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Title: A Treatise on Sheep: - The Best Means for their Improvement, General Management, - and the Treatment of their Diseases.
Author: Blacklock, Ambrose
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Treatise on Sheep: - The Best Means for their Improvement, General Management, - and the Treatment of their Diseases." ***

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[Illustration: Sheep have golden feet, and wherever the print of them
appears, the soil is turned into gold.--SWEDISH PROVERB.]

Twelfth Edition.


Printed by C. and J. Adlard, Bartholomew Close

        THE AUTHOR.

[Illustration: PLATE I]

[Illustration: PLATE II]

[Illustration: PLATE III]

[Illustration: PLATE IV]

[Illustration: PLATE V]

[Illustration: PLATE VI]

[Illustration: PLATE VII]

[Illustration: PLATE VIII]


The truth of the Greek proverb, that "_a great book is a great evil_,"
is no where more apparent than in the construction of works on
agricultural concerns. Those who have attended to the subject well
know, that the profitable management of live-stock is by far the most
difficult branch of farming, as it is here that improvement is
peculiarly tardy; and from this we might infer that authors would
endeavour so to arrange and simplify their treatises as to enable
every one to obtain the bearings of the study at the smallest possible
expense and trouble. Such, however, is not the case. Many would appear
to have done their best so to dilute and mystify the little which is
known about the matter, that it is nearly impossible for any one, not
gifted with more than ordinary power of application, to arrive at any
thing like just conclusions. To avoid this error has been my object in
the following pages. Such points only as are of real importance have
been noticed; every thing having been rejected which could not admit
of a practical application. For this reason, also, I have omitted all
allusion to foreign _varieties_ of the sheep, an account of which is,
in some similar works, made to occupy so large a space. The general
laws by which animal bodies are governed, and the changes to which
they are rendered liable by their subserviency to man, are here--and
for the first time as regards the sheep--gone into at considerable
length. Too little value is in general attached to such inquiries;
though, when endeavouring to improve a domesticated race, we must be
perfectly aware, that without this species of knowledge we are like a
ship at sea without the guiding aids of the rudder and the compass,
and liable to be carried in the right or in the wrong direction only
as chance directs.

In conclusion, I need make no apology for any defects that may appear
in this little work, having done my best to make it useful to the


_July, 1838_.


PREFACE                                                           iii

References to the Plates                                           xi



(1) Origin of the Sheep;--(2) The Argali of Siberia and Mouflon
of Sardinia;--(3) The Mouflon of America;--(4) The Mouflon of
Africa;--(5) British Breeds;--(6) The Lincolnshire;--(7) The
Teeswater;--(8) The Dishley or New Leicester;--(9) The Devonshire
Nots;--(10) The Dorsetshire Sheep;--(11) Herefordshire or Ryeland
Sheep;--(12) The South Down;--(13) The Cheviot Sheep;--(14) Mugg
Sheep;--(15) The Black-faced or Heath Sheep;--(16) The Merino;--
(17) Teeth of Sheep;--(18) Distinctions between the Sheep and Goat;
--(19) Horns of Sheep;--(20) Structure of the Stomach;--(21)
Digestion;--(22) Period of Conception;--(23) Names applied to
Sheep                                                               1



(24) Wool-bearing Animals;--(25) Structure of the Skin;--(26)
Sebaceous follicles;--(27) Connexion of the Hair with the
Skin--Yolk;--(28) Periodical decidence of Wool;--(29) Falling off
of Wool prevented by Clipping;--(30) Form of Woolly Fibre;--(31)
Structure and Properties of Hair and Wool;--(32) Particular soils
injurious to Wool;--(33) Felting;--(34) Different kinds of
Wool;--(35) Alterations caused by _Crossing_;--(36) Bratting
prejudicial to Wool                                                16



(37) Origin of the Wool Trade;--(38) Invention of Weaving;--(39)
Early progress of the Wool Trade;--(40) Introduction of Weaving into
Britain;--(41) Importance of the British Woollen Manufacture;--(42)
Weavers brought by Edward III. from Flanders;--(43) Regulations
regarding _Staples_;--(44) Rapid advance of the Wool Trade in
the 14th century;--(45) Subsidies raised by Edward III.;--(46)
Progress of the Wool Trade during the reigns of Henry VII., Henry
VIII., and Edward VI.;--(47) Encouragement given by Elizabeth
to the Trade;--(48) Woollen Cloth monopolized by the Merchant
Adventurers;--(49) Consumption of Wool in England increased;--
(50) Severity of the Prohibitory Enactments relating to Wool
reprobated;--(51) Emigration of English families to Holland, and
Prosperity of the Dutch Manufactures;--(52) Fluctuating state of
the Trade between 1635 and 1698;--(53) King William discourages
the Irish manufactures;--(54) Statistics of the British Wool
Trade in 1699;--(55) British Woollen Manufacturers rivalled by
the Swedes;--(56) Regulations relating to Wool from 1740 to 1742;
--(57) Impulse given to the Trade by the improvements in Machinery;
--(57) Commencement of the 19th century; Duty imposed on imported
Wool;--(59) Restrictions on Foreign Wool removed; increase in
Manufacturing prosperity;--(60) Countries from which we derive our
Wool;--(61) Statistics of the Wool Trade from 1800 to 1830;--(62)
Do. in 1832                                                        28



(63) Introductory remarks;--(64) Early Improvers of the Sheep;--(65)
Modern Breeders and Improvements;--(66) Varieties among Animals, how
induced;--(67) Varieties induced by temperature;--(68) Adaptation of
the Sheep to climate;--(69) Changes produced by climate;--(70)
Temperature preferred by Sheep;--(71) Extent of the alterations
produced by climate;--(72) Increase in the number of the Horns;--(73)
Causes of the various forms of the Horn;--(74) The proper temperature
required for Sheep;--(75) Geographical limits of the Sheep;--(76)
Particular forms induced by geographical limit;--(77) Influence of
vegetation on form and disposition;--(78) Breeds required for
Britain--(79) Varied nature of the food of Sheep;--(80) Influence of
food on the quality of Mutton;--(81) Differences in the quality of
Mutton;--(82) Abuses in Feeding;--(83) Tendency to acquire Fat;--(84)
Frequent change of Pasture necessary;--(85) Varieties induced by
apparently trivial causes;--(86) Varieties from mode of Breeding;
--(87) Breeding _in_ and _in_;--(88) Opponents of _in_ and _in_
Breeding;--(89) Breeding from different families of the same
race;--(90) Crossing;--(91) Things to be attended to in Crossing;
--(92) Choice of Parents;--(93) Influence of Sex;--(94) Method of
obtaining a greater number of one Sex, at the option of the
Proprietor                                                         67



(95) Introductory remarks;--(96) Putting Tups to Ewes;--(97) Early
Lambs;--(98) Lambing-time;--(99) Washing;--(100) Shearing;--(101)
Weaning;--(102) Smearing;--(103) Fatting                          128



(104) Introductory observations;--(105) Wounds;--(106) Stoppage
of Bleeding;--(107) Removal of Extraneous Matter from Wounds;--
(108) Closure of Wounds;--(109) Bandaging;--(110) After-treatment
of Clean Cuts;--(111) After-treatment of Punctures;--(112) Bruises
and Sprains;--(113) Wounds of Joints;--(114) Poisoned Wounds;--
(115) Fractures;--(116) Cutting Lambs;--(117) Blood-letting;--
(118) Removal of Hydatids from the Head                           148



(119) Introductory remarks;--(120) Cautions in Prescribing;--(121)
Classification of Diseases;--(122) Blown or Blast;--(123) Treatment
of Blown;--(124) Braxy or Sickness;--(125) Symptoms of Braxy;--(126)
Appearances on Dissection;--(127) Causes of Braxy;--(128) Treatment
of Braxy;--(129) Prevention of Braxy;--(130) Pining. Symptoms and
Causes;--(131) Treatment and Prevention of Pining;--(132) Staggers;
--(133) Diarrhoea;--(134) Treatment of Diarrhoea;--(135) Dysentery
or Cling. Symptoms;--(136) Causes of Dysentery;--(137) Treatment
of Dysentery;--(138) Prevention of Dysentery;--(139) Scab or Itch.
Symptoms and Causes;--(140) Treatment of Itch;--(141) Prevention
of Itch;--(142) Erysipelas or Wild-fire;--(143) Red-water;--(144)
Leg-evil. Symptoms and Causes;--(145) Treatment of Leg-evil;--(146)
Prevention of Leg-evil;--(147) The Fly and Maggot;--(148) Treatment
of Fly-blown Sheep, and Prevention of attacks from the Fly;--(149)
The Sheep-Fag or Ked, and the Tick;--(150) The OEstrus bovis;--(151)
Sore Teats;--(152) Foot-rot;--(153) Causes of Foot-rot;--(154)
Treatment and Prevention of Foot-rot;--(155) Insects in the Air
Passages;--(156) Removal of Insects from the Nostril;--(157) Coryza;
--(158) Treatment of Coryza;--(159) Rot. Introductory remarks;--
(160) Symptoms of Rot;--(161) Appearances on Dissection;--(162)
The Liver-fluke;--(163) The Hydatid;--(164) Causes of Rot;--(165)
Treatment of Rot;--(166) Prevention of Rot;--(167) Jaundice;--(168)
Dropsy;--(169) Sturdy;--(170) Treatment and Prevention of Sturdy;
--(171) Trembling;--(172) Treatment of Trembling;--(173) Inflamed
Eyes;--(174) Soft cancer of the Eye                               161



_Fig._ 1. The Mouflon of Sardinia.

_Fig._ 2. and 3. _p._ The first stomach or paunch; _b._ the second
stomach, bonnet, king's-hood, or honey-comb; _o._ the third stomach,
or omasum; _a._ the fourth stomach, or abomasum; _g._ the gullet;
_py._ the pylorus.

_Fig._ 4. Section of a sheep's toe; _g._ _g._ the gland secreting the
hoof; _c._ _c._ the crust; _s._ the sole.

_Fig._ 5. View of the interdigital gland; _g._ the gland; _d._ the
duct leading from it.

_Fig._ 6. The fluke-worm; _a._ the mouth; _b._ the reproductive
apparatus; _c._ _c._ vessels for the distribution of the blood.


_Fig._ 1. Dorsetshire Ram.

_Fig._ 2. South Down Ram.

The figures in this plate are borrowed from the beautiful cuts in the
work on _Sheep_, published by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful


_Fig._ 1. New Leicester Ram.

_Fig._ 2. Cheviot Ram. The portrait of a very superior animal, in the
possession of my friend Mr Laurie of Terregles town.

Premiums were awarded to Mr Laurie for both of these sheep at the last
meeting of the Highland Society in Dumfries.

_Fig._ 3. View of the veins of the face and neck; _f.v._ facial vein;
_j.v._ jugular vein.


_Fig._ 1. Black-faced Ram.

_Fig._ 2. Merino Ram.


_Figs._ 1. 2. 3. from the _Quarterly Journal of Agriculture_, represent
the most approved mode of washing and shearing sheep.

_Fig._ 4. Tubular structure of hair and wool.

_Fig._ 5. Relative positions of the layers of the skin, mode in which
the hairs rise from, and situation of, the sebaceous follicles; _a._
the cuticle; _b._ the mucous layer; _c._ the true skin; _d._ sebaceous
follicles; _e._ hairs rising from the true skin; _f._ the yolk.


_Fig._ 1. Section of the lung of a sheep which has been over-driven.

_Fig._ 2. Section of the lung of a sheep which has been affected with


_Fig._ 1. The _Cysticercus tenuicollis_.

_Fig._ 1. _a._ Head of the same magnified.

_Fig._ 2. The _Coenurus Cerebralis_.

_Fig._ 2. _a._ Heads of the _Coenurus_ magnified.

_Fig._ 3. The _pentastoma_. Hitherto supposed to exist only in the dog
and wolf, but discovered recently in the frontal sinus of the sheep by
my friend Mr Rhind of Edinburgh, by whom the drawing for this figure
was kindly furnished.


_Fig._ 1. Hydatid in the brain of a sheep (from a drawing by my friend
Dr Kirk of Deal); _a._ the right lobe of the cerebellum or lesser
brain distended with fluid, inclosed in a membraneous bag, as shown at
_b._, where an incision has been made to expose it; and at _c._ where
it is shining through the _pia mater_, one of the coverings of the

_Fig._ 2. Showing the extent to which hydatids sometimes distend the
ventricles of the brain; _a._ the dilated ventricle of the left side;
_b._ _b._ convolutions passing from back to front; _c._ _d._ depth of
the furrows.




(1.) _Origin of the Sheep._--As the origin of our domesticated animals
has afforded scope for much curious speculation, so none have
attracted a greater degree of attention in this respect than the
sheep. Into these arguments, however, it would be absurd to enter; I
shall therefore content myself with such opinions as are deemed the

Placed in the Class Mammalia, and Order Ruminantia, the innumerable
varieties at present existing may, according to Cuvier, whose tact in
arranging animals is universally acknowledged, all be referred to four
species--the Argali of Siberia, the Mouflon of Sardinia, the Mouflon
of America, and the Mouflon of Africa--though to be rigidly accurate
in natural distinctions he would refer them all to three, thereby
excluding the third.

(2.) _The Argali of Siberia_ (_Ovis Ammon_) inhabits the mountains of
Asia, where it attains the size of a fallow deer. The male has very
large horns, with three rounded angles at the base, flattened in
front, and striated transversely. The horns of the female are
compressed, and hook-shaped. The hair is short in summer, and of a
fawn-coloured grey; in winter it is thick, rigid, and of a reddish
grey, with some white about the muzzle, throat, and under the belly.
The Mouflon of Sardinia (_Ovis Musimon_, Fig. 1. Pl. I.) differs from
it only in its inferior size, and in the smallness of the horns of the

(3.) _The Mouflon of America_ (_Ovis Montana_) closely resembles the
Argali, and is supposed by some to be identical with it, and to have
crossed from Asia to America at Behring's Straits by means of ice.

(4.) _The Mouflon of Africa_ (_Ovis Tragelaphus_) is distinguished by
its soft and reddish hair, by its short tail, and by a long mane
hanging under the neck, and another at each ancle; it inhabits the
rocky districts of Barbary, and has been observed in Egypt.

(5.) _British Breeds._--The breeds of our island, as they at present
stand, may be divided into two kinds--long-woolled and short-woolled;
the former embracing the Lincolnshire, the Teeswater, the Dishley, or
New Leicester, and the Devonshire Nots; while the latter will include
those of Dorset, Herefordshire, and Sussex, with the Cheviot, Mugg,
and Black-faced variety.[1]

        [1] Encyclopedia Britannica, 7th Edition, Article Agriculture.

(6). _The Lincolnshire_ has no horns; the face is white; the carcass
long and thin; the legs thick, white, and rough; bones large; pelts
thick; and the wool from 8 to 10 inches in length. The ewes weigh from
14 lbs. to 20 lbs. per quarter; and three-year old wethers 20 lbs. to
30 lbs. The fleece weighs from 8 lbs. to 14 lbs., and covers a
coarse-grained slow-feeding carcass; so slow, indeed, at feeding, that
it cannot be fattened at an early age, except upon rich land; but the
breed is encouraged, from the great weight of wool that is shorn from
them every year. It and its sub-varieties are extremely common in the
English counties.

(7.) _The Teeswater_ sheep were originally bred from the same stock as
the former, but have become different, from the size having received
greater attention than the wool, which is inferior both in length and
weight. They stand upon higher and finer boned legs, which support a
firmer and heavier carcass, much wider upon the back and sides, and
afford a fatter and finer-grained mutton--the two-year-old wethers
weighing from 25 lbs. to 30 lbs. per quarter. Marshall, in his work on
Yorkshire, remarks, that they are not so compact, nor so complete in
their form, as the Leicestershire sheep; nevertheless, the excellency
of their flesh and fatting quality is not doubted, and their wool
still remains superior. For the banks of the Tees, or any other rich
fat land, they are singularly excellent.

(8.) _The Dishley_, or _New Leicester_, is distinguished from other
long-woolled breeds, by clean heads, straight broad flat backs, round
bodies, small bones, thin pelts, and a disposition to fatten at an
early age. But more of this hereafter. The weight of three-year-old
ewes is from 18 lbs. to 26 lbs. per quarter; and of two-year old
wethers from 20 lbs. to 30 lbs. The wool averages from 6 lbs. to 8
lbs., and is thought by some to be inferior in quality to that of
Cheviot sheep; but, from being fully fed at all seasons, they yield
great quantities of it. Fig. 1. Pl. III.

(9.) _The Devonshire Nots_ form the fourth hornless variety of
long-woolled sheep. Forty or fifty years ago, they ranked as
middle-woolled sheep; but they now figure among the long-wools, under
the name of Bamptons--their fleece having been lengthened, and
rendered finer, by crossing with the Leicesters. There is yet,
however, much room for improvement in these crosses. They have white
faces and legs, the latter being short, and the bones large, while the
necks are thick, the backs high, and the sides good. They approach in
weight to the Leicester, but the wool is heavier and coarser. In
Devonshire are found a white-faced and horned variety, which are known
as the Exmoor kind, from the place of their nativity. Though delicate
in bone, they are not good, having a narrow flat-sided carcass; while
the weight of the quarters and fleece is a third short of the former

(10.) _The Dorsetshire sheep_ are horned and white-faced, with a long
thin carcass, and high small white legs. Three-year-old wethers weigh
from 16 lbs. to 20 lbs. a quarter; but the wool, being fine and short,
weighs only from 3 lbs. to 4 lbs. a fleece. It is, however, amply
compensated for by the mutton, which is of superior quality. The
peculiar and most valuable property of this breed is the forwardness
of the ewes, which take the ram at any period of the year, often
lambing, so early as September or October. They are, on this account,
extremely useful for supplying large towns with house-lamb at
Christmas. Fig. 1, Pl. II.

(11.) _Herefordshire_ or _Ryeland sheep_ have white legs and faces,
and no horns. The wool grows close to the eyes. They are a small
breed, suited to every market, weighing from 12 lbs. to 16 lbs.
a-quarter. The carcass is tolerably well-formed, and the wool fine and
short, each fleece weighing from 1-1/2 lb. to 2-1/2 lbs., rarely,
however, exceeding 2 lbs. They were called _Ryeland_ sheep, from a
district in the southern part of Herefordshire being thought capable
of growing nothing but rye. Though their figure is good, the back is
not so level, nor the ribs so well rounded, as in the improved breeds.
They fatten easily, however, and arrive soon at maturity, though
reckoned inferior in these respects to the Cheviot variety.

(12.) _The South Down_, like the Ryeland, are, from the delicacy of
their constitution, unadapted for bleak situations, but sufficiently
hardy and active for a low country; their average weight is from 15
lbs. to 18 lbs. a-quarter; that of the fleece, which is very short and
fine, being from 2-1/2 lbs. to 3 lbs. They are without horns, have
grey faces and legs, a neck low set and small, and a breast neither
wide nor deep; their mutton is fine in the grain, and of an excellent
flavour, having been brought to great perfection by Mr Ellman of
Glynd, and other intelligent breeders. They are mostly found in
Sussex, on dry chalky downs producing short fine herbage, and arrive
early at maturity; in which respect they are equal to the Cheviot,
though inferior to them in quantity of tallow. Formerly they would not
take on fat till four years old; now they are always at market when
about two years of age, and many are killed before that period. Fig.
2. Pl. II.

(13.) _The Cheviot Sheep_ have a bare head, with a long jaw, and white
face, but no horns. Sometimes they have a shade of grey upon the nose,
approaching to dark at the tip; at others, a tinge of lemon colour on
the face, but these markings scarcely affect their value. The legs are
clean, long, and small-boned, and covered with wool to the hough; but
there is a sad want of depth at the breast, and of breadth both there
and on the chine. A fat carcass weighs from 12 lbs. to 18 lbs. per
quarter, and a medium fleece about 3 lbs. The purest specimens of this
breed are to be found on the Scotch side of the Cheviot hills, and on
the high and stony mountain-farms which lie between that range and the
source of the Teviot. These sheep are a capital mountain stock,
provided the pasture resembles the Cheviot hills, in containing a good
proportion of rich herbage. Fig. 2. Pl. III.

(14.) _Mugg Sheep._--"In this variety," says Dr Fleming, in his
History of British Animals, "the face and legs are white, or rarely
spotted with yellow, and the forehead covered with long wool. This is
the native breed in Scotland, to the north of the Forth and Clyde.
They are of small size, and seldom weigh above 8 or 10 lbs. per
quarter. Some tribes have horns; others are destitute of them, and
they vary in the length of the tail. They may be considered as the
stock of the numerous modern and valuable varieties, which are bred in
the best cultivated districts. The Shetland sheep belongs to this
kind. The fur consists of firm wool next the skin, with long coarse
hairs, indications of an inhabitant of an arctic climate."

(15.) _The Black-faced or Heath Sheep_ are known by their large spiral
horns, wild-looking eyes, black legs and faces, with short firm
carcasses, covered by long coarse wool, which weighs from 3 lbs. to 4
lbs. As the form of this sheep has lately been much improved, by
inducing a short and round carcass, they have acquired the name of
_short_ sheep, in contradistinction to the Cheviots, which are termed
long sheep. When three years old, they fatten well, affording
excellent highly-flavoured mutton, and weighing from 10 lbs. to 16
lbs. a-quarter. They are the most valuable upland sheep in Britain,
abounding in all the western counties of England and Scotland, and are
now becoming great favourites in the London market. Fig. 1. Pl. IV.

(16.) _The Merino._--Though many foreign breeds have from time to time
appeared in this country, yet almost all of them have been viewed
merely as objects of curiosity, and, as such, have speedily been
disregarded. Far different, however, was the reception of the Merinos.
Brought into England under the most favourable auspices, and placed at
once under the fostering protection of royalty, their native merits
could not but be speedily appreciated and diffused throughout the
kingdom. They have received the name of _Merino_ from a peculiar buff
or reddish hue of the countenance, and are supposed to have come
originally from Africa; at least Marcus Columella, having seen a
strange variety from that country exhibited at Rome, during some
public games or shows, took them to his farm, and, having crossed them
with the breeds of Tarentum, sent the offspring to Spain. There they
throve remarkably, attracting the attention of other nations, to whom
they were from time to time exported, and at present may be found in
almost every part of the world.

Merinos were brought to England for the first time in 1788, but
attracted little attention, owing to the want of rams. Lord Somerville
went to Portugal in 1801, for the purpose of selecting such animals as
appeared valuable, from uniting a good carcass with a superior fleece,
and he succeeded, notwithstanding the disturbed state of the country,
in obtaining specimens, which called forth the praises of the
shepherds, through whose travelling flocks they passed. Public
attention was attracted to them on the commencement of his Majesty's
sales in 1804; and their distribution over the country was
accomplished in 1811, by the formation of the principal landed
proprietors and eminent breeders into a Merino Society.

The Merinos had much prejudice to encounter on being first brought
before the public in 1804; but they soon rose in favour and value, and
steadily progressed till the Merino Society was established, when,
strange though it may appear, all these advantages were at once
destroyed. This paradox may, perhaps, be explained, by supposing that
the institution of local committees, which immediately followed,
allowed the enemies of the change, in distant parts of the kingdom,
ample opportunity of striking at the scheme, now that it was
entrusted, in many instances, to persons ill qualified for the task
either of making converts, or retaining the advantages already gained.

The horns of the Merino are of large size, twisted spirally and
extended laterally, approaching closely in these characters to the
sheep of Mount Parnassus, a specimen of which is delineated in the
work by E. T. Bennett, on the Gardens and Menagerie of the Zoological
Society. The face has a characteristic velvety appearance, but the
cheeks and forehead are disfigured by coarse hair. The legs are long
and small in the bone; the breast and back are narrow, the sides flat,
and too much of the weight is expended on the coarser parts. There is
a peculiar looseness of skin beneath the throat, which is admired in
Spain as denoting a tendency to weight and fineness of wool, though
regarded in this country as a sign of a bad skin and want of aptitude
to fatten. The average weight of the fleece in Spain is, 8 lbs. from
the ram, and 5 lbs. from the ewe. The abundance of the yolk enables
the wool to detain all the filth which comes in contact with it, so
much so, that by washing the weight is diminished about three-fifths.
The fibre of the wool is finer than that of any other sheep, and the
carcass, when fat, averages from 12 lbs. to 16 lbs. a-quarter. They
are quiet and tractable, and possessed of many good qualities, but
they are liable to abortion, are bad nurses, and require a large
supply of food, for which, owing to an unprofitable form, they yield
no return. Fig. 2. Pl. IV.

The Merinos were at one time in great request in various countries,
from a supposition that they would speedily supplant other breeds; but
this has never been the case, as the animal soon degenerates when out
of Spain, and is only valuable so far as giving rise to varieties,
which are equal, if not superior to itself. Large profits were at
first expected from their wool, but these were reduced to a trifle
when the loss of weight, and fineness in the carcass were taken into
account. Mr Hose of Melton Mowbray, put a certain number of Leicester
ewes to a ram of the same breed, and an equal number to a merino ram.
The result was, that the Leicester fleece weighed 7 lbs., and the one
from the cross with the merino, 8 lbs.; and that the former brought in
the market 1s. per lb., and the latter 1s. 6d., being a gain of 5s. on
the fleece. The carcass of the former, however, weighed 27 lbs. per
quarter, and the latter only 25 lbs., being a loss of 5 lbs. on
mutton. Much advantage may, however, be expected from our crosses with
the Saxon merino, which is in every respect well suited to our notions
of a fine animal, as it yields a good wool, and is little inferior in
carcass to some of our best breeds.

(17.) _Teeth of Sheep._--In common with the rest of the ruminating
animals, sheep have eight incisors in the lower jaw, unopposed by any
in the upper, a callous pad, which is substituted, being attached to
the distal end of the intermaxillarv bones. Between the incisors and
molars, or grinding teeth, there is a vacant space of about an inch
and a half. There are twenty-four molars, six on each side of each
jaw; their crowns are marked with two double crescents, the convexity
of which is turned inwards in the upper, and outwards in the lower
jaw. The lamb, when newly dropped, is devoid of incisor teeth, though
the two central ones are occasionally above the gum even at this early
period. When one month old, the first set of incisive teeth are
complete. The two fore-teeth of the under jaw drop out at the end of
the first year; six months after the two next to these are lost; and
at the end of five years the teeth are all renewed. When the permanent
teeth are fully grown, it is almost impossible to ascertain the age of
the animal, as the soil, the texture of the provender, and the
original form of the teeth, have all a greater or less influence over
their durability.

(18.) _Distinctions between the Sheep and Goat._--Though a comparison
of the most common domesticated breeds of sheep and goats, tends to
confirm the broad distinctions drawn between them, yet these
differences almost entirely disappear, when we attempt to define the
characteristics of those races, which still exist in a wild state in
various parts of both Continents, where it is so far impossible to
determine the precise division to which they belong, that Cuvier holds
them unworthy of a generic separation. Sheep and goats, in fact, agree
in so many points as regards structure, form, stature, and habit, that
were it not that sheep, according to that naturalist, have "their
horns directed backwards, returning more or less forwards in a spiral
manner, with a generally convex line of profile, and no beard," while
the goats have "their horns directed upwards and backwards, their
chins generally decorated with a long beard, and their line of profile
almost always concave," there would hardly exist a difference worth
the noting. Some writers place great reliance on the differences
indicated by the different coverings of the animals, ascribing wool to
the sheep, and hair to the goat, forgetting that most of the wild
sheep, and some of the domesticated races, are covered with hair,
while some goats, as those of Thibet and Angora, are remarkable for
the fineness of their wool. Even supposing these distinctions to hold
good, we have still to combat the fact, that _sheep and goats produce
mongrels capable of reproduction_, a consideration sufficient of
itself to prove, that the sheep and goat can never be made to form the
types of separate genera.[2]

        [2] For further information on this subject, see that
        excellent paper on the Natural History of the Sheep and Goat,
        by James Wilson, Esq. in No. IX. of the Quarterly Journal of

(19.) _Horns of Sheep._--As the Chevrotains or Musks are distinguished,
with the Camels, from other animals of this order by the absence of
horns, so are sheep, oxen, goats, and antelopes, distinguished from
the rest of the horned genera of the order, by the persistence of
their frontal prolongations. The horn is an elastic sheath of
_agglutinated hairs_, which appears within the first twelve months,
though sometimes present at birth, and increases by layers, one being
added every year, so that the age of a ram may be known by the number
of rings. The ewes have commonly no horns, but only a protuberance in
place of them. The horn is supported by, and serves to cover, a highly
vascular prolongation of the frontal bone, and it is at its root,
where large vessels, and nervous filaments are entering, that blows
occasion so great agony to the animal, apart from the damage which the
other bones sustain by the infliction of violence on so powerful a

(20.) _Structure of the Stomach._--The term ruminating, indicates the
power possessed by this animal, in common with many others, of
masticating its food a second time, by returning it to the mouth after
a short maceration. This they are enabled to do, from the structure of
the stomachs, or, more correctly speaking, stomach; as anatomists have
now concluded, from all animals being constructed on one common
principle, that ruminating animals are not possessed of four stomachs,
as formerly supposed, but only of one, which they view as being
divided into four compartments. In drawing precise conclusions, we are
bound only to admit the existence of two compartments, the other two
belonging properly to the gullet; and being equivalent to the cheek
pouches of monkeys, or the crop and membranous stomach of birds, may
be viewed as an apparatus designed to serve a nearly similar purpose
(that of moistening and macerating the food); while the real stomach
will cease to excite wonder, or puzzle the ignorant, on being
contrasted with that of other animals, in many of which a division
exists, and from which even the human stomach, though generally a
single sac, is not always exempt,--Dr Knox, of Edinburgh, being in
possession of one that resembles a pair of small globes joined by a
narrow tube, and which, when taken from the body of a person who was
advanced in life, bore every mark of soundness in texture, and must,
therefore, have been congenital.

(21.) _Digestion._[3]--The food descends by the gullet after being
partially crushed, into what is called the first stomach, or paunch,
in Latin, _rumen_, or _ingluvies_, in which cavity are found those
morbid concretions so much, and so superstitiously, prized in the
Eastern world, under the name of Bezoar stones; from this it passes
into the second, termed bonnet, king's hood, or honey-comb, in Latin
_reticulum_, which is much smaller than the other, and receives its
name from the inner coat being arranged into cells; here it is
moistened, made into pellets, and, while the animal is at rest,
impelled by the antiperistaltic motion of the tube to the mouth, and
after undergoing a complete mastication, is returned through the
gullet to the third stomach, or smallest compartment, which goes under
the name of _omasum_, or many-plies, from its resembling a rolled up
hedgehog, and sometimes from the longitudinal _laminæ_ of its mucous
membrane that of leaflet. The food remains but a short time in the
omasum, proceeding into the fourth division, or obomasum, which in its
structure, especially in that of the mucous, or inner membrane, is
nearly allied to the same organ in the human being, and is, by the
French, from its power of coagulating milk, called _caillette_. The
last compartment is the largest of the four, so long as the animal
continues to live on milk; but the paunch speedily surpasses it in
magnitude when grass becomes the sole provision. The milk always
passes at once into the fourth stomach, there being no reason why it
should be returned.

        [3] See Figs. 2 and 3, Plate I. with their references.

The intestinal canal is long, commencing at the pylorus or lower
opening of the stomach, and averaging from ninety to one hundred feet.
There are but few enlargements in the great intestines. The fat, like
that of all ruminating animals, becomes, on cooling, hard and brittle.

(22.) _Period of Conception._--In this climate, ewes fed on good
pastures admit the ram in August; but September or October is the time
when such would occur if left to nature. They go with young five
months, and in warm climates bring forth thrice a-year; but in
Britain, France, and most of Europe, they do so only once. They give
milk for seven or eight months; live ten or twelve years; and if well
managed, are capable of bringing forth during life, though generally
useless for that process after the seventh or eighth year. The ram
lives from twelve to fourteen years, though instances are recorded of
their enduring till twenty, and becomes unfit for propagating at

(23.) _Names applied to Sheep._--The age of sheep is never dated from
the time that they are dropped, as that would be attended with many
inconveniences, but from the time that they are first subjected to the
shears, by which means the first year includes a period of at least
fifteen or sixteen months.

The following is a condensed arrangement of the names by which sheep
are designated at different periods of their existence, in various
parts of England and Scotland:--

                      _From Birth till Weaning._
                 MALE.                           FEMALE.

  Tup, Ram lamb, Heeder, Pur.     |  Ewe or Gimmer lamb, Chilver.

                     _From Weaning till first Clip._

  Hog, Hogget, Hoggerel, Teg.     |  Gimmer hog, Ewe hog, Teg,
    Lamb hog, Tup hog, Gridling,  |    Sheeder ewe, Thrave.
    and, if castrated, a Wether   |
    hog.                          |

                     _From first to second Clip._

  Shearling, Shear hog, Heeder,   |  Shearing ewe or gimmer,
    Diamond or Dinmont ram, or    |    Double-toothed ewe or
    tup, and, when castrated, a   |    Teg, Yill gimmer.
    Shearing wether.              |

                     _From second till third Clip._

  Two shear ram, young wedder.    |  Two shear ewe, Counter.

                     _From third till fourth Clip._

  Three shear ram, old wedder.    |  Three shear ewe, Fronter.

And so on, the name always taking its date from the time of shearing.
Broken-mouthed ewes are called _crones_ in Suffolk and Norfolk;
_kroks_, or _crocks_, in Scotland; and _drapes_ in Lincolnshire. In
Scotland, ewes which are neither with lamb, nor giving milk, are said
to be _eild_, or _yield_.



(24.) _Wool-Bearing Animals._--In most dictionaries wool is defined as
the fleece of sheep, as if, in fact they were the only animals which
yield it, than which nothing can be more erroneous; since we are
assured by the ablest naturalists, that almost every animal, from the
butterfly up to man, possesses more or less of this covering, and that
some indeed rival the sheep in the quantity they bear.

Though wool is possessed in considerable quantity by carnivorous
animals, especially bears, yet the herbivorous quadrupeds, never to
mention the sheep, are principally noticed for its growth, and for
affording a commodity which becomes an article of profit in the hands
of some tribes. Heriot, in his travels through Canada, remarks, that
"the savage women manufacture thread of the wool of the buffalo, and
weave it into cloth. Most parts of the body are invested with a dusky
wool, which is of a quality extremely fine--is much valued--and can
with great facility be used in manufactures. The quantity usually
contained on one skin is about eight pounds."

So far from the sheep being invariably a wool-bearing creature, it
would appear as liable to be entirely destitute of it as some other
animals; for in Tartary, the eastern parts of India, China, and some
parts of Africa, a hair of varying quality forms their sole covering;
and Sir Joseph Banks imported three from Spain, which were smooth,
sleek, and as short-haired as a horse.

(25.) _Structure of the Skin._--The skin is composed of three coats,
or layers; the outermost, the cuticle or scarf-skin, is a thin
delicate membrane, devoid of feeling, and of a scaly texture, pierced
by innumerable small holes, for the passage of the hairs, and
perspiration, and covering the next, or mucous coat, so named from its
pulpy appearance. In this resides the colouring matter, which imparts
its peculiar tints to the hair, and which can only be satisfactorily
demonstrated in the dark races. The existence of this coat has been by
some denied; but it is probable that, though present in all, it can
only be exhibited in such as have depth of tint, to admit of the
display. It is here that sensation principally resides; the nerves, or
rather their terminations, ramifying minutely in its substance, at
which they have arrived by piercing the third tunic, or true skin, a
dense firm elastic membrane, in which the roots of the hairs are
imbedded, and from which, in fact, they take their origin.

(26.) _Sebaceous Follicles._--The skin is studded over by small
glands, or what, in anatomical language, would be called sebaceous
follicles, which vary in number in different breeds, and different
parts of the body, being most numerous on the breast and shoulders,
and secreting a peculiar unctuous semi-solid matter, which, as we
shall immediately see, possesses alkaline properties.

(27.) _Connection of the hair with the skin_--_Yolk._--A hair
implanted in the skin may be compared to a plant growing in a
flower-pot which has been sunk in the earth, as the root of the hair
does not rise directly from the true skin, but from a little cup
extending from it to the cuticle, and receiving nourishment from
surrounding vessels. After coming to the surface of these tunics it
has, in the sheep, yet another, and, in some respects, remarkable
covering to pierce, one which has occupied the attention of the most
distinguished chemists, and given rise to a good deal of disputation
on the subject of salving--we allude to the Yolk. It is supposed by
many to be the inspissated secretion of the sebaceous follicles, and
receives its name from its adhesiveness and colour. It is most
plentiful on fine-woolled sheep, those of the south possessing more
than those of the north of our island, while merinos possess most of
all; so that there is apparently some connection between a fine
fleece, and a good supply of this matter. According to the analysis of
M. Vauquelin, it consists principally of a soapy matter, with a basis
of potash; a small quantity of carbonate of potash; a minute quantity
of acetate of potash; lime in an unknown state of combination; and an
atom of muriate of potash. It owes its odour to a small quantity of
animal oil, and is in every respect a true soap, which would permit
the sheep to be completely washed in a stream, but for the existence
in the fleece of an uncombined fatty matter, which remains attached to
the wool, and renders it rather glutinous.

Many have tried to account for the uses of the Yolk, but nothing like
satisfactory conclusions have been come to: some considering it goes
to form the filament, and is consolidated into a transparent mass
while the pile is growing; while others argue, that it is a peculiar
secretion which exudes through the skin, and by mixing with the pile
renders it soft and pliable, affecting it in the way that oil does a
piece of leather. In the latter opinion I coincide. For my part, I
view it as a secretion, depending very much on good food and
steadiness of temperature, and, therefore, indicative of a fine fleece
only so far as the health of the animal is concerned. In the human
being the state of the skin may often guide us, though blind-fold, to
the quality of the hair, so that the latter may be pronounced either
dry and coarse, or glossy, soft, and silky, as the skin may prove
either harsh and ungrateful, or pleasant, and, if I may be allowed the
expression, alkaline to the touch. Every thing having a tendency to
affect the health may always be considered as calculated to diminish
this secretion, and, consequently, to deteriorate the quality of the

The relative positions of the layers of the skin, the mode in which
the hairs rise from them, and the form and situation of the sebaceous
follicles, will be better understood by referring to the following
cross section Fig 5. Pl. V., in which the line marked

    _a_ Represents the cuticle,
    _b_ The mucous layer,
    _c_ The true skin,
    _d_ Sebaceous follicles,
    _e_ Hairs rising from the true skin and inflections of the
          upper layers and piercing,
    _f_ The thin film of the yolk.

(28.) _Periodical decidence of Wool._--It is affirmed that the only
real difference between hair and wool is in the latter falling off
periodically; but the same change takes place in animals totally
covered with hair; in fact, almost every animal is subject to
moulting, or a periodical decidence of its protecting covering. The
fleece of the sheep has been proved in many instances not to be liable
to _annual_ changes of this description;--Lord Western having, among
others, shown that the wool of the merino may be retained at least
three years without the slightest disposition to separate.

The annual employment of shearing, to anticipate this falling off of
the wool, is now common in most parts of the world; yet some, as the
Icelanders and Kamtschadales, still retain the primeval custom of
_rowing_, or pulling off the fleece in a mass, about the end of May,
at which time it is nearly loosened. This loosening of the attachments
of the fibre is supposed to be owing to a diminution, during winter,
of the nutritive process at the root of the hair, so that the fibre is
liable to give way at the tender part when the fleece becomes heavy
during Spring. This attempt at an explanation meets, however, with the
insurmountable objection, that long-woolled are less liable than
short-woolled sheep to this occurrence, a circumstance which ought to
be the reverse, if weight had any thing to do in the case.

(29.) _Falling off of Wool prevented by Clipping._--Clipping has a
curious influence over the duration of the covering of animals, as is
well exemplified by the correct popular idea, that the only way to
prevent the hair of children dropping off (as it sometimes has a
tendency to do) is to cut it short: we may suppose the benefit in this
case to result from the removal of a _portion_ of each hair, which, if
allowed to remain, would lead to a sacrifice of the _whole_, by
robbing the root of a quantity of nutritious matter, which, owing to a
diminution of reproductive power, it could ill afford. In this way
only can we account for the power which shearing evinces, in putting a
stop to the attempt sometimes made by nature to change the coverings
of some sheep. In the valley which separates the most eastern chain of
the Cordilleras from the central, the wool grows upon the lambs in the
same manner as in temperate climates, provided they are sheared so
soon as it has arrived at a certain thickness; in which case the wool
grows again, preserving the same order. But, if the period for
denuding the animal be allowed to pass, the wool detaches itself in
flakes, leaving behind a short, glossy, and compact hair, exactly
resembling that of the common goat in the same climate.

(30.) _Form of woolly fibre._--The fibre of wool is circular,
differing in diameter in the various breeds, and different parts
of the same fleece. The following _à propos_ observations are
from the article on the Sheep, in the Library of Useful Knowledge:
"The filaments of white wool, when cleansed from grease, are
semitransparent; their surface in some places is beautifully polished,
in others curiously encrusted, and they reflect the rays of light in a
very pleasing manner. When viewed by the aid of a powerful achromatic
microscope, the central part of the fibre has a singularly glittering
appearance. Very irregularly placed minuter filaments are sometimes
seen branching from the main trunk, like boughs from the principal
stem. This exterior polish varies much in different wools, and in
wools from the same breed of sheep at different times. When the animal
is in good condition, and the fleece healthy, the appearance of the
fibre is really brilliant; but, when the sheep has been half starved,
the wool seems to have sympathized with the state of the constitution,
and either a wan pale light, or sometimes scarcely any, is reflected."

