popery;" go, read to the degraded and deluded 
wretches, this account of the state of their Catholic 
forefathers, who lived under what is impudently 
called " Popish superstition and tyranny" and in 
those times which we have the audacity to call " the 
dark ages." Look at the then picture of the French; 
and, Protestant Englishmen, if you have the capacity 
of blushing left, blush at the thought of how precisely 
that picture fits the English now ! Look at all the 
parts of the picture ; the^borf, the raiment^ the game! 
Good God ! If any one had told the old Chancellor, 
that the day would come, when this picture, and even 
a picture more degrading to human nature, would fit 
his own boasted country, what would he have said? 
What would he have said, if he had been told, that 
the time was to come, v/hen the soldier, in England, 
would have more than twice, nay, more than thrice, 
the sum allowed to the day-labouring man; when 
potatoes would be carried to the field as the only food 
of the ploughman ; when soup-shops would be open 
to feed the English ; and when the Judges, sitting on 
that very Bench on which he himself had sitten for 
twenty years, would (as in the case of last year of 
the complaints against Magistrates at NORTHALLER- 
TON) declare that BREAD AND WATER were the general 
food of working people in England? What would 
he have said ? Why, if he had been told, that there 
was to be a " REFORMATION," accompanied by a total 
devastation of Church and Poor property, upheld by 
wars, creating an enormous Debt and enormous taxes, 
and requiring a constantly standing army : if he had 
been told this, he would have foreseen our present 
tate ? and would have wept for his country ; but, if 



III.] POOR MAN'S FRIEND. 51 

he had, in addition, been told, that, even in the midst 
of all this suffering, we should still have the ingrati- 
tude and the baseness to cry " No Popery," and the 
injustice and the cruelty to persecute those English- 
men and Irishmen, who adhered to the faith of their 
pious, moral, brave, free and happy fathers, he would 
have said, " God's will be done : let them suffer." 
But, it may be said, that it was not, then, the Cath- 
olic Church, but the Laws, that made the English so 
happy ; for, the French had that Church as well as 
the English. Aye! But, in England, the Church 
was the very basis of the laws. The very first clause 
of MAGNA CHARTA provided for the stability of its 
property and rights. ..4 provision for the indigent, an 
effectual provision, was made by the laws that related 
to the Church and its property; and this was not the 
case in France ; and never was the case in any coun- 
try but this : so that the English people lost more by 
a " Reformation" than any other people could have 
lost. Fortescue's authority would, of itself, be enough; 
but, I am not to stop with it. WHITE, the late Rector 
of SELBOURNE, in Hampshire, gives, in his History 
of that once-famous village, an extract from a record, 
stating that for disorderly conduct, men were pun- 
ished by being "compelled to fast a fortnight on bread 
and beer!" This was about the year 1380, in the 
rei^n of RICHARD II. Oh ! miserable " dark ages!" 
This fact must be true. WHITE had no purpose to 
answer. His mention of the fact, or rather his tran- 
script from the record, is purely incidental; and 
trifling as the fact is, it is conclusive as to the gen- 
eral mode of living in those happy days. Go, tell the 
harnessed gravel-drawers, in Hampshire, to cry " No 
Popery;" for, that, if the Pope be not put down, he 
may, in time, compel them to fast on bread and beer, 
instead of suffering them to continue to regale them- 
selves on nice potatoes and pure water. But, let us 
come to Acts of Parliament, and, first, to the Act 
above mentioned of King EDWARD III. That Act 
fixes the price of meat. After naming the four sorts 
of meat, beef, pork, mutton^ and veal, the preamble 
18* 



52 COBBETT'S [No. 

has these words : "These being THE FOOD OF 
THE POORER SORT." This is conclusive. It 
is an incidental mention of a fact. It is an Act of 
Parliament. It must have been true; and, it is a fact 
that we know well, that even the Judges have de- 
clared from the Bench, that bread alone is now the 
food of the poorer sort. What do we want more than 
this to convince us, that the main body of the people 
have been impoverished by the " Reformation ?" 
But I will prove, by other Acts of Parliament, this 
Act of Parliament to have spoken truth. These 
Acts declare what the wages of workmen shall be. 
There are several such Acts, but one or two may suf- 
fice. The Act of 23d of EDW. III. fixes the wages, 
without food, as follows. There are many other 
things mentioned, but the following will be enough 
for our purpose. 

s. d. 

