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Spaniards, who have bastos (staves or clubs) instead of the trefoil, we gave the Spanish signification to the French figure.
The history of the four kings, which the French in drollery sometimes call the cards, is David, Alexander, Cesar, and Charles, which names still remain on a French pack. These represent the four celebrated monarchies of the Jews, Greeks, Romans, and Franks under Charlemagne.
By the queens are intended, Argine, Esther, Judith, and Pallas, (names still printed on French cards,) typical of birth, piety, fortitude, and wisdom, the qualifications residing in each person. Argine is an anagram for regina, queen by descent.
By the knaves were designed the servants to knights. Knave originally meant only a servant, and, in a very old translation of the Bible which we have seen, St. Paul is called the knave of Christ. In France, in former times, pages and valets were only allowed to persons of quality, esquires, (escuiers,) shield or armour bearers.
Others fancy that the knights themselves were designed by those cards, because Hogier and Lahire, two names on the French cards, were famous knights at the time cards were supposed to have been invented.
AGRICULTURE OF GUERNSEY.
A very serious typographical error occurred in our last number, in the article on Montgomery Martin's History of the British Colonies. It was there mentioned that the “surface of Guernsey may be stated at fifty-four square miles," whereas, the true measurement is only twenty-four square miles.-Some few more particulars, as to the results of farming in Guernsey, cannot fail to interest both our local and English readers.
The hay crops may be stated, in the uplands, well taken care of, to average three tons and a half, English weight, per acre; and they have been frequently known, in the best land and in favourable seasons, to amount to four tons and three quarters.
Field-roots for cattle are equally productive. Parsnips are no where grown with more success than in this island, and are probably, on the whole, the best root that can be cultivated. It is true that mangel wurzel give heavier crops, and are almost equally useful for milch cows, but for the fatting of stock of all kinds, they are not to be compared to parsnips. The mode of cultivating parsnips in Guernsey is well described by Dr. John MacCulloch, in his communication to the Caledonian Horticultural Society, in September, 1814. He was of opinion that it will form a material and valuable addition to the system of green crops, when it shall become better known; but it is chiefly on account of the power which it possesses of resisting the injuries of frost, that he points it out as an object of attention to the society. The produce per acre is considerably greater than that of the carrot. A good crop, in Guernsey, is considered about twenty-two tons per English acre. This is a less heavy crop than turnip, but it is much more considerable than that either of the carrot or the potatoe; and if we consider that the quantity of saccharine, mucilaginous, and, generally speaking, of nutritious matter in the parsnip, bears a far larger proportion to the water than it does in the turnip, its superiority in point of produce will appear in this case also the
greater. The allowance for fatting an ox is one hundred and twenty pounds per day, exclusive of hay. The animal is found to fatten quicker than when fed with any other root, and the meat turns out more sweet and delicate. Hogs prefer this root to all others, and make excellent pork, but the boiling of the root renders the bacon flabby. A hog may be fattened in six weeks by this food.
Too much can hardly be said in favour of the parsnip, or of the beef and pork fatted with that root. The meat sold in the Guernsey market about Christmas has no superior. The late dean of the island, the Rev. Mr. Durand, who was near ninety when he died, used to relate, that in his younger days he was invited to dine at an agricultural dinner in Hampshire, when some of the party, who had been in Guernsey, extolled the beef of that island : a dinner was betted, Guernsey against Leadenhall, and the dean was requested to send at Christmas a round and a sirloin from Guernsey : the opposite side procured the best that could be had in Leadenhall market. At the trial dinner, the superior excellence of the Guernsey beef was generally, if not unanimously, admitted.
On the 10th January, 1834, there was exhibited in the Guernsey market, a porker of twenty-two months, weighing neat seven hundred and thirty-three English pounds, which had never eaten any thing but raw parsnips and sour milk : finer meat was never seen. In the use of parsnips one caution is absolutely necessary. They ought never to be washed, but to be given as they are taken up from the ground; used in that way, they are found not to surfeit the hogs and cattle, and to fatten them better and quicker than they otherwise would ; if washed, they are apt to satiate, and will, the farmers say, never thoroughly fatten..
THE PROPOSED NEW PIER AT GUERNSEY.
Thanks to the public press, so dreaded by a few old women not in petticoats, and the advocacy of a few individuals who can look to the future as well as to the present, there does appear now to be a strong probability that this important measure will be carried into execution. Various opinions are entertained as to the fittest position, and also as to the extent of the new harbour; this is to be expected in all public works, and indeed it is desirable that the question should be fully discussed in all its bearings, in order that sound and rational conclusions may be arrived at. In the present state of affairs, unanimity as to details cannot be hoped for, but it is gratifying to know that there is scarcely a dissentient voice as to the principle. All classes are sensible that the local trade has declined, and that some efforts must be made to prevent this retrogression proceeding further; this queslion does not apply solely to the town, but equally interests the country, for the rural population may be assured that whatever tends to impoverish the merchants and tradesmen and mechanics, will necessarily limit the demand and lower the price of agricultural produce.
It is not our intention, in the present article, to offer a single remark either as to the position or extent of the new harbour, but to confine ourselves solely to the question, How is the money to be raised? We have already shown, in the March number of this Magazine, that the wealth of Guernsey may be fairly estimated at £4,123,700, including the town and the nine country parishes, that is to say, the whole island, and that the wealth of the town, in proportion to the wealth of the country, is in the ratio nearly of three to one. Now, it appears to be the general opinion that a new harbour may be erected for the sum of £42,000, but as esti
mates, however carefully drawn up, usually fall below the mark, we shall assume that the necessary expenditure would amount to £60,000. It may be calculated that the whole of the work would be completed in four years, thus dividing the whole outlay into four quarterly instalments of £15,000 each.
Before proceeding further, let us endeavour to classify, even imperfectly, the population of the island, on the members of which some impost must be levied to carry this measure into execution. We begin with the fúndholders. They may object to the new harbour altogether, as conferring on them no immediate or personal benefit. Let us, then, dispassionately, without prejudice, and solely with a view to elicit truth, examine the validity of their presumed objection. First : If the general resources of the island decay, the number of persons, requiring parochial relief, will be augmented, and consequently the taxes raised for the maintenance of the hospital will be increased, and that increase must come out of the pockets of the fundholders ; therefore, they have a direct interest in keeping down the number of unemployed poor, and consequently, are personally and deeply interested in the success of a measure which tends to reduce the parochial rates. Secondly: By reason of the sub-division of property in this island, the fundholder of this generation knows that, unless he has only one child, his family will gradually descend in the scale of wealth, provided they have nothing to depend upon but their inheritance. We have looked over the tax lists for the last fifty years, and from them it is clear to demonstration, that there has been a continual interchange of wealth and poverty, some families rising, others falling, according to the number of brothers and sisters. It would be easy to give examples, but that might appear invidious ; nor is it necessary, for every Guernseyman knows the fact. Is it not, then, the bounden duty of every father, who now lives in opulence on his dividends, to look beyond the present to the future, and, for the sake of his children and grandchildren, if not for that of the public, cheerfully to contribute his proportion to a public work which must ultimately give bread to his posterity ?
We proceed to the merchants. Their benefit is too obvious to require muoh comment. Their vessels, instead of lying in an open roadstead, straining their ropes, and wearing away their tackle, with the chance of parting from their anchors, and being wrecked by a south-east gale, would be received in a safe and commodious harbour. Moreover, we have been assured by highly competent shipwriglets, that it is impossible, in the existing pier, to repair efficiently the bottom of a vessel, and since that is the case, a single ship lost for want of proper examination and necessary labour would vastly exceed the proportion of the tax about to be levied on any individual shipowner.
Let us now look to the interests of the tradesmen. It is obvious that nearly the whole expenditure would consist of the wages of labour, all of which would find themselves in the pockets of the tradesmen every Saturday night. If, on the assumption we have made, £15,000 were annually appropriated for this purpose, it would be constantly circulating from hand to hand, and money, as Lord Bacon says, is like manure, it is of no value unless it is spread. And here the merchant would again be benefitted during the progress of the work, for the retail dealer would require additional supplies from the wholesale importer, on which the latter would realize his profit as well as the former. Nor would the wheelwright or the blacksmith be forgotten, for it is obvious that carts and machinery would form very material articles in the prosecution of the work. In short, every man who lives by trade, from the wealthiest shipowner to the poorest artizan, would be directly advantaged during the building of the pier, and that too, be it observed, in many cases, to a much larger extent than his quota of the tax,-brewers, bakers, and spirit dealers, in particular.
As to the rural population, they might not feel the benefit during the four years so much as the townspeople : but still, they would reap the advantage in the sale of their commodities ; for the labourers, being constantly employed, would be able to purchase more meat and vegetables. But when the work was completed, their interests would be permanently secured by the increased traffic, and the larger arrival of visitors, many of whom are deterred from coming twice to Guernsey for want of a suitable landing accommodation, particularly ladies and infirm gentlemen. Besides this consideration, they would have every facility for placing their cattle on board vessels going to England, quite free from the danger now incurred by slinging them from the crane on the north pier.
In reference to the community at large, it is quite clear that the impôt would be considerably augmented during the progress of the work, which augmentation would, of course, operate as a reduction of the estimated expenditure.
Having now attempted to show that all classes of society, to wit, the fundholder, the merchant, the tradesmen, and the farmer, would be permanently benefitted by this undertaking, and that the three last would derive immediate profit out of the wages of labour, distributed every week, we shall now proceed to consider the best mode of raising the funds, say sixty thousand pounds.
It is proposed by some gentlemen to levy a small duty on coals; others recommend a tax on wines. For our parts, we object entirely to any tax on commodities, for, if the principle be once introduced into the island, it is impossible to say where it will cease. of this we have sufficient proof in the existing impôt on spirituous liquors, which, originally granted for a limited period, and for a specific object, may now be considered as a permanent tax. We decidedly oppose every species whatsoever of indirect taxation, such as the excise and customs, for example, which obtain in England, because they must, in all cases, ultimately fall on the consumer; for if any article be taxed, it is clear that the seller of that article will add the amount of the tax to the cost of production. Neither, in reference to the proposed new harbour, do we think it just to levy one farthing either on the insular or the foreign shipping, before the work is completed, on the same principle that no tenant is bound to pay rent before he is in possession of the premises leased to him. We extend the same argument to passengers arriving by the steam boats or sailing vessels.
Assuming, what no one we apprehend can deny, that a new harbour is a strictly national object, in which all the inhabitants of the bailiwick are deeply interested, we deem it proper that the whole expense of its construction should be defrayed by a general tax, levied by the States. And this view of the subject brings us to a most important question propounded by one of our correspondents in our February number, which refers to the proportions of tax now levied on the town and country; the former paying one-third, by the existing law; and the latter, two-thirds.
After having maturely weighed this point, and collected the opinions of many of the most intelligent persons in the island, we have arrived at a clear conviction of the necessity of changing the present system. We must obey the spirit of the age, and adapt our institutions to the altered condition of society. The taxable property of the town may be estimated, in round numbers, at one hundred and fifty thousand quarters; and that of the nine country parishes, at fifty-five thousand quarters: the relative ratio being thus nearly in the proportion of three to one. Maintaining, as we do, that all the national expenditure should be assessed on the property of the nation, we consider that the time has now arrived to alter our mode of taxation, and place two-thirds of the burden on the town, and only onethird on the country. But equally firm is our conviction that, if this change takes place, the town ought to have more votes in the States than it has at present,
and the country fewer; for, which ever part of the community sustains the greater load of taxes, that party are justly entitled to have the greater share of influence in voting the supplies. To effect this reform, no plan appears to us so compact, so judicious, and so free from valid objection, as the one recommended by our talented correspondent, who published his sentiments in our February number, and to which we refer our readers.
When it is considered that the wealth of Guernsey exceeds four millions sterling, it is really a national reproach to have continued so long with an insufficient harbour, narrow quays, and no landing place. Are the people really scared at the idea of expending the paltry sum of sixty thousand pounds, which can readily be borrowed at three per cent., and every farthing of which would be spent in the island, and give an active and immediate stimulus to local trade?
Ten years agone, Captain Deschamps calculated that forty thousand persons landed annually in Guernsey, and we believe that the number may now be computed at sixty thousand ; if there were a pier constructed in deep water, which admitted steam boats to lay alongside, and thus did away with the present necessity of boats, every passenger would willingly pay a shilling for the accommodation, and thus, from this single source, an annual revenue of three thousand pounds would be raised. Moreover, when the Southampton railway is completed, it is evident that many persons will visit that town, who are now deterred on account of its distance from the metropolis, and some of them would, no doubt, take a trip to the Channel Islands; from which circumstances we may fairly conclude, coupled with the new steam vessels now on the station, that the visitors to Guernsey will progressively increase.
It should also be considered that vessels, consigned to Guernsey with coals, would accept a lower freight than they now do, if there was a safe and commodious harbour, and a certainty of not bei neaped. It is well known that some of the Insurance Clubs in the North will not allow their ships to come here at all, and the sole objection springs out of the badness of our pier. Nor is this argument limited to the coal trade, for every commodity, which enters the island, would be reduced in price, if freight was lowered, and that would certainly be the case if a new harbour were constructed. It is equally certain that many vessels would run here for shelter, which is now denied to them.
On a former occasion, we urged our public authorities to petition his Majesty's government to allow the poulage and other fiscal remains of feudalism, to be appropriated to the public exigencies of the island. We cannot think that so reasonable a request would be denied, and were it conceded, the whole amount might be applied to the harbour. But whether any portion of the necessary funds could thus be obtained or not, is matter of secondary importance: the grand point is to decide that there shall be a harbour commenced forthwith, and the money can be easily obtained in this wealthy island. Earnestly do we hope that the attention of the public will not be diverted from this most important undertaking, in the success of which every member of the community has a permanent interest. It is gratifying to know that the Chamber of Commerce has warmly adopted the opinions of the inhabitants, and we trust that these gentlemen will persevere in their laudable exertions, until the desired object be completed.