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Hints respecting the circumstances that require to be

chiefly adverted to in experimental agriculture, particularly with a view to a proposal for instituting a national experimental farm.

[Continued from Vol. II. page 329.]

ON THE VARIETIES OF THE BOS TRIBE OF

ANIMALS, COMMONLY CALLED CATTLE.

The varieties of this species are, perhaps, more numerous than

any

of the domestic animals that have been hitherto reared for profit by the farmer; and are also distinguished from each other by more striking peculiarities: but, as may naturally be expected from the difficulty in transporting such a large sized animal Vol. III.

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from a distance, the nature of many of these varieties is but very little known to the British farmer. The naturalist has hitherto rather directed his attention towards the discrimination of external appearances in living objects that may assist him in the mere classification, than in observing the economical uses to which they could be applied; so that it is only from mere hints which may be incidentally picked up in a devious course of reading, that any clue can be found for directing our pursuits in this respect. Nor do we meet with that accuracy that could be wished for on this head, even in the mere act of classification itself; for, although several strongly marked varieties have been enumerated that are very easily distinguishable from each other by obvious peculiarities, such as the Buffalo, Bison, Zeba, &c. yet it is by no means ascertained, whether they are only varieties strictly, so called, or whether some of them may not be distinct species. Leaving this as a point to be yet settled, I shall for the present consider them all under one head, as all the varieties are in a lefser or a greater degree capable of being serviceable to man as beasts of burden, or as furnishing food to him by their milk and carcase, and of affording materials for manufactures by their tallow, fur, and hides; and it is fit that he should know with certainty the comparative profit which he could derive from each of these in regard to all these particulars, if he ever wishes to know which of them it will be most his interest to rear. I shall therefore, with a view to avoid embarrassment on the subject, arrange what I have to say upan it under different heads: and,

1st.

On the varieties of cattle, considered as to the external coating of hair, fur, or wool.

We in Britain are, indeed, so little acquainted with some of those varieties that have never fallen under our own inspection, that it is with some diffidence I shall venture to mention certain peculiarities of these that have been incidentally discovered, lest it should excite some degree of ridicule. But ridicule of this sort is usually the attendant of ignorance alone. We may suppose that a native of Otaheite, who had by chance heard of or seen a horse, would have been laughed at as a being beyond measure credulous, who could seriously assert that an animal any where existed which had the powers and other well known qua. lities of the horse, in many respects so much superior to any

of the animals he had ever seen; yet we know that such ridicule would have been highly displaced, If we were to set bounds to possibilities merely by the standard of our own knowledge alone, Would it not. have been natural for the inhabitants of Madagascar to believe that though sheep were known throughout the greatest part of the globe, yet that this class of ania mals, like the horse and the cow, afforded every where only a short coat of stiff hair that in no respect resembled the closer fur of the cat and many other furbearing animals. But if we know that this conclusion of his would have been erroneous, how shall we be able to free ourselves from the imputation of a prejudice equally blind and presumptuous, should we pretend to say, that because the cattle we have usu

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from a distance, the nature of many of these varieties is but very little known to the British farmer. The naturalist has hitherto rather directed his attention towards the discrimination of external appearances in living objects that may assist him in the mere classification, than in observing the economical uses to which they could be applied; so that it is only from mere hints which may be incidentally picked up in a devious course of reading, that any clue can be found for directing our pursuits in this respect. Nor do we meet with that accuracy that could be wished for on this head, even in the mere act of classification itself; for, although several strongly marked varieties have been enumerated that are very easily distinguishable from each other by obvious peculiarities, such as the Buffalo, Bison, Zebu, &c. yet it is by no means ascertained, whether they are only varieties strictly, so called, or whether some of them may not be distinct species. Leaving this as a point to be yet settled, I shall for the present consider them all under one head, as all the varieties are in a lesser or a greater degree capable of being serviceable to man as beasts of burden, or as furnishing food to him by their milk and carcase, and of affording materials for manufactures by their tallow, fur, and hides; and it is fit that he should know with certainty the comparative profit which he could derive from each of these in regard to all these particulars, if he ever wishes to know which of them it will be most his interest to rear. I shall therefore, with a view to avoid embarrassment on the subject, arrange what I have to say upan it under different heads: and,

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