A woman hay-making, or weeding corn, for the day 1 
A man filling dung-cart -------- 03^ 

A reaper - - -t 04 

Mowing an acre of grass 06 

Thrashing a quarter of Wheat ------ 04 

The price of shoes, cloth, and of provisions, through- 
out the time that this law continued in force, was as 
follows : 

L. s. d. 

A pair of shoes ---004 

Russet broad-cloth the yard 01 1 

A stall-fed ox - - - 140 

A grass-fed ox 16 

A fat sheep unshorn 018 

A fat sheep shorn 012 

A fat hog 2 years old - -' 034 

A fat goose 2j 

Ale, the gallon, by proclamation -----001 

Wheat the quarter 034 

White wine the gallon ...006 

Red wine 004 

These prices are taken from the PRECIOSUM of BISHOP 
FLEETWOOD, who took them from the accounts kept 



III.] POOR MAN'S FRIEND. 53 

by the bursers of convents. All the world knows, 
that FLEETWOOD'S book is of undoubted authority. 
We may then easily believe, that " beef, pork, mutton, 
and veal," were " the food of the poorer sort" when, 
a dung-cart filler had more than the price of a fat 
goose and a half for a day^s work^ and when a woman 
was allowed, for a day's weeding, the price of a quart 
of red wine! Two yards of the cloth made a coat 
for the shepherd; and, as it cost 2s. 2d., the reaper 
would earn it in 6$ days; and, the dung-cart man 
would earn very nearly a pair of shoes every day ! 
this dung-cart filler would earn a fat shorn sheep in 
four days ; he would earn a fat hog, two years old, 
in twelve days ; he would earn a grass-fed ox in 
twenty days ; so that we may easily believe, that 
" beef^ pork, and mutton," were " the food of the 
poorer sort." And, mind, this was " a priest-ridden 
people;" a people "buried in Popish superstition!" 
In our days of " Protestant light" and of u mental 
enjoyment," the "poorer sort" are allowed by the 
Magistrates of Norfolk, 3d. a day for a single man- 
able to work. That is to say, a half-penny less than 
the Catholic dung-cart man had ; and that 3d. will 
get the " No Popery" gentleman about six ounces of 
old ewe-mutton, while the Popish dung-cart man got, 
for his day, rather more than the quarter of a fat 
sheep. But, the popish people might work harder 
than " enlightened Protestants." They might do more 
work in a day. This is contrary to all the assertions 
of the feelosophers ; for they insist, that the Catholic 
religion made people idle. But, to set this matter 
at rest, let us look at the price of the job-labour; at 
the mowing by the acre, and at the thrashing of wheat 
by the quarter; and let us see how these wages are 
now, compared with the price of food. I have no 
parliamentary authority since the year 1821, when 
a report was printed by order of the House of Com- 
mons, containing the evidence of Mr. ELLMAN, of 
Sussex, as to wages, and of Mr. GEORGE, of Norfolk, 
as to price of wheat. The report was dated 18th 
June, 1821. The accounts are for 20 years, on an 



54 COBBETTS [No. 

average, from 1800 inclusive. We will now proceed 
to see how the " popish, priest-ridden" Englishman 
stands in comparison with the " No Popery" Eng- 
lishman. 

POPISH MAN. NO POPERY MAN. 

8. d, S. d. 

Mowing an acre of grass - - 6 3 7| 

Thrashing a quarter of Wheat 04 40 

Here are " waust improvements, Mau'm !" But, now 
let us look at the relative price of the wheat, which 
the labourer had to purchase with his wages. We 
have seen, that the " popish superstition slave" had 
to givejivepence a bushel for his wheat, and the evi- 
dence of Mr. GEORGE states, that the "enlightened 
Protestant" had to give 10 shilling's a bushel for his 
wheat ; that is 24 times as much as the " popish/bo/," 
who suffered himself to be "priest-ridden." So that 
the " enlightened'''' man, in order to make him as well 
off as the " rfarfc-ages" man was, ought to receive 
twelve shillings, instead of 3s. 7f-rf. for mowing an 
acre of grass ; and he, in like manner, ou^ht to re- 
ceive, for thrashing a quarter of wheat, eight shil- 
lings, instead of the four shillings which he does 
receive. If we had the records, we should doubtless 
find, that IRELAND was in the same state, 

56. There ! That settles the matter as to ancient 
good living. Now, as to the progress of poverty and 
misery, amongst the working people, during the last 
half century, take these facts ; in the year 1771, that 
is, 55 years ago, ARTHUR YOUNG, who was afterwards 
Secretary to the Board of Agriculture, published a 
work on the state of the agriculture of the country, 
in which he gave the allowance for the keeping -of a 
farm-labourer, his wife and three children, which 
allowance, reckoning according to the present mo- 
ney-price of the articles which he allows amounted 
to 13s. Id. He put the sum, at what he deemed the 
lowest possible sum, on which the people could exist. 
Alas ! we shall find, that they can be made to exist 
upon little more than one-half of this sum ! 



