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a farm well cultivated and planted, he authorized me to inform the Society, that if it met their approbation, he felt disposed to make an offer to the following effect; viz. To take a lease at the rent now paid by the tenants, for the term of 41 years and threelives, as proposed by the advertisement published in the public papers ; with a covenant to extend the same to 61 years, in consideration of his planting two hundred thousand timber-trees at least, which would become a royalty to the Society, unless under the laws now in force in Ireland he were to register the same, which he would waive, under a full reliance of the Society's liberality towards him hereafter. To divide the lands in a fair and équitable manner among the occupying tenants, and grant them leases for 21 years and one life, at their present rent.- To build a wharf by the river side, for the purpose of landing turf from the distant bogs, and which he will engage to supply the tenants with free of expence, reserving to himself a few acres only, for the purpose of a paddock to the wharf. Such a plan would, in my humble opinion, tend to improve the condition of the tenants, and offer an example in regard to planting, which would bid fair to excite the emulation of others, as well as tend to the immediate and certain improvement of this very conspicuous part of the Society's property
The Skinners' proportion is situated near Londonderry, and has lately been let to Mr. Ogilvie, a linen-factor in Dublin, who is said to have paid the company a fine of £25,000 for his lease. The former tenant was Mr. Carey, of Dungiven, who perhaps may not have come forward as he ought with the company; but this change of tenant for a person who lives in Dublin, has no residence in the county of Londonderry, and of course bears no lot there either as a magistrate or juryman, is seen with an evil eye by the resident inhabitants, and appeared to me to have rather done away the sort of confidence which had theretofore existed between landlord and tenant. There are several bleachinggrounds upon and near this property; the principal one is that of Messrs. Atcheson and Lyle, who having used many fruitless endeavours to renew their lease with Mr. Ogilvie, have purchased freehold lands on the opposite side of the river, where the former has built a handsome residence, and made every preparation for removing his bleaching-grounds to the spot. Mr. Ogilvie will naturally look to set all the lands at the highest possible price, and the tenant, being of necessity compelled not to lose a square yard of that for which he pays so dear, can neither afford to plant or cultivate a tree of any kind ; so that if any thing of a plantation is seen, it turns out on inquiry to belong to some freeholder, or person having a lease in perpetuity; and these little plantations are raised and maintained at no inconsiderable expence, on account of the great temptations they offer to the poor tenantry, whose lands do not produce wherewithal tò make a hạndle for a pitchfork, or any common instrument of husbandry. It is hardly necessary to add, that I discovered no timber-trees of any consequence on the Skinners' proportion.
My next object was to visit Coleraine, in doing which I passed again through the Fishmongers' proportion at Walworth, and visited the church built there by the right hon. John Beresford, whose ancestors have been the occupying tenants under the company, for upwards of one hundred and fifty years past. This is by far the handsomest building of the kind in the north of Ireland. The windows are ornamented with the arms of the Society, and those of the Fishmongers' Company and Mr. Beresford's family, on stained glass, painted by Mr. Egginton, of Birmingham. The house, which was built by the present Mr. Beresford, is on a large scale, situated near the margin of Lough Foyle. I have already noticed the plantation on each side of the road, which is still more useful than ornamental, as it supplies the tenants with timber for agricultural purposes whenever it is wanted.
From Newtown Limmavaddy you have an extensive view of the bold range of mountains beginning at the Magelligan, and extending in view about fifteen miles. This is the estate of the Marquis of Waterford, which he holds in perpetuity of the Haberdashers' Company. It is lett upon leases for twenty one years and one life, and it is supposed to bring in about £8,000 a year, There are two roads from Newtown Limmavaddy to Coleraine; one by the low lands bordering on Lough Foyle, the other over the Cady Mountain, which is the shortest; but having made a visit to Mr. Dominick M.Causland, at Daisy Hill, near Newtown, and rode with him over a great part of the Fishmongers' propor. tion, I shall not quit this property till I have stated that by far the .. greatest part of it is mountainous and boggy, to a degree that would almost frighten a member of the company 'who had been used to see the fertile fields in the county of Surrey, in which the English Walworth is situated. I met with one tenant under Mr. Beresford, who held one thousand five hundred acres of land for £30 a year: at which rent a preceding tenant had relinquished the same land.
