One Hundred Years of the Royal Jersey Agricultural and Horticultural Society 1833-1933. Compiled from the Society`s Records, by H.G. Shepard, Secretary.
1. The Society is born.
In the "Constitutionennel" and others of the numerous periodicals then published in the Island of Jersey, there appeared under date of August 24th, 1833, this announcement:
Société D`agriculture et D`horticulture à Jersey.
On a l`intention de prier Sa Très Gracieuse Majesté de daigner être le patron de cette partie de l`Institution qui a rapport à l`Agriculture. Comme on proposera aux Dames de prêter leur appui au jardinage, on espère que la Reine daignera en devenir la Patronne. Comme un Comité doit être institué de rédiger des règlements pour être soumis à l`Examen des membres de cette Société, il est à souhaiter que cette réunion soit nombreuse afin qu`on puisse choisir un Comité composé de gens dont les lumuères, l`expérience et la respectabilité puissent tendre à l`avancement de ce grand object.
Bureau du Gouverneur
This, then, is the genesis of the Royal Jersey Agricultural and Horticultural Society, a survey of whose activities over a period of one hundred years it is proposed to attempt.
This was not, however, the first Agricultural Society to be born on the Island, as early in the minutes of the newly formed Society there appears the record that "the Seal of the former Agricultural Society presented to the Board by Philip Durell, Esq., its late Secretary "was laid on the table and ordered to be retained among the archives of the new institution. It would be interesting to find out more about this defunct Society -whether it had a long life or whether being before its time, it was stillborn. At the moment, however, research has been fruitless.
One hundred years is to the ordinary mortal a long period of time, even though to the archæologist and geologist a century is as the passing of an hour in the earth`s history. To give anything like a complete account of the work of the Society during such a prolonged period would necessitate many pages which would, whatever their worth from a historical point of view, only be wearisome to the reader.
At the memorable meeting held on August 26th, in the Lieut.-Governor`s Office and
presided over by His excellency himself, the following resolutions were passed
The provinsional Committee comprising, as will be seen, gentlemen bearing names which are still, in many cases, common in the Island and highly honoured, was not long in getting to work. At the general Meeting held as resolved on September 7th, 1833, they presented a set of proposed Rules, which were adopted, and the following further resolutions passed (among others):
That it will conduce much to the General Welfare of the Island of Jersey to encourage improvements in its Agriculture and Horticulture, the breed of Cattle and to promote habits of industry and economy among the labouring classes.
That a Society on the basis recommended by the Resolutions just read be immediately formed, to be called "The Jersey Agricultural and Horticultural Society."
That a Book be immediately opened for the names of Subscribers and that the Gentlemen present be requested to inscribe their names.
That James Robin, Esq be the Treasurer, and Col. Le Coueur be the Secretary, pro tempore, until those offices be appointed to, under the Regulations to be proposed.
That the list of Subscribers be left at the Governor`s Office, the Royal Saloon, Mr.
Bond`s "Jersey Circulating Libraby" and the Offices of the different local
Journals, for the insertion of the names of new Subscribers, and that the Subscribers be
respectfully requested to pay their Subscriptions to the Treasurer, or into his name at
such places as he may appoint, and printed receipts for the Subscriptions to be given,
signed by the Treasurer.
That the cordial thanks of this Meeting be also given to Col. Le Couteur for his zealous and talented assistance as Honorary Secretary.
That the thanks of this Meeting be given to the Provisional Committe and that they be requested to continue their services until the Board of Management be elected.
That the thanks of this Meeting be offered to Philip Le Couteur, Esq., Constable of St. Peter, for the handsome manner in which he expressed his willingness to recommend the objects of this Society to the favourable consideration of the States.
That this Meeting do adjourn to Saturday the 28th of September, when a ballot will take place of the Board of Management and of the Officers of the Society.
It may be remarked that for many years, September 7th was looked upon as the date of the formation of the Society, but as the meeting of August 26th resolved on the desirability of forming an Agricultural Society, that date can be more correctly chosen as the true Foundation Day.
The first set of Rules adopted contains several that are curious to record. Three Presidents were provided for -the Governorr, Lieut.-Governor and "Bailli" (the Governor then residing out of the Island). The holding of an Annual Dinner and a Public Breakfast were ordained by Rule 20, which also barred Political discussions (presumably at these functions) and stipulated very laudably that "the meat, fruits and vegetables at the repasts be the products of the Island." Rule 39 allowed ladies becoming members of the Society to vote by proxy given in writing -female suffrage was not then even thought of. Some of the shorter Regulations still, in 1933, remain practically word for word.
The Board of Management was elected from the Subscribers of One Pound, a principle widened to include all such subscribers as Members of the Board, and which persisted until a few years ago. From the Board of Mangement we get the name "Board Room" applied to the seat of the Society`s government and, even today, the "Board Room" conveys more to the average member than the more correct address "the Offices of the Society". After holding their meetings at the Literary and Scientific Institution, in the Bailiff`s Room at the Court and elsewhere, in April, 1834 the Society rented a permanent office and Board Room at Mr. Bernard Saun ders`establishment, 19, Halkett Place, which remained its headquarters until 1865. Not long after formation a Memorial was presented to the States asking for recognition in the form of financial assistance. The memorial was presented by the then Constable of St. Peter, and, though his colleague of St. Helier objected, as was his wont, the States, realising the utility of the Institution, responded with an annual subsidy of £100 which continued until 1841.
In the minutes of December 7th occur entries of more than passing interest. One is an
invitation to Members to attend a series of lectures on the Chemistry of Agriculture to be
given by Mr. B. Saunders, Secretary of the Literary and Scientific Institution. What
success attended this, the first of many subsequent attempts to impart agricultural
knowledge, is not known. The other entries refer to a gift from Admiral Sir Isaac Coffin
of a hogshead of Lancashire Potatoes and to a letter from Mr. Thomas Andrew Knight
containing "valuable information on the culture of the Potato."
That the hogshead of Potatoes presented by Sir Isaac Coffin be (with the exception of a small lot to be given to Mr. Saunders to try an experiment with) divided into two parts; one part to be taken charge of by Col Le Couteur and the other by Mr. Charles Bertram of Grouville and that these two gentlemen divide their respective lots into other two parts, one of each to be planted according to the plan recommended by Mr. Knight and the other according to the mode practised in Jersey.
Thus it will be seen that the "Almighty Potato" was even then of some importance.
In January 1834 His Majesty King William IV. granted His Patronage to the young Society, an honour which his successors to the Throne have graciously seen fit to continue.
2. The first shows and first annual report.
In preparation for the first cattle Show, Sclaes of Points for Judging were formulated, perfection in Bulls scoring 25 points and in Females 27. Some of the Show Regulations framed at the same time may be enlightening.
Resolved that the judges declare upon Honor, that their award shall be made without favour or partiality.
Form of Judges`declaration.
I, A.B. do declare upon my honor that I will well and truly judge, according to the best of my skill and knowledge, which is the best animal in each class, without favor or partiality.
That the Cattle be brought too the Cattle Market on Easter Monday morning by eight o`clock in charge of a trusty person, such person to withdraw until the exhibition opens, with a duplicate ticket, the first ticket having been affixed in his presence to the animal.
The Cattle to be arranged by Parishes, the Parishes being numbered from one to twelve by lot, such parochial arrangement being secret and unknown to the Judges.
The Judges to be attended by a Special Committe to record, in silence, the Awards of the Judges and to countersign the signatures of the Judges.
That all Subscribers to the Society be admitted to view the Cattle immediately after the Judges shall have made their Awards and that all other persons shall pay sixpence (British) for admittance.
That Cattle having the first premiums be decorated with many coloured ribbons.
That Cattle having Parochial premiums be decorated with blue ribbons.
That Cattle within two points of perfection be decorated with scarlet ribbons.
That each Prize Bull shall receive a premium from the Society of threepence beyond the customary charge paid, for every cow belonging to a Subscriber that shall be in calf by such Bull.
The familiar Red, Blue, Yellow and Green Ribbons for 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Prizes respectively did not come into usage until many years later.
The Show was held on Easter Monday (March 31st) 1834 in the Cattle Market, Beresford Street. The Cattle were judged by Messrs. Bréhaut, Nicholas Le Bas and Edward Le Gresley, described as Cattle dealers, and it is on record that in one Competition, these gentlemen, having awarded equal points to two animals, had recourse to tossing a coin to decide which should have the Prize.
On the Horticultural side the first Show was held on May 14th, 1834 in the New Cattle Market. Classes for Poultry were also included, the poultry being exhibited in the Racket Court. The prizes for the Floricultural Department, as it was called, consisted of Standard Works on Horticulture, Agricultural Chemistry etc. The Band of the Rifles supplied the music, the bandsmen being regaled (as is recorded in the minutes) with their breakfast and a bottle and a half of porter each.
Carrying out one of the principal objects of the formation of the SOciety, viz., the improvement of farms, inspections of farms and estates in both the Western and Eastern districts took place in the months of May and August. The reports of the visiting COmmittess occupy many pages of the minute book and were published in the press. A perusal of these reports reveala how great have been the changes in crops grown and cultural methods adopted since then.
The first Annual Report was presented to the members at the General Meeting held on September 6th, 1834 in the Jersey National Schoolroom. This, too, is lengthy and was doubtless penned by the versatile and erudite Secretary, Col. Le Couteur. It refers to the discovery of several plants of use in the feeding of cattle and notably "Trefolium Incarnatum" which is commended to the Jersey farmer as excellent for his cattle. Parsnips, the growth of which is "much attended to and found highly profitable" are dealt with at some lengt and their qualities as a food for cattle and even as a substitute for wheat in bread making, highly extolled. That Veterinary Treatment, was in those days in the hands of those who would today be termed "quacks", can be inferred from the statement that, with the help of the States`grant a "regularly educated Veterinary Surgeon" had been brought over to the Island at a retainer of £40 per annum. Thanks are returned to members who had exhibited new and improved Agricultural implements including "a very ingenious machine for mowing a lawn." Is this the forerunner of the modern lawn mower?
At this Annual General Meeting proposals were adopted dividing the work of the Society into two departments,Agricultural and Horticultural, the funds to be divided proportionately between them, an Hon. Secretary and a separate Committe to be named for each Section.
The Society thus moved forward into the second year of its existence and commenced by sending a gift of fruit to its Royal Patron. Horticulturists might be interested to note that the collection included 103 Chaumontel, 36 Cressanne, 35 Beurre d`Arembert, 24 Golden Pippin, 48 Pigeonnet, 24 Waterford as well as other varieties of Pears and Apples many of which, like some of those mentioned, have gone out of cultivation. Has any grower in 1933 a tree of "Waterfords" in his orchard? While on the subjects of apples notice might be taken of the offer in 1834 of a Premium (or Prize) for the best recipe for making cider, though it does not appear that an Award was ever made.
1835 saw many subjects of varying importance discussed and acted upon by the Board.
General Thornton, the first President, left the Island on his retirement from the post of Lieut.-Governor and was the recipient of an address couched in felicitous if somewhat florid terms from the grateful Society he had helped to found.
At the half yearly meeting it was decided to make the Governor, Lieut.-Governor and Bailiff Vice-Patrons and to elect one President only, annually. A rumour that the Mother Country might prohibit the importation of wheat from the Channel Islands brought forth from the Society a Petition to the Bar of the House of Commons recapitulating the rights of the Islanders granted by charter. Whether the rumour was unfounded or the Petition ever presented is not certain, but the following Annual Report congratulates agriculturists on the disposition of the Parent Country to encourage and protect the free importation of wheat. The labour problem also received attention and a rather elaborate scheme was launched for the formation of a Society for the encouragement of good servants (farm and domestic), for opening a registry of such and for receiving their savings. Want of support, however, caused the abandonment of the proposal. Nevertheless, the granting by the Society of rewards for long service continued for many years. The Board, at one of its meetings, about this time unanimously recommended Bone Manure as highly "advantageous for the general purposes of Agriculture."
Admiral Sir Isaac Coffin, who had in 1833, given the Society a quantity of potatoes now came forward with the gift of a Boar, Sow and Pigs, the latter being sold at the Spring Show for the benefit of the Society. While such a donation might today be lookede at askance, any member who might wish to present a Prize-winning Sire to be sold for the benefit of the Society would, no doubt, receive a cordial vote to thanks at least. On the Horticultural side the Lists of CLasses for 1834 and 1835 present interesting comparisons with those of one hundred years later. Classes for Double Wallflowers, Heaths and Heartsease for instance, appear in the Spring Schedule, though Dahlias even then find a place in the Summer and Autumn Show Lists. Extra Prizes were given in 1835 for such exotic produce as Lemons, Guavas, Cranberries and Pomegranates. It is to be assumed that these were grown in the Island and the question arises as to whether they could still be produced here.
Here is a method of advertising the Shows, chosen by the Horticultural Committee.
That the Hon. Secretary be requested to give notice to the Prevôts of the Parishes of the intended Show, that the same may be publicity communicated to the people after Church and that a Paper containing the advertisement be given to each prevôt that he may read the prizes to be distributed.
This can hardly be recommended in this year of grace as a means of reaching the greatest number of people.
During that year (1835) intercourse was commenced with the Guernsey Horticultural Society -Judges were exchanged and care taken to avoid the clashing of dates of the Shows in the two Islands.
The Annual Report for 1836, in discussing the potato crops goes on to say
It would be desirable to obtain potatoes of very early habits raised from seed, so as to enable this Island to supply the first demands of the London market, which the climate might very well admit; early potatoes frequently selling at from one to two shillings the pound in Covent Garden Market, when in great plenty here.
The possibilities of early potato cultivation as an Island industry seem here to be brought to the notice of farmers for the first time, The postponement of a Show on account of the vraicking season would hardly occur now through this is what happened in regard to the Bull Show of 1836.
In the following year King William IV. died and his niece Victoria scended the Throne she was destined to occupy for over sixty years. Soon after her accession the Queen granted Her Royal Patronage to the Society.
3.- In the early Years of Queen Victoria`s Reign.
The Report for 1837 which chronicles this event refers also to the rapid advances that the Horticultural Department had made during the four years of its existence. THe Committee "conceives that the prosperous and beautiful state of the nursery grounds of the Island is greatly owing to the desire .. created in the Island to possess the choicest fruits and flowers." In all the activities of that Department the name of Mr. B. Saunders continually recurs, as a contributor to the reports, as Judge or exhibitor and as an energetic Member of the Board. Even as the Agricultural Department enjoyed the services of a succession of "live wires" in its affairs (Col. Le Couteur, Col. Le Cornu, Canon Luce), so the Horticultural side has seldom lacked at least one member to shoulder the principal burdens of management.
Like the sister Department visits of inspection were paid to gardens and estates throughout the Island and Prizes awarded, not only to the best of these, but also for Cottagers` Gardens. Thus, Flower Garden Competitions as held in 1932 and 1933 were no new thing. Sit John De Veulle, Trinity Manor, Mr. J.W. Dupré (Attorney-General) Plaisance, Mr. Jas. Hammond, Tantaisie are among those whose gardens received awards in 1836 or 1837.
In passing it may be noted that the SUmmer Show of the latter year was held at Mr. Hartung`s Musical Promenade, Mount Pleasant. Those interested in old St. Helier might endeavour to trace to trace the site of this popular rendezvous of their forefathers.
Though the minute books well repay the time required to search through them for the light they throw on relatively unimportant matters, it is from the Annual Reports that the greatest information is obtainable about the progress of the Society and the various matters which were exciting the interest of its Members. Yet, it is these references to small matters, to places and habits long forgotten, that throw into relief more vividly the greater and more abiding achievements of the institution and exercise a certain fascination on those interested in the Jersey of a bygone age.
Five years of existence were marked in the Annual Report for 1838 by the following recapitulation of work accomplished.
This Society set out with the design of creating a spirit of industry and emulation; it has fulfilled its object. It has improved, greatly improved, the breed of cattle. At the last Show, one hundred and sixty head of very fine cattle, in a most superior condition as compared with former exhibitions, were declared by the Judges, to evince in the most satisfactory and conclusive manner, the undeniable improvement that is manifested in form and condition.
Their value has also increased, thirty pounds having been refused for a prize cow, and her prize yearling heifer, and twenty pounds have been refused for another prize heifer.
This Society has led to the adornment of cottages; fragrant flowers now decorate many of those yards, which, ten years since, were foul with manure and filth; thus , it has improved domestic economy and cleanliness, and therefore promoted health.
It has encouraged and rewarded long and faithful services. It has improved the general condition of many farms, hence increased produce.
It has led to the adoption of improved varieties of corn and increased its growth and produce.
It has proposed the cultivation of valuable sorts of potatoes in relation to commerce.
Some space is also devoted to bringing to the notice of farmers the advantages of conserving liquid manure and the best way of collecting and distributing it. This advice has in course of time been generally (it may be said universally) followed.
Though nearly thirty years were to go by before the Herd Book was established, the importance of pedigrees was beginning to be recognised, if one may judge by this extract from the same report.
The period having arrived when the pedigree of cattle is to be recorded, two points being allowed for breed on the male side, two on the female, and four when the stock is derived from prize-cattle on both sides, competitors will now be required to state the pedigree of their cattle, in sending in their lists, as the Committe will be charged to add the points for breed, from the record book, to those awarded by the Judges.
Your Committee that three more points be added for prize cattle; namely, one for growth, and two for general appearance; want of condition to exclude in all cases.
Here also are the proposed Rules for Sweepstakes:
That no original entrance exceed ten shillings, nor be less than five; under the penalty of forfeiture to the funds of the Society. That one quarter of the amount of all Sweepstakes go to the funds of the Society.
That the first entrance money must be paid into the hands of the Treasurer, on or before Michælmas day, from that day to Lady the entrance will be half more than the original sum; from which time, until the morning of the Show, inclusively, the entrance will be double the original entry.
That the cattle must be of the same season.
That the Judges for the cattle Shows will award the Sweepstakes.
That in case no cattle of a Sweepstakes reach twenty points - the whole sum entered be forfeited to the fund.
While the Sweepstakes Competitions are still an interesting feature of combined Parish Show, it is doubtful if they are akin to the above in more than the name.
The history of the Jersey Potato trade has a chapter added to it in these words:
The Committee has seen occasion to regret that the potatoes from this Island did not reach the first prices in he London markets, owing perhaps to the circumstances of various varieties of white potatoes being in cultivation, and the shipments, being made in an unequal state of ripeness, the quality could not be so good, nor their properties for boiling so excellent as if one good sort. The Committee have in consequence felt it a duty to import two of the best sorts bearing the highest price in the London markets: the "York Red" and the "York Kidney",w which have been distributed gratuitously to such farmers as would conduct their culture with the understanding to return forty pounds, or one cabot, for every five pounds or one sixtonnier. The Committee trusts that if they are found to be suited to the Island they will be kept pure and raised into stock, so that the potato merchants may be enabled to name the variety they offer to the London dealers, which will tend to place the Island potatoes at the head of the market, which they unquestionably deserve when well cultivated.
