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varre, Gallicia, Soria, Segovia, Cuencas, Albarazin, Burgos, the Asturias, &c. The tops of many of these mountains are in the winter covered with snow, but, in the summer enjoy only a refreshing coolness, and are well clothed with short herbage, admirably suited to the animals which they are designed to support. This berbage, according to the author of the Oryctographia et Zoologia Arragoniæ, chiefly consists of festuca orina (sheep's fescue) uira cristata (crested hair grass) and medicago lupulina (melilot snail shell).
The beginning of the journey of each flock' is in some measure regulated by the distance which it has to travel. Those which go from Estremadura to the Asturias bave a march of at least 550 English miles. They proceed towards the mountains at the rate of from 5 to 16 miles a day, according to the pastures which they meet with by the way; and more slowly before than after shearing. A road is left for them, which is held, as it were, sacred, of 80 or 90 varas, or about 75 yards in breadth, often marked out or bounded by stones. There are several of these roads, through which pass different divisions of those immense flocks, so as to arrive about the same time at the place of their ultimate destination. This variety permits them also to choose or avoid, on their march, those districts of land which are sown with various kinds of grain, according as they have been gathered or not.
Lach cavana, or great flock, has a mayoral, or principal shepherd; and each subdivision of such a flock, which, for convenience of travelling, consists of from 1000 to 1500, has its leading shepherd, who goes at its head, and is accompanied by two others, who proceed respectively on each Aank. Each leader has for his companions one or more mansos, which are old wethers, or, what is more extraordinary, fre. quently old castrated goats, each of which is furnished with a large bell about its neck. These bell wethers being much caressed, become extremely docile; and are very useful in guiding the fiocks to which they are attached.
The shepherds are accompanied with dogs; wbich are not, as ours of the present day, intended to regulate the movements of the fock, but are large and fierce mastiffs, like those of the Pyrenees, solely calculated to protect the sheep against wolves and robbers.
Other details are given respecting the method of administering to them a certain quantity of salt, of shearing (which is performed in vasi encerra. does, or houses of reception, some of which are capable of containing 20,000 sheep at once) and of sorting the wool, which is divided into four parts, viz. refina, fina, tercera, and cabidas.
A set of bags, containing the whole of the three first sorts of a certain number of fieeces, is called pila, or a pile; and each bag is marked with the initial of the name, which expresses the quality of its contained wool, R. F. or T. The profits arising from the sale of the fourth sort, or calidas, which is marked C. or K. is allotted for the consolation of souls in purgatory; an end to which no great aid is contributed by the merchants of England.
Dr Parry might have remarked that the solicitude of the Spanish Catholicks for the deliverance of souls groaning in purgatory cannot be very great, when only the refuse of their wool is appropriated to this purpose: but it at the same time evinces the moderation of the priesthood, that they are satisfied with so small a tribute for so essential a service. A heretick, who doubts the efficacy of their prayers in this respect, may think that this little is too much : but if he could find his interest in purchasing the cahidas, he would not concern himself about the pious application of the money. As the case stands, the rescued souls owe no thanks to the English, who are too cunning to put themselves into the material purgatory of coarse cloths, for the chance of thinning immaterial purgatory of any of its spiritual inhabitants.
As England is not in so wild and uncultivated a state as Spain, it is a point worthy of notice that the migration of flocks from one extremity of the kingdom to the other is in no respect necessary to the health or productiveness of these animals; that the estantes or stationary flocks, yield fleeces equal in excellence to the best of the trashumantes ; and that a system of laws called the mesta, prevails in Spain, which is injurious to its internal, agricultural improvement.
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 law's, 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 focks. 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 sheen 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 360,000). sterling:
What will be the result of the present conflict in Spain, it is imsossible 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 attri. buted 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 pro. mote 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 brircus: duxcrat 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,
The result of the English experiments with this breed is “that the principal mode, in which the utility of the Merino race ha een 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 dissertation 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 bave observed, says he, that the first mixture of the Merino with the Rveland adds about one third, or somewhat less, to the fleece of the latter breed; without appearing to have much influenced the fineness of the filament. In after crosses, some curious circumstances o cur. 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 length 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 mution 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 1-21b. the quarter ; and from a two-shear sheep of the latter weight I have had 12 1-21b. 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, including the age and season of propagation' quality, and quantity of food, &c. on the treaiment 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 extract.
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 onc 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 Ilighflyer 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 bave a narrow hind quarter, sharp shoulders, and fat 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 feeces 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 ciglit 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, liereafter 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 heen 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 iiis concurrence in the judgment of the Board.
PROM THE MONTHLY REVIEW
Woman; or Ida of Athens. By Miss Owenson, Author of " The Wild Irish Girl,"
"The Novice of St. Dominick,” &c. A vols. 12mo. 11. 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 Aihenian greatness; and to display the last saint struggles of valour, liberty, and genius, on the chosen spot which we must hail as their cradle and de. plore 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 success. fully 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 iheir situations, their proportions, or their ornaments; and leads us to the plain of Marathon, or the airy heights of Hymetius, without a word concerning their position, their extent, or their topography. We may add, ļikewise, that she has incorporated the local emotions with a far more „striking and probable story than that oi 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 in. fluence so gracious to the mine. But that nice power of development which woull justify the intentions of nature in their furour, is denied them by the oppression of the government under which they live, and the ignorance of those with whom they asso. ciate. 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 philosopliy, mingled the graces of love with the cares of legislation, and charmed while they inspired those who enlightened, wliile they command. ed, the world.
The Greek women are still lovely in their forms, as those exquisite niodels of hnman beauty bequeathed by the genius of their ancestors to the imitation of urborn ages: and their playful bit incolent dispositions, their tenderness and their ard: u fow 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 et Greece in general, and of Athens in particular, held out a lure to the imagination, which I found too difficult to resist.
'Fo-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