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ART. VII. Statistical Survey of the County of Dublin, with Observai
tions on the Means of Improvement; drawn up, for the Consideration and by Order of the Dublin Society, by Lieutenant
Joseph Archer. 8vo. Pp. 300. 88. sewed. "Nicol. MR.
R. Archer presents himself before the public in the double
character of a defender and an improver of his country, and if his military prowess be equal to his good sense and ingenuousness as a writer, he must be considered as a valuable member of society in both capacities. He confesses that illiberal prejudice has long disgraced Ireland ; and that, in the articles of tillage, inclosing and draining waste lands, planting, irrigation, and improvement of wool, it is still very defective. By having passed several years in agricultural observation and practice in England, he has qualified himself for instructing the inhabitants of this other portion of the united kingdom. Sensible that such a work as the statistical survey of a county must be liable, from its very nature, to numerous defects, he delayed his publication, that he might revise and take a retrospect of the whole ; and that, by emendations and additions, it might be rendered as perfect as it was possible for him to make it : yet still he is persuaded that errors and omissions exist, which he hopes will be remedied by more correct and ample information. From the modest and unassuming manner in which Mr. A. speaks of himself and his undertaking in the preface, we were prejudiced in his favour; and our examination of the volume has not induced us to alter our first im. pressions.
According to the plan laid down, in the suggestions of inquiry for gentlemen who may undertake agricultural surveys, Mr. Archer commences with an account of the geographical state and circumstarices of the county of Dublin, Its situation and extent, divisions, climate, and soil, are thus described:
• The county of Dublin is situated between 53° 10" and 53° 37" N. latitude, and between 6° 4" and 6° 36" W. longitude of Green. wich, on the eastern coast of Ireland. It is bounded on the east, from. Bray-Head to Balbriggen, by the Irish sea, being an extent of about thirty miles, if the irregularities of the coast be followed. From near Balbriggen by the north and part of the west, to within à mile and a half of Leixlip, it is bounded by the county of East Meath, being about twenty-three miles, following the irregularities of the boundary; from thence round the west and south west, for about ten miles, it is bounded by the county of Kildare; from thence to Bray Head to the south, it is bounded by the county of Wicklow, about fifteen niiles in extent, nearly all mountain.
• The whole county contains 231 square miles, or 147,840 square acres, of which the mountains and wastes occupy nearly one-eighth,
Square miles Square acres
18,560 Hedges, ditches, buildings, roads, and rivers, about one-tenth,
14,720 Hay and pasture,
55,040 Corn of all sorts, and potatoes,
North of the river Liffey.
South of the river Liffey.
Half Rathdown The other half in the co. Wicklow. · Balruddery and Nethercross, including the adjoining parts of Coolock and Castleknock, are more peculiarly adapted to tillage, as being more remote from the capital than the other baronies; the high rents near the city would not answer for corn, but, on the nearer approach of the two latter baronies to Dublin, lands being of more value in pasture, and the rents too high for tillage, they are converted to the former use, principally for dairy cows, horses, hay, &c. Very little tillage is carried on in the baronies south of the river Liffey, viz. Newcastle, Uppercross, and half Rathdown ; the remote south parts of these divisions, bordering on the county of Wicklow, being for the nost part uncultivated heath, and rocky mountain, unfriendly to vegetation, and great part of them difficult to be brought to any manber of cultivation, or to answer any purpose whatever ; those parts I mean, that are covered with loose rocks, and destitute of soil.
Sect. 3. Climate. • The farmers at the declivity of the mountains, mentioned in the last section, are later in sowing and reaping than those in the low flat land, the air being there moist and sharper, which, they say, prevents the plough moving so early in the spring, as a lower or more level situation would admit. The crops of hay and corn in general through the county, appear to be later than those produced in the same latitude in England. Perhaps this may proceed from the cold, clayey, and damp nature of the land, the draining and improving of which would assist the climate. Easterly winds are very prevailing in April, and check vegetation, sometimes after it has made some progress. Rain bas been more frequent formerly than for the last two years. The south-west and southerly winds, which, wafted over from the Atlantic Ocean, are the prevailing winds in this climate, and generally bring rain, blow over a great part of Ireland, before they reach the county of Dublin, and the mountains, in the passage of those moist vapours, sondense and attract a great part of thef; which circumstance occa
sions less humidity in this county, than is experienced in the southwest parts. Snow seldom continues long on the ground near the seacoast; this, if attended to, ought to hasten the operations of husbandry in the spring, as corn is seldom sowed as early as it should be.
