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An Humble Proposal To The People Of England
by [?]

II. The product of the surface, which I include in that part, plough and reap; and though this is not indeed an exclusive product, yet I may observe that the extraordinary increase which our lands, under an excellent cultivation, generally yield, as well in corn and cattle, is an uncommon argument for the industry of the husbandmen; and I might enter into a comparison with advantage, against almost any countries in Europe, by comparing the quantity produced on both sides, with the quantity of land which produce those quantities.

You may find some calculations of the produce of our own country in the book above mentioned, viz., The Plan of the Commerce of Great Britain, where the consumption of malt in England is calculated by the value of the duties of excise, and where it appears that there is annually consumed in England, besides what is exported to foreign countries, forty millions of bushels of malt, besides also all the barley, the meal of which is made into bread, which is a very great quantity; most of the northern counties in England feeding very much upon barley bread; and besides all the barley either exported or used at home in the corn unmalted; all which put together, I am assured, amounts to no less than ten millions of bushels more.

The quantity of barley only is so exceeding great, that I am told it bears, in proportion to the land it grows on, an equality to as much land in France, as all the sowed land in the whole kingdom of England; or take it thus, that fifty millions of bushels of barley growing in France, would take up as much ground as all the lands which are at any time sowed in England with any corn, whether barley, oats, or wheat.

N. B. I do not say all the arable lands of England, because we know there are a very great number of acres of land which every year lie fallow (though in tillage) and unsowed, according to the usage of our husbandry; so they cannot be reckoned to produce any corn at all, otherwise the quantity might be much greater.

This is a testimony of the fertility of our soil; and on the other hand, the fertility is a testimony of the diligence and application of our people, and the success which attends that diligence.

We are told that in some parts of England, especially in the counties of Essex, Hertford, Cambridge, Bedford, Bucks, Oxford, Northampton, Lincoln, and Nottingham, it is very frequent to have the lands produce from seven to ten quarters of barley upon an acre, which is a produce not heard of in the most fruitful of all those we call corn countries abroad, much less in France. On the contrary, if they have a great produce of corn, it is because they have a vast extent of land for it to grow upon, and which land they either have no other use for, or it may be is fit for no other use; whereas our corn grounds are far from being the richest or the best of our lands, the prime of our land being laid up, as the ploughmen call it, to feed upon, that is, to keep dairies of cows, as in Essex, Suffolk, and the fens; or for grazing grounds, for fatting the large mutton and beef, for which England is so particularly famed. These grazing countries are chiefly in Sussex, and in the marshes of Romney, and other parts in Kent; also in the rich vales of Aylesbury, and others in Bucks and Berkshire, the isle of Ely, the bank of Trent, the counties of Lincoln, Leicester and Stafford, Warwick and Chester, as also in the county of Somerset, Lancaster, north riding of Yorkshire, and bank of Tees, in the bishoprick of Durham.

When this product of England is considered, the diligence and success of our husbandry in England will be found to be beyond that of the most industrious people in Europe. But I must not dwell here, my view lies another way; nor do the people of England want so much to be called upon to improve in husbandry, as they do in manufactures and other things; not but that even in this, the lands not yet cultivated do call aloud upon us too; but I say it is not the present case.