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producing the intended effect; for it needs no uncommon penetration to predict, that medical students, in any considerable number, will never resort to the English universities, until they become real ly schools of MEDICINE.
By EDWARD RIGBY, Esq. M.D.F.L. S. &c.
Nihil agricultură melius.
THE THIRD EDITION,
The following was
originally a Paper read at the Norwich Philosophical Society in December, 1816. It was written from notes taken at Holkham, and, obviously, at a time when no remark in it could, of possibility, have reference to a contested election was it even intended for publication.
The late contest for the county has, however, brought it forth: the hostility to Mr. Coke, in the course of the election, marked, as it was, with unusual asperity, was chiefly directed against him, as a great landed proprietor, and a distinguished agriculturist ; for the imputed injury done the country by the change he has effected in the system of farming, which was charged with producing various ill consequences, with depriving the poor of employment, and rendering corn dear.
This clamor, indeed, against Mr. Coke, was principally vociferated by the poor and ignorant, excited by inflammatory hand-bills, addressed to their worst passions.
It would avail little, if practicable, to point out whence such an outcry originated; but it is notorious, that, for some time past, the public opinion has been much abused on the subject of Mr. Coke's system ; and that even persons,
who cannot be suspected of unworthy motives, have contributed to keep up the prejudice.
On a principle of justice, then, not only to Mr. Coke, but to the public, still more interested than himself in the result of the system, it cannot be improper to endeavour to set opinion right on the subject, and this can obviously be in no way so effectually done, as by exhibiting the system as it actually exists in those places, where it has been most completely put in practice.
This I would hope, may, in some degree, be accomplished by the following sketch, imperfect as it must be acknowledged to be,
The truth of the facts recorded will not be doubted, and the re
marks which accompany them, I would persuade myself, are such as must arise in the mind of every unprejudiced person who contemplates them.
June 24, 1817.
In the present (the second) Edition some errors are corrected, and some new, and I trust, not uninteresting facts are given ; but the principal addition respects the extraordinary charges, which, with unabated hostility, continue to be directed against Mr. Coke and his system, and which, I lament to repeat, are not confined to the ignorant and the prejudiced of the lower classes.
They are, however, of easy refutation : a very simple statement will, probably, satisfy the ingenuous reader; and the most obdurate opposer of Mr. Coke will, I apprehend, be little able to resist positive facts.
November 22, 1817.
The demand for a third Edition gives me an opportunity of adding still further to this little work, from increased information obtained in a second visit to Holkham, and particularly from its having been on occasion of the interesting agricultural meeting, at the Sheep-shearing, in the beginning of last July.
In being written at different times, as it now appears, it cannot have had the advantage of a continued and unbroken train of thinking on the subject, which alone admits of that simplicity and unity of style, which, perhaps, constitute the sole merit of such a composition; and, from this circumstance, it must also have the defect of occasional and unavoidable repetition. I have, however, aimed at perspicuity, so essential to narrative, and so indispensable in detailed relations of processes ; and in one part, at the suggestion of an intelligent friend, I have made an alteration in the arrangement, so as to save the reader the trouble of back reference; namely, where the objections to large farms are separately stated, the answers to each, in this edition, immediately following.
The concluding slight analysis of Mr. Malthus's work on Population, and the Essay on Landed Property, attributed to Dr. Ogilvie, bearing each much relation to Agriculture, will not, I trust, be considered as wholly irrelevant; every new view in which the subject can be placed, having its use in directing the public attention towards it.
ER. Norwich, November 6th, 1818.
At the latter end of August, 1816, I was gratified by a visit to Holkham. Every one who visits Mr. Coke is struck with the beauty of the Holkham scenery, the magnificence of his mansion, his princely establishment, and his liberal hospitality; and I could enlarge with much pleasure on all these: they impressed me forcibly and most gratefully; but they probably would not be considered as proper subjects for the Society's attention.
My observations will, therefore, be principally directed to the extraordinary improvement Mr. Coke has effected in the value of his extensive estate, by a system of agriculture, almost peculiar to himself; by an encouraging liberality to his tenants, in a system of leasing his farms, equally peculiar to himself; and by his judicious and extensive system of planting, which, I believe, already exceeds any thing of the kind in the county, and is still progressively increasing
Though in all these Mr. Coke has been singularly successful, he has
yet failed to meet general approbation, and he has still to contend with long established prejudice. In giving an opinion on these subjects, I shall probably, also, meet some opposition of sentiment; but this, I trust, will lead only to discussion, which may not be uninstructive.
I had the advantage of riding with Mr. Coke several hours, two successive mornings, over the Holkham farm in his own occupation, and over another at Warham, occupied by an intelligent tenant; and, as he allowed me to be full of questions, and seemed to have a ready pleasure in answering them, I had ample means of gratification and information.