The more transparent the filament the better is the fleece, and its
value is impaired by the transparency being different in the same
fleece, or, as often happens, in the same filament; while that which
possesses fineness with a close ground, pureness, elasticity, colour,
tenacity, and not much pitch-mark, is the most esteemed, and preferred
by the manufacturer. Wethers have considerably more wool than ewes. In
every fleece there are several qualities, even so many as nine
different sorts, which are all separated from each other in England by
men called woolstaplers, who are appointed for the purpose, and sworn
to do justice between the grower, and the merchant or manufacturer. In
this manner the latter obtains, without trouble or risk, the very kind
which he knows will suit his purpose; for though the sorter,
surrounded by a number of baskets, divides the wool according to its
properties without the slightest hesitation, and with a rapidity truly
surprising, yet such is the amount of the dexterity acquired by
practice, that a mistake seldom occurs, and his judgment can as rarely
be disputed.

(31.) _Structure and properties of Hair and Wool._--Each hair is
composed of a number of filaments, or smaller hairs, ranged side by
side, and this we can perceive without the slightest trouble, from the
tendency it sometimes has to unravel at the apex; and again, by
drawing a hair through the fingers from point to root, when we feel a
roughness occasioned by projecting filaments, which only proceed a
certain distance up the trunk, the longest being most internal.

Pl. V. Fig. 5, _e_, exhibits those points in a hair considerably

These projections, or serrations, which vary in number in different
specimens of wool, are what it depends on for its felting properties.
They are sharper and more numerous in felting wools than in others,
and the better the felting properties of the wool, the more numerous
the curls; because what induces curling on the animal's back leads
to felting in the hands of the manufacturer. In felting, these
projections catch one upon another, and occasion the hair to move in
one direction, which is invariably root foremost, as we perceive on
giving it a twirling motion between the finger and thumb; and it is
only by the union of curve and serration, that felting can be
accomplished certainly and perfectly.

Woolly fibre consists of a semitransparent stem, or stalk, supposed
to be hollow, as represented at Fig. 4, Pl. V. and is partly
distinguished from hair by the latter being opaque. Next to soundness,
there are few qualities deserving of so much attention as softness,
of which the ancient writers make frequent mention, and for the
prevalence of which in our present wools fashion has done not a
little. It is a quality that tends, in a material degree, to the cheap
and easy working of the cloth, and, as such, is said to render wool 25
per cent. more valuable to the manufacturer than a harsh and brittle
pile. It apparently depends on the fineness of the fibre, which should
not, however, go the length of weakness. Fineness is in turn mainly
connected with the yolk, the secretion of which ought, on that
account, to be promoted by attention to the general management of the
animal, as it is well known to undergo a change of properties by
starvation, exposure, or any neglect whatever.

(32.) _Particular soils injurious to Wool._--Soil, also, has much
influence on the pliability of wool. Chalky lands, which are so
notorious for injuring the fleece, are supposed to act in the manner
of a corrosive, but the correct explanation is, not that the chalky
particles attack the fibre in a direct way, but that they render it
brittle, by absorbing the oily moisture with which it is naturally
imbued. Moreover, the plants growing in such situations cannot but be
injurious to sheep, owing to their impregnation, though a slight one,
with calcareous matter; for grooms know well how soon a horse's coat
becomes disordered by the frequent use of hard or well water, and
prefer, therefore, the river for their steeds.[4]

        [4] I am surprized to find it asserted at page 76 of the book
        on Sheep, published by the Society for the diffusion of Useful
        Knowledge, that the depilatory action of lime-water on raw
        hides is a "_striking elucidation_" of the injurious effects
        of chalk on wool. Lime removes hair from a skin because it is
        a powerful caustic, and, as such, speedily decomposes the
        animal matter, but the carbonate of lime (chalk) is perfectly
        innocuous to wool, except so far as it combines with its oil;
        and is as little _corrosive_ to the fleece, as pipe-clay to a
        soldier's coat.

(33.) _Felting._--The felting of wool may be defined as a property
depending on the curls and serrations of the fibre, by which it is
allowed to move only with the root foremost, and by which it is
enabled to catch and retain a hold on fibres that are near it, so as
to form a web or cloth. Felting is best brought into operation by
alternate pressure and relaxation, which may be produced in a variety
of ways: the ancient method, and one still pursued by the Tartars, was
to tramp on a mass or layer of moist unwrought wool, so as to form a
coarse cloth or carpet; while the modern, and more perfect plan is,
either, as in hat making, to apply pressure with the hands, or, as in
the finishing of cloth, to pass the fabric repeatedly through rollers.
The way in which a close fabric is formed, by the juxta-position of a
few scattered hairs, gave rise for long, as well it might, to serious
disputations among philosophers; and the favourite theories of each,
unbased as they were on observation, might till now have agitated the
scientific portion of our manufacturers, had not the microscope
brought to light much of what is true and valuable in our researches.

Moisture appears to be of service during the felting of wool, as it
induces it to curl, enabling the fibres to expand, and catch one on
another, after they have been bent and compressed, by the force
applied to them, and is of itself sufficient to felt a fabric, as we
frequently perceive in the instance of stockings, which have been
allowed to remain too long in water, when they become short from
undergoing contraction, and resemble after such treatment an imperfect
cloth. It is for this reason that the hatter, after tumbling over, in
all directions, the fur of which the hat is to be made, wets it before
applying pressure; and, that the woollen manufacturer, after freeing
the web from grease, soaps it before its subjection to the action of
the rollers.

Without felting, cloth would resemble a net, and would unravel on
being cut, from the fibres crossing only in two directions; but the
strokes of the mill put an end to this, by laying the fibres in every
possible direction, and so twining them one with another, as to render
them a coherent mass.

(34.) _Different kinds of Wool._--The wool of this country is divided
into two great classes--long and short: the former varies in length
from three to eight inches, and before being made into stuffs and
worsted goods, requires to be deprived of its felting tendencies, by
passing it through heated iron combs, which remove the feathery parts,
or serrations, and make it resemble silk or cotton.

The shorter combing wools are in general used for hose, and are softer
than the long combing wools. Short wool is employed in the cloth
manufacture, and is, on that account, frequently called clothing wool.
It should approach in colour as much as possible to white, as a clear
white ground is required for all cloths that are to be dyed bright
colours, as well as for those dressed white: grey or black hairs
injure the fleece very much, even though few and minute, as they give
rise to reddish spots where the cloth is stoved. Herefordshire sheep
are entirely free from this defect, and are, therefore, reckoned
particularly valuable for clothing purposes.

(35.) _Alterations induced by Crossing._--The breed exercises
considerable influence on the wool, some sheep, as the merinos, being
distinguished for the softness and beauty of the fleece; while others,
as some of our small northern varieties, are famed for the very
opposite characteristics.

According to the opinion on the continent, any race of ewes, however
coarse and long in the fleece, will, on the fourth cross of the merino
ram, give progeny with short wool equal to the Spanish. The truth of
this proposition is however doubted, in a communication to the Board
of Agriculture, by Dr Parry of Bath; but it is certain, he adds, that
one cross more will in most cases effect the desired purpose. "If we
suppose," he says, "the result of the admixture of the blood of the
merino ram to be always in an exact arithmetical proportion, and state
the native blood in the ewe as 64, then the first cross would give
32/64 of the merino, the second 48/64, the third 56/64, the fourth
60/64, the fifth 62/64, and so on. In other words, the first cross
would leave 32 parts in 64, or half of the English quality; the second
16 parts, or one-fourth; the third 8 parts, or one-eighth; the fourth
four parts, or one-sixteenth; the fifth 2 parts or one-thirty-second;
the sixth 1 part, or one-sixty-fourth; and so on. Now, if the filament
of the Wiltshire, or any other coarse wool, be in diameter double that
of the Ryeland, it is obvious that, according to the above statement,
it would require exactly one cross more to bring the hybrid wool of
the former to the same fineness as that of the latter. This, I
believe, very exactly corresponds with the fact. The difference
between one-eighth and one-sixteenth is very considerable, and must
certainly be easily perceived, both by a good microscope, and in the
cloth which is manufactured from such wool. In the latter method, it
certainly has been perceived; but I have had hitherto no opportunity
of trying the difference by the former. The fifth cross, as I have
before observed, brings the merino-Wilts wool to the same standard as
the merino-Ryeland."

(36.) _Bratting injurious to Wool._--Wool rendered fine by clothing
sheep, is never equal to that which owes its perfection to natural
causes. The Saxon wool, which is principally produced by _artificial_
means, has been compared, from its inelastic sickly appearance, to
grass that has been secluded from the sun. The custom of _bratting_ is
therefore not to be recommended, and indeed is now nearly laid aside.
Housing sheep with the same intentions is also bad, inasmuch as it
must affect their health, and destroy the curl of the fibre. Shelter
is however absolutely necessary from extremes both of heat and cold,
as temperature has much influence on the covering of animals, and in
none more than the sheep.



(37.) _Origin of the Wool Trade._--Wool, since Eden closed its gates
on our progenitors has been a current coin, an important material, on
which has been employed the skill and industry of almost every tribe,
and been the means of raising many a petty people to the hard-won
dignity of a nation. Man, at first placed in a comfortable
temperature, needed little as a defence against the weather; while
fashion, then unthought of, or only as a sport, failed to interest the
simple-minded races in the cut or texture of the coverings they wore.
That the first dresses of mankind were formed from vegetable
materials, we have the highest authority for believing; and even at
present, the garb of the natives of some of our lately discovered
islands, consists of a simple girdle formed from rough-cut reeds. But
as the dawn of knowledge smiled upon the savage, and animal sacrifice
tutored him in the uncouth rudiments of a coarse anatomy, the superior
comfort, even of the untanned hide would be remarked, and the clumsy
mantle of the Caffre hordes welcomed as a change. Time would not long
elapse till roving dispositions, and the encounter of unstable
climates, would show the wanderer the necessity of a fabric better
adjusted by shape and pliancy, to the nature of his wants; while the
clinging of lock to lock of woolly fibre would plainly tell the
superfluous nature of the supporting skin, and point the way to make
an ill-closed cloth.

(38.) _Invention of Weaving._--Weaving is not absolutely necessary for
the manufacture of cloth, since wool will felt, though far from
evenly, without the preliminary process of being laid in threads, so
that cloth may have been almost coeval with mankind without our being
required to assign much mechanical ingenuity to its inventors. But we
have tolerably clear evidence in the inspired writings, that weaving
was known in the earliest ages, and that it was trusted principally to
the women:--Thus Delilah wove Samson's hair when he slept in her lap;
and a short time after, it is written, that the mother of Samuel "made
him a little coat, and brought it to him from year to year." At a
later period, Solomon thus describes a good wife:--"She seeketh wool
and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands."[5] That garments were
in those early ages made of several pieces, joined by needle work, is
evident on a perusal of Genesis, xxxvii. 3; Judges, v. 30; and 2
Samuel, xiii. 13; and this plan is allowed to be even more ancient
than the weaving of flax. Job, who flourished, or is supposed to have
flourished, before the Israelites left Egypt, shows clearly by his
words that flannel clothing was then in vogue: "Let me be condemned if
I have seen any perish for want of clothing, or any poor without
covering; if his loins have not blessed me, and if he were not warmed
with the fleece of my sheep;" and that the cloth was woven, and not
produced by beating, is evident from his saying, when complaining of
his sad estate, "My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle."

        [5] The art of weaving was first practised at Arach in
        Babylonia, and spread thence to neighbouring cities, and
        in process of time to the most remote parts of the
        world.--_Bryant's Ancient Mythology_, Vol. v. p. 173.

(39.) _The early progress of the Wool Trade_ is veiled in much
obscurity, and only to be discovered by seeking for it in a mass of
fable, which in many instances enabled the old writers to string
together the dry details of history, in a manner suited to the taste
and habit of their time. The following may be taken as a specimen.
Phryxus, the son of Athamas king of Thebes, fleeing with his sister,
Hellé, from their stepmother, and riding upon (carrying with him) a
ram which had a golden (valuable) fleece, sought to cross the
Dardanelles, when Hellé was drowned, and the sea was ever after called
the Hellespont: but Phryxus arrived safely at Colchis, between the
Black and Caspian seas, and having sacrificed the ram to Mars, hung
the fleece in a temple dedicated to that god. By this the ancients no
doubt meant to intimate, either that Boeotia, the birth-place of so
many talented Greeks, furnished the people of Colchis with sheep, or
that they sent them sums of money in exchange for the wool of
Caucasus. That the latter is the more probable, is apparent from
Ovid's account of the Argonautic expedition, in which he shows the
hardships which Jason encountered in his successful endeavours (B.C.
1225) to bring the golden fleece from Colchis back to Greece--implying
the value of the article, and leading us to believe, that the
Colchians had, by the aid of severe penalties, long monopolized the
growth of wool. Moreover, Mount Caucasus and its neighbourhood form
the favoured nursery whence the improved fleece-bearing animals have
gradually spread over the world; and as such would be looked upon, at
the time I speak of, by adjacent tribes with jealousy and hatred; for
where is the nation that can calmly behold a compeer engrossing a
hoard of wealth, without struggling to lower their prices by a market
of their own?

Thus one country after another became impressed with the advantages to
be derived from the husbandry of sheep. Nation after nation improved
its agriculture, by the introduction of the animal, till at last the
Romans became pre-eminent for their attention to its culture, and to
the manufactures of which it is the fruitful source. Generous even to
an enemy, and attacking only to enrich the countries they subdued,
England may bless the hour which saw the legions of the world's
mistress planting the Imperial Eagle on her shores.

Instead of following the progress of the wool trade among foreign
nations in later times, the limits of the present work compel me to
confine myself to an outline of the British trade from its origin, at
the time of the invasion by the Romans, to the present period.

(40.) _Introduction of Weaving into Britain._--It is evident from
ancient history, that the first inhabitants of all the countries of
Europe were either naked, or nearly so, owing to their ignorance of
the clothing art. Such, in particular, was the uncomfortable condition
of the inhabitants of this island, who are supposed to have used the
bark of trees, and to have smeared themselves with unctuous matter,
after the manner of other savages, to protect themselves from cold.
Some writers are of opinion, that the inner bark of trees alone was
employed, and that not till woven into a kind of cloth, such as the
South Sea islanders at present make. They continued the abominable
practice of anointing their bodies, long after the people of France,
Spain, and Germany, were decently clothed, so differently were they
situated in regard to intercourse with strangers, and opportunities of
acquiring the useful arts. It is impossible to discover with certainty
when, or by whom, the custom of wearing clothes was introduced into
Britain. Some suppose that the Greeks, and after them the Phoenicians,
who visited the Scilly islands, and sometimes the continent of
Britain, for trading purposes, first awakened in the breasts of our
savage ancestors a desire for comfortable coverings, as both these
nations were celebrated for elaborate attention to their attire.

"The Britons," says Cæsar, "in the interior parts of the country are
clothed in skins." These are supposed not to have been sewed together,
but to have been cast over the shoulders as a mantle. Their stiffness,
however, rendered them aught but pleasant, as we may guess from their
endeavours to make them soft and pliable, by steeping in water,
beating them with stones and sticks, and rubbing them with fat. The
people of the southern parts are supposed to have been well acquainted
with the dressing, spinning, and weaving, both of flax and wool,
having been instructed by a Belgic colony, long before the invasion by
the Romans. Two kinds of cloth, which they manufactured at this
period, were much esteemed by their invaders; the one a thick harsh
cloth, worn in cold climates as a sort of mantle, and agreeing in many
respects with our Lowland plaids; the other made of fine wool, dyed of
different colours, woven into chequered cloth, and corresponding to
our Highland tartan. They are also believed to have made felts of
wool, without either spinning or weaving, and to have stuffed
mattresses with the portions shorn from it in dressing. The Britons
must have been well acquainted with the dyeing of wool, as the Gauls
were then celebrated, according to Pliny, for the invention of a
"method of dyeing purple, scarlet, and all other colours, only with
certain herbs." The plant, which they chiefly used for the purpose,
was the glastum or woad, and they seem to have been led to the
discovery of its value in dyeing cloth, from their former use of it in
staining their bodies. A deep blue having been the colour they stained
their skins, it long continued a favourite; particularly, with the
Caledonians, as a tint for all their dresses. Though the most
civilized of the ancient Britons were tolerably versed in the most
essential branches of the woollen manufacture, yet that useful art was
not diffused over our island till the landing of the Romans, whose
soldiers, being almost all drawn from the plough, were well adapted,
when settled in the country, to foster the arts of peace. In order to
benefit themselves and the island, their emperors were at great pains
to discover and procure the best artificers of every description,
particularly the best manufacturers of woollen and linen cloths, whom
they formed into colleges, or corporations, endowed with various
privileges, and governed by a procurator, who was under the direction
of that great officer of their empire, the Count of the Sacred
Largesses. In this manner it appears that the first woollen
manufactory was established at Venta Belgarum, now Winchester, a
hundred years after the conquest of the country.

It has been believed, from Britain having been partly peopled from
Spain, that our sheep were originally Spanish; and, as Giraldus
Cambrensis (Collectan. de Reb. Hibern.) affirms, that the Irish in his
time were clothed in black garments, from the wool of their sheep
being so coloured, some have supposed the sheep of that island were
imported from Spain, a supposition rendered probable by Southey
telling us, in his letters from that country, that in the north of the
Peninsula the animals are almost all of a black colour.

No mention ever occurs in the ancient writers, of the importation of
sheep into Britain, from which it may be supposed, that they had found
their way into it long before its forcible separation from the
continent by natural convulsions. Cambden, in his work on Britain,
quotes from an old orator, part of a beautiful panegyric on the great
Constantine, in which the happiness of Britain is eloquently
described, and its advantages in regard to sheep graphically depicted.
"Innumerable are thy herds of cattle, and thy flocks of sheep, which
feed thee plentifully, and clothe thee richly." So that, even allowing
for the high-flown nature of the verbiage, the sheep of the island
must have been far from indifferent, and well worthy of any trouble
the grasping Romans may have been put to, in the erection of

(41.) _Importance of the British Woollen Manufacture._--The history of
our wool, and the woollen manufacture, is, at one period and in one
point of view, the history of our public revenue, while in a
succeeding period it becomes the capital object of our commerce, and
the important subject of our political councils. The preserving and
supporting it against foreign rivals, the due regulation of its
numerous branches, and the proper restrictions deemed requisite to
ensure to this country the commercial benefits resulting from it, have
occupied our ablest statesmen for many centuries.

The wools of England have always been in the highest repute, and that
more abroad than at home. Their fineness and abundance have been
ascribed by many to the sweet short grass on most of our downs and
pastures, and to the sheep having the privilege of feeding, all the
year round, without being shut in folds; but it cannot be denied,
that, though food and climate may have much concern in the matter, the
energetic industry and persevering attention with which an Englishman
devotes himself to the attainment of an object, have tended more than
any other circumstance to the advancement of our wools, and woollen
manufactures, and to the consequent prosperity of our island.

The reason of the existence of so many laws relating to wool is, that
it continued for ages to be the principal commodity, meeting all
demands for the support of armies, and payment of public revenues, and
affording aids to the crown, which were in general granted therein.
The scarcity of money in England before the discovery of America,
rendered it necessary to levy taxes frequently in kind, and as wool
was abundant, it often figured as the representative of a more
portable currency. Part of the £300,000 demanded by the Emperor of
Germany as the ransom of Richard I., was raised by a loan of wool.
Edward I., the great reformer of our laws, imposed a duty of 6s. 8d.
on every sack of wool exported, and the like sum on every 300
wool-fells; but soon after, when his necessities demanded a larger
income, he laid those additional duties on foreign merchants, which
afterwards became the tonnage and poundage, so famous in England's
history. Among these additions, the former taxes on wool and fells
were increased by forty pence, while at the same time, like other
monarchs of the period, he occasionally received subsidies of wool. In
the same way Edward III., in attempting, during the twelfth year of
his reign, to wrest the crown of France from the house of Valois,
procured a grant of half the wool in England, amounting to 20,000
packs, which, taking it as valued by some authors at £40 a pack, must
have realized the sum of £800,000.

(42.) _Weavers brought from Flanders._--Commerce and industry were at
a very low ebb during the time of Edward III., the principal export
being wool, which only brought into the kingdom about £450,000. Edward
promoted the woollen manufacture by bringing, in 1331, John Kemp, with
seventy Walloon families, weavers, from Flanders, and, owing to the
want of native skill in this department, gave every encouragement to
foreign weavers. (11 Edward III. cap. 5.)[6] A further encouragement
was given to the home manufacture, by the enactment of a law (11
Edward III. cap. 2) which prohibited every one from wearing any cloth
not of English fabric. Parliament, however, in an evil hour, thwarted
these benefits, by prohibiting the exportation of woollen goods,
certainly an injurious step, so long as wool was allowed to be shipped
from our ports.

        [6] Macpherson, in his Annals of Commerce, agrees with
        Bloomfield the historian of Norfolk, that a colony of Flemish
        weavers settled so early as 1327, at Worsted, a village in
        that county, and bestowed upon it the name it bears.

On the introduction of the Flemish weavers, Kendal became the
metropolis of this branch of industry, and was soon equalled in the
extent of its manufactories by many other towns, as Norwich, Sudbury,
Colchester, and York; while woollens were spun and wove, though to a
less extent, in Devonshire, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire,
Hampshire, Berkshire Sussex, and Wales.

(43.) _Regulations regarding Staples._--The _staple_, or market for
wool, was fixed by act of Parliament (27 Edward III.) in particular
towns of England, but was afterwards removed by law to Calais, and
English merchants were prohibited from exporting any goods from the
staple, or, in other words, foreign navigation was abandoned. To the
custom of taking subsidies in kind, may be traced the principle of
those multifarious regulations which fixed the staple in certain
towns, either in England, or more commonly on the continent; and to
the fluctuating state of politics may be ascribed the shiftings which
those staples so frequently underwent; but it is not easy to see the
drift of many of the provisions relating to it, some of which tend to
the benefit of foreign, rather than of British, commerce.

(44.) The progress which this manufacture made in a very short period,
may be well illustrated by the following table of exports and imports
in woollen, about the middle of the fourteenth century, or twenty
years after the arrival of John Kemp and his establishment.


  Thirty-one thousand, six hundred and
  fifty-one and a half of wool, at L.6
  value each sack,                          £189,909  0  0

  Three thousand, thirty-six hundred
  and sixty-five fells, at 40s. value,
  each hundred at six score,                   6,073  1  8

  Whereof the custom amounts to               81,624  1  1

  Fourteen last, seventeen dicker, and
  five hides of leather, after L.6 value
  the last                                        89  5  0

  Whereof the custom amounts to.                   6 17  6

  8,061-1/2 of worsted, after 16s. 8d. value,
  the price is                                 6,717 18  4

  Whereof the custom amounts to                  215 13  7
  Summary of the out-carried commodities
  in value and custom,                      £285,635 17  2


  1,832 cloths, after L.6 value each,         10,922  0  0

  Whereof the custom amounts to                   91 12  0

  Summary of the in-brought woollens
  in value and custom,                       £11,013 12  0

That the imported cloths were much finer than those exported, may be
inferred from their comparative value as here stated, and we may
conclude pretty justly, that the fabrication of coarse cloths
exclusively occupied the manufacturers of Britain, while the finer
fabrics were still brought from abroad, and that, in fact, the wants
of the _mass_ of the people were the regulators of British industry.

(45.) _Subsidies raised by Edward III._--In 1338, Edward took a
fifteenth of all the commonalty of his realm in wool, rating the price
of every stone of 14 lbs. at 2s., although, in the previous November,
he had sent the Bishop of Lincoln, and the Earls of Suffolk and
Northampton, with one thousand sacks of wool, into Brabant, which,
being sold at L.40 a sack, procured him L.40,000. Edward was
apparently not very sure how far his subjects would submit to so
sweeping a taxation, as we find him addressing a letter, dated
Berwick-upon-Tweed, March 28th, 1338, to the Archbishops of York and
Canterbury, desiring the favour of their prayers, and requesting that
they would excuse him to his people, on account of the great taxes he
was obliged to lay upon them. During the summer of 1339, the laity
granted to the king the one-half of their wools throughout the whole
realm, a favour his majesty is reported to have received most
graciously; but of the clergy he levied the whole, compelling them to
pay nine merks for every sack of the best wool. Knighton, who held an
office in the Abbey of Leicester, says that that house alone furnished
eighteen sacks. The revenue officers during this reign appear to have
exercised their calling with great strictness, and to have interfered
in an especial manner with the secret trade of the inhabitants of
Bristol, but this was terminated by the king granting a licence, dated
Langley, November 25th, 1339, to their weavers, allowing them "to make
woollen cloth without being liable to any molestation from the king's

(46.) _Progress of the trade under Henry VII., Henry VIII., and Edward
VI._--During the bloody and destructive wars of the white and red
roses, when success graced the arms alternately of York and Lancaster,
commercial enterprise was almost at a stand. This unhappy period
brought, however, with all its evils, blessings in its train, and
Henry VII. not only did more for the advancement of the wool-trade
than his predecessors, but also gave it greater vigour than it could
lay claim to at any former period. Fine cloths were much improved in
his reign, and luxury began to be attended to in an article, which,
till then, had only been rendered amenable to comfort. The
ostentatious reign of Henry VIII., gave an additional impulse to the
trade, and cloth was sold in 1512 for five merks, which fifty years
before would only have brought about forty shillings; while, in
consequence of increasing wealth, population, and consumption, the
demand was materially increased. A new market was also opened up for
the exit of their woollens, by the establishment of an intercourse in
1516 with several islands in the Archipelago, and a few of the towns
on the coast of Syria.

Edward VI., or rather his ministers, for he was then a minor,
attempted to lay a poll-tax upon sheep, every ewe kept in a separate
pasture being charged threepence, every wedder twopence, and all sheep
kept on commons three-halfpence; but it was found to be so oppressive,
so annoying to the people, and so difficult to collect, that it was
repealed during the next year. England made a distinguished figure in
this reign as a commercial nation. The manufacture of woollens was
raised to a great height. Cloth, besides being exported to Flanders,
found its way to Holland, Hamburgh, Sweden, and Russia, whose coarse
warm stuffs were very much wanted, and the trade wore such an air of
affluence, that a tax of eightpence in the pound was laid upon all
cloth made for sale in England. This, however, was speedily repealed,
a very short time serving to point out, that, though made for an
endurance of three prosperous years, the people who were galled by a
trifling impost on their sheep, would not, unless under very
favourable circumstances, submit to imposts on the fabrics which they

During the reigns of Henry VII., Henry VIII., and Edward VI., an undue
preference was given to grazing. Acts were framed to put a stop to
this mismanagement, which was fast ruining the country, by driving
people from it. Henry VII. exempted Norwich from the penalties of the
law, on account of the decay of manufactures from the want of hands;
and shortly after the whole county of Norfolk obtained a like
exemption in regard to some branches of the woollen trade. The
practice of depopulating the country, by abandoning tillage, and
throwing the lands into pasturage, had run to so great an extent in
the time of Henry VIII., that an enactment was made, whereby the king
became entitled to half the rents of the land where any farm-houses
were allowed to fall to decay. The number of sheep in a flock was at
the same time limited to two thousand. Hume conjectures, in his
_History of England_, that unskilful husbandry was probably the cause
why the proprietors found no profit in tillage;--thus leading a farmer
to keep a flock sometimes of twenty-four thousand as expressed in the
statute. This had the effect of increasing the price of mutton, a
remarkable coincidence, which parliament attributes to the commodity
having gotten into few hands, though Hume ascribes it to the daily
increase of money, thinking it almost impossible that such an article
could be engrossed. At the commencement of the reign of Edward VI.,
the people were still sadly deficient in a knowledge of agriculture--a
profession, which, as Hume wisely remarks, of all employments,
requires the most reflection and experience. A great demand having
arisen for wool both at home and abroad, whole estates were laid
waste, while the tenants, regarded as a useless burden, were expelled
their habitations, and the cottagers deprived even of the commons on
which they fed their cows; no wonder there was a decay of the people!

(47.) _Wool Trade encouraged by Elizabeth._--Elizabeth extended her
protection to the Protestants who fled from the persecutions of the
Duke of Alva in the Low Countries, and the woollen manufactories
became more flourishing than ever--so much so, that, although in 1552,
a large quantity of raw material was exported, yet in less than thirty
years, the people of Germany, Poland, France, Flanders, Denmark, and
Sweden, were covered with British cloths; two hundred thousand pieces
being annually exported, though the price was nearly tripled. At that
time the processes by which woollens are rendered beautiful were
unknown in England, and as our exports consisted in white undressed
cloth, the profits upon dyeing and finishing, amounting to nearly a
million a year, were lost. This was attempted to be remedied by
prohibiting the exportation of white cloths, but the Dutch and
Germans, who benefitted by the dyeing processes, forbade the entrance
of any English woollens dyed in the piece, into their territories, and
the export consequently fell immediately from 200,000 to sixty pieces.
Then the restriction was taken off. It was at this crisis that the
fabrication of medley cloths, or mixtures of wool dyed of different
colours and wrought into the same web, was commenced.

(48.) _Woollen Cloth monopolized by the merchant adventurers._--Though
nine-tenths of the commerce of the kingdom consisted in the time of
James I. of woollen goods, wool was allowed to be exported till the
nineteenth year of his reign, when it was forbidden by proclamation,
but never strictly enforced. The cloth was very little admired even at
home, and though it was the staple commodity of the realm, a company
of merchant adventurers were allowed by a patent, to possess the sole
disposal of it. Elizabeth at one time attempted to rescue this
important trade from the hands of these merchants, but they instantly
conspired, and ceased to make purchases of cloth, when the queen was
necessitated to restore the patent. A board of trade was brought
together by James I. in 1622, and one of the purposes contemplated was
to remedy the low price of wool, which was leading the people to
complain of the decay of the woollen manufacture; but Hume supposes,
and with every appearance of probability, that this fall of prices
proceeded from an increase of wool.

(49.) _English consumption of Wool increased._--Till the fifteenth
century our wool was sold in the fleece to such as came to buy it.
Among the principal of our customers were numbered the Flemings, and
Brabanters, and in particular the merchants of Ghent, and Louvain, who
took off vast quantities for the supply of two manufactories, that had
flourished in those cities from the tenth century, and had furnished
the greater part of Europe, and even England itself, with every kind
of woollen cloth. Thus they might have continued, to the great loss
of our island, had not the democratic hands employed in those
manufactories repeatedly revolted, owing to their determination to
resist a tax on looms, and being at length punished and dispersed,
found their way in no long time to Holland. While in the last place,
the spirit of sedition still being dominant, certain of their party
attacked and killed some of the civil authorities, for which they had
to make a precipitate flight to England, where they settled as
peaceful citizens, and instructed our people in the working of wool.
This occurred in 1420, from which time neither skill, money, nor
enactments, have been spared to enable us to retain so valuable a
trade. In the reign of Edward IV., every pack of English wool was
liable when exported to a custom of 50s., a goodly sum in those days,
and one which brought a yearly revenue of L 250,000. This excessive
custom, almost amounting to a prohibition, added to the above
mentioned opportunities, in a manner compelled the people to
manufacture for themselves, and in this they succeeded so well, that
by the time of Elizabeth, the exportation of live sheep and wool was
prohibited on pain of having the right hand struck off. It does not
appear that this enactment was ever repealed, though supposed to be so
by the 12th of Charles II. cap. 32, see. 3, which, without taking away
the penalties imposed by former statutes, imposes a new penalty;--20s.
for every sheep exported, or attempted to be exported, together with
the forfeiture of the sheep.

(50.) _Severity of prohibitory enactments reprobated._--By the 14th of
Charles II. chap. 18 the exportation of wool was deemed felony, and
punished accordingly. This tended in no slight degree to the defeat of
the ends intended, by hindering all who were not cold-blooded from
bringing to justice the actors in so trifling an offence. This was
soon however seen through, and corrected, by the 7th and 8th of
William III. chap. 28, sec. 4, in which it was declared, that "Whereas
the statute of the 13th and 14th of King Charles II., made against the
exportation of wool, among other things in the said act mentioned,
doth enact the same to be deemed felony, by the severity of which
penalty the prosecution of offenders hath not been so effectually put
into execution; be it therefore enacted, by the authority aforesaid,
that so much of the said act, which relates to the making the said
offence felony, be repealed and made void."

Adam Smith, when commenting in his "Wealth of Nations," on the laws
relating to wool, reprobates severely the ill-judged compliance of our
government, in yielding to the solicitation of our merchants, and
allowing them to sway with iron rule the commerce of the world. "The
severity of many of the laws which have been enacted for the security
of the revenue, is very justly complained of, as imposing heavy
penalties upon actions, which, antecedent to the statutes that
declared them to be crimes, had always been understood to be innocent.
But the cruelest of our revenue laws, I will venture to affirm, are
mild and gentle in comparison to some of those which the clamour of
our merchants and manufacturers has extorted from the legislature, for
the support of their own absurd and oppressive monopolies. Like the
laws of Draco, these laws may be said to be all written in blood."
None of the laws, however, were effectual, not even the one passed in
the middle of the seventeenth century, by which the offence was
rendered capital. In spite of the vigilance of our government, a
contraband trade in wool was long carried on between the inhabitants
of the French and English coasts, especially those of Sussex, by a
class of men called _Owlers_, from their only venturing abroad in
the night, and who were tempted to despise the penalty, with an
intrepidity astonishing to the rest of Europe, by the high prices that
were sure to be afforded to them in the Gallic market. Again, during
the first half of the eighteenth century, large quantities of wool
were constantly smuggled from Ireland to France, by which our trading
interests were considerably injured, and the plans for suppressing
exportation shown to be worse than useless.

(51.) _Prosperity of the Dutch Manufacturers._--The woollen
manufactures of the Hollanders were first established in 1636, or
1637, by one hundred and forty English families, who went from Norfolk
and Suffolk, to settle at Leyden, and Alkmaer. The Dutch manufacture
of fine woollen cloths was, however, commenced much earlier, or about
1624, at which time they began to interfere with the English trade in
the Netherlands; insomuch that, in the twenty-second year of the reign
of James I., a certificate was given to the Parliament of 25,000
cloths having been made that year in Holland. Upon this the House of
Commons resolved, 1st, "That the merchant adventurers setting impost
upon our cloth, is a grievance, and ought not to be continued; and
that all other merchants promiscuously, as well as that company, may
transport everywhere northern and western kersies, and new draperies."

2dly. "That other merchants, besides the Merchant Adventurers'
Company, may freely trade with dyed and dressed cloths, and all sorts
of coloured cloths, into Germany and the Low Countries." Much
annoyance appears to have resulted to this island, from the progress
which the manufacturers in Holland still continued to make, and some
curious speculations were of course formed in the minds of the
ingenious. In 1651, a scheme was laid before the English commonwealth,
for obtaining from the court of Spain an exclusive right to purchase
_all_ the Spanish wool; or, in other words, to ruin the Holland
market, by stopping the supplies. The projector observed, "That this
proposed preemption would totally dissolve the woollen manufacture of
Holland, which, by means of that wool (Spanish), hath of late years
mightily increased, to the destruction of the vent of all fine cloths,
of English manufacture, in Holland, France, and the east country; and
hath drawn from us considerable numbers of weavers, dyers, and cloth
workers, now settled at Leyden, and other towns in Holland, by whose
help they have very much improved their skill in cloth, and have made
in that one province (one year with another) 24,000 or 26,000 cloths
yearly. That the Hollanders have of late years bought and exported
from Biscay, four-fifth parts at least of all their wools, and have
sold there proportionally of their own country stuffs." This was
certainly a novel method of accomplishing an end by a sweeping
monopoly; but the theory was too fine-spun ever to be reducible to

(52.) _Fluctuating State of the Trade between 1635 and 1693._--By the
great act of tonnage and poundage, passed in 1660, on the restoration
of Charles II., taxes were imposed, among other things, on the
exportation of woollen manufactures, and it was not till the reign of
William, that the wretched policy of such regulations was discovered,
and a law was passed in 1700, by which the duties on woollens were
abolished, because in the words of the act (ll & 12 William III. chap.
20), "the wealth and prosperity of the kingdom doth, in a great
measure, depend on the improvement of its woollen manufactures, and
the profitable trade carried on by the exportation thereof."

In the time of Charles II., an act was passed for the erection of
manufactories (Par. I, Sess. I, Cap. 40), by which it is enacted, that
no native or stranger is to export wool nor skins with wool upon them,
until made into work, or put to the best advantage, under the pain of
first value thereof, half to the king, and half to the informer. It is
also, in this act, ordered, "that none forestall the mercat of wooll,
nor keep up the same to a dearth, under the pain against regrators and
forestallers, and that for eschewing the deceit of putting stones, or
the like stuffs therein, no wooll be wrapt up in the fleece, under the
pain of confiscation, half to the king, and half to the discoverer and
pursuer, declaring always that the Exchequer may licence the export of
wool and skins, as they shall see cause."

The French refugees, in 1635, brought money and talent into England,
and contributed greatly to the erection of manufactories for _slight_
stuffs, and other French fabrics, never before made in England. The
former law for burying in woollen not being well observed, it was
repealed by an Act of Parliament, in the thirtieth year of that king
(cap. 3.), which enacted a register to be kept in every parish, by the
incumbent or his substitute, that every thing about the corpse of the
deceased was made of sheep's wool, of which an affidavit was to be
made by the relation of the deceased, and lodged with the incumbent,
under the penalty of £5, a moiety of which went to the poor of the
parish; the rest to the informer. But this was a sorry check, as
vanity was so predominant among the rich, that they paid the penalty
rather than want the pleasure of adorning their departed relatives
with lace and linen.

In 1667, France supplanted England in many foreign markets, owing to
the care that Colbert at that time took to bring the French woollens
to perfection. The English immediately turned their attention to other
manufactures, in which, as in that of paper, they quickly excelled,
and thus compelled the French to abandon markets, in which they had
long remained without a rival.

In 1698, a problem was started concerning the manufactures of the
country--whether or not a general linen manufacture would prove
beneficial to England? As London at this time abounded with new
projects and schemes, all promising as usual a hoard of wealth, the
question caused much excitement. It was at last determined that a
novelty of this kind would lead to the sowing of a great quantity of
flax in England, and the neglect of the woollen manufacture, which
would follow, might probably lower the price of land; for, as they
said at the time, "it requires about twenty acres of land to breed
wool, for setting on work the same number of hands which one acre of
flax would employ; and yet, in the end, the woollen manufacture will
be found to employ by far the greatest number of hands, and yield the
most profit to the public, as well as to the manufacturers."

(53.) _Irish Manufactures discouraged._--In the same year (1698), the
English house of Peers addressed King William with the view of
inducing him to discourage the woollen manufactures of Ireland, which,
in spite of many restrictions, still continued to cause much vexation
to the monopolizers of England. The address ran thus:--"The growing
manufacture of cloth in Ireland, both by the cheapness of all sorts of
the necessaries of life,[7] and _the goodness of materials for making
all manner of cloth_, doth invite his subjects of England, with their
families and servants, to leave their habitation to settle there, to
the increase of the woollen manufacture in Ireland, which makes his
loyal subjects in this kingdom very apprehensive, that the further
growth of it may greatly prejudice the said manufacture here; and
praying, that his Majesty would be pleased, in the most public and
effectual way that may be, to declare to all his subjects of Ireland,
that the growth and increase of the woollen manufacture there, hath
long, and will ever be, looked upon with great jealousy by all his
subjects of this kingdom." A similar address was presented by the
Commons, and this most liberal and enlightened monarch was pleased to
answer, "_Gentlemen, I will do all that in me lies to discourage the
woollen manufacture of Ireland._" This was certainly altogether a
strange proceeding, especially when viewed in conjunction with the
cruel prohibitions of former periods.[8] Their foreign trade is said
by some to have been much diminished by this coolness; but much of the
poignancy and crushing animosity of the request are lost when we
consider that encouragement was at the same time given by England to
the making of Irish linen, his Majesty being desired in the same
address, to forward that manufacture, pursuant to the dictates of an
act passed in 1696. Nay, some are of opinion that these measures
resulted from the soundest views of the relative situations of the
countries, and that the prudent tenor of English enactments was never
better exhibited, than in the discouragement of the woollen and
encouragement of the linen manufactures of Ireland.

        [7] The people of Ireland produced worsted and woollen yarn at
        a cheaper rate than we could, owing to their poor being able
        to work on lower terms than those of England. This was owing
        to the rent of land being less in Ireland than in England.

        [8] By the 18th of Charles II. the importation from Ireland
        into England of great cattle, sheep, swine, beef, pork and
        bacon, and shortly after of mutton, lamb, butter, and cheese,
        was declared a common nuisance, and forbidden on pain of
        forfeiture. Thus, the principal resource of a poor country in
        the neighbourhood of a rich one, was unfeelingly denied to it,
        till the reign of George III., when the hated edict was

(54.) _British Trade in 1699._--In 1699 there were 12,000,000 sheep
and lambs in Britain, and the yearly increase was supposed to be about
3,600,000. The value of each sheep, besides the skin, was 7s. 4d. The
stock was valued at £4,400,000. The value of the wool yearly shorn,
at 3s. 4d. per fleece, came to about £2,000,000. The woollens
manufactured in Britain amounted in value to £5,000,000 per annum,
while our yearly exports of the same were valued at £2,000,000. Many
were at that time afraid of the sinking of the woollen manufacture,
because the accounts of the fine draperies exported were larger than
usual; but, says an anonymous essayist of the period, "such do not
contemplate, that, though the old may be lessened, what is commonly
called the new draperies have increased, consisting in bays, serges,
and stuffs. So that upon the whole, infinitely more of the material of
wool has of late years been wrought up for foreign use, than in former
times; and herein our merchants have been only forced to follow the
modes and humours of those people with whom they deal, and the course
they have pursued has hitherto not been detrimental to the public."
* * * "'Twere better, indeed, that the call from abroad were only for
the fine draperies, because then we should be in a manner without a
rival; no country, but England, and Ireland, having a sward or turf
that will rear sheep, producing the wool of which most of our
draperies are made. 'Tis true the wool of Spain is fine above all
others; but 'tis the wear only of the richer sort, and of Spanish
cloths not above nine thousand pieces are sent abroad, one year with

(55.) _British Woollens rivalled by those of Sweden._--Before the
peace of Utrecht in 1713, we had no rival in the woollen trade but the
Dutch, over whom we had many natural advantages, such as situation,
goodness of our ports, and excellence of the principal constituents of
the manufacture. They were obliged to furnish themselves with the
materials at second-hand. When the trade in woollens was properly set
a-foot in England, during the long and happy reign of Elizabeth, the
interest of money was pretty much the same in both countries; but the
Dutch were engaged in a hazardous and bloody war, and in establishing
their Commonwealth, and East India trade; and, therefore, had not much
time to think of improving any manufacture. Owing to these
circumstances, we came into possession of all the principal marts for
woollens, both in Asia and Europe, and retained them till the
beginning of the war with France and Spain; we then prohibited trade
with both these countries.

About the year 1720, our exportations to Sweden, of cloth, stuffs,
and other woollen manufactures, amounted to £50,000. The Swedes,
however, though situated in a severe climate, tried experiments with
English sheep, and with so great success, that, in 1765, they could
boast of wool little inferior to that of England. They then erected
manufactories, and we were compelled to relinquish a market, which we
had long held to our profit and advantage.

(56.) _Regulations from 1740 to 1742._--In the 12th year of King
George II. it was enacted by a statute (cap. 21), "That whereas the
taking off the duties upon woollen or bay yarn imported from Ireland,
may be a means to prevent the exportation of wool, and of woollen
manufactures, from Ireland to foreign parts, and may also be of use to
the manufacturers of Great Britain, that from the first of May, 1740,
the same shall be no longer payable; excepting only the duties upon
worsted yarn of two or more threads twisted or thrown, or on crewel
imported from Ireland." At this time more than 1,500,000 persons were
employed on woollen articles, and were supposed to earn, one with
another, sixpence a-day for 313 working days, amounting in all to
£11,737,500 yearly.

In 1742, the English poor suffered much from the contempt with which
home manufactures were regarded by the nobility, in consequence of
which the latter were speedily the losers. The importation of woollen
broad-cloth, of the manufacture of France, into ports of the Levant,
on behalf of British subjects, being not only prejudicial by
discouraging the woollen manufactures of Britain, but likewise a means
of affording relief to an enemy, and discoveries having been made of
British subjects fraudulently shipping from Leghorn quantities of
French woollen goods for Turkey, under the denomination of British, to
the great detriment of English woollens; an act was passed in the 23d
year of King George II. by which provision was made against these and
other fraudulent practices.

(57.) _Improvements in the manufacturing of Woollens._--At the
commencement of the reign of George III. the woollen manufactures
advanced with a rapidity almost unparalleled in modern times as
regards other branches of trade. Till about the year 1770 most of the
processes were conducted by hand. The wool was spun by various persons
at scattered residences, the manufacturers receiving the yarn
periodically from the numerous spinners. This arrangement caused much
loss of time, and gave rise to frequent squabbles between the masters
and their workmen. In fact, all the operations were tardy in the
extreme. But at this period, the spirit of public and private inquiry
was happily directed to our deficiencies in the machinery of
manufactures. Inventions of great beauty and ingenuity were slowly
brought forward to facilitate our commercial acquirements. Human
labour has thus been lightened and abridged,--a greater number of
hands have been profitably employed, and an excellent lesson afforded
to the lovers of use and wont, which will not speedily be forgotten.

By these improved means the cloth is possessed of greater evenness,
less injury is sustained in the dressing and shearing, and greater
beauty is imparted to its appearance. A great advantage is also
obtained by the master knowing the exact duration of each process, so
that he can time his goods for any hour, or market, and is enabled to
circulate his capital with a degree of certainty, and despatch,
formerly looked upon as quite impossible. A few years ago the late Sir
John Throckmorton sat down to dinner, dressed in a coat, the wool of
which, on the same morning, was on the sheep's back. The animals were
sheared, the wool washed, carded, spun, and woven; the cloth was
scoured, fulled, sheared, dyed and dressed, and then made into a coat.
All these complex operations were gone through without hurry, and
without deducting from the work any part of the time usually devoted
to similar fabrics. So great was the advantage derived from this
application of machinery, that in the year 1800 the produce was three
times larger than in the year 1739, though the number of persons
employed was the same in the one year as in the other.

(58.) _Duty imposed on imported Wool._--For three centuries a free
importation of foreign wool was permitted by our government, and it
was not till 1803 that any one thought of laying a duty upon it. This
duty was at first comparatively light, amounting only to a halfpenny
a-pound, and it continued under a penny a-pound, till 1819, when Mr
Vansittart raised it to six-pence. The impolicy of this measure is
evident, when we consider, that we were losing our ascendancy in this
manufacture, that our export of woollen goods had been declining for
three years previous to 1819, and that the competition was becoming
every moment more severe. This tax was much dreaded by our merchants,
who, clearly perceiving the state of matters, warned Mr Vansittart, by
representing to him, in the strongest terms, the fatal influence it
would have upon our trade. Its effects are best exhibited by its
disastrous influence on the foreign trade in woollens, which fell off
about a fourth in value, almost immediately after the imposition. The
following table places this in the clearest point of view:--

  _Declared value of woollens exported._

  1816,                                  £9,387,455
  1817,                                   7,847,280
  1818,                                   7,177,335
  1819,                                   8,145,327
  1820,           (_duty increased_)      5,989,622
  1821,                (_ditto_)          5,587,758
  1822,                (_ditto_)          6,465,988
  1823,                (_ditto_)          6,490,454
  1824,                (_ditto_)          5,635,776
  1825,                (_ditto_)          6,045,240

The opinions of our merchants ought to have formed the best of all
beacons in pointing the course to be pursued by Mr Vansittart; but,
even if they had been silent on the subject, the evidence of Mr
Bainbridge, before the Committee of the House of Commons, appointed in
1820, to inquire into the state of the foreign trade of the country,
might have informed him of the true position of the wool trade, and
directed him in so hazardous an undertaking. When Mr B. was asked
whether he thought that an increase in the means of paying for our
manufactures would produce an increased consumption of them in Russia,
Sweden, and Prussia, he replied:--"I believe the woollen manufactures
in Prussia are in such a state as to be able to compete with us
completely; I speak of it particularly, because we are in the habit of
having transactions with the United States of America; and I find that
a very considerable proportion of fine woollens, and stuffs, are
absolutely shipped from the Netherlands, and from ports contiguous,
part of which I understand to come from the interior of Germany, and
from Saxony in particular; so that a portion of the trade, which we
have been in the habit of transacting with the United States, is
finding its way from the north of Europe. I, therefore, conceive, that
their manufactures are competing with the manufactures of this
country, and, consequently, they would not come to us to receive a
supply of those articles which they can purchase from their own
manufacturers at home." In 1825, at the earnest and obviously
well-founded representations of the manufacturers, Mr Huskisson
reverted to the old system: and it was then wisely enacted, that all
foreign wool imported for home consumption, of the value of 1s.
a-pound and upwards, should pay a duty of 1d. a-pound, but when the
value of foreign wool was under 1s., the duty was reduced to a
halfpenny per pound. A boon was at the same time conferred upon the
agriculturists, by the introduction of a new system with respect to
the exportation of British wool, the growers of which were allowed,
for the first time, to send it to foreign markets, on payment of a
penny per pound.

(59.) _Removal of the Restrictions on Foreign Wool._--The importation
of wool was, by these reductions, speedily increased, and with it the
consumption of our woollens by foreign nations. The wool of our own
gradually augmented flocks being inadequate to the demand, and that of
Spain having been absorbed by our manufactories, large quantities were
imported from Prussia, Saxony, and many parts of the continent of
Europe, from which, antecedent to this run, little had been drawn. The
average annual import of wool during 1765-66-67 was 4,241,364
pounds--the average annual export of woollens during the same period
was £4,630,384; while the average annual import of wool for the years
1822-23-24 was 18,884,876 pounds, and the average annual export of
woollens during the same time, amounted to £6,200,548, showing that
the importation of foreign wool was absolutely necessary for the
well-being of our manufactures. The importation of forty-four millions
of pounds weight, in the year ending 5th January, 1826, must be
ascribed as much to the spirit of over-trading, which then affected
every branch of industry, as to the reduction of the duty; but the
large importations during 1827, afforded an additional proof of the
necessity of foreign wool to the successful formation of a most
important article of commerce. Mr Gott of Leeds, in his evidence
before the Lords' Committee, on being asked if he could carry on to
the same extent as at present, if he manufactured his cloth of British
wool, replied, that, in certain descriptions of cloth, "_he could not
make an article that would be merchantable at all for the foreign
market, or even for the home market, except of foreign wool_." He
then proceeds to state, that though the competition is very strong
in every department of the manufacture, yet that foreigners are
decidedly superior to us in some description of low cloths. The
following question was then put, and plainly and emphatically
answered:--"Speaking of the finer cloths, is the competition such as
to render an additional duty on the importation of foreign wool likely
to injure the export trade? _I have no doubt, speaking on my oath,
that it would be fatal to the foreign cloth trade of the country. I
would further say, that it would be equally injurious to coarse
manufactures of all kinds made of English wool._ The competition now
with foreigners is as nearly balanced as possible, and the disturbing
operation of attacks of that description would necessarily enable the
foreigner to buy his wool cheaper than we should do it in this
country; the result would be, that foreigners would, by such a
premium, be enabled to extend their manufactures to the exclusion of
British manufactures of all descriptions." In another part of his
evidence Mr Gott says, "If two pieces of cloth at 10s. a-yard were put
before a customer, one made of British wool, the other of foreign
wool; one would be sold, and the other would remain on hand; I could
not execute an order with it. If any person sent to me for cloth at
7s. or 8s. a-yard, and if it were made of English wool it would be
sent back to me, and I must resort to foreign wool, or foreign mixed
with British, to execute that order." In fine, the British wool could
not be got rid of without a copious importation of foreign wool to aid
the manufacturer in his disposal of it, as fine cloths are so much
better and more durable in their wear than coarse cloths, that they
are coming more and more into demand, to the almost total exclusion of
the latter. Moreover, the good old custom of making home-spun cloth is
reviving among our farmers, and as it is excellently suited for
work-day wear, though necessarily of an inferior gloss, coarse cloths
will, to a considerable extent, cease to be the concern of our
manufacturers. The only cloth, indeed, which the bulk of the people
will require, will be a finer material to form the garb for Sunday and
holiday recreation.

(60.) _Countries from which we derive our Wool._--Our markets are
supplied with foreign wool principally from the following
places:--Australia, Van Dieman's Land, Cape of Good Hope, Peru,
Germany, Spain, and Russia. The Tasmanian fleeces are preferred to the
Australian, and fetch, in general, higher prices, owing to their being
fit for combing, while the latter, though making considerable advances
in fineness, are still of short staple. Both are favourites with our
manufacturers, from their being firm in the pile, a quality resulting
from the constant good health of the animal in those countries. The
German wool takes precedence of the Spanish, and has done so since
1819 or 1820. The King of Spain, about the year 1800, presented the
Elector of Saxony with a small merino flock, and, from that period,
our importations from Spain have diminished, as those from Germany
have increased. From the period of its first introduction into
Germany, till 1814, when peace once more fell to the lot of Europe,
these sheep were gradually spread over the kingdom of Saxony, and
when, by the events of 1815, the continental trade was thrown
completely open, the Saxon dealers, perceiving the value of this new
commercial article, commenced a regular trade in it with England. By
this new supply, the Spanish wool, as here shown, was slowly beaten
from its hold on the British manufacturers.

  _Importations into England of Wool from Spain and Germany, at three
  separate periods._

                   1800.           1814.              1827.

  Germany,      421,850 lbs.    3,595,146 lbs.    22,007,198 lbs.

  Spain and
  Portugal,    7,794,758 lbs.    9,234,991 lbs.    4,349,643 lbs.

At these periods the ports of these countries were open to British
merchandize, so that we have here a convincing proof, that the wool
growers of Spain do not owe their losses, as supposed by some, to the
hostile incursions of the French, but to the friendly competition of a
neighbouring state.

Wool, both of coarse and fine quality, is daily becoming a more and
more important export from the Black Sea, owing to the great range of
pasturage in Southern Russia. The ordinary wools are very coarse, and
the fleeces dirty and full of grass seeds. Though not subject to
export duty, it is not supposed that it will ever turn out a lucrative
article for the British manufacturer.

(61.) _Wool Trade from 1800 to 1830._--The latest tabular accounts on
which much reliance can be placed, are to be found in _M'Culloch's
Commercial Dictionary_, but of these I am compelled to offer only an
abridgment, and in general nothing but the sum total of his detailed
statements. The number of short-woolled sheep in England in 1800 was
14,854,299; the number of long-woolled sheep in England in the same
year was 4,153,308. The quantity of British wool in 1800 amounted to
325,269 packs; while in 1808 it had increased to 414,502 packs. The
sheep and lambs' wool imported into Great Britain from foreign parts
in 1810 was 10,914,137 lbs.; in 1815, 13,640,375 lbs.; in 1820,
9,789,020 lbs.; in 1825, 43,795,281 lbs.; in 1830, 32,313,059 lbs. The
increase here observable in 1825 is accounted for above in our notice
of the state of the taxes before and at that period. The exports of
British sheep and lambs' wool in 1830 amounted to 2,951,100 lbs.;
those of woollen and worsted yarn to 1,108,023 lbs. By far the
larger proportion of these exports was intended for France and the
Netherlands. The number of persons employed in the manufacture is
estimated at from 480,000 to 500,000, and their wages at £9,600,000.
The value of the raw material is calculated at £6,000,000; the total
value of the manufactured articles at £18,000,000 (as wool is supposed
in general to be trebled in value by passing through the hands of the
manufacturer); and the interest on capital, sum to replace wear and
tear, and manufacturers' profits at £2,400,000.

(62.) _Wool Trade in 1832 and 1835._--"The total number of pounds
of sheep and lambs' wool imported into the United Kingdom, in 1832,
was--foreign, 28,128,973; produce of the Isle of Man, 13,516; quantity
retained for home consumption, charged 1d. per lb. duty, 23,619,901;
ditto 1/2d., 1,571,328; ditto 6d. (red wool), 1,130; duty free
(produce of British possessions), 2,473,991; total retained for home
consumption, 27,666,350; total quantity re-exported, 555,014. Quantity
of foreign wool warehoused under bond, 5th January, 1833, 3,165,651.
The total quantity of British wool and woollen yarn exported from the
United Kingdom in 1832 was, of the former, 4,199,825 lb.; of the
latter, 2,204,464 lb. The exportation of British woollen manufactures
in 1832 was as follows:--Cloths of all sorts, 396,661 pieces; napped
countings, doffels, &c., 23,453 pieces; kerseymeres, 40,984 pieces;
baizes, 34,874 pieces; stuffs, woollen or worsted, 1,800,714 pieces;
flannel, 2,304,750 yards; blankets and blanketing, 1,681,840 yards;
carpets and carpeting, 690,042 yards; woollens mixed with cotton,
1,334,072 yards; stockings, woollen or worsted, 152,810 dozen pairs.
Sundries, viz., hosiery, rugs, coverlids, tapes, and smallwares,
£55,443 1s. 8d. value. Declared value of British woollen manufactures
exported, £5,244,478 10s. 10d."[9]

        [9] Quarterly Journal of Agriculture, No. 24.

"The total quantity of wool imported into the United Kingdom, in the
year 1835, was by weight 42,208,949 pounds, which is rather more than
4,000,000 pounds under the importation of 1834; but on the 5th
January, 1835, 6,494,266 pounds remained warehoused under bond;
whereas, on the 5th January, 1836, there were no more than 2,846,014
pounds so locked up. This is an important difference of stock on hand,
which, no doubt, has tended, and will tend, to keep up the price of
the article. The country from which we import the greatest quantity of
wool is Germany. In 1835, the amount was nearly 24,000,000 pounds
weight. From Russia, to which our exports of manufactured woollens is
comparatively small, we imported upwards of 4,000,000 pounds; from New
South Wales and Van Dieman's Land, taken together, about 209,000
pounds weight more than from Russia. The next largest importations are
from Spain, Turkey, and Italy, which, taken together, supply us with
nearly 4,000,000 pounds. Portugal furnishes 683,000 pounds; Holland,
201,000 pounds; and Belgium, 231,000 pounds. Of the foreign wool which
we have imported, we re-exported in its unmanufactured state 4,101,700
pounds during 1835. And of the total quantity imported in 1835, we
retained for manufacture 41,718,514 pounds. This is nearly 1,000,000
pounds more than was taken up by the manufacturers in the preceding

"The whole amount of British wool _exported_ in 1835, was 4,642,604
pounds, and of this 3,000,000 pounds were sent to Belgium, and
1,500,000 pounds to France.

"In 1835, the 'declared value' (which, be it observed, is a real
thing, and very different from the 'official value,' which is of no
use except as an indication of quantity)--the total declared value was
£6,840,511; and of this amount upwards of £2,600,000 worth of woollen
goods went to the United States alone. Next after the United States in
the scale of our customers for woollens comes the East Indies and
China. To these we send the value of upwards of £800,000; to our North
American colonies the value of £418,000; and to the West Indies,
£114,200 worth.

"In Europe, our best customer is Germany, which, in 1835, took
£631,000 worth. Besides the more fully manufactured goods, Germany
took from us, in the same year, 1,191,000 pounds weight of woollen
yarn. Of European customers, next after Germany come Portugal, which
took, in 1835, to the amount of £368,000; Holland, £245,629; Italy,
£243,582; and Belgium, £123,727. Russia took only £93,025 worth of
woollen goods. The South American States begin to be good customers;
Brazil took, in 1835, £337,788 worth, and Mexico and other States,
£356,700 worth.

"Looking at the aggregate, the export of 1835 was fully a million
sterling in value above that of 1834; but as the price was higher in
1835, this is no certain guide to the proportion of increase in
_quantity_. In the year 1835, we exported to France only £68,000 worth
of woollen manufactures.

"We have already stated the _exports_ of woollen goods to the South
American States in 1835; the _import_ of unmanufactured wool from
these States in the same year was £2,176,000 pounds; from France it
was 104,000 pounds.

"We have only to add, as fiscal information connected with the
foregoing analysis, that of the wool imported in 1835, 26,877,780
pounds paid to the revenue a duty of a penny per pound; 10,198,526
pounds paid one halfpenny per pound; and 6,397 pounds of 'red wool'
paid sixpence per pound.

"The wool imported from British possessions does not pay duty. Of that
there were, in 1835, 4,635,811 pounds imported."



(63.) This subject requires for its due consideration some slight
attainments in anatomy and physiology, but as such attainments, slight
though they may be, are as rarely met with as required among the bulk
of mankind, so the want of them may be the less regretted, seeing it
is possible to render even the intricacies of the study plain and
simple, by an appeal to facts of every-day occurrence; which, having
attracted the notice of the most unthinking, will serve as hooks on
which I shall try to hang the better part of an interesting inquiry.

(64.) _Early Improvers of Sheep._--There cannot be a more certain sign
of the rapid advances of a people in civilization and prosperity, than
increasing attention to the improvement of live-stock. It tells of a
population limited in regard to soil, and making every effort to
remedy the want, by an economical doubling of the return for the usual
outlay: for, while a tribe wanders at large, remaining at a particular
place only so long as provender holds out, and, striking the tent,
departs for some far-off field, so long will their flocks be suffered
to roam neglected, and flourish or decay, as chance directs.

From the time of Jacob, the possibility of determining the nature of
the offspring, by impressions on the parents, has been apparent to
all; and the best means of perpetuating a good quality, or removing a
bad one, have continued from time to time, to occupy the attention of
patriotic individuals. As much appears to have been known about sheep
two thousand years ago as at present, so true is it, that nothing new
is to be met with; yet, that does not rob our modern improvers of
their merits, for though they deserve little as inventors, they are to
be admired for that strength of mind, and determined perseverance,
which enabled them to rouse their fellows from their lethargy, and
compel them to become in turn, benefactors of their country, and
themselves. The signs of a good ram are concisely laid down by Varro,
by Virgil in his third Georgic, and by Columella; and, though the
Spanish nobility were looked upon with wonder, (till eclipsed by our
own extravagance,) in giving two hundred ducats, or fifty pounds for a
ram; yet Strabo assures us, that in his day (under Tiberius), they
gave more than three times that sum for one of the breed of the
Coraxi, a Pontic nation, believed to have the finest fleece in the

The greatest recorded improvers of the sheep in ancient times were
Lucius Columella, and his uncle Marcus Columella, Spaniards of
distinction, who removed to Rome in the reign of Tiberius, and made
agriculture the study and business of their lives. The former
commenced his celebrated treatise on husbandry during the reigns of
Tiberius, and Caligula, and appears to have finished it A.D. 55. It is
a work which may be read with advantage even at present, as it abounds
with much that is valuable, and is accessible to all through its
English translation.[10]

        [10] I allude to this, as the author of the work on Sheep,
        published by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful
        Knowledge, at page 123 of that book, laments the want of an
        English translation of Columella. An excellent quarto
        translation of his twelve books on Husbandry, and one on
        Trees, was published at London, in 1745.

(65.) _Modern Breeders._--It is only within a very recent period, that
the mode of improving live-stock by skilful breeding, has been properly
attended to. The perfection of breeding formerly, was to have cows in
calf once a-year, and rear calves on as little milk as possible; and,
even yet, there are only a scattered few who devote to it the attention
it requires. The first, in modern times, who arrived at any thing like
eminence in this department, was Joseph Allom, of Clifton, who raised
himself by dint of industry, from a ploughboy, and for a long time
contrived to keep his methods secret, being supposed by many to have
bought his ewes in Lincolnshire, at the very time he was constantly
bringing them from the Melton quarter of Leicestershire. Though
possessing talent, he does not appear to have had education enough to
avail himself of it, and accordingly never gained the extensive
popularity which fell to the lot of his successors.

As the introducers of new and important plans of management in
agriculture, are always rewarded by large profits, and the gratitude of
their countrymen, so none were ever more generously dealt with in
either respect, than Mr Robert Bakewell, of Dishley, and Mr Ellman, of
Glynde. The former, who may be said to have created a _variety_,
considered that a tendency to acquire fat was the first quality to be
looked to in an animal destined for the food of man; and on this, with
him a fundamental principle, was based the whole of his proceedings.
Different opinions will of course be held on the merits of the theory
on which he acted but all must acknowledge, that we are indebted to his
skill and experience, for the exertions which have been subsequently
made to improve the qualities of live-stock, in every district of the
kingdom. It was by his example, in fact, that the farmers all over the
country were stimulated to exertion, and be the system bad or good, it
ought to have our veneration, seeing that it was the commencement of a
new and most important agricultural era.

John Ellman derives his well-earned fame, from the zealous manner in
which he improved the Southdown sheep, and spread them through the
empire. Till he directed his attention to the subject, every thing
connected with the management of the flock was left to chance, or at
least to the guidance of farm-servants, with whom, of course, it could
not be a matter of interest to select, or _sort_, suitable animals for
the continuance of the race. He speedily, however, corrected this
mismanagement, and aided by the introduction of turnip-feeding, in no
long time, and without any admixture of foreign blood, materially
improved the breed.

About seventy years ago, improvements also commenced in Scotland. Till
then, in many parishes, no farmer could keep sheep through the winter,
and no place was reckoned so fatal to these animals as the undrained,
and unsheltered parish of Eskdale-Muir, in Dumfriesshire. At last one
William Bryden rented the farm of Aberlosk, and soon, by the _original_
plan of draining, and building stone enclosures, made it, to use the
words of his able biographer, Mr Scot of Selkirkshire, "like the land
of Goshen, good for cattle which it is to this day."

(66.) _Varieties among Animals._--All organized matter is subject to
variety. It may be doubted whether, since the creation of the world,
there have ever occurred, either at the same, or at separate periods,
two individuals in every respect perfectly alike. A plant, or an
animal, may resemble the rest of its species in chemical constitution,
and in the number and situation of its organs, but is sure to differ
from all in size, general configuration, and disposition of its parts:
These shades of difference, endless though they are, may be referred
to two leading causes--climate and descent; the former embracing
deviations induced by temperature and resources of subsistence; the
latter including changes occasioned by management, modes of breeding,
and influence of sex.

(67.) _Varieties induced by Temperature._--The influence of temperature
extends chiefly to the _colour_ and _development_ of animals. In cold
regions the skin of the human race is fair, and the person squat and
stunted, but as we approach the equator, the hue becomes deeper and
deeper, till it is jetty black, while at the same time, the stature
attains nearer and nearer to the tallest proportions to which mankind
seem naturally entitled. The animals of the arctic regions are, for the
greater part of the year, covered with a clothing of the purest white,
which is, however, in many of them, abandoned for one of deeper tints
as the solar heat begins to gain the ascendant. But how very different
do we not find the colours of intertropical animals. There vivid tints,
and an almost metallic lustre, pervade animated beings, from the coral
in its submarine abode, to the gallinaceous birds, the coxcombs of the
forest. In this, as in every other department of nature, the most
beautiful harmony, or, in other words, a union of what is pleasing to
the eye, and suited for the comfort of the creature, every where
prevails. The colour of an animal envelope is never at variance with
the tints of surrounding objects. A painter, for example, would not
place a flower or animal of brilliant hue amidst the monotonous aspect
of an arctic landscape; neither would he picture the faintly-tinted
beings of a polar latitude, as surrounded by the warm and flashy
colouring characteristic of an oriental climate. As temperature, then,
determines in a marked degree the colour and dimensions of every
animal, such variations render the division of living beings into races
and varieties, a matter of necessity. Thus all human beings belong only
to one species, which may, however, be divided into five races, and
these again into an infinity of varieties. The differences between a
race and a variety are, that the latter is a subdivision of the former,
and that in the former the modifications are more profound, the changes
not being confined to the surface, but extending to the frame-work of
the body; whereas, to constitute a variety, nothing more is necessary
than the superficial influence of heat and light on the skin, and its
appendages the hairs. The Negro and the Abyssinian are precisely
similar in colour, yet they are by no means of the same race, as their
different features will distinctly prove; the Abyssinian approaching as
much in cast of countenance to the European, as the negro does to the
higher orders of the ape. The same may be noticed among sheep, but this
is sufficient for the present.

The changes induced by climate, result from the working of a power
inherent in most animals and vegetables, by which they are suited
within certain limits, for bearing up against removal from their
ordinary localities, and assuming a different cast, as the place of
their exile may differ in degree from that which they have left. This
gradual adaptation to circumstances by an accommodating power is
termed, in philosophical language, acclimation.

(68.) _Adaptation of the Sheep to Climate._--No animal varies more
than the sheep, and none so speedily adapts itself to climate; it
would almost appear that nature, convinced of its great utility, had
bestowed upon it a constitution so pliant, as to enable it to
accommodate itself to any point in a wide scale of temperature; for
though its natural situation as a wool-bearing animal, like that of
man appears to be the wine countries, yet with him, it has spread to
every quarter of the globe, becoming impressed at every change with
some peculiarity, alterable only by a change of situation, and
varying, we might almost affirm, with the weather; for, where the
temperature is equable, there does the animal preserve unchanged an
atmospheric stamp, and defies our efforts to alter the breed; while
under a fluctuating sky we can model it at will, though in this case,
continued exertions are required to secure them for any length of time
in an undeviating course.

(69.) _Changes produced by Climate._--The wonderful power of
temperature in effecting changes upon animals, is well illustrated by
the Portuguese, who, after a residence of three hundred years in
India, are said to be at present almost as black as Caffres. Bishop
Heber, speaking of India, says, "It is remarkable to observe how
surely all these classes of men (whites--Persians, Greeks, Tartars,
Turks, and Arabians), in a few generations, even without any
inter-marriage with the Hindoos, assume the deep olive tint, little
less dark than a negro, which seems natural to the climate." Buchanan
also in his travels through the same country, alludes to a tribe of
black Jews who have, in all probability, been settled in the district
ever since the period of the captivity under Nebuchadnezzar, 3000
years ago, and who retain all the national peculiarities of their
race, with the exception of their colour, which is now as dark as that
of the surrounding tribes. These examples, however, it may be
affirmed, are not to the point, as embracing theories in regard to
peculiar changes in an animal different from the sheep, but such
objections are perfectly groundless, as what will affect colour in
mankind, will lead to changes even of a more wonderful nature in the
sheep, seeing that it is abandoned more entirely to such an influence.

(70.) _Temperature preferred by Sheep._--Sheep, though capable of
thriving in a great variety of climates, seem to prefer such as are
temperate, and in these only do they arrive at perfection. They are
common on the Cordilleras at an elevation of from 3300 to 8200 feet,
within which limits they propagate readily without any care; but the
reverse is the case in hotter regions, it being difficult to rear
lambs in the plains of Meta, and no sheep are to be met with from the
river to the foot of the Cordilleras, though their skins, from being
in demand for making parchment, sell as high as those of the ox. Sheep
were at one time, according to Thunberg, the scarcest articles in
Batavia, as their woolly coat rendered the heat of the climate quite
insupportable; but this inconvenience was at last remedied by sending
them, on their arrival from the Cape, further up the country, to the
Blue Mountains, where the air is several degrees colder. The question
then naturally occurs, if an elevation of temperature is, as in this
instance, fatal to these animals, how do they happen to have spread
over a vast tract of country in spite of such extremes? Simply for the
reason, that when an animal is left to the exercise of its own free
will, and the dominion of its instincts, it will not subject itself to
the danger of an extreme in any thing. It will not traverse several
hundred miles in a single season, and thus expose itself to sudden
changes. The natural dispersion of all animals is gradual, so that
their constitutions are enabled, from the slowness of the transition,
to accommodate themselves, by an alteration in covering and habit, to
surrounding circumstances, which would, were the variations abrupt,
speedily destroy it. The reason why a race of animals occasionally
thrives so well in a country to which it may be removed, appears to
lie in its being suited, I may say, accidentally, by peculiar
conformation, to the temperature to which it is transplanted. There
are some happy climates where, introduce what animals you will, no
matter how stunted they are, or how different the degree of warmth may
be, their offspring will thrive, proving large and vigorous, and every
way worthy of being placed at the head of its species. These are,
however, cases where the transition is from an extreme of heat or cold
to a temperate atmosphere. Witness what Mr Dawson, the manager of the
Australian Agricultural Company, says in his private journal (quoted
in _Cunningham's New South Wales_). "Both the climate and the soil
appear by nature intended to produce fine wool, and fine animals too,
_even from the worst beginnings_. The latter seems a paradox. The
extensive range afforded to every animal keeps it in good condition,
and, perhaps, the natural grasses may have more of good in them than
their appearance indicates. However this may be, the climate clearly
has a wonderful effect on the size of all animals, even upon man, who
is universally tall here, though born of diminutive parents. From this
I am led to believe, that the climate governs chiefly, and thus every
breeding animal introduced here will attain a size not known in

(71.) _Extent of the Alterations produced by Climate._--Changes
occasioned by climate are always limited to the fleece, horns, and
disposal of the fat, and never extend to those parts, on the
permanence of which the animal depends for its station in the scale of
being, as the feet, teeth, and digestive organs. In tropical countries
we find the fleece approaching more to hair than wool, as in the sheep
of Thibet, so celebrated for the silky nature of their coat. Burchell
remarks, that the skins he brought from the Cape of Good Hope were
often taken for those of an unknown quadruped, from the _furry_ nature
of their wool, if such it can be called, and thinks it is owing as
much to the pasture, which is well adapted for giving these animals a
soft and useful _fur_, though not suited, like New South Wales, for
the growth of the finest wool, and that the colony might turn this to
great advantage. In cold regions the hairy covering is more developed
and fully coarser, but always mingled with a proportion of hard rough
wool. The influence of climate on portions of the fleece and skin is
well illustrated by circumstances which have occurred in Galloway,
even within the limits of our traditionary writings.[11] The native
sheep of the Highlands of that district is supposed to have been a
small, handsome, _white-faced_ breed; at least so thinks John
MacLellan, who wrote an account of Galloway in 1650, from the wool
being much praised, and eagerly bought up by merchants, which would
not have been the case if taken from the _black-faced_ animal; yet how
happens it that at present the native breed exists only in the lower
parts of Kirkcudbrightshire, the high country exhibiting _black-faced_
sheep, which, after every trial, have been found best adapted to the
climate, and pasture of the moors and Highlands; while Chalmers owns
that it has not been ascertained when or whence this hardy breed were
brought to their present locality? Why, it is tolerably plain, that
though the _white-faced_ sheep might be placed there originally, yet
they would speedily lose every trace of their origin, and become
_black-faced_ when placed on a hilly country, and subjected to the
slow but certain influence of peculiar food and climate.

        [11] Chalmers' Caledonia--Article, Galloway.

Mr Culley imagines, that the dun-faced sheep were the earliest tenants
of the Scottish hills, but so far as my researches extend, that
supposition is entirely contradicted. Chalmers remarks, that the
black-faced animals superseded the goats, which were at one time a
source of subsistence to the farmers, and it is exceedingly probable,
that as the old white-faced began to change their appearance, and
became gradually able to withstand the rigours of a mountain fare, and
winter under a dun skin, and short rough wool, so would they recommend
themselves as the best of all stock to the hard-driven agriculturalist.

(72.) _Increase of the Number of the Horns._--As much wonder is sure to
be excited by the fact, that bony prominences are subjected with as
great certainty to the modelling hand of climate as softer parts, I
give the following from a recent work, entitled, "_Gardens and
Menagerie of the Zoological Society Delineated_," premising, however,
that, in my opinion, temperature has a vast deal more to do with
alterations in the horns than domestication or cultivation. "One of the
most curious modifications produced by cultivation in the domesticated
sheep consists in the augmentation of the number of its horns; two,
three, or even four supplementary appendages of this description being
occasionally produced in addition to the normal number. Under these
circumstances the additional horns usually occupy the upper and fore
part of the head, and are of a more slender shape, and take a more
upright direction than the others, thus approaching in character to
those of the goats, while the true horns retain more or less of the
spiral curve that distinguishes those of the sheep. There exists a
strong tendency to the propagation of this monstrosity, which is
extremely frequent in the Asiatic races, but is also met with in a
breed that is common in the north of Europe, and is said to have been
originally derived from Iceland, and the Feroe Islands. In this case it
is unconnected with any other anomaly, but in the flocks of the nomad
hordes of Tartary, it is usually combined with an enlargement of the
tail, and adjacent parts, by the deposition of fat, frequently to an
enormous extent."

(73.) _Causes of the various forms of the Horn._--Horns are seldom met
with in the sheep of hot climates, occurring more frequently in cold
and temperate regions; thus following closely the development of the
other coverings, to which, as before stated (19), they are strictly
analogous. The fleece consists of two portions--hair and wool, the one
predominating more or less over the other, as the climate may direct.
The form of the horns is always in unison with the character of the
fleece: thus, if the animal is covered with hair, as in the goat, the
horns will be straight; but if it is clothed with wool, as in the
sheep, the horns will be curved. The same holds good in other animals.
The reason of this appears to lie in the tendency which the hair or
wool, constituting the horny sheath, has to model the form of the
supporting bone. The fibre of hair is nearly straight; that of wool is,
on the other hand, remarkable for the number of tufted curls, or small
spiral ringlets, into which it naturally contracts; so that a Merino
ram, for example, will never be found with rectilinear horns, nor a
true goat with twisted ones. The truth of these remarks is borne out by
observations on animals on whose heads more than two horns are
occasionally met with. We always in such instances notice, that the
additional horns are straight, thus indicating the presence of a
considerable quantity of hair among the wool. The curve will be more
decided, and the twists more numerous, in proportion as the fibre comes
nearer and nearer to a perfect wool--evidence of which we have in the
beautifully-tufted and spiral horns of the Merino ram, which are as
opposite in this respect to those of the goat, as is its fleece to the
hairy coat of the latter. From these considerations I am led to
believe, that the form of the horn, when present, is an excellent guide
to the nature and quality of the other coverings, and an index to every
gradation which can possibly occur between wool and hair.

(74.) _The proper Temperature required for Sheep._--Regular warmth is
absolutely necessary for the production of a good animal and a fine
fleece, and is only to be obtained by attending to the draining and
clearing of land, so as to dissipate moisture, and allow currents of
air to play freely across the country.[12] An atmosphere which holds
suspended a large quantity of watery vapour, is always extremely
chilling to an animal body. This is accounted for by the well-known
fact, that a moist air, being a better conductor of caloric than a dry
one, robs an animal more quickly of heat. Thus, in passing from the dry
air of the hills into the vapour of the valleys in a winter morning, we
feel as if the transition had been from a temperate to an icy region.
Hence one of the reasons why sheep thrive best in a rather elevated
situation. Moist air, however, is exceedingly oppressive in hot
weather, because evaporation, from the surface of the body, is to a
great extent diminished; and it is only by the perspiration being
allowed to escape rapidly, and to convey away the heated particles,
that we can manage to be in any degree comfortable during the heat of
summer. This free evaporation we endeavour in every way to obtain, and
often in a manner that ignorant people would consider as the reverse of
sensible. It is well known that draughts of _cold liquids_ are very far
from answering the purpose of lowering our temperature when above a
pleasant standard; but we find that a basin _of hot soup, or tea_, will
speedily bring about the desired end, by producing a copious
determination of fluid to the skin. Yet, if the air contained no
moisture, we should experience sensations just as unpleasant as those
already mentioned; for evaporation from our bodies would proceed at
such a rate, that we would soon be parched. It is to counteract this
tendency of dry air that the Americans are in the habit of placing a
small vessel of water on their stoves, by which contrivance a quantity
of vapour is diffused through the apartment, sufficient to balance the
loss from the arid warmth of the fire.

        [12] It is to secure equality of temperature that the Spanish
        flocks are twice in the year exposed to the hazard of an
        overland journey of 400 miles, that they may pass the summer
        in the mountains of the north, and the winter in the southern

That an equable temperature is only to be obtained by draining and
clearing a marshy and wooded country, is sufficiently authenticated. In
the thickly wooded and swampy territories of Guiana, rain falls
continually during nearly eight months of the year; and the cold is so
intense, that fires are necessary in the houses throughout the night.
But in Cayenne and its neighbourhood, which were cleared of wood about
one hundred and fifty years ago, the increase of temperature is now so
great, that during the night the people are annoyed by the warmth, and
the rains are neither so frequent nor so heavy as in the rest of the
country. Paris and Quebec are nearly under the same latitude; yet the
air of the latter is much colder than that of the former, evidently
from its being surrounded by forests so dense and umbrageous, that sun
and wind are alike denied access to the earth. The difference between a
cleared and an uncleared country, in regard to wool, is well
illustrated, by contrasting North America, its heavy woods and stagnant
atmosphere, with the thinly timbered surface and constantly renovated
air of New South Wales. It is only within the last few years that
Canada has been enabled to compete with Britain in the article of wool,
and that the sheep, which were of the coarsest kind, have been so
improved as to do away with the prejudices against their mutton.
Australia, on the other hand, has, from its earliest colonization,
figured as a sheep-rearing country of the first importance; and nothing
has conduced so much to this as its freedom from closely planted trees,
by the absence of which the settler is enabled at once to stock his
farm with the best of sheep. Nature, in fact, could never have intended
sheep to pasture in a wooded country, as is clearly evinced by their
coat, to which every thing in the shape of bush or tree is in the
highest degree inimical.

