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years ago, it was carried in a straight line through the level, for the purposes of draining and navigation. Before the draining it was worth but from 1s. to 3s. 6d. an acre; now it is from 10s, to 30s. much of it arable, and much of it in grass.
“ The Lowlands that are taxed to the drainage amount to seventeen thousand one hundred and ninety-seven acres, the tax amounts to 2,140l. per ann. or 2s. 6d. an acre. It is now chiefly pasture and meadow; but the cars which were rough and rushy have been pared and burned, and sowed with rape for sheep, and then with oats for a crop or two; and on the better parts some wheat, then laid to grass: there is not a great deal kept under the
Though a great portion of the land in this district is very valuable, and much has been done to improve the rest; yet a large quantity still remains in an unprofitable state. It appears by Mr. Stone's account, and as he was one of the commissioners under the act he ought to be a competent judge, that the engineers were improperly limited by the act, to drain into the river Trent. The work was executed to the best of their judgment, and as well as the situation of the country would admit. In the execution of the plan 20,000l. were expended; and though now several years have expired since its completion, yet the desired effects have not followed. The floods of the upper, and the tides of the lower, part of the river have often overfowed the works, whereby the lowlands, comprising some thousands of acres, have, during the greater part of the year, been under water: and unless more effectual works shall be added, by means of steam engines or some other mode, to lift the water into the Trent, the most valuable part of the district will be absolutely useless for the purposes of grazing or agriculture.
Mr. Stone is of opinjon also, that upwards of fifty thousand acres in Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire, and Lincolnshire, which are now flooded, will ever continue to be overflown until the present plan of draining into the Trent shall be given up. And
* Young's General View, &c. p. 241.
he further thinks, that an effectual drainage might have been accomplished by means of a new river, cut in a parallel direction with the course of the Trent, on the western banks of it; so that a certain competent outfall might have been obtained below Als dingfleet. And that the contribution of the Isle commoners, to the general expense of such an undertaking, would not have amounted to above a moiety of what they have already incurred in an ineffectual attempt*. He next adverts to the drainage of what are called the Low-Marshes, which, besides thousands of acres of fen, contain a species of wet unproductive land, for which there is no drainage, bearing the appellation of rottenland, because sheep depastured upon it are subject to the rot, and frequently are destroyed. A drain, with lateral cuts in the lowest line between the middle and lower marshes, carried to an outfall, which might be made near Waifleet, would effectually, he suggests, drain this part of the north eastern district.
Mr. Parkinson has furnished a Table of the Improvements in Drainage, by different Acts, under which he was a Commissioner; which will serve to give some Idea of the Proceedings within a few years past.
Acres. Improved! Old
£. £. Tattershall Imbankment
892 838 387 Alnwick Fen..
703 The Nine inibanked Fens to Lincoln..
19,418 15,534 1,941 Holland Fen Eleven
$ 22,000 25,300 3,600
43,407 42,375 5,982
* Review of the Agric. Survey of Lincoln, p. 167.
From this statement, and some minor improvements, which fall under this description by various individuals, more especially Sir Joseph Banks, at Revesby; Mr. Young exults on the subject, and thinks wonders have been performed in this way, yet acknowledges, that “ about Mavis, Enderby, Bolinbroke, &c.' the wetness of the sides of the hills is lamentable ; bogs are so numerous, that he is a desperate fox-hunter who ventures to ride here without being well acquainted with the ground. I have rarely seen a country that wants exertions in draining more than this. Many similar springy sides of hills are to be met with all the way to Ranby, and thence by Oxcomb to Louth*.”
This remark serves to illustrate a statement made by Mr. Stone, which, as it is unconnected with any details of particular spots, would otherwise amount to no more than mere assertion.' “ There are upwards of three hundred thousand acres of land at this time, 1800, in Lincolnshire, suffering at least on an average 300,000). a year for want of an efficient drainage, which might be carried into effect for one or two year's improved value; and upon the borders of the county nearly the same quantity of jand connected with it, capable of the same improvement by similar means. When this statement shall be explained, and the truth of the remark established, what will become of the table of forty-three thousand four hundred and seven acrést."
