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The fatifical account of Scotland, drawn up from the communications of the Ministers of the different parishes, by Sir John Sinclair Baronet: Volume first.
THE public are here prefented with the first volume of a work, that promifes to refcue great Britain from a reflection that has been throwit upon it by foreign nations, an inattention to its internal ftate, and the means that may tend to augment its profperity; for if effential political improvements are to be made at all, they must begin with an accurate knowledge of the state of the country. Without this preliminary step, every attempt at improvement can only be deemed a fort of quackery; nor can it ever be known with any degree of certainty, whether the measures that shall be purfued at any one period, prove hurtful or beneficial. We therefore congratulate the public on the appearance of this work, as we truft it will prove the fure bafis of future inquiries, that cannot fail to prove highly beneficial to the community at large, and to this part of the country in particular; and it is our moft earneft wifh, that no crofs accident may intervene, to interrupt the progrefs of this highly bene ficial undertaking.
The public are made acquainted in this volume, in a very accurate manner, with the prefent ftate of fifty-three parishes in various parts of Scotland; fo that an attentive reader may be able, even from this fpecimen, to form a tolerably adequate notion of the whole. But when the work fhall be concluded, if the remainder fhall be executed in the fame masterly manner with the present volume, there will be no exaggeration in the faying of the worthy Mr. Demfter," that no publication of equal information and curiofi"ty has appeared in great Britain fince doomsday book; and "that from the ample and authentic facts which it records, "it must be reforted to by every future ftatefiman, philofo
pher and divine, as the best bafis that has ever yet appeared for political fpeculation."
Too much praife cannot be bestowed upon the reverend and worthy members of the church who have fo liberally and judiciously furnished the materials for this work. Many perfons, on feeing the queries that were put to them, were apprehenfive, that fome might be induced, from a defire to display much reading or depth of research, to enter into long conjectural fpeculations on fubjects which had not come fully to their knowledge; and although Sir John took care to warn them against this, yet few perfons could have formed a priori, fuch an idea of the judicioufnefs of this body of men, as not to be afraid that fome of them would run wild in the mazy road of fpeculative theory. The prefent volume however, gives an agreeable proof that thefe fears were groundless. The writers of thefe memoirs, have, with great judgment, in general, confined themselves. ftrictly to the recording of fuch facts as fell under their own obfervation, leaving ideal hypothefes on other fubjects to thofe who choose to engage in them; and if occafionally fome uncommon phenomena of nature are (accounted for, it is done with an ingenuous modesty that isworthy of a high degree of applaufe; as we shall illuftrate on fome future occafion, by examples drawn from this volume.
It is to be regretted, that on account of the little attention that has hitherto been bestowed on fubjects of this nature, it was not poffible, on many occafions, to compare the past with the present state of this country: but in all cafes where it could be done, the compilers have made the beft ufe for that purpose, of the few facts that have been preserved to them. Future obfervers will not have this difficulty to encounter, fo long as this work fhall be preferved, which will throw a ftill clearer light upon the future fpeculations of the patriotic politician, than we yet can boait of, notwithftanding the unequalled care and attention of the clergymen of the prefent day.
Hitherte, unfortunately for Britain, our attention has been almoft exclufively applied to the marking the progress and improvements of our external poffeffions, while the state of our domestic concerns has been entirely overlooked, as if they were unworthy of any regard. Some recent events VOL. III Оо
might have served to convince us, that in doing this, we were purtuing an ignus fatuus, that only tended to mislead to our undoing: Yet still we are running after this Will o' the wifp, and a small addition of useless territory is, even now, in danger of proving a bribe fufficient to draw off our attention from concerns of infinitely greater importance. The prefent work, by ferving to bring under our notice many of these important objects, will, I trust, prove an ara in the history of the political ftate of this country: An aufpicious era indeed it will prove, if it fhall help to produce this effect. 13
Animated with these hopes, there feems to be no reafon to fear, that a work fo happily begun, will not be in a fhort time finally accomplished, by the joint endeavours of a set of men, who only wanted fuch an opportunity as the present to be brought forward to the notice of the public as a body, when taken in the aggregate, that can perhaps be equalled by none other on the globe. Hitherto they have been little known, farther than the bounds of their refpective parishes. Now the names of every individual will be made known in an honourable manner through all the regions of the earth; for they may reft affured that there is no European language into which this book will not be tranflated, nor any country into which it will not find its way. If the clergy of any other country, particularly of England, think they are entitled to equal refpect, let them produce a work of equal merit. When that is done, a fair estimate of the merit and abilities of the officiating clergy in both countries may be made; but if they shrink back from the trial, the Scottish clergy will be justly entitled to a priority of celebrity.
The ufes that may be made of this work are innumerable, nor could any perfon at prefent point them all out. Some of thefe, together with a general abftract of this volume fhall be given in our next. advad mult
Further account of the Ruta Baga or Swedish Turnip.
N an early number of this work, the public were informed that this fpecies of turnip preferved its freshness and fucculence till a very late period of its growth, even after it had produced feed; and on account of that property, it was recommended to the notice of farmers, as an excel lent kind of fucculent food for domeftic animals in the fpring of the year, when common turnips, and most other winter crops have failed, and before grafs got up to furnish an abundant bite for feeding beafts. This peculiarity, however, feemed fo fingular, that it was not to be wondered at, if many men of sound sense found themselves difpofed to doubt the fact-and from that circumftance, I make no doubt but many of these have satisfied themfelves by experiment as to this particular; this I myself have done, and I think it my duty now to communicate the refult of that experiment to the public, being under no apprehenfion that it will be contro verted by the experience of any other perfon: reasoning, in cafes of this kind, is entirely out of the question.
I find then, that the Ruta Baga, or Swedish turnip, begins to fend cut its flower-items in the fpring, nearly about the fame time with the common turnip, but that the root, in con fequence of that change of state, fuffers very little alteration. I continued to use these turnips at my table every day till towards the middle of May; and had I never gone into the garden myself, I fhould not even then have fufpected, from the taste or appearance of the bulb itself, that it had been shot at all. The stems, however, at the feafon I gave over ufing them, were from four to five feet high, and in full flower. I fhould have continued the experiment longer, had not the quantity I had left for that purpose been exhaufted, and a few only left for feed.
This experiment, however, fully proves, that this kind of turnip may be employed as a fucculent food for cattle till the middle of May at leaft, in an ordinary year; and I have not the fmalleft doubt but it will continue perfectly good for that purpose till the end of May in any feafon; at which time grafs and other fpring crops can eafily be had for bringing beafts forward in fleth. I can therefore, without hesitation, recommend this plant to the farmer as a moft valuable spring feeding for cattle and fheep; and for this purpose, I think no wife farmer thould be without a proportion of this kind of turnip to fucceed the other forts after they fail. The profi
June, 29, table method of confuming it, where it is to be kept verylate, is, I am ftill convinced, to cut off the tops with a scythe or fickle, when from one foot to eighteen inches high, to induce it to fend out fresh ftems, that willcontinue foft and fucculent to the end; whereas, without this procefs, the stems would become sticky and useless.
I cannot, however, recommend this kind of turnip, from what I have yet feen, as a general crop, because I think it probable, that unless in particular circumftances, the common field turnips grow to a much larger fize, and afford, upon the whole, a more weighty crop. Thefe, therefore, should fili continue to be cultivated for winter use, the other being reserved only for spring consumption.
Experiments are ftill wanting to afcertain with certainty the peculiar foil and culture that beft agree with this plant; but from the few obfervations I have hitherto had an opportunity of making upon it, it seems to me probable, that it thrives better, and grows to a larger size on damp clayey foil, than on light fandy land. But I would not wish to be underftood as here fpeaking pofitively; I merely throw it out as a hint for future obfervation; on fpungy foil it profpers.
Though the ufes of this as a garden plant, are of much fmaller confequence than those above-specified, it may not be improper to remark, that its leaves form a very fweet kind of greens at any time; and, merely for the fake of the experiment, I caused fome of thefe to be picked off the ftems of the plants coming to feed, on the 4th of June, the King's birth-day, which, on being readied, were found perfectly fweet, without the smallest tendercy to bitternefs, which most, if not all other kinds of greens that have been hitherto cultivated are known to acquire, after their stems are confiderably advanced; no family, therefore, can ever be at a loss for greens when they have any of this plant in feed.
A root of this kind of turnip was taken up this day (June 15th); the feed ftalks were firm and woody, the pods full formed, and in some of them the feeds were nearly ripe. The root, however, was as foft and fucculent as at any former period of its growth; nor was the skin, as I expected, hard or woody. It was made ready and brought to the table; fome perfons there thought the taste as good, if not better, than at any former period of its growth; but I myself, perhaps through prejudice, thought it had not quite fo high a relifh as in winter: At any rate, however, there can be no doubt that, if ever it could be neceffary, it might, even now, be employ ed very properly as a feeding for cattle.