(75.) _Geographical limits of the Sheep._--Every plant and animal has
certain geographical limits, out of which it cannot exist. With the
exception of man and the dog, no animal has a wider range than the
sheep, extending as it does from Iceland almost to the equator, and
from a few degrees south of that to the polar extremity of South
America. But though existing under so great a variety of exposures, it
must not be inferred that it can come to perfection in them all. On the
contrary, it rather delights in the temperate zones, and can evidently
only be raised to its highest point of excellence in the countries of
the vine. The western parts of continents produce better sheep than the
eastern, and the southern hemisphere better than the northern; as in
the former situations the temperature is more nearly equable than in
the latter. The same may be said of maritime districts, as compared
with such as are inland. Temperature is affected in the same way by
elevation as by northern or southern position--the mean heat
diminishing in the same ratio when ascending a mountain, as in receding
from the equator. On this account, Humboldt compared the earth to two
mountains with their bases at the equator, and their summits at the
poles. The mean temperature, when resulting from the height of the
place above the level of the sea, is at the same time influenced by the
nature of the aspect, as we notice in the Alps, where the Glacier
exists on the northern side, at the same elevation at which the
vineyard yields a perfect fruit upon the southern.

(76.) _Particular forms induced by certain limits._--The character
which a predominance of heat, or cold, impresses on the animal as a
whole, extends also to individual parts of the body. The sheep of South
Africa are, as all the world know, remarkable for the magnitude of the
tail, which forms an immense fatty appendage. The sheep of Persia,
Tartary, and China, are distinguished from all others by the tail
forming a _double globe_ of fat. The North of Europe, and North of
Asia, are overrun by a breed in which the tail is almost wanting, while
that of Southern Russia, India, and Guinea, stands pre-eminent from the
elongation of the tail, and, in respect to that of the two last named
places, also of the legs.

(77.) _Influence of vegetation on form and disposition._--Vegetation
influences, to a great extent, the form and disposition of the animal.
Such changes may be brought about either by the plenty, or scarceness,
of the herbage; or by the nature of the country on which that herbage
is produced. Animals found on hilly countries are always widely
different from those of the plains. Their bodies are light, their legs
long, and their habits of that unquiet kind which renders them hostile
to any thing like restraint. It is for these reasons, that when once a
flock attaches itself to a range of hills, and becomes suited to the
means of subsistence, it may preserve itself for ages apart from
neighbouring varieties, and present, after a long series of years,
those qualities in their native purity for which it was noted by the
earliest observers. The sheep of a level country are distinguished, on
the contrary, by heavy bodies, short legs, and easy tempers. They are,
in fact, constructed on Dutch proportions, and are imbued, as a natural
consequence, with those imperturbable and steady-going habits so
characteristic of the bulbous bottomed Hollander. Subdued as they are
by the nature of their locality, they readily submit to man, who tutors
them at will, and works on them those profitable changes from which
have originated our improved varieties. As connected with the unquiet
dispositions of hill sheep, I may mention the prevalence of a notion,
that domesticated sheep cannot by any possibility become wild. From all
that I have seen, and read, I am led to believe, though the sheep,
according to Greek, Roman, and Oriental philosophers, was the first
animal domesticated, that when at liberty it will soon return to its
primitive and instinctive habits. Bonnycastle, in his work on Spanish
America, remarks, that sheep are found in a state of nature, in the
northern parts of New Spain, "having multiplied to an extraordinary
degree in the wide-spread plains, and savannahs." In ascending our
Scottish mountains, every one must observe the state bordering upon
wildness, in which the sheep appear, roving in detached but well-led
parties; bounding away to the most inaccessible places on the approach
of danger, and peering from the eminences in all the pride of scornful
independence. Professor Blumenbach at one time doubted the possibility
of domestic sheep ever becoming wild; but his opinion was changed on
perusing the work of Vincentius, where there occurs a remarkable
passage, in which Nearchus, when speaking of the desert island of
Cataia, on the coast of Caramania, says, that the inhabitants of the
neighbouring islands yearly carried thither sheep, as offerings to
Venus and Mercury, and that, in course of time, they became wild in the
deserts.[13] Constant attendance is, therefore, called for on the part
of man, to ensure that untroubled reliance on his care so conducive to
the welfare of the flock, for even on a temporary cessation of his
protection, those instincts, which can be subdued but not eradicated,
are brought into operation, and their presence will go far to retard
the advancement of those qualities, on the perfection of which a profit
can alone be hoped for.

        [13] Edin. Philosophical Journal.

(78.) _Breeds required for Britain._--Of the numerous breeds at
present in our island, a few only are indispensably necessary for the
continuance of its prosperity. These stand, according to Marshall,
thus:--A very long-woolled sheep, as the Lincolnshire, or Teeswater,
for the richest grass lands, and finest worsted manufactures--the New
Leicester, for less fertile grass land, and for rich enclosed arable
land, on which the fold is not used; intended to supply coarser
worsted, stockings, coarse cloths, blankets, and carpets--a
middle-woolled breed, as the Wiltshire, the Norfolk, or the Southdown,
for arable lands on which folding is practised, and for cloths of
middle qualities--a fine-woolled, as the Ryeland, for the finest
cloths; and a hardy race for heathy mountains.

Some argue, and rightly, that only three breeds are necessary for
Scotland, inasmuch as only three are required by the nature of the
country. Scotland may be regarded, in an agricultural point of view,
as divided into highland, upland, and plain. The highland consists of
primitive rocks, covered by peaty soil and heath, on which these
indefatigable gleaners, the black-faced sheep, alone can gain a
subsistence. The upland is formed by the transition series of rocks,
covered with grass; and to it the Cheviots appear indigenous. The
plain is formed by alluvial deposits, covered with rich pasture, and
capable of supporting races of large sheep, as the Leicesters.

Sheep are the only kind of live-stock which ought to be kept in
mountainous districts, especially when green crop cannot be
cultivated. Sheep-farming must necessarily prevail in the Highlands,
where there are few tracts suited for the pasturage of black cattle:
The value of its adaptation to the natural circumstances of that
district is proved by the rapid progress which it made, and the
profits which resulted to the individuals with whom it originated.
Places which formerly were not of the slightest utility, now yielded
heavy rents. The spots among the mountains, susceptible of
cultivation, were found to be advantageously kept in grass, to serve
as pasture for the flock during the rigour of winter, and it was well
ascertained that more than double rent might be paid by stocking with
sheep in preference to cattle.

The Dishley sheep are excellent specimens of what may be done with the
form of an animal, when the endeavours of the breeder are seconded by
a pasture suitable for the intended breed. They are admirably adapted,
as every breed ought to be, to the soil and situation where they were
called into existence; and their crosses are now spread over most part
of the country; principally the corn districts, as they are supposed
to be the most profitable kind on farms where the best tillage crops
are combined with the fattening of livestock, though Marshall supposes
they will only be reckoned profitable so long as other breeds of
long-woolled sheep remain with thin chines, and loose mutton; or, in
other words, that there are plenty of kinds which would prove equal,
if not superior, to the present, if they only received the same
studied attention.

(79.) _Varied nature of the food of Sheep._--Sheep will take,
sometimes from choice, sometimes from necessity, to food of a directly
opposite nature to what they have been used. "The mutton," says the
Rev. George Low, writing of Orkney, "is here in general but ordinary,
owing to the sheep feeding much on sea-ware, to procure which these
creatures show a wonderful sagacity, for no sooner has the tide of ebb
begun to run, but they, though at a great distance, immediately betake
themselves full speed, one and all, to the shore, where they continue
till it begins to flow." The sheep of Iceland are content during
severe winters to feed, and be preserved, on messes of chopped
fish-bones, being all that the ingenuity of their masters can provide
in the way of a precarious sustenance. During the long continuance of
snow-storms, when the herbage is beyond the reach of their utmost
efforts, sheep are known to devour the wool on each other's backs,
and, in some instances to acquire a relish for this unnatural food,
which adheres to them through life. This, though on first thoughts
hardly credible, is scarcely more wonderful than the partiality which
cows display, when instigated by the depraved appetites created by
pregnancy, for blankets, and any similar domestic articles which may
be exposed to the gratification of their longings.

The Puruk sheep of Ladusk, in the Himalaya mountains, is, as described
by Mr Moorecraft, in the _Transactions of the Asiatic Society_, in
respect to the varied nature of its food, a most remarkable animal.
"The Puruk sheep, if permitted, thrusts its head into the cooking pot,
picks up crumbs, is eager to drink the remains of a cup of broth, and
examine the hand of its master for barley, flour, or a cleanly picked
bone, which it disdains not to nibble; a leaf of lettuce, a peeling of
turnip, the skin of the apricot, give a luxury; and the industry is
indefatigable with which this animal detects, and appropriates
substances, so minute and uninviting as would be unseen and neglected
by ordinary sheep; perhaps the dog of the cottager is not so
completely domesticated as it is." That Mr Moorecraft is correct in
this statement of its omnivorous propensities, there cannot be the
slightest doubt, as any farmer can testify from what he has seen of
lambs reared by children for amusement. The celebrated John Hunter
showed, that a pigeon might be made to live on flesh, and that its
stomach became adapted to the nature of this food: and I have
somewhere read of a sheep, which, after being long on ship-board, and
accustomed, from scarcity of vegetables, to an animal diet, could
never after be prevailed upon to take to grass. Nor need these
circumstances excite surprise, since the food of every living creature
is, for a certain period at the commencement of existence, limited to
such as is purely animal. But to keep to our subject. Those in the
habit of opening the stomachs of sheep, must have remarked the eroded
appearance which the inner coat occasionally presents. This phenomenon
is owing to the action of the gastric juice, which, if competent to
turn at once from the food with which it is mingled to attack the
texture which has secreted it, will also be, during life, capable of
digesting with tolerable ease, such dead animal matter as may be
brought into contact with it.

In regard to vegetable food, they will, when necessary, devour such as
is even of an acrid nature, and calculated to poison any animals but
themselves. Thunberg, while in Southern Africa, frequently noticed
sheep eating, with impunity, the _Mortimia acris_, the _Rhus lucidum_,
and the _Lycium afrum_, which are all of a poisonous nature; and, in
this country, hemlock is known to be quite innocuous to sheep. What is
poison to one animal often constitutes a wholesome food for others,
and that which will, when given in immediate large doses, destroy an
animal, will, when taken in a gradually-increasing allowance, prove
extremely salutary.

(80.) _Influence of the food on the quality of Mutton._--Diet has a
powerful influence on the constituents of the body. A rank succulent
pasture taints the flesh, or renders it insipid and unpleasant, while
a dry aromatic herbage communicates a delightful flavour, and enables
people versed in the pleasures of the table easily to discriminate
between turnip-fed and grass-fed mutton; and again, between the
latter, and that which has spent its existence on the hills. In
Touchwood's Syllabus of Culinary Lectures, appended to the _Cook and
Housewive's Manual_, by Mistress Dods, we are briefly informed, that
"the black-faced, or short-sheep, are best for the table, though _more
depends on the pasture than the breed_." More, in fact, depending on
feeding and management, than on the variety of the animal, though this
of course is not to be neglected. A notion has been advanced in this
country, that artificial pastures are less nutritious than natural
ones, and that the animals which are raised upon them are,
consequently, of a laxer fibre, and the flesh less wholesome, as well
as less savoury. This, I have no doubt, is perfectly correct, as many
_diseases_ may be traced to such improper food, and what is calculated
to produce in some cases actual disease, cannot fail to prove at all
times capable of retarding the advancement of the animal. These soft
succulent pastures appear not to be positively poisonous, but to be
negatively so from their deficiency in saline matter; the rapid growth
of the plant preventing the elimination and absorption, of many of
these ingredients with which the soil abounds. This is proved by the
greater necessity which exists for the use of salt in the food of the
herbivorous animals of hot climates, than in that of such as inhabit
temperate, or cold latitudes; vegetation being in the former more
rapid in its details, and in certain states of the atmosphere hurried
in the extreme, while in the latter the process proceeds with that
leisure which enables the plant to make good the measure of its
constituents, as it increases in size. In many parts of North America
it is well known, that, at certain seasons, the wild animals make
eagerly for the salt _licks_; and, following up this hint, the
settlers easily induce their oxen to keep near their dwellings, by
serving them periodically with salt. When the wild cattle of South
America had greatly increased, it was discovered that they could not
exist unless they had access to streams which had acquired brackish
particles from the soil. _If salt, in places devoid of it, was not
furnished to them by man, they became stunted, unfruitful, and the
herds soon disappeared._ Even in this country, the free use of salt is
found to be highly beneficial to our domestic animals, preventing the
occurrence of many of those diseases which are otherwise sure to
follow the use of food such as is mentioned above, and ensuring that
sound health which is so conducive to the accumulation of fat.

(81.) _Differences in the quality of Mutton._--I shall now enter a
little into the manner in which the _quality_ of the flesh may be
affected, and the methods of judging of the different states or
conditions, in which it may be found under various circumstances;
premising that it requires much experience, to enable a person to
pronounce with confidence, as to the value of the muscular parts, from
the inspection of a living animal:--The flesh of different specimens
of the same animal, varies not so much from breed or descent, as from
age, feeding, and exercise. That of the young is soft and gelatinous,
the fibres being small, weak, and much interspersed with a substance
termed, from its loose appearance, cellular tissue. This tissue
exhibits in the spaces between the muscles (_layers of flesh_) small
masses of delicate fat. The greater bulk of the latter is situated
immediately beneath the skin, and occasions that beautiful rotundity
so much admired in children. As the animal advances in life, the
fibres become firmer, larger, and more approximated, the cellular
tissue disappears to a great extent, the fat shifts from the outward
to the inward parts, allowing the outline of the muscles to be
distinctly seen, but giving at the same time to the figure that portly
symptom of good keeping, so unpleasant to the eye when carried to the
extent of Aldermanic dignity. All these appearances are, however,
varied by exercise, which tends, in a marked degree, to increase the
muscular parts at the expense of the fat--the former becoming, when
employed within proper limits, large, and unyielding to the touch,
while at the same time the colour is heightened from a pale or purple
hue, to the bright vermilion so justly relied upon by housewives, as a
guarantee for the superior qualities of the article. The wild horses
in South America, which form the principal part of Indian diet, are
said by these epicures to be much improved for the table by gentle
labour, and to be quite on a par when thus cared for, with some of our
best beef. This plan is, however, only pursued for the purpose of
rendering the flesh of their horses moderately firm; but where an
opposite effect is desired it is readily, though cruelly, produced by
putting the animal to a lingering death; examples of which practice
are to be met with in the annals of most civilized nations; as in the
German mode of whipping pigs, and the English custom of baiting
bulls;[14] both tending to the same end, by so exhausting vital
contractibility as to prevent its last and faint display in the
stiffening of the carcass.

        [14] By the old English law, no bull beef could be sold unless
        the bull had been baited.

Marshall, who touches very slightly on the subject, says, "The flesh
of sheep when slaughtered is well known to be of various qualities:
some is composed of large coarse grains, interspersed with wide empty
pores, like a sponge; others of large grains, with wide pores filled
with fat; others of fine close grains with smaller pores filled with
fat; and a fourth of close grains without any mixture of fatness. The
flesh of sheep when dressed is equally well known to possess a variety
of qualities: some mutton is coarse, dry, and insipid,--a dry sponge
affording little or no gravy of any colour. Another sort is somewhat
firmer, imparting a light-coloured gravy only. A third plump, short,
and palatable, affording a mixture of white and red gravy. A fourth
likewise plump, and well-flavoured, but discharging red gravy only,
and this in various quantities. It is likewise observable that some
mutton, when dressed, appears covered with a thick, tough,
parchment-like integument; others with a membrane comparatively fine
and flexible." This membrane ought to be rather thin than thick, as,
when of the latter texture, you may safely affirm that the animal was
aged. _Looseness_ is reckoned a bad quality of the flesh of sheep
during life, as indicating a coarse-grained porous mutton, and as
equally exceptionable with that of _hardness_: while _mellowness_, and
firmness, are much to be desired, as forming a happy mixture, deemed
by some the point of perfection. The tendency to become fat at an
early age, though a valuable one in some points, is not so in others.
Premature decay is always the result, showing with certainty that a
healthy action has not been going on. An animal when _loaded_ with fat
cannot be looked upon otherwise than as in a diseased state, and
liable to embarassment of many organs, especially of the heart and
brain. Sudden death on any hurried exertion is far from rare, and
life, from the difficulty of enjoying it, is any thing but desirable.

(82.) _Abuses in Feeding._--The custom of over-feeding was carried to
an absurd extent on the promulgation of Bakewell's method, nothing
less being aspired to than the glory of laying seven or eight inches
of fat on the ribs of sheep. This folly however had its day: the
ridiculous parts of the system have to a great extent disappeared,
while attention to the production of an increased quantity of mutton,
without too great an abundance of fat, has remained to prove to the
world the value of the benefits which the English farmer conferred
upon his country. Overgrown sheep are indeed good for nothing "save"
in the words of Meg Dods, "to obtain premiums at cattle shows, and
deluge dripping-pans with liquid fat;" and in this every one will
agree, excepting always boarding-school cooks, and others who depend
for their principal perquisites on the over-roasting of oily meat! The
fat, though not reckoned as offal in the slaughter-house, will
speedily show itself as such in the kitchen, by the waste during the
cooking process, even in England where fat meat is so much admired;
and it is surely absurd to pay the price of good mutton for tallow,
when if the latter were really wanted, it could be procured at a
cheaper rate by itself, than when forming part of a dear commodity.
The only way in which over-fat meat can at all be reckoned profitable,
is in its application to the wants of the working classes, whose
bodily labour enables them to enjoy what would to others prove
displeasing in the extreme, and to digest and assimilate with ease,
food which to the sons of sloth would prove a poison. So far as these
wants have been supplied, the attempt of Bakewell has been attended
with the happiest results, as he and his disciples have placed by
their well-spent exertions much good food within the reach of the
poorer classes, which they must otherwise have gone without; while in
many instances it has driven bacon from the market, being a cheaper
and more palatable commodity, which cannot but contribute to the
health of the people, seeing the continued use of salted meat is
calculated to injure the body, and render it liable to many diseases.
Marshall remarks, that fat, like charity, covers a multitude of
faults: and he is right, for an ill-shaped animal if well fed, has all
its angles speedily effaced, and if its ugliness has not amounted to
absolute deformity, it acquires that rotundity of contour so pleasing
to the eye, and so apt to mislead us.

The rapidity is various with which animals take on fat, much depending
on hereditary predisposition, and the nature of the food; and much
also on the state of the atmosphere, and quiet habits; a moist and
rather warm air tending greatly to the advancement of the process,
some birds becoming fat in twenty-four hours of wet weather. Children
that have been emaciated by diseases often resume their original plump
condition in a few days; and animals that have been famished, as hogs,
afterwards fatten very rapidly. Moderate and repeated bleedings, mild
farinaceous diet, and emasculation conjoined, tend to the repletion of
the body, and to the speedy deposition of fat; yet it would appear,
that when acquired in this rapid manner, it never possesses the value
in a culinary point of view, that is yielded to such as has been
slowly formed, when, as one may say, the worthless particles have had
time to be removed, and the remaining part to become a firm and
healthy deposit. It is partly owing to this, that animals are never at
their best when forced to take on fat at an early age, but are most
esteemed by the gourmand when they, as in the case of the sheep, have
lived from three to four years.

(83.) _Tendency to acquire Fat._--A disposition to early obesity, as
well as a tendency to that form which indicates a propensity to
fatten, is materially promoted by a good supply of rich food, while
the animal is in a growing state. The Spanish shepherds are so well
aware of this, that half of the lambs are annually killed, that the
survivors may obtain every indulgence in the way of milk. Care should
be taken never to place animals suddenly on food much superior in
feeding qualities to what they have left. Very lean sheep are never
put to full turnips in winter, nor to rich pastures in summer, but are
prepared for turnips on good grass lands, and kept on second years'
leys, and afterwards given a moderate allowance of turnips if they are
to be fatted on pastures. It is an invariable rule with all good
managers, never to allow this or any other animal, reared solely for
the shambles, to lose flesh from its earliest age till it is sent to
the butcher as more food is necessary to bring it to a certain
condition than to keep it at it. In the case of the Dishleys, it is
customary to keep all in a state of fatness, except those intended for
breeding, and after full feeding on turnips during winter and spring,
to finish them on the first year's clover early in summer, when the
prices of meat are usually the highest; so that this variety is always
fit for market at eighteen months, while the Highland breeds, though
prepared by means of turnips, a year at least, sooner than in former
times, do not usually go to the shambles till from three to four years

(84.) _Frequent change of Pasture necessary._--Sheep ought never to be
permitted to remain too long on one pasture:--Great benefit will be
derived from their removal from time to time to different parts even
of the same farm, by which arrangement a change of herbage will be
ensured. No animal can be kept for any length of time in health, if
restricted to one unvarying routine of diet. This has been
satisfactorily proved by the experiments of Majendie, who found that
health could not be sustained on one or even two kinds of food beyond
the thirtieth day. Now, though such immediate injury cannot result to
a flock from retention on a particular pasture, owing to the variety
of sustenance being considerable, yet proportional harm will ensue
sufficient to induce us not to repeat the risk. Nature, the best of
guides in all that relates to the protection of her creatures, is no
where more pointed in her directions than on this head. A necessity
for a variety of food, and a desire to secure it, are implanted in the
disposition of every animal; and where is the creature more prone to
extensive rambles than the sheep? We limit it to a paltry
pasture-ground of roods and acres, but does it not show, by its
determination to transgress our barriers, that such is not the
treatment nature has designed for it? There is something more than
wildness of character, and restless disposition, in the powerful
attempts it continually makes to defy our artificial boundaries. There
is in these efforts a longing for fresh fields and other herbage, an
instinctive feeling that all is not as it ought to be; and yet we
attend not to the hint! Nothing will conduce so much to the health of
the sheep, and to the speedy taking on of fat, as the frequent
shifting of the flock. Disease will doubtless still affect the
animals, but illness will be rare, and mortality diminished, if by the
care of their rulers, they are enabled to obtain what instinct tells
them is the best of medicine.

(85.) _Varieties induced by apparently trivial causes._--Surrounded in
a civilized state, by all that can minister to the supply of wants,
whether real or supposed, man is not on that account to be imagined as
always so situated. Look to savage nations, and remark their destitute
condition, their dependence on the uncertain proceeds of the chase,
and their reliance on modes of agriculture as unprofitable as they are
unmatured. Countries there are certainly to be found, where the
"elements of temperature," are so fortunately balanced and combined as
to produce only good effects, and in which the rude inhabitants reap
the fruits of a spontaneous plenty; but these form only a small
proportion of the globe, and in most regions man must give his
unceasing endeavours to the cultivation of a plant or animal, before
he can raise it from the miniature condition in which he finds it, to
such a size and richness as will satisfy his wants. Nor need we go far
for illustrations. The crab has been transformed into the apple, and
the sloe into the plum. None of our cereal grasses, as now cultivated,
are to be met with in a wild state; they have evidently been brought
to their present fulness by the care of ages. The red cabbage and the
cauliflower are the altered descendants of a widely different sea-side
plant. The different races of cabbages are examples of a wonderful
deviation from the natural type, and they all require much nicety in
cultivation to prevent them assuming the characters of the original
stock, as, when permitted to grow wild, especially on a sterile soil
as that of the sea coast, they are sure in no long time to become
exact counterparts of their originals. Cultivation, also, though taken
in rather a different sense, influences to a great extent the form and
features of animals. In proof of this may be adduced the differences
that exist between different ranks of inhabitants in almost all
countries. Buffon says, that in France you may distinguish by their
aspect not only the nobles from the peasantry, but the superior orders
of nobility from the inferior--these from citizens, and citizens from
peasants. The African field-slaves in America, are extremely different
from the domestic servants of the former nation, retaining as they do
their original peculiarities from poor living and degrading duties;
while the latter have nearly approached to the habits and modes of
thinking of their masters, from living with them, and being well
treated under the same roof. "The South Sea islanders," says Dr
Elliotson, "who appear to be all of one family, vary according to
their degree of cultivation. The New Zealanders, for example, are
savages, and chiefly black; the New Hollanders half civilized, and
chiefly tawny; the Friendly islanders are more advanced, and not quite
so dark; several are lighter than olive colour, and hundreds of
European faces are found among them." Indeed the examples are almost
endless which I could bring forward to aid my explanations; but these
it would be needless to give, since it is in the power of every one to
study the differences in form and features of the classes of society
in our own island, and by so doing understand the influence of
otherwise trivial and unimportant circumstances, on an animal at all
times so easily moulded to situation as the sheep.

(86.) _Varieties from mode of Breeding._--Changes are wrought for the
most part by attention to the mode of propagation of the plant or
animal, by the plan of crossing; and by careful selection of the
parent stock. Every one must be struck with the varieties constantly
occurring in the vegetable world: Flowers change their colours, and
become double; and these characters can be perpetuated by seed.
Hedge-row plants may be observed to vary even in the limits of an
ordinary walk, and to be continued as varieties so long as they remain
in the same locality. The following striking example of the extent to
which plants may be made to vary by altering their circumstances, is
related by Mr Herbert in the _Horticultural Transactions_, vol.
iv:--"I raised from the natural seed of an umbel of a highly manured
red cowslip, a primrose, a cowslip, oxlips of the usual and other
colours, a black polyanthus, a hose-in-hose cowslip, and a natural
primrose bearing its flower on a polyanthus stalk. From the seed of
that very hose-in-hose cowslip, I have since raised a hose-in-hose
primrose. I therefore consider all these to be only local varieties,
depending upon soil and situation." "Fifty years ago," says Buffon
(writing in 1749), "our pot-herbs consisted of a single species of
succory, and two of lettuce, both very bad; but we have now more than
fifty kinds of lettuce and succory, all of which are good. Our best
fruits and nuts, which are so different from those formerly cultivated
that they have no resemblance but in the name, must likewise be
referred to a very modern date. In general, substances remain, and
names change with times: but in this case names remain, and substances
are changed. Our peaches, our apricots, our pears, are new productions
with ancient names. To remove every doubt upon this subject, we have
only to compare our flowers and fruits with the descriptions, or
rather notices of them transmitted to us by the Greeks and Romans. All
their flowers were single, and all their fruit-trees were wild stocks,
and their species very ill-chosen. Their fruits of course, were small,
dry, sour, and had neither the flavour nor the beauty of ours. These
new and good species originally sprung from the wild kinds; but how
many times have their seeds been sown before this happy effect was
produced? It was only by sowing and rearing an infinite number of
vegetables of the same species, that some individuals were recognized
to bear better and more succulent fruit than others; and this first
discovery, which supposes much care and observation, would have
remained for ever useless if a second had not been made, which implies
an equal degree of genius as the first required of patience--I mean
the mode of multiplying by engrafting those precious individuals which
unfortunately cannot propagate or transmit their excellent qualities
to their posterity. * * * In the animal kingdom, most of those
qualities which appear to be individual are propagated and transmitted
in the same manner as their specific qualities. It was therefore more
easy for man to have influence upon the nature of animals than upon
that of vegetables. Particular races in any species of animals, are
only constant varieties, which are perpetuated by generation. But in
the vegetable kingdom there are no races, no varieties so constant as
to be perpetuated by reproduction. In the species of the hen and
pigeon, a great number of races have been very lately produced, all of
which propagate their kinds. In other species, we daily rear and
improve races by crossing the breeds."

(87.) _Breeding in-and-in._--Though there are several methods pursued
by breeders for the improvement of flocks, the one most in vogue is,
that of choosing individuals of the same family, and breeding
_in-and-in_. It is however a plan requiring, for the safety of the
flock, either very great skill in selecting the males and females, or
only to be followed to a very limited extent. No subject ever called
forth so much random controversy, and no evil has ever so clearly
shown itself as such; yet it is only recently, that people have opened
the intellectual eye to the dangers of a practice, against which the
ablest pens were long and vainly blunted. The object of breeding
_in-and-in_ is to strengthen good qualities and get rid of bad ones,
as speedily as possible; and it is plain, that if we happen to select
animals with slight imperfections, these imperfections will become
hereditary, and will go on assuming a worse and worse type till the
breed be destroyed. Culley, however, was of opinion, that less risk is
run by breeding _in-and-in_ than is generally supposed, and instances
the wild cattle in Chillingham Park, in the county of Northumberland,
which, having been confined for several hundred years without
intermixture, must have bred from the nearest affinities, and yet are
just as they were five hundred years since. With all due deference,
however, to the opinion of the late Mr Culley, I must assert, that I
cannot perceive in what manner wild cattle can be made to illustrate
the case in point, as it must be evident, that animals in a state of
nature differ essentially from those in charge of man, in regard to
the propagation of infirmities, as the former, if born with a radical
defect, will, ten to one, never see the age which suits them for
reproduction; while the latter, from the care bestowed upon them,
will, even when very delicate, in many instances be bolstered up till
they have entailed upon posterity an accumulation of their already
aggravated maladies. The system of breeding _in-and-in_ proves, in
fact, as destructive to flocks, as marriages of near relations to the
human kind. We would not witness an every-day entailment of diseases,
if people would forego their unnatural love of money, and cease their
endeavours to keep it in "the family," by forming matrimonial
alliances with those who are near of kin. The law of God forbids us to
wed those who stand in certain degrees of propinquity; but, if we and
our descendants avail ourselves of the limits of this law, and marry
on its verge a certain number of times, misery must infallibly be the
lot even of the tenth generation; and instead of being fathers of a
mighty people, few and full of sorrow will be the days of our
children; while in place of retaining in their possession our darling
wealth, it will, ere long, pass into the hand of the stranger.

(88.) _Opponents of in-and-in breeding._--Different individuals at
various times, and in widely separate places, have by their
observations rendered the criminal absurdity of this system perfectly
apparent to all, who, unbiased by party principle, are anxious for a
knowledge of the truth. A few of these I shall mention. Ezra
L'Hommedieu, Vice-president of the Agricultural Society of New York,
collected, in the year 1800, a great many observations on the breeding
of sheep, and came to the conclusion, that changing and crossing the
breed of the animals is a matter of great importance, in preventing a
dwindling and degeneracy of the flock. Dr Coventry, in his pamphlet on
_Live-Stock_, gives it as his opinion, that "The most perfect race of
animals may be debased by improper mixture, or injured by improper
treatment. Indiscriminate matches in breeding, and inattentive
management in rearing, are alike capable of producing a worthless
progeny." Here the matter is made very plain, from comparing an evil,
the progress of which is insidious, with the injurious consequences,
which the most unobserving can easily trace to a parallel neglect. Mr
Dick of Edinburgh, so well known for the valuable and trustworthy
information he has accumulated, has been informed by eminent farmers,
"that cattle bred _in-and-in_, are very subject to _clyers_ in the
throat after they have attained their first year." By clyers are meant
enlarged lymphatic glands, which are a sure sign of what is termed a
scrofulous habit, a breaking up of the constitution, which, though
produced by a variety of causes, is yet frequently the result of an
"_owr sib_" connection. These are, I may say, the accidental opinions
of men who had no point to make good, in which their credit was at all
at stake, and who are not endeavouring to support the crude opinions
of former years. For these reasons, they possess a value which ought
to give them a proportional weight in an investigation like the
present. Mr Bakewell succeeded in bringing his sheep to great
perfection as regards form, and rapidity of fattening, by breeding in
the same family for a great many years; but it was attended with
considerable deterioration in the quality of the wool, and engendered
a liability to disease, sufficient to deter any one from proceeding a
similar length in the same track, to what is so dubiously called
improvement. See what Mr Dickson says to this effect, in a recent
number of the _Quarterly Journal of Agriculture_. "The evil of
breeding _in-and-in_, or in other words, producing too great
refinement of tone, is manifested in the first instance by a
tenderness of constitution; the animals not being able to withstand
the extremes of heat and cold, rain and drought. If the evil is
prolonged through several generations, the forms of the animals become
affected, the bone becomes very small, the neck droops, the skin of
the head becomes tight and scantily covered with hair, the expression
of the eye indicates extreme sensibility, the hair on the body becomes
thin and short, and the skin as thin as paper; the _points_ continue
good, and predisposition to fatness increases, but the whole carcass
becomes much diminished in size, though retaining its plumpness, and
beautiful symmetry. The evil, however, does not terminate in the
production of these symptoms. Internal diseases ensue, such as
disorganization of the liver, or rot, polypi in the trachea, clyers,
malformation of the bones of the neck and legs, and general
deformity." This position, however, will be strengthened by drawing
attention to insulated portions of our race, where the effects of such
a system are exhibited on a considerable scale. The Members of the
Society of Friends were, at one time, supposed to be of all others the
least subject to insanity; but the very reverse is the case; being,
from the limited nature of their sect, driven to frequent
intermarriages, and to a consequent deterioration of the most active
part of the human frame--the brain. It is for the same reason, that
almost every royal family contains a large proportion of idiots, or,
at the best, persons of very weak intellect; and, such will continue
to occur, till legislators fall on some plan of striking at the
groundwork of the mischief. If the laws of God and man define to us so
clearly the evils of intermarrying with relatives; and if, as all
animals are constructed on one grand plan, we admit the proximity of
the sheep to the human race, it follows, that what is destructive, in
this respect, to the one, is destructive to the other; and that we
should seek, by a nearly similar, if not wider, range of rules, to
obviate many of those diseases of which, when under our protection,
they are so frequently the subjects.

(89.) _Breeding from different families of the same race._--Mr Culley,
though believing that no great harm can result from breeding
in-and-in, yet appears to have in a manner preferred the preferable
practice of breeding from different families of the same race; as he,
for many years, hired his rams from Mr Bakewell, at a time when other
breeders were paying a liberal price for his own valuable animals.
This is of all methods deservedly the best, as the males, which are
inter-changed, have always had shades of difference impressed upon
them, by various soils and treatment, so that the defects of each
family have a good chance to be counteracted by the perfections of the
other. By this means the bad points are gradually exhausted, and their
valuable properties as gradually heightened. Breeders have been much
aided in the furtherance of this desirable plan, by the rearing of
superior rams having become, of late years, a separate pursuit. The
letting of them out to distant parts of the country has long been a
branch of this speculation; diffusing some of the most valuable points
of particular breeds, and leading to a spirit of competition. The
practice has been reprobated, but, I presume, rather hastily; for with
all its attendant evils, such as leading to deception, by what is
termed the _making up_ of rams, it possesses excellencies which will,
I hope, lead to its continuance.

(90.) _Crossing._-The only other method of improving a breed is by
crossing two distinct races, one of which possesses the properties it
is desirable to acquire, and wants the defects we wish to remove.
This, however, is a measure not to be recommended, and only to be
resorted to when neither of the others will do; for it is scarcely
possible to obtain the desirable properties without at the same time
imparting qualities sufficient to neutralize them; and with which, in
fact, we would rather dispense. To cross, as Mr Cleghorn remarks, any
mountain breed with Leicester rams, with a view to obtain a propensity
to fatten at an early age, would be attended with an enlargement of
size, which the mountain pasture could not support, and the progeny
would be a mongrel race, not suited to the pastures of either of the
parent breeds. The folly of such a proceeding is beautifully shown in
the failure of the attempts made, some years ago, to better the fleece
of the mountain sheep, in the South of Scotland. To effect this
desirable end, rams were brought from the Cheviot range of hills, and
the consequences were, as described by Mr William Hogg, of Stobbo, in
the _Quarterly Journal of Agriculture_, just what a preliminary
consideration of the existing circumstances would have proved to be
unavoidable. "The independent habits of the mountain flocks were lost,
and a mongrel progeny, of a clumsy figure, occupied the lowest and
warmest of the pastures. As they were very improper subjects to breed
from, they were often a drug in the market: _but the store-master had
no other resource, but to struggle on against the opposition which the
animal itself made to the change_, and, also, against the influence of
bad seasons, in order to get the influence of the Cheviot breed fully
established. * * * With its shaggy coat the animal lost its bold
independent look, its stout shape, its unvitiated taste, and its sound
constitution. A course of severe winters too occurred during the time
of changing, while every property calculated to resist privation and
fatigue was unconfirmed in the progeny; and, in consequence, the
ravages by rot, and poverty, among the flocks that occupied soft
pastures were immense." How did it happen, that the store-master had
no other resource but to persevere in an unprofitable course? Was he
obliged to strive against natural obstacles, which even a short
experience might have taught him were, in that manner, insurmountable?
Why not recur _at once_ to the old mode of management, rather than
injure himself by kicking against the pricks. "Sundry store-masters
were not aware," says Mr Hogg, "that their old breed would so
obstinately resist the impression of the Cheviot blood, nor did they
ever dream that the mongrel issue would be so easily subdued by the
hardships and cold of winter: thus finding their scheme opposed, at
points where they anticipated little resistance, they gave up the
experiment ere it was _half completed_, and introduced mountain rams
to the mongrel issue." Enough, however, has been said to prove that
this plan ought not to be pursued: let me now say a few words as to
the reasons which should deter us from its adoption. To take a
familiar illustration:--How would one of the worshipful company of
Aldermen, or a dignitary of the Church, manage to keep up an
_appearance_, if suddenly transported from the luxurious plenty which
surrounds him, to the meagre fare, and churlish climate, of our
Highlands? Would their offspring, which ten to one would be prone to
rapid growth, and, therefore, requiring at the least a large supply of
porridge and milk; would they, I ask, arrive at a healthy maturity, if
supported only on the oaten cake, and _whang_ of skimmed-milk cheese,
of the hardy Northern? The answer is, they would not. They would,
doubtless, bear the climate; but the habit of body imprinted on them,
by the full living of the parents, would require a more nutritious
food to bring it to the adult age, than what might be necessary for
the sustenance of any child descended from the possessors of the soil.
If such then is the case with the young of an animal shielded from
inclemency on every hand, how can we expect the progeny of a rather
heavy variety of a defenceless creature like the sheep to thrive, in
defiance of every thing ungenial, on a pasture which requires for its
collection, in any quantity, a degree of experience and activity, the
result of time and well-trained instinct. The mongrel is not unfitted
for the locality, as Mr Hogg would have it, by a weakness resulting
from "the constant and continued exertions of the two bloods, the one
endeavouring to overpower the other," there is no war waging in the
progeny between the blood of sire and dam; the secret lies in the
animal being unsuited for the pasture where it is produced. Place it
in a country possessing a herbage something between that of the
Highland and Cheviot hills, and it will do passing well; but do not
ascribe the want of success to a natural hatred of the breeds. Again,
do not fall into the error, that "the figure, wool, and other
qualities, of the Cheviot ram, are most conspicuous (in this cross) in
the smallest and feeblest of the progeny, while the properties of the
mountain breed are more fully exhibited in the strongest and most
robust lambs," a circumstance which, unfortunately, induced many of
the store-farmers "to throw aside the best of the lambs, and select
those to breed from, which had apparently most of the Cheviot figure;"
or, in other words, do not suppose, as Mr Hogg strangely enough
infers, that only the weak animals took on the Cheviot form, and only
the strong ones assumed the Highland character. The correct
explanation is, that such as had most Cheviot blood were sure to
become puny, from being unadapted to a herbage on which those that
resembled the mountain stock throve tolerably well. Strength and
feebleness were, in this instance, mere secondary matters.

(91.) _Things to be attended to in Crossing._--The fact is, that, if
you wish to have a _particular kind_ of sheep, you must first of all
be in possession of a pasture suitable for the new comers. You must
consider the influence of the individual parents on the progeny, the
size of the animals, their habits and dispositions, and their
peculiarities in regard to the time of their maturity, and fattening
properties; and, having anticipated these apparently trifling affairs,
you must see that the surface of your farm, its degree of exposure,
and the quantity and quality of its productions, are calculated for
the profitable maintenance of the animal in view. Far too little
attention is bestowed, at the commencement of such an undertaking, on
these all-swaying matters. Farmers enter upon this, the most arduous
of all professions, with the settled conviction, that nothing is so
simple as the engrafting of a race of animals on a particular part of
a country. They have read, or heard, of others who have gained fame,
and a fortune, by successful endeavours of the kind, and they think
that nothing is easier than to follow their example; but they forget
the thoughtful hours, and irksome duties, these men had to tolerate,
before they could speak of any thing like success. No animal can be
made to forego at once a long used food, an ancient locality,
peculiarity of clime and season, and the instinctive habits that have
been long nurtured by these, without both it and its progeny suffering
from the change:--Nature cannot thus be made to bend to human
intention; it will give way in the attempt.