An assertion uttered in the States by the then Constable of St. Martin that the Society used the States Grant in contravvention of the proviso that competition must be open to non-subscribers drew forth a resolution of denial from the Board of Management. This did not end the matter, for assertion and denial continued in the form of newspaper correspondance, to be ended, apparently, ith a long politely sarcastic letter from the Secretary, Mr. James Hammond, in which the charges made are refuted in great detail.
Cattle and potatoes provide the material for notes on the year 1839. In that year cattle exhibited at the Shows are reported as "fetching the high prices of £25 and £30 each".
The Visiting Committee, at Belle Vue tested 8 varieties of potatoes, Philip`s Red and a Seedling potato raised by Mr. Knight standing highest in estimation. In referring to the latter variety the report naively remarks
"The labouring people and persons at the St. Aubin`s Hospital who have been hitherto supplied with it pronounce it to be the most nutritious they know."
About this time there appeared in the list of premiums for each year one of £2 for the "owner of the best planted Cotil of Oak or other forest trees fit for shipbuilding or other general purposes." A reminder indeed of an industry long since vanished.
The following also appears in the same list of premiums:
I propose a sweepstake of ten shillings for the best vergée
of White Carrots.
N.B. Members are requested to notify their acceptance of any of the above to Mr. B.
Saunders, who will receive the amount of the Sweepstakes, and proposals for others.
The States Subsidy of £100 ceased after 1841, though the Board notes" with some surprise" that so large a sum as £60.000 has been voted for the furtherance of commerce (i.e. the harbours) and regret that so small a sum as £100 a year should not have been continued to the Society. That the Jersey Cow of those days was not yet perfect can be gathered from this extract from the Report for 18441.
Among the members of your Society, seven years attention to breeding have almost caused
the ancient characteristic defect or drooping hind quarter of the Jersey Cattle to
disappear, besides several minor defects, and it only remains to give squareness to the
hind quarter and roundness to the barrel, to render it a most beautiful animal. The
fact alone that neither the thirty points to Cows nor the twenty-eight to Bulls having yet
been awarded, sufficiently evinces the jealous care and attention with which the Judges
have discharged their often times difficult duty.
The spraying of fruit trees being nowadays so much talked of, even if not generally adopted, there is interest in the following wash against blight and curl in Peach and Nectarine Trees.
Wash for Peach and Nectarine Trees
One part Sulphur Vivum One par Quick Lime
Equal quantities of soap suds and stale urine, sufficient to make it of the consistence of paint, to be put on with a painter`s brush. The Trees to be unnailed about February or March, just before the buds burst, and every part, stem and all to be painted with it.
It is recommended in this climate to wash the Trees, either the end of January, or the first week in February, according as the weather may admit.
The recipe was given to the Society by Capt. Meecham, then living at Bagot Manor, and its constituents remind one greatly of some of the old-fashioned potions guaranteed to work wonders, though faith was a necessary ingredient. Later reports, however, speak highly of its effectiveness.
While even ass today solicitous for the advancement of the Jersey breed of cattle, the Society did not neglect anything that would improve the crops grown on the Island. Quantities of Guano, Nitrate of Soda, Bone Dust and Oil Cake (referred to as new manures) were purchased and members carried out experiments with portions of each. One year`s experience alone, however, produced no unusual effect and the conclusion arrived at was:
That the manures were all equally good, but ..nature should be repeatedly and severely interrogated -in several various seasons -the last singularly dry season offering no guidance whatever.
The Board`s Annual Reports are not only a mine of information on the work of the Society, but on the economic and social history of the Island from year to year. They also reflect the views and attitude of mind of the writer (usually the Secretary, but possibly sometimes the joint work of members of the Board) The paragraphs which follow, taken from the Report of the Horticultural Department for 1843 are an example of a truly Victorian attitude towards the "lower orders."
The committee wish to impress upon all the members the importance of the COttage Branch, -would wee see comfort and happiness in our own dwellings we must seek to make those dependent on us contented and cheerful. The labouring man feels deeply and warmly the interest shewn by his employer in his welfare and comfort, not a drop of cold water given from a proper feeling is forgotten, but it is treasured up, producing those kindly relations between master and man which tend to their mutual happiness.
An honourable spirit of emulation is created by the competition for the Prizes offered in this Department; the Cottager is encouraged to employ his leisure hours in cultivating and ornamenting his little Garden, adding so much to the comfort of himself and family, instead of wasting his strength, both of mind and body in the dissipation and abominable vice of the gin shop.
We pursue the search after virtue, as Sir Joseph (?) Reynolds has so well expressed it, by looking forward beyond ourselves to Society, let every member then actively promote amongst all in his neighbourhood a spirit of competition and he will be amply compensated by the general improvement that must arise around him -smiling cottages -neat gardens -and a happy peasanry. Limited as the funds of the Society are, a sum of £30 is annually distributed in this laudable object.
The Committee would therefore reiterate upon all friendly to the improvement of their fellow-mem, -all aiming to encourage Philanthrophy, -all anxious to dissemate a wholesome taste and feeling among the labouring classes, the importance of encouraging and enlarging this branch of the Society, and of prevailing on the Cottagers throughout the Island to compete for the Prizes; which, it must be always borne in mind, are not given as charity but as wellmerited rewards to induce them to employ their leisure in honest and healthful industry, advantageous alike to themselves and the community.
4. Ten Years of Progress.
Ten years have now passed since the Society was formed and if its history during that period has been dealt with on a scale which would make the complete story of its existence over lengthy, this has been prompted by two reasons.
The principal one has been to show the beginnings from which the Society has sprung and the foundations upon which its labours, during its subsequent long and honourable career, were laid; the means adopted to improve the breed of cattle and the energy and enthusiasm applied to any experiment which might prove beneficial, sooner or later, to the farming community. The other has been the desire to record possibly trivial matters where they throw light on the customs, places and ways of thought of a hundred years ago. A knowledge of these often explains the actions taken and decisions made on larger matters.
The introduction of Guano into the Island in 1844 is chronicled in these words (the firs sentence is truly prophetic)
A new era in Agriculture has occurred in the arrival of a new artificial manure, "Guano". Two cargoes of it have just been imported to this Island direct from Ichaboe; from the freshness and pungency of which, it may safely be supposed to be unadulterated.
By way of curiosity, this extract, from the same Report, is worthy of inclusion here,
At Belle Vue, a field of "mummy" wheat, raised from a single ear, produced from seed which had been brought by Sir Gardner Wilkinson from the tombs of the Kings of Thebes, was in a highly flourishing state, and was much admired; it was cultivated in the usual way in drills.
Island Cattle were shown at the "Royal" for the first time in 1844, at Southampton, competing in classes for Channel Islands breeds. A Jersey bred Bull, Cow and Heifer were each successful in winning Prizes, the cow being shown by Mr. C.W. Robin and the heifer ("Sally") by Mr. J. Hume.
In order to bring the Southampton Show to the notice of Members it was decided, so runs the minute, "that Posters containing the Prize Lists and a notice to compete, be printed and sent to the two principal Inns, nearest the Churches, in all the Parishes, with a view to induce farmers to exhibit cattle at the Show at Southampton."
Those were the "good old days" as far as facilities for obtaining liquid refreshment were concerned, and spirituous as well as spiritual refreshment were then never far away from each other.
One of the old-fashioned hard winters must have occurred in 1845 judging by this reference to the weather, which has crept into the minutes of March 15th of that year:
Mr Jas. Hammond stated the thermometer to be standing at 28 at 10 a.m., a heavy fall of snow now dropping."
Probably the only time that the weather has been honoured with mention in the records of the Society`s transactions.
1845 will go down in history as the year in which potato disease first appeared in the Island though "dry rot" had been prevously experienced occasionally. No apology is necessary for including the following long extract from the Report for that year:
The Potato disease was first observed in the latter end of June, when two or three nights of hard frost, having suddenly checked the circulation of the sap in the stems and leaves of the plant, the tuber was checked in its growth, and the disease spread with singular rapidity. The Board, having been specially convened to consider the matter, the Honorary Secretary and other Gentlemen produced several potatoes, both of the red and white varieties, on the tubers, stems and leaves of which a fungus was distinctly perceptible under the power of a microscope, and in some cases by the naked eye. It was also seen that the fungus extended itself by ramifications into the earth which adhered to or surrounded the potato.
It was recommended to burn the Potato haulm, whereever it had been attacked, with as little delay as possible before the wet weather set in, to clear the land immediately, then to drress it with quick lime at the rate of four hogsheads to the vergée, or of ten hogsheads to the acre, by spreading it evenly over the soil in a powdered state, and to plough it in while fresh. Where lime might not be approved for particular soils, it was recommende to use seaweed vraic ashes (alkali) at the rate of six quarters to the vergée, or fourteen quarters to the acre.
In some cases every tuber had rotted away, especially in moist situations. In Others, half the tubers were injured. In the high lands and light soils the injury was less apparent. On an average, it was deemed that one third of the crop had suffered.
It was seen that those Potatoes which had been housed in a dry state and kept so very little injured. Hence it was strongly urged to keep the stock of Potatoes in the driest possible state in thin layers, and to examine and sort the stock occasionally.
Potato disease is unfortunately still withus after ninety years, though, whether the blight of 1933 is the same as that of 1845 , may not be quite clear. Farmers are recommende, now, as then, to burn the tops and the application of lime in some form was probably greatly needed, as the soil of the Island is by nature inclined to be sour.
The same report also mentions a rise in the price of bread, from 1½ d.to 21/4 d.per lb. First quality and from 1d.to 2d. for second quality. At that time most, if not all of the flour was milled from locally grown wheat.
About this time lectures in Agricultural "Chymistry" were delivered by one Dr. Preshaw, members being very strongly recommended to "offer the learned gentleman every support and encouragement". No doubt the rank and file were scornful, as their successors have not infrequently been, of any attempt by an outsider to "teach them how to farm". Nevertheless the age was one of experiment and frequent references are made during those years to trials of new machinery , new varieties of potatoes or roots (including Swedishturnips) or of the new "guano".
The formation of the first of the Parochial Agricultural Societies (that of St. John`s) is noted with satisfaction as having occurred in 1846. As other such Societies were formed there was, for a period, however, a feeling that by diverting members`interest from the parent Society these Clubs would do more harm than good. This apprehension was ill-founded and in course of time it was realised (and the view was often put on record) that the increased entries and competition at the Shows were due to the presence of Agricultural Societies (or Farmers`Clubs) in several of the Parishes.
Formed at the same time, St. Peter`s Farmers`Club for a number of years paid a subscription of Five Pounds to the funds thereby entitling its members to compete at the Shows of the parent body.
The Report for 1846 was mainly of a retrospective character and, dealing with the Jersey Cow, the extracts which follow, which have been quoted before now, can well bear re-quotation.
It can be safely asserted that, previously to 1833, no one had thought of improving the breed of cattle by any system or fixed rule. The Jersey Cow was excellent, as she has ever been, which has been attributed to the circumstance of a few farmers having constantly attended to raising stock from cows of the best milking qualities, which attention, prosecuted for a long number of years in a small country like ours, where such superior qualities would soon be known, led to the excellence of milking and butter-yielding properties in the race at large.
Hence in a great measure may be traced the cause why, half a century back, it is recorded of a Jersey Cow that she produced fourteen pounds of butter in a week -this great quantity is not likely to be exceeded, but it has frequently been, and is constantly equalled.
The animal which then produced that quantity might have been the ugliest that can be described, with a long head, bad horns, ewe necked, hollow backed, cat hammed, walking ill; yet her points of value, the characteristic features of the Jersey breed, were present and redeeming - a lively eye, orange ears, a round barrel, depth of chest, short fine deer-like limbs, a capital udder, largely developed milk veins and a fine tail. No one would have purchased this animal for ornament; her usefulness might have commanded a high price, but the ordinary value of good cows was from eight to twelve pounds. Heifers were sold at four or five. The export at that period was between 700 and 800 yearly. In order to be convinced that this picture is not over-drawn, the following report is produced, drawn up by the judges, who were the principal cattle dealers, at the Cattle Show of the 9th of April 1834: [The report is here in error, as the Show was held on March 31st, 1834]
The Secretary requested the Judges to state their opinion in writing as to the general
defects observalble in the cattle exhibited, in order to direct the attention of the
Society to the most faulty points; and they reported their opinion as follows.
The introduction during the preceding 13 years of such roots as "Swedish turnips", mangold wurzel and Kohl-rabi, and of improved varieties of potatoes, as well as the advances made in the culture of wheat, sold to England for seed, are referred to, with pardonable pride at the part played by the Society in these matters.
A two-year old heifer (bought from Mr. Thos. Filleul) and a yearling bull and heifer (given by Col. Le Couteur), were sent to Windsor Castle in June 1847 and presented to the Prince Consort; the Horticultural Department, the year before, having made a gift of fruit to the Queen.
It was becoming obvious that the Scales of Points under which cattle had been judged since 1833 required revision, in view of the great improvement in conformation which had come to pass. The change was made in 1849, perfection in Bulls being increased to 33 points (from the original 20), while for Cows it advanced from 28 to 36. It is worth while at this juncture drawing attention to the conditions which, practically from the beginning, were imposed on the owners of prizewinning bulls.
Winners of Prizes at the Bull Show had to be shown again at the Spring Show; the only other Cattle Show of the year. The Bulls also had to remain in the Island at public service for at least one season after the date of award or forfeit the prize. THe owners of bulls obtaining 26 (later 33) points, i.e. perfection, were allowed to charge not more than 1/6 for each service.
In parenthesis it may be noted that special prizes were offered for Bulls and Cows scoring the maximum point, though none seem to have won them.
The object of these restrictions is clear -to retain in general use on the Island sires of proved merit for the benefit of the breed. The shortsighted policy of selling the best stock for export is severely condemned in a later report (1855). Yet the temptation was one to which the average breeder, looking only to present gain, would naturally succumb. As all members know, the principle of penalising the owners of Prize Bulls who sell them before a certain time has elapsed still obtains, but they perhaps do not realise that it is a principle which has the sanction of nearly one hundred years to justify it. The restrictions re Prize Bulls also applied to stallions and boars. Classes for Jersey bred horses (stallions, colts and fillies) were features of the Shows of that time and were well filled, as were the Classes for Swine. By offering substantial premiums (attempts were even made to import and subsidize suitable stallions) efforts were made to improve the standard of the horses on the Island. When every cottager had a pigstye, and that stye occupied, there was scope, too for work in the improvement of swine. The livestock interests of the Society did not begin and end with cattle.
In recognition of his work on behalf of the Society Col. Le Couteur was, on February 27th, 1850 presented with a telescope, subscribed for by the members. Few of the Society`s officers have so well merited such a testimonial of appreciation.
Artificial manures are compounded of many different substances and bear many different names, but here is one heard of for the first and probably the last time in Jersey, despite the "unlimited" supply.
A vote of thanks was offered to Mons. A. Belître, of Dinan, for a sample of fossil manure composed of oyster and other shells, fish-bones, sharks teeth, found to an almost unlimited extent in the neighbourhood of Dinan; this manure can be rendered at St. Malo at six francs a ton.
In its time the Society has been the prime mover in many schemes of public welfare. The extracts from a press report of a Meeting of the Board in December, 1852 seem to show that it was closely connected with the foundation of what has subsequently become the Jersey Home for Boys, once known as the Industrial School.
Previously to the Board`s balloting for President and Vice-Presidents, Lt.-Gen. Touzel rose, and introduced to the Board the subject of Industrial Schools, for training Girls for household, and Boys for agricultural service. For the latter object he recommended the formation of a "model farm", with a site and soil adapted to extensive improvements and the raising of large crops. After expatiating upon the great advantages which must result to the Island from such establishments as those he proposed to have initiated, the General moved the following resolutions:
"That this meeting, in gratefully acknowledging the services of their President, and in the conviction of his deep feelings of sympathy for and interest in the education of the Poor, have resolved to solicit his support in submitting to the consideration of the Governor, Bailiff and Jurats, the invaluable benefit of appropriating a portion of the funds under the administration of that assembly, for the establishment of two industrial Schools.
"One for the efficient training of girls to household service",
"The other, for the instruction of boys as agricultural servants."
"That this meeting entertains sanguine expectations of the succesful result of the exertions of their President; and of thus obtaining, through his instrumentality the means originally granted for, and especially applicable to, the useful employment of the Poor of this Island."
Col. Le Couteur having seconded the resolution, and interesting discussion thereon ensued in which the General, the Colonel, James Hammond, Esq., and the President took part.
Eventually, on the suggestion of Mr. Hammond, urgently seconded by the President, the resolutions moved were left in abeyance, and a Committee consisting of Mr. Judge Le Quesne, Lt.-Gen. Touzel, Col. Le Couteur, Moses Gibaut of St. Lawrence and James Hammond, Esq. was appointed to take the necessary initiatory measures for the formation of the schools, the President initimating that such Schools had the support of the Attorney-General and expressing his conviction that, as soon as the Committee could show the Assembly of Governor, Bailiff and Jurats some definite grounds on which to preceed, that Assembly would, to a certain extent, lend their assistance to the good work in hand.
5.- Finance. Cattle. And some interesting Communications.
Finance is the rock on which many a similar Society is wrecked and the exertions of the officers are bent to steering a safe course on the always dangerous financial coast. And the Royal Jersey Agricultural and Horticultural Society was not exempt. After a sequence of adverse balance, -prize money being a heavy expense and subscriptions being the only source of income -it was decided that in 1850 no prize-money should be paid except in Cottagers`Classes, though in 1851 Cattle Prizes were restored and a Sweepstake and Aggregate Prize for Flowers and Fruit introduced. Prize-money was generally restored in 1852 when the funds greatly benefited by the suspension.
In 1852 it had been foundthat the Cattle Market was becoming too small to accommodate the Shows of Cattle. It was therefore proposed that the Spring Show of the following year be held in a field at Avranche, St. Lawrence, and it was the intention apparently to have itinerant Shows in the future (imitating the English "Royal" on a small scale). The decision was, however, on a petition by members, rescinded and the Cattle Shows, with one or two notable exceptions, continued in the markets until the Department possessed a Show yard of its own. Nevertheless, during the Great War, that Show Yard, being in Military occupation, the Cattle Market again became the venue for the Bull Shows.
