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Hufbandman will not admit of thefe Vices. The honeft Farmer lives in a wife and happy State, which inclines him to Juftice, Temperance, Sobriety, Sincerity, and every Virtue that can dignify the human Nature. This gave Room for the Poets to feign, that Aftrea, the Goddefs of Juflice, had her laft Refidence among Hufbandmen, before fhe quitted the Earth. Hefiod and Virgil have brought the Affiftance of the Mufes in Praife of Agriculture. Kings, Generals, and Philofophers, have not thought it unworthy their Birth, Rank, and Genius, to leave Precepts to Pofterity upon the Utility of the Hufbandman's Profeffion. Hiero, Attalus, and Archelaus, Kings of Syracufe, Pergamus, and Cappadocia, have compofed Books for fupporting and augmenting the Fertility of their different Countries. The Carthaginian General, Mago, wrote twenty-eight Volumes upon this Subject; and Cato, the Cenfor, followed his Example. Nor have Plato, Xenophon, and Ariftotle, omitted this Article, which makes an efiential Part of their Politicks. And Cicero, fpeaking of the Writings of Xenophon, fays, How fully and 'excellently does he, in that Book called his Oeconomics, fet out the Advantages of Husbandry, and a 'country Life?'
When Britain was fubject to the Romans, the annually fupplied them with great Quantities of Corn ; and the Isle of Anglefea was then looked upon as the Grainary for the Western Provinces: But the Britons, both under the Romans and Saxons, were employed like Slaves at the Plough. On the Intermixture of the Danes and Normans, Poffeffions were better regulated, and the State of Vaffalage gradually declined, till it was entirely wore off under the Reigns of Henry VII. and Edward VI. for they hurt the old Nobility by favouring the Commons, who grew rich by Trade, and purchased Eftates.
The Wines of France, Portugal, and Spain, are now the beft; while Italy can only boast of the Wine made in Tuscany. The Breeding of Cattle is now chiefly confined to Denmark and Ireland. The Corn of Sicily is ftill in great Efteem, as well as what is produced in the Northern Countries: But England is the happieft Spot in the Universe for all the principal Kinds of Agriculture, and especially its great Produce of Corn.
The Improvement of our landed Eftates, is the Enrichment of the Kingdom: For, without this, how could we carry on our Manufactures, or profecute our Commerce? We fhould look upon the English Farmer as the most useful Member of Society. His arable Grounds not only supply his Fellow-fubjects with all Kinds of the beft Grain, but his Industry enables him to Export great Quantities to other Kingdoms, which might otherwife ftarve; particularly Spain and Portugal: For, in one Year, there have been exported 51,520 Quarters of Barley,. 219,781 of Malt, 1920 of Oatmeal, 1329 of Rye, and 153,343 of Wheat; the Bounty on which amounted to 72,433 Pounds. What a Fund of Treasure arifes from his pafture Lands, which breed fuch innumerable Flocks of Sheep, and afford fuch fine Herds of Cattle, to feed Britons, and cloath Mankind? He rears Flax and Hemp for the making of Linen; while his Plantations of Apples and Hops fupply him with generous Kinds of Li
The Land-tax, when at four Shillings in the Pound, produces 2,000,000 Pounds a Year. This arifes from the Labour of the Hufbandman; It is a great Sum: But how greatly is it increafed by the Means it furnishes for Trade? Without the Induftry of the Farmer, the Manufacturer could have no Goods to fupply the Merchant, nor the Merchant find any Employment for the Mariners: Trade
would be ftagnated; Riches whould be of no Advantage to the Great; and Labour of no Service to the Poor.
The Romans, as Hiftorians all allow,
AVIGATION, like other Arts, has been perfected by Degrees. It is not easy to conceive that any Age or Nation was without fome Veffel, in which Rivers might be paffed by Travellers, or Lakes frequented by Fishermen; but we have no Knowledge of any Ship that could endure the Violence of the Ocean, before the Ark of Noah.
As the Tradition of the Deluge has been tranfmitted to almoft all the Nations of the Earth; it must be fuppofed that the Memory of the Means by which Noah and his Family were preferved, would be continued long among their Defcendants, and that the Poflibility of paffing the Seas could never be doubted.
What Men know to be practicable, a thoufand Motives will incite them to try; and there is Reason to believe, that from the Time that the Generations of the poftdiluvian Race fpread to the Sea Shores, there were always Navigators that ventured upon the Sea, though, perhaps, not willingly beyond the Sight of Land.
Of the ancient Voyages little certain is known, and it is not neceffary to lay before the Reader fuch Conjectures as learned Men have offered to the World. The Romans by conquering Carthage, put a Stop to a great Part of the Trade of diftant Nations with one another, and because they thought only on War and Conqueft, as their Empire en
ereafed, Commerce was difcouraged; till under the latter Emperors, Ships feem to have been of little other Ufe than to transport Soldiers.
Navigation could not be carried to any great Degree of Certainty, without the Compafs; which was unknown to the Ancients. The wonderful Quality by which a Needle, or fmall Bar of Steel, touched with a Loadftone or Magnet, and turning freely by Equilibration on a Point, always preferves the Meridian, and directs its two Ends North and South, was discovered according to the common Opinion in 1299, by John Gola of Amalphi, a Town in Italy.
From this Time it is reafonable to fuppofe that Navigation made continual, though flow, Improvements, which the Confufion and Barbarity of the Times, and the Want of Communication between Orders of Men fo diftant as Sailors and Monks, hindered from being diftinctly and fucceffively recorded.
It seems, however, that the Sailors ftill wanted either Knowledge or Courage, for they continued. for two Centuries to creep along the Coast, and confidered every Headland as unpaffable, which ran far into the Sea, and against which the Waves broke with uncommon Agitation.
The First who is known to have formed the Defign of new Discoveries, or the First who had Power to execute his Purposes, was Don Henry the Fifth, Son of John the Firft, King of Portugal, and Philippina, Sifter of Henry the Fourth of England. Don Henry having attended his Father to the Conqueft of Ceuta, obtained by Converfation with the Inhabitants of the Continent, fome Accounts of the interior Kingdoms and fouthern Coast of Africa; which, though rude and indistinct, were fufficient to raife his Curiofity, and convince him that there were Countries yet unknown and worthy of Discovery.