Though flattering prospects from past exertions are too apt to relax our present energies, yet a too great respect for our own views and capabilities should not make us fastidious, or induce us to disparage the laudable attempts of those who have preceded us, nor illiberally to undervalue the labours of others.
Whoever has travelled with an observant eye through the county of Lincoln, marked its peculiar situation and characteristic features, and made himself thus acquainted with its present state, and compared this with its appearance and productions in different
periods. * General Review, p. 245.
+ Review of Survey, p. 133.
periods of its history, will be little inclined to animadvert severely on the present inhabitants, or to think lightly of the attempts which have been made by their predecessors: for in this connected view it will appear, that in no county in the kingdom have equal exertions been used, in the important work of drainage. Without going back to very remote periods it is estimated, that not less than one hundred and fifty thousand acres have been drained, and thus improved from the value of 5s. and some much under, per acre, to 1l.. 5s. per acre, whereby a rental is created upon lands of previous insignificant value, to the amount of 150,000l. per annum; nor is this all the benefit which has accrued: the provisions have been increased, and the climate rendered more salubrious; fens covered with water and mud, stagnating for months, inhabited by fowls or frogs, have thus been rendered fit for grazing or the plough; and the contaminating influence of its ague giving waters for 'ever banished to the briny ocean. While health has been fostered, individuals have been enriched, and society greatly benefitted. Plans carried to such an extent, and at such an immense expense, as many of these have been, may justly be denominated great works. “And when, with the views of a political arithmetician, we reflect on the circulation that bas attended this creation of wealth through industry, the number of people supported, the consumption of manufactures, the shipping employed, and all the classes of community benefitted; the magnitude and importance of such works will be seen, and the propriety well understood, of giving all imaginable encouragement and facility to their execution."
These remarks are judicious, and their importance, as well as others of a similar kind made on the subject, have been appreciated by those most interested in the improvements to whieb they relate. A plan has been proposed, and is now executing under the direction of that very scientific and able engineer, Mr. John Rennie, by which Wildmore, with East and West Fens,
"Young's General View, p. 246.
will be effectually drained; and the low lands of this part of the county, by this means become, as they actually are in many others, the most productive in the kingdom.
Mr. Rennie was employed, with proper surveyors, to view the situation of the abovementioned fens, the different drains, and out-fall gowts, which conveyed their waters to the sea,—to point out the defects of the then existing system, and the best methods of supplying them, or suggesting a new and better plan for a more effectual drainage of those levels. Upon this subject he printed his first Report in 1800, and with that penetration which marks the superior mind, and that comprehensiveness which evinces perspecuity of judgment; he quickly discovered the cause of the evils, which had been so long complained of after repeated attempts to remove them. Viewing their actual state, the remedy instantly presented itself. The first object which struck him was the out, fall; the second, the discharging the water which falls on the surface of the fens, or which arises in them; the third, the intercepting and carrying off the up or high land water, without allowing it to descend into, and overflow the fens. Each of these necessary points had at times been canvassed; but never generally and unitedly adopted in any previous system. This was reserved for the scientific mind of our present engineer, who, after describing the nature of these fens, divides them according to the usual mode;. but from the levels, which were taken on the occasion, he was induced to place Wildınore and West Fens in one draining plan, and East-Fen in another. In the drainage of the former the outlet was made by Anton's Gowt or Maudfoster, the gates of which he found were too narrow for the quantity of water occasionally to be discharged through them; and that the sills of these, as well as those of the grand sluice, were too high for the level of the country, so as to admit; in their present state, of an efficient drainage, not to mention the want of attention to secure the water of the high lands from running into the fens. Mr. Rennie then gives a scheme, first for draining Wildmore