During the eighteen-forties and eighteen-fifties, a considerable number of cattle was shipped to England each year; in 1851 as many as 1.903. Great dissatisfaction was, however, continually present, owing to the alleged practice of French cattle being introduced into England as Channel Islands stock. Petitions were addressed to the States in 1846 and 1852 parying that measures might be adopted to nullify the evil effect of this practice. The issue of Certificates of origin by the Constables and the branding of prize-winning cattle were suggested though, it is doubtful if these ideas were put into effect. In 1853 the Report remarks that several of the breed had been sent to the U.S.A. This is the first mention of a market for Island stock which was, in time, to become the most lucrative of all, despite periods of depression, one of which is now being experienced. Correspondence and figures are also inserted showing the superiority of Jersey Milk over Ayrshire Milk, the former being from cattle owned by a Mr. Taintor of Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.A., who it is stated, himself selected the cattle on the Island "paying from £18 to £25 for the very best in Jersey."
The Horticultural section of the report for the year mentions a remedy for blight in grapes, consisting of 1 lb. of fresh slaked lime and 1-lb. of flowers of sulphur well mixed with five pints of water and used in a proportion of 1 to 100. This is evidently an early variation of the lime-sulphur wash now used so extensively for apple and pear trees.
To-day the question is often asked whether there are any publications dealing with the culture of potatoes, tomatoes etc. on the Island. The answer has to be in the negative, but nearly eighty years ago the usefulness of some treatise on local cultural methods eas being borne in mind, though nothing came of the following suggestion:
...the Board would beg to suggest to the SOciety the propriety of offering a premium for the best practical treatise on the culture of the several plants which enter into the rotation of crops generally adopted in the Island. It is probable that, by these means, may Agriculturists might be induced to favour the Society with the result of their experience, and much valuable information be elicited which might afterwards be rendered generally available by the publication of the composition which had obtained the prize, or of a compilation embodying the most useful suggestions contained in the communications of the several competitors.
The lack of some book on local growing and manuring practices was again deplored a couple of years later. In 1870, it is true, a Prize Essay on "The Potato in Jersey" appeared in the journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, the writer being Mr. (afterwards Colonel) C.P. Le Cornu.
The Summer Horticultural Exhibition of 1854 was said to have been "the most brilliant and the most numerously attended meeting of the Society since its formation." It inaugurated the (then) New Vegetable Market. Classes for Poultry, which had formed part of the Horticultural Shows in the early days, were re-introduced in the previous year and continued until 1860. Sixty years later an amalgamation with the Jersey Poultry Society took place, but the secession of that Society brought an end, after a few years, to an association which, while perfectly amicable, proved a drain on the Department`s finances.
As already stated, the times were times of experiemnt and the Society lent a ready ear to any new theory affecting the soil and its products. The utilization of sewage as a manure is a case in point and this cutting, affixed in the minute book early in 1854, is reproduced here
The President intimated that M. Pierre Leroux, who had honored the meeting with his presence, had, he understood, a communication of much interest to make to the Society.
M. Leroux then addressed the Meeting at some length, and with great illustrative power, on the subject which had engrossed so much of his attention, on which he has lately published an able work, and on which he is about to deliver a course of lectures -the means of quadrupling, or even quintupling, the agricultural and horticultural productiveness of the Island. These means he finds in the utilising of that vast and exhaustless supply of engrais humain, both liquid and fæcal, which is at present either drained away unserviceably, or left to encumber the earth and infect the air. To entirely prevent the decomposition of this engrais, and thus altogether deodorise it, M. Leroux covers it, in its liquid form, with a topping of oil, and its fæcal portion he mixes with sea-sand or other mineral substance, and converts it into an actual guano. M. Leroux placed on the table specimens of both these forms of the engrais, and grasses and leaves of plants which had been manured with it, contrasting them with specimens of the same plants raised in the common way; and the proved results were such as really to astonish the Meeting. Crops raised by these means have been found to produce as 8½ to 3½ above crops cultivated in the ordinary chymical manner; communications attesting which remarkable and all-important fact M. Leroux read to the Society.
Another interesting item which finds a place in the minute book at this time is a letter from Mr. Samuel Curtis, whose name is familiar even now to horticulturists. He was related to the founder of Curtis`s Botanical Magazine, and was publisher of that work for 19 years. In 1853 he resided at La Chaire, Rozel, from where the letter is addressed.
Gentlemen, I have experienced much pleasure in your delightful Island and favoured climate, and have only a wish to be beneficial to its prosperity in Horticulture. I see many parts of the Island capable of growing the products of the South of France; there are many parts in a neglected state capable of growing far more useful things than Furze, Broom and Heath, and I think your attention would be well directed to the improvement of these wastes. The better kinds of Apples, Pears, and even Vines would flourish on the Southern Cotees, many of which are now very unproductive, but the country people are not easily induced to adopt prospective speculations of that kind. Can you by offering rewards for the best efforts in that way, rouse them to the trial? Even the Northern Cotees in most parts might by judicious plantations be rendered more profitable and ornamental, by but a small outlay, for the time will come when timber will pay for growing on sand which is almost laying waste.
But my principal object in addressing you at this time is to offer you my suggestion towards the cure of the destructive disease in the Potato, for although so much has been said and written on the subject, nothing seems to have been effectually done towards arresting its progress, and we know as little of its cause as we did at the commencement. Most writers on the subject have attributed it to Aphis or Fungus, but in my opinion both are the effect not the cause. My opinion has always been that it is purely Atmospheric, and perhaps as inexplicable as the Cholera in the human subject. If purely atmospheric it must come with particular winds, or, from stagnant air obstructing the exhalations from the soil; in either case my remedy is applicable, and so it would be if Aphides or Fungi were the cause.
To apply a remedy to any disease over thousands of Acres of Land under any circumstances must be a great undertaking, and the Medicine must be a cheap one, for if Gold-dust was a specific who would apply it? My remedy is Lime only, not only applied in a very fine powder, but slaked in such a manner as to preserve its greatest causticity.
Mr. Curtis goes on to explain the process of slaking Lime, and gives details of an ingenious apparatus he has invented to project the lime over the crops as a dry spray (as it would now be called). He concludes by saying:
Near 50 years ago I planted on my own ground an extensive orchard of the finest kinds of apples, pears, plums, cherries, filberts, etc, and being annoyed with the depredation of insects over the foliage I invented the above tin machine, and found no difficulty in applying the powdered lime over the trees, many of them 12 or 15 feet high, and the orchard occupying 50 acres of ground. The Society of Arts in London not only gave me their Medal for my communications to them, but put a diagram of my Lime Dusting Machine into their Transactions, and my present communications to your excellent Society is that you may recommend a fair trial to be made of it as a remedy for the Potato Disease.
Mr. Curtis`s theories on Potato Blight and its remedy by the application of lime (as a "dry spray", be it noted) may not commend themselves to present day research workers, and no record of a trial of his "tin machine" appears, if such a trial was ever made. If, however, Mr. Curtis could revisit this earth and see the Southern "Cotees" now, he would not find them in a neglected state, even though they are not flourishing with apples, pears, and vines.
He died in Jersey in 1860 and an interesting monograph, acompanied by illustrations, appears in the Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society, published in September 1933.
Alluding to pears, a cutting pasted in the minute book of the period relates to a "disease of pear trees" discovered and reported on by Col. Le Couteur. The latter quotes Dr. Lindley as describing it as the Mussel Scale Insect, while the Rev. S. King maintains from his observations that it is a fungus disease. Whichever was right we do not know, nor will pear growers, to-day care very much, but the States` Horticultural Adviser might be edified by a perusal of this page of the minute book.
While up to now this account of the doings of the Society has, with a few exceptions, omitted to mention the names of the many who took a leading part in its activities, the time has arrived to record the name of one who rendered yeoman service to the institution over a long period of years -Col. Le Cornu. The report for 1857 is signed by him as Hon. Secretary for the first time. That report mentions the inauguration of classes for butter and that trials of ploughs were to be carried out, by which it will be seen that the Society neglected no opportunity of promoting good cultivation and dairying.
The following note was attached to the award list for that year.
The Judges of the Cows from 3 to 5 years, and Aged Cows, observed with much reprehension the cruel practice of some of the Exhibitors, in sending their animals to the Show, either totally unmilked or only partially so, to the evident torture and detriment of the cow, and strongly urge that, in future, the Cows be thoroughly well milked before sending them in.
6. - A Quarter of a Century has passed.
A quarter of a century had gone by when the Annual Report for 1858 was presented. In its recapitulation of work accomplished and comparisons with conditions obtaining in 1833, this Report could bear reprinting in extenso. Portions of it a least cannot be omitted. Here is a picture of the Jersey cow and her habitation a century ago!
Let us bring to our remembrance the Jersey farm as it stood some thirty years ago, stocked with ill-fed and ill-shaped beasts, that knew not the taste of mangolds, carrots or swedes, nor scarcely that of hay, whose winter food consisted chiefly of straw and a few watery turnips, and also the wretched stabling in which they were confined, without ventilation or drainage, where what is now appreciated as a valuable manure was allowed to waste away, or to remain stagnant till it became productive of disease; further, the tillage of the soil carried on in the most primitive manner, without the least regard to order, cleanliness or appearance, where the hoe was unknown, and the broad hedge-row, abounding in brambles, served as a nursery for all manner of weeds, the seeds of which in general, being allowed to ripen, fell, and flourished where should have been the clean crop.
To-day`s Jeremiahs of the potato trade are not the first of their line and the misdeeds of growers and the question of marketing were subjects of discussion then as now, as witness:
The potato, once the principal export of this Island, has now dwindled to a mere nominal item. Is this solely attributable to the universal degeneration of the plant, or has not some local cause considerably influenced this great diminution? All are aware that in former years, when the yield was threefold more than at present, a ready sale and a fair price could always be obtained; but this is not now the case: our market is dull, and stands low in the estimation of buyers. Has this Island, then, been more severely tried by disease than other parts of the world? If not, why does not our produce maintain its standard as formerly? It is because the farmer has introduced and propogated varieties of inferior quality, calculated rather to give a heavy produce per perch than a good return for the pocket. The pink eye, and many other worthless sorts, grown for quantity of produce only, might be mentioned as having greatly injured the reputation of the Jersey potato. Nevertheless year after year, we see them cultivated by our Agriculturists heedless of the loss which they sustain. Far better would it prove if they studied more the wants of Covent-Garden rather than grow for foreign and other markets; for the nature of our soil and the temperature of our climate are such as are peculiarly adapted to the culture of the earliest sorts of potatoes. We, therefore, should pay more attention to this than we have done -we should exterminate the bad and plant the good sorts; and time and care would prove that this Island can produce potatoes surpassed by none.
On February 6th, 1858, it was resolved "That a Committee to have the management of
the Markets on the days of Exhibitions, the following undermentioned gentlemen were named.
This may be cited as the first Show Committee - now a permanent Sub-Committee of the Department.
In the following year the Germantown Telegraph, of Germantown, Pa. U.S.A. attributed to one Professor Gibson the statement that Jersey cattle were so little esteemed in Guernsey that their imporation was forbidden - a form of "boosting" the Guernsey presumably. The Society being made aware of this by the Mr. Taintor already referred to, soon issued a rejoinder from which the following extract is taken:
To say that the Jersey COw is inferior in quantity of quality of produce to that of Guernsey, is untrue, and moreover that Jersey Cattle are so little valued by Guernsey farmers, as not to be found in that Island, is a proof that the writer is unacquainted with the fact, that a great number are annually purchased and imported into Guernsey from the Sister Island, whereas on the other hand, few if any Guernsey Cows are to be found in Jersey; a few were tried by one of our large Dairy Farmers, but not found to answer, owing to a propensity to fatten, rather than for Butyraceous properties.
"Butyraceous" though a genuine dictionary word is rather a pedantic way of referring to the productive qualities of a cow.
In 1859, owing to the hot Summer the date of the Autumn Fruit Show was advanced by two weeks, as also happened in the Centenary Year of 1933.
The Annual General Meeting held on January 7th, 1860 (some years previously the Society`s year was altered to terminate in December instead of August) adopted a revised set of Rules and Regulations. The effect of these was to separate more definitely the two Departments of the Society. The Board of Management, instead of being elected from the Subscribers of One Pound, was composed of all such Subscribers. Besides the Board thus constituted, two Committees were elected, one for each Department. In addition, a Finance Committee was provided for, with a Sub-Committee of three Members from each section "to assist the Finance Committee at the respective exhibitions of the Society." Subscriptions could be allocated, at the Member`s desire, to either Department or to the General Fund. These Rules were, however, modified the following year, ten shilling members being made eligible to sit on the Committees, while i was laid down more explicitly that a separate fund and a distinct account be kept for each Department. It must be admitted that the system adopted, i.e. of a Board of Management and Committees (the latter undertaking the whole detail business of the Society) was cumbersome and it is not surprising that, as will be seen later, it was not in operation for many years.
7. - Happenings in the early "sixties".
Opinions often differ as to whether the marketing of the potato crop now takes place sooner than in the early days of the industry. It is therefore interesting to note that in 1859 the first basket was sent to Covent Garden on April 18th, while a fortnight later (that is to say, early in May) the produce came in so fast that
the Steam Packets which perform the General Service on the South-western Station were found inadequate to transport the goods. In consequence the Company was oblged to have an extra vessel on the line for upwards of two months. This is besides what was shipped by the Weymouth and Channel Islands` Company.
However, in 1860, the season did not commence until the end of May, when produce had to compete with that from Holland, Lisbon and Cornwall; consequently the season was a poor one.
It is the old story, ever new, that Jersey Potatoes, to be remunerative should come on the market ahead of foreign competitors -who even then existed.
At the Spring Show of 1860 the then President offered a Special Prize for the Best Cow in milk. This is not unusual, but some of the special conditions for that Competition are. Here are two of these conditions.
The Judges shall examine and pronounce upon the merits of the Cows presented for exhibtion, not according to the sclae of points -which is the Society`s standard of merit -but in a general way, and consistently with their own judgment as to the bona fide superiority or inferiority of each, due preference being shown to those animals which shall possess the more peculiarly distinctive marks of the true Jersey breed.
The milk of the best cows, when selected from the general lot, shall be tested by means of lactometers, and its quality, together with the form of the udder, shall be considered points of great weight and importance.
They mark, firstly, a departure from the rigid observance of a scale of points, the cattle to be judged rather in the same way as now and, secondly, an early effort to test the productive qualities of the animals in conjunction with their show type.
Members , when passing the Don Monument in the Parade, may like to recall that the Board of Management met specially in November 1860, to consider the advisability of its erection and favourably entertained the proposal. Actually the Monument was not unveiled until 25 years later. nother decision taken about that time was that the accounts should in future be kept in British and not Jersey Currency. Until then the list of Subscriptions, for instance, showed items of £1 1 8 and 10/10. No doubt the change was considered almost reactionary by the conservative element of the Society which, farmers being noted for their conservatism, must have been large.
From 1833 to 1861 the Rules laid it down that the President was not eligible for re-election from year to year, but must remain out of office for at least twelve months. This was altered in 1861 and Rev. W. Lemprière, elected President for 1862, remained in office for six years, serving another term of three years from 1873 to 1875. Strangely enough, among the occupants of the Presidential chair in subsequent years who had long terms of office were two other clerics, viz. Canon Luce, seven years, and Rev. G.P. Balleine, thirteen years.
Was flax generally grown on the Island at that time? The question is prompted by the record in the Spring Flower Show Award List of 1860 of an Honorary Card awarded to Mrs. Lemprière for "two pieces of Huckaback or towelling manufactured from flax grown at Rozel." At Rozel, too, in those days Bananas in Fruit could be seen, under glass, no doubt, while lemon trees and oragne trees in fruit were not infrequently displayed at the Shows.
8.- The Importation of Cattle and the cultication of Apples.
So much has at different times been written about the laws governing the importation of cattle into the Island that the following extracts from the Report for 1861 are wel worth inclusion here -they were written when the Acts of the States were still fresh in many peoples` memory and the benefits conferred thereby were becoming more and more apparent as the cattle breeding industry progressed.
Your Committee feel desirous of bringing to your notice certain changes which have been effected by the Local Legislature on the law respecting the introduction of Foreign Bulls, Cows and Heifers; as well as on that which regards the entry into the Island of apples, pears, cider and perry - concerning which this Society is necessarily interested.
We find that in the year 1789 an Act was passed by the States, by which the importation to Jersey of any cow, heifer, calf or bull, was prohibited under the penalty of 200 livres, and with forfeitur of boat ,tackle etc.; and that a fine of 50 livres was to be imposed on every sailor on board who did not give information of the attempt; moreover, there were other clauses of stringent nature which directed that in order to prevent fraud, cattle, when exported from the Island, were to be accompanied by Certificates stating that such were natives of Jersey, and on the vessel`s return Certificates were also required to show that the same identical number, and no more, had actually been landed. Subsequently to this, however, it appears that the tenor of the law was to some extent laid aside, as it became indispensable to obtain meat from England for the requirements of an increased garrison which the war with France had called for; but this was under surveillance, so that in reality the objects which the framers of the law had in view were by no means impaired. At a later period, the subject became once more a matter for the consideration of the States. In 1826, then, considering that the exportation of cattle from this Island into Britain formed a branch of commerce advantageous to the community - deeming also the superiority of the insular breed necessitated that measures should be taken to preserve its purity, and moreover considering that any fraud which might arise from introducing French cows into England under pretence of their being natives of the Island should be checked, the States resolved to pass certain enactments bearing upon these considerations. This they did, andin the following year they were confirmed by an Order in Council, so that from that time to this they have held the force of law in the Island. If, under any circumstance, a law has been passed by the States with the view of upholding the Jersey Farmer, assuredly the one above quoted is of all others that which has most supported his special interests. It has been not only the channel through which an original race of cattle has been handed down to us unblemished in either of its remarkable properties, but, moreover, from the tenacity with which this law has at all times been adhered to, as well as from the constant attention which the Society has ever paid to the development of the breed, it has long since reached that highly prominent and elevated position among the herds of the kingdom which it is acknowledged to deserve. The importance of the law before us cannot therefore be overrated; it has been the foundation of undoubted prosperity to an immense body of this Island, an original source of wealth which is being daily reaped to a certain extent by the whole community. It, therefore, when the repeal of this law lately mooted, it was viewed with apprehension by the county people, it is not to be wondered at, for they justly esteem its value, and appreciate the good which it has done. At a moment when a general wish for free trade existed throughout Great Britain and France, and that a treaty was made by the government of both nations wheriein it was stipulated that hereafter no duties should be levied on the produce exchanged in internation commerce, some of our local authorities thought it advisable to seek an extension of the treaty to this Island, considering that if such did not take place our mercantile business would be seriously damaged. On this plea, therefore, the States have met, and have considered, among other matters, what chaanges should take place relative to the entry of foreign cattle into the Island. The importance of this subject was at once felt by your committee, who, being the representatives of a numerous Agricultural Association, considered it their duty to devise what steps should be taken to prevail upon the Committe of the States to weigh seriously the importance of the existing law. Having so done, they respectfully submitted to that body certain suggestions for their consideration. The Committee felt that if once the purity of the breed was insecure, then would immediately be lost the established prestige of the Jersey Cow, a loss irreparable, and which one and all of us would deeply regret, the more so as a fatal blow would be struck at the work which this Society has ever had in view, and which it has so materially advanced.