SECT. 4. Soil and Surface. • The vegetative soil of this county is very shallow; the quantity of scavengers' dung, or sulliage of the streets, brought from the city for about four miles round, has, however, greatly improved it. The sub-stratum is almost universally a cold clay, containing water like a dish, and keeping the surface in an unprofitable state, unless where draining and proper attention has been paid to improving it; by this means, in numberless instances, it has effected a total change in the soil, and makes a striking contrast between it and any adjoining unimproved land. There is a small quantity of turf-bog in the northern parts, such as at Garristown, which contains about four or five hundred acres on the borders of the county, the principal part bog, and the like quantity of the same bog extending into the county of Meath. The common of the Ring, near Balruddery, is also partly composed of bog; in the south there are also turf.bogs, in the mountains adjoining Montpelier and Kilmashogue, which alone cover three or four square miles. Great part of those mountains have an irregular surface, and great acclivities, and are in many places covered with rocks and stones, so as to render them nearly useless for any purpose that I know of, except planting the crannies of the rocks with seeds of dif. ferent liardy trees. Turning from this gloony prospect to the interior of the county, a most beautiful scene opens to our view, of numbers of pleasant villages, and ornamented country seats, abundantly spread over the surface. Were there more trees combined with this elegant scene, it would be highly interesting and advantageous. There are a few salt marshes interspersed along the coast, but none of any consequence as to size.'
Under the head of minerals, the author expresses his confidence in the possibility of finding coal in the county of Dublin, and urges the inhabitants to make the experiment by the mining augre.
The mode of culture in Ireland is noticed only to reprobate it. Improved methods are pointed out, draining is particularly recommended, and it is urged on the Irish farmers as an indisputable agricultural maxim never to be set aside, that a melibrating crop should for ever succeed an exhausting one. A gentleman is reported to have tried with success the experiment of driving oxen at plough with a bit in their mouths, in the same manner as horses are driven: if this mode should ultimately answer, here the English may learn of the Irish.
The cattle in Ireland are said to be in such a progressive State of improvement, that the English in a few years will be excelled, but the dairies appear to be on the decline; for it is stated that, whereas formerly there were kept within four miles of Dublin nearly 7000 milch cows, in May 1801 only about 1600 were maintained.
No exact statement is given of the population : but that of the city of Dublin is said, on the grouad of probability, to be not less than 300,000, and that of the county to amount to about 170,000.
We shall pass over the accounts of the mea tropolis, and of the towns and villages in this district : but, considering the importance of the linen manufactory to Ireland, we must not omit the following authentic particulars : "A Return of Packs and Boxes entered inwards and outwards at the Linen ball, from the first of March 1799, to the first of March 1800.
Packs and boxes.
7,936 An Account of the Irish Linen Cloth exported from the first of March 1799, to the first of March 1800.
1,149,533 West Indies,
35,188,156 • A Return of Packs and Boxes entered inwards and outwards at the Linen hall, from the first of March 1800, to the first of March 1801.
Packs and boxes,
C. DUFFIN, Inspector Gen.' Our pleasure in noticing the multitude of private seats, which embellish this county, is completely destroyed by the picture of wretchedness among the lower ranks; who, in re. spect to habitation, food, and fuel, are miserably accommodated. Their partiality to whiskey is deplored ; and Mr. A. expresses his hopes that means will be taken to encourage the use of beer among them, instead of spirituous liquors.
The roads in this county are said to be in excellent order ; and a good report is made of canal navigation and of the fisheries.
In the section on the state of circulation of money or paper, the following brief detail occurs :
• In March 1797, a run was made upon the National Bank of England, in order to draw out the specie. In three days they so far succeeded in their attempt, as to get off eleven millions of guineas. Government immediately summoned a privy council, and stopped the issuing any more guineas, and in lieu thereof issued small notes. A similar attempt was made on the Banks in Dublin, and a like remedy was immediately interposed, and they also issued a quantity of smali notes as a substitute, to answer the currency of trade.'
We apprehend that Mr. Archer has been misinformed respecting the money drawn out of the English Bank, previously to its being restricted from farther issues of specie. Had the amount of cash paid in three days been eleven millions of guineas, waggons and carts must have been put in requisition as much as on a forced march of troops.
By the introduction of machinery, the woollen manufactory is rapidly improving in Ireland ; and with the view of farther advancing it, Mr. A. has introduced some observations on the growth of wool, by Mr. Nixon, which are calculated to attract the attention of farmers and cloth-makers.
The observation that timber is very scarce, and that it is cutting down in a fourfold proportion to the trees which are planted,' ought to rouse the gentlemen of Ireland to increase their nurseries and plantations without loss of time; and, from the account of the quantity of bog and waste ground, the county appears to present them with an ample theatre for their exers tions..
In the Appendix, irrigation is recommended; and an argument against emigration is judiciously urged.
Some little carelessness and inaccuracies are visible in the language of this volume; which we shall excuse ourselves from particularizing, except in one instance, at p. 21. where February and March are said to be a very salutary time of year:' but we Suppose that the author means a scarce time, i.e. for green food for cattle. A map of the county, as usual, accompanics