The plain adjoining the river Roe belongs to Mr. Connelly, who offers it for sale at twenty-one years' purchase, on rents which were granted in perpetuity by his ancestors, at the rate of two shillings and sixpence an acre. This property, as well as that of Newtown Limmavaddy, formed the proportion of forfeited lands obtained by sir Thomas Phillips, the agent of Government in making the division; and it will be readily anticipated that the agent did not forget the old proverb, as to where charity, begins, in the option he made. The fact is, that he chose the most fertile land of the neighbourhood. This road along the borders of the Lough belongs chiefly to the bishop of Derry, who has procured leases for twenty-one years to be granted to trustees for his own benefit; and as these leases are constantly kept full by yearly renewals, his lordship is said to have realized an income of £5,000 a year, independent of the profits of the see, which are computed at £10,000 a year. I wish his lordship’s conduct authorized me to say that equal attention had been paid to his spiritual duties : but here again the hardship of
absence excites still greater cause of dissatisfaction, the whole of this enormous income having been expended in Italy and France for these last twenty years, during the whole of which time his lordship has resided in those countries, chiefly in Italy, where he now lives, absent from the duties of his pastoral office. I must, however, except a sum, amounting perhaps to seventy or eighty thousand pounds, employed by his lordship in erecting and orna menting two mansion-houses, one at Down Hill, in the neighbourhood of Coleraine, and the other at Ballyskullen, not far from the Salters' proportion at Maraghfelt, which, from having been both of them left in an unfinished state, may be considered as two monuments of modern ruins. I passed the former in my way to Coleraine. It is built on a rock, within a few paces of the sea; and the mind is struck with awe in reflecting that the broad expanse of water, which in tempestuous weather dashes its spray into the chambers of the house, is continued for the space of more than three thousand miles, and that no land interferes between the spot on which you stand and the coast of Labradore in North America. The mouth of the Bann is plainly discerned from this eminence, and the building is equally visible from the sea-shore near Coleraine, where it appears an object of Ro. man magnificence. His lordship is said to have planted more than a million of trees and shrubs in the adjoining grounds, hardly any of which have thriven.
The road from Down Hill to Coleraine, goes through the best part of the Clothworkers' proportion, which was held by th'. right hon. Richard Jackson, who was the Society's general agent. It is commonly reported in the country, that having been obliged to raise the rents of his tenants very considerably in consequence of the large fine he paid, it produced an almost total emigration among them to America, and that they formed a principal part of that undisciplined body which brought about the surrender of the British army at Saratoga. I think it right to add, that Mr. Jackson was considered as a man of the greatest honour and integrity, and that his memory is highly respected by all who knew him.
Coleraine is situated on both sides of the Bann, over which is a handsome bridge, and this place would, in my opinion, be preferred by strangers to Londonderry. The town-hall stands in a kind of square, near the centre of the high street, which is broad and spacious. The parsonage-house is situated opposite the churchyard, and is a sightly building, as well as the church itself; but you pass through the town without noticing the So. ciety's free-school, for want of a more conspicuous tablet or inscription over the door. The rock or salmon-leap, where the traps are erected, is about a mile above the town. The cranagh or fish-house, where the fish are taken with nets, is about two miles below the town. I visited the former, and sir George Hill had the complaisance, although the season for taking fish was over, to man: his boats and cast the nets, in order to show me the manner of fishing the river at the cranagh. The net extends nearly across the river, and it requires two boats and upwards of thirty persons to manage the draft. We caught a few salmon, some mullets, and a great many trout; I was tempted by the men to kill one of the salmon by giving it a blow on the head, for which a fine was imposed upon me, in execution of the law against killing fish out of season. Sir George Hill has been obliged to purchase additional land near the cranagh, which was found too small to accommodate the fishermen and dealers who frequent the fishery. There is no house of residence for the fishermen at the cuts; which is a matter of serious regret, as the property deposited there in the fishing season is much exposed to depredation for want of it. The cut next ad. joining the shore has a constant supply of water, and is, as I was informed, of little use for taking fish, so that a mill might be erected upon a large scale, either for grinding corn or cutting timber, or even applicable to both purposes, if the Society should be induced at any time hereafter, either to build a mill, or grant a term in the fishery that might encourage the tenants to lay out a large sum of money in the erection. The leap and cranagh form the chief part of the fishery lett to sir George Hill and Mr. Beresford. *This embraces all the right they have on the river Bann; the eel-fishery above the rock or salmon leap, belonging to lord Donegal. That part of the fishery which is carried on in the river Foyle, is lett to an under-tenant at Londonderry for $300 a year, but the salmon caught are inferior, both in size and quality, to those of the Bann. I was informed at Londonderry, that the under-tenants had applied to sir George Hill and Mr. Beresford to accept a surrender of their lease, in consequence of their having had several bad seasons.