The Report then proceeds to refer to the annulment of an Act of the States prohibiting the entry of apples, pears, cider etc. In recent years he possibilities of fuit growing have been much in evidence, therefore the remarks and the quotations from older authorities on the one-time general culture of fruit trees are particularly apposite.
With regard to the annulment of the Acts of the States prohibiting the entry of apples,
cider, pears etc., your Committee trust that this will not seriously interfere with either
the sale or the value of this important produce. At the time when the ordinance in
question was passed, we are told that "one fourth part of the arable land was
occupied by apple-trees (though certainly, not to the exclusion of other crops), and that
it was probable that in the Island a greater quantity of cider was made han in any other
spot of equal extent, and that then the orcharding was still evidently on the
increase". The Rev. F.Le Couteur, Rector of Grouville, informs us, in his
"Apercu sur la culture des pommes", that, on the average, the annual quantity of
cider produced in the Island amounted from 30,000 to 35,000 hogsheads of 60 gallons each.
Even the Legislature appears to have been, in fact, apprehensive that the cultivation of
the apple-tree was impeding the progress of Agriculture. For they passed certain rules, by
whichthe amount of land which each family could appropriate as orchards was specifically
laid down, but this law became a dead letter, and long before its repeal in 1819 whole
ffarms in the Eastern district are said to have consisted entirely of apple-trees. We,
therefore, can unerstand the motives which induced the States to prohibit the entry of
apples, pears, cider and perry. It was at a time when the principal revenue of the landed
proprietor depended on the sale of this produce, and also when the Clegy derived their
income in a very great measure from the tithes due thereon. Since then great changes have
operated on the face of the Island, insomuch that what in former days may have appeared an
absolute necessity, has gradually died away into disuse. The large orchards of olden times
have given way before the plough, and in innumerable places where once flourished the
apple-tree, now are grown other crops, more necessary, no doubt, to meet the wants of the
present day, but, nevertheless, this we maintain, that it is to be regretted that the
culture of the apple-tree has been much neglected, for undoubtedly it is a source of great
profit to the farmer, and even at the present time, when orchards may besaid to be
comparatively few, we may compute the expots alone, at a rough estimate, to amount to
something like £10,000 to £12,000 per annum. This is computing the fruit at (/ - or 9/ -
per quarter. There are at this moment many spots over the Island, by far more appropriate
for orchards, and which would answer best as such, that are left in a bad condition of
rotary culture, and there are also wellsheltered cotils in their natural state, too steep
perhaps for ordinary cultivation, but whereon apple-trees might be planted advantageously.
In particular, are no these remarks applicable to the Horticultural Department in its present state?
The following resolution was adopted in June, 1861.
The following gentlemen were appointed a Committe to consider the propostions necessary out the objects above stated,
Here follow the names of 25 members including Col. Le Couteur, C.P. Le Cornu, EsQ, A. Le Galais, Esq. And Rev. Lempriere.
There is no indication that this Committe presented a report unless it be that the formation of the Jersey Herd Book five years later was the aoutcome of what seems to have been a first step in that direction.
Some means of verifying the ages of cattle was badly needed, as throughout the minute book many were the cases brought to the Board`s notice where the age and breeding of prizeewinning animals was challenged and there was difficulty in finding proof on one sider or the other.
No one will be found to assert that the Cattle Judges never make mistakes (in fact some
cynics might say this is all they do) for being fallible human beings their decisions do
not always receive entire approval from the ringside. Yet it is a thing to be thankful for
that every dissatisfied exhibitor does not express his opinion through the medium of the
press, as Mr. Watts did in his manner:
9. - Further activities in the "eighteen sixties".
The Committe conclude that had it not been for the exportation of cattle, which has this year exceeded the ordinary figure, the profits arising from our Agriculture would have been below the usual rates. To the inexperienced in our mode of cultivation the principles which we follow may at first sight appear erroneous, and in fact have frequently been denounced as such, but those who have attempted to farm land when the rent ranged from £5 to £8 per acre, must have felt at times a difficulty to make both ends meet, and greater still the realisation of a living therefrom. Nothing but the greatest assiduity to be calling, combined with strict economy in its various branches can for a moment guarantee the slightest prsperity to any one. Among the tenant farmers we are struck with the increasing number of French people who settle here apparently at first with very little means at their command; nevertheless it is equally surprising to see what they achieve simply by avoiding any habit tending to luxury, and by devoting their whole attention and moments strictly to their business. It is quite clear that this class is gaining ground in every sense of the phrase.
In many ways those French farmers, thrifty and hard working, ahve been an asset to the agricultural community and inf act their descendants among us, seventy years later, have been absorbed into the native population and are to all intents and purposes, Jerseymen.
The formation of a Farmers`s Club for St. Martin and Trinity (the Comice Agricole du Nord) is recorded at this time, while n 1863 two innovations were introduced - the imposition of entry fees (sixpence per head) on stock entered for the Shows and the issue of a Stamped Certificate to the owners of Prizewinning animals.
A letter from a prominent member was addressed to the Committee in April 1863, and
contained this paragraph:
A sequed to this was the appointment of the Chairman of the Agricultural Committee to wait on the Judges at the Board Room on May 20th following and conduct them to the Exhibition. Can we visualise on a May morning of 1934 a procession of Judges, solemnly escorted from Mulcaster Street to Springfield by one of the Vice-Presidents, for all the world like the Jurry at the Assizes?
In 1862 and early in 1863 correspondence was exchanged with the Acclimatisation Society
of London regarding the formation of a branch of the Society in the Island. The object of
this Society was to forward, as its name implies, the acclimatization of Plants, Animals
and Fish in England and elsewhere and it was thought that the Channel Islands would be
most suitable as a "half-way house" for rearing specimens from sub-tropical
parts. It is said in one letter that peas from Jamaica and American Oysters were being
sent to Guernsey for trial. Appended to one of the letters is a long list of plants
acclimatized in Jersey" chiefly by the late Samuel Curtis, Esq., " and including
Tea Plants, Eucalyptus, Orange Trees, Yuccas, Bamboo, etc. Some of these may possibly
still be found in the grounds of La Chaire.
"It is obvious that we must be prepared to meet changes which the progress of the age has effected. The wonderful development of trade, the immense facilities of transport, the rapid and regular communication from one country to the other must necessarily influence our situation greatly. We must expect increased competition, particularly from our French neighbours, who with equal advantage of soil and climate will undoubtedly compete for the entire supply of our wants. Indeed for some years past the introduction of French provisions has gained considerably, and these now include almost all the varieties of vegetable produce which are to be found in our markets. This is not attributable to any particular falling off in the culture practised here, but simply that in Brittany and Normandy both the value of land and the price of labour are considerably below our insular standard, and consequently produce may be grown at a price to admit of expotation from those provinces to the Island".
The important question of the entry of foreign stock into the Island is also, dealt with; in fact this a subject which kept the Society on a perpetual "qui vive", as legislation thereon was in the melting-pot. During the year under review an allegation was made that a shipload of cattle had been brought here from France and re-embarked for England as "Cattle from Jersey". This was clearly a violation of the law of 1827 and two Board Meetings, fully reported in the Press, were held to discuss the position. For the reason that a new law was awaiting sanction, no action was apparently taken. In 1864 the new law came into force and owing to its stringent nature prevented a recurrence of such an event. French Butter was, however, reported as being introduced into England, via Jersey, marked as "prime Jersey".
An interchange of visits between the officers of the Jersey and Guernsey Societies took place in the Autumn of that year (1863), the representatives of the former Society being "struck with the general order and well to do appearance of the Guernsey farms". A suggestion for an exchange of Judges was even made and welcomed, though such an exchange, had it taken place, would hardly have given satisfaction in either Island.
A digression may not be out of place at this point on the subject of Channel Islands Cattle at English Shows. It has been recorded that at the Southampton "Royal" of 1844, Jersey cattle were successful in winning prizes, the Classes being for "Channel Islands Breeds". At the Great Show at Windsor in 1851, a separate classification was again made for these, where in the intervening years they had had to compete, if at all with stock of any breed. At Windsor, Jersey Cattle, as such do not seem to have been successful, some described as "Alderneys" taking prizes. It was not until the Battersea Show of 1862 that Jerseys came into their own, the Classes being for "Jersey, commonly called Alderney cattle". Col. Le Couteur was one of the Judges, and cattle exhibited by Mr. Albert Le Gallais, Mr. B. Watts, Mr. C.P. Le Cornu and Rev. Lempriere were in the Prize list. From 1864 (Newcastle on Tyne) the Royal agricultural Society of England regularly scheduled Classes for Channel Islands cattle, Jerseys and Guernseys having to compete together and Jerseys, in many cases sent from the Island (for they were then allowed to return), obtained substantial successes. Messrs. M. Givaut and C.P. Le Cornu judged on several occasions. At last in 1871, at the Wolverhampton Show, separate Classes were made for each of the Channel Island breeds, after representations had been made to the R.A.S.E. The Bath and West Society followwed suit in 1872.
10.- The Two Departments separate.
"In presenting to the Annual General Meeting of this Society their Report for last
year your Committe had occasion to remark that "unless the Members of the Society
would one an all personally exert themselves, this useful and fruitful source of
amusement, namely the Horticultural Department of this Society, would be lost,not only to
themselves but also to the whole Island". The matter was deemed of sufficient
importance to be seriously discussed and suggestions were made by several members, with
the object of recruiting the falling funds of this Department. The importance was felt of
rendering the Society`s Shows as attractive as possible by offering not only more prizes
but prizes also more worthy of competition. To do this, however, without more ample funds
or in other words without an increase of subscription money, was clearly impracticable.
The question which presented itself and which your Committee deeply regret to add, still
presents itself for solution was, and is, by what means the amount of subscriptions can
augmented, or perhaps, whether there are any means at all of accomplishing so desirable an
The Horticultural Department was again, and not for the last time, a cause of anxiety. The meeting had, previously to hearing the report, but after passing the accounts resolved
"That the subject of accounts together with the method of keeping them be referred to the Finance Committee to report thereon at the next General Meeting". Having carried out its duties the Finance Committee reported inter alia to the General Meeting
This deficit your Committee attributes to the large amount given away in prizes during the year and the small amount received as entrance money at the July Show.
Your Committee beg to recommend th dificit may be met by retrenchment both in the Agricultural and Horticultural Departments, more particularly in the latter and your Committee propose that the Agricultural Committee be restricted to award Prizes are not to exceed £43 as in 1861 which will cause a saving of about £15 and your Committee propose that the Horticultural Committee, by whom the greater part of the deficit has been incured, be requested to strike out the July Exhibition for 1865 and that they be restricted to award prizes not exceeding £40 for the May and October Exhibitions which will effect a saving of from £30 to £40.
Your Committee cannot too strongly impress on the Horticultural Committee the mischievous practice of awarding extra Prizes.
Arising therefrom it was resolved "that for the future the business of the Society should be arried on by two Departments, totally distinct and in every respect independent the one of the other except their incorporation under one common head as heretofore". The change was not unpremeditated as one or two abortive attempts were made in the preceding decade to bring about a division. Each Department was provided with a new set of Rules and thenceforward each went its own way, publishing its own report, arranging its own Shows and electing its separate Officers and Committees. The Agricultural Department continued its Committee of One Pound Subscribers, from whicj a smaller Committe was elected to "run the Department". The Horticultural Section also retained its Committee of 20/- members on which10/- members were entitled to sit. The only link joining the two Departments was and is still, the President elected annually at the General Meeting of Membes of the whole Society. On other occasions where an expression of the Society`s opinion is desirable, however, a similar General Meeting is held. Though thus divided the two sections continued to work together, joining forces for Shows etc., and at the present time the friendly relationship is stronger than it has ever been. The Horticultural Department on its rejuvenation held grand Floral Fêtes as Rozel Manor in 1865 and at Government House in 1866. These were successful enough to wipe out the deficit with which the Department had started its separate existence. In 1867 the first Rose Show and the first Chrysanthemum Show were held, the Prize Money for each being raised by means of Special Funds. At the former Show an additional attraction was provided in the shape of "the celebrated piping bullfinch from London". Let us hope that the success of the "turn" was in inverse ratio to the size of the performer.
These Special Shows were carried out in conformity with a resolution of the General Meetings as follows.
"It shall be competent for the Sub-Committee to associatte with themselves Subscribers of Five Shillings and upwards, for the purpose of promoting any Exhibition which they may deem advantageous to the interests of Horticulture in this Island - such Exhibition to be under the management of the Sub-Committee, who shall have power to add to their number from among such Subscribers".
This method of allowing connoisseurs of particular flowers to hold their Shows within the jurisdiction of the Society, while laudable, had a certain danger, which is recorded in the Committee`s Report for 1868.
"It is moreover satisfactory to them to be able to inform their members that a threatening crisis is now satisfactorily tided over by the amalgation of the Rose and Chrysanthemum Societies, which had been sources of anxiety to your Committee, as they might have served for nuclei for forming an opposition Society, than which no greater evil could arise".
During the year the States appointed a Committee to ascertain what necessity there existed for assisting the Society (Department?) From lack of evidence to the contrary it is presumed that the Committee (if it met) found no such necissity.
It is recorded that the States of Guernsey voted £60 a year to the Society in that Island, and the large entries made at the Shoows of the Royal Guernsey Horticultural Society are compared with those at the Jersey Shows, to the latter`s disadvantage.
Taking its duties very seriously the Department named a Committee in 1867 which produced a Report on the present state of Horticulture in the Island. Though mainly concerned with the condition of the gardens attached to the principal residences (which were all apparently in the best of order and which are dealt with in some detail) the ubiquitous potato cannot be kept out of the picture and this interesting paragraph occurs:
"This leads to the consideration of a topic which cannot be overlocked by your Committee, viz., the growth and return during the past season of the early potatoe crop. In one instance which has come under their notice, the yield has been 6 Tons per acre and ahs been sold for £25 per Ton, giving a total return of £150 per Acre, besides the availability of the land for a second crop. On making enquiries your Committee learnt that the total quantity exported during the past season has amounted to 3,920 Tons which at £8 would give a return of £31,360 from this branch of Island produce alone. This crop, though not heavy, is quite an average one, and, with the high price realised may be said to have given good returns for outlay. But it is feared the store varieties will prove much diseased and yield a poor crop".
The Report draws to a close with the recommendation that attention should be paid to the selection of choice varieties of apples.
In 1866 the Department became affiliated to the Royal Horticultural Society, by which members enjoyed several privileges. This affiliation, however, oaccasionally lapsed when the Department was passing through bad times.
11.- The Jersey Herd Book is founded.
In 1865, 1866 and 1867 the mainland was visited by a disastrous cattle epidemic - "rinderpest" - which carried off animals by thousands. In fact no "Royal Show" could be held in 1866 and no cattle were exhibited at the 1867 Show.
Naturally, as when foot and mouth disease is prevalent today, the cattle export trade from the Island suffered a lot, but the authorities took precautions, which were happily successful, to keep the Island free from infection.
On January 13th, 1866,, the Annual General Meeting had before it a letter from John Vaudin, Esq., proposing that the pedigree points be eliminated from the Scales of Points for Judging stock. These "pedigree points" it should be explained were allowed to each animal if its sire and /or its dam had obtained prizes or decoration at the Society`s Shows, one point being allotted on the male side and one on the female side. The mover of the proposition gave as his reason that the pedigree points were "nuisible à la prosperité de l`Association". What followed the presentation of the letter can best be told by quoting from the minutes of that meeting.
Mr. J. Vaudin`s letter having been read and that gentleman having stated his reasons for moving the proposition contained in the same.
After a series of remarks made by the following gentlemen, Col. Le Couteur, Ph. Le
Feuvre, Esq., Messrs. J. Le Brocq, J. Vaudin, H. Le Feuvre, and the Hon. Secretary having
spoken in favour of the institution of a "herd book" and having suggested the
formation of the same to the members present
It was proposed by Mr. J.P. Marett, seconded by Mr. J. Le Sueur - That Mr. Vaudin`s motion be carried.
It was proposed by Ph. Le feuvre, Esq., seconded by J. Le Brocq, Esq - That Col. Le Couteur`s motion be carried - The latter gentleman`s proposition was carried by a large majority.
Thus, though Mr. Vaudin did not succeed in carrying his proposition then, he can reflect with pride that indirectly it was the means of bringing into existence the Jersey Herd Book, an offshoot of the Society, but an offshoot whose girth is as great or greater than the parent stem.. Actually a resolution was passed at a Special General Meeting a couple of months later that "No pedigree points shall be hereafter given except to animals duly entered in the Herd Book as the offspring of approved parents". The Sub-Committee appointed on January 13th drew up Rules and Regulations embodying the principle of preliminary registration and subsequent qualification, a system ideal for a restricted area such as is the Island and a system, too, which has been tested now for well over sixty years and been found successful. Today it is being imitated to a certain extent in the U.S.A. and in New Zealand. The Rules were submitted to and adopted by delegates from the local Farmers`Clubs and operations commenced forthwith. For many years the Herd Book was carried on by a Committee elected by the "supporters" of the system (with the officers of the Department). This rather indefinite connection with the Society was eventually superseded and the Herd Book declared as belonging to and forming part of the agricultural Department, R.J.A. & H.S. Quite naturally the Report for 1866 has something to say about the new venture and here is its own account of the inception and advantage of the Herd Book.
