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country uses; for oak, notwithstanding its high price, is a full-third lower than deal, and as cheap or cheaper (con. sidering its durability) than any other kind of timber.
General Question. Can you furnish any other obser. vations or information on the subject ?
Answer. The part of this subject which appears to me most involved in difficulty arises out of the answer to the first question ; viz. “ that the quantity of large oak timber has decreased very rapidly within the last 15 years, but particularly within the last five.” The advance in price has nothing to do with this, nor even the temptation of the enormous advance in the price of bark; for had not the timber been wanted, it could not have been sold. The honourable Commissioners of Naval Revision can best tell whether the demand for naval purposes has so for exceeded its former bounds ; if not, much more timber has been appropriated to country purposes than formerly; or, it is possible, the great falls of timber within the last few years may have been chiefly in the West of England, under my own observation.
From the foregoing answers to the questions proposed to me by the Commissioners, my opinions on the subject may be deduced ; and which I will endeavour here to bring into one point of view.
The great desiderata to obviate the scarcity of oak timber for naval purposes are these;
Ist. To keep up a full crop of all kinds of timber in the kingdom; and
2dly. To secure for the purposes of ship-building whatever timber Government may want; and particularly large oaks.
I: To attain the first object, encouragement must be given to the growth and preservation of all trees which
come up spontaneously, such as oak and elm; and to the planting of all other kinds, particularly Scotch fir and ļarch, so that there may be timber enough grown in the kingdom to supply its domestic wants.
II. And to attain the second object, (but which certainly depends very much on the attainment of the first;) let Government offer such high prices for large useful pieces of oak timber, as will insure the monopoly of them to themselves against all bidders for country purposes ; and let the site, and shape, and price of those pieces be engraved and distributed publicly, that the growers of timber may know what each piece is actually worth, or will probably be worth, if the cutting thereof were deferred a few years; growers would then be a match for contractors! At present, the finest stern-post or rudderpiece that ever grew is worth more money in this country to cut into inch and quarter board, or even into barrelstaves, than it would sell for to go into Fortsmouth yard; and the price of knees is so trifling, that they are much oftener used for firewood, than preserved for the navy.
General Inferences respecting Timber. .
Timber is a production of the soil, and must be raised at a certain expense to the owner of that soil. • To induce the owner of soil to promote the growth of any particular production thereof in preference to another, it will be necessary to convince him that his soil will thereby make a greater return than under any other mode of application. Now, until the last five years, the growth of timber has made a less return for the soil on which it grew, then any other production would have done. Ergo, the growth of timber has not been the best application of the soil; and the consequence has been, that the quantity of
wood wood land has decreased, to make way for other productions of the soil, viz. corn and grass, until the period when its return is become equal, or nearly so, to that of corn or grass.
Again,—Admitting the price of timber to be so much advanced, that its return to the owner of the soil shall be equal, upon an average of the different sorts of timber, to the return from any other production of the scil; the owner of the soil will then consider what sort of timber makes a less return than other sorts, and will discourage that and prefer the others. Now, oak timber, even at its present price, makes a less return than any sort of timber whatever ; ergo, the growth of oak tiinber will not be encouraged at its present price.
But à fortiori, if the cutting of oak timber is to be protracted to double the time necessary for the growth of other timber, viz. from 60 or 80 to 120 or 160 years, the owner of the soil will then consider how he. is to be remunerated, not only for the use of his soil, but for the accumulating interest of his capital. And no calculation will prove the possibility of this, even at the highest price ever yet given for the largest oak timber. Ergo, the preservation of large oak trees for the navy cannot be expected as a matter of profit to the owner of the soil ; and patriotism alone will go but a little way towards fura nishing the necessary supply...
General Corollary. Admitting that the return to the owner of the soit for the growth of timber, in general, is equal to the return from the growth of corn and grass, yet that from oak timber is not. Therefore the price of oak timber is not yet higir enough; and as no calculation
for the interest of the value, as well as for the time of growth, is ever made, on large oak timber, the present highest price given for the navy bears no proportion, or a very small one, to its real value.
And as no reduce tion in the price of other sorts of timber can be expected, while the return is but barely equal to the rent of the land, that of oak, and particularly of large oak, must be materially increased, to insure the preservation of any oak timber at all.
List of Patents for Inventions, &c.
(Continued from Page 216.)
LICHARD TREVITHICK, of Rotherhithe, in the county of Surrey, Engineer, and Robert DICKINSON, of Great Queen-street, in the county of Middlesex, Esq.; for certain Machinery for towing, driving, or forcing and discharging ships and other vessels of their Cargoes. Dated July 5, 1808. Specification to be enrolled within six months.
WILLIAM PROCTOR, of Sheffield, in the county of York, Optician; for improved methods of melting and using malleable wrought iron or steel. Dated July 6, 1808. Specification to be enrolled within four months.
JAMES BROWELL, of Cornhill, in the city of London, Tailor and Draper, JAMES JACKS of Cornhill aforesaid, Tailor and Draper, and Thomas LENNITTE, of Aldgate, in the said city of London, Man's Mercer; for a new chemical preparation for the purpose of preserving from destruction by mildew, rot, or fer
mentation, all kinds of woollen and vegetable substances from which woollen, cotton and linen cloths, . canvas, paper and other manufactures, are made; and also for rendering all sorts of woollen, cotton and linen cloths, canvass, silk, leather, hats and paper, impervious to rain, by an improved method. Dated July 11, 1808. Specification to be enrolled within two months after the next sitting or session of the Parliament of our United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. : JOHN HEATHCOAT, of Loughborough, in the county of Leicester, Manufacturer ; for a machine for the making or manufacturing of bobbin-lace, or lace nearly resembling French lace. Dated July 14, 1808. Specia tication to be enrolled within one month.
JAMES LINAKER, of our Dock Yard, Portsmouth, Master Millwright; for a method or methods of towing, driving, or forcing ships and other vessels. Dated July 14, 1808. Specification to be enrolled within one month.'
BENJAMIN CROSBY, of the parish of Saint Martin Ludgate, in the city of London, Bookseller; for a stand for books, which may be made either circular, square, or any other convenient shape, and may be turned or moved at pleasure, with cases to receive books, as well as various other articles and things. Dated July 25, 1808. Specification to be enrolled within one month.
WILLIAM HAWKES, of Newport, in the county of Salop, Esquire ; for improvements on musical keyed instruments of twelve fixed tones. Dated July 25, 1808. Specification to be enrolled within one month.