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practical agriculture of this country will derive from his treatise, we yet think that it may be of fome degree of utility; and were it for nothing more than fatisfying the curiosity of farmers, who are upable to read the ancient Roman authors, by giving them fome notion of the rural management of that celebrated people, we cannot doubt but it will be tavourably received by the public. Mr. Dickson has fpared no pains to render it plain and intelligible, by comparing doubtful paffages with references made to them by other authors, and thus correcting, in many cases, the errors of transcribers, which tended 10 render certain passages obscure, even to the moft learned commentators.
The plan which Mr. Dickon has adopted, is to arrange the objects of rural economy under different heads, and to collect what occurs under each in the different Roman writers; so that the whole that is said by them concerning it may be seen in one point of view. By this plan, many repetitions, neceffarily occur, as later writers frequently copied nearly the words of their predeceffors; and as our author has translated the several passages with all posible aceuracy (subjoining the original in the notes), the work of course becomes more languid and prolix, ihan wouid have been requisite in an original compofition, where a scrupulous reference to authorities was not of effential importance; though its accuracy and authenticity are thus proportionally augmented.
That the reader may have an idea of the objects treated in this performance, we will enumerate the contents, adding a few explanatory observations, where they appear necessary.
Chapter i. treats of the Villa ;-the name given by the ancient Romans to the house and other buildings belonging to a farm. The writers on agriculture have taken care to describe the fituation beit adapted for such buildings, the proportion of extent they fhould bear relative to the farm, and a variety of more minute particulars, with a degree of exactness that will appear unnecessary to modern readers, who do not advert to the difference in the ceconomy of rural affairs in ancient and modern times.
Chap. II. treats of the persons employed in agriculture. This we consider as the most curious and important chapter in the performance, becaufe it ferves, in some measure, as a key to the whole; and therefore it ought to be studied with particular attention by every one who wishes to obtain a clear view of the rural economy of the Romans, or to comprehend the scope of most of the directions that occur in the writers on that fubject. The attentive observer will here perceive, that there is a wide and efiential d Frence between the general management of eGates in modern Britain, and in ancient Rome, and that in consequence of this circumstance, the general train of directions chiefly infisted on by ancient writers, relate to particulars that
are, comparatively, of small importance in modern times. That class of men which we denominate farmers, was scarcely known among the Romans; and indeed they seem not to have formed an idea, at that time, of the mode of parcelling out land, now generally adopted among us, for a certain specified rent. In general, the proprieto's of land in the Roman territories, like the proprietors of land in the West Indies at present, stocked it themselves, and it was cultivated by means of hired servants, slaves, ard catue, difpofing of the produce for their own account; and though in fome cases they paid the superintendent of the farm by allowing him a certain proportion of the free produce,-yet even this liep to improvement seems to have been rare, and the fuperintendent himself received for the most part a ftipulated sum per annum, by way of wages; the proprietor only visiting the farm occasionally, and checking the operations of his superintendent.
From these circumstances it necessarily follows, that many of the precepts of the Roman authors on agriculture would be calculated to inform the landlord how he ought to choose his fervanes, and how he Mould check any impropriety in their conduct during his absence. Hence we find multiplied directions, wonderfully minute, respecting the kind and quantity of work that Mould be performed by the men and animals on the farm,--the, nature and quantity of their food, the exact time of lowing different feeds-the quantity of each to be allowed to a given quantity of ground,--and many other particulars well calculated to enable the proprietor, who only occasionally visits his farm, to interrogate the bailiff, and to judge of his accounts. By bearing these things in mind, the reader will be enabled fatiffactorily to account for many particulars that occur in these ancient writings, which would otherwise appear to be unimportant. Mr. Dickson, although he has not entered into these general views, has been at great pains, in this chapter, to explain many particulars relative to the private life and domestic economy of the Romans.
As a specimen of this work, we shall subjoin the following quotation, which respects a subject that has lately been a good deal agitated; viz. the management of flaves.
• Cato informs us, what quantity of bread and wine, &c. and what clothes, were given to labourers.
Of bread, he says, each labourer was allowed at the rate of three pounds averdupois, or of 3 pounds 12 ounces averdupois, in the day, according to the severity of their labour. “ During the winter," says he, * the bailiff should have four modii of wheat each month, and during the summer four modii and a half; and the housekeeper, or the bailiff's wife, and the shepherd, Mould have three. During the winter, the flaves should have four pounds of bread each in the day; from the time that they begin to dig the vineyard, to the ripening
of the figs, they should have five pounds each ; after which they Mould return again to four."
• To this bread, there was a daily allowance of wine ; during the three months that immediately followed the vintage, the servants drank a weak kind of wine called Lora: the manner in which this liquor was made, is described both by Pliny and Columella ; and, from the description given by them, it may well be supposed to be as good as the small beer given to servants in Britain. It does not appear that the Roman Naves were much restricted in the quantity; Cato mentions no measure, he only says that they have this to drink for three months after the vintage. He proceeds in this manner : “ In the fourth month, each should get a bemina of wine in the day, which is at the rate of 2į congii in the month ; in the fifth, fixth, seventh, and eighth months, each a fextary in the day, which is 5 congii in the month; in the ninth, tenth, and eleventh, each 3 beminæ in the day, which is an amphora in the month. More than this, at the Saturnalia and Compitalia, even each man a congius. The quantity of wine for each man in the year is eight quadrentals ; however, as addition must be made according to the work in which the Naves are employed, it is not too much for each of them to drink ten quadrentals in the year.” This allowance of wine, it must be ac. knowledged, was not inconsiderable, being at least 74 gallons in the year, or, at an average, 1.62 parts of a pint in the day *.
• Besides bread and wine, the slaves got what was called pulmentarium, which answers to what in some parts of the country is called kitchin +. For this purpose, Cato recommends the laying up as many fallen olives as can be gathered; afterwards the early olives from which the smallest quantity of oil is expected ; at the same time observing, that these must be given sparingly, that they may last the longer. When the olives are finished, he defires falt fish and vinegar to be given, and, besides, to each man a fextarius of oil in the month, and a modius of salt in the year. Columella for this purpose, directs apples, pears, and figs, to be laid up: he adds, if there is a great quantity of these, the ruftics are secured in no small part of their meat (cibaria, i. e. food] during the winter, for they serve for kitchin.
• Cato likewise makes particular mention of the clothes of the slaves : • The vestments of the family, says he, a coat and a gown 31 feet long, hould be given once in two years ; whenever you give a coad or a gown, firit receive the old one; of these make centones (a kind of bed cover). Good shoes should be given once in two years.'
Mr. Dickson chen proceeds to make a comparison between the expence of a Roman flave and a labouring servant in Great
* The congius contained 207.236 cubic inches. The other measures may be computed from this. The English pint contains 28 cubic inches.
+ The word kitchin in this sense was quite new to us; on applying to a Scotch gentleman for assistance, he says it denotes a better kind of food, or bonne bouche, to be eaten with bread by way of relish, very nearly fimilar to the meaning given to it by Cato, in the pallage that immediately follows in the text.
Britain, and as, in drawing this parallel, be states the way of maintaining servants in that part of Scotland where he resided (East Lothian), we presume it will not appear much less curious to most of our readers, than the account of the Romans.
• Having thus,' says he, “given some account of the expence of labouring flaves among the Romans, it may not be amiss to compare this with the expence of labouring servants in Britain. The annual expence of a Nave arising from the purchase, I have already observed, cannot properly be rated at less than 7.. 45. This, I am persuaded, will be conlidered as very high wages, taking the kingdom in general, even in this age, in which they are much higher than at any former period; and the rather, when it is considered, that money at Rome, in the time of Columella, giving fix per centum per annum, Mows that there was not so much currency as with us at present; and consequently that the same sum was of more value with them than with us. It is not easy to determine, whether the meat given to the Roman slaves, of the kind that has been mentioned, is equal in value to that which is given to our labouring servants; the reducing these, as nearly as is posible, to quantities of corn, is the best way to form some judgment. At present, a labourer's meat in the labouring counties of Scotland, must be reckoned highly rated at two pecks, or 17:57 pounds averdupois of oatmeal, and one fhilling in the week. A Roman slave had of bread equal to 51 modii of wheat, with ten quadrentals of wine in the year, and, besides these, something for kitcbin. This last, according to the account given of it, cannot be reckoned much worse than any quantity of victuals that can at present be purchased for one shilling in the week. If this is allowed, we have only to compare the bread and wine given to the Roman Nave with the oatmeal given to a Scotch labourer. Now, it may be observed, that the four necessary to make up the daily allowance of bread to the Roman lave, would weigh about 2.39 parts of an averdu pois pound; and that the allowance of oatmeal in the day to the Scotch labourer amounts to about 2.51 parts of a pound, same weight. The four, of which the bread for che Roman Naves was made, having all the bran in it, is not so substantial as the same weight of oatmeal; but when the allowance of wine is added, it must appear both more substantial and more valuable t.
• In Britain, the wages and victuals mentioned are the whole of the expence of a labouring servant to his matter; but in Italy, befides the original price of the flave and his maintenance, the matter was obliged to provide him in clothes. The value of these, according to the account given by Cato, would not be an inconsiderable addition to the annual expence : so that, upon the whole, we may conclude that the expence of labour among the Romans was as great, if not greater, than in Britain at this day.”
* The editor warns the reader to take notice, that this work was completely finished for the press, by Mr. Dickson, at least a dozen years ago.
+ The ingenious author, in a long note, follows this calculation with great accuracy; we regret that our limits forbid us to infert it.
In this calculation, Mr. Dickson has been guilty of one overfight. He says above, the expence of labour among the Ro
was as great as in Britain ;'-he ought, however, only to have said, the expence of a labourer; for it does not appear, from any part of this calculation, what was the quantity of work performed by the Roman slave, or what proportion it bore to that usually performed by she British servant; and we are inclined to believe, that if this particular had been adverted to, the comparison would have turned out a good deal more in favour of the latter.
Chap 111. Of soil in general, and the qualities of a good soil.
Chap. iv. Of the different kinds of crops raised by the Romans, &c.
Chap. v. Of the maxims of the ancients, and some general directions to the farmer, in bis operations.
These maxims chiefly relate to the impolicy of having large farms, and the advantages of residing upon them.- Example; “ Whoever would buy a field, ought to fell his house, left he delight more in the town than in the couniry. He who is very fond of a town house, has no need of a country farm.”-“ Neither the affiduity of the bailiff, nor the power and willingness of the master to lay out money in improvements, are so effeclual as this one thing, the presence of the matter; which, unless it is frequent with the operations, it will happen to him as in an are my when the General is absent, all things will be at a stand.” The other maximis evidently allude to the system of economy which we have already specified.
Chap. vi. 'Of schemes of management, and succession of crops.'—We here learn that the Romans, like the moderns, believed certain crops were exhausting, and others ameliorating, to the soil - which are specified. But the greatest fingularity, and what some will think gives no high idea of their skill in agricul. ture, is, that it is a general rule in Italy to fallow and crop their ground alternately; that is, one year it carried a crop, and the next year lay fallow. By fallow here is meant, being allowed to remain uncultivated; for the Romans seem to have had scarcee ly any idea of what we mean by a complete summer-follow.
The succeeding chapters in the first volume--which creat of dung and other manures, instruments of agriculture, and the way of using them-contain much matter of curious speculation; but little that could prove interesting to any of our read. ers, except to those who have a particular predilection for researches of this nature, and to whom no abridgment could afford satisfaction.
The same observation will apply to the whole of the second volume, which treats of the reasons of fowing-choice of seedmethod of destroying weeds--ihe culture of particular crops, viz.