111.] POOR MAN'S FRIEND. 55 

57. This allowance of Mr. ARTHUR YOUNG was 
made, observe, in 1771, which was before the Old 
American War took place. That war made some 
famous fortunes for admirals and commodores and 
contractors and pursers and generals and commissa- 
ries ; but, it was not the Americans, the French, nor 
the Dutch, that gave the money to make these for- 
tunes. They came out of English taxes; and the 
heaviest part of those taxes fell upon the working 
people, who, when they were boasting of " victories" 
and rejoicing that the "JACK TARS" had got "prize- 
money," little dreamed that these victories were .pur- 
chased by them, and that they paid fifty pounds for 
every crown that sailors got in prize-money ! In short, 
this American war caused a great mass of new taxes 
to be laid on, and the people of England became a 
great deal poorer than they ever had been before. 
During that- war, they BEGAN TO EAT POTA- 
TOES, as something to "save bread." The poorest 
of the people, the very poorest of them, refused, for a 
long while, to use them in this way ; and even when 
I was ten years old, which was just about fifty years 
ago; the poor people would not eat potatoes, except 
with meat, as they would cabbages, or carrots, or any 
other moist vegetable. But, by the end of the Ame- 
can war, their stomachs had come to ! By slow de- 
grees they had been reduced to swallow this pig-meat, 
(and bad pig-meat too,) not, indeed, without grum- 
bling; but to swallow it; to be reduced, thus, many 
degrees in the scale of animals. 

58. At the end of twenty-four years from the .date 
of ARTHUR YOUNG'S allowance, the poverty and de- 
gradation of the English people had made great 
strides. We were now in the year 1795, and a new war, 
and a new series of " victories and prizes" had begun. 
But who it was that suffered for these, out of whose 
blood and flesh and bones they came, the allowance 
now (in 1795) made to the poor labourers and their 
families will tell. There was, in 'that year, a TA- 
BLE, or SCALE, of allowance, framed by the Magis- 
trates of Berkshire. This is, by no means, a hard 



56 GOBBET'S [NO. 



county; and therefore it is reasonable to suppose, 
that the scale was as good a one for the poor as any 
in England. According to this scale, which was 
printed and published, and also acted upon for years, 
the weekly allowance, for a man, his wife and three 
children, was, according to present money-prices, Us. 
4d. Thus it had, in the space of twenty-four years, 
fell from 13s. Id. to Us. 4d. Thus were the people 
brought to the pig-meat ! Food, fit for men, they 
could not have with 11s. 4d. a week for five per- 
sons. 

59. One would have thought, that to make a hu- 
man being live upon 4d. a day, and fiudfuel, clothing-, 
rent, washing, and bedding', out of tne 4d., besides 
eating and drinking, was impossible ; and one would 
have thought it impossible for any-thing not of hellish 
birth and breeding, to entertain a wish to make poor 
creatures, and our neighbours too, exist in such a 
state of horrible misery and degradation as the la- 
bourers of England were condemned to by this scale 
of 1795. Alas ! this was happiness and honour; this 
was famous living ; this 11s. 4d. a week was luxury 
and feasting, compared to what we NOW BE- 
HOLD ! For now the allowance, according to pre- 
sent money-prices, is 8s. a week for the man, his 
wife, and three children; that is to say 2%d. In 
words, TWO PENCE AND FIVE SEVENTHS 
OF ANOTHER PENNY, FOR A DAY ! There, 
that is England now! That is what the base 
wretches, who are fattening upon the people's la- 
bour, call " the envy of surrounding nations and the 
admiration of the world." This is what SIR FRAN- 
CIS BURDETT applauds ; and he applauds the mean 
and cruel and dastardly ruffians, whom he calls, "the 
country gentlemen of England," and whose genero- 
sity he cries up; while he well knows, that it is they 
(and he amongst the rest) who are the real and only 
cause of this devil-like barbarity, which (and he 
well knows that too) could not possibly be practised 
without the constant existence and occasional em- 
ployrnent of that species of force, which is so abhor- 



