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1835 Ireland exported as many eggs to
England as were valued at £156,000., being in
number nearly a hundred millions. In 1847
it was stated by Mr. Richardson, in a work
on Domestic Fowls, published in Dublin, that
the export of eggs from Ireland to England
was 'bordering on a million sterling.' The
eggs are valued at 5s. 6d. for 124, which would
indicate an export of about four hundred and
fifty millions of eggs. We come to more precise
results when we learn, on the authority
of the secretary of the Dublin Steam-Packet
Company, that in the year 1844-5 there were
shipped from Dublin alone, to London and
Liverpool, forty-eight millions of eggs, valued
at £122,500. In the census of 1841, the poultry
of Ireland was valued at £202,000., taking each
fowl at 6d. per head. The return was below
the reality; for the peasantry were naturally
afraid of some fiscal imposition, worse even
than the old tax of ' duty fowls,' when they
had to account for their Dame Partletts.
Eight millions of poultry, which this return
indicates, is, however, a large number. The
gross number of holdings in Ireland, as shown
by the agricultural returns of 1847, was
935,000; and this would give above eight
fowls to every cottage and farm,—a number
sufficient to produce four hundred and fifty
millions of eggs for exportation, if all could be
collected and all carried to a port. One hundred
and twenty eggs yearly is the produce of
a good hen. It would be safe to take the
Irish export of eggs at half the number,—an
enormous quantity, when we consider what a
trifling matter an egg appears when we talk
of large culture and extensive commerce.
Out of such trifles communities have grown
into industrious and frugal habits and
consequent prosperity. There was a time when the
English farmer's wife would keep her household
out of the profits of her butter, her poultry,
and her eggs; when she duly rose at five
o'clock on the market-day morning, rode with
her wares some seven miles in a jolting cart,
and stood for six hours at a stall till she had
turned all her commodity into the ready
penny. The old thrift and the old simplicity
may return, when English farmers learn not
to despise small gains, and understand how
many other things are to be done with the
broad acres, besides growing wheat at a
monopoly price.

The coast-trade brings English eggs in
large numbers into the London markets.
Scotch eggs are also an article of import.
The English eggs, according to the ' Price
Current,' fetch 25 per cent, more than the
Scotch or Irish. The average price of all
eggs at the present time, in the wholesale
London market, is five shillings for 120
exactly a halfpenny each.

In the counties by which London is
surrounded, the production of fresh eggs is far
below the metropolitan demand. Poultry,
indeed, is produced in considerable quantities,
but there is little systematic attention to the
profitable article of eggs. Where is the
agricultural labourer who has his half-dozen
young hens, from which number, with good
management, nine hundred, and even a
thousand eggs may be annually produced, that
will obtain a high pricethree times as high
as foreign eggs? These six hens would yield
the cottager a pleasant addition to his scanty
wages, provided the egg-collection were
systematised, as it is in Ireland. Mr. Weld, in
his 'Statistical Survey of the County of
Roscommon,' says, 'The eggs are collected from
the cottages for several miles round, by runners,
commonly boys from nine years old and
upwards, each of whom has a regular beat,
which he goes over daily, bearing back the
produce of his toil carefully stowed in a small
hand-basket. I have frequently met with
these boys on their rounds, and the caution
necessary for bringing in their brittle ware with
safety seemed to have communicated an air of
business and steadiness to their manner,
unusual to the ordinary volatile habits of
children in Ireland.'

Making a reasonable estimate of the number
of foreign eggs, and of Irish and Scotch eggs that
come into the port of Londonand putting them
together at a hundred and fifty millions, every
individual of the London population consumes
sixty eggs, brought to his own door from
sources of supply which did not exist thirty
years ago. Nor will such a number appear
extravagant when we consider how accurately
the egg-consumption is regulated by the means
and the wants of this great community. Rapid
as the transit of these eggs has become, there
are necessarily various stages of freshness in
which they reach the London market. The
retail dealer purchases accordingly of the
egg-merchant; and has a commodity for sale
adapted to the peculiar classes of his customers.
The dairyman or poulterer in the
fashionable districts permits, or affects to
permit, no cheap sea-borne eggs to come upon
his premises. He has his eggs of a snowy
whiteness at four or six a shilling, 'warranted
new-laid;' and his eggs from Devonshire,
cheap at eight a shilling, for all purposes of
polite cookery. In Whitechapel, or Tottenham
Court Road, the bacon-seller 'warrants'
even his twenty-four a shilling. In truth, the
cheapest eggs from France and Ireland are as
good, if not better, than the eggs which were
brought to London in the days of bad roads
and slow conveyancethe days of
road-waggons and pack-horses. And a great benefit it
is, and a real boast of that civilisation which
is a consequence of free and rapid commercial
intercourse. Under the existing agricultural
condition of England, London could not, by
any possibility, be supplied with eggs to the
extent of a hundred and fifty millions annually,
beyond the existing supply from the
neighbouring counties. The cheapness of eggs
through the imported supply has raised up a
new class of egg-consumers. Eggs are no
longer a luxury which the poor of London