Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

taining the turnips, which will there be laid up clean-washed, and freight free, as a supply in frosty weather. Mr. Bakewell's improvements, in this department of rural affairs, are not only extensive, but high; and are rendered more striking by “proof pieces," (a good term for experimental patches) left in each site of improvement. Mr. Bakewell is, in truth, a master in the art; and Dishley, at present, a school in which it might be studied with singular advantage."

Though it is evident that Mr. Bakewell, and his plan of breeding and agriculture, were generally entitled to commendation, yet the one has had envious rivals, and the other serious opponents. Having been pretty copious in explaining his merits, it will be no more than justice to exhibit some of the arguments einployed to prove his defects; for the biographer does not fulfil his duty who dwells only on excellencies, and confines himself to the flattering terms of panegyric. As the human mind must ever be imperfect, and liable to error, the language of truth should describe it as it is, not as wished to be.

“Mr. Bakewell's cattle, selected and reared with immense care and cost, assumed that stately and beautiful appearance which charmed a whole country, where such a sight was perfectly novel; and the cultivators, being admitted in the critical moment of the animals' bite, were equally ready either to be duped or instructed. The idea was new, and the rationale of it centered in the invention and judgment of a single enterprising individual. It could not be supposed that his purchasers and disciples were first rate judges of the true lines of animal proportion, or that they could artfully and scientifically combine the ideas of beauty and utility : for it is well known, that these are extremely variable and uncere tain among our cattle-fanciers. The truth is, a large quantity of beautiful and valuable stock was distributed about the country from Dishley; and of this there was no small share, the sole value of which consisted in a sleek and bulky appearance, conferred solely by the great care and expense of the breeder. These animals having cost the purchasers, or those who hired them,

considerable

[ocr errors]

considerable sums, it was a necessary consequence that their produce would be valuable in proportion: and Bakewell shrewdly observed, “that the only way to have capital stock is to keep the price high.” In aid of these natural and legitimate causes of the high prices of the Dishley breed, others were superadded, which, although but too common in all matters of bargain and sale, are not considered as being so candid. A sort of monopoly was created among the fraternity of improvers, who adopted all the arts, and put in practice all the tricks, of jockies and horsedealers. Sham contracts and purchases were made at wonderful high prices; puffers were regularly engaged to spirit up the buyers at auctions; and a young lord, or gentleman, with his pockets well lined, and his senses intoxicated by the fumes of inprovement, was as sure to be imposed upon by these as by the gentry at Newmarket. The pens of itinerant agriculturists, whose knowledge of live stock originated merely in their writing about it, now took up the cause, and blazoned forth the transcendent qualities of the "new Leicesters.” In consequence of this, the country began to consider these oracular decisions as orthodox: Not so the Town. The sages of Smithfield, before whom the fatted animals of all counties pass in hebdomadal review, and who try the merits of all by the unerring standard of the balance, although they were compelled to purchase the commodity, never approved the barrel-shape, or the Dishley improvements. They pretend, at this hour, that the original breed of Leicester sheep was more advantageous, in point of public utility, than the new one; and that the Lincoln, a branch of the ancient family of Teeswater, is, in respect to form, superior to all. They do not even scruple to assert, that the feeding of Dishley stock has never fairly repaid the cultivator. It is certain that Mr. Bakewell was not enriched, notwithstanding his unremitting exertions, the admirable economy of his farms, and the vast sums which he ob. tained for his cattle. But this is to be attributed entirely to the generous style of hospitality which he constantly maintained at Dishley; where every inquisitive stranger was received and ente 1

taineri

[ocr errors]

tained with the most frank and liberal attention. The expanded heart of this man demanded more capacious means for the gratification of its generous desires; and it is evident, from his conduct, that he was ambitious rather of the honour, than the profit of his calling *."

Dishley was always noted for the cheering hospitality with which all intelligent and inquiring persons were treated. Every thing about the farm was arranged with admirable order, and at the same time so calculated as to satisfy curiosity. Even the shew of the cattle was conducted with the most pleasing and interesting regularity. The sheep were exhibited singly in a small house, adapted to that purpose, having two opposite doors, one for admission, the other for retreat; and the inferior were always introduced first, that the imagination of the inspector might be raised by degrees to the utmost pitch at the exhibition of the last and finest.