The Committee would in the first instance, draw the attention of members to a question
involving considerable importance which was brought forward in the early part of the year
and which created much discussion at the General Annual Meeting,namely - the
discontinuance of the pedigree points as allowed in the adopted scale for the examination
of cattle. The motives given by the supporters of the motion were, that under the present
system it was impossible to prevent a fraudulent practice which was said to exist - that
of making false declarations in the entries of cattle for exhibition. On the other hand it
was unanimously admitted that the points referred to were of the greatest value and
importance, if proper means were taken to ensure faithful entries; therefore it became
necessary to consider by what measures this could be best attained. Several influential
and numerously attended meetings were held on the subject, and finally it was resolved to
adopt a new system of registration, to be hereafter known as the "Jersey Herd
Book"; and in order to carry out this successfully, it was deemed expedient to invite
the General co-operation of the different Farmers`s Clubs throughout the Island, and these
without exception having favourably entertained the project, a series of resolutions were
adopted. While commenting upon this question, the Committee would feel desirous to offer
some observations on the value to be attached to pedigree. It may be alleged by some that
as in this Island there is only one and thoroughly distinct race of cattle, and which has
been so preserved in its integrity for numberless generations, there can be no necessity
for taking into such particular consideration the question of pedigree, that in short the
cattle comprising, the whole of the Island stock, being of native birth, and the produce
of parents of one and the same race, it must follow that they are all of equal value as
regards blood. If on first consideration such an argument as this could in any way be
entertained theoretically, it certainly could not be maintained for one moment when
pratically applied; for , whilst admitting that the whole cattle in the Island are without
the slightest cross with foreign stock, nevertheless in the number there are many
different strains, or it may be said different families, which vary immensely in some of
the most important features of type and character. It cannot therefore be gainsayed that,
although the whole may one common race, stilll there is a vast and most important
difference in the value of the various strains which arre comprised in it. Thus it is why
the careful and intelligent breeder sees the necessity of avoiding what is bad, and
equally of selecting what is best in order to maintain his stock without alloy, and of
preventing as much as possible degeneracy in the qualities of the strain which he has
adopted as his particular stock. The question now arises, How is this to be attained? We
answer, by strict attention to pedigree. Among breeders the value of this has frequently
been a vexed question; careful, observing, and skilful men have frequently come to
different conclusions; some affecting to consider blood more slightly than others, who,
perhaps, relying altogether on blood, paid too little regard to physical appearance. But
there is one established rule in nature which experience has taught us- that a family of
cattle which has been bred closely together, acquire a fixed type and possess a wonderful
power of communicating their peculiarities to their progeny. You will see the same form,
the same colour, the same propensities, and frequently the same features transmitted with
fidelity; and as by this rule blood communicates its valuable properties, it also carries
with it its defects, and therefore even before admitting a stock-getter, however pure in
blood that animal may be, he should be thoroughly examined, and if he does not possess all
the requirements of his family type and character he should be carefully avoided,
otherwise degeneracy must most undoubtedly follow. To obtain the best results we must
breed from the best animals, of the best blood, and form; and from the product we must
again select with the greatest care those possessing the most valuable qualities and the
Through the coutesy of Mr. Ralph Mollet (Secretary to the Bailiff) the writer has been enabled to extract particulars from the States`Roll of a census of stock taken in that important year, 1866.
The Island then supported 12,037 head of cattle, of which 611 were bulls, and no fewer than 6,322 pigs and 517 sheep. This was before the mototr age and 3,227 horses were kept, St. Helier being responsible for 888.
The passing years have seen the disappearance, one after the other, of commodities which formed the bulk of the export trade of the Island. Oysters, cider, apples, wheat were all at one time shipped in quantity to the mainland. To these must be added butter. In 1867 it is recorded that "first class Jersey butter now commands in London prices equal to the best English made butter", farmers being reminded to pay most attention to its making or they would lose those advantages in the face of competition from France. In the same year one agent alone, Mr. Le Bas, is said to have shipped no fewer than 2041 head of cattle, representing a value of £29,000 - it follows that if the numbers were high the prices were not. The cattle trade had evidently recovered from the depression of the previous years due to the Cattle Plague in England.
The Society never hesiteated to petition the States if any injustice or hindrance to local agriculture was apprehended. In 1866 the Home Government had produced legislation re the importation of cattle with a view to preventing the introduction of contagious disease. A memorial was addressed to the States Assembly praying that steps be taken to place Jersey on the same footing as Ireland as regards freedom to import into England. That the representation had effect is apparent from the Export figures quoted above.
In 1869, a year which was marked by great and sudden changes of temperature and by fearful gales, prize-winning cattle were sold for exportation to America at what were then considered fabulous prices. A first prize year old heifer was sold for £60 for instance and 31 head of stock realised £995.
More important than this, however, is the fact that in 1869 for the first time prizes were awarded at the Society`s Shows for Herd Book Stock Cattle. These prizes were given by the Department, but in 1871 the Herd Book itself gave £6 for the purpose, a sum which was greatly increased as time went on. Then came the time when the Herd Book prize money was about equal to that offered by the Department, and though the former`s contribution was for Herd Book stock, generally the prize-winners took both Departmental and Herd Book prizes. Eventually, the Herd Book stock having ceased to appear in show rings. It is worthy of note that at the Spring Cattle Show of 1869, Mr. J.P. Marett, one of the pioneers of the Herd Book, won Col. Le Couteur`s prize for the "richest cow in the show yard".
In 1869 also, the official announcement of the formation of the American Jersey Cattle
Club conveyed to the members of the Board and it was proposed that the Rules of the newly
formed association be entered in the Society`s Journal. They were in fact not so entered,
but a printed copy is loosely affixed to the minute book. At the same meeting (Oct. 16th)
the following decision was taken.
This arose from a resolution taken a few months before that "a visit of the farms take place to ascertain the progress made in farming, the average yield of wheat this year, and that the Hon. Secretaries of the local clubs be invited to co-operate with the Society in furthering its views". Unfortunately, what should have been some very interesting figures do not appear to have been "entered in the Journal" nor recorded elsewhere.
The inspection of the various farms competing which at one time had provided the Visiting Committees with many days` labour, had gradually fallen into abeyance owing to lack of entries and from this time prizes for crops ceased to be offered.
Early in 1870, Mr. T.J. Hand, Treasurer of the American Jersey Cattle Club addressed a long letter to Mr. Albert Le Gallais, the Secretary, of which the following extract bears quotation and will probably interest many members of the American Jersey Cattle Club should they chance to read it:
"I had hoped ere this to have the pleasure of sending you our first Number of Herd egister, but our researches have been adttended with so much difficulty in tracing the genealogy of some animals and of obtaining satizfactory evidence, on account of the negligence of those making the early importations to keep records and of the same carelessness in others breeding from such animals and their descendants, that our prgress has been necessarily slow.
The rule established by the club was that every animal to be entitled to entry must be imported from the Island or descended from such imported animals. This rule, unless hereafter modified by the appointment of a committee of Judges, with authority to receive animals upon their own merits -judged by the Jersey scale of points (together with such evidence as their owners may be able to furnish of their purity) will be detrimental, as it excludes many really valuable animals about the purity of whose breeding no one entertains a doubt, but which lacks about the purity of whose breeding no one entertains a doubt, but which lacks proof, and on the other hand, it admits animals without question as to their personal qualifications only provided they bring proof of being imported from the Island, or undoubtedly bred from imported ancestors. Thus we might be required to receive animals which your Judges would unhesitatingly reject for Foundation Stock, and our Register would be no standard of excellence. It is my intention to press the importance of this matter upon the consideration of the Club at the next annual meeting ain April, and I would be exceedingly obliged to you for any suggestions you can give me. We labor under diffulties here that you can hardly appreciate unless you knew the number of animals so far refused by us and again a great number are known to have a crop of Guernsey in them - good animals, but called indiscriminately "Alderney". Indeed it is only since the establishment of our Club that the name "Jersey" is become generally recognised. Some local Societies had adopted it, but it was exceptional. Now we want to take our Register the acknowledged standard, so that our State Agricultural Societies will require that all animals shown for competition shall be registered. To secure this position, we must have the confidence of not only the breeders of Jerseys, but of the men of influence in such Societies and of the Agricultural publlic generally. We must avoid making enemies by captious causes of rejection and avoid the loss of character for a standard of quality by admitting anything because of pure descent.
Mr. Hand goes on to ask the Secretary to verify certain particulars of animals purporting to be Jersey bred (according to sales advertisements enclosed) whose purchasers wished to enten them in the American Herd Book. A committee was appointed to make the researches and it reported that
The Cattle mentioned in the circulars and intended to be offered for sale as Jersey Pedigree Stock are not registered in the Jersey Herd Book and are consequently unknown in the Island as Pedigree Stock.
The Pedigree given in the Circulars ins without the slightest authority no other authority being recognised by the Royal Jersey Agricltural and Horticultural Society, tha the Entries duly made and registered in the Jersey Herd Book, duplicates of which can only be obtained from the Hon. Secretary.
That this Meeting considers the advertisements referred to as gross impositions, alike dishonourable to the perpetrator as they are injurious to breeders and to the Purchasers of the Pedigree Cattle of this Island.
That jealousy for such it must be called, of the purity of Jersey Cattle existed in the other Islands is very evident by the following taken from the minutes of March 12th, 1870.
The Hon. Secretary having placed before the Members the following Certificate which appeared in a Philidelphia paper called "The Practical Farmer".
Island of Alderney, Sept. 7, 1869
Secretary of the Agricultural Society and Magistrate of the Court of Alderney.
Proposed by Mr. A.A: Le Gros and seconded by Mr. Vausin.
That the Secretary be requested to write to the Editor of "The Practical Farmer" to refute Mr. Mesny`s declaration, to give an account of the law prohibiting the Importation of French cows in Jersey and supply statistics of number of animals exported from Jersey, Guernsey, Sark and Alderney.
12.- The Franco-Prussian War and the C.I. Exhibition.
Catalogues are now so much a part of a Show that those whose duty it is to prepare them and those who pay the sixpence demanded cannot imagine a time when no such guide existed for the spectator. At the Spring Show of 1870, the first catalogue was on sale, at the modest sum of one penny and containing a list of animals and names of owners. To be sure, the arrival of the Jersey Herd Book on the scene gave the opportunity to publish the pedigree of the exlibits, information which ere this was not authentic.
Echoes of events which were taking place in the world beyond the Island find their way from time to time into the recrds of the Society. Thus, at the Annual General Meeting of 1870, Mr. W.R.F. Godley made an appeal for contributions of seeds to be sent to the parts of France ravaged by the (Franco-Prussian) war. The newspaper report of the meeting thus refers to the subject.
Mr. Godley referred to the war and said theey could all imagine that it had brought and was bringing misery upon many once happy homes and upon the inncent victims of the savage invaders. Let them join one with another in streching out assistance to the sufferers. The President of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, the Earl of Powis, had been in communication with M. Drouyn de Lhuys, president of the French Chamber of Agriculture upon the subject of contributing agriculturl seeds to the distressedpeasantry of France. If England acted thus with her usual generosity, why should not Jersey contribute her quota of raid? He should be happy to give his own share of seeds, and he would propose that their President, who was foremost in every good work, should be requested to communicate with M. Drouyn de Lhuys, so that the contributions might be forwarded to the poor French peasantry. He felt sure that the seed would not be sown in barren soil, but that in after years, when the present war and its author had passed away, England and France would be again united as allies and in the bonds of friendship more forward as the pioneers of civilisation in Western Europe.
The proposition of Mr. Godley was well received, and ultimately a resolution was passed as follows:
"That a list be opened and left with Miss Langelier to receive subscriptions of corn and seed for the relief of the French peasantry, and that Mr. Godley be requested to act as secretary in the matter".
What success the appeal obtained we do not know, but over forty years later the same cry came from the devastated parts of France and it was answered nobly.
Note the words, "left with Miss Langelier". At some time during 1865, though no mention of the change appears anywhere in the books of teh Society, the Board Room was removed from 19. Halkett Place, where it had been almost from the beginning, to 19, Bath Street. The ground floor was occupied by Miss Llangelier`s seed shop - still in the hands of the family - and over the seed shop the seat of Government remained until 1899, when a move was made to more commodious premises in Church Street.
The Channel Islands Exhibition of 1871 can be accounted as the greatest event in the social life of the Island in the nineteenth century. It was held in the Grounds and buildings of Victoria College and was open for ten days from June 28th to July 8th. Agriculture, Horticulture, Poultry, Dogs, Machinery, Implements, Natural Products and a Loan Collection, conjoined to make a display the like of which had never been seen in the Island. In the way of entertainment, there were orchestral and vocal concerts. Jersey alone was not drawn upon to provide the exhibits, else the title "Channel Islands" would have been a misnomer. Cattle and butter came from Guernsey, too, as well as many entries in the Classes for Natural Products and articles in the Loan Exhibition. The Cattle Show was held on the first day only, the Horticultural Show lasting until July 4th, while complementary to the Exhibition field trials of new and improved Agricultural Machinery took place.
It is with pride that it can be recorded that this most successful undertaking originated with the Royal Jersey Agricultural & Hoorticultural Society, as the following minute of June 4th, 1870 shows:
The President (C.P. Le Cornu, Esq.) having proposed that a Chanel Islands Exhibition of Stock. Flowers, Poultry and Farming Implements be held in 1871, the Committee unanimously approved of this proposed Show, and requested the President to solicit the co-operation of the Horticultural Department.
Though as its scope widened, it was nescessary to go outside the Society for assistance, the President of the Exhibition was the Society`s President, Col. C.P. Le Cornu, and the Vice-Presidents, Committee and Officers were prominent members of the Executive.
Financially the C.I. Exhibition was successful enough to leave a heritage sufficient to form a Trust Fund. This is administrated by the Bailiff, the Attorney General and others, among whom are the President of the Society and a Vice-President of each Department. Grants from this fund are made for any object of benefit to the Agricultural and Commercial Community. Under the former heading the Prize Money offered in the Agricultural Science Examinations has been voted by the Trustees in recent years.
The success of the Channel Islands Exhibitions encouraged the Society to promote a joint Agricultural and Horticultural Show in June the following year, giving up the Spring Show and the Bull Show. In regard to the Bulls, however, the same procedure was followed as in 1871, namely that a preliminary examination was held in the month of April of Bulls intended to be shown in June, and only those which appeared at that "examination" could be exhibited two months later.
From 1870 onwards the proceedings at Joint General Meetings of both Departments are
recorded in a separate minute book. From this book is gleaned the information that in
1871, Mons. Drouyn de Lhuys, President de la Société des Agriculteurs de France,
presented the Society with his bust "for the assistance it has afforded his
countrymen" Mons. De Lhuys was made an Honorary Member of the Society, but his bust,
large or small, is not among its reasures.
It is rather unusual to find a few years later in the same minute Book the record that a member "opined" that the Annual Dinner was held too late in the season, an Americanism for which the "talkies" could not be blamed.
For many years the Society had been preoccupied with the question of retaining on the Island bulls which, by having taken prizes, were considered likely to improve the breed, and it was felt, too, that the Prize Money which the Society was able to offer was not tempting enough. Applications for State assistance had been made or mooted at different times, and it was with satisfaction that in 1871 the intimation was received that the States had voted 350 solely as premiums for bulls. This enabled the Prize Money to be on a more generous scale than before (the first prize Yearling received £15) and the nescessary proviso was made that Prize Bulls had to remain in the Island for 18,12 or 6 months, under pain of forfeiture of the prize. Therefore with the possibility of forfeiture a large amount, the owner of a prize-winning bull was not encouraged to jump at any but the most tempting prices for export. The States also voted £10 to each of the existing Parish Agricultural Societies with the same object.
13.- Little about the Horticultural Department.
Notwithstanding the foregoing conclusion, your Committee are of opinion that your Societe has reason to be proud of the result of its labours; for it is selfevident that the annually recurring competitions at the Shows of your Society have produced a spirit of rivalry in the growth of Fruits, Vegetables and Flowers, so very general, that it has materially tended to change the general appearance of the Island. Your Committee, in recommending your Society to continue in its present course, maintaining the high reputation it has justly acquired for fairness in the competitions, and urging you to continue the good work, results of which have been made so apparent to them this day, cannot refrain from a few words of recommendation; for if much has been done, there is still much left undone. Your Committee, therefore, recommend that a list of such Fruits and Vegetables as are known to you to be the best of their kind be published, to serve as a guide to Amateurs, Farmers and Cottagers; for it is evident that for want of such a list, many trees of inferior varieties are planted annually, which eventually are a source of discouragement and loss to the grower.
Again your Committee would urge on your Society the necessity for encouraging the introduction and acclimatization of new plants, than which no other place in the world gives such facilities, both of soil and climate.
The Report is signed by Capt. H. Howell, who, after first declining the office, was elected Hon. Secretary in 1869 and held the position for the prolonged period of 22 years.
The report of that Department for 1872, very like its predecessors and successors in its references to the various shows, also mentions the fact that a trial of lawn mowers was conducted in that war. "Green`s Patent", exhibited by Messrs. Le Masurier and Vibert, was found to be the best. One suggestion is made which, even now, is worth considering, namely, that a deposit should be given by exhibitors to be forfeited if their entries do not materialize. Very often, well-filled class in the book turns out to contain only one exhibit on show day. Seeing that no entry fees are charged, the suggestion, it may be repeated, is worth considering. The Shows (of which there were five, Spring, June and Summer Shows and one each for Fruit and Chrysanthemums) were usually held in the Imperial Hotel, now and for many years past, the Maison St. Louis. There is mention of a Public Ball to bee held, under the suspices of the Society in June 1872, in connection with the Summer Show, so that the Society, long before the days of the Agricultural Hall, was a patron of the terpsichorean art. A local Fruit Committee was also set up, in connection with he Royal Horticultural society to encourage the introduction of new and improved varieties of Fruits and Vegtables. This Committee existed for a number of years, though it does not seem to have had much to do, for it is stated that, in 1871, only one exhibitor brought any fruit before it for notice. It languished but was revived as a Fruit and Floral Committee in 1889.
14.- The Scale of Points, Colour Fads, and, of course Potatoes.
While that total has been exceeded many times, especially during the present century, it is he class totals which are interesting. Only ten heifers in a class which, nowadays, is usually the largest, is particularly surprising.
Besides this joint Show, the sister Department combined in the Autumn, when the Agricultural Show of Corn, Hay, Roots etc., coincided with the Fruit Show, this amalgation continuing until the early eighties.
A prize was offered in 1872 for the best orchard of not less than 3 vergées in extent. Whethter the prize was won cannot be discovered, though a Committee was named to visit the farms and judge the orchards. Perhaps it was an abortive attempt, not the first by any means, to stimmulate interest in other things besides cattle and potatoes, and the spirit prompting the offer is to be admired.
