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By this code are regulated the great body of flock masters, consisting of the most powerful grandees, the wealthiest private individuals, and the best endowed monasteries. The effect of such an association, under such a government, may easily be imagined. It has caused the establishment of numerous agrarian laws, the view of which has been, to secure to the corporation of the mesta, on their own terms, the whole produce of those lands, which are conveniently situated for the support of their flocks. Of these laws I have been able to learn only a few; but those few have been sufficient to authorize the conclusion, that they are equally contradictory, oppressive and impolitick. Who, in this country, would believe that a proprietor of sheep pastures in those devoted provinces of Spain, is not allowed to enclose or cultivate them; and that, at the end of a lease, he cannot reenter upon his own land; but is obliged, under any circumstances of improvement, to relet it without advance, and frequently with a diminution of rent? But it would be fruitless to expect in Spain a voluntary dereliction of a system, which, while it enriches an indolent aristocracy, supplies the government with an annual revenue of from twenty-eight to thirty millions of reals, or nearly 360,0001, sterling.

What will be the result of the present conflict in Spain, it is impossible to predict but every fact respecting that country shows that it requires a complete regeneration; and we hope that a region, which is enriched with the bounties of nature, will not for ever be paralized by a most miserably short-sighted and inefficient government.

Having exhibited a sufficiently minute account of the nature, qualities, and Spanish treatment of the Merino race, Dr. Parry proceeds to inquire into the origin of this breed; and, in order to show that it has been attributed on no sufficient authority to England, he with great accuracy and judgment investigates the most material documents relative to the history of English wool: the quality of which, from the earliest mention of it to the latter end of the 17th century, affords no pretext for supposing that Spain in this instance was indebted to Britain. Whoever peruses this part of the essay will be fully convinced, by the weight of evidence which the indefatigable author has collected from all quarters, "that the notion of the English origin of the Merino breed of sheep, however it may have served to flatter the national pride, falls to the ground as soon as it is coolly and deliberately investigated."-As little reason does he find for imagining that they were imported into the peninsula from Africa, or that they originally existed in Spain. But, from adverting to the nature of the fine woolled sheep of Italy, and considering the coincidence of the breed in question with this race, he inclines to the belief that the Merinos were a colony from Italy, while Spain was a Roman province, and are in fact the same with the ancient Tarentine sheep of Apulia. After quotations from Pliny, Columella, Varro, and others, descriptive of the wool-bearing race in Italy, Dr. P. remarks:

It is impossible for any who reads this description, and who is acquainted with the improved Merino race of the present day, not to suspect that they are one and the same breed. Let us examine the evidence of this fact.

In the first place, there is not, so far as I know, throughout Europe, except in Italy itself, any breed of short woolled sheep now existing, besides the Merino, of which the males are horned, and the females not.

The sheep of Apulia and Calabria had anciently their summer and winter quarters, as in Spain.

It was universally the practice among the Romans to give salt, with a view to promote appetite and thirst, to increase milk, and to improve digestion, in their sheep. One can hardly believe that this practice, which still exists in Italy, should from time immemorial have found its way into Spain, and into that country only, except by im

mediate communication.

I have mentioned that the Spanish flocks are frequently led by goats. We find from Tibullus that this was a common expedient among the Romans.*

* Dux pecoris hircus: duxerat hircus oves. Tibulli lib. ii. el. 1. v. 58.

Following Lasteyrie, Dr. P. next treats of the management of the Merino breed in Sweden, Denmark, Prussia, Hungary, Holland, Piedmont, France, the Cape of Good Hope, New Holland, &c. for the purpose of proving that this race produces wool equally fine with the best Spanish, fleeces, in a great variety of climates. From the account of the Rambouillet flock, the following facts are collected:

It appears that the Spanish breed of sheep has been much improved in weight, and, probably, fineness of fleece, and has considerably increased in size, by having been naturalized in France. These valuable points have been accomplished chiefly in the four following ways


1st. By choosing for breeding the best and finest woolled rams and ewes.

2d. By never allowing them to propagate till they have attained their full growth; which, at the earliest, is not till nearly three years of age.