From the foregoing particulars, the reader will be enabled to appreciate the character of Mr. Bakewell, who, after devoting an active and industrious life to a laudable profession, which proved to him an endless source of pleasure, died, after a tedious illness, October 1, 1795, and was buried in Dishley church. He was never married. In person he was tall, broad in the chest and shoulders, and, in his general figure, exactly tallying with our ideas of the respectable old English yeoman. His manners had a rustic, yet polite and pleasing frankness, which rendered him acceptable to all ranks.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

BEAUMANOR is the name of an extensive manor, situated in a fertile vale, on the eastern side of the forest of Charnwood, in the parish of Barrow. This, with a large mansion, belong to William Herrick, Esq. whose ancestors have possessed the place from the year 1594-5, when it was purchased from the agents of Robert, Earl of Essex, by WILLIAM HEYRICKB, Esq. of London, who in the next year held a court here. This gentleman was bom at

Leicester, * Annual Necrology, 1800.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Leicester, about the year 1557, and had a spacious house in ood-street, London, another in Westminster, and another at Fichmond; yet, according to a memorandum found among his papers, he “ resided constantly at Court.” He was particularly favoured by Queen Elizabeth, and by James the First. The former sent him on an embassy to the Ottoman Porte: and, on his return, he was appointed to a lucrative office in the Exchequer, and held several other places of honour and trust. It is evident he acquired considerable riches, as many of the nobility, and even the monarch“, borrowed money of him. In the reign of James, however, he petitioned the Lord Mayor of London to excuse him from serving the office of alderman ; and alledged as a reason, that the king owed him so much money, as rendered him incapable of supporting the usual expenses of that civic honour. He was ordered to pay a fine of 300l. and excused. He made a present, among other things, of a portrait of Sir THOMAS Vol. IX.

WHITE,

Сс

* The following state letter, addressed to Mr. Heyrick by order, of Queen Elizabeth, is a curious specimen of the style of writing, and state of the nation in 1596-7. “ By the Queene. Trustie and wel-belovid, we greete yow well. The contynuall greate charges wch wee have, for the necessarie defence of and preservacon of of dominions and subiectes, are so notorious as neede not to be otherwise declared then may iustlie be conceaved by all our loving subiects, being but of comon understanding. And therefore, at this presente, finding cause of increase and contynuaunce of suche charges exceeding all other ordinary meanes; and not mynding to presse of subiects wth anie presente free gifte of monie, but only to be supplied with some reasonable pencon by waie of loane for onne yeare's space; wee have made specialle choice of such of loving subiectes as are knowne to be of abiletie; amongest wch we accompte yow one; and therefore we require yow, by these presentes, to lend us the some of fyftie poundes for the space of one yeare, and the same to be payue unto Benedict Barnham or Thomas Looe, alder. men, by us appointed as collectors thereof, wch we promise to repaye to yow or yoassignes, at the end of one yeare, in the receipte of of Exche. quer, upon giving of this privie seale subscribed by the said collectors, testifieing the receipte thereof. Geven under of privie seale at of palace of Westm, the XXvit daie of January, in the XXXIX yeare of oʻ, raign.

THO. KERY."

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

WHITE, to the corporation of Leicester. In the year 1605, he was knighted at Greenwich, and, after sustaining many public offices and trusts, died March 2, 1652-3, and was buried in St. Martin's church at Leicester*.

An inventory of glass in the windows of the house at Beaumanor, in 1599, shews the prices of windows at that period, and the names of some of the apartments: “ In the parlour a glasse window, 108.—The glass in Mr. Adrian Stock's chamber, 38.-In my Lady Frogmorton's chamber, the glasses 5s.—The glasse in the nurserye chamber, 28.-The glasse in the duke's chamber, 6s. 8d.The glasse in the great chamber, 1s. 8d.-The glasse in the hallate, 55.-The glasse in the pawcing place, 1s. 6d.” &c.

Beauman was part of the queen's jointure in 1621, when the feefarm rent of 341. 14s. 9d. was paid by Sir William Heyricke. In 1656, it is thus described : “ This ancient manor house of Beaumanor standeth, and is seated in the park called BeaumanorPark. The manor house is moated round about with a very fair and clear moat; and a little distant from the said moat are barns and stables, and all other useful offices-standing and seated; about which said building is a second moat, and round about this said ancient manor house lieth the said park," &c. The latter was disparked by Sir William Heyrick, and, in 1690, the greater part of the timber trees were cut down.

The park and scenery of Beaumanor are justly extolled by Mr. Tbrosby and Mr. Nichols, for picturesque beauty, combined with serenity and sublimity of character. Large timber trees of oak, ash, elm, and willow, are still abundant; and many very large trunks of the former were cut down some years back, for the use of the Navy, measuring twenty-two feet and upwards in circumference. In the place of the old manor-house, a new one was erected in 1725. In the great hall is a curious chair, cut out

of

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Nichols's Hist. of Leicestershire, Vol. III. p. 150, &c. where is a portrait of Sir William, and many curious particulars respecting him, and the times when he lived.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »