Page images


VINYARDS OF FRANCE, The value of land in the valley of the Loire varies considerably throughout Touraine. At Pitiuviers, for instance, which lay on our left, the price per English acre is £35, and the produce £8 per acre; at Chambord, £25 per acre, and the produce £8 8s.; while at Amboise the produce usually reaches £5 12s. per acre, and the price of land £43: At Chambord, near Blois, we find about two thousand acres of vipery, and all under the eye at once upon a blowing sand. Quitting Orleans, the railway conducts us along the right bank of the Loire. The valley is broad through which we run, varied by moderate high bills, and the scenery to Tours is charmingly sunny.

The slopes to the Loire are covered with vinyards, and its waters being thrown into strong currents here and there by the presence of islands, has hollowed out the yellow cliffs that confine them. The best wines produced in the Orleanois are to be found near St. Ay. Leaving Blois, with its historic castle, impregnable, on one steep slope, and passing Amboise, the eye, wandering over a dead level, is attracted by what appears to be the towers of a vast cathedral, rising alone and solemnly. The imagination becomes active, and at last a city fills the space, which to our fancy had seemed the precincts of a solitary temple. It is Tours; and as we look about amongst its stately streets we are reminded of what we have read of this cradle of the French monarchy.

Proceeding to Poictiers, it is noticeable that the lands are cultivated by oxen in pairs, without either driver or reins. Poictiers is a picturesque town, abounding with antiquities. On we go, through vine-clad slopes and fertile country, yet well manured by many a gallant army massacred in the name of ambition or religion ; run very near the thriving Angouleme, perched upon a hill top; cross the Dordogne, a large tidal river, at Liburne ; intersect the tongue of land entitled “ Entre Deux Mers,” which is a fertile district, chiefly laid out in vinyards and corn-fields, and scattered over with country seats; and finally glide into Bordeaux along the right bank of the Garonne, the wooded and vine-clad heights of Floirac forming a striking picture.

Here we are, then, at the seat of what we term in England the “claret" wives, a particular manufacture, and which consists of adding to each hogshead of Bordeaux wine three or four gallons of Alicant, and a small quantity of Hermitage. Bordeaux, the second seaport of France, containing 124,000 inhabitants, is well situated for carrying on a trade, principally in wine and hemp, with North and South America, the French colonies, and Great Britain. From 50,000 to 60,000 tuns of wine are exported annually. Nearly half the best quality is sent to Great Britain, and very little of it is consumed in France. Amongst the “lions” of Bordeaux are the cellers of the banking wine merchants, the MM. Burton and Guestier. They are two stories in height, and commonly contain from 8,000 to 9,000 casks of wine.

The vinyards of the Cordelais extend between the 43d and 45th degrees of latitude, and consist of one million of acres, wbich produce an immense quantity of wine of all qualities. Be it remembered that the French people, in thus sup. plying their own beverages, are not using their best soils—their corn soils - as

we do in England, but soils that sometimes, owing to position, and always to quality, will not produce anything else. Such soils as snpport the vine in France are in England quietly given over to furze and rabbits.

The growths of the Bordelais may be divided into Medoc, Graves, Palus, and Vignes Blanches, which furnish wines of prime quality. To these may be added those of the Territories known as Entre-deux-mers, Bourgeais, and St. Emillion, the growths of which are of secondary order.

Medoc, in the department Gironde, which we find contains 350.000 acres of vingard, cultivated by 80.000 proprietors, and yielding an anmal produce of 56,000,000 gallons, is a long tongue of land, nowhere more than two miles broad, extending northwards between the Garonne on the east and Bay of Biscay on the west.

The vines of St. Estephe, and those of Lafitte, both on the same soil. produce wines to which very different values are attached in the market. The qualities of wine are, too, very dependent upon seasons. The goodness of a season will sometimes raise a secondary to prime wine, or its unpropitiousness, on the other hand, may debase a premier quality to the rank of a third or fourth. When they are not reputable, so necessary is it to maintain the character of the various vinyards with the best customers, that exportation to England ceases, and Holland takes them, or they are retained in France. So well is this understood, that some years back “the proprietor of the vinyard La Rose used to hoist, on a flag-staff above his house, the English flag in good years, the Dutch in middling years, and the French in bad years."

The vine begins to produce at five years of age, and will, when the soil is deep and congenial, continue to flourish with unabated vigor two hundred years. Its roots have been known to descend, in pursuit of nourishment, to a depth of from twenty to thirty feet. The best species of the red grape is the rerdot. Those cultivated for white wines are sauvignon, rezinot, and semillon.

The value of land in this district rises from £60 to £200, the produce in some cases £15 per acre, and the average profit seven to ten per cent, which is decidedly more than, under the present system of cultivation, is yielded on the best lands of France by corn cultivation.

AMERICAN AGRICULTURE, Mr. Irvine, of the British legation at Washington, in conformity with instructions, has made a report to authorities at home, upon the state of agriculture in this country. Ile notices the small crops produced here in comparison with the amount of cultivable land and our large population, and reasons upon these things, as follows :

The immense extent of territory, and the comparative scantiness of the population, have induced a good deal of carelessness in the cultivation of the soil. The price of land being low, the proprietors have found it more economical to work out their land than to expend their capital in manures and other means for preserving its productive qualities; and when the soil has become exbausted, the owners have left it for some new settlement. The consequence of this bus been that, instead of full and abundant crops, in many parts of the older settled portions of the country, the fields do not yield at present half as much as formerly, and in many localities not a third, nor even a quarter, as much; and that, not. withstanding the advantages of climate, the facility of transport to available markets, and the lightly taxed condition of farmers and planters, the ratio of increase in agricultural products of the United States is not in proportion to the increase of population.

SUGAR ESTATES OF CUBA. The Cuban Messenger gives the following account of the principal sugar estates in the island :

@lze in Crop in

#cles buixes. Sin's. Acana, Jurisdiction of Matanzas, proprietor Don José E. Alfonso....

1,491 7,100 360 Aguica, or Santa Teresa, jurisdiction of Cardenas, proprietor Count Fernandina 2,914 6,000 350 Alava, jurisdiction of Cardenas, proprietor Don Julian Zulueta ...

4.822 20.000 600 Armonia, jurisdiction of Matanzas, proprietor Don Miguel Aldama ........ 2,914 6.000 3.50 Asuncion, jurisdiction of Mariel, proprietor Don Lorenzo Pedro

8,313 6,500 400 Atenas, jurisdiction of Sagua, proprietor Don Ignacio Echarto

2.000 6.000 300 Conception, or Echeverria, jurisdiction Cardenas, D. Francisco Pedro y Herrera 8,014 17,000 212 Flor de Cuba, jurisdiction of Cardenas, proprietors Messrs. Arrietta..

8,08 12,00 729 Guina de Toto, jurisdiction of Trinidad, proprietor Don Justo G. Cantoro... 6,295 6,000 410 Intrepido, jurisdiction of Cardenas, proprietor Don Miguel Cardenas y Chavez. 1,941 E,IMO 382 Monserrate, jurisdiction of Cardenas, proprietor Count Santavenia..

2,000 7.000 360 Narciso, jurisdiction of Cardenas, proprietor Count Penalver.

3,578 10,00 400 Ponina, jurisdiction of Cardenas, proprietor Don Fernando Diago

2,235 15.000 500 Progreso, El. jurisdiction of Cardenas, proprietor Marquis of Arcos

5,965 2,500 590 San Martin, jurisdiction of Cardenas, proprietor D. Francisco Pedro o y Herrera 7,286 15.000 452 San Rafael, jurisdiction of Matanzas, proprietors Messrs. Ruiz & Adelantado.... 5,490 6,000 230 Santa Rosa, jurisdiction of Matanzas, proprietor Don Domingo Aldama..

2,000 $,000 320 Santa Susana, jurisdiction of Cienfuegos, proprietors heirs of Parejo..

11,90 16,000 866 Tingnaro, jurisdiction of Cardenas, proprietor Don Francisco Diago.

1,878 11,000 560 Trinidad, jurisdiction of Matanzas, proprietor Don Estiban Santa Cruz de Oviedo 1,809 7,000 850 Union, jurisdiction of Matanzas, proprietors Messrs. Fernandez...

4,2-* 10.000 4/10 Victoria, jurisdiction of Cardenas, proprietor Don Simon Perez de Teran.. 2,010 7.000 320 Urumea, jurisdiction of Cardenas, proprietor Señor de Zuasuabar

2,010 10,000 400 According to the preceding table, the production averages twenty-three boxes per negro, or 10,000 pounds; but, in the greater part of those estates, where the modern machinery has not been introduced, only eleven boxes, or 4,750 pounds of sugar, can be reckoned per negro. There are above 2,000 sugar estates in the whole island, and the number increases almost daily. In 1775, there were, in all the islands, 473 sugar estates. The first sugar estate was established in 1535.

FORESTS—THEIR DECREASE. A rough estimate, made on the data of the census of 1850, shows that the decrease of forests has been, since 1790, at a rate averaging 6 per cent every ten years; but as it began much slower, it must now be fully 10 per cent, which in thirty years will reduce the arailable timber lands of the United States and Can. ada to an average of 30 per cent of their surface. (Wood for fuel is left out of the estimate entirely.) But if it took ninety years or more to cause a dearth of timber, we must consider that that time at least is requisite for the growth of a timber tree, and should adopt means for carefully preserving the trees now growing, as well as to raise more for future generations. Our own time is likely to see that scarcity, now limited to the older settled or woodless regions, become general.

From the experience of centuries in Russia, it has been estimated that a coun. try requires a percentage of 374 of its surface timbered, in order to be richly supplied ; if it has under this amount, but over 224 per cent, it is moderately, and il under 22 , poorly wooded. In Russia the circumstances of forest growth were originally similar to those of this country, except that the " steppes plains of Russia lie in its south and east portions, from which they extend into the deserts of Tartary. Russia has indeed a larger total population than th United States, but no portion of equal extent within it is so densely settled as Massachusetts, which had, in 1850, 1274 to the square mile, while Russia Poland had but 123, and other districts less.

But wben Russia had much less population, 1649, it was found necessary to

[ocr errors]

pass laws for the prezervation of growing timber, though nearly all the country north of latitude 60° was originally almost an unbroken forest, and much of it still is so, (trees grow in Europe up to latitude 70°.) In 1750, laws were passed and means commenced for cultivating forests ; German foresters were employed, but after a few years were found inferior to native Russians in the business, as the circumstances of climate were quite different in the two countries. As much of the woodland belonged to the government, the results of the system were found so profitable, that it was gradually enlarged in its plan and consequent importance, until it became one of the most valuable branches of government economy. Large schools were established, where everything relating to the subject is taught, such as surveying, botany, chemistry, meteorology, and many minor branches. It was found, in time, that the increase in productiveness of the forest alone covered all expenses of enlarging the plan. The importance of the work in 1850 may be judged by these facts, viz. : 24,500,000 of woodland have been surveyed, inventoried, and their value estimated ; 49,000,000 acres more have been surveyed only; 4,500,000 put under strict protection, and 30,000 drained ; 5,250,000 trees had been planted, 1,984 pound of tree seed sown. The value of timber saved from fires by careful surveillance was estimated at over $500,000, (that amount being lost previously in some seasons.) The art of causing trees to grow on the woodless steppes had been completely established. In the sbifting sands of the desert of Aleschki, over 4,000 acres had been converted to a thriving forest, supporting nearly 5,000,000 trees. Other large tracts are gradually being planted to provide for a succession of crops in future. Planting these steppes, and, indeed, any extensive tracts, was found to need government assistance, being too costly for individual profit, as in that dry climate coniferæ require 120 years and foliaceous trees an average of 60 years.