III.] POOR MAN'S FRIEND. 57 

rent to the laws of England, and of which this Bur- 
dett's son forms a part. The poor creatures, if they 
complain; if their hunger make them cry out, are 
either punished by even harder measures, or are 
slapped into prison. Alas ! the jail is really become 
a place of relief j a scene of comparative good living: 
hence the invention of the tread-mill! What shall 
we see next '? Workhouses, badges, hundred-houses, 
select-vestries, tread-mills, gravel-carts, and liar- 
ness ! What shall we see next ! And what should 
we see at last, if this infernal THING could conti- 
nue for only a few years longer ? 

60. In order to form a judgment of the cruelty of 
making our working neighbours live upon 2 %d. a day ; 
that is to say 2d. and rather more than a halfpenny, 
let us see what the surgeons allow in the hospitals, 
to patients with broken limbs, who, of course, have no 
work to do, and who cannot even take any exercise. 
In GUY'S HOSPITAL, London, the daily allowance to 
patients, having simple fractures, is this : 6 ounces 
of meat ; 12 ounces of hread ; 1 pint of broth ; 2 quarts 
of good beer. This is the daily allowance. Then, 
in addition to this, the same patient has 12 ounces of 
butter a week. These articles, for a week, amount to 
not less at present retail prices (and those are the 
poor man's prices,) than 6s. 9d. a week ; while the 
working man is allowed Is. Id. a week ! For, he 
cannot and he will not see his wife and children actu- 
ally drop down dead with hunger before his face; 
and this is Avhat he must see, if he take to himself 
more than bjifth of the allowance for the family. 

61. Now, pray, observe, that surgeons, and parti- 
cularly those eminent surgeons who frame rules and 
regulations for great establishments like that of Guy's 
Hospital, are competent judges of what nature re- 
quires in the way of food and of drink. They are, 
indeed, not only competent judges, but they are the 
best of judges: they know precisely what is neces- 
sary ; and having the power to order the proper al- 
lowance, they order it. If, then, they mate an al- 
lowance like that, which we have seen, fa a person 



58 COBBETT'S [No. 

who is under a regimen for a broken limb ; to a person 
who does no work, and who is, nine times out of ten, 
unable to take any exercise at all, even that of walk- 
ing about, at least in the open air ; if the eminent sur- 
geons of London deem six shillings and ninepence 
worth of victuals and drink, a week, necessary to 
such a patient ; if they think that nature calls for 
so much in such a case ; what must that man be 
made of, who can allow to a working man, a man 
fourteen hours every day in the open air, one shil- 
ling' and sevenpence worth of victuals and drink for 
the week ! Let me not however ask what " that 
man" can be made of; for it is a monster and not a 
man: it is a murderer of men: not a murderer with 
the knife or the pistol, but with the more cruel instru- 
ment of starvation. And yet, such monsters go to 
church and to meeting ; aye, and subscribe, the base 
hypocrites, to circulate that Bible which commands 
to do as they would be done by, and which, from the 
first chapter to the last, menaces them with punish- 
ment, if they be hard to the poor, the fatherless, the 
widow, or the stranger ! 

62 But, not only is the patient, in a hospital, thus 
so much more amply fed than the working man ; the 
prisoners in the jails ; aye, even the convicted felons, 
are fed better, and much better, .than the working men 
now are! Here is a fine " Old England;" that 
country of " roast beef and plumb pudding : " that, as 
the tax-eaters say it is, " envy of surrounding nations 
and admiration of the world." Aye ; the country 
WAS all these ; but, it is now precisely the reverse 
of them all. We have just seen that the honest la- 
bouring man is allowed 2f d. a day ; and that will 
buy him a pound and a half of good bread a day, and 
no more, not a single crumb more. This is all he has. 
Well enough might the Hampshire Baronet, SIR 
JOHN POLLEN, lately, at a meeting at Andover, call the 
labourers "poor devils," and say, that they had 
" scarcely a rag to cover them ! " A pound and a half 
of bread a day, and nothing more, and that, too, to 
work upi>n / Now, then, how fare the prisoners in 



III.] POOR MAN'S FRIEND. 59 

the jails? Why, if they be CONVICTED FELONS, 
they are, say the Berkshire jail-regulations, "to have 
ONLY BREAD and water, with vegetables occasion- 
ally from the garden." Here, then, they are already 
better fed than the honest labouring man. Aye, and 
this is not all ; for, this is only the week-day fare ; for, 
they are to have, "on Sundays, SOME MEAT 
and broth /" Good God ! And the honest working 
man can never, never smell the smell of meat ! This is 
" envy of surrounding nations" with the devil to it ! 
This is a state of things for Burdett to applaud. 

