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This plan does not affect, to be founded solely on principles of benevolence to the poor, or to give them any thing; but to embrace the interests of the superior classes also. If, however, charity alone had been the object, it may perhaps not be going too far to observe, that one of the best species of charity, is that which enables the poor man to exert with effect, and with honest freedom, that strength, and those faculties, which Providence has blessed him with, for the benefit and support of his family.
If this plan should be approved, it might be carried into execution, under a system of regulations, which would, it is presumed, tend greatly to better the condition, reform the morals and habits, promote the happiness, and increase the industry of the poor; and to reduce the poor-rate, in those parishes
* See Appendix, No. V.
where it is capable of being adopted; that it is to say, of parishes, which are not situated in cities, or large towns, and thereby precluded from the advantages of agriculture. 8th March, 1805.
Extract from an Account of a Cottager's
WITHIN two miles and a half of Shrewsbury, a cottager, whose name is Richard Millward, has a house, and adjoining to it a garden and land, making about one acre and one-sixteenth of an acre, including the garden. It was formerly taken from Pully Common, since divided and inclosed. He is a collier, and the management of the ground is, in a great measure, left to his wife Jane; they have six children alive, five boys and one girl, and have buried five. The soil of this ground, when inclosed by the cottager long ago, was a thin covering of about three or four inches of strong loam over a clay, impregnated with iron, called in Shropshire catbrain, and considered as the
worst soil. It is now changed, but the original soil is still to be seen in the adjoining parts of what was the common. They pay three shillings of yearly rent for the house and land; it was leased to them thirtyeight years ago, by the present Lady Malpas, for three lives, one of which is dead.
The wife has managed the ground in a particular manner for thirteen years with potatoes and wheat, chiefly by her own labour; and in a way which has yielded good crops, and of late fully equal, or rather superior, to the produce of the neighbouring farms, and with little or no expense; but she has improved her mode of culture during the last six years.
The potatoe and wheat land, exclusive of the garden, contains sixty-four digging poles of land, eight yards square to the pole, seventy-five of which make an acre, and is divided in two parts; one is thirty, the other thirty-four roods. One of the divisions she plants alternately with potatoes,
and the other is sown with wheat. On the wheat stubble she plants potatoes in rows; and sows wheat on the potatoe ground; she puts dung in the bottom of the rows where she plants the potatoes, but uses no dung for the wheat; and she has repeated this succession for nearly the thirteen years, but with better success and more economy during the last six or seven years.
She provides manure, by keeping a pig, and by collecting all the manure she can from her house, and by mixing with it the scrapings of the roads, &c. She forms it in a heap and turns it, before she puts it on her ground for potatoes.
The ground is dug for potatoes in the month of March and April, to the depth of about nine inches. This digging would cost sixpence per pole, if hired. After putting in the dung, the potatoes are planted in rows, about twelve or fourteen inches distant. The sets are placed about four or five inches apart in the rows.