3d. By separating the weak from the strong; and,

4th. By giving them plenty of good food, and free air and exercise.

The result of the English experiments with this breed is "that the principal mode, in which the utility of the Merino race has been extended in England, has been by crossing our native breeds with Merino rams." By this observation, we are naturally conducted to the second part of the dis sertation before us; in which we are presented with a complete history of the Merino Ryeland breed of the author. In the first place Dr. P. details the circumstances which led to the establishment of this breed, the number of his flock, his remarks on the effects of crossing, &c.

I have observed, says he, that the first mixture of the Merino with the Ryeland adds about one third, or somewhat less, to the fleece of the latter breed; without ap pearing to have much influenced the fineness of the filament. In after crosses, some curious circumstances occur. It is well known that the wool of the Merino and the Ryeland are both short, and the latter the shortest; neither of them usually exceeding, in the ewes, 2 1-2 inches in length. But the second or third mixture of these breeds carries the wool of the ewe to the gth of four, and sometimes six inches, with great increase of weight, but still considerable coarseness in the filament. The fourth cross brings the wool to the Spanish standard, in point of fineness, and greatly reduces the length, leaving it still somewhat greater than that of the pure Me rino. In every stage of the experiment, the wool is profited, either in quality or weight.

Not satisfied with commendations bestowed on the fleeces of his new breed, he ventures to call the attention of the publick to the value of the carcase of the Merino Ryeland sheep; and to state for the consideration of the Board, the superiour profit and convenience of small breeds of sheep. Very large and particularly very fat mutton is not adapted to small families, however advantageous it may be to the cook, "who receives as her perqui site, all which either the fire separates, or the dainty palate leaves uneaten, and sells it as tallow to the manufacturer of candles or soap." Of the Merino Ryelands, which were fatted and killed by the author, he thus speaks:"those which I have so expended have been certainly superiour in flavour to any mutton which I have ever purchased, the fat approaching in taste and consistency to that of venison more than in any of the native English breeds. The wethers have reached from 12 to 15 1-2lb. the quarter; and from a two-shear sheep of the latter weight I have had 12 1-2lb. of loose fat."

Our readers will perhaps be surprised at this report, when they recollect that the carcase of the Merinos in Spain is so little esteemed as to be giver as a perquisite to the shepherd: but by the cross with the Ryeland the flesh is improved, without any deterioration of the wool.

Distinct chapters follow, on the health and diseases of the new breed; on the obstacles to its extension; on its profit to the farmer and the country at


large; on its superintendence, inc.uding the age and season of propagation quality, and quantity of food, &c. on the trea ment of diseases; on the management of the fleece, and the season and mode of shearing; on the little judgment to be formed as to the wool or carcase of the full grown sheep, from those of the lamb; and on the mode of forming a flock which shall have a superfine wool on a beautiful carcase. We should, indeed, occupy a great number of our pages, if we were to copy all the valuable remarks which these chapters contain. The desideratum, however, which the last professes to assist us in obtaining, will surely justify one more


In every point of view it is probable that a ram of the cross breed is as good for the purposes of propagation as an equally good Merino, and better than one which is inferiour. I hear a good deal of what is, by the unlearned, called nature; and by those who fancy themselves more learned, blood. But I would ask, what is the import of these words? Do they mean certain mysterious properties inherent in any one unmingled race? No. Our best race horses are only mongrels; that is, the produce of mongrel mares, either by pure Arabians, or by sires, which were equally mongrel with themselves. Yet we do not hesitate to consider King Herod or Highflyer as blood horses, just as much as if they had immediately descended from a pure Arabian sire and dam; and we should certainly have preferred them for propagation to any pure Arabian stallion, which was inferiour to them in valuable properties. These properties are very different in different animals. In a race horse, which is intended for running, they are speed and facility of breathing, united with only a certain degree of strength. In this animal, fatness would be one of the greatest evils. On the contrary, in a Leicester sheep, the marks of blood are smallness of bone, shortness of legs, and largeness of chest, all tending to fit him for indolence and obesity. The evidences of blood in a bull dog are very different from those in either of the former examples.

The word blood, then, is nothing more than an abstract term, expressive of certain external and visible forms, which, from experience, we infer to be inseparably connected with those excellences which we most covet.

The same principle is equally applicable to Merinos, and their descendants. There is no reason why a good fleece should be connected with a bad form; and I should presume that a pure Merino is not the more valuable because, at present, he happens generally to have a narrow hind quarter, sharp shoulders, and flat ribs. Those sheep, whether pure or mongrels, are best, and, therefore, in the philosophical and practical sense of the word, have most blood, which combine the finest fleeces with the most approved forms. Experience has shown that such rams of the mixed breeds, as well as our cross bred stallions, can transmit to their posterity all their excellences, whatever may be their names, or from what country soever they may have been derived; and he, who at this time, in beginning to breed, prefers the best pure Merino ram to the best Merino Ryeland, will probably find himself eight years behind in the experiment.

Such are the results of Dr. Parry's experience and philosophical inquiry. -A supplement is subjoined, containing actual measurements, by the help of a microscope, of the filaments of different kinds of wool; from which several practical inferences, respecting the Merino cross breeds, are deduced. We have also a statement of the wool produce per acre, on the author's farm, with other particulars; and the whole concludes with this unassuming and cautious paragraph:

Throughout this essay, there are various calculations, in some of which errours may, perhaps, hereafter be discovered. This would not, indeed, be greatly wondered at, were I to state the mode in which I have been compelled to compose the greatest part of the work. I have, however, in every instance, endeavoured to verify the result by different proofs; and I trust that no errour will be found, which is sufficiently important to affect the conclusion, which has any where been deduced.

That such an essay should obtain the premium is not matter of astonishment; but we should be greatly surprised if any person could read it without strongly feeling his obligations to the ingenious author, and his concurrence in the judgment of the Board.


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Woman; or Ida of Athens. By Miss Owenson, Author of "The Wild Irish Girl,” "The Novice of St. Dominick," &c. 4 vols. 12mo. 1. 1s. London, 1809.

WITHOUT the least disposition to throw a doubt on Miss Owenson's originality, we have been led to conjecture, in the perusal of this interesting novel, that it was suggested by the Corinna of Madame de Stael. The fervid eloquence, with which that fair and tasteful guide pointed to her British lover the glorious antiquities of the Italian mistress of the world, appears to have excited, in the still more enthusiastick mind of the present writer, the wish to throw a richer lustre on the noble but melancholy remains of Athenian greatness; and to display the last faint struggles of valour, liberty, and genius, on the chosen spot which we must hail as their cradle and deplore as their grave. The manner of executing this part of her design is, in our opinion, better calculated to awaken the mixed sentiments of admiration and regret that are inspired by a survey of the solemn scene, than that which was adopted by her accomplished rival; who mingled, perhaps, with her animated descriptions, too much scholastick information, and too much of the formality of a Cicerone. Miss Owenson, on the other hand, never stops to detail circumstances or copy smaller features, but labours successfully to produce the general impression resulting from a remembrance of all the noble acts which have illustrated her lofty scenes; places before our eyes the Acropolis, the Parthenon, and the temple of Theseus, without particularizing their situations, their proportions, or their ornaments; and leads us to the plain of Marathon, or the airy heights of Hymettus, without a word concerning their position, their extent, or their topography. We may add, likewise, that she has incorporated the local emotions with a far more striking and probable story than that of Corinna; that her heroine is a more attractive woman; and that her hero is a hero in good earnest.

A preface rapidly describes the Athenian character as exemplified in the several states by the pen of history; and traces, through all its various changes, that ardent love of liberty which seems inseparable from great sensibility of heart, and peculiar vivacity of imagination. The views, which have specifically led to the creation of this work, will be seen in the following passages:

According to the testimony of all modern travellers, the complexional character of the Greek women is now, as anciently, highly favourable to that poetick idea of female fascination so bewitching to the fancy, and to that moral view of female influence so gracious to the mind. But that nice power of development which would justify the intentions of nature in their favour, is denied them by the oppression of the government under which they live, and the ignorance of those with whom they associate. And many a fair Leontium, and many a charming Aspasia, may still exist in Athens, unconscious of the latent powers of their own ardent minds, and ignorant that creatures like themselves once gave the spell of sweet persuasion to the profoundest truths of philosophy, mingled the graces of love with the cares of legislation, and charmed while they inspired those who enlightened, while they commanded, the world.

The Greek women are still lovely in their forms, as those exquisite models of human beauty bequeathed by the genius of their ancestors to the imitation of unborn ages and their playful but indolent dispositions, their tenderness and their ardeu flow from the same source that lends their manner its animated softness, that gives their eye its languid brilliancy.

I must also confess that the historick retrospect and existing political situation of Greece in general, and of Athens in particular, held out a lure to the imagination, which I found too difficult to resist.

To that country in which the light of political prosperity shines with a pure and cloudless lustre, the heart of the philanthropist will impulsively turn with beneficent

satisfaction; but the nation which mourns over its sufferings, without the power to redress its wrongs, which faintly struggles in an interval of hope against that oppression which would impose a permanent despair, must eventually give rise to a romance of incident, to a boldness of character, and a vicissitude of event, which bestows on the wildest fiction of the novelist the sanction of probability and the authority of fact.

Miss Owenson remarks, and the circumstance assuredly is of a very striking nature, that in these late ages of the world," it was reserved for the rude descendants of those barbarous Scythians, looked on by the ancient Greeks with such profound contempt, to arouse their descendants from the gloomy dream of their long endured capturity." "The Russians determined on ravishing the classick isles of the Egean and the continent of Greece from the Porte, and, as they asserted, of restoring the republicks of Solon and Lycurgus."

They, indeed, found no difficulty in inspiriting the Greeks in defence of their na tural rights, and for the recovery of their ancient liberties. The same love of freedom, the same vivacity of feeling, and ardour of enthusiasm, was found among many of the oppressed descendants of the heroes of Marathon and Platea as distinguished their immortal ancestors; and, when their eager eyes beheld the Russian fleet doubling cape Matapan, the Archipelago thought itself free. A beam of their ancient glory seemed to shine on the brow, and warm the heart of the Greek patriot; but the beam, though bright, was illusory; and, like the faint, dissolving lustre of an autumnal iris, it died away in clouds and storms. Deserted by their allies, subdued by their tyrants, the patriots of Greece were only rescued from national slavery by the victorious sabres of those who imposed it. Thousands were massacred; and it was a point in debate in the Ottoman council, whether the whole race should not be exterminated.

It is on historick documents, such as these, that I have ventured to depict incidents of heroism and sentiments of patriotism, as still existing among the Greeks. And that I have supposed, to use their own touching and pathetick words: "That in Greece is still to be found a people glowing with the love of freedom, whom the iron yoke of barbarism has not quite degraded, and who have constantly before their eyes the images of their heroes, by whose example their warriours are still to be animated." ""*

From these materials, joined with some of the more ordinary ingredients of romance, the readers of The Wild Irish Girl will easily conceive that such powers as are possessed by this author cannot fail to have produced a most affecting story. They will, however, possibly suspect (as we also have imagined) that the leading characters of the two groups, and the methods of grouping them, bear considerable resemblance to each other; that the two heroes are essentially the same; that the uncle of Ida is in many points too nearly identified with the Irish chieftain; and that the Archondessa is only the princess of Inismore with a new title and a more highly cultivated mind. They will also perceive a secret assimilation constantly made be tween the fallen state of Athens, and the degraded inferiority of our sister kingdom; and they will lament that the wise and just political doctrines of liberty and toleration, which should be taught only with a weight and a dignity corresponding to their importance, are fruitlessly thrown away in impeding the progress of a novel.

The story, on the whole, is excellent, but it is not very skilfully related. The first volume ought to have been the third; and the incidents contained in it might have been much compressed. A very bad effect is produced by going back from the departure of the Englishman to the far more interesting events of Osmyn's love and rebellion, which appear tedious from our knowledge that they are nearly two years old at the time of our first introduction to the characters. When Ida is in England, she loses some dignity

* See the memorial of the patriot Greeks, in the life of Catherine of Russia.

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