Col. Geo E. Waring, Secretary of the newly formed American Jersey Cattle Club, visited the Island in September, 1873, and a meeting of the Committee, suggested some modifications in the sclae of points in force. It was decided that the Colonel should visit some of the herds on the Island and the following names mentioned may be taken as representing the "show herds" of the period. The farms to be visited were those of Messrs. J.P. Marett, P.J. Mourant, Thos. Filleul and T.S. Robin. As a result of thevisit and of correspondence exchanged with the A.J.C.C., a Committee was named to study the question of revising the scales of points which, in the opinion of Col. Le Cornu, were not proportionate to the relative value of the various articles. Finally, at the Annual General Meeting of 1874 which, by the way, was now held on the first Saturday in December, new sclaes of points were adopted for cows and bulls - perfection being 100 in each case, divided among 25 articles, registered pedigree counting for 5 points. As the Committee stated, "considerable preponderance has been given to such points ad denote richness of quality and produce and no fanciful idea of taste or fashion has been allowed to creep in".
There are now many years since swine formed part of any Show (with but one exception in 1923). In those days, though the paucity of entries was often deplored, three or four classes for pigs were included in the April Bull Show. The exhibits were judged in the carts in which they were brought in, surely no easy matter, until it was laid down in 1873 that pigs "without any exception be examined and judged in pens".
From the report for 1873, the following paragraph will remind many of the colour craze which was then at its heightt and which, if persisted in, would have done irreparable harm to the breed.
From time to time your Committee has felt it a duty, o draw the attention of farmers to the imperative necessity of paying the strictest attention to the breeding of their stock, not solely with the view of amending its symmetry, but primarily to further the improvement of that which alone constitutes its real valu, and which has given to the breed, the world-wide reputation, viz.; richness of milk. Of late years, a growing demand at high prices for self-coloured animals has led to establish in a great measure a fashion which, if not checked, would ultimately lead many to forget the true and real merits of the Jersey Cow. Let henceforth such fanciful ideas as black tails and black tongues be simply estimated at their proper value, but let the large and rich yield of milk be the breeder`s ambition to produce. Your Committee desires strongly to recommend to the consideration of the members of this Society the observations on the subject, recently written by Mr. Waring, the Secretary of the American Jersey Cattle Club, in which that gentleman dwells emphatically on the fallacy of following the absurd idea of breeding for fanciful colours, regardless of the true merit of the Jersey Cow, simply because a particular colour happens to be in temporary fashion, adn which really has no value whatever, except that of gratifying a fanciful taste.
It is only necessary to look at any old Herd Book Volume to see the diversity of colours, some of which must have been more imaginary than real, which distinguished the Jersey cow of that time - light red, grey and white, yellow and silver grey are popular, but black (or mulberry) is seldom met with. The years have brought wisdom and the Jersey of today is judged for herself and not for her colour. Even broken coloured animals once despised are now much sought after.
In the same report is a reference to the effect on the agricultural community of the failure of two of the principal local banks.
A great deal is heard today, and with reason, about the need for marketing a sound and healthy potato. Particular interest will be found therefore in these paragraphs which are appended to the report and described as having been communicated by a member of the Society.
"The recent failure of one of our largest exporters of Jersey produce, with liabilities for upwards of £14,000, prinipally due to farmers, is a fact which, I think, deserves serious consideration, and may not be considered unworthy of the attention of the Committee of the Jersey Agricultural and Horticultural Society.
"The bankrupt alleges that in consequense of the unripe and inferior quality and bad condition of the produce, considerable losses have taken place; but this, I think, will not be considered a satisfactory answer to account for such a large deficit, as it may very properly be answered why did he accept delivery of goods in bad conditions or improperly selected? This, in theory, appears unreasonable but, in practice, it is often found that the quality, size and condition are only ascertained after delivery. The fault in the first place is with the grower, when he sends inferior produce sometimes hidden by a layer of good quality. This is very prejudicial in many respects, causing suspicion, disappointment and loss to all concerned.
"As an instance of the profitable growth of early potatoes, the writer begs to state that he has received £206 5s. 1d for 2½ vergées of early kidney potatoes, grown in St. Lawrence Valley, and sold in Covent Garden this year. On the 15th May his potatoes, owing to his careful selection, were realizing 9d. per lb. whilst the current prices were from 21/4d. to 3d. per lb".
1874 has little of interest to set against it. It appears that 1000 tons of artificial manure was imported into the Island during the yeear, showing that the use of artificial fertilizers was beginning to be practiced. The figure is a long way, nevertheless, from the 11,376 tons landed here in 1931.
One other item of interest may be set downin regard to 1874. In that year, competition took place for a Cup for the best cow judged according to the Guenon system, there being no fewer than 25 cows competing. The Guenon system was elaborated by a French professor of that name, according to which the productive and reproductive qualities of an animal could be ascertained by certain characteristics of the escutcheon, i.e. the hindmost part of the beast. The system enjoyed a certain popularity for a time, but Mons. Guenon`s theories were ultimately proved to be no more than theories, though even at the present time, there are some who profess to gain information about a cow`s qualities by the contemplation of her "escutcheon". It says something for the apparent soundness of the method that a conservative Society such as this should have fostered it to the extent of providing classes, as was done for a time.
A query to which no answer appears was put to the Committee about this time. It was: "Can the nipples which exist near the testicles of a bull have any influence directly or indirectly on the formation of the udder or the placement of the teats in the female progeney got by such a bull? The Veterinary Surgeon of the R.A.S.E. was asked to give his opinion for the future guidance of the Judges. Whether that guidance was ever vouchsafed, history does not relate.
To revert to a pleansanter subject, the Horticulral Department in 1874 held an extra Show at Pontac Gardens in conjunction with the Eastern Railway. Both gardens and railway are now only memories, but the former was at the time a place of popular resort, boasting, among other attractions, a maze. The Chrysanthemum Show took place in the Albert Hall, subsequently the General Post Office and now the Mechanics Institute. A "musical promenade" in the evening helped the show to complete success. Alas, Chrysanthemums, plus even a musical promenade have not the drawing power which they possessed in those more spacious days!
15.- Crop and Livestock Statistics, and a little Horticulture.
The Chairman next called the attention of the meeting to the advantages which would result if cattle-keepers were to give notice, to the secreatary or other appointed official, of all the cases of cow-pox occurring amongst their cattle, with the view to supply the lymph for the use of the medical proffession.
This suggestion having taken up, it was proposed and carried "that this meeting considering the good resulting from the chairman`s suggestion, the attention of farmers be called thereto, and that the secretaries of local farmers clubs be also invited to co-operate in their respective clubs".
Figures appear in the report for 1875 relating to the acreage of crops and number of livestock on the Island, collected by the Board of Trade, a task which later on was undertaken by the Board of Agriculture. A comparison of some of the figures with those of 1932 will show how great has been the change in agricultural practice during sixty years.
A huge decrease in the area under wheat is as understandable as the doubled area in
potatoes. Orchards do not show the decrease that might be expected in view of the amount
of destruction which has taken place. The most surprising difference is in the area of
oats grown, when it is considered that the horse was the sole means of transport in 1875.
There must have been large quantities imported.
The figures for cattle show an increase, but it must be remembered that owing to the partial failure of the cattle trade, 1932 has a peak total. Where sheep were in hundreds, they are now in tens and their wool would make very few of the "Jerseys" which gained their name from the Island, whenknitting was an important an industry as "visitors" are now.
The feeling was expressed in the report that the Department should take steps to collect the figures of agricultural produce exported, official statistics being lacking. It follows that there were no statistics available of the number of cattle exported. A United States journal stated that 3000 head were sent from the Island to USA each year. This statement, when it reached the Committee`s ears was promply denied and for the reasons recorded in the minutes, viz.:
That, whereas from the statements above mentioned, it would seem that a fraudulent traffic has been carried on by soi-disant importers of Jersey Cattle, the number said to have been so introduced into the USA, being considerably in excess of the whole number altogether exported from this Island within the period specified.
That from the said statements, it must be presumed that other than Jersey bred Cattle are introduced into the USA, as such, a practice which, if not checked, would soon prove seriously detrimental to the reputation of our insular stock producing disappointment to purchasers and ultimately tending to stop the legitimate trade which has for long existed between American purchasers and breeders of this Island.
Further, with a view to check any fraudulent traffic of the sort and to enable such as may desire to obtain the pure stock from this Island.
That the assistance of this Society be given to any person or constituted body whose application to them is officially recommended.
It was a quarter of a century before official figures of the Islands import and export trade were collected and published, during which period many representations were made to the authorities to take such action.
On the Horticultural side of the Society, the Committee in a lenghty report on the activitites of the year (1874) comments strongly on the reprehensible practice of exhibiting products either boought or borrowed for the occasion and issues a warning of stern measures in the future. They, however, congratulate members on the remarkable results obtained in the improved cultivation of Aplles and Pears, as proved by Jersey fruit taking 12 first prizes and three medals at the Royal Horticultural Society`s Shoe, South Kensington. Grapes are reported to have been exported to the quantity of 30 tons, approximating in value £8,400. The Fruit Committee reports on a number of varieties of pears and apples examined, including Pitmaston Duchess, which by now is an established favorite.
Col. Le Couteur, one of the founders of the Society and its guiding spirit, either as Secretary or President during its early years died on Christmans Eve, 1875, having been knighted by Her Majesty a few years before.
He was a gentleman of many parts, and had filled several positions of importance in the municipal and military life of the Island.
In agricultural matters, he was an indefatigable seeker after knowledge and his monograph on Wheat was, in itts day, a standard work.
Strange to say, no mention of Sir John`s decease appears in either reports or minute books, though no member was more deserving of the Society`s eulogies than he. One of his last acts was to offer a cup for competition under the following unusual conditions:
To the Owner of a Cow of the pure Old Jersey Breed, of a red and white colour, with a
blueish ridge about one inch in width, interposed between the red and white, producing the
greatest quantity of rich yellow-coloured Butter, in the Show Yard, at one milking.
16.- The Colorado Beetle.
The occasion of considering measures for the prevention of the introduction of the Colorado Potato Beetle into other countries from Canada has not yet presented itself; and the information from the German authorities, conveyed to Her Majesty`s minister at Berlin, on the capture of the insect on board ships and at Bremen, as well as other information given by newspapers relative to its introduction into Sweden, shows that the beetles had come from the United States, having been shipped at ports, the neighbourhoods o which were invaded by them.
The difficulty thus foreseen by the German authorities cannot but be selfevident, when the habits and modes of progression of the insect are examined; for not only does it move by flying, and by navigating, so to speak, smooth water, but also travels on common vehicles, railway carriages and platforms, on decks of vessels, etc., especially during the months of August and September.
In localities fully invaded, the beetles may be seen creeping on side walks, bridges and wharves, crawling up buildings, occupying fences, lodging themselves in every crevice, penetrating houses and dwellings, ascending and occupying vehicles of all sorts, finding their way into boats and vessels, placing temselves on any and every article, and being found alive after a long sojourn in situations where there would seem to exist no chance for them to find any subsistence.
Such a short but correct exposé of the habits of the beetle as connected with the possibility of its penetrating almost anywhere, and by almost any means of transport, renders indeed insoluble the problem of absolutely preventing its inroad into new fields of devastation, no matter how remote or by what obstacles they may be separated from the regions already invaded. It may be remarked in this respect that Potatoes and their covering are neither more nor less apt to harbour the insect than anything else. But if the absolute repelling of the invader is unfortunately beyond reach, the extent of the disaster is fortunately in a great measure under control, of course, care and expense.
The remedies are: 1st. Searching for and crushing every Potato Beetle wherever found; 2nd. Frequent visits to the Potato fields and searching for the eggs deposited on the under-side of the leaves of the Potato Vine; and 3rd. Watching for the presence of the larva on the buds, and on the leaves of the plant, in order to destroy them by means of Paris-green, the only substance yet discovered to be effectually operative on a large scale for the destruction of the insect it its larva state.
By the means, and by these means only, the invaded American States, and the western part of Canada, have been able to secure Potato crops in a measure commensurate with the care and energy bestowed, and by similar means only can the invasion be retarded and lessened in its effects.
Nothing that the Judges appointed for the Spring Cattle Show of 1877 were asked not to act in a similar capacity at any Parish Show, we pass on to the end of the year. At the Annual General Meeting, an abortive attempt was made to raise the Subscription to One Pound for everyone. About half a century was to pass before such a proposal was actually adopted.
The Annual Report refers, as a matter of course, to the Potato Crop and remarks that direct communication had been established between Jersey and Hull. 23,000 tons of Potatoes were exported in 1877, valued at £230,000. Incidentally, a year or two later, an attempt was made to form a "Farmers`Protection Society", which, though it failed is credited with having put sellers on their guard. It is, and always will be, an open question as to what protection farmers should have, and whether that protection should not be against themselves. 1803 head of cattle are said to have been sent from the Island in 1877; a heifer being sold for £100.
In the preceding years, the Society had been officially represented at Meetings of the Association Normande and the Association Bretonne. As a mark of reciprocity, in 1877, fêtes organised by the Society, jointly with the Parish of St. Helier and other bodies, were held, to which members of these two Associations were invited. What with a Ball, a Banquet, a Concert and fireworks, the occasion seems to have been a memorable one.
The "Royal" Show of 1879 was held at Kilburn, under the Presidency of the Prince of Wales, and was on an unprecented scale. No fewer than 252 Jersey cattle were entered, 30 of them coming direct from the Island and the exhibits were the feature of the Live stock section. Both Championships were won by Island bred animals. For this great Show, the precedent was established of allowing animals to go from Jersey for exhibition, provided they were returned in 14 days, and, from time to time, for years afterwards, the Committee was called on to give permission for certain animals to go over and compete at the "Royal" and other leading English shows.
It being found that even the forfeiting of the prize did not deter breeders from selling their show bulls for export, a more stringent method was adopted at the time, nemely, the exaction of a fine proportionate to the amount of prize money forfeited. The prize money for bulls, too, was generous, that for yearlings being 1st, £16, 2nd, £13 and 3rd, £10, in addition to Herd Book Prize money which was also generous. Of course, the States`grant was used, as intended, to meet this expense.
17. The Horticultural Departsment`s Activities and various Projects.
During the winter of 1878, the Department joined the ranks of entertainment promoters and ran a series of Promenade Concerts which, to quote the report, "proved so successful and afforded great amusement to the members and the public". One word, however, seems rather ill-chosen.
A leading member of the Horticultural Department for about 20 years was Mr. J. Pond of Bel Royal. On his retirement from the office of Vice-President in 1879, Mr. Pond presented the Department with a set of silver badges to be worn by its officials at the Shows and on other occasions. What has become of these badges? Were they personal to the first wearers or should they still be in the archives of the Department to appear, at each Show, adorning the breasts of the Officers?
At the end of 1880, the Committee of the Agricultural Department had to investigate serious accusations regarding the shipment of cattle to USA. When the Report for the year was presented it contained this paragraph:
The great and increasing demand in the United States of America, as well as in England, for Pure Jerseys from the best Island stock, has, your Committee regret to say, led unprincipled dealers to send over with the exported Cattle, Certificates with fictitious pedigrees, and purporting, falsely, to bear the signatures of the breeders. These frauds are of a nature to injure the trade in Jersey Cattle, and means should be taken to put buyers upon their guard as well as to punish the offenders.
This led to the matter being referred to the Committee and the minutes of their meetings of investigation were, by order of the General Meeting, published in extenso, as an appendix to the Report. There seems to have been a certain looseness in the way in which the particulars were gathered by the persons concerned, surmise and secondhand explanations being accepted as proof of pedigree. The Certificates were negligently sent forward unsigned, or so it is said, and the spurious signatures were added by "some person unknown". No punishment was meted out to anyone, but the appendix is left to tell its own tale.
In 1880, the Horticultural Department`s August Show was held for the first time for many years at Government House and the Rose Show in the Triangle Park, while in 1881, the Agricultural Department deserted the markets in favour of the Triangle Park for their Spring Show. There was a stirring of opinion that the time had come when the Society should have a permanent showyard of its own. Though this did not come immediately, one sign of the times were the proposal mooted early in 1881 for establishing Winter Gardens in the town. Several meetings of the Society were held various likely sites inspected, including "The Tennis Field and ground adjoining" which later became the Show grounds, and finally a property in Queen`s Road was tentatively selected. A detailed scheme was submitted, drawn up by a Mr. McKenzie, providing for a concert room, winter garden, show building, recreation grounds, etc., at a cost of about £15,000, it being proposed that a company be formed to carry on the undertaking. With the events of 1925 in mind, who will deny that history repeats itself? Finally, the minutes and details of the whole scheme were transmitted to the Constable of St. Helier, with the request that he should call a meeting of inhabitants and obtain the opinion of the public. This, so far as the Society was concerned, was an end of an ambitious proposition. Some remarks of the Lieut.-Governor at the meeting at which the detailed scheme was submitted, can bear disinterment from the past.
His excellency the Lieutenant-Governor agreed with the remarks made by Colonel Le Cornu. He was glad Col. Le Gros had raised the question of the encouragement to be given to horticulture by the introduction of new plants and to Agriculture by experiments. They should not lose sight of the fact that while the gardens were for useful purposes, they were also to meet æsthetic wants. There was no place in Jesey where people could meet and walk. They were obliged to roam among the country roads and lanes on the top of cars, making day and night hideous, instead of being able to spend some of their time in rational recreation.
"Plus ca change, plus cèst la même chose", is the comment which this quotation calls forth.
The need for spreading information on the chemistry of Agriculture, about which there was so much to be learnt by the local farmer, was never absent from the minds of those controlling the work of the Society. After first of all discussing the propriety of employing an Analytical Chemist to give advice, arrangements were eventually made for Mr. Collenette of Guernsey to give a series of five public lectures on Chemistry of the Soil. The Channel Islands Exhibition Trust Fund was applied to with success for a vote of money to cover expenses. Here again has history repeated itself, for the same Trust Fund has now supplied prize money for examinations in the same subject. In those days, there was no Official Analyst to whom farmers could go for advice as to fertilizers, soils and feeding stuffs. The grower of today is fortunate in having at his disposal the best advice on any problems in relation to the soil and its crops.
18.- The Cattle "Boom" and the Jersey Herd Book.
The steady and continued progress in the value of Jersey Cattle, alluded to in former Reports, remains confirmed. The few instances of high figures obtained for Stock, which formerly were the exception, have now not only become more more general, but the prices have considerably increased, and the extension given to our Cattle Trade by the shipment of Stock to various parts of the world, is indivative of the still growing appreciation in which the race is held.
There was a time when symmetry formed the chief, and almost the only desideratum in the eyes of the purchasing Exporter; fortunately this is not so now. Thanks in a great measure to the American buyers who of late years have visited this Island, and who are careful in theeir selections, the true merit of the animal,- its milk and butter producing properties,- is rightly taking its proper precedence above all fancies. Nothing can be more gratifying than to record success in this direction, for the great aim of the Department has been, and continues to be, the combination of beauty with quality.