63. But we are not even yet come to a sight of the 
depth of our degradation. These Berkshire jail-regu- 
lations make provision for setting the convicted pris- 
oners, in certain cases, TO WORK, and, they say, 
" if the surgeon think it necessary, the WORK- 
ING PRISONERS may be allowed MEAT AND 
BROTH ON WEEK-DAYS ;" and on Sundays, 
of course ! There it is ! There is the " envy and 
admiration !" There is the state to which Mr. Pros- 
perity and Mr. Canning's best Parliament has brought 
us. There is the result of " victories" and prize-mo- 
ney and battles of Waterloo and of English ladies kiss- 
ing, "Old Blucher." There is the fruit, the natural 
fruit, of anti-jacobinism and battles on the Serpentine 
River and jubilees and heaven-born ministers and 
sinking-funds and " public credit" and army and na- 
vy contracts. There is the fruit, the natural, the 
nearly (but not quite) ripe fruit of it all : the CON- 
VICTED FELON is, if he do not work at all, allow- 
ed, on week-days, some vegetables in addition to his 
bread, and, on Sundays, both meat and broth ; and, if 
the CONVICTED FELON work, if he be a 
WORKING convicted felon, he is allowed meat and 
broth all the week round ; while, hear it Burdett, thou 
Berkshire magistrate ! hear it, all ye base miscreants 
who have persecuted men because they sought a re- 
form ! The WORKING CONVICTED FELON is 
allowed meat and broth every day in the year, while 
the WORKING HONEST MAN is allowed nothing 
but dry bread, and of that not half a belly-full ! And 
19 



60 COBBETT'S [No. 

yet you see the people that seem surprised that crimes 
increase ! Very strange, to be sure ; that men should 
like to work upon meat and broth better than they 
like to work upon dry bread ! No wonder that new 
jails arise. No wonder that there are now two or three 
or four or five jails to one county, and that as much is 
now written upon " prison discipline" as upon almost 
any subject that is going. But, why so good, so gen- 
erous, to FELONS ? The truth is, that they are not 
fed too well; for, to be starved is no part of their sen- 
tence ; and, here are SURGEON'S who have some- 
thing to say ! They know very well that a man may 
be murdered by keeping necessary food from him. 
Felons are not apt to lie down and die quietly for want 
of food. The jails are in large towns, where the news 
of any cruelty soon gets about. So that the felons 
have many circumstances in their favour. It is in the 
villages, the recluse villages, where the greatest cruel- 
ties are committed . 

64. Here, then, in this contrast between the treat- 
ment of the WORKING FELON and that of the 
WORKING HONEST MAN, we have a complete 
picture of the present state of England ; that horrible 
state, to which, by slow degrees, this once happy 
country has been brought ; and, I should now proceed 
to show, as I proposed in the first paragraph of this 
present Number, HOW THERE CAME TO BE 
SO MUCH POVERTY AND MISERY IN ENG- 
LAND ; for, this is the main thing, it being clear, 
that, if we do not see the real causes of our misery, 
we shall be very unlikely to adopt any effectual reme- 
dy. But, before I enter on this part of my subject, 
let me prove, beyond all possibility of doubt, that what 
I say relatively to the situation of, and the allowances 
to, the labourers and their families, IS TRUE. The 
cause of such situation and allowances I shall show 
hereafter; but let me first show, by a reference to in- 
dubitable facts, that the situation and allowances are 
such as, or worse than, I have described them . To 
do this, no way seems to me to be so fair, so likely to 
be free from error, so likely to produce a suitable im- 



III.] POOR MAN'S FRIEND. 61 

pression on the minds of my readers, and so likely 
to lead to some useful practical result; no way seems 
to me so well calculated to answer these purposes, as 
that of taking the very milage, in which, I, at this 
moment, happen to be, and to describe, with names 
and dates, the actual state of its labouring people, as 
far as that state is connected with steps taken under 
the poor-laws. 

j 65. This village was in former times a very con- 
siderable place, as is manifest from the size of the 
church as well as from various other circumstances. It 
is now, as a church living-, united with an adjoining 
parish, called VERNON DEAN, which also has its church, 
at a distance of about three miles from the church of 
this parish. Both parishes, put together now contain 
only eleven hundred, and a few odd, inhabitants, men, 
women, children, and all; and yet, the great tithes 
are supposed to be worth two or three thousand pounds 
a year, and the small tithes about six hundred pounds 
a year. Formerly, before the event which is called 
" THE REFORMATION," there were two Roman Catho- 
lic priests living at the parsonage houses in these two 
parishes. They could not marry, and could, therefore 
have no wives and families to keep out of the tithes; 
and, WITH PART OF THOSE TITHES, 
THEY, AS THE LAW PROVIDED, MAIN- 
TAINED THE POOR OF THESE TWO PA- 
RISHES ; and, the canons of the church commanded 
them to distribute the portion to the poor and the stran- 
ger, " with their own hands, in humility and mercy" 
66. This, as to church and poor, was the state of 
these villages, in the "dark ages" of " Romish 
superstition" W^hat ! No poor-laws ? No poor- 
rates? What horribly unenlightened limes! No se- 
lect vestries ? Dark ages indeed ! But, how stands 
these matters now? Why, the two parishes are 
moulded into one church living. Then the GREAT 
TITHES (amounting to two or three thousand a year) 
belong to some part of the Chapter (as they call it) 
of Salisbury. The Chapter leases them out, as they 
would a house or a farm, and they are now rented by 



62 COBBETT'S [No. 

JOHN KING, who is one oi this happy nation's greatest 
and oldest pensioners. So that, away go the great 
tithes, not leaving a single wheat-ear to be spent in 
the parish. The SMALL TITHES belong to a VICAR, 
who is one FISHER, a nephew of the late bishop of 
Salisbury, who has not resided here for a long while ; 
and who has a curate, named JOHN GALE, who being 
the son of a little farmer and shop-keeper at BURBAGE 
in Wiltshire, was, by a parson of the name of BAI- 
LEY (very well known and remembered in these parts), 
put to school ; and, in the fulness of time, became a 
curate. So that, away go also the small tithes 
(amounting to about 500Z. or 600/. a year); and, out of 
the large church revenues; or, rather, large church- 
and-poor revenues, of these two parishes ; out of the 
whole of them, there remains only the amount of the 
curate, Mr. JOHN GALE'S, salary, which does not. 
perhaps, exceed seventy OF a hundred pounds, and a 
part of which, at any rate, I dare say, he does not ex- 
pend in these parishes : away goes, I say, all the rest 
of the small tithes, leaving not so much as a mess of 
milk or a dozen of eggs, much less a tithe-pig, to be 
consumed in the parish. 

67. As to the poor, the parishes continue to be in 
two ; so that I am to be considered as speaking of the 
parish of UPHCSBAND only. You are aware, that, 
amongst the last of the acts of the famous JCBILEE- 
REIGN, was an act to enable parishes to establish 
SELECT VESTRIES; and one of these vestries 
now exists in this parish. And now, let me explain 
to you the nature and tendency of this Jubilee-Act. 
Before this Act was passed, overseers of the poor had 
full authority to grant relief at their discretion. 
Pray mark that. Then again,. before this Act was 
passed, any one justice of the peace might, on com- 
plaint of any poor person, order relief. Mark that. 
A select vestry is to consist of the most considerable 
rate-payers. Mark that. Then, mark these things: 
this Jubilee-Act/orfr/as the overseer to grant any re- 
lief other than such as shall be ordered by the select 
vestry: it forbids QKJ& justice to order relief, in any 



III.] POOR MAN'S FRIEND. 63 

case, except in a case of emergency: it forbids 
MORE THAN ONE to order relief, except on oath 
that the complainant has applied to the select vestry 
(where there is one,) and has been refused relief by 
it ; and that, in no case, the justice's order shall be 
for more than a month; and, moreover, that when a 
poor person shall appeal to justices from a select ves- 
try, the justices, in ordering relief, or refusing, shall 
have "regard to the conduct and CHARACTER 
of the applicant /" 

68. From this Act, one would imagine, that over- 
seers and justices were looked upon as bein? too soft 
and yielding' a nature ; too good, too charitable, too 
liberal to the poor ! In order that the select vestry 
may have an agent suited to the purposes that the Act 
manifestly has in view, the Act authorizes the select 
vestry to appoint what is called an "assistant over- 
seer," and to give him a salary out of the poor-rates. 
Such is this Jubilee-Act, one of the last Acts of the 
Jubilee-reign, that reign, which gave birth to the 
American war, to Pitt, to Perceval, Ellenborough, 
Sidmouth. and Castlereagh, to a thousand millions of 
taxes and another thousand millions of debt: such is 
the Select Vestry Act ; and this now little trifling 
village of UPHDSBAND has a Select- Vestry ! Aye, and 
an " ASSISTANT OVERSEER," too, with a salary of 
FIFTY POUNDS A YEAR, being, as you will 
presently see. about a SEVENTH PART OF THE 
WHOLE OF THE EXPENDITURE ON THE 
POOR! 

69. The Overseers make out and cause to be print- 
ed and published, at the end of every four weeks, an 
account of the disbursements. I have one of these 
accounts now before me ; and I insert it here, word 
for word, as follows : 

70. " the disbursements of Mr. T. Child and Mr. 
C. Church, bread at Is. 2d. per gallon. Sept. 25th, 
1826. 

-' 



64 COBBETT'S [No. 

WIDOWS. 

s. d. . s. d. 

Blake, Ann 080 

Bray, Mary 080 

Cook, Ann 076 

Clark, Mary 10 

Gilbert, Hannah 080 

Marshall, Sarah 10 

Smith, Mary 080 

Westrip, Jane 080 

Withers, Ann 080 

Dance, Susan ------080 

: 436 

BASTARDS. 

070 

060 

7 

--.____ o 6 

2 children - - - - 12 

2 children - - - - 12 

10 

080 

060 

080 

080 

060 

060 

- 060 

580 

OLD MEN. 

Blake, John 16 

Cannon, John 0140 

Cummins, Peter -----0160 

Hopgood, John 16 

Holdqn, William 060 

Marshall, Charles 16 

Nutley, George 070 

4 11 

FAMILIES. 

Bowley, Mary 040 

Baverstock, Elizabeth, 2 children 094 
Cook, Levi - - - 5 children 054 



] POOR MAN'S FRIEND. I 
FAMILIES. 







I 


d. . s. d. 


Kingston, John - - 6 ditto - 





10 





Knight, John - - - 6 ditto - - 





10 





Newman, David - - 5 ditto - 





5 


4 


Pain, Robert - - - 5 ditto - - 





5 


4 


Synea, William - - 6 ditto - 





10 





Smith, Sarah (Moses) 1 ditto - - 





4 


8 


Studman, Sarah - 2 ditto - 





9 


4 


White, Joseph - - - 8 ditto - - 





19 


4 


Wise, William - - 6 ditto - 





10 





Waldren, Job - - - 5 ditto - - 





5 


4 


Noyce, M. Batt, 7 do. 6 weeks' pay 1 


2 



r, in n 



65 



EXTRA IN THIS MONTH. 

Thomas Farmer, ill 3 days - - 4 
Levi Cook, ill 4 weeks and 1 day 1 13 4 
Joseph White's child, 6 weeks - 7 
Jane Westrip's rent - - - - 2 
William Fisher, 1 month ill - - 1 12 
Paid boy, 2 days ill ----- 8 
James Orchard, ill ..... 1 02 
James Orchard's daughter, ill - 8 
Adders and Sparrows ----023} 
Wicks for Carriage ----010 
Paid Mary Hinton ..... 040 
Joseph Farmer, ill 3 days - - 2 9 
Thomas Cummins -----060 
Samuel Day, and son. ill - - 8 2 

- 6 11 4 



Total amount for the 4 weeks - - 27 3 



71. Under the head of "Wmows" are, generally, 
old women wholly unable to work; and that of "OLD 
MEN" are men past all labour: in some of the instan- 
ces lodging places, in very poor and wretched houses, 
are found these old people, and, in other instances, 
they have the bare money ; and, observe, that money 
is FOR FOUR WEEKS ! Gracious God! Have 
we had no mothers ourselves ! Were we not born 