It is, perhaps, a singular circumstance in the natural history of the salmon and eel, that the former are caught in perfection as they proceed from the sea up the river to cast their spawn, and that having performed this office they go back to the sea, and the young fish bred in the river are known to return to the same waters again, and leave a family where they theinselves have experienced safety and protection. The eel, on the contrary, proceeds from the sea in a state smaller than the smallest bloodworm, so weak, that the fishermen at the rock make a practice of placing straws along the sides of the river to enable them to encounter the stream; and having once got above it, they proceed to the deep waters of Lough Neagh, where they grow to an enormous size and then go back to the sea, from whence they never return again to fresh water. The salmon fishery must require considerable labour and expense both to practise and protect it; as, independent of clerks, fishermen, boats and boatmen, in the fishing season there must be a number of persons employed as guards and watchmen, in the neighbourhood of all the . little rivers communicating with the Bann, and into which the mother-fish resort in the breeding season; so that the increased cuitivation of flax, and the establishment of additional bleaching. grounds, wlich tend to enhance the value of the Society's pro
perty in one respect, contribute on the other hand to injure the fishery, by poisoning the waters and producing additional stop: pages in their course ; to say nothing of the workmen themselves, who, if not properly managed by douceurs and indulgencies, be.. come poachers, capable of doing much mischief. I cannot leave Coleraine without saying a word or two of the entrance of the river Bann, which, owing to a bar, is very dangerous for vessels of any size; in fact, it is hardly accessible above four months in the year, and the inhabitants have it in contemplation to make a navigable canal from the town to the sea, a distance not ex. ceeding five miles. I think such a measure, if adopted, would deserve encouragement from the Society; and having this opi. nion, I promised to become a subscriber to it. · On the left bank of the Bann, and near the rock or Salmon Leap, is Somerset, the Merchant Taylors' proportion, which is held in perpetuity. On this property there is a good house, and a considerable plantation; the present proprietor, Mr. Richardson, who holds some lands on the opposite side of the river, called the Sandbank, belonging to the Society, has made a plantation there, which is beginning to thrive. Mr. Richardson informed me he had it in contemplation to apply to the Society for a new lease of this ground, which being situated on the right bank of the river, is more exposed to the spray of the sea-shore than the opposite side, and of course less calculated for planting; I think Mr. Richardson has some claim on the Society for having overcome these difficulties, in improving a spot which was before unsightly and unprofitable soil.
I shall say nothing of my excursion to the Giants' Causeway, as the subject is not immediately connected with the Society's property and has been often described, but shall return again to Newtown Limmavaddy, by the upper road, over the remaining part of the Clothworkers' proportion, the whole of which consists either of bogs or lands but little cultivated. Much having been said in the Society of timber on the Salters' proportion, my curiosity led me to visit that district; in doing this, I passed through a part of the Ironmongers' proportion, which is desirably situated near the Bann, and through Garvah, the estate of Mr. Canning. In this excursion I visited Bally-Skullen, the other seat of the bishop of Derry, which commands an extensive view of Lough Neagh, and the surrounding country; but the house, though in. · habited and partly furnished, and ornamented in a style of eastern magnificence, is left unfinished, and the new-built offices are falling to decay. i I passed through Maghera to Maraghfelt, which latter is the chief place of the Clothworkers' proportion, but saw nothing in the nature of timber-trees, nor indeed any plantations, except a few ornamental trees adjoining the residence of Mr. Paterson the agent for lord Londonderry, and Mr. Bateson, the company's tenants; there are however more trees to be seen on this proporportion than any of the others, Mr. Beresford's woods at Walworth excepted.