Imatges de pàgina
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The county comprises about 1-40th of Ireland; there are, however, few or perhaps no other parts of the Island, in which these small Bogs are so much interspersed. On the whole, we cannot suppose the other parts of ireland contain less than ten times as great an extent of these lesser Bogs, as the single county of Cavan.

pointed, we find nothing to direct us with respect to the final application of these documents, and we have accordingly exercised our discretion in presenting them to the Dublin Society, who have liberally accommodated us with the use of their house and establishment, for the purposes of an enquiry. These Maps, accompanied by the original Reports of the Engineers, will form an appropriate appendage to an Institution, which has ever made the agricultural improvement of Ireland one of its principal objects, and, in no other place would their preservation be more certain, or public access to them so easy.

From all the above data, we can confidently pronounce that the extent of Peat Soil in Ireland exceeds two millions eight hundred und thirty thousand English acres, of which we have shewn at least 1,576,000 to consist of flat red Bog, all of which according to the opinions above defailed, might be converted to the general purposes of agriculture; the remaining 1,255,000 acres form the covering of mountains, of which a very large proportion might be improved at a small expense, for pasture, or still more beneficially applied to the purposes of plantation; we wish indeed it were possible for our Reports to fix the

Nothing, we presume could be more satisfactory than this conduct of the Committee, as every gentleman concerned, or about to be concerned in the property of any of these bogs, may easily obtain access to an accurate survey of it, and,

attention of their proprietors upon this sub-may take whatever advantage he pleases, ject, so connected with the interests of the from the observations made on it by the British Empire. surveyor. Nevertheless, we must be allowed to say, that the remark itself points out the propriety of some such establishment in every nation, as a Pub

We cannot dismiss this part of the subject, without again adverting to a prejudice not less extensive than that of the irre claimability of Bog, and certainly stillic Register Office, in which documents more destitute of foundation; we mean, of national importance may be preserved the apprehension generally entertained, under effectual regulations. that in the event of the improvement of the Bogs, the country would be left withbut a sufficient supply of fuel. It seems not to be generally understood, that if the Bogs of Ireland were reclaimed, we should derive not merely the advantage of culti vating their surface, but that at the same time the power of applying them, whereever necessary, for fuel, would be augmented some hundred or rather some thousand fold. Fuel can at present be obtained only from the edges of these Bogs; the excessive wetness of the interior, rendering it, in its present state, wholly unavailable for that purpose, but if once drained, fuel might be obtained from every part of them: aud it is a great mistake to Suppose that the drainage of a Bog, would impair its quality as fuel; on the contrary it would operate as the greatest possible improvement of it, and that not merely at the time it was effected, but at all future periods, and in a degree progressively increasing.

In the prosecution of these enquiries, we have effected, on the great scale of 4 inches to the mile, the most accurate surveys which have ever been made, of a very large portion of this island. On a perusa! of the Act under which we have been ap

The Committee report that their accounts are deficient only in the sum of £452 12s. which certainly demonstrates great economy in their management. The gentlemen who composed this Committee, were-J. Leslie Forster-William Gore-Henry Hamilton-and Hans Blackwood, Esqrs. the Report is dated April 1814.

conviction of the Surveyors, that the exNothing can more strongly prove the pence of reclaiming those wastes would be moderate, then the offers made by some of them to engage in the undertaking. "It is within the knowledge. of this Board," says the Committee, that Mr. Edgeworth offered to one of the proprietors, a rent hitherto unheard of for Bog Land, proposing only a sixty years lease for his own interest ;-but the dread of law suits after the improvements should be made, prevented the bargain.. In fact, the estimate for reclaiming some bogs is no higher than twelve or fourteen shillings per acre, while others rise to three or four, or, even ten pounds, according to circumstances.

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means would admit. During the progress of these operations, it was discovered that the under-stratum being about eight or ten feet below the surface, was composed of limestone and gravel of the best description, suited to the purposes of bog improvement; it was therefore suggested that Pits should be made in the bog for the purpose of raising this manuring gravel to the surface, which was accordingly adopted, and the system continued with such effect that they have now completely reclaimed ten or twelve acres, which, from being as bad sponge "bog as any in the country, now and hay, as any upland in the neighbourproduces as good crops of potatoes, oats, hood. The part thus reclaimed, was ori pro-ginally from four to eight and ten feet deep, the chief of which the improvers cut away for turf before they commenced gravelling the surface; but finding that operation too slow, they are now determined to gravel the natural surface of the bog after being druined, which some of the most intelligent of them assured me they had no doubt would succeed.

Different Bogs also require different management:some would yield most profit if covered with plantations; others yield the most succulent grass, and should be converted into pasture; others would soon grow vegetables, potatoes, and grain. Some would quickly pay three. four, or more, guineas, in return for the capital vested in their improvement. should never be forgot, that these bogs were not always bogs: they have declined to their present state from various causes, and at different times. What they formerly produced for the purposes of man, they may again produce. Industry has not lately turned them to fit, but hereafter, as heretofore, they may reward the labours of industry.

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That they are not ungrateful when excited by this stimulus, is strongly evinced in an instance which we feel a particular pleasure in recording. Says Mr. Longfield, speaking of the Lough Garra District, after noticing the attempts of Gentlemen and farmers in the neighbourhood,

I shall here mention the particular result of some improvements nrade by Lord Dillon's cottagers at Aughalour near Lough Glyn, which being done by persons unaided by capital or scientific knowledge, proves beyond a doubt, that where personal skill is accompanied by the aid of both, the result must be equal to the expectations of the most sanguine, particularly if the operations are carried on in situations equally favourable as that wherein the im-provements alluded to have been effected, and which, in the greater part of this dis-there remained only sir inches of bog stuff trict, are frequently to be met with. in the bottom of the pit, it was sufficient to retain all the waters received by it.

In this place I must beg to mention a circumstance, proving my former opinion of the retentive nature of Red sponge bogs, which is simply this, that on making the pits before mentioned to raise the gravel from under the bog of Aughalotir (the sur face of which was, in its state of nature, as wet as any other bog) it was found, after passing with difficulty through five, six, or eight feet of bog and water, that on raising the first shovel or two of gravel from the bottom of the pit, the whole of the water which the hole contained immediately disappeared, and that so long as the bottom of the pit was kept clear of bog stuff it remained quite dry; but if, on the contrary,

The bog where these improvements were effected, lies on the south side of the road from Lough Glyn to Castlerea, and joining the lands of Aughalour, which it must be observed, is a hill of the finest limestone iu the country, and where the only limestone quarries are to be had in that neighbour-provements has been long anticipated by hood; it is therefore not surprising to find almost every poor tenant in the islands of subterraucous communications round the Clooncagh, Cloonagh, &c. &c. belonging verges of those lands, being composed of to Mr. French, at the former of which porous limestone rock and gravel. At the islands I was gratified in viewing a speci foot of this hill Lord Dillon laid out a cer- men of fioriu grass cultivated on Red beg tain portion of Red bog in lots for his above 20 feet deep; this piece of bog after labourers, which was granted to them rent being drained and levelled, got a sprinkling free (a well judged and great stimulus to of gravel, and was sown with cabbage seed improvement) ten or twelve years ago. two years ago; last year it was planted They commenced by building cabins in the with potatoes, which being dug out, was driest part of the bog next the land, and in spring of the present year (1811) laid by cutting away the bog as fast as their down with fiorin strings, exactly in the

It is with much pleasure I have here to remark, that although, this part of Ireland is very backward in improved agricultural pursuits, I had yet the satisfaction to find, that Dr. Richardson's system of Bog Im

way recommended by Doctor Richardson; the whole piece under the grass contains 99 perches of bog, which has this year produced no less than two tons weight of hay, which, as the common people of the country say, is better for horses than hay and oats, and will fatten a beast much sooner than any other kind of forage which they are in the habit of using in that country. This circumstance (was any additional evidence necessary) at once proves that the Red bogs may all be reduced to tracts of profitable pasture and meadow, and in many cases may be applied to the produce of oats and potatoes, if gravel can be had from the under-strata, as at Augha-on this subject, the mischief arising from impediments thrown across rivers, and

We mentioned, in the former article

lour.

Such is the effect of well-judged mea-streams; such as mills, weirs, for sures, on men not afraid of labour! taking fish, &c. A remarkable instance With no capital but the strength of their in proof of the evils attendant on such arms, they have effected their purpose; structures, is reported by Mr. Brassing and where somewhat more of intelligence ton, in the county of Kildare. has been exerted, they have anticipated the so highly recommended favourite grass of Dr. Richardson. What more encouraging sign can be desired ?what happier auspices?

It may not be improper here to remark, that the population of the county of Roscommon (although generally considered as a grazing county is exceedingly great,so much so, that every little island or peninsula in the bogs, contains more than an ordinary proportion of inhabitants; as an instance of which, I shall mention one island near Lough Glynn of 107 acres, called Cloonborny, that contains no less than 21 families, being little more than five acres to each bouse, and for which they pay a rent of not less than 40 shillings per acre. It is therefore not to wondered at, that multitudes of those poor peasants emigr te annually to England, where by two or three months hard labour, they are enabled to save the rent of their little farms at home; and I must say, such is the want of employment for the poor in this part of the country, that I never met men who would go farther or labour harder for a shilling than Connaught men; nay, it is a fact, that some of the attendants who were with me on the survey, declared they had not the like opportunity to earn money for many years before, although the hire did not exceed 1s. Sd. per day.

This will afford matter of reflection to the Statesman:-perhaps, there is scarcely any thing more injurious to a country than an ill distribution of its population. That the improvement of

these now unproductive wilds would afford labour to the industrious, who, most earnestly wish for it, cannot be denied ;-Mr. Longfield adds, it will do away the great evil of Ireland, private distillation :-"I verily believe, says he, that at present in the county of Roscommon, I might say in the whole province of Connaught, there is not one gallon of licensed spirits in every hundred gallons of its consumption.”—This fact speaks for itself.

The Finery river, which is to be the principal outlet for the waters of the bog, is found in its present state frequently in the time of floods to overflow the coun try, between the bog and the place where it disembogues itself into the river Barrow, From this it might appear that considerable injury would be occasioned to that. part of the country, by throwing into its channel the immense body of water which may be expected by the proposed system of draining to be discharged from the bog; but I am persuaded, that by re moving the weirs which have been constructed at a point below the mouth of the Finnery river, across the river Barrow, for the supply of the mill at Bert on one side, and the mill of Miitown on the opposite side of this last-mentioned river, that the part of the country alluded to will not only be protected from any increase of injury by the projected drainage of the bog, but be relieved also from all injury whatsoever from the Finnery river, even after the accession to its stream of the waters of the bog under that system of draining; and the correctness of this conclusion must appear manifest from this, that the water thrown upon this part of the country by the Finnery river, which is occasioned by its waters being pressed back by the Barrow, in conse quence of this weir, seldom exceeds seven or eight inches, and never increases beyond twelve or fourteen inches; whereas in an imperfect state, keeps up which the weir in question, though at present I have ascertained from my own observations) the water of the Barrow three feet above its natural level.

The corn mill on the lands of Miltown is the property of the Reverend Dr. Walsh and is let at present for fifty pounds per annum, which is the full value of it; the other mill at Bert belongs to Mr. Burgh, and is a ruin; but supposing that it also is worth fifty pounds per annum, the value of both at sixteen years purchase, which is the highest rate at which such property could be sold, would amount only to £1,600; and therefore by the expenditure of so small a sum of money as this, in the purchase of these mills at Bert and Miltown, the country along the Finnery river, between the bog and the river Barrow, would be preserved from inundation, even under the great increase which must take place in the waters of the Finnery river, by draining of the bog.

And this is not the only advantage which would be derived from the prostrating of this weir, for a considerable part

What can be added, to this? Three thousand per annum sacrificed to maintain a mill of fifty pounds rent! It re

The processes recommended for improving these bogs are various: drainage is the leading feature of them all, The idea of converting the drains necessary for that purpose, in some places, into navigable canals, is happy. The system of drains in others is judicious.

of the country on each side of the river Bar-quires all the confidence due to official row upwards, from it to Monasterevan, and reports, to believe that this nuisance can which is subject to injury from being in be suffered to exist. A subscription undated by that river, in consequence of among the landholders ought to have the obstruction of its course by this weir, purchased its destruction long ago. would be protected from being overflowed; and I am sure that all these lands, as well those which lie along the banks of the Finnery river, as those which extend along the banks of the Barrow to Monasterevan, and which amount together to no less than three thousand plantation acres, would be so much improved in their value, by being thus protected from the ravages of the Finnery and Barrow rivers, which frequently destroy and carry away the crops that grow upon them, that instead of setting at one pound per acre, which is the rent they upon an average now produce, and which is a high rent for them under their present circumstances, would set for a rent of two pounds or two guineas per acre; but taking this new rent at but two pounds per acre, there will thus be occasioned by this intended improvement, an increase in their rent of three thousand pounds per annum, which calculated at twenty years purchase, would amount to sixty thousand pounds.

It appears almost incredible, that a weir capable of causing so much mischief, should have been allowed to remain; but those who are acquainted with the different parts of Ireland, are aware of innumerable instances, where weirs constructed for the supply of mills, and even for the much less valuable purpose of catching fish, (and which were originally constructed at a time when land was of little value, and which it must be presumed was the case with respect to the weirs in question),

are allowed by their continuance at this day, when the value of land is so great, to cause considerable tracts of country to be overflowed, to the great deterioration of their value, and consequent injury not only of their properties, but of the nation.

When these matters are considered, and also that by reclaiming the bog, employment would be afforded to the industry, of the poorer orders of the people in the neighbourhood of the bog, and that the salubrity of the air would be greatly improved thereby; topics which can never be considered irrelative to the discussion of the expediency of any public undertaking, I conceive that it is extremely desirable that this bog should be reclaimed, and indeed all the other bogs in this district.

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Great hopes also are entertained ou the effects of irrigation, where it can be employed; although, at first sight, the notion of watering spots which have been rendered waste by superfluity of water, seems to be an absolute misapplication. But, we must recollect, that irrigation consists in the command of water; in draining it off as well as letting it on to the land; and that water is, in all probability, chiefly useful for what it brings with it, and deposits. Nature, in fact, has given the hint for this operation; and nature never fails in principle, though not seldom requiring assistance. The qualities of the products it should appear are much improved from this cause.

In a part of these bogs, and on the road side from Lough Glyn to Crenane bridge, there may be seen a very curious example of the effects of natural irrigation on Red bog. This irrigation is occasioned by the springs from the north end of Aughadres dan, which forms a small deep lough on

the road side at the point C. that commands the whole fall of that part of the bog for about 100 perches to the river Lung, and through which the overflowings of the lake constantly make their way to the said river; creating in their progress over the Red bog (which is from 20 to 30 feet deep) a natural stripe of fine vegetable pasture, which is generally the greenest spot in the country, and eagerly sought after by the cattle in summer time; so much so, that I have seen heifers in imminent danger of being bogged at every step they made through this soft pasture.

The plans of rail ways, of carts, &c. though of infinite importance in the application, admit only of reference to the original papers, and cannot be abridged intelligibly. The exertions made in England and Scotland, to render similar wastes useful, deserve to be had in lasting remembrance. But, we must close the article; and we conceive that we cannot better effect that purpose, than by inserting remarks made on the Natural Ihstory and Philosophy of these stagnant Masses.

Mosses possess the peculiar property of vegetating after they have been a long time preserved in a dry state; this in some degree shews the difficulty of destroying that vegetable life, of which they are so tenacious. The sphagnum, from its formation, is peculiarly adapted for holding water in suspension, which it greedily attracts, and loses only by evaporation and decomposition.

about one or two feet of the trunk remaining attached to them; the trunks are often got near them, on the same level with the root, but lying in an horizontal situation, or nearly so, sometimes with and sometimes without the branches.

rous part very much decayed, but the internal part of the trunk sound; the timber is used for many essential purposes, and bears a high price at presept. The fir root and trunks possess a high degree of inflammability, from the resin they contain, which have found in a concrete state in great.quantities in the roots, between the bark and woody fibre; in one instance I have met with it in the vicinity of fir tree roots, oozing out of a turf bank in

Mr. Aber reporting on the bogs of small quantities, assuming the appearance Tipperary, says, of tallow, as it lay thinly spread on the surface of the peat; it burns with a strong destructive blaze, giving much smoke, and leaving no residue when burnt in the open fir roots so well that they dry them, and seair. The peasantry know the value of the parate the fibres longitudinally, which serve all the purposes of candles, burning freely with a strong flame, and continuing until the-wood is consumed.

If a stem or branch of dried sphagnum, six or eight inches long, 'be suspended, and having a small portion of the lower extremity immersed in or touching water, the fluid will rise by capillary attraction to the upper extremity of the branch, filling all the leaves of the plaut, which this instance act as so many little vesseis to retain the water.

I have not in any instance seen the roots of the fir tree upset, or the trunk adhering to the root. The roots are found numerous and very often without any trunks; in all cases the roots are decidedly the most numerous, even where the trunks are found in the greatest abundance.

Large roots and trunks of trees, are commonly found in the bogs, several feet under the surfice; they consist principally of fir, oak, yew, and very rarely em; the fir roots are found generally resting on a stratum of peat, from two to eight feet thick, which separates them from the clay, on which I have seldom seen them resting. They are sometimes found in great abundance, of a large size, and within three or four yards of each other; the roots in a standing position, as they grew, with

On examining some hundreds of these firs, I have not yet perceived the marks of cutting or burning, they appear to have fallen from decay, and to have been partially destroyed by time; the external

The peat immediately in contact with it, is denominated greasy turf, and forms a stratum of abont two or three feet thick; it is very bituminous, and burus rapidly, with a bright flame, leaving very little residue; this bituminous quality it receives from the great niass of fir trees which are mimbedded in it, and are most copious in the deposition of turpentine, giving a whitish colour to the peat. This bituminous turf is not found but in the vicinity of these trees, seljom extending for more than a foot above and below the roots. The bark of the fir trees is found sometimes in great quantities in layers near the top of the root, which separate in scales and are in a high state of preservation; I mention this to shew, that at the depth of twelve or fourteen feet from the surface, in compact peat, the bark is not always changed into that substance, as has been supposed by some writers.

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