In crossing there are several important things to be attended to. Well
formed parents ought to be selected, and, if enlargement of the
carcass be wanted, the issue should be better fed than its
originators, which ought to be of a size rather under, than above what
the pasture is capable of supporting. The size of the parents should
not be much disproportioned at first, as nature abhors sudden
extremes, and does every thing in the most gradual manner. It is
better, when some increase has been attained, to bring the breed to
the required size by one or two crossings.[15] In choosing a breed, we
should adopt that which affords the greatest quantity of market
produce, in return for the food consumed;[16] and a particular breed
ought always to be preferred to the sheep of a district. We must not
imagine, that when, by dint of crossing, we have obtained the variety
wanted, that it will remain in the condition to which we have brought
it, without the slightest liability to alter. Many farmers believe
they have done all that is required, if they subject their stock to
three or four crossings with a breed of acknowledged excellence. They
think that the improved animals they have obtained will support their
acquired characters, uninfluenced by extraneous agency. Now nothing
can be more faulty than this mode of management, as is proved by a
comparison of stock so treated, with flocks which have uninterruptedly
received that undeviating attention, which can alone ensure a
continuance of the properties desired. Such men forget, that the
climate is operating with as great certainty on the animals as on the
rocks around; and that as the herbage is determined by the nature of
the adjacent rocks, so are the peculiarities of the sheep influenced
by the herbage; and that if they manage to change the characters of
the breed, it can, in a majority of cases, be only for a time, unless
the tendencies of the surrounding elements are counteracted, by a
constant recurrence to the originators of the flock. "I am sorry,"
says Little, in his valuable practical observations, "to say, that
there are too many examples of those, who thought themselves at the
head of improvement in stock, relaxing their exertions, and keeping by
their own stock; and the consequence has been, that such stocks have
degenerated, become delicate, tender, and diminutive in size; and from
no other cause but that the same pains have not been taken to preserve
the improvement, that was taken to effect it. I could mention many
improvers who were of the first class formerly, but who are now only
in the second." Changes, in fact, by crossing are not to be effected
in a short space of time; you must look forward to several years of
constant exertion, before you can hope, in this manner, to alter your
stock.[17] Then, again, we must be aware of the tendency which nature,
in numerous instances, displays to perpetuate diseases, dispositions,
and aberrations from the normal structure. Many qualities and
diseases, are known, in man, to be hereditary; of the former, I may
instance peculiarities in walking, and writing; a passion for
intoxicating liquors, and other habits too trivial to mention; and of
the latter, gout, pulmonary consumption, and blindness from cataract,
which are well known to harass a family for generations. Features, in
like manner, may remain for ages of the same undeviating cast; thus
the Jews of to-day are the very counterparts of the Jews of three
thousand years back, and, in all likelihood, will so remain till the
end of time. A predisposition to many diseases is engendered in the
sheep, by too great a refinement in breeding, which tends to diminish
the size of the animal, prevents them feeding to perfection, destroys
their fecundity, and imparts great tenderness of constitution.
Accidental deviations from the natural type may, also, be hereditary,
as is seen in those races of dogs which have a supernumerary toe on
the hind foot, and tarsal bones to correspond. In the human race also
several generations of a particular family have been distinguished, by
having six fingers and six toes, on their hands and feet. It is in
like manner to an accidental malformation, that the Americans are
indebted for their Otter breed of sheep. Mr Livingston, who wrote in
1811, thus describes them: "The Otter sheep were first discovered on
some island, on the eastern coast, and have spread to the adjoining
states. The sheep are long-bodied rather than large, and weigh about
15 lbs. a quarter. Their wool is of a medium fineness, and a medium
length; but that which particularly characterizes these sheep is the
length of their bodies, and the shortness of their legs, which are,
also, turned out in such a manner as to appear rickety. They cannot
run, or jump, and they even walk with some difficulty. They appear as
if their legs had been broken and set by some awkward surgeon. They
can scarcely exist in a deep country, and they cannot possibly be
driven to a distant pasture or market." Dr Dwight, in his travels in
New England, remarks of this curious variety, that the fore legs are
remarkably short, and bent inward, "so as distinctly to resemble what
are called club-feet."[18] I believe this to be the only instance
where man has availed himself of a defect in the animal kingdom, and
turned it to his advantage. Attention ought also to be bestowed on the
order in which different parts of the animal are subjected to changes
during crossing. These, according to Dr Sturm, the latest observer on
this head, are first exhibited in those parts that possess a power of
being reproduced, as the hair, horns, and hoofs. The fleshy parts
change slowly, in proportion as the mother has much of the blood of
the original race. The first changes take place in the head, and are
gradually developed towards the hind quarters. Lastly, look to the
condition in which your sheep are as regards fatness. If fat, they
will be averse to becoming pregnant, and considerable annoyance will,
in all likelihood, be experienced. A moderately low diet is most
suitable for ewes, for some time before the ram is admitted, in the
same way that fruit trees, when unproductive in a rich soil, are
rendered fertile by placing straw and stones between their roots and
the too nutritious earth. A rather poor diet, also, during pregnancy,
will be found to obviate many of those risks which are sure to be
incurred from repletion during this period.

        [15] Dr Cline, in a communication to the Board of Agriculture,
        observes on this point: "Experience has proved, that crossing
        has only succeeded in an eminent degree, in those instances in
        which the females were larger, than in the usual proportion of
        females to males, and that it has generally failed when the
        males were proportionally large."

        [16] It was owing to a peculiar view taken of this maxim, that
        so enormous sums were asked and given, for the hire of rams,
        at the time Mr Bakewell brought the new Leicester to
        perfection. That gentleman would never have obtained 1200
        guineas for the hire of three rams if the speculators had not
        intended to procure nearly similar prices for the use of the
        offspring of these animals; and it may be pretty safely
        affirmed, that this traffic was ultimately the cause of much
        mischief to the breed in question, by inducing many to
        speculate on what was likely to prove a fashionable article,
        without caring much for the endurance of the really valuable

        [17] Dr Sturm, professor of Agriculture, at Bonn, says, that a
        new race may be produced in the same number of years as are
        required for perfecting the teeth.

        [18] Sheep are as liable to distortions of the skeleton as
        other animals. The Museum of Guy's Hospital contains a very
        good specimen of distorted spine taken from a sheep.

(92.) _Choice of Parents._--However faulty sheep may be, some are
always to be found surpassing their fellows, and these it ought to be
the aim of every breeder to discover. Without acknowledge of an
animal's _points_, it is in vain that the breeder can hope for
improvement. He may by accident make a lucky hit, but, unless he has
studied his business from the bottom, he cannot follow up and avail
himself of an advantage, which a more knowing individual would, from
previous training, turn at once to a profitable account. Much may be
done by letter-press description; and this I shall endeavour to
achieve; but more will be accomplished by a close and attentive
examination of a few well-selected animals, which it is now no
difficult matter to get a view of, as, thanks to the spirited
exertions of the Highland Society, valuable specimens are far from
rare. In breeding and rearing rams, two divisions of these animals are
recognised,--ram getters, and wedder getters,--the former, from their
fineness, being kept for the procreation of animals like themselves,
while the latter, from their coarseness, are set aside as fitted only
for parent stock for grazier's sheep, the mere grazier liking a ram no
worse for having a massy frame, and being less scrupulous about his
form than the ram breeder, whose grand object is fineness, and who
trusts to the ewes for giving the offspring size and substance. The
principal ram-breeders are guided in the choice of their ram-lambs,
more by blood or parentage, than by form, on which, at so early an
age, little dependance can be placed. In the case of the Dishleys,
they allow them every indulgence, from the time of weaning till that
of shearing, as they push them forward with the intent of letting them
the first season, while yet yearlings. It is this early arrival at
maturity, which is, with truth, supposed by some to occasion their
early falling off; for by a law of the animal economy, premature adult
age is always succeeded by premature decay; life appearing to be dated
from the time the animal enters on the fulfilment of the ends for
which it was created.

According to Mr Bakewell, the shape which should be the criterion of a
sheep, is that of a hogshead or firkin, truly circular, with small and
as short legs as possible: upon the plain principle, that the value
lies in the barrel, not in the legs; and all breeds the backs of which
rise in the least ridge are bad. Their bodies should be as true
barrels as can be seen, their backs round and broad, and their legs
not much exeeeding six inches in length. The following is a
measurement of a three-years' old ram of Mr Bakewell,

                          Feet.  Inches.

  Girth,                    5     10
  Height,                   2      5
  Breadth of Collar,        1      4
  Breadth of shoulders,     1     11-1/2
  Breadth across the ribs,  1     10-1/2
  Breadth across the hips,  1      9-1/2

A most unusual proof of kindly feeding in the animals of this shape,
is their feeling quite fat, just within their fore legs, on the rib; a
point in which sheep are seldom examined, from common breeds never
carrying fat there. They are particularly distinguished by the
lightness of the offal, the bones being one-half smaller than in some
other breeds, and the meat proportionally thicker, while the pelt is
thin, and the head small--a thing of some consequence in most parts of
England, where that Scottish luxury, sheep-head broth, is so cordially

The best form for a cheviot ram is thus described by Mr Cully, in his
excellent work on _Live-Stock_: "His head should be fine and small;
his nostrils wide and expanded; his eyes prominent, and rather bold or
daring; ears thin; his collar full from his breast and shoulders, but
tapering gradually all the way to where the neck and head join, which
should be very fine and graceful, being perfectly free from any coarse
leather hanging down; the shoulders broad and full, which must at the
same time join so easy to the collar forward and chine backward, as to
leave not the least hollow in either place; the mutton upon his arm or
fore-thigh must come quite to the knee; his legs upright, with a clean
fine bone, being equally clear from superfluous skin and coarse hairy
wool from the knee and hough downwards; the breast broad and well
forward, which will keep his forelegs at a proper wideness; his girth
or chest full and deep, and instead of a hollow behind the shoulders,
that part by some called the fore-flank, should be quite full; the
back and loins broad, flat, and straight, from which the ribs must
rise in a fine circular arch; his belly straight; the quarters long
and full, with the mutton quite down to the hough, which should
neither stand in nor out; his twist deep, wide and full, which, with
the broad breast, will keep his four legs open and upright; the whole
body covered with a thin pelt, and that with bright soft wool. The
nearer any breed comes up to the above description, the nearer they
approach towards excellence of form." As an amusing contrast to this
well drawn picture, I give an extract from the work of that ancient
agriculturist Columella.

"Therefore, the way to judge and approve of a ram, is not only that of
observing if he is clothed with a white fleece, but also if his palate
and tongue are of the same colour with his wool; for when these parts
of his body are black or spotted, there arises a black or speckled
offspring. And this, among other things, the same poet I mentioned
above, (Virgil, Georg. Lib. iii.) has excellently pointed out in such
numbers as these:"

    "Reject him, tho' the ram himself be white,
    Under whose ousy palate lies concealed
    A black or spotted tongue; for with black spots
    He'll stain the fleeces of his future race."

After some amusing remarks on the same subject, delivered in a very
quaint way, he concludes his description with the mention of "twisted
horns,"--"not because this last is more useful, (for a ram without
horns is better,) but because horns that are twisted and bended
inwards are not at all so hurtful as those that are set upright and
expanded. Nevertheless, in some countries where the climate is wet and
windy, we would wish for he-goats and rams even with the very largest
horns; because, when they are high and extended, they defend the
greatest part of the head from the storm."

It is thus that among some of his most beautiful remarks, we have
generally a something occurring which upsets the gravity of the whole
by its childish absurdity.

(93.) _Influence of Sex._--In early ages, the greater share of
attention appears to have been bestowed on _male_ domesticated
animals, on account of the more numerous offspring of which they would
become the parents; and from this, as the Rev. Henry Berry, of Acton
Beauchamp, Worcestershire, supposes, (in a valuable essay on the
breeding of live stock, published in the _British Farmer's Magazine_,)
has originated the prevalent idea, that the male has a more decided
influence, than the female, on the form of the progeny. "The ideas
entertained respecting the useful qualities of an animal would (in
former times) be very similar, and lead to the adoption of a general
standard of excellence, towards which it would be required that each
male should approximate; and thus there would exist, among what may be
termed fashionable sires, a corresponding form and character,
different from, and superior to, those of the general stock of the
country. This form and character would, in most instances, have been
acquired by _perseverance in breeding from animals which possessed the
important or fancied requisites_, and might, therefore, be said to be
almost _confirmed_ in such individuals. Under these circumstances,
striking results would doubtless follow the introduction of these
sires to a common stock; results which would lead superficial
observers to remark, that individual sires possessed properties as
_males_, which, in fact, were only assignable to them as _improved_

In general, the qualities of the male and female parents are visible
to an equal extent in the offspring, as is well exemplified among
horses, in the mixture of the blood and cart breed, where the great
difference in form and character is nicely blended; but, occasionally,
the peculiarities of the male, or female, are visible only on some
particular part of the offspring, as in the crossing of the Merino ram
with the Ryeland ewe, when the former affects the fleece, and the
latter the carcass.

Though there are many opinions as to the comparative influence of the
sexes on the progeny, yet, as before stated, the majority of voices
represent the male as the more influential. Mr Boswell, in his essay
on this subject, published in the _Quarterly Journal of Agriculture_,
and in the _Farmer's Magazine_, is decidedly of this opinion, "Being
fully convinced of the power of the male on the offspring, I have
always accounted it as a loss to put a bad male to a high bred female,
and have never done so. I have, however, observed, where the country
people have purchased high bred sheep at any sale of mine, and bred
from them with the ordinary rams, that the breed very quickly got bad:
whereas, when a Bakewell ram had been purchased, I have seen a most
remarkable change on the quality of the sheep; and, in several
instances, where the ewes (Highlanders) had been tolerable from which
they had bred, the cross was so nearly resembling a new Leicester, as
to deceive any one who was not a thorough judge." Bewick, the natural
historian, supports this opinion when speaking of the original breed
of wild cattle, still to be found in a few English and Scottish parks.
They are uniformly pure white, with black or red ears and noses. He
says, that cows, when in season, used often to be turned into the park
at Chillingham Castle, in Northumberland, and that, when covered by
the wild bull, _all their produce was uniformly white, with red ears
and noses_. On the other hand, the female is, also, prevalently
believed to have some share in the matter, and much may be adduced as
evidence of its power over the form of the offspring, equally
authentic with the former. Mr Ferguson, in a paper on live-stock, in
the _Quarterly Journal of Agriculture_, relates the following apposite
and amusing story:--

"Naturalists are, I believe, nearly agreed, that the influence of the
male exceeds that of the female in communicating qualities to the
offspring, and a very providential arrangement it is, in respect that
good points may be thus diffused with far more rapidity than could
otherwise occur. The choice of the female is by no means, however, a
matter of indifference, and it is only by due attention to both that
perfection can be looked for. I recollect several years ago, at a
distinguished breeder's in Northumberland, meeting with a shrewd
Scottish borderer, (indeed, if report be true, the original and
identical Dandy Dinmont,) who, after admiring, with a considerable
_spice of national pique_, a very fine short-horn bull, demanded
anxiously to see the dam. The cow having been accordingly produced,
and having undergone a regular survey, Dandy vociferated, with
characteristic _pith_, '_I think naething o' your bull now, wi' sic a
caumb_;' and, unquestionably, the mould or '_caumb_' must have its own
share in producing shapes, though in his haste to detract, (as he
thought,) from the merits of the bull, poor Dandy totally overlooked
the additional compliment paid to the judgment of the '_Southron_.'"

It is in general supposed, that if the female be by descent small,
that the length of the legs of the issue will not be influenced by the
male. The weight of the carcass is a good deal affected by the male,
but not so much as by the female. The impressions of one or other,
especially of the male, do not cease on the birth of the fruits of a
connection, for though he may have no further meeting with that
female, yet are the succeeding offspring tinged with his peculiar
colour, or modelled after his form. This is well illustrated by a fact
which came under the notice of the Earl of Morton. His lordship bred
from a male quagga and a mare of seven-eights Arabian blood, a female
hybrid, displaying in form and colour her mixed origin. The mare was
then given to Sir Gore Ouseley, who bred from her first a filly and
afterwards a colt, by a fine black Arabian horse, but both these, in
their colour and in the hair of their manes, strongly resembled the
quagga. This isolated fact would be, however, but of small value if
unsupported by others, which are luckily now of common occurrence,
among which the following tends strongly to its corroboration:--In the
_Philosophical Transactions_ for 1821, Dr Wollaston relates that D.
Giles, Esq., had a sow of the black and white kind, which, after
littering by a chestnut boar of the wild breed, was put, some time
after the death of this, to boars of quite a different variety, yet
the offspring were covered with chestnut marks, so as closely to
resemble the long-departed animal.

The progeny of most domesticated animals often bear a striking
resemblance to the grandmother or grandfather, and it is well known
that the desired changes cannot be effected on a breed, or that the
desired breed cannot be produced, till the third, fourth, or even the
fifth crossing, so that the importance of having few defects in a
stock will be readily admitted, seeing their debasing consequences are
carried through whole generations, and that though absent in one
remove, yet that they may appear in the next. Both sire and dam should
be chosen as free from defects as possible, a thing often neglected in
rearing domestic animals, especially horses, where the opinion is in
vogue, that no matter how debilitated and worn out may be the dam, yet
that if coupled with a young and perfect sire, a healthy handsome
offspring will be the issue; than which idea nothing can be more
absurd, as such animals, if left to nature, would seldom or never come
in contact, owing to the one party never attaining a decrepit age, but
perishing on its verge.

(94.) _The sex of the progeny is supposed to be the result of the
relative ages of the parents_; thus, issue from a young male and an
old female will in general be feminine, while that from an old male
and a young female will generally be masculine; and it has been
proposed to turn this, apparently a law of nature, to account, in the
management of flocks, as it must often be of consequence to obtain, at
will, a considerable increase of the sex most wanted. On this subject
there will be found an interesting paper in the first number of the
_Quarterly Journal of Agriculture_, entitled, "A method of obtaining a
greater number of One Sex at the option of the Proprietor, in the
Breeding of Live-Stock," and from this I extract the following:--

"In the _Annales de l'Agriculture Française_, Vols. xxxvii. and
xxxviii., some very interesting experiments are recorded, which have
lately been made in France, on the breeding of live-stock. M. Charles
Girou de Buzareingues proposed, at a meeting of the Agricultural
Society of Séverac, on the 3d of July, 1826, to divide a flock of
sheep into two equal parts, so that a greater number of males or
females, at the choice of the proprietor, should be produced from each
of them. Two of the members of the society offered their flocks to
become the subjects of his experiments, and the results have now been
communicated, which are in accordance with the author's expectations.

"The first experiment was conducted in the following manner:--He
recommended very young rams to be put to the flock of ewes from which
the proprietor wished the greater number of females in their offspring
and also, that during the season when the rams were with the ewes,
they should have more abundant pasture than the other; while to the
flock from which the proprietor wished to obtain male lambs chiefly,
he recommended him to put strong and vigorous rams, four or five years
old. The following tabular view contains the result of his

  |     Flock for female lambs.      |      Flock for male lambs.       |
  | Age of the mothers. |Sex of the  |  Age of the mothers. |Sex of the |
  |                     |   Lambs.   |                      |   Lambs.  |
  |                     |Males.| Fem.|                      |Males.|Fem.|
  |Two years,           |  14  |  26 |Two years,            |  7   |  3 |
  |Three years,         |  16  |  29 |Three years,          |  15  | 14 |
  |Four years,          |   5  |  21 |Four years,           |  33  | 14 |
  |                     |  --  |  -- |                      |  --  | -- |
  |    Total,           |  35  |  76 |    Total,            |  55  | 31 |
  |Five years and older,|  18  |   8 |Five years and older, |  25  | 24 |
  |                     |  --  |  -- |                      |  --  | -- |
  |    Total,           |  53  |  84 |    Total,            |  80  | 55 |
  |                                  |                                  |
  |N.B.--There were three twin-births|N.B.--There were no twin-births   |
  |in this flock. Two rams           |in this flock. Two strong         |
  |served it; one fifteen months,    |rams, one four, the other five    |
  |the other nearly two years old.   |years old, served it.             |

"The general law, as far as we are able to detect it, seems to be,
that when animals are in good condition, plentifully supplied with
food, and kept from breeding as fast as they might do, they are most
likely to produce females. Or, in other words, when a race of animals
is in circumstances favourable for its increase, Nature produces the
greatest number of that sex which, in animals that do not pair, is
most efficient for increasing the number of the race. But if they are
in a bad climate, or on a stinted pasture, or if they have already
given birth to a numerous offspring, then Nature, setting limits to
the increase of the race, produces more males than females. Yet,
perhaps, it may be premature to attempt to deduce any law from
experiments which have not yet been sufficiently extended. M. Girou
is disposed to ascribe much of the effect to the age of the ram,
independent of the condition of the ewe."



(95.) Those who have attended to the subject are well aware, that the
profitable management of livestock is the most difficult department in
the business of a farm. So much depends on the nature of the locality
where sheep are kept, and on its situation in regard to markets for
the disposal of its produce, that little but what is of general
application need be written on this head. Precise rules for
agricultural conduct can seldom be laid down with any probability of
their being followed, as it must necessarily vary less or more with
the peculiar circumstances of the estate, and must, therefore, to a
great extent, be trusted to the intelligence of the farmer. All,
therefore, that I shall aim at in treating of this division, will be
the giving an outline of the more important matters connected with
sheep-husbandry, leaving the tyro to use it as circumstances may point
out. For obvious reasons, a natural arrangement of the subject is the
best; and to this, therefore, I shall, as much as possible, adhere.

(96.) _Putting Tups to Ewes._ The middle of November is the time at
which this is usually done, but the season is anticipated or delayed
according as the spring provender is expected to be early or late,
plentiful or scarce. When the sheep are spread over a wide track, one
ram is in general allotted to thirty ewes; but when the latter are on a
limited range of pasture, the proportion of one to fifty may be
reckoned ample. The rams ought not to be left with the ewes above four
or five weeks, as it does not do to have lambs dropped after the middle
of May; indeed much trouble will be saved to the shepherd if he can
contrive to have all the lambs yeaned about the same time, as the flock
will, from its numbers being of a similar standing, be healthier, and
every way easier to manage, than one in which there is a great
diversity of ages. Such ewes, therefore, as have not evinced an
inclination for the male, ought, before the above period has elapsed,
to be driven into a barn or small inclosure, and made to run about
till they have become a little heated, after which, when the ram
is introduced, the desired effect will doubtless follow. Delay will
in many cases be unavoidable, owing to the ewes being in too
high condition; but this the shepherd should try to obviate, by
administering one or two doses of Epsom salts, which, by reducing the
plethora, will increase the activity of the animal, and render it in
many ways more prone to pregnancy.

As it is an object of some importance to retard the yeaning of gimmer
hogs till the spring be well advanced, the rams are never sent to them
till a fortnight after they have been put to the older ewes. Much
nicety is always required in choosing the time at which rams mould be
put to gimmers, as they are in general sorry nurses, and sure, in bad
seasons, to lose many lambs.

When a farm is provided with suitable enclosures, careful selection of
both ewes and rams should always be attended to, taking care to make
the good points of the one remedy the defects of the other; but where
a farm is destitute of such accommodation, the next best plan is to
send the finest rams to the ewes for a few days before the rest of the
males are admitted.

Great ewes ought always to be well looked after. The driest and best
sheltered fields should be set apart for them, and turnips, when
forming part of their food, should, when they are about to yean,
always be carted to their pasture. When they roll _awald_, and cannot
regain their feet, prompt assistance should be afforded them, else
they will soon die. Death in this case occurs from suffocation, though
the morbid appearances exhibited by the carcass are frequently
mistaken for those of braxy. Udder locking ought never to be
attempted, as it often leads to abortion, and is, besides, not of the
slightest utility.

(97.) _Early Lambs._ Though in the greater number of our breeds the
arrival of the rutting season is fixed and regular, yet there are
several in which pregnancy may, by proper management, be induced at
any period. Of these the Dorsetshire and Wicklow varieties are the
most noted, and are on this account selected for the rearing of
house-lambs in the vicinity of towns, the inhabitants of which are
opulent enough to create a demand for so expensive an article.

The beginning of June is the time chosen for the admission of the
rams, so that by the month of January the greater proportion of the
ewes have yeaned. According to the plan pursued in Middlesex, "The
sheep, which begin to lamb about Michaelmas, are kept in the close
during the day, and in the house during the night, until they have
produced twenty or thirty lambs. These lambs are then put into a
lamb-house, which is kept constantly well littered with clean wheat
straw; and chalk, both in lump and in powder, is provided for them to
lick, in order to prevent looseness, and thereby preserve the lambs in
health. As a prevention against gnawing the boards, or eating each
other's wool, a little wheat straw is placed, with the ears downwards,
in a rack within their reach, with which they amuse themselves, and of
which they eat a small quantity. In this house they are kept with
great care and attention until fit for the butcher.

"The mothers of the lambs are turned, every night at eight o'clock,
into the lamb-house to their offspring. At six o'clock in the morning
these mothers are separated from their lambs, and turned into the
pastures; and, at eight o'clock, such ewes as have lost their own
lambs, and those ewes whose lambs are sold, are brought in and held by
the head till the lambs by turns suck them clean: they are then turned
into the pasture; and at twelve o'clock, the mothers of the lambs are
driven from the pasture into the lamb-house for an hour, in the course
of which time each lamb is suckled by its mother. At four o'clock, all
the ewes that have not lambs of their own are again brought to the
lamb-house, and held for the lambs to suck; and at eight, the mothers
of the lambs are brought to them for the night.

"This method of suckling is continued all the year. The breeders
select such of the lambs as become fat enough, and of proper age
(about eight weeks old) for slaughter, and send them to the market
during December and three or four succeeding months, at prices which
vary from one guinea to four, and the rest of the year at about two
guineas each. This is severe work for the ewes, and some of them die
from exhaustion. However, care is taken that they have plenty of food;
for when green food (viz. turnips, cole, rye, tares, clover, &c.)
begins to fail, brewers' grains are given them in troughs, and
second-crop hay in racks, as well to support the ewes as to supply the
lambs with plenty of milk; for if that should not be abundant, the
lambs would become stunted, in which case no food would fatten them.

"A lamb-house to suckle from one hundred and sixty to one hundred and
eighty lambs at a time, should be seventy feet long and eighteen feet
broad, with three coops of different sizes at each end, and so
constructed as to divide the lambs according to their ages."[19]

        [19] Middlesex Report, p. 355.

In the county of Wicklow it is the practice to divide the twenty-four
hours by four equal periods, and to feed the lambs with ewe's milk and
cow's milk alternately. When commencing with cow's milk, a quarter of a
pint is given, twice a-day, to each lamb, and this is gradually
increased to a pint, exclusive of the milk from the ewe. This method of
feeding has been cavilled at, but I think unjustly, as the ewe is thus
saved from the bad effects of exhaustion, and the lambs are fit for the
butcher when six weeks old, or sooner.

(98.) _Lambing time._ When the ewes begin to drop their lambs, a time
which ordinarily happens in the first or second week of April, but
which, in other modes of management, must be dated twenty-two weeks
after the tupping season, the shepherd has many calls upon his skill
and watchfulness. In bad seasons, sheep are apt to prove unkind to
their offspring, and none more so than the Cheviots. In this event, the
best pastures should be selected for them, or turnips may be carted to
them; but as gimmer hogs are often quite incapable of furnishing the
necessary quantity of milk, the shepherd ought always to be provided
with a bottle of milk, which he should drop from his own mouth into
that of any lambs which may require it. Such mothers as appear to
suffer in bringing forth, should be relieved with the utmost
gentleness; and when a miscarriage occurs, if the weather be at the
same time unfavourable, the dam ought to receive the shelter of a roof.
When the ewe is lost in yeaning, her lamb, if it survive her, must be
reared by another dam. Some little artifice is always necessary to
induce a ewe to adopt the offspring of another. Covering the lamb with
the skin of her own dead one, is sometimes resorted to, but this is
hardly required, as any dam will take to another's offspring if the
parties be shut up for some time together. Ewes that are late in
lambing should be collected together, so as to be more under the care
of the shepherd, and ought to be well fed, for the sake of bringing
forward their lambs. Those lambs which are very far behind the rest
must be prepared for the butcher, as they would make but a poor figure
at the Lammas sales.

(99.) _Washing._ The time for clipping varies much, being earlier in
seasons which have been preceded by favourable weather and an unstinted
allowance of food, than in such as have followed a rigorous winter,
disease, or any other cause calculated to arrest the growth of wool.
The season may be said to be limited by the middle of May and the
middle of July; but this should not be taken as a rule of conduct, the
best guide being the state of the new coat, which ought always to be
well above the skin before shearing is attempted. The wool, unless
among some mountain flocks, is always, in this country, washed prior to
its removal from the sheep's back; but in Spain that operation is
always deferred till the fleeces have been collected, when they are
subjected to a thorough scouring, in public buildings appropriated to
the purpose, and termed _lavatories_. This is a plan in many respects
superior to ours. Its adoption by our farmers has been recommended by
Dr Parry. There cannot be a doubt of its being the preferable mode as
regards the saving it would effect in the lives of sheep; but as it is
well known that shearing is much facilitated by washing, and that on
the neatness with which the clipping is accomplished the quality of the
succeeding crop in a great measure depends, some little time will be
necessary to determine the comparative value of either mode. In New
South Wales it is customary to make the sheep swim across a stream for
two or three mornings before being washed, by which means the yolk is
softened, and the removal of grease and dirt much promoted; but this,
though a good plan in that mild and even climate, could not be looked
upon as safe in a temperature so variable as that of Britain. In cases
however, where great nicety is required, the plan in vogue in the
former country, that of dipping each sheep, before washing, into a
caldron of warm water, might be beneficially adopted.

Mountain sheep are cleaned by being forced to swim across a pool, but
the finer or lowland breeds are washed entirely by the hand. The latter
method alone demands a short explanation. Dry, and, if possible, sunny
weather, is selected for the operation, on the morning of which the
lambs are separated from the flock, and the latter is conveyed to the
margin of some pebbly-bottomed pool. Here they are penned or otherwise
kept together, while they are seized, one by one, by a man standing
mid-thigh deep near the water-edge, and turned back downwards, the head
alone being above the surface. Plate V. fig. 1.[20] It is then turned
from side to side, and moved backwards and forwards, so as to make the
wool catch upon the stream and wave about. When the first washer has
held it for a few minutes, and partially cleansed the fleece, he passes
it _up the river_ to the next, who goes through the same routine, and,
on being convinced that the skin is free from filth, compels the sheep
to land by swimming in an oblique direction up the water. Three and
even four men are sometimes employed in washing sheep, but two, as here
described, will, under ordinary circumstances, be found sufficient. The
bank on which the dripping sheep are collected, should have a clean and
firm turf, and the flock should, till fairly dry and fit for shearing,
be kept on heavy grass land, or, what is better, in straw-bedded folds.

        [20] For the figures 1, 2 and 3 in Plate V. I am indebted to
        the _Quarterly Journal of Agriculture_ for 1832, p. 869.

(100.) _Shearing._ After allowing eight days, off or on, to elapse from
the time of washing, so as to permit the wool to gain a fresh supply
of yolk, and along with it lustre and elasticity, the sheep may be
stripped of its fleece. As there is no saving in employing an unskilful
clipper, every encouragement should be given to induce servants to cut
close, smoothly and evenly, and to avoid injuring the skin, or going
twice over the same part. There are two ways in this country of
depriving sheep of their wool. In the first, or coarser method, which
is only adopted in the case of Cheviot and heath sheep, the operator
sits upon the ground, and placing the animal on its back between his
knees, shears the wool first from the belly and legs, and then, after
tying the latter, proceeds to clear the back. In the second method, the
legs are never tied, as the disposition of the sheep is such as to
render it unnecessary. The animal is placed as in Fig. 2, Plate V., and
the shearer clips first one side, cutting from the middle of the belly
to that of the back, down to the loins. It is then placed on its side,
as in Fig, 3, Plate V., the knee of the operator pressing on its neck,
and the wool is removed from the legs and buttocks. The fleece is next
rolled up, with the cut side outwards, commencing at the tail, and
using the wool of the other extremity as a fastening for the bundle.

A cool dry apartment should be selected in which to store the wool,
always remembering that _heat_ and _damp_ are equally injurious to it,
and that the greater the perfection in which it retains its _natural
oily moisture_, the more valuable will it prove both to the grower and
the manufacturer.

(101.) _Weaning_, where milking is not practised, ought to be set about
in the end of July or beginning of August. In some places the ewe lambs
are never speaned, but allowed to go at large with their mothers; and
though by this plan the dam is apt to be kept in poor condition, yet is
this counterbalanced by the comparative freedom of the hogs from braxy.
As an improvement, however, the gimmer lambs may be withheld for a
fortnight from their mothers, and at the end of that time may be
permitted to pasture with them. In the few places where the farmer
continues to manufacture ewe-milk cheese and butter, speaning is
carried into effect somewhat earlier, and is of course attended, in the
long run, with no little detriment to the stock and its proprietor. The
sooner that the practice be laid aside the better; for though ewe-milk
cheese is pretty universally relished and admired, yet those who are
acquainted with the scenes which happen at the bughts, know well that
the cheese itself cannot but contain much, the mere mention of which
would pall at once the appetite even of the least fastidious. In
addition to this, a great waste of grass is occasioned by the sheep
going to and from the bught, while the inconveniences they are on every
hand exposed to, at a season when they are peculiarly liable to disease
and accident, ought of themselves to lead to the abolition of the

When the udders of the ewes appear, after their separation from the
lambs, to be much distended, they may be once or twice milked, to
prevent bad consequences; but it is much better to obviate the
necessity for this, by reducing their allowance of food for a few days.
When the animal seems to suffer much irritation about the udder, it
will always be safe to give a brisk dose of any of the common saline

The store lambs are at this period sent to good pasture, or, where the
farm cannot afford it, are _summered_ at a distance; that is to say,
the farmer pays so much a head for permission to feed his flock, during
a couple of months, on another person's ground, at the end of which
period they are turned upon the pasture which has just been vacated by
the gimmers, they having been sent to join the older ewes.

(102.) _Smearing_, in those places where it is still carried on, is
performed in two ways, according to the quality of the wool.
_Slipping_, as the one method is termed, is only employed in high, wet
districts, where the sheep are covered with long wool; while _rolling_,
as the other is usually called, is only required for such as, in dry
situations, are surrounded by a short close pile. In pursuing the
former plan, the smearer takes up the mixture on the forefinger of his
right hand, and while holding the locks of wool apart with his arms and
left hand, allows the salve to drop into the groove or shed, along
which it is spread by the other fingers.

In _rolling_, a small quantity only of smearing stuff is raised on the
_point_ of the forefinger, with which it is laid evenly upon the skin.
This is by far the neater way of salving, as less of the ointment is
permitted to get upon the wool; but as it is altogether a tardier
process, it is not so frequently resorted to.

November is the month usually chosen for this operation, but as it
cannot be properly done unless the day fixed upon has been preceded by
dry weather, the time ought rather to be selected by the aspect of the

The composition of smearing stuffs is so very various, that it is quite
beyond my power to give the reader even a list of the ordinary
ingredients and their proportions; nor need I recommend any of them in
particular to the attention of the shepherd, knowing, as I do, the
bigoted opinions which are held upon the subject, and the aversion with
which every one regards a mixture not of their own composing. I can
only observe, that where tar is employed, it ought to be well diluted
with grease, so as to enable two English quarts of it to be spread over
six sheep. In this way it will be less liable to adhere to the wool,
and will be much more readily laid upon the skin. When sheep are salved
without due attention to the even spreading of the mixture, the insects
with which the skin is infested are, instead of being destroyed,
allowed here and there a resting place; and as the severity of their
attack is in proportion to the limited nature of their range, the skin
at these points soon becomes crusted with scabs. The smaller the
quantity of tar employed, as consistent with the keeping down of
vermin, so much the better, as the wool is of more value to the
manufacturer, the sheep is saved the discomfort of having its fleece
plastered and matted, and the shepherd is spared the vexation of losing
lambs through their inability to reach an udder surrounded by locks of
hard and tangled wool.

(103.) _Fatting._ The age at which sheep are prepared for the butcher
depends upon the breed, its situation, and its propensity to take on
fat. The heath sheep may be considered as requiring to be the greatest
length of time in the hands of the farmer, and the Leicesters as the
reverse; wethers of the former variety being usually disposed off when
from three to four years old, and ewes when from four to five; while
wethers of the latter kind are fit for market often at eighteen months,
and the ewes are in general fed off after the third year.

Sheep, in spring and autumn, are peculiarly liable to diseases of the
intestines, a circumstance mainly to be ascribed to the changes which
are, in these seasons, constantly occurring in the nature of their
food. Much of this is owing to careless management in the economy of
the pastures, and to restricting them for great lengths of time to one
kind of provender, a thing guarded against by all good breeders. Sudden
transitions, however, from a poor to a nutritive pasture, and the
reverse, are always bad, and therefore to be avoided; but change of
feeding ground, with these restrictions, cannot be too much
inculcated--it is, in fact, the soul of sheep husbandry. The bleakest
portions of a farm should be pastured off in autumn, so as to reserve
the sheltered spots for winter use. The cast ewes may then be drafted
off to feed on a more succulent herbage, previous to being penned on

Most of the points worthy of attention in sheep feeding having already
been detailed in the article on _Crossing_, I shall only add a few
particulars in regard to management on turnips.

When sheep are fed on turnips, they are in general confined to a
particular portion of the field by nets or hurdles. The latter, when
made of Scotch fir, cost about a shilling each; but, when constructed
of larch, the price is fourteen-pence. Those made of larch are by far
the more durable, and will last three years if kept under cover during
summer. Two men are required to set them up, besides a horse and cart
to take them to the field, on which account nets have a decided
preference, being easy of transportation, and requiring little
house-room. Though valuable in windy situations, nets cannot be used to
enclose horned sheep, as their heads become entangled with the cords.
They will seldom serve for more than three years, but as they cost only
threepence per yard, they may be considered as every way cheaper than

When the turnips allotted to the sheep, which seldom exceed a week's
supply, are consumed, another portion of the field is enclosed; while
the shells are torn up with a two-pronged hook, and either left there
to be consumed by the flock, or carted to another field for the use of
sheep not then intended to be fattened. A fresh supply should always be
afforded them before the old one is eaten clean, otherwise their
fattening will be much retarded. It is usual to allow them at the same
time plenty of salt, placed up and down the field in troughs or
boxes,[21] and about a ton of hay in the ten or fourteen days, to every
hundred sheep; though that number, if supplied with what, and permitted
to run about, will consume that quantity in a week. In spring, from
half a pound to a pound of oil cake is given daily to each of them,
along with turnips.

        [21] Old casks, wanting ends, form the best of all contrivances
        for holding salt for sheep, as when laid on their sides, and
        retained in that position by stakes, they allow the sheep free
        admission, at the same time that the salt is defended from

In places where the cold during spring is any way severe, the Swedish
turnip ought always to be preferred for feeding sheep, as from the
formation of the upper part of the bulb, water cannot collect within it
as it does in other varieties, to their serious injury when frost sets

Turnips must be cut for such sheep as are shedding their teeth. The
mouths of those that refuse to eat them should be examined, that in the
event of a tooth being loose or broken it may be removed. Occasionally
a sheep will be unable to gnaw a turnip, owing to a peculiar formation
of the head, the lower jaw being so very short as to give the profile
some resemblance to that of a pig. Such deformed animals are said in
this quarter to be _grun_-(ground)-mouthed: I believe from the
elongation of the nose suiting them better for poking in the earth than
for feeding in the usual way.

The fattening of sheep on turnips is much promoted by their having
access to a grass field, more especially if it happen to contain whins
or heather. It is from want of attention to this that sheep are so
liable to disease when eating turnips, for, apart from the benefit that
accrues to them from a dry lair, they are enabled to turn their food to
better account when consuming bitter herbs. It is no unusual thing for
turnip-fed sheep and cattle to become quite lean, as the farmers say,
"almost at the lifting," for no other reason than that they have been
confined too strictly to one article of diet. They have been denied
access to plants containing of all things the one most necessary for
the maintenance of their health--_bitter extractive matter_--as it is
called by chemists--without a due proportion of which the most
nutritious substances cannot be turned to account. "As an essential
ingredient in the provender of herbivorous animals, it may, I think, be
admitted as a fact, that its importance is _in an inverse ratio_ with
the nutritive powers of the food."[22] Thus accounting for the length
of time that sheep will continue to thrive on turnips alone.

        [22] Paris's Pharmacologia, sixth edition, vol. i. p. 147.

With all the advantages, however, which accrue to the sheep when on
turnips, from the quantity of nutritive matter which these roots
contain, its progress when restricted to them frequently falls very far
short of the expectations of the owner. In the greater number of
instances, also, farmers are unable to account for their want of
success in this department, so that I may be excused for endeavouring
to point out, at some length, the causes of their failure. To

The point in sheep management in which our farmers are most deficient,
is turnip-feeding; one upon which most will pique themselves as being
perfect, though, speaking guardedly, hardly one man in twenty
understands the rudimentary principles on which sheep-feeding should be
conducted. They are unacquainted with the habits of the wild animal,
and, unlike any other class of men, interest themselves little in the
fundamental study of their calling. There is not a showman, or a
bird-fancier, but knows to a tittle the peculiarities of the creature
that he has in charge, and endeavours, to the best of his ability, to
provide such food as its instincts crave. Not so, however, with the
store-farmer. He cares not to inquire whether the sheep is naturally
calculated to subsist on one kind of nutriment; and if so, whether they
will, when left to the exercise of instinct, resort to turnips of their
own accord; whether the sheep is usually restricted to confined
localities similar to our fields, or is the unrestrained rover over an
extensive pasture. Yet it is from investigations of this kind that we
are to derive our mode of treating sheep, and are to form plans
beneficial to ourselves, from their being, in a manner, improvements
upon nature. We find, from a perusal of the works of travellers, and
from the anatomical peculiarities of the sheep, that it is fitted for
residence in countries precipitous in surface, and scantily supplied
with herbage; consequently, it must range over a vast extent of ground
for a subsistence, and its food must, owing to the varied features of
the country, consist, not of one or of a few plants, but of a most
extensive mixture of herbage. Experiment also points out that the
deductions from these observations are correct. Sheep, in fact, consume
a greater number of plants than any other domestic animal. Linnæus, in
examining into this subject, found, by offering fresh plants to such
animals, in the ordinary mode of feeding, that horses ate 262 species,
and refused 212; cattle ate 276 species, and refused 218; while sheep
took 387 species, and only refused 141. We find, too, great difficulty
in preventing sheep from springing over the dykes and hedges that we
place as boundaries to their rambling habits, yet how seldom do we see
the true cause of their determination to set them at defiance. We may
partly account for it by considering their analogy to the goat, and
their propensity to scale rugged eminences; but I think these movements
rather indicate an anxiety to change a pasture already exhausted of
variety, for fresh fields, and herbage abounding in that miscellaneous
provision which nature apparently reckons essential for them. Shepherds
own as much, and will tell you that frequent change of pasture is the
soul of sheep husbandry, though they see no reason why sheep should not
be kept for many successive weeks on a patch of turnips. They admit the
necessity of a frequent shifting in the one case, but deny it in the
other. Magendie, a celebrated French physiologist, has shown, by
experiment, that it is impossible to keep an animal in a healthy state
longer than six weeks on one article of diet, death frequently taking
place even before the end of that period; but our sheep-farmers, in
happy ignorance of the fact, confine their flocks for months to turnips
only. And what, may I ask them, is the consequence of the practice?
Why, that it is not unusual to meet with sheep-owners who lose at least
one out of every fifteen, and all owing, as may easily be proved, to
this mode of management. In the first place, the turnip is a kind of
food entirely foreign to the nature of the sheep, and one to which, at
first, they evince great repugnance. There are many varieties of sheep
incapable of feeding on turnips, owing to the form of the face, the
upper-jaw projecting considerably past the lower, hindering the
chisel-shaped teeth from being brought to bear upon the root. None of
our British breeds certainly have this as a regular feature,
nevertheless they are liable to it; and there are few farmers that have
not, several times in their lives, met with _grun-mouthed_ sheep, as
they are called in Scotland, from their profile resembling that of the
pig, and suiting them for poking in earth, rather than for eating in
the usual way. Again, if the structure of the sheep's mouth proves that
it is not adapted for eating turnips, the composition of the turnip no
less satisfactorily shows that it is not calculated as food for sheep.
Bitterness is essentially necessary in the food of all herbivorous
animals; without it, indeed, they sooner or later fall into ill health.
This property is shown by chemists to reside in the extractive matter
of plants, which has, therefore, been called _bitter extractive_. The
quantity is also found to be in the inverse ratio of the nutritive
powers of the plant; that is to say, where the plant abounds in
alimentary matter, the proportion of bitter extractive is small,
compared with what it is where the former is deficient. Turnips contain
a large quantity of matter capable of affording nourishment to the
body, but they yield little or none of the bitter principle. In
consequence of this, sheep acquire fat rapidly for a time, when placed
on turnips; but, experiencing a want of the medicinal bitter, begin
with equal rapidity to lose the advantages they so recently gained.
Their appetite becomes depraved, and, from being shut out from access
to the stomachic intended for them by nature, they take to devouring
earth, or any substance capable of serving as a substitute for it.
"With regard to the natural use of bitter extractive, it may be laid
down as a truth, that it stimulates the stomach,--corrects putrefying
and unwholesome nutriment,--promotes tardy digestion,--increases the
nutritive powers of those vegetable substances to which it is
united,--and furnishes a natural remedy for the deranged functions of
the stomach in particular, and through the sympathetic medium of that
organ, for the atony of remote parts in general."[23] All, indeed,
concur in setting a high value on this constituent of plants--all, with
the exception of those whose interests are most deeply concerned in a
knowledge of its importance. Farmers, in general, cannot perceive the
utility of attending to concerns apparently so trifling, though in the
right conduct of these they depend materially for success. Nay, I have
known men arguing, that in six weeks they have given ordinary sheep an
excellent coating of fat, by keeping them on turnips only; though, on
strict inquiry being made into the nature of the field in which they
had been penned, it has always turned out that the sheep had access to
other things, their owners having wilfully shut their eyes to the true
circumstances of the case. Depend on it, no sheep will continue in
health during six weeks on turnips alone, much less will it continue
throughout that time to take on fat. Much of the mischief attending a
want of bitter matter is obviated by the plan of allowing the sheep
corn, salt, oilcake, and hay, which, serve, especially the last, as
tolerable substitutes for it. Good hay ought always to be plentifully
supplied to sheep on turnips, as, from the variety of the plants
composing it, it contains much that is not to be found in turnips.
Besides, one of the most useful bitters with which we are acquainted
(the _Bogbean--Menyanthes Trifoliata_) occurs in meadow hay, and is a
plant sufficient of itself to save the animal from the consequences of
neglect. Whenever you hear of remarkable instances of sheep becoming
quickly fat on turnips, you may safely believe they have had liberty to
nibble something in addition to the ordinary provender. They have had
access to broom or whins, perhaps only to bushes that are laid as a
defence on dykes, or only to the scanty pickings on the edges of
fields--still they have by such means in a manner satisfied the craving
for bitter aliment, and enabled their stomachs to turn to better
account the otherwise unprofitable turnips. Broom is at all times an
excellent medicine for sheep, and one which they are partial to, and
which ought, therefore, to be placed, if possible, within their reach.

        [23] Paris's Pharmacologia, vol. i. p. 146.



(104.) Sheep being about as liable as other animals to a variety of
accidents, it is necessary that the shepherd should possess a competent
knowledge of the means which art affords for the remedy of those
mishaps. It is from a want of such knowledge that farmers are
frequently led to slaughter valuable sheep, though only labouring under
the effects of some commonplace disease or accident. If the animal is
attended by a professional person, an expense is sure to be incurred
nearly equal to the worth of the patient, and in so far as they
endeavour to obviate this, by killing the sheep, they are free from
blame; but why not rather contrive to save the cost of veterinary
attendance, by making themselves conversant with its diseases, and able
to prescribe for their own flocks, in which there can be no difficulty,
as the remedies are, in the majority of cases, few, simple, and of easy
application. In the surgical and medical management of flocks, much
mystery has, as in other matters, all along existed; but that fantastic
age is well nigh its close, and thanks to the spirit of candid inquiry
now abroad, we may hope ere long to boast of valuable information in
this department. The spread of correct ideas regarding the nature and
treatment of accidents and diseases, has from first to last been
prevented by the diffuseness of those who have written on the subject,
and by their so clothing it in a mass of verbiage, as to render
scarcely intelligible what would otherwise be easy of acquirement. To
obviate the liability to a similar charge, the following observations
are given as briefly as is consistent with a due regard to the
importance of the subject.

(105.) _Wounds._ All the wounds which can be inflicted may be
classed under the heads of incised, punctured, and lacerated.

An incised wound is one made by a cutting instrument, such as a knife
or a piece of glass.

Punctured wounds are those produced by sharp pointed bodies, such as
pins or thorns.

Lacerated wounds are those occasioned by blunt bodies, as the teeth of
the dog, tearing rather than cutting the flesh.

When a sheep has received any of these injuries, the following rules
ought to be attended to, and in the order here recommended:--

    1st. Arrest the bleeding, if profuse, and likely to endanger life.

    2d. Clip away the wool for a few inches around the injured part.

    3d. Remove dirt or other foreign body from the wound.

    4th. Bring the separated parts as nearly together as circumstances
    will at the moment permit, and retain them there by suitable

(106.) _To stop Bleeding._ Bleeding will, if no large arteries are
divided, cease on the free exposure of the surface for a few minutes to
the air; but when a large vessel has been cut, more determined means
must be had recourse to. Pressure on the bleeding surface and its
neighbourhood will in many cases succeed, but this or any similar
method is far inferior to that of securing the open vessel by a thread.
To accomplish this, the mouth of the vein or artery must be slightly
drawn out from the contiguous surface, by means of a small hook, called
by surgeons a tenaculum, and easily procured from any blacksmith. While
the mouth of the vessel is thus held exposed, an assistant must
surround it with a noose of thread, which, on being secured with a
double knot, will effectually close it. The thread ought to be of white
silk, though any undyed thread, which is firm, round, and capable of
standing a pull, will answer the purpose. Care must be taken to place
the thread, before tying it, fairly behind the point of the tenaculum,
so as to avoid including the instrument within the ligature, a
circumstance which would lead to the slipping of the noose and failure
of the operation. The hook is now to be withdrawn, and one end of the
ligature cut off by scissars within a little of the noose. The
remaining threads are allowed to hang out of the wound, so as to admit
of their removal when they become loose, which does not, however, take
place till the termination of the first four days, and they are
frequently retained for a much longer period. At each time the wound is
dressed, after the fourth day, the ligatures should be _gently pulled_,
or, which is preferable, _twisted_, to disengage them, if at all loose,
so that the wound may be more speedily closed. Before proceeding to any
operation where bleeding is expected, the operator should provide
himself with a few well-waxed threads, each twelve inches long, so that
no delay may ensue on a division of large vessels.

(107.) _Removal of Extraneous Matter._ Dirt is best removed by washing
with a sponge or old linen rag and warm water. Other foreign bodies may
in general be extracted by the finger and thumb. In some cases,
however, it may be necessary to dilate or enlarge the wound with a
fine-edged knife, in order to facilitate the removal of substances
which, from their shape or situation, cannot be otherwise displaced.

(108.) _Closure of a Wound._ The last thing to be done is to bring the
edges of the wound into as accurate contact as the state of the parts
will at the moment permit, without, however, using any force. This,
with a little care, is readily accomplished, the only difficulty being
to retain them in the desired position. They may be held in contact
either by _stitches_, (sutures,) _plasters_, or _bandages_, or by a
union of the three. Stitches are only required when the wound gapes to
a considerable extent, as it will always do when running across a
muscle. They may be applied in the following manner. Transfix one side
of the wound with a curved needle (armed with a well waxed thread)
forcing the needle _from without_ obliquely towards the bottom of the
wound, then carry it through the opposite side _from within_, taking
care to bring it out about the same distance from the edge as that at
which it entered on the other margin. The needle must now be removed,
by cutting the threads close to its eye, and while the ends are allowed
to hang loose, the same operation should be repeated, at the distance
of an inch or an inch and a half from the first stitch, as often as the
length of the wound may render necessary. Your assistant will now bring
the sides of the wound together as accurately as possible, and retain
them there till you have tied the corresponding ends of the threads in
a double knot.

(109.) _Bandaging._ Adhesive plaster is in some instances of service,
but upon the whole ought rather to be dispensed with, being of
difficult application, and moreover tending to the accumulation of
filth and the discomfort of the animal. Nothing will be found to serve
the purpose of supporting the parts so well as a properly adjusted
bandage, which is useful in every instance, and sure to stay on if
sewed here and there to the fleece. The bandage should never be omitted
where the wound has any tendency to gape, as too great a strain upon
the stitches cannot but lead to delay in the healing process. In
bandaging a limb or part of a limb, commence _always at the foot_, and
proceed upwards; in other parts of the body begin where you find it
most convenient. Before applying a bandage to an injured surface, a
couple of pieces of old linen of cotton rag should be folded into pads
or compresses, and laid _one on each side of the cut_, and over these
the bandage should be rolled, evenly and with moderate and uniform
firmness. By this plan the separated surfaces are supported and
preserved in close juxtaposition, especially at the bottom of the
wound, a thing of some importance where the cavity is deep. Transverse
cuts of the limbs of sheep require more careful and more complicated
treatment than cuts in other parts, as there is a constant tendency of
the edges to retract. This retraction of the edges may be in some
degree obviated by the application of a splint, which may be made of a
slip of stiff leather (such as is used for saddle flaps) well wetted,
so as to be easily adapted to the form of the limb. It is intended to
impede the motion of the leg, which occasions the gaping of the wound,
and must therefore be made to pass over one or more joints as
circumstances may require. Tow must be laid along the surface (a sound
one if possible) on which the leather is to be placed, and a bandage
then rolled over it so as to make all secure.

(110.) _Clean cuts_, as every one knows, heal readily in a healthy
animal, seldom demanding above three dressings; lacerations, on the
other hand, require a longer period for their reparation, inasmuch as
the process which nature goes through is more complicated. In the
former, the parts are speedily glued together, so soon almost as in
contact, and the union is generally complete within the first
thirty-six hours. Not so, however, with the latter. Here the parts are
bruised, torn, and perhaps to a considerable extent awanting. Some of
the bruised portions may die, and are of course to be renewed. This is
a process requiring a great effort on the part of the vital powers,
which are often inadequate to the task, and on this account we ought,
when the injury is severe, to sacrifice the animal rather than run the
risk of its dying during the process of the attempted cure. To replace
the lost part, suppuration, or the formation of _matter_ commences;
while under cover of this, a crop of fleshy particles (granulations)
rise to fill the vacancy. Granulations are best promoted by warm
emollient applications, such as poultices of oatmeal, linseed-meal, or
barley-flour, which ought to be frequently renewed to prevent their
becoming cold or dry. When the granulations become too luxuriant, and
rise, as they are apt to do, above the level of the skin, the poultices
must be laid aside, the sore washed once or twice a-day with a
_solution_ of sulphate of copper (made by dissolving two or three
drachms of blue vitriol in an English pint of soft water), and covered
carefully over with a pledget of fine tow, spread with lard, or any
simple ointment, by which means, conjoined with cleanliness, a cure
will easily be accomplished.

(111.) _Punctured Wounds._ The orifice being small in these, and the
depth considerable, the sides are apt to adhere irregularly, and
prevent the free escape of matter, which is certain to collect at the
bottom. To avoid such occurrences, it is in many cases proper to
convert a punctured into an incised wound. When, from neglecting this,
the matter is denied an outlet, an incision must be made to allow it to
escape, otherwise much harm will ensue from its burrowing between the
different textures. Fomentations will also here be serviceable, and
should be preferred to poultices. To apply them, place well-boiled
meadow hay, when very hot and moist, within a fold of old blanket or
woollen cloth, and lay it on the injured parts, taking care to renew
the heat frequently, by dipping the bundle in the hot decoction.

(112.) _Bruises and Sprains._ These, unless severe, need not be
interfered with. When the shepherd, however, considers it necessary to
make any application, he cannot do better than foment the part for an
hour or so with meadow hay, in the same manner as recommended for
punctured wounds.

(113.) _Wounds of Joints._ Such wounds are highly dangerous and apt to
baffle the most experienced. _The grand object in every case, however,
where a cure is attempted, is to produce a speedy union of the wound,
as directed in_ (108) to (109). If the injury be extensive, the best
thing the farmer can do is to slaughter the animal.

(114.) _Poisoned Wounds._ It is said that sheep are sometimes bitten by
snakes, and strange stories are told of their milk being sucked by
these reptiles. In such a case but small dependence can be placed on
any inward treatment, beyond the administration of one or two full
doses of castor oil. If the bite can be discovered, the part should be
frequently fomented with a decoction of meadow hay and foxglove
(_fairy-cap_ of the Irish, and _bluidy-finger_ of the Scotch).

(115.) _Fractures._ If there be no wound of the soft parts, the bone
being simply broken, the treatment is extremely easy. Apply a piece of
wet leather, as recommended at (109), taking care to ease the limb when
swelling supervenes. When the swelling is considerable, and fever
present, you cannot do better than open a vein of the head or neck,
allowing a quantity of blood to escape, proportioned to the size and
condition of the animal and the urgency of the symptoms. The exhibition
of purgatives should never be neglected. Epsom salt, in one ounce
doses, given either as a gruel or a drench, will be found to answer the
purpose well. If the broken bones are kept steady, the cure will be
complete in from three weeks to a month, the process of reunion always
proceeding faster in a young than in an old sheep. Should the soft
parts be injured to any extent, or the ends of the bone protruding,
recovery is very uncertain, and it will become a question whether it
would not be better at once to convert the animal into mutton; indeed,
removal of portions of bone and amputation, of which some well known
writers on the surgery of the sheep speak so learnedly and confidently,
may be viewed, as, in this case, chimerical, if not absurd.


(116.) _Cutting Lambs._ Polled sheep should be castrated about the
tenth day after birth, but the end of the fifth week is soon enough for
horned sheep, as early castration has always a tendency to spoil the
beauty of the horns. The risk is always in proportion to the age,
therefore no great length of time ought ever to elapse from the period
of birth to that of the operation. A large flock of ewes and lambs
should never be collected preparatory to cutting, as the latter, from
the excitement and crowding, are less likely to recover from the
operation. It is much better to take up a small number so soon as they
are ready. Instead of driving them about in attempts to secure them, it
will be safer to station a person at a division of the fold, who may
lay hold of them individually as they are made to pass through slowly.
The best method of cutting is to grasp the bag containing the testicles
with the left hand, so as to tighten the skin, and push them forward,
after which an incision may be made through the skin at the end of the
bag, large enough to permit the stones to pass. They may then be
removed either by cutting or tearing; the latter plan, however, is the
better, as there is little risk of bleeding, which is almost sure to
prove troublesome if the former be adopted. At this time a portion of
the tail ought to be removed, if it has not been done at an earlier
period, as a remedy for pinding. The bleeding will serve to lessen the
danger consequent on the previous operation. When all have been
operated on, the ewes may be allowed to find their lambs, and the whole
conducted _quietly_ to their pasture.

(117.) _Blood-letting._ In describing this operation, too much stress
is always laid on the importance of opening particular veins, or
divisions of a vein, in certain diseases. Such directions are
altogether unnecessary, as _it matters not from what part of the animal
the blood be drawn, provided it be taken quickly_. Nothing tends so
much to the recovery of an animal from a disease in which bleeding is
required, as the rapid flow of the blood from a large orifice. Little
_impression_ can be made on an acute disease by the slow removal of
even a large quantity of blood, as the organs have time to accommodate
themselves to the loss, which might, for any good it will do, as well
be dispensed with. Either bleed rapidly or not at all. The nearer the
commencement of an ailment, in which you employ bleeding, the operation
is resorted to, the greater the chance of its doing good; no time
ought, therefore, to be lost in using the lancet, when once it is known
to be required. Bleeding by nicking the under surface of the tail does
very well where no great deal of blood is required, but it is not to be
thought of if the veins of the face or neck can possibly be opened.
These are to be taken in preference to a vein on the leg, as they are
much more readily got at. The facial vein (_f.v._ Fig. 3. Pl. III.)
commences by small branches on the side of the face, and runs downwards
and backwards to the base of the jaw, where it may be felt within two
inches of the angle, or opposite the middle grinding tooth. It is here
that the orifice must be made, the thumb of the left hand being held
against the vein, so as to prevent the flow of blood towards the heart,
will make it _rise_. Some prefer opening the jugular vein (_j.v._ Fig.
3. P1.), which commences behind the eye and runs down the side of the
neck. This vessel is, however, more difficult to open than the former,
being better covered with wool, and not so easily exposed or made to
swell. _Stringing_ is the mode commonly resorted to for this end; that
is to say a cord is drawn tightly round the neck, close to the
shoulder, so as to stop the circulation through the vein, and render it
perceptible to the finger. A lancet is the instrument generally used in
bleeding, though a well-pointed pen knife will do at a pinch. The
opening must always be made obliquely, in the direction marked in the
cut; but before attempting this, the animal must be secured, by placing
it between the operator's legs, with its croup against a wall. The
selected vein is then fixed by the fingers of the operator's left hand,
so as to prevent it rolling or slipping before the lancet. Having
fairly entered the vein, the point of the instrument must be elevated,
at the same time that it is pushed a little forward, by which motion it
will be lifted from or cut its way out of the vein. _A prescribed
quantity of blood should never be drawn_, for the simple reason that
this can never be precisely stated. If the symptoms are urgent, as in
all likelihood they will, your best plan is not to stop the flow of
blood till the animal fall or is about to fall. When this occurs, run a
pin through the edges of the orifice, and finish by twisting round it a
lock of wool.

(118.) _Removal of Hydatids from within the head._ This animal, and the
symptoms which it causes, I have fully described at (169). Their
removal has been attempted in a variety of ways, but the simplest
method, and one most likely to succeed, is that followed in this
quarter. A couple of incisions, forming when completed the letter T,
are made in the integument covering the soft part of the bone under
which the hydatid is supposed to be. Two flaps are in this way marked
out, and are dissected back so as to expose the skull. The yielding
portion of the latter is then pared away, which brings the sac into
view. This will be seen alternately to sink and rise, following in this
respect the motions of the brain. A moderate-sized needle, slightly
curved and filled with thread, is now passed through the exposed
portion of the cyst, and the thread allowed to remain. The fluid is
thus permitted slowly to escape, and at the same time the sac becomes
collapsed, after which it is easily removed by pulling gently at the
thread with which it is connected. As good a hold should be taken with
the string as possible, and all the water should be allowed to flow out
before any attempt is made to extract the remains of the hydatid. To
conclude the operation, lay down the flaps of skin in their original
position, covering them with a small piece of folded linen smeared with
lard, and over all apply a cap. Never try to save the bone which you
cut, by turning it back in the form of a lid, for by so doing you will
only endanger the life of the animal, which is otherwise in little

It will often happen that the hydatid, from being in the interior of
the brain, will not be brought into view by the removal of a portion of
the skull. In this case the brain must be punctured in order to reach
the sac and evacuate its contents.

When the skull above the eye is very thin, the disease may be at once
ended by cautiously thrusting a short, stout, sharp-pointed piece of
steel wire through the skin and bone down towards the centre of the
brain, taking care to pull the skin a little to one side before making
the puncture, so that on letting it loose the openings in the skull and
integument will not be opposite to one another. This plan is much
superior to that of thrusting a needle up the nostril, in the manner
devised by Mr Hogg, as in his way we are always poking in the dark, in
ignorance of the situation of the instrument, and are in all
probability doing so much injury to the delicate parts within the nose
as to preclude the possibility of recovery. Indeed, I some time ago
examined a head on which Mr Hogg's operation had been twice
unsuccessfully performed, and found traces of inflammation at the upper
part of the nostril severe enough of itself to have occasioned death.
The needle had not entered the brain, but the ethmoid was very much
injured. I believe the instrument is very seldom pushed more than half
way through the bone, at least it never reaches the hydatid, which
would appear to be destroyed rather by the inflammatory process which
follows the attempt, unfitting the brain for supplying it with the
secretions on which it lives, than by any direct injury done to it by
the needle.



(119.) There is no department in the management of sheep so little
understood as the nature and treatment of their diseases. Every part of
the sheep itself has been used, at one time or another, in this
country, as medicine for _man_, a folly still prevailing among the
boors of Southern Africa, who, according to Thunberg, employ the inner
coat of the stomach, dried and powdered, as a safe emetic. Quackish
absurdities of so glaring a nature have, however, long been scorned in
civilized society. Not so, however, when the sheep is the object of
treatment. Scientific innovations have been slow in reaching it, and
specimens of barbarian usage are far from rare. We may feel for the
benighted credulity which could place reliance, for a rescue from
mortal ailment, on the secretions or excretions of a sheep; but we are
compelled to laugh on reading, in the _Family Dictionary_, published in
1752, the following:--

"In general, 'tis affirmed that the belly of a sheep boiled in water
and wine, and given the sheep to drink, cures several diseases incident
to them."

Only fancy a farmer dosing a sheep with mutton broth, and adding, for
its stomach's sake, a little wine! I suspect the prescriber was, in
this instance, putting himself, in point of intellect, far below the
level of his patient. Thanks to him, however, for the benefit he has
thus unwittingly conferred, by holding ignorance up to the derision it
so richly merits; no means being so powerful as broadly-drawn
caricatures in exposing the extent of such delusions. Though faith has
long since ceased to be reposed in the medicinal virtues of mutton
broth, a variety of nostrums have from time to time appeared, the
composition and application of which are invaluable for the amount of
_negative_ information they are calculated to convey. Further notice of
these trashy recipes it is not my intention to take, as a list of them
alone would make a volume;--they are in the hands of every one.

(120.) _Cautions in prescribing._ Great reliance is in general placed
upon prescriptions, which profess to suit diseases in every stage and
circumstance.--Than this, however, scarcely any thing can be more
absurd. It is an opinion engendered not so much by ignorance as by
laziness, a determination not to be put about by thinking of a remedy
for the evils which surround us, but, while we contrive to soothe
ourselves by doing _something_, to leave every thing to the hit-or-miss
practice of charlatans.[24] There are many, who on being informed of
the presence of disease in a neighbour's flock, confidently advise the
employment of a favourite nostrum, on the empirical supposition that
because it cured, or was thought to cure, one flock, it will cure
another. Nothing is taken into account saving that, in both cases, the
affected animals are sheep; and it is at once concluded, that what
benefited one will benefit another. The many niceties in prescribing
are never thought of: oh no, that would be of no use! of course it can
be of no importance to give a moment's attention to age and sex,
pasture and situation, or to leanness or fatness, or to the presence of
pregnancy! These are of trifling moment, and only to be despised by a
person armed with a recipe, which some one has shown to be capable of
walking like a constable through the body, and bearing off the
intruder! But enough of this; sufficient has, I think, been said to
prove the utter folly of confiding in things of the above nature or
intention, and to show that such confidence can lead to nothing but a
waste of life and capital. Even though the remedy is a harmless one, it
ought (unless calculated from _known_ powers to arrest the disease) to
be viewed with distrust, as incurring a loss of time, during which
other and better measures might have been resorted to.

        [24] Whenever we hear a person recommending a medicine of
        universal virtues, we may safely set him down either for a fool
        or an impostor. Things which are good for every thing are good
        for nothing.

(121.) _Classification of diseases._[25] As the acquirement of correct
ideas regarding the treatment of diseases is much facilitated by a
simple arrangement of the diseases themselves, numerous attempts have
been made to accomplish it, and in a variety of ways. The best of these
tabular views with which I am acquainted is the one laid before the
Highland Society some years ago, by Mr Stevenson, who appears to have
been the first to publish any thing like a satisfactory classification.
His arrangement is, however, defective in several points, more
especially as it necessitates the placing in the same division diseases
of organs essentially different. Thus he is compelled to admit under
"Diseases of the head" _Scabs on the mouth_ side by side with _Sturdy_,
and _Louping ill_: in this way mingling affections of the skin with
diseases of totally different organs--the brain and spinal marrow--and
causing much embarassment to the reader. To obviate this inconvenience,
as well as to render the remembrance of the remedies an easy matter, I
have adopted the above arrangement, in which each disease is placed
opposite the textures it invades.


        Diseases affecting

                          {Blown or Blast.
                          {Braxy, Sickness, or Blood.
        The Stomach and   {Pining, Daising, Vinquish or Vanquish.
        Intestines.       {Staggers.
                          {Diarrhoea or Rush.
                          {Dysentery, Cling, Breckshaw or
                          { Breckshuach.

                          {Scab or Itch.
                          {Erysipelas or Wild-fire.
                          {Red Water.
                          {Leg Evil or Black-leg.[26]
        The Skin and      {Inflammatory          {1. Maggot.
        Hoofs.            { appearances          {2. Ked.
                          { caused by the        {3. Tick.
                          {                      {4. OEstrus bovis.
                          {Sore Teats.

                          {Inflammation          {1. OEstrus ovis.
        The Air Passages. { caused               {2. Pentastoma.
                          { by the               {3. Strongylus filaria.

        Glandular tissues,{Rot.
        --viz. the Lungs, {Jaundice.
        Liver, & Kidney.  {Dropsy.

                          {Sturdy,               {1. Hydatids or Bloba.
                          { Gid or Dizzy,        {2. Hydrocephalus, or
        The Brain and     { caused by            {   Water in the Head.
        Spinal Marrow.    {Trembling, Thwarter or Leaping-ill.
                          {Wood Evil.

        The Eye.          {Ophthalmia.
                          {Soft Cancer.

        [26] Leg evil ought properly to be classed with diseases of the
        vascular system, being in many instances merely a symptom of
        disease in the heart or great vessels; but as the same results
        are arrived at by placing it under the present head, nicer
        distinctions would only tend to create confusion.

(122.) _Blown or Blast._ Can scarcely be reckoned a disease as it is
but a symptom caused by a mechanical impediment to respiration and
circulation. When a sheep has been brought from a poor pasture to a
rich one it is prone to gorge itself to an extent which may endanger
life. The lower end of the gullet becomes obstructed, the gases which
accumulate in the paunch are hindered from escaping, and the latter
becomes so enormously distended as speedily to suffocate the animal by
being forced into the chest.

(123.) _Treatment[27] of Blown._ If the difficulty in breathing be only
slight, keep the sheep moving _gently_ up and down as the air will thus
have a chance of escaping from the stomach. If the symptoms are more
alarming, pass the elastic tube employed in the same complaint in
cattle down the throat, or if that cannot be procured use a cane with
an ivory or wooden bullet at the end of it. Never _stick_ the animal,
as recovery by this plan is almost hopeless. If you cannot obtain the
aforesaid instruments, bleed the animal till it becomes very faint, and
if this is of no avail proceed to kill it. Shepherds often prescribe a
purgative dose after this occurrence. In general, however, it is not
required. To prevent a flock becoming _blown_, always when, for the
first time on rich pasture, make the dog move leisurely among them so
as to prevent them feeding hastily.

        [27] In speaking of remedial measures, the word treatment ought
        to be used in preference to "_cure_" which figures at the head
        of the medical advice in veterinary works. It is sheer nonsense
        to blazon such a word in pages having any pretentions to
        candour, for how seldom are we able conscientiously to affirm
        that our endeavours will be followed by a _cure_. All we can do
        is to pursue the _treatment_ best adapted for the attainment of
        so desirable an end.

(124.) _Braxy or Sickness._ Six or eight species of braxy are
enumerated by shepherds, but as they all bear a striking resemblance
one to another, in their origin and progress, it is preferable to treat
of them as one disease. Indeed wire-drawn distinctions, though
occasionally serviceable in cattle-medicine, ought in most instances to
be avoided, as they are of but little avail, and in this disease
straw-splitting can only serve to tantalize the farmer, by giving rise
to ideas of finical modes of treatment, which before the Chapter ends
are reduced to the simplest aids which medicine affords. Whatever may
be the seat or seats of the disease, the identically same resources are
employed in all:--why therefore ought the reader to be troubled with a
hundred trifling phases, which, not being _essential_ to the malady,
can only tend to perplex him in his search for the little that is
practically available.

(125.) _Symptoms of Braxy._ In those rare cases where the animal is
seen at the commencement of the disease, it will appear uneasy, lying
down and rising up repeatedly, loathing food, and drinking frequently.
In a little while the symptoms become more decided, and fever shows
itself. The wool is clapped, the skin hot, the pulse quick and strong,
respiration is rapid and laborious, while the blood is thick and black,
issuing from the orifice, in attempts at bleeding, drop by drop.
Sometimes the heart beats irregularly: the mouth is parched, and the
eyes are red, languid, partly closed, and watery. The head is down, the
back drawn up, and the belly swollen; there is scarcely any passage
through the bowels, the urine is small in quantity, high coloured, and
sometimes bloody. The sheep shuns the flock, slowly dragging itself to
some retired spot, where convulsed and screaming it shortly dies. Death
may occur in a few hours, or may, in some rare cases, be delayed for a
week. A fatal termination is not so sudden as some have fancied, since
the animal is in general seriously ill for many hours before it is

(126.) _Appearances on dissection._ Though many parts are commonly
implicated in the _sickness_, there is every reason for believing the
_reed_ to be primarily affected. Inflammatory appearances, and
mortification, the usual result of violent inflammation in this
quarter, are visible on its coats, especially at the pyloric extremity
(Plate I. Fig. 2, _py_.) The inner coat presents a blackish-red, and
gelatinous appearance,--the entire bowel being soft, pulpy, and easily
permeable to the finger. The intestines, kidneys, and bladder, will, in
all probability, exhibit similar changes, while the lining membrane of
the abdomen (the _peritoneum_) is frequently affected: when this
membrane has been much inflamed, the intestines are glued together, are
surrounded with bloody or floculent serum, occasioning before death
tumidity of the under part of the belly, and communicating, when
struck, a feeling of fluctuation to a hand placed at a distance from
the blow. The muscles in various parts of the body frequently
participate in the disease, bloody serum being infiltrated between the
layers. As the brain, in severe cases, exhibits symptoms of oppression,
so on dissection it will be found red and turgid, enabling us to
account for the convulsive movements during the termination of the
malady. The whole body, more particularly the abdomen, gives out a
fetid gangrenous odour, which has procured for braxy the pastoral
appéllation of "_stinking ill_" and renders the dissection far from
pleasant. After death putrefaction goes on with great rapidity,
especially in moist weather, hence the necessity of testing the
solidity of the carcass by giving it, as is customary in some parts,
_three shakes_ before proceeding to prepare it for household use!

(128.) _Causes of Braxy._ Whatever tends to constipate the bowels may
be reckoned a predisposing cause. Whenever constipation occurs,
especially if on a sickrife pasture, the sheep may be looked upon as
ripe for the disease. Any crude indigestible substance, taken into the
stomach when the animal is in this state, will have a tendency to
kindle braxy, and the liability to it will not only be heightened, but
the chances of recovery will also be lessened, by the animal being in
high condition.

Wedder hogs are peculiarly its victims, but only when hirsled, as when
allowed to pasture with their mothers they are less liable to it. This
is accounted for by the fact, that hirsled hogs are comparatively
_dull_, not being familiar with the proper times for feeding, and
incapable of selecting the suitable herbage, from having wanted the
tutoring of the mother.

From the beginning of November till the middle of March, _sickness_
commits its greatest ravages, especially among heath sheep, from their
being more confined than others to dry binding provender. Frozen grass
is also a common exciting cause, rapidly inducing inflammation by
lowering the temperature of the stomachs so very much as to arrest
digestion, and lead to its acting as an irritant. The succulent grass
in the sheltered hollows of mountains is more liable to frost than a
sapless herbage, and to it, owing to its moisture, the young sheep
resort, devouring it eagerly to assuage their thirst. Braxy, however,
may arise from other and more obvious causes. The sheep, perhaps when
heated by rash dogging, is suddenly chilled by exposure to a shower, or
a plunge in a morass, and if the bowels be at the time any way bound
up, immediate mischief cannot but ensue. One of the rarest accidents to
which it has been attributed is the prevention of the passage of the
fæces by a knot, or intussusception, forming on the intestines, but
this occurrence would be of difficult discovery, and even if made
known, our treatment, though not differing much from that of braxy,
could hardly be successful.

(128.) _Treatment of Braxy._ Recovery is in many instances almost
hopeless, owing to the length of time which in general elapses between
the onset of the disease and the shepherd's discovery of the animal.
Nevertheless, the best treatment ought in every instance to have a
proper trial, as life may often be saved when such a result is least
expected. Many plans have been resorted to, but none are found to suit
so well as that of bleeding and purging. The first thing to be
attempted is the procuring of a copious flow of blood, but, as before
mentioned, this is a difficult matter, owing to the stagnant state of
the circulation at the surface of the body. Its abstraction may,
however, be rendered easy, by placing the sheep in a tub of warm water,
or, where this cannot be procured, by rolling a blanket wrung out of
hot water round the body of the animal. The tub of water should always
be preferred, and the moment the sheep is placed in it, the tail should
be nicked, and one or both jugular veins opened.

Retain the sheep in the bath for half an hour, adding hot water from
time to time, so as to sustain the original temperature. This of itself
will alleviate the sufferings of the animal.

When a copious flow of blood has been obtained, remove the sheep from
the tub, and administer two ounces of Glauber's or Epsom salt,
dissolved in warm water, substituting a handful of common salt when
these cathartics cannot be procured. It is needless to give a purgative
without bleeding, as, till this is done, it will not operate. When in
spite of this the bowels continue obstinately constipated, give a
glyster of tobacco decoction, made by boiling a drachm of the leaf (the
full of a pipe will do) for a few minutes in a pint of water. Half of
this only should be injected, using the other if circumstances require
it. Place the sheep in a house, or any comfortable situation, bed it
with straw, throw a horse-rug over it, and promote the purging by warm
gruels. When out of danger supply it with moderate quantities of
laxative provender, and keep it for ten days apart from its fellows, by
which time it will, in all likelihood, be well recruited.

(129.) _Prevention of Braxy._ Change of pasture will at once suggest
itself. Let it be to a succulent one, on which old sheep have been for
some time feeding; the hogs will thus be hindered from filling their
paunches too rapidly. But, if heathy food is the staple provender,
allow your sheep four or five hours of turnips in the twenty-four,
permitting at the same time free access to common salt. These, from
their laxative effects, will serve as antidotes to the dry sapless
grasses, which have led to the disease. Such places as mossy soils,
abounding in evergreen plants, will also serve the purpose. Burn your
ley heather, as nothing is more decidedly prejudicial, not only from
its constipating qualities, but also from being surrounded by a grass,
which is so much relished by the sheep, that they resort to the spot
long after it has been eaten to the quick, and devour in their
eagerness much that is foul and unwholesome from frequent puddling. You
thus obtain a good supply of sprouts, as invaluable for opening
qualities, as the old heather is to be dreaded for its astringency.
Finally, be aware that careful herding is not the least efficacious of
preventives; a quiet, even-tempered, and thoughtful shepherd, being
here of far more value than the stores of the apothecary.

(130.) _Pining._ _Symptoms and Causes._ The name has arisen from the
rapid wasting, which is a prominent symptom in this complaint. A farm
can hardly be subject to a more ruinous distemper, as the same sheep
will be affected by it year after year, and if a ewe be attacked during
autumn it is ten to one she will not have a lamb in the ensuing season.
Pining only seizes on thriving sheep, preferring young ones, those more
especially of the larger breeds, and is confined to farms where the
land is principally micaceous and covered with occasional stripes of
benty grasses. A whole flock sickens at once, their usual alacrity
appears to have deserted them, their eyes are dull, and the whole
animal seems weary and languid. At a more advanced stage the wool
acquires a bluish tinge, the blood becomes thick, diminishing in
quantity, and the muscles assume a pale and bloodless appearance. The
bowels are constipated, and to this the feverish symptoms apparently
owe their origin. If the disease progress, death will ensue in about a

        [28] A gradual wasting of the animal, similar to what occurs in
        pining, may result from the irritation consequent on swallowing
        pointed bodies, as pins or needles. I have in my possession a
        very stout needle, given me by Mr Wilkin of Tinwald Downs,
        which was found buried in the coats of the stomach of a young
        sheep which died under the above symptoms, having been ill
        about three months.

(131.) _Treatment and Prevention._ The first object is to obtain a free
discharge from the bowels by means of purgatives, as, whenever a flux
appears, the animal is safe. Two ounces of Castor oil given in a gruel,
or the same quantity of Epsom salts, will do, care being taken that the
purging be carried to some length.

Removal to a rich pasture is the only preventive. That pasture should
be preferred which contains a good proportion of bitter plants, for the
emaciation appears to be owing in a considerable degree to torpor of
the bowels occasioned by long abstinence from these necessaries.

(132.) _Staggers._ The symptoms nearly resemble those of sturdy, which
I have afterwards to describe, and with which indeed I might have
classed it, were it not that it appears to be merely the result of a
poisonous plant being taken into the stomach. It is rarely seen
hereabouts; I shall, therefore, quote the account of it presented to
the Highland Society by Mr Stevenson:--"This is a disease seldom or
never affecting the sheep in this country, those excepted which feed in
forests, or amongst planting. The symptoms of it are more violent than
those of sturdy, during the time of their continuance. The animal,
after staggering for some time, falls on the ground, when a general
trembling comes on over the limbs; they are violently convulsed, and
quite insensible to every thing. During the continuance of the paroxysm
they throw the body into various positions, and sometimes roll to a
considerable distance. The fit continues for a quarter, sometimes half
an hour, or an hour. When they rise, they seem perfectly bewildered,
till they regain the flock, when they continue to feed well, till
another paroxysm supervenes. This disease appears in Autumn, and
various causes are said to produce it. Improper food, the leaves of the
oak, from their astringent quality, cobwebs sprinkled with dew, have
all been reckoned as causes. I am inclined, however, to suppose, that
it arises from the action of a poisonous grass (_Lolium temulentum_),
which is the only one of that description in this country, and grows
only in those situations where staggers prevail. What effect these
causes have on the brain to produce this disease, I cannot explain.
When it continues for any time on the same individual, it is apt to be

"Change of pasture is the only effectual cure for it."

(133.) _Diarrhoea._ By this is meant a constant purging, affecting the
younger portions of the flock between April and June, leading to great
emaciation, and proceeding from one of the following causes.

    1st. Eating a soft tathy pasture, particularly if fouled by the
    inundations of the previous winter.

    2d. Feeding on too rich a pasture, or a sudden change from an
    herbage deficient in nutritive qualities, to one that is much

    3d. Transitions from heat to cold.

    4th. Weakness and relaxation of the bowels.

(134.) _Treatment of Diarrhoea._ When either of the first two causes
has given rise to purging, a moderate allowance of good hay will
gradually stop it. This may be discontinued when the sheep has _taken_
with its altered fare.

When diarrhoea has been occasioned by exposure to damp, or sudden
transitions from heat to cold, it may be arrested by keeping the animal
in a house for a few days, and feeding it on any dry aliment, but when
crude trashy matter has been swallowed, and keeps up irritation by its
presence, medicine must be resorted to. Administer an ounce of castor
oil in gruel, adding twenty drops of Laudanum if there has been
straining or evidences of pain. When the bowels have been _thoroughly
cleared_ by this cathartic, it will be proper, if the discharge still
continue, to check it by astringents. The medicine found by experience
to answer best, is prepared as follows:--

    Take of Logwood four ounces,
            Extract of Catechu (Japan earth) one drachm,
            Cinnamon two drachms,
            Water three English pints.

Boil for a quarter of an hour, strain, and then add sixty drops of
Laudanum. Administer half an English pint of this night and morning so
long as the flux continues.

Diarrhoea seldom proves fatal, and is indeed an easily managed disease;
but as it is frequently only a symptom of some other affection, or a
critical effort of the constitution to ward off some more serious
mischief, the attempts at stopping it should always be cautiously

(135.) _Dysentery.--Symptoms._ The pulse is quick and the respirations
hurried. The skin is harsh and hot, and the wool in general clapped.
The mouth is dry, the eyes red and languid, and the ears drooping. Food
is taken only in small quantities and rumination is stopped. The
discharges from the bowels are frequent, slimy, sometimes green, and a
little further on in the disease are mixed with blood. The belly is
drawn towards the back. It is knotted and lumpy to the touch and a
rumbling noise (_borborygmus_) is heard within it. As a careless
observer might have some difficulty in distinguishing dysentery from
diarrhoea the following diagnostic summary, drawn up by Professor
Duncan, will be found of service.

    1. Diarrhoea attacks chiefly hogs and weak gimmers and dinmonts;
    whereas dysentery is frequent among older sheep.

    2. Diarrhoea almost always occurs in the spring, and ceases about
    June, when dysentery only commences.

    3. In diarrhoea there is no fever or tenesmus, or pain before the
    stools, as in dysentery.

    4. In diarrhoea the fæces are loose, but in other respects natural,
    without any blood or slime; whereas in dysentery, the fæces
    consists of hard lumps passed occasionally without any blood or

    5. There is not that degree of foetor in the fæces in diarrhoea
    which takes place in dysentery.

    6. In dysentery, the appetite is totally gone, in diarrhoea it is
    rather sharper than usual.

    7. In dysentery, the animal wastes rapidly, but by diarrhoea only a
    temporary stop is put to its thriving, after which it makes rapid
    advances to strength, vigour and proportion.

If dysentery continue to advance it will terminate fatally within a
fortnight. Death is generally preceded by the "_black scour_," which is
only an aggravation of the purging, the stools being mixed with shreds
of dark gangrenous matter from the decomposed interior of the

(136.) _Causes of Dysentery._ Many absurd opinions have gone abroad
regarding the contagious nature of this affection. Contagion, however,
has nothing to do with the matter, the spread of the disease depending
entirely on the state of the atmosphere and the nature of the locality.
When dysentery occurs the weather is usually sultry, the ground upon
which the flock has been going, foul, and the management of the sheep
so improper, as to be sufficient of itself to produce the disease very
generally. There is in fact only one proof of a disease being
infectious, viz., its immediate occurrence on the introduction of an
affected animal among such as are in good health, on sound food, and in
easy circumstances. This proof, however, in regard to dysentery has
never been established, and no medical person will now affirm that it
is contagious. Some think that it travels from flock to flock in the
direction of the wind, but its appearing simultaneously in many folds
ought rather to be charged to the fact of the predisposing causes being
nearly similar in all.

(137.) _Treatment of Dysentery._ Bleed freely if the disease has
continued only for a few days, but moderately if a longer time has
unfortunately elapsed. Stoving, by which is meant shutting the animal
in a wash-house, and allowing the apartment to become filled with
steam, though urged by some writers, cannot here be recommended. The
intended object is the promotion of perspiration, by exciting the
action of the skin, but this may be brought about by means much more
conducive to the safety of the animal. After the bleeding immerse the
sheep in a tub of hot water, and retain it there for twenty minutes;
then administer an ounce of Castor oil, with thirty drops of Laudanum,
and cover the sheep up in a snug corner. After the oil has operated,
thin well-boiled flour-porridge, given at intervals, in small
quantities, will help to defend the ulcerated bowels, sooth the pain,
and stop the purging. If these fail, you may use the astringent mixture
recommended in diarrhoea at page 175, and in the same manner, adding to
each dose a grain of ipecacuanha. When the appetite returns, and the
stools begin to acquire consistency, speedy recovery may be

During recovery part of the wool always falls off.

(138.) _Prevention of Dysentery._ If you wish your sheep to take the
disease, do as some wiseacres recommend--put tar upon their tails, and
noses; you will thus render them feverish, and uncomfortable, and every
way fit for an attack.

Gathering sheep into confined places is always bad, nothing will tend
more to ward off dysentery than an open frequently-changed easy-lying
pasture, combined with gentle usage on the part of the shepherd.


(139.) _Scab, or Itch._--_Symptoms and Causes._ These are so well known
that they hardly merit a description. Little white specks appear upon
the wool, and are soon followed by a small pustule at the root. The
pustules are produced by a minute insect burrowing in the skin, which
accounts for one external application of any active substance being
sufficient to eradicate the malady. The infected sheep is restless,
tearing off the wool with its teeth, and rubbing itself against every
resisting body. The skin is red and fretted, discharging an ichor which
hardens into crusts. These gradually extend, inducing a premature
failure of the wool.

If the sheep be not relieved, it sinks under its accumulated miseries.

Scab was little known any where, but in the Highlands, and the south of
England, till the good old custom of smearing with tar and butter gave
way before the elegant modern innovations. Into flocks anointed in the
old manner it may be carried by infection, but will seldom or never
arise spontaneously among them.

It usually commences in spring among hogs, making its first appearance
among the rams, especially those of the fine-woolled breeds, and is
supposed to be induced by overheating, want, or even excess of
nutriment, or pasturing on wet lands in rainy seasons.

(140.) _Treatment of Itch._ Subject the flock to a minute examination
whenever the movements of any animal excite suspicion, and remove every
one that is in the least affected. Place them in a separate enclosure,
and apply either of the following recipes.

    Take of Mercurial Ointment four pounds,
            Venice Turpentine half a pound,
            Oil of Turpentine one pint:

mix thoroughly.

Separate the wool from the head to the tail and draw the fore finger
loaded with a portion of the ointment, along the bottom of the groove.
Then make lines from the middle of the back down each leg and score
them in the same manner, thus concluding the operation. Some farmers
prefer rubbing the size of a walnut of the ointment into the delicate
skin inside the thigh. The former plan is, however, the better of the
two, and is the one recommended by Sir Joseph Banks, who communicated
the recipe to the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures,
and Commerce, in the 7th volume of whose transactions it was published.

A most important benefit to be derived from the application of the
mercurial ointment, is the security it affords the sheep from the
attack of the sheep fag or ked (_Hippobosca ovina_). The wool of sheep
annoyed by this fly always contains joints or knots, owing to the
occasional stoppage of its growth consequent on the fretting of the
irritated animal. On this account dealers in wool are said to give a
higher price for fleeces having the mercurial tinge, as they are
supposed to be sound in the pile from having been exempted from the

The next prescription is one of very great efficacy where the disease
has reached the length of scabs, and has, with many variations, gone
the round of almost every agricultural publication. The form I prefer
is one submitted to me by Mr Wilkin of Tinwald Downs, near Dumfries,
who at one time, several years ago, applied it with immediate good
effects, to six hundred infected sheep.

    Take of Tobacco scrapings one pound,
            Strong decoction of Broom six gallons:

boil for half an hour, and then add three English pints of spirit of

This quantity is sufficient to cover two dozen of sheep. The scabs, if
large, should be raised a little with a knife to permit the free
contact of the fluid, and no more of it should be applied than is here
directed; for though it be in this dose comparatively harmless, a very
small addition will destroy the animal.

A very good French remedy is made by melting a pound of fat or suet,
and mixing with it (when off the fire) a fourth part of oil of
turpentine. Rub it into the affected parts.

Whatever outward means may be employed, laxative medicines ought never
to be neglected. One of the best and most generally used, consists of a
tea-spoonful of flour of sulphur, given for two or three successive
nights in double the quantity of molasses.

If ill-conditioned sheep are the victims of itch, convey them to a
better pasture, but where the animals are fat, reduce their diet, and
give each a dose of Epsom salts.

(141.) _Prevention of Itch._ Do not turn a healthy flock on to pasture,
from which itchy sheep have recently been driven. If the disease
occasionally breaks out on your ground, apply the mercurial ointment at
clipping time: and, when you salve, add a pound of sulphur to every tub
of smearing composition whatever it may be.

(142.) _Erysipelas or wild-fire._ This is an inflammatory affection of
the skin, sometimes accompanied by blebs or blisters, occurring in
August and September, and spreading rapidly through a flock. Though
there is considerable ambiguity in the employment of these terms, I
believe they are synonymous with red-water, the disease of which I have
next to treat.

(143.) _Red-water._ The occurrence of this disease among sheep is very
rare. Its nature and treatment are however allowed, by those who have
seen it, to be admirably described by Mr Stevenson, in the 3d vol. of
the _Highland Society's Transactions_.

"This disease commonly makes its appearance about the beginning, or end
of winter, and first affects about the breast and belly, although at
times it spreads itself over other parts of the body. It consists in an
inflammation of the skin, that raises it into blisters which contain a
thin, reddish, and watery fluid. These continue for a short time,
break, discharge their matter, and are followed by a blackish scab.
When the sheep are exposed to cold or wetness, the skin being fretted
makes the blisters rise, or they often arise from cold, affecting the
animal internally, thus producing a slight fever, which throws out
these vesicles on the body, similar to the scabby eruptions, which
appear about the face, and more particularly the mouth of those persons
affected with cold. The blood in this disease is but little affected,
though a little of it oozes into the vesicles on the skin, and
communicates to them that reddish tinge, which gives origin to the

"Red-water is a disease that but seldom appears in this country, and is
almost never fatal. In cases where the disease is violent, a little
blood should be taken. * * * * The sheep should be placed in a fold by
itself, * * * * and the following medicine may be given for three or
four mornings successively:--

    Take of Flour of Sulphur two ounces,
            Molasses three ounces:

mix them, and divide them into six doses, of which one may be given
every morning, in half a pound (half a mutchkin) of warm water. If this
is found unsuccessful, half an ounce of nitre, mixed with the foregoing
recipe, will be attended with good effects; after which, a dose of
salts may be given, and the body washed with lime-water upon the part

(144.) _Leg Evil._--_Symptoms and Causes._ Like many other diseases,
this is usually supposed to be contagious, merely because it often
spreads quickly through a flock; the obvious fact of the exposure of
the animals composing it to the same causes, such as peculiar diet and
atmospheric variations, being entirely overlooked; but, as I have
already remarked in paragraph (136), the only proof of a disease being
contagious, is its spreading rapidly on the introduction, from a
distance, of an infected individual into a previously-healthy flock.

Sheep which acquire fat at an early age, are peculiarly liable to this
disease: a sufficient argument, if all others were wanting, against the
unnatural and foolish practice of accumulating a load of grease on the
bodies of young animals. By so doing, the action of the heart and lungs
is materially embarrassed, and, on the animal being chilled, or the
balance of its circulation otherwise accidentally deranged,
mortification (leg evil) is almost certain to occur. Even simple
scratches are often fatal in these over-fat animals, from inducing

The first intimation the shepherd has of the approach of leg evil, is
the occurrence of fever and lameness, accompanied by blue or livid
patches on the leg, generally about the upper part of the hoof or knee.
The skin on the affected parts, in a few days, exhibits scattered
vesicles, not unlike the blebs which form in erysipelas; it then gives
way, and the parts beneath are seen of a darker tinge, soft, pulpy, and
completely gangrenous.

Leg evil may prove fatal in a few days, or not for several weeks, much
depending on the extent of the sloughing portions, which may include
the entire leg, or legs, or may be limited to a single patch.

(145.) _Treatment of Leg Evil._ When the animal is in high condition,
and the disease has arisen spontaneously, bleeding is the first thing
to be thought of. It must, however, be conducted cautiously, it being
better to use the lancet a second time, than, by withdrawing too much
blood, to reduce the vital powers below the standard which is necessary
for replacing the gangrenous portions. Should a leg be affected to any
extent, the sheep must be at once destroyed, as there is scarcely a
possibility of its surviving, without a degree of care and nicety in
the treatment, which it is beyond the power of unprofessional persons
to bestow. Where the livid spots are limited, rags dipped in spirit of
turpentine, which has been heated by immersing the bottle containing it
in hot water, may be laid upon the skin; but when dead portions have
begun to separate, the best application is either a warm poultice, made
of carrots, which have been boiled and mashed, or one made of boiled
oatmeal, which has been fermented by adding to it a table-spoonful of
yeast, and placing it for an hour before a fire. When the sore is
becoming clean, and the granulations are rising freely, pursue the
methods recommended in paragraph (110).

(146.) _Prevention of Leg Evil._ Remove the diseased animals from the
flock, and, in dressing their sores, never use a sponge, or any thing
which, from its value, is apt to be preserved, and, perhaps, applied in
no long time to the cuts or scratches of a healthy animal; for, though
leg evil is not communicable by ordinary means, yet is it readily
excited by inoculation, or the application of putrid matter to a broken
surface. If the odour from the affected parts is any way offensive,
wash them with, and sprinkle round the fold, either a weak solution of
_chloride of lime_, or the disinfecting liquid of Labarraque, articles
which may now be procured from every provincial apothecary. Finally,
let the shepherd _wash his hands carefully_ before going from diseased
to healthy sheep, using, if need be, a little of either of these
solutions; and let him look well to any injuries which his charges may
receive in July, August, and September, for these are the months most
favourable to the occurrence of leg evil.

(147). _Inflammation caused by Maggots._ The insects passing under the
name of "Fly," though most troublesome in August, attack the sheep from
the month of May to September, inclusive, depositing their eggs among
the wool, in general about the tail, the roots of the horns, or any
part which affords, from its filthy appearance, a prospect of suitable
provision for the maggot. When these eggs are hatched, a process which
is, in sultry weather, almost instantaneous, the maggot erodes the
skin, and speedily brings the adjacent parts into a fit condition for
the reception of succeeding numbers of its species.

The backs of long-woolled sheep are, from their exposure, more liable
to be selected by the flies, as a receptacle for their eggs, than the
corresponding parts in such as are covered by a short thick fleece.

No sooner has the maggot begun its operations, than the sheep becomes
uneasy and restless, rubbing itself on stones and trees, and
endeavouring, by every means in its power to free itself from the
annoyance. Teazed by the constant irritation, fever soon sets in, and,
if the sheep be unrelieved by the shepherd's aid, death ensues in
four-and-twenty hours.

It is only lately that attention has been paid to the history of the
insect pests which originate the mischief, so little damage do they
appear to have occasioned in former periods. In a valuable paper,
containing the result of observations made on this subject in the
Highlands, and published in the second number of the _Quarterly Journal
of Agriculture_, they are thus described:--

"The fly which is the immediate cause of this disease, seems, as far as
my observations could extend, to consist of four species, viz.--the
_Musca Ceasar_, _Cadaverina_, _Vomitoria_, and _Carnaria_, of Linnæus.
* * *

"_M. Ceasar_ is of a shining green colour.

"_M. Cadaverina_, the thorax shining bluish, the abdomen green, like
the _Ceasar_.

"_M. Vomitoria_, thorax black, or dark-blue grey, abdomen dark glossy
blue. This is the common _Blue-Bottle_ or _Flesh-fly_.

"_M. Carnaria_, grey; the thorax has three black longitudinal markings
on the upper surface; the abdomen is checquered, in some positions
shining whitish.

"In all those instances in which I observed them, the green flies were
the first to attack, and this is the common opinion among the
shepherds. After a time, when the larvæ (maggots) commenced gnawing the
flesh, the putrid stench, which was thereby occasioned, attracted
numerous other species. The _Vomitoria_ (_blue-bottle_) was very
common, more numerous than both the former species, and perhaps
contributed most to accelerate the death of the animal, after the
others had commenced. The _Carnaria_ was rare. I observed but few of
them, and these seemed not concerned; which is the more remarkable, as
in the fenny counties of England it is said to be most troublesome. All
the species of this genus resemble one another closely, both in
appearance and mode of life. They are exceedingly voracious, feeding
upon carcasses and filth of every description. In five days after being
hatched they arrive at full growth, provided they have plenty of food;
they then cease to eat, and seek to assume the pupa state, crawling
under ground two or three inches. Here they remain about fourteen days,
when the shell cracks, and the imago, or fly, appears. In this last
state, they feed also on putrid juices, sucking them through their

The correctness of this description of their transformations I can
attest, from having watched their habits during my anatomical pursuits
in the summer months.

(148.) _Treatment of Fly-blown Sheep._ When the sheep is fly-blown,
dislodge the maggots with a knife, and shake a little powdered white
lead into the wound. Do not apply tar to the abraded surface, as, from
its cauterizing effects, the wound will be enlarged, and a repetition
of the visit speedily ensured. To ward off the onset of the flies,
various substances noxious to them are rubbed or poured upon the wool.
Tar, in small quantities, and of pungent quality, is by some daubed
upon the ears, horns, and tail. Others prefer rubbing a little melted
butter, thickened by flour of sulphur, along the sheep's back: this is
an effectual preventive. Some, again, prefer dressing the sheep, when
in low situations, with the following recipe, which I take the liberty
of copying from Mr Mather's paper on the fly, in the _Quarterly Journal
of Agriculture_, No. XXIV.

    "Take of Arsenic, finely pounded, one pound
             Potash twelve ounces,
             Common yellow soap six ounces,
             Rain or river water thirty gallons.

"Boil the ingredients together for fifteen minutes. * * * * The liquid
is in no degree injurious to wool. It cleans and dries the offensive
perspiration of the sheep, and destroys the smell caused by the dew in
the mornings, or by damp hot weather. In most situations, one dressing
in July and another in August will suffice; but as the expense is
trifling, and the process simple, it may be better to apply it more
frequently, especially in low and damp situations." The liquid is
applied only in dry weather. A teapot, or any vessel of a similar form,
is filled with it, and one person pours it on the wool, while another
rubs the fleece to facilitate the passage of the fluid. At the times of
using the solution, all superfluous wool ought to be shorn from the
buttocks, but not too closely.

When the insects are very troublesome, drive the sheep if possible to
higher ground. Examine carefully all wounds and ulcers, however
trifling, and dress them with any simple ointment containing a small
proportion of sulphur, mercury, or white-lead. Lastly, bury all useless
carcasses as speedily as possible, by which means you will keep down
the number of the flies.

(149.) _The Sheep-Fag or Ked_ (_Hippobosca ovina_) and _The Tick_
(_Acarus reduvius_), are destroyed or stopped in their attacks by the
same remedies and preventives detailed in the preceding paragraphs on
the fly.

(150.) _Inflammation produced by the OEstrus bovis._ This insect
infests not only cattle but also sheep and goats, depositing its eggs
on the back of the animal, where it forms a small tumour, in which the
larvæ remain from autumn till the commencement of the ensuing summer.
Only the fattest and most vigorous animals are attacked, and the larvæ
are very difficult to destroy. Fischer found, from numerous
experiments, that even spirits, and a strong solution of salt, could
not affect them. The fumes of burning sulphur alone seemed to annoy
them, and to it they speedily fell victims. This, however, is a remedy
which cannot be applied to the skin of the sheep, so that our only
resource is the repeated application of turpentine to the tumours on
the back, taking care to slit them up so as to facilitate its action.

(151.) _Sore Teats._ When a ewe is observed to hinder the lamb from
sucking, its teats should be examined. If much inflamed, a poultice
should be applied, and the lamb placed under the charge of another
nurse. Suppuration will thus be promoted, and the matter may be allowed
to escape by making an opening for it at the place it points. If there
is only a little tenderness of the skin, all that is required is the
washing it with a solution either of sugar of lead or sulphate of zinc,
eight grains to the ounce of water.

(152.) _Foot-rot._ No disease occasions more acute suffering to the
sheep, and annoyance to the farmer, than foot-rot, and no disease has
led to longer arguments as to its contagious or non-contagious nature.
Thanks, however, to Mr Dick of Edinburgh, these disputes are closed for
ever, as any one may be convinced, by perusing his clever and sarcastic
paper at page 852, Vol. ii. of the _Quarterly Journal of Agriculture_.
His excellent remarks on the popular ideas of the infectious nature of
foot-rot, I have not space to quote, but shall lay before the reader
his views as to the situations and circumstances which give origin to
the disease.[29]

        [29] To enable the reader more easily to understand Mr Dick's
        views of this disease, I have added a drawing of the foot of
        the sheep, which it may be well to consult before entering on
        the subject.

        _Fig. 4. Plate._ I. Section of a toe:--_c.c._ Crust of the
        hoof; _s._ Sole; _g.g._ Gland which secretes the hoof.

(153.) _Causes of Foot-rot._ "What do we gain," says Mr Dick, "by
enticing the sheep from his native and natural haunts to the richer
pasturage of our meadows or lawns? There the animal enjoys a more
luxuriant repast; it fattens to a larger size, and will, in this
respect, repay the increased allowance which has been made to it. But
instead of moving about in small troops, with the alacrity of the wild
kinds, the sheep are seen in flocks of thousands, moving slowly over
their pastures, and gorging themselves to an extent which cuts short
the thread of life, by the advancement of various diseases. Instead of
wandering from the summit of one peak to another, in quest of a scanty
subsistence, or instead of being compelled to descend from the summits
of the mountain in the morning, and ascend again in the evening, they
are compelled, in many cases, to remain within a few yards of a
particular spot for weeks together, and there engorge themselves to

"But what, it may be asked, has this to do with the foot-rot? More, I
am inclined to think, than is generally imagined. The hoofs of the
sheep being intended to receive a degree of friction from hard
surfaces, are not acted upon when the animal is placed under such
circumstances; and the necessary consequence is an overgrowth of the
hoof. The crust,--the part naturally intended to support the weight of
the animal, and to endure the greatest share of fatigue,--is here
allowed to grow out of all due bounds, because the softness of the
pasturages, upon which it now moves, presents little, if any, of that
rough friction to which the feet of the animal is naturally intended to
be exposed. The crust, therefore, grows unrestrained, until it either
laps over the sole, like the loose sole of an old shoe, and serves to
retain and accumulate earth and filth, or is broken off in detached
parts, in some cases exposing the quick, or opening new pores, into
which the particles of earth or sand force their way, until reaching
the quick, an inflammation is set up, which, in its progress, alters or
destroys the whole foot."

                 *       *       *       *       *

"The finest and richest old pastures and lawns are particularly liable
to this disease; soft, marshy, and luxuriant meadows are equally so;
and it is also found in light, soft or sandy districts. In the first of
these it is perhaps most prevalent in a moist season, and in the latter
in a dry one; in short, it exists to a greater or less extent in every
situation which has a tendency to increase the growth of the hoofs
without wearing them away, and more especially where they are kept soft
by moisture. It is so prevalent in fine lawns and pleasure grounds,
that they are, in many instances, reduced in value to a mere trifle as
a pasture for sheep; they are said to be _infected_ with this disease,
and having once become so, the vicissitudes of _seven_ seasons are
scarcely sufficient to destroy the contagion! A luxuriant herbage, on
soft pastures, is equally subject to it; and, in both cases, the
disease is increased in a wet season.

"The reason why, in these situations, sheep are so liable to the
disease, is quite obvious. They are generally brought from lands where
their range of pasturage was greater than in these situations. In their
former state, from the exercise which the animal took, and the nature
of the grounds on which it pastured, the hoof was worn down as it grew;
but, under the state in question, the hoofs not only continue to grow,
but, where the land is moist, that growth is greatly increased; and the
animal does not tread upon hard ground, nor has it exercise to wear
them down. Now, in the case of man himself, when the nails of his
fingers or toes exceed the proper length, they break, or give him such
uneasiness as to induce him to pare them. And the same takes place with
the hoof of sheep. But there is this difference in the case of the
latter, that when their hoof once breaks, as the animal has not the
power of paring it, the part thus broken must continue a wound. Some
parts grow out of their natural and proper proportions; the crust of
the hoof (_c.c._) grows too long; and the overgrown parts either break
off in irregular rents and unnatural forms, or, by over-shooting the
sole (_s._), allow small particles of sand or earth to enter into the
pores of the hoof. These particles reach the quick, and set up an
inflammation, which is followed by the destructive effects which are
too well known to require description.

"Similar effects are produced on soft, wet grounds. The feet, in such a
situation, are not only not subject to a proper degree of friction to
wear down the hoofs, but the growth of the hoofs is materially
increased by the soft and moist state in which they are kept. And this
state renders the feet the more liable to the disease, as it opens up
the pores of the horn, and allows the earth or sand to penetrate, and
wound the quick, in the manner I have already stated. On soft sandy
ground, of a dry nature, the same circumstances may occur. The soft
sand gives way by the weight of the animal, and the crust of the hoof
is not worn down. The sand penetrates between the sole and the crust,
as has been already explained, and produces inflammation. The disease,
however, is not so common on sand as in the other situations to which I
have alluded, the sand seldom being found in such a loose state."

Another variety of foot-rot is produced by the friction of long grass
between the hoofs, but is mostly confined to hill sheep, when first
pastured on lowland districts. These animals, from having been
accustomed to collect their food on extensive ranges of bare pasture,
are more exposed than heavy breeds to this frequent exciting cause of
the complaint. The rubbing of the grass frets the skin in the cleft of
the hoof, the gland in that situation swells, becomes enlarged, and
suppurates, and in no long time the animal is compelled to rest upon
its knees.[30] This complaint is, however, more readily remedied than
the former, and does not cause nearly so much suffering to the sheep.

        [30] _Fig. 5. Plate._ I. Gives a view of the inner surface of
        the toe of a sheep, with the interdigital gland laid open.

        _g._ The gland.

        _d._ The duct of the gland, opening upon the anterior surface
        of the leg.

        When the interdigital gland is much enlarged, it becomes
        necessary to cut it out. This ought to be a last resource, as
        the part appears to be of too much importance to be easily
        dispensed with.

(154.) _Treatment and Prevention of Foot-rot._ As foot-rot, in nine
cases out of ten, is an attempt on the part of nature to get rid of a
portion of the hoof, which ought, in the proper course of things, to
have been worn away as fast as it appeared, the prevention and
treatment of the first stage of the complaint will naturally suggest
themselves. "As this disease," says Mr Dick, at the conclusion of the
aforementioned paper, "arises in consequence of the hoofs not being
exposed to sufficient friction to wear them down, or keep them in their
proper state, or where their natural growth is increased by the nature
and moisture of the ground, the hoofs of all the flock should be
regularly rasped or pared at short intervals, say from eight days to a
fortnight, according to the rapidity with which a particular pasture
produces the disease. In certain situations, they might be made to
travel upon a hard surface, similar to natural sheep tracts, or be
folded in a place purposely prepared, upon which they could move about
and wear their hoofs. For that purpose, they should be placed in it
every day."

When foot-rot has fairly commenced, pare the hoof from the affected
part, and trim away any ragged portions, wash the foot with soap and
water, and place the animal in a situation where as few irritating
things as possible will be in the way of the tender surface, and give a
purgative. If not properly attended to, the suppuration soon terminates
in mortification. Cleanliness in every stage and variety of foot-rot,
is of the first importance. Many corrosive preparations are recommended
for the cure of this disease, but I have decided objections to one and
all of them. When the foot is clean, endeavour, by frequent
applications of soap and water, to keep and treat the ulcers as
directed in paragraph 110.

(155.) _Inflammation produced by Insects in the Air Passages._ Much
annoyance is caused to the sheep by the presence of animals in the air
passages. The _OEstrus ovis_ deposits its eggs on the margin of the
nostril in autumn; these are soon hatched, and the larvæ immediately
find their way up the interior of the nose, till they arrive at the
frontal sinus, a cavity situated between the layers of the frontal
bone, and of considerable size in the sheep. Here they remain till the
following spring, when they quit their hold, become winged insects, and
enter upon the career of torment so ably gone through by their

The _Pentastoma_, an animal supposed at one time only to exist in the
frontal sinus and lungs, and on the surface of the liver, of the dog,
wolf, and horse, as well as in some reptiles, has been discovered by an
able naturalist, my friend Mr Rhind of Edinburgh, in the frontal sinus
of the sheep. It spends its whole existence there, and is distinguished
from other entozoa by having the mouth between two pores on each side,
through which a spicular process comes out. Figure 3, Plate VII. is
taken from a drawing kindly furnished by Mr Rhind.

(156.) _Removal of Insects from the Nostril._ The _OEstrus ovis_
occasions much distress to the sheep at the moment of depositing its
eggs within the nostril. The animal on feeling the movements of the
fly, rubs its nose against the ground, or, carrying it low, darts off
at a rapid pace, vainly endeavouring to escape from its tormentor.
During this period, a thin limpid fluid distils from the nostrils,
leading a careless observer to confound the symptoms with those which
accompany Coryza. In general the irritation is now terminated, as,
while in the larvæ state, the insects are incapable of offensive
measures. If they are clustered in considerable numbers in the frontal
sinuses, they will doubtless lead to great suffering, parallel to what
is recorded to have followed the nestling of insects in the same
situation in the human being; and it is, therefore, advisable, when the
cause of sturdy (paragraph 169) is in any way doubtful, first to apply
those substances to the nostril, which are calculated to destroy both
these larvæ and the _pentastoma_, should they happen to be there.
Tobacco smoke is the only available remedy, and a very good one,
being easily brought in contact with the worms, and, when properly
administered, certain in its effects. One person secures the sheep
holding the head in a convenient position, while another, having half
filled a pipe with tobacco, and kindled it in the usual manner, places
one or two folds of a handkerchief over the opening of the bowl, then
passes the tube a good way up the nostril, applies his mouth to the
covered bowl, and blows vigorously through the napkin. When this has
continued for a few seconds, the pipe is withdrawn, and the operation
repeated on the other nostril.

The round hair-worm (_strongylus filaria_) has been found in great
numbers in the trachea and bronchii of calves by Camper, and of the
sheep by Daubeuton. It has also been found in the reed and duodenum of
the latter animal by Rudolphi. Two other species of the genus
_Strongle_, the _S. contortus_ and _S. filicollis_, have been detected
in the sheep, the former in the belly, the latter in the small
intestines. They all appear to originate only in such sheep as are
exposed to the sapping influence of low damp situations, combined with
stinted diet. Those occuring in the air tubes give rise to irritation,
and a consequent harassing cough, which is only to be arrested by
removing the sheep to a dry airy locality, and a nutritious pasture.
Unless portions of the worms are thrown up during coughing, they cannot
be pronounced with confidence to exist, as the symptoms which they
produce are very similar to those which accompany the two following

(157.) _Coryza._ During the winter months, this affection is of very
frequent occurence among sheep; but health is only in a few instances
seriously affected. It is brought on by the exposure of the animal to
intense cold, or to sudden chills, after it has been heated. In slight
cases, the only annoyance to which the sheep is subjected, is from
matter accumulating in the nostril, and plugging up the orifice, so
that the poor creature is compelled to raise its head every three or
four minutes, and labour hard for breath.[31] When the inflammation
extends further down the air tubes, the symptoms assume a severer type,
and death soon occurs, in general from suffocation. If the inflammation
of the bronchial tubes becomes chronic, that is to say, if it goes on
in a mild form for a length of time, pulmonary consumption (rot) will
in all probability succeed, and destroy the sheep in a more lingering

        [31] The sheep is more inconvenienced by Coryza than other
        animals, owing to the naturally small calibre of the nostrils,
        the inferior turbinated bone being of large dimensions, and
        occupying the greater part of the nasal cavity. It is from this
        peculiar formation of the nose, that sheep are so very easily
        blown, when made to exert themselves in running.

(158.) _Treatment of Coryza._ Should this disease prevail in a lenient
form among your sheep, removal to a sheltered field, and a dose of
purgative medicine, are all that is required. If, however, the feverish
symptoms are severe, besides giving a purgative, bleed at the outset of
the disease, and administer ten grains of the following fever powder,
dissolved in a tea-cupful of warm water:--

    Take of powdered Digitalis (Foxglove) half a drachm.
            Tartarized Antimony fifteen grains
            Nitre two drachms.

Rub them well together, and divide the mixture into fifteen parts or
powders. Half an hour after the powder is swallowed, give the sheep a
basin of warm gruel, and repeat the powder at the end of six hours, if
the symptoms are not considerably abated. When the sheep is recovering,
keep it on juicy food, and do not expose it to inclement weather, as it
will be very liable to another and more severe attack. Those sheep
which are subject to cough on slight changes of temperature, should
always be picked out, fattened for the market, and disposed of at the
earliest opportunity, as they will, in all probability, sooner or
later, fall victims to the following disease.

(159.) _Rot._ Every animal, from the serpent up to man, that is to say,
every animal possessed of lungs, is liable to _rot_. The inelegance of
the term might be overlooked, provided a precise meaning were attached
to it. Every one, however, seems to place some peculiar signification,
and to hang some favourite theory, upon it, so that little wonder need
be expressed either at the varying tenor of the treatment, or at the
unsatisfactory conclusions which have been drawn regarding it. The word
"_rot_," when employed in speaking of man, implies what, in popular
language, is called "_consumption_," and is applied to that disease
only when it affects the lungs. Thus the fork-grinders of Sheffield,
who, from the nature of their employment, are much exposed to the
exciting causes of consumption, and who, at an early age, fall victims
to it, are said, by the people of that town, to die of rot. The term,
however, so far as it has yet been used in relation to the sheep, has
figured as the representative of a host of diseases, and, in becoming
standard from frequent usage, has only rendered confusion worse
confounded. "_Rot_," says the late Professor Coventry, in his
_Introductory Discourses_, "is a word which has been employed to
express a variety of disorders affecting this animal, with no small
confusion and detriment. Indeed, in few instances has senseless
indiscrimination done more mischief; for means inapt and injurious have
been had recourse to, where skilful and timely interference would have
had the happiest effects. Sheep are sometimes said to have the rot,
when they labour under _phthisis pulmonalis_ (consumption of the
lungs), which they do but rarely; or under disorders of the liver, as
_hepatitis chronica_, and that state of the same organ produced, or
attended by the _fasciolæ hepaticæ_ (fluke worms), _hydatides_, &c.,
which affections of the liver are not unfrequent. But the most common
rot is still another and very distinct disorder, resembling, in many
points, and probably the very same in its nature with, _scorbutus_
(scurvy) in the human species, or that _miseranda lues_, that direful
ruin of the general health and constitution, which silently supervenes
from deficient or depraved aliment; and from which, as numerous
observations testify, every flock, every sufferer, may be recovered by
simple means seasonably used; but against which, in its advanced stage,
all remedies prove of no avail. Perhaps, as the last symptoms of
debility are very similar, and are most taken notice of by ordinary
observers, the different kinds of rot might conveniently enough pass
under the names of pulmonic, hepatic, and general rot."

Setting aside, for the moment, the inaccuracy of part of the above
observations, I shall only remark, that, though Dr Coventry, in thus
calling attention to the conflicting state of opinions on the subject,
has accomplished much in reconciling discrepancies, he has still left
something to be done in simplifying the matter; while he has, at the
same time, rendered that something difficult of execution, from his own
high authority being associated with the blunder. The only way,
therefore, to remedy the thing, is to quit for the present the views of
that learned gentleman, while I endeavour to give a plain account of
the disease, its causes, and effects.

(160.) _Symptoms of Rot._ The first thing which indicates the presence
of the disease, is the unwillingness of the affected animal to move
about. It lags behind the flock, ascends a slope with difficulty, and
has a listless, heavy, pithless appearance. Cough varying in frequency
and violence, but extremely harassing, is present at every period of
the disease, and is always increased on the slightest exertion.[32] At
first this is accompanied by expectoration of the mucus of the air
tubes; but in no long time purulent matter, indicative of more
extensive inroads on the constitution, begins to be coughed up, and
goes on increasing in quantity and becoming worse in quality till the
termination of the disease. The wool becomes fine, white, thin, and
brittle in the pile, and is easily brought away in masses by the
slightest pull. The appetite is, throughout the disease, voracious, and
though all the bad symptoms may be present, still the animal keeps up
an appearance of plumpness. This, however, is hollow and deceitful, and
the rapid loss of flesh which immediately succeeds, shows with what
insidious certainty the malady has been progressing. Owing to the
falling off in flesh and in fat, the neck appears to have acquired
additional length, and the eyes to have sunk within the head. Sooner or
later the skin beneath the neck becomes distended with serous fluid,
and from this the disease has acquired the name of _Poke_. The word,
however, is far from applicable, as it might, with equal propriety,
stand for any other disease attended with dropsical accumulations.
Violent purging soon terminates the disease, death being generally
preceded by the evacuation of a quantity of blackish matter.

        [32] It is quite possible that a sheep may die of true
        pulmonary consumption and yet have scarcely any cough.

(161.) _Appearances on Dissection._ The first thing which strikes a
person on viewing the carcass of a sheep which has died of rot, is its
leanness. In conducting the examination, the fell appears of a bluish
white, the muscles are pale and wasted, and fat hardly to be met with.
Where it once existed, a tough yellow substance alone remains, which is
so destitute of all pretentions to the name of suet, that it cannot,
even when thrown upon a fire, be made to blaze. Dropsical accumulations
are found in the legs, chest, neck, and belly. On opening the chest,
the lungs are often seen adhering at intervals to the lining membrane
of the ribs, and have always a shrunk, diminutive appearance. These
adhesions are frequently seen where there are no tubercles, and are in
that case simply the result of exposure to cold; but where they are
coincident with tubercles, they may be ascribed either to the animal
having been exposed to cold, or to the inflammatory action set up by
the tubercles themselves. The lungs are always the principal, and I may
also, from my own experience, add, the primary seat of the affection.
When examined in the early stage of rot, they have a hard lumpy feel,
especially at the upper part or lobe, and at this time a great number
of irregular yellowish white, patchy-looking bodies (_Plate_ VI. _fig.
2._), will be seen shining through the membrane, _pleura_, which
surrounds the organ. These _tubercles_, as the hard white bodies are
called, vary in size from that of a mustard seed to that of a pea. They
are sprinkled through all parts of the lung, and will in every
dissection, be found in a variety of stages, from the firm condition in
which they were deposited, to the softened state which denotes their
speedy expectoration. Each tubercle, however small, usually holds a
particle of calcareous matter in its centre. The lungs, in the advanced
stage of rot, will be full of cells or caverns, owing to the
destruction of its texture by suppuration in those parts where
tubercles existed. The cells or sacs are of all sizes, from that of a
bean to that of a goose egg; but if the animal has been taken care of
during the progress of the complaint, and lingered long, the abscesses
will be so numerous, and so closely situated, as to give the remains of
the lung the appearance of a large bag. Extreme cases of this nature
are, however, rare; as the sheep, in general, either falls before the
knife, or is killed from exposure to cold long ere the disease has
reached its farthest limit. These sacs contain purulent matter, of all
shades and odours, and identical with that which the animal coughed up.

Tubercles, and all their concomitants as above detailed, are also met
with in the liver, though not so frequently as in the lungs. They
constantly occur in the _clyars_ (mesenteric or lacteal glands) which
on this account are much above their usual size, and are occasionally
found in other parts; but I need not proceed in their description, as
sufficient has been said about them to enable the unprofessional reader
to understand their relation to the complaints.

Fluke worms and hydatids are almost constant attendants on rot, and
seemingly most important ones, especially the former, which have, I may
say, kept a great bulk of the learned and unlearned for many years in a
perpetual bustle, and have so effectually hoodwinked writers on this
subject, as to prevent them seeing the truly important points in the
disease. For this reason, I hold them worthy of particular description;
as it is only by becoming acquainted with their history and habits that
we can form correct ideas either of their mode of origin or of their
supposed ability to cause rot.

(162.) _The Liver Fluke_ (_fasciola hepatica_ or _distoma hepaticum_,
_Fig. 6._ _Plate_ I.) derives its name from the resemblance it bears to
the plaice or flounder, though its shape has been more aptly compared
to that of a melon seed. It is flat and oval, of a brownish-yellow
colour, and varies in size from that of a pin-head to one inch in
length, and half an inch in breadth. Each worm is bisexual or
hermaphrodite, on which account they multiply with great rapidity. The
generic name--_distoma_--signifies having two pores, _a.b. Fig. 6,
Plate_ I., and is for this reason applied to it. The nipple-like body
at the extremity _a._ contains the orifice of the pore or opening
leading to the female division of the generative apparatus, situated
between _a._ and _b._ In this cavity are formed the eggs, which are at
intervals protruded, to be hatched when floating in the sheep's bile.
The male organ is situated in front of the ventral pore. The anterior
opening _b._ is equivalent to a mouth, and leads inwards and backwards,
communicating with the intestinal canals _c._, which are easily made
out in the recent animal, from their containing dark bile, and which,
as in other creatures low in the scale of being, serve the double
purpose of a digestive and circulatory apparatus; that is to say, the
stomach first prepares a fluid which is equivalent to blood, and then
distributes it throughout the body.[33]

        [33] The examination of fluke worms is much facilitated by
        placing several of various sizes flat upon a slip of glass, and
        allowing them to dry in this position. On holding the glass
        between a bright light and a lens, and looking through the
        latter, the distribution of the vessels, and the position and
        form of the eggs, are beautifully displayed.

Flukes are never found in the _arteries_ of the liver, as has been
erroneously stated by some writers, their abode being limited to the
gall bladder and its ducts. In these they are often present in such
numbers as to cause great distention of the sac and tubes, and in some
instances the irritation produced by them leads to the thickening of
the walls of the gall bladder, and to a deposition of calcareous matter
between its coats; frequently also to complete obliteration of portions
of the ducts. Hence the crackling sound sometimes perceived when
handling the liver of a rotten sheep.

(163.) _The Hydatid or Blob_ (_Cysticercus tumicollis_, _Fig. 1._
_Plate_ VII.) so frequently found in sheep, is in form one of the
simplest of the entozoa (literally dwellers within), being little more
than a bag containing a quantity of fluid. As relates to outline, this
hydatid bears no small resemblance to a Florence flask. It is said to
have a head, _h._--a neck, _n._--a body, _b._-- and a posterior or
caudal vesicle, _c.v._ Its claims to the title of an animal have been
much disputed, but as it has been seen to move spontaneously, and as
the contained fluid is always essentially different from that by which
the hydatid is surrounded, the question may be looked upon as set at

        [34] The property of acting on organized matter, so as to
        convert it into substances similar to those which constitute
        the agent, is characteristic of a vital power.

The method of their reproduction is in unison with their structure,
simple in the extreme. Nothing, however, very precise is known about
the process. The vesicle which acts as heart and stomach serves also as
the reproductive cavity, but how or by what means it is fecundated
would be difficult to determine. The young hydatids are found adhering
to the inner surface of the parent cavity. When they have attained
maturity, the parent dies and shrivels, and the young ones begin to
eliminate their nourishment from the juices of the quadruped which they

These entozoa are found in general on the surface of the intestines,
between them and their outer membrane (_peritoneum_), and on the
exterior of the lungs and liver. They are always included in a cyst, to
the inner surface of which they adhere by means of two hook-shaped
processes projecting from the head. These cysts are always on the
surface of the different viscera of the sheep, and in this way may be
distinguished from another sacular animal, or rather supposed animal,
termed acephalocyst or headless bag, which is sometimes found in
clusters in the substance of the lungs, liver, &c. and is often
confounded with the true hydatid.

(164.) _Causes of Rot._ If any one had been asked, thirty years ago,
the cause or rather causes of the appearances which pass under the name
of rot, he could not have enumerated them even in a day, for at that
time each symptom was a disease, and as such was reckoned worthy of a
separate and proximate cause. Nor could any person have had the courage
to promulgate a common-sense opinion on the subject; for simple views
regarding the diseases of domestic animals were then either not deemed
worthy of a moment's notice, or, if considered, were swept at once, by
the strong current of prejudice, into the foul ocean of predetermined
disapproval. Opinions in cattle medicine were at that time valued
according to the prolixity of their detail; and the more improbable the
dependence of the effects upon the cause assigned, so much more was its
discoverer lauded, and in like proportion was the chimerical fabric he
had raised admired. Times are, however, now happily changed; that
potent oculist, the march of intellect, has cleared the film from the
public eye, and no one need, at present, be afraid to state the
unaspiring fact, that _tubercles_ are the sole and proximate cause of
the disease called rot.

The observations of the late Dr Coventry, already quoted, would lead us
to suppose that tubercles are of rare occurrence in the lungs of sheep,
but in refutation of this assertion, I need only request the reader to
take a ramble through a butcher-market, and he will perceive, even on
cursory inspection, the fallacy of this conclusion. What the state of
the liver is which is attended with flukes and hydatids, he has left us
to make out. Chronic hepatitis, which accompanies tubercles in the
liver, goes for nothing as a disease of sheep, and therefore does not
require a notice; besides, it is not rot, and is quite incompetent of
itself to cause it. As for the scurvy of which he speaks, he evidently
means the disease now generally known by the name of _Pining_, but
which, as it has no connexion with rot, and has only become prevalent
within the last sixteen years, could not be very well known to him.

The following questions will naturally occur to many of my readers.
What gives rise to these tubercles? what are the predisposing causes
which lead to their formation? and, when formed, how do these
apparently unirritating bodies produce effects so baneful? Queries like
these, however, cannot shortly be replied to, leading, as they do, to
discussions which embrace many curious theories; but as the negative
mode of teaching is often of avail where the positive or more direct
would fail to bring conviction, I shall, before proceeding to allude to
what the causes are, endeavour to state what they are not.

_Imaginary Causes of Rot._ The liver-fluke has long been looked upon as
the origin of rot, and this opinion has now become so deeply rooted,
and taken so fast a hold of the public mind, that if I were to
contradict it by plain assertion, I should only be striving to buffet
singly a tide of opposition. The best way, therefore, will be to
examine a few of the theories supposed to be confirmatory of the notion
that fluke worms are the beginning of the mischief, and then see
whether their supporters have managed to make good the point.

    I. The fluke is supposed to get into the liver of the sheep by
    being swallowed, and this, according to our theorists, may be
    brought about in some of the following ways:--

      1. The eggs may be floating in the air, and thus accidentally
      reach their destination. This is the view taken by the celebrated
      Clater; but if he had been, in this instance, a man of
      experiment, rather than of idle conjecture, he would have found,
      as any one readily may, that the eggs of the fluke worm sink in
      water, and, consequently, that they cannot float in air.[35]

        [35] To obtain the eggs of the fluke worm for examination, hold
        a saucer under the gall bladder, make an opening in it with
        scissors, and the bile containing the eggs will flow into the
        dish. Pick out any fluke worms that may be in the fluid, then
        dilute it with about twelve times its bulk of water, agitate
        for a few minutes, and filter. The eggs will be found in the
        corner of the filtering paper.

      2. The Rev. Dr Singer, to whom Scotland at large, and
      Dumfries-shire in particular, is much indebted for numerous and
      valuable papers on agricultural subjects, states, in the third
      volume of the _Highland Society's Transactions_, page 478, that
      "The spawn or eggs of the liver fluke are most probably _conveyed
      upon the grass_ by summer watering, and afterwards taken into the
      stomach with it." A few lines further on, he speaks of the eggs
      being "wafted thither by harvest waterings." Now, as the fluke is
      only produced within the sheep, I need only put the unanswerable
      questions--How are they conveyed to the grass? and from whence
      are they wafted? to refute at once this hasty notion.

      3. The eggs may be voided by the sheep, may fall upon the
      herbage, and there remain till they are eaten. Such is the
      supposition published by Mr King of Hammersmith, in the
      _Quarterly Journal of Agriculture_, No. XXXI. p. 331, in which,
      after showing the vast number of eggs which must fall upon the
      grass, he says, "We must cease to wonder that so many sheep die
      of rot; the miracle is, that every sheep does not die of it."! I
      cannot, however, for my part, see a miracle in the matter, for
      the simple reason, that the eggs of the entozoa are not capable
      of retaining their vitality when absent even for a very short
      time from the place of their nativity, and therefore may be eaten
      with impunity.

    II. Supposing the eggs to have reached the sheep's stomach in a
    condition to allow of their being hatched, they, according to
    popular voice, find their way into the gall bladder by one of two

      1. Mr King, the gentleman above spoken of, conjectures, in the
      same paper, that the fluke, after leaving the egg in the stomach
      of the sheep, _makes its way up the gall vessels_. This is, I am
      sorry to say, a very idle conjecture, as, from the valvular
      nature of the opening of the gall duct into the duodenum, an
      entrance from that intestine to the gall bladder is perfectly
      impracticable to any of the entozoa.[36]

        [36] The notion that rot is occasioned by animalcules getting
        into the liver is not confined to this country. Leake, in his
        travels in the Morea, alludes to an opinion prevalent there,
        that the _vidhéla_ (rot) is caused by the sheep feeding in
        marshy places in August and September, when it is imagined that
        an insect from the plants finds its way into the biliary

      2. The eggs are believed by a writer in the _Letters of the Bath
      Society of Agriculture_, for 1781, to be taken into the blood
      along with the chyle from the small intestines, and to be
      arrested in the liver by the secretory ducts. This, it must be
      clear to every one, is the most absurd of all the notions; for if
      a globule of blood, which we must suppose to be the largest body
      capable of being absorbed from the intestine, is only about
      1/3000 of an inch in diameter, how can the egg of a fluke worm
      pass through the same channel, when Mr King has, by careful
      observation, shown it to be 1/300 an inch in its shortest
      measurement. Again, allowing that they are taken into the blood,
      would they not frequently be hatched there, and would they not
      also be found in other quarters besides the liver. But do we ever
      find them in the blood? Do we ever see them in other organs?
      Certainly not.

      Not one of these theories would ever have been broached had their
      authors been aware of two important circumstances. 1. That M.
      Schreiber, the director of the Museum at Vienna, has proved that
      worms and their ova are not capable, under ordinary
      circumstances, of resisting the action of the digestive organs,
      and, therefore, that they cannot be introduced into the body by
      this channel. "During six months, he fed a pole-cat almost
      exclusively on various kinds of intestinal worms, and their eggs
      mixed up with milk; and on killing and examining it, at the end
      of this period, not a single worm of any kind was found in
      it."[37] The reader may perhaps object to this illustration, on
      the ground that there is so vast a difference between a sheep and
      a pole-cat, that a comparison in regard to their digestive habits
      cannot possibly hold good, but if he will turn to paragraph (96),
      he will see that the stomach of a sheep is as well fitted as that
      of a carnivorous quadruped for the digestion of animal matters.
      2dly, the fluke worm has been found by Frommen in the foetus of
      the sheep, into which it could not have been conveyed by
      transmission from the mother, as there is no direct vascular
      communication between the foetal and maternal side.

        [37] Cyclopedia of Practical Medicine, Vol. iv. p. 524.

      From a consideration of all these data, the conclusion must at
      once be drawn, that as living flukes cannot reach the liver from
      without, they must of a necessity be produced only in particular
      states of the animal they inhabit. How they originate we cannot
      of course determine, and this is not the place to hazard
      physiological conjectures; but it will be found that their
      appearance in the bile is always preceded by tuberculous deposits
      in the lungs or liver. This I have proved by numerous
      dissections, in which I have occasionally found tubercles without
      flukes, but never met with flukes where I did not at the same
      time discover tubercles. Fluke worms, therefore, can never be
      regarded as a cause of rot, they must be looked upon merely as a
      symptom. We cannot, however, say that tubercles give rise to the
      liver-fluke, for tubercles are often present in cases where
      flukes are absent; and if the latter were the effect of the
      former, their presence under such circumstances would in all
      probability be constant.

    III. Particular plants have been said to cause rot, but the proofs
    of their evil tendencies being in every instance about as logically
    supported as the fluke theories already mentioned, I need not
    trouble myself or the reader by proceeding to details.

_Real Causes of Rot._ Everything that has a tendency to weaken the
animal, will be more or less liable to lead to rot. Exposure to cold
and wet, mishaps at lambing time, food bad in quality or deficient in
quantity, and over-driving, will all predispose the constitution to the
deposition of tubercles. It is from the causes being in this way common
to the whole flock, that contagious properties have been ascribed to
rot, it having been observed, from the time of Virgil, to break out in
many animals at once.[38]


        "Nor oftener are the floods disturb'd with wind
        Than sheep with rots; nor doth the sickness find
        One to destroy, but suddenly doth fall
        On root and branch, stock and original."

        _Virgil's Georgics_, Lib. III.

The reason of so many different things having, from first to last,
been reckoned capable of producing this disease, appears to lie in the
known fact, that if a sheep be exposed to any of the above depressing
agents, rot, if the animal be as yet untainted, will not, at the
moment, shew itself; but a chain of morbid actions will in all
probability then commence, and, being beyond the ken of ordinary
observers, will pass unheeded, till some slight mismanagement in food
or shelter, hastens their progress, and renders them apparent to the
plainest understanding. The final symptoms of rot may thus occur on any
kind of pasture, and the scene of the catastrophe will incur a stigma
which ought to be attached to herbage which the sheep have consumed at
some distant place or date.

Bad food is justly regarded as one of the most common causes of rot,
and ranks, in my estimation, next to cold and wet, in its power of
producing it. I shall only remark, on this point, that of all the
food on which sheep can possibly be kept, none is known to act so
deleteriously as grass which has sprouted quickly. Rot is well known to
occur most frequently on land which has been irrigated during summer,
for at this season any excess of moisture is peculiarly injurious to
the economy of a plant.

When plants by heat and moisture are stimulated to increased exertion
on a poor soil, they acquire bulk without having it in their power to
obtain at the same time those saline matters which constitute a healthy
plant, becoming in fact, to the eye of an inexperienced person,
thriving vegetables, while to the palate they prove wersh and watery.

The same result may follow from a different process. The saline matter
may not be taken up, even when the soil is rich in such ingredients,
from the functional derangement into which the roots or digestive
organs have been thrown by the unnatural circumstances in which it has
been placed. A plant is composed, like all organized bodies, of a
certain number of proximate principles, which are more or less numerous
in different kinds. These are combined with varying quantities of
potass, soda, lime, magnesia, and iron, which, though formerly supposed
to be too trifling in quantity materially to affect the quality of the
plant, have yet been recently and satisfactorily proved completely
to change the character of the compound, even when the excess or
deficiency amounts only to a 1/10000th part so that, supposing an
animal to thrive on plants which contain salts of any or all of the
above bodies, it will soon fall off if these plants are in any way
deprived of a single adjunct; for by the removal of that one salt,
their nature has been entirely altered.

The certainty and rapidity with which Bakewell could rot his sheep, by
pasturing them, in Autumn, on land over which water had been allowed
to flow during the previous summer, may seem to controvert what I
have above stated, as to time and frequent change of pasture often
intervening between the origin of the disease, and its termination; but
when it is recollected that he pursued the destructive system of
breeding _in_ and _in_, of itself sufficient to induce a tuberculous
predisposition, the reader will perceive that his sheep were, in all
likelihood, more or less tainted, and therefore, sure to fall victims
to the disease the moment they were subjected to the deleterious
influence of an unwholesome pasture.[39]

        [39] When parcels of Mr Bakewell's best sheep became, from any
        defect, unserviceable to him, he used to fatten them for the
        butcher. But as there was a _probability_ of their becoming
        valuable in other hands, he always gave them the rot before he
        sold them! An example, which, I hope, for the sake both of man
        and sheep, never to see followed.

Over-driving and hurrying of every kind, is, in my opinion, a fruitful
source of rot, not only from the fatigue it causes, or the risk it
leads to of taking cold, but also from the injury, which in many cases
results, to the delicate texture of the lungs. As shown in the note to
paragraph (157), no animal is more easily put out of breath by running,
than the sheep. Whenever the breathing is hurried, the circulation
through the lungs is quickened also. If the tissue of the lungs be in
any way delicate, the force with which the blood is propelled is sure
to make it yield, and in this manner the animal is often suffocated by
the large quantity of blood, which issues into the air tubes at once
from many points. Fig. 1, Plate VI. exhibits a good illustration of
this taken from a sheep. Numerous red points are seen sprinkled over
the surface of the section, indicating that blood has been effused from
many minute torn vessels. Now, if this animal had survived, each speck
of blood would have formed a centre, round which tuberculous matter, as
in Fig. 2, Plate VI. would have been secreted, and death from rot, at
some ulterior period, would, in all probability, have been the

        [40] Pathologists differ as to whether tubercle is the cause or
        consequence of _hemoptysis_, as this effusion of blood into the
        tissue of the lungs is termed. Andral, however, is decidedly of
        opinion that hemoptysis is one of the exciting causes, and, in
        domestic animals, I believe it to precede tubercle more
        frequently than is generally imagined.

(165.) _Treatment of Rot._ As reason and experience have taught us that
tathy herbage is a common cause of this complaint, we should, when it
shows itself, at once remove the animals to a better pasture, where
they should be exempted from teazing of every kind.

Salt appears, after every trial, to be the best medicine, and to this
they should have, at all times, ready access. Should the disease be
rather far advanced, the breathing hurried, and the cough annoying,
occasional doses of the following infusion will be of service, in
enabling the farmer to keep down the disease, till such time as he can
conveniently dispose of the animal.

    Take of Leaves of Foxglove two ounces,
            Boiling water two English pints:

pour the water on the leaves, cover up the vessel, and keep it in a
warm place for six or eight hours, then strain.

Two tea-spoonfuls morning and evening may be given to a sheep, but as
the plant is an active poison, and the strength of its infusion liable
to vary, a couple of days should always intervene between every six

About the year 1800, a notion prevailed in this country, that an
effectual remedy for rot had been discovered by the Dutch, but this was
quite unfounded, no _cure_ ever having been hit upon for this sweeping
malady; indeed, a cure is fairly out of the question: its prevention
and palliation, but not its eradication, being all that we can hope
for. Sundry plausible plans of treatment have, however, at one time or
another been contrived, some of them, in all conscience, harmless
enough, but others again as well adapted for the destruction of the
animal, as the removal of the disease.

As fluke worms have usually been reckoned the cause of rot, so the
treatment has principally consisted in attempts to effect their
extermination. With this view, Sir George Steuart Mackenzie of Coule,
in defiance of all preconceived medical opinion, advocated, in his work
on _Sheep_, published in 1809, the employment of mercury to stay the
progress of rot, and in the same work, _or one very like it_, as lately
published anonymously by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful
Knowledge, under the title of the _Mountain Shepherd's Manual_, the
utility of this dangerous procedure is as firmly maintained. At the
same time Sir George, though rather in the dark as to the real nature
of the disease, admits, in both editions, that tubercles exist in rot,
especially in the lungs. Now, if he had inquired of any medical person
what drug ought, when tubercles are present, of all others to be
avoided, he would have found that medicine to be mercury. The
administration of it therefore in rot, no matter what may be the form
or mode in which it is exhibited, will to a certainty aggravate the
symptoms, and shorten life. If, for the sake of doing something, you
will _endeavour_ to remove the worms, Chabert's animal oil will be
found a safe and efficacious remedy; but, if my opinion can have any
weight, I would recommend the farmer to allow them to remain.

Sheep, when displaying symptoms of rot, should always be kept dry and
warm. If they must be retained throughout the winter, good sound solid
food, such as well made hay or oats, should be afforded them, and the
shelter of a straw yard should if possible be obtained. A liberal
supply of salt should be given with all their provender; and if they do
not seem to relish it, give them occasionally a small quantity in water
as a drench.

(166.) _Prevention of Rot._ On this head I need do little more than
remark that attention to the causes will go a great way to point out
the necessary means for its prevention. Admission of the sheep to rank
soft grass, heavy stocking, short allowance of food during winter,
every thing in fact which leads to the exposure of the animal should be
scrupulously avoided. The strongest constitution cannot with impunity
be tampered with, and the soundest habit will fall before the mining
attacks of want and weather. Keep your stock always in as high health
as possible, for such is the surest prevention of tuberculous disease.

As rot is hereditary,[41] the importance of weeding out ewes from the
flock on their first exhibiting appearances of unsoundness, is
acknowledged by all. Many ways have been pointed out for detecting the
incipient symptoms, but none plainer and better than those written by
the late Mr Beattie of Muckledale, and published in the 3d vol. of the
_Highland Society's Transactions_. "The first thing to be observed,"
says Mr Beattie, "is in the spring, when they are dropping their lambs.
A sound ewe, in good order, drops a lamb covered with a thick and
yellow slime, which the ewe licks off it, and the rule is, the sounder
and the higher the condition the ewe is in, the darker and thicker will
be the slime; but when they observe a ewe drop a lamb covered with thin
watery bubbles, and very white, they note her down as unsound."

        [41] MM. Dupuy and Andral have seen tubercles in the foetus
        of the sheep.

"About the month of September, when they intend to dispose of their
draught ewes, they put all their sheep into a fold, and draw them by
the hand, that is, they catch them all, viz. the ewes they design to
sell any of, and clapping their hand upon the small of the back, they
rub the flesh backwards and forwards between their fingers and thumb
and the ends of the short ribs: if the flesh be solid and firm, they
consider her as sound; if they find it soft and flabby, and if, when
they rub it against the short ribs, it ripples, as we term it, that is,
a sort of crackling is perceived, as if there were water or blubber in
it, they are certain she is unsound. This is the most certain of all
symptoms, but is not to be discerned with any degree of certainty but
by an experienced hand; for although, as I have here related it, it
seems a very simple affair, and easily acquired, yet it is well known
that many shepherds, who have followed sheep all their lives, never
arrived at any thing like certainty in judging by the hand, whilst men
of superior skill will seldom be mistaken, and will draw by no other
rule. Yet still it must be acknowledged that the seeds of this disease
will sometimes lie so occult, as to baffle all skill, and that no man
can with absolute certainty draw a stock tainted with the rot. There is
another method, to which men of inferior skill resort, which is more
easily acquired. They take a sheep's head between their hands, and
press down the eyelids, they thereby make the sheep turn its eyeball so
that they get a view of the vessels in which the eyeball rolls: if
these are thin, red, and free of matter, they consider the sheep as
sound; but if they are thick, of a dead white colour, and seem as if
there was some white matter in them, they are confident she is rotten.
This is a pretty general rule, and easily discerned; but I think it is
not so certain as when they are judged by the back; for in firm healthy
lands the eye of a sheep is far redder than it is in sheep upon grassy
lands. And in some boggy lands the eye is never very red, be the sheep
ever so sound, so that there you cannot so well judge by the eye; but
when you see the eye of a sheep a good deal whiter and thicker, and
more matter in it (I mean the vessels in which the eyeball rolls) than
the run of the flock amongst which it feeds, you have reason to suspect
it is not sound.

"There is another method by which I have seen some men attempt to judge
of the soundness of sheep. It is a well known fact, that when sheep are
rotten the lungs swell to a greater size; they therefore lay the sheep
down upon its broad side, and pressing the skin in at the flank, up
below the ribs, _pretend_ to feel the lungs. But if there is anything
to be learned by this I could never perceive it, and have seen some
men, who pretended to know most by it, very often mistaken.

"These are the principal rules by which the Highland farmers draw their
stocks; and they relate all to ewe stocks; for as to wedders, they are
generally all sold off when they are three years old, and those that
buy them for feeding mostly buy them by the condition they appear
outwardly to be in at the time, and the character of the ground upon
which they were bred."

(167.) _Jaundice._ I have never seen this disease in the sheep, and
have heard almost nothing of it; indeed it is very rare, few having
ever witnessed cases of it. It is consequently very imperfectly
understood, every one who has written about it assigning for its
occurrence a different cause. The principal symptoms to be depended on,
according to those who have treated it, are a yellowness of the eyes,
and an obstinate sluggishness of the animal, almost amounting to sleep.
Copious bleeding and two ounce doses of Glauber salts have been
recommended for the treatment, which must be gone about promptly, as
the disease is said to be quickly fatal. Reasoning from what is known
about jaundice in man, I would, were a case to occur to me in the
sheep, give a good dose of calomel, say 15 grains, in conjunction with
the salts, unless the disease had supervened on rot, when I would
substitute ten grains of ipecacuanha for the mercury.

(168.) _Dropsy._ When it is the concluding symptom of a disease, it may
be reckoned part of the complaint itself, and treated accordingly.
Often, however, it is the first thing which attracts the attention of
the shepherd, and when such is the case it will usually be traced to
long exposure to cold and wet. In this event the best plan is to bleed
largely, and give two or three smart doses of Epsom salts. When it
occurs in young lambs, sweet spirit of nitre, given in the quantity of
a tea-spoonful twice a-day, is found to be attended with the happiest
effects. Tapping, or, as it is popularly termed, _stabbing_, or
_sticking_, to permit the escape of the water, is the cure resorted to
in South Africa, when it appears in old sheep, after exposure to rain;
but this ought never to be resorted to unless under the guidance of a
medical person. It would be much better at once to kill the sheep.

(169.) _Sturdy._ As shown in the tabular view of the diseases, in
foot-note to paragraph (121), this affection may be the result either
of pressure on the brain from an animal growth, or from the
accumulation of a fluid. Serum is in both cases the mechanical cause of
the symptoms, but in the former it is eliminated from neighbouring
parts by a hydatid, while in the latter it is merely deposited in some
of the natural cavities (the ventricles) of the brain, owing to a
congested state of the spinal marrow, the result of continued cold upon
the back.

Figure 2, Plate VII., taken from Rudolphi, exhibits a view of the
animal which gives rise to the first variety of sturdy. It is the
many-headed hydatid of the brain, _Coenurus Cerebralis_ of naturalists.
Like the _Cysticercus tenuicollis_, already described under the head of
Rot, it consists of a thin membranous cyst, full or otherwise of serous
fluid; but, unlike the aforementioned animal is studded over with
groups of little velvety appendages or heads, each of which has a
series of barbs projecting round the mouth. Figure 2, _a_, Plate VII.,
is a highly magnified representation of two of these heads.

A good idea of the hydatid, as it exists in the sheep, may be derived
from an inspection of Fig 1. Pl. VIII., which has been engraved from a
sketch kindly furnished to me by my friend Dr Kirk of Deal. Fig. 1
represents the brain of a sheep two years old, which has been affected
with sturdy. The right lobe, _a_, of the cerebellum or lesser brain, is
much distended with fluid, which is enclosed in a membraneous bag, as
shown at _b_, where an incision has been made to expose it, and at _c_,
where it is shining through one of the coverings of the brain, the pia

The hydatid is found of all sizes, from that of a pea to that of Fig.
2, Plate VII. Large ones are far from rare, and the ventricle is
frequently enormously distended. The hydatid in the brain from which
Fig. 2, Plate VIII. was taken, though not filled to repletion,
contained ten drachms of serum. The ventricle was consequently much
dilated, as shown at _a_ in that figure, and the usual course and size
of the convolutions completely altered. Instead of being folded, like
the intestines, upon themselves, they proceeded, as seen at _b b_, from
back to front of the brain; while the furrows between them, which are,
in the healthy animal, usually too shallow to be measured, were in
several places as deep as the length of the lines at _c d_.

This excessive accumulation of fluid within the brain leads, as might
be expected, to the dilatation of the skull, and to the absorption of
its walls, when the bones, young though the animal be when affected
with sturdy, can no longer be made to yield. For this reason the skull,
towards the termination of the disease, generally becomes thin and soft
in front of the root of the horn, and in this way offers a spot which,
from its being easily pierced, is frequently made the seat of surgical
operations. Other parts of the skull also undergo considerable
thinning, more so indeed than in front of the horn. The attention of
the farmer has hardly, if ever, been called to this fact, though I
believe that, for one instance in which perforation occurs in the
frontal bone, it will be noticed a score of times on the sides of the
head. In a head with which I was favoured by Mr Grieve, Branxholm
braes, each temple, exactly beneath the superior extremity of the
upright branch of the lower jaw, displayed a circular opening entirely
through the bone, wide enough to permit the passage of an ounce bullet.

Whatever may produce pressure on the brain, the symptoms which indicate
it are nearly always the same. The sheep has a dull, stupid look, turns
very often round and round, and will, when water is in its way, stand
staring at it till at last, giddy and confused, it plumps fairly in.
If, when the symptoms are very unpromising, convulsive movements should
occur, they may be taken as a favourable sign, as they indicate a
diminution of the pressure on the brain. A minute description of the
morbid appearances in hydrocephalus could serve no good purpose, I
therefore pass on to the prevention of sturdy.

(170.) _Treatment and Prevention of Sturdy._ The variety caused by
hydatids can only be prevented by the use of dry, well grown, wholesome
food. Dr Jenner found that he could cause hydatids to form in rabbits
at will, by feeding them on green succulent provision; and it is well
known that this form of sturdy prevails among sheep chiefly in marshy
places, as the fens of Lincolnshire.

Water in the head is generally induced, as first pointed out by the
Ettrick Shepherd, in the _Farmer's Magazine_ for 1812, by the back of
the animal being chilled, as is evident from the following facts:--

    "1. It is always most general after a windy and sleety winter.

    "2. It is always most destructive on farms that are ill-sheltered,
    and on which the sheep are most exposed to those blasts and

    "3. It preys only on sheep rising their first year, the wool of
    which separates above, leaving the back quite exposed to the wet
    and cold.

    "4. If a piece of cloth or hide is sewed to the wool, so as to
    cover the back, such a sheep will not be affected with the

Bratting is therefore the best preventive, and it is as cheap as it is
effectual. One pair of old blankets, worth only some four or five
shillings, will furnish coverings for forty hogs, and if laid carefully
aside in spring, they will continue serviceable for two or three years.
An operation can avail nothing--slaughtering the sheep is therefore the
only expedient.

When the existence of a hydatid near the surface of the brain is
denoted by the skull yielding, at some particular spot, to the firm
pressure of the thumb, its extraction must be set about in the manner
described in paragraph (118), where I have also given my objections to
the common modes of operating.

(171.) _Trembling._ Several affections are included under the name of
_trembling_ or _leaping-ill_, all having, in common, more or less of
the symptoms which these names denote. They may be considered as
arising from exposure to cold and damp, especially on long fatiguing
journies, as in bringing sheep from the Highlands to the south of
Scotland, when it frequently prevails to so great an extent, on
reaching the low country, as to oblige the shepherd to leave eight or
ten behind him at every stage. Injuries of the loins, either inflicted
by themselves in jumping and running, or by others from rough usage in
the fold, are common causes of the disease; but in this variety the
hind quarters only are powerless. Another species is owing to
oppression of the brain from congestion, in this way resembling
incipient sturdy, and occurring only in very fat sheep.

(172.) _Treatment of Trembling._ The first variety is best met by rest,
shelter, and a supply of nutritious food; but as the animal is
incapable, in many cases, of collecting it, the shepherd must lift it
from one rich part of the field to another, so soon as it has cleared
away the grass within its reach. In the second kind, as caused by
accident, the sheep must be slaughtered, as, should a cure be
attempted, the treatment will be too tedious and complicated to succeed
in ordinary hands. Copious blood-letting, and doses of Epsom salts,
will be found of most advantage in the third species; but if the sheep
can be disposed of so much the better, as this kind of _trembling_ is
almost certain, unless combated by energetic depletion, to end in

(173.) _Wood Evil_ is nothing more than a cramp of the hind legs, owing
to water dripping upon them from trees after a shower of rain, and is
best treated by enveloping them in flannel, wrung out of hot water; but
if the sheep is at the time very chill, gentle friction must first be
used, else dangerous consequences will ensue. Rubbing with warm
turpentine has been recommended, and is apparently worthy of a trial.

(174.) _Inflamed Eyes._ The pollen of flowers getting into the eyes
while feeding, is a common cause of this annoyance, which need not be
described, as, from being visible, it is known to all. Examine the
eyes, and remove any irritating body. Then, if the disease be of recent
date, bleed the animal largely from the jugular vein, and give it
several doses of Epsom, or Glauber's salt. After the inflammation is
subdued, or should it be in the suppurating stage when first noticed,
hold the lids asunder, and drop upon the eye, three or four times a
day, a solution of white vitriol, five grains to the ounce of water.
Where this cannot be had, pure _cold_ water dashed against the eyes and
head several times a day will serve as a substitute.

Though sheep are not so much incommoded by blindness as other animals,
from the instinctive care usually taken of the sufferer by the rest of
the flock, still such a mishap should always be prevented by energetic
treatment at the commencement of the symptoms.

(175.) _Soft Cancer of the Eye_, or, as it is also called by medical
men, _Fungus Hematodes_, is of very rare occurrence among sheep, and
indeed would not have deserved a notice here, were it not that, from
being a malignant disease, it might be looked upon as quite incurable.
I can only describe it as a soft, spongy tumour, rising from the bottom
of the eye, involving all the textures of that organ, so as to render
them scarcely recognizable, and bleeding on the slightest touch. It is
readily removed by passing a stout thread through the front of the eye
with a needle, so as to afford the operator a hold by which to pull it
outwards with the left hand, while, with the right, he cuts round it
with a narrow-bladed knife. The operation is attended only with slight
pain, but must not be considered the sole curative means; the sheep
must have, at the same time, a frequent change of pasture, to prevent a
recurrence of the tumour.

There is a very large tumour of this description at present in the
museum of Guy's Hospital, taken from a sheep which recovered perfectly.



As the preceding pages were not written so much for the well-educated
farmer, as for those who practise sheep-husbandry without previous
training, it may not be considered amiss, consistently with the plan
of the work, to sum up the chief points to be attended to in the
management of sheep in Australia. This I shall do from the best
authorities, and guided by the direct advice of extensive sheep
proprietors who have long resided there, and had every experience in
the subject.

Though it was for some time, according to Dr Lang,[42] a matter of
controversy in the colony, whether the Merino or the Saxon Merino
produced the finer wool or was more profitable for the sheep-farmer;
the preference is now given to the Saxon breed, as they not only yield
an excellent fleece, but are much superior in carcass to the pure
Merino. The fact, however, of Australia having been considered, from
its earliest colonization, as unrivalled by any country in the quality
of its wool, goes far to prove that, with ordinary care, almost any
variety may be brought to yield a very superior produce. The mildness
of the climate, the extensive range of pasture, the steady supply of
food, and the consequent unvarying health of the animal, give the
poorest breeds a superiority which could hardly be attained in any
other quarter of the world. Indeed, as noticed at paragraph (70.),
Australia appears by nature intended to produce fine wool, and fine
animals, even from the worst beginnings.

        [42] History of New South Wales, Vol. i. p. 309.

Great, however, as the capabilities of the colony are for the growth of
the finest wools, the intending emigrant must not suppose that he will
obtain them without devoting to the subject a particular portion of his
regard. Mild warm air, and abundant diet, will go far towards putting
him in possession of a superior flock; but without earnest attention to
the minor details required in the management of his sheep, the most
favourable locality will avail him little.

Let Australia be ever so much praised, as being peculiarly adapted for
the rearing of sheep, they have there, in common with every kind of
animal in every part of the world, a certain liability to disease.
With all its boasted steadiness of climate, bad seasons occasionally
occur, and lead to sickness among the flocks, and in addition to the
usual chances of loss arising from this cause in other countries,
there is, in some parts of it, a still more dreaded mischief resulting
almost unavoidably from the moral constitution of its society. A
convict-servant who has a pique at his master, has it often entirely in
his own power to subject the flocks under his charge to some one or
other of the serious diseases to which sheep in all countries are
peculiarly liable. He may pasture them on an improper spot, and thus
induce diarrhoea, or even rot; or he may drive them a few miles from
their usual feeding ground, as Dr Lang remarks, when there is nobody
present to take cognizance of the fact, and thereby bring them into
contact with a scabbed flock. "The chief source of the wealth and
prosperity of the colony," says Dr Lang, "is thus, in great measure, at
the mercy of the most worthless of men; and so much is this the case,
that a highly respectable and intelligent magistrate, observed in the
course of a short conversation I had with him before embarking for
England, that if there should not be a large annual importation of free
emigrant shepherds from the mother country into the colony, the owners
of sheep throughout the territory will in future be under the necessity
of reducing, or rather of preventing the increase of, their flocks."
Thus circumstanced, the Australian settler has surely sufficient
reasons for inducing him to make himself familiar with the management
and diseases of the animal, on which he is placing his principal

When the country is destitute of timber, the sheep are very easily
managed, and so many as a thousand may be trusted to a single shepherd;
but in general, they are divided into flocks of about three hundred
breeding ewes, or four hundred wethers. "Every flock," says Mr
Cunningham, "has a shepherd, who takes his sheep out to graze before
sunrise in the morning, and brings them in after sunset at night. He
keeps always before the flock to check the forward among them from
running onwards, and wearing out the old, sick, and lame; making all
thus feed quietly, so as to keep them in good condition. In summer, he
sees too that they have water during the heat of the day; and in
drawing up under a tree for shade, when it is too hot for feeding, he
passes occasionally gently among them, spreads them out and makes them
take a fresh position in as small groups as possible, under another
tree; because when they remain too long together in one place, they are
apt to become broken winded. It is a rule that sheep should never
remain in one spot so long as to paddle the ground much with their
feet; and hence, in riding round your sheep stations, you have
something whereby to judge whether or not your instructions are
attended to. The shepherd takes out his victuals with him, and is
required to be on the alert all day long, to prevent the sheep from
being lost in the woods, or the native dogs from pouncing in among
them. They must always be driven slowly to pasture, and if you perceive
that the shepherd can walk quietly among them, without disturbing them,
you may set him down as a gentle and careful man; for if he uses his
flock harshly, they will be naturally terrified by him. Three flocks
are always penned together under the charge of a watchman, who counts
each regularly _in_ at night, and the shepherds again count them _out_
in the morning; so that they form a regular check upon each other, and
prevent losses from carelessness or depredation. The watchman has a
small weather-proof watch-box to sleep in, and is assisted by a
watch-dog; he keeps up a good fire, which generally deters all native
dogs from approaching the fold. The hurdles are made of light swamp
oak, iron bark, or gum, measuring seven feet long, with five bars, so
close together that a young lamb cannot creep through, and usually cost
about 1s. 6d. a-piece. They are shifted to fresh ground daily, being
sloped outwards, and propped together by means of forked sticks,
driving a stake through between the bars here and there to keep the
hurdles firm, and prevent the wind from blowing them over, little
support being derived from their feet, which are pressed but slightly
into the ground. All branches of trees are carefully removed from the
hurdled grounds before the sheep are driven in, to prevent any of the
latter being staked; the hurdles too are never pitched where ant hills
are, or under a tree with rotten boughs upon it, while the trees with
black bark are carefully denuded thereof, to prevent discolouration of
the wool." Bells are attached to the necks of the stoutest leaders, to
keep the flock together, and give warning of any thing going wrong
within the fold.

The breeding season is, in some instances, at the commencement of
summer, in others, at the commencement of winter, but in general it is
in March or April, the rams having been put to the ewes in October.
This deviation from our practice of spring lambing, is owing, according
to Mr Cunningham, to the breeders finding that the pasture is
particularly good in the autumn, from a sort of second spring taking
place, while the lambs stand the cold better than the heat, and are
less annoyed by the gad-flies. The sheep usually double their number
every four years.

Sheep-shearing takes place at the beginning of summer. The usual plan
of washing is previously had recourse to (see paragraph 99.), but of
late it has become customary, with some proprietors, to wash them with
a spout. This is done by bringing them one by one under a stream of
water, falling from a moderate height; but it is not likely that it
will ever be generally adopted, as it requires very peculiar facilities
in regard to water, and is besides a plan fraught with danger to the
sheep. It ought to be kept in mind, that a stream of water playing on
the body, produces a very stunning effect, which may destroy life in
an inconsiderable time, and has, in this way, been often employed
for putting criminals to death. Be this as it may, the Australian
sheep-farmers have doubtless been led to resort to the spout, owing to
the fleeces being so full of filth as to be cleaned with difficulty in
the common way. The finer the wool, the more abundant is the yolk or
viscid secretion on the skin, and the greater, consequently, is the
quantity of filth which sticks to it. The dirtiness of the wool
becomes, in this way, no mean test of the value of the sheep. Some of
the fleeces lose fully three-fifths of their weight by washing. The
average weight of the fleeces from the improved breeds, is from two to
two-and-a-half pounds. The ewe fleece seldom exceeds one pound and a
half. "The wool is packed in bales, wrapped in canvass, and forwarded
for exportation to Sydney, on drays drawn by oxen. Some of the more
extensive sheep-farmers send home their wool direct to their agents in
London, where it is sold according to its quality, at from one to three
shillings, (the freight to London being only three-halfpence) a

        [43] Historical Account of New South Wales, by John Dunmore
        Lang, D.D., Vol. i. p. 350.

The highest prices yet obtained for some of the picked parts of the
finest fleeces, are 10s. 6d. per pound. This, however, has been given
only once.

The quantity of wool shipped in 1835, was 3,776,191 lbs., and was
valued at £380,000 sterling.

Three acres are required on an average for the support of each sheep,
but on account of the mildness of the climate, there is no necessity
for providing winter food.

The range of pasture is so extensive that the sheep are liable to
comparatively few diseases. The great dryness of the climate, keeps the
fleece always in so comfortable a state, that they are almost never
struck by the fly which, as explained at (147.), always deposits its
eggs on the moistest part of the skin. Mr Cunningham once observed
summer-dropt lambs with milk blotches, become fly blown, but this was
in wet weather. Scab, or itch, is the most common disease, but of it I
need not say any thing here. It never presents much variety, and is a
disease better understood than almost any other. Ample directions for
its treatment are given at (140.). It is easily checked if the job is
gone about with determination. The great points are to take it in
hand the moment it appears--for when it gains ground, all chances
of a wool-crop are at an end for that year at least--and to use
tobacco-juice most liberally, as it not only leads to the immediate
death of the itch insect, but appears to have a specific effect in
leading to the restoration of the wool. The balm of Columbia, which is
at present so lauded for accelerating the growth of hair, is supposed,
on good grounds, to be an incognito preparation of tobacco-juice. Rot
is the only other important sheep-disease in the colony. It was unknown
till 1827, when it broke out in a wet lying part of the Bathurst
district, and succeeded, as Cunningham says, in that part of the
country scourged by it, to a long fall of heavy rains, which
supersaturated the blades of grass. For the method of treating this
disease, fortunately rare in Australia, I must, in conclusion, refer to
the body of the work.

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