Though considered so important a subject there, the income of the country from exportation of lumber is far less than here, averaging, about 1850, $2,500,000 per annum, while here it was $1,800,000 in 1821, and rose to near $5,000,000 in 1853. But the later years show a falling off in the increase of its export from here, probably because it had become scarcer near our seaports. And it deserves more consideration here when we consider that we have (with Canada) the best and greatest variety of timber trees in the world, far excelling in that view the forests of the old temperate world. East of the Rocky Mountains, (omitting the more tropical forms of Florida only,) we have over 190 species, of which at least 25 have no representatives in Europe or Northern Asia, and 12 others have their allies only in Japan and China. Besides these, we bave an unequaled variety of species of pines, firs, oaks, birch, elm, ash, and others of the most useful trees.

Between the eastern base of the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific coast there are about 100 more species, and nearly all of the 300 species of the country could be cultivated over at least two-thirds of its area with advantage.


The inconvenience of parceled morsels of landed property strike the eye at once. They are most visible in the fertile regions, where the possibility of ob. taining a living by spade labor has availed itself most largely of the law of equal VOL. XLIII.NO. III.


partition. The soil of the entire country is said to be departed into 126,000,000 parcels. Calculating the population at 30,000,000, there are three parcels and a half to each person! What is this but another phase of what may still be seen in Ireland, where, in the difficulty of apportioning a small farm equally on the death of the holder, his children bave endeavored to satisfy equity by allotting each other several pieces of various quality; so that no one's lot is all together, but scattered up and down and here and there. The French now seek some remedy at the hands of their Legislature against this indefinite process of morselling, and in the bope of seeing how their neighbors, similarly afflicted, may contrive-not, indeed, to turn the patched coat of their country into a new garment, yet to effect some consolidation of the patches—they look eagerly for an initiatiye to the neighboring States of the German Rhine, which are suffering from the same evil and are seeking to heal it.

THE JAPANESE SILK WORM, This species, which Mr. GuERiN MENEVILLE has naturalized in Central France, is reared in the open air, and its food, the leaf of the Japan varnish tree, prospers in the poorest soils, capable of producing no grains, vines, nor grapes for pasture. The worm demands very little care; it is exposed with impunity to violent storms, has not been affected by the epidemic so fatal to the silk culture in Southern Europe, and may be destined to furnish for Western countries, as it has for many centuries in China, the silk of the people. At the Chateau de Leygouttier, the residence of Mr. AIGUILLON, a distinguished agriculturist of Toulon, a part of these worms were raised in a close cabinet, another set in a green-house, well aired both day and night, and a third division in the open air upon hurdles left out doors, and on trees merely covered with a netting for proection against birds.

At the Chateau de Coudray-Montpensir, also Count Lamotte Barace bas had these silk worms reared in the open air on magnificent clumps of the Japanese varnish tree, twelve to sixteen feet high. The cocoons obtained from those kept exposed to all weathers are larger and richer in silk than from those which have been protected or confined ; and at Toulon, as at Coudray, the worms have undergone several violent storms, with beating rains and furious gusts, without app«aring to suffer in any way. At Coudray, after a hurricane, July 20 and 21. 1859, which broke or tore up many trees and carried away the suspension bridge of Langeais, over the Loire, they were found next morning with the rain flowing over them, eating and weaving their cocoons on the trees where they had maintained themselves safely.

SILK OF ZURICH. The report of the silk industry of Zurich gives the number of pounds exported for the six months ending June 30, 1860, at 655,640, against 561,592 lbs. last year-an increase of 15 per cent.

FLAX AND SILK IN GREAT BRITAIN. The quantity of flax used in Great Britain in 1859 was 4,716,867 cwts., the value being £7,257,875. Of silk, 9,290,276 pounds, value £9,754,779.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »