[From General View of Agriculture, 1794]
UPON a general review of the foregoing subjects, it appears, that nothing would contribute more to the improvement of agriculture in the Isle of Man, than a society of the gentlemen of landed property and principal farmers, who by communicating their sentiments, and the result of their experiments, would mutually instruct themselves, and essentially benefit their countrymen, by dispersing their knowledge amongst their tenants, which would naturally create a system of emulation through the whole body of the proprietors of smaller estates, who are by far the majority, end whose means of information are very confined, their practice being for them oft part guided by old customs.
A Society of that kind, possessing a thorough knowledge of the country, and at the same time having the opportunity of gaining valuable information from the neighbouring kingdoms, seems to bid fairest, as the most essential service that could be rendered to agriculture here.
Draining and fencing appear to have the first claim to attention, and a more regular rotation of crops would be a decided advantage.
If a fund were established for giving small premiums to tenants and expert servants, whom the society might think deserving, a change for the better would be the consquence with regard to the manual operations of husbandry.
The different species of stock stand much in need of amendment; the advanced price of horses has simulated the breeding of those of a larger size, but they are not of that broad strong kind which are so proper for labour. A strong breed of about fourteen hands high would agree well with this country, and answer every purpose of agriculture.
The horned cattle, on the lowlands, are not near so good as the land would bear; however, cows of a larger size would not agree with the nature of the soil and climate; care seems to be wanting to rear none but those of the choicest stock.
A method of maintaining the clergy, less unpopular than taking the tythe in kind, would excite the farmer to improve :and grow a considerable greater quantity of corn than they now do. It is not uncommon for the clergyman to set the tythe to a tenant, who sublets it to another, and so though three or four hands, who have each a profit. By that means the impropriator, or incumbent, does not receive the real value of the tythe, and the farmer, or cottager, is obliged to give the tenth of all his dependence; a circumstance unavoidably gratin and discouraging to the industrious husbandman.