STEAM IIUSBi NDRY : RECLAMATION OF BOGS. ACC °RBI NG
to the lris,h Poor-Law Commissioners, there are five willion„f English neree% of waste and bog land in Ireland cer- tainly reclaimable. It is ,t leust equally certain that the pro-
prietors of this land are too poor, or prietors of by far the greater V°
too obstinate and ignorant, t bring it into cultivation. With the knowledge of this fact, the Comm fsstoners recommend the for- mation of Boards of Improvene lit, Boards of Works, Partiti in am,: other machinery fOr the pur- Commissions, Courts of Record, b, andp‘rvonis)treieltnarnsdaosnreafugsereoart
pose of draining and cultivatieg
smile, with or without the consent of s vdi are unable to co Terate in the work ; th e expense of the improve- ments to be defrayed by a charge on the
AV e question the necessity or advantage ref this rather cumbrous apparatus ; which, we fear, would tend to pr, smote jobbing in the routitry of all others most fertile ill jobs, and stnpede the execu- tion of the plan it is intended to facilitate. Thss k reneh plan for encouraging- the cultivation of waste land appeaes to be much more simple, and less expensive in its working than that proposed by the Commissioners ; and exrerienee has proved it to be efficient at least it) France. It has been formed by successive alterations of the re iginal law enacted in the reign of HENRY the 'Fourth in 1399. under the ad % iee of Sussv ; and which was entjtled an " Edict of Kill?, Henry the Fourth, for the Draining of the Marshes, in twenty-one articles." The following literal transla- tion of its preamble shows that the great French Minister had made considerable advances in what is called the modern science of political economy. " The strength and wealth of kings and sovereign princes consist in the opulence and number of their subjects. The greatest and most legitimate gain and revenue of every people, even Of our own, proceeds principally from their labour iu cultivating the earth, which renders to them, as it pleases God, a profitable return for their industry, by producing large quantities of corn, wine, vegetables, and pasturage. by which they not only live at their ease, but are enabled to mairmtin traffic and commerce with our neighbours and distant countries, and to draw (loin them gold, silver, and whatever eke they have in greater abundance than ourselves proper and fit for the use of man. Consider- ing which, and that God, by his holy goodness, has granted peace both within and without this kingdom, we have deemed it necessary to afford to our said subjects the means of inereasing this treasure ; added to which, by this em- ployment, an infinite number of poor people, reduced by the evil of wars, the greater part of whom are obliged to beg, may work and gain their livelihood, and little by little recover and relieve themselves from misery."
Then follow the" twenty one articles' or clauses.
This edict received various modifications in succeeding years, till it was finally revised and ceditied by NAPOLEON in 1807; since which time, it has given rise to many prosperous un- dertakings, and added several hundred tl»usands of acres to the cultivated area of France.
Taking the French law as its basis, a measure for promoting the reclamation of bogs in Ireland should provide- 1st, That all bogs, whose owners refuse to bring them into cultiva- tion, should he valued at their present worth ; the proportionate claims of the several proprietors ascertained ; and a rent of so much per acre fixed upon them in perpetuity. 2dly, That they. should be sold by auction to the highest bidder, subject to the rent above-named ; and also subject to re-emption after a certain period by the original proprietor, at a fair valuation. , 3dly, That the expenses of ascertaining the claims of the various owners, should be defrayed from the produce of the sales.
4th, That the sales be made on the application of persons giving security for the drainage and culture of the bog within a fixed period, in no ease to exceed seven years. Such a law would deal rather arbitrarily with the rights of private property ; but no class of men under heaven deserve less favour than the Irish landlords. if, as it is proposed, they were allowed the refusal of their land, when reclaimed, at a fair price, it is quite as much as they are entitled to. Besides, the great principle of the law has been already sanctioned repeatedly by the Legislature. It is to be found in almost every canal and railway bill, as well as in the act under which the Bedford Level was drained, and the fine land on the shores of the Dee reclaimed from that river. In all such acts, the principle is, not to allow the rights of individuals to interfere with the national advantage.
There is no occasion to wait for the introduction of a general poor- law for Ireland before such a measure could be framed and carried through Parliament. Like Emigration, the means of draining the more valuable bogs in Ireland may be made the subject of a distinct, simple, and safe law. The existing Board of Works in Ireland is competent, with some additional powers, to the execution of all the provisions required by such a statute. The bogs have already been surveyed and mapped, at an expense to the country of about 20,0001.; and proofs without number of the productiveness of cul- tivated bog land have been laid before Parliamentary Committees. The Report of the Committee on the Irish Poor, in 1830, dwells strongly on the advantage which would arise from reclaiming the millions of bog acres in Ireland; but it also states that the law pre- vents the partition of bogs held in common, except by an expen- sive Chancery process. Then, why is not some simple measure passed to.remedy this specific evil? It e ill be said, no doubt reclaimed bog is valuable, but the cost of reclaiming it is more than it will bear. Within a short period, however, Mr. HE ATHCOAT, M.P. for Tiverton, the well-known inventor of the lace-machinery, assisted by Mr. JOSI A H PARKES, the civil engineer, has, after years of costly experiment, perfected a machine for ploughing bog land by steam, which will render the reclamation of bogs and the cultivation of stiff, hard, lands, a comparatively cheap process. Mr. HANDLEY, the Liberal and intelligent Member for Lincolnshire, .Ifsat to the newspapers btely, an aecount of this important hive Ation. derived from actual observation of the working of the pier Jgh on Red Moss, near Bol- ton-le-Moors, in Lancashire. We vdem prevented at the time it appeared, by the pressure of Palls mentary matter, from inserting Mr. II NDLNY's letter, und tat .ing that notice of the machine
which it required and deserves. e's. ; ; m
description of the Steam Plot, gh when at work on Red Moss.