Comparisons of the prices realised in the Society`s early days with those of 1881 are amde. In the latter year, 4 cows sold at £300 each, at two year old heifer fetched £200, 4 more cows sold for £210 each, prices which today would make a breeder`s mouth water.
Potato cultivation which, says the report, "continues to engage the attention of every one who possesses the smallest particle of land "is dealt with as a matter of course, emphasis being laid on the need for using the best Artificial Manures. Dairying and butter-making are adverted to and the need for care in the management of the dairy is stressed, a care which was not always given.
The appearance of the first "Butter Worker" at the Derby "Royl" Show is chronicled.
It has been told how, at the establishment of the Herd Book in 1866, the government of that body was in the hands of a Committee named by the "Supporters"; the President and Vice-Presidents of the Department being, however, at the head. This state of affairs continued until early in 1882 when the said "supporters" adopted a series of resolutions which, after ratification by a General Meeting of the Department, became the Rules of Procedure of the Jersey Herd Book.
The first of these reads as follows:
Considering that the Jersey Herd Book has been established for the purpose of keeping a correct and authentic register of the pedigree of cattle in this Island, and of meeting a want felt in the Agricultural Department of the Royal Jersey Agricultural and Horticultural Society, it is resolved that the Jersey Herd Book and all pertaining thereto shall (as always intended) be considered as attached and belonging to the Agricultural Department of the Royal Jersey Agricultural and Horticultural Society.
Other provisions were, that the Herd Book Committee be named by the Departmental General Meeting, which assembly would also receive and approve the annual accounts, and that the Funds and Financial Administration of the Jersey Herd Book be kept separate and distinct and handled only by its Committee. These and other regulations bound the Herd Book closely and definitely to its parent body, "as always intended", while retaining for the offspring a great measure of independence, an independence which the Herd Book Committee, for many years most jealously preserved. Today, though the Rules of Procedure are little changed, the Herd Book is perhaps more than ever an integral part of the body we know as the RJA & HS. Thenceforward the Report of the Herd Book Committee was embodied in that of the Department, the report for 1882 being the first. This report gives figures regarding business transacted during the year, those referring to Qualifications of Stock being the most interesting. By them, it appears that 1931 animals were approved as Foundation Stock, of which only 170 were Highly Commended, and 121 Pedigree Stock Heifers were qualified, only 17 obtaining the coveted H.C. This seems to indicate that the Judges were much more particular then than now, yet may it not show rather that the Judges were much more particular then than now, yet may it not show rather that the standard of stock presented for approval was far lower than obtains at the present day.
The Report of the Agricultural Department itself contains two paragraphs, one a suggestion which would be still valuable if adopted. The other is prophetic.
It is to be regretted that the Judges do not in their official capacity accompany their decisions by a statement on the merits of the principaæ Animals which have come under their notice, as such would be interesting to Exhibitors, and would add much to the value of the Committee`s Report.
It is evident that the growing importance of these Exhibitions is such as to call attention to the advisableness of procuring, if possible, some suitable place for the holding of Shows, as under their present disposition the Markets cannot be used for the purpose, moreover, if these were available, they are too small to contain the entries; and although the Shows held in the People`s Park have been most successful, owing to the fine weather which prevailed, it must not be lost sight of that had it been wer or rough, they must have become total failures.It is in short indispensable that a suitable place, with covered shed, be obtained. The same locality could be devoted to the Horticultural Shows, as well as for other Fêtes or Recreations.
1882 was a memorable year in the cattle export trade. Khedive`s Primrose was sold for £1000, the first animal to be sold in the Island for a four-figure amount. Count St. George brought his vendor £200, a yearling heifer, £250 and six cows £300 each.
The States`Grant for Prize Money for bulls ceased in 1882, the conditions proposed by the Committee of Agriculture for future grants being found inacceptable. The minute book says that "they would set aside one of the most important of the Fundamental Rules of the Department, viz, the universally recognized principle of close attention to Pedigree in Stock breeding".
During the year, a decision of the Committee laid it down that any person wishing to rejoin as a member had to pay his arrears to a maximum of five years. There may or may not have been a persoanl reason for adopting this, but, though the decision seems innocent, it was the cause of legal proceedings in which the Society was unseccessful. The action resulted, however, in a definite rule re arrears of subscription becoming part of the laws of the Society.
19. The Society`s Jubilee and the Show Grounds acquired.
With the year 1883, the Society had completed half a century`s existence and the report for that year contains an outline of its achievements. The Society had, by then, come to be regarded as an Institution with a fine record of service to insular agriculture and indirectly to the Community at large. It`s infant struggles were long past. It had a growing list of subscribers, a sound, yet sufficiently eleastic code of laws, and, in its Jubilee year, at any rate, it depended on no outside help towards providing an attractive prize list at its shows. From a state almost primitive, it had lifted agriculture to its proper and deserved position, as the principal source of the Island`s prosperity. In 1833 the potato, except for domestic purposes, was hardly grown. In 1883 the potato had become the pincipaæ agricultural export. In 1833 the potato were ill-shaped, ill-fed, and, in English minds shared with Guernsey and Alderney cattle the reputation of being delicate creatures, only fit to adorn a gentleman`s park. In 1883 Jersey cattle were in high estimation, not only in England, but in America and other countries, and, at that time, were fetching record prices. For this, thanks must be given to the Jersey Herd Book, conceived and brought forth of the Society in 1866. No hint of injustice to farming interests by legislation or any other means was raised, but that the Society, whose word now carried weight, took immediate steps to obtain fair treatment.
The Jubilee was celebrated by a grand exhibition in the ground of Victoria College - scene of the Channel Islands Exhibition so largely the inspiration of the Society. The Lieut.-Governor performed the opening ceremony, being received by a guard of honour furnished by the Militia Artillery, and a loyal address was sent to Her Majesty the Queen, Patroness. A Banquet, a Concert and an inspection of farms throughout the Island were auxiliary to the rejoicings.
Besides being the Jubilee year, 1883 saw the first definite measures taken to secure a permanent show yard. In April of that year, a Committee was named to select a likely site and was authorized later to draw up a fincial scheme for the purchase of the ground to be selected from the several sites offered. The desirability of having a commodious place of exhibition is obvious when it is noticed that the Bull Show of 1884 was scattered over hte Cattle and French Markets, the Prince of Wales Rooms and the Britannia Stables.
How did the Horticultural Department stand in the year of Jubilee? Of course, the Department took its part in the Jubilee Show and put up a display which was declared to be the finest ever seen. The Rose Show of that year was held at Hauteville, then in the occupation of Mrs. Macreight, and the Chrysanthemum Show, for thefirst time, ind the Oddfellows`s Hall. This was the Chrysanthemum era and the Shows devoted to that flower were events which drew crowds. Ferns in those days were evidently in greater favour than now for a Silver Cup and the Silver Baanksian Medal were awarded to them at the Jubilee Show, while in 1882, the latter honour went to an exhibitor of 100 British specimens. Like the sister Department, the Annual Report for the year reviews the progress made during half a century and this extract epitomises horticultural advance during that period.
There are but few among us who an remember its small beginning, and the Horticultural condition of the Island at the time it was founded; the change is so complete, the improvement so wonderful, that it is difficult to realise and almost beyond belief. Greenhouses, which now everywhere meet the eye, were then conspicuously absent.; the cultivation of forced Fruit and Vegetables - Grapes and peaches, Curcumbers and Tomatoes - so important and industry now, was then entirely unknown; while the field culture of early Potatoes, now a mainstay of the Island, was still unattempted and unsuggested. It is also interesting to note, of the occupants of our gardens, that the Dahlia and Chrysanthemum were in their infancy; the Rose (H.P.) itself was yet unborn; and the Heartsease grew wild in its native woods. The Summer bedding-our system had not been conceived, and the plants it required were still to be raised. The wonderful progress, the giant strides horticulture has made during these fifty years is naturally most gratifying to this Department, and we heartily congratulate its Members on the remarkable results they have assisted in producing, and the success which has crowned our mutual labours.
A digression may be made here to remark on two domestic items, one being the refusal of the Committee of the Agricultural Department to accept a portrait of a Jersey bred animal because that picture was made outside the Island. The presentation of a book on Ensilage is recorded and this new method of conserving fodder is dealt with lengthily in a succeeding report. It was also ordered that an inventory be taken of all books owned by the Department. It may not be generally known that during its existence the Society has acquired, chiefly by presentation, many books dealing with Agriculture. Some of them, by reason of their age, may indeed be very valuable, and merit some better means of displaying and preserving them than exists at present.
Among quite a number of proposed alterations to rules considered at the Annual General Meeting of 1883 was one suggesting the elction of a Committee of 36 to conduct the Department`s business. This proposal was withdrawn to be revived at intervals until its final adoption in 1926.
In the autumn of 1884, the Society obtained its Act of Incorporation and was thus in a position to purchase and hold real estate. Negotiations were then concluded for the purchase of a piece of land at Springfield from Mr. T. C. Le Gros, part of the funds for the purchase being borrowed at interest from the Jersey Herd Book. The latter body had by then become prosperous and was in a position to dictate the terms on which it would lend its money. Several onther loans or transfers were subsequently made to the Department and sometimes occasioned a certain amount of bargaining between the two bodies. It should be noted that it was the Agicultural Department which acquired the property, not the Society as a whole.
The Butter question was then occupying the minds of the Committee and reference is made in the 1884 Report to the "gross injustice" which had for years been perpetrated by the sale of French Butter as "Jersey Butter" in England. Butterine or Margarine, as we noow know it, made its appearance too, and to those who remember the great "Margarine Fight" in the States during 1915, the subjoined quotation will nor be without interest.
It is reported that a considerable quantity of a fatty substance bearing the name of Butterine is introduced to the Island, and it is said with the view of being mixed with and sold as Jersey Butter. The Committee has caused an enquiry to be made as to the quantity which has been brought into the Island, and the purpose for which it has been introduced, and the Committee have ascertained that the presence of Butterine may be chemically detected when mixed and worked with pure Butter. It is therefore sincerely hoped that any attempt at adulteration may be brought to light and offenders deservedly punished. The Committee appeal for the co-operation of all to suppress this or any other dishonest practice in the falsifaction or adulteration of farm produce.
A more pleasing matter is the announcement of the appointment of a Public Analyst, thus filling a want which had been felt and expressed for some time. The new official was Mr. F. Woodland Toms who, in the course of his long tenure of Office, proved to be a great friend to the farming community.
Col. Le Cornu was honoured by the French Government by having conferred on him the "Croix du Mérite Agricole". The Colonel, as Colonel Le Couteur before him, was the ruling spirit of the Society which, on Sept. 29th, 1884, congratulated him on the honour.
To celebrate the entering into possession of the Show ground, a grand Inauguration Show was held in August 1885, though the Spring Show was also held at Springfield, in Mr. Chas. Nicolle`s field, since absorbed by the Department. The Horticultural Department assisted in the "house warming", the ceremony being performed by the then Lieut.-Governor on August 26th, 1885.
An innovation at this Show were public Butter making contests, the competitors providing their utensils and the Department the milk.
The inauguration Show set the precedent for an Annual Summer Show, which has been held jointly with the Horticultural Department almost without exception ever since.
20.- Mainly about Potatoes.
The effect of the increase in Potato cultivation on General agricultural practice is discussed and it is stated that 1100 tons of hay and 100 tons of straw were imported during the year ended May 31st, 1885, evidencing the reduction of the area under grass and corn. The doubtful value of some high-priced artificial fertilisers is alluded to, and it is noted that 3,000 tond of manures were imported during that year.
A suggestion which did not materialize and then not fully, for another 23 years is embodied in this extract from the same report.
The Committee would suggest the formation of Dairy Companies, with branch establishments in the several Parishes throughout the Island, at each of which Milk would be brought, and from which Butter would be properly and systematically made, and prepared in such condition as to be able to compete with the very best that is anywhere produced. To get this article, it is well known that Dairying must be carried out on a large scale, with all the proper appliances, and it must be admitted that as a rule these conditions do not apply to the small farms of the Island; in the first place the quantity of Milk in small holdings is insufficient, and the making general is not that which is altogether calculated to produce Butter in the best condition and under the most advantagous circumstances, whereas in the manner proposed, good Milk would obtain a ready sale, and the Farmers themselves by becoming part Proprietors or Shareholders in the Companies would participate in the full advantages of the undertaking.
In 1886, States Prizes for Bulls re-appeared in the Schedule and Guenon Prizes disappeared therefrom. It may be noted that the Judging of the cattle still continued in private, a motion that open judging be introduced being defeated.
All seemed to be going well in 1885, but the following year brought disaster to the agricultural community. Not only did the potato trade prove unsuccessful, but the failure of two local banks, one in particular being much used by farmers, brought something approaching ruin to many. The Jersey Herd Book, as a depositor was among the sufferers as was the Horticulturel Department. On would wish it were possible to incorporate here the greater part of the Committee`s Report for 1886. It refers to the great expense attached to potato growing, the outlay on guano etc., the speculation into which it had led many small farmers and the planting of land unsuitable for such a crop. Though no statistics appear, it seems likely that the cause of the trouble was over-production which, meeting competition on the English Market, resulted in a fall in prices. One extract may be included, however, as it gives advice which it is nor superfluous to repeat even today.
How often has it been stated that, to be made profitable, the cultivation of the Potato
must be such as to ensure the crop being ripe and fit for exportation before the Markets
become glutted with the general supply, and also that the quality of the Produce must be
irreproachable ? Now, no sooner are the tubers of a fair size than the crop is at once
turned out, without proper regard to its maturity; nor is it the quality, but the quantity
of the Produce which is kept in view. Under such conditions what is to be expected but
reproach and disappointment?
The Committe therefore would earnestly ask the Farmer if he is acting wisely in trusting almost entirely to such an expensive and precarious crop as the Potato.
And the Committee itself supplies the answer.
The results of this year offer the reply: It has attained undue limits it has been unprofitable.
The same question has been asked and the same answer given many times since, but still Jersey grows potatoes.
As mentioned, the Horticultural Department was one of the sufferers in the commercial crises, having its small savings on deposit with one of the defaulting banks. It introduced economies and appealed on the Channel Islands Exhibition Trust Fund for a contribution towards expenses, as it was expected that the revenue from Subscriptions would fall off. Their report for 1886 records the fact that prominent English horticulturists from Chiswick and Kew were invited to judge at the Summer Show which was held under the Cattle Sheds at Springfield, hardly the best adapted for such a purpose. A quotation is included from the then Lieut.-Governor`s speech at the Annual Dinner with references to the cultivation of tobacco in the Island after potatoes. His Excellency produced samples of tobacco grown by him, cured and prepared n Jersey. Though idea of such a crop seemed promising enough, the Island atmosphere is probaly too moist, owing to the surrounding seas, for tobacco to be cured successfully every year.
As a sequel to the economic crisis and the disastrous potato season of 1886, two public meetings were convened by the Society early in the following year. It may be remarked in parenthssis that the practice of holding meetins and passing resolutions after a bad potato season is no new idea. They usually result in a certain amount of recrimination and the adoption of resolutions which, often, lead nowhere. However, the first meeting of 1887 discussed the following list of subjects:
1st.- The culture of the Potato, showing the several stages through which it has
A Committee was appointed to go into the Artificial Manure question. It obtained the assistance of Mr. Toms (States Analyst) and Mons. Laurot, a French official and the reports of these gentlemen provide highly interesting reading and, perhaps, would be worth reprinting for the information they convey in simple language. Mr. Toms, "inter alia", suggests the establishment of plot experiments, a suggestion which he himself carried out n 1888 and more extensively some years later.
The second meeting concerned itself with the Cattle Trade, its origin and development, the causes of the fluctuation in value and of the present depression. After stating that the increased entry fees imposed by the American Jersey Cattle Club had entirely stopped all sales to that country, thus depreciating the value of the stock, the Committee appointed by that meeting goes on to report:
The causes of the fall in prices, so far as the trade with England is concerned, are
somewhat different; but, nevertheless, easily understood.
Moreover, it is well established that the impetus given of late years to the breeding of Jersey Cattle in England has very considerably increased their home supply. There are many more sales of the breed than formerly, and in many instances surplus animals are sold cheaper than they can be produced from the Island.
Is not this somewhat similar to the present position of the English Market?
The Report proceeds to urge farmers to carefully weed out their herds and to avail themselves of the privileges of the Herd Book. The latter advice, happily, is not needed now.
A further meeting was held to discuss the potato trade and a Committee was named to watch the state of the markets and to obtain daily the prices prevailing there, such information to be avialable to members free of charge. Another Committee was named to communicate with exporters, merchants and farmers to obtain a report on the quality of the potatoes sent. Whether this very useful programme was carried out is doubtful, but in theory it foestalled the activities of today`s States` Committee of Agriculture which, having the power of the law behind it, is able to do so much.
Queen Victoria`s Jubilee was celebrated by a combined Show of the Society in June, 1887, there being no Spring or August Show held that year. This Jubilee Show does not call for any special comment beyond the fact that judging was done in public for the first time, spectators having to pay 2/6 for the privilege of admission. It might be observed that the practice had now arisen of lecting the Judges en bloc and leaving the Secretary to allot them to their classes. This responsibility is now undertaken by the Shows Committee.
The cultivation of the potato was still being extended, though from time to time growers received set-backs. Thus in 1888, prices fell to one shilling or less per cabot, while blight worked havoc in the fields. The shortage of roots and fodder in the preceding year caused farmers to make heavy purchasers often on credit, and this unfortunate system was apparently well established by that time.
Much the same thing happened the following year, when the season must have been a very long one. In that year, it is stated that prices were good until the middle of June when they fell to 2/- a cabot, and further that during July and August, 17,690 tons were exported at an average price of 1/2½ per cabot. The disappearance of orchards is lamented and, though the deforestation of the Island was due to the desire to produce potatoes earlier, the chronicler of 1889 says that the seasons were at least a fortnight later, on the average, than 10 years previously.
21.- Milking Trials, the B.D.F.A. Visit and other Things.
A discussion and comparison of the best systems of cream raising led the Committee to advocate.
A Dairy Show being held next year in the Society`s Grounds, where the various systems of Dairying,, in vogue in the Island, might be brought into friendly competition, under the supervision of the Officers of the Society, and, as an adjunct to this in order to test the "Dairy" qualities of animals, "Butter" tests might be attempted and prizes awarded to owners of Cattle whose animals would, after careful analysis and testing, show the richest quantity of Cream from a certain number of milkings.
These were in fact held i 1889, under the name of "Milking Trials", analysis being the basis for awarding prizes. Only 4 animals competed, the yield of 3 milkings being taken, the cream of the first two being subjected to analysis and that of the third made directly into butter. Mr. W.J. Labey`s Mabel 13th and Mabel 6th obtained the Silver and Bronze Medals respectively.
