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large and small only, although known by
many names.

Considering how much of our domestic
happiness and public prosperity is dependent
on a supply of prime beef in steaks,
sirloins, and rounds; on chops, legs,
and saddles of mutton; on streaky rashers,
and Yorkshire and Cumberland hams,
will not be time wasted to explain how it
comes to pass that in every county of the
kingdom there are to be found not only
wealthy amateurs, but practical farmers,
who devote their whole time to producing
prime animals of pure blood, not always
at a profit; and how the country gains
from stock so plump, cubical, and
unpicturesque; for it is not to be gainsaid
that the wild cattle of the Roman
Campagna or the Andalusian pastures are
more suited to figure as models for the
painter than under the knife ot the carver.
A Yorkshire farmer remarked, when shown
the Toro Farnese, that " there couldn't be
many prime cuts sliced out of him."

By the exertions of only a few zealous
agriculturists, during the last hundred years, good
meat has been placed within the reach of the
people at large. The roast beef of Old England,
which some fancy to have been the
ordinary fare of our ancestors in the days of
Queen Bess, was really and truly the tough
and tasteless produce of lean, black, worn-out
draught oxen, or leathery old cows, and that
only procurable flesh for four months in the
year. Those who have travelled in the south
of Europe or on the Rhine, have seen the
the greyhound-like pigs, the lean gaunt sheep, the
angular and active cows unencumbered with
sirloins and almost destitute of lungs, which
pick up a miserable existence on the roadsides.
A hundred years ago, with a few rare exceptions,
the ordinary breeds of live stock in
Great Britain were just as lean, ill-shaped,
and slow- growing. And to those who
enquire what we have gained by the enthusiasm
with which noblemen and gentlemen
have followed cattle- breeding, it can be
answered that the ox, which used to be with
difficulty fattened at six years old, is now
presentable in superlative condition upon the
Christmas board at three years old. The sheep
which formerly fed in summer and starved in
winter, until five years old, are now fit for the
butcher in twenty months, with a better and
more even fleece. And the pig which formerly
ran races until two years had passed, is now
fit for the knife after eating and sleeping
comfortably and cleanly as a gentleman
should, for nine months only.

This change has been brought about partly
by the improvement of our agriculture, a
closer study of the habits of animals, and an
increased supply of food placed within our
reach by extended commerce, and a rational
system of customs duties; and partly by
discoveries in the art of breeding. Formerly
our cattle and sheep were entirely dependent
on natural herbage for their food. In summer
they grew fat, in winter they starved and
grew thin; having nothing to depend on
but such hay as could be saved. The first
great step, therefore, towards the improvement
of cattle was the employment of the
turnip and other roots which could he stored
in winter. An experienced farmer calculates
that with roots, oxen improve nearly
one fourth more than those fed on hay alone.
The use of turnips enabled sheep to be fed
where nothing but gorse or rushes grew
before. Neal, the mechanic, stepped in with
a chaff-cutter, prepared hay and straw to
mix with roots, and, with a turnip cutter,
saved six months in getting sheep ready for
the kitchen.

The use of a dry, palatable, nutritious food,
called oil-cake, which could be carried into
the field to sheep to help out a short crop,
followed; and further studies proved the use of
peas, and beans, and foreign pulse in giving
lambs bone and muscle. It was found, too,
by experiment, that warm feeding yards saved
food; that, in short, the best way of getting
stock into prime condition was to feed
them well, to attend to their health, and
never, from their earliest days, to allow them
to get thin.

But before these discoveries had been made.
the breeds of English live-stock were in regular
course of improvement. No kind of food can
make an ill-bred, ill-shaped beast fat in time
to be profitable. Just as some men are more
inclined to get fat than others, so are some
animals; and, by selecting individuals of
proper shape with this tendency, certain breeds
have been stereotyped into a never-failing
type: that type in an ox and sheep is one
which presents the largest extent of prime meat
and least amount of offal; or, as a South
Down breeder expressed it—" a perfect sheep
should be, as nearly as possible, all legs and
loins of mutton."

To make this improvement, required a certain
talent, enthusiasm, and years of patience.
Breeders of pure stock, like mechanical
inventors, do not, on an average, make money.
On the contrary, for the pleasure of the pursuit
and the hope of success, they expend large
fortunes; while a few win great prizes. But
the country gains enormously in result;
for now, the same space of ground will feed
more than twice the quantity of beef and
mutton that it would fifty years ago. The
animals not only come to maturity in half
the time; but, fed partly in yards or stalls, they
spoil less ground with treading, and return to
the soil highly concentrated and productive
manure.

The first man who made stock-breeding a
fashionable pursuitand that is a great thing
in a country where fashion rules too much
was Robert Bakewell, of Dishley, in
Leicestershire, the son and grandson of farmers;
but, if we mistake not, himself a barrister.
With horned cattle he aimed at the cardinal

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