41 Two ploughs, of different co. j,40.,etion, were put in action, to the admira- tion of the spectators; Part"' Arty the one last invented, which is double-act- ing, or made with two shares .a the same plane, so that it returns at the end of a 'bout,' taking a new fern without loss of time. The poi feet mechanism of this plongh—the action I the working coulters and under-cutting knives, which divide t'vetY °In"' .11K, fibre of the moss—the breadth and depth of the furrow turned over—the. application of a new and admirable means of traction, instead of chains or ,miles—togethet with the facility with which the machine is managed, and the power applied to the plough, especially. interested and sur- prised all present. The speed at which the plough travelled was two and a half miles per hour, t awing forrows eighteen inches broad by nine inches in depth, and completely reversing the surface. Each furrow of 220 yards in length was performed in lowtewhitt less titan three minutes, so that, in a working day of twelve hour% this single Iliac:tine would, with two ploughs, turn over ten acres cif bog land. " The machine ebich hears the steam-engines is itself locomotive ; but as the plor,ghs are moved at right angles to its line of progress, not dragged after it, the machine has to advance only the width of a furrow, viz. eighteen inches, whilst the ploughs have travelled a quarter of a mile; in other worth:, the ma- chine has to be moved only eleven yards, in the time that the ploughs have travelled five and a half miles, and turned over a statute acre of lam!. This is, in truth, the prime distinguishing feature of the invention ; it is the contriv- ance on which the genius of its author is more particularly stamped, and which seems to be essential to the economical application of steam to husbandry ; for it is evident, that were it requisite to impel the machine with a velocity equal to that of the ploughs, by dragging them with it, a great proportion of the power of the-engines would be uselessly ex:tended. " Another valuable property appertaining to the machine, and which con- duces greatly to its economy as bog cultivator is, that it requires no previous outlay in the formation of nods, no preparation of any kind further than a drain on each side of it. That a locomotive machine of such great dimensions and power could be so constructed as to travel on mere raw bog, was an excel- lence the more appreciated as it was unexpected by those persons who are con- versant with the soft, unstable nature of bog. The Irish gentlemen present also pronounced Red Moss to be a fair specimen of the great mass of the flat, red, fibrous bogs of Ireland, and that neither the machine nor the ploughs would have any difficulties to encounter in that country which had not been already overcome on Red Moss, the field of experiment. The engines are capa- ble of working up to fifty horses' power ; but the operations subsequent to ploughing will require a small force compared with that necessary for breaking up the sill face of the bogs to the depth and at the speed effected by these ploughs. The power consumed by each plough is estimated at about twelve horses ; and the weight of the sod operated upon by the plough, from point to heel, is not less than three hundred pounds. The boiler is of unusually large dimensions for locomotive engines, being suited to the use of peat as fuel; so that the culture of a hog will be effected by the pioduce of its drains. At Red Moss, however, coals are so cheap, being heind SO contiguous to and even under it, that they are used in preference to turf. Eight men are required for the managemeut of the machine and the two ploughs or at the rate, nearly, of one man per acre ; but it must be understood that this number of tnen will only be required for the first heavy process, and has no relation to any subsequent operations in the cultivation of bogs, nor to the application of the invention to the culture of hard land."
It is the duty of such Irish landed proprietors as the Marquis of LANSDOWNE, the Duke of DEVONSHIRE, Earl FITZWILL1AM, and the Duke of LEINSTER, to prepare the way for the intro- duction of steam-husbandry into Ireland; but it must not be supposed that it is only advantageously applicable to bogs and hard land. There is no doubt but that it will be the means of introducing a more economical system of farming generally; and thus tend to modify, at any rate, the injurious operation of the landlords' monopoly on the prosperity of the mass of bread-con- sumers.
We have no doubt that there will be much ignorant reluctance to use the steam-plough ; and not a little interested oppo- sition from certain English proprietors, who dread the importation of Irish corn into our markets. We can tell these gentlemen that their selfish policy will recoil upon themselves. They cannot prevent the application of science to agriculture, any more than they can intercept the rays of the July sun from the ripening wheat. The Corn-laws will be neutralized by Mr. IIEsriscosis invention. The landowners must prepare for the influx of the produce of five millions of acres into the English market, and its consequence in the fall of wheat. Art and nature, science and the sun, are opposed to the monopolists of the staff of life.