John Overton Choules.

The oration on the fourteenth anniversary of the American Institute online

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steers which Mr. Townsend will exhibit next week for compe-
tition, and which weigh 2,615 Ibs. each.*

In relation to the cattle, I have hardly time to say much ; nor
perhaps is this the best place, though something may be ex-
pected. It is well known, that for a few years past much
attention has been directed to this subject, and very heavy
investments have been made in the improved breeds. The
best herds of England have been inspected ; and we have now
in New-York, New- Jersey, Ohio, Michigan and Kentucky, some
of the choicest animals that have been reared. Great praise
is due to such men as Van Rensselaer, Prentiss. Corning, Rotch,

* These noble animals afterwards received the silver cup at the Fair. They
are returned to New-Haven, and will probably have an addition of 500 Ibs. to theiv
individual weight when they are brought to the market.



Lossing, Bement, Pope, Giddings, Whitney, Townsend, Poole f
Renwick and Clay, who, at great expense, have brought among
us the best blood of England.

I trust that our farmers will avoid the grievous error of pre-
ferring a breed whose services may be obtained cheaply,
rather than selecting an animal of the highest merit. This,
indeed, is to be " penny wise and pound foolish."

I yesterday had the pleasure to accompany Mr. A. B. Allen,
of Buffalo, who has just returned from an agricultural tour in
England, on board the packet ship Hendrick Hudson, from
London, for the purpose of inspecting the superior stock selected
by him for himself and his friends. Several large previous
importations had arrived by the packet ships Mediator and
Wellington. This consists of South Down sheep, the great
York and Kenilworth breeds of pigs, shepherd dogs, the large
Dorking fowls, which are distinguished, like Goliah, by having
an additional toe, English pheasants, &c. Of cattle, Mr. Allen
has made no importation, principally on account of the disease
which is at present pervading all England, and he was fearful
of importing that with them, to the injury of our present stock.
He however concurs with me in the opinion, that New- York,
Ohio and Kentucky, with the exception of one herd, may even
now challenge all England in the breed of short horns; and this
is his judgment, after having attended the Royal Agricultural
Society's Exhibition at Liverpool, and the still finer one of
Durhams, long-wooled sheep and horses, at Hull, Yorkshire,
and examining the celebrated herds of Earl Spencer, Mr. Bates,
and other eminent breeders. Mr. Allen thinks very favourably
of Herefords, but more so of some very large and improved
South Devons. The celebrated Ayrshires he greatly admires ;
but for the most delicate knife, and for a source of real profit
to the grazier, he thinks highly of the Scotch Highlanders, as
now raised by a few choice breeders. These animals are but
of medium size; they are occasionally of dun colour, more
commonly black, without horns, and very hardy and thrifty.
There can be no doubt that they would suit the climate of

If any of you, gentlemen, wish to investigate the history of


the improved breed of Durhams, I would advise you to consult
" Cully on Live Stock," a work, I have reason to believe, quite
as much to be depended upon, as the more recent treatise by
the Rev. Henry Berry. It may not be amiss to say, that we
can trace back the short horns for nearly two hundred years.
Sir H. Smythson then used to weigh out food to his cattle, and
his notes upon his herd, as to the eye, horns, hoof, hide, all
indicate the identity of this breed. It is an interesting fact,
and probably known to very few, that while Lord Percy was
engaged in this country during the Revolution, his steward sent
the celebrated herd, one by one, to the shambles. At the return
of Lord Percy, he found the butcher carrying off the very last
cow, which he rescued from the knife, and thus preserved the

Mr. Allen thinks that in horses we are far superior to Eng-
land. There is nothing there equal to our American trotters.
Their cart horses carry more flesh, but have not the muscle of
our heavy Pennsylvania horses ; nor are they as enduring in
their work, or as strong at a pull, and are much coarser in their
conformation, with long hair below the knee, and heavy fet-
locks, that gather mud, give them disease, and hinder quick
movement. Even our racers, he thinks, would beat England as
weight carriers, at three or four mile heats, but does not know,
owing to their very fine training, and the soft springing turf on
the course, but the English horse might be quicker a few
seconds for a single heat ; but, generally, that ours have the most
bottom or endurance, he has not a doubt. He thinks our cli-
mate greatly superior to that of England for breeding these no-
ble animals ; and if we only pay close attention to this depart-
ment of husbandry, we may become large exporters, especially
of roadsters. Our horses are already much talked about and
inquired after abroad ; and Mr. Allen tells me he rode after
some quite ordinary American horses that had been taken to
England, which were highly prized, beating every thing upon
the road with perfect ease.

The South Downs which I saw yesterday, I hardly know how
to speak of; they must be seen to be understood. You have
often heard travellers' stories about English mutton ; well, let


the incredulous go and look at these importations. Three of
them are brought out by Mr. Allen for the Hon. Mr. Stevenson,
late Minister at St. James ; three for Bishop Meade, of Vir-
ginia ; five for Mr. Rotch, of Butternuts, Otsego county, N. Y.
Mr. Stevenson has been abroad six years, and after visiting all
the flocks of note, prefers the South Downs to all others ; and
Dr. Meade and Mr. Allen concur fully in this opinion. I have
heard it doubted whether the South Downs are adapted to our
hard northern climate ; to this I would say, that they have been
found to endure a Scotch winter even better than the Cheviots,
at an elevation of two thousand feet above the sea.

These sheep were selected from the celebrated stock of Jonas
Webb, Esq., of Babraham, Cambridge, who carried off all the
prizes this year at the show of the Royal Agricultural Society.
These animals are of great size for Downs, of the most finished
form, of a fleece about equal, I think, to three quarters blood
Merino, and as thick and close as felt. The bucks will shear
from ten to eleven and a half pounds per annum, and are of great
weight ; those of Bishop Meade and Mr. Stevenson are of two
hundred and forty-eight and two hundred and fifty-four pounds,
though only eighteen months old, while that of Mr. Rotch, a
iamb of six months, is one hundred and fifty-two pounds. Mr.
Webb killed a wether last Christmas which weighed, dressed,
with the head on, two hundred. The sire of Mr. Rotch's buck,
as the best yearling in all England, took the prize of thirty
sovereigns from the Royal Agricultural Society at Liverpool,
and is now merely let to the Duke of Newcastle for the present
season at one hundred sovereigns ! The shepherd's dog I think
remarkably beautiful ; he is of a medium size, of shining black
colour, with long and glossy hair. The breed is so good and
true, that they break themselves in, to guard and drive sheep on
the extensive ranges of hill and down, without any training.
He is almost as active as the greyhound, and very docile and in-
telligent. The introduction of dogs into agricultural use would
be of great service, and especially in driving flocks to city mar-
kets. The Dorking fowls are of immense size, often weighing
eight pounds dressed, and all sportsmen know the beauty of the
English cock pheasant. I am happy to inform you that my


friend, Mr. Allen, will soon favour the public with an article
upon the history and pedigree of South Downs, with a series
of engravings.

In relation to pigs, it is well known that Mr. Allen has long
been one of the most extensive and successful breeders ; his
learned article, which appeared in Albany, has been reprinted
in London, and excites much attention. To examine the breeds
of England was one great object of his tour, and in the inves-
tigation of this matter he travelled many hundreds of miles.

He still pronounces the Berkshire the best, combining the
finest qualities, and, he thinks, yielding a sufficient size. He
saw the best Chinese, the wild boar, the German boar, and all
the crosses which have been procured.

Our good friends in Kentucky, who " go the whole hog," re-
gard the Berkshires as only approximations to bacon excellence,
and have always been asking northern breeders to furnish them
length, length. Well, I think Mr. Allen will satisfy them now,
he has a breed which he can easily fat to weigh fourteen hun-
dred ; he saw one exhibited in England, and, strange as it may
sound, under the patronage of Queen Victoria, which he mea-
sured. From the tip of nose, over his head, to the tail, nine
feet nine inches ; from the tip of nose, along the side, to the
end of the rump, seven feet nine inches ; in height four feet, girt
round the breast seven feet seven inches. This is the stock
from which Mr. Allen has shown me specimens.

The details of the Agricultural Society at Liverpool afford
the most interesting proof of the fresh impetus which the cause
of improved husbandry has received. The best men in Eng-
land, in all walks of life, are becoming interested. Noblemen
may be seen in their gaiters and nailed shoes, cuffs turned up,
examining cattle and guiding ploughs. Young noblemen, leav-
ing their habits of dissipation, are joining the masses of the
people, doing what they can to advance the true interests of the

It is gratifying to know that Mr. Allen has received the kind-
est attention from the gentlemen who are engaged in agricul-
ture, and has been treated with the greatest confidence ; and it
is to be hoped that the results of his tour may be speedily laid
before the public.


I close by indulging myself and gratifying my audience by
quoting a passage from a work which I strongly commend you
to purchase. Read it, read it again ; it will do the young man
more good than he will get from any half dozen novels that have
been published this year; it is Howitts Rural Life in England;
I have placed it, by recommendation, in the hands of several
friends, and they have all been delighted with the work.

'.' There is no class of men, if times are but tolerably good,
that enjoy themselves so highly as farmers ; they are little kings.
Their concerns are not huddled up into a corner, as those of the
town tradesman are. In town, many a man who turns thou-
sands per week is hemmed in close by buildings, and cuts no
figure at all. A narrow shop, a contracted warehouse, without
an inch of room to turn him on any hand, without a yard, a
stable, or outhouse of any description, perhaps hoisted aloft,
up three or four pairs of dirty stairs, is all the room that the
wealthy tradesman can often bless himself with, and there day
after day, month after month, year after year, he is to be found,
like a bat in the hole of a wall, or a toad in the heart of a stone
or of an oak tree. Spring, and summer, and autumn go round;
sunshine and flowers spread over the world ; the sweetest
breezes blow, the sweetest waters murmur along the vales, but
they are all lost upon him ; he is the doleful prisoner of Mammon,
and so he lives and dies. The farmer would not take the wealth
of the world on such terms. His concerns, however small,
spread themselves out in a pleasant amplitude both to his eye
and heart. His house stands in its own spacious solitude ; his
offices and out-houses stand round extensively, without any stub-
born and limiting contraction r his acres stretch over hill and
dale ; there his flocks and herds are feeding ; there his labourers
are toiling he is king and sole commander there. He lives
among the purest air and the most delicious quiet. Often, when
I see those healthy, hardy, full-grown sons of the soil going out
of town, I envy them the freshness and the repose of the spots
to which they are going. Ample old fashioned kitchens, with
their chimney corners of the true, projecting, beamed and
seated construction, still remaining ; blazing fires in winter,
shining on suspended hams and flitches, guns supported on


hooks above, dogs basking on the hearth below ; cool shady
parlours in summer, with open windows, and odours from
garden and shrubbery blowing in ; gardens wet with purest
dews, and humming at noontide with bees ; and green fields and
verdurous trees, or deep woodlands lying all around, where a
hundred rejoicing voices of birds or other creatures are heard,
and winds blow to and fro, full of health, and life-enjoyment.
How enviable do such places seem to the fretted spirits of towns,
who are compelled not only to bear their burden of cares, but
to enter daily into the public strife against selfish evil and ever
spreading corruption. When one calls to mind the simple
abundance of farm-houses, their rich cream and milk, and un-
adulterated butter, and bread grown upon their own lands,
sweet as that which Christ broke, and blessed as he gave to his
disciples ; their fruits, ripe and fresh plucked from the sunny
wall, or the garden bed, or the pleasant old orchard ; when one
casts an eye upon, or calls to one's memory the aspect of those
houses, many of them so antiquely picturesque, or so bright
looking and comfortable, in deep retired valleys, by beautiful
streams or among fragrant woodlands, one cannot help saying
with King James of Scotland, when he met Johnny Armstrong,

' What want these knaves that a king should have 1"


Santa Barbara


Series 9482

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Online LibraryJohn Overton ChoulesThe oration on the fourteenth anniversary of the American Institute → online text (page 3 of 3)