66 COBBETT'S [No. 

of woman ! Shall we not feel then for the poor 
widow who, in her old age, is doomed to exist on 
two shillings a week, or threepence halfpenny a day, 
and to find herself clothes and washing and fuel and 
bedding out of that ! And, the poor old men, the very 
happiest of whom gets, you see, less than 7d. a day, 
at the end of 70 or 80 years of a life, all but six of 
which have been years of labour ! I have thought it 
right to put blanks instead of the names, under the 
second head. Men of less rigid morality, and less 
free from all illicit intercourse, than the members of 
the Select Vestry of Uphusband, would, instead of 
the word bastard," have used the more amiable one 
of "love-child;" and, it may not be wholly improper 
to ask these rigid moralists, whether they be aware, 
that they are guilty of LIBEL, aye, of real criminal 
libel, in causing these poor girls' names to be printed 
and published in this way. Let them remember, that 
the greater the truth the greater the libel ; and, let 
them remember, that the mothers and the children 
too, may have memories! But, it is under the head 
of c - FAMILIES" that we see that which is most 
worthy of our attention. Observe, t\\&i. eight shil- 
lings a week is the wages for a day labourer in the vil- 
lage. And, you see, it is only when there are more 
than four children that the family is allowed any- 
thing at all. " LEVI COOK," for instance, has five 
children, and he receives allowance for one child. 
"JOSEPH WHITE" has eight children, and he receives 
allowance for four. There are three widows undei 
this head ; but, it is where there is a man, the father 
of the family, that we ought to look with attention ; 
and here we find, that nothing at all is allowed to a 
family of a man, a wife, and four children, beyond 
the bare eight shillings a week of wages ; and this 
is even worse than the allowance which I contrasted 
with that of the hospital patients and convicted fe- 
lons ; for there I supposed the family to consist of a 
man, his wife and three children. If I am told, that 
the farmers, that the occupiers of houses and land, 
are so poor that they cannot do more for their wretched 



III.] POOR MAN'S FRIEND, 67 

work-people arid neighbours ; then I answer and say, 
What a selfish, what a dastardly wretch is he, who 
is not ready to do all he can to change this disgrace- 
ful, this horrible state of things ! 

72. But, at any rate, is the salary of the " ASSIST- 
ANT OVERSEER" necessary ? Cannot that be dispen- 
sed with ? Must he have as much as all the widows, 
or all the old men ? And his salary, together with 
the charge for printing' and other his various expen- 
ses, will come to a great deal more than go to all the 
widows and old men too! Why not, then, do without 
him, and double the allowance to these poor old wo- 
men, or poor old men, who have spent tneir strength 
in raising crops in the parish ? I went to see with 
my own eyes some of the "parish houses," as they 
are called ; that is to say, the places where the select 
vestry put the poor people into to live. Never did my 
eyes before alight on such scenes of wretchedness ! 
There was one place, about 18 feet long and 10 wide, 
in which I found the wife of ISAAC HOLDEN, which, 
when all were at home, had to contain nineteen per- 
sons ; and into which, I solemnly declare, I would not 
put 19 pigs, even if well-bedded with straw. Another 
place was shown me by JOB WALDRON'S daughter ; 
another by Thomas Carey's wife. The bare ground, 
and that in holes too, was the floor in both these places. 
The windows broken, and the holes stuffed with rags, 
or covered with rotten bits of board. Great openings 
in the walls, parts of which were fallen down, and 
the places stopped with hurdles and straw. The 
thatch rotten, the chimneys leaning, the doors but bits 
of doors, the sleeping holes shocking both to sight and 
smell ; and, indeed, every-thing seeming to say : 
" These are the abodes of wretchedness, which, to be 
believed possible, must be seen and felt: these are 
the abodes of the descendants of those amongst whom 
beef, pork, mutton and. veal were the food of the poorer 
sort ; to this are come, at last, the "descendants of 
those common people of England, who, FORTESCUE 
tells us, were clothed throughout in good woollens, 
whose bedding, and other furniture in their houses, 



68 COBBETT'S POOR MAN'S FRIEND. 

were of wool, and that in great store, and who were 
well provided with all sorts of household goods, every 
one having all things that conduce to make life easy 
and happy !" 

73. I have now, my friends of Preston, amply pro- 
ved, that what I have stated relative to the present 
state of, and allowances to, the labourers is TRUE. 
And now we are to do all we can to remove the evil ; 
for, removed the evil must be, or England must be 
sunk for ages; and, never will the evil be removed, 
until its causes, remote as well as near, be all clearly 
ascertained. With my best wishes for the health and 
happiness of you all, 

I remain, 

Your faithful friend, and most obedient servant, 

WM. COBBETT. 



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