These Milking Trials were the forerunners of the Butter Tests inaugurated not many years later where the butter was actually churned on the grounds from each cow`s yield.
Work on the Show Yard was completed in 1888 by the erection of what was even then called The Agricultural Hall. This of course was the handsome "tin shed" in which all sorts of functions were held, from Church Bazars to Strike meetings, until it was pulled down in 1922.
Reporting on the year 1888, the Horticultural Department strongly advocates the growth of good fruit, as a useful addition to the potato. Various sorts of pears and apples are recommended including, of the former, Pitmaston Duchess. When the report was presented to the General Meeting, one member proposed the deletion of this variety from the list "as it was not of the quality to be so highly recommended". Nevertheless "Pits" remained. The report also contains these very apt maxims for fruit growers which are as true today as then:
"Many trees but few sorts, and those the best; pick and pack with the greatest care. Take care of your trees and they will take care of you".
Correspondence exchanged with a Mr. C. Le Vesconte of Minnesota, USA occupies much space in the minutes of 1888 and early in 1889. The subject was the formation of a North Western American Jersey Cattle Club, the older body being declared not representative; the high fees on imported cattle were also in dispute. The Island Society was aksed to recognize the new Club, which it promised to do when the complete rules came to hand. The reduction of the American Jersey Cattle Club fees shortly after seems to have emoved the principal cause of this revolution, for no more was heard of the N.W.A.J.C.C.
In 1889 the control of the show Grounds was placed in the charge of a sub-Committee under special conditions which still obtain. The Show Grounds or (as it became) the Real Estate Committee has its own separate minute book, is elected for a term of 3 years and keeps a separate account of its expenses and receipts. Altogether it is the mostimportant Sub-Committee of the agricultural Department. The Show Grounds and Hall were continuaally in use for various purposes, The Jersey Commercial Association during several summers providing public entertainment there.
At the end of 1889, the Pavilion was let to the supporters of General Boulanger for a meeting or banquet. This drew forth a protest from a member, but as the function was postponed indefinitely, no harm resulted from this accidental entanglement in French politics which were then in a particularly excitable state.
It was decided at the General Meeting of 1890 that in future all bulls exhibited had to be shown with their dams and the latter`s points added to the former`s.
In 1890, the first Blythwood Bowl was competed for for the first time, and also for the first time, an English breeder officiated as Judge, This gentleman was Mr. W.P. Arkwright who assisted in judging the Championships. His son, Mr. B.H.G. Arkwright, was President of the English Jersey Cattle Society in 1933.
In May, 1891, the British Dairy Farmers`Association held its Annual Conference in the Island, the occasion coinciding with the Spring Show. Prior to the conference, instruction and demonstrations in butter-making were given by an expert sent down by that Association, while a general demonstration and lecture was given at the Show. The visitors, on their arrival on May 19th, were received at the Town Hall, when Col. Le Cornu read an admirable paper on the Dairy Industry in Jersey, while at a further assembly Professor Jas. Long read a paper on Dairy Education. This visit of the most important Dairying Society in Great Britain stimulated interest in practical butter-making, where the Jersey farmer had much to learn. Mr. G.T. Barham, the President of the British Dairy Farmers`Association, offered to pay the expenses of a farmer`s daughter at Aylesbury Dairy Institute for one month`s tuition, but no Jersey dairymaid availed herself of the offer.
Statistics of the Potato Crop furnished by Mr. P. Barbier, are published for the first time in the Report for 1891. In that year, 66,840 tons realised £487,642 the highest tonnage and the highest value since 1883.
A baseless report was published at the Royal Counties Show of 1891 that Bovine Pleuro-Pneumonia existed in the Channel Islands. This did great harm to the export trade and, though a denial was published in the Agricultural press, the perpetrators of the report did not come forward with any apology.
The Report of the Agricultural Department for 1892 reiterates the risks run by farmers
in growing potatoes on land unsuited for their cultivation and thus relying on imported
fodder. It also remarks with satisfaction that many farmers were compounding their own
artificial manures. Then a paragraph follows referring to a subject which, since then, has
provoked unending argument:
Owing to contagious diseases in England, the States of Jersey in 1891 passed a regulation prohibiting the importation of Cattle for slaughtering purposes. This decision was supported by a resolution of approval by the Committee.
Though the summer show of 1892 had been fixed for August 24th and 25th, it was decided, at the last minute, to hold it on the latter day only, with the innovation that cattle had to be brought in on the previous evening.
Jersey Cattle enjoy an enviable reputation for freedom from disease and that reputation is wel established, as may be judged by this extract from the minutes of forty years ago:
"A letter from Mr. F.S. Peer, New York, USA, copy of which is herewith annexed was next read relating to an impression "That the Jerseys on the Island are subject to contagious Pleuro-Pneumonia & Tuberculosis". Colonel Le Cornu moved "That the President and Secretary be requested to inform Mr. F.S. Peer that Pleuro-Pneumonia and Tuberculosis have never been known to exist amongst our Cattle on this Island and that our stock has always been allowed to land at any port of the United Kingdom".
So fearful were the fathers of the Society of any partiality being shown when cattle were judged that for long years the owners were not allowed to lead them in the ring. This was relaxed shortly before this period, to the extent of allowing exhibitors`sons or their servants to lead the stock. In 1893, exhibitors of bulls were given permission to parade their animals before the judges "if they think fit".
22. The Butter Tests start.
Exhaustive trials of different methods of cream raising were also made during the year, when the capabilities of the Cream Separator were proved to be superior to any other method.
Two hundred and fifty head of Jerseys were shipped to Sweden in that year. This was the first of many subsequent shipments to Scandinavia, both Sweden and Denmark being, for a time, good markets for a certain class of stock.
1893 was the last year in which Horses and Swine were exhibited with the Bulls in April.
Butter Tests, which were to prove so beneficial to the Jersey breed, were again held in 1894, but with the exception of that in May, for which the English Jersey Cattle Society again offered medals, received scant support. The following year, the Departmental, as distinct from the E.J.C.S. Tests were held on the farms of the owners of competing cattle. This, however was not successful, and finally in 1897, the polizy was adopted of having three Butter Tests a year, in March, May and October, the prize money in the first and third being furnished by the Agricultural Department. Subsequently the March Test was given up. So little support did the Butter Tests obtain in the early years that their continuance was in jeopardy. In course of time, however, their value was recognized and by 1913, the entries were so large that proper accommodation was not easy to provide.
Weymouth was closed as a landing place for Cattle from the Channel Islands in 1894, in spite of a memorial addressed by the Society to the Board of Agriculture. This left Southampton as the only southern port into which cattle could be sent. This position remains today, though, during and immediately after the War, some cattle were sent via Weymouth and quarantined at Southampton.
The abnormal snow and frost of 1895 is still remembered by many and any "cold snap" experienced since usuaually revives memories of that time. With snow on the ground for several weeks, the planting of the potato crop was delayed and though, when the thaw came, growth was rapid, dry weather had a bad effect on the crop in light soils. Much seed having been frozen, the shortage was made up by the introduction of a quantity of English "Myatts". Like the "Majestics" of recent experience, these proved too late for remunerative export and were a failure on that account. Apples were in abundance and a small quantity was actually sent to Germany.
23.- Horticulture since 1888.
By 1893, owing to a waning of interest and the expense of the numerous shows the finances of the Department were in a bad way and a loan was obtained from the Jersey Herd Book as well as a grant from the C.I. Exhibition Trustees. The number of shows was cut down and at the Summer Show of 1894, prizes were honorary only. Proposals were made for making the shows more attractive to the general public, though, to be sure, until then, some of these fixtures had admittedly drawn large attendances; lectures and winter meetings were also suggested. The Pavilion at Springfield, where many successful shows have been held, was, however, complained of as being too far from the centre of the town. After commenting on he development of horticulture and its blessings, the writer of the report for that year goes on to say:
And now your Committee would ask if all these great things have been done inthe past, how is it that in the Island of Jersey framed as it is by the silver sea, the landscape itself a garden and an orchard, that in this year of grace 1894 there should have been such a paralytic numbness with regard to matters Horticultural? That such is the fact does not allow of a moment of doubt. We began the year in sadness - the sadness of debt. That state of affairs yours Committee venture to think should have acted as a nerve tonic on all the members of the Department and braced them to increased exertion. Such, unfortunately, has not been the case. Ere three months of the year had elapsed twenty-five old members had retired - and retired too, without payment of their dues, viz, their subscription for the year. This, in the opinion of your Committee, is not only a debt of honour but also a legal debt. Some of those who thus silently retired had been pillars of the Society for years; they had been some of its most successful exhibotors, and had filled the honourable position of judges. It is impossible for a Managing Committee to view such a state of things with philosophical calm; for desertion such as this means the loosening of the very foundations of the Department.
Despite the gloomy picture, the year had ended with a small balance on the right side and the Herd Book loan repaid. The fate of the Department, however, hung in the balance, but at a General Meeting a useful interchange of views led to various alterations being made to the rules to secure most economical working and remove such causes for complaint as may have existed. Only two shows were fixed for 1895, thus effecting a great saving of expense. By 1896, the fortunes of the Department were, for the time at any rate, retrieved and the Shows of that year were in every way successful.
As far as the Agricultural Department was concerned 1896 was a successful year. The Summer Show was lengthened to occupy three days and driving competitions, implement trials, etc, combined to make it an exhibition of more than usual interest. In fact, from this, dates the policy of making the Summer Exhibition a combination of show and entertainment, which has been adhered to down to the present day. Members of the Royal Guernsey Agricultural Society were present and entertained by the Department.
24.- The Shows Committee`s Programme for 1897.
1st. That a sum of money be devoted to the discovery of a new variety of of "fluke" Potato.
2nd. That the Butter Tests Committee should encourage the testing of Cows at 2 or more Tests during the year, with a view to showing the length of time that the flow of milk can be sustained in each cow; and that the Tests should be divided into 2 classes, one of young and one of old Cows.
3rd. That a competent Lecturer and Teacher on Dairy matters should be engaged to give demonstrations and instruction in Butter-making.
4th. That a competent Lecturer be engaged to lecture on the use and abuse of artificial manures and feeding stuffs.
5th. That the States of the Island be approached to obtain the subvention of a sum of money to be devoted to the giving of technical education in Agriculture.
6th. That the States be approached with a view to having a clause inserted in the law reffering to the Sale of Margarine to the effect that all Margarine imported be of a white colour.
7th. That the Glebe Field adjoining the Show Grounds be, if possible, purchased.
8th. That a circulating Library, consisting of Agricultural works and periodicals be formed.
9th. That an endeavour be made to secure the 25 sovereigns annually raced for as a "Queens Plate"
Here indeed was an ambitious plan of campaign. Some of the proposals were put into operation at once, notably the Potato Variety Trials and the Travelling Butter School. (Item 3).
Items 4 and 5 were longer in coming to fruition, but, by the establishment of the States Experiment Station and the more recent developments in research and advisory work conducted there, the plans of 1897 may be said to have matured. Item 6, re noncolouing of margarine was duly accomplished, only to be set aside at the dictates of popular clamour during the war years. The Glebe Field was purchased not many years later and by its acquisition, the ultimate development of the Showyard as a place of public entertainment and recreation was assured.
The nucleus of a circulating library continues to exist, but, though facilities are available for borrowing books, they are not taken advantage of.
The Queen`s Plate, now the King`s Cup, is still raced for annually, though in Guernsey, this valuable trophy is offered in what seems (in the present day, at any rate) a more serviceable cause.
Throughout the history, the personal element has been kept in the background and the company of Jerseymen who from its earliest days worked devotedly for the Society`s well-being are unnamed except for a few. One more name, however, should be set down here, that of Mr. J.A. Perrée, in its Centenary year President of the society and who in 1897 accepted, soemwhat reluctantly, the office of Secretary, a post which he held to the lasting advantage of the society for 20 years.
Reverting to the programme of the Shows Committee, the Travelling Butter School was maintained in 1897 and 1898 despite the initial apathy of some of the Parochial Agricultural Societies who were asked to support the Scheme, votes form the States Assembly and the C.I. Exhibition Trusees being obtained towards expenses. The Butter School did good work and those who had received tuiton and won Certificates formed themselves into an Association for marketing, locally, butter made under scientific conditions. With the advent and general adoption of Co-operative Butter Making, this Association was dissolved. The Butter School was the means of attracting large entries to the Butter and Butter Making Classes at the Shows of that time.
The Potato Variety Trials lasted, as intended, for three seasons, the conditions being:
The tubers must be of a kidney shaped, white fleshed, and white skinned variety, adn were to be grown for three years in competition with the Royal Jersey Fluke, the object in view being the discovery of a variety which would possess the early productiveness and handsome appearance of this well-known sort, and excel it in cooking qualities.
Six varieties were tried, the plots being laid out at St. Peter in 1897 and at St. Saviour in 1898 and 1899.
The result was that none of the varieties was found to fulfil the conditions laid down and the "Royal" has remained the most suitable potato to be cultivated for the English Market, and in fact improved as regards culinary qualities. At the time of the trials, it had not been grown for very many years, for at the Jubilee Show of 1883, Mr. Hugh de la Haye exhibited "a box of potatoes, The Royal Jersey Fluke, a new variety introduced by the Exhibitor in 1878".
25. The last Years of the Century in both Departments.
A subject which had before this received attention was the lack of Official Statistics of the Island`s Exports and Imports. The matter was taken up again at about this time and in 1898 was on the Shows Committee`s programme for the year, a list being drawn up which it was considered would represent the inward and outward trade of the Island. This was submitted to the Harbours Committee, and after a lapse of time official statistics of the Island`s commerce were published annually.
Occasion has been taken previously to comment on the freedom of Island Stock from Contagious disease. Further proof is afforded by these extracts from the Report for 1898.
In connection with the shipment of cattle to Sweden, it is important to relate that, by order of the Swedish Government who sent a veterinary expert over for the purpose, the tuberculin test was applied to the 130 animals with the result that on eheifer re-acted to the test, thus apparently showing signs of the disease known as tuberculosis.. The immediate slaughter of the heifer took place in presence of the Swedish veterinary surgeon and of two local veterianry surgeons with the result that the animal was declared by them to be perfectly free of the disease. It is ascertained that during the last few years the tuberculin test has been applied - either before shipment or on arrival at destination - to over 600 head of cattle bought on the Island without any trace of Tuberculosis being found. Several lots are represented in this large number, bought promiscuously all over Jersey and not selected in any particular part of the Island; it is, therefore, aperfectly safe conclusion to draw that tuberculosis does not exist amongst the Island cattle. The absence of bovine tuberculosis in cattle on the Island has been proved over and over again since then and is a cause for congratulation.
Mr. Jos. Le Gros, who had for a long period been Secretary of the Jersey Herd Book, resigned at the end of 1898. Henceforward, the Secretary of the Department became ex-officio Secretary of the Jersey Herd Book and the clerical work of both sections co-ordianted under his care.
The inordinate number of absentees from the Shows was brought to the notice of the Committee during 1899, the entry fee being raised the next year, in an effort to counteract this. There will, it seems certain, always be a fairly large number of cattle entered which do not come out on Show day, for various reasons. If the number entered bore any relation to the number which would actually be staled, the problem of space would be solved with less difficulty on many occasions.
As the outcome of a discussion initiated at a meeting in the Summer of 1899, a Special Committee was named to enquire into the state of the Island`s agriculture. The report this Committee issued and which was presented to the members in the following Mach, is one of the most exhaustive ever produced by any similar body. Statements are included showing the cost of production of potatoes, roots, hay, etc and of maintaining cattle and pigs. Many of the conclusions arrived at and much of the advice offered as to potato culture, stock raising, etc were not new, but had been rreiterated year after year. Outdoor fruit culture is recommended as a new source of income, while bacon curing is also suggested. The penultimate paragraph of the report may be quoted as showing the realization of the need for technical instruction in agriculture.
In these days when education is so progressive, the youth of the Island should be stimulated to follow the calling of his ancestors, and not to abandon the fields for town occupations. Technical instruction in agriculture in our schools would go far to train the mind in the direction of farming, and an elementary knowledge of geology, botany and chemistry, as applied to the farm, would assist materially in rendering the farmer`s calling one of peculiar interest, and would further the development of science combined with practice. It is to be hoped, in the interest of Jersey, that instruction of this nature will find its way into our schools, and that the land will remain in the occupation of Jerseymen, to the common advantage of all classes.
What seemed at the time a great conflict, the South African War, was in progress, and we find the Horticultural Department giving the proceeds of its Chrysantemum Show in 1899 to the Fund for the wives and families of the Abset-Minded Beggars. The Society too, at the request of the Constable of St. Helier, agreed to co-operate in the general rejoicings held, somewhat prematurely, in July 1900.
In 1899, a working agreement was concluded by the Horticultural Department with the Society of Jersey Gardeners, which should have been to the advantage of both, but which only continued fo a short time. At the end of 1899 too there is mention of a Horticultural Club which wished to affiliate, but no more is heard of it. It is a great pity that this division of effort was ever allowed to exist when possibly there was a time when tact and statesmanship might have bound all horticulturists, proffesional or amateur, into one body.
As a footnote to history", a Class for Aestetic Chrysantehmums appeared in the Schedules. The name suggests that the influence of the æsthetic cult of the nineties had penetrated into the garden.
At the end of 1900, relations between the two Departments became somewhat strained owing to the resentment displayed by one oficial of the Horticultural Section at a quite legitimate ruling of the Show Grounds Committee. There was even talk of secession. Apparently not in agreement with the policy of the Department, several officers and committee-men handed in their resignations. Again, the fate of the Department was in the balance, but Dr. Powell took over the joint duties of Hon. Secretary and Hon. Treasurer and, the rules being recast, matters began to improve. The membership started to climb up again, consequently the funds increased also. With he help of a grant from the Channel Islands Exhibition Trusees, alecturer from Rothaamstead Experiment Station was engaged to give lectures on Agricultural Chemistry. (Reprints of these lectures are still on hand and obtainaable). This was in 1902, when Classes for jams, etc were first introduced and incidentally" ping pong" tables were provided at the Spring Show.
The long drawn out battle centred round judging by the scale of points came to an end at the General Meeting of the Agricultural Department in December, 1900, and the present method of judging as prescribed by the following rule came into operation.
Prizes shall be awarded by inspection, without adjudging points, the Judges governing their decision as closely as practicable on the following scale of points..
Many members, including Col. Le Cornu, thought that the change would be detrimental to
the breed, as the standard of perfection would not be constant, but few after over 30
years`experience would now wish to